Friday, October 21, 2011

McKenzie, 6 months

The Kitchen: Mommy Martini

Okay, so the title is a little misleading.  In this season of life, if I were to drink a martini, McKenzie would also be getting a martini...  So here's my latest smoothie experiment displayed in a fun glass.

Here is my Mommy Martini recipe:
a whole pear
a whole apple
a whole banana 
juice from a lime
2 leaves kale
1 cup ice
1/2 cup water

I threw all of this in my ninja blender and voila!

In the future I might sub spinach for the kale because the kale texture kind of bugged me. 

The first question came from Kate, "Why is it green?"
Linnette: "Well, because its full of healthy vegetables and fruits"
Kate: "Mmm, its good."
Linnette: (thinking to herself) "This will never fly in a few years..."

At least for now this one passed the kid test-- Kylie had 4 servings!

The Kitchen: Beginning Baby Food

When Kate was just barely old enough to sit in the high chair, I was so eager to start feeding her baby food! I guess it was the excitement of something new to do with baby. It was super messy as both baby and mom tried to figure out how to eat/feed. I also personally see introducing solid foods as the beginning of setting boundaries for my kids-- no putting fingers in mouth while mommy is feeding, no hands in hair, yes look at mommy, yes open mouth, etc. I found this makes meal times so much less difficult, and my girls don't need a bath after each meal!

With Kylie, I waited a little longer before beginning because I was busier-- moving to a new city, helping Dave launch a new ministry, and trying to watch mobile older sister.

Now with McKenzie, I have waited so long that she is practically salivating while the rest of us eat. I've been hesitant to enter this new phase because potty training my middle girl has been quite an exhausting and refining experience, and my hope was to wait until we had that down before adding something else into the mix... But, at McKenzie's 6 month check-up, the pediatrician recommended I feed her solids at two meals a day... So, I guess its time to dive in to feeding her "real food" (as the rest of my family calls it).

All that to say, I made homemade baby food yesterday with Kate's help.
First, we made Zucchini & Rice:
I peeled two whole zucchinis, and Kate threw them in the ninja blender.  After they were pureed thoroughly, we added in some rice cereal and mixed well.  I like to add grains because it makes for a nice consistency and is more filling.  (I figure if you are going to feed baby, she might as well feel full afterwards!)

Next, I poured the mixture into an ice cube tray and then put it in the freezer.

Later, I pulled the frozen food cubes out of the freezer and put them into a tupperware container.

They will stay in the freezer, and I will pull out one or two cubes at a time, let them thaw, and then feed McKenzie.

We also made some banana and oatmeal baby food:

In less than 15 minutes start to finish (minus transferring the frozen cubes to the tupperware) and less than $4, I made 3 dozen servings of baby food.  

Here's Kate feeding her Wilbur while I fed McK...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Living Room: TV time for kids

I read last spring that on average in 2010, kids spent 7 hours and 38 minutes in front of a screen PER DAY!  I couldn't believe it!  That's more time than they are in school each day!

I find that our girls LOVE movies, but they also get bored with them.  Interactive games, blocks, books, our dollhouse and kitchen hold their attention much longer.  But, those activities can take a lot more work and time to introduce and convince them to engage in than popping on a movie.

I try to reserve a movie for the ends of those days when I need to get dinner ready and everyone is a little crazy.  And I have found one that I don't feel in the slightest bit guilty about showing.....

Leap Frog's Letter Factory moving taught my girls all 26 letters and their sounds after only a few viewings.  Its creative, catchy, and totally engages Kate and Kylie.  Its a great resource.  Just wanted to pass it on to all the families with young ones out there.  I bought mine on amazon...

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Kitchen: Homemade Peanut Butter

This was so easy I questioned whether or not it was worth a blog post!  This morning I made homemade peanut butter.  This consisted of a two step process:

1. Pour 16 oz. peanuts into my ninja blender.

2. Turn blender on low for 3 minutes.

The final product...

Here are the girls enjoying PB&J's:

It isn't sweet peanut butter since there's nothing in it except peanuts, but my girls didn't seem to notice.  The batch made just over two cups of peanut butter.

I thought this experiment was all-around pretty great!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Kitchen: Going Meatless?

After watching our latest "cerebral documentary" on netflix, Forks over Knives, I decided to try a meatless dinner.  I'll try to review the documentary soon, but the general flavor is to incorporate more vegetable protein in your diet than animal protein.  Don't get me wrong, I am a steak-loving Texan through and through-- but I don't think that every single meal we eat has to have meat in it. 

My husband, however, differs in opinion.  This brings me to last night's dinner....  I cooked some whole grain brown rice with my homemade chicken stock, sauteed lots of onions and bell peppers (with a hint of coconut oil-- which smelled heavenly!), heated a can of organic black beans, and mixed a large avocado with the juice from a fresh lime.  Throw this in a bowl with a sprinkle of cheese, and voila meatless burrito bowls!

Our girls loved them and ate a huge dinner-- even asking for seconds!

I didn't tell Dave we were going meatless, and halfway through dinner this was our conversation:

      Dave: "I see you are implementing our latest documentary." 
      Me: "Yes, isn't it delicious?  I can taste the hint of lime and coconut oil.  Mmmm."
      Dave: "It is good.  I just keep thinking how it would be really good with some chicken or steak."

So dear readers, I am not yet sure if our family will be going meatless a couple nights a week. 

What do you think?  Does it still seem like a meal to you if you didn't have meat?  What is your favorite vegetarian meal?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Kitchen: My New Ninja Blender

My newest kitchen find is the Ninja Professional Blender.  Well, it actually became my husband's great find as we just had our sixth anniversary, which for those of you who don't know is the steel anniversary.  So, at my suggestion this was our "happy sixth anniversary, let's get a new blender because our newlywed one just broke" kind of a gift...

My husband thought this was kind of a "man" kitchen accessory because of having "Ninja" in the name and the wattage being so high.  It can grind up half an apple and whole carrots and shred cubed ice into snow, it has six blades, and I am pretty sure you can hear manly grunts while its working... so he was excited about it.

Upon closer inspection, however, the ninja warrior image on the box actually has a high ponytail, so I am convinced she is actually a ninja mom and I have had a lot of fun around the house being creative with the title as a result...

Anyway, this blender has been fabulous for us!  We have been drinking smoothies like crazy.  It can handle pretty much anything I throw in it and I love the consistency of our smoothies...  I haven't tried this yet, but apparently you can pour in 16 oz. of peanuts and turn it on low for 3 minutes and you'll have peanut butter.  I am eager to see how it does making baby food.  It retails just about everywhere for $99, but we found it at Bed, Bath, & Beyond on sale for $79 and with a 20% off coupon (did you know they always take expired ones??) It was only $63.  Still more than your $20 blender that smells like something is melting and has huge ice chunks in it, but a pretty good price for the product if you ask me!