Katie's Musings

A blog about cooking, knitting, books, and parenting

Great day!

Today has been a very successful day; it’s been great! This morning we had Emmett’s appointment with the dietician, and it went wonderfully! I’ve been keeping a food log for Emmett for the past month, and so we were able to discuss his eating habits, and what he eats over the course of a typical week. I felt completely gratified, and vindicated, because she said that we are doing everything just right! She said that we are feeding him wonderful food choices, with lots of variety at every meal, and she said she is very impressed with how well he eats. She said that his food log was practically perfect– she said she wished she could show this to other parents! That really made me feel happy! As I’ve written before, Emmett is on the very lowest end of the weight range for his age, but I’m convinced that it’s part genetics (small babies run in my family) and partly due to his very active lifestyle; he’s always running around and playing. He eats very well, and it was wonderful to hear the dietician confirm that!!

She did give us a few suggestions– she said we could try to add a little more fat and calories to each meal, to try to sneak some extra fat into him. She suggested drizzling all of his vegetables with either olive oil or salad dressing, and mixing up his fruit with full-fat cottage cheese. And she said to keep feeding him avocado and nut butters (two of his favorite snack foods), since they’re high in healthy fats.

So that was a success!!!

Then, this afternoon I finally finished knitting the baby blanket for my new baby nephew!!! I’ve already started on the baby shoes I’m knitting for him, and I’m halfway through the first one.

Then, for supper tonight I made a roast chicken, using Jamie Oliver’s recipe. I stuffed the chicken with fresh rosemary and oregano, and half of a lemon. It was SOO delicious!!! I seriously have been craving roast chicken the last several days, and as soon as it was ready I served it up and started eating– and then remembered to take a picture. It was sooo good!!

I served the chicken with Jamie’s gravy, cheddar biscuits with gravy, and peas. I think I want to start making a roast chicken every week or so. It’s amazing how easy it is to make roast chicken– it seems like such an impressive dish, but it really is very easy. You basically just prep it, put it in the oven, and it’s ready after an hour and 20 minutes! And the house smells fantastic while the chicken is cooking; I can still smell rosemary and lemon. It’s also pretty affordable. Our grocery store sells frozen whole chickens (organic, free range, sustainably farmed), and they’re very reasonably priced. I think I got this one (one of the smaller ones) for about $9.50. What an affordable price for a whole chicken!

Anyways, now I’m going to go watch tv and keep knitting those baby shoes!

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July 20, 2010 Posted by | food, knitting, parenting, recipes | , , | Leave a comment

Emmett’s Favorite Snacks

Our little boy, Emmett, is doing great! He’s growing so fast (he’s now 14 months); it’s hard to believe! He’s running all over the place, and is learning a few words and lots of baby signs. It’s so wonderful to see how curious he is about everything, and how he finds so much wonder and fascination in something as simple as a leaf on the ground. This is such a fun age!

I’ve been keeping a food log for Emmett for the past month and a half, in preparation for our appointment with a dietician tomorrow. Looking back on his food log today, I got the idea for writing a post about toddler snacks!

The things I consider when I choose snacks for Emmett are:

  • It shouldn’t be too messy (especially if we’re taking the snack with us somewhere)
  • It should be healthy
  • It should be finger-sized
  • It should be something I know he’ll like to eat
  • It should be something very quick and easy, with minimal preparation
  • I sometimes use packaged baby food snack items (such as toddler cereal bars or cookies), but I try to avoid these processed foods as much as possible. In general, I use these items when we’re traveling or are out somewhere during snack time, since they’re easy to take with us.

So, looking back on his food log, I see that these are our most successful snack foods:

  • boiled egg, diced in small pieces (this is our almost daily morning snack)
  • avocado slices
  • homemade bread
  • yogurt
  • fruit slices (sliced strawberries, kiwi fruit, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, grapes, plums, honeydew melon, watermelon, cantaloupe…)
  • Healthy Times maple-arrowroot toddler cookies
  • cheerios
  • blueberry muffin pieces
  • dried apricots and prunes (very thinly sliced)
  • biter biscuits (when he’s teething)
  • Gerber Graduates yogurt melts
  • thinly sliced cheese (mozzarella or cheddar)
  • saltines with roasted red pepper hummus
  • saltines with almond butter
  • organic toddler cereal bars
  • goldfish crackers

What are your favorite toddler snacks?

July 19, 2010 Posted by | baby food, food, parenting | | Leave a comment

All better, and enjoying the summer!

We finally all got well, after a very miserable week. Then we enjoyed a perfectly wonderful week, while my sister was visiting us! At the end of that week, my brother and his boyfriend came to visit us also, so we had a wonderful time! Some highlights of the week included a trip to San Francisco (Golden Gate Bridge, Exploratorium, Ghirardelli Square, and Chinatown), a trip to Napa Valley, a picnic/cookout at our local park, and a trip to Napa. Another fun part of the week was teaching my sister how to knit!! Also, my brother’s boyfriend fixed us a really delicious dinner one night: butternut squash bisque (with onions, beef stock, sausage, butternut squash, potatoes, and sage), and string beans with a “ghost squash” that they grew in their garden. It was scrumptious!

