Category: Food

No Sugar Family Challenge

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 by No Comments

In my quest to eat healthy, I’ve covered a lot of ground. I grew up in the Midwest in a family who thought every meal included meat, a starch and a vegetable. When I got married I ventured into cooking ethnic foods, and expanded my palate. Then I lived as a vegetarian for about a decade and learned a whole new way of cooking.

During that time, I cut out most refined foods and learned how to eat desserts created using natural sweeteners. I even followed a mostly raw diet for a good amount of time. The thing is that during my time as a vegetarian, I reached my highest all-time weight. In fact, I surpassed my full-term pregnancy weight by 30 pounds.

I returned to eating meat, about seven years ago, when I had someone offer me their extra venison. Since then I’ve gradually added meat back into my diet. Last year my diet turned low carb, and I’ve reached a “normal” weight, but I’ve gradually let the sugar back in and I can see if I’m not careful, I’ll end up with an unhealthy BMI, again.

Finding Motivation

I don’t know about you, but I need a certain amount of motivation to say no to cookies…or ice cream. I recently read a story about a family of four who all agreed to give up all forms of sugar for a year. I mean ALL kinds of sugar including things like agave and honey. The mom wanted to see how hard it would be to cut anything with added sweetener (even artificial sweeteners) from their diet for a year!

In my diet experience, I’ve made it for six months with no sugar when I followed the Prism Diet and I lost all my extra weight. For that diet, I didn’t eat anything that had sugar within the first four ingredients. As soon as I turned back to foods with added sugar, the pounds gradually snuck up on me again.

Why oh why do I go back to eating the stuff that pushes my BMI into the unhealthy range!

The mom who gave up all sugar for a year was surprised at how much better she felt and the renewed energy she experienced. I had felt the same way! Her kids’ school absences dropped from 15 days a year to two. And now that the year is up, they continue to eat little sugar with dessert saved for special occasions.

Her story has me toying with the idea of cutting out sugar…again. And this time, I’d love the whole family to join me. The thing is, my goal is to find balance. I don’t really want to cut any one food group out totally, but is sugar really a food?

Photo credits: wikimedia

Link Round-up: Recipes, Cleaning Tips, Crafts, Easter Decor, and More

Posted on Apr 15, 2014 by 4 Comments

Today’s link round-up has recipes, cleaning tips, crafts, and more.

Designed Décor shared her way of cleaning the microwave — the easy way.

Chocolate and Sunshine shared a recipe for chocolate lasagna.

Kenarry shared a cute Easter egg finger painting craft.

Crafts Unleashed shared some crafty ideas for using up those toilet paper rolls.

link ru spring egg display
A Beautiful Mess shared an adorable spring Easter egg display.

Chubby Hobby shared a tutorial for creating a plush ballet bunny.

Fishstick Designs taught us how to make homemade chocolate syrup.

Photo credit: Designed Décor and A Beautiful Mess

Introducing Finger Foods to Your Baby

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 by No Comments

Pediatricians recommend introducing solid foods to our babies somewhere around age 6 months. Of course, the term “solid” is relative at that point. I started my kids with baby cereal, which compared to breast milk or formula is a solid.

With today’s heavy-duty blenders, it’s easy to make up your own special treats. Instead of just plain cereal, mix mild fruits and even vegetables to make cereal more interesting.

By 8 or 9 months, kids are usually ready for finger foods for self feeding, even if they don’t have teeth. Finger foods are little treats that can be scattered on the tray of the highchair for self feeding. They can be eaten at meal times or can be carried in your purse or diaper bag when on the go.

Today there are many finger food options that are safe and easy to digest. My girlfriend’s little 12-month-old loves Gerber Graduates Puffs. To him they are “cookies.” He likes the mild cheddar Lil’ Crunchies, too, but those she has to hand to him one at a time or he tends to want to stuff his mouth. The standby most parents turn to, though, are Cheerios.

Here are some other convenient finger foods to add to your pantry shelves:

  • Gerber Graduates Banana Cookies
  • Happy Baby Organic Puffs
  • Happy Yogis Organic Yogurt Snacks for Babies and Toddlers
  • Gerber Graduates Finger Foods Harvest Apple Wagon Wheels

At meal times, regular table foods can be introduced as finger foods. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Small chunks of ripe banana – this is also a good food to help teach toddlers to use a fork, too
  • Other ripe fruit cut into small pieces* including peaches, pears, melons
  • Soft cubes of tofu
  • Small pieces* of bread
  • Small pieces* of cheese
  • Well-cooked pasta cut into small pieces*
  • Well-cooked vegetables like potato, squash, carrots cut into small pieces*
  • Small pieces* of cooked chicken, ground turkey or beef
  • Small pieces of hard-cooked egg (experts used to think giving young children eggs might lead to a food allergy, but research presented by the American Academy of Pediatrics has found no evidence to support this.)

