Monthly Archives

October 2018

In Blog, Dairy Free, Food, Vegan, Vegetarian on
October 15, 2018

Top 10 easy, healthy, toddler snacks

Do you ever get in a snack rut for healthy easy ideas to keep your kiddos well fed? I compiled a list of our top 10 easy, healthy toddler snacks. I hope you get some good ideas off of this list. Happy snacking!

Ruby Rockets Fruit and Veggie Coconut Yogurt Tubes

Yall! These are hands down my favorite healthy toddler snack. Yogurt in a tube is so quick and easy to hand to a little one but most are full of sugar and not dairy free. I came across these in the store over the summer and bought them because they are full of fruit, full of veggies, and dairy free and have no added sugar. What a win! They taste like a smoothie in a tube and sometimes I’ll even eat them too.

Ruby Rockets Fruit and Veggie Better Bars with Coconut Milk

These are such an awesome healthy treat for toddlers, actually really anyone! Your kiddo gets to eat a popsicle that tastes delicious and oh hey, it is full of fruit and veggies, and is dairy free and has no added sugar. Boom. What!? Best mom win and kid win ever. Ruby Rockets was so kind to send us a box of each of their four flavors to try. My toddler’s favorite is the strawberry and my favorite is the fudge. While eating these popsicles you would never know that they have beets, squash, and carrots in them!

Larabar

Made entirely of fruit and nuts, Larabar is a perfect healthy toddler snack. These bad boys are dairy free (even the ones with chocolate chips), gluten free, certified kosher, and chock full of goodness! My toddler specifically loves the Blueberry Muffin and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavors. These are filling and if your kiddo can’t handle holding the whole bar yet just chop them into little cubes and put them in a snack cup.

Popcorn

Popcorn happens to be my favorite snack, so naturally my daughter has developed a love for it as well. There are so many awesome healthy popcorn brands these days that can be found at most grocery stores. We love Boom Chicka Pop, any store brand organic pre-popped popcorn, or better yet when I have the time I pop our own at home. It is so easy- add some oil to a pot, I use coconut oil, once it is heated you add the kernels, it provides quite the fun activity to gather round and watch it pop, then add desired toppings. We like it simple with salt and pepper. I do not recommend microwave popcorn!

Rice cakes

There are so many different flavors to choose from. We like to buy plain rice cakes and spread peanut butter on top. It can make quite a mess letting a toddler walk around with a peanut butter covered rice cake though. If you are worried about the mess just give it to them plain!

Apple sauce

No explanation needed for this. Just a tried and true kiddo favorite through the years. Praise the Lord for applesauce squeeze pouches! Just make sure apple is the only ingredient for the healthiest option.

Picture by My Kids Lick the Bowl

Homemade Muffins

Homemade muffins take some time up front but once they are done you have quick go to snacks for the rest of the week. There are so many healthy muffin recipes online, our favorite is this ABC Muffin recipe which has apples, carrots, and bananas in the muffin. Littles eat these up!

Fresh or Dried fruit

My toddler loves grapes cut in half, apple slices with peanut butter, bananas, ok , she actually loves pretty much any fruit. If you don’t want the sticky hands try raisins, craisins, or any other dried fruit but make sure it is a good size for your child. My little one loves to walk around and eat this out of her snack cup.

Pretzels

This is a simple, non-messy snack! We love the plain pretzel rods and they provide a perfect crunch that my daughter loves. A great easy snack for on the go.

Chocolate cashew milk

One of my daughter’s favorite treats is a cup of chocolate cashew milk. This is the most sugary idea on the list but I included it because it has 55% less calories and 33% less sugar than lowfat dairy milk. It is delicious, filling, and sometimes mama has a glass as well. Just pour a small serving in your toddler’s sippy cup and voila!

