Ethan’s Progress Report – Recipe: Banana and Cashew Butter Smoothie

Ethan has had a great week.  I must admit that I have been concerned about school starting.  Of course, I am sad, in denial, and just bummed that school starts in just over one short week.  But, in addition to that, I have been feeling like Ethan was not ready to tackle 1st grade.  After the sinus infection diagnosis, I was hopeful that maybe he would start feeling like himself again.  Do not get me wrong.  Ethan is always lovable, sweet, happy, and fun-loving.  He just has not been himself the past few weeks.  Normally he thrives during the summer, and we just were not seeing it this summer.  He was more emotional and very fatigued.  In general, he just seemed to get overwhelmed with things more easily than normal.   However, that has changed this week, and we are thrilled!

Ethan has been on his antibiotic for 10 days.  We are also giving him a probiotic and Difulcan to make sure that his intestinal system does not get shot.  Needless to say, we are trying hard to cover all of our bases.  Anyway, Ethan has made remarkable improvement this week.  He has become the little clown again, making everyone laugh with a humor that you can only understand once you see and truly know Ethan.  There is just something about him that makes everyone laugh, in a good way.  And, he has been waking up with his classic Ethan smile and hugs again, clearly feeling good and happy to be awake, ready to start the day.

He is still eating very well and does not seem to be resisting anything.  Since we were all back at home this week, it was much easier for us to all stick to a healthy, consistent diet, with some of our favorite meals.  I have noticed that he is eating his fruits and vegetables so much better now.  And, he seems to just have an increased appetite overall.

Best of all…Ethan had a great pizza and movie night.  We watched Rio.  If you have seen it, you might remember the part where Blue and Jewel kiss.  Well, right before they kissed, Ethan slapped his hand on his head and said, “Oh, man!”  He knew that it was coming, and, in typical Ethan fashion, he had to be animated about it.  His reaction was one of the best parts of my whole week.  He is so amazingly smart when it comes to watching movies, anticipating what will happen, and reacting to everything so appropriately. It amazes us; it truly, truly amazes us.  We cannot wait until he can fully express his thoughts about what all is going on in movies, at school, and in life.

Does this all make me anymore ready for the 1st day of school?   Nope.  But, it does give me peace that Ethan will find his own way in 1st grade, just as he did in Kindergarten.  It will not always be an easy road that he will travel, but I think that he is ready to start the journey, at least from a health stand-point.  Just like any other child, any other person, he is at his best when he is happy and healthy. I am still nervous and worried about a new year, new classmates, new schedule.  But, I am always nervous and worried about that for Gabriel and will one day be for Summer, as well.  We will continue to hope, pray, and believe that Ethan will continue to find success in all that he does.  His success might not look the same as the success of other children his age, but, to us, when Ethan succeeds, we can hear the angels singing his praises.

Today’s Menu:

  • Breakfast – Scrambled eggs and waffles (We ate these because I have not attempted homemade wheat, gluten, and dairy free ones yet).  I will get there; a really will.
  • Lunch – Hotdogs (no buns), peaches, grapes, and chips
  • Dinner – Pizza and movie night!
  • Snack – We were out running errands, so we stopped at Sonic for happy hour.

Today’s recipe is actually something from yesterday’s menu, so I wanted to share it today before I forget.

Banana and Cashew Butter Smoothie

Banana and Cashew Butter Smoothie

This is a great smoothie for breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up. And, it is such a flexible recipe. You could add cow's milk, goat's milk, or almond milk in place of the soy milk, regular yogurt in place of the coconut yogurt, and peanut butter, sesame seed spread, or almond butter in place of the cashew butter.

Ingredients

2 frozen bananas

1 1/2 cups soy milk

1 cup coconut yogurt (we like this one)

1 tablespoon cashew butter

1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Put all of the ingredients in the blender, and blend until smooth.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/08/12/ethans-progress-report-2/

As I am preparing for the school year, it is increasingly important to me that we incorporate healthy, easy, fun, and flexible into more of our meals.  The day-to-day is crazy and busy enough.  Mealtime should be the easiest, best part of the day.  This is a breakfast recipe that will start the morning off on a good note and set the tone for great things to come throughout the day.  Great things…that is what we hope is in store for Ethan in 1st grade, Gabriel in 3rd grade, and Summer as she starts her little dance school.  And, it is with those thoughts of greatness that I will wrap up this lengthy progress report.  Have a great weekend!

