Wednesday Wants: Skip Hop Lunchbox

So flipping cute!

Dee started preschool yesterday and was so excited to go to her first day.  We owed this excitement to one new item that we added to our household last Saturday – Dee’s Zebra Skip Hop Lunchbox.  It’s no secret we’ve been missing in action on the website lately – what with the wedding and the move directly after so I wasn’t able to tell you all about how obsessed Dee has become with zoo animals.  In particular the zebra, giraffe, and “lion king”.  We went to the Oregon Zoo multiple times in the weeks before our move, as a good bye to my working grounds, as well as to satiate our toddlers constant need to have “mom, dad, dee, zoo” (translation, “mom and dad I want to go to the zoo”).

So as soon as I learned that she was goign to need a lunch box for her new preschool we immediately started looking for cute animal lunchboxes and stumbled across the Skip Hop Zoo Line.

The full line-up of adorable animals

She originally wanted the giraffe but they were sold out.  But the zebra has made her so happy and has helped to keep her pumped up for school.  In fact, she was so excited for school and using her zebra lunchbox that she carried it all the way to the car, then into the schoo,l and then jigged her way to the front desk to show it off.  She keeps asking to pack the zebra lunchbox and go to school!  I’ll let you know if he keeps her this pumped up for school as the “honeymoon” period comes to a close.

meg

Wednesday Wants: Back to School Apps via Parents.com

I thought this was a really cool article by Parents.com.  Apps are becoming a major part of our lives and are not just for our phones, but for personal computers, tablets, notebooks, and laptops (I’m sure a few more could be named).

I thought Easy Reader was a cool one, which allows your to browse through ebooks from libraries.

There are a number of really good suggestions from recipe finders, schedule helpers, brain boosters… make sure you check them out.

Parents.com even has one that is perfect for me a jax, Playgrounds, that allows users to look through, rate, and enter playground information so others can learn about them.

Do you have any apps you love using that help you and/or your family?

ash

Monday Meals: Lime & Cilantro Quinoa Salad

Summer hasn’t really started here in Portland but that hasn’t stopped me from preparing summery dishes (even if it is a little cold for them – I can’t believe how long the cold has hung on here this year!).  This is one of my favorite recipes every summer because the flavors meld so well and it’s perfect served cold.  Quinoa is a superfood, full of 8 amino acids, gluten free and full of protein so it’s also perfect for the littles!

Lime, Cilantro & Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Ingredients: Yields 8 servings

  • 2 cups vegetable broth (chicken works great as well)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in cold water
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2T freshly squeezed lime juice (I often do more because I like the zestyness but you can always add at the end to your own personal taste)
  • 1tsp lime zest
  • 1/2 cup of black beans(can is okay just rinse them)
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced or halved
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions: In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, garlic, lime juice, lime zest, stevia and salt & pepper. Put aside. In a large pot, add quinoa to boiling vegetable broth, stir, turn heat down to low, cover and let quinoa cook for about 20min. Once cooked, fluff quino with a fork and place in a medium size bowl.

Add lime dressing, black beans, cilantro and tomatoes. Mix. I like this cold, but you can also serve warm.

Also, pair it with plain yogurt – so yummy and the flavors really compliment each other!  I hope this recipe helps contribute to some fabulous summer Bar-b-ques!

meg

Monday Meals: Healthy Chicken Nuggets

It’s Monday Meals!

What makes these chicken nuggets extra healthy is that recipe has veggie puree (your choice) and flax seed meal (vitamin B, omega 3s, fiber, magnesium, manganese).

My nuggets came out a little dark looking because I used flax seed and not flax seed meal.  It really wasn’t that obvious that I used the seeds in stead of the meal, and they came out really good!  They were surprisingly easy to make.

