Mexican Domestic Goddess


A Lesson in Flexibility

Jacqui Skemp4 Comments
It's been a year since I made the decision to stop breastfeeding. The subject has been on my mind since my beloved baby wearing groups on Facebook and Instagram have been sharing photos of breastfeeding mothers all day, every day. I said most of what I had to say on the subject in this post I wrote in January "Giving the Gift of a Happy Momma".

After writing that post I still struggled with the guilt of not being able to breastfeed for a while. I'm generally over it now. There were a few occasions where we had to deal with formula being over heated and we had a screaming baby on our hands. Not fun. I wish I could have just nursed him and offered that comfort. Those moments were frustrating.

I am often the only woman in my mom circles that is not breastfeeding. There were times where I snuck away to mix the formula because I was too embarrassed to do it in front of people. That was stupid. I should not have felt that way. I was feeding my baby, and he was happy about that.

I still think breast is best in the same way I think natural child birth is best. An unmedicated (and uncomplicated) labor is the ideal.  I don't think women should be afraid of it, and I think it's great when women want to go that route and successfully do. But I would never, ever, ever, ever think a woman was less of a mother or did something horribly wrong to her child or her relationship with her child because she either could not labor naturally or (gasp) chose not to.

I gave birth to my son without any medications because I could. While I hope I can have unmedicated labors with future children, I don't know if that will be the case, and that's okay.

I breastfed part-time for two months, and formula fed full time after that. I will be better prepared to try and breastfeed future children, if I am blessed with them. But if I can't, that's okay.

We started out sharing our bed with our baby, then didn't for 5 months, and now, well…we share our bed with our son some nights and other nights we don't. So depending on your definition of co-sleeping we do or we don't.

I don't baby wear because I think it will make my baby better than yours. I do it because it makes life easier, and he likes it. I might have a baby in the future who hates to be in carriers, and that's okay.

If there's one thing I learned from not being able to breastfeed (besides the plethora of supply inducing supplements) it's that I cannot and should not judge others parenting choices. I'm not saying anything goes, because we can all probably agree that there are certain things that are wrong when it comes to parenting. But there is a lot of wiggle room. What works for one family might not work for another. I'm only one baby into this game, and hopefully there will be more, but I know this: parenting is the practice of flexibility.

This is an accurate portrayal of us as parents looking at our offspring

Squash and Squishy Babies

Jacqui Skemp1 Comment
So that crazy acorn squash? Ate. It.

Two years ago, when we were real-real newlyweds, Ian worked at a few farmers markets and would bring bags and bags of produce home. Like a ton. I mean, more tomatoes than I could handle. He brought home all kinds of crunchy, white folk farmers market goodness. And I don't know if it's a midwest thing, or a non-my family thing or what, but I hadn't even seen an acorn squash up close. I'm pretty confident when it comes to cooking. Arrogant at times. But that stupid squash came home in his bag a few times, and I would set it in a bowl because it was pretty but it kind of intimidated me. Ian told me to just cut one in half and bake it with butter and sugar. Too simple. Not interested. I think he ate a whole one by himself. So there they sat, those pretty little squashes. A few months later, into to the trash they went.

I have redeemed myself. This year, Ian started working the farmers markets again and guess what came home. So I asked around, and used handy dandy Pinterest. Bam. This. Acorn squash stuffed with yummy stuffs.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly. I hate olives, so we didn't even have any on hand, which is sad for Ian because he loves them. But he didn't even know they were called for. Sneaks. I also added a bell pepper, and I ended up baking the squash But that's mainly because I didn't realize that this squash doesn't get soft like butternut squash or yams. I was expecting yams, ya'll!

On a side note, it's National Baby Wearing Week. It's a week of granola-mamas showing off their babies. I wont get into all the benefits of babywearing, but I know that Iggy loves it, and so do Ian and I. It really makes life easier and enjoyable for all of us. Here's some squishy cuteness.

