As we sat around on the porch feeding our collection of toddler girls pretzel-style Goldfish Crackers, one of my friends, also the mom to a three-month-old sighed. "You know, it's true what they say about it being harder to lose weight with your second child. I see it because it's hard to eat healthily when you always have junk food around to feed your toddler."
And I gulped. But I don't want to have a hard time losing weight with this kid! It was so easy with Nora.
Well, I'm not much at cooking or writing these days. But luckily I know some great people with good camera skills. So here's do a recap of Nora's birthday, which was in early February.
We rented a pavilion at a fabulous park. While we don't believe in large parties for such a young child, we just know too many people to keep it at our house. And for the love we have we Praise God. We are blessed to have wonderful friends.
FitSugar has four great ideas for cutting back on meat if it's part of your New Year's Resolutions to eat better. I'd also like to add in there the concept of Weekday Vegetarian. Some people also make the switch to being a pescatarian as a stepping stone to meat-free as well. Pescatarians eat fish along with a traditional vegetarian diet.
I haven't been cooking much. Bless Paul and Nora for being willing to eat oatmeal for two or three meals a day. Here are a few ideas for what I've served because they require very little of my time and have a mild smell.
I actually set out the pots and non-perishable ingredients at lunch time (down to filling the pot with water and measuring out the cornmeal) when I felt my best so I don't have to think as much about dinner.
While it's many a reader's pet peeve to follow a blogger who suddenly quits blogging, it's an even bigger annoyance to have the blogger draw attention to her absence. But I beg you to keep reading. . .and even to refresh your memory you might want to read back to a similar post from two years ago.
This article on McDonald's moving into Loma Linda, California, a community well known for its health and superb medical institution, was one of the top 10 most emailed news articles from the New York Times today. It touches so many nerves. I have to say part of me readily agrees with the comments that tell residents to use the presence of the chain as an educational to. Just because it's there and the children beg does not mean you actually have to stop there. But as a medical professional, as a mother, and as someone who desires to help everyone want to eat well, I am bothered by the extra temptation. Because there are times when it's just too easy.
Thanks for the great feedback about the Food Face Plate series. Have you been missing it? So have we. But there's a rhyme and a reason. Please continue reading.
A friend came to visit one day saddened that her already picky toddler had suddenly refused to eat even all the stand-by foods that the family used to rely on to feed her. I offered to loan her the plate. Because part of Eating Well is Sharing Well. It's important to help people who recognize that you do something different and ask you for advice.
This topic is super important to living on a budget and staying healthy. I know I highlight them when I talk one-on-one with individuals. But perhaps I don't focus on it enough on Eat Like a Rabbit. And in case I don't, I want to link to a post about saving money on produce I saw yesterday on a favorite blog of mine. The facts are especially important to vegetarians.
Today the neighborhood girls rallied round to take care of another neighbor who appeared to be going into early labor while her husband was out of the country on business. That being said, our Thanksgiving menu plan is still not completely together. Not that I'm complaining. It's always better to be a supportive friend than have your menu under control. But if you're still struggling to get it together like I am, here's a few helpful links I've enjoyed gleaning ideas from.
Aren't these yummy? I have to admit, I'm still drooling over them. Very proud of this dish. It was really good and surprisingly filling. I expected Paul to eat two for dinner, but he said he was too full and got two days of lunches out of the leftovers!
Recipe for Stuffed Bell Peppers
4 Bell Peppers
1 cup uncooked whole wheat couscous
1 tomato, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
3-4 deli slices Havarti
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and black pepper to taste
Dash or two of chili powder or to taste
1 Tablespoon lime juice
Cook couscous according to package directions. (The microwave cooks it in no time!) Meanwhile, cut the stem out of the bell peppers and scoop out the insides. Add vegetables and seasonings to couscous.
Spoon the couscous mixture into the bell peppers and press down with the back of the spoon to stuff. Mound filling if desired. Lay cheese slices over peppers and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes until the cheese has melted and the peppers are softened.
As I said in Friday's post, it's a great idea to eat from the freezer this week to make room for what's coming in next week, especially if you have guests for the week like we do. This means that in truth there isn't much cooking to be done in the kitchen except baking a loaf of bread and such, but I'll appreciate the extra time I can spend readying the home for guests. And of course, extra time with Nora is wonderful, too.
