On The Menu: Super Green Juice & Good For You “Cereal Bars”

Well hello there!

It’s been awhile… a minute… forever and a day… ok, it has been way too long. The wonderfully fantastic thing is, ever since I started this little humble blog of mine, I have received SO many positive responses and many have asked me to update. Life has been so crazy busy because of Abby’s bi coastal birthdays and so far, our summer has been filled to the brim with play dates, friends, projects, work, church and most importantly family time. On a personal note, I had my body fat measured this past Saturday. You know, those trucks that come and you completely submerge yourself under water and feel like you’re going to die because you’re supposed to blow at least 95% of the air out of your body. Yeah, I did it and although the results were better than I thought, they still were not great. Boooo. On the other hand, my hubby received fantastic results and since the doc did say 80% of your fat/health/weight is from your diet, I received a huge thank you from him. Abby also received great remarks on her 1 year visit and the doctor was super impressed with her iron levels saying that her numbers weren’t expected to be seen until at least 6 years old, which she said was awesome! If any of you are curious, Abby clocked in at 50% weight, 50% head circumference and 80% height. Sooooo, I guess I’m taking care of my family well with their meals but ugh… woe is me… not. I feel great when I eat well and the doc this weekend said that doing 80% paleo was going to be good for me. Such positive words of encouragement because I do enjoy paleo but by no means am I a hard core cave woman. On that note, here are two recipes that have been big hits in our home. Yes, the juicing recipe requires two contraptions and why yes (insert best Asian British accent), I know my Vitamix can blend all the stuff without having to juice but seriously, the texture is a difficult one to gulp down so you really think a baby would be keen to that stuff? Uh, no… negative… bye. For babies and kids, texture comes first then taste. There have been many times where something touched the tip of Abby’s tongue and she was done.  I always want Abby to know how great something tastes so I am sensitive to blah textures. So if you are one to say that your child is picky or doesn’t like a certain ingredient, I always say to try and prepare it another way! Also, for the cereal fruit bar inspiration and recipe, I will have to say a huge THANK YOU to Against All Grain!

Super Green Juice

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Banana

Prep apples, carrots and cucumbers for the juicer

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Juice away! This amount made enough for all 3 of us. Once I portioned out Abby’s 4-5oz, I added 2 medium beets to our juicer and that was enough for 2 16oz mommy and daddy juices.

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Grab a handful of spinach. I make sure it’s baby spinach because the texture and taste are very friendly once blended. Yes, this was all for Abby.

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Add half an avocado, half a banana and all the spinach into the blender along with the juice

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Blend away… so beautiful

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Abby, enjoying her cup with saran wrap because we didn’t have any clean straw cups at the moment. No Judging 🙂

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Good For You “Cereal Bars”

Have you ever tried the bars that are meant for babies and kids that are in the stores? Heck, even the nutri grain bars. They are gross and even if it’s organic, there are so many unnecessary ingredients. On top of that, it’s stupidly overpriced for sugar and grain. Ok, end rant. This is my solution to those bars. They taste really great, have half the sugar of a nutri grain bar and 30% less sugar than a Plum bar. Abby enjoyed them today as well as both hubby and I.

  • 3/4 cup of almond flour (The finer the better. Honeyville is a great brand)
  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 2 eggs (must be at room temperature or your oil will harden up like mine did.. yayee)
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup or agave
  • 1tsp of vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons of a preserve (I mixed strawberry and guava). You are free to use as much filling as you want, technically.
  • 3 tablespoons of water

Combine all the dry ingredients and incorporate well then set aside

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Combine all of the wet ingredients (minus the preserves) and whisk them until creamy. For mine, I think the coconut oil messed things up so it became frothy. I told you I couldn’t bake!

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Combine all of the ingredients together and either use a stand mixer to blend well or do what I did and use your hands. Again, I can’t bake and I’m really lazy when it comes to it.  Once it forms into a dough, divide it in half and wrap each in saran wrap. Place them both in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Once they are a bit harder, roll one out to a 1/4″ thickness and cut the sides off to form a rectangle or square. A pizza cutter works best for this. Then cut it down the center then cut vertical strips that are about 2-3″ across. Spread a thin layer of preserves

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Use a spatula to lift the other side and press all of the edges together. This dough is very easy to work with so doing this is simple and quick. Repeat for the other piece of dough that is in the fridge. I came out with 11 bars but I think it’s because my measurements were inconsistent. Obviously…

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Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes until they turn golden brown.