I opted for sweet potato veggie puree, because I had it on hand.  The recipe:


Infused Chicken Nuggets

(serves 4)
Combine the following in a bowl/container:
  • 1 pound of chicken rinsed, dried, and cut into chunks.
Egg Batter (combine the following in a shallow bowl):
  • 1 cup veggie puree (broccoli, spinach, sweet potato, or beet)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Breading (combine the following in a shallow bowl):

  • 1 cup whole-wheat, white, or Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup flax seed meal
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: paprika, garlic, and onion powder
How to cook:
  1. Place the breadcrumb mixture and egg mixture next to each other.
  2. Turn a skillet on medium-high heat and coat with nonstick cooking spray.  When the skillet is hot add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Dip your chicken chunks into the egg batter first and then into the breadcrumbs making sure they are completely coated, then toss in the skillet and cook about 4-5 minutes each side till golden brown.  Check a piece by cutting it half and making sure the chicken is cooked all the way through (I check the thickest piece).
NOTE: you can spice your chicken with some salt if you want before adding it to the egg/breadcrumbs, but I didn’t add any and they came out great.  Also, I kept the breadcrumbs to the side and added a little at a time to a plate.  I only used about half the breadcrumb mixture this way, which means I was able to store the rest in the fridge for the next time I make them.  I served them with some steamed organic peas.
recipe adopted from Deceptively Delicious

Wouldn’t it be fun to have green (broccolli or spinach) or pink (beet) chicken nuggets!

I would love to figure out how to bake these instead of fry.  Frying doesn’t appeal to me as a mother and I think popping these in the oven seems easier.

Hope you enjoy!

ENJOY! ash

Monday Meals: Veggie or Fruit Infused French Toast

It’s Monday Meals!

I thought this was such a smart idea – infuse your french toast (or just about anything) with veggie or fruit puree.

not the prettiest picture. i guess i need to work on my food presentation.

I have done this with pancakes (pumpkin) before, but I  had never thought about doing it with french toast.  French toast is our main go to in the morning.  I whip up the mixture and make sure to double the recipe so I’ll have extra for the week.  I mix it in a small, rectangular casserole container with a lid so that I can store the left over mixture in the fridge for use the next morning (think the size of bread slices).

I opted for sweet potato veggie puree, because Jax will always eat fruit so I don’t really need to “supplement” these into his diet.  The recipe:

Infused French Toast

(serves 4)

Combine the following in a bowl/container:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp veggie or fruit puree (banana, pinapple, sweet potato, carrot, butternut squash, pumpkin)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla (the recipe doesn’t call for this either, but I love vanilla in my french toast)
  • (the recipe doesn’t call for it, but I add a little milk too, about 1/4 cup.  That’s how my mom always made french toast)
  • 4 slices of bread
How to cook:

  1. Soak your bread in the mixture for about 30 seconds.
  2. Turn a griddle on medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot coat the bottom with butter (roll it around to melt all over).  When the butter melts, place your soaked bread slices on the griddle and cook till each side is golden brown.
  3. Serve with your pure maple syrup (I make sure it’s the real deal, not corn syrup with “maple syrup” flavoring) and/or these toppings; applesauce, peanut butter, fruit.
recipe adopted from Deceptively Delicious

Jax usually has 1/2 piece of french toast (I eat the other half), a 1/8 cup of fruit, with an egg.  I get both fruit and egg too.

Let me know what you think!

ENJOY! ash

Monday Meals: Iron & Your Wee One

So in lieu of an actual meal, I decided to do some research on foods that are good sources of iron.  However, you should note that if your baby is still breastfeeding, breastfeeding is a really good source of iron.

Jax just had his one year check up and was a little low in iron (just barely – .1% lower than “normal).  We are starting to phase out breastfeeding, so I’m not sure if that is the cause.  Typically people think iron comes mainly from meat, which is what my pediatrician suggested I add more of to his diet.  Meat is also a great source of protein, which is doubly important for your babies developing mind and body.

