five healthy dips for veggie snacking

IMG_0008

Hello! I cannot believe it’s less than one week until Christmas! I’m just about done with the gifts that I need to purchase, minus some stocking stuffers, but not even close to being done with my DIY and sewn gifts. Professional procrastinator here!

With Christmas coming up and thanksgiving shortly past, I’ve noticed my sweets consumption has gone up. I’ve actually been okay about keeping cookies and desserts to actual special occasions. For the most part. But when I’m sent home with home baked goodies from a member in my class, I’ve just gotta try em. And boy they were good! I’m not going to deny myself the treats, but what I will do is combat the extra sugar with foods that are super good for my body. What’s it going to be? Veggies! I am constantly trying to eat more. I actually like them, which makes it easier. However, but I didn’t always, I’ve have to train my taste buds to enjoy them.

IMG_0011

Whether you’re attempting to like veggies, get more into your belly because veggies are the bomb, or you just want some fresh flavors, dips can help you out. They take veggie munching to another level. Here are 5 super awesome dips that can be made at home and/or purchased. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 3.27.56 PMphoto credit

Hummus
My favorite brand is samba because it’s just so creamy and delicious, but hummus is super easy to make at home too. You can find many traditional recipes, or you can go over the top with this roasted beet hummus by minimalist baker!

IMG_0008

Tzatziki

My latest dip love. Creamy yet cooling, and made with yogurt. My recipe for it can be found here.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 3.28.08 PMphoto credit

Bean dip

When I have cool, crisp veggies, something creamy always hits the spot.  Beans all blended up and seasoned make for a creamy perfect dip.  Try this white bean garlic dip from Jennifer’s Kitchen.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 3.28.25 PMphoto credit

Roasted red pepper dip
Secretly up the protein and fiber with beans in this dip via the law student’s wife.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 3.28.33 PMphoto credit

Quacamole
Just mash up an avocado with some sea salt and pepper plus a squirt of lime juice, or try this avocado feta dip from two peas and their pod.

Do you have a favorite healthy dip for veggies?

If my husband was answering this he’d probably say cheese whiz. Ewww. I still love him though. :)

Heather

half marathon training

IMG_9448

About a month ago a friend and I decided to sign up for a half marathon – the vancouver lake half marathon. I hadn’t been running much, really just every couple months with that same friend. Well once we said yes to it I got a few more friends on board and now there are 5 of us doing it together! I started a little Facebook group for our training and we’re meeting 2x a week. Once for a long run the other for speed work. Let me tell you, I have been loving it! It is so fun running with these ladies.  I’ve only had the kids with me on one of the runs, so for the most part it’s just fun kiddo free chit chat which is so fun.  On the last run I pushed both Zoe and Hunter – gosh that was tough!  I think I did more listening than talking since I was constantly out of breath.

IMG_9959

I hadn’t ever really gotten back into running consistently since I was pregnant with Hunter (he’s 2.5 now!), but am so glad I am now. Since I teach a ton during the week (my strength and cross training yoga to keep me strong and pain free!) I only planned running twice a week because I knew I couldn’t commit to more. I really like the Hal Hidgon training plans. He makes them for all different skill levels: novice 1, novice 2, intermediate, advanced – I personally like the intermediate one since it incorporates speed work too.  If you’re looking for a 12 week training plan check em out, I’ve used them before and highly recommend them.

Since we’re not following a particular running plan the basic idea is tacking on an extra mile each week during the long run, and using the speed work to make us faster and stronger runners.  Saturday we ran 6.4 miles, so by increasing about a mile each week we’ll be right around 11.5 miles but probably 12 miles before the half marathon.  Normally closer to 12 weeks is recommended to train, but we’re being naughty runners and taking about 10.

I’ve ran this particular half marathon twice before (read recaps here and here) and another one I won’t ever do again (summer heat + crazy STEEP hill at the end! – read here). I’m looking forward to my gang of mother runners to run it together come the end of January.  Running rain or shine!  But likely rain, it is Washington after all.

IMG_9448What’s the furthest distance you’ve ran? Would you rather do a winter race or summer race? I’d choose the cold over hot for running – just gotta run faster to get warmer!

Heather

peanut butter bacon grilled cheese

IMG_9747

Hello! How was your weekend? We picked out our Christmas tree and got the house a little bit festive. First time to a u-cut tree farm!