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These were yummy… not too sweet and filling. I love giving Abby something like this as a snack because it has a good amount of fiber, protein and healthy fats.

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Enjoy!

On The Menu: 1 Healthy Dessert & 1 Not So Much

  • Fresh Strawberry Pie
  • Chia Seed Pudding

There’s this place called Marie Callender’s. You might know the name because there are frozen dinners with that name everywhere. But no, you don’t know Marie Callender’s until you’ve actually been in the restaurant and have had their fresh strawberry pie. Every summer, my family and I would have it at least once. Fresh whole strawberries piled high with an unusually red glossy glaze, which then are all placed in a buttery pie shell. Red coloring sort of freaks me out but it’s ok in Sprinkle’s Red Velvet Cupcakes (found out they’re opening a location in Lenox with a cupcake vending machine and ice cream!!!!), red gummy bears and Marie Callender’s Strawberry Pie. So, the other day I was craving it and although I’m trying to be really really good with my eating habits, I just had to find a recipe and make it. Almost all of the recipes I came across added way too much sugar and strawberry jello powder or gelatin for the glaze. Ok, let me be honest. I don’t like fake strawberry crap so that was out. I tried the first batch with gelatin and ugh, it was disgusting. There’s a certain smell/taste that comes with gelatin and it did not belong in a strawberry pie. Also, why mask the wonderful taste of ripe organic strawberries with a ton of sugar?? I guess I felt daring that night so I decided to make my own pie shell (haha, I really don’t bake). It actually came out pretty decent so if I can bake it, anyone can bake this easy peasy crust. I lost my pie tin so I had to use my tart tin but it all worked out.

But I will start with the chia seed pudding recipe since it’s so ridiculously easy. This recipe isn’t only for the baby because I eat it and enjoy it. Sam tried it once… that’s it. It may sound gross but it’s pretty good and dare I say kind of “fun” to pop the seeds in your mouth. The texture resembles tapioca. Well, Abby LOVES it but I have to control her portions because the first day she had it, she pooped 4 times. I was happy and surprised because she usually deals with a bit of constipation but this had things moving along! Sorry, I’m very blunt about poop now. I think it’s a mom thing. Anyways, I looked up the nutritional facts on the chia seed and it’s packed with crazy goodness. It’s loaded with protein, fiber and good fats. Plus it’s paleo, gluten free and vegan so major bonus points there. Did I mention how easy it is to make??

Chia Seed Pudding

  • 2 cups of coconut milk (or almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup of chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • if you want it on the sweeter side, add honey or maple syrup

Pour the seeds, milk and extract into a bowl with a lid. Mix thoroughly, cover and place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours with occasional stirring. I made this after dinner and stirred it right before going to bed.

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In the morning, I stirred it once more it was done! Sorry for the picture quality. Yes, those little hands wanted that pudding so badly!

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Fresh Strawberry Pie

PIE SHELL:

  • 1 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 8 tablespoons of really cold butter diced into small chunks
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of ice cold water

Put half of the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients into a food processor and give it a couple of pulses. Add the butter and give it a go until the mixture is crumbly. Add the rest of the flour and pulse a couple more times until everything is still crumbly and the flour is mixed in. Take the mixture out and place it in a bowl. Add the water and start pushing everything together to form the dough. It should come together rather quickly.  Press it into a flat oval shape and keep it in the fridge for at least 1 hour (you can leave it overnight). Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Take the dough out and form it into the pie shell. Place it back in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then take it out and prick the bottom with a fork. Place a piece of foil over the pie crust and use pie weights or beans to weight it down. Bake for 15 minutes then take out the foil and weights and bake for another 5 minutes or until it’s golden brown. Cool while the filling is prepared.

FILLING:

  • 2-3 pints of strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of sugar (sounds like a lot but you don’t end up using a lot of the glaze)
  • 2 tablespoons of corn starch
  • 1 cup of water
  • Juice of 2 strawberries mashed through a sieve

Clean and cut the strawberries

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Put the sugar and water into a pot and cook on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Once dissolved, add the corn starch and whisk until smooth. The mixture will become thick rather quickly. The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon without running down.

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This is the mixture with the strawberry juice added

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When the mixture is cool, add the strawberries and toss to coat

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Scoop the strawberries into the baked and cooled pie shell. Feel free to pour the remaining syrup on top but that’s where I cut a significant amount of sugar.

The end product! It was so pretty and so good!

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Enjoy!

