ethan's weekly eats

I'm honestly shocked that I made it through a week of fresh, healthy and fun toddler meals. It's been a week of utter and sheer chaos -- which might explain why Saturday and today's lunches were bits and pieces of leftovers from the rest of week. At least Ethan was a big fan of each of his lunch options this week, so that has to count for something. Right?


Like I mentioned last week, Ethan is really into dipping these days. These eggplant bites were perfect for dipping!

To make these, I sliced up an eggplant into tiny pieces. I brushed them lightly with organic olive oil and sprinkled them with a little bit of black pepper and garlic powder. I then rolled them into a mixture of grated organic Parmesan cheese mixed with 2 tablespoons of fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs. Once coated, I arranged them on a baking sheet and baked them for 10 minutes at 300 degrees. At ten minutes, I turned them over and continued to bake them for another 10 minutes until both sides were crispy. I served them with a little cup of Ethan's favorite organic marinara sauce for dipping.


Tuesday was a bit of a busy day! My two cousins came in to visit and spent the day with Ethan and I. Ethan had leftovers of the Zucchini Parmesan that I made him last week, only this week he ate the pieces on their own without additional sauce or cheese. He can't make up his mind these days.


Wednesday's lunch was an open-faced Portobello sandwich with spinach, tomato and Muenster cheese. After my huge success with mushrooms last week, I tried my luck again but this time with organic Portabello mushroom caps.

To make these, I marinated the mushrooms with a mixture of organic olive oil (2 tablespoons), balsamic vinegar (1 tablespoon) and freshly minced garlic. I basted the mushroom caps with this mixture and then sprinkled them with some black pepper. I baked them in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, removed them from the oven and added a slice of cheese on top of each mushroom cap and continued to bake them for an extra 3 minutes. I made this an open-face sandwich by placing the Portobello on top of a slice of whole-wheat bread and then topping it with organic spinach leaves and a slice of tomato.


Oh, Macaroni Cupcakes. My intentions were to use cucumber slices as the bottoms to these "cupcakes" but I couldn't find the cucumber I'd purchased so I used tiny pieces of whole-wheat bread. I ended up finding the cucumber the very next day. It's been one of those weeks, really. I can't even tell you how many times I've lost my car keys this week. Anyway!

To make these, I placed tiny circles of whole-wheat bread into the bottom of a very lightly greased muffin tin. In the mean time, I boiled some elbow pastas. I used Dreamfields low-carb, high fiber pastas which are so very yummy. Once the pasta has been boiled and drained, I mixed it with a handful of organic mozzarella cheese, hand-grated zucchini and a few (3-4) florets of pureed cauliflower. I tightly packed the muffin tins with the pasta mixture and baked at 325 degrees for 18-20 minutes. I drizzled them with tomato sauce "frosting" and they were ready to go!


On Friday's lunch menu were these super-cute Kale & Carrot Quinoa Nuggets which thankfully were both a huge hit with Ethan and made a ton of leftovers. On Friday, he ate them plain. On Saturday, he dipped them in hummus. On Sunday (today), he dipped them in marinara sauce. They're easy to freshen up, they keep well and they were a huge hit.

These are a little more elaborate than the other meals this week, but they're worth it. You'll need: fresh kale (chopped up really tiny!), one large carrot (I hand-grated a full carrot), 1 1/2 cups coked quinoa, 1/4c wheat germ, 1 egg, 5 ounces fruit or vegetable puree (I used an Ella's Kitchen 'The Purple One' organic pouch which is made up of blackcurrants, blueberries, apples and bananas) and shredded cheese (I eyeballed it and hand-grated some fresh organic cheddar cheese). Mix up all of your ingredients until combined and they should form a sticky, heavy "dough." I lightly greased a cookie sheet, placed a cookie cutter on it and shoved in the doughy mixture. Once you lift the cookie cutter, the mixture should stay in it's intended shape.

I baked these at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, flipped them and baked for another 10 minutes.


boy, we made such a mess together

I'm a mess. No, really. I am.

