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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

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Fashion Friday: Dee & Meg PDX Days

It’s Fashion Friday!

We’ve been incredibly bad about posting while I’ve been up here.  What have we been doing with our time you ask?  Well taking care of the kiddos!  And making lots of wedding preparations.  We’ve actually been cooking a ton, which we will be sharing those posts.  But somehow everything else has flown out of the window (except making onesies or children’s tees).

We finally pulled together Fashion Friday!  Hopefully we’ll be a lot better at this in the near future.  Here are Meg and Dee . . . just hanging out at the house this afternoon. :)

We’ll be posting some stuff we’ve been making for the wedding- some more DIY and some cute dress pics?

Have a great weekend!  Hope you forgive us of our tardiness!

ENJOY! ash

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

Fashion Friday OR Friday Wants: Boys of Summer

Ok – so I confess, I didn’t have time to do the Fashion Friday shoot this week.  Plus, my photographer is gone for the week (Europe – lucky gal).  So I did something a little like Wednesday Wants: I collected a spattering of cool summer inspired boys items both clothing and toys.  I’ll share with you my favorite boy clothing items, since it is Fashion Friday.

Riding a bike always reminds me of summer.  Something about the feeling of the wind in your face, and feeling like a free spirit.  Both of these items are perfect for summer.

riding a bike always reminds me of summer.

make sure to check out her other cute shirts. it was a toss between this one and amo.

This shirt reminds me of wearing an aquarium, which I have this deep excitement to take Jax to one.  He’s always enthralled with fish tanks whenever we see them.

This would be perfect for the beach, not to mention the fact that I love stripes.

And of course you’ll need this for the beach when you go there:

I’m not sure why, but I’m really digging sharks as a fashion trend for little boys this summer.  Maybe that’s always the case.

Make sure to check out all of the other cute etsy summer items I choose on our list.  There are lot of cute items out there that are made with love, and by hand.

Hopefully I’ll be back in full Fashion Friday swing next week!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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.

Monday Meals: Hearty Vegan Kale and Suasage Soup

We’re thinking of adding Diana (“D”) on as a full-time writer to our blog since her Monday Meals are SO yummy . . . and healthy to boot!  (Plus she’s quite the little thrift-fashionista and I promise once I get back to Portland I’ll prove it to you guys by forcing asking her nicely to be featured one week).

delicious, hearty, and vegan!

Here’s something quick and hearty, an easy solution when I feel like a home-made lunch but don’t want to spend more than 15 minutes. It’s one of my favorite things to do with kale, too. It was originally adapted from some food network recipe (www.foodtv.com) but it’s been modified enough at this point that I can’t remember which one it was.

Hearty Vegan Kale and Sausage Soup

Ingredients:

1/4 onion, finely chopped or sliced
1 veggie sausage (something spicy is best, I recommend Tofurky Italian sausage. I suppose you could do real sausage if you’re a meat-eater)
a few tablespoons oil
2-3 tablespoons cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 -1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on your desired spice level)
1-2 tablespoons salt (less if you can stand to be that healthy like Ashley!)
1/2 bag or ~4 cups uncooked kale
1 can white/cannelini beans
3 cups vegetable stock

  • Sautee the onion and the sausage in a large saucepan at medium heat in a few tablespoons of oil until the onions are well carmelized and the veggie sausage is good and brown (this helps the texture).

you want well carmelized onions and browned sausage to start

  • Add in the spices and salt and toss the onion/sausage mix, then add in the kale and mix well.
  •  Cover and sautee at medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale has turned bright green and wilted/softened so that it is about half its original volume.

wilted kale ready to become soup!

  • Next, pour half of the contents of a can of white beans into the pot, then mash the other half in the can to make a bean paste. Add this paste to the pot as well – this will make the broth thick and hearty!
  • Then add 3 cups of vegetable stock, plus 1-2 cups of water, stir and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Bring the pot to a simmer and allow to cook for at least 10 minutes (longer would make the kale even softer, but I can never wait that long to dig in!). Serve hot, ideally with crusty bread for dipping.

Makes 4-6 servings. I don’t have tips for freezing this one because even these big batches get eaten within 2 days in this house!

Enjoy!
D

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