Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Just When You Thought It Was Safe... enter Blogger again...I come out with another blog post...after nearly two years... :-)  So, buckle up, here's the last two years recapped in just 100 words:

-had a baby

Umm...ok...recapped in just 3 words.  Because, after having a baby, I've pretty much forgotten everything else that happened.  No better reason for temporary amnesia! And yes, Joshua David is adored by all his siblings and Mom and Dad.
  Josh's birth was very different than any other Hall baby--caesarean section (first out of 8 deliveries). First baby who spent time in the NICU.  (Mysterious infection he was born with...?? Wonky white cell counts in the first few minutes of life...etc) and, now, at 11 months old, I have declared him:


Um, yes.  Ouch.

So, to benefit all of us nursing mothers, here are some reminders for dealing with biting...

1) Remember that he can't be truly nursing *and* biting at the same time.  Physics won't allow it!

2) In light of the above, don't try to "force" Baby to nurse.  When he is teething, especially, be sure he's actually wanting to nurse, before beginning a session.

3) If Baby is teething (many *are* when they start biting), offer comfort measures, such as a clean, cold, wet washcloth to bite/suck or a cold teether from the fridge.  Folks used to recommend freezing the teethers, but that is *not* suggested any more, since babies can hurt their gums on frozen teethers.  My Josh is that kind of baby.  He has bitten down hard on several things, resulting in tears and even blood. :-(

4) Avoid using Orajel just before nursing.  This kind of topical anesthetic can make latching difficult.  Also, in May 2012, the FDA began recommending that parents *not* use these in children under 2 years old, except under the advice and supervision of a healthcare professional.

5) When If Baby bites, calmly (snort) remove him from the breast and end the session, saying, "Oh. I see you don't want to nurse."  Personally, I have a unique way of doing this that tends to look more like, "YEEEEOOOUCH!  No BITING!!" followed by a rapid (yet safe and humane) descent of Baby into a playpen...after which, I assume a defensive posture.  (Yes, arms folded across chest.  How did you guess?)  After a few minutes, I retrieve Baby for cuddles and kisses, but perhaps not nursing for a while longer.  (Did I mention, "Ouch?")

So, with all of Josh's bitey behavior, I plan to wean him early, right?  No. The nipping really is manageable and fairly predictable and all the antibodies and wonderful nutrition is still there in the milk.  Also, I generally avoid weaning in the Fall or Winter.  It is a great comfort to me that if I or Josh were to become ill, Mama's Milk would be right there available to him to give his fledgling immune system a boost from my own.  Breastmilk is absorbed so quickly, some is almost certainly absorbed before Baby could vomit it. It truly is "liquid gold" and a living, dynamic source of nutrition and antibodies for Baby.

So, hello again, BlogWorld.  I am considering using The Ewe's Gnus to not only share about our life, but also to benefit the nursing mamas I have the honor of working with.  I am s-l-o-w-l-y working toward my certification as an IBCLC and I plan to use the blog to focus my thoughts... and for, well...whatever strikes my fancy!  But, for now I must go...and don't forget:

Y'all keep your wool dry!

The Ewe, a.k.a. Amy

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Try It Tuesday: Reviews and News for Feb. 8

Hello, F.O.T.E.'s,
Well, yes, I missed last week's Try It.  I actually didn't forget, it was a decision based on priority.  I decided it was more important that we have some food made up/stored, batteries on hand, water in clean food buckets, lanterns charged and ready, flashlights prepped and sand bags bought than to post to T.E.G.  It seemed like we waited and waited, but, indeed, The Blizzard of 2011 *did* finally hit last Wednesday.  When it kicked off, I was definitely glad I had used my time to prepare for the storm.  We had been told to prepare for 3 days without electricity or water.  I'm not sure I was totally prepared for that, but I did feel like I'd done what I could.  :-)  It was a pretty comical moment, though, when I realized "no electricity" meant "no washing machine."  Meg and I rushed down to the basement and started working on the laundry.  I have a laundry schedule worked out so that we run out of underwear on the right day (i.e. the day whites are on the schedule), but missing 3 days of laundry would definitely throw all that out of whack.  SO.  I washed clothes until I dropped.  I also vacuumed, since, vacuum cleaner also runs on electricity.  And we still have cedar needles planted like daggers in my bedroom carpet.  OUCH!
   I'll move on to the Try It, but I will mention that the snow was/is a sight to behold.  We had drifts approaching 3 feet and all over it was around 2 feet deep.  And, we didn't lose electricity.  LOL!  For which I'm thankful.  I believe the snow is going to be around a while.  It's 3 degrees outside now, and not supposed to warm up much for days.  Oh, and the Weather Service is forecasting 1-3 more inches of snow tonight.  It's getting kind of funny.  Maybe in the "strange" way, if not the "ha ha" way.  :-)

