Rabu, 31 Maret 2010

Smoothies - Easy, Balanced, and Filling

Blueberry Smoothie

It's smoothie weather again! I find that if I try to enjoy smoothies in the wintertime my thermostat ends up getting cranked up way too high. So I stick with soups then, and smoothies when it starts to get warm.
I love that we can put our whole meal in the blender, blend it up, and everyone is thrilled with this sweetener free treat.  The eggs and coconut oil additions make the smoothie stick with you.

I put in:

  • Coconut oil, 3 or so tablespoons, as described in Sally Fallon's Eat Fat Lose Fat
  • 3-4 raw eggs
  • a banana or two
  • a cup of frozen fruit
  • about a cup of yogurt


Our favorite fruits are strawberries and mangos, the picture above is blueberry. I've added spinach before, but I prefer to eat my spinach on the side, and just have fruit in my smoothies.  With the eggs for protein and the coconut oil adding a good dose of fat and keeping me full, our smoothies are something fast that I feel is a plenty balanced meal.  Before I started adding coconut oil, I'd be hungry again an hour later. These fill me enough to go all morning.

Concerned about raw eggs? I'm perfectly comfortable eating good quality eggs that are raw. Knowing what I do now about the unhealthy farming practices used to produce factory eggs, I wouldn't recommend consuming them raw (or at all if you can find a better alternative). But we get good quality local pastured eggs, and I'm happy to add to our smoothies. In fact, when I was pregnant with my second I used egg-filled smoothies to get my protein up for pregnancy.  (More information on eating raw eggs)

Did you know? Orange juice, honey, and a couple raw eggs blend up and taste just like an Orange Julius.

For fruit, we try to only buy berries that are organic, so we end up using a lot of {cheaper} bananas and only a handful of berries for flavor.  Berries are crops that are heavily sprayed, and they have thin skin that would absorb chemicals easily.  Bananas both have the skin that comes off, and aren't very heavily sprayed, if sprayed at all.  (list of the food you'll want to buy organic to avoid heavy use of pesticides)

Oster 6641 Cube 12-Speed BlenderAnd thanks to your recommendations in the Kitchen Tools post, I got an Osterizer Blender on sale at JC Penny's that week. It's working really well for smoothies, and the fitting is metal, not plastic as the blender we had before (and wore out) was.  It does scoot across the counter a little bit, but it's not bad.  I just supervise ~grin~

What about you?  What do you put in smoothies?

I posted on my Facebook page when we had our first smoothies of the year, and lots of talk about peanut butter and cocoa!

Selasa, 30 Maret 2010

Fresh Wild Trout with Sautéed Spinach, Sauerkraut, in Garlic Butter Yogurt Sauce

This meal of fresh trout was completely inspired from Edible Aria's Pan Fried Trout.  Where I feel like I'm juggling to just get a balanced nutritious meal on the table, Ren creates masterpieces in the kitchen, all with real wholesome food.

This is my knockoff of his beautiful trout meal:
  • Three trout, breaded in coconut flour and fried in expellar pressed coconut oil
  • Spinach sautéed in garlic butter
  • Sauerkraut- this is a mix of purple and green cabbage
  • More sauce poured over the trout made up of goat yogurt, and melted garlic butter (Pressed 3 large cloves of garlic, put that into a sauce pan with 1/4 cup of butter. Heat on med heat til melted)


Picked apart for the kids (this is my daughter's plate).  They both ate their fish first, asked for more, then the spinach and kraut together.  I love it that my kids eat meals like this!  Hubby and I agreed that the little extra time to make the garlic sauce was worth it- so good!

What meals have you been inspired to dress up a bit? 


Part of Real Food Wednesday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, and Fight Back Friday

Senin, 29 Maret 2010

None of the Above

As City Manager of Fontana, I have been afforded the opportunity to be involved in many exciting projects within the City. I consider myself to be very fortunate to have been associated with an organization that has accomplished so much during the past eleven years.

The Mayor and City Council have done a wonderful job in creating a vision for this community and then taking the actions needed to turn that vision into a reality.

