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Friday, October 14, 2011

Further along the road...

...to becoming a filthy hippie.  Although it's funny; I don't feel dirty.  And my skin is better than it has been for a while, despite the fact that my body loves to get nasty, nasty acne when I'm pregnant.  I actually still have scars from the last time. 

What I'm talking about is the fact that I haven't used soap or 'face wash' of any kind on my face in about three months.  What I've been using is honey.  That's right; I've been washing my face with honey.  I blame Crunchy Betty.  A while back, she posted a Honey Face Wash Challenge.  Unfortunately, I discovered it too late to actually join the challenge while it was happening, but I decided to give it a try anyway, because.... well, why not?  My pregnancy acne was just kicking in, and I had some good, local honey (and all the other things she recommends using) in my cabinets already.  Plus, I've always liked smearing food on my face.  You know, since toddlerhood.

And now?  I'm a convert.  Wholeheartedly.  Every morning before my shower, I schmear honey on my bleary face, and every evening, I remove my makeup with honey, baking soda, and olive oil.   Followed up with some apple cider vinegar as toner.   And I'm super impressed by how well my skin is weathering  this pregnancy.  Seriously; I know a lot of women have great skin during pregnancy.  They glow.  Not me; it's like being thirteen years old all over again: I get pimply and my hormones are running wild.  Not cool.  So obviously, I still have the hormone problem, but at least the pimples are being held at bay. 

But I have to admit that it's made me think more about what else I put on my body.  So I stopped using lotion, which could have been disastrous, given that we also are spending a month in the high desert.  But I started using coconut oil as my only moisturizer, and despite my worries about becoming greasy and even more pimply, it works great and absorbs well into my skin.  Also?  Great for my itchy belly, since I've reached that stage of things. 

I stopped using any soap besides Dr. Bronners a long time ago, and only on the parts of my body that really need washing (Food Renegade has a great post about vitamin D and soap). 

So?  Great.  I'm cutting down on my chemical exposure, and my skin feels and looks great.  But then I realized that every morning after I wash my face with raw, local honey and moisturize with organic coconut oil, I am covering my face in stuff that contains tons of unknown ingredients, many of which are probably not things I want to be absorbing into my skin or eyeballs: makeup.  Yes, I wear makeup.  Every day.  And I'm not apologetic about it; it makes me feel pretty, which is a rare enough thing these days, and it makes me feel like I'm more presentable to the wider world.  (I know.  The social and cultural implications of all this are not something I'm prepared to untangle at this moment.) 

And I'm not prepared (or wealthy enough) to just chuck the makeup that I have.  But I have decided that, as it runs out, I will try to replace it with: a.) less, and b.) more natural and healthy choices.  Because, you know, I want to do right by the honeybees.

What is your beauty routine?  How do you try to keep it natural?  Do you have any recommendations for natural, healthy makeup?

PS: Try the honey thing if you haven't before.  Seriously; it works wonders.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


A few years back, before we even had kids, Dr. Daddy and I went to Red Fire Farm's tomato festival (which, if you love tomatoes, is like heaven. Seriously.).  While we were there, we stopped to watch a cooking demonstration.  I can't remember what the chef's name was, or what her cookbook was called, but she made a dish called Calabacitas that I had never heard of before.  And of course, it looked so good that we bought all the ingredients and went home to make a batch.  And it was all gone very quickly.

I made this again recently after not making it for a long time, and it was just as amazing as I remember.  And the best part?  Easy, fresh, not many ingredients, and very versatile.  Dairy-free?  No problem.  Vegan? Sure.  Spicy?  Of course.  Gluten-free?  Definitely.  Grain-free?  Okay, not so much.  But at least the only grain in it is fresh corn, which I have a hard time resisting when it's fresh and local.  This is an amazing September dish, because all the ingredients are in season and available locally (at least where we live...).  And PS: I had some lovely photos to share with you, but Dr. Daddy accidentally deleted them from the camera.  So if you want an idea of what this will look like, go here.

Calabacitas (i.e. Little Squashes)

-fat of your choosing (I prefer butter, and plenty of it, but olive oil, coconut oil, or pretty much any other fat you like will work great.)
-1 onion, coarsely chopped
-1-2 cloves garlic, pressed (optional)
-2-3 zucchini or summer squash, chopped
-1 jalapeno or other spicy pepper, minced (optional)
-1 bell pepper (color of your choosing), chopped
-1-2 ears of fresh corn, shucked
-1-2 large fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
-salt and pepper to taste
-sour cream (optional)

In a large skillet (okay, this makes a very large batch, so a wok may not be a bad idea), warm your fat and add the onion.  I like to add a pinch of salt here to help sweat the onion a bit.  Saute until just starting to become translucent, and add the garlic and zucchini.  Saute this for 3-5 minutes, or until the squash starts to soften and your kitchen smells amazing.  Add the bell pepper and jalapeno, if using, and keep sauteing until all the veggies are tender-crisp and almost cooked through.  While they are cooking, take a sharp knife and slice the kernels off your corn.  Don't throw those cobs away just yet, though.