   Alright, last week's Try It was Slow Cooked Broccoli.  Here's our review:
Annie:7.5!! of 10!! "Pretty good, needed some salt. Other than that, the flavor was good.  I mixed my cheese in, which made it  quite a bit better. It's like Broccoli Cheese Soup.  Broccoli Cheese Soup-erole! :)"

Meg: 5!! of 10!!  "Broccoli was too mushy.  All the cheese needed to be mixed in.  Needed a little salt.  But, I wouldn't mind having it again."

Claire: 7.5!! of 10!!  "It was pretty good.  All the cheese needed to be mixed in.  Maybe a little salt."

Amy: 7!! of 10!!  "Thought the broccoli was too soft.  Would have preferred cream of chicken soup to cream of celery.  I agree that all the cheese needed to be mixed in and that a little salt would have helped."

Adam: 9!! of 10!!  "I liked that it was soft and easy to chew.  I liked that it wasn't too cheesy."

Hannah:  "I liked the kind of crunchy things.  I like that Crunchy Casserole!"  (I do; I like it, Sam-I-Am!  I like that Cruncy Casserole!!  hahaha)

Tonight's Try It:

Indian Beef and Spinach Curry (for the crockpot)

1/3 cup canola oil
3 yellow onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1(2 inch) piece of ginger, peeled and grated (I used  2 t. dried, ground)
2 t ground cumin
1 1/2 t cayenne pepper (I used 3/4 t, since we have Littles)
1 1/2 t ground turmeric
2 cups beef broth
3 pounds stew beef
1 t salt
6 cups baby spinach
2 cups plain full-fat yogurt

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat (I use medium, lest I smoke up the house, lol), warm oil.  Add onions and garlic, and saute until golden, about 5 minutes.  Stir in ginger, cumin, cayenne and turmeric and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Pour in broth, raise heat to high, and deglaze pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom.  When broth comes to a boil, remove pan from heat.
  Put beef in slow cooker.  Sprinkle with salt.  Add contents of frying pan.  Cover and cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours.
    Add baby spinach to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.  Just before serving stir in 1 1/3 cups yogurt.  Season to taste with salt.  Serve over rice.  Pass remaining yogurt to add as a garnish.

Ok, F.O.T.E.'s, gotta run.  Y'all keep your wool dry,

The Ewe

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Try It Tuesday: Reviews and News for January 25, 2011

Hello, F.O.T.E.'s,
Oh my.  I'm exhausted.  Hannah has been waking a lot at *I've* been waking a lot at night.  I got behind on laundry last weekend, so I'm playing catch-up now.  I did get a triple sorter, and that really helps.  I think sorting is what takes the longest.  Anyway, I'll get on to old business right I can go to bed, LOL!

Review of Fettucine Alfredo (recipe in earlier post)

Well.  I lost the carefully recorded remarks of the whole family.  BUT...this was a home run recipe.  It is a definite addition to my recipe book...and we all look forward to having it again.  It was so, so good.  In fact, I liked it better than any I've had in any restaurant.  Super yum.  If you like fettucine alfredo, you really should give it a try!

Now for this week's Try It:

It's a side dish this time.  And it's definitely *not* a whole food.  Sigh...I pulled it out of my crockpot recipe binder, in the section marked, "To Try."  I got it off the internet in 1999!  So, after over 10 years, I finally got around to trying it, lol.

Slow-Cooked Broccoli

2 pkgs (10 oz each) frozen chopped broccoli, partially thawed
1 can condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. pepper
1 cup crushed butter-flavored crackers (about 25)  [I used a Ritz-type one.]
2 T. butter

In a large bowl, combine broccoli, soup 1 C. cheese, onion, Worcestershire sauce and pepper.  Pour into a greased slow cooker.  Sprinkle crackers on top; dot with butter.  Cover and cook on high for 2-1/2 hours.  Sprinkle with reamining cheese. Cook 10 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted.