IMG_9759IMG_9761IMG_9754IMG_9758  IMG_7482

Today’s recipe comes courtesy of my Secret Recipe Club assignment for the month The Hobo Kitchen… bites from a little kitchen in Hoboken. Ellie writes and shares fun and very comforting looking foods.  For this month I definitely picked something fun to make from her blog!

Time for a question. Have you ever been instantly intrigued about a food? I have. I remember hearing about a burger with peanut butter on it and just had to try it. I thought the idea was so crazy! Turns out it is delicious and I would eat it again in a flash.

IMG_9747

Ellie shared a similar meal, but instead of a burger it was a grilled cheese with bacon and peanut butter. Intrigued? I was! Now I’m not saying it’s the healthiest meal.  At all. We’re topping high fat foods one on top of the other. I did have to serve mine up with a salad on the side because I knew my heart and stomach would thank me.

What was the verdict? Pretty dang good. I would definitely eat it again. I made one for my brother-in-law as well and he ate it and said it was ‘pretty good’ if I remember right, although he’s kind of hard to read. The peanut butter flavor comes through, and being a peanut butter obsessed person, I couldn’t help but be happy about that.

What do you think, would you try it? If you do, please let me know!

IMG_9747

Peanut Butter Bacon Grilled Cheese

Serves 1

Recipe slightly adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 slices bacon, fully cooked and cut in half
  • 1/2 cup grated white sharp cheddar, or your favorite melty cheese
  • 2 slices bread (seedy preferred)
  • butter, softened

Directions

  1. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread.  Spread the peanut butter on the other side, top the peanut butter with bacon slices and cheese, then the other peanut butter covered slice of bread, with the butter facing up.
  2. Place the ready but uncooked sandwich on a small skillet, turn the skillet to medium heat and cook for 5-6 minutes on one side or until golden brown.  Flip and cook another 3-4 minutes until the second side is golden brown.  Or follow your favorite grilled cheese cooking method.

Would you try a grilled cheese with peanut butter and bacon?  What’s the strangest combo you have eaten?  Do you have a Christmas tree up?!

Heather


10 healthy living documentaries to watch

20141205-145330-53610472.jpg

It’s almost the weekend!  My Friday started with a bootcamp and body pump class, a quick grocery store trip, then I took Hunter to gymnastics.  We had a different teacher today and she had such great energy and kept my crazy kiddo in line (well, most of the time).  Such fun!

IMG_9740

I’m off to run with some friends in a bit but first I wanted to share about documentaries focused on healthy living.  Yesterday while folding laundry (my most dreaded task) I watched Food Matters on Netflix.  I then proceeded to tell a client of mine that evening about it since she had never heard of it.  She had never heard of Food Inc (one I usually assume people have either heard of or watched) or really knew that there were documentaries focused on food and healthy living.  I’ve watched a few on Netflix and there are many others on my to-watch list.  The information I hear about in them isn’t necessarily new to me now (although a few years ago it was!), but I use it more as a refocus for healthy eating.  Food Matters had a big focus on eating whole, real foods.  I love that.  You don’t have to agree with every single opinion to take something good out of them.

If you are looking to inspire or re-inspire your healthy lifestyle, check out some of these interesting documentaries.  Or maybe someone you know wants to revamp their food habits or just thoughts on where their food comes from – share these with them!  They are all linked to Netflix along with the info from Netflix (because that’s what we have at our house), but without checking I’m sure there are other places you could watch them if you don’t have Netflix.  I will say, I find a lot of them to be focused on eating plant based diets, which is great.  But take what you want from each – I clearly do not eat a plant based diet but I would say I eat a healthy and varied real food diet, which is what I personally want and strive for.  Enjoy!

Healthy living documentaries I have watched:

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 2.26.26 PM

Food Inc.

Director Robert Kenner’s provocative, Oscar-nominated documentary looks at the food industry’s harmful effects on human health and the environment.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 2.17.28 PM

Forks over Knives

According to the research of two food scientists, the popularity of processed foods has led to epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes and other diseases.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 2.26.01 PM

Hungry for Change

This documentary exposes shocking secrets the diet, weight loss and food industries use to keep consumers coming back for more.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 2.26.33 PM

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

Two men whose bodies have been trashed by steroids, obesity and illness, document their rigorous healing path in a bid to regain their health.