Some of the projects we have been able to work on that have made a difference within Fontana include the construction of the Lewis Library, the Sierra Interchange, Fontana Park, Heritage Community Center, Jack Bulik Park Renovation, Baseline Avenue, Cypress Overpass, Fontana Aquatics Center, Senior Community Center, Center Stage, Town Square, Sierra Lakes Golf Course, Vets Park Renovation, Almeria Park, Cherry Avenue, Foothill Boulevard, Bill Martin Park Renovation, Fernandez Park, Pacific Electric Trail System, Four Phases of Senior Housing, Jessie Turner Center, Jurupa Avenue, Paramedics, Fontana Fire District, Downtown Façade, Empire Center, Annexations and the soon to be constructed Citrus and Cherry Interchanges. This is just a partial list, but I am sure you get the point.

A staff member recently posed the following question to me: “If I were to leave the City tomorrow, what accomplishment would I highlight as being the most important?” The answer is very easy - none of the above.

It’s the people, it’s the community, and it’s the Fontana family.

Some thoughts on my experiences….

-I recently had occasion to be walking back to City Hall from the Lewis Library at about 9:00 in the evening. I left the Steelworkers’ Auditorium, walking north across the Pacific Electric Trail and saw parents with their kids enjoying the evening in safety, walking the trail system in downtown Fontana.

-I was at an event at Miller Park last summer and watched several hundred socially diverse residents and families enjoying an evening of music and dancing under the stars.

-Last fall, I was at a swim meet at the Fontana Aquatics Center watching better than a thousand kids competing at our facility from all over the State of California and in awe of the community’s facilities.
A month ago I stopped by Jack Bulik Park and listened to parents shout encouragement to their kids competing in roller hockey.

-I talked to a new resident in our new senior housing facility and listened as they broke down in tears because they were so excited about being able to call Fontana their home.

- With the recent economic downturn, I sat in humble awe as employees across this entire City gave up raises and made other concessions voluntarily because they wanted to be part of the solution for the community.

It’s all about Fontana pride and it is a very special place of which to be a part. It is the community of Fontana in which I take most pride.

I wish to thank the Mayor and City Council for their trust in allowing me to be a small part of it all.

SCD/GAPS: Chicken Pancakes

The most durable grain-free pancake yet! I had heard of chicken 'cupcakes' on the pecanbread site, so I tried using the food processor to make chicken pancakes would be like last week.  Chicken pancakes are wonderful- they don't crumble like squash pancakes do, they could easily be adapted to include different flavors (Andrea says she includes onions and spinach in hers, I used banana here).

In the food processor: 

  • 6 eggs
  • Chicken, including skin and cartridge (we used half the breast, one drumstick, and one wing- just what I picked off our crockpot chicken that I had done the night before) 
  • One ripe banana 
  • {I had added salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to our chicken before cooking, so I didn't add any more here}
  • 1/4 cup almonds, processed into flour/meal 


Processed on high until it was all blended and pancake batter consistency.  Fried in palm oil.  Pretty quick cooking, and held together really well.  They're really tasty, I didn't think they tasted too much like chicken at all.  Made quite a few child-sized pancakes- the amount below + maybe 8 more that we ate so they're not shown.

We've started using these as make-shift pizzas too.  This is the best GAPS pizza substitute that I've tried.  We had a bunch of leftover pancakes, so on pizza night we put 6 in the bottom of a glass pyrex pan, topped with sugar free ketchup, basil, and a dab of {ridiculously expensive} raw goat's milk cheese.  Baked at 350 15 minutes until the cheese was slightly melted.  Very easy!

Even if you're not limiting grains, these would be great for babies who need food that's easy to chew up- a nice alternative to teething biscuits.

More breakfast food:
Whole wheat waffles
Soaked wheat pancakes
On the website you can alway search for different meals under the tab 'On The Menu' and it pulls up everything labeled breakfast etc.
~
Have you wanted to learn more about Weston A. Price? This is a great article by Nourished Kitchen

Minggu, 28 Maret 2010

Nourishing Menu Plan- On a Budget

(cut cabbage for sauerkraut)

Dinner Menus this week

Sunday
Smoked salmon, cheese, and crackers, fruit smoothies.
Monday:  Pulled chicken sandwiches on whole wheat buns- pulled chicken is just chicken done in the crock pot, a little chicken stock or homemade ketchup and seasonings added (cumin, garlic, cayenne) and shredded with two forks.
Tuesday:  Scrambled eggs loaded with veggies and cheese (spinach, garlic, onion), whole wheat toast with butter.
Wednesday: Baked grassfed burger patties topped with cheese (make 1/2 pound patties, top with cheese, bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until cooked through, squash Fries with homemade ketchup
Thursday: Baked burritos, fruit smoothies
Friday: Pizza on whole wheat dough. My whole wheat pizza dough is getting better- it seems to work best to add plenty of fat and honey to keep the dough from being too dense.

