Isaac James Rollins
7 lbs 5 oz
20.5 inches long
Sunday, the 28th, at 37 weeks, 4 days pregnant, I slept in due to a killer sinus headache. When I finally got up at 1:30, my parents were congregating in the living room and I joined them to chat, and also began to talk to Edgar over text. I shared with all of them that I had a “feeling” that the baby was coming this week. Part of my reasoning was that while I hadn’t had any Braxton Hicks, I had felt mild menstrual-like cramps very occasionally throughout my third trimester, and I had been feeling them every night for the past week. I wondered, “could this be my body’s version of prodromal labor?” and started getting this feeling I may not even last through the weekend, though I didn’t share that specific detail with my parents or Edgar, not wanting to alarm them.
Then, while sitting there, my water broke.
Not a little bit. A LOT. Niagra Falls, a LOT. And it didn’t stop!
I jumped up and just stood there, on the laminate floor, sort of in shock, until I could gather myself to call Edgar (with whom I was still engaged in text conversation) to tell him my water broke and he needed to do whatever he needed to do to get clearance to come down here ASAP. Then I called my doula. As luck would have it, ALL THREE of her AUGUST clients went into labor the SAME WEEKEND. In fact, she was with one client at the time, who also had her water break (by the way, water breaking before the onset of labor only happens in about 10-12% of births, despite what the movies show!), and that client was also delivering at Harris, where I was to be delivering. She told me she didn’t expect me to give birth until the next morning and to keep her informed and she’d send a backup doula my way and try to share time between us. Then I called L&D to let them know I’d be coming in soon.
Since I tested Group B Strep negative and my fluid was clear, we took our time getting out the door. We secured a flight for Edgar, which would be coming in at 10pm, and gathered our things. I blew up Facebook with a status update. Two hours later as we were heading out the door, I started feeling more cramping that came and went. I knew this was really early labor and I still couldn’t time them, though halfway to the hospital, in the car, I could.
I checked into maternal observation at about 4:30, and my contractions were about two minutes apart, 30 seconds long, and still pretty mild. As luck would have it, all of L&D AND maternal observation was full! There was a running joke that there was something in the air, because just about every woman in there came in because her water broke (remember that 10-12% statistic? Hah!). I sat (on a bunch of towels) in the waiting room with my parents for about an hour before I was brought back. By that time my contractions were still 2 minutes apart and a full minute in length, and slightly stronger.
The nurse checked me and got really confused. She wasn’t sure what she was feeling, but she said it didn’t feel right. She sent for the midwife, who was at first thinking she was feeling the wrong cervix (I have uterine didelphys-double uterus with double cervix), so she checked me herself. Nope, something wasn’t right. That wasn’t a head they were feeling. The brought me to another room where they did an ultrasound and they found that my baby had somehow turned into the transverse position with his legs in some funky yoga move. One foot was tucked behind him while the other was folded in front, tucked into my pelvis, against my cervix… with the umbilical cord. Game over. With his position and the threat of a cord prolapse, there was only one way this child could come out safely, and that was a c-section.
It took a little while to process, but my doula, who managed to take a break from her other client to spend time with me, reminded me that this was one of those few instances we discussed in our childbirth classes where a cesarean was absolutely necessary. She also reminded me that it’s a very good thing that Isaac “picked his own birthday,” and that every contraction I was feeling was not in vain–they were stimulating catecholamines, amino acids that are beneficial to his immunity. I found peace in that. My next concern was that Edgar was now on a plane somewhere on a four-hour flight en route to Texas, and the chances of him arriving before the birth were now next to nil.
It took an hour and a half to prep me for surgery. In the meantime my contractions got much stronger and started to piggyback (I learned later this often happens with malpresenting babies). My mom and doula worked with me through just about every contraction, massaging my legs, blunting the sharpness of the pain.
I was wheeled into surgery a little after 8, and at 8:31, he was here. My mom took pictures while my doula rubbed my forehead and exclaimed, “your uterus is SO COOL!” Haha!
