Real Food Supper ~ sneaking greens into your kids’ meals ~

Coconut-fried chicken thighs, brussel sprouts and cilantro rice

Coconut-fried chicken thighs, brussel sprouts and cilantro rice

If your kid is like mine, there is a lot of negotiation that goes on at the dinner table. Mainly on the topic of vegetables….especially GREEN vegetables. While I can coax my son to eat a few brussels sprouts, I have to find creative ways to integrate larger amounts of veggies into his food that he will eat with gusto. Cilantro Rice is one such creative method. The Bean loves rice. Rice and beans are his favorite foods – ones that he will ALWAYS eat – no ifs, ands or buts about it. So I have come up with clever ways to add large amounts of greens to the Bean’s rice. Enter The Magic Bullet… Blend up a cup of organic cilantro, 2 Tbsp water, 1 tsp lime juice and 1/2 tsp salt. Pour the mixture over cooked rice (I cooked my rice in bone broth). The Bean loves it. It seems that he doesn’t mind the TASTE of greens, just the texture…
Blending the cilantro

Blending the cilantro

Rice with the cilantro mixture

Rice with the cilantro mixture

Here’s a Real Food dinner recipe from the other night.
Cilantro Rice – as prepared above.
Coconut-fried chicken –
1 lb of boneless, skinless organic chicken thighs cut into inch-sized bites. Drench chicken in beaten egg and toss in a mixture of organic rice flour, sea salt and pepper. Fry in coconut oil.
Brussels Sprouts – Slice 2 lbs of brussels sprouts in halve and saute with a half cube of butter.

Dinner was a success and the Bean ate all of his food – getting a great does of detoxifying cilantro in the process!!

All Gone!

All Gone!

Juicing in January

Refreshing Juice Blend

Refreshing Juice Blend

Its a freezing but beautifully clear January day here in the Rogue Valley. The Bean & I thought we’d share one of our more mild tasting, refreshing juice blends. Using a cucumber and an apple as a base we add a handful of carrots, several stalks of celery, small bunches of both cilantro & parsley, several large kale leaves and a few beet stalks & greens.
The Bean helping juice

The Bean helping juice


I use an oldie-but-goodie- ACME juicer I bought used last year off of craigslist. We love it. I’m pretty sure it cost me $30. There always seems to be just a ton of reasonably priced used juicers on craigslist. – I love craigslist (if you haven’t already noticed) –
Beans loves “helping” with the juicing process. His participation usually guarantees that he will drink a glass of juice (no matter how tart or bitter) because he feels an ownership of the juicing process. I’ll throw an extra apple or half beet in the mix if the juice is just too potent for the kiddo.
So grab some veggies and get to juicing. Its a real pick-me-up in these winter months…
Give your body what it needs

Give your body what it needs

Interpretive Art – Mixed media with a preschooler

A Man and His Horse

A Man and His Horse

Ever look at the clouds and pick out the “things” that you see in the billows of white & gray? Sure, we all have. Today’s art project isn’t far removed from a cloud watching exercise. This morning my three year old asked me what we could do “together”. I’m feeling pretty pregnant and pretty lazy so not a whole lot of adventures came to mind. I remember seeing a blog not long ago that featured these “blob” paintings – where the artist would paint a “blob” and then interpretively sketch a character out of the near-formless painting. I figured I could tailor the project to me and my pre-schooler’s particular needs. I set him up with some watercolors and let him paint till his little heart was content. Then we talked about what he saw in each painting. It was interesting that we both saw many similar “things” in the paintings. Under the Bean’s directions, I’d sketch in what he interpreted his brush strokes to be. Lots of fun – AND he’s very proud…

Dancing People

Dancing People

Buttercream Frosting

Thomas cupcakes with buttercream frosting

Thomas cupcakes with buttercream frosting

So, yesterday was the Bean’s birthday party. We held it at a local pizzeria – the party consisted of feeding everyone pizza, giving the kids (average age of 3) bop-balloons and noisemakers and handing out cupcakes. For all that there was zero planned activities for the little ones, they had a blast shoving their faces, volleying their balloons and blowing on their noisemakers.
My son helped me make the cupcakes for his party. He had a Thomas the Train themed party (go figure) so we used Thomas cupcake liners and toppers for the cupcakes. We baked both ‘yellow’ and chocolate cupcakes – IMO they were just “aright”. But we made a fantastic frosting that really set them off. I found this Buttercream recipe online. I doubled the original recipe and only added half the amount of vanilla. In lieu of milk I used hazelnut coffee creamer. The frosting was sugary and faintly salty all at once and held it’s shape wonderfully. I don’t often find a need to make frosting but would certainly make this buttercream again!
Beans enjoying his birthday cupcake!

Beans enjoying his birthday cupcake!

A Day is as a Thousand Years…or: Cooking with a Preschooler

the Beans makes pizza

the Beans makes pizza

Man! My boy loves to do everything with me and I love including him. But, GEEEEEEEZ! Doing some things with Beans takes forever. Tonight I had some simple pizzas planned for dinner. You know, pre-made crust (Vicolo organic spelt & cornmeal) so just prep some veggies, throw some cheese on and, voila, dinner in ten! However, this evening The Bean just HAD to help. He gathered the produce, I chopped, he sprinkled and spilled, smeared and sneaked. Thirty five minutes and a disastrous kitchen later we put the pizzas in the oven. Fifteen minutes after that we took the pizzas out. Beans: I’m not hungry, Mama.