Saturday: Pan fried trout (we hope!). Steamed broccoli with cheese sauce.  Berry cobbler for dessert.


Snack ideas:
Crispy almonds, smoothies, dried fruit, yogurt, strawberry almond bars



Lunch:
We're having liver again this week sometime!  Chicken pancakes are a favorite lately too.  Meatballs, soup, cooked veggies with coconut oil, leftovers from dinner, baked squash, beef sausage patties are all other options.



I don't think I'm going to be trying anything new this week - it's nice and warm and we're in the mood for spring cleaning {specifically cleaning out!} and being outside.  Favorite things for on the run are strawberry almond bars, beef sausage patties, and dried fruit.


On the first we start our no-refined-sweetener challenge! No refined sweetener for a month :)


Are you enjoying spring? 


More:





Part of Menu Plan Monday

Jumat, 26 Maret 2010

Strawberry Almond Bars

Yum! Re-doing the homemade clif bars we did a while back to see what we can do without grains, and here's a GAPS/SCD friendly granola-ish bar.


Ingredients:
  • 3 cups soaked, dehydrated almonds  
  • 1 cup frozen organic strawberries
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Cream Concentrate from Tropical Traditions- optional, I think, or replace with some coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
Ran through the food processor with the metal blade, then pulsed for a little bit until it was nice and blended.  The food processor didn't have a problem with the frozen berries. I used frozen just because that's what I had on hand.




Spread into a 8x8 Pyrex that I had greased with palm oil, baked at 250 degrees for 30 minutes, cut into bars (squares), returned to the oven at 250 for another 30 minutes, carefully removed with a spatula and allowed to cool upside down.  They really were goopy when I took them out of the pan, but stayed together well once cool.

No preservatives, so keep in the fridge.  We loved them! Got to soak and dehydrate some more almonds so I can do some more.  With the weather warming up, it's nice to be able to grab something to eat while enjoying the sunshine.

More:
A Clif-type bar with oats
Another snack- Lazy Stovetop Popcorn
and Dried Fruit is great on the run as well

Part of Fight Back Friday

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Rabu, 24 Maret 2010

Liver and Onions- Why We're Eating Liver

I've had liver in the back of my mind as a food that we should be including in our diet. Kat, who has a SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) blog, talked about how much better she felt when she ate liver, that pushed me to figure out how to cook this mystery meat.

The health benefits of liver include:

  • It's an easy to utilize source of vitamins A, all the Bs, folic acid.  
  • The best source of trace mineral copper. Also includes zinc and chromium.
  • Contains CoQ-10 


Is liver going to be full of toxins? From the Weston Price Website:
One of the roles of the liver is to neutralize toxins (such as drugs, chemical agents and poisons); but the liver does not store toxins. Poisonous compounds that the body cannot neutralize and eliminate are likely to lodge in the fatty tissues and the nervous system. The liver is not a storage organ for toxins but it is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron). These nutrients provide the body with some of the tools it needs to get rid of toxins.

Interesting stuff, isn't it?  

"I don't know where to find it," was the convenient excuse that I have been using for the last 6 months or so.  A quick call to our friendly health food store yielded not only organic grass fed liver, but liver that is local as well and a mere $4/pound.  The head of the meat department said that an older gentleman named Leonard had reserved that week's, but I was welcome to reserve the next.  A little over a week later there was a call- my liver had arrived and I should ask for it up front, it was in the freezer.  We headed down the next day, and here it is.

I had read that soaking in lemon or lime juice would make the taste less strong.  This also rinses the blood out.  I didn't have lemons or limes, but did have oranges. Kat assured me that orange juice would work as well.

Soaking in the juice, I covered and put in the fridge overnight.

The next morning I chopped two large onions, put a little coconut oil in the bottom of a pan, and let them caramelize on med-low heat for an hour or so.  Removed the onions to a plate, added more coconut oil, and cooked the strips of liver over medium heat until browned on the outside.

