Friday, September 6, 2019

Moving Out + White Bean and Sausage Stew.


Hey there. Can I just tell you how tired I am? I know it's an overused phrase. I'm so tired. But I just had to say it.

We finally moved out of our house in Baltimore last week. Our rooms are rented, our basement is stuffed, and suitcases are (sort of) packed, and we are out. Here is our packed to the gills basement with a bed, bunk beds, Justin's classroom supplies, clothes, toys, you name it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

What I Eat In A Day

Last week I wrote about my food journey, which begs the question: what do I eat? Years ago, I remember hearing of people who gave up grains, and I just felt so sorry for them. How can one live without grains? While it is certainly not a fun transition, it can be done. And, I believe, done well. Read on to learn how I do it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

My Food Journey + Lunch Today



You may start to notice, if you compare the posts to come and the posts from four years ago, that how I eat today is very different than how I used to eat four years ago. Four years ago, I ate all sorts of grains and cheese throughout the day, had a raging sweet tooth, and drank coffee and wine regularly. Not that, of course, any of you should stop eating or drinking these things. Unless they cause you problems.

After having Lydia in 2015, I couldn't seem to shake the baby weight. I felt chubby, and I wasn't used to that. I accepted the fact that my body changes as I get older, and figured this is just how I was supposed to be. But I never felt settled with it. My goal was to be able to wear a swimsuit and not feel self-conscious.



So I went on a diet journey. It progressed as follows: Paleo, Atkins, Whole30, Ancestral, Gut Makeover, and Low FODMAP. This took over two years of trial and error, and honestly, I'm still trying to figure it out.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Preparing to Move (Part 1) + Gut Healing Soup

How does one go about moving to another country for just one year? Here is the story of how we came to go to Spain, and the process of getting there. This is part one.

About four or five years ago, Justin stumbled across the international sabbatical option on his employer's website. We had no idea that a middle school teacher could apply for a sabbatical, but there it was. We knew we wanted to have another child, so we decided to wait a few years and then apply.

Well, we had Lydia in 2015, and Justin applied for the sabbatical at the end of 2018. He was confident he had a strong application and didn't see much reason for it to be denied. We waited to hear whether it was approved. January came and went. Then February. "Did you find out about the sabbatical yet?" People kept asking. March. April. May. I was all set to give up and make plans for staying in Baltimore again. I had enrolled Lydia in the same nature school that Evelyn had been in as part of her home school curriculum. I did some research into how to become a foster parent, since that has always been part of our plans. I had planted our garden and fully expected to harvest well into September.

And then. Justin texts:


I opened up my email to see the forwarded message that the sabbatical was approved. And I felt like the walls were closing in on me. I was so not ready to read this news. I had made plans for Baltimore next year, not Spain. I was mad! I got home and texted some close friends, cried a little, and felt like I had no control over the situation. I also felt a little like a crazy person. After all, we had made this decision together. It was not something I had ever opposed. But now it was real, and I had to get used to it.

Justin bought our plane tickets that same day. I was shocked. It was really happening! Fast forward three days or so, and we told the girls about the upcoming move to Spain after eating pancakes. We showed them the map, showed pictures of Malaga, and noticed there is a water park near by. That certainly helped them warm up to the idea. Seeing them get excited, and seeing Airbnb places we would stay for the first month, helped me get excited too.

I started clearing away clutter, packing up things to donate, clearing out the basement. Which brings me to the first step in how to move to another country (when you intend to rent out your house): Clear out your basement. All those items that you never use? They gotta go. Anything you thought you might need but not yet? It's probably gotta go too. We needed to make space for bunk beds, book shelves, books, heavy winter gear, clothes that don't fit the girls yet, toys, certain kitchen items, linens...the list goes on. Not to mention Justin's boxes and boxes of teacher stuff.

Checklist for moving abroad:

1) Clean stuff out of basement
2) Get rid of stuff
3) Move other stuff to basement
4) Cook up your pantry and freezer items
5) Get book lists for kids and download to kindle

By the way, here is what the basement looked like in the midst of the clean out:



Yikes. It was a doozy. It's somewhat organized now, and I will let you know how it looks once everything is neatly stored down there.

In other news, I've been working on healing my gut for some time. I will share more in future posts, but for now, you can peak into this tasty recipe of a soup I had for lunch today.

