Open-Faced Grilled Cheese and Pate Sandwich

October 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Wegman’s has the most incredible Cheese Shop. It’s not quite as impressive as The Grand Fromage in Skippack Village, but for a supermarket Cheese Shop, I will not disparage it.  They have a fine selection of raw cheeses from around the world (though I do tend to shop local for those– still, I do so love me some cheese) and they also have things like mascarpone cheese, creme fraiche and various pates, which I generally cannot find anywhere else.

Granted, I make my own creme fraiche now, but the original starter had to come form somewhere, so there you go.

The other day, Matt and I picked up a great raw cow’s milk cheddar, that is maplewood smoked to perfection.  It’s mild and creamy, with a light smokey taste that I just LOVE.  We also picked up a couple of pates, one pork and the other chicken and duck livers with truffles.  Matt liked the pork, I preferred the chicken/duck truffle.  Ella just said, “Yum!”

That baby loves her some pate. 🙂

For lunch today, I made some open-faced Grilled cheese sandwiches spread with the chickne/duck truffle pate, and it was so good!  I loved it, Ella loved it, you’ll love it– try it!

Open faced Grilled Cheese and Pate


  • 1 T butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 T pate
  • Cheese


In skillet, melt fat over medium heat.  Spread each slice of bread with pate and put spread side up in skillet.  Arrange slices of cheese over tops and cover with lid until cheese is melted.  Enjoy!  Goes great with apple slices or other fruit.


To Control a Child

October 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

At the end of this post, I am reprinting an article from Gentle Christian Mothers about Michael and Debi Perl’s child “training” techniques.  Their “ministry”, No Greater Joy, is one that has been recommended to Matt and me by some friends, but I have been alarmed by various things I have read.

A few years ago, I took issue with Debi Perl’s book, Created to Be His Helpmeet. I felt she had a tendency to twist scripture to her own perspective, rather than allowing scripture to speak for itself.  This was especially apparent with her treatment of the issue of headcoverings when she quite blatantly reasoned contrary to what the Bible actually says. Granted, it’s been years since I read it, so I am going on impressions I had at reading it, and therefore cannot give direct quotes or examples, but overall, I felt her attitude came across as haughty and abrasive.

Now, I have been re-introduced to the Perl’s with their No Greater Joy Ministries, and once again was smacked in the face with this attitude which lacked grace and gentleness, and even more so, I recognized a prevailing attitude of controlling children rather than raising them.

I was especially disturbed to read their blog post regarding infant potty training.  Let me be clear, we practice attachment parenting and Elimination Communication with Ella.  The idea is that we allow her to express her biological needs, and we respond appropriately.  If she indicates that she wishes to nurse, I breastfeed her, if she indicates she has to go potty, I put her over the toilet. It is possible to “toilet train” your child from birth– many cultures do all around the world. But what they (and we) do is vastly different from what is being prescribed at NGJM.

There is nothing coercive about what we do– she either has to go, or she doesn’t, and sometimes she does, and sometimes she doesn’t. I don’t decide when she has to go, but I do try to take advantage of when she communicates that she does need to, and we try to have regular opportunities for habit training. But according to Shalom Brand, who wrote the article,

…choose a word or expression that means, “Go potty!” It does not matter what word you use, but it is important to have one discernible word you always use for “Go potty”. Even when we are out where I cannot easily or quickly take her to go potty, and I get the signals that she is near to relieving herself, I still use the word, giving her permission to “go.” In so doing, I am reinforcing the fact that Mom is in charge and knows that she is going potty in her diaper. (emphasis mine)

The whole idea that as parents we are in control of our children’s biological functions is absolutely ludicrous! But this is just a glaring example of what I find so offensive about the Perls.  I do no merely disagree with them; I find their methods, attitudes and blatant misuse of scripture abhorrent and repugnant.

But beyond that, their methods have led to the mistreatment and even death of children; at least two have come to light in recent years, but who knows how many more go unnoticed?  They give permission to parents to manipulate their children’s behavior through strong-arm tactics and coercion, completely disregarding the fact that a child is a human being, a person, made in the image of God, and precious to Him.

