He talks!

In the last few weeks, Trevor has begun putting two and three words together.  He consistently tries to say new words, and really seems pleased to be able to communicate.  It is so very cute to witness.

It all started with his first official two word utterance, “Big toot.”  Let this be just a small window into the life of a mom with three boys.  (Of note, I always count Dave as one of my three sons.)  T wakes up in the morning and from nap time jabbering away in his bed.  He describes things in his room or just plays, “Trevor ‘wake!” on repeat until we come to rescue him.  At night before bed, he lets us know his plans for the morning.  “Cars a morning,” “Books a morning,” “Train a morning.”  Ca-ute!!!!

Two weeks ago we began individual speech therapy.  This explosion of words may have just been coincidental, but progress is progress.  Dave and I knew we he would get there, and that one day it would just click.  The waiting though…not fun at all.

Our new challenge with him is getting him to eat enough.  He has always been our tactile sensitive boy, which means meal time is a chore.  Anything crunchy, is his favorite, but how many non-fried things are crunchy?  We give him waffles in the morning that are a bit on the over-done side, toasted pb and honey at lunch time, and uh….crackers, rice cakes and chips (found some that are just OK) for snack.  If you are wondering what else this kid eats….right.

We are able to squeeze in some rice and beans every now and again, the occasional banana and avocado, and he still LOVES his green juice.  Honestly, not sure we would get any veggies into his belly without that juice.  Also started giving him some mango flavored omgea smoothie supplements.  He actually asks for more when the spoonful is gone.  Thank the Lord for some semblance of nutrients.

I am learning that some seasons are longer than others, and patience and prayer need to be my focus.  Next week, he may be eating us out of house and home, so I will ride this wave in stride.

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Dinner menu for the week of May 27th

This whole meal planning thing is starting to get a bit easier.  Having said that, it does seem like every week, something comes up that changes my plan.

Last week, we skipped the salad night on Thursday, because I went out to dinner with some of my sweet girlfriends.  It was SO nice to have a night out.  With a daily goal of 90% real food, and 10% everything else, I spent pretty much ALL of my 10% on an amazing dark chocolate brownie topped with ice cream and drizzled dark chocolate sauce.  It may have been closer to 20% though.   Shhhhhhh.

Saturday, I had every intention of making the poached eggs with bacon and asparagus, but the bacon jumped out of the package onto the kitchen floor earlier that morning.  It was a total loss.  I decided to combine the asparagus that was on the menu, with the salmon planned for tonight (Sunday).  It turned out amazing!

salmon

BTW, Dave said that I have to acknowledge that HE cooked this masterpiece.  He reminded me that I always have to credit the chef.

Even though the salmon ruled, both the chicken parmigiana, and the taquitos were the stars of last week’s menu.  Actually…the wild rice soup was awesome too.  It is really great when there are no whammies on a menu.  All the recipe links are here.

It is the last week in May, and I am WAY over my grocery budget already.  I was hoping to get back on track by making smoothies instead of juice, but it has been a harder transition than I had hoped.  I have a freezer full of frozen fruit for smoothies, but have been buying tons of fresh stuff to accommodate Trevor’s desire for “doooooooce”.  It is hard for me argue with a 2yo that begs for kale, spinach, beet, celery, carrot, orange and apple juice.  I mean honestly.

So, I am resolved this week to only use items that I have on hand in order to give the bank account a break.  Yikes!  This will mean smoothies (sorry Trevor) using the frozen fruit, and only trips to the store for milk.  This should work given that we plan to skip eating at home two of the seven nights.

Monday:  Happy Memorial Day!!!  We will be going somewhere to eat some BBQ most likely.

Tuesday:  Salsa chicken tacos.  We will use corn tortillas, and add avocados, cheese and tomatoes.

Wednesday:  Creamy chicken and wild rice soup.  Replay from last week.  It was so good, AND this is a “use it up” week for us.

Thursday:  Dave and I will be going out to dinner for our 4th wedding anniversary.  Yay for date night!

Friday: Cheesy pesto chicken bake.  I will be making my own pesto in the Vitamix.  Hope it turns out well!