The verdict: Kids and I both liked it.  I'm not going to say loved it, but the taste and texture were just fine. The smell was a little strong for me, it smelled like... really strong beef... Next time I think if I add some salt and pepper and lots of garlic it'll cover up the smell a little bit.  The kids both asked for more, and liked the pieces that were cut into small bites, rather than biting off from the strip.  Using Cheeseslave's technique to get children to like nutritious foods, I did my best to not let them know I was a little nervous!

Have you had liver before? 


Part of Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday

More:
What do you use coconut oil for? (Have you been procrastinating getting and using coconut oil?)
Fermented Cod Liver Oil- why we take it
Almond Berry Cobbler (something sweeter...)
Why use raw honey? (And giveaway! Closes Saturday)

Senin, 22 Maret 2010

Refined Sweetener Free Challenge

After going off GAPS I, perhaps, lost self control and started eating entirely too many refined sweeteners (sugar, corn syrup a couple times).  Some of them made me feel sick (the free Dr Pepper I got for shopping at our being-remodeled Albertson's) and that was enough motivation to stop those.  For everything else, Rachel from Rachel's Cooking and I decided we'd do a Refined Sweetener Free Challenge next month.  Now I can get back in the habit of not necessarily being completely grain/starch/sugar free, but just be sugar free while also eating whole grains and other Nourishing Traditions food.

Do you want to join in? This can be a challenge that meets you at the level you're at.  A couple years ago cutting out all refined sweeteners would have been way over my head (most prepared food, convenience food, meals out are going to have corn syrup or sugar in them) so I think it's fair game to modify the challenge in a way that works for you and your family.  Maybe that means that all month you don't use refined sweeteners for one meal a day. Maybe you go completely sugar free during the week, but let it slide on the weekends. Maybe you want to try it for a full 7-day week but not the whole month. Maybe you're way ahead of me and have already mastered cutting out refined sweeteners, but want to lower the amount of natural sweeteners you use as well.

I'm not here to judge you, just to encourage you to see what you can do! And I know Easter is this month, you can always have that be a 'cheat' day if you'd like, or just skip the desserts as I plan on doing. I promise, you can save the chocolate bunnies for May and they'll still be fine ;)

So, if you want to blog about it, you can go ahead and link up.  If you don't blog, I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
Please link back here as well so your readers can learn more about the challenge! I'll be getting an image up soon for you to use if you like too.

My Particular 'rules' (for myself) for this challenge:
Similar to my 'no pork' rule, I have no desire to venture into legalism.  If I would be offending someone by not eating food at their house because it has sweetener in it, I put people above ideals (the greatest commandment is love... first of all I am to be loving).  But! This is not a loophole. I'm not going to go over to friends' houses who I know is perfectly used to my abnormalness and pretend that I'd be hurting her feelings by refusing Oreos.  ~grin~  And I'm quite sure without even asking that my husband will not be doing this challenge, though as I drag him through this real foods journey he is eating less and less junk food, so he'll cut down on it just because it won't be in the house as much.

Sabtu, 20 Maret 2010

Why Use Raw Honey?

Raw honey and butter on toast

Unlike refined sugar which has all the good stuff stripped out in processing, raw honey still has good enzymes in it to aid in digestion.  Honey is a natural sugar, a monosaccaride (allowed on SCD and GAPS diets) that has been valued throughout history. This raw opaque honey from Tropical Traditions still contains the pollen, which if you get local honey, is thought to help prevent seasonal allergies.  I think only clear honey is allowed on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, but GAPS allows opaque.  Not recommend for children under one year of age due to the (very very very small) risk of botulism.

The benefits of honey:
  • Honey may keep blood sugar more steady than refined sugar 
  • Can be applied to a wound for antibacterial affect (it sucks the water right out of bad bacteria cells)
  • Contains enzymes to help us with digestion.  In Nourishing Traditions Sally Fallon says that if you spread honey on a piece of bread, the enzymes in the honey will start to pre-digest the bread for you.  
  • In labor, honey can be a great way to keep your energy up.  Since it's a monosaccaride, it's absorbed directly into the blood stream so it's not adding any more work to digest.  I keep a bottle of honey with my birth supplies.

Uses for honey:
I am learning that honey can replace sugar in nearly every recipe.  I've started making cookies with honey rather than sugar, and I use it in my whole wheat bread as well.   Due to cost, I use the less expensive pasteurized honey from Costco in everything that will be cooked.  I save raw honey to stir into my coffee, to mix with water for the toddler's 'juice' in a pinch, and to spread on toast or other things that aren't going to be too hot to ruin the enzymes.  We like our yogurt sour, but if you like sweeter yogurt, honey would be a great addition to that too.