Ok.  Well, I'll post our comments on the broccoli recipe next week.  I'll work extra hard to not lose the paper this week...maybe I'll just put them in a draft on here....
Must eyes are wanting to droop....

Y'all keep your wool dry!
The Ewe

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Try It Tuesday: Reviews and News for January 18, 2011

Hello, F.O.T.E.'s,
Well the snow is now mostly slush, but the weather service is forecasting more snow in the next week.  We'll see what happens.
  I'm trying to catch up on my laundry, etc, after a weekend at an Answers in Genesis conference--good stuff!--so I'll get straight to Old Business...

Last week's Try It was Creamed Chicken and Vegetables.  (recipe in earlier post)  Here is our family's review of that dish:

Meg: 9!! out of 10!!  "Very good!  A little too spicy, but just a tiny bit.  By far the best 'Try It Tuesday' we've had so far!!"

Reid: 9.5!! out of 10!!  "Best yet!  Love the hint of spicy heat!"  He also reported that it was better the second day, as leftovers.

Claire: 10!! out of 10!!  "It was great! one of the best Try It Tuesdays!  I really liked the tiny bit of spiciness.  It was so good!"

Amy:  9!! out of 10!!  "This one is going in my recipe book.  Admittedly, it's a "comfort food," a lot like a pot pie.  Next time--and there *will* be a next time--I will use either the pepperoncini or the red pepper, but not both."

Hannah:  8!! out of 10!!  "It was too spicy.  I liked it a little bit."

Adam: "It's good!  It has vegetables!!"  :-)

Annie:  9.5!! out of 10!! "stop didn't say, no that's funny!  Although it's kind of annoying...umm...I didn't say that!'m didn't burp!!!!  I did not!!!  But it was quiet...NO!!!  LOL!!!   I sighed!!!  It wasn't a burp, it was just very quiet!  Stop THAT!!!  LOL...Would you stop it so I can think without laughing?!?  LOL....SIGH...I did not BURP!!  NO!  I'm not making that noise!  No.  I liked it!  Yes! was a lot like chicken pot pie...uh, stop!  I didn't say that.    It was better with the biscuits than the cornbread waffles, but it was still good with the cornbread waffles.  Stop!  I like doing the cornbread that way.  I would like to have it again.  I wish that I had written down my own review, instead of telling Mom what to write."

Heh heh heh...
As you can tell, Annie's review was typed verbatim, in real time.  heh heh heh...

Ok...New Business!
Today's recipe is from Emeril Lagasse, off of (LOVE that site!).

Fettucine Alfredo

1 lb dried fettucine
6 T butter
1 shallot, minced (I'll be using plain, ol' onion 1/4 C minced)
1 C heavy cream (oh yeah!)
1 C finely grated parmigiano-reggiano (I will be using an Italian 3-cheese blend--parmesan, romano, asiago--                pre-grated...I got it from the deli)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
fresh parsley, for garnish, optional  (I'll be using dry. )

Cook the fettucine in a pot of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente.  Drain in a colander, reserving 1/4 C pasta water.
  While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add shallots and saute until tender.  Add the cream and bring to a boil.  Cook until sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
  Return the pasta to the pot it was cooked in, set over medium-high heat along with the reserved cooking liquid.  Add the butter-cream mixture and half of the parmesan and toss to combine thoroughly.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Sprinkle with reamining parmesan and garnish with parsley, if desired.  Serve immediately.

Ok, as you can tell, this is definitely *not* low-cal.  Sorry about those New Year's resolutions.  I resolved that this year, I will eat more butter.  ROTFLOL  (not really...just kidding...though it would be an easy one to keep!)
   Annie says I should now tell you to go look at her blog--   --to see other funny (or not) resolutions. 
  Alright...must run...
Keep your wool dry!

The Ewe

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Try It Tuesday: Reviews and News

Hello, F.O.T.E.'s!
Well, are you snowed in?  We are!  It's beautiful.  Yesterday was the perfect "play outside day" because the temps were barely under freezing, but still cold enough to snow.  It didn't stop snowing until early this morning.  I'd guess we have around 8 inches.  The temps today are too cold to allow outside play--9 degrees air temp...under zero wind chill.  It's supposed to get down to -1 tonight, with a wind chill of -15.  Think we'll be staying
    Last week's Try It was enough to make me say, "Forget new recipes!  Let's stick with the tried and true!"  but..then...that would defeat the idea of "Try It Tuesday." you remember (I'm sure--ha!) last week  we tried Pork Chops and Brown Rice.  (recipe in the earlier post). So, I'll offer you my family's opinions of that dish, plus share with you tonight's Try It.  (As usual, we'll Try It Try It when you want...if you want.)
    Review of Pork Chops and Brown Rice:

