Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How to handle picky eaters--Why I only make ONE meal

I have a great mom. She is a phenomenal cook. Growing up she always made practically everything from scratch! I loved it and learned a lot from her. There are four kids in our family. Our taste buds are very similar, but they weren't always. Sometimes we were picky. Being the great mom she was, my mom made accommodations--sometimes she left out ingredients if one sibling didn't like them, sometimes she made two meals. It was fine. She didn't mind. But slowly things started to get out of control. Family recipes were forever changed to exclude tomatoes because 1 person didn't like them. If we ever got fast food, it wasn't uncommon to see her drive to 3 different places to satisfy her picky children.

Then I grew up. I got married. I had a baby. I have another baby on the way. I began thinking of how I wanted our family unit to be; how I wanted family meals to go. I imagine us sitting at the table together, at the same time, eating the same thing.

I love to cook. I put a lot of effort into each meal I make. But just because I enjoy making good food does not mean I want to spend my entire day in the kitchen making a different meal for everyone. If that's something you don't mind, then more power to you, but for me, it takes time away that I'd rather spend talking to my husband or playing with my kids. This is one reason I refuse to make more than ONE meal for dinner, lunch, or breakfast.

Reason two: picky eaters are the worst to invite over. It is a NIGHTMARE to cook for them. Anything one person likes, the next person does not. One person likes sweets, one person can't stand them, one person hates this, the other person loves it. It is so difficult. For Christmas brunch I made French Toast, a Breakfast Casserole, Sweet Rolls, and Bacon to try and please every palate at my in laws, but still one person will always go without and not touch a single thing. My husband has asked me to make his parents Mexican food, but I am like what would I make? One person won't eat it unless it's pork, the other won't eat pork. It's impossible. It's frustrating. It's something I don't want my kids to be. I want them to able to be anyone's dinner guest and enjoy what was prepared. 

While my son is only 18 months, I have been pretty successful thus far. How? I don't force him to eat anything, but I don't shelter him from certain foods. Some parents will keep spicy foods away from their child thinking they won't like them. I don't. David is offered EVERYTHING we eat. And what is the result? I have a child that eats & LOVES EVERYTHING. He will even eat salsa plain! He will eat enchiladas, he will eat tamales, he even eats popcorn with hot sauce on it (like his mom). He eats mushrooms, asparagus, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, chicken, ham, beef, cheese (even goat cheese), any fruit. Honestly, any food you can think of he will eat! It has made life so easy. 

how we get our toddler to eat almost anything! 9 steps to dealing with picky eaters!

Here is how we made the UN-pickiest eater:

1. Don't give up if they don't like it the first time.

  • Sometimes, a child will decide they love something the first time they try it, but if they don't, try again later. A child needs to be presented to a food as many as 15-20 times before they learn to eat it. Also, even if they love it the first time, it doesn't mean they will want it every time.

2. Don't force them to eat something, but encourage them to smell, lick or taste the new food.

3. Let them have seconds & thirds of what they like, even if they ignore the rest.

4. Avoid preparing special meals for your child. Give them what everyone else is eating. 

5. Don't bribe.

  • I've heard stories where a parent will tell their kid they can have a cookie if they finish their plate. I've heard stories where the kid has grown so accustomed to this, that they actually begin a meal by asking how many bites they need to take to have dessert! For us, dessert isn't conditional. David doesn't have to eat a certain amount to have some. Because we haven't restricted him, there have been times where he actually has turned down sweets to be able to have more of the heartier meal. 

6. Frequently offer new foods.

7. Involve kids in the cooking process.

  • We loved helping our mom in the kitchen. We were more likely to try a new food if we helped prepare it. David is this way too. He is young, but I have always had him in the kitchen with me when I cook. He's my helper. He's typically sitting in his high chair, but I show him what I'm doing every step of the way. He will even make yummy noises as I cook. I'm not sure how much he internalizes when I involve him in the cooking process, but I do know that the meals he is involved in, he asks for seconds, thirds, and sometimes even fourths!

8. If you have a toddler, let them feed themselves.

  • David's grandparents will oftentimes not feed David because they think he doesn't want the food. But that's not the case. He says no because he doesn't want to be fed like a baby. He is very independent at this age and wants to do it himself. When he's at home we put him in the high chair with his food and a fork or spoon & let him do his thing. Yes he gets messy, but he eats til he's full and is developing those motor skills which is another plus.
why we let him feed himself- dealing with picky eaters

9. Don't be a picky eater.

  • Kids learn by example. If you're a picky eater, they are more likely to be picky as well. It's funny. I actually noticed this the other day. David LOVES eating beans & eggs with tortillas and so do I. But, as much as he loves it, if I'm not eating it with him, he will hardly touch it. This goes with any food. If we are eating it, he LOVES it and asks for more, but if it's something we won't touch neither will he.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pizza Party Checklist!

We are coming really close to Christmas, it is freaking me out! This month just flew by! I was really excited to start all sorts of new traditions this holiday season, but unfortunately we are still in the "spend Christmas with the in-laws" phase of our marriage which often means succumbing to their traditions instead of our own.. but I somehow managed to convince everyone to make our pizza for Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning I am bringing those sweet rolls I mentioned earlier. So the new traditions live on!