It's rather cold in Orlando this morning. This means the realization of Thanksgiving being just two weeks away is upon us. I have a list of kitchen-associate projects that I'll be dealing with next week in preparation for guests. I'm adding it in here for those it might help get a handle on the activities as well. I'm also posting it today instead of Monday because those who work might want to get a jump start this weekend.
Previously, I haven't wanted to discuss this topic because I don't desire to be controversial. However, every time I see someone else write that they are trying out vegetarianism or veganism, there is inevitably someone who comments that it's completely against the body's nature to do such a thing. The author of the comment then recommends reading The Paleo Diet.
When we go to potlucks, it's always a challenge. I want to make something that is shockingly good, especially when there are non-vegetarians present. And these days, it has to be easy finger food for toddlers. (And frankly, easy to prepare.) Plus, I like it to be good at room temperature. My parents happened to have been leaving town the weekend before the event to which I brought the falafel and had left us with lots of lettuce.
One thing special about my in-law's house is that there are always snacks on display. Tempting snacks. The kind of snacks that make you gain 5 pounds before the end of your weekly visit. Homemade snacks, which makes them even tastier. It was during one of these visits to Mississippi that I learned how positively addictive frozen peanuts are. Don't know why. I was just hooked. And my mother-in-law would always announce to me when the tray had been refilled.
My two have been under the weather for a few days. This is all rather new to me. I'm doing my best to keep them happy. Obviously, that means the menu doesn't get followed exactly. I aim to please. Whatever is desired gets served.
This Food Face gave the model an ear-full of leftover falafel. We started with half a toasted pita and a drizzled line of homemade tzatziki. Nora is a condiment girl and would prefer to just lick off the dressing or ketchup, depending on the meal. So she doesn't get much condiment to start with. The ears are halved falafel. The eyes and mouth are fruit that had been sent home with us from the party where I brought the falafel. Fruit is popular in our house and was gone by the end of dinner.
A friend brought me four beautiful tomatoes. And while I planned to serve them as a salad, I changed my mind. I through together this fairly easy dish to go with the cauliflower. While neither dish might be considered a main course on their own, I think they worked well together for a light supper.
Recipe for Stuffed Tomatoes with Quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh spinach, sliced
1 large banana pepper, diced
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon good Italian seasoning
1/2-1 teaspoon lemon juice, to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garnish: Shaved Parmesan cheese, optional
Combine quinoa, water, and garlic in a small pot. Cook according to manufacturers directions. (Likely like this: get to boil, turn down to low, simmer until the water is gone, about 15 minutes.)
Meanwhile, cut the tops off the tomatoes and put them aside. Remove the seeds and flesh from the inside of the tomato. Reserve this for the quinoa.
Heat the oven to 350°F. When the quinoa is cooked, lightly grease a small oven-safe dish with sides and place the tomatoes inside. Add lemon juice, seasonings, banana pepper, spinach, and tomato flesh to the quinoa and stir to combine. Stuff the quinoa mixture into the tomatoes, mounding it. Replace tomato tops and bake for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes are heated through. Remove the tomato tops and garnish with shaved Parmesan.
Highlight of our weekend? How about a Florida Black Bear looking over a picket fence at us while we were riding along on a new-to-me trail? I was almost afraid to ride back. Sorry we don't ride with our phones or cameras on us. Would have been an amazing picture.
You can tell I was running late getting dinner on and caught this photo just in time!
This is such a great Food Face to welcome colder weather to Florida. The recommendation for long-haired pasta came from our friend, Fely, who is of a more creative career path than myself. I served a dollop of spinach-walnut pesto over whole grain pasta and sprinkled it with some freshly grated Pecorino cheese. The rosy-cheeked tomatoes are fresh out of our garden. It was a new plant for the fall and has done rather well.
It might be a little early for you, but circumstances too long to discuss here have driven me to start shopping for Christmas early. And that has led me to start posting some pictures of products I like (many we've tried) that encourage kids to play healthier-and hopefully eat healthier. You can find them on Pinterest. The board is labeled "Healthy Christmas Presents for Kids."