Quiet Day yet Paleo Yummm

So although I run an in-home child daycare, I do have a day here or there that land in the realm of quiet. Today was one of them. I had no daycare children till after the school age children were done for the day at 2:30. I still needed to get up and get many things done before then. I enjoyed a slow start with my own children where we had a simple breakfast of sauteed Chard and Kale with Leeks and Garlic. We then topped this with Prosciutto and a gently fried egg.

After breakfast I cleaned up and wished the girls a good day as they headed out to their own classes. I then did some jewelry work for Entwined Vines were I have been moving old blog posts about and working on new jewelry pieces and trying to keep up on the social networking that helps keep a mostly online small artisan buseness afloat. When my 17 year old daughter got home from her college corses for the day we sat down to a simple anti-pasta plater style lunch; hard boiled egg, hard salami, artichoke hearts, little yellow/orange tomatoes from the famers market, cucumbers (also from the market) topped with baby bell peppers, cappers, and basalmic vinegar (not sure if that is a cheat or not) and then finished with a few pepercini peppers for just a nice dash of spice.


I just finished cleaning up from that when the yonger school age children came in. They were great and got strait to work on homework so that at 3 I had time to have snake pulled together. We just had “pizza rolls” where I took pepperoini, a lite amount of cheese and pineapple and grilled them in simple rolls with toothpicks in fun colors. They are always a hit and so fast. The hardest part is finding good sausage that is not full of junk. Well worth the search though. We then had free play outside even though it was colder as fall is truely here in the northwest. Just before the daycare children left, we made homemade hot cider and warmed back up.

My family had a simple supper of;broccoli, steamer clams in garlic butter, and little lobster that I found uber cheap at costco that we also heated in garlic butter. Yummm

After such a simple but yummy day the Girls, Hubby, and I enjoyed a late viewing in the living room of The Fellowship of The Ring (extended version) till bed. Life is great.

Crazyness with a side of amazing food

So I had every intention of posting yesterday and had my pictures pulled together and really knew what I wanted to cover but life happened; my connection was iffy at best, had the State and County on my doorstep doing amazing things in the way of weatherization, the children were completely thrown into an energy crazed “what is that?” “What are they doing now?” mode with all the workers here, and by the time I had a moment to spare I was just done.

We started the day off with a round of Yoga Garden so that the high energy daycare children would have better focus and we have found that yoga/focus moves/calming physical things a couple times a day decreases one of my other (here afterschool and full day on off school days) daycare childrens migranes so we are now in the habit of doing these whether he is here or not.

When we were all done we made a tasty breakfast: of sauteed Chard and leeks topped with an egg. Those that wanted were offered a slice of Pecan Raisin Bread that is completely Paleo friendly from “The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook” By Elana Armsterdam. I also had to offer milk to those that wanted it as I am USDA certified as a Child Daycare Home. We offered items from the three food groups required; grain (the bread even if there was no grain it counts), produce (chard), and Milk (only half the children poured out a glass and had any but it was offered and USDA counts that.

Although several of the children had not been exposed to chard in this format before and said “that looks gross miss Tina” or “Do I have to try that?” or the best one “I have had chard before and it made me puke” we all had a small sample (mine was a full plate as you can see) and most liked the chard as long as they could eat the bite WITH egg as the universal opinion here in my daycare was the egg cut the bitterness of the chard enough to be pretty nummy.

After cleaning up, washing hands and faces, brushing teeth, checking diapers and so on it was time to play and learn. We normally do circle time after breakfast as we get to touch base with eachother, share interesting things and get in a couple amazing stories. After circle time we went outside and worked in the garden. The garden is a great place for so many reasons; we work on squats, lift, dig, learn about plants and bugs, get more connected to what we really are eating, and soak in a bunch of viamin d even on over cast days here in the pacific northwest (I am in Oak Grove/Milwaukie Oregon) where we get a lot of clouds and rain year round. The littlest ones spend more time chasing chickens and trying to get them to eat weeds from their hands but it is still really good for them as long as the chickens do not mind. Once we came in the crew was here and although we normally do activities there just was no chance of this with all the excitement so we shifted to a “free” morning as long as they could let the workers do the work they came for. My little guys did great and when they were picked up I shared this with mom.

We do two lunches here because of timing. I have one little boy who has to be at kindergarden for afternoon class pretty early and his brother tends to be really tired by the time we get back so I feed them first. Once we are back and the littlest is down for his nap, I make a second lunch. This works out for many reasons; we are working with the natural body rhythems of of the yongest, helping set a nice daily flow for the kindy, that family is vegetarian while the rest of us are Paleo, and it gives a nice quiet atmosphere at lunch for those that are of an age to enjoy such a thing.

