Kefir Peach Cherry Smoothies

Sometimes it is difficult to live up to your stereotype.. I realize that what I am about to write is so Boulder Hippie that it almost comical….but have you heard of Kefir? Have you had Kefir?  To top that…have you MADE Kefir?

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Kefir can be found in most health food stores and some progressive grocery stores. It comes in two forms, water kefir and dairy kefir. Kefir is a fermented milk drink made with kefir grains. It has been in use for a very long time and can trace it’s origins to the Baltics and Russia.

My husband decided that he would make his own kefir, as we were buying quite a lot of it pre-made with sugar and low-fat. It is available in full fat, unsweetened but harder to find. So he ordered the grains (you can also buy them in the refrigerator section of your health food store) and embarked on a kefir making extravaganza. I was pregnant at the time and was a little cautious of the bubbling and obviously alive drink my husband drank right out of the jug. In the year that he has been making kefir, I have only had it once.

So let’s talk health benefits. Kefir is unique in that it “eats” all of the lactose sugars in milk, thereby making it digestible to those with lactose issues. It is chock full of essential vitamins, probiotics and protein. Basically a superfood if you will. I am linking you to a site that can better explain the health benefits. I can tell you that this past summer I drank a whole bottle of the store bought kind and it cured my intestinal bug when nothing else did.

Post Pregnancy has not been kind to me. I am losing my hair, I have acne and I have been battling  with my weight since having my baby. I have gained weight quite steadily and am having trouble curbing my hunger, and wielding my will-power. I am eating whole foods for the most part, and working on cutting out the sweets (but that is what this breastfeeding mama really wants). Here I am in all of my post pregnancy glory. It isn’t pretty.

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So I was trying to figure out a quick breakfast that would include whole foods, didn’t involve cooking (or meat or eggs. I hate eggs) that had enough protein to carry me through my first two classes. And I thought about the copious amount of kefir we keep in our fridge. I also have a large amount of peaches and cherries that I froze from the summer. I grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado. The valley is a perfect place to grow peaches, cherries, apricots and grapes. Every summer I go back home for a quick visit and pick up 20 lbs of peaches to carry me through the cold winter months.

 

 

Kefir Peach Cherry Smoothie

 

2 tree-ripened peaches (or 1 cup frozen)

1/2 cup cherries

1 cup home made kefir

2 tbs flax seeds

1 tbs chia seeds

 

Blend until smooth. Pour in a glass and drink on your way to work.

 

My darling little Miss E. has not had anything besides breastmilk, but today after I made this smoothie she was quite insistant that I share with her. Babies should not consume cows milk or dairy until they are older, but I dipped my finger in the smoothie and offered it to her. She loved it.

 

 

 

 

 

Going back to work and Caprese Salad

Two things that really have nothing in common with each other. Let’s start with the snack first since that is probably how you found your way to this blog.

On my first trip to Rome I found myself wandering the streets by myself. My alcoholic aunt who i had traveled with, decided that she did not want to tour the city and would rather drink herself silly at our rented apartment. So I ventured out alone. I visited the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Forum and the Colosseum. I jumped on a bus that took me to the Spanish Steps. It was hot, muggy and there were so many mosquitos. I was tired, my feet blistered and aching. I stopped in a out of the way cafe for a solitary lunch. I was seated. I was a hot, sweaty, tired tourist. The woman seated near me was the epitome of Classic Rome, she was beautiful, poised and drew at her cigarette with a graceful bored look. She blew the smoke my way on purpose. I looked at the menu and spotted a cool and refreshing lunch option. Caprese Salad. I ordered my lunch and gulped what could have been gallons of water. The waitress brought me my lunch and I was astounded to see that my light lunch of cheese and tomatoes was about a pound and a half of fresh mozzarella cheese, with enough tomatoes to feed a family with a lovely drizzle of olive oil and fresh basil. There was no way that I could eat all of this cheese by myself as i once again cursed my aunt for leaving me to navigate by myself, at least she could have helped me eat all that cheese.

it was delicious. A meal to remember, and I did my best to eat what I could. So I give you …Caprese Salad. Easy, convenient and good for you. (Try to get the mozzerella packed in water, it is more authentic)

Caprese Salad

ingredients:
Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Tomatos
Basil
Quality Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Directions:
Cut slices of mozzarella. Cut slices of tomatoes. Arrange on a plate. Drizzle with oil. Top with julienned basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Going back to work

edith 3 months-67

I am grateful to have a job. I am grateful to have a job that I love. I am grateful to have a job where I make a difference. But my job consumes me. It is my other half. I am Mrs. Clemmerbottoms, and when I come home I am Kate.

I have had the good fortune to have had 16 weeks of maternity leave. 15 weeks to spend with my new baby. And now it is time to go back and leave the care of my baby to someone else for the majority of the day.

I can’t say that motherhood and I have come to terms yet. It is so boring. Everyday is the same. Everyday I attend to every whim of this baby. Sometimes I don’t get dressed. I haven’t left the house in weeks. My boobs ache. My flabby belly folds over my pants. I have spit-up down in my bra and I just don’t care anymore. And next week I have to leave it all behind, and it makes me sad.

