Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


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Healthy Toddler Breakfast

What is your typically breakfast?  For me, breakfast is the most challenging meal of the today.  My toddler (21 months) has inspired me to rethink breakfast.  B does not like to eat first thing in the morning and he can often eat slowly.  This means it’s better if we get up early and don’t rush breakfast – NOT EASY!  I also want to make sure he gets protein in the morning to last him until lunchtime at school.  My little guy goes to a Montessori school three days a week.  I have more flexibility when he’s home with me because I can give him snacks and we don’t need to get to school on time.  I say all that to show, as most parents know, that breakfast is the most challenging and important meal of the day.

My goal for the New Year is to make more hot, healthy breakfast meals!  To me this means the breakfast must contain: 1) protein 2) a green veggie 3) whole grains and 4) fruit.  This does not happen every day but I’m getting better!  Here is B’s favorite breakfast so far that meets all my requirements and is pretty quick to prepare.  Oh yeah, it’s good for me too!

B’s favorite hot, healthy breakfast:

Scrambled eggs with cheese and chopped up kale;

almond/wheat bread with PB;

smoothie with variety of frozen fruits and either spinach or kale;

although not in the picture we almost always have berries or banana in the morning (B loves blueberries!)

and I always serve water with meals too.

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We don’t usually serve B juice but I will give him smoothies sometimes.  I use about 1:4 ratio of smoothie with water.  It’s really all about getting him more greens.

Since B was born and even during pregnancy, I have determined that diets don’t work.  It’s much for effective for me to focus on what I can and want to eat instead of what I can’t eat.  I try to eat at least one green veggie a day (kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, parsley, etc.) and two veggie at dinner.  I also try to drink as much water as I can.  Sticking to just a few goals makes things much easy.  And these goals fit perfectly with my hot, healthy breakfast goal!

Do you have food goals for 2014?  What is your toddler’s favorite, healthy breakfast?  How do you manage the stress of the morning rush to school?

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Roll it, Pat it and Put it in the Oven!

My little guy (20 months) enjoyed helping me make homemade whole wheat bread today.  The last few weeks I’ve been learning to make bread.  It’s very satisfying to knead and pound dough.  I put my toddler next to me on a stool or in his high chair and let him maneuver the flour.  He likes to trace his finger through it and sprinkle it on our dogs.  Then I let him mix the flour and water and feel the sticky, pasty dough.  Ounce it gets completely covered with flour and is nice and soft, it’s like playing with play-doh.  We talk through the process of letting it rise and baking it in the oven.  He never takes the hot bread out of the oven but he likes to put on the oven mitts just the same.  It kind of makes me feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder!

Clean-up is just as much a part of the process as making the bread.  B loves to help wash dishes, wipe down the counter, and sweep the floor.  It’s amazing how difficult it is for me to let him do the work himself.  Maybe because I know I can do it MUCH faster and it’s easy to think the “activity” is over – now go play!  Today we worked for almost 30 minutes cleaning up dry rice that had spilled during a transferring activity (B will spoon the rice between two small bowls).  It was very challenging for him to push the rice into the dustpan!  Since he was intent on doing it and was not getting frustrated, I let him do it himself.  It was more challenging for me to keep quiet and not interfere!  He’s generally happier and more interested in helping the more I let him do things by himself.

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Homemade Wheat Bread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the afternoon, we had to run lots of errands around town.  Everything goes much more smoothly (meaning no temper tantrums) when I go at a very slow pace, or I should say B’s pace.  I internally want to get the errand down AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.  I would think B would agree with me if he knew that meant more time on the playground when we are all down.  But that’s not how it works.  We have a much better time when I go at a slow, toddler pace.  That means, lots of breaks for snacks, singing, talking with people, checking out signs and picture, and generally observing the world.  At one store, B and I spent a LONG time swinging before getting back into the car.  We had to try both swings and switch back and forth several times.  Ah, I love how my toddler makes me a better person – someone who stops to smell the roses and not force the bloom!