Hannah:  "Get me AWAY from that CRAZY STUFF!!!  It's DISGUSTING!!!  I HATE it! I HATE IT!  I HATE IT!!!"   (editor's note:  she was having a fit which was totally unrelated to the, you may want to keep that in mind--LOL...I don't even think she tasted it...but, I pretty much agree with her on it, LOL)

Reid: 7!! of 10!! on chops  "The dish, as a whole, I could not rate.  The chops were tender and nicely seasoned.  The rice was nice, but too strong on thyme and not ready when the chops were.  Perhaps a bit of salt would help."

Meg:  5!! out of 10!!  without soy sauce...with soy sauce 7!! out of 10!!  "The chops were very good.  The rice was a bit too thymey.  [is that a word?]  I've had better, and I've had worse."

Claire:  4.5 !! out of 10!!  "The chops weren't exactly as tender as I wanted them, but they had a really good taste."

Adam:  8!! out of 10!!  "The meat wasn't as chewy as meatloaf.  I liked that the meat wasn't too juicy."

Amy:  3!! out of 10!!  "I like the technique of browning the chops, then finishing them in the oven, but I think immersing them in the rice water washes off the crust on the chops, reducing the flavor.  The rice was still raw after an hour.  Since the chops were ready and we'd already finished our salad, we had the pork along with steamed CA blend veggies.  After another hour, the rice was cooked.  As for taste, I didn't care for the seasoning blend.  The only plus was that the pork was very tender and fairly moist.  I used very lean, boneless chops." one isn't making it into the Hall Family Recipe Book.  So far, we're 0 for 2.  I'm anxious to try out tonight's recipe, Creamed Chicken and Vegetables, in which you just make white sauce and add cheese, chicken and veggies. (How can that be bad??)   With it, I return to my Southern roots.  Ha!  I'm needing a win tonight, so I pulled out the Southern Living Cookbook.  :-)  So, here's the recipe:

Creamed Chicken and Vegetables

1 (10 oz) package frozen mixed vegetables or frozen peas and carrots
1/4 cup chopped celery (I forgot to get celery, so I'll sprinkle in some celery seeds)
2 t. finely chopped onion
3 T. butter, melted
3 T. all-purpose flour (I'll be using freshly ground whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 C milk
1 1/2 C whipping cream
1/3 cup shredded cheddar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. white pepper
1/4 t. red pepper
3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
1 (2 oz) jar diced pimiento, drained (ummm...I don't have, I'll chop up a small pepperoncini...don't laugh at me)
Garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, paprika

Cook mixed vegetables and set aside.  Saute celery and onion in butter.  Add flour, stirring until smooth.  Gradually add milk and cream; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened and bubbly.  Add 1/3 c cheese, salt and peppers; stir until cheese melts.  Stir in chicken, diced pimiento, and cooked vegetables;  cook until heated through.  Serve over cornbread or biscuits.

Alright.  There it is.  I'm thinking a dairyman came up with this recipe, LOL.  I will be doubling, as usual.  There is currently a debate happening here as to whether we use cornbread or biscuits.  I guess maybe we'll do a little of both, and compare.  I sure hope this works out.  I'm losing heart, LOL.

  I'll be back next Tuesday with another Try It...until then,

Y'all Keep Your Wool Dry!

The Ewe

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Try It Tuesday: Reviews and News

Hello F.O.T.E.'s!
I bet you thought I'd forget, didn't you?  heh heh heh ....Well, here I am with this week's Try It Tuesday.  I'll share the recipe from last week, plus its reviews from The Flock, as well as today's Try It Tuesday recipe.  Please join me in trying the recipe--we'll try it tonight, you try it whenever you please this week--and sharing your reviews.  I'm trying to be more spontaneous (ha!) this year...or at least more interesting, LOL.  Trying new recipes is a fun way to do that, for me, anyway.  :-)
Ok...Old Business:

Chili Tots

1 lb ground beef
2 (15 oz) cans chili without beans
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
2 C (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 (32 oz) pkg frozen tater tots

    Cook ground beef until no longer pink; drain.  Stir in chili, tomato sauce and chilies.  Transfer to a 9X13 pan sprayed with no-stick spray.  Sprinkle with cheese and top with tater tots.  Cover and bake at 350* for 35-40 minutes.