Jax isn’t really into meat (we try to include a meat option at every meal, but getting him to eat it is another issue altogether).  Yes, I’ve got a somewhat vegetarian child.  I wonder if this has to do with my mostly vegetarian diet when I was pregnant?  Well here are some websites with lists of high iron foods and explanations of the benefits of iron:

http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/Iron.htm  (also has a list of how much iron your child should be getting and at what age – I love these types of list.  They aren’t always easy to find.)

http://kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/iron/)

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/dietary-sources-of-iron-for-vegetarians.html

http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/iron.htm

I didn’t want to copy and paste a huge long list, sorry . . . it just seemed redundant.  The important thing to note is there are two types of iron – heme (protein/meat foods) and non-heme (plant foods).  Adding foods with Vitamin C into the meal with iron rich foods will aid the absorbtion of iron, especially with non-heme (plant) foods.  Non- heme foods are where we get most of our iron, but it doesn’t absorb as easily as  heme foods do.  Here are some sources of Vitamin C rich foods:

  • Citrus
  • Berries
  • Green Veggies (broccoli & cabbage)
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Tomatoes

The non-heme foods that I’ve been trying to incorporate into his diet are:

  • Spinach- freshly steamed and added to a smoothie that has a berry or peaches (Vitamin C rich food), we usually have a smoothie at snack time or as part of one of his meals
  • Beans- he likes black and pinto especially.
  • Oatmeal – about every other day for breakfast
  • Quinoa

I normally include a heme type food, but like I said, he usually won’t eat those.  I include it so that at least he tries it, since they are good sources of iron that aren’t as hard to absorb as non-heme.

Take a look at the list provided in the links.  For me,  I was able to realize, yeah I am providing lots of foods with iron, but here are some other ones that are higher in iron that I could include more often so that I can increase his iron.

Just wanted to share this with you if your little one has the same issue!  Or keep doing what your doing if they don’t!

Hope you had a great Monday!

Ash

Things I wish I would have known before having a baby

  1. It’s hard (really hard – imagine how hard you think it’s going to be and then multiply by 100 – at least.  Totally worth it though!)
  2. Infant potty training (to be fair I knew about this but just felt too overwhelmed in the first couple of months to even try but now I wish I would have approached it just like eating, walking, or drinking.  Just do it and realize there will be messes to clean up – that’s part of the learning process and it takes WAY longer to unlearn peeing and pooping whenever and where ever baby feels like it than to just learn it proper in the beginning).  We started Dee at 9 months and she was crawling to the potty and waiting to be put on by 11 months.  FYI – every kid does this in China from the beginning and is potty trained by 12 months.  Crazy.
  3. Sleep train from the beginning (we did this and have been thankful that we did! We have a baby that slept 6 hrs out of the hospital, 10 hours at 2 months, and 13+ hours by 3 months.  Yay mommy and daddy time!)
  4. This potty seat
  5. Make a rule from the beginning that when they’re in a store they’re in the toddler seat in the shopping cart or stroller (it took quite a few trips to the store to realize that Dee just didn’t have the mental capability to NOT touch EVERYTHING she saw and get pulled away from all the fun stuff – breakdowns in the store are just no fun)
  6. On the other hand . . . take many walks where you practice various toddler attention tricks/training to make them listen to you on walks and in public places (do this is safe areas like parks and such).  Approach close distance walking/training as if your kid was actually running into the street and you were saving their lives by getting them to pay attention.  One day it may!
  7. Start brushing your babies teeth with a electronic toothbrush so that when they’re not great at brushing (and really only hold it in their mouth) they still get their teeth brushed.
  8. Kids are smart and can do much more than you think they can.  I learned this at Dee’s daycare when I came in after a meal and all the 18 month olds were clearing their plates into milk, food, and dirty dish containers, then proceeded to go over and wash up their hands and face with damp washcloths and put those in a dirty washcloth container.  My “world image” was blown to pieces. From then on I’ve made her help with everything around the house and she now loads the dishwasher, sweeps, and wipes down her tables (at 2 years old).  Sure we’ll have fights in the future I’m sure but take advantage of your toddler wanting to be helpful to set good habits now!
  9. Water is entertaining.  Anytime.  Anywhere. So are bubbles.
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