Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Mar '12


Carissa is a little 19-month-old Diva, demanding everything she wants, when and how she wants it. She loves her blanket (which she calls “Bah”), she loves her bottle, and she loves her big-girl sippy cup. She often eats Cheerios first thing in the morning, if she’s not stealing toast from Wesley’s plate.

Wes and Carissa both like to play with water. They enjoy transferring the water from one cup to another. It gets all over the floor, but at least it’s just water.

The other day Carissa wouldn’t go down for a nap. Finally I just sent her into the living room to watch TV with Wes. She didn’t last long.

Waiting for Wesley’s bus.

Lately I’ve been changing my diet to include better food, and less of it. Here are some things I’ve been eating regularly.

I cycle through a couple different breakfast options. They all involve a carbohydrate, fruit, and protein. This is Kodiak Cakes whole wheat pancake mix with bananas, blueberries, and egg whites.

Chicken wrap for lunch, with an 80-calorie whole wheat tortilla and lots of lettuce, tomato, and cucumber.

Which Wes also likes. I got tired of him trying to eat mine, so I made him his own. The front of his hair is all sticky from drinking a bowl of peach juice.

For dinner, shredded pork with a measured amount of cheddar cheese and steamed broccoli. Or I’ll have chicken instead of pork.

Or I’ll eat the pork with feta cheese instead of cheddar, which is super yummy and salty. I’m becoming a big fan of steamed broccoli sprinkled with salt and pepper.

My snacks usually involve Greek yogurt mixed with fruit, or protein powder mixed with peanut butter. Greek yogurt is a fantastic source of protein (Fage 0% Plain has 23 grams per cup). However, I think Greek yogurt tastes bitter, so I always add ample amounts of Truvia, which is a calorie-free, natural sweetener you can find at your grocery store. It tastes GREAT.

This is Greek yogurt mixed with water, strawberries, ice, and Truvia. Maybe some cinnamon, too.

I also use unsweetened almond milk instead of cow’s milk. It’s only about 40 calories per cup. I like to add sugar-free flavored syrup (usually in the hot chocolate and coffee aisle) and Truvia, which makes it taste like a super sweet treat.

This is one of my snacks made with Gaspari Milk Chocolate protein powder and Adam’s Natural Peanut Butter. It is a gooey, yummy, healthier version of the peanut butter cup (which if you know me, I really like). It’s just protein powder mixed with a couple tablespoons water. I put half in a muffin cup and freeze it for 3o minutes. Then I spread on my measured peanut butter and top it off with the rest of the chocolate mixture. This milk chocolate protein powder is the best I’ve tasted. I sometimes eat it with a cup of my almond milk sweetened with sugar-free caramel syrup. So good.

Jan '12

Healthier Dinners

So, in November I started cooking dinner for my family most nights of the week. Overall it’s been a wonderful positive experience, sitting down together most nights and sharing food. And sometimes when I’m eating the fruits of my labor, like homemade bread or delicious soup, I’m kind of proud.

(And, of course, I’m not mentioning the huge cost of time and labor involved in putting dinner on the table at night; between prep time, eating, and clean up time sometimes I feel chained to the kitchen for hours. But, yes, it’s a worthwhile sacrifice.)

I’ve been trying lots of new recipes to see what works for my family and what doesn’t. I haven’t been paying attention to the nutrition side of dinner; making dinner was work enough!

Now I’m making more effort to monitor what I eat, which includes keeping my daily calories at a reasonable level. I would like to aim to keep dinner in the 300-400 calorie range per serving (although I don’t care if John or the kids eat more).

This week’s challenge: To find food that my family might like that fits the healthier bill.

I’ve taken a couple things I’ve made and entered the ingredients into myfitnesspal.com to get a nutritional breakdown so I can see approximately how many calories are in each serving. Ideally you’d do this before making the dish so when you serve it you know how much you plan to eat.

Last night I made homemade tortillas (first time) with grilled chicken and black beans, and we had soft tacos.

(Oh, and YES you should click on the link for the black beans recipe because it was dang good. Best beans ever.)

This week I’m going to try some recipes courtesy of another mom I know who is very dedicated to living healthfully and feeding her family quality food.