This is my sister and me at a restaurant in Chinatown. We had a wonderful meal with soup (fish broth, shrimp, tofu, rice), green beans with black bean sauce and some kind of pickles on top, chicken and black mushrooms, sweet and sour tempura-fried cod, and something else that escapes my mind. I didn’t get a picture of the food (I was so focused on eating!), but it was fabulous!! Emmett’s absolute favorite was the sweet and sour cod, although he also liked the green beans.

This is from our picnic/cookout in the park. We had cheeseburgers, fruit salad, chips, and soda. Simple, but so much fun! We also had fun playing with sidewalk chalk and bubbles!

I’m incredibly relieved that Emmett finally recovered from his stomach virus, after two trips to the pediatrician and five days of basically surviving off of pedialyte and crackers. It was definitely my scariest experience yet as a parent. But, he is eating wonderfully now, and has gained a lot of weight. I’m now also continuing with keeping a daily food log for him, in anticipation of his upcoming dietician appointment. (We’d kept a detailed log for two weeks, but then had to stop while he had the virus.) I’m still kind of annoyed that our pediatrician is making us go to the dietician, because I really believe that Emmett eats a very healthy, wonderful diet with plenty of food. He eats meat, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, eggs, and dairy products, and the vast majority of our diet is home-cooked meals with rarely any processed foods (and never any fast food). But, he is still on the low end of the weight range (but fine on height), and I think that it’s just because he’s so active. But, I understand that our pediatrician has to make sure he’s ok, so, I’m going along with it. And I’m being very religious about chronicling everything he eats each day, so that I can prove that he is eating healthily.

July 6, 2010 Posted by | food, knitting, parenting | , , , | Leave a comment

Finally getting better!

After a very, very long week of dealing with a nasty stomach virus, we’re all finally getting better. Poor Emmett had it really rough for a few days, and I was sick yesterday (but not nearly as bad as poor Emmett). Emmett still isn’t feeling completely well, and he doesn’t have his energy back, but he was eating a little more today, so I’m very relieved.

This was the first time that Emmett has been sick (other than diaper rashes, etc.), and so it was a new experience for me as a parent. I couldn’t believe how incredibly exhausting, mentally and physically, it was. It felt extremely stressful for me to watch my poor baby feel so miserable: I felt awful, because there was nothing I could do for him other than comfort him. (The pediatrician said that these stomach viruses usually run their course in about 24-48 hours, and all we could do was try to keep him hydrated and eating whatever food he could keep down.) I wished with all my heart that I could trade places with him, and be sick myself, rather than watch him go through that. It was just heartbreaking to watch little Emmett be sick. How do you explain to a 1-year-old what is happing?

All I could do was comfort him, but I just felt awful. I knew I wasn’t responsible for his getting sick, but I felt like I still blamed myself; I felt like a bad parent. I’m used to being able to ensure that he is always safe, happy, and well, but this was something I couldn’t control. All I could do was hold him, encourage him to drink pedialyte, and comfort him. Fortunately he slept a lot while he was sick, and when he was awake, he was content to just let me or Scott hold him. When I held him, he cuddled up in my arms, snuggled his head against my shoulders, and I hugged him tight, sending him all my strongest feelings of love and comfort. (He’s usually so active, running around everywhere; I haven’t held him for this long since before he was crawling.) He lost a lot of weight over the last week, which also scared me a lot, but the doctor said that he’s doing better now and that she isn’t worried about him.

I can’t imagine what it would be like as a parent to have to deal with a longer, more serious illness of a child. This felt so draining and exhausting for me, and I worried so much about what would happen to him. I felt so responsible for it all (even though it wasn’t my fault), and I obsessed over every little thing– how much food he was able to eat at each sitting, how much water he drank, etc. I can’t imagine how stressful it would be to deal with a more extended or serious illness. My heartfelt sympathies and well-wishes go out to all parents in that situation.

June 25, 2010 Posted by | parenting | | Leave a comment

Yucky week at our house

Well, I probably won’t post any recipes or anything this week. It’s been a yucky week for us– poor little Emmett came down with a stomach virus! He’s been sick basically all week, but he’s finally getting better. I’m hoping that I’m not coming down with the same thing, but I’m afraid I might be. We’re trying to all just rest and take it easy for now. More later!