Parenthood – Recipe: Egg, Bean, and Goat Cheese Breakfast Taquitos

Today was one of those days that had me doubting if I was doing enough of the right things for my sweet Ethan.  Between food sensitivities, doctor’s appointments, vacations, reunions, traveling out of town, and all that goes into every day life, my head was spinning.  I sandwiched an ENT appointment in between the reunion and heading out of town to spend the week with my parents for our annual Peach and Melon Festival trip.  After leaving the doctor’s office, I was left wondering why in the world I decided to fit just one more thing into our schedule.  The doctor was wonderful, and he caught a sinus infection that needed to be treated, as well as some long-term ear and nasal congestion issues.  He was kind and compassionate and truly wanted to help us discover the underlying cause of Ethan’s health issues and developmental delays.  The only problem – he clearly disagreed with the treatment plan that had been set up by our other doctor, the one who diagnosed Ethan, the first one to actually believe in and care about healing Ethan.  I was a bit rattled when we walked out of the office.  It was difficult for me to listen to the new doctor because I felt like I needed to defend our parenting decisions.  Luckily, I have a husband who is my rock, and he has strong listening and reasoning skills.  He listened to my account of the appointment, and he immediately knew the answer.  We continue to follow our instincts and trust in ourselves as parents, believe in Ethan, and keep on doing what we do best – loving our children.  Just because the doctors had different approaches to healing Ethan did not mean that we could not incorporate their treatments.  The one thing that I ALWAYS tell new moms is to trust their instincts, and here I was having a hard time trusting mine.  Thank you, Sean, for reminding me that parenthood is a journey that we embark on daily, one that we do not take lightly.  We trust in each other, believe in each other, and love our children with all of our hearts and souls.  We have always known that Ethan’s path is an uncertain one, but, really, everyone’s path is.  And, that is okay because I go to bed each night knowing that our children are loved to the moon and back every single day.

Needless to say, our menus have been sporadic, at best.  As I mentioned earlier, Ethan and I have remained gluten and dairy free.  We are currently at my parent’s house, and my dear, sweet mom carefully rearranged all of her candy drawers, cabinets, and pantry so that there is nothing in sight that Ethan cannot eat.  And, all of the meals are gluten and dairy free to accommodate my sweet boy.  Thank you, Mother!!

Since I understand what it it like to be too busy to always plan, and I definitely understand how essential it is to have food that can be prepared to eat on the road, I like to have easy go-to meals.  I made these bean, egg, and goat cheese taquitos recently.  They were delicious.  I loved them even more than breakfast burritos, and the great thing is that they can be eaten on the way to school, work, while running errands, etc.  It is a perfect, healthy breakfast for busy moms and dads who want to give their families a good start to the day.

Egg, Bean, and Goat Cheese Breakfast Taquitos

Egg, Bean, and Goat Cheese Breakfast Taquitos

Ingredients

6-8 eggs

Refried beans

Goat cheese

6-8 corn tortillas

salt

pepper

kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Prepare baking sheet by covering with foil and lightly spraying with cooking spray.
  2. Spray skillet with cooking spray, and heat over medium-high heat.
  3. Add eggs, salt, and pepper, and scramble the eggs.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Working with 3 tortillas at a time, heat in microwave for 20 seconds. Make sure that there is a damp paper towel between each tortilla to keep it soft enough to roll well once the ingredients have been added.
  6. Spread 1 tablespoon of beans onto each tortilla.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of eggs, and then sprinkle the goat cheese onto the eggs.
  8. Roll up the tortilla, and put it seam side down onto the prepared baking sheet.
  9. Continue with all of the corn tortillas.
  10. Lightly spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  11. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
  12. Serve with salsa and plain goat yogurt.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/08/02/parenthood/

Enjoy!

Going Granola – Recipe: Granola

I remember taking Ethan to one of the family practice doctors who we saw when he was younger, and her commenting that we were “going granola” when I mentioned some of the more natural things that we had decided to do.  I found it funny considering the fact that she was a healthy eating, pilates-loving doctor.  Other than that, I did not really know what to think about the comment.  My brother-in-law has often thought that I am a hippy, and it is more of a term of endearment from him…I think…because I tend to be more laid back, often have some new vitamin or supplement that I am trying, and typically try to convince him to do things such as go to a chiropractor instead of an orthopedic surgeon.

Anyway, whether our new lifestyle is just another step towards “going granola” is not really important right now.  My mission is to just find the best, healthiest, most natural food for our family.  That is not to say that I am using all organize products or never again eating sugar.  But, we are trying our best to eat as healthy as possible, while still allowing a place in our diet for treats and sweets.  I love granola and really wanted to find a recipe that would be a good, easy snack or breakfast.  It is apparently controversial whether oats should be eaten if you have a gluten allergy.  But, from what I could research, certified organic oats, such as this one, are safe.  Since Ethan does not have an allergy, but just a sensitivity, we luckily do not have to be as concerned about where the product has been made (whether there are nuts, wheat, etc. also processed there). However, we are still ready labels and trying our best to make sure that everything is as it appears.

This granola recipe was a hit.  Even the littlest little gave it a thumbs up.

Granola

Granola

This recipe is slightly adapted from Megan's Granola.

Ingredients

8 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup flax seed

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup finely chopped almonds

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup honey

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups raisins or sweetened dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Line two large baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil.
  3. Combine the oats, flax seed, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, and walnuts in a large bowl.
  4. Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan.
  5. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat.
  6. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 35-40 minutes.
  8. Stir once halfway through.
  9. Cool and store in an airtight container.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/07/24/going-granola/

It was a good day, make that a great day – granola, grilling, swimming, and family time…another perfect summer day.