Summer Days (& a power packed homemade baby food recipe.)

Summer is upon us in full force, and I can’t believe how quickly the time is going. July is almost gone, and the steamy days, and lush full beauty of summer are fully at our doorstep. (I almost just wrote lazy days of summer, but c’mon, who am I joking. I have a 4 year old and 8 month old!)

20160719_184500Our summer days are full and fun, whether spending hours on the playground and exploring all the city has to offer, or lounging at the lake, enjoying long days, cool swims and canopies of green leaves. Life is good, and I feel incredibly lucky to have so much time with these little people.

This morning I started my day off with a webinar, which was quickly interrupted with  requests for pancakes (check out the super healthy homemade pancakes here.) I figured while I was at it, I’d whip up some baby food for Bray. Now 8 months old, he’s been on the baby food for a bit, but I’ve been selective in what I was feeding him since at the start of his switch over he was dealing with a bit of baby constipation (although nothing like what Aria has as a baby).

This morning I did a simple Avocado-Spinach-Pear puree, as we’ve ventured into mixing, but are still staying away from the binding foods (think bananas and rice, and trying to include a P fruit to keep things moving. A few simple ingredients and a blender, Vitamix, Nutribullet or some other mixing machine, and you’re all set.

homemade baby foodSimple Avocado-Spinach Pear Babyfood 

1 Avocado
1 Pear  (I used Andou)
1 handful fresh baby Spinach

Directions

Boil water in a small saucepan, and add spinach for 1-2 minutes until softened.

Cut pear into quarters or even eights (lengthwise), de-core, and peel if so desired. If pear is super ripe (and soft) you can place straight into blender. If pear is hard, place pieces into boiling water with spinach for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly soft.

Cut avocado in half, de-pit and remove from skin.

Place avocado, soft pear and spinach (drain from water) into the blender, and blend for 20-30 seconds on low-medium until pureed. Let cool and serve!

For a chunkier baby food (which I made today), only use half the avocado in the first puree of avo-spinach-pear, and then add the second half to that smooth pureed mix and beat on low for 5 seconds or so (or until desired consistency). You can also blend in with a fork.

Enjoy!

baby tips

**please excuse any typos. I had about 5000 interruptions, and an 8 month old reaching for the keyboard!!!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Stone Barns, snow days and one super healthy (delish) cookie recipe.

We’re waiting on spring here in NYC, or getting confused by the weather gods. One day it’s warm and sunny, the next snowing.

Here are a few sweet pics from last weekend that pretty much sum up the crazy weather.

princess picking flowers stone barn

Friday, we headed to our weekend house, making a pit stop at a favorite of ours, Stone Barns. It was a warm beautiful day, and Aria (ever the princess) decided to pick a few flowers…

until we realized they weren’t wild…(oops!)

spring flowers for oma

…but not before gating a sweet bouquet for Oma.

Fast forward to the very next day, where we woke up to SNOW covering the cars and deck…

snow

…and an anxious 4 year old ready to get out and enjoy it.

snow day kids

Ah…the parental joys of kids and snow gear.

The romp in the snow was short lived, so we moved on to a warmer activity.   I found this Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe online (always up for a healthy treat), and Aria and I baked them up. I’d cut the cinnamon down to 1/2 the amount called for, but really they were pretty stellar (and healthy!)

chocolate chip healthy oats cookies yum

So, here’s to making the most of any weather, and hoping spring finally arrives… for good.

Four weeks In: Sleepily savoring every moment…

WOW! Have four weeks really passed since this little one arrived? It’s already flown by, but looking back been filled with excitement, anxiety, plenty of love and adoration, and, of course, SLEEP DEPRIVATION (definitely now set in).

Amazingly, this go around, I’m not nearly as agonized by the lack of my most favorite commodity (yes, I’m the girl who needs 8 hours a night, and struggled through years of working in morning news). Somehow with this little one, the love seems to surpass the drudgery of being tired all the time.

I recently went back and forth with a fellow blogger on Instagram, who had similar sentiment. We both marveled in how these little demanding people can have us completely exhausted, and yet still so in love (cries, cluster feeds, gassy bellies and all!)  I can only conclude that God gives us all these feel good hormones and this overwhelming love to help us deal with the trial of the first weeks of newborn life.

