Treats for Toby

IMG_5771I’m taking advantage of my day off today and giving our pup some extra loving by making some of his favorite dog treats. I don’t make homemade treats very often (usually once or twice a year for special holidays) but with our little man in the house Toby doesn’t get as much attention as he used to and so its nice to spoil him when we can. So here is a recipe for some homemade dog treats that are Toby approved (and hey its all natural and people ingredients so you can even eat them too!)

Toby’s Treats

Ingredients
  • 2½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Âľ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a stand mixer, mix together the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon
  3. Add water as needed to help make the dough workable, but the dough should be dry and stiff.
  4. Roll the dough into a ½-inch-thick roll. Cut into ½-inch pieces (or use the cookie cutter of your choice).
  5. Bake in preheated oven until hard, about 40 minutes.

Original recipe available here.

Getting Started: Homemade Baby Food

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.32.53 PMLast night I posted this picture of my latest creation (steamed and pureed broccoli) for my little man’s breakfast and it prompted a lot of questions about my baby food making process. I’ve found it to be a pretty easy process so far (once I figured out his schedule with both bottles and baby food) and so I haven’t found the need to buy baby food yet which has saved us a ton of money in the long run. Besides, don’t you wonder what they put in those baby food jars which make them last so long? I think I’ll stick to giving our baby pure nutrition and simple ingredients for now. So to get started I usually make and introduce 1-2 new food items a week (depending on how much I have in the freezer and what I have going on that week). Last week was blueberries. This week we are introducing broccoli! Here’s a quick look at everything I use to make baby food:

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.34.16 PMBAEBA Babycook Pro:

Ok so yes, you can use your Vitamix or a regular blender or food processor however most everything I read about making your own baby food encouraged steaming instead of boiling the food to preserve the nutrients. Baking is also another good option but who has time to preheat and use your oven every night? Also when making small quantities it just seems simpler in my opinion for clean up and for blending to just have one small machine that does it all instead of steaming in a basket and then transferring to a large, oversized Vitamix. It took a little convincing to explain to my husband why I “needed” this but now he is 100% on board and we both love it!

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.34.26 PMSage Spoonfuls Cookbook

I don’t know how I would have even started without this gem! This “cookbook” goes through the order of solids (yes, there are certain foods appropriate by age for your baby), how long they need to be steamed, if you need to buy organic or if fresh or frozen is ok. It also talks about the health benefits of each different food as well.  I literally use this book for every new food I introduce to our little guy. If you don’t want to buy a book I’ve also heard a ton of great things about the Wholesome Baby Food website. It also lists the age appropriate for each food as well.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.34.34 PMOxo Tot Baby Blocks Storage Containers – 2 oz

For food storage I recommend these Oxo Tot containers. They are freezer and dishwasher safe. I like them better than ice cube trays because I can grab one for daycare and go and not have to defrost or pop out food and move it to different containers. I can literally store and feed from these plastic containers. Perfect.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.52.53 PMMunchkin White Hot Safety Spoon

Ok so yes I do realize that you should be able to judge how   hot or cold your baby’s food is without a spoon that turns white when it gets too hot.. but why guess… why wonder. These spoons are just another added safety net in protecting my baby and helping make life just a little easier.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.58.42 PMBumkins Waterproof Starter Bib 

We introduced waterproof bibs when we started feeding solids instead of using the cute cloth Aden + Anais cloth bibs I use when giving our baby a bottle. These bibs are waterproof and make clean up a breeze. I simply run them under the sink after mealtime and then hang to drive. They require little fuss, which I love, and still have lots of cute patterns.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 7.00.57 AMCulturelle Priobiotics for Kids

About a month after we started solids our little guy had constant boopy diapers (about 6-8 a day) and developed a horrible diaper rash. Our pediatrician recommended giving him a probiotic once/day to help his body process the foods he was eating. This particular probiotic helps to “support a child’s health by fostering the proper balance between good bacteria and the non-beneficial bacteria that resides in the gastorintestinal tract…it alleviates occasional digestive distress while supporting a child’s natural defenses.” This particular type comes in the form of a solid which we mix half of a packet a day in with some of his cold fruit.

