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chickens and eggs.

our favorite thing to do in the evenings is sit outside and watch the chickens.  garrett has become so aware of the animals in the last month and he just lights up when martha or milo walk into a room.  literally, smiles from ear to ear.  when outside, he just watches the chickens so intently.

who needs television when you have the entertainment of chickens?!

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what better way to learn where food comes from?  he loves eggs.  we started him with just scrambled yolks and after several days and no reaction to the yolks gave him the full egg.  yay for no egg allergy issues!

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this kid. he lights up our life. and then some.


weekly menu

i am slowly finding our new normal around here which means, weekly menus! i mean, it isn’t like it has taken me seven months to get used to having my little one … oh wait.

sunday

lunch: sandwiches. easy peasy.

dinner: butternut squash shells

baby food prep: roasted beets, sweet potato fries, roasted vegs.

monday

lunch: leftover shells

dinner: veggie loaded polenta bake

tuesday {GAME DAY! GO USA!}

lunch: leftover polenta

dinner: quiche. throw in whatever is in the refrigerator, goat cheese, leftover vegs, spinach. i use this homemade {and super easy} crust.

wednesday

lunch: leftovers.

dinner: whole roast eggplant parmigiana

thursday

lunch: hmmm. i will go with leftovers.

dinner: sweet potato and black bean salad

friday

lunch: yummy whatever is left in the kitchen because it is the end of the week.

dinner: any leftovers. pantry surprise. or fend for yourself family.

saturday

lunch: out.

dinner: farmer’s market finds.

 

food for the babe {because we are primarily feeding him what we are eating, well, he will eat the meals above.}

sweet potato fries + other roasted vegs

plain yogurt

unsweetened applesauce

pea fritters

oatmeal banana muffins

tangerines + bananas + what other fruits on hand

eggs {he LOVES eggs!}

 


adventures in eating.

tonight was the first time eating in his high chair. i did a facebook poll and everyone said ikea was the way to go.  so off we went and conquered.  i opted for the red wooden one over the completely plastic one.  i just fell in love with it.  did i mention it was red.  love.

on the menu was oat pancakes, strawberries, a tangerine and plain yogurt.

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for the oat pancakes here is the recipe:

 

1 cup oat flour (i made my own by simply putting raw oats in the dry vitamix container but you can buy it too)
3/4 cup almond milk
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 egg
splash of vanilla
few shakes of cinnamon

directions:

 

mix all together
grease a non-stick pan with oil or butter
cook all the way through (especially if you use an egg)

g was definitely a fan.

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when i say blw is messy, this is the beautiful messiness that i mean.  i am learning to embrace the sticky fingers.

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baby led weaning.

baby-led weaning {blw} is the practice of trusting your baby’s innate sense of hunger, of want, of self-knowledge and of self-limitation. baby-led weaning offers parents and their children a natural, relaxed approach to the introduction of solid foods.  instead of relying on prepared, commercial baby foods or even homemade purees, mama’s and papa’s simply introduce their babies to natural, wholesome real food from the start – relying on their babies to self-regulate and lead the way.

this is why we are primarily starting solids using this method.

blw is a natural approach to solid foods and to feeding your baby in general, and it starts at the breast. when you breastfeed your child, you rely on your baby to let you know when he or she is hungry and you allow your baby to self-regulate his or her eating patterns – feeding your baby on demand.  this level of innate parent-child connection and your trust in your baby’s ability to self-regulate based on his or her own hunger is the essence and foundation of baby-led weaning.

here are some tips we have learned the past couple of weeks as we have started the blw approach:

do NOT serve small, tiny pieces of food.
serve large chunks that can be easily grasped.
make sure your baby is capable of sitting on his or her own and is well-supported.
offer your baby the same foods you’re eating so that your baby feels included in the family meal. {unless there are food allergy issues}
know that your baby may not actually eat any of the food presented; rather, baby-led weaning is about exploration.
don’t hurry or rush your baby – after all, do you like to be rushed while eating?
make sure you only offer wholesome, natural foods (no added refined salts, flours, sugars, oils).
it will be messy, be prepared and relax a bit. the more mess, the better the photos!
steer away from foods that are clearly dangerous for young persons (peanuts, chips, popcorn etc).
no honey.
talk to your baby’s health care provider about this approach to weaning.

infants who participate in blw do at times, gag and spit food out. unlike traditional solid introduction, this gag response is not viewed as negative or uncomfortable for the infant. {however, it is for this mama! he has gagged only once and he was fine. i was the nervous nelly.}  when infants bring solid foods to their own mouth, they are the ones guiding the sensory experience, starting and stopping when they are comfortable and ready.

we started with avocado. then sweet potato. after that, pretty much anything that we have in the kitchen.  he has had watermelon, hummus, pita, squash, cucumber, green peppers, carrots, strawberries, cheese, ground beef, scrambled egg yolks, tangerines, bananas, broccoli, plain baby yogurt, oatmeal and even lettuce.

here is a sample dinner. steamed carrots. broiled green peppers. a small bit of protein, below ground beef.  and a fruit.  i like the ratio of mostly vegs and a small protein and a small fruit.

