Monday, March 31, 2014

Organic Antioxidant Muffins

We've recently made the switch to organic foods in our house...and aside from the dramatic cost increase, it's the easiest diet switch we've ever made. It doesn't require us to "give up" any foods, doesn't require some odd tasting substitute, and everything tastes better than the non organic versions! There are many obvious health benefits to eating organically, but my main goal was to decrease the amount of GMOs that we consume. I've always made our food homemade and cooked as naturally as I could...but what good does it do to cook from scratch if my ingredients aren't all that natural?!

It has honestly been super easy to eat many of the same foods that we would normally eat, however it requires a lot more cooking from scratch so that I can control every ingredient that goes into the food...Goodbye convenience food! There are some awesome brands of organic convenience foods, but they're so expensive that I can't justify the convenience. So, I took a few trips to Costco and Whole Foods to stock up on organic flour, organic sugar in the raw, organic coconut oil, organic eggs and a few other everyday necessities. From that point, it was simple ingredient swapping on many of our favorite recipes. 

This post features one of our favorite muffin recipes that I tweaked a little. My recipe was actually for blueberry muffins, but I didn't have a lot of blueberries on hand, so I made due with what I had. The original recipe calls for regular flour, sugar etc, but I just swapped all of that for the organic versions...super easy! 

Organic Antioxidant Muffins
  • 2 cups organic unbleached all purpose flour (I used regular, but you could use whole grain)
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar in the raw
  • 1 stick organic unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 organic egg, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup organic whole milk (add more if your batter seems dry)
  • 1 1/2 cup organic antioxidant blend berries (mine included blueberries, strawberries, cherries, raspberries and pomegranate)
  • organic sugar in the raw or organic brown sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 c. muffin tin. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine butter, egg, and milk; mix well. Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture and stir with spatula until combined. Fold berries into batter. Spoon batter into muffin tray, filling cups 2/3 full. Bake 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle top of muffins with sugar and bake muffins an additional 10-15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Inspections Galore

This post is long over due, as several people have asked for updates on our foster care journey, but I've been too drained and tired to write anything. I kept saying to myself, "today I'll update my blog" but it never happened! Today, I had to take the plunge and say something.

So, we had assumed this process would go much more quickly and easily than it has. I've heard some people say that they were licensed after one home study and a few classes. That idea gave me great hope...we could handle that! We were told from the beginning (by our agency) that we had 28 hours of required class time to complete before we would start our home study process. That's not so bad! I told myself. However, after some recent changes in the agency, additional classes were added (18 hours plus 8 hours of CPR and First Aid, to be exact) which we learned about halfway through our other classes. To plow through a total of 54 hours of class time in a matter of just a few weeks is crazy. In addition to that, we had our home study process...

Being the over achiever that I am, I scoured the internet and different resources to find out exactly what would be expected of us so that we could be as prepared as possible. In my mind, we'd have everything ready, the inspector would tell us that they didn't need to come back, and we'd be home free! not so much. I quickly discovered that the home study process was more of an interview (more like interrogation!) process than an actual inspection. We were questioned until I couldn't even form a coherent sentence. Our home studies turned into 16 hours spread out between 4 visits. I got my hopes up every time the assessor came because I thought for sure it would be the last one. It was the only thing that kept us going. However, every visit came with an "ok I'll need to come back again" and another stack of paperwork. Every visit brought more things that needed changed in the house, and some things that we had changed and were told to change back the way it used to be. And every. single. time. we felt our conviction to keep going with the process depleting.  It seemed that at every turn we were hit with another road block.  

Yesterday we had our "final" inspection with the agency and fire inspection. Thankfully, we finally passed the agency inspection and completed our home studies!! However, our fire inspection didn't go so well. Within two minutes of the fire inspector's arrival, he discovered that all of our smoke detectors were placed a few inches away from where he wanted them and we would need to move all of them. His reasoning for this was that because our house has different ceiling levels throughout the house, the smoke would not reach the detectors. Ironically enough, an hour after he left I was cooking dinner and something had dripped into the bottom of the oven (which obviously smokes). I opened the oven door and the smoke filled the kitchen and immediately set of the smoke detector in the front hall. I wanted to call the fire inspector back show it to him!
He also discovered some outlets  (behind a bookcase and a couch!) that did not have protectors on them. I mean really, if a child is moving a bookcase I'd say we have more problems than the exposed outlet behind it. So, away he went and told us to call and reschedule another inspection. 

So, again I tell myself (and everyone else), we're almost done! Our licensing rep told us yesterday that she plans to get our paperwork in order and send some forms to the state so that we can get licensed. We still need another fire inspection and a trip back to the dr. for TB tests, but we're praying for no more surprises! I keep telling myself that a few years from now we'll laugh about everything that happened to get to that point and it will all be worth it!