In Blog on
October 8, 2018

You aren’t alone if you feel lonely

94% of the time I feel fulfilled, thankful, and happy- I have the kindest husband, an amazing miracle that I get to call my daughter, wonderful family and friends, hobbies, hopes, and dreams- nevertheless there is a persisting loneliness, a feeling of isolation, being different, a feeling of being left out, that I can’t seem to kick the other 6% of the time. There are factors that have caused me to feel this way such as the fact that in the past two years we have moved twice. Both moves were to places where we knew no one. New adventures, new cities, starting over- that can be exciting, I’m the kind of person who welcomes change, but it can also be so lonely. Or sometimes I feel lonely because I feel different or less than. I let these negative feelings isolate me. Often I wonder if I am the only one. Many days, especially as a work from home mom, can feel mundane, same ol’ same ol’. While I am cleaning up the kitchen or changing diapers I think that everyone else in the world must be having a grand old time- dinner parties, concerts, travels- and I am just at home. By myself, day in and day out, with my toddler while my husband works. The occasional play date, date with my husband,  mom’s night out, facetime chat, hang outs with childhood/college friends, are life savers and I am so thankful when I get to do those things. If you are sitting there too feeling like you are all alone in your feelings of loneliness, like life is a party or an exciting adventure all the time for everyone else- first, you are not silly or pathetic for having those thoughts, and second- more and more research shows that that is not the case.

In fact, I did my own tiny little “research study”( if you can even call it that) on Instagram stories. I took a 24 hour poll and asked “do you feel lonely?” I had 149 responses in 24 hours. 116 out of 149 people responded yes. That means 78% of the people who responded to my story shared that they feel lonely. I had 576 people view the story and who knows how many more would have responded yes- maybe some didn’t take the time to read the question, maybe some didn’t care, or maybe some didn’t feel the desire to be vulnerable enough to share that they too feel lonely. The latter is only a guess. Next I asked if those who feel lonely feel lonely occasionally/situationally or constantly. 151 out of 174 voted their loneliness was occasional or situational while 23 out of 174 shared it was constant.  The next question I asked was for stay at home parents or those who work from home to share if they felt lonely in this role or not. 71 out of 100 people shared yes, they feel lonely in these roles, 29 did not feel lonely in these roles. The last poll was for people who work in an office/social setting. I was surprised the most at this response- 49 out of 68 people shared they felt lonely at work whereas 19 out of 68 shared they do not feel lonely at work.

So why are we so lonely? We live on a planet with 7 billion plus other human beings? I asked people to respond to my Instastories with what triggers loneliness and many of the responses involved the following- comparing personal circumstances to others, moving, isolating illnesses such as cancer or a difficult circumstance like infertility, shame from past mistakes, having a spouse who travels or works a lot, singleness, seeing others enjoying time together without you, losing friendships, spending a large majority of time alone for work or as a parent, feeling like no one can relate, mental health struggles, and grieving through a difficult time.  I had pages and pages of responses. I was touched, saddened, and blown away by the amount of responses I got to this question. It is a very vulnerable thing to admit what causes you pain, so thank you to those who took the time to share.

Ok, the most important thing now that we have admitted that many of us experience loneliness- let’s figure out how to work through these hard feelings. First, I want to establish that there is no shame in loneliness. This is a reminder to myself as well. For whatever reason there is a stigma about being lonely, it makes us feel embarrassed to admit our loneliness. Maybe we think that sharing that we are lonely means we have no friends or less than desirable circumstances. Well, remember at the beginning of this blog I shared all the wonderful things I have going on in my life? I have some awesome circumstances yet I still have these occasional feelings of loneliness. I bet you also have some amazing things and amazing relationships in your life. Second, in these times of loneliness remember your worth- whether you believe it or not you are a beautiful creation by the almighty God who created the universe. He looks at you and smiles; after all, you were created in His image. Third, remember the things that are life-giving to you. I mean a hobby, a place you can get to easily, something you can do or look at, or somewhere you can be that brings you joy, something that breathes life into you again. Fourth, take a bold step and call someone up to hang out! Seriously, I know it sounds scary but I have a good idea that person you have in mind is lonely at times as well and maybe wishing someone would initiate a hang out. Be the brave one, call someone up and plan a coffee date, or invite them over for dinner or a play date.  Fifth, why not start up a conversation in the waiting room or if you see another person alone at a coffee shop? As people we crave connection. If you always shy away from talking to others you eliminate your potential to make new friends. Sixth, remember that you are not alone. There are 7 billion plus people on this earth and no matter what each person’s personal circumstances are each of us has emotions that lead us to feel lonely at times. Maybe you picture some celebrity living the high life or a famous instagrammer whose life looks picture perfect- I promise, their life is lonely too sometimes. Seventh, get involved with something– find a place to volunteer- this will allow you to help and meet so many new people, your church, or a church in general if you don’t go, find a group of people who share an interest of yours- a running group, an artist group, a group for moms with toddlers, etc. Branch out! The things that help me when I feel lonely are praying and giving it to God, spending time with my family, time with a friend, making a gratitude list, starting a positive and energizing conversation with someone, watching one of my favorite shows, getting outside and going on a walk, listening to a podcast, and reading.