I must admit too, that the second time around seems SO much sweeter. I did not have this positive outlook with Aria. Perhaps it was because my body was in shock. Back then, what I was actually thinking was ,”Yikes, life as I know it is over. What the heck have we done?!”

Yet, this go around, I’m savoring every second.  It’s in part that I now know how temporary the tough time is, and also how fast the sweet parts go. That scrunched up little body laying on my chest, those funny little milk drunk faces….ahh. The fact that this baby is most likely my last also has me holding on to every little mushy, gassy, crying, funny faced, sweet, lovely newborn moment.  I also am now well aware of just how much love and happiness these little people bring, and how as they grow, that love and happiness does too.

 

 

Hurry up… and WAIT! Am I seriously “overdue”??

It’s been over almost 2 weeks from my last post when I thought this baby’s arrival was imminent. For much of my last trimester, I was fairly sure this boy would be early, and I definitely thought the night I last wrote about was the start of something. But alas, it was a false alarm. The pains passed, and then my due date passed, and now here I sit here at 411/2 weeks! I went from trying to hurry up and get all in order for him, to now waiting each day for his arrival.

41 weeks pregnantI was a week late with Aria, and it seems all the babies in my family seem to run late (a trait that also seems to have carried over to my adulthood). I guess I shouldn’t be surprised this one is taking his time. As I’ve had time on my hands, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading on due dates and the pressure/anxiety women feel when they fall outside of what they perceive as “normal.”

Forty weeks is what we’re all told is the term of a normal pregnancy, yet the more I read about (and experience) it, the less I like that women are given a “due date.” Perhaps a due window would be better (and less ostracizing), for in reality fewer than 5% of women actually deliver on their due date, with the majority of us giving it a go between 38 and 41 weeks. Due dates are indeed “guesstimates,” and all of our bodies are being completely different, need to be considered on an individual basis. In fact, new research shows that pregnancy length varies naturally up to 5 weeks.  In Europe, they even changed “full term” to 41 weeks to discourage women from getting frantic, and to also decrease the number of inductions happening. So, in reality, carrying past 41 weeks is still very normal and healthy.

Of course, after 41weeks most practitioners give extra care and attention, and  a few days ago I had to go in for a biophysical sonogram to make sure baby was all good. He was. Happy as can be in what seems my (all too) comfortable womb, scoring a “10 out of 10” on all their criteria. This of course, gives me extra ease, but, still, knowing that most doctors don’t let women go past 42 weeks does add a little undue pressure.

That being said, I’ve also been reading up on all the wives tales and natural ways to bring on labor. I’ve eaten quite a few curries, taken hot baths, walked miles and miles (thank you fall foliage for the pretty backdrop), and didn’t even curse the bumpy dirt roads after reading they also (strangely) have been thought to help. I decided against the castor oil and other more extreme measures, as the side effects are totally not worth it at this stage. As I move closer to 42 weeks, I’ll likely consider acupuncture or a membrane sweep, but for now though, I am just trusting this boy will come when he’s ready.

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a control freak, and not so good at being in limbo, but some things can’t be rushed. This boy is showing me who’s boss already, and perhaps a greater lesson of letting go of expectation/control is being reiterated to me (again!).  I’m down to twice weekly appointments with my doctor and every day seems to revolve around the impending birth, but I’m trying not to let it be the end all and be all of each day. No body needs that kind of pressure. Instead, I’m trying to remind myself that my body knows what it’s doing, and the more I just let it do it’s thing and let nature take it’s course, the better we all will be

So yes, I’m still pregnant. Not overdue though. I’d rather say, we’re just right… for us.

Homemade Granola: Insider Secrets From Someone Obsessed

OK, so lately I have been absolutely obsessed with making granola. I decided to start making my own since “crunch” is Aria’s go-to breakfast (mainly because it is also her dad’s favorite and he is up with her in the am), and so many store bought brands are loaded with unnecessary sugar. I love granola that looks like granola (yes, you can see the oats and big pieces of nuts or dried fruit), and I’m not into spending $8.99 a bag for it (hello NYC).

granolaSo, I’ve been obsessed with mixing and matching ingredients and finding the perfect combo. Here’s what I’ve found out about mixing the perfect blend.

