Tuesday, March 29, 2011

the dog post

As many of you know we have had not so good luck with dogs over the years. In fact, 3 dogs in 3years, all had problems, none made it much past a year. They were great dogs (american bulldog, great dane, neopolitan mastiff). They were oh so cute, all purebred, all from breeders. Our first puppy came from a farm type breeder out in the country. They were nice, the dogs were healthy, but we didn't know our breed. We didn't research and we just wanted a puppy. Turns out american bulldogs/pit bulls are pretty much the same thing and they are often and commonly dog aggressive. Our neighbors had small dogs so this didn't work well :(. Our next dog was an impulse buy. The great dane from the wal-mart parking lot. Just another reason to avoid wally world. They always have puppies in the parking lot, they are all super cute...but you just don't know what u are getting. The breed turned out to be perfect for our family...but it also turns out they have lots of health problems....LOTS....so we don't have a great dane :(. Then came the Neopolitan Mastiff. She was gorgeous and came from a "good" breeder. We went to their home, met the doggy parents, handled the puppies etc etc....we even researched the breed and new what to expect. Again, breeders just often are not what they seem and our Peanut had epilepsy and eventually passed away during a seizure. So we were left dogless and sad but we did learn something, perhaps getting a puppy from a breeder isn't the right idea. I vowed when we got another dog we would not do that again.

Fast forward a year or so and I had finally talked Beau into letting us get a dog. I was definitely tempted by the puppies in the pet store and the ones in the paper. They were super cute, but through all my dog problems I learned alot about potential warning signs and let me tell you, those puppies were full of them :( I began searching the shelters....the problem was I just love certain breeds and I'm a sucker for a cute doggie, and well...there were alot of faces only a mother could love lol. There were also certain breeds I wanted to steer clear of and there were tons of those mixes in the shelter. Eventually I began looking at rescues and found some really amazing places in our area. I found this place where you can get a dog thats already trained! and its still a rescue pup so you are doing your part to help the pet population http://www.coloradoci.com/serviceproviders/puppy/index.html?companion    check it out, they are amazing!

Beau is known to change his mind so we didn't have time to wait for the appointment they had so meanwhile I kept searching. One of the dogs Beau mentioned liking was a Great Pyrenees. I love Giant Dogs!! so I looked and found a Great Pyrenees rescue in our area. http://www.pyrescue.org/ If you are local you should definitely check them out. The rescue is run by a couple who love pyrs and a little help from volunteers. They do such a great job caring for all the dogs and I think all the dogs would be happy to stay with them lol. They told me on the phone that they liked to let the dog choose the family. We hoped for a male around 18mos. We wanted to skip all the potty training, chewing, and general destruction a large breed puppy does. Plus we figured problems are usually revealed by that age. Even though we had our specific hopes we agreed to let the dog choose the family and knew we might come home with something totally different.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the largest dog Ive ever seen in my life. Beau had once seen a dog of equal size but it was a St. Bernard. Immediately we thought that perhaps we had bitten off more than we can chew. Perhaps these dogs were much bigger than we thought lol. As we entered their home the massive beast was gentle with our children and we were impressed! They first showed us a litter of rescued puppies and their mom, soo super cute! but we were avoiding the puppy stage. FWIW if u r looking for a puppy they are probably about ready :) Then we went to the yard to meet our potential adoptees. Greeting us at the fence was a happy 140lb 3-4yo male named Buddy! His coat was a little dirty because he was previously not treated well and grooming isn't his favorite thing. We met a couple of other dogs but I think it was love at first sight with Buddy.

I really had begun to think that if you wanted a rescue you just had to go for a mix and you  might not get such a cutie. Not that there is anything wrong with a mutt, they are some of the best dogs, I just love learning about a breed and seeing the different personality and jobs in action. I'm also a habitual fan of the dog show lol and I love picking my favorites :) Buddy is proof positive that you can get a gorgeous purebred from a rescue. All of the dogs there were beautiful and they even had puppies. It feels so good knowing we gave a dog a home and we didn't contribute to pet overpopulation. I love my newly adopted Buddy!

Since Buddy arrived he has been busy guarding. This is his favorite inside spot, he loves watching for anyone coming to the door. Outside he loves to walk the perimeter of the yard and keep an eye on the kids. He has been to the groomer and didn't do so well but he is letting me brush more and more daily. I usually brush him once or twice a day....but that doesn't make a dent in the hair. To love a Pyrenees is to love fur...all over the place! We got some snow this morning and he is having a blast. I love not worrying whether or not he is cold, its obvious, he is not! Buddy does great walking on a leash, so great Parker can walk him by himself. His only flaw aside from the shedding....Buddy loves waffles and will do just about anything to get one. He will ignore a brisket left on the counter but no waffle is safe!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

more of that green smoothie love :)

We've been enjoying our green smoothies for about a week or so. There  have been a few flops but quite a few amazing recipes have passed the test. There are a few things I've noticed so far.

