Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog

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I think Baby Bear may be getting his lower, front teeth!  I’m about 85% certain that I saw distinct white bumps when I was feeding him tonight.  Not sure what to do about it, if anything.  Just thought I’d announce it.  It’s one of the things worthy of announcing, I believe.  Well, I guess I could have waiting until the teeth actually broke through.  Oh, whatever!  He also eats solid food better in the evening than during the day.  Wonder why that is?  I learned at a Montessori parents’ night that we should feed Baby Bear from behind so that he sees the activity from a better perspective and learns it on his own faster.  Neat idea.  I tried that out tonight.  My back is still hurting.

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Healthy Halloween Ideas

Aunt Karen has some excellent healthy Halloween ideas.  On Halloween night she gives out small boxes of raisins or small bags of pretzels instead of candy.  (You can also trade in your candy for healthy treats at Earth Fare!)  Karen also doesn’t like to waste her pumpkins so she always cuts her pumpkins on Halloween night, just an hour or so before she wants to display it.  You can also cut it earlier and put in the refrigerator until that night.  Then, after the kids collect their candy, Karen cuts the pumpkins in half and pops them into the oven at 350 degrees for 45 min or until they get soft.  She then lets them cool and peels off the skin off.  Then she runs the pumpkins chunks through the Vitamix and freezes most of it in ice cube trays or small containers.  Some pumpkin puree can go in the fridge for the next week.  You can make soups, sauces, or mix the puree with apple sauce for a golden apple sauce!  You can also add the puree to cookie dough to make pumpkin cookies or add the puree to smoothies!  You can also leave some chunks in the fridge for salads or steam them with other veggies!  The possibilities are endless!


Favorite Crock Pot Recipes?

I am searching for an awesome beef stew crock pot recipe.  I tried one from Taste of Home at, which was pretty good.  I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.  I wasn’t too interested in the leftovers, so that says something.  I am looking for a recipe that has a thicker sauce and more flavor.  Does anyone have a favorite beef stew recipe?  Preferably using a crock pot.  Any other suggestions for crock pot recipes?  I love the crock pot in the fall!  Yum!

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Baby Raspberries

Baby bear likes blowing raspberries!  It’s his new thing.  Check out the YouTube video link below.  He just started getting really into it over the last few days.  We wonder if he learned it from daycare.  As you can see, he’s very squirmy!  I really struggle to give him a bath and sometimes changing him takes four hands!  He has not mastered the crawl yet.  Thank goodness.  He prefers to practice standing.  I’m not prepared for him to skip crawling!  I also keep trying to get him to eat solids.  He’ll eat about 20% of the time.  I can’t figure out why he won’t eat sometimes (most of the time :).  Oh, well.  I’ll keep trying!

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It’s Crock Pot Time!

I actually use my crock pot all year round but fall provides added incentive for making comfort food.  And in my opinion, all crock pot food is comfort food.  I love putting the crock pot going on Sunday morning!  Then I don’t need to worry about cooking and cleaning up a big mess right before the work-week starts.  Martha Stewart’s Soy-Ginger Chicken ( is one of my favorites.  I’ve served it for company several times and plan on making it for company again this weekend.  Oh, Martha!  You’re too good to me!  BUT, I recommend reading the comments section.  For example, most reviewers recommend cooking the chicken for only 3-4 hours and adding extra veggies.  Any other crock pot recommendations?  Stews?


Homemade Bars – On The Go

Store-bought granola bars seemed like a waste to me.  A waste of money, a waste of packaging, and waste of calories.  They also seem to have an infinite shelf-life, which is always a big red flag for me.  They do, however, seem to save time.  They are great to grab and go.  You can eat them in the car or carry them in your bag.  You can store them in your desk at work or quickly throw them in your kids lunch.  They are filling and seem better than a candy bar – maybe.  SO, I tried to think of a homemade replacement to the store-bought bars.  I made some homemade granola bars with peanut butter, rolled oats, dried apricots, dried cherries, dried pomegranates  and chocolate chips (of course).  I added eggs and some brown sugar and baked the mixture in a pan at 375 for about 30 minutes.  You can vary the recipe however you want.  Then, I cut the baked mixture into bars and wrapped the bars in plastic wrap!  I put all the wrapped bars in a refrigerator drawer for easy access.  Quick, easy, healthy, and cheap!  AND homemade!

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Fall Vegetable Medley

I’m not great a throwing a meal together, so take that into consideration when you read this recipe.  I have, however, had a dilemma that you may also have come across.  This was my best shot at addressing the dilemma.  I have local, organic veggies delivered every week and I also like to gather cool looking veggies at the grocery store.  That’s not the dilemma.  The dilemma is using them all up before the next delivery each week.  I came up with a new recipe that worked.  I got a 9×13 dish, filled it veggies, and roasted them at 375 for 1 hour.  In my dish last week, I included acorn squash sliced, 1 onion chopped, cauliflower chopped, a can of chickpeas, and a bunch of grape tomatoes.  On top, I sprinkled fennel seeds, pumpkin seeds and crasins.  I drizzled everything with olive oil and added some salt and pepper.  Yum!  Let nothing go to waste!

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Homemade Vitamin Water

Do you save your cooking water?  Any time you boil or steam veggies or fruit, why not save the excess water?  We know that the most healthy option would be to eat veggies and fruit raw and straight from the vine or tree but that’s not always possible.  If you’re going to cook those veggies or fruit, why not use the water which contains all the cooked off vitamins and nutrients.  You can use that water for cooking rice or pasta.  You can put the water in your smoothie or protein shake.  You can put it in the frige to use later or you can put it in a water bottle to drink.  No need to spend money on store-bought vitamin water!  Veggie or fruit infused water is pretty trendy anyway.  I tried some squash water the other day and it was great!  I’m sure you can think of even more ways to use your cooking water!  🙂

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Pumpkin Picking!

Okay, it’s a little weird picking pumpkins in shorts and a T-shirt but it was still fun and I don’t miss the long winters.  Now I need to find some pumpkin recipes!  I’ve always wanted to roast my own pumpkins seeds.  Maybe I’ll actually do it this year!

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