 

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Daddy was very patient with B while they decorated the tree!  Everything is more fun with a toddler when you’re willing to go at their pace!  Even the cat got involved.  😉

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Homemade Bread for the Holidays Starts with Yeast Starter!

I’ve always wanted to know how to make homemade bread!  It’s healthier, cheaper and it tastes better than store bought bread.  Plus, it’s oh so good when it comes out of the oven hot!  When I visited my Aunt Karen (queen of all things homemade) she gave me some yeast starter.  She has cultivated this yeast starter for more than 20 years!  Needless to say, I handled it with care!  I carried a 1/4 cup of yeast starter in a plastic dish on the plane home and grew it into 1 1/2 cups by slowing adding more whole wheat and water.  I left the glass dish of yeast starter on the counter and added the wheat and water in the same ratio that was in the dish.  So, if you have a 1/4 cup of yeast starter you add 1/4 cup of dry wheat and 1/4 cup of water.  When the starter begins to bubble, you add more.  It took me a couple of days to go from 1/4 cup of yeast starter to 1 1/2 cups.  If you are interested in making your own starter, check out http://allrecipes.com/recipe/no-commercial-yeast-starter/.  It’s basically just flour and water!  The benefits of using the yeast starter is that it’s MUCH easier to make the bread!  Ounce I had 1 1/2 cups of yeast starter, I was ready to make 2 loaves of bread.  Imagine, you grow the yeast starter during the week and then ounce a week you make 2 loaves of healthy, hot, homemade bread!  And you know there are no chemicals or weird stuff in there.  Plus, it tastes better!  And you can experiment with different type os dough.  I also find it very therapeutic to kneed dough.  A little added benefit.  Make sure to reserve about 1/4 cup of starter for next time!  You MUST keep feeding the starter to keep it active.  It will keep inactive (without you adding more) for about 1 week in the refrigerator or about 1 day on the counter.

Here is the recipe for homemade bread with yeast starter (it’s easier with the yeast starter!):

1 to 1 1/2 cups of starter

3 cups of water (room temp.)

1/2 cup gluten or a cup of white flour

1 TB maple syrup (optional)

add enough flour to make an elastic dough ball (several cups) (I use whole wheat, but you can use white, or part white)

you can also add a 1/3 cup ground flax seed or chia seeds

Then, place the dough ball in a bowl on the counter covered with a towel for two to four hours (it can be flexible depending on your schedule).  Next, kneed the dough for about 5 min., divide in half and put into two loaf pans.  Slash the top of the loaves to encourage rising.  Allow dough to rise until doubled in size (usually two hours at the room temp.).  Then, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and carefully put raised loaves in the oven.  Cook for 40 min.  Enjoy!

Another option:  Roll out dough and top with cinnamon, brown sugar, nuts and re roll.  Then cut into cinnamon rolls!  Let them rise like bread and cook 25 min at 350.

Another option:  If you want to make crackers, roll the bread dough out as thin as you can and bake it at 350 till crisp (15 min.).  You can roll other spices into the crackers or sweeten.

 

Homemade Wheat Bread


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Wheat verses Whole Wheat

In the dead of night, the heroic, mommy blogger continues on her quest…just kidding, it’s only 8:30 p.m., but I’m tired and ready for bed!  And yet, I write on!  🙂  The Super Baby Food book continues to be an ongoing wealth of information.  I just started Part II, which is all about cooking with whole grain, legumes and seeds.  I swear, the book is more like an encyclopedia than a baby food book.  It’s really for parents with kids of ALL ages and for anyone interested in learning to eat healthy.  I highly recommend it!  Did you know that wheat bread is really white bread.  You have to look for the label that says “whole wheat” not just “wheat bread.”  The food companies like to trick us since wheat bread sounds healthier.  I have not been paying that close enough attention.  The Super Baby Food book explains all about the benefits of whole grains.  Did you know that food companies make and promote white flour because it has an indefinite shelf life!  Just another reason to use whole wheat flour and eat whole wheat bread.