1. I definitely have more energy. the kids probably didnt need any extra but I definitely did. Its not enough to get me off caffeine but Im definitely feeling good!

2. I'm an awesome mom. At least the green smoothies make me feel that way. I feel guilty when my kids don't get a fabulous breakfast. Cereal, Oatmeal, blah blah...but there just isn't always time. The green smoothies erase that mommie guilt because I know my kiddos had a healthy nutritious breakfast, probably better for them than what I would traditionally consider a good one (bacon, eggs, toast).

3. We are learning to love new things, even old things we don't love and its all raw, meaning lots of extra nutrition!

One of the new things I've been learning about is Flax :)

some cool fax about flax :
 1. In the early 700s King Charlemagne ordered everyone to eat flax daily!
 2. It has no taste, or so they say, i find it adds a slight nutty flavor, but yeah, mostly no taste.
 3. It contains Omega 3s much like fish oils, great for your heart, arthritis, hair , skin , nails minus that whole Nasty part
 4. Women who take 2Tb daily for four weeks are shown to lower cholesterol by 9%
 5. It prevents blood clots, so its great if you are on hormonal BC as your risks for blood clots are increased.
 6. It is a breast cancer retardant, it binds estrogen receptors and estrogen feeds breast cancer!
 7. Great for diabetics! it slows glucose absorption in the pancreas which is easier on your organ.
 8. Keeps u regular , woo hoo!

I love flax so far, lol. There is more but thats enough for now right! so, what are the cons? well.....

it makes some brown specks in your smoothie, you can tell children these are strawberry seeds and generally this works, even when you have not in fact used any strawberries in the smoothie :)

I've been adding flax to our smoothies and sprinkling it on our salads. Nobody notices and again, I'm feeling like an awesome mom providing my family with health benefits even though they have no clue :)

I want to share one of my new favorite recipes from The Green Smoothie Handbook. It's green but otherwise tastes pretty normal :)

Peachy Green:
2 peaches ...preferably fresh but I had some home canned ones from a friend and they were delish
2 handfuls of spinach (any greens work though, i used collards)
1 cup water

works best when you blend the greens first. don't forget to toss in your flax! I have to double this recipe to make a full blender so I'd say it serves one or two small people.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

what u grillin?

In our house we have always had some grill drama. My father was a gas griller, and his food was always fabulous! Beau's learned from his dad that charcoal was the way to go. During the engagement there was a stand still but in the end I won out.....because we inherited my dad's old gas grill. Shortly after Beau was sold. Although he maintained his charcoal.is.best status he fell in love with being able to start the grill and cook a burger while he was home on an hour lunch. Much less prep time with gas.

For years we considered having both, but that takes alot of space and often our grills don't make it through the move. In alaska we toyed with the combo grill (both gas and charcoal) idea for a bit , but assumed a ton of grilling wasn't going to happen and so we purchased our very own gas grill. It was so pretty, all stainless steel and impossible to clean. made a lovely mess on our back porch too....rarely got used.

In arizona that same grill was murdered. When you have a mastiff and something that smells like meat in the same backyard, one has to go. Peanut worked very hard and spent an entire summer pushing the grill off the porch eventually leading to the demise of our grill.

As soon as we arrived in Colorado we knew we needed a new one. Again we toyed with what to buy and eventually decided we were indecisive.........insert FIL here......

Beau and his father have a "you have it i need it too" relationship. in gen either of them can convince the other to buy just about anything lol. My fil had just acquired a Traeger grill (beau and his father share that same dynamic with the store Costco). Beau was sold, he needed one! ....i wasn't so sure

my first question was, what does it look like (gas always beats charcoal in the looks dep.)

well, its pretty cute right?

my second question, what the heck is it? Well the Traeger is a grill that uses wood pellets to smoke the food. you can get all different kinds of pellets for different flavors (applewood, mesquite etc). It uses indirect heat so less charring and burning etc. It boasts the flavor of charcoal with the ease of gas.

