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Monday, July 16, 2012

Who doesn't love freebies!

So, with all the spare time I have (haha yeah right!) I have been participating in some product research/focus groups in exchange for free product and sometimes cash payment. sometimes they want you to talk about it day and night, sometimes I can't tell anyone about the product I am testing/trying.

Last month, I got a "mom vox box" from Influenster. Influenster is one of the companies that wants me to talk about the products I received and tested.

The first thing I did when I got my Voxbox was eat the Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookie that was in it. I had just gotten home from work and I was starving and there was this big cookie glaring at me. It was delicious!

I love soft Oatmeal cookies, so it was perfect. I think it was a little too crumbly to trust my 18 month old with, but I could definitely be happy with a box for a once in a while healthy treat.

Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies Enjoy chewy, soft-baked cookies in a family-favorite flavor! With wholesome Quaker Oats and delicious raisins, you’ll never remember they came from our kitchen instead of yours. -Made with Whole Grain Quaker Oats -Individually packaged -Provides a good source of fiber -Contains 6 grams of total fat per serving Where to Buy You can find Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies at most major retailers. Suggested retail price: $2.69 for a box of 6 cookies

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Toddler Travel

So, at the end of the month, we will do something I am really dreading- taking a toddler on an airplane. Now, I feel like no matter how much we are prepared, we will not think of everything. I am trying really hard not to be so controlling with this situation, but it's proving very difficult. We will also now be alone (just my husband, baby and I) from Saturday until Tuesday. We were supposed to be going down with my in laws but now only my mother in law will be coming. We will still have a fabulous time, it will just be tricky the first few days. I am looking forward to this though:

About a month ago, I ended up buying an iPad and a Fisher Price Apptivity case for it so my daughter doesn't smash it to bit when she inevitably drops it. We also bought Rio and got the digital copy, this is my secret weapon. The girl goes into a trance when she sees the movie and now asks for it by name, "Ro, Ro!" it's probably the cutest thing ever.

I also invested in a seat for her. I refuse to have her sweaty squirmy 16 month old fanny on my lap for longer than 20 minutes. In doing so, since we were skipping the car seat route because we aren't renting a car, I got a harness system to use in the seat. Hoping it works, or I am SOL.

I think some non-rolling crayons and a coloring book will help us for a few minutes too.

We'll also bring snacks, lots of snacks, for the plane. Planning on bringing the City Micro (checking it at the gate), my purse, the diaper bag, my carry on and I am definitely taking advantage of Anneliese being a "ticketed passenger" and she will have a carry on as well!

If you have ever traveled with your little one, what challenges did you find? What was the best advice? Or, what are things you could have done without?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Toddle Along Tuesday: Favorite Baby/Toddler Recipes

So, I am going to go way back with this post, to when I started exploring solids with Anneliese. It's kind of making me sad to think back :( I consulted a lot of different websites when I decided to make all of her food-, a variety of cook books. My Favorite cookbook by far was the one by Tyler Florence. The book is awesome because not only does it have some great puree recipes with flavor (yes, babies hate bland food as much as you do), it also allows you to make the recipes for a range of ages without having to cook 9 different things for dinner.

The recipe that my daughter (and I!) loved was the roasted broccoli with parmesan. I added a little variation with some garlic. When I brought a cube into daycare, they said it smelled so good that they wanted to eat it!

2 heads broccoli (about 3 pounds)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 clove of garlic, sliced paper thin

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Trim about 1 inch off the ends of the broccoli stalks and peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler. Then cut the broccoli lengthwise into spears. Arrange the broccoli in a baking dish, drizzle with some olive oil and season with a little bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat evenly. Transfer to the oven and roast for 25 minutes.

