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Foraging in the Pacific Northwest

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk around King household about gardening, sustainable living, alternative medicines, foraging and exploring our backyard. We recently received our copy of “Northwest Foraging:  The Classic Guide to Edible Plants of the Pacific Northwest” by Doug Benoliel. It was originally published in 1974 and became an instant classic to the Pacific NW’s native foods. The book was very recently updated and expanded and it now resides in our backpack {or on the dining room table during dinner – as most new books do}. The book has information on seasonal edibles, harvesting, drying and storing, nutrition and plant structure, but the brunt of the book covers edible plants and poisonous plants. For each plant in the book, illustrations have been provided by Mark Orsen while Doug Benoliel makes notes on form, leaves, flower, fruit, habitat and edibility as well as any personal notes about the plant. He has also shared over 40 recipes throughout the book. Northwest Foraging is a very well written, informative and relevant book for any northwest forager, plant enthusiast and lover of all things outdoors.

After thumbing my way through the book, I went online to see if there were any NW Foraging blogs, groups, etc. Not only did I find a few blogs, but I found some seriously passionate and talented people. I found another author and avid forager at Fat of the Land; a sustainable food enthusiast at Eat Local Northwest; a restaurant owner and author at Orangette; a father and Seattle food writer at Roots and Grubs {who’s book Hungry Monkey is awesome for any parent of a young child}; an independent publisher at Encyclopedia of Country Living; and a group of women with an interest in herbal medicine at Medicine Women Gather. All of these people are foragers of the Northwest. Some more seriously than others, but all with similar goals. We are so lucky to live in such a lush place. I hope some of their blogs help inspire the forager in you.

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Allergen Related Dieting

I had posted about starting a Pescatarian diet this year. It was going very well until I had to make some major changes to my diet to try and figure out what was causing Elle’s eczema. First I cut out dairy, then I cut out soy, then I cut out both. And guess what… it’s improving. This means I have eliminated both dairy and soy from my diet completely. Yippee! Um… no. As I mentioned before, I’m a breastfeeding mama and calories are important to my diet. I know women have been vegan and breastfeeding, but I’m not here for that. So I’m warmly welcoming a variety of meats back into my diet for the time being. I still prefer fish to other meats, but if I need calories and there’s some bacon, duck, or short ribs available – I’m probably going to eat it up. Please forgive me for bowing out of my pescatarian challenge. I’ll be back.

In the meantime, I’ll share what it is like to live a dairy and soy free life. So far it’s – hard. Thankfully I’m enjoying the challenge and am really enjoying the improvements in Elle’s skin. Yes, I must read every label and I should avoid eating out, but I have an opportunity to learn new ways of making my favorite meals and what substitutes are available to me.

Have I mentioned before that I LOVE ICE CREAM?!? Oh boy do I. Thanks Mom :) I needed a dairy and soy free replacement stat. I found Coconut Bliss Ice Cream yesterday. Thank you Luna and Larry! Your ice cream rocks my soy and dairy free world! If you don’t like coconut, don’t try it… you won’t like it. But if you do like coconut, try any of the flavors that stand out to you and I’m sure your tastebuds will be pleased. I went for chocolate as I just couldn’t resist. It’s creamy and yummy and totally satisfying. And while I believe I’m now on a mission to make my own coconut milk ice cream since I have a shiny new ice cream maker waiting for me to hang out with, Luna and Larry will be my friends until I perfect my own.

Olive oil has replaced any butter or vegetable oil usage which is great for heart health, but one needs butter from time to time. So next up is breast milk butter. I haven’t put it to the test, but from what I understand all you need is a couple ounces of breast milk and a clean jar. Shake it vigorously until you have butter. Sounds good to me! I’ll update you after I experiment with this myself.

The one thing I am missing that I can’t seem to find a replacement for is cheese on pizza and bleu cheese with fig spread and crackers. If you have any grand ideas on how to solve these problems, please let me know. For now, I’ve gone back to chips and salsa for my mid-day snack. I guess I can’t complain too much about that.

If you or your family suffer from food related allergies, I’d love to hear from you. All of this is very new to me and it’s pretty incredible the lengths folks go to to ensure good health.

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~ This Moment ~

inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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BOD Whiskey

Bainbridge Organic Distillers, Washington’s first organic distillery, released their second bottling of whiskey today. They are currently making gin, vodka and whiskey and we’re lucky to have them in our own backyard. If you get a chance, you can visit their location off of Sportsman Club Road on Bainbridge. They’re open for tastings, tours and sales.

P.S. Their whiskey goes fast so if you’d like a bottle… I suggest visiting asap.

