Eggs and Hearts

Raise your hand if you can’t wait for Spring!! (Do you see my hand? I’m the one jumping up and down.)

I’ll be honest, I’ve been having difficulty blogging, because I’m just having… difficulty. In general. (Speaking of difficulty in blogging, if it looks like I have some weird spacing in this post, I don’t know why that is. Let’s just agree to ignore it together.)

Today was a halfway productive day, meaning the first half of the day was great and I got lots done.. and then everything crashed.

But during that exciting do-everything phase, I:

-Cleaned my entire kitchen and living room (Some of you may be thinking that cleaning the living room shouldn’t be listed as a grand accomplishment. Allow me to introduce you to my son. He’s blurry for a reason.)

Image-Researched lunches with Dexter while coaxing him to eat.

-Packed a week’s worth of kiddo lunches. This *is* impressive, because I cut all kinds of foods into heart-shapes, sooo…. I’m kind of a big deal.ImageImage-And yes, I boiled and dyed eggs (I really can’t wait until spring!! Also, I thought it would be fun for Dexter. And it was.)

I also relied heavily the good ol’ internet. And so I shall share with you the links that made my half-way productive day possible:

-Do *you* know how to boil an egg?? I don’t eat boiled eggs, so I certainly didn’t.

-What about dying eggs? We did a very basic dye-job with food coloring and vinegar, but this site gives you some tips on getting fancy with the eggs.

-We lived on my kiddo snackumz Pinterest board today. These sites in particular (1, 2, 3) really got Dexter excited about the pre-packed lunch idea.

-Hearts, hearts, and more hearts. They’re pretty much the only cool shape I’m confident in free-handing, and thankfully, Dexter really appreciates them. But have you seen this awesome tutorial on heart-shaped carrots?? Not hard, and totally worth it.

Now that I’ve written out all the awesome parts of the day and avoided complaining about the (really, really) bad parts, I feel much better about all that’s transpired and I’m ready to spend my evening relaxing. Sigh 🙂

Supper: Brought To You (and by you, I mean me!) By Pinterest!

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I have been so crazy into Pinterest lately! It’s so addictive, and really… quite the time waster. We’re in the midst of moving, and during my downtime, you will almost always find me drooling over something on Pinterest :).

So, in order to not JUST be a pin-hoarder, I’ve been actually getting off my butt and trying out some of those ideas!

Since I’ve just gotten back into chewing, food is often on my mind. So I’ve been going to my Food I Must Try pin board for inspiration.

Last night I made Roasted Cauliflower (I’ll direct you to the actual link. It seems kind of weird to send you through Pinterest when all the credit goes to these bloggers!!). It was very nice to try something different. We are never willing to eat plain cauliflower, but this is all dolled up. We had cheddar brats, so I wanted to make sure we also had a veggie in there. This went surprisingly well with those!

Tonight I decided to try the Guiltless Alfredo Sauce. I was certainly skeptical. I mean, what’s alfredo without a little guilt?? Probably gross, right?

But this was good! The only downer about the recipe is that it calls for grated parmesan, and I think she means shredded. I was reading the recipe off my phone, but now that I see the picture on my computer, it’s certainly shredded parm. Now, this probably changed the way my sauce behaved, because grated parm makes a gritty sauce. I bet it would have been smoother if I’d used shredded. But by the time I started to wonder, all I had was grated cheese and a half-made sauce, begging to be alfredoed. So what are you going to do??

Despite that difference, it was still pretty dang good. You can see in the picture above (And be thankful for that picture, crappy as it may be! I was pretty hungry and couldn’t be bothered to take more than a quickie phone shot!) that I threw in some grilled chicken, some leftover peas, and some of that leftover Roasted Cauliflower! I will definitely make it again! And it’s nice because the recipe makes a fairly decent sized batch, so I can use that sauce for other things through out the week.

Thanks, Simply Recipes and Our Best Bites, for your recipes, and thanks to Pinterest for helping me find them!

Sneaky Snack: Kale-Apple Smoothie

Having recently had jaw surgery, I’ve experimented heavily with pureed and mashed foods. I was so excited when a past issue of Real Simple Magazine had a list of 10 smoothie recipes! I have only tried one of them, because the store I went to only had kale in bulk. I figured I’d just try to knock that out before I ventured onto the next smoothie recipe 🙂

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But we are LOVING this recipe for Kale-Apple Smoothies! Dexter and I do, at least. My (ultra-picky) husband took one sip and made a face. So I guess it’s not for everyone. But considering my 2 year old gets super pumped about it, it’s worth trying once!

It’s such a pleasant green color, and it’s packed with things that are great for you: kale, celery, banana, and a bit of apple juice. I also added a bit of spinach today!

