Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Update on Desiccated Liver

Today I simply want to update you on my post from last week.

Last week I wrote regarding liver, and a few of it's wonderful health benefits, of which there are many. (And I really wrote about only few. Liver is a super food, and would benefit from a more expansive post.) I then introduced the idea of desiccated liver, and asked for readers thoughts. There are some interesting discussions that were sparked -- you're welcome to go back and read those, and input any thoughts you might have.

My real purpose in writing today is to tell you that I bought some desiccated liver, and have tried it, and wanted to let you know my results.

Again I would like to explain that desiccated liver is exactly what it's name implies: it is simply dried liver that is made into a pill form. No additives, just liver. For my part I can tell you that I could feel a positive difference in my body the very next day after taking it. I must have been low on iron, because I have felt positive, new energy ever since, and I am very grateful.

I do believe that food is the very best way to nourish, and when needed, heal our bodies. If you find yourself unable to stomach other iron options, I can honestly give this one a positive recommendation.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Flying with Tots

We just got back from a long cross-country trip.  We had a long layover both ways.  I think that each time it gets a little easier to fly (we fly about two times a year with our boys, ages 3 and 1).  Here are some things that worked (and some that didn't) from this time around.

  • Put all the things you need to separate during security in one bag: electronics, liquid, belts, etc.
  • Find a child-size rolling suitcase and give your child complete charge of his/her own things (thrifted!).
  • Make up a game as incentive for the 3-yr-old to not drop said suitcase
  • My best thrift-store find was a huge sticker book (350 Pixar stickers!).  The boys loved it!  
  • It was V-day the day we left, so I wrapped up little treats and books they could open together every hour.  That helped the time go by smoothly.
  • Lots of (skinny) books are always a necessity.
  • We kept all our fleece jackets with us and used them for blankets and pillows.
  • Ask if your airline lets families with kids 3 and under board early!
  • Use a stroller in the airport!  If you do, you'll probably get to go through the wheelchair (fast track!) entrance for security.  Not only will it make things easier for you, but you'll probably be running late if you are traveling with young children.  We use the stroller to carry all our bags.
  • Bring your own (empty) water-bottle.
  • Coloring books and crayons or pens can be fun, especially if you draw with them.
  • Save the electronics for last for when everyone's frayed.
  • Sit in the row in front of an exit.  Not only is there no reclining, but the seats are tilted slightly forward and you have less leg room.
  • Forget to take pictures!  It's an adventure!
  • Be embarrassed if your kids act crazy and run around in the airport.  It's much better than having energy to burn when they get on the flight.
  • Forget to take everyone to the bathroom before you leave for the airport, and before you board the plane!  (Those airplane toilets have been too scary to use in the past!)
  • Think you can go forever without investing in a rolling carry-on.
  • Pack food for more than one meal.  If you're gone that long, just get something at the airport for meal #2.  That Quiznos salad saved us.
  • Homemade trail mix
  • Bagel sandwiches
  • I always order Bloody Mary Mix for my drink.  It's like a tasty Spicy V8.
  • Sliced fruit and veggies
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Pez
  • Spicy anything gets spit right out.
Don't forget to watch for wildlife!  There were lots of rabbits on the Denver tarmac.
Happy travels, and good luck!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Liver Liver Everywhere

SourceDoesn't that look yummy? ... ... ...

I have tried to love you, Liver. But to no avail, which is very sad. Liver is an amazing food! Full of vitamin A, and many of the B's, especially B12. (It is high in B6 when it's raw... B6 is highly heat sensitive though, and who wants to eat raw liver?!) Also it is, of course, a most amazing source of iron.

People used to eat liver weekly! Weekly I tell you! I don't know anyone who does that now. I don't even, and I'm a big fan. I have pondered over the idea if the lack of liver on our lives is one of the reasons there has been a stark rise in learning difficulties. There are so many things around us that are constantly affecting our systems, though, so I don't know if my above thought could ever be considered the only reason.

Honestly though, I do strongly believe that what we put into our bodies affects us in a tremendous way -- as I have written before, cognitively, spiritually, and emotionally. Let us not forget the wonderful lesson of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in Daniel 1.

