Tuesday, April 28, 2015

11 Months: What We're Eating Now

As we transition away from formula, I have felt a lot of pressure to be very intentional about Peanut's meals. Previously, I knew she was getting everything she really needed from formula, so if she had peas for dinner every night I didn't worry about it. Now, I feel like I need to incorporate more variety, and make sure she is getting a sufficient amount of fruits and veggies each day. We have tried LOTS of new food in the last month. I have gotten in the habit of making something at the beginning of the week (like baking a few sweet potatoes) and then I just cut it up and it is ready for a quick meal the rest of the week. Her diet still doesn't have tons of variety, but I am slowly incorporating new foods whenever possible. I have a big fear of choking, so I introduce things slowly and carefully. Here is a little bit of what we are loving these days...

  • Pasta! She LOVES Greek Pasta salad, which cracks me up. And of course she loves mac & cheese, but no one is shocked by that!
  • Cheese Toast 
  • Blueberries
  • Sweet potatoes 

Breakfast: Smoothie + scrambled egg. Every morning she has a smoothie and either a scrambled egg or plain cheerios, depending on how my morning is going. I make smoothies for her every other day, and then it is enough for two days. Also, she usually only eats about half of her scrambled eggs, so I save the leftovers for the next morning. Overall, it has worked out pretty well to only be making her breakfast every other day. Her smoothies consist of whole fat yogurt, apple juice, half a banana, frozen berries, and spinach. 

Lunch: Lunch is either spent at school or on the go. For school I usually pack her pears or mandarin oranges, sweet potatoes, and a pouch of some sort. Sometimes if we are at home she will have chicken salad or turkey and some kind of fruit. We joke about her having her own little "salad trio" when we go to lunch at Ashley Mac's. She has chicken salad, greek pasta, and mandarin oranges and if she is lucky, she gets a biscuit!One of our favorite pouches is the Happy Squeeze apple/mango/pear/kale pouch.

Dinner: I really love the idea of her eating whatever we eat for dinner. Right now, that seems easier said than done. But I do hope to make that more of a priority as she gets older, so that I'm not making her a special meal all the time. For example, on Easter she was able to eat ham, macaroni, green beans, and fruit. But then one night I made shrimp and salad, and of course she can't really have either of those things. I don't mind making her something special, because obviously she can't just have whatever we are having. But in the future, I don't want to be making her chicken nuggets every night, while I make something else for us. I get really nervous about her eating meat (and choking), so that usually effect her ability to eat what we eat. If we have any kind of roasted vegetables, I let her have some too. Then beyond that I usually have to supplement with peas, green beans, mandarin oranges, sweet potatoes, blueberries etc. It's been fun to see her try new things, like for example she loves guacamole, which surprised me. There isn't much that she has tried that she doesn't like.

My diaper bag always has a few snack options to keep us occupied, especially if we are going to a sit down restaurant for dinner. Food keeps her quiet and occupied, so we always try to be prepared. Our favorite snacks are mum mum, little yums, and yogurt melts. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tuxedo Cake w/ Whipped Cream Frosting

This week we got to celebrate Fletcher's birthday. I decided to make one of his favorite cakes, a tuxedo cake. I hadn't made this cake since college, but it was his favorite from a local bakery in Auburn where I worked during college. I found a recipe that seemed really similar, and was excited to make it. I realized I hadn't baked a cake since Peanut was born! It was so fun for me to make. I had forgotten how relaxing baking is for me. Dirty dishes all over the kitchen, but I feel so happy and relaxed! Hopefully, I will make this cake again before another 5 years passes, because it is one of our favorites!
29 candles to celebrate 29 years of daddy-o!
Tuxedo Cake
recipe from Annie's Eats
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups of water
1 cup canola oil
4 cups of sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups AP flour
4 large eggs
1 cup of buttermilk
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1 and 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Chocolate ganache:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate topping
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray three 9" pans with baking spray and line with parchment paper. 

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, water and canola oil; heat until the butter is melted.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, and flour; whisk to blend.  Pour the melted butter mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then whisk in the buttermilk.  Add the baking soda, salt and vanilla to the bowl and whisk just until incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the pans.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Let the cake cool in pan for 15 minutes. Then flip the cakes out of the pan and let cool for at least 2 hours before icing. 

For the frosting, add the chilled heavy cream to the kitchen-aid mixer and mix with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Assemble the cake, icing between the layers. Let cake sit in the freezer for icing to set for a few minutes before  pouring the ganache. 

For the ganache, place the chocolate in a medium bowl.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit 1-2 minutes.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth and homogenous.  Blend in the corn syrup and vanilla.  Pour the glaze into a pitcher or measuring cup and let cool for 8-10 minutes. Slowly pour the glaze over the cake, ensuring that the top is covered and the glaze drips over the sides.

Friday, April 17, 2015

11 months

My girl is 11 months, and I am going to say "11 months" every day until May 7th. How in the world is my baby almost one? I can't even think about it. Lots of transitions are in our near future. New car seats, saying goodbye to formula, etc...the next month holds lots of changes that we may or may not be quite ready for!
  • 3 bottles a day, 3 meals a day. I try to feed her a big breakfast, because the first bottle we are dropping is the first of the day. 
  • 2 naps a day on the days she doesn't go to MDO. On MDO days, we are lucky to have a 30 minute morning nap and then get a good afternoon nap at home
  • She loves to smile and cock her head to the side
  • 6 teeth - and she likes to brush them!
  • She LOVES to read! She has become totally obsessed with books lately and it makes my heart happy! She especially loves lift the flap books. Our favorite books right now are Dear Zoo, Where's Baby's Belly Button, and Let's Get Counting. And the Read Aloud Bible Stories remain a favorite - she loves the big pictures!
  • She likes to give kisses, and is working on blowing kisses, but hasn't quite figured that out yet
  • She seems SO close to walking, but I don't know what is going to make her decide to just do it. She pulls up, cruises, and transfers from one thing to the next. She can really move fast with a walker. It seems like if she tried to walk, she could do it, but she just doesn't want to let go!
  • She still loves to clap and wave, making her the friendliest baby around!
  • She is such a monkey! Our house was full of boxes as we were moving in and I would look over and find her on top of a box, and have no idea how she got there. She also loves to stand up in the cart. The other day I literally caught her as she was leaping in to the main part of the cart at target. I can't figure out how we are going to overcome this new problem...surely our days of strolling around target aren't over! During our most recent trip to Target she spent the second half of the visit in the bottom of the buggy. 
  • My keys and wallet are her favorite "toys" at the moment. She doesn't want to play with her toy keys or Fletcher's keys...she is partial to mine. I have to keep an eye on her, so I don't spend an insane amount of time looking for my keys every time I need to leave the house. She also loves finding my wallet in her diaper bag, and then taking all my cards out. 
  • She LOVES the park. Our new house is really close to a park, which has been so great. If the weather is pretty, we either go on a walk or go to the park every afternoon after she wakes up from her nap. She loves to swing, slide, and watch all the other kids. 
  • Her favorite toy right now is her walker. She moves so fast!
  • She loves to open and close doors, and often closes herself in the bathroom or the pantry. 

Our spunky little monkey keeps us on our toes, but we wouldn't trade her fun-loving personality for the world! She is such a joy, and keeps us smiling.