On the second day in a row that I tie my unwashed hair up into a tight, hopefully unnoticeable bun, I start to realize that my appearance quality is on the fritz. Normally I just apply extra mascara and hope no one will notice until I can take a shower that night and try to salvage what little pride I have left. Well, today is the third day in a row that I've tied my unwashed hair up into a tight bun and so I'm fairly certain it's not only noticeable but I've been moved from "frazzled mother" to "slovenly mess." And, let's be honest, it's more than the bun. Yesterday Ethan and I got into the holiday spirit through fingerpainting and Halloween crafts. When the paper was out, he painted my foot. The paint is still there, folks. I noticed it today in Target when I looked down and saw orange and green paint inside my flip-flops. Then there was the fact that today I woke Ethan up to make a mad rush to a party that wasn't even today. I knew it wasn't today. I had it written down on my calendar for the correct day. Somehow I woke up with it in my head that the party was today and so I schlepped my poor kid awake from his nap, drove thirty-five minutes only to peer down at the invitation and realize that, no, the party wasn't even today. Did I mention that as I was dressing Ethan for this non-party, he decided to urinate all over me, from my neck down to my bellybutton? I didn't even realize what was going on at first, just that my shirt began to feel warm and then I heard the sound of streaming water. Yes. I am a mess.

I sensed that this point would come, what with my husband's crazy work hours and the fact that while he's working around the clock our house has become a slip-and-slide. Leaky refrigerator? I'm sliding across the kitchen floor. Ripped trashbag? Nothing like sliding across stinky mystery liquid. Applesauce that Ethan squirted from a pouch onto the tile? Don't worry, I caught my fall. Piece of paper Ethan strategically placed at the foot of the couch? There I go! It's a wonder neither of us have completely cracked our heads open during our frantic time of chaos and missing daddy. So naturally when faced with a laundry pile that just won't quit, a toddler who has gotten his hand stuck in the cat drinking fountain and cat pee on your shoes, we did the only feasible thing left to do. Yeah. Ethan and I acquired some frogs.

They were cute and they made Ethan and I smile after I made him drive to a party that I knew wasn't today. (What was I thinking? And why can't I read my calendar or the invitation? Sleep deprivation? Can I go with that one?) Meet Seymour and Meyer. Seymour is the shy one who hides behind rocks and Meyer is the one who seems to spend most of his time doing water aerobics. They're as tiny as a pinky nail and have made their new home in Ethan's bedroom.

I've realized that Tilly And The Wall dance parties with a chunky toddler boy who can spin like a top and bounce up and down like a dancing superstar? They cure everything. (As would a warm bubblebath, I'd imagine. One can only dream!)

And since I mentioned Halloween crafts, check out my little Mozart's works of art:

We also used Kaitlyn from Wifessionals Oreo Pumpkin Mini-Cheesecakes recipe to create these fun spider muffin tin cheesecakes. Kaitlyn's looked cool. Ours looked up about on par with our culinary (lack of) ability. Ethan had fun putting on the chocolate chips and sticking in the legs. I won't lie, I had fun sampling.

oh, make me over

Happy Saturday, everyone! I stayed up way, way past my bedtime last night tinkering with my sponsor area and making it over. It was an overdue makeover. My sponsor space had gotten pretty scary. I made the move over to Passionfruit Ads to take care of all that for me and I'm happy to say everything is up and running!

You Are The Roots now offers three different size ad options: 200x250, 200x200 and 200x100. There is also a promotion code available for a 100% discount for anyone wanting to do an ad swap with the 200x100 size ad.

The 200x200 and 200x250 size ads will shuffle placement so each ad will have it's place on top. In addition, I will be making monthly sponsor spotlight posts. 200x250 ad spot holders will receive a description of their company/blog/website/etc. and any social media or contact links in addition to their banner displayed. 200x200 and 200x100 ad spot holders will have their banners displayed on the monthly sponsor spotlight posts.

Just click the button below to learn more, get the free swap promo code and see how to get your ad up on You Are The Roots! Oh, and all ad spots run for 30 days.

Feel free to drop me an e-mail with any questions! Have a great weekend!


i dream these days are about the sea

Today was Ethan's 15 month well-visit. I love well-visits. I especially love our amazing pediatrician (hi, Dr. A!) who makes me feel a little less crazy and puts my mind completely at ease when I start listening too much to what other people think, say and suggest. I asked my routine million questions, watched Ethan totally ace his physical and got reassurance that he's not totally weird for sticking things in his ears all of the time. Apparently that's normal. Apparently the toddler meals I'm up all night making are worth it and doing great things for my child. Oh, that justification that I'm not totally crazy -- I love it. I love well-visits. What I don't love are vaccinations and neither does Ethan, despite the fact he got Garfield band-aids. Under normal circumstances, he would have starting "MOW! MOW! MOW!"-ing his little heart out upon seeing Garfield's picture but these weren't normal circumstances. These were "why did you let them do this to me, mommy?" circumstances in which case Ethan could not book it out of that office quicker if he tried. I had to dress him in the doorway after he threw his shirt to the side and took off.

