I don't know about where you live, but it has been brutally hot here. Some days you walk out the door, and feel the vapor attack you. It takes a good five minutes for my camera's parts to get de-fogged, and I'm sweating within 30 seconds of stepping outside.
Needless to say, we are consuming large quantities of anything cold around here - I'm drinking iced coffee, eating cold salads, and trying to be in the air conditioning every possible moment.
Obviously, cold treats are a must, but after consuming way more ice cream than we should while on vacation, I'm trying to opt for some healthier alternatives. So I ordered these popsicle molds* off of Amazon. (*affiliate link)
On Monday, I had some berries that I needed to use up, so I decided to go ahead and make some popsicles. I wasn't in the mood to use the blender, so I just tossed the ingredients into the mold. It could not be any easier! I'm not including measurements because I honestly didn't measure them. This isn't a true recipe, just a guideline!
These popsicles, aside from being crazy refreshing, also have no sugar added, are really hydrating, and contain a serving of fruits (as well as some protein because of the Greek yogurt). Plus, those last bits of fruit that hadn't been used up didn't have to go to waste!
strawberries, hulled and sliced
plain Greek yogurt
I mean, look at that face and tell me he didn't enjoy those! lol
Keep cool, lovers!
We are home from our two week stay at the beach! We enjoyed ourselves so much, but if you have ever spent a day at the beach, you know how hungry you can get - and let's just say that we ate heartily! I got groceries yesterday and decided to whip up some acas bowls for breakfast this morning, in an effort to get some good nutrients in and to fill our bellies with yumminess.
This is a breakfast that is easier to make than it looks. Just pick your ingredients and toss them in the blender! The fancy toppings are just an extra, and you absolutely don't have to spend a lot of time on that! I don't really measure the ingredients, I just do it based on what we want that morning, so I'll give you an estimate, but feel free to change it up and add what you like! Frozen fruits are always best to use in these, they make the bowl less "soup-y" and more custard-like.
Peanut Butter Acai Bowl
1 packet frozen acai puree (I get this at Trader Joe's)
1 cup kale
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 cup frozen cherries
1. Blend together first 6 ingredients until smooth.
2. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Top with blueberries, 1/2 sliced banana, chia seeds, and granola.
I was provided meals at no charge for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Transitioning from a full time stay-at-home mom to an almost full-time work from home mom has been a huge adjustment. It wasn't a conscious decision, it was something that just happened, and it's been a blessing in more ways than one, but it has definitely been a bigger adjustment than I ever imagined. Some days I feel guilty because I am not giving Caleb my full attention all day long, but I have come to realize that I need to find a balance. And if I can dedicate two hours to just working in the morning, then I can focus on him for the majority of the rest of the day, or at least until Eddie comes home.
On weeks where I know we will be extra busy, Babe Appetit has come to the rescue! Babe Appetit is an organic meal delivery service based in Miami, FL. They design food plans for children ages 6-36 months. Packages range from 6 meals for parents wishing to introduce new flavors a few days a week, to 10 meals, which would cover all weekday lunches/dinners. This was designed to offer weekend flexibility since many families (at least ours) eat out on Saturday and Sunday. Meals are delivered on Sundays.
The meals are delicious. We have tried several of the items off the menu, and I can honestly say that it is food I wouldn't mind having, either. With samplings like mojo chicken, vegetable lasagna, and turkey chili, who can go wrong? There are meals for every taste and they are all executed deliciously.
So if you're like me and you need an easy fix for your mealtime worries, don't hesitate to check out Babe Apetit!
For more details and pricing reach out to Debbie at email@example.com
If you know anything about me, you know I am all about ease. Whatever makes my life easier, I'm all about it. So why would I be any different when it comes to making meals for my family?
When it comes to cooking, the less I have to prep, the less I have to dirty, and the less I have to clean, the better! Which is why I absolutely love these Aidells All Natural Chicken Meatballs. They are tasty and I can read every single ingredient in the ingredients list. They come fully cooked, so all you need to do it heat and eat. Best of all, Caleb and Eddie love them too! I actually always have two packs on hand, for nights when I forget to pull something out or plan a meal or just in case we end up with last minute company, I can always throw these on the frying pan and have a delicious, easy, and healthy dinner.
This combination is one of my favorites because it's tasty, and the colors look gorgeous together, don't they? It's also a one-pan meal, so there's that, too.
I buy a packaged butternut squash at Publix, it already comes chopped (again, all about easy) and vacuum sealed so it will last longer in your fridge.
Friends, it doesn't get much easier than that! Enjoy!
A couple of months back, Caleb, my usually amazing eater, decided he was going to get picky on me. He boycotted anything green, which started to give me a little anxiety. I took to Pinterest (you should go follow me!) and started looking up recipes for picky toddlers.