**This last one here I actually didn’t finish – yet!**

Healthy living documentaries on my to-watch list:

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 2.25.55 PM

Forks over Knives: The Extended Interview

This companion to the acclaimed documentary about veganism includes additional footage of expert interviews, covering several themes in greater depth.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 2.20.11 PM

Forks over Knives Presents: The Engine 2 Rescue Kitchen

Join Rip Esselstyn, author of The Engine 2 Diet, as he guides the White and Wally families and teaches them how to take control of their health.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 2.21.45 PM

Vegucated

This documentary follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks in an effort to get healthier.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 2.23.38 PM

Farmageddon

This provocative documentary tells the story of farms that were providing safe, healthy foods to their communities but were forced to stop.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 2.36.30 PM

GMO OMG

This documentary follows one father’s search for answers to the question “What are we feeding our families?” and examines the risks of GMOs.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 2.22.14 PM

TEDTalks: Chew on this (not a documentary, but a series)

Take a seat at the TED table with master bakers, food scientists, chefs, farmers and foodies for a taste of truth about food.

Do you watch documentaries?  Do you have a favorite in this list or one you want to add?

Heather

Zoe: 9 months

20141203-152857-55737537.jpg

Zoe is 9 months old now!

20141203-152902-55742197.jpg

I just love watching her grow.  Time is flying too fast and I just need a moment to hit pause  Pause long enough to share where this sweet little girl is at, right now, because it’s changing daily.  Development is flooding right now!  I hope you enjoy reading these posts.  I half write them for a totally selfish reason – I love going back and reading about my kiddos!  I so easily forget the stages and events so it’s nice to see what has happened months/years back.  9 months in…

Birth

IMG_5326-1024x768

1 month

IMG_2123-1024x1024

2 months

IMG_3860-1024x768

3 months

IMG_5282-768x1024

4 months

IMG_5395-1024x1024
5 months

IMG_6542-1024x1024-1

6 months

IMG_7330-768x1024-1

7 months

IMG_7510

8 months

IMG_8224

9 months

20141203-152856-55736574.jpg

EAT

She is still nursing about 5 times a day [early morning, breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and before bed].  She is devouring food like crazy now too!  We began solids around 6 months (baby led weaning style) and about 1.5 months in food really took off.  She pretty much loves everything we feed her and shoves it in her mouth as fast as she can.  The only two things I remember her not really liking are pineapple and grapefruit, but everything else has been a hit.  Zoe is especially into beef.  She likes other meats and basically all food, but she gets super excited and pumped up about beef.  Some other big favorites: pear, cheese, raw bell peppers, applesauce, bread, steamed broccoli, raw cucumber, avocado, blueberries, bananas, steamed yams/sweet potato, pasta and chicken.

IMG_8516

She doesn’t have any teeth but that doesn’t stop her one bit.  Even with foods like bell peppers I wouldn’t expect her to eat them very well, but gumming off pieces and mushing them up in her mouth works perfectly fine.  It’s so fun to watch her eat and get excited about food.

I’m thinking about weaning the afternoon nursing session away by offering a snack first when she wakes from her nap, then nursing, instead of nursing first then a snack.  We’ll see how it goes.  I totally rely on what worked for Hunter so I’m hopeful she adapts easily as well.

20141203-152858-55738364.jpg

WAKE

Zoe is getting mobile!  While she’s not crawling or walking, she can definitely get around by scooting on her butt, rolling, pivoting and reaching/belly flopping.

20141203-152905-55745313.jpg

She is sooooooo close to crawling.  Any day now.  Today I captured her straightening a leg and also saw her straightening both legs into a downward dog kind of pose.  Also the mess of toys below was mostly her, she’s pulling out baskets and playing with blocks, legos and music makers.  Basically anything she can get her hands on.

20141203-152855-55735728.jpgThey played like that for a solid half hour. It was so cute watching them play independently and then sharing together too.

Hunter is still her number one person.

20141203-152903-55743522.jpgShe is actually becoming more of a snuggler now, and I completely love that.  Some favorites continue to be bath time, books, cups, all of Hunter’s toys, Hunter, our dog, her taggie blanket.  She dislikes having her diaper changed and getting dressed.  She just wants to move around and not be held down!

20141203-152904-55744500.jpg

SLEEP

Zoe is now sleeping and sharing a room with Hunter!  It finally worked around 8.5 months (before there was lots of waking from both kids).  Her typical pattern is bedtime around 7pm, wake to nurse around 5:30/6am, then morning wake around 7/7:30am.  When she does cry at night Hunter just sleeps right through it and doesn’t seem to be affected the next day any more.