The Birth Pool

La Bassine

La Bassine

My 2nd son is due in thirty-some-odd days. We are planning a home birth with an amazing ND as my midwife. I wanted the option of a birth pool – both for laboring and delivery. I scored this La Bassine birth pool off of craigslist unopened for $75. It came with a liner, though I ended up ordering a custom one. Seeing as how my little Sprout could show up at any time I thought it would be prudent to set the pool up, check it out and inspect it for leaks. After my pregnant self struggled to unflold the deflated pool, I used an electric air pump to blow it up – it took less than three minutes. She-zam! What an awesome pool. It’s deep enough that when I sit in it the top of the pool reaches above my shoulders and I can lean my head back on the edge. Whether I end up delivering this little guy in the pool or not, I know that I’ll be thankful to have it to labor in. I found SO much pain relief in the birthing pool of Ashland Community Hospital where my firstborn was delivered! Anyways, La Bassine was in perfect shape with no obvious leaks so I just rolled it into the nursery where it will hang out till we need it next month…I believe that was the last thing on my “Prepare for Home Birth” checklist!! Whoo Hoo!

Decorating the nursery PART 1

vinyl decals in nursery

vinyl decals in nursery

So, the Sprout should arrive next month and I have been sorely procrastinating putting his nursery together. We moved into this house in November and that was quickly followed by a nasty bout of flu, the holidays, multiple birthdays (including The Bean’s) and general end-of-pregnancy-zombie-like fatigue. We are planning a home birth, so making sure everything is in order for the actual *BIRTH* took precedent over making Sprout’s nursery all cutesy-cutesy. My experience with Beans was that these kids could really care less what going on inside their bedrooms till they’re at least 18 months old. That being said, Sprout will being moved into Beans’ bedroom when he’s a few years old and the nursery will become the School Room. So my goal was to create a cool nursery that would segue into a learning area for the boys later on. I really wanted to get more exciting with the color palette but, just like a wino returns to their Midnight Train, I went back to my favorite foundation color of green. I’ve really been admiring these vinyl wall decals I’ve been seeing all over the place. So after a lot of shopping around on Amazon and Ebay I purchased several sets – One was a giant tree, another a couple of branches and doves and the third being Jeremiah 1:5. I washed and dried the nursery walls and got to work applying these decals yesterday at 1pm. What a pain in the ass. Seriously, if you have even the smallest iota of artistry in your blood it is easier to PAINT than to apply these decals. It took me about an hour and a half to junk the recommended application recommendations and come up with my own system that worked better. I found that cutting off small sections of the decal, peeling the paper backing off and applying it like a sticker worked a heck of a lot better than taping the 2’x4′ sections to the wall with masking tape and pressing them of a half sheet at a time. By 9pm I was done applying these ridiculous decals. The final result looks great, but doggone…I really should have just painted it for all the effort it took. Sorry the photos at the top of the page aren’t the highest quality – I took them with my phone as my camera couldn’t zoom out enough to get the pics….
vinyl decal detail

vinyl decal detail

The Bean’s 3rd Birthday

Today is Beans’ 3rd birthday. Can’t believe time has passed so fast! We are actually having his birthday party on the 14th. My rational was that I needed to give people a bit of a buffer between the hubbub of the holidays and a preschooler’s birthday party. I know that *I* needed a breather. Anyways, stuff to know about the Bean as he turns 3.
He loves:
Thomas the Train
Goats milk
Cashews
Johnny Cash
The Beatles
Old pickups
Matchbox Cars
Reading stories
Basketball
Baseball
Coloring
Helping cook
“‘Zert” (Dessert)
Playing in the snow

He doesn’t like:
Washing his hair
Eating very cold things
Riding in carts

Happy Birthday Beans!

Beans

Beans

The Big Boy Bed question

So Beans here will be tuning 3 at the very beginning of January and his little brother, The Sprout, is due to make his entrance sometime next month. The Bean has slept in a crib his entire life and it is time he was upgraded to a big boy bed. Obviously, we need the crib for the Sprout. So, what do we get him? A toddler bed? A twin? A bunk bed? I’ll be honest, at first I was really tempted by those totally awesome toddler beds. My son isn’t allowed to watch anything but Thomas the Train or Mr Rogers (he gets to pick out maybe and hour of those shows – commercial free – a week. He just adores Thomas and we read from the Railway Series every night. So, that being said, I really wanted to buy him one of those amazing Thomas the Train toddler beds that are shaped like an actual Thomas train. They run about $400 new but I had seen a handful of them on Craigslist for $200-$250. I knew he would just be beside himself to get to “sleep in Thomas”. However, after much deliberation and consulting been-there-done-that parents, Husby and I decided it would be more sensible if we bought the Bean a twin-sized bunk bed. That way he could sleep on the bottom bunk for now and once his little brother is older they can share the bunk bed. So, I started looking for a bunk bed. The ones that were quality and adjustable designs were super pricy. I didn’t want to buy some piece of particle board crap from China, but I also didn’t want to spend a grand on a solid wood, American-made bed. Eventually I found a local manufacturer: The Bunk Bed Factory of Southern Oregon. For $350 the built me a fully convertible, solid Douglas Fir bunk bed. They brought it over last night and assembled it. I could not be more happy with the quality of the bed – Not to mention, our son LOVES it! The top bunk is rated for 400lbs, so Beans is super excited about inviting his Uncle Cub over to spend the night on the top bunk. My mom, whom the Bean calls “Ema” has bought our son some Thomas the Train bedding for a birthday gift and, likewise, Husby and I have purchased some additional Thomas decor for a present as well. Cant wait till Beans gets to open it all! bunkbed1rm