I tried a few and most were delicious, but I was unsuccessful in getting him to try them. I finally came upon a recipe for easy whole wheat banana muffins and I was able to sneak some spinach and carrots into them. They are so easy to make, and I make them mini, so his little hands can grab them. I'm including the basic recipe here, but know you can add chopped spinach, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, and loads of other goodness in there to up the nutritional factor.
These travel well (store in an airtight container) and keep for about 5 days.
I've already expressed my love for fall. One of my favorite things about not so hot temperatures is being able to have soup without feeling like you are burning from the inside out. I love soup, especially homemade soup. And I really enjoy making soup myself. A few weeks ago, we had a bout of bad weather and it was raining all day every day. It was still hot as hell, but it was definitely soup weather to me. I had also started feeling like a cold was coming on. Last winter, my dad made a carrot ginger soup that I couldn't get enough of, so I decided I would make that, but then I realized I also had butternut squash, so I decided to add that into the mix as well.
The result was a savory, hearty soup with the nice kick of fresh ginger. It was so yummy. I was a little worried Caleb wouldn't like it because of the kick of the ginger, but he loved it as much as I did, and kept asking me for was (more).
I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we did!
I figured I'd do something a little different this week and show you some of the stuff I'm loving right now. A few things I'm loving this week...
I have made a truly conscious effort to be intentional about what I feed my son. I figure my system might be addicted to all the bad things that I shouldn't be eating, but I want to set him up to make good choices when it comes to his eating habits. This is going to be the first of a few posts in regards to meals and what I feed my little guy. I've included photos from 7 of our breakfasts, which gives you a week's worth of ideas. There is nothing spectacular here - nothing fancy, nothing gourmet. Most of these I put together in 10 minutes or fewer.
I have found that toddler preferences vary from one day to the next, so I'm constantly having to try new things. But I have found a few things that are tried and true, and I try to incorporate at least one sure thing into each meal so I'm not frustrated that he isn't eating enough.
He loves fruit, so breakfast usually consists of at least one kind of fruit. He also loves cheese and yogurt, so I make sure that dairy is in there as well. Most days I include some kind of whole grain.
He also likes to feed himself, and self-feeding is very important to me. When children self-feed, they learn to stop when they are full and they start to give us cues as to when they have reached their point of fullness. Caleb, for example, begins to throw food on the floor once he is full. When he does that, I know he's done. If I were spoon feeding him, he wouldn't be able to give me those cues, and it's highly likely he would be overfed more often than not. His self-feeding also gives me time to have my breakfast and more importantly, my coffee, in the morning while he is entertained and eating (we actually sit facing one another and eat breakfast together most days).
There you have it! Some ideas for toddler breakfasts.
Have more ideas? Let me know - I'd love to hear from you!
I'm a big breakfast person. I could skip dinner every night (or have a bowl of cereal lol), but I couldn't skip breakfast. When I was working, I always had a few breakfast items in rotation that I could grab and go or that I could eat quickly before I left the house (depending on how late I was running hehe). But now, being home with my little guy has let me step up my breakfast game. Most mornings, we aren't in a big rush to get anywhere, so I can take my time with what I make, I can be creative, and I don't need to eat it in a rush. This makes a great weekend breakfast, too. It's filling, but it's also not heavy. It's loaded with good ingredients, and it pretty much tastes like ice cream for breakfast. Who can beat that?
I'm also not a recipe girl when it comes to basic, everyday cooking, which is why you probably won't see a whole lot of recipes on here. But luckily, this is a dish that doesn't need a recipe, not really. You can add or sub ingredients as you like or see fit. After I was done with this I thought I could have added nuts, or shaved coconut, or any number of additional ingredients. I'm going to give you a general idea of what I used, but again, it was mostly by sight.
I hope you enjoy this breakfast bowl as much as we did!
For the bowl:
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (we used whole fat)
1/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp peanut or almond butter
3-4 ice cubes
For the toppings:
2 strawberries, cored and sliced
1/4 cup granola
See? So easy!
A few weeks after giving birth, when we were still pretty confined to our home and spending a lot of time watching Netflix, my hubby and I decided to watch the documentary Food, Inc. I don't really remember a whole lot from those days, and I couldn't give you specifics about the documentary, but I do remember that in it, they discussed sugar. They talked about how addictive sugar is, how when we consume sugar, it basically activates the same part of the brain as cocaine, and that it is just as addictive, if not more so, than the narcotic.
Um, that's scary as hell.
The documentary went on to talk about the sugar industry and how it's conspiring to make us all addicted to "the other white powder". I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but I do think it's pretty crazy how sugar is added to so much of what we consume. As a matter of fact, sugar is added to a lot of the formulas that are marketed for our infants in the form of sucrose. It's also added to baby cereals and to nearly everything that's marketed for kids. Yikes. After watching that, my resolve to exclusively breastfeed Caleb grew tenfold.