Sometime this afternoon it dawned on me while writing an e-mail to my husband about something totally different that Ethan and I should have a picnic on the beach this evening. I spent his naptime cooking and packing up our dinner: turkey and zucchini meatloaf with roasted sweet and purple potatoes and a mixture of organic fruits for dessert. I decided to "kabob" everything to make it more beach friendly and, well, I basically spent an hour slicing, dicing and shoving food onto sticks.

The beach picnic was wonderful. Hundreds of pilchards had washed up to the shore and the seagulls and pelicans were feasting on the sad display of deceased, tiny silver fish. Ethan is on a bird kick so he spent the entire hour and a half we were at the beach trying to offer the birds some of his dinner, hoping they'd surprise him and take the food from his hand. They didn't.

We surpassed our paid meter time by twenty minutes and I hoped no one would notice as I lugged our beach comforter, two bags and my 27 pound toddler up the sand. That was enough to erase any guilt I had about skipping Stroller Strides on Wednesday morning. I think we both could have stayed there for another hour and a half, on the empty stretch of beach, letting the water slowly touch our toes (but not too much -- Ethan isn't so sure about the ocean just yet). The storm clouds began to push the cottony white clouds out of the way and from far away, thunder began to rumble. The time became apparent, too, as Ethan started to rub his eyes and let out a few yawns in between exclamations of "HI!" to the seagulls. (Friendly salutation and all, they still weren't interested in his food.)

Today was a good day.


don't cover yourself with thistle and weeds

It is the end of September and the promise of fall is slowly beginning to show itself. Lately I believe I can truly feel some mild breeze in the air, like a welcomed break from the constant, nagging humidity that delves deep into your lungs. We're approaching the days of pumpkin patches and fall festivals and all those things that seem increasingly magical each year that passes. Last year was Ethan's first experience being propped up amongst pumpkins, silly hats adorning his head and even sillier booties shoved onto his feet. Last year I'd swear that nothing could top the magic of seeing my child dressed up for Halloween but this year I'm swearing the same because in motherhood, everything is always new and incredible. For that, I am thankful.

The end of September means more in our family than pumpkin lattes and the smell of nutmeg and cinnamon. It means it's time for my husband to work late, insane hours in which some days Ethan doesn't get to see him at all. These days are hard for all of us and leave me with some lost feeling in my gut and a tinge of guilt because I'm supposed to know how to fix this situation for all involved. I'm supposed to know how to keep Ethan's mind so occupied that he never once inquires where his father is and I'm supposed to know how to make my husband feel at ease with his sudden absence around our house. Not only do I not know how to do any of these things, but I really don't know how to do any of these things. I walk around feeling like I'm stumbling through a daily routine when I thought I had all the moves down pat. It's funny, really, because I'm finding it's only my husband and I who are lost in this tangled, confusing dance of work schedules and busy times and creating guilt where it doesn't otherwise exist. This feisty little toddler of mine? He keeps me on my toes. No two days are like the other and, well, he gives me the confidence that we'll get through these next couple of weeks together. Maybe not without tears, but not without laughter, either.

This morning we ran out of diapers. It was as a result of one of the inevitable miscommunications that happens when you barely see your significant other and when you do, you're both deliriously exhausted. It was 9:30 this morning and I found myself at home with a stark naked baby and no diapers. Ethan played on our driveway, completely naked, while I dug through my car and found a swim diaper. Ethan peed all over the driveway, watching the liquid run through the cracks in the pavers. He giggled. I was ready to bawl my eyes out. With his swim diaper on underneath his shorts, we set off to Whole Foods in pursuit of more diapers. That's when the entire tone of the day turned from disastrous to wonderful, thanks to my beautiful boy's smile as he pushed his cart at lightning speed up and down the aisles, crashing into other shoppers who couldn't help but belly laugh at the adorable little shopper navigating his way through the store. He was given an oatmeal cookie and a sheet of stickers but neither could captivate him quite like doing his own grocery shopping did. We got the diapers and, relieved, I let myself browse a little too long at other items on the shelf. Ethan took note and decided to stock up the cart with coconut water -- his favorite -- after noticing it on a cardboard display. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard.