He had a lot of fluid in his lungs, so they had to suction him out pretty quickly, so delayed cord clamping and immediate skin-to-skin wasn’t exactly an option, but they brought me to him as soon as he was breathing and wiped down. I held him on my chest while my midwife sutured up my incisions. He was beautiful. He looked just like Edgar except that he had my lips!
I was wheeled back into L&D to recover for a little bit, and my dad arrived with Edgar in tow at about 10:45.
Several days later my midwife chatted with us about what she, the surgeon, and the other midwives think happened. Isaac had been faithfully in the vertex position every week, even up to my last midwife appointment two days before delivery. It’s possible that after my water broke, my second, non-pregnant uterus put pressure on the other one and encouraged him to flip with each contraction. Another thought is that the force of my membranes breaking “flushed” him into transverse. We can’t really know for sure, but that if my membranes break prematurely next time, she advises I come to the hospital right away.
She also spoke very positively of my candidacy for a VBAC, telling me that they had done a low transverse incision (most common these days) and double-layer stitched my uterus (not very common these days) to preserve its strength as much as possible. She also said that my pregnant uterus was very healthy-looking. On the other hand, she told me that my second uterus looked “rudimentary” and probably wouldn’t sustain a healthy pregnancy in the off-chance I was even able to get pregnant in that side. This isn’t exactly news to me, but it’s good to have a bit extra information about my second uterus.
While I am going to have to wait a bit longer for my natural birth, I am blessed with the healthy little boy I have now.
Sons are a heritage from the Lord; children a reward from Him.
He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.
(All photos taken by Katie Sanders Photography)
It’s been six months since my last post, and life it completely different. In six months:
* Edgar has begun and completed training at Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI. Here’s the thing–he’s still there. Due to some medical clearance complications, he is in student pool while we wade through all the protocols to get his clearance, commission, and orders. It’s been a trip, I tell ya what! And we still don’t know when he’ll get to leave.
(Leaving for OCS)
(Following the OCS graduation ceremony in Newport, RI)
(Ed gifted me some newborn N-Dubs! N-Dubs of course referring to NWUs, Navy Working Uniform)
* I have moved us out of our house in Plainview. Most of our earthly belongings currently reside in a POD in Lubbock, while I have been camping out in my parents’ house in Fort Worth since May.
(I moved out of our house the day before the 28th week of my pregnancy)
* I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant. This pregnancy has exceeded everyone’s expectations and has had zero complications. Definitely a blessing amidst all of life’s uncertainty right now! I was told I may not make it to 34 weeks. 34 weeks came and went. I was told I may go into preterm labor. I’ll be “full term” in 3 days and my body hasn’t done anything out of the ordinary. I was told my baby may have growth restriction. My uterus has done nothing but accommodate and has been measuring LARGE with a still-quite-active baby. I was told there’s a good chance he (yes, HE!) would be breech. He was head-down until a few days before my 32 week ultrasound when he decided to somersault on me. After a weekend of inversions and frozen veggie compresses, he flipped back to vertex and has been that way ever since.
(Baby BOY at 22w5d. He looks just like his daddy!)
(My most recent belly shot. 36 weeks!)
(My sister did some beautiful maternity shots for me several weeks back! She’s on Facebook. Check her out!)
I’ve been living in a bubble of uncertainty for quite some time now. Nothing really has gone “as expected.” We were expecting Edgar to graduate, come back to Plainview one last time, and move with me to Pensacola where we would set up house and prepare for our new baby, together, in the comfort of our own home. Now, there is a makeshift nursery set up in the corner of my sister’s room, and I’ve been sharing a bed with her. We aren’t sure if Edgar will be able to make it down in time for the birth, and we have no idea when we will be able to move, and at this point we’re not even sure where we are going.
This sort of uncertainty would devastate some people. I will admit it’s hard, and there are times where we feel more hopeless than faithful. But I also remember that it is in these moments that God teaches me His most important lessons. It has been my experience that the best decisions in life have happened when I really had no choice but to trust Him. It is also in these times that God has spoken through my husband’s sense of intuition to teach me that I can’t depend on “evidence” all the time. God will get us through. He always has. He always does. That is His promise.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry,whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength Philippians 4:12-13
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
2012 was a year of subtle, but important change. I didn’t change jobs or do anything drastic like that, like I had in 2011. 2012 was quiet and subdued for the most part, it was a year of preparation for what is to come in 2013.