Their methods do not take into account that we are raising up a soul, with its own preferences, strengths and weaknesses, with opportunity for good as much as for evil.  We are training up little minds that aren’t buckets into which we dump rules and expectations, but rather grow like flowers that need to be gently given light, water and nourishment. We are responsible for tiny hearts that can be easily broken, so we must tread gently and carefully, making sure to keep them clean and pure. Their little bodies are so much weaker than ours, and we should not rule them through fear and force.  This is not how God treats His children, and neither is it how we should treat ours.

And they fail to recognize that they are putting a loaded weapon into the hands of parents who may not have much discipline and self-control themselves. By assuming an adversarial relationship between parent and child, they are flying directly in the face of Paul’s exhortation to fathers, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

I have chosen to re-print the article from GCM here, because I believe it is important for Christians to speak out against the damaging and even deadly child rearing methods of folks like the Perls, and the Babywise methods of the Gary Ezzo, which have been documented to cause physical, emotional and psychological harm over and over again.  The spiritual damage of these pervasive programs in our churches is unquantifiable, but I would imagine it is great indeed.

If we want to know how to raise our children, I believe we have the best example set forth by Jesus himself in how He treated the children who were brought to Him, and even more so in how He trained His disciples.  He is a gentle Master, and kind.  Strict to be sure, but His discipline is never harsh, heavy handed, arbitrary or unwarranted.  If Christ has commanded us to not even raise our hand against our attackers, what sense does it make to strike our children, who are weak, and not our adversaries?  If we are to love and show kindness to our enemies, how much more should we show gentleness to our precious children, whom we love and for whom we are personally responsible?

We must speak up for our children.  Jesus warns us that for anyone who would harm one of these little ones, it would be better to have a millstone tied around one’s neck and cast into the sea.  Let’s make sure we are not causing them to sin in an effort to raise them “right.”

A GCM Statement: It is Time to Speak Out Against the Teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl

by flowermama

The admins of Gentle Christian Mothers (GCM) have felt led at this time, as we mourn the loss of seven year old Lydia Shatz[1], to issue a statement of disagreement with Michael and Debi Pearl and their child rearing methods. Not only are their methods extreme and outside the realm of normal and healthy child rearing practices, but the doctrinal foundation for these methods contain a level of heresy, including denial of the Christian doctrine of original sin[2][3], which leave them without biblical basis and at odds with the truth that all are in need of salvation which has been provided through Jesus alone[4].

Though the Pearls affirm the value of relationships in parenting in their attractive “tying heartstrings” message, their harsh teachings are in diametric contrast to building healthy relationships. They advocate “training” and “chastisement” of children, starting in infancy[5][6], using methods and means not described in Scripture — including using ¼ inch plumber’s supply line as a spanking instrument[7] and claiming that a “proper spanking leaves children without breath to complain”[8] — for stated purposes of absolving guilt and cleansing the child’s soul[9].

The combination of an adversarial us vs. them mindset where the parents must “win,” physically “disciplining” children until they surrender their will and show total submission, and false doctrine makes the Pearls’ methods dangerous. They present a very distorted picture to the world of what it means to be a follower of Jesus and a Christian parent in the world today. It is time for Michael and Debi Pearl to be held accountable for their teachings. We urge other Christians to join us in speaking out against what Michael and Debi Pearl have been teaching for far too long.

This statement may be re-posted in it’s entirety as long as this notice is also included.


1. Godly discipline turned deadly: A controversial child “training” practice comes under fire — this time from Christians themselves, Lynn Harris, Feb. 22, 2010
2. Second Council of Orange (529)
3. Teaching tape on Romans 5:12-21 by M. Pearl
4. Michael Pearl on Original Sin: An Analysis, Catez Stevens, October 11, 2005
5. To Train Up a Child, M. Pearl, D. Pearl, chapter 1
6. “In Defense of Biblical Chastisement Part 2,” M. Pearl, October 2001
7. Ibid.
8. “Angry Child,” M. Pearl, August 1998
9. “In Defense of Biblical Chastisement Part 1,” M. Pearl, May 2001

Links about Babywise/Ezzo (via Peaceful Parenting)

Dr. William Sears on Growing Kids God’s Way/Babywise

Confessions of a Failed Babywiser

Pediatric Nurse & Former Ezzo Parent

Adventures in Ezzoland

Ezzo Information Website

Become Wise to Babywise

The Case for Cue Feeding (rather than PDF – “parent directed feeding”)