I can handle going to work and being Mrs. Clemmerbottoms. I love it most days. But it takes a lot of time and effort to be the best I can be at my job. There are on average 70 souls I see each day, and each day I try to say something nice to them, to know that I care. I teach, I counsel, I encourage, I listen, I joke, I smile, I manage behavior, I write emails, and plan lessons, organize supplies and clean up after 70 kids. And that was all well and good when I didn’t have a child of my own.

Since having my own child I am completely devoted to her. Her every need I attend to. For petes sake I am still supporting her growth from my body. Every moment of my day is for her. And that was all well and good until I have to go back to work.

I am not the first or the last to expound upon this modern conundrum. But I feel pulled in so many directions. Somehow I must balance Mrs. Clemmerbottoms, Mommy and Kate. Three different parts of me, all important. So who loses? Most likely Kate loses out, let’s just hope she doesn’t get lost.

Chicken Salad Two Ways

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One of my favorite go to lunches is a simple chicken salad over lettuce. It can be eaten cold, tucked into a plastic container and toted to work, it has a great amount of protein and is pcos friendly. This is a great use of left over chicken!

 

Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad from Plumpie

2 chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on)
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
1/3 cup granny apple, diced into small chunks (1/4-1/2 inch)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1.5 tablespoons shallot, minced
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons light mayo (I use Duke’s but use your favorite)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
1 tablespoon rosemary, minced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Set aside to cool.

Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and cut chicken breast off the bone. Shred chicken breasts using your fingers or two forks or dice with a knife to about 1/2 inch cubes.

Mix together greek yogurt, mayo, apple cider vinegar, and rosemary.

In a large bowl, combine, shredded chicken (about 2 cups), pecans, shallots, green apple, and cranberries. Toss with dressing until well combined.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill for at least an hour until ready to serve.

 

Curry Chicken Salad from Barefoot Contessa

 

Ingredients

  • 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise (recommended: Hellman’s)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chutney (recommended: Major Grey’s)
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 cup medium-diced celery (2 large stalks)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and dice the chicken into large bite-size pieces.

For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until smooth.

Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well. Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Add the cashews and serve at room temperature.

 

 

Breastfeeding Granola Bars

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So I had a small panic as my supply of milk suddenly dropped. I had cut back on the calories/carbs to try and lose a little weight. I woke up and just wasn’t producing as much as I had in the past. So there is a rumor that oats can increase your supply although I couldn’t find much scientific evidence. But I thought, well heck, it couldn’t hurt. I have given myself the grace of not worrying about losing the 20 lbs I need to until I am done breastfeeding. I am currently right at pre-baby weight. So I made these lovely granola bars. I didn’t measure anything so I am just going to list the ingredients.

Steel cut oats

Sunflower seeds

Sesame seeds

Flax seeds

Chia seeds

Shredded unsweetened coconut

Pecans

Dried cranberries (strawberry flavor)

Coconut oil

Butter

Peanut butter

maple syrup

brown sugar

vanilla

salt

Combine all the dry ingredients. In a pot, melt butter and coconut oil with sugars and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. In a 13×9 pan place buttered parchment paper. Pour granola into prepared pan, press using you hand. Bake for 20 minutes (longer for crunchy) at 350 degrees. Press it again. Take it out and let it cool. Cut it into bars and enjoy!

And I can attest, that it worked! I have 4 bottles in the fridge and put at least a 4oz a day away in the freezer.

 

As for PCOS, I don’t know that I would recommend this as a good low carb snack as there is sugar and oats. But it is packed full of great nutritional stuff!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

It’s football season here in Colorado. I think the Broncos are doing well, but I don’t really know because I haven’t watched a football game in 10 years or so. But the news is full of Tebows and Mannings it is hard to avoid it completely.

Speaking of Manning….did you know that he signed a contract for 18 million dollars to play this year? 18 MILLION DOLLARS! Did you know that I, as a school teacher make…let’s just say…considerably less than 18 million dollars? Where are our priorities people? A pituitary case throws a ball and gets compensated in large sums, and a teacher that devotes her time and energy to shaping the minds of our youth gets a water-bottle that says “You make a difference!”

Dear Payton Manning, (who happens to be the same age as I am) if you are reading this I encourage you to fund 80 Colorado teachers at $100,000 a year, this would still give you 10 MILLION dollars to spend on things like…oh I don’t know…your own trained dancing bear in a tutu. It makes me discouraged that as a nation we have such messed up priorities.

Ok, but I am a minority in my disdain for everything sports related. So I present to you the perfect sports snack. Everyone will love them, and you as a PCOS gal will not have to worry about the carbs. I don’t have time to make these, and I have never once been invited over to watch a game…so I am linking you to a different site. But I can tell you these are always a favorite and they are just so easy!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Ingredients

 

10 to 15 jalapenos

8 oz of cream cheese

1/2 lb bacon

 

Instructions

 

1. Soak toothpicks in water for 15 minutes. Cut the jalapenos in half length-wise and scrape out the seeds and membranes (this is the source of the heat, so if you want them spicy leave them in, if you want them mild make sure you scrape really well).