*Small pieces equal the size of a pea

Avoid giving your baby sweets or high-fat snacks. Stick to nutritious options. Peanut butter is not recommended either because it is too sticky for young children to swallow safely.

Photo credits: LizMarie_AK

Link Round-up: Easter Crafts and Foods, Flowers, and Spring

Posted on Apr 10, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up is all about spring—Easter crafts and foods, flowers in a birdcage, and more.

Mommypotamus shared 50 creative ways to use mason jars.

Cincy Shopper showed us how to make Easter chick deviled eggs.

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons showed us how to make the cutest easy bunny buns with Pillsbury crescent rounds.

link ru nutella granola bars
Chocolate Covered Katie taught us how to make Nutella granola bars.

Crafts Unleashed shared 20 adorable Easter crafts you can enjoy.

I Should Be Mopping the Floor showed us how to plant a birdcage to make a gorgeous spring display.

Melly Sews shared 10 upcycle tutorials.

Photo credit: Mommypotamus and Chocolate Covered Katie

Link Roundup: DIYs, a Book Review, Gardens, and More

Posted on Apr 8, 2014 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has tons of DIYs, a book review, and ideas for a small space garden.

A Beautiful Mess showed us a cute project that will look good in a kid’s room—transparency sheet ice cream art.

I Should Be Mopping the Floor showed us how to make a DIY coastal lamp.

Polka Dot Chair had a cute gift idea for little girls—DIY hair ties and headbands.

link ru vaccinations book
Mommypotamus shares her thoughts on the book, Vaccine Illusion.

Mod Podge Rocks showed us how to use fabric to give a mirror a makeover.

Oh My Creative shared 10 small space garden ideas.

Happy Hour Projects shared an idea for a project the kids will love helping you with: a 10-minute paper bag nest.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Mommypotamus

Link Round-up: Beauty Tips, Easter Crafts, and More

Posted on Apr 3, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has beauty and fragrance tips, Easter crafts, and more.

Cupcakes and Cashmere taught us the art of layering scents.

The Free People blog showed us how to make a refreshing face mist for spring.

A Subtle Revelry taught us how to make a rug from old t-shirts.

link ru bunny basket
Craftaholics Anonymous showed us how to make a crochet bunny basket.

All Things Heart and Home showed us how to make a moss topiary.

U-Create Crafts gave us a tutorial on creating an interchangeable burlap wreath.

The Magic Onions planted mini pansies in egg shells as Easter decorations.

Photo credit: Cupcakes and Cashmere and Craftaholics Anonymous

Link Roundup: Spring Ideas, a Healthy Snack, Cruise Booking Tips, and More

Posted on Mar 27, 2014 by 2 Comments

Today’s link round-up has fresh spring ideas, a healthy snack, tips for booking a cruise, and more.

Oh Happy Day showed us how to make conversation bunnies to use as a centerpiece.

The Handmade Home taught us how to create an indoor garden.

Oh My Creative shared some fresh spring ideas that will spruce up your home for the warmer months.

Dora Daily shared a simple, delicious snack: apple rings.

link ru cruise
Day 2 Day Supermom shared tips for saving big when you’re booking a cruise.

Bakewell Junction posted a recipe for some delicious-looking pecan pie muffins.

Love Food Will Share gave us an amazing cashew chicken stir fry recipe.

Photo credit: Oh Happy Day and Day 2 Day Supermom

Link Round-up: Easter Treats, a Spring Wreath, Painted Jewelry, and More

Posted on Mar 25, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has Easter treats, a spring wreath, painted jewelry, and more.

Oh Happy Day has printable mini Easter egg treat boxes to share.

The Handmade Home taught us how to make ragamuffin rabbits for Easter.

Oh My Creative made a gorgeous, unusual beaded spring wreath you might want to copy.

link ru homemade nutella
A Beautiful Mess taught us how to make Nutella with no dairy or added sugar.

Family Ever After talked about a DIY cross-stitched iPhone 5 case.

Made in a Day spray painted her jewelry and shared why it might be a good idea.

Cute Kid Ugly House made a wood grain pillow to dress up her décor without spending a lot of cash.

Photo credit: Oh Happy Day and A Beautiful Mess

Link Round-up: Mobile, Green Smoothies, Cleaning Tips, and More

Posted on Mar 20, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has a cute mobile, green smoothies, cleaning tips, and more.

Creature Comforts Blog showed us how to make a circus pals mobile.

The Ribbon Retreat shared a how-to for a DIY stroller bag.

link ru green smoothies
Creative Green Living gathered 18 delicious green smoothie recipes.

This Reading Mama showed us how to make fluency boards to help kids learn.

link ru pot pie
Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons made adorable Easter Bunny chicken pot pies.

I Should Be Mopping the Floor gave us a deep cleaning breakdown by zone.

I Heart Nap Time taught us how to frost perfect cupcakes.

Photo credit: Creature Comforts Blog, Creative Green Living, and Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons

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