In May, Edgar completed his double-major in Business and Music, and began a journey toward a commission in the U.S. Navy. Shortly after my last post, he received his professional recommendation, then his final select letter, then official swore in a few weeks ago. He will be leaving in a few short weeks to begin his training as a Naval officer.
Around that same time, we discovered another equally exciting pieces of news, which has turned our world upside down in the best way possible:
Baby Rollins has been given an estimated due date of 8/14/13, though given my double uterus, could be expected to come in July!
This is why I haven’t posted lately. I have been sick between the flu and morning sickness and relentless fatigue, but this week I am working to push forward through the progesterone-induced fog and get this house ready for our impending move, and revive my writing.
Sometime soon, I will go into a bit more detail of the changes I went through before getting pregnant (hint: it involves a lot of eggs and butterfat). For me, conceiving without medication or struggle, while having PCOS, was a big deal, and it deserves its own post.
What major change has the last year brought for you?
Today, on the very first day of October, I turned off my air conditioner and opened my windows. There’s a slight chill in the air and I’m breathing it all in deep.
It’s really starting to feel like fall here. I spotted several yellow spots on varying trees. I can probably wear long sleeves without (too much) problem. At night, I wear sweatshirts when I go outside, and we even had a fire in our fireplace a few nights ago. My Netflix movie came in today. Sleepy Hollow.
I’m so ready for this.
I’ve been eating a lot of soup lately. It makes for a really fun fall lunch, and it makes sure that I consume more homemade bone broth. Some people can drink the stuff like water. I can’t. But in soup (or pot roast), flavorful stock is the secret to umami-filled meal.
The (other) secret to this soup is the presence of chestnuts. Chestnuts aren’t (quite) in season here yet. Plainview won’t see them until December, but my hometown of Fort Worth will probably have them by Thanksgiving. I just happened to stock up on some last Christmas, peel them, and freeze them for recipes this year. Today I decided to fish them out and use them is this delicious autumnal soup. You can use jarred chestnuts. I’ve seen those year-round in several higher-end grocery stores (Market Street, Sprouts, Central Market, etc.).
I also used acorn squash for this, but other winter squash varieties like pumpkin, butternut, or kabocha would work perfectly as well!
Winter Squash & Chestnut Soup
1 tbsp butter or coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 tsp salt (if using storebought broth, stick with one teaspoon and go up from there)
1 cup peeled chestnuts
3/4-1 lb winter squash flesh, cubed
3 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
2 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup filtered water
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp fresh thyme
Yogurt, sour cream, or heavy cream for topping (optional)
Salted, toasted squash seeds for topping (optional)
Over medium-low heat, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Once melted, add onion and salt and allow onion to soften, stirring occasionally.
Add chestnuts, winter squash, and garlic to the saucepan. Continue to cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add broth, water, black pepper, coriander, and allspice together in the pot. Stir and cover with a lid. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
Turn off heat and add in fresh thyme. Carefully transfer contents of the saucepan to a blender or food processor. On low-speed, blend until smooth, approximately 3 minutes.
Pour or ladle into bowls and serve as is or topped with yogurt/sour cream/heavy cream and squash seeds.
Here begins the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats for 2012! Remember when I participated last year? Well it’s time again! Hard to believe it’s really twelve weeks until Christmas!
I decided to try something new this year. Last year most of my entries for the blog hop were gluten free (the red velvet cheesecake brownies being the lone exception). This year, I will continue to make all my entries gluten free, but I will also be experimenting with some grain-free options. They are certainly not low-carb in most cases, and keep in mind, treats are treats and I will treat them as such. I make no presumption that these are “healthy,” though I do choose to use real food ingredients and keep dietary limitations in mind. When it all comes down to it, these are for pure enjoyment and seasonal celebration. As they should be!
Now let’s get on to it!