On The Menu: Paleo and Gluten Free + Baby Pouch

  • Almost Mexican Style Chicken
  • Chicken Dinner Pouch

When I was trying to look my best for my wedding 5 years ago, I ate this meal a lot. I also grew up eating it so for me, this is comfort food. When my mom comes and visits, we make and eat this at least once. It’s that good and that simple. Perhaps it’s so good because it’s so simple. This is also the chicken you’ll find when you go to your local Americanized Mexican restaurant and ask for a chicken salad, chicken quesadilla or chicken tacos. If your chicken isn’t grilled, this is the same shredded chicken but mine is better. Seriously. The stuff at restaurants almost always lacks flavor because it’s so watered down. This meal is also incredibly figure friendly and there’s absolutely no guilt with this meal. I make a huge batch of this but it only lasts for 2 meals because my hubby and I love it. We also found out that Abby loves it too.

Almost Mexican Style Chicken (salad or tacos)

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 7-8 cloves of garlic finely minced (this is what makes this dish… do not skimp out on the garlic!)
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • jalapenos (optional)
  • cilantro (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Corn tortillas if you want tacos

Boil the chicken breasts in water until cooked through. Save about 2 cups of the chicken broth and set aside. While waiting for the chicken to cool, chop the veggies.

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Cut the lettuce pretty thinly so you can use it either for a salad or tacos. You need to use iceberg. The crunchy-ness of the lettuce goes really well with the chicken. I have also been pretty lazy and just used iceberg lettuce cups with the chicken.

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Shred the chicken

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Toss the chicken back into the pan (do not use oil… this recipe does not need ANY oil) along with the broth that was set aside. Toss in the garlic, onion and tomatoes. Salt and pepper the mixture and toss once more.

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Then cover for 15 minutes and cook in medium heat while stirring occasionally. The mixture will cook and all the veggies will have melded together to create a wonderful smell and taste. Check for seasoning once more. If you do add more salt, let the mixture cook for another minute. At this point, I set aside a small bowl for Abby before adding in the jalapenos. If you choose not to add the jalapenos, it’s done! If you do add them, cook for another 2-3 minutes.

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Warm corn tortillas for tacos or make a bed of lettuce and scoop the mixture on top. Garnish with cilantro or add as much cilantro as you like. My mom adds a whole cup of it. She loves cilantro. I actually got seconds because it hit the spot! Abby enjoyed alternating taking bites of the chicken and tortilla. She wasn’t a fan of the lettuce at all.

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I even ate leftovers for breakfast this morning with 2 eggs and avocado after my workout at Crossfit Reliance. I was starving and this only took 2 minutes!

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Baby Chicken, Peas, Corn and Squash Dinner

  • 1/2 cup of chicken mixture
  • 1/2 cup of peas
  • 1/2 cup of corn
  • 3 oz. of squash

Toss the chicken mixture into a blender. Add the peas, corn kernels and squash. Then blend. I had to add about a tablespoon of water to get it to somewhat of a smooth consistency.

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Enjoy!

On The Menu: Hubby’s Cooking!

  • Breakfast Scramble Tacos
  • Soba

I am truly blessed to have the best hubby! Being together for over 14 years definitely has had it’s fair share of ups and downs but I wouldn’t change any of it. He’s so amazing and I’ve fallen in love with him even more after seeing him with Abby. He always told me he never wanted to be the kind of dad who just took a back seat and let the wife do everything. From day one he has been so proactive in Abby’s life and has done anything and everything to help the both of us. Ok, ok, enough of the mushy stuff. He also loves cooking and made brunch and dinner last week. These meals so simple and easy. The dinner is really something you throw together.

Breakfast Scramble Tacos

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 an onion diced
  • 1/2 a bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 a russet potato or 3-4 fingerling potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 sausage patties
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • Cheese is optional
  • Corn tortillas

We cooked the bacon separately because my hubby always loves extra bacon on the side. We get applewood smoked bacon that’s locally made at Whole Foods and the sausage is from Thompson Farms in Dixie, GA.

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After the bacon is done, set that aside. Saute the veggies in some oil (or you can use the bacon grease) until it’s cooked through. Add the sausage to the veggies and cook until done. Then add the bacon and eggs. Gently fold the mixture around so that you have chunks of eggs instead of an egg paste. Sam didn’t add any extra salt since the bacon and sausage were already salty.

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Warm the tortillas and serve! I assembled mine and put lots of hot sauce… yumm! Gluten free deliciousness!