Taking Down Babywise: A Hero

Resources on Baby Sleep

Resources on Sleep Training, CIO, controlled crying

Resources for Breastfeeding Mothers

Resources on Babywearing

Sourdough Raisin Bread French Toast

October 14, 2010 § 2 Comments

This week, the supermarket bakery had a fabulous Apple Cider Raisin Bread sourdough loaf that I simply HAD TO HAVE.  As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to make french toast.  And also to reverse engineer that bad boy and make some of my own.  The reverse engineering will have to wait for another day, because here’s a lot on my proverbial plate this week, and I have yet to successfully maintain a starter for longer than a week. *shame*

I am following along with the “pay what you can” Sourdough eCourse at GNOWFGLINS though, so I am hoping practice will eventually make perfect.  Or at least, sufficient.  I highly recommend the ecourse, by the way.  That and the Fundamentals class.  I took that in conjunction with Nourished Kitchen‘s “How to Cook Real Food” and they are a wealth of info!  If you are new to cooking, or real food, or just want to brush up on what you already know and add new techniques to your repertoire, these online cooking classes are wonderful!  Plus, GNOWFGLINS “pay what you can” plan is wonderfully flexible.

But I digress.  The Apple Cider loaf was crusty on the outside and a little denser than a sandwich bread on the inside. This was great for the custard soak though, so the slices really held up.  It was made with golden raisins, (which I am beginning to prefer to regular “purple” raisins of late) and had chunks of apples and cinnamon throughout.  I should add that the loaf smelled like apple cider.  Good stuff!

I made the whole loaf, which gave me enough for leftovers the next morning, and they re-heated really well, and were even better the next day!

Sourdough French Toast


  • 1 loaf sourdough raisin bread
  • 2 T butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 T maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


In a casserole dish, or bowl that is big enough to put the bread slices in, beat together all of the ingredients except the bread and fat.  Putting in slices as you are going to cook them, allow each slice to soak for about 30 seconds in the mixture. Melt fat in pan or griddle set on med heat. Cook slices until medium brown, flipping once to cook both sides.

Serve warm with maple syrup.


French Toast on FoodistaFrench Toast

Exciting News!

October 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

Matt and I are expecting!  I am due about mid-June.

This time around, I expect it to be a very different experience. First of all, because I’ve done it already.  I remember thinking throughout my entire pregnancy with Ella, every single day, “It’s gonna hurt!”  But, now having labored for 36 hours and pushed for two, (with a baby facing sideways!) I think I have an idea of just how bad it can hurt, and so that element of the unknown has been removed.

Psychologically speaking, I think the first full-term pregnancy is probably generally the most trying because you have zero point of reference for what is happening to you, and what is going to happen. Sure, I researched and read, asked questions and tried to make myself as informed as possible the first time around.  But there is really no way to completely prepare for such a thing.

This time, though it’s really early yet, I feel a lot more calm about the whole thing. That may change as my pregnancy progresses, but for now, I have complete peace and bliss over the whole thing.

Another factor is that I am planning for a totally different birth experience this time around.  With each of my previous pregnancies, I had wanted to have a midwife assisted home birth, but after losing the first two, and the range of complications I experienced with Ella, I decided to go OB/hospital birth.  I thought if I went in prepared, with birth plan in hand, that I could avoid a lot of the typical interventions.  I now realize how naive that view was, and so now my attitude is “Hospitals are for medical emergencies only!”  Unless my birth turns into a medical emergency, it’s homebirth all the way, baby!!

My first appointment with my midwife is in December. That’s a huge change from last time, since I saw the OB every single month before.  My first thought was “Oh no! What if something goes wrong before then?”  But then I realized the fundamental difference between midwifery and medicalized births: Midwifery assumes that everything will be fine and there won’t be any complications.  Medicalized birth assumes that any and everything can go wrong, and one must be vigilant for every contingency and test for every possible problem!

I like the relaxed, peaceful, and positive attitude inherent in the philosophy that says, “This is a completely normal process.  Woman have birthed for thousands of years, and I am designed for this process.”

