Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I have to say this may have been my favorite Thanksgiving ever. My parents and brother came from Indiana and stayed with us for the weekend, and Clint's dad joined us for the Thanksgiving day meal. The whole weekend was such a fun, relaxed time, just soaking up the treat of spending time together, which happens far less than we wish since we live so far away. Plus, it's just such an exciting time for all of us since our little girl is due in 5 weeks now!

It seemed to be an especially good time with my mom. I've never seen her so excited before, and it's so neat to share this time and experience with her. My view and understanding of her and our relationship has opened up to me in a whole new way! I appreciate now more than ever her mothering of me and understand so much more now the love of a parent for a child, something impossible to comprehend until becoming a parent yourself.

Truly, the time spent together was the best part for me, but I can't blog about Thanksgiving without touching on the food! I helped my dad get the turkey in the oven. It was my first time serving a whole turkey so he majorly helped with that. We also had a big spinach salad with grapes, red and yellow bell peppers, pecans, beets, and what I'm adopting as the Ross House Dressing. Recipe below. We also had sauteed green beans with leeks, a vegan twice baked sweet potato dish, pumpkin soup, and rolls my family brought down from an Amish bakery. For dessert we had vegan pumpkin cupcakes from a local bakery that are to die for. Everyone loved them.

It was a small menu because there were only six of us, and I didn't want to be so worn out from cooking that I couldn't enjoy the day. We all managed to stuff ourselves though and a good time was had by all!

Ross House Dressing
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1 squirt yellow mustard

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lemony Quinoa, Broccoli, Arugula, and Feta

Yum. That's a photo of my lunch from today. I had a little bit of a blood sugar thing this morning after eating only pineapple for breakfast, so this hearty, warm salad was just what I needed! It's Quinoa with Roasted Broccoli, Arugula, & Feta from I didn't have any arugula so I subbed chopped collards. I love the flavor combination of the lemony dressing with the roasted red pepper broccoli! And you can have it with or without the feta. (I had one bowl each way.) This was a quick dish that I'll definitely be making again!

And, surprise! A baby bump photo :)  We're 33.5 weeks along. I took a photo of the huge jar of granola I made for my parents' visit to send to them because I'm so excited to see them, and then thought I'd throw in the bonus of the bump for good measure. She's moving around like a wild woman every day now!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Soup and Study

Potatoes have been taking over my kitchen! I've gotten them every week for the past four or five weeks from the CSA, and I finally put about a third of them to good use in this soup loosely adapted from PUREmama blog.

Potato Leek Soup
3 leeks, sliced
6 medium sized potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 cup almond/cashew milk
2 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
Dried thyme, parsley, and salt to taste
  • Boil potatoes till soft, about 20 minutes. Heat oil and water in large saucepan and add leeks, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt. Saute/steam until soft, about 15 minutes or until your potatoes are done cooking.
  • Add almond/cashew milk and dried herbs to the leeks and simmer a little longer. Meanwhile, drain potatoes and roughly chop them up. Add them back into saucepan along with leek mixture. Add the water and blend with hand mixer.
Simple, easy to prepare, and delicious! Goes well with a yummy salad!

It goes even better with this Isaiah study I've been doing. My friend Kelly told me about Precept Upon Precept Bible studies a long time ago, and I've really been dying to do the Isaiah one ever since. Well, one day not long ago, a delivery man showed up with the complete Isaiah set - Kelly had sent it to me as a way to bless us with our baby on the way! I seriously couldn't have asked for a better gift, and I'm so thankful for all the generosity and love friends and family have showed us during this special time. This study by far and away the best one I've ever done. If you're looking for an in-depth, Scripture-based study, I can't recommend Precept Upon Precept studies enough! Has anyone else ever done one? What's your favorite method for studying the Bible? I would love to hear what everyone else is doing!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Just Checking In