For the vegetarian family the early lunch was hard boiled eggs, more of the bread from breakfast, a pear (we found an amazing selection this last weekend at the Milwaukie Farmers Market), kalarabi salad, and milk. As you can see even though this is vegetarian, we could have had the same thing for the paleo lunch but we had other plans…

After getting kindy to school and little one off to nap land, the rest of us has a feast; Steamed Clams in garlic butter, then the same sides as the early lunch. I actually only clams as I was so satisfied and full that I could not eat any more than that if I had tried. They smelled so good that I dug in and mowed down before I remembered to grab my camera… Sorry but the empty shells are still pretty…

Once quiet time is over and the school age children got in (this was a challenge today with the weatherization crew blocking the door doing a blow test) we had a light snack of home dried fruit and nuts while working on homework followed by free outside time. I set out cones and jumpropes and a few other things for a free form obstical course that almost always draws the attention of the children. We also set up the option of craft time so everyone has choices. Great fun to be had by all. The early children all got picked up with only the hitch of trafic being insane and making mom late for pickup.

While we played, my olderst daughter who is 19 and is part of the Clackamas Middle College program started to make supper. She made an adaptation of Pancetta Wrapped Stuffed Pork Loin where we used Prosciutto instead of Pancetta (just what we had on hand), ditched the mayonase and brushed on melted bacon fat instead, used black olives as my children HATE kalamata (wonder whose children I have actually as I LOVE kalamata…), and we really love our local hazelnuts so we ditched the walnuts and used filberts to amazing success. She did a great job and just to have a more rounded meal she steamed till bright green Brussel Sprouts. We put out fresh raw baby carrots as an extra side for those that wished. Wow we really do eat well even though we live on a tight budget.


Paleo as a Daycare Provider

It has been a long time since my last post. I have been fortunate to find a way of living that seem to be working and have been making the transition for the whole house as well as the families in my care as I am a State regestared in-home child care provider. Early this year I learned that I can not have foods with gluten and I started learning to bake with alternative grains like rice and amaranth but I started haing even more challenges with my diabeties to te point I had to add insulin injections twice a day. To say this to a huge chunk out of my emotional “living life with joy” is a huge understatement. I HATE how many medications and suplements that I take each and every day (Lantus insulin 2 times, actos 2 times, metformin 3 times, lisinopril 1 time, simastatin 1 time, vit-c 2g, calium 1g, b complex, iron, d-3 1000iu, aspirin) all because of diabetes or complications to said diabetes. I knew there had to be another way as type 2 diabetes has been on the rise and heck if you look through history, it appears to be a newer issue. I started asking why that is and when could it be traced back to. What are the historical changes that sparked this medical change? The more I have been reading here on the internet and in books and magazines, I keep coming across grains and processing as a huge contributing factor to a whole gambit of health issues. I know that it is hard to find information that is not biased as most people show only the parts that support what they want you to do or know. Yet I keep finding information in places like “Cardiovascular Diabetology” study that was published July 16th 2009,  “Triglcerides and Cardiovascula Disease: A Scientific Satement From the American Heart Association Circulation, published online April 18th 2011, and “Nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease: The detrimental role of a high carbohydrate diet” European Journl of Internal Medicine published January 26, 2011 that all say simular things about high protein, choose your carbs with care and all fit within the Paleo/Primal lifestyle. I then went to an amazing Nutrition work shop at Clackamas Physical Conditioning where Jason Seib did a fabulous job of covering the basic science of WHY Paleo works and how to do it. I came home and started the transition. I have had a few stumbling blocks of not realizing what was in something at a friends home and the like but it has been pretty easy to go Paleo and really do this. My sugar levels are not as far down as they should be without medications but the levels are so far down that I have stopped taking some of my medication in just the first few weeks. How am I feeling? Mostly great but I am still stabalizing out and with all the medications needing to be constantly tweeked it will take time. I do see I am getting better. I am trying new things as far as activities because Paleo is not just a “diet” but a lifestlye. I have stopped most of my workouts as they kept spiking my sugar levels. Now I am doing movements that have been natural for survival and although I have a LONG way to go before I will be doing pull-ups and such, I have met my first goal… I can now do a real honest squat correctly. I know this does not seem like much but when I shattered my leg at the fibia and tibia and had a plate and tons of pins and screws, I thought I would never be able to manage the motion of a correct sqaut again. I went in to see Jason for a consultation and he had me try several basic movements. I don’t think I successivly did any of them. I have since been going to Mobility WOD to see how different basic moves should be done and have set myself to do them. I have been focusing on squats to start with as I can do this at home. Everyday I have tried and fallen short of doing a real squat till Saturday night. I not only did my first one but was so thrilled I did 10 in short succession. I am still so sore I have to fight my body to not flop down when I sit right now but I DID IT!!! Not only did I do it, I am going to keep doing them (after giving my body a little break to let the muscles build so as not to cause damage), I will do regular squats and then as my body builds, I will add weights and I will be strong. I will do things and live life to my fullest for as long as I can or what is the point of breathing and consuming?  With all of these changes in my life I figure it is natural to pass this on to others. I am in a position where I guide many people as they grow and develope as I am a parent to 4 lovely teenage daughters and I run an in-home daycare. I have to follow the USDA guidlines. How to follow Paleo and USDA? It is possible for the most part. There are a few areas that get challenging and here is how I deal with it. At Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, I am required to provide a serving of grain and a serving of actual nonfat milk. I am allowed to have that grain be bread, muffins, rice, pasta, and so on. To make my life easier as well as let the children enjoy “normal” food, I bake a LOT of Paleo bread that counts in the eyes of my USDA office. They do not care what kind as long as it is bread. I also make things like Savory Almond Flour Muffins that they LOVE. I on occation will give granola from Paleo People that also meets the USDA grain requirement while staying paleo. The milk aspect is really the hardest as I can not avoid it. I can alter this IF I have a not from the families doctor stating what I am to give instead of standard nonfat cows milk. Snacks are the easiest as I am required to provide itmes from two categories and I naturally choose protein and produce every time. I have always tried to eat as local and wholesome as we can so we frequent farms and the farmers market while in season as well as buy my meat straight from the local farm whenever possible. I think I am also one of the very few providers that encourage children to try new things like seafood that I get from Pacific Seafood and “wierd” produce as my children keep telling me as if I did not know their friends at school do not start the day off with eggs or homemade sausage and sauteed vegetables such as; radishes, chard, or anything that goes with leeks. I know if their friends eat breakfast it is probably cereal or freezer waffles and that many do not know the different nuances of 8 different in-season pears. That is alright with me though and even my teenagers love going to school and trying to share leftover quail from the night before or like today see how many of their friends will give them grief about eatting “bambi” as we had venison burgers that they are now having as I type this for lunch. I let my daughters still have some of the foods on the “no” list as they are older (the oldest is 19 and the next yongest in old enough to be taking mostly college classes and be well on her way to being a cop) but I am working on helping them choose to change what they eat. I am showing them what I am learning and I am seeing the changes in them for the better I think. The yonger children in care are also included in cooking, preping, why we choose to eat certain things and how something we do or consume is a “better” choice that something else. We are active here and they are helping me learn how to move in a natural way. We jump, do sprints, play at the park, have family weekend hikes about once a month and encourage an extended family as we all grow and learn and live to the best we can. Starting Tuesday, I will be posting more of what we eat and do and everyones responses to these crazy but fun experiences. Please share your experiences with children and your own life of eating and living…

Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffn Owls



Today’s blog really is because of many people. Friday while
skimming through Facebook I saw a post to Relish Magazine by Maggie Mefford
showing the most adorable owl muffins. I knew that my 17 year old
daughter Alexandria would LOVE to make these. The challenge was to make it
gluten free and yet something everyone would want to eat. I wanted these
muffins to be pumpkin spice, made with almond flour, and to have an amazing
crumb. I found one that seemed to fit the bill at Paleoplan.com although I knew
I was going to do a few adjustments beyond multiplying by 4 as I wanted 2 dozen
muffins instead of the 6 the original would make.

To make 6 muffins:

1½ cups almond flour

3/4 cup  canned
pumpkin (or cook and puree pumpkin yourself)

3 large eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp  ground cinnamon
(I doubled this)

1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (I really recommend making your own
as I like to add lots of nutmeg)

1/8 tsp sea salt (I used this amount total for 2 doz)

1/4 cup raw honey ((optional) We did not use)

2 tsp almond butter


1.Preheat oven to 350℉. (we bumped the temp to 375
because I did not want a custard consistency but do what feels right for your

2.Coat 6 muffin tins with coconut oil (or use paper muffin
cups and add 1/2 tsp melted coconut oil to batter). (we just put liner paper in
and did NOT add the extra fat as it really did not need it)

3.Mix all ingredients and pour evenly into tins.

4.Bake for 25 minutes on the middle rack.

5. Once the muffins were cool we made a very simple cream
cheese frosting where we whipped cream cheese and about 1 teaspoon honey to the
brick till it was just right. If the frosting is to thick just add a small
splash of whipping cream

6. Cover the muffins with frosting, add butter rum candies topped
with a smidge of frosting and a chocolate chip (we did half with Dagoba dark
chocolate and the other half with ghirardelli milk chocolate), add sliced
almonds for the fluff f and finish off with a cashew for the beak.