Friday, June 17, 2011

Big Boy Bed Take 1

My little mommy heart alternately is bursting with excitement for Charlie and this momentous occasion, and weeping a little over the lost little babyhood.  I know every mother out there before me knows exactly what I'm talking about.  I'm sure it is all too similar to the feeling you get when you see your son having his first dance with his wife on his wedding day, and realizing that you are incredibly proud and excited that he's gotten to that moment, but also weepy and sad that your little son has really put childhood behind him and is now taking care of someone else.


Whoa.  Heaviness.  My little mama heart is breaking now.

So to get the light hearted mood are some pictures I just couldn't resist taking of Charlie snoozing for his VERY FIRST TIME in his big boy bed.  (I would call it his 'BBB' but I think I would confuse myself and starting thinking of BedBathandBeyond.)

I took a chance cracking the door open again to get some shots, but I knew I had to commemorate the milestone, even if he woke up.

You can tell it's typical Charlie all the way.  Animals and blankets scattered everywhere (it's actually reduced since I snuck some of them away when I packed up his old bed), with a book close at hand, his Lully and a lego right by his head, and lying right on top of his blanket.

The bed is actually supposed to have a head and foot board, which you can see leaned up against the wall in the first picture.   Mama didn't realize it required a power drill and more time than she had to put it together, so it's just a mattress on the wooden frame right now.  The head and foot board are actually my grandmother's - or her grandmother's or maybe my great-grandmother's.....okay I'm not quite sure on that one.  They got passed down from my older sister who wasn't using them anymore, and they definitely have been in the family at least since my grandmother.  I'll have to sort that out.  Either way, it's a great way to save some money, reuse and be green, and keep a family heirloom in the family.

May all future night nights in the big boy bed go as well as today did.

Hey, a mom can wish, can't she?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What a little desire will get you

Charlie is working on responding obediently to commands.  We have a long way to go, but "pick up that toy" or "please get your sandals" or "can you close the door" are more readily happening, if somewhat reluctant sometimes.

So today while I was ironing in the den and he was playing with his special drawer of den toys, he remembered...the big box.  The Big. Box. of. Wonderfulness.  At least that's what I imagine goes through his head.  In all actuality it's a box full of very very thick cardboard tubes (like wrapping paper tubes), cut in size and at least partially covered in decorative contact paper, that are great for stacking and various other fun things.  Oh here, I'll show you.

Help mom?

It's a family thing.  I remember playing with them as a kid.  They're awesome.  We just recently pulled them out for Charlie and I guess he thought they were the bee's knees as well.

Anyways, he remembered them sitting there nicely in the box on the hearth and started going crazy and pointing at the box and grunting and pretty much anything he could think of to illustrate how much he wanted these tubes out.  So what did I do?  What any good mother would do.

"Pick up your toys and put them back in the drawer, then I will get out the tubes."

I have never in my life seen that child obey a command so quickly and so completely as he did right then.  He got right busy hastily dumping toys into the drawer.  But he made sure that they were definitely in the drawer and not falling out again or half in and half out.  It was amazing.  He like ran around the room gathering toys like crazy.  When he put the last toy in, he couldn't quite get the drawer closed cause he had one little toy preventing it from shutting all the way.   I could see he was getting panicked and frustrated, so I asked if he needed help.


hehehehe.  I am still chuckling over that one.

I helped him close the drawer and bam!  he was up and pointing and grunting at the Big. Box. of. Wonderfulness.  So after I made him say "please mama box"...

One word at a time of course since he can't remember multiple words strung together. 

 "PAAEE"  "MAMA"  "BAHHH!!!!!!"

...I got him his much deserved prize.  I was so proud of his hard work and commitment to getting the job done when something he REALLY WANTED was on the line.

Now, how do I get him to approach toy picking up and emptying silverware with that much enthusiasm?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Brussel Sprouts!!

I had such a craving for brussel sprouts the other day!  Huge craving.  So, what did I do?  Indulged of course in a tasty veggie dinner! :)   For those that don't know, brussel sprouts are not in season locally (I caught the tail end of them at my local Farmer's Market about 2 weeks before they were gone :-( ).  So even though frozen don't hold a candle to fresh, they're all I got right now and are still better than no brussel sprouts!

Let me just say I cannot even believe how much I love brussel sprouts.  For someone who heard all the horror stories as a kid, didn't grow up with them on a regular basis to get used to them, and had a couple icky brussel sprout meals as a kid, I'm shocked I like them as an adult.  But ever since cutting out 95% of my processed sugars, flours, and all other processed food intake, my taste buds certainly have changed and gotten used to a whole other arena of flavors and tastes that I don't think I ever would have liked while still consuming flavor enhanced, processed food.

That being said, unless you love a cabbage-y flavor, you do have to prepare brussels right in order for them to really be tasty (in my opinion).  So here's a rough idea of what I do that has me goo-goo ga-ga over the funny little cabbage looking brains.  ;-)

So the ingredients hold true for fresh or frozen, but the cooking method's here are for frozen.  (Roasting fresh is the way to go.)

Balsamic Seasoned Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts
Garlic powder
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive oil (just a smidge)

Toss in a microwavable bowl with a little water and cook for 3ish minutes (which is half the time the bag says it should take to cook them).

Optional: Transfer to cutting board and slice the semi-cooked little cabbage brains.

In a nonstick skillet, heat maybe 1/2tsp-1 tsp olive oil.  Toss brussels in and start sauteing. ( I like to finish cooking them this way in order to get a little color on them and to reduce the wet mushiness that can come from just microwaving.  They will still be mushier than fresh though, unfortunately.)