I was created to birth babies!  That’s an amazingly comforting thought!  My sole purpose in life may not be to procreate, but of all the things God intends for me to do in this life, He made me a woman, and capable of conceiving and carrying new life! Since He designed me thus, and has given me the privilege to once more grow a brand new human person in my womb, I have nothing to worry about. Should any issues, problems or surprises come up, He will equip me to handle them, and there are systems in place already for any and every possible outcome.

But I won’t be ever looking out for any outcome except for the most logical and likely; a healthy, safe, natural birth for me and my baby.

Venison. It’s What’s for Dinner.

October 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

Last week a friend of mine was gifted a deer haunch from a co-worker.  Not the typical lunch item might expect to share at the local HomeDepot, but there you go. Here in PA, we’re rather share-y when it comes to big game.

It wouldn’t fit in their freezer, and his wife wasn’t keen on it anyway, so he passed it along to me to cook up for dinner with a couple of families.  To say I was over the moon would be an understatement.  Thinking to myself, “Oh, I can pop that baby into my 20 quart roaster tomorrow, and just let it go all day low and slow, with minimal heat and mess.  YAY!”

Reality is a funny thing though. Once i got it home, it didn’t take a yardstick to tell me there was no way that leg was fitting in my roaster.  I found my biggest roasting pan, and checked to see if I could get it in the oven at least, and as long as it was at an angle, it just fit.  Cheered by the prospect that I would NOT be forced to build a fire pit complete with roasting spit in my backyard, I started researching just what was the appropriate way to DEAL with such an impressive piece of flesh.

As always, I first looked to my trusty kitchen companion, Sally Fallon Morell’s Nourishing Traditions. Unfortunately, Sally makes the laughable assumption that folks don’t wish to cook like Captain Caveman, and so all of the venison recipes contained therein assume small, manageable size cuts of meat.  But I did garner one small nugget of wisdom that was NOT included in any other recipes I found thereafter, which was that the game needed to be soaked in an acidic marinade, preferably overnight, prior to cooking.

With my new found wisdom in hand, I next turned to my ever-faithful Internets– a universe of knowledge and facts at my fingertips.  After sifting through many ideas, recipes and suggestions online, I decided I would wing it.  Truly, my most favorite method of cooking, I assure you.  It’s my default mode, which has led to many a kitchen disaster, but more often than not, some yummy comestibles have resulted.

I really like the general method outlined on Field and Stream‘s website, though I didn’t have the particulars, so utilizing what I had on hand, I came up with a pretty good paste-like marinade, rubbed it all in and covering with foil, stuck it in the cold oven to sit over night (on site had stressed allowing the meat to come to room temp before roasting, and that made sense to me.)

At 8:30 the next morning, I set the oven for 250 degrees F, and let ‘er rip.around noonish, I flipped the whole thing over, and then a couple of hours later, flipped it again. At about 2:30, I turned the oven temp to 350, and set the time for 30 minutes.  When the timer went off, I check the temp with a meat thermometer– 150.  PERFECT!  I took it out and let it rest under some tented foil, where it coasted fully to 160. (the folks I was cooking for weren’t going to be down with anything less than well done!)

But there were drippings. Oh, the drippings.  A more decadent broth of yummy richness I have never tasted!  So I made gravy.  Oh yes.  I made gravy.

We all ate well that night, and the leftovers went into a venison stew the next day, which was presented at our church’s Harvest Fest Soup and Bread Lunch the next day.  The leftovers from THAT now reside in my freezer, next to the bones which WILL be made into stock in short order.

Oh, and did I mention the tallow?  HOW COULD I FORGET THE TALLOW??? Of course, about a cup of tallow came off the roast into the drippings, which I allowed to harden on top of the drippings in the fridge and then saved in a freezer bag, along with the fattiest bits of meat and skin, so that I can melt it all down and skim it off later for all the magical goodness that is deer fat.  It’s a wonderful thing, indeed it is.

This is the good life. *bliss*

Roast Venison


1 deer leg

1 cup of Celtic sea salt (or regular kosher salt if the price gets you– I used half and half)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup EVOO

1 cup raw apple cider vinegar

Seasoning (peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, sage, cayenne etc. Use your judgment and eyeball it– I used anywhere from a quarter to half a palm-full.  Use enough to sufficiently spice the whole haunch.)


