Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sweet Potato Au Gratin

Ok, I know it's not a classic au gratin, but I saw a sweet potato au gratin on a restaurants Thanksgiving menu and had to copy it. That was 11 years ago. Of course I made it with sweetened condensed milk, which is totally off the table this year, but it's also my husbands favorite dish (might have been the reason he married me!). So I had to figure out a way.

Then it came to me - coconut milk! It might be even better than the original because coconut and sweet potatoes just sound amazing to me!

Sweet Potato Au Gratin

3-4 sweet potatoes or yams
1 can coconut milk or coconut cream (I used coconut cream to make it even more decadent
4 tablespoons pastured butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon (plus extra for sprinkling) 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Cut the ends off of the sweet potatoes and slice thinly and evenly. I was excited because I got to use my new food processor!

After the sweet potatoes are sliced, I laid them into a pan like scalloped potatoes, and sprinkled each layer with cinnamon.

After I finished layering the sweet potatoes, I got out my can of trusty coconut cream.

I emptied the can into a pan, added butter, cinnamon, ginger and maple syrup, and heated to a simmer. Once the butter was melted and the coconut cream was more liquid than cream, I poured over the layered sweet potatoes, covered with foil, and baked at 350 degrees until sweet potatoes are soft and the au gratin is bubbling, about 90 minutes. You can do this a few days in advance (like I did) and then just reheat in the oven on Thanksgiving day.

Sorry, I don't have a photo of the final product, because I haven't finished it yet! But I wanted to post this before Thanksgiving, in case anyone was wondering what to do with their sweet potatoes.

My husband also insists on it being covered in marshmallow. Of course, that means I need to make my own. I'm using this recipe, but instead of actually making marshmallows, I'm going to pipe it out on top of the casserole and then put under the broiler for a few minutes to brown it a bit.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Liebster Award

Not When But If has nominated me for the Liebster Award. This is the first chain letter style blog nomination I've gotten. I'm not really a fan of chain letters in general, but I'm in a little bit of a blogger funk, so this is probably exactly what I need.

11 Random Facts

1. I've lived in Saudi Arabia.

2. I've also lived in Amsterdam.

3. I'm an American mutt, but I'm mostly Irish and Lebanese.

4. My great grandparents owned acreage on Century Boulevard in Los Angeles. Too bad they weren't able to hold on to it until it could sell for a decent amount. I come from a long line of poor timing.

5. I was obsessed with horses from birth until high school, and trained to exercise race horses at Santa Anita Racetrack.

6. I was a vet assistant right after college and almost went to Vet School at UC Davis.

7. I wasn't born is a hospital, but in my parent's living room, on purpose with a doctor my mom met just days before who made housecalls (the hospital blew off her birth plan).

8. The only time I have ever been hospitalized was as a toddler when I had pneumonia.
9. I still don't really know what I want to be when I grow up.

10. I grew up an only child.

11. I believed in Santa until I was 12 years old. Some people might think that's pathetic, but I hope the same for any child I might be lucky to have. Although in today's word, it's probably next to impossible.

11 Questions asked by Not When But If

1. What was the destination of your favorite vacation?  Why? My husband and I went to Mexico, Cabo San Lucas. I felt so at home - on boats, in the ocean, swimming, snorkeling, speaking Spanish, eating Mexican food and drinking Margaritas. After all, I am the honorary Mexican

2. Do you have any pets?  What?  How many? I have two dogs, both rescues. One small and old, one large and young.

3. What’s your favorite physical asset (don’t be shy!)? These days I would say my legs, because they are long and somewhat thin. My boobs and eyes are pretty good too.

4. How is your life different now from what you thought it would be at this point when you were 20? Oh lord, that was a long ass time ago. At 20 I thought I would have been married for 15 years by now and probably have a teenager or two. Or at least a pre-teen. At 20 I also thought I would be a doctor. I guess my life might have been a little less stressful had I actually gone to medical school.

5. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?  What did you think? You know, I couldn't tell you. I haven't seen a movie in well over two years.

6. Name your guilty pleasure TV show. My favorite TV shows are The Walking Dead and American Horror Story, but those are both so well done, so no guilt there. If I were to choose a cheap, embarrassing show, it would be Dance Moms.

7. (Shameless curiosity spurred on by the award rules) How many people follow your blog?  How long did it take you to build up your audience?  How’d you do it? I'm such a sad little blogger. 136 people follow me on Google Reader, but we all know Google reader is now defunct. I honestly don't know how many follow, but sometimes I get 200 views in a day. Not sure who, because so few people comment. I started blogging such a long ass time ago though, so obviously my method of getting followers isn't working. LOL

8. How often do you blog? It all depends. I try to blog at least a few times a week, but sometimes life gets in the way. I have a full time job, two dogs (one who requires a lot of time), and a husband who works more than me so I'm responsible for all shopping, meals, laundry, cleaning, etc. It can be a bit overwhelming.

9. Does anyone in your “real life” know about your blog? My husband is aware of it, but doesn't bother to read it. I have IRL friends who knew about my blog, but I've lost touch with many of them. I have considered coming out of the closet, but since this was a safe place to bitch about infertility and certain people in my life who were aggravating me, I wonder if I would offend anyone. Maybe someday I'll go through my posts and password protect some so I can share more publicly.

10. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My mom. Miss her tons, but we try to talk several times a week.

11. If you weren’t answering this question right now, what would you be doing? Reading "Nourishing Traditions" (still working on my kitchen skills with regards to traditional nutrition) or playing with Pinterest.

11 Bloggers I'm Nominating

I do feel a little funny about this because I hate to pressure people. At least I'm not saying that there will be 7 years of bad luck or anything. I do like the idea of nominating people who have commented on my blog recently, and I hope that doesn't discourage people from commenting. LOL

1. The Next 15000 Days

2. Inpregnable!

3. Beyond the Dream of Motherhood

4. Life of an Army Wife

5. The Five Year Plan

6. Angie Eats Peace

7. Family Building with a Twist

8. Stop Trying and it Will Happen

9. The Habits and Thoughts of Heather

10. Our Last Embryo

11. Fox in the Hen House (Maybe this will give you something to do while recovering. Thinking of you!!)

My 11 Questions

1. What’s your favorite food?

2. How did you meet your spouse/significant other?

3. Do you have any phobias?

4. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

5. What’s the best prank you’ve ever pulled?

6. Pirates or ninjas? Why?

7. If you had to move to another country, where would you move?

8. Your coolest Halloween costume ever?

9. What is your favorite potato chip flavor?

10. Do you believe in ghosts?

11. What was your favotie childhood toy

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sorry, False Alarm

I'm spotting enough to make this not be the cycle. The next cycle hasn't started quite yet, but I'm sure it's on it's way. I'm not upset, never had that much hope to begin with.

I appreciate the kind words some of you left for me, and I'm sorry I got everyone excited (or jealous?) but rest assured, I am still the same old barren Dip. LOL

In the meantime, A Lil Bit of Mama Time featured my Beet and Pomegranate Salad in this week's Let's Get Real Blog Hop! I'm very, very excited. Now if I could figure out how to leave a comment for her without joining wordpress...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I've been missing in action. I could blame it on work going from 0 to 100 in the last week, but honestly, I tend to retreat when I'm feeling the most introspective. Which is completely odd because I started this blog to get all my feelings out, especially when I didn't have IRL people to discuss them with.

To be blunt, I'm secretly hoping I'm pregnant.

That being said, after five and a half years of trying, and three essentially unsuccessful IVF cycles, hope is a relative term. I'm not THAT hopeful, when compared to a newlywed for example. But I have more hope than I've seen in a long time.

Why am I hopeful? First, because someone has actually diagnosed and is treating these many small issues with my body, some I knew about and some that were a surprise - low iron, not enough fat and cholesterol, hypothyroid, poor functioning adrenals, metabolic syndrome caused by GMO food. It's been three months since I started this journey and three months is about the timeframe I should be seeing results.