Saturday:  French toast with carmalized bananas.  Inspired by this recipe, but I will be using whole grain bread and whole milk for the egg mixture.

Sunday:  We do not have any seafood on hand except some frozen pub battered halibut that has been in the freezer for longer than I care to admit.  Not a real food option sadly.  We will be having soup again (ya know…to use it up) that I will pull from the freezer.  Can I tell you how much I appreciate having cooked ahead?!?

In closing, I am reflecting on Memorial Day, and how its significance reaches far beyond the BBQs, and the day we get off work.  I am humbled by the service and sacrifice of those that have made the US safer.  May we never forget what you have done for us, and may we live lives worthy of your gift.

Dinner menu for the week of May 13th

Another week of meal planning is here. Already.

On Friday, my little sis and her family came up to visit.  It was a great weekend of fun and relaxing with a teeny tiny break from real food, though I did still try to make good choices when available.

In other news, Juicy may be on her way out in favor of my new VITAMIX!!!  It is so very different, in both good and bad ways.  I really do prefer actual juice over smoothies, but there is so much less waste with my new tool.  It should reduce our fresh produce spending drastically.  It is not only me that misses the pure Juicy kind of juice.  Trevor has left several full glasses of green smoothie juice around the house.  Hope I can get the consistency and taste right in the coming week.

These are the items on our dinner menu:

Monday:  Left over chicken.

Tuesday:  Chicken pot pie.   Like most things, I modify this recipe.  I make my own whole wheat crust, I use whole wheat flour in the filling, and I will be using chicken that cooked most of the day in the crock pot.  Hands down, the very best whole chicken I have ever made!  I will use the carcass to make stock overnight.

Wednesday:  Salad with black beans, quinoa, apples and almonds.  I  will try to find a suitable dressing to make, or it may end up being oil and balsamic vinegar.

Thursday:  Potato soup made in the Vitamix on Sunday with BLTA sandwiches.

Friday:  Grilled steak and veggie fajitas.  I might try to make some corn tortillas from scratch.  Emphasis on might given how the flour ones turned out.  :/

Saturday:  We did not have dinner at home on Saturday last week, so I will be giving the quiches another go.

Sunday: Lemon garlic salmon steamed in foil on the BBQ with brown rice and zucchini.

Every week there seems to be something that makes it on menu that I cannot wait to cook up.  This week it is the fajitas.  Last week it was the shrimp and quinoa with avocado and orange salsa.  It was SO amazing.  Lived up to the dreams that I had been dreaming about the dish.   Both visually appealing, and terrific flavor!

ShrimpQuinoa

 

For those that are mothers, I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day, and that you were celebrated today!  Enjoy your week!

Real Food – The recap, and our “Why”

I am LATE with my update today.  I am tired.  The kind of tired that hurts.  This is a combination of mind numbing training for the last four days, and all of the food prepping/planning from the last week or so.

Yesterday’s recap:

Yesterday started to fall apart at lunch.  Dave forgot to pack something to bring with him to work, and ended up having portions of what was catered for his lunch meeting.   He chose spanish rice, and refried beans from the fajita plates that were delivered.  Spanish rice was made with white rice, so….yeah.  For dinner, his boss wanted to take him out to dinner because another college was in town, and there was no righting the ship.  Really hard to eat out unless you are in the kitchen with the chef watching him cook.  😦  Who wants to be that patron that asks what all is in the sauce or salad dressing.  Especially when it is not due to an allergy.   I survived the day without taking a dive into a tub of chocolate, and even maintained real food eating habits until tonight when I was sitting in front of a whole mess of yummy cookies and mini cakes.  I had one, and it was a-mazing.

I have been asked about the reasons why we made this pledge.  There are several answers to that question.  The main reasons were a family history of high cholesterol, and a desire to influence a palate for our boys while they are young for healthy food instead of processed food.  I would say this has been a long time coming.

When I was pregnant with Trevor, I had a crisis of conscience of sorts.  I knew I needed to eat better, but was not really sure what that meant.  Our first change was to move to organic meat and dairy.  This became much more of an issue for us after watching the movie Food Inc.  When Trevor was born, I made his food, and we tried to make a switch to organic produce when possible.  I should note that while we did change meat, dairy and produce choices, Dave and I never eliminated processed food or sweets from our diet.

