Today I met a few moms for strawberry picking! Hall Family Farm (http://www.hallfamilyfarm.com/) is a great place to take kids. There were several different play areas for various ages. There was a shaded, penned in area with toys, a water table, a small maze, and lots of tricycles. You could enjoy chickens, a tractor ride and funnel cake. The strawberry patches were a short walk away and there were lots of patches to pick with lots of room for everyone to roam. Baby B took a little while to figure out what we were doing. Ounce he figured out that he could pick a strawberry and eat it before I could stop him (or cared to stop him) things got messy. And I got messy too! Baby B loved squeezing the strawberries and ring out the juice. He slurped drips as they ran down his hands and arms. Pure bliss. He smiled at me and showed off each new strawberry that he found. I tried to point to the bucket and explain that we were collecting them but that seemed ridiculous even to me. I finally resolved to fill our bucket as fast as I could or at least faster than Baby B could scarf down an entire row. It was a blast! I made up for eating strawberries by buying a strawberry smoothie and some honey.
I made a few interesting meals this week that I thought I’d share. I’m always looking for new ways to serve healthy food. Quick and easy is very better. Since my little guy is 13 months, I try to find foods that he can pick up and aren’t even close to resembling a choking hazard. I have enough things to think about. A one pot meal I made this week was a tortellini dish with pureed greens as the sauce. I boiled 1/2 a bag of tortellini. To the cooked pasta I added 3 cubes of frozen pureed greens (kale and broccoli mix – but you can use any greens), a cup of peas, a cup of corn and about 3 tablespoons of pine nuts. I cut of the cooked pasta for Baby B but he probably would have been fine chewing on his own. I, of course, always watch him when he eats. I found the pine nuts soft and easy to eat but every baby is different so you may want consider leaving those out. Also, you want to monitor possible allergic reactions when nuts are involved. (Only do what you feel comfortable with). I seasoned the dish with garlic salt and olive oil but most any seasoning will work. And you can decide not to season it at all. My little guy loved it! I appreciate a one pot meal that we can both eat and is great as a leftover meal. This meal was especially appealing because of the “hidden” greens in place of a sauce.
In addition to the hidden greens pasta dish, I also found a new way to hide some chia seeds in a side dish this week. Just to back up a moment for some further explanation. I try to follow most of the healthy baby food ideas from Super Baby Food Book. In this book the author, Yaron, highly recommended trying to eat seeds ever day. I always find this challenging. So I usually pick a seeds in the morning – chia, alfalfa, sesame, flax, pumpkin, etc. – and grind it up in my coffee grinder. I don’t actually drink coffee I just use the grinder. Sometimes I add brewer’s yeast or some legumes into the grinder. I put the grinds in a cup and leave it sitting by the stove during the day as a reminder to sprinkling it into different things, like smoothies, hot cereal, rice, etc. This week I sprinkled ground chia seeds over my diced, baked sweet potatoes. I also added some basil and a little salt and pepper. Both my husband and 13 month old loved it! They were none the wiser about the hidden, healthy addition – ground chia seeds!
We have been traveling so much it has been difficult to find time to blog. After visiting Savannah, Georgia, we then visited Washington DC and then Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Traveling gets you out of your routine. You nap when you can. Eat different foods. Become disoriented. Get behind on emails. Feel guilty about the house projects not getting done. That’s probably just me. Somewhere between Washington DC and Myrtle Beach, Baby B got two more top teeth (making 4 total on the top). He is 13 months and has 5 teeth now. The first two nights were not pretty. He had a mild fever and couldn’t sleep. He’s better now and back to his usually perky self. It was unseasonably wet and cool at the beach, which seems to be the forecast everywhere but California. Despite the cool weather, we let Baby B try out the beach. He loved it! He would have preferred to go swimming but we only got his feet wet. At the beach he saw a helicopter. Now he points out all the helicopters in our books we read. In addition to our home collection, I usually borrow about 5 or 6 books from the library. These books are reserved for reading when he’s in the high chair during meals and therefore can’t destroy the books. He will usually like about 1 of the 6 that I borrow and I can never tell which one it will be. It never fails that one of the them will make him laugh and he’ll keep pointing to it for me to read. When not in the high chair, he’s learned to back into me and plop down on my lap when he wants to read a book or share something that I’m eating. This morning he kept grabbing “The Hungry Caterpillar” which is funny because I didn’t think that he liked it. Goes to show it’s worth it to try lots of different books. Another favorite activity recently is watering the plants and the lawn. He always points to the hose and loves to hold it while we water. He thinks it’s funny when we spray the dogs, who jump and bark at the water.
During our road trip, I listened to Geneen Roth’s “Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything” on CD. This book came out in 2010 and was on the New York Times Best Seller list. Although my husband rolled his eyes when he read the title and then proceeded to insert his earphones, I found the book very interesting. I’m pretty picky with books. I’d give this one 3 1/2 maybe 4 stars out of 5. I did not agree with everything but it was an interesting take on issues that we talk about ALL the time. Actually, I think we should talk about God more but we think about spirituality alot and talk about food even more. Diets have plagued my life, like most women I think. Roth recommended forgetting about diets and figuring out is really going on inside yourself that is making you want to binge. It’s more important to understand why you are eating out of control then to find another diet. Your plate, she argues, is a window to your soul. My husband made several comments such as: I had a Chinese food last night – what does that mean? I had chicken salad for lunch – what does my soul look like now? My response: I don’t know – read the book! Men might not get it. I know that when I became pregnant two summers ago I someone decided to eat whatever I wanted. I used to be vegetarian. In fact, I was a vegetarian for over 10 years! Since I was carrying a baby, I decided to give him whatever he wanted. The result was that I finally felt full and the more I ate the better I felt. I have continued this eating style and have lost almost all the baby weight. I eat when I’m hungry and I don’t skimp. The result is that I don’t crave junk food because I don’t try to starve myself. I still eat healthy food but that’s because it makes me feel good – not as a means of depriving myself. My husband commented that I’m just eating like a man. Although men can have weight issues too, this proved to me that diets don’t work. This is a very simplified synopsis of Roth’s book. Her book provided a very deep analysis about the connection between food and how we live our lives. I recommend you check it out.