2. Put a chunk of cream cheese in the hollow body of the jalapeno

3. Cut a slice of bacon in half width-wise and wrap all the way around the jalapeno pinning it with a toothpick

4. Place filling side up on cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil or parchment paper. Put in oven at 375 for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bacon is cooked.

Happy Snacking!

 

 

Baby and Me

I am going to try to update this blog at least once a week because I know there are people out there that are struggling and maybe I can help. I have PCOS, I have trouble with my weight….but I had a baby, and maintained my weight….and so can you.

Miss E. was born on October 23rd 2012. She is a very alert and wonderful little baby.

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I have been breastfeeding little Miss E. and this has made me very hungry..all the time. But anyone who has breastfed a little baby knows that you are lucky to get dressed, let alone make a nutritious meal. So regrettably I have gained weight, as the easiest thing to do is to reach for the crackers, or sweets. I know it isn’t the right thing to do but I am so hungry all the time. The moment you are able to put the baby down, you want to eat and you know you only have a short amount of time to stuff your face.

But with the new year I am giving myself the gift of forgiveness for gaining the weight, I am giving myself the kudos for bringing a healthy baby girl into this world without the use of medications.

So lets start the new year with a dedication to trying to get back on track, to make good choices for me and for my baby.

This New Years Eve the baby is asleep upstairs in her room, and I am hungry. So my new favorite PCOS approved snack is Chicharrones or Pork Rinds. Now granted they are, in concept, kinda gross….it is pig skin.

But I can tell you they are salty and crunchy and filling with no carbohydrates. They puff up light and airy. You can eat them and not feel guilty (unless you love pigs). If you want you can even use them as dippers for your favorite dip. So if you are not too repulsed by pork rinds, consider it your gateway to snacking in the new year!

Chia Seeds

Remember those silly commercials for Chia Pets? The awful terracotta, simply add water-and-watch-it-grow ridiculousness that somehow we all had at one time? Yeah, I had a Garfield Chia Pet that I loved.

Did you know that you can eat the chia seeds? Did you know that they are amazingly good for you? Originally the seed comes from Mexico and Central America. They were consumed as a main staple because of their amazing benefits. So why have we forgotten about them?

A Tablespoon of chia seeds contain about 40 calories, but those calories carry an important nutritional punch. They contain fiber, protein and omega-3’s. You can use them in so many different ways, from adding it to baked goods, smoothies to soups and stews. They quickly absorb water and swell, they are fun in your mouth (almost like tomato seeds) and they fill your belly so you don’t have to eat as often.

Chia seeds also might be beneficial for a PCOS diet because it offers so many good things in such a little package. Of course consult with your dr to decide if it is a good addition to your diet.

Chocolate Chia Seed Energy Bars

These bars are wonderful in so many ways because they contain lots of proteins, fibers and healthy fats. In addition they are perfect for simple take along snacks, and can satisfy that sweet tooth without refined sugar.

Soak the dates ahead of time to help ease the load on your food processor.

Ingredients
1½ cups pitted dates
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup whole chia seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup slivered almonds (unsalted)
1/2 cup coconut (unsweetened you can find these at health food stores)
optional: sprinkle of salt

Instructions

Purée dates in food processor until a thick paste forms. Add cocoa powder, chia seeds, vanilla and almond extracts. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. Add the almonds and coconut; pulse until nuts are well incorporated into date mixture.

Spread large sheet of wax paper on work surface. Transfer date mixture to wax paper, and press mixture into 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. If desired, you can even out the edges by trimming them with a knife. Wrap tightly in wax paper, and chill overnight.

Unwrap block, and cut into 8 bars. Sprinkle with a bit of salt (if using). Re-wrap each bar in wax paper and refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container.

A little rant:

As a pregnant woman who knows that my body does not effectively process sugars and carbs I try to make sure that what I put in my body is good for me and good for my baby. I occasionally have a soda, or fast food chinese or a piece of cake. I do, I have and I will again. I am not a saint. But I am keenly aware that I have a better chance of developing gestational diabetes. I have chosen not to take the glucose test, as I do not believe that dumping all of that sugar into my body at one time is healthy. I would never put my body or baby through that. My dr. and I have agreed that I will have my glucose monitored for the rest of the pregnancy. The mothers group that I am part of is currently going through their glucose tests, and failing. Which in turn brings my palm to face. Seriously? If you know that you have a greater chance for developing gestational diabetes, why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to avoid that? Fast food, sweets and pasta are not good for you and not good for your baby. Stop eating that shit. Now. I started this blog because I wanted to document my struggle to eat right and deal with my body as it pertains to food, weight and PCOS. It has gone the way of a surprising PCOS fertility success story. I started overweight, I admit this and own it. I was 20 pounds over weight, and during this pregnancy (I am 28 weeks now) I have gained a total of 9 pounds, that’s it. I do not use pregnancy to eat whatever I want when I want it, I do not use pregnancy as an excuse. If you are currently a pregnant woman with a history of PCOS and find yourself failing your glucose test, please take responsibility for what food goes into your mouth and the decisions you make.