My sincerest apologies for the cyber silence! I have much to share with you: my new favorite salad dressing, an amazing potato soup recipe, an update on the wonderful baby shower I had last weekend, curtains I made for the baby room, etc. But to tell you the truth, we're in rough shape over here at the Ross household! Clint has been sick for over a week now. He just can't seem to shake this virus! He has a cough that's preventing him from sleeping at night, which is why I think he can't seem to get well. We're hitting him with every herbal remedy I know, but without any rest his body can't get ahead. Then today I had my blood drawn at a prenatal appointment and passed out. And I mean out. They had to snap two of those sticks under my nose to wake me up! I had a very nice dream while I was out though. It was all very dramatic and humorous, but I feel pretty lousy now. Oh well, at least the blood sample is done and over with. We are at 33 weeks today . . . nearing the end! She's moving around a lot and hopefully getting ready to come out soon! I can't wait to share this special time with my parents and brother when they're here next week for Thanksgiving. Then it will be full steam ahead to finish getting everything prepared for the birth! It seems like there's still so much to do and learn!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Before and After

Remember this ugly dining room with the hideous wallpaper?
We scraped the wallpaper off and found a very damaged wall underneath. So we had to patch the walls with sheetrock mud and then sand it down. If you've done that before you know how big of a mess it is!  Oh, and did I mention the people who hung the wallpaper caulked over it? So we had to cut it from the caulking and then re-caulk after sanding down the sheetrock mud. Finally, finally, I got to paint it!

And now here is our fabulous guacamole-colored dining room!
It looks great, and we are enjoying it so much! Now I just have to get my yellow shutters hung on the wall, and it will be complete. It makes the ugly wallpapered kitchen look even worse now though - that's the next project on my list . . .

Monday, November 7, 2011


Love this man.

Love this baby.
Sweet face
Little foot

I'm a rich woman.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Coco Blue and Seed Sharing

I couldn't figure out what my problem was yesterday. I could eat and eat and not feel satisfied. No matter how much I ate it felt like my body still wasn't getting what it needed. Then I realized. I needed fat. I've been eating so many raw fruits and veggies lately, which offer plenty of fantastic carbs and protein, but there hadn't been a good source of fat in my diet for a few days. I also felt like I needed some berries. I've been eating lots of green and orange colors lately, but no blues or purples. So I made this smoothie and finally felt satisfied.

The Coco Blue
Frozen banana
Frozen blueberries
Coconut milk
Chia seeds
  • Blend it all up and enjoy! Mine made two large servings.

The combination of the avocado and the coconut milk contributed their healthy, plant-based fat to this smoothie and made me feel much better. The smoothie is really thick and filling though. If you're looking for something lighter, try subbing coconut water for the coconut milk.

Remember my beautiful heirloom Long Island Cheese pumpkin that I made into the most delicious Thai-Spiced Pumpkin Soup last Friday? Well I saved its seeds to plant in my garden this spring, and I would love to share some with you too! If you would like a few of these glorious little seeds to grow in your own garden, just let me know in the comments section. I would be happy to mail you a few! While you're at it, become a follower of my blog if you're not already.

(31 weeks pregnant today! Can't wait to meet this little person! We'll get our first glimpse of him/her at our next appointment on Monday, then we'll actually be able to settle on a name. So exciting!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Greens and Shoes

I just can't get enough greens lately. They seem to be all I'm craving - it's great! Over the weekend I made Emerald City Salad, Monday I made that Creamy Millet and Kale Salad, I've been eating lots of plain old greens salads with whatever toppings I have on hand, and yesterday I made this Massaged Spinach Salad, adapted from a recipe in my favorite cookbook based on what I had on hand. Isn't it so colorful and pretty? Doesn't it make you feel good just looking at it?
Massaged Spinach Salad
Big bowl of spinach or kale, chard, etc
Baby salad greens
1 teaspoon salt
Purple cabbage, chopped
1 apple, diced
1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup raisins or currants
Red pepper or purple onion, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Place spinach and greens in large bowl with salt. Massage salt into greens for about two minutes. Add cabbage, apple, sunflower seeds, raisins, and red pepper.
  • Combine olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Toss with salad ingredients.
  • This gets better after sitting in the fridge for a while!