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Abby enjoying hers!

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Soba

  • 1 pack of buckwheat noodles
  • Green onion
  • Seaweed sheet
  • Soba soup base

We always have a couple of quick meal options in the fridge. One of them is soba. It’s quick, easy and good! Just boil the noodles, chop some green onions, cut the seaweed into little strips and follow the directions of the soup base bottle. That’s it! Takes 15 minutes.

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We used two bundles for our dinner.

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Just dip the noodles and slurp away!

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Abby’s portion barely had any broth in it due to the salt content. I would say for that bowl we put a teaspoon of broth in. She liked it! She actually likes anything that has to do with noodles and slurping.

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Enjoy!

On The Menu: Yummy Orange Pouch

  • Mango, Carrot, Banana Pouch

Although I love making my own pouches, there are times where I buy some of the pouches in the baby stores for convenience. Our favorites are Plum and Ella’s Kitchen. My only hesitation in buying and feeding Abby the store bought pouches are that most of them are filled with apple or pear, they don’t have nearly as much nutrients as fresh made ones and it doesn’t taste as good (yes, I have tried all of them before giving it to Abby). This easy and simple recipe turned out to be a hit with Abby. She actually cried after the pouch was all done. She kept sucking and sucking and when nothing came out, she looked it at and cried. It was cute but so sad. This was part of her dinner that included chunks of salmon and one whole broccoli floret. These pouches are packed with Vitamin A and C as well as other great nutrients for baby.

The Yummy Orange Pouch (makes 4 4oz pouches)

  • 2 large carrots or 3 medium steamed
  • 1 large ripe mango
  • 1 banana

Toss them all into a blender, Vitamix, Beaba, Bullet or whatever you have at home and blend well. This is on the thicker side so add water to suit your baby’s needs. Freeze for future meals or snacks

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Hope your baby enjoys it as much as Abby did!

On The Menu: Fruits, Veggies & Protein

  • Strawberry and Banana Smoothie
  • Baby Omelet, Broccoli and Tofu

If you’re a new momma and you’re like me, you probably wonder every day if your child is getting enough nutrition from all the food groups. I read up on the daily recommendations and honestly, it’s overwhelming and I wonder “how in the world am I going to get all this food in her??” Well, I have learned to take everything as a guideline. Being a new momma is tough as it is so who wants the added pressure? I surely don’t want it and can’t handle it with the baby, hubby and business already taking over my life.  Which, by the way, I have a found a fantastic most awesomely awesome way to relieve stress in life… are you ready… CROSSFIT! More on that later. So if you haven’t noticed yet, we are an avocado family. Abby is an avocado baby. That was her first food and she probably has had a serving every single day (minus a day or two). There is so much nutrition and good fat in avocado and because of it’s mild taste and buttery texture, it really does compliment recipes well. The other thing you might notice is that we like smoothies. Well, when your hubby comes from a family who owns a Juice It Up!, it’s pretty hard to resist the yummy smoothies he makes. For Abby, we just modify recipes by adding veggies, using fresh instead of frozen fruit and use coconut water instead of juice.

Strawberry and Banana Smoothie (makes 3-4 4oz pouches)

  • 8 Strawberries
  • 1 whole banana
  • 1 tub of yogurt
  • 1 avocado

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Since I use the Beaba, I cut the strawberries in half, the avocado in half and the banana in half. Blend well to incorporate and it’s ready! So nutritious and it tastes really yummy! For a thicker smoothie (adult friendly), use frozen strawberries and frozen bananas. You’ll probably have to add some juice or coconut water to get the blender going but the frozen fruits will create a thick and creamy smoothie.

Egg, Broccoli and Tofu

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of grated zucchini
  • 1/4 cup of grated carrot
  • 1 drop of sesame oil
  • Broccoli
  • Firm Tofu

Mix the two eggs in a bowl. Add the grated zucchini and carrot. Use a cheese grater because the veggies need to be small in order to cook quickly.  Add one drop of sesame oil for flavor or you can omit it. Heat up a pan on low/med heat with a bit of oil and use a table spoon to drop the mixture into rounds. They will cook quickly so keep an eye on them. This batch will make quite a bit so set some aside for future meals. Steam one large broccoli head. Since the amount I’m steaming is so small, I use a small microwave safe glass bowl with some water and cover it with another plate for about a minute. You can leave it whole or dice it up into small pieces. Dice the tofu into little blocks. That’s it!

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Enjoy!