Before {and after} – Skillet bratwurst and rice

Right now I’ll post the before – the after is yet to come!

Saturday night I made what I thought was a yummy dinner, but my kids were underwhelmed.

Package of bratwurst or summer sausage
2 cups rice (cooked)
1 cup of chicken broth
1/2 onion, diced

First I steamed the rice in my beloved rice cooker.  I’m on the fence about which type of rice to use. Brown rice has anti-nutrients, white rice is bland and starchy and pointless…  I need to read up on the options but at any rate, Saturday night I chose white rice.  It is what it is.

I grabbed some bratwurst at Whole Foods (I forget the brand), cut it up into 1″ pieces and browned it in the iron skillet.  I removed the bratwurst to drain on paper towels but left some grease in the pan for flavor.  I added the onions and broth to the pan and let it all simmer together for a few minutes.  Then I put the rice and cooked bratwurst back in to cook with the broth mixture.

I think it turned out wonderfully for a first-time recipe try – I just had the leftovers for dinner this evening.

For take 2 – different rice, maybe.  I think I should add more flavor, some garlic or coconut aminos.  And something green needs to be mixed in, I believe.

Stay tuned for the after version of this recipe…

Coconut Flour Brownies

It’s my birthday, and even though we’re having a quiet day at home I still need a treat, right?


I have made brownies with coconut flour several times before and they are amazing. I use a recipe from this book:  Cooking with Coconut Flour  I grabbed this cookbook when I first started exploring gluten free, lower carb cooking baking and it has turned into a great resource. It has some good information in general about the benefits of coconut, and then some great recipes.  There is a bit of a learning curve to baking with coconut flour but it’s well worth the effort.

This particular recipe has a decent amount of sugar so I would not classify it as paleo/primal, but it’s fine for a birthday treat in my world.

I’ve adapted the recipe slightly from the version in the book – mainly because I didn’t feel like melting butter or coconut oil. I used light tasting olive oil – I use this often when baking. Just make sure that  you choose light tasting – the regular EVOO would be way too strong for a sweet baked good.

Preheat to 350 and grease an 8×8 pan, preferably with coconut oil.

1/3 cup light tasting olive oil (or melted butter/coconut oil)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

Blend these together until completely combined and set to the side.

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
splash of vanilla (I never measure vanilla, do you?)

Combine these ingredients and fold in the chocolate mixture from above.

Finally, sift in 1/2 cup coconut flour and 1/2 tsp of salt.  You definitely want to sift the coconut flour as it tends to clump. I like to sift a little in, mix, sift a little, mix… the batter tends to stay smoother that way.

Smooth into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Let cool for awhile before serving.


Fitbit and Cosleeping

Yes, there’s a connection here.

I bought a Fitbit Flex a few weeks ago as an early birthday present for myself.  I liked the idea of tracking steps as motivation to be more active and I loved, loved, loved the idea of tracking sleep.

I’ve never been a good sleeper, and once I had kids things any hope of decent sleep went out the window!  I am a huge fan of safe cosleeping and the family bed.  Cosleeping helped maximize my sleep when the kids were small.  Not having to get out of bed to tend to them meant I would get more rest for work the next day. However as the  children grew I was getting less sleep for work the next day – I’d wake up clinging for dear life to the edge of my king size bed as small people kicked me relentlessly in the ribcage.

I’m especially glad that my younger son coslept as long as he did, because his proximity helped me realize that he was suffering from sleep apnea.  That’s a story for another day, but he’s past that, thankfully, and it’s definitely past time for him to sleep in his own bed.

I knew I wasn’t getting quality sleep, but to see it in black and white – well, blue and bright pink on my Fitbit dashboard – was really eye-opening.  Some nights I would not get more than one hour at a time before tossing and turning restlessly.

I don’t regret a single moment of cosleeping.  It was the best choice I could have made for our particular situation. I would do it again in a heartbeat, but everything has a season and my little guy is ready for this change.

Friday night Ian slept in his own bed for the first time ever – he was excited to try it although he woke at 12:30 and asked to come to my bed.  Progress!  Last night he was glad to cuddle up in his bed again, and this time he slept all night!  I still woke earlier than I prefer (thanks, time change) but was happy to see a stretch of completely uninterrupted sleep on my log for the night.

I’ll continue to watch my sleep logs because I’m trying to figure out what habits lead to better sleep for me. I know that food and drinks before bed, TV vs. a book, and even the time you go to bed can affect your sleep for the night.

And yes, the Fitbit is encouraging me to be much more active.  I try to find opportunities for more steps – I park far from the building, go talk to coworkers instead of IM, and any other small changes that will get me closer to my 10,000 steps for the day.