To start things off this year, we’ve got to head right into the pumpkin. And for the record, making these cupcakes required the last of my first stash of canned pumpkin for the season. One of the things I love about pumpkin is that it’s essentially pumpkin season four months out of the year. These translate well from fall right into Christmas time! The fact that I eat pumpkin year-round is entirely beside the point…
Grain-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes
Adapted from Elana’s Pantry
Makes 1 dozen
1.5 cups raw almonds
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp applesauce
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp molasses
1 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or combination of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor or high speed blender, combine the almonds, arrowroot, salt, and baking soda together until you get as fine of a meal as possible without turning it into weirdly seasoned almond butter. Then add all the rest of the ingredients and process for an additional 2-5 minutes. This will help smooth the mixture.
Fill a cupcake pan lined with papers with the batter, filling each cup about 2/3 full.
Bake for 20-22 minutes. I bake these for a bit longer than I do flour-based cupcakes. This helps the protein structure set a bit better, I think.
Allow to cool completely before frosting. I’ve learned that almond flour-based baked goods tend to taste better the longer they are out of the oven.
Classic Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick butter
1/2 package of cream cheese
1 lb powdered sugar (normal powdered sugar contained cornstarch, making this not grain-free. However, organic varieties sometimes use arrowroot in lieu of cornstarch. Or you can blend your own granulated/turbinado/coconut sugar for makeshift powdered sugar)
1 tsp vanilla
In a mixer, whip butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until soft and smooth. Then slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Smear or pipe onto cooled cupcakes!
Here are my submissions to last year’s blog hop!
Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
And check out all these other lovely blogs!
Growing up, I didn’t eat a variety of vegetables. Most of my green vegetable consumption consisted of iceberg lettuce smothered in ranch dressing or green beans out of a can sprinkled with salt. Oh, and steamed broccoli was my side dish of choice going out. I just wasn’t exposed to much.
But then I went away for college and all that changed. I ate asparagus, zucchini, artichokes, spinach. So many new foods and so many new preparations! I’m pretty sure I grew up thinking that I disliked vegetables, but now I firmly believe that one much taste a food in a variety of different preparations before concluding you actually dislike the food itself. One vegetable I think many dislike is the Brussels sprout. I don’t blame people for disliking it. It’s bitter and smells a little like gym sock, especially when steamed. But I don’t steam my Brussels sprouts. No, the tiny cabbage has become one of my favorite cruciferous vegetables (steamed broccoli with melted butter and salt still wins), but I either roast or braise mine! And when you pair Brussels sprouts with the salty savoriness of bacon and sweet tang of hard cider, you’ve got a great fall side dish! And just in time for the weather to turn cold.
Braised Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Hard Cider
1 lb Brussels sprouts
3 large shallots, sliced
3 large rashers of bacon, chopped
1/2 bottle of hard cider
salt & pepper to taste
Heat a pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and sliced shallots and allow the bacon fat to render out and the shallots to become soft and fragrant.
In the meantime, using a knife or a slicing blade on a food processor, slice the Brussels sprouts into shreds.
When the shallots are soft and bacon fat fairly well rendered out, turn the heat up to medium-high and add the shredded sprouts. Saute for several minutes at this higher heat. When the sprouts are bright green (after about 3-5 minutes), pour in the hard cider, stir, and allow to cook down until there isn’t any cider pooling in the pan (a few more minutes). Salt and pepper to taste.
Is there any food you disliked growing up but learned to love?
Have you ever made a fall bucket list? I feel like I make one every year, whether I write it down or not. Fall is, of course, my favorite season. I am so obsessed with fall that I have an organized section on my video shelf that I understand to be “fall mood movies.” I eat pumpkin year-round, and I daydream about what to do the coming fall once January hits every year.
Last year, my bucket list consisted of things like, visit a corn maze (check), drink pumpkin ale (check—but still don’t like beer), and read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Legend of Rip Van Winkle (started but didn’t finish. Is it just me or is Washington Irving painfully wordy?!). Some things, though, did not get finished and were moved to this year’s list. In this case, apple picking!
This past weekend, John and I visited our local apple orchard (Apple Country Orchards) for their annual Apple Butter Festival (sadly, Edgar had to work and could not join us). It was really just a small arts and crafts festival, but the real fun was walking through the orchards, bag or bucket in hand, picking your own apples (which can be done any day, really).