3. Remove the broccoli from the oven. Let cool slightly before pureeing but process while warm enough to melt the parmesan. Process until desired consistency (do this in batches) adding the cheese to each batch by stirring in. Spoon into ice cube trays and freeze for future use. This recipe should fill about 2-3 trays.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tasty Thursday: Kid Friendly Healthy Muffins

My struggle to find something quick for breakfast that me, my husband and my toddler would eat landed me into a sea of muffin recipes. I finally decided on these Zucchini Apple Muffins. Now, the recipe calls for A LOT of sugar and oil. I think you could probably cut a little sugar out. For the oil, I substituted 1/2 for 1/2C of plain Greek yogurt. It made me feel a little bit better.

Also keep in mind, these yielded 24 mini muffins and 12 regular muffins but if you wanted to make 24 regular sized muffins, have at it. I think the mini actually cooked a little bit better. These muffins also freeze well.
Recipe adapted from Savory Notes

Ingredients for Zucchini Apple Muffins

2 C grated zucchini
2 C diced granny smith apples
3 large eggs
1/2 C Canola oil
1/2 C Plain Greek yogurt
2 1/2 C sugar
3 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine salt
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°, and grease muffin pan with non-stick spray.
In bowl 1, whisk eggs, oil, vanilla and then add zucchini and apples.
In bowl 2, sift all dry ingredients (baking powder/soda, flour, cinnamon, and salt).
Add bowl 2 to bowl 1, and stir gently. Do not over-mix.
Dish into muffin cups, making sure you pick up the apples from the bottom of the bowl if they sink.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 or until toothpick comes out clean.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

This is NOT good birth control, she will be such a good big sister, someday!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday:Birthday Cake Fail

The cake she does have on her was because I put her hands in it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Toddle Along Tuesday: Favorites

I have to admit, I was a little nervous for secret Santa with my family this year. Who would get me? Would they get me a gift card or something lame? Well, it turns out my brother is the most awesome person ever! (and his fiance too!) They got me the best kitchen electric on the face of the planet: The Cuisinart Multicooker . This slow cooker has changed my life, I am really not kidding. It allows you to brown meat in the slow cooker before you "slow cook" making chili, pot roast, short ribs a cinch and they taste amazing. No more using a pan to brown the meat and then put it in the slow cooker.

It's really difficult cooking dinner these days when I get home from work- toddler in tow and a husband who won't be home to help until 6:30, usually when the baby is in bed. This slow cooker makes my old one look like a food warmer (it's pretty too!).

In addition to browning/sauteing and slow cooking this thing also steams and roasts- you can make a small chicken in it or a roast beef without covering both in liquid like you would have to in a slow cooker. The non-stick insert is amazing. It is so easy to clean and dishwasher safe. You do have to be careful not to use metal utensils so as not to scratch the surface though. My *only* small complaint is the size, we had to create some pretty significant space for it in my cupboard. That being said, I haven't really put it away much since I got it- I use it that much.

I know for some, the price tag is a little hefty- but, I promise you it is worth it.

I will leave you with a recipe for Chili that I made over the weekend

Sandy's Porter Chili

1lb ground turkey
1lb ground beef (90/10 if possible)
1/2 a Vidalia Onion
2 cloves garlic- smashed and minced
2 roasted red peppers- sliced into strips
1 poblano pepper- de-seeded and diced
1 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
3T of tomato paste
1/8C of chipotle in adobo
1/2 pint of a porter beer
2 cans of black beans- rinsed and drained
1 can of pink beans- rinsed and drained
2T of cornstarch mixed with 1/4c of water
1T Cumin
1T Ancho Chili Powder
1T Mexican Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1C Sharp shredded cheddar cheese

Brown turkey and beef, drain if desired but not really needed with a low fat beef.
Add onion, poblano pepper, garlic and spices- saute for a few minutes constantly stirring
Deglaze pan with the porter
Add tomatoes, sauce and paste
Add rinsed and drained beans
Add chipotle in adobo
Add sliced roasted red peppers
Stir together
Stir in the cornstarch slurry

Slow cook for at least 4-6 hours- 3 hours on high finish on low.
Top with Cheddar and serve!