OATS:  All granola has a base of oats. Most recipes will tell you to use old fashioned oats not the quick oats. I’ve tried all and actually found my best success with Trader Joe’s Organic Oats and also the surprising inexpensive organic oats from Mrs. Greens (in the bulk self serve bins). Quick oats will bind a bit better, but I like the texture of the real deal.

CRUNCH: So, my biggest hurdle in the first few blends was getting a little crunch out of it. In researching online I found a few secrets including switching to a quick oat, and also adding some oat flour to get it all to bind. I used ground flax instead of oat flour and this also seemed to work. Also, I read about adding a little applesauce to the mix to get some more clumps which turn into crunchy oat clusters. However the biggest secret is adding an EGG white to the recipe. SCORE!

SWEETNESS: It doesn’t take a lot to bring in a little sweetness. The popular sweeteners include maple syrup, honey, brown sugar and vanilla extract. I usually half whatever the recipe is calling for (0r nothing at all). I’ve found using a mixure of honey and brown sugar yields a best result, but also skipping it all and adding in some dried fruits works for us just fine!

COATING: You’ll need an oil or melted butter to coat the oats. I usually use coconut oil, but have also used a mild tasting safflower or olive oil. I stopped measuring and usually use enough to coat my batches. You may not need as much as some recipes call for, but it is important that there’s enough to coat and bind.

ADD IN’s: The best part!! Adding in coconut and dried fruit also kicks up the sweetness factor. I love these hence I cut down on the other sweeteners. Also, nuts and other add-in’s can add flavor and nutrition. My last batch I added some sprouted quinoa to the oat mixture before popping it in the oven (so good). I also am big into adding chia seed (packed with power) and flax seed which both give added flavor, texture and nutrition.

THE BAKING: I suggest baking a bit lower temp than the recipe suggests. Also, use a good cookie sheet. My first batch burned at the 350 temp on my not-so-great sheet. I’ve done the last few at around 250, and actually have had great success baking them in the toaster oven (on the small sheet that comes with it).

My perfect recipe to come!

A Simple Green Smoothie That Will Change Your Life

Ok, so it might not change your life, but this smoothie will indeed make your mornings a little sweeter.

Last summer I got both a Vitamix and Nutribullet (which I LOVE incidentally– read more on that here), and my go-to morning brew is now this simple smoothie. It’s filled with good stuff and the splash of apple juice and ice (surprise–who says green juices need to be room temp?) make it refreshing and oh-so-good.

Kid Tip: Sometimes, after I pour out half for me I’ll throw in some banana and a few frozen berries and blend up the rest for Aria. Totally toddler approved.

green smoothieIngredients:

1-2 Celery Stalks cut up.

1 Persian Cucumber (or about 3-4 inches or so off a regular one. I find the persians sweeter and tastier).

1-2 cups of baby kale or spinach or mixed smoothie greens (often baby kale, chard, and spinach).

1/4- 1/2 cup of Apple Juice (depending on sweetness desired)

1-2 ice cubes

*go organic on as much as you can!

Directions:

Throw it all in blender of choice and blend! Pour into a pretty glass (adds to the enjoyment) and indulge in the deliciousness.

Imperfection is the new perfect.

So, as we start off a new year, amongst other things, I look forward to being more diligent with updating this blog. I got on here today thinking about reposting holiday memories and pictures or posts I intended to do weeks ago– like our fun trip to Botanical Gardens Train Show and thoughts on how the magical wonder of the holidays comes back when you have little ones– but, alas, it is 2015 and it feels like nobody has the need or desire to revisit the holiday season or the year past.

So, instead I sit and think about why it is that I so often have good intentions of writing but then don’t. Sure, time is one factor, and the very un-endearing quality of procrastination that I possess another, but bigger yet is my perfectionism. As great as it is to expect top quality from myself, it’s also my biggest barrier. How many posts have gone unwritten, videos unedited,  projects ended before they began, and great ideas never taken off the ground because they were not “good enough” or “thought out enough”(when indeed they were likely over thought), and, ultimately, how many opportunities have I missed because I never put out there what was imperfect (or at least imperfect in my eyes)?

So in 2015, I say imperfection is the new perfect. Over thinking and perfecting is so 2014. Instead, I look forward to many more posts (grammatical mistakes may be included), and following up in action where my many ideas take me… imperfect and all.