The weather was perfect! We had a small cool front move through the panhandle that day, which provided a lovely, breezy snap in the air that truly invites feelings of early fall.
One of the things I learned on this trip was to not be so hard on myself that we have apple tree in our back yard, and even though many apples grew from them, bugs and/or birds got to them the MOMENT they were ripe, so a good percentage of them aren’t any good. Walking through the orchard made me realize that this is completely normal!
We tried to make sure we got a good variety of apples. Apple Country Orchards raises a variety of trees so that at any given time of the year, SOMETHING is in season.
In the end, we came home with ten pounds of apples between us, plus some raw apple cider (which I may or may not attempt to ferment into hard cider. It’s on my fall bucket list for this year!), and apple butter. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of apples we obtained, John and I spend yesterday evening baking up apple chips, baked stuffed apples, and Martha Stewart’s Apple-Butternut Squash soup.
This soup is pretty fantastic. It has a little spiciness that warms the back of your throat in the most comforting way possible. I won’t type out the recipe here since I followed the original pretty much to the letter, so I’ll just refer you to this link. I highly recommend you try it this fall.
All these recipes and we still have 45 apples left! Do you have any suggestions for apple recipes? Also, what is on your fall bucket list?
It’s a shame I don’t do more photography. My bachelor’s degree is in art, and photography was one of my main forms of expression. I’d have to same time has passed and made it too easy for me to forget my camera. As a result, I’m underpracticed. So I’ve decided that’s going to change!
I spent some of my birthday money on this book I’ve been lusting for a while now. Plate to Pixel. It’s a book on very basic food photography—a concept that was barely even mentioned in my advanced photography class.
I’ve also decided to transform our guest room into my personal photography studio. I fell in love with the window in there the moment we toured the house, and Ed mentioned that he was disappointed that we hardly used the room at all. I still have all the guest room furniture in there, but I’ve moved stuff around so I have room for my photography equipment by the window. Before now, any time I wanted to take food photos, I had to drag furniture around my dining room, pull out a mess of stuff, and have to clean up afterwards (or leave unsightly clutter in my most minimalist-designed room in the house). Now that I have a separate space, I can just leave my stuff and close the door!
(Forgive blurry iPhone photos. As you can see, my SLR was otherwise occupied in what is now my new favorite thing—shooting tethered!)
Finally my AWANA trophies come out of the closet and serve some purpose!
I normally think that any bed larger than a twin looks tacky when shoved into a corner, but considering function was priority over fashion in this case, I made the move. I’m glad I did though! Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s a twin bed, so not huge, but I think it looks better this way! When the bed is made, of course…
One of the first things I experimented my new skills on was a flourless mocha cake I took to a church function the other day. Check out the results of that shoot!
And my favorite…!
I think it would be cruel to leave you without the recipe to this beauty, so enjoy!
Flourless Mocha Layer Cake
Adapted from the Southern Living Christmas Cookbook
1 cup chocolate chips (I used dark)
1/4 cup strong coffee
5 large eggs, divided
3/4 cup sugar (I used sucanat, but coconut sugar, turbinado, or regular granulated will work just fine)
1 cup whipping cream
~1/2 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee granules (1/2 packet of Starbucks Via brew works too)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar (plus more for dusting)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Lightly oil the bottoms of two or three (I only have two) round cake pans. Then, cut parchment paper to fit into the bottom of the pans. You do NOT want to skip this step. This is a fragile cake and trying to pull the cake out of the pan without the parchment paper on the bottom will make the cake fall apart. I know from personal experience. Don’t skip.
Microwave the chocolate chips and the coffee together in 30 second intervals, stirring EACH TIME, until the mixture is smooth and chocolate is melted. Set aside and allow to cool.