Fast forward to the arrival of sweet Lucas last April, and the realization that Trevor would require a bit of developmental therapy.  I went on a mission to research things that could be causing the developmental delays.  As a family, we commited to ridding our home of chemicals, and we also changed to exclusively using a chemical free manufacturer of  personal care products to limit chemicals that are applied to our skin.  One HUGE area of hypocrisy remained our diet.  How can I really say that we are eliminating chemicals, if we are still eating them.  Again, I did not know what to avoid, or how.

The turning point came when I stumbled upon a website that I was using mainly for recipes.  I began reading her story, and the steps that she took in her family to eliminate processed food from her diet.  We began making small changes to the way we ate at home.  We replaced sugar with maple syrup and honey, and eliminated vegetable and canola oils from cooking.  The small changes were easy, but could we make a 10 day pledge?  It took me a LONG time to decide that we could commit.

While trying to pick a 10 day stretch that would give us the best chance to succeed, I watched a documentary called Hungry For Change.  Everything changed.  It was time, and this documentary was what I needed to get moving.  Thus…April 1st began our 10 days of real food.

One big struggle I have, is what to do with all of this information.  I cannot unlearn the things that I learned in the books or documentaries.  It is knowledge that demands a choice.  While I am glad that the 10 days are done, there will certainly be portions of our 10 day pledge that remain in some form or another going forward.  Juicy is here to stay!  I read that if you can maintain healthy eating habits 80% of the time, then you are doing great.  I want to aim for more like 90/10 while at home, but know there will be times when we are out, or the boys are away from home, and I will not be able to control what they are eating.   I need to be realistic.

I may have to tell other parents that my kids will not be eating the cupcake or whatever treat is being offered, and I am not looking forward to those tough convos honestly.  I need to know my audience, and choose how much detail I give when talking about the changes we are making as a family.  It can sound soap-boxy, and it do not want to come off as judgmental at all.  My choice does not have to be someone else’s choice.

Having said that, should you be interested in learning more, here are some resources that really helped me understand why it was time to make a change.

Books:

In Defense of Food

The Unhealthy Truth

Feeding Baby Green

Documentaries:

Food Inc.

Hungry for Change (Watch in parts on You Tube)

Forks over Knives

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Fresh

Websites:

www.100daysofrealfood.com

www.unconventionalkitchen.com

www.weelicious.com

iPhone Apps:

Fooducate (Tells you the ingredients of any food that contains a bar code, and also helps identify if it contains any possible GMOs.  AMAZING.  Get this!)

ShopNoGMO

Happy eating friends!

Real Food – Day 10

Yes!  We can do hard things!  One.day.left!

Yesterday:

High – Dave worked from home, and did SUCH a good job with all of the meals.  It would have been so easy to grab easy, pre-made food for himself and the boys, but he stuck to the plan.  <Beaming>

Low – I was gone from 8am to 8pm.  LONG day, and it was awful to be gone for both lunch and dinner.  Had to let go of a bit of control.  Grumble.

Breakfast was a very safe, tropical juicy.  The boys ended up having oatmeal instead of defrosted french toast.

Another day of class, and another day of tempting pastries.  Today: my kryptonite…pumpkin bread.  It was like even Salesforce was conspiring against me.  Jerks.

I ate a pb&j, granola, a pear and some carrots for lunch.  The string cheese did not make it into my bag, and I did not eat the Lara bar.  Dave was working from home, so he ate the spinach salad that I claimed he ate the other day.  Turns out it was not eaten, so that was an easy lunch.  I am so very shocked that he wanted to avoid the mac and cheese.  Odd.  The boys had yogurt, applesauce and avocado.  Trevor also had a pb&j.

Dinner was supposed to be pork chops, zucchini and sweet potato.  Dave did have all of the ingredients to make the pork chops, but the recipe required a bit too much prep and cooking time with two minions present while working from home.  Plus, the sweet potatoes that I thought were in the fruit basket were actually already used on Saturday.  He called an audible, and made zucchini, spaghetti with red sauce and some Italian sausage that I got at the farmers market over the weekend.  Both boys really enjoyed dinner.