20141203-152857-55737537.jpg

That’s how it’s been the last few weeks, but it’s definitely been off the past 4-5 days.  I’m pretty sure she’s congested and having a hard time with the snot draining back when she lays down to sleep.  I felt like I was back to the newborn stages a couple nights ago after being up with her until 2-3am in the morning.  It was rough business, but nothing a good power nap couldn’t fix.  And I am not a napper, but felt amazing after that one!

She typically naps 2 times a day.  Her morning nap is still really short from about 10:30-10:50am in the car on the way home from the gym, then her second nap tends to be longer from 1:30-3:30pm or sometimes lasts until 4:30pm.  If she wakes early and only gets about an hour nap in for her second nap I’ll usually put her down around 4:30pm for a cat nap.  I find that if she wakes before 3pm we have a rough time making it to bedtime at 7pm and she’s super fussy all evening.

She sleeps in a sleep sack to keep her warmer, but it also helps her move around a little less at both bedtime and naps in the crib.

20141203-152901-55741019.jpg

I love this little girl’s smile and itty bitty top knot.  The filter in this picture makes her eyes look black, but really they’re hazel-like.  Sometimes they look brown, sometimes green and every once in a while blue.  They always go with her outfit. :)

When did your baby start scooting and moving around?  Do you have good memory or not so good like me?

Heather

sausage and broccoli quiche with a simple whole wheat crust

IMG_8967

Hello!  Happy Thanksgiving Eve!  How’s your Thanksgiving looking this year?  We’ll be attending 2 Thanksgiving dinners (one Thursday and one Friday).  I have my contributions all planned out and everything purchased so no last minute grocery store trips should be required.  Some of this afternoon will be prepping foods, but I’ll mostly do the actual cooking on the day of.

Here’s everything I’m making: honey whole wheat dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, sweet potato and apple casserole with pecan crust and arugula salad with ultimate vinaigrette.  I can’t wait!

IMG_8967

I’ll also be prepping this quiche for dinner this afternoon, just to make dinner simple tonight.  Plus some roasted brussel sprouts and acorn squash.  At least once a week we have breakfast for dinner. Usually it’s on Thursdays when I’m just tired from teaching and don’t really want to cook, but most of the time I just crave something comforting, and breakfast is my comfort food. If I have some extra time and think about it, I love making a quiche for my BFD choice.  Other favorites include pancakes, french toast and omelets. :)

IMG_8952

I have another quiche recipe (sausage and french sorrel quiche with oatmeal crust), but the crust recipe is a bit more fuss than I normally want to go through.  It’s delicious, but sometimes I’m just lazy and don’t want to pull out my food processor.  For this one I’ve gone with a much simpler 4 ingredient crust.  If you are cooking for someone who doesn’t like whole wheat flour (like my husband), make sure you use white whole wheat flour.  It looks much lighter in color and has a smoother taste to it than standard whole wheat flour.  I actually prefer it too but sometimes it can be harder for me to find at certain stores.

IMG_8966

Sausage and Broccoli Quiche with a Whole Wheat Crust 

Crust recipe from 100 days of real food

Ingredients for crust

  • 1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 tbsp milk

Ingredients for filling

  • 1/2 cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt and pepper
  • 2 fully cooked chicken sausages. diced
  • 1/2 cup cooked broccoli, diced
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Have a 9 inch pie pan out and ready for use.
  2. Combine all crust ingredients into a bowl.  Use a fork to mix until combined.  Use your hands to finish the mixing and then form a ball in the pan. Press it into the pan and bring it up on the sides, and then pinch the top (with your finger or a fork).
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the milk, eggs, sea salt and pepper together.  Layer onto the uncooked crust sausage, broccoli, green onion and half the cheddar cheese.  Pour the egg mixture over the top, then top with the remaining cheddar and all the parmesan.
  4. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the filling is set.
  5. Serve warm, at room temperate or chilled – the beauty of a quiche!

The winner of the Aurorae yoga mat giveaway is the very first commenter, ErikaMC!

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 1.33.14 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 1.33.52 PMThanks for entering and telling me about the yoga you guys like doing.  It was fun to read up about it and see what everyone is into.

What are you cooking for Thanksgiving?  Do you love breakfast for dinner?  What’s your go to BFD meal?