Gut Healing Soup
Serves 1





















1-1.5 cups bone broth 
1/2 cup cooked diced eggplant
1/4 cup cooked zucchini
2-3 spears cooked broccoli rabe
1/2 cup diced cooked chicken thighs
Drizzle of olive oil
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Crushed red pepper
Salt
Pepper

Method: Add all ingredients except vinegar and olive oil to a pot. Bring to boil, then simmer until heated through. Serve in a bowl, splash in vinegar, and drizzle with olive oil. Taste, and adjust vinegar and seasoning if necessary. Enjoy the hearty comfort of gut healing soup.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Four years in a nutshell


Hello, and I hope you will welcome me back! It's been almost four years since I last posted. In those four years, I've had a second baby, gone on a food journey, discovered how to eat for me (and am still discovering), home schooled my first born, and decided to pack up our lives and move to Spain for the upcoming school year. Nothing new, right? I hope you'll join me as I update you on my life, the food I eat, and the process of moving to Spain. I will continue to revise the recipes on A Kuk's Kitchen to mirror how my food philosophy has slowly changed from low fat, high grain to high fat, low grain. I will share how I conquered various food addictions and what that has meant for my life and my body. I will look into spiritual growth in my life and give you a peek into my food journal (the two, surprisingly, are more related than you would guess). I will share with you original recipes, link you to some favorite recipes on the web, and highlight beautiful restaurant eats along the way.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Fresh Corn Salad


I recently overheard someone say that traveling without kids is a vacation, but traveling with kids is a trip. How true it is. We left Baltimore last Wednesday at 1 pm, an hour later than planned, and our first stop was at 1:20 pm at an elementary school still within city limits. Baby Lydia was screaming for milk, so we pulled over and I fed her while Justin took Evelyn to the playground. That early stop set the tone for our trip. Many stops, feedings, and potty breaks later, we decided to stay at a hotel shortly after midnight. The next morning we enjoyed a hot breakfast and a swim in the pool, then continued on to reach our Michigan destination around 3:30 pm. A ten hour drive took us 27 hours, but we were not upset. The best plan when traveling with kids is to have no plan. We played at the rest stops, ate good food and snacks, and marveled at a random zucchini plant at one of the rest stop gardens. We enjoyed each others company, although Evelyn was rather up and down about being in the car for so long.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Farm Dinner in the Spring


As I leaned against the counter slipping dark skins off of silky blood red beets, it suddenly hit me that not everyone loves to cook four course dinners for three strangers. Sure, it benefited the farm, but there are certainly less time consuming ways to support a neighborhood farm.

About a month ago, I had the privilege of planning a four course dinner, sourcing all of the vegetables from Whitelock Community Farm, and cooking the meal, which Justin served to three diners at the farm. They earned this dinner by donating the highest amount for a fundraising campaign we ran last year, and their prize was this dinner.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mother's Day Weekend


This was my third mother's day (excluding the one when Evelyn was in the womb) and it just may have been the best. My in laws were in town, and they bought us a night at a bed and breakfast downtown. It was strange to just drive a few exits down the highway to have a little getaway, but at the same time it was fun to be a tourist in our own city. This was my first night away from Evelyn EVER, and it was wonderful.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Birthday Pancakes


I am a distracted person these days. I've had this recipe, photographed and all, sitting for over a month. Between my two-year-old, my pregnancy, my house, and my two part time jobs (nanny two days a week and write note cards for a real estate agency), there is little time to pursue my hobbies.

One of my favorite things to do is be alone. In moderation, of course. I cherish the mornings when I can get up before Evelyn and sit in quiet solitude with my breakfast, coffee/tea, and Bible. These are the mornings when I feel like I can take on anything. Sometimes, though, I am just so tired that I sleep until Evelyn wakes up.

Friday, January 30, 2015

My Grocery Stores


Do you ever think about the grocery stores you shop at and what they say about you? I wonder if you, like me, have multiple stores that you frequent at different times throughout the month. Or maybe you're a loyal customer to just one store. Let me tell you, I go to four stores throughout the month, and two stores about every other month. And each store has its own personality.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Turning Two + Pumpkin Cheesecake


Evelyn turned two on October 20th. It's hard to believe she used to be a tiny, helpless baby when now she runs, jumps, speaks in sentences, and has a true personality. For her birthday party, I decided to go with the toddler trifecta: bubbles, balloons, and birthday cake. You really can't go wrong with that.

Except instead of a traditional birthday cake, I wanted to make something that everyone would want to eat. So I decided on pumpkin cheesecake (recipe below). I knew one would not be enough, so I planned to make two. Then I wondered, maybe I need more? I decided ahead of time to pull the double chocolate cookies I had made previously out of the freezer to serve with the cheesecake. Then the night before, I thought we might need more dessert. I whipped up some chocolate lavender cupcakes. Needless to say, I was maybe looking for excuses to bake new things I hadn't tried before.

Moving Out + White Bean and Sausage Stew.

Hey there. Can I just tell you how tired I am? I know it's an overused phrase. I'm so tired . But I just had to say it. We fina...