Tropical Traditions honey is great because it comes in a glass jar, is organic, and is raw! The only thing better would be local.




More:
Honey almond brittle
About fermented honey from the Weston Price site
Stay tuned for the refined-sweetener free challenge next month!
Subscribe by Email here or
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Giveaway:
Tropical Traditions is offering a giveaway for one pound of organic raw honey in a glass jar! (pictured)

#75 won, Andi at The Learning Pomegranate
To enter:


First, sign up for their newsletter here if you haven't already. You have to do this step to be entered.








If you're a first time customer of Tropical Traditions, I'd love it if you would use my referral code #5682145 and you get a free book on the benefits of coconut and I get coconut oil credited to my account.  See my reviews of their other products: Coconut oilCoconut Cream ConcentrateShredded Coconut, and Coconut Flour.  
Hint: I wait until they have a sale; usually once a month a gallon of expeller pressed coconut oil goes on sale for $39 or less, which is a great deal.
  • And post a comment to let me know you did.  
  • Let me know if you're using honey to replace sugar in your recipes as well.
  • Leave your email address if it's not hooked up to the profile you're commenting from! 

For extra entries:
~please post a separate comment for each one, and if you're already doing them you can count them too (make sense?)
@HealthHomeHappy is giving away a jar of @troptraditions organic raw honey!  Enter here: http://ow.ly/1oUoh


Giveaway ends 3/27/10 and I'll pick a winner from random.org


Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

What We're Eating This Week- Real Food Dinner Menu on a Budget

I end up not following my breakfast/lunch menu plans at all, so this week I'm just planning out dinners.  I find that planning our dinners, making plenty of things ahead of time that we can eat as snacks, and having a good amount of staples (eggs, cheese, fruit, and veggies) on hand helps us to stay on budget and stick with healthy foods.

Dinner Menus this week
Saturday: Pan fried trout caught this morning. Steamed broccoli.  Berry cobbler for dessert.
Sunday: Smoked salmon, cheese, and crackers, fruit smoothies.
Monday:  Chicken salad in cabbage leaves or tortillas
Tuesday:  Poached eggs with hollandaise sauce (the blender recipe in Joy of Cooking is quick and easy) and I'm going to try The Nourishing Gourmet's Soaked Wheat Biscuits
WednesdayHamburgers on portabello mushrooms, squash Fries with homemade ketchup
Thursday: Baked burritos, fruit smoothies
Friday: Quesadillas, beans (from scratch)

Snack ideas:
Crispy almonds, smoothies, dried fruit, yogurt, veggies dipped in yogurt, soup.

Breakfasts:
Scrambled eggs with lots of veggies, smoothies with coconut oil in them, homemade 'breakfast bars' out of nuts and fruit, and honey, beef sausage, toast with peanut butter.  Coffee.

To try this week:
Last week we tried liver (we liked it!) and chicken pancakes (pictured up above).  This week I want to make a GAPS/SCD friendly 'jam/syrup' by boiling fruit, try a sprouted lentil patty type thing that's in Nourishing Traditions (page 508).

Are you trying anything new this week? 


Part of Mindful Menus and Menu Plan Monday and Pennywise Platter Thursday

Jumat, 19 Maret 2010

Imitation Nutella: Cocoa Almond Butter

I haven't had Nutella in years, but the bulk pack in Costco occasionally taunts me (large quantities some how appeal to me- see my issue with a giant pie last summer).  I had a chocolate craving, but realized that since being off GAPS I'd gotten into the habit of eating entirely too much refined sugar.  So I made my own chocolate almond butter in the food processor.
Rough estimates:
Almonds (3 cups), honey (1/4 cup), a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder, coconut oil (2 tablespoons), and a little bit of salt.  The almonds this time weren't soaked/dehydrated but that would have been better.


It's soft at room temperature, but because of the coconut oil it hardens in the fridge.  I'm usually wary of leaving my homemade concoctions out at room temp, since they're preservative free, so I keep this in the fridge and chip out some to get my fix.