After using the traeger for a few weeks I have to say...um honey can you come home early to grill dinner every night!! I'm not a big meat eater (former vegetarian here) but it is delicious....BETTER THAN BACON...which is the ultimate meat! I'm in love. its tender, cooked perfectly without burning and I have never ever even at the best restaurant devoured so much flavor. We have tried a few things but I was most impressed when we did a roast...you know the tough cut of beef that normally takes all day to make tender...it was delicious in just a couple hours. BEST.ROAST.EVER!

the Traeger has a couple of other benefits...did you know charred meat increases your risks of pancreatic cancer? most grilled meat has some charring. here is a link but in a nutshell they ask many who suffer from pc and they report an increased intake of charred meat hmm http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090421154327.htm  traegers dont char because the smoke heat is indirect! although you dont get the grilled look but ...meh...i do love black stripes tho :(

also charcoal as we use it in the u.s. is under regulation in Canada....http://www.tns-cf.com/social/impacts/crrcr.html...........in gen the Canadian govt seems to be a little more health savvy than ours so im always interested in their laws concerning consumers. 

fwiw i do not think everyone should stop eating gas/charcoal grilled meats! but i do think a little less of anything concerning at all is a good thing. especially when there are alternatives :)

Finding the Green Smoothie Love

For a few years Ive been hearing from my crunchy mama friends about green smoothies. Ive always thought it would be interesting and even tried it myself a couple of times. Typically we have frozen spinach on hand, and I have on occasion tossed that into our smoothies (typically made with fruit, juice, yogurt) and they were ok. you didnt really taste it much but nothing fabulous happened. ???

Recently a friend gave me The Green Smoothie Handbook. Wow, there is so much more to a green smoothie than just tossing in a few extras. Who Knew!! Now its time to try. I'm going to be having a green smoothie for breakfast and lunch for the next fourteen days. My husband is coming along on the journey....because he has no choice lol....I eat P90x food for dinner right?? I don't expect the kids to fully join me but they will be provided as much green goodness as they can handle :) Anyone else want to come along for the ride?

first off....What is a green smoothie? A green smoothie is an instant drink made from 60% living raw fruits, combined with 40% living raw vegetables broken down to make the simplest most complete and nutrient dense meal possible "The Green Smoothie Handbook"

sounds good to me!

what are the benefits?.......Instant energy! Chlorophyll is a blood cleanser and detoxifier, Halts those bad cravings, Balances blood sugar!

What about weight loss?....I am not chugging green smoothies to lose weight, as far as humans go I'm generally of the smallest variety.....I want to be healthy, I love easy meals, I love healthy kids and setting a good example!....however, if you are searching for weight loss, green smoothies would be the perfect complement to a healthy dinner, a few healthy snacks and a lil daily exercise for sure!

I'm starting my green smoothie journey by learning about about some of the veggies that don't make it to my plate everyday..or every year.....heck, i dunno if I've ever tried kale or fresh parsley????

Kale...full of antioxidants, fights cancer, loaded with calcium, vitamin C and K, 7 times more beta-karotene than broccoli, and get this....protein!  WOW....oh yeah, there is a downside, it kinda looks like a disease, or a flower..I'm not sure but def doesn't look like its for eating which is probably the reason I've never picked it up!

as i grow on my green smoothie journey Ill be learning and sharing more about the specific ingredients to this smoothie a lil bit at a time.

on to the fun part: Recipes :)

today's recipe : Alpha Green
-1 handful of flat leaf parsley....(they don't have this at my local grocer so i used italian curly leaf, no bombs went of so i assume its ok)
-4 Kale leaves ..(they only had flowering kale at my grocer, again no bombs but it comes in purple and white, i chose white cause a purple smoothie would be too normal)
-1.5 cups water
-1 pear chopped ....pears arent in season so none at the grocer, i went for a green apple or two
-1 bag peaches or mango...i chose mango cause it was organic and on sale :)
-2 bananas

blend greens in water till smooth,and remaining ingredients and blend ....easiest breakfast ever (blending of the greens first is essential otherwise you get floaty leafy chunks that kids complain about lol) it was super smooth and I swear Pike had 3 cups!

you will notice there is something missing from this. there is no juice , no yogurt, no honey...consequently no sugar. this had me concerned. I've made natural smoothies with all fruit that had no extra sugar, not exactly the tastiest......

well the verdict is in! the smoothie was amazing. it was just as sweet as any sugar filled smoothie and aside from the pea soup visual, nobody would ever think it was full of veggies! That's it, I've officially found the love! i mean, all the benefits are great but if it tasted like poo , well , it just wouldn't happen kwim! I'm super excited to read more and learn more. I love that I'm loving veggies that haven't had their goodness cooked out (even frozen veggies have usually been blanched leaving them less nutrient dense).

After our smoothies we had gymnastics. I do not do gymnastics, so why do i need energy? because we are there for 2 hours, i spend the first hour chasing Pike as he tries to participate with a little bit of chasing Pearce mixed in. Then an hour of assisting Pike as he wants to do everything Pearce's class does. I have to say, i felt pretty good and i was pleasantly surprised. I did get a little hungry so I required a snack or two but I'm still pretty happy with my results for sure!

I'm currently getting all my info from "The Green Smoothie Handbook" by Jan Rowland. To get your own copy contact Raw and Scrumptious at 719-460-8884  p.o.box 76599 co springs, co 80970   $15