Autumn and Albondigas

Jacqui Skemp5 Comments
This past Saturday was the last day of summer, and Minnesota knew it. We spent the eve of autumn enjoying dinner with friends, and roasting tomatoes and chili peppers from their garden to make salsa. A jar of it is coming our way, and I am excited. As we left their house that night you could feel that fall chill creeping in. Tis soup season, folks! I kept my mom up that night making sure she gave me her recipe for albondigas. It's essentially a meatball soup, with lots of veggies and all around goodness. 

My mom and I are the same in that we're terrible when it comes to measurements. Not terrible in the "on no you ruined the recipe" way. But more along the lines of "you want my recipe? Well, good luck because I have no idea how much of everything went into it". 

I know that I used two pounds of ground beef and two eggs for the meatballs, but the other stuff? No clue. I base a lot of it on smell. If it smells right, then it's right. Bada bing, bada boom.

You see that pretty wooden spoon here? Completely for show. I'm a liar. I used my hands to mix this, and you should too.

Oh, and rice. That should have all been mixed in at the same time. It's under cooked rice, and it's supposed to be like that. 

I'm sure there are a million different ways of making this dish, given all the regional and family variations. This is just how I grew up eating it, and you know what? It's yums.

After these meatballs have been plopped into boiling water, turn to the vegetables. I use carrots, zucchini, green beans, celery and potatoes. That acorn squash is just photo bombing. Get out of here acorn squash, I have no idea what to do with you.

Chop those veggies, and get them into a second pot of boiling water. I then chop up three roma tomatoes and about half an onion and a couple of garlic cloves and blend them with a little bit of water. I add that to the pot with the veggies. 

And then you add this. I heart this stuff. I use it way too often in excessive amounts. Yuu--uum. How much went in? Don't know. You could probably use chicken broth.

Same with the salt.

These little guys are not necessary, but I love adding them. They are azafran (or zaffron pellets for you gringos, but you're probably hip and will call them azafran). Sometimes known as the poor man's saffron. You can buy them here. Or, if you're lucky like me, you're parents will grow them in their yard and send them to you because they miss you and love you, and want to remind you how good home is and are hoping this gesture will entice you to move back.

They're hard little pellets that you sort of gently tap to crack the shell. You only use the orange stuff inside. I mush them up with a little bit of water in a molcajete, but mine was still at our friends so I used a mortar and pestle. 

Beautiful, isn't it?

Add this to the pot with the vegetables. I have two large pots, so this system works for me. You could probably do it with just one. 

Once the albondigas are done, it all goes together in the same pot. I use a slotted spoon to move the albondigas to the pot with the veggies Then use a strainer to add all of that left over water to the pot with the veggies. Bring to boil, then simmer. Don't forget to check the salt. You might need to add more at this point.  I usually just check how soft the potatoes are to tell when it's done. Season with dried oregano. My family usually adds corn on the cob in the soup, but I forgot it this time. Shame on me.

Serve with a splash of lime and a warm tortilla. 

You're welcome.

My sweet helper


2 lb. ground beef
2 eggs
1/4 rice
Ground Cloves
3 roma tomatoes
1 onion
2-3 garlic cloves
5 medium carrots
3 medium zucchini
1-2 potatoes
Handful of greenbeans 
Chicken bouillon or chicken stock
20 azafran pellets

1. In a large bowl mix ground beef, eggs, seasonings, and rice. Form meatballs (I make mine about two bites sized) and place into 8 cups boiling water in first pot. 

2. In second pot, boil another 8 cups. Blend tomato, onion and garlic. Add that to pot. Chop veggies and add those to this pot. 

3. Once meatballs are done, add them to second pot. Strain contents of first pot, and add that broth to the second pot. Add salt, chicken bouillon, and azafran. Add water and salt as desired. Bring to boil, then simmer till veggies are soft. You can add the dried oregano to the whole pot, or to individual servings.