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his first food, avocado.  i learned that if i leave the skin on and cut into wedges, he can handle it better.  he eats the avocado and leaves the skin.  following his lead.

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we have chosen a few spoon fed foods.  plain baby yogurt is one of them.  we are holding off on the sugar added flavors.  if we can get him to love plain, without the sugar, that would be ideal.  and so far, it is working.  he loves it.  we are also taking it slow with high allergen foods like eggs.  so below is scrambled egg yolks for him and egg whites for me.  i love making one meal for the both of us.

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sweet potatoes continue to be his favorite.

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 it is a happy, messy life right now and i love it.  he is growing and food is all over the place.  every meal our cat is on one side and the dog on the other of him.  they know what is up.  and the diapers.  oh, the diapers.  they are changing too.  

six months into this parenting thing and i have learned that moderation and balance are key.  some purees and spoon fed goodness is good but for the most part we are following his lead and believing in self feeding.  whole, real foods is our primary focus.  having fun and learning developmental skills is a plus.  so far, it is all working well.   a good bib is key to happiness.


healthy slow cooker freezer meal day! round 2.

i received such a wonderful response by both my blog readers and the husband {he does love a good, home cooked meal} that i took that momentum and ran with it.  well, not really ran but i did create a grocery list and plan for five more meals to store in the freezer.

this ebook {still on sale until august 15th!} click here to visit Mama And Baby Love. is still the best i have found.  you can pick and choose one meal at a time or you can go all in and pick three or more to do.  stephanie gives grocery lists for three-four meals so all the work is done.  well, you do still have to actually GO to the store.

here are the meals i made in four hours.  {i was pretty low on energy during the day i had so i took many more “feet up – drink a bottle of water because you are six months pregnant” rest moments than before}.  chicken pesto shells, french dip beef stew, sesame honey chicken, asian meatballs and chicken parmesan.  the french dip stew, sesame honey chicken and chicken parmesan all came from stephanie’s ebook.  those recipes and more can be found at her website or you can click here to visit Mama And Baby Love.

first up chicken pesto shells. technically, not a slow cooker meal.  but they are SO good and easy to make large batches and freeze.  i use tinkyada gluten free shells and they work great.  i make sure to cook them al dente before freezing.

ingredients:

12-16 jumbo pasta shells {i used two boxes}
water for boiling pasta
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup freshly grated parmesan or asiago cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
6 tablespoons prepared pesto (homemade or store bought)
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

directions:

in a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. cook pasta shells only until al dente. the pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked. drain the pasta shells and set aside.

in a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping. fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a baking dish. sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells.

preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.

to make ahead/freezer meals -

prepare as directed but place filled shells in an oven- and freezer-proof baking dish. top with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells, cover and freeze.  when ready to prepare, defrost. preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese.

my sweet martha stewart was a big helper.  especially when the shredded chicken was cooling.

next up, french dip beef stew.

then, sesame honey chicken.

then, asian meatballs. ahhh. i LOVE the smell of fresh cilantro.

 

ingredients:
meatballs:
0.25 cup panko bread crumbs {i used glutino gluten free bread crumbs}
1.25 pounds extra lean ground beef
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
0.5 teaspoons salt
0.25 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
3 medium green onions, chopped
1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
sauce:
4 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons water
0.5 medium green onions, chopped

directions:
preheat oven to 500. mix together all ingredients listed for meatballs in a large bowl. mix well with hands until combined. shape 1/4 cup meat mixture into balls. place rolled meatballs in baking dish. bake for 15 minutes. meanwhile, mix all sauce ingredients in small bowl. serve meatballs with sauce for dipping.

freezing directions:
prepare meatballs as directed above, but do not bake. place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. flash freeze. once frozen, place in gallon freezer bag. place sauce in pint freezer bag. label and freeze.

TO SERVE: thaw. preheat oven to 500. place meatballs in baking dish. bake 15 minutes. meanwhile, heat sauce on stovetop or in microwave until heated through.

and finally, chicken parmesan.

we are fortunate to have to a chest freezer along with the freezer with our refrigerator.  i like to freeze everything in the smaller space {takes less energy} then transplant it to the larger freezer.  so everything i made last week had been moved to the chest freezer which left this empty space to be filled just four hours later.

and there you go.  healthy freezer meals, mostly slow cooker.  if you have any must try recipes please share away!


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