My husband and I have struggled with our weight for most of our lives. Growing up in Latin/Caribbean/Hispanic households, the more you eat, the healthier you are. We also grew up in an era rife with processed foods and sweets. It's nobody's fault, but sugar was probably in so much of what we ate. And the more I read and learn, the more I understand what a hold sugar has over us.
Go into your pantry or fridge right now. Pick out three products that are marketed for your kids, and check the sugar content. Okay - so if it's a fruit based product, you may have naturally occurring sugars in there. Now go check the ingredients. I bet you sugar is in there somewhere (fructose, sucrose, natural cane sugar). It's absolutely crazy. Of course kids are going to love the stuff! And since little bodies are programmed to prefer sweetness even more so than adults are, it's easier to just say, well here have the sweet stuff since it's what you want, anyway.
So I have made a conscious decision to avoid added sugars as much as I can. I know it will be impossible to keep my son away from added sugar entirely, but if I can avoid sugar becoming an addiction for him, then I'm going to do it. A plus is that in the process of avoiding it for him, I have become more conscious of the amount of sugar I eat.
If this is something you think you would like to do for your child(ren), there are a few easy ways you can - they won't break the bank and you can make incremental changes that will add up in the long run!
1. Stick to whole foods as much as possible. I try to shop on the outsides of the grocery store, and buy foods I have to prepare myself. There are way fewer empty calories and additives. Do we eat processed food? Yes. But a large majority of the time, we are eating foods I have prepared myself.
2. Read labels. So for the last 6 months, I have been buying Stonyfield Farms Organic Plain Whole Milk Yogurt. They don't sell them in individual cartons, which is fine. I buy the 30 oz tub and just portion it out for him myself. I had searched for the Greek yogurt version before, but they never had it in the store. I thought I was doing so well because I wasn't giving him yogurt with added ingredients. I usually just stir in some cinnamon and maybe a little bit of honey, or some fruit, and he eats it without a problem. This past week, I finally found the Greek version - same brand, both whole milk. The Greek yogurt has nearly half the sugar and double the protein! Needless to say, Greek yogurt is what I'll be buying from now on.
3. Sub out products that are high in sugar. Back to the yogurt - Have you checked the sugar content in yogurt that has fruit already mixed in? LOADED with sugar. Which is why I buy it plain and mix in my own fruits or toppings. (The naturally occurring sugar in fruit is perfectly fine, because fruits also contain fiber, which means it takes longer for our bodies to break them down.) For snacks, I buy pre-sliced apple wedges and easy to eat fruits like blueberries. Plain Cheerios are also a great option, as are pre-cut veggies, hummus, and crackers like Original Triscuits.
4. Make fruits dessert. Instead of giving Caleb cookies or cake for dessert, I always top him off with fruit. He loves berries, so that's usually my go-to. But watermelon, mango, and papaya have all been hits, and as a bonus, I love them too, so I replace my dessert with those as well.
5. Pay special attention to breakfast. So many breakfast foods have so much added sugar. I already discussed the yogurt, but cereals and oatmeal can all contain super high amounts of sugar. For oatmeal, I use plain old fashioned oats and add in fruit, cinnamon, some vanilla, and maybe a little honey (to up the protein content I make it with milk). Caleb also eats waffles or pancakes a few times a week. I buy waffles that are low in sugar (like Earth's Best or Van's Power Protein waffles), and honestly, he eats them dry. If I serve them with yogurt, he dips them in the yogurt (which makes for a fun clean up). If not, he alternates the waffles with fruit. I have also made my own sugar free jam from overripe fruits, and we also top them with that. It works for us! For bread and grain products, I always look for whole grains and again, always check the sugar content.
6. Say no to juice! Juice, chocolate milk, and sodas are such huge culprits. They are filled with sugar and have zero nutritional value. Even if they are natural fruit juices, unless they are blended, you have taken all the fiber out of the fruit and have been left with just the sugar. I let him have juice at birthday parties, but that's about it. He actually loves water and loves it even more when it has ice, so I have stuck to that.
If you think it's something you want to do, make some small changes slowly, one week at a time. Eventually, you'll get to where you want to be! I know I will never completely give up sugar myself nor will I ever deny him a treat if it's in his face. But by keeping the sugary treats to a minimum at home, they really become just a treat when we are out at a birthday party or having an ice cream cone on vacation, and not something that he must have all the time.
Some people think I'm a little extreme, but his health is more important to me than other people's opinions, and I know that I am doing what is best for him.
P.S. Any thoughts on this? Any more tips to share? E-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I'd love to hear them!
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.