More:
More on chocolate in relation to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, from the Pecan Bread site. SCD is what GAPS is based on, and there's lots to be learned from this website.
GAPS-friendly coconut macaroons
GAPS-friendly honey almond brittle


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Naturoli: High quality natural laundry soap for pennies a load!
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Folky Dots: Beautiful Waldorf Dolls and Clothes from a work-at-home mom

Part of Fight Back Friday
and Finer Things Friday

Kamis, 18 Maret 2010

Soaked Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

I posted my soaked wheat bread in pictures last summer, and I finally now got around to actually measuring as I put my ingredients in.  Nourishing Traditions has a good recipe too, but honestly, I just dump things in until they look right (and yes, it always turns out differently. That doesn't bother me enough to measure).  This time I stuck a Post-it on my cupboard door as I cooked and noted what I was adding and how much.

So, for the soaking part (you can read more about this in last summer's post) 
  • 7 cups whole wheat flour. This is Bronze Chief from Wheat Montana
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup palm oil (or coconut oil or butter)
  • 1 cup water

It all went in my kitchenaid with the dough hook- I added the water last, pouring slowly until throughly mixed in (hands on time: 5 minutes)
Covered with a dish towel and let soak/ferment overnight 

The next day added :
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (I use salt even if I'm using salted butter, I think it really needs the salt!)


*The color difference is because of the light- the first picture was in afternoon light, this one is morning light

Just right in the kitchenaid bowl. (1 minute hands on time) let it mix for another 5-10 minutes. I could have 'proofed' the yeast in water with a dab of honey first, but I didn't and it worked fine.  Even better would be to have a natural yeast starter, but I don't  have that at the moment either.


Shaped two loaves, kneading a couple times to form the loaves. Put in my loaf pans that have been generously greased with palm oil. Butter or coconut oil would be fine too.   (5 minutes hands on time)
  • Left to rise while visiting a friend (a couple hours) 
  • Baked 45 minutes at 350. 
  • Allowed to cool in the pan a couple hours, then sliced. I like to slice before putting in the fridge so it's all ready to go.





More:
For grain-free people there's coconut flour bread
And grain free pancakes
Hopefully I'll get a good yeast-free starter again soon
Soaked wheat pancakes

Part of Pennywise Platter Thursdays at The Nourishing Gourmet

Rabu, 17 Maret 2010

Keeping the Public's Business Public

Periodically it is said that government needs to run more like the business sector. This statement is normally made in the context of financial or operational issues. While there are many excellent business practices that can and should be incorporated into the running of government, the simple truth of the matter is that government can not operate like a business because of its need to conduct business openly and in public.

Imagine walking into the board meeting of a major corporation such as Coca-Cola or Apple Computer. If you were not an invited participant to the meeting, you would be immediately escorted out of the building because businesses do not operate under the principles of public scrutiny. This is not the case for government, however. Not only is there an expectation of open access in government, but there is also a legal requirement that government must conduct its business in full view of the public and not behind closed doors.

With a few exceptions, the Brown Act requires all actions taken by the governing board of a government organization to take place in public and be documented in a public record that can be viewed and scrutinized by anyone. Those few exceptions that can be dealt with in closed session are personnel issues, property negotiations, and litigation. Even for those exceptions, decisions that result in agreements, contracts and board actions must be disclosed publicly.

Operating in such a fish bowl environment can make the accomplishment of government business both difficult and time consuming. Though admittedly not efficient, this concession of efficiency is necessary to prevent both the perceived and actual influence of political deal making. Governing board members, such as the City Council, are not only precluded from taking action in private, they are also precluded from discussing city issues with a majority of members from their board.

The Fontana Mayor and City Council go to great lengths to live within the confines of the Brown Act. For example, area community meetings, where City issues are discussed, are generally not attended by a majority of members from the City Council. When more than two City Council members show up to these public meetings, all City Council members in attendance refrain from talking about or participating in a presentation of City issues. This can be very frustrating on the part of the elected leadership, but it is the right thing to do to remain compliant with the Brown Act. You may also often see City Council members sitting apart from eachother at luncheons and other events just to avoid the appearance of violation of the Brown Act.

The Brown Act not only prevents business from being conducted in private, it also precludes what are called serial meetings between a majority of the City Council Members. This means that if Councilmember A discusses an issue of city business with Councilmember B, that neither Councilmember A nor Councilmember B can discuss that same topic with any other member on the City Council, unless it takes place during an agendized public meeting.