In small bowl, mix ingredients for marinade to achieve a loose paste.  Rub paste all over roast, cover in roasting pan and allow to marinate overnight (12-24 hours) in refrigerator, or on counter if you plan to cook it immediately the next morning. It will need a couple of hours to come to room temperature before putting in the hot oven.

When you are ready to cook, pre-heat oven to 250 degrees F. Allow to roast for 3-4 hours, checking to make sure it isn’t browning too fast.  AT about four hours, flip it over (carefully, you may need an assistant for this– this piece of meat is NO JOKE.) and allow to cook for another hour- hour and a half.  Flip again and cook until deep brown, or meat thermometer reads desired doneness (rare– 135, Medium-rare 140-150, Medium 160, Well done 165 and up.)  If the top isn’t as brown as you would like, raise temp to 350 for 20-30 minutes, keeping an eye on temp.

Remove from oven and allow to rest under tented foil for AT LEAST 20 minutes to redistribute juices before slicing.


Pour off pan drippings into a gravy strainer (or something that will allow you to pour off the fat separately.)  In saute pan over medium heat, stir together 2 T of fat with 2 T of flour, cooking for about 5 minutes to cook off the raw flour taste.  Slowwly add in two cups of pan drippings/broth, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.  Bring to a simmer until thickend, adding liquid as necessary to bring to desired consistency. NOTE: The pan drippings may be very salty form the brine.  You will probably want to use a combo of drippings plus beef broth and/or water.  Keep tasting to make sure it’s to your preference.

Serve over slices of venison, potatoes, sandwiches, straight from the bowl.  Whatever.

Cheeseslave’s giving stuff away!!

October 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

Did you know that over on Cheeseslave’s  blog, she’s giving stuff away every month?  This month is a totally sweet gift!  She’s offering a Victorinox Chef’s Knife ($40 value!)  All you have to do in order to be entered to win are to follow the instructions in her post.  So, go!  Now!

Carrot Soup is Good Food!

October 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Edit: This post is featured on the Whole Foods for the Holidays: Soups course of the Whole Foods for the Holidays Progressive Dinner!  Be sure to check it out for lots of great recipes.


This week, as part of my simplification kick, I have been doing a lot of batch cooking and recipe recycling.  Tuesday, I  made a delicious pot roast, which translated into meals even till today.  Yesterday, I made a pot roast hash with new potatoes and carrots (I have an abundance of carrots for some reason) and served that with a lightly fried egg on top.

This morning, we had the leftovers from that for breakfast, so we really stretched that meal!  In fact, there is STILL some of the pot roast in the fridge, which I must make plans for.  It was a bone-in chuck roast, and the bones are in a ziplock baggie in the freezer for bone broth later in the week.

I believe I mentioned previously that the side for the pot roast on Tuesday was my last quart of Winter Root Soup from last year.  It was so good…  I basically follow the Nourishing Traditions recipe with my own tweaks, plus top it with homemade creme fraiche… oh so good!

I will be making my first batch of the season for this Saturday’s Harvest Fest at church.  We’re going pumpkin picking and corn mazing and hay riding at Merrymeade farm, then back to the church for a soup and bread lunch and pumpkin “carving” (probably more painting than carving.)  I’ll also be making some kefir bread for that, as well as bringing apple slices and homemade caramel sauce. Food… Makes me happy. 🙂

Today I am making a big batch of carrot soup, and it smells AWESOME! So I thought I’d share my recipe.

Carrot Soup


2 T butter, ghee, or coconut oil

8-10 large carrots, chopped

4 ribs celery, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups beef or chicken broth/water

1 tsp tumeric

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp rosemary

2-3 bay leaves

Celtic sea salt



In large pot, saute onion over medium heat in fat until translucent, then add the garlic, carrots and celery, salting as you go*.  Cook until the color of the carrots and celery starts to brighten, then add broth or water or combination of two.  Bring to a rolling boil, and then reduce heat to medium low and cover.  Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until carrots start to soften.  Add spices, and cover for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove bay leaves, and puree with a stick blender.  Salt and pepper to taste, and serve topped with creme fraiche or sour cream.

* I learned from a cooking show that if you add salt to taste each time you add a new element to your recipe, you will find it is perfectly salted when you are done.    So don’t be afraid to salt and taste as you go along!

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