Now I've heard of this trick where you soak liver in lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar for a while, and then grind it and mix it with other meats to cook. You can scarcely even tell it's there! I confess, though, I am recently having a hard time getting even this down... To understand why read here.

So really this post is about a question. I know, I ask so many! This is a good one, though:

Does anyone our there have any experience with taking dessicated liver?

I just learned that you can get quality grass-fed beef liver that has been dried, powdered and pilled! I think eating it the old fashioned way is probably the most beneficial way, because I believe food vitamins benefit our bodies most when consumed with other food vitamins. But I think this will do in a pinch.

Women need extra iron, and pregnant women need even more. Thoughts on my new and exciting discovery?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Green Smoothies

We had a request to post about green smoothies.  Since my mom was named Green Smoothie Christmas Queen this last December, I asked her if she would contribute her great knowledge to us, so this guest post comes from my mom, Lark Galli.

Green Smoothies will curl your toes
About seven years ago a new friend suggested I try some powdered green drink.  I did, and I felt so good whenever I had some, which was most days. My body seemed to appreciate it. Then last year, another friend led me to a demonstration by Green Smoothie Girl.  That was even better!  Now, no matter what happens later, almost every day at our house begins fresh with a living green, brown or purple "green" smoothie.
Basic Green Smoothie:
In the Blendtec regular sized 2 q.t jar place the following ingredients in order:
2 cups cold, purified water
2-3 handfuls of spinach mixed with coarsely chopped chard, kale, collards, or beet greens (be generous with the greens. That's where the greatest nutrition is)
2-3 2-inch chunks of organic squash, cucumber or carrot (I look for mostly neutral flavored veggies)
a chunk of cantaloupe, apple, orange, fresh pineapple, mango, etc.
fresh and/or frozen berries or frozen "festival blend" fruit
1/2-1 frozen or fresh banana
1 sm. handful raw pumpkin seeds
1 T or so ground flax seeds and/or wheat germ
That's the usual these days. I frequently process through two smoothie cycles. The trick is not to add too much water (tune in to the YouTube in your mind to see the chartreuse mess I had last Saturday when a smoothie tsunami spewed all over my face, clothes, shoes, the stove, the counter, Laurel's shoes, the rug, floor, etc.! I learned that the new Blendtec jar holds 1.5 x the old, not 2x). Make sure that total ingredients do not extend much above the lid line, and keep your hand on the lid, at least for starters. Consider goggles, too ;).

Also desirable is keeping the sugar content as low and the leafy veggies as high as you can while still enjoying the smoothie. Thus, the banana is mostly to give the smoothie that familiar, down home flavor, and not something you want extra of. The big kids leave it out. We're not there yet. It's good to keep pineapple and other sweet fruit to a minimum too.

Other occasional additions (unpopular in some very local circles) are a wedge of uncooked beet, cabbage, or a piece of fresh ginger. I make 'em, and I like 'em. I don't really like what celery does for the taste of a smoothie. Ditto broccoli, bell peppers, etc. Costco is a great source for the spinach (get the big bag, not the carton, if you are really going to make a lot of smoothies), and the frozen berries and festival fruit mix. Sometimes a green smoothie will be green. Occasionally it will be brown, and when you are lucky (with beets, beet greens and berries), gloriously ruby colored.

Green Smoothie Girl say it is optimal to drink up to a quart of green smoothie a day, and Dr. Joel Furhman (Eat to Live) would surely agree.   A smoothie will retain it's nutritional powers for three days in the fridge.

Of course, green smoothies can be much more varied than this. I have a free app called "Green Smoothie" that has smoothie and blended "soups" ideas. Those I have tried have been very tasty. I usually just wind up putting in what I have in the fridge, but it can be fun to be intentional about it.

The green smoothie is a family obsession lately. Most days, Rachel and I drink ours at home, Dad at work or on the way to work, and Laurel and Micah when they get home from school. Sometimes Hannah, Fei Fei or Derek will imbibe (Derek's was just a shot glass size for starters). If you'd like to be further inspired to do something wonderful like this for your health, look for Green Smoothie Girl online or see her when she comes to town. Of course, she's not the only one doing it. We're all doing it!

We all feel so much better.