  Review:  I doubled this, as I usually do.  Last week, only the kids tried the dish, as Reid and I went out that night.  So, below are their opinions:

                  Adam (6): 12 ! out of 10 !  (read, "12 yays out of 10 yays")..."I like the tater tots.  I like the spices.  It's as good as Sonic's."  (high praise, no?  LOL)

                   Hannah (4):  [no yays recorded]  "I liked 'em.  They tasted like chili...with tater tots.  It should be crunchier."

                  Claire (10):  [no yays recorded]  "I liked 'em because they tasted like chili.  It's chunky, like Mama's chili, which I love, but the tater tots were a little on the soft side.  Other than that, they were good.  I recommend it."

                 Meg (13):  7! out of 10!   "It would have been better with Mama's chili.  I thought it was a little too spicy and there was too much liquid.  It also needed more cheese, but overall, pretty good."

                 Annie (16): 5! out of 10!  "It's ok, but not great.  The chili to tot ratio was too high and the tots were too soggy, even after baking at a higher temp without the foil  for an extra 20 minutes.  I think if the tots had been baked before putting them with the chili and the cheese it would have been better.  It doesn't quite stand up to Sonic's, but not too far."

         Ok, so not sure that one is going to make it into our Family Recipe Book.  Could try Annie's suggestion or baking it the whole time without the foil.  Plus, in the week between when I tried this recipe and now, I have read the book _In Defense of Food_ and decided to try a (modified) return to our family roots and move back toward a whole foods diet.  So, with that said...

       This week's Try It:

   Pork Chops and Brown Rice

1 C uncooked brown rice
2 1/2 C boiling water
4 pork chops
1/2 C chopped green bell pepper
1/4 C chopped onion
1/4 t. thyme
1 t. garlic salt
1 t. Worcestershire sauce

Soak rice in boiling water for 30 minutes.  Brown pork chops on both sides in skillet; set aside.  Add  remaining ingredients to skillet.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Pour rice mixture into greased 9X9 inch baking dish.  Arrange pork chops over rice.  Bake, covered, at 350* for 1 hour.

    I will be doubling this--the yield is only 4 servings.  I will record everyone's comments about the dish, and report them to you next week.  Please do try it yourself, if you please, and share your comments, too.  (I realize that not all folks eat pork, so if you don't, hang around...I do a *lot* of chicken!)

  Ok,  I'll see you back here next Tuesday!
Y'all keep your wool dry!
The Ewe

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Hello, F.O.T.E.'s,
Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season.  We have had a really nice time this year.  Reid was off work more than usual, so we got to do a little more visiting than we do most years.  We're looking forward to kicking off a new year tomorrow night.  Planning to make homemade pizzas, mulled cider, popcorn (with special seasonings, thanks to a Christmas gift from a family member!)...then, New Year's Day will bring breakfast casserole (thanks to a recipe from the aforementioned family member! Thanks, J!) and then later in the day pinto beans, turnip greens, cornbread and sweet tea.  Yes, I know we're supposed to be having blackeyed peas, but pintos are our favorite legume, lol. 
   I'm sure some of you are wondering about my "state of mind" regarding the events of this past year, namely the death, then birth of William.  I'm really not feeling the groove of writing about that right now, but suffice it to say that every day brings a pang of memory and loss...and I love him so dearly and miss him so much.  This year ended for me on May 14.  From then till now, there have been some sweet blessings--moving into our fabulous new house, a second honeymoon that was waaaay better than the first, children's birthdays and special days--but still there has been that everpresent ache. the urging of my daughter and others, I will start writing again.  If you are curious about Will, please send me a message.  I would love to talk to you about him...but, I think I'll write about some other things for a while....
That said....I'm hoping to begin a new weekly Ewe's Gnus feature:  Try It Tuesday!  (applause, applause)  I have realized of late that, though I *love* cooking, my menus had become very boring and repetitive.  I also realized I hadn't been trying new recipes routinely for months.  Not cool.  So, this past Tuesday, I pulled out an untried recipe and unleashed it on the family.  I will post the recipe and the review this coming Tues, Jan. 4, Lord willing  (and I don't forget, LOL).
   Until then, have a blessed New Year and don't forget to...

Keep your wool dry!

The Ewe