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Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster.

Last but not least is our high chair. Our kitchen is probably average size but it doesn’t really have a great corner or a lot of extra space for a large or bulky high chair. We have a small, round table with 4 wooden chairs in our kitchen and we decided early on to designate one of these chairs for our little man’s “high chair.” I’ve loved this seat. It’s a great space saver, its plastic (which comes in handy for so many reasons), and its portable. If you have extra guests and need the seat you can just unclick the two straps and voila! no more high chair. We’ve also taken this to the grandparents house and to restaurants. Portable, functional and pretty darn attractive- I’d say that’s a win!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

image1I know its only Wednesday but its been a long week, ok maybe its been a long month. Regardless tonight was cookie night because after dinner and a glass of wine I wanted a sweet treat to top off the evening. I’m not one to normally eat gluten free but my mother-in-law was raving about these cookies this weekend and I’m always up for trying out a new recipe so I decided I needed to put this one to the taste test.

They are a sweet mixture of chocolate and peanut buttery goodness. For gluten free and gluten full eaters – indulge and enjoy! 🙂

 Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter (I use crunchy)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar (I’ve also used dark brown and they are still just as good)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and then scoop onto baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes and then let cool for 5minutes. Enjoy!

Original recipe from cookingclassy.com

Roasted Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Alfredo

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Sunday nights almost always mean I’m in the mood to cook a homemade meal. But after working all morning and taking a long walk at the park with my family this afternoon it also means I usually want to make something fast yet tasty. This is one of my go-to dishes that doesn’t require a lot of ingredients that we don’t normally already have. Add a side salad or veggie and you have a tasty dish without the hassle of being homemade. Also as a side note, the goat cheese flavor isn’t over powering and is good for even your pickiest eater.
Ingredients:
  • 1 jar roasted red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fat free half & half
  • 4 oz. garlic & herb goat cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 lb. linguine, cooked to al dente
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Directions:
  • Begin boiling water and cook linguine about 10 minutes.
  • In the mean time, sautĂ© onions and garlic in olive oil 7 minutes or until tender.
  • Pour in half & half, goat cheese, salt & pepper. Stir to melt goat cheese into sauce and keep warm over low heat.
  • Chop bell peppers into large pieces and place into sauce along with parmesan cheese. Stir to melt cheese and remove from heat.
  • Pour sauce into food processor and puree, or use an immersion blender. Place back into hot pan and toss with cooked pasta.
  • Top with more parmesan cheese, and parsley, if desired and serve immediately.
Yield: 3 large servings

The Language of Flowers

Unknown“Who is Vanessa Diffenbaugh?” my husband would ask me with a huge grin on his face. “Huh? I have no idea.” Thinking he was asking me about his latest  Facebook friend request. “She’s the author of the book you’re supposed to be reading, the book that is supposed to be ‘Instantly entrancing.'” Oh right. That Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  One of my book club books, the Language of Flowers sat out on our coffee table for almost a month begging to be read yet I constantly found myself passing it up for some other interest or pressing demand. Finally I picked up this book about a week ago (just in time for my book club meeting only a couple days away) and honestly I couldn’t put it down. I’m not often drawn to anything having to do with flowers, but the interweaving of the Victorian language of flowers used to convey romantic expressions, and the story of Victoria, a young girl emancipated from the foster care system with a gift for helping others, proved to be a story I could not put down. In the end Victoria finds that while she not only helps her customers with the flowers she chooses for them, she finds herself confronting her past with the opportunity for a second chance at happiness.

Who is Vanessa Diffenbaugh? A gifted and talented author who instantly captured this non-flower loving reader through tears, tragedy, hope, family, romance, redemption and the Language of Flowers.

Convertible Car Seats

Our little man turned 8 months yesterday and is at about 8 lb 8oz. While we still have time for him to continue to use his infant carseat, we’ve begun the process of researching convertible car seats. And when it comes to buying any large baby products I often refer back to one of my favorite “new parent books” Baby Bargains. 

Since our copy was a hand me down from a friend and is outdated by a couple years I’m thankful for the Baby Bargains blog and website. Here is what they say is everything you need to know about convertible carseats.

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