While I was trying to do a quick photo shoot, Dex leaned over my glass and said, “MMMmmmm, smells dewd!”

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I seriously love this kid, and I’m glad that I’m able to find ways to give him things that he both loves and are healthy for him! He calls it his “smoozie” and today he said, “Oh, a smoozie for a healthy snack!!!” I was really thrilled to hear him say that, partially because it’s super cute lol, but also because I hope I’m teaching him to make good choices for his health, and to be excited about it!

He get’s his “smoozie” in a sippy cup, and it helps if that cup has a larger opening. The smoothie is not a juice, it will have little veggie bits in it, so it can clog up a sippy nipple. Or you can just brave it like I did the first time, and give your child an open cup with a straw. If you don’t mind getting green smoothie EVERYWHERE. Seriously. Everywhere.

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Also, as a side note, our preschool lesson this week includes learning about the color green. This is a great suggestion for a green-week snack, because it is so pretty and vibrant!

Dexter’s First Cooking Experience

We tried the Polenta Pizza Stackers by Cooking With My Kid. They were really yummy comfort food (think pizza grits, but better). If you’re interested, make sure you head over there for the recipe!!

I decided to brave it and let Dex help! He stood on a chair (I made certain he was supported on all sides) and helped me spread Smart Balance onto a pan. He really liked playing in that 🙂 It was awesome seeing his little finger marks all over the pan 🙂

Then I let him help me use a butter knife to slice the polenta. He thought that was the best. He chuckled the whole time 🙂 And he also broke a lot of the slices and ate them lol. Ours were way uglier than CWMK’s 🙂 We need to work on our slicing skills.

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Thankfully our oven stays cool on the outside, because Dexter felt the need to monitor their progress.

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See? Ours were all jagged from bad cutting and a chubby little snacker.

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Dex was able to help me put a tomato sauce on two of them before he decided the most important thing he could contribute was thumb-sucking. Can you guess which two were his?

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He also “helped” with the cheese by eating a chubby handful while I sprinkled.

These things looked awesome after they cooked! And they smelled great. Dexter realized when they were baking that they were pizzas. He’s so smart 🙂

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Dexter gobbled these up!

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I give these a 4 overall. I will certainly make them again, they were easy, pretty yummy, and Dexter really enjoyed both making and eating them. Plus, I can feel good about serving them because they’re really healthy. But I think I will play around with cheese and sauce to find the perfect flavor combo!

Cooking With My Kid & Preschooler Meal Planning

I found an awesome website today (actually, I found several great sites…) and I’m so excited about it! It’s called Cooking With My Kid and the author has created tons of healthy kid-friendly recipes that she makes with her son. Now I can’t wait til Dex is able to help me out in the kitchen!

A few recipes I plan to try this week include:

Broccoli and Cheese Stromboli (This looks incredible)

Baked Spinach and Rice

Naan Pizza (Dex LOVES pizza! Any time he sees a pizza box or hears us carelessly use the word he starts shouting and crying for pizza. He says “pee”, but we know what he means lol. Plus, I really like the idea of single serving pizza for our lunch so we don’t have crazy amounts of greasy pizza taunting me for days.)

Warm Tortellini and Pesto Chicken Salad

Breadless BLT’s (Maple turkey bacon??? YUM!)

Polenta Pizza Stackers (I’m really excited to try pre-made polenta!)

And then I REALLY want to try the Peanut Butter Quesadillas. They include peanut butter, apple slices, and honey. But our pediatrician really wanted us to wait til Dex was 3 before introducing peanut butter. Maybe I can get away with it sometime by making a regular cheese quesadilla for him.

On a similar note, we’ve been nearly out of groceries for… hmm… a couple weeks? We’ve just been getting what we need as we need it and eating out way too much. It’s really difficult to take Dexter grocery shopping and Alex is too busy to do the shopping or to watch Dexter so I can go.

But after a few weeks of eating crap I’m going to bite the bullet and take Dex out tomorrow. It’s amazing what having a child does to your conscience. I can’t feel good about just feeding him whatever, so I’m going to do whatever I can to get good food for him.

Up until now, I’ve often eaten separately from Dex, giving him whatever mostly healthy thing I can scrounge up while I eat… well… whatever else I can scrounge up 🙂 But now I’m going to take on the mindset of preschool meal-planning. When I worked for daycares and preschools, the meals are set in advance and include all the healthy things kids need and the teachers eat the same thing. It will be healthy for both of us! Here is a link to some dietary guidelines for preschoolers, and a website for toddler meal plans I want to check out.

How do you ensure your child gets the nutrients they need? Do you model healthy eating, or do you find this to be very difficult? Any favorite (and super easy!) kid-friendly recipes?