You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘family’ tag.

Since we have three little kids, it’s hard to go out in the evening. So, I learned to make some gourmet foods at home. Flatbread is one of those foods. The best part about this recipe ( taken from here) is that the bread is easy to make and is gluten-free. Then, you can put whatever you want on top and tell the kids it’s pizza. I like bell peppers, sundried tomato spread, portobello mushrooms, chunks of tofu, onions, tomatoes, zucchinis to top my flatbread…I sometimes put a bit of goat cheese on top and sometimes I forego the cheese altogether and the dish still tastes amazing. The recipe here is a suggestion. Make the basic flatbread and put whatever you want on top. After the bread is made, don’t forget to top it off with arugula leaves, some salt and olive oil.

I also like to quintuple this recipe and freeze the unused portions in ziploc bags. Whenever I need dinner, I thaw some flatbread dough, roll it out and put something on top. Then I bake the flatbread for 10-20 minutes and dinner is ready!

note: you can use 1 egg instead of the psyllium husk

Flatbread:

– 1 cup quinoa flour

-1/2 -1 tsp salt

-1 tbls psyllium husk

-3/4 cup (2 dl) water

Preheat oven to 200 Celsius (400 F).

Mix the salt, psyllium husk and flour together, add the water gradually so that it resembles a thick porridge, wait for a couple of minutes and then spread the batter on to a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Topping

4 tbsp. pesto sauce

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 zucchini, thinly sliced

1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 tomato, thinly sliced

1/3 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled

Arugula leaves, salt, pepper,olive oil

Spread the pesto sauce on top of the flatbread and put all of the veggies on top of the sauce.sprinkle some goat cheese over the veggies and bake at 425 degrees F for 10-15minutes. Take out of the oven and generously put arugula leaves on top. Put salt and pepper to taste.

Advertisements

As a busy mother, I know nothing beats a good casserole when it comes down to a quick and delicious family dinner. This casserole is very easy and is excellent for utilizing leftovers. The vegetables I chose to use this time are more suggestions than musts. Green beans work well, cauliflower is fine corn is delicious and sweet potatoes taste great! Furthermore, you can take any other grain you fancy and use it instead of quinoa, making this casserole into a completely different dish altogether! I am a big fan of millet for this dish, but I also love brown rice. I sometimes use garbanzo beans instead of the multi-colored ones. I usually serve this casserole with a  nice salad of arugula, cucumbers, carrots, celery, avocado and pumpkin seeds with a bit of extra virgin olive oil on top.  Go to the kitchen and begin experimenting!

Ingredients:

  •     3 cups quinoa, cooked in vegetable broth
  •     2 medium sized peppers, chopped
  •     1 medium sized onion, chopped
  •      1 cup thawed green peas (the frozen ones)
  •     2 medium carrots, chopped
  •     1 medium zucchini, chopped
  •     1 can mixed beans, drained and rinsed
  •    4 medium tomatoes, sliced
  •     4 cloves garlic, diced
  •     1/4 cup olive oil
  •     salt to taste
  •     tabasco sauce to taste
  •     curry powder to taste
  •     1 cup of grated cheese ( goat cheese or soy cheese is fine)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all chopped vegetables, (except for tomatoes) beans, garlic olive oil and spices.

In a  casserole dish, put the quinoa on the bottom and the vegetable mix on top. Put tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes.

A friend asked me for some quick an easy recipes for a family of three, which includes an 8-month old baby. I realized that I could post every puree recipe on the face of the Earth,or I could simply share my views on feeding babies and children. 


In this country, babies and children are sometimes viewed as creatures from another world, when it comes to nutrition. They usually get “special” food. Almost any otherwise health-conscious restaurant has the worst crap on their menu, listed under “kids” section. So, you can enjoy some grilled sea bass with roasted root vegetables, while your kid is chewing on his chicken nuggets and drinking some purple soda, which doesn’t exist in nature. Why do we deprive our next generation of quality food, when they are the ones that are still  growing and needing more nutrients than we do?

