First of all, thank you for all your suggestions on encouraging the French learning chez nous! I'm excited myself to brush up on my French and to help Divine down this road. I'll let you know how it goes, but right now we're going to finish up the book she has, start doing some pen pal exchanges, watching some familiar movies in French, and go from there. I'm thrilled! There were some great suggestions that I will be coming back to. Merci beaucoup!!
I went to have my glucose test [for gestational diabetes] last week. I wasn't worried. One of the [many] reasons I love going to a midwife is that you don't have to drink that syrupy orange gloop and then sit there for an hour so you can give a vial of blood to be tested. All I did was eat a normal breakfast with a certain amount of carbohydrates at home and go in two hours later for a finger prick. I passed!
The bad news--my iron is low, way low. I suspected as much as I never felt the surge of energy one should feel during the second trimester [and I'm going into my third], feeling unusually tired all the time, AND I've been craving crushed ice. I never chew on ice. The midwife said if I was to the point of delivering, I would have to go to a hospital and have a "normal" delivery with an OB/GYN. Not what I want. So, I've started a liquid iron supplement taken with orange juice and digging up my iron rich recipes as well as looking for new [hint, hint!]
I'm going to uP my sprouting, which is another source of iron and I have put together a simple how-to kind of post for those who expressed interest.
So, what is sprouting, you ask? It is the awakening of a dormant seed. By simply adding moisture, the seed begins the process of sending out shoots in order to become a thriving plant. WHY would we want to sprout a whole bunch of seeds at the same time? When a seed is sprouted, it has an explosion of nutrients to supply itself in order to grow and thrive, some vitamins increase from 30-6000 times! Sprouts are great to have in your food storage or emergency kit because when you can't run to the grocery store for a prolonged period of time for some greens, sprouts are a quick and easy way to provide those needed nutrients in your diet.
WHAT can you sprout? So many different seeds/legumes used to grow food [alfalfa, clover, arugula, cress, radish, fenugreek, mung beans, garbanzo beans, peanuts, lentils, peas, adzukis, broccoli, radish, mustard, wheat, spelt, buckwheat, rye, kamut, quinoa, amaranth, barley, oat, sunflower, pea shoots, almonds, pumpkin, garlic, leek, onions, should I go on?], but you don't want to run to Home Depot and grab a few seed packets. Planting seeds are normally treated with chemicals which aren't as harmful when grown into produce, but not a good idea when popped into your mouth, or used in cooking. They should be organic and meant for consumption. All sprouts, just like vegetables, have a different flavor, so it's fun to try different seeds and find what you enjoy. Some seeds can be sprouted, but should just be used in cooking, like black beans. WHY would you sprout something before cooking it? Like I said, the nutrients explode when you sprout them, so you are eating even more healthfully than cooking them straight from the package.
So, let's begin. Just like there are lots of different seeds to sprout, there are lots of different ways to sprout. Most likely you have things on hand already to start today! The first step is soaking. Fill a jar 1/4 full or less with your seeds and plenty of water. They expand amazingly--I overfilled a jar with garbanzo beans and they didn't rinse properly the next day because they were too packed and went sour, so give 'em some space. Let them soak over night.
TASTE your sprouts periodically as soon as the shoots emerge. They change flavors as they mature and you may find you like them better at one stage than another. Once they've reached the desired length after 2-3 days, dry them completely on a paper towel and store in the fridge in a container for 3-5 days.
I mentioned using a sprouting tray which works the same way as a jar, except they're spread in a layer, have built in drainage, and you don't have to use cheese cloth. They are very handy, especially for smaller seeds, but a jar works just fine if you don't want to spend the money. I've also read that you can do this with a fabric bag, but that makes it difficult to harvest the sprouts. It would come in handy if you're into camping and want to take your sprouts with you, though! There are also tube sprouters and automatic sprouters which I don't have any experience with, so I can't really expound on those. I just stick to a jar.
WHERE can you buy the supplies? Most grocery stores carry common seeds such as a variety of beans, lentils, wheat, spelt, quinoa, buckwheat and even mung beans. Natural food stores often carry them in the bulk section, and are usually organic. You can also order them online from places like Park Seed. The most comprehensive resource I've found is www.sproutpeople.org. They not only have a huge amount of seeds available, but they give you the nutritional information, have multiple types of sprouters, and a great collection of recipes, including, get this, DESSERTS with sprouts.
I don't do a huge amount of cooking with sprouts, although I'd like to start doing more. I just mostly keep them on the counter as a snack that's easy to grab and very nutritional. Ryan loves them and my kids are even starting to snack on them and add them to their sandwiches and tostadas. Nice. Last night Azure said she added them to her taco, just like the adults.
See? It's not so difficult! As a disclaimer, I am not an expert on sprouting. This is just what I've learned and what works for me. If you have something extraordinary or something ordinary to add about sprouting, feel free to do so in the comment section, as I am always ready to learn more!