Tonight: Hawaiian Haystack with Caulrice
Tomorrow: Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Thursday: Turkey Taco Salad

All run around 300 calories per serving. And I’ve heard wondrous things about making caulrice (cooked crumbled cauliflower) instead of using regular rice. Excited to try it.

I made out my grocery list, and it is wonderfully heavy on fresh produce. It looks like this:

milk–whole (Carissa), 2% (Wes), 1% (me and John)
string cheese
lowfat cottage cheese
plain greek yogurt (for me)
regular yogurt (kids)
fat free sour cream

1 loaf wheat bread
corn tortillas
canister Quaker Oats oatmeal

snow peas
pineapple/mixed fruit

ground turkey breast (93% lean)
1 lb chicken breast

kidney beans
98% fat free cream of chicken soup
pineapple bits

taco seasoning
buttermilk ranch mix

fresh salsa
4 sweet potatoes

I love to see my cart loaded up with healthy things!

And as for the cost of eating healthier foods, it’s like I told one of my Zumba students last night who decided to start coming back to class after feeling down without it: “It’s cheaper than therapy later.”

Sep '10

Piddlings and More

Wes and Carissa.

Wes is 3 and Carissa is 5 1/2 weeks.

Wes loves preschool and is so excited when the bus comes. He hops on board and doesn’t look back. He loves to count (or, rather, I count while I hold up my fingers and he holds up his hand). And I just taught him the “Give me five, up high, down low, too slow” thing and he thinks it’s hilarious. He likes playing in his sandbox out back, which means I frequently get to brush sand out of his hair and sweep up sand that’s thrown everywhere. But he sure has fun. We’re also working on brushing his teeth at night. This is essentially torture for everyone involved, but maybe someday it’ll get easier.

Carissa’s eyelashes are growing in long and curly and I am hopeful she has John’s luscious lashes. She’s getting stronger at holding her head up and does well at tummy time. And she’s starting to smile on purpose, but not too often yet. Someday I’ll catch it on camera. Smiles really open up a baby’s personality, like they’re more than diapers and milk–they’re a person!

This week I resumed teaching Zumba and it’s good! Even last night when my pants (which I usually cinch up) were too long and I slipped and totally biffed it hard and nearly fell off the stage and the microphone’s batteries died and then didn’t work even when I replaced them–the class was still good! A couple girls came up to thank me for how sweaty they were. One said she looked at the clock once, sure class wasn’t even half over, but discovered there were only ten minutes left. That’s Zumba. I am glad to be back.

I am watching what I eat, following an eating program designed by KristiApproved, and it is the best thing ever. I’m eating a structured, well-balanced diet that’s low carb, high protein, and very low sugar. I love it. I grocery shop on the weekend, get all my food prepared and in the fridge, so when it’s time to eat I know exactly what to eat and it doesn’t take long to prepare. I eat essentially the same thing every day for seven days, with some variation. I thought this would be weird, but it’s totally easy and convenient.

This is one of my favorite things to eat. I usually have it about mid-morning, and it’s so tasty that Wes eats mine and then I have to make myself a new one. It’s egg that makes me think I’m eating a pancake.

Egg Pancake

1 egg
2 egg whites
cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla Stevia

Mix ingredients and pour into greased skillet heated on medium. Spread to crepe or pancake size. Cook until you can flip it, then reduce heat to low and cook 1-2 minutes more. Serve with 2 Tbsp sugar-free syrup.

Stevia is new to me. It’s a natural zero-calorie sweetener and it is the first non-sugar sweetener I’ve ever used that I actually like. Scratch that. LOVE. I also put the Stevia in club soda for a drink that’s like a creme soda. So good.

I always eat the egg pancake with apple spice oatmeal. Also so stinkin’ good.

Apple Spice Oatmeal

1/4 apple, diced
2 Tbsp instant oatmeal
2 Tbsp cream of wheat
1/2-2/3 c. water
1/2 packet sugar-free apple cider powder

Microwave apple 30 seconds until soft. Microwave oats and cream of wheat with the water for a minute or two. Remove and stir in apple, sugar-free apple cider powder, and cinnamon.

And both those things eaten together is only about 240 calories.