Dave and I had our parent class, so our dinner was eaten in the car.   The snacks at class were acceptable.  Cheese and fruit mainly.  I again was the lady checking the ingredients.  Honestly, it is not embarrassing any more, and I know how to quickly scan for the prohibited items.  BTW, did you know that orange/yellow cheese is artificially colored?!?!  Some do use naturally derived colors, but still color nonetheless.  Why why why?

I am in day 3 of class today, so we have a “plan” again.  I am prepared for things to derail, and that will have to be ok.  Breakfast did go as planned though with juicy and french toast for the boys.

We have a combination of my mama and our sweet babysitter Whitney hanging with the boys today.  Fun fact: I babysat for Whitney and her brother when they were little.  I met their family and began working for them when she was only 4!!! #howamisoold  There is a list of items that they can eat for both lunch and dinner including banana, avocado, zucchini, pear, and the remaining pasta.  I even broke down and bought some “squeezers” in the event that the options run out.

Dave is scheduled to have a lunch meeting tomorrow that will be catered.  :/  Not sure if there will be anything provided that will work, but we shall see.  This type of situation is most definitely the biggest challenge when trying to make better food choices.  It is hard to know what is in or what is used to cook your food when you are away from home.  I brought an apple, more granola, a grilled cheese and my Lara bar.  Maybe I will eat it today since it has been in my purse for three days.

Dinner for us is TBD.  It may be one of those nights where you stand in front of the fridge for a few minutes looking for inspiration.  Who knows, I might go mac and cheese.  Ha.

Last real food recap will come tomorrow.  Did I mention that we can do hard things?!?!

Real Food – Day 9

And then there were 2.  I can see the light.

Yesterday:

High – My sweet Lucas is WALKING!!!  I know this is not food related, but he is walking.  We are ultimately doing this to better our health for our boys, and so I think it totally counts.

Low – Really poor food choices at my training class.  No shock honestly.  I was glad to have come prepared.

Our juicy was a bit on the nasty side again.  It must have contained too much of something good for you.  Like beets or kale.  Normally I can hide the taste, but too few apples I guess.  Also, I was over generous with the chia.  It became a sloppy, goopy, chunky mess, and I had to fish out clumps.  Shudder.  Still learning clearly.  The boys had oatmeal.

Dave and I rushed out the door a bit later than ideal, and he dropped me off at my training on his way to the office.  Here is what I found in the classroom.  Fruit option was great, but paired with danishes and way-too-much-sugar juices.  If I am being honest, I got really close to the treats and inhaled deeply.

Day9

I gladly ate my sandwich, muffin and granola for lunch.  Somehow I ended up with Dave’s carrots, so I snacked on them also.  Over lunch I had a great convo with a co-worker that too is eliminating sugar from his diet, and trying to avoid processed food.  He also brought a peanut butter sandwich!  Refreshing!  Dave did not end up eating his pizza for lunch because he said the juicy kept him full almost all day.  He snacked on nuts and granola at work.  The boys had banana, veggie rice and strawberries for lunch.  About half of the crackers were gone, so I can assume that Trevor had those for snack.

I got home just about 5pm, and Dave was hanging with the boys.  They had already eaten some spaghetti and avocado.  Trevor enjoyed some yogurt, and Lucas ate some cheese before they headed for the bath.  Dave and I both had left over pizza.

Today, we went with another tropical juicy since she was our very favorite.  Apples, pineapple, oranges and a few carrots.    We needed a delish one after the past two choke.it.down mornings.  Took a ch-ch-ch-chia break as well.  The boys both had defrosted french toast that I made a few days back with some pear.

I brought granola, a pear, string cheese, carrots and I still have the Lara bar in my purse from yesterday.  Dave is working from home today and will dive into the left over mac and cheese.  I can only imagine he will add some salt and pepper, and maybe some additional cheese.  There are lots of options for the boys that he can make.  He may even try to share the macaroni.  I would.