And while I haven't quite mastered how to occupy Ethan's inquisitive mind enough so that he does not point up at photographs of my husband and ask for his daddy nightly, I've learned to instead use those times as an opportunity to celebrate the father that my husband is. We look at pictures, we listen to the music he likes...and we make a lot of surprises.

From cookies waiting for daddy on the counter when he comes home from work after a long day and night at work, baked with love by Ethan (and with the, um, help of Immaculate Baking Company) to special notes tucked away inside of daddy's lunch bag for him to stumble upon the next afternoon, we're trying to master the element of surprise to bring a little joy to the day of a man who brings so much joy to our lives. Sometimes, I'm learning, all you can do is just know that disasters will happen but love and laughter are the easiest ways to clean the mess up.


naturebox healthy snacks subscription service review & giveaway

Recently my family and I had the opportunity to try out NatureBox, a monthly subscription service that delivers a box full of healthy snacks directly to your door! From the moment I began learning about NatureBox, I was so excited to try out the service. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you've probably figured out that I like to keep our household as healthy as possible. As a result, our grocery bills are usually pretty high, especially when it comes to stocking up on healthy snacks at our local health food store. Between my husband who must eat gluten-free and just maintaining a healthy household, it adds up -- especially when it comes to snacks. Did you know that the average American eats almost 25% of their daily calories from snacking? This was just one of the things I learned from NatureBox. One of the other things I learned from them was it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to eat healthy. For $19.99 per month, you'll receive 15-20 servings across 4-6 different bags of healthy snacks. Right now, I'm fairly certain we spend double that a week at the health food store. Yikes!

Going into our experience with NatureBox, I was already truly impressed. It was apparent how much the staff cares about nutrition and their mission. For every NatureBox ordered, a meal is donated to feed the over 14 million children who go hungry in America. There is absolutely nothing I love more than a company who is so involved in making life better for everyone and NatureBox does just that. Aside from the satisfaction of knowing you're snacking on guilt-free, whole food snacks, you're also helping to feed the hungry. Is that not wonderful? I certainly thought it was!

I love that each month the boxes are put together by nutritionists. I also love how your NatureBox is completely different each month, giving you the opportunity to try out new, delicious snacks and also making sure you're not bored with the same day-to-day snacks. What else can you expect from your NatureBox snacks? For starters, none of the icky stuff, like high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors and artificial colors. You can simply expect quality whole food snacks that have been minimally processed if at all. You can't beat that!

So what did we get in our NatureBox?

Our box contained Pistachio Power Clusters, Umami Roasted Nuts, Big Island Pineapple, Apple Orchards Granola and Toasted Sesame Sticks. Yummy! Some of the items contained glutenous ingredients so my husband had to miss out on some of the snacking since NatureBox does not yet offer customized box options -- but that's okay because we learned that NatureBox is in the throws of creating boxes to suit special dietary needs. This includes gluten-free, nut-free, vegan and low sugar boxes! If one of these boxes better suits your dietary needs, just shoot an e-mail over to info@naturebox.com to be added to their mailing list. They'll let you know when these are ready!

Ethan was particularly fond of the pineapple. I had to hide the bag from him after a while to stop him from dipping in for thirds and fourths. (He'd already come back for seconds!) The other snacks make great options for when you're hungry and dinner is late because your child got his toy stuck in the cat water fountain again and your kitchen is slowly flooding. (What? Just my crazy house?) They're also great for after exercising, when you're in need of something healthy to help you refuel. Ethan and I made sure to share some of our snacks with his gym teachers at My Gym. After all, they're technically the ones doing all of the work during gym class.

There is a photo that exists of my husband trying to get every last crumb out of one of the bags of snacks. I threatened to post it, but I'll let it slide. Let's just say these healthy snacks are most definitely good to the very last crumb.

WANT TO SAVE 25%? To save 25% off your first month subscription, simply use the code APPLE25 upon checkout at naturebox.com!


Ethan's not the only one wanting to share his snacks with you. NatureBox graciously offered one of my readers the chance to win a future month's NatureBox! What will be in it? That's part of the surprise! This giveaway is open to US residents and ends at 12:01 a.m. on October 9th, 2012! Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...