Why else? This is the first time in years I charted my basal temps. I really did it to see if my thyroid started functioning better, but there was a side benefit in seeing when I ovulated. And to make it better, I had sex when I ovulated! We happened to be on vacation, and of course going on vacation makes you pregnant, right? Haha, not really... but lack of work makes it easier to have the stamina for sex.

I'm also at the end of my two week wait, and no spotting yet. Of course, that means nothing. How many times have I gotten my hopes up, peed on a stick, and then had my period start in full force no more than 15 minutes later? Too many times to count. I don't own any pee sticks, so there will be no peeing. At least not for a while. If my period doesn't start in a few days, maybe I'll buy one. I doubt I'll have the chance to hit the drugstore, but then again, maybe I will.

Regardless, I still have hope, even if this moment isn't my miracle. I feel happy for the positive changes I am making. I feel that these are the changes I wish I had discovered five years ago, or maybe even earlier. I think of all the lost years, but I'm grateful I know about it now.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sautéed Artichokes

I love artichokes - I have since I was a kid. All sizes, and all manner of preparation. I usually just boil them, and sometimes we grill them to add some smokiness. I'll eat them with lemon butter, chipotle mayonnaise, or sometimes naked. Tonight I thought I could sauté them because I had some small ones.

You see, most people are used to large artichokes. Many will seek the largest ones out! I happen to love the small ones. The smaller, the better. The chokes don't choke, the thorns haven't developed yet. Even the leaves are tender and many can be eaten whole. This recipe needs the smallest artichokes you can find. If they aren't that small, you can still make the recipe but know that the outermost leaves will have to be eaten separately like a larger artichoke. To make things easier, you don't need to make a dipping sauce, since these artichokes soak up all the delicious flavors from the other ingredients.

This recipe has healthy fat from the butter, antioxidant properties of garlic, vitamin C from the lemon, protein and minerals from the broth, and vitamins, minerals and fiber from the artichokes in a delicious package. This is the perfect recipe to demonstrate how yummy real food can be.

Sautéed Artichokes

8 miniature artichokes
5 cloves of garlic, chopped fine (you can use less, I just love garlic!)
3 tablespoons pastured butter
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Zest and juice from one organic lemon (I say organic because you are using the zest!)
Bone broth of your choice

Prepare artichokes by peeling off the tough outer leaves, cutting off the tops and cutting them into quarters. Melt butter in pan and add garlic, red pepper flakes and lemon zest, sauteing over medium heat until translucent. Add artichoke pieces and toss to cover. Sauté for a few minutes, and then add lemon juice and about 1/2 cup broth. Simmer, covered, until artichokes are fork tender, adding broth as needed. When artichokes are done, simmer uncovered to reduce sauce.


Come check this recipe and a whole bunch of other great posts at this week's Let's Get Real Bloghop!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Beet Pomegranate Salad

What do you do when you have an abundance of pomegranates?

Since I had some roasted beets sitting in the fridge, I thought a beet and pomegranate salad might be nice. Did you also know just how good beets are for you? 

On a side note, I think my stomach acid might be back up to par - see #5! My pee has stayed yellow, even though it has been majorly pink from beets in the past. YEARS in the past. Makes me sad to know how long I have been living with less than perfect health without  knowing it!

Beet and Pomegranate Salad

6 beets, roasted and peeled, cut into wedges
Seeds from one large pomegranate
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup walnut pieces
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil
Sea salt

Mix beets and pomegranate seeds together in a bowl. Crumble in goat cheese, and walnut pieces, mix well. Add a splash of red wine vinegar and drizzle olive oil liberally, mix to coat. Add salt to taste. Enjoy!

I also shared this post on Real Food Forager's Fat Tuesday and the Let's Get Real Blog Hop! Some great links on both those blog hops - check it out!