Whip the egg whites together until strong peaks form. In a separate bowl, whip the egg yolks and the 3/4 cup of sugar together until smooth and the yolks have lightened in color. Stir the melted chocolate in with the egg yolk mixture. Then, gently fold in 1/3 of the stiff egg whites into the chocolate batter. ONCE INCORPORATED (don’t obsess over getting it all mixed in, lest you break down all the air bubbles and the cake will be nasty and flat), add in half of what’s left of the stiff egg whites, gently folding. Then, add the last. The batter should be light and airy. Don’t worry about visible eggy air bubbles. It’s better to err on the side of not-combined-enough.
Pour the batter evenly among the three cake pans. Or you can do two layers. Or you can do what I do and put 1/3 of the batter into each of my TWO round pans, bake them, empty them, and then bake the last layer separately. Remember that parchment lining? Don’t skip it!
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove pans and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before de-panning. The sides of the cake will separate from the pan.
While the cake is baking, in a mixing bowl, combine the cream, espresso powder, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Whip at a high speed with your mixer until stiff peaks form. You may want to taste it to see if the strength of the coffee flavor is to your liking.
Once the cakes are cool, de-pan them one-by-one, peeling off the parchment paper, and layer them with the cream filling in between them. Sprinkle the top of the cake with powdered sugar or cocoa powder, if desired.
Over the last few years I’ve heard it all. Eat less fat! Eat fewer carbs! Eat organic! Don’t eat meat! Don’t eat grains! Don’t eat dairy! Eat more kale! You must combine this micronutrient with this other nutrient or else the world will end and all your fat will go to your thighs! Eat real food!
Eat real food…?
This is a concept I’ve had to weigh on my heart lately. Is the choice to eat “real food” such a luxury? Is it really just for those who have the means to spend well on their food? If I find myself in a place where food is a real struggle to keep on the table, must I resign to eat manufactured franken-foodstuffs or else fall under the scrutiny of those who believe I am naïve and don’t know what poverty truly feels like?
To me, real food is that which sustains us. That which has always sustained us. What has been given to use to eat. To me, eating real food has a certain sense of responsibility with it. Of accountability. Sustainability. Stewardship. Eating real food goes beyond the label we choose at the grocery store, brand name or dietary dogma. A certain sense of respect for what we have been given. A gratitude.
I pondered this the other day while I was making chips and salsa. Edgar wanted chips and salsa from Chili’s and I told him we had all the stuff to make it at home. I already had some fermented salsa in the fridge. The only matter was to cook up some corn tortillas and fry them into chips.
As I stood there, patiently, transferring five or six triangles of corn tortilla at a time in the smoking pan of pig fat (I always feel like I’m going to burn the house down when I fry), I thought about one of Michael Pollan’s rules: “eat all the junk food you want, as long as you make it yourself.” Yes, I was sitting here in a sweaty kitchen, making everything smell like lard, and I realized that eating real, local food doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
The tomatoes, jalepenos, and onions that made up 98% of that salsa came from the local farmers market. They aren’t organic, but nothing here really is. I figure that what a home gardener sprays on his plants pales in comparison to what mass-produced vegetation receives. Plus, they’re cheaper and they’re fresh, and I personally know the man who grew them for me. You can’t put a price on that.
Now, I could arguably order some sprouted flour online and pay an extra $10 to have it shipped half-way across the country to my house, or I could respect the fact that I live in the Southwest, and little grows better in this region of the world than corn. The native peoples of this area figured out a long time ago how to make corn digestible and more nutritious. Nixtamalization is the term used to treat maize with lime (calcium hydroxide. not the fruit), and it is a practice still used today. I can go to the store down the street, pick up a two-dollar bag of masa harina (nixtamalized maize that has been dehydrated then ground into a flour) and make countless traditional (and not so traditional–tortilla chips are not at all traditional!), naturally gluten free foods without ever visiting a health food store.
Next, the lard. Ever wonder what people used to fry food in before the invention of industrial peanut oil and Crisco? Animal fat. I’m totally over the concept of fat from responsibly-raised or wild animals being bad for you. Plus, at $1.50/lb from my local rancher, lard is far, far cheaper than coconut oil, olive oil, and pastured butter. Who said eating locally, traditionally, and, in my opinion, healthfully, needed be expensive?
Perspective, I think. Is a dish best served with jalapenos and salt.