Dinner is going to be buttermilk pork chops with steamed zucchini.  The boys will also have some roasted sweet potato.  Dave is finding the recipe for the pork chops, and I will link it tomorrow.

In closing, as this adventure nears the end of our 10 days, we are starting to discuss permanent changes to our diet.  We still have to work out what will be eaten in moderation, and what will be left out on purpose.  Some things are much easier to avoid than others, and I want to be realistic, not a fanatic.  More to come here.

Real Food – Day 8

Three days left, and it is getting easier.  Yesterday in Costco, it did not seem odd for me to be reading labels.  BTW, BIG kudos to Costco for increasing their organic selections.  I am quite impressed.

The recap…

Our faithful juicy was a bit off yesterday morning  because I added two large grapefruits to the bounty.  SOUR!  Even Trevor was a bit slow to suck his cup dry.  Maybe just one next time.

After breakfast, Trevor and I hit up Costco.  We stocked up on juicy components as well as some bread (Honey instead of sugar, and 100% whole wheat flour!), quinoa, cheese, yogurt and butter.  The big win of the trip was that I bought a dehydrator.  Clearly I just went from a novice to a nut job.  Still, I am giddy about drying stone fruits this summer!!!

Lunch for the boys was avocado, wild rice with veggie sauce, and Trevor had some tangerines.  The tangerines we just got on Sat at the farmer’s market are amazing!  Dave and I had grilled cheese sandwiches.

After lunch, Trevor took a nap, and I took Lucas to Whole Foods to get the rest of the items on my list.  I planned to get to work as soon as we got back making a few things that would be used for the rest of the week.  Because I am going to a conference each day this week, I knew that I would have to get organized.

Between lunch and dinner, I made…

Granola!!!  This can be cereal, a snacky-type food, or something that is added to yogurt.  Trevor had a few bites, and he approves.  So darn good.

Day8

I also made some applesauce in the crock pot.  This is not a new task for me.  I have been making it in the crock pot for several months.  The end result was always worth the effort, so I endured the long and painful hour or so that it took me to cut and peel all of the apples.  Until…I got an apple peeler that changed by life.  Seriously.  Get one people, and make apple sauce.  You will never buy tree top or motts again.  I promise.  It is sweet enough that NO sugar is required.  We pop the finished product into ice cube trays, and then into the freezer.  It will last us about a month.

Before dinner, I prepped all of the items we will be using in juicy in the morning, and made the pizza dough.  It needed to sit in the fridge for at least an hour before baking.

Dinner for the boys was a total flop.  Trevor had whole plain yogurt, a tangerine, and some banana.  Lucas still has a snotty nose, so he mostly refused everything.  The main issue was that I tried to hide some kale in the zucchini, asparagus and pea sauce that they typically love in their rice.  EPIC FAIL.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that I tried to put this sauce on whole wheat spaghetti.  I know…it seems like I am new.  Even Lucas, who will eat anything, spit it out.  Well, pretty much the whole batch went into the fridge to try another day.  If I am being honest it will be in the compost shortly.  You win some…

Dave and I rolled out the pizza dough after the boys went to bed, and Dave made some pesto sauce.  He added some (not allowed but I totally spaced) canadian bacon with spinach and I stuck to the margarita pizza.  Here is how it turned out…

day 8

It was yummy, but I think next time I need to add more water to the dough.  It was a bit dry.  I think I also need to roll it a bit thinner.  Overall, it was a great first pizza from scratch.

Today, we had our juice, and the boys had oatmeal sweetened with applesauce.

Dave brought pizza and a spinach salad with strawberries, almonds and a balsamic vinaigrette with carrots for a snack. I packed a pb and honey sandwich with a defrosted zucchini muffin, granola and a lara bar for snack.  I have no clue what the food options will be like this week for me, so it will be best for me to bring everything with me.  The boys will have their nanny loving on them today, and she has a list of things she can give them for lunch.

Dinner for the boys is up to Dave.  I trust him to make something yummy for them.  I will be having the rest of my pizza from last night for dinner, and I am not really sure what is on the docket for Dave’s dinner.  Mom/wife fail.

Until tomorrow.