June 24, 2010 Posted by | parenting | Leave a comment

Black Bean Burgers

I’ve been pretty busy recently– classes have started for the spring semester, and I’ve had some gigs recently, so between school, music, and taking care of Emmett, I am staying really busy! Our suppers recently have been mostly easy, quick-to-put-together meals. One of my favorite easy vegetarian recipes is bean burgers. My favorite actual bean burger recipe is the Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon (by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero). I’ve made that recipe so many times, and have adapted it freely to suit my tastes. First, I’ve found that canned chickpeas are too hard to mash up with a potato masher, so I usually use either black beans or cannellini beans instead. Also, I like to add other things– usually onion, some kind of veggies, and seasonings. I’ve never made these burgers the same way twice– I like to have fun with adding new things every time. My bean burgers now only vaguely resemble that original recipe– the only main resemblance is the liberal use of vital wheat gluten to hold it all together. Here’s how I made them tonight:

Black Bean Burgers

  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • about 1/2 cup (or slightly more) vital wheat gluten
  • about 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or to taste)
  • about 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 small leek, finely chopped
  • a dash of tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • about 1/3 cup Italian-flavored breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • generous dashes of garlic powder and paprika
  • sliced avocado and mozzarella cheese
  • sesame oil (or olive oil) for greasing the pans

Preheat the oven to 400. Mash up the beans with a potato masher, and then mix in the nutritional yeast, salt, mushrooms, leeks, breadcrumbs, cottage cheese, and seasonings. Finally, mix in the vital wheat gluten; it should all start to cling together. Add tomato juice if you need more liquid. Shape into patties, and put in a greased pan (I used sesame oil). Coat both sides of the patties with the oil. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the patties are starting to look crisp on the outside. Put the sliced avocado and mozzarella cheese on top of the patties, and leave in the oven until the cheese is melted.

And, there’s an exciting new development in our household: Emmett now is extremely interested in food!! It happened almost overnight. As I’ve mentioned before, he was having a really hard time getting used to the taste and texture of pureed foods. Finally we decided to just move on from pureed foods, and instantly he has been a wonderful eater! He likes being able to pick the food up with his fingers, and put it in his mouth. First, he got used to eating the little “puff” baby cereal, which melts on your tongue. Once he got used to that, he quickly moved on to other foods! He still can’t really chew pieces of food yet, so I’m mashing up his food or giving him only really tiny pieces of mushy foods, but he is doing great!! It is so exciting. Tonight he ate mostly the same food as we did: mashed black beans, avocado, green beans, and brown rice. He loved the black beans!! (He really only ate the black beans, ignoring everything else on his plate, even when I tried turning the plate around so he would notice the other things.) And today at lunch, I gave him some very tiny pieces of strawberry, and he completely devoured them! I think that was his favorite food yet!

February 10, 2010 Posted by | baby food, food, parenting, recipes | , , , | Leave a comment

Baby Food Blues

baby food

When Emmett’s pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to start introducing food, two months ago, I had no idea that it would take this long for him to start getting used to it. I eagerly scoured baby food recipes on webpages and blogs, determined to be a savvy mom: no canned baby food for me, thank you! I was so excited to be able to feed my baby local, organic fruits and veggies. As a food lover myself, I assumed Emmett would eagerly devour the butternut squash puree and organic brown rice cereal that I made for him. However, it’s been much more difficult than I’d imagined it would be.

We started, as our pediatrician recommended, with organic brown rice cereal. We introduced one new food a week (to watch for potential allergies or reactions), and saved fruit for last (so he could get used to savory tastes first). He’s had brown rice, butternut squash, broccoli, apple, banana, avocado, and sweet potato purees.

However, it’s been much more difficult than I’d anticipated: he hates food!! When we started feeding him brown rice cereal, he would tentatively taste the food, think about it, and accept a couple of spoonfuls. Within a few weeks, though, he began rejecting all food completely. Now he shuts his mouth tight and pushes the spoon away. If I manage to get any food in his mouth, he makes the most pitiful face– “Mom, this tastes awful! Why are you doing this to me?!” Of course, I don’t try to push it; I don’t want to traumatize him about food, or make him have any bad associations with food! So, I’ve resorted to just letting him play with the food. He squishes it in his fingers, gets it in his hair, and very occasionally (usually by accident) gets some in his mouth. I figure that if he plays with it long enough, he will stop being afraid of it, and will maybe start to enjoy it.

I’m not worried about him getting enough nutrition right now; he’s gaining weight normally, and he’s completely healthy. And, the flipside of this is that the breastfeeding is going great! I’m so glad that he’s still breastfeeding; I’m hoping to be able to continue it until he’s at least a year old (or, as long as he wants to). I feel very lucky that the breastfeeding is going well; I’m enjoying it, and he’s enjoying it, and we’re both healthy. Which is a lot to be thankful for! One of my friends, who has a baby older than Emmett, suggested that maybe he just doesn’t like the texture of food yet. That makes sense, and I will continue to keep letting him play with his food, until he’s ready to eat it!

January 19, 2010 Posted by | parenthood, parenting | , | Leave a comment