In the skillet while cooking, season to taste with S&P, garlic powder and a bit of balsamic.  (This is what they look like seasoned, but without the balsamic.)

When you reach the desired amount of color, tenderness, or whatever, take them off the stove, adjust seasoning as needed, and enjoy!  (Most of the brown color in the picture below actually came from some balsamic added at the end, not from that much sauteing.)

Note: I believe there is some question as to how good non-stick cookware is to use.  I haven't researched that much, but I also rarely use my non-stick skillet.  I like it here, because it enables me to saute the sprouts in very little olive oil without burning them.  You can of course use a regular skillet and more oil, but that will definitely start adding [potentially] unwanted calories.

So that's my simple little brussel sprout recipe.  And it really is pretty simple in spite of the two methods of cooking involved, mostly because you aren't actively having to do things while they are microwaving, and most of the time I am not actively stirring the sprouts in the skillet either.  I give them a good stir/toss, then let them sit for several minutes - repeat, repeat.

So I'm curious, for anyone brave enough to try the dreaded food from childhood stories, who likes brussel sprouts (either using this recipe or another one)???  I think it's so fun to find someone who actually likes them!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My current salad of choice

Here's what I'm eating a lot of these days.  

It's super simple and easy.  

Washed and chopped green leaf lettuce 
chopped tomato
chopped cucumber (if you have it)
a generous grating of freshly cracked black pepper
a large dollop of homemade hummus
a splash or two of my latest super easy dressing

This is pretty quick to prepare (assuming you have your hummus already made up, and maybe even your Zing Pizazz dressing as well) and a little less expensive than a salad with loads of different veggies.  Not that I don't love having a salad dressed to the nines with all sorts of veggies, but sometimes you have to go a little simpler and a little less expensive when you are watching the dollars.  Also, I've gotten on to a really big green leaf lettuce kick now, ever since my grocery store raised the price of romaine lettuce, making it more expensive than green leaf.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The newest dressing in my life

A lot of the healthy salad dressings I have require a bit of time to make.  Not really any significant amount of time because it usually just involves dumping about 8-10 ingredients in the blender and, voile!  But compared yanking a bottle of premade, store bought dressing out of the fridge, it takes time.  So here is my latest dressing, created in really about 10 second moment when I desperately needed a dressing for myself and to walk out the door about a minute later.

Warning:  this dressing is not for the faint of heart.  It is Ah-MAZing, but totally packs a really zingy, flavorful punch.  You'll see why as soon as I list out ingredients.  So if you are a subtle, mellow dressing kind of person, this might not be for you.  If you appreciate zing and pizazz, try this!

The Zing Pizazz Dressing

3 parts lemon juice
2 parts Braggs Liquid Aminos (like soy sauce, but healthier)
1 part apple cider vinegar

(I generally make it up in a glass jar with 3/4c lemon juice, 1/2c braggs, and 1/4c apple cider vinegar - but it can be made up in any 3,2,1 size quantity.)

This dressing is very versatile.  So far I have thrown it on regular tossed salads, pasta salads, bean and veggie salads, and hummus wraps.  Oh and just today Sonny insisted I put some on his food, so I spooned out just like tsp on his quinoa and he seemed to like it.  :)

The dressing is good by itself, but it is very tangy, so in order to cut the tang sometimes, I'll mix it in with some hummus on top of a salad and that is just super tasty.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Whew!  I am back from the depths of cold hellishness.  (Not cold temperatures, cold sicknesses.)  I have to say this might be the most grateful I've ever been to be done being sick.  On to other things now!

Since it's nice and summery and HOT over here now, I am raiding my recipe stash for cold dishes to prepare for meals.  I have a much better stash of nutritious, vegan hot soups, than I do cold dishes.  So I'm always looking for a new cool, summery dish to try.  (Hint hint, time to share your healthy summer time recipes with me.)

I remembered my fabulous Black Bean and Corn Salad recipe that is a frequent dinner guest at our house in the summer, made it the other night (actually hubby made it), and knew I should post the recipe.  The recipe is originally found here courtesy of  I have, of course, made a few alterations to it to make it a bit healthier and for our tastes, so that's what I'll post below.

I really thought I had a better picture than this, but it will have to do.  See all the rainbow colors?!

Black Bean and Corn Salad

1/2c freshly squeezed lime juice (bottled works, but fresh makes ALL the difference in the world)
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp salt
1/8tsp cayenne pepper

2 cans (or 3 cups) of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2c frozen corn kernels
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2-3 green onions, chopped
1/2c cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, chopped

Combine all salad ingredients in a big bowl.  Whisk together dressing ingredients in separate bowl, pour over salad and mix well.

This salad is SUPER delish and refreshing.  Using it as dip on corn chips is even MORE amazing, but if you don't want the extra calories, or simply want to stay on the healthy side, avoid the chips and just eat a big bowl of salad.  The salad is fantastic by itself, but eat it with a chip and you might not want to go back to plain salad.  Consider yourself warned.

The alterations I made were cutting out the oil in the dressing (you don't miss it or the extra calories!), switching out a red pepper for an orange one (cause I'm so nerdy I wanted to see as many rainbow colors as possible - red tomato, orange pepper, yellow corn, green cilantro and onions, black beans that almost look purplish), and cutting back on the onions (since 6 green onions were too much for me).  Also, while avocado is so tasty in this, if you don't have avocados near you or can't find any good ones that day, don't stress.  Just make the salad without.  I have had to do that on occasion before, and while I miss the avocados, the salad is still yummy!

This salad really is killer good.  Enjoy!