Once the veggies are nearly done, toss in your corn kernels and milk the cobs.  Yes, I just said that.  Take the back of your knife and scrape it along the corn cobs to get the last bits of that starchy, liquidy goodness that was left behind when you cut the kernels off.  Do it over the pan or you'll lose it all.  Now you can toss those dry, used-up corn cobs.  Stir this all into your veggie mixture and let it get warm for about a minute.  Remove from heat, stir in your tomato chunks, and salt and pepper to taste. 

You can eat this delicious mess as is, but I think it's even better if you top it with a glob of sour cream, and I like to serve it with some lime-glazed chicken breast for protein (although a side of black beans would also not go amiss).  What, I ask, could be better?

Friday, October 7, 2011


I've been having a hard time.  I haven't been posting recipes because I haven't been doing much cooking lately.  The kitchen in this apartment is approximately the size of a shoebox, and not terribly well-equipped.  I mean, don't get me wrong; I'm glad to have a kitchen to work with, but I find myself daydreaming about my big kitchen back in Maine, with all of my gadgets and cast iron and space to cook in.  But we'll be there soon enough.  The other reason that I haven't been posting recipes is that I'm actually really embarrassed by what I've been eating.  The thing about having a blog about healthy food is that when you're not eating very healthy, there's just not much to post.  But I'm tired of feeling like this; I feel gross and I don't have energy.  So I'm going to try really hard to work around my pregnancy food aversions and get back on the healthy-eating bandwagon.  And also the exercise bandwagon; I did kettlebell swings today for the first time in many, many weeks.  I would love to feel healthy again, instead of run-down and exhausted by life.

Not to mention that I really do believe that the healthier you eat during pregnancy, the better your chances of having a healthy birth and a healthy baby.  And I guess I haven't  been putting my money where my mouth is on that one.  So it's time, at 18 weeks, to make some changes.  So after my kettlebell swings this morning, I'll be making grain-free peanut stew for dinner tonight.   With friends!

Because that's the other thing I'm missing lately; I feel pretty isolated.  And not just since we got down here to New Mexico, but for the last year since we moved to the Augusta area.  I feel kind of lost, drifting.  I miss having friends to chat with in person, to have lunch and playdates with.  We've managed to find a few wonderful people where we are and I'm incredibly thankful for them, but it's also been hard to put in the effort when I know we're probably moving in less than a year.  Being here in Albuquerque and getting to spend time with one of my very best friends is amazing, but it does throw into sharp relief how little of that I get otherwise. 

I don't mean to whine, I really don't.  The reality is that I know what I have to do:  just get out there and do it.  Buy healthier food, make healthier food.  Get out and exercise, even if it's just a little every day.  A little is better than none.  Get out there and talk to people, meet people.  Keep the connections I have, whether they exist mostly by phone or by getting in the car and road-tripping with the kids to go visiting, or whether they're on the internet.  Remind myself just how lucky I am and how much we have, both right now and waiting for us in the future.  Stop dreading winter and start budgeting for good snow tires.  I can do this.  At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Life is good, even when it doesn't seem that way.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Balloon fiesta!

My wonderful, wonderful friend Martha has been asking us for years to come to Albuquerque some year for the Balloon Fiesta.  When we found out we were going to be here for it this year, I pretty much peed myself, I was so excited.  And even though it meant we had to get up at 4:30 in the morning to get there for the beginning of the mass ascension, I was still excited on Saturday morning when we went.  Unfortunately, Dr. Daddy had to work so I took the kids to meet up with Martha and her husband and insanely cute daughter and her in-laws.  The pictures really don't capture the scope of it, but I'll tell you that there were hundred and hundreds of balloons, just lifting off all around us, for hours.  Amazing.

First official liftoff of the day!

Lots of balloons!

Jonah was impressed but not fazed.

Owen was terrified of the flames and insisted on being held. Did I mention it was really, really early?  

Directly above.

So. many. balloons.

Love and balloons.

One of my favorites.

Eating yogurt like a couple of bosses.

And then I died from the cute.
 ...And after that, the afternoon went South.  Dr. Daddy accidentally locked us out of the apartment, and there was much crying from the boys.  And possibly me.  But still?  Totally worth it.