Don't we?

xo Mom
PS Excepting its initial tantrum, the new 3 qt. Blendtec "Wildside" jar has been a boon for making big batches.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Simple Vegetable

I always need new ways to cook veggis. I get bored. I tried this one night when my husby was working late, so I was really just cooking for myself and the little guy.

It's super easy.

You slice a fennel bulb, and saute it in butter with salt and pepper to taste.

The end.

It may seem crazy, but only if you add delicious after that. It is crazy delicious.

Here are some fun nutrition facts about fennel. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


My baby is due this week, though I don't expect him to arrive quite on time.

Last weekend Cameron and I took a trip down to San Rafael to collect pieces of sandstone. They are now arranged around our house in preparation for our birth. My midwife received inspiration in the temple that I need to have sandstone present at my birth, and I am counting on its energy to inspire and help me during labor. (This may seem like a strange idea to most people, but I have always been a believer in the energy of all things natural, and not least in the power of stone). I have been thinking about sandstone today, and how I might relate to it during labor. I decided the best medium in which to pull my thoughts together would be poetry.

A little explanation first: I thought about the way the stone forms in layers, sometimes beautifully visible as lines across its broken faces. These layers can appear wave-like:

I have become accustomed to calling contractions "waves," and it is the way my midwives and husband will refer to them while I am in labor.

The main reason I have come to love sandstone and see it as a symbol is that it is the most willing, flexible of stones --- so easily shaped and broken down and built up again by the elements. For this reason, it constitutes some of the most beautiful formations nature ever imagined (not a few of which are in my native Utah -- see above and below my photos of Snow Canyon, and Arches and Zion Natl Parks). No stone presents itself in more creative and inspiring shapes! I want to be as willing, as flexible, and as creative as sandstone while I labor on behalf of my baby boy.

One grainy wave sways 'cross a sandstone face.
A soundless rhythmic ray like Redwood ring,
though stripe of courser, darker stone will bring
with every graceful wave, a wave of grace.

Embrace the band between two waves of stone.
Yield, like the sand to wind to light to flood.
Yield not to fear but yield to breath and blood.
Surrender like the sand to the unknown.

Another wave, and this one darker still.
As from the grave, the hue of ancient life
streaks through the stone, the strike of nature's knife --
but beautifies, not breaks, the sandstone's will.

Desert dune, plateau, arch, canyon, dome:
Not for all the beauty of its sands,
But because it bends to nature's hands,
all because it bows to wind's commands,
sandstone is Creation's favorite stone.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Fastest Soup Ever

Yes, it's even faster than House Tour Tomato Soup.  I don't know where I found the recipe many years ago, but it can be found in a few different places, like here or here.  I love the soup.  If you try it, let me know what you thought.  Chances are, if you like tortellini, you'll like the soup.

Tortellini in Broth with Escarole
 Serves 4 | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 15 Minutes!


  • 3 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 small head escarole, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound cheese tortellini (you can buy whole wheat now!)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. Combine broth, 2 cups water, and bay leaf in a large stockpot; bring to a boil.
  2. Add escarole; cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 15 seconds.
  3. Add tortellini; cook until they float to the top, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Discard bay leaf, and season soup with salt and pepper. To serve, ladle into bowls.

Don't let the escarole put you off if you've ever heard of it.  It's basically a lettuce that can cook well.  You might have a hard time finding it.  Last time I couldn't find it, I asked my grocer and he brought out a head from the back because they didn't have any out front (?).  Keep this recipe on file, and then when you see the escarole, know that you just need tortellini (assuming you have broth and a bay leaf (optional)) on hand.  If your kids aren't going to be too keen on leaves in their soup, just blend it with the broth.  

I like the leaves big, but I'd resort to this to make sure the greens weren't getting left in the bowl. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rube Goldberg and Other Fun Things

Before I got married I worked for a while at a jr. high with special needs teens. (Most of them just had behavioral problems.) For a science class some of my teens were in they were required to work together as a group to make a Rube Goldberg Machine. The machine is named after an American cartoonist, Reuben Goldberg, who would draw elaborate contraptions for getting mundane, everyday things done, such a teeth brushing.

Here is a link to the official Rube Goldberg site where you can see some of his very clever cartoons.