Heather

PS happy 9 months to my baby girl Zoe today!  I have a few family posts lined up the next couple weeks (Zoe’s 9 month, my 9 month post baby and Hunter’s 2.5 year post).

IMG_9544

fitness yoga journey + aurorae yoga mat review + GIVEAWAY

IMG_6540

Today we are talking yoga!

IMG_9372

When I first stared teaching group fitness classes, I never thought I would teach yoga. Ever. I’m so not the meditative calm kind of instructor. I like energy, energy, energy!  If that’s you or what you like, awesome! Enjoy it! It’s so cool that we can all enjoy the type of yoga or exercise classes that we like. Everybody has their own style which is great.

So I never though I’d be a yoga instructor. I began my group fitness career with strength/bootcamp classes, cycle and body pump. I slowly added more as I learned more (aqua, step, senior fitness and body combat but that last one has been a bit more recent). Yoga was one of those, ‘hey we need someone to teach and cover fitness yoga last minute, can you put something together?’t. So I threw together some flow sequences, probably did lots of stretching and my fitness yoga teaching began at a small club I already taught at. I’ve taken yoga on and off for years, have studies in books and videos, so I had a bit of knowledge to start with. Since I started teaching it 2 years ago I’ve gained a lot more knowledge about yoga and expanded on my classes, but also on my own yoga practice. Someday I would love to go through a formal yoga training, but for now I love my own style of yoga.  It fits what I like, and people seems to really enjoy it too.  It’s definitely become one of very favorites to teach. And now it’s actually the format I teach the most every week (5x).

Since fitness yoga isn’t a normal yoga class term, here’s how I like to explain it to people who ask about it or are coming for their first time. Fitness yoga is a yoga inspired fitness class. We typically do vinyasa flows with many yoga poses and balances poses at the end as well, but I also get the liberty to do lots of push ups, squats, lunges, ab work and yoga burpees (yes burpees in yoga :) ). It’s constantly changing, challenging, evolving and so much fun!

I’d love to hear about your yoga story, so be sure to tell me about it once you get to the end of this post. But first, a yoga mat review + giveaway!

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 7.57.27 AM

Aurorae contacted me to review one of their yoga mats. I choose the synergy yoga mat/towel because the combination of a yoga mat + yoga towel sounded really cool and unlike any yoga mats I’ve used. Gosh this mat smelled so fresh and heavenly when I got it! After a while the essential oil smell went away but I loved that the first few weeks.

From Aurorae:

“Aurorae sells the best reviewed yoga mats, yoga apparel,and yoga and meditation accessories online. You can browse their yoga mats, yoga bags, yoga apparel and other yoga accessories here.”

IMG_6540

What I love about the mat:

  • It’s super long (72 inches in length) which is great for a short person like me – I can stretch arms up and legs down and stay pretty much completely on the mat. It would also work well for tall people who normally might not lay completely on the mat.
  • The microfiber towel top is soft and makes me want to cuddle up for a corpse pose nap.
  • It rolls up nicely but is thick enough that when I roll it out it lays flat without any ends curling up.
  • The thickness is great for laying on hard surfaces and still being comfortable.
  • It smelled wonderful!

What I don’t love about the mat:

  • I feel like I do slip a bit more when my mat is on a slick surface. I teach on wood and on carpet usually, and on carpet it’s great, but I have to use my toes to grip a bit more on wood.
  • I’ve taken it outside for some yoga classes and dry grass is hard to get off the microfiber towel top.

GIVEAWAY

When I got my mat months back (I’m quite delayed on this review…. or maybe I was just doing LOTS of testing!) they didn’t have the impressions yoga mat. They are beautifully designed and unique. One of you will be lucky enough to win one for yourself!

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 7.18.20 AM

Here are the deets on the giveaway and how to enter.

  • One commenter will win an impressions yoga mat of their choice (pictured above). I would totally pick the wooded pine or eternity, but you can go for whichever you choose.
  • Must be in the US to enter.
  • The giveaway runs for 6 days and the randomly selected comment winner will be announced here on Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014.

How to enter:

Leave a comment for each entry. The more comments, the more chances to win!

  1. Like Fit Mama Real Food and Aurorae on websites/social media pages – leave a comment for each follow/like for entries
    Fit Mama Real Food: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram
    Aurorae: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instragram
  2. Tweet about this giveaway tagging @fitmamarealfood and @auroraeyoga – leave a link in the comments to the tweet for an entry
  3. Leave a comment answering the questions below for another entry

Good luck!