The Brown Act is specifically designed to preclude political deals from being made behind the scenes, but even more importantly, it allows for the public to participate in the policy discussion before a vote may be taken on an issue.

The Mayor and City Council hold City Council meetings because they are truly interested in the opinions of the members of this community and do not want to come to a consensus decision until after all those interested in speaking on an issue have had the opportunity to be heard. Dissention that leads to an honest and forth right discussion of the issues is a good thing for government because it helps all involved to make well informed policy decisions.

It certainly happens that people may disagree with a decision made by the City Council. As long as both sides of an issue have a fair opportunity to voice their opinions, the process has worked. While you may disagree with the result of the decision made, you should not have disagreement with the process. Open meetings, though not business-like, are important to the success of any government organization and the Brown Act is one of those laws designed to benefit the needs of any community or individual we serve.

Trouble Sleeping? Detoxing? Try Epsom Salts!

 

Epsom salt baths is another natural remedy that costs little, and is the salts are found at just about any drug store.  Most of us have heard of them, but until last summer I wasn't sure what exactly they were used for.  Then a friend who shares a lot of her health related research with me suggested that I try supplementing my one of my children with magnesium.  Being wary of supplements, I saw that you can get magnesium through an epsom salt bath instead of orally, so the next time I was at Walmart I bought a container of epsom salts and dumped the whole 2 cups or so into her bath.  I don't remember exactly what we were trying it out for, but I do remember that night was the first time she slept through the night in nearly 3 years.  

I had thought she was just a light sleeper, and I just kept her in our room and helped her fall asleep and go back to sleep by patting her back every night.  But when she gets her baths, she sleeps so much more soundly and goes to sleep so much more easily.  I'm sure this isn't the answer to everyone's sleep issues, but it worked really well for hers! 

After doing some more research on Epsom salts here are some links and maybe-reasons of how it works:



I asked her doctor if she could overdose, and the doctor replied that she wouldn't overdose by absorbing too much through her skin.  So I feel comfortable with the baths.  If someone was really sensitive, it looks like the first sign of overdose would be diarrhea.

It's always good to look at the criticisms of any treatment you're going to try, especially long term. It's advised to stay away from Epsom salts if you have kidney disease, or have a restricted salt intake.  I think in the Gerson Therapy book (cancer treatment through diet) he strongly advises against even touching Epsom salts during therapy.

Dead Sea Salts (our health food store has them in the bulk bin- that's what's pictured above, with lavender and rose hips) are supposed to be high in magnesium as well.

Epsom salts, or dead sea salts, at the least are a nice natural bath additive.  Add in couple drops of your favorite essential oil and you're good to go, and may even detox or supplement at the same time!

Have you noticed Epsom salts working visibly in someone you know? 


Some other simple, easy, and inexpensive remedies:
And then there's all about GAPS, which isn't simple but I think it's fascinating



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Senin, 15 Maret 2010

It's Time to Be Counted!

What is the Census?
Every ten years the United States conducts a census to gather statistics about its population. The census is a ten-question form that is mailed to each household and only takes ten minutes to complete.

The Federal Government consolidates this information and makes program and funding decisions based upon the results obtained during this process.

It is critical to the welfare of all Fontana residents that everyone take time to fill out and return the census form.

What if I don’t fill out the form?
Ten’s of millions of dollars for Fontana can be lost if the community is undercounted. This funding will affect our community’s ability to provide public safety, education, and recreational opportunities within the City.

The information gathered during the census process is also invaluable to our economic development activities and assists us in working toward the creation of more jobs for Fontana.

What happens to your information once you fill out the form?
All of the information collected by the census is confidential and is only used to determine funding for your community.

Please keep an eye on your mailboxes and fill out the form when you receive it. The ten minutes you spend in filling out the form will set the stage for OUR community’s success for the next ten years.

We need your help - Stand up and be counted!

Cheese and Salmon on crackers- Sunday Lunch

Sundays I decided I don't want to cook ;) I'll do scrambled eggs in the mornings, then we have crackers, cheese, and salmon for lunch and dinner.

Cost breakdown for one meal:
Crackers (pita crackers from Costco- refined flour, but no other 'junk' in them) $6.49/4 meals=$1.60
Cheese from Costco $6.49/2 meals=$3.24
Smoked Salmon is $13/2 meals in the package=$6.50 
$11.34 total /3 people eating = $3.78 per person.
 