“But  my kids won’t eat anything healthy,” – I must have heard this phrase a thousand times. If you leave your kids to make their own choices in life before they are ready to do so intelligently, not only they will have a chocolate bar for every meal, they will probably not study and do all kinds of other unhealthy things. We are responsible for our children’s choices and that includes the choice of what they put in their mouths. Yes, they do need some degree of freedom, but they also need boundaries. When it comes to food, healthy boundaries for children sound like: ” Would you like your carrots in a salad or would you prefer roasted carrots for dinner?” They do not include “carrots, like everyone else” or “chicken nuggets just for you.”

Back in the day,  meals used to be family time.  Everyone ate the same thing, lovingly prepared by a family member. Nobody made anything special for children, unless it was their birthday. Today, we have commercially prepared baby purees, frozen dinners, and teenagers, getting  take out and eating it in their room in front of their TV for dinner.

Food is nourishment, but it’s also a ritual of love and union. When my family gathers for a meal every night, it is very special: we share stories about our day’s happenings and we all eat the same food. I believe one of the first ways to teach your child healthy eating habits is to start with a similar ritual. Healthy food is food you share with others. Healthy food is food prepared at home with love.

And, back to the subject of what to feed your 8-month old baby, take some of that healthy food, prepared with love and mash it up with fork or in the food processor. There is always a vegetable or a grain you can feed your baby, if you eat grains and veggies yourselves. Trying to give your baby a kale puree can become the story you later tell your grandchildren ( I know, we do.) Leaving some squash for the baby before the squash goes into the dinner casserole makes your baby part of the family from his or her first bites of solid food a lot more than a jar of baby food ever would.

Oh, and do breastfeed. And eat a balanced diet while you do so. The baby will get introduced to all kinds of flavors through your breast milk, so these flavors better be of something other than Diet Coke and potato chips. This early introduction to family foods would prove very beneficial later at the family table, with Junior wearing a bib and proudly inhaling an avocado.

Easter is coming. If you are contemplating the use of food coloring to dye Easter eggs, think again. It’s been linked to a multitude of health problems. In Russia, where I am from, Easter eggs are dyed using onion peels. This is my grandma’s basic recipe. You can use less peels than this recipe asks for to get less intense color.
For red or brown eggs:
5 cups of water
2 tbsp. of white vinegar
The papery peel of yellow onion skins (about 8-10).
1/2 dozen eggs
Firstly, use an enamel or teflon-coated pot. Tin, iron or aluminum pots can change the color of the dye.
Place the water, vinegar, and onion skins in a pot and bring to boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the eggs into the pan with the onion peels. To ensure even coloring, make sure that no eggs are overlapping and that the dye covers the eggs well. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes for dark red or for about 25 minutes for deep brown. Put the eggs into cool water. Once they are cool,  take a little olive oil l and polish them with a paper towel to make hem look perfect!
If you’d like a fun basket of all kinds of colors, here are some other natural dye recipes I have expermented with over the years:
For blue eggs, try purple cabbage leaves. Use the leaves of 1/2 a cabbage and 6 cups of water for 1/2 dozen eggs. Add 2 tbsp. of vinegar. Follow the “onion peel” recipe from above.
Spinach makes amazing green eggs. Use 2 cups of spinach leaves per 1 quart of water. Add 2 tbsp of vinegar. Follow the “onion peel” recipe. to make pale green eggs, pre-boil the eggs and leave them in spinach juice for about an hour.
Try ground turmeric or curry for golden yellow eggs. Add enough spice to the water in which you are boiling the eggs to make it deep yellow. Boil the eggs like you normally would. Usually, it’s about 3 tbsp.
Coffee makes dark brown eggs. Make a pot of coffee and some hard-boiled eggs. Leave the eggs in cooled coffee for about an hour.
Buy some dark grape juice and leave the hard-boiled eggs in it for about an hour to make your eggs lavender color.
Cut two beets into cubes, add 6 cups of water and boil some eggs in it, like you normally would to make hard-boiled eggs. The eggs would be dark red.