Here's a question for you: Are you a shoes on in the house or shoes off in the house family? We're the shoes off type of people. (Well I am. Clint prefers shoes on, but he so kindly respects my preferences and doesn't wear his inside.) I don't like shoes in the house because they drag in all kinds of chemicals from everywhere they've ever been. Before long, we're going to have a little person who basically lives on the floor, crawling around on and quite possibly licking the carpet. I don't mind good old dirt, but I'm NOT ok with pesticides, herbicides, and other miscellaneous chemicals. And that stuff gets into the carpet and stays there! Now, if you're a shoes off family, how do you handle visitors who leave their shoes on in your house? I don't want to offend anyone who comes to see us, and I haven't figured out a tactful way to ask people to remove their shoes without feeling like I'm singling them out. Suggestions anyone?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Introducing . . . The Beeswax

I'm thrilled to introduce to you a new feature on Ear to the Earth called The Beeswax. (Isn't my husband creative? He came up with the title and the idea.) The Beeswax is a column dedicated to sharing reliable information on controversial or confusing subjects. It's meant to be educational, informative, and hopefully eye-opening. The first Beeswax post was published earlier today, and it discusses the flu shot. I hope you learned something new from it. All of the Beeswax posts will be archived in one place, which you can get to by clicking on "The Beeswax" tab at the top of the blog, which contains links (or a link for now) to all the topics discussed. (You may also notice that I added a "Recipes" tab too, so now you can easily find any past recipe I've posted.) If you have any suggestions for topics you would like to see addressed in The Beeswax column in the future, please drop me a line! I'd love to hear from you!

The Flu Shot . . . What's The Beeswax?

Remember when I won this book, Super Immunity from Meghan Telpner's blog?
Well, I've been reading it and want to share some important info with you about a subject that can be really confusing . . . the flu shot. Everywhere I go I see signs to "get your flu shot here." "Flu shots available today." Everywhere. It's rather annoying really. And now that I know a little more about it, it's actually more than annoying; I might even call it malicious. Why? Doesn't the flu shot reduce the number of cases of influenza? Reduce complications of influenza? Reduce the transmission of influenza? And doesn't the vaccine accomplish all of these goals safely? Well, the CDC claims it does all of this, but does it really? According to Dr. Fuhrman, the answer is a resounding "NO!"

He explains that any intervention has a benefit-to-risk ratio that needs to be taken into consideration when determining treatment options, and the flu shot is no exception. In weighing these factors, we also need to keep in mind that the flu is most dangerous to those who are sickly and poorly nourished; those who are healthy have little to fear from the flu.

The vaccine is designed every year based on scientists best guess as to what strains of influenza will be most prevalent the following year. On their best years, the shot only covers 10% of the correct viruses. So how well does that really protect against the flu?

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews examined fifty studies involving over 70,000 participants in an effort to gain a more thorough understanding of the vaccine's efficacy. Their analysis revealed that the vaccine does not affect either the number of people hospitalized from influenza or days lost from work due to the virus. None of the vaccines showed a significant effect in reducing the risk of complications of the flu among healthy adults. That doesn't sound very effective to me. The researchers also found that about half of the trials they studied were funded by vaccine companies and often included only ideal viral-matching conditions. They also found widespread manipulation of the conclusions in those studies.

Fuhrman writes, "The fact that the flu vaccination is heavily promoted by government and medical authorities, despite the marginal benefits, fuels distrust of the entire medical/pharmaceutical/ government health complex, which reeks of collusion and conflict of interest. The situation is reflective of a foundational problem with health care today: governmental authorities shaping our personal medical decisions are heavily influenced by commercial interests wielding political donations, by powerful lobbyists, and by industry-funded experts," (p. 50). Almost all of the members of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have financial ties to the vaccine industry. That doesn't sound like a very balanced committee to me.

So what does the benefit-to-risk ratio of the flu vaccine look like for you and your family? Serious complications and death from the flu can and do occur, but those who are most in danger include those over seventy-five, those with chronic medical conditions, steroid-dependent individuals or those on other immunosuppressive drugs, those with significant immunosuppression, infants and toddlers under two who were not breastfed, and those who smoke cigarettes or whose food intake is primarily junk food.

Our society loves the flu shot because it's like a get out of jail free card. We like to think that we can build health by ingesting all of these modern medicinal substances, but the fact is, you can't buy health. You have to earn it! "Our bodies are highly resilient and self-repairing, but medicines cannot enable us to escape the biological laws of cause and effect. When we damage ourselves with exposure to toxic, disease-causing diets, we develop disease. Medicines cannot drug away the cellular defects that develop in response to improper nutrition throughout life," (p. 44). The most effective (and delicious) thing you can do is eat a whole foods plant based diet!