The green is my artichoke-spinach-parmesan dip.  I had it in the fridge leftover from what I brought to my friend Rachel's house... it has a lot of garlic in it, I forget that I should use way less garlic when cooking for others.  Not everyone lives with the belief of when in doubt, add more garlic that we have in our home.

And while a soaked whole grain cracker would be better, and it would be better if the smoked salmon didn't contain sugar, this is nice compromise meal. Easy for mom, not too expensive, and the fish and cheese pack a lot of nutrients.

Do you have compromise meals at your house? 
 
Part of Real Food Wednesday and Pennywise Platters Thursday

Sabtu, 13 Maret 2010

Maker's Diet/Nourishing Traditions Menu Plan

Spring is here! Well, almost. But we're moving away from soups and bringing in more smoothies, lighter meals, and more outside time.  Hubby and I have our fishing licenses and plans to attack the Montana rivers, streams, and lakes; him with a variety of lures, flies, and 'jigs' on the two poles that Montana regulation allows, me with one pole and a worm, nothing fancy.

I started a few seeds using the Winter Sown method, I'm excited to see how that works out. Others I'll be starting indoors, then we're planting in a friend's back yard since she has a yard and we don't.

I'm reading Good Calories Bad Calories.  I'm slogging through it taking my time, it's a 'scientific' read with lots of (awesome!) statistics and studies that bust the myths that the have been promoted lately regarding heart disease, cancer, and other modern diseases.  I love all the information presented in it, but it's taking me a while to get through since I have to pay attention to everything.  Not up to reading something like that? Real Food is a nice read; she put lots of little personal stories in there that I find entertaining.

I still love doing my laundry with soapnuts and I ordered more last week.  I'm guessing the $40 I spent on them will last me through most of this year, it's nice how a little goes a long way. (buy here, my review here) Stinky sticky mud that the kids have been playing in? It takes it right out! It's not magic or anything, but it works really well as laundry detergent. I hit the mud spots on Hannah's new light colored tulip pants with Oxyclean before washing and that was it.


On to the menu!

Sunday:

  • Scrambled eggs with lots of goodies- whatever we toss in.  Spinach, sun dried tomatoes, cheese, basil, garlic, sea salt, pepper.
  • Whole wheat toast with butter
  • Crackers, smoked salmon, cheese for both lunch and dinner. Mom likes to take a break on Sundays!


Monday:
  • Smoothie: Three eggs, 1-2 cups frozen fruit, 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, 1/2 cup yogurt.  Honey to sweeten if desired; we're loosing our sweet tooth and don't mind it without honey now.  I do my eggs raw, though I've done them hard boiled before too when that was all I had.  That could work for those of you who aren't ready for raw eggs yet ~grin~ but it is an extra step.
  • Apple with almond butter
  • Lunch (this goes for all week): Dad gets a nice sandwich with our crockpot chicken, sprouts or kraut, homemade mayo, store bought mustard, cheese. All on our homemade whole wheat bread.  We do open faced sandwiches, or smoothies again, or soup, or leftovers.  
  • Dinner: Chicken salad wrapped in cabbage leaves or tortillas
* Make homemade clif or oatmeal bars for on the road, to stick in Dad's lunches, and for snacks
*Soak wheat flour overnight in yogurt

Tuesday:
  • Eggs poached in chicken stock
  • Deviled eggs made with homemade mayonnaise
  • Whole wheat pizza. Topping: Mozzarella and homemade beef sausage crumbled up.
*Make bread and rolls


Wednesday:
Thursday:

  • Smoothie
  • Tacos or burritos: Brown rice cooked in stock, avocado or guacamole, ground beef or venison seasoned with cayenne pepper and cumin


Friday:
  • Beef sausage, scrambled eggs 
  • Fish cutlets, depending on our success with fishing! (last weekend's trout is pictured. He's smaller than he looks in the picture, just a baby)
  • Steamed broccoli with mayonnaise sauce

Saturday:

What are you looking forward to eating now that it (hopefully!) is warming up? 




My Sponsors:

Naturoli: High quality natural laundry soap for pennies a load!
Amazon: I buy lots from here, from books to carseats to diapers
Rose of Sharon Acres: Natural goat milk soap products and tooth chips- soap for teeth!
Folky Dots: Beautiful Waldorf Dolls and Clothes from a work-at-home mom

Part of Menu Plan Monday and Mindful Menus!