Next time your kid asks for French fries, try to make these instead.  Parsnips are rich in folic acid, copper and manganese and carrots have a lot of fiber and vitamin D. Almond butter adds extra protein to the dish. The recipe is adapted from Diet, Dessert and Dogs.

 

 

 

For 3-4 servings:

3 medium parsnips and 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thin fry-like strips. The inner core of parsnips can be a bit bitter, so I usually cut around that.

3 Tbsp (45 ml) smooth natural almond butter

1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp (2.5  ml) fine sea salt

1 tsp. curry

1 tsp Bragg’s amino acids

Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).  Line a large baking tray with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Place the “fries” in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, combine the almond butter, oil, and spices. Drizzle the coating over the fries, and toss the mixture with your hands  until they are all evenly coated.

Line the fries up on the cookie sheet in a single layer.  Bake 35-50 minutes (depending on thickness of your fries), until the coating is browned and a bit crispy, and the fries are fully cooked.

And if you like your fries simple, use just the olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake until the fries are browner and crispy.

 

Prior to spending my days worrying if my breast milk tasted ok or pondering the best way to discipline a whining toddler, I was a nutrition consultant in Manhattan. I also made yoga DVDs, shot infomercials and modeled for magazines.

And then came the babies.

My plan was to go right back to consulting and shooting new DVDs as soon as I get back in shape after giving birth. Well, thanks to all the yoga, I got back in shape faster than Heidi Klum. My head, however, was in an absolutely different place: nothing was more important than the little plump human being, constantly attached to my breast. Nothing. Not even my seemingly huge prior ambitions. I wanted to spend my days pureeing baby foods and teaching my kid ABC’s. I wanted to make sure I never miss the first crawl, the first words, the first steps. I wanted to make sure I’d be there.

I made a decision to stay home. I also conveniently got pregnant again; with twins (talk about being grounded!) The thing that worried me the most about staying home was the same thing that every ambitious working woman worries about: would I go crazy wiping butts and noses? I came up with this action plan of how to keep your sanity while staying home or working from home.

Maybe, it will help you. Feel free to comment with any suggestions that helped you maintain your sanity while staying home with kids.

1. Join a mommy group

I like meetup.com for local mommy playgroups: just type in your zip code and your interests. More often than not, you’ll have to visit a few groups, until you find the ones that fit you and your kids. You can always create your own group, too.

2. Have time for yourself each day

This one is absolutely crucial. When everyone is taking a nap, don’t rush to fold laundry; check out facebook instead. Or paint your nails. Or hire a sitter and go to lunch with your girlfriend. Talk on the phone. Do anything that makes you feel alive and happy for at least thirty minutes a day. Don’t feel guilty about taking short breaks to “tune out” during the day: it doesn’t make you a bad parent. Mommy being unavailable for fifteen minutes a couple of times a day teaches the kids to be independent. They are not likely to burn the house down. Unless you have three-four boys, of course. 🙂

3. Exercise and eat right

A lot of friends wonder where do I get all of this energy to breastfeed two babies, run after an active toddler, have  little help around the house and still write this blog. My answer is yoga and great nutrition: salads, supplements, juices, grains and very little processed foods. I have a daily yoga practice. Sometimes, it means fifteen minutes a day, but every single day. Sometimes, it takes me two hours and seven interruptions, but I always find time to exercise with three under three running around. It means  “so do you.”

4. Devote special time to grown up conversation

Perhaps, diapers and kids are not the only things you and your husband can talk about at dinner? Or maybe you and your single girlfriend have more in common than you think?

5. Leave the house to do something fun with the kids at least twice a week

Visit the zoo, or a friend’s house, a museum, or go to the park you haven’t been to before. Maybe, drive to a nearby town and have smoothies, but make sure you have fun times together. Doing this two-three times a week renew your energy. And again, if I can find time to do with baby twins and  a toddler, so can you. All it comes down to is careful planning and organizing. And picking all the clothes and packing a bag witha ll the snacks and wipes the night before.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 16 other followers

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: