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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Week Nine, Baby and It Feels GOOD!!!!!!!!

I am a Couch 2 5K graduate!!!!

Last night, in the dark, in the snow (on the ground), in 30-degree-weather, I completed Week Nine, Run #3! I ran longer than I was supposed to and my grand total was 3.794 miles!!!

Want to know the best part? I felt AWESOME before, during and after.  As I was looking around, I could not believe how far from home I was (in running terms). I was a hot mess when I got back, sweaty, red, and my thighs were burning, but man, what a rush!!!!!!
Where will I go from here? Well I need to run in an actual 5k Race. The first I'd like to run is the Mommy's Light 7th Annual Race for Traditions on April 30.  I'd also love to do the Tex Mex 5k June 22....how could I not, I live so close to it and you get a free beer and taco wrap afterwards!!!

I love it. I love who this has turned me into- a confident, fit mama.  It's so easy to get down on yourself, especially after having a baby, when you just don't quite look how you would like to (yes it's worth it, but we still want to look cute, right?) and it's hard to make time for yourself, but this is free, can be done anytime, and ohhhhhh!!!! it's good to get some ME-time!!!


Thanks for all the support...I will keep you updated, I still plan to run 3x week. :)

What a change....this is me shortly after having Ava, in the summer of 2009.


Here we are 15 or so months later...
With Ava I gained 34lbs.
When I got pregnant with her, I weighed 10+ lbs more than I do today.
Crazy, right?

Who wants to sign up for a 5k with me!?
:)

Farm Love

Call me a geek but I was really really flattered when I opened our mail last week and found a Christmas card from our farmers! I had sent them one thanking them for inviting them to be a part of the local farm community, and they sent me one in return! 
pic

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Week 8, I Kicked YOUR Butt!


As you know, Week 7 almost killed me. Week 8 was a stinkin' breeze! I'm back, baby!

As I write this I am actually already in Week 9 and have only one workout left to complete the program!

Week 8 was cold, but good. I switched it up and went to the local park one day and ran to the beautiful sun setting on the freezing cold lake! Pretty awesome, right?


Wordless Wednesday * Snuggles

Ten on Tuesday

  1. I have eaten way too many cookies and way to M&M's this week, in fact, so has Baby A (M's? Mommy? Peez?  Tookie, too? Soon?), but I am not concerned, because this is the first Christmas season that I have consistently worked out! Go me, go me, go me!
  2. We have our new jogger and I am in love. It's a much harder workout but I am inspired.
  3. What do you think about when you work out? I find myself focused on my daughter. My beautiful toddler. I want to show her a healthy way of life. I want to be healthy for her. I think about my own mother, who died seven years ago at the young age of 46. I think about the strong link to breast cancer (mom and grandmom had it) in my family and how I want to make my body has healthy as possible to not encourage those stupid genes from setting up shop. Sometimes I tear up, but they're happy tears because I know I am on the right track. (Don't worry-  I just get a tear that does not exit my eye....hahahah I don't run down the street sobbing!)
  4. I just ordered: Real Food: What to Eat and Why with an amazon gift card (free, yeah!) and it cannot get here quick enough. I read some great reviews on it and knew it was a must-have for my collection.
  5. I have noticed the more I surround myself with healthy, fresh, straight from the farm blogs, books, and food, the more natural it is for me to live that way. I used to buy Tuna Helper and eat greasy crap from drive throughs and now I cannot stomach the thought.  I have an occasional treat (like Chickie and Pete's crab fries!), but like I said, it's occasional, and I try to not over-indulge.
  6. I am still on break for another week, yay! I so need the time to catch up and recharge.  Next week will be the year anniversary of me returning to work from my nine-month-long maternity leave. My good friend is about to return after a ten-month-leave and I feel her pain. It was a REALLY hard transition for me and I do not wish it on anybody. 
  7. Sometimes I get really sweet emails and blog comments from people saying they have been inspired by something they have read on my blog, that just warms my heart!
  8. Thanks to an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba, I had a dream I was on SNL as a cast member (my dream come true!) and that I MADE OUT with Andy Samberg! HAHAHAHHAHA! My hubby and I had a good laugh over that:)
  9.  Not quite ready for the doldrums of winter. No Christmas lights, no CSA pickups, snow and ice on the ground inhibiting nice, long runs.  I still plan to run outside as long as it's safe out. I have a back up plan though, I borrowed the advanced Zumba DVD from my sister, so at least I have a decent hour long workout when I need it:)
  10. Do you set resolutions? I don't. But I feel like I want to this year. We shall see!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010, Where'd Ya Go?

I cannot believe we are closing out another wonderful year! Seriously, where does the time go? I posted some Christmas pictures on my Photography Blog, so I thought I would share them here, too. I hope you all had a good one!



Monday, December 27, 2010

JOGGER LOVE! The Joovy Zoom 360!!!!

Our sweet new jogger arrived last week courtesy of my dad who picked it up in Dallas on his way up here for the holidays!  I went with the Joovy Zoom 360 (the front wheel can be locked, or can swivel).  We were not going to invest in a jogger as we already have a really nice stroller, but when we won a photo contest and hence won $100 to the Joovy website, I had an easy sell to the hubs.

The stroller is black and came with a compact tire pump that gets stored in the basket under the stroller, and a rain/wind cover! Like all Joovy's the sun canopy is HUGE.  It's only halfway down in the above image. 

I also picked up a Urban Toddler Bundle Me on amazon to give Baby A some added protection which is very necessary when running in Philadelphia in the winter!

I could not believe how smooth the ride was compared to running with a non-running stroller. It glided over the sidewalks, up and down curbs, and over cracks and dips!  Sweet A seemed happy and content and even passed out from minutes 25-30:) After 30 minutes, I was finished, so I took off the rain cover to snap a photo and she popped up awake!

There is a big difference in running solo and running with your 25lb toddler + her sweet new stroller, I was feeling it in my arms on the way back (which was uphill). I have a feeling this will give me a better workout, and will help amp my upper body workouts (which are currently nonexistent)!

Yahoooooo! Thanks, Joovy, for making awesome products (btw- they're customer service is nothing short of EXCELLENT. I have been on the phone with them several times for ordering purposes and they are just so friendly and helpful!!), thanks Dad for picking it up and driving it 22 hours to your favorite daughter (ha!), and thanks hubby for your ever-loving support, both for your wife and her crazy adventures (running, who, me?) AND for her border-line obsessive love of strollers!!!!!!!



This post is not sponsored. I just love Joovy. And my dad. And my husband. And running. And my baby girl!!!!!!!! :)

Ode to Ezekiel Bread

This is probably going to sound weird, but to me, bread is just "eh". I like to make sandwiches with it, but I can honestly say that eating a piece of sandwich bread has never excited me. Until now. Last year, when I was reading up on clean eating, a friend suggested I buy some Ezekiel Bread. As you can see, it only has natural ingredients in it- no chemicals, no creepy icky stuff.

I have looked for it at several of my local stores but can never find it, but now I finally know why---not only is it in the organic section, it's refrigerated! Der.

I have bought a few different varieties, including the low sodium, regular sprouted bread, bagels, and cinnamon raisin bread. All were delicious--J and A loved them, too!

Thank you, Ezekiel for making a product I can feel good about feeding to my family!


This is not a sponsored post....I just wanted to spread the love!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ten on Tuesday [Fa la la la laaaaaaaaaa!]

  1. It's Christmas week! It feels really surreal but I am thrilled beyond belief, especially since we have three very awesome family members coming into town in the next two days (my dad included!)!!!
  2. I haven't baked any Christmas cookies but I feel fine about that because then I would eat all of them. I'm not a baker. I don't know why, I just do not prefer it. So I eat the cookies my mother-in-law bakes:)
  3. Speaking of my awesome dad, he headed over to the Joovy warehouse on his lunch yesterday to pick up our brand-new jogger! We went with the Joovy Zoom 360 in black and got a sweet discount thanks to our winning a photo contest and thanks to my negotiation skills (pick up instead of shipping cross-country!).
  4. I miss our CSA. Oh did I say that already? Well I do. And I hate that I am back to planning meals again. And paying for produce. POOP!
  5. My last meal before my stomach bug was sushi. I had tons of it that weekend. I'm not quite ready to stomach it again, even three weeks later. I went from sushi-mania, to eh.
  6. Can you believe I am still soda-free? Four months and counting. It's great. I just drink water. And sometimes I STILL feel dehydrated which is silly because I drink water all the time, but I cannot imagine how I would feel if I was drinking soda. For some reason I always had a tough time turning it down whether we were eating out, eating at family's house, or if we had it on-hand at home.  Totally saving money by not buying soda, too (don't worry, I cancel out the savings by buying grass-fed organic milk and almond milk).
  7. We went out to eat two weeks ago and Baby A insisted upon eating red onions, olives, and cherry tomatoes out of our house salad! Too funny! She is just a nut sometimes.
  8. Last night we made last minute plans to go to my mother-in-law's house since my husband's grandmother is in town for the holidays. I had been planning to go for a run and was nervous about de-railing with the craziness of the upcoming week, so I changed into my running clothes and went for a run around my mother-in-law's neighborhood.  Who am I? I love it.
  9. I have decided that running in the 50's was very comfortable. Running when it's 40 degrees out is chilly. Running when it's 30 degrees out is INVIGORATING! How about 20 degrees? We shall find out soon I'm sure. I keep having to cut my warm up short because I am so cold that I need to GET MOVING ASAP!
  10. I love cooking and experimenting for my family but for some reason when I think about having company over, I have no idea what to make for them. I worry about them not liking the types of food we eat, I mean, who really eats rutabagas these days? My hubby's grandma does, but other than that, not so much!

Let's Talk Accessories- Babies

When I was pregnant, I researched and researched and researched. I bought one kind of bottle, then bought another kind.  I stored Baby A's food in BPA-free containers and did even more research when looking for sippy cups.  It's a lot of work.

I have been tucking some links away for baby #2 (which will be wayyyy down the road), and I thought I'd share them with you!


  1. Wean Green Glass Cubes-  Forget the ice cube tray and tupperwear----these are glass containers!  The tops lock on and are BPA, PVC, Phthalates, and Plasticizer free. The glass is 100% recyclable and sustainable and is made to handle extreme heat and cold. Even better- each cup includes measuring lines so you can easily tell how much baby has eaten. Cool right?
     
    2. Evenflow Cozy Glass Bottle- We went with plastic (BPA-free) bottles, but now I wish we used glass bottles, and I plan to for the next baby.  They come with nice colorful cozies so they are protected if (and when) they fall!


      3. Speaking of bottles, we used The First Years Breastflow bottles and really liked them. They use a double nipple system that requires baby to compress as well as suck to mimic breastfeeding. Pretty cool, huh?





        4. Pura Stainless Bottles- Speaking of neat bottles, I have no experience with these at all, but take a look!




        5. Raz-berry Teether- Our favorite by far was the Raz-berry Teether. Pop it in the fridge and it's ready to go just a short while later. Baby A still enjoys these when cutting new teeth, and also if she's fallen and bumped her lip.




        6. Chan Pie Gnon Teether- Bizarre name, yes, but my four-month-old nephew LOVES his.  My sister-in-law got it as an alternative to the ever popular teether Sophie the Giraffe.


        7. The Magic Bullet- This was a wedding gift to us (the hubby HAD to register for it), and I found it really helpful in pureeing small amounts of baby food. I would take whatever we were eating and blend it to a good consistency for Baby A. Easy.



        8. Feeding Baby Green- Lastly, the most important tool I have found was this book. I truly believe my daughter eats everything and anything thanks to the information in this book.  It makes the case for making your own food so your child grows up eating actual bananas, not some pureed, sugared version of bananas.  There were no texture issues with Ava because she already knew what bananas felt like when we stopped mashing them.  I did not follow the checklist in the back to  a "T", mainly because I was still learning about vegetables myself, but it really did help us!



        What are you favorites? 
        Leave a comment and tell us the best baby-related food gear you have found!




        *This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

        Monday, December 20, 2010

        Make Your Own: Balsamic-Glazed Chickpeas and Mustard Greens

        Okay, I just haven't quite figured out how I'd like to consume mustard greens. Neither has JP. We tried them sauteed with olive oil, onions, and garlic, and it was okay. 

        Since we get them in our CSA pick up, I really want to like them and not let them go bad by avoiding them (I'll admit, I did this one week:().

        I found this recipe, and still, it's okay. Totally not the recipe's fault- the chickpeas were awesome, it's just those dang mustard greens that are holding me up.

        Now that I have totally built this up (haha), here it is!

        If you're thinking, "Caitlin, you don't like how these taste, WHY are you posting?" I get you. But maybe YOU like mustard greens, so go for it! 

        PS- I am not giving up. I plan to eat them every time we receive them and hopefully, eventually, I will LOVE them:)


        Balsamic-Glazed Chickpeas and Mustard Greens

        10 ounces mustard greens

        1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
        4-6 tablespoons vegetable broth, divided
        4 cloves garlic, chopped
        1 pinch red pepper flakes
        1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
        2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
        1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
        1/4 teaspoon agave nectar or sugar
        1 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained

        Remove any large stems from the greens and discard. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.

        In a deep pot or wok, sauté the onion in a tablespoon or two of vegetable broth until mostly faded to pink, about 4 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and red pepper and another tablespoon of broth and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the mustard greens, 2 tablespoons of broth, and cook, stirring, until greens are wilted but still bright green, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the salt, if using. Remove greens and onions from pan with a slotted spoon and place in a serving dish, leaving any liquid in pan.

        Add the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and agave or sugar to the liquid in the pan (if there is no liquid, add 2 tablespoons of broth). Add the chickpeas and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by about half. Spoon the chickpeas over the greens and drizzle the sauce over all.

        Serve warm, with additional balsamic vinegar at the table.

        Servings: 2

        Nutrition Facts
        Serving size: 1/2 of a recipe (12.3 ounces).

        Sunday, December 19, 2010

        Make Your Own: Buffalo Chicken Dip

        This recipe is my mother-in-law's and has become a family favorite. We serve it on holidays and at family parties.  It's always gone before your turn around, no matter how much you make!

        3 boiled chicken breasts (shredded)
        1 cup Hot Sauce
        1 cup blue cheese or Ranch (cooks taste)
        1 bar cream cheese
        Blue cheese crumbles (optional)

        Serve warm in a mini crock pot) with chips of your choice and celery sticks.

         Thank you, Connie:)

        Friday, December 17, 2010

        Week Seven, You Almost Killed Me

        As you know, I have been taking part in a nine-week running program.  I have come very far, have dropped several pounds, and have gained an immeasurable amount of pride in my personal strength and endurance (that I never knew I had!).

        About two weeks ago, I came down with a nasty stomach virus. It lasted about 3 or 4 days but I was dehydrated and fatigued for days after that. I completed two runs within two weeks which was a sad decline from 3x per week.

        I started to get a bit nervous, "What if I've lost my strength? Do I have to start at week one? What if I start making excuses and don't get back to it?????"

        Seeing as though a lot of people (family) are following my progress, I knew I had the support to continue so I decided to go easy on myself until I got back into my groove.

        I went for a run Saturday and it sucked.  It was before a session and I was tired, hungry and freezing (bad combo apparently) and had to walk 2x in my 25 minute run. I was upset and tried not to get down on myself. I planned to run Sunday but it poured rain all day. Monday-Wednesday was my last week at work, so I was strapped for time and my energy was zapped. Plus, it was like 15 degrees out.


        Last night, the hubs came home from work and settled in to play with my daughter. I took that as a motivator and ran upstairs to get changed. It was dark, freezing (had snowed most of the afternoon), and I was a little tired for a longggggg day of shopping at the King of Prussia Mall, but I went for it!

        And it was good.

        I ran the whole time, got into a sweet groove, and when I came back in, had FROST on my headband thanks to my sweat mixing with the frigid temps! HA!!! I loved it!  According to Cool Running, I ran 2.256 miles, which means I need to pick up my pace eventually (just a little really), but when it's THAT cold outside, and when I look back to October where I was a NON-RUNNER, I'll take it!


        YAHOO!!!!!!!!!! Baby, I'm back.  Bring it, Week 8!

        The D's at Breakfast with Santa
        [Baby A is terrified of him!]

        Thursday, December 16, 2010

        Philadelphia Eagles, Go, Go, Go!

        Have you heard about the Eagles new energy plan? They will be generating their own electricity by utilizing turbines, solar panels, and their own energy plant! They are the first stadium to take such a huge step.  What do you think? As a lover of the Eagles, I could not be more proud or excited!

        Mr. D and Baby A last year.
        Click here to find out more!

        Wednesday, December 15, 2010

        Wordless Wednesday * Tea Party

        Ten on Tuesday [On Wednesday].

        1. My photography business was featured on the Philly Photo Betties website!! How cool is that? They even interviewed me!! EEEP!!!! http://phillyphotobetties.com/2010/12/13/member-spotlight-caitlin-domanico/#comments
        2. On Monday, the picture to the left won a photo contest and landed me $100 to the Joovy website. Oh how I love our Joovy stroller. Do I be practical and get the sit-and-stand for the next child (which is a few years away), or do I go for the gusto and get the jogger??
        3. I was given the opportunity to test some Truly Custom Crunch this week. More on that later, BUT I will tell you I ate two bags in two days. I am gross but it was soooo worth it!
        4. I am letting myself go easy with the running right now. The week of my stomach virus, I only ran once instead of 3x.   The next week, I ran twice and this week so far I ran once. It's like 10 degrees with snow on the ground, and I have some kind of cough/congestion, so I'm going to run when the opportunity presents and not be hard on myself about it. Sound like a plan?
        5. My first 5k was announced last week--April 30th, for Mommy's Light! Who's with me??
        6. After today, I will be on break for two blissful weeks from teaching! Woo hoo!!!
        7. This weekend, I get the INSANE pleasure of doing a maternity session for a couple who was told over and over there was no way they could have kids!
        8. One of my photography clients discovered my blog this weekend and made the sweet potato soup and applesauce. Her hubby had been giving her a hard time for being so excited about "mom blogs" but after he enjoyed some delicious food, he told her he understood her new addiction and supported it, as long as it yielded yummy treats for him!!! :)
        9. I am SUPER excited to do a mall trip this week with my sister, aunt, and our two babies. We're going to do Build-A-Bear and I'm giving my sister a fun makeover! Any suggestions on where we should start (store-wise?)?  (PS~ The makeover was at her request, she recently lost some weight and looks and feels GREAT so we are going for it!!! YAYYYYY!)
        10. Well, I hear a certain 20-month-old yelling for ELMOOOOOOOOO from her crib, so my time is up!

        Truly Custom Crunch-- MMMMM!!!!

        I have a secret confession to make. I have been eating the most DELICIOUS concoction of amazingness this week!  

        Truly Custom Crunch
        Just get a bib now because after you read this, you WILL be drooling!  This amazing Truly Custom Crunch is made by Truly Custom Cakery- a local mom-owned business (same business we got our daughter's birthday cake from this year!).  

        From their site, "The irresistible combination of pecans, almonds, and popcorn, coated with caramel toffee and drizzled with rich dark chocolate is one that will excite even the hardest to please gift recipient.  It's a tender, melt in your mouth treat that never fails to make an impression!"

        OH. MY. GOODESS.

        This is no joke. It's INSANITY. I literally could not stop eating it!

        Another cool thing- Truly Custom Crunch comes packaged like a pretty gift, so you don't have to do anything to it, just order and spread the love by giving!  As if things could not get any better, it's affordable.  Check out the sizes and pricing here.
          





        Contact Stacey today to place your order!!  267-885-5670 or TrulyCustomCakery@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
        While you're at it, check out their Facebook Fanpage and click "LIKE" to stay updated!!!


        Thank you to Stacey for letting us enjoy this crunch to help facilitate this review...all opinions are 100% our own!!!!

        Toddler Tip: BUBBLES

        One of my co-workers shared a great tip with me- when she has her godchildren over, she lets them hang out in the kitchen with her --- with bubbles! I gave Ava a bowl, spoon, and a measuring cup and she was in heaven!!!

        Sunday, December 12, 2010

        Make Your Own: Bok Choy Soup

        I can only handle so much stir-fry every week, so after the third week in a row of receiving bok choy in our CSA pickup, I decided it was time to branch out and make something else.


        I made this awesome soup and separately boiled some ramen noodles to add to each bowl. Mmmmm!



        Bok Choy Chicken Soup

        This easy Chinese recipe allows you to get all the nutritional benefits of bok choy in a simple, flavorful soup. Feel free to increase the nutritional value by using homemade chicken broth, or adding cooked chicken or raw, peeled shrimp.

        Ingredients:

        • 3 cups chicken broth
        • 10 leaves bok choy, thinly sliced
        • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
        • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
        • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
        • 1 garlic clove, peeled, chopped

        Preparation:

        Bring the chicken broth to boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the seasonings (the red pepper flakes, soy sauce, Asian sesame oil), and the chopped garlic.

        Add the bok choy. Simmer for up to 10 minutes, until the bok choy leaves turn dark green and are wilted and tender. Serves 4 to 5.

        This recipe is submitted by a reader, Linnie Williams.

        Thursday, December 9, 2010

        Make Your Own: Hot and Sour Soup

        This is another awesome recipe from Kate over at Kate's Green Book. We LOVE this soup!!! It's a great way to stay warm when it's so stinkin' frigid outside!  This is a bit hot for the young ones, so eat it first before deciding to give it to your kids.


        Hot & Sour Soup

        6 oz. dry rice noodles
        8 oz. shrimp, deveined and chopped to bite size pieces
        8 oz. chicken thighs, chopped to bite size pieces
        1/2 c. flour
        1/4 tsp. cayenne
        1/4 tsp. salt
        3 cubanelle peppers, chopped
        1 sweet onion, chopped
        3 cloves garlic, minced
        1 qt. beef stock
        1/3 c. sweet hot chili sauce
        1 T. soy sauce (low sodium)
        2 T. rice vinegar
        2 T. cider vinegar
        1/2 c. corn starch + 3 T. cold water, mixed
        Lime wedges



        Boil rice noodles for about 5 minutes, set aside.
        Saute shrimp in a little butter, set aside.
        Combine flour, cayenne and salt. Toss chicken pieces in flour. Saute chicken pieces in hot olive oil until
        browned and pretty much cooked through, set aside. This may take 2 rounds if you use a medium pan as you
        don’t want to crowd the chicken.

        In a large pot, saute garlic in olive oil for 1 minute, add onions and peppers and saute another 5 minutes to
        tender.

        Add 1 quart beef stock and chili sauce to pot, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
        Add soy sauce, rice vinegar and cider vinegar. Simmer 15-20 minutes.

        Add corn starch + water mixture to soup, stir continuously, bring up to a boil, then remove from heat. Add
        chicken and shrimp to soup.

        Place rice noodles in the bottoms of bowls, serve soup on top. Garnish with a lime (squeeze lime before
        eating).

        You can also incorporate the noodles into the soup, but over time they will absorb much of the broth and
        leftovers will be more like a noodle dish than a soup.

        Make Your Own: Lobster Tail

        When making Kate's Sweet Potato Soup, we top it with baked lobster tail. It's succulent and really simple to do. You can go to a market and buy it fresh, or you can go to your supermarket and buy it frozen--each tastes amazing.

        I always use this website to remind me how to prepare the tail.

        They will tell you just how to cut it,
        How to prepare the butter,
        (If you're new to clarified butter, click here.)
        And finally how to wrap it and bake it!

        Lobster Cooking Times

        Wrap tail in foil and bake in 450 degree oven
        Lobster Tail Weight
        Cooking Time
        2 Oz.
        12 minutes
        4 Oz.
        18 minutes
        6 Oz.
        22 minutes
        8 Oz.
        26 minutes
        12 Oz.
        30 minutes
        14 Oz. +
        35 minutes



        You can do it!!!! It's sooooo yummy!!!!!!!


        Make Your Own: Sweet Potato Soup

        This one comes to you from Kate's Green Book- I had the pleasure of making it with her when we got together to cook a few weeks ago.  I think I have made it three times on my own already! I ALWAYS make it with lobster because hey, why not!?

        If you're going without the lobster, this would make a perfect baby food!!!




        Sweet Potato Soup

        2 lbs. sweet potatoes
        1 cup chopped onions
        1 T. fresh ginger, minced
        2 c. chicken (or veg.) broth
        1 T. brown sugar
        1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
        1 cinnamon stick

        Poke hole in the sweet potatoes’ skins with a fork and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
        Roast whole sweet potatoes for 1 hour at 400 degrees.

        Saute onions in a little olive oil until wilted.

        Scoop out potatoes and puree in a blender with onions, minced ginger and 1 cup broth.
        Add second broth, continue to puree until completely smooth.

        Return puree to pot, stir in brown sugar and nutmeg, toss in cinnamon stick and simmer
        over low heat for 30 minutes.

        Optional: Top soup with chopped lobster baked with butter or boiled and tossed with a
        little clarified butter.

        My CSA: Palovchak’s Produce

        Palovchak’s Produce, located on Koeger’s Farm in Doylestown, is a farm offering CSA full and half shares.

        Their weekly distribution of either a Full or Half Share includes a total of 7 to 10 different fruits, vegetables and herbs, depending on the time of the growing season. They are family owned and operated and they grow their produce organically using compost as the primary source of fertilizer.

        I had debated joining a CSA for a few years, and after seeing Gail and John’s six-week extension, I decided this was the chance I needed to take a trial run in the world of CSAs.

        Week One was exciting and a little overwhelming, but I was able to email Gail for clarification on two of the items I had received. She responded promptly with the names of the items and links to webpages about them! Each pick up has been so pleasant — kind, informative, and they seem so proud and happy that people are LOVING their delicious produce.

        My 18-month-old has a varied palate, much better than mine ever was as a kid, but we are all learning together. Never did I think my husband or I would eat brussels sprouts, beets, or rutabaga (let alone LOVE them!) Nor did I know what bok choy, escarole, or daikon radishes were . . . but I now recognize them AND I know several ways to cook them!!!!





        Palovchak’s Produce
        1541 Lower State Road
        Doylestown PA 18901
        215.272.2200

        Make Your Own: Potato Leek Soup

        Mmmmm. We are elbows-deep in soup these days, thanks to our amazing CSA.  Sadly, our share ended for the season yesterday, but we will be able to enjoy everything for weeks, thanks to all the yummy soups we have made and frozen.  I have been on a huge Potato Leek Soup kick, but the other day, the hubs told me, "Babe, I don't think I really like that Potato Leek Soup, it has no flavor." 




        WHAT?!


        I love it but I took his comment to heart, determined to get him to love the soup as much as I do. I thought, why not add cheese? Cheese makes everything delish.  So I put the fate of the soup in my husband's hands and had him google a nice recipe that includes cheese. He came up with this one and we all agreed, it's awesome.



        Yield: Makes 8 first-course or 4 main-course servings
        ingredients
        1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
        1 large leek (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
        1 large garlic clove, minced
        4 large potatoes (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
        2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
        4 cups low-salt chicken broth
        2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried

        3/4 cup milk
        4 ounces cream cheese
        1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 3 ounces)
        Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
        Additional grated sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
        preparation
        Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add leek and garlic; sauté until tender but not brown, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes and carrots; sauté 5 minutes longer. Add chicken broth and dill; simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
        Add milk to soup. Transfer half of soup to blender. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Return soup to pot. Add 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese and stir over low heat until melted. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Bring to simmer before serving.) Transfer to large serving bowl. Garnish soup with chopped fresh parsley and additional grated sharp cheddar cheese, if desired.


        Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/printerfriendly/Potato-Leek-Soup-with-Cheese-107255#ixzz17cpkzF3Y


        Bon Appétit | November 2002
        Julia Shure, Albany, CA
        Julia Shure of Albany, California, writes: "This comforting soup has both cream cheese and cheddar, which give it a rich, smooth texture. While it makes an elegant first course, the soup can also be a satisfying meal partnered with a simple salad and some crusty bread."

        Tuesday, December 7, 2010

        Ten on Tuesday

        1. I was knocked down hard last week. It seems we all got a huge bug that totally went through my relatives like a wave.
        2. I haven't run since Tuesday, but today is the first day I've woken up feeling 100% so I am looking forward to getting back to it.
        3. I got a flier for the 5K I want to do. It's not until April 30th, but it benefits Mommy's Light, an amazing organization I am a part of with my sister!
        4. Only 5 more work days until Christmas Break!!!! I feel like if I can make it through today, I will survive (knock on wood)!
        5. I have some major cooking to catch up on, because I was so sick and not eating, I surely didn't feel like making anything. I need to use up some potatoes, leeks, and other things before they turn....hopefully tonight because the next batch arrives tomorrow!
        6. Our tree is up and it's really starting to feel like the holidays----I LOVE IT!
        7. It's been FREEZING!!! I'm nervous about running in it, any tips?
        8. Despite my major sickness and all the catch up that followed it (photography, work, and home, just can't seem to find time for all of it), I am starting to feel good, and that makes me happy! There is an end in sight!
        9. I really LOVE my photography business, but fall + a billion sessions + stressed out parents who want perfect Christmas cards = one tired Caitlin! Believe me, I get it, and it's totally part of the territory, but it's a littttttle tiring when it all comes at once:)
        10. Sorry for the lack of posts, I'll be back sooooooooooooooooooooon!

        Friday, December 3, 2010

        Transitions

        Looks like we are on the threshold of another huge transition---Ava asked to try an open cup. Okay, more like she screamed, "BUPPY!!!!?" when she saw her cup.  She tried slowly and actually did well with it. I probably wouldn't give it to her if she weren't in her chair, and if we had to go somewhere and she was already dressed, but hey, I'll take it!


        Thursday, December 2, 2010

        Awesome Deal Today

        As I am not a "deal-blogger" (like my sister!!!), I don't post deals too often, but this one is great and pertinant to many of you!


        Wednesday, December 1, 2010

        Get the white out of baby's first foods, pediatrician says

        I recently saw this article posted in a friend's facebook feed and though it was great to pass along for those of you who have young babies.  A friend of mine tipped me off to the fact that you CAN give a fruit or veggie first, and thankfully my pediatrician was totally on board. She said, "Only corporate America wants you to give rice cereal first".  Ava's first food was avocado! I also read Dr. Greene's book which was extremely helpful in making meals for my daughter.
         
         
        Almost every child care book offers the same advice about a baby's first meal.
        When infants are ready for solid food, experts say, start them first on rice cereal, available in a box, mixed with breast milk or formula. Babies have launched their eating careers this way for 60 years, says Alan Greene, a pediatrician at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children Hospital.

        In the 1950s, Greene says, baby food companies trumpeted the benefits of white rice cereal, telling mothers that it was easier for babies to digest than anything they could make at home. "The ads said, 'You can't feed children as well as we can,' " says Greene, author of Feeding Baby Green.

        But David Ludwig, director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children's Hospital Boston, says "there's no scientific basis for this recommendation. That's a myth."

        Concerned about increasing childhood obesity and growing rates of diabetes, some pediatricians want to change how babies eat.

        Read the rest of the article here.

        Infant and Toddler Nutrition Tips

        I got this awesome hand out at CHOP's Healthy Kids Day in May----GREAT TIPS! :)



        Infant and Toddler Nutrtion Tips

        Be positive, consistent and praise often. NEVER bribe or force to eat and never use food as a reward. Allow your child to respond to his own appetite. Do not overfeed.

        Getting Started
        • Offer soft, mashed or ground foods at 6 months: strained or pureed fruits, veggies, meats, fish, beans, lentils, cottage cheese, yogurt, tofu, infant cereal.
        • Start with one teaspoon and gradually increase to 1-2 tablespoons.
        • Offer one new food at a time, watching for signs of intolerance such as vomiting, diarrhea, or skin rashes.
        • Wait 3 days before offering a new food. 
        • Wait to offer citrus, eggs and whole cow's milk until 1 year.
        • Do not add salt or sugar.
        • Infants need iron. Offer plain meats instead of baby food dinners. Gradually increase the texture to chopped.
        What to Drink:
        • No juice before 6 months.
        • Offer water, juice, breast milk, or formula in a cup at 7 months.
        • Transition from sippy cup to a regular cup by 15 months. 
        • Do not give juice in bottles or sippy cups to avoid easy consumption throughout the day. Do not give juice at bedtime.
        • Limit juice to 4-6oz daily for 1-6 year olds.
        • Encourage consumption of whole fruits instead of juice.
        • Do not give unpasteurized juices.
        Meals should be short and enjoyable:
        • Stay with your child during meals. Make it fun.
        • Insist that your child sit in a highchair or at the table.
        • Offer 3 meals and 2-3 snacks.
        • Encourage child to be present at family meals for at least 15-20 minutes.
        • Supervise your child to avoid choking hazards-
          • Avoid nuts, raw carrots, popcorn, and round candy until 3 years.
          • Cut hotdogs, grapes, and string cheese into small pieces.
          • Do not allow eating while playing or watching TV.
          • Do not allow eating in the car. Your child could choke while you are driving.
         Food Preferences:
        • Children 2-5 years are resistant to new foods and often need 8-15 repeated exposures. Serve a familiar and well-liked food with each meal. Children like pretty colors so offer at least one red, green, yellow, or orange food with each meal.
        • Limit desserts, sweets, sweetened drinks and salty snacks.
        • Be sure to offer a variety of nutritious foods. Minimize high calorie foods of low nutritional value.  Your child does not need cookies, french fries or candy. Food preferences are formed early, so offer fruits and vegetables every day.
        I love these tips and feel very comfortable with them--though I thought the bottle & sippy cup transitions were a bit early---what do you think?

        Tuesday, November 30, 2010

        Go Buy: From Asparagus to Zucchini

        When I go to the farm for my CSA pick up each week, Farmer Gail (and her mama) are always SO helpful and full of information!  They suggest recipes to check out regarding veggies that I am not familiar with.  When I was at my second pick-up, they pulled out the book From Asparagus to Zucchini-A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Produce.  This book is simple and CHOCK-full of amazingly easy recipes that incorporate produce that is common AND rare (like daikon)!

        You can buy it here:

        Ten on Tuesday

        1. ....I've got some kind of stomach thingy today (and worked all day), so I'll catch up later this week!

        Sunday, November 28, 2010

        Local Readers!!!!

        Please pass this along to any families you know of that would be interested!!!




        Thanks, Jenny!!

        Wednesday, November 24, 2010

        Ten on Tuesday [On Wednesday]

        1. I am on Thanksgiving break this week for school but let me tell you, I have been GOING, GOING, GOING! Sheesh! I edited 8 photography sessions, cooked a ton, photographed a bunch, and of course hung with Ava, and the break is not even half over!
        2. This morning, I'm using up the last of the CSA food from last week's pick up- Kohlrabi Soup, White Bean and Collard Green Soup, and Broccoli Rabe!
        3. I don't want to boast but I am offically 2lbs away from a huge goal of mine!! I think the running has really been helping.
        4. Speaking of running, I am on Week 4, Day 3! Yesterday, I went to run and my phone was dead. Shoot! I use the Couch to 5K App on there, so I tried to download it to my husband's phone, who happily charged my account, but did not feel the need to properly download. Arg! I had limited time because both J and A were about to wake up for the day, and J had to get ready for work. So I took J's phone as a watch and headed out the door. I warmed up and then ran. And I ran some more. I finally stopped jogging and looked at the time --15 minutes of consecutive running!!!!! YEAHHHHHHHHHHH! This is huge for me!
        5. Happy Thanksgiving week! What are you eating? We're eating a lot of soups and a lot of veggies. We had my family's Thanksgiving on Saturday and it was delicous! I am looking forward to dinner at J's aunt's house tomorrow evening---I LOVE TURKEY!
        6. My CSA is half over and I'm pretty sad about it, but I am really looking forward to the full harvest year. 
        7. I must say, I have not been at a loss for meal planning AT ALL! I take whatever we have from the CSA and divide it up for meals- ie: I'll use something with collard greens one night, broccoli the next, cauliflower the next, make soup with potatoes and leeks another, etc! Some days (like today), I will make three meals (one or two of them will be soups), and I will freeze the soup. I have a nice little stockpile of fresh, local soup concoctions just waiting to be discovered during the cold dark winter evenings! 
        8. I tend to get very frustrated during my food journey. I constantly feel like "Ooh, this is the healthy thing to buy/way to prepare/food to eat/milk to drink" and then within a week or so, I find out why that is NOT the best option and why there's something even better (and usually much more expensive).
        9. I bought grass-fed milk two weeks ago, at $7.99/gallon (GAG ME!).  It tasted good, but guess what? Two days before it's expiration date (these are not ultra pastuerized, so they last as long as regular milk...because I read that is not the best option either ahhhhh), my husband said, "Babe, the skim milk smells weird." It did. Lovely. So I get the baby's milk out of the fridge to fill a sippy cup and not only does it smell AWFUL, it is FULL OF CHUNKS (double gag)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $16 down the drain. The store I bought it from was about 45 minutes away, so I didn't bother taking them back. I'm really disappointed though.  This week we bought Nature's Promise from Giant, which guarantees that the grain and grass they eat is certified organic. Oy.
        10. Are you a big Black Friday shopper? I am not....I cannot stand sleep-deprived crowds! If you're with me and want to shop from the comfort of your own home, check out this link to see the ROCKIN' Photography Specials I will be running!!!!!

        Toddler Tip: Picky/Finicky Eaters

        I was so proud and excited to make applesauce from scratch for Ava. She loves "APP-A-SAUCE" and eats it almost every day.  We made it in the crock-pot and smelled it all day.  Ava went to bed before it was ready, so JP and I enjoyed some warm applesauce goodness that night by ourselves.

        When Ava woke up the next day, I couldn't wait to present her with this beautifully delicious treat.


        She took one look at it and screamed, "NO!?"


        Guh.


        She refused to eat it.  I showed her how mommy loves it and how yummy it is, and she wouldn't budge. Crap. Has she turned picky on my overnight? Am I a failure as an applesauce-maker!?


        I persisted and offered her some homemade applesauce each day (and did not offer any of the remaining store-bought).  I noticed that the color is very different than what she was used to- the Mott's is yellowy-white, and mine is a rich brown, so I thought that might have deterred her.  While I was unpacking her lunchbox one day, a lightbulb went off---I should rinse out a Mott's container and put her applesauce in there! Crazy, but it just might work!


        Guess what? It did!!!!!!! She scarfed it down! She loved it! YAY!!!!! I have my Ava back! I gave her applesauce in that container one more day, and then switched to some BPA-free tupperware that was the same size. She ate it.

        It's the little things in life, people! I am proud to announce that Ava will now eat MY applesauce in any bowl and she loves it.  I don't know that I will be buying jarred applesauce again, the recipe was so easy and nutritious- WOO HOO!!!!!!




        ps- Those sweet aprons can be purchased here!

        Tuesday, November 23, 2010

        Toddler Tip: Offer it!

        Our daughter has a very good palate. She will try anything and rarely refuses any type of food.  I get butterflies in my stomach when she does refuse something because I have echoes of friends saying, "Oh just wait, she'll eat anything now (when she was like 10-12 months), but once she's a toddler, she'll turn picky on you". NOOO!!!

        I try not to be deterred and continue offering her whatever we are eating- like soy sauce.  I did not know if she would like it, but I put a little puddle on her tray and did not make a huge deal out of it. I encouraged her to try it and before I could even start eating my dinner, she was yelling for "MOISE!" (more).

        Try not to get nervous and don't listen to naysayers. Continue offering without forcing the issue and see what happens, you might be surprised!

        Saturday, November 20, 2010

        Toddler Tip: Ripping Greens


        Don't forget to let your little one join your in the kitchen! Prepping greens is a great activity for toddlers to do, as long as they are able to tear.  Ava is 19 months old and giggles with each and every tear.  Ripping may seem like an odd developmental activity but it's a wonderful pre-writing skill to practice and strengthen!!!



        [PS- love the outfit? It's her Queen shirt and leggings from Granny HA!]

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