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Sunny & Crisp Duckabush Hike

3 Kings starting their hike

Cheesy Miles

Brother MoNK & Big Sister SydMo

Checkin out the woods

"Papa, what's wrong?"

Beautiful cold & clear day

Snow!

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Why we chose to have a homebirth.

It’s a question I’m asked a lot. And it’s an answer I love to share.

All my life I knew I wanted to deliver my babies naturally. I wanted to fully experience childbirth and I did not want to be numb. This was the extent to which I thought about it until I became pregnant with Miles. I then began reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, The Birth Partner and other empowering articles and stories of women who had delivered at home, birth centers or with midwives at the hospital. Unfortunately, we were due to have Miles within days of a pending move. We didn’t know whether we’d be living in Seattle or Bainbridge Island when I’d go into labor. So a homebirth just wasn’t realistic. After spending the first few months of pregnancy receiving care from an OB/GYN group in Seattle, I decided it was not the care I wanted. It’s not always the best idea to change caregivers mid-pregnancy, but I knew I wanted and needed more personal care than what I was receiving. So I switched over to a midwives group in Ballard (who treated us like gold) and planned on delivering with them at Swedish Hospital in Ballard. We moved to Bainbridge Island on a Saturday and the following Tuesday morning (12:30) my water broke. Contractions came very quickly and because the ferries weren’t running at that hour, I knew we’d be delivering on the freeway if we tried to drive to Ballard from Bainbridge. I was right. We ended up heading to Harrison in Silverdale and delivered Miles there. After putting up a few fights at the hospital, we were able to have the birth we wanted. But it didn’t come without quite a bit of pushing.

When we found out we were pregnant again, I knew that if everything checked out and it was another low risk pregnancy that I would want to receive prenatal care from a midwife and deliver our baby with her at our home.  The difference in prenatal care from an OB and a Midwife is huge. When I went to my OB appointments, I felt like another number. I peed in a cup, they took my temp and blood pressure, asked if everything seemed fine and sent me on my way. 15 minute appointments, tops. When I went to my Midwife appointments, I spent about an hour with her discussing everything pregnancy, listening to the baby, asking questions of all sorts. She observed me as a whole person. Asked questions about tight muscles and posture. We covered everything the docs would have times 5. She cared about me and the baby and how our family was doing. This is the care I wanted. This is the care pregnant women and families deserve.

Thankfully my pregnancy continued to be low risk so we were able to confidently deliver at home. I knew I wanted our Midwife, Chris, Sydney, Miles and my mom at the birth. I ended up so lucky to have our Midwife, another Midwife on the Island, a student-midwife, Chris, Sydney, Miles and my mom all in attendance. My mom hung out with Sydney and Miles downstairs while I labored upstairs. Aside from the periodic monitoring of the baby, my labor was completely uninterrupted. I was able to move around the house, brace myself on whatever I found most comfortable, ask for the support of those there to help me when needed and accept advice from them when they thought I might want it. The mood was a combination of excited, calm, confident and loving. In contrast to the anxious, nervous, cold and interrupted feelings you get in a hospital. I felt safe. I knew my baby would enter the world in relaxed loving hands. And most of all, at home. She wasn’t sick, nor was I. Aren’t hospitals for sick people? My family joined us in the room immediately following her birth. In fact, I wasn’t technically even done laboring since the placenta was still inside me when they came in the room. We held her for as long as we wanted before the Midwives cleaned her up. She was able to receive all the cord blood because there was no urgency to cut her cord. I got to lay in my bed and snuggle with my entire family. I got food from my kitchen. I was able to learn to breastfeed my new baby in the comforts of my home with however many pillows I wanted. We slept. Without staff coming into our room every hour disturbing our sleep or researchers coming in to run some new test.

In the days following her birth, our Midwife and the other Midwife who was in attendance stopped by to pay a visit and checkup on us. Again, in the comforts of our home. We talked about breastfeeding and labor after pains, how Elle was growing, etc.

At the end of the day, we got the family experience we wanted. We were treated as parents, the caregivers of our baby. We were asked permission for every step of their job. If it was a good time to weigh the baby, if we wanted to wait a bit. I wasn’t under pressure to deliver a baby the way the hospital staff is used to just because that’s what they see all the time. I was encouraged to deliver our baby the way that felt the most natural and comfortable. Our decisions were supported by our caregivers. Decisions weren’t made for us by our caregivers. Our family was put at the top of the priority list for a small bit of time. And we welcomed a healthy baby into our family and home all at the same time.

 

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~ This Moment ~

inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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