For today's post I thought I would explain how to make a pizza/throw a DIY Pizza Party since it has been on my mind as I plan for Christmas Eve.

host a pizza party! Making your own pizza is so fun & easy! Plus, you can add whatever toppings you want! This is a new family tradition for us!

Pizza Party Must Haves:

- dough (we use pre-made from Winco, I know Sprouts also sells pizza dough and I'm sure a few others do too)

- cornmeal to roll your dough out on (NOT flour; flour will make your crust tough)

- marinara sauce. We love using tomato paste because you can really control the water content so you don't end up with a soggy pizza--plus! the tomato flavor is very strong, which we love. We usually add olive oil til we get the desired consistency & season with basil, garlic, salt & oregano.

- toppings

  • meats: pepperoni, ham, sausage, chicken, bacon
  • veggies: mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts, onions, bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes, banana peppers, jalapenos
  • fruit: pineapple
  • cheese: mozzarella
- drinks! We are going with Martinelli's (it's our go-to drink for holidays/special occasions)
- dessert: try a pizookie to fit the theme!! We go with classic chocolate chip, but you could really do any cookie. In fact, a peanut butter pizookie with vanilla ice cream sounds AMAZING right now! (Not sure how to make one? Check out my easy step-by-step guide)

easy pizookie dessert for a pizza party

Even if you're not throwing a pizza party, here is a servings guide I made for large get togethers!

how much food to serve at a party

Monday, December 14, 2015

Best Holiday Candy Recipes

Today's post is all about candy. If you read my Christmas Traditions post, then you know I am wanting to make some great treats this month, so I thought I would look around for a little holiday candy inspiration before I got started =)

Check out these 10 delicious candies I found below!

our new christmas tradition is to make Christmas candy- these are the best, easy candy recipes for Christmas, Valentines, Anniversaries, etc

Chocolate Buttercream Candy from Chocolate Candy Mall

chocolate buttercream candy-christmas candy

I love this! They list 3 different recipes (2 classic buttercreams & one with cream cheese!) PLUS, they tell you how to add flavors to create different variations, like raspberry buttercream, etc.

Coconut Buttercream Christmas Candies from examiner.com

coconut buttercream candy-christmas candy

Obviously, I love buttercreams. So of course, I needed to include another variation. These look & sound delicious!

Cookie Dough Buttercream Candies from Sugar Spun Run

cookie dough buttercream candy-christmas candy

This will be the last of the buttercreams, I promise! But how delicious does this sound?

Nutter Butter Truffles from Like Mother Like Daugther

nutter butter truffles-christmas candy

Most people do the standard chocolate truffles, so I am all for this "different" type of truffle!

Scotcheroos Millionare Nuggets from Oh, sweet basil

scotcheroos nuggets -christmas candy

I love scotcheroos! They are one of my favorites. I love this idea of making them bite-sized! Perfect for holiday get togethers!

Crockpot Candy from The Slow Roasted Italian

chocolate covered peanuts- crockpot candy-christmas candy

Chocolate covered peanuts are my downfall. I tend to justify them too, I mean, they are slightly healthy right? I'm basically just eating peanuts...covered in chocolate...

English Toffee from Living on a Dime

english toffee- no thermometer required-christmas candy

Not only is this toffee recipe only 4 ingredients, but it also does NOT require a candy thermometer. Definite winner!

Pretzel Rolo Turtles from Like Mother Like Daughter

pretzel rolo turtles- easy christmas candy

Chocolate turtles remind me a lot of Christmas, so they had to make the list! This recipe looks way too easy too, which is always a plus!

Fantasy Fudge from Kraft

fantasy fudge- easy christmas candy

This is my personal go-to recipe for fudge. It is so quick & tastes great every time!

Disneyland Chocolate Caramel Marshmallows by A Pumpkin & a Princess

disneyland chocolate caramel marshmallows- easy christmas candy

Basically, bite-sized rocky road candy--how perfect!

I hope you all enjoyed this post! These candies, in my opinion, are a little different from the typical holiday treats. I normally see a ton of fudge, but I'm loving the variety I've come across lately, I will definitely be making most, if not all, of these in the next couple weeks!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

21 week pregnancy update

We have made it past the half way point! I have procrastinated finding a new doctor since the move a month ago and really need to get that done--especially since I am overdue for my 20 week ultrasound! Anyway..

21 week pregnancy update

Stats so far:

Weeks: 21
Gender: It's a girl!!!!!
Weight Gain: 6 pounds
Stretch Marks: 0
Symptoms: Lack of appetite, bloating,
Cravings: Pineapple and oranges. Any fruit really.
Missing: Energy. Sleeping on stomach, Having a bra that fits properly (I gain weight in my breasts)
Exercise: Cardio 3 times a week for 45 minutes and free weights so far only 2-3 times per week. I'd love to up it.
Diet: We were on vacation last week and so we ate out a ton. I definitely feel like I gained a lot more weight than necessary. Hopefully it mellows out as I get back to my normal eating habits.

Last week we were on vacation so I ate a lot more than normal & didn't exercise, because of that I gained like 4 pounds very quickly. I think that as I get back to my normal diet & exercise routine, my weight gain should slow for the next week or 2 and I'll mainly just maintain the weight. We will see..