Loneliness doesn’t have to be embarrassing. It is a human experience. Let’s talk about it. Vulnerability encourages vulnerability. If I am able to help or encourage someone by admitting something taboo about myself, than I am more than happy to do that. So today world, I tell you that I indeed feel lonely and isolated sometimes. You are not alone if you experience this from time to time as well. We cannot eliminate the feelings of loneliness altogether but we can find ways to help our aching hearts in times of loneliness.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or dread, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

In Blog on
October 1, 2018

Well Fed Weekly Meal Plan #3

IT IS OCTOBER! The best month of the year in my opinion. October means turning leaves, pumpkin everything, trading in sandals for boots, snuggles under fuzzy blankets, Halloween, and warm, comforting food! This week I am bringing to you a vegetarian (you can easily make it vegan) meal plan featuring some lovely fall flavors and comfort!

Any recipe I add in these meal plans are my own or recipes that I have found over the years and have been tried and true winners for our family. Next to the recipe I will note any changes I made and any dietary specifications. Of course, you know the size of the crowd you’re cooking for, so if you plan to follow this meal plan, look at the portions to decide if you will need to double/triple/whatever the recipe.  This meal plan includes dinner, lunch, and  breakfast. Yes, we eat a lot of leftovers, yes we eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch 7 days in a row (usually) but it saves money and time and that’s why I spend so much time looking for recipes and coming up with recipes we love. I hope you enjoy!

Hey, stop. Before you go any further, if you haven’t read how I meal plan, you might want to check it out to understand this a little better. Cool, thanks.

Picture by Pinch of Yum

Dinner 1 (M/TH): Pinch of Yum’s 15 minute lo mein

This is truly one of the quickest healthy meals I have ever cooked. We love it and it is perfect for a Monday when you are starting out the week and don’t have much time to be in the kitchen. I do not use light and dark soy sauce, just regular soy sauce and it turns out great each time. You can get creative with the veggies in this and if you need gluten free, use rice noodles.

Dinner 2 (T/F): Well Fed Familia’s Vegetarian parmesan and thyme shepherds pie

I know I am biased because I came up with this recipe BUT this has got to be one of the coziest most comforting meals I have ever eaten. My husband agrees with me on this one too. It is officially fall and temps are cooling, so why not get cozy with this delicious recipe?

Photo by Camille Styles

Dinner 3 (W/Sat): Camille Style’s Tostadas with butternut squash, black beans and avocado

What says fall more than butternut squash? ok, pumpkin does, I know… but butternut squash is super festive for fall as well. We love this recipe. The spiced, roasted butternut squash is on point and topped with all the goodies- avocado, pepitas, and a greek yogurt sauce? I use regular corn tostadas or have tossed the crunch factor all together and done this on top of quinoa. Good times, fam.

Photo by Minimalist Baker

Dinner 4 (Sun)Minimalist Baker’s Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl 

This has been a go to meal for us for years. Spiced and roasted chickpeas, check. Spiced and roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, red onion, and kale, check. Slightly sweet, lemony, tahini sauce, check. Y’all, it really is a simple, cheap, and delicious meal. You will love it, I swear.

Photo by Cookincanuck

Lunch for husband: Cookincanuck’s Crockpot Italian Chickpeas

I doubled the recipe and made a big pot of rice which makes this meal really filling. I also add a handful of spinach and top with parmesan cheese. My husband loves this recipe and it is cheap, filling, and healthy!

Photo by Isabel Eats

Lunch for Adrienne and Evy: Isabel Eats’ Mexican Street Corn Tostadas

To make this more nutritious I add a good amount of chopped spinach onto the tostadas. I also make my own black beans and puree them with salt, pepper, cumin, and lime juice instead of using refried beans.

Breakfast for all: Old fashioned rolled oats with berries, bananas, and peanut butter every dang day because it is cheap, filling, and nutritious.

I hope this helps give you some ideas for your weekly menu. Whether you use just one of these recipes or the whole meal plan, I wish you happy cooking and eating. As always, stay well fed my friends!