Whole Wheat Southwest Pasta Salad

I just realized as I was about to hit publish on this post that I am posting an avocado dish the day AFTER cinco de mayo. Talk about a day late and a dollar short. Anyway… this pasta salad is something I discovered recently when I was trying to come up with a healthy “sauce” that I could send with Lucas to daycare that could be enjoyed while cold. This sauce is very toddler friendly, and healthy! I’ve added beans for protein, corn for sweetness, and tomatoes for tanginess. The avocado sauce provides a nice smooth flavor.

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Five Books to Read to a Strong Girl

A little back story. For the majority of my pregnancy, I believe that I was having a girl. I was so sure of this that when the blood test that I had done, which was in the magnitude of 99.2% accurate, indicated that I was having a boy, I just assumed that I was part of the 0.8% where it was inaccurate. I was not even 100% convinced when the high definition ultrasound confirmed the test result.

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Healthy Apple Muffins with Hemp Hearts

Apple muffins are really easy and quick to make. I do this recipe for Lucas when I want to have something for a couple of days for him to take to daycare. All in, the recipe takes about 30 minutes (15 minutes prep + 15 minutes baking). Hemp hearts (or shelled hemp seeds) add extra nutritional value to the recipe, which is pretty healthy to begin with since I use whole wheat flour.

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Spinach Mac ‘n Cheese Without a Roux

Oh how I love mac and cheese. It’s so creamy. I can talk myself into it being healthy (especially if I use whole wheat pasta!). But with the addition of spinach, I really do believe its a healthier version of a comfort food.

The best part about this mac and cheese though is that I don’t start with a roux. Generally, the recipes that I see for mac and cheese require you to mix flour and butter together first to create a roux. I find that this is difficult to do when there is a toddler standing at your feet trying to eat, because any distractions mean that the roux gets lumpy, and then it’s hard to get the mixture to incorporate into your sauce.

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Whole Wheat Banana Bread Donuts

I really love banana bread. And I should have realized sooner that given how much Lucas LOVES bananas that this would be a hit with him as well. I’ve used a classic banana bread recipe, and tweaked it a bit to make it healthier. This included subbing out the usual white flour for a mix of whole wheat and oat flours, eliminating the sugar, and substituting in some maple syrup to add sweetness. I serve one donut to Lucas for breakfast or as a snack.

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Quick Quinoa and Veggie Bites

I really love quinoa, and would love to serve quinoa to Lucas, but unfortunately Lucas started getting frustrated with any food that he couldn’t eat by himself. And quinoa is one of the hardest foods for a toddler to eat alone. So I’ve been practicing with ways to bake quinoa into bites.

These quinoa bites are a vehicle for both quinoa and veggies. I’ve tried this recipe with a variety of veggies (onions, peppers, broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes). And it turns out well no matter what you sub in.

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Top 5 Books to Read to My Two Year Old

I am a lucky mother for many reasons, but one of them is that my son LOVES to read. As a one year old, he would sit happily paging through The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Of course, he is obviously not at the age when he can read to himself, so he picks up his book and goes “read it, mama.” In his room, some of the books are out of his reach, so he leads me over by my hand, and goes “pick”, his signal for me to lift him up so that he can pick a new book. I am trying to encourage this as much as I can because I really do want him to get an appreciation for books.

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Sneaking Spinach into a Toddler’s Diet

When Lucas was a baby, and we had just started feeding him solid foods, I had what I thought was a brilliant idea. I would make him vegetables. So many vegetables that by the time he was a toddler, he would be so used to eating vegetables that he would love them. I told one of my friends this plan. She has four children, and laughed at me, but wished me luck. This didn’t deter me. Oh no, I thought my idea was brilliant.

Fast forward one year, and Lucas won’t touch vegetables. In particular, his baby puree favorite, broccoli, is evil. I think it may be the texture. He even looked at cauliflower with suspicion yesterday, announced it was broccoli (despite my husband’s claims that it was more like potatoes). To be fair, Lucas doesn’t really love potatoes either. It’s just that potatoes aren’t evil like broccoli is.

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What I Did for Homemade Baby Food

While I was pregnant, my mother asked me what I planned to make my son for his first solid foods. I looked at her as though she had multiple heads, and said “I plan to buy jarred food.” This seemed totally reasonable to me. But as Lucas started to get closer to 6 months, I began to reconsider. To be clear, I have zero judgment for parents that do not do this. But, I had a generous maternity leave policy, a very supportive husband who helped, and, truthfully, boiling some veggies takes approximately 15 minutes total. While I was cooking my own food, it was easy to boil something for Lucas.

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