The guys from my school ended up making a contraption, almost entirely out of books, designed to move my water bottle from one place to another. It was awesome!! This is a very fun type of project you can make big or little, and you can do this with kids of all ages. Even adults.

I got thinking about this because of the following fun music video. (I find the band OK Go fun and uplifting, and very entertaining to watch.)


Friday, February 3, 2012

Good work, Mamas!

There was an article in the Washington Post earlier this week entitled, "A homemaker's real salary."  Which estimated that we homemakers would be making $96,261 if we took our skills to the marketplace.  This was, however, based on a five day work week.  Know any stay at home moms who work a five day work week?  Either way, it sounds better than what I'm making now.  Now how do I get Ben and Abe to pay up?

DIY Valentine's Day Decorations

I got into the Valentine's spirit about January first, and was surprised to find I didn't have very many Valentine's decorations, so I went to the Martha Stewart website.  I had never been there, but they have lots of craft ideas for every holiday of varying difficulty.
This is a craft that would be great to use with children.  I really like the result, and I have a few ideas of how it could be made even easier. 
Sorry for the phone pic
Martha's Instructions:

Begin with a 12-by-16-inch sheet of waxed paper. Fold it in half along its length; unfold. Deposit wax-crayon shavings (made with a handheld pencil sharpener) evenly but not thickly across one half of the paper. Fold the clean half of the paper over the shavings. Crimp the three open edges with a 1/2-inch fold to hold the shavings. Protect your ironing surface with kraft paper. Place the waxed paper on the kraft paper, and cover it with another sheet of kraft paper. Iron lightly on medium heat, checking after every few passes. Stop when all the shavings have melted; let cool. Next, trace and cut out hearts of various sizes. String each heart with a silk thread for hanging.

My Tips:

What took by far the longest for me was shaving the crayons with a pencil sharpener.  I looked it up (after I had gone to all that work) and sure enough, you can just put the crayons in something small and oven safe (like a muffin tin) at 250 for about 15 minutes and viola, melted crayon.  Then you could just pour the melted crayon into the middle of the wax paper, put the other way paper on top and spread it with a ruler or something flat.  It's not an exact art, but if you spread it too thinly the hearts will curl, and if it's too thick they might flake a little.  I didn't freehand the hearts.

I hung the red thread from a white ribbon which I hung across the south-facing window in my dining room, and it makes the cheeriest decoration with the sun coming through!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Morning Sickness: My Dilemma

Warning to the reader: This post is a little graphic. I apologize before hand, I feel that there is merit in speaking of the facts as they are, at times, without a sugary coating. Please don't be offended.

I am a big advocate of eating a whole food diet. My husband and I spend extra every month on foods that are labeled organic, and not because it's trendy. We do it because, having researched, and having felt the differences in our own bodies, we really do feel that what we ingest has a profound impact on our lives, our health, our mental status, and our future children.

And now here I am expecting our second child! Woohoo!! The only downside to this is morning sickness.

As I was sitting the other day, dry heaving over my bowl of organic soaked oatmeal, (here's a great post with some insight into why I soak my grains), I realized, as I had when I was pregnant with my first child, all I really wanted to eat was a bowl of ramen noodles, aka death in a bag. Oh the irony of it! I choked down two bites of oatmeal, crawled to the bathroom and sat in front of the toilet. After napping with my son I choked down three more bites, and again proceeded to dry heave. This brought us to about 12:30, when my superhero husband got home for lunch (I'm lucky, huh? I get to see my husband everyday for lunch!). I cried to him that every healthy option I have in my kitchen sincerely made me want to vomit, and that all I'd been able to eat was 5 bites of oatmeal. He smiled at me and swept me off to the store where he insisted that we buy the first thing that sounded remotely palatable, which ended up being an egg-roll. What is with pregnancy and chinese food anyway? (Please note, I am not usually this much of a baby... I hope anyway. I was really tired, and felt rotten.)

Here is my question for you, and I sincerely want to know your thoughts: If you were in this situation, what would you do? Is it better to eat the ramen noodles, (or egg-roll as it were), because, at least it's something? Or is it better to maintain one's dietary integrity, (which I assure you I would if I really felt like I could), and choke down that detestable oatmeal for the sake of the unborn baby? Thoughts?