Do you enjoy yoga? What style of yoga do you enjoy? Do you have a yoga story? Please share!

Heather

on mothering two

IMG_8724

Motherhood is pretty rad.

IMG_8598

Having Hunter was one of the best, most amazing experiences of my life. It was seriously life changing. I am thankful everyday that I get to be called his mother.

IMG_8064

Having Zoe was fantastic and familiar, but also unique as every birth is. I looked forward to it with excitement and less worry. She is such a blessing to my life and I am thankful everyday that I get to be called her mother.

IMG_9196

I am almost 9 months into being a mother of two young kids (Hunter is almost 2.5 years old and Zoe is almost 9 months old). I feel like I can finally look back a bit and get a gauge on what mothering two has really been like. While going from one to two is not as drastic as going from zero to one, there are definite changes, challenges and so many positives. These observations are mostly on the past 4-5 months, because really those first few months are all about survival. They are tough without a doubt!

IMG_9352

On mothering two… the tougher times

I never leave the house early and barely squeak out on time. Getting out of the house is an event of it’s own. Gotta make sure the diaper bag is ready, backup undies and pants for the tot are packed, snacks and water to take, all my stuff can’t be forgotten, make sure everyone is dressed and the babe has a dry diaper (they seriously always poop about 5 minutes before you need to leave), get the toddler to potty before leaving then get shoes on, the baby in her car seat and getting out the door with everyone and everything. Can I take a nap now?

Free time during nap time doesn’t exist much anyone. With one I could rely on a solid 1.5-2.5 hours of afternoon free time. Now about once maybe twice a week I get them napping for more than 45 minutes at the same time. I’m not saying I need a couple of quiet hours in the afternoon, but I wouldn’t hate it. Showers are nice for everyone around me.

When one is freaking out crying loud and wanting your attention or to be held, chances are the other one will too. It’s a law.

Embracing the loud is now a norm. Sometimes it’s happy loud, sometimes it is very much not happy loud coming from these kiddos.

I sleep less for sure now that we have two. The toddler more easily wakes in the early morning and doesn’t go back to sleep very well if he’s up in the 5/6am hour. This baby girl doesn’t like to be consistent with her sleep. I need more coffee. Always.

I totally thought the kids would be sharing a room months back. Many, many, many months back. It’s been a rough road and at almost 9 months I think they’re close (we’re 3 days in once again so who knows what tomorrow holds) and both getting relatively good sleep. I never thought she would be a pack-n-play for so long but it goes to show kids do get a bit of a say in how things go down.

IMG_9241

On mothering two… the wonderful times

Having two kids is awesome. Zoe is at the stage where she likes playing with toys more now and can scoot around to try and get them. If it’s out of reach and she’s not happy about it, but say I’m in the middle of cooking, I now have a little fella that will gladly get things for her when I ask. He is always so excited to help make her happy.

I get to watch Hunter’s sweet, kind and loving heart grow right in front of me. He shares with Zoe because it makes her happy. He gives her kisses and hugs if she’s hurt. He is excited when she’s awake and loves making her laugh.

IMG_8724

I love watching their bond and friendship grow. Yes, having kids less than two years apart is tough (see above), but I so want them to be close and have close relationships. That they grow up playing together and being one a others best friend. I get to watch the beginnings of that, every single wonderful day.

When you have one kid, your heart is filled with love for that child. It’s full to the brim. You can’t imagine another child taking up any of that love.  Then you have a second and no love is taken away, your heart just gets to grow to add more and more love for your second child. Every bit of challenge that comes along with mothering two kids is met 10 fold with love, joy and insane happiness I honestly can’t describe. It’s easy to remember the days that challenged me, because it was a distinct moment in time where I had to make a decision on how to handle a situation. It’s harder to remember the words Hunter said that made me smile, the cute giggles Zoe made while getting a bath or the look they gave each other when playing happily together. Yet there are so many more of those moments that make my mama heart fill even more past the brim.

IMG_8340

Yup, motherhood is pretty rad.

Heather

five ways to simply eat more vegetables

IMG_9171

I’ve been on a person mission lately to eat more vegetables.  It comes and goes in waves.  Right now it’s in the forefront of my mind and I’m making good progress with it.  I have a few tips that have helped me naturally eat more vegetable, without too much thought or pressure.

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 8.09.42 PM

1. Have a lot of vegetables chopped up for easy snacking.  Taking the excuse out makes it easier to simply snack on more veggies.  When I look into the fridge for a snack or to make lunch, if I see cucumbers or bell peppers ready to be eaten and all I have to do is grab them, I am way more likely to do that.  I also say ‘a lot of vegetables chopped up’, because it will encourage you to eat more.  It does for me.  I don’t want to waste it and let it go bad, so I’ve got to eat it.

IMG_9171

2.  Always have a side of vegetables.  Sometimes I get lazy and make a meal like this one.  It’s simple and has everything my meal needs – grain, meat and veggie!  But when I really look at the portions my veggies are lacking.  So now I just always add a veggie side.  I made creamy chicken and potato soup this week.  While I could have only had that, I also roasted some sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts.  I then proceeded to eat half a pan of brussel sprouts with my soup.  And it was good.

IMG_92183. While it’s good to rotate, it’s okay to have the same vegetable multiple times if it gets you to eat more vegetables.  I’ve been loving steamed broccoli lately.  I don’t always love it like I do now so I’m totally taking advantage of it and eating tons this week.  I’m sure next week I’ll move onto something new after I eat through tons of broccoli.

IMG_9264

4. Keep grabbing more and more vegetables.  I like lots of volume with my food, and especially at dinner time I’m starved so I chow down.  I’ll fill my plate, eat it all and normally go back for seconds of certain things.  I’ve been loading up on veggies first, then smaller portions of whatever else we’re having.  I’ll continue to do that until I’m satisfied.

5. Find ways to sneak in veggies.  I’m not above sneaking veggies in where I can, not only for my family but for myself.  Some simple ways I’ve been doing that is by adding canned pumpkin into oatmeal and pancakes and greens into smoothies (like this or this one, yummmm).  There’s always veggies into baked goods as a way to simply add more veggies into your life.

How do you find ways to get more veggies in? Is it normally a challenge or pretty easy?

Heather

peanut butter pumpkin snack bread

IMG_9090

Hello!  How’s it going?  I hope your weekend is ending on a good note.  We had a mellow Sunday since most of us actually woke up feeling crummy.  Saturday was a fun day, especially for the boys.  Jacob and Hunter had a father-son day that included a ho scale model train show in Portland and picking up some new ikea trains and tracks for the house.  And then lots of train playing.  :)

IMG_7289IMG_7298

While they were away I cleaned the house – exciting stuff!  I go back and forth between making the time for food prep on Sundays. Thankfully this weekend I made it happen! I actually grocery shopped Saturday evening and after church on Sunday, so with all the veggies and fruits to put away, I got to chopping for easy grabbing and snacking. I also prepped crockpot yogurt, a few servings of overnight oats, hard boiled and peeled eggs, cut up pork and made this peanut butter pumpkin snack bread.

I like to call the bread a snack bread so people don’t think it’s a normal sweet bread. The sugar is cut way down so that I feel good eating a lot of it (since I know I will) and giving it to my 2 year old. It’s quite delicious with a shmeer of butter (it’s not the most moist bread so I found butter was needed) and my husband even liked it!  It’s also healthed up a bit by subbing out white flour for whole wheat pastry flour and leaving the chocolate chips out (who am I?). Cutting the sugar down and subbing for whole wheat flour are two automatic adjustments I normally make when baking up a healthier treat. And it still turns out delicious!

The original recipe came from Cheese Curds in Paradise, the blog I was assigned for this months Secret Recipe Club reveal. I will admit I totally procrastinated on baking from Ashley’s site. I kept pursuing through her site deciding on what to make and just couldn’t make up my mind. Her homemade cream of chicken soup looked amazing along with her white bean and bacon dip.  But then when push came to shove I went for something snacky and delicious. Because… peanut butter and pumpkin, yum! I’m very glad to have it around for the week!

IMG_9090

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Snack Bread
Recipe adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, yogurt, eggs, peanut butter and vanilla with a whist. Whisk in the sugar, spice, cocoa, baking soda and flour until evenly mixed.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth so that it is even. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until middle is set (this is a very dense bread and you will likely always have a few crumbles with the tooth pick test).

Have you done any baking with pumpkin this fall? Did you get any food prep in over the weekend? If so, what did you prep?

Heather