Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hiding vegetables: How to freeze for easy use

My last post was about hiding vegetables in baked goods. In this one, I'll give some hints about prepping those vegetables so you don't have to get out the food processor every time you cook.

What you'll need: Food processor, knife, whatever vegetables you want (a few that work well: zucchini, carrots, cauliflower and spinach), mini muffin tins.

Wash and peel the vegetables that need it and then chop them into pieces the food processor can handle. I use the S blade for all of them though you could use the shredding blade for the zucchini and carrots- the pieces just won't blend as well into some dishes.

How you mix the vegetables is up to you. I did a batch with zucchini, cauliflower, spinach and carrots and froze it all mixed together. I just did another batch of vegetables but froze them separately because the amounts of the vegetables I had wouldn't have made an even mix. 

Once the vegetables are processed, spoon them into mini muffin tins and press down the freeze. Once frozen, pop them out of the muffin tins and put them in a ziploc bag.

To use the vegetables, I put them in any tomato sauce I'm making for spaghetti, lasagne, pizza or meatball subs; alfredo pastas (this will obvisously change the look but I don't really care about that); turkey gravy over rice; casseroles; macaroni and cheese... really anything! I've added frozen shredded carrot to smoothies before. And, of course, you can add them to baked goods (you'll want to thaw them out first though!)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Hiding vegetables in baked goods

Gideon does not like anything green or orange or vegetable-like. At this age and level of communication, we can't coax, force or reason him into eating them. So, I hide vegetables into the things he will eat. Here is one example, I just made these today and they are pretty yummy!

I started with this recipe and made it my own.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup flaxseed
1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped fine in a food processor
1 cup spinach, chopped in a food processor

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put liners in the muffin tins.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. 
Whisk the wet ingredients together in a bowl. Add the carrot and spinach and mix well. Add the wet to dry and mix until just combined.
Bake for 20 minutes. Mini muffins only need 10 minutes.

These came out very yummy though for some reason, are sticking to the muffin papers. Not sure how to get around that. Next time I'll probably just do them in a loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. You really can't tell there are vegetables in them and Gideon gobbled them up.

These Carrot Apple Muffins were posted a couple years ago on my blog and they are another tasty way to get some fruit and veggies in too. And, of course, there is always zucchini bread and banana bread. I try to replace some of the flour with oat flour or whole wheat flour too. And add in nuts. Replace oil with applesauce. It makes me feel a little better about Gideon eating a slice or two every morning for breakfast.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Preschool starts tomorrow!

Gideon is now enrolled in the special ed preschool three days a week! He'll be in a classroom of 4-6 kids, a special ed teacher and two assistants. There will also be speech and occupational therapists in and out of the classroom. There will be some challenges though- so far he hasn't done well with me leaving him places and class starts at 8 a.m. Considering he doesn't normally wake up until about 8:30, this will definitely mean a change in schedule.

His first day is tomorrow for an hour and a half. I'll probably stay the whole time. Wednesday is a normal day from 8-11:30 and I think I'll try to sneak out and see how he does. Thankfully the school is only a few blocks from home so it will be easy for me to come back if he does freak out and they can't calm him.

And this is perfect timing because his speech therapist is on vacation for two weeks. When she's back we'll leave preschool a little early to go to those appointments on Tuesdays.

At his last speech therapy appointment, we counted up the words he says and/ or signs. Tweny-two! After only two months of therapy! And he's started copying a lot more than before- today he copied "now," "come here," "ball" and "slide." They don't sound like real words but at least he's paying attention to what I'm saying and repeating it now.

Yay for progress and good news. I can't wait to see how much he's progressed by the end of the school year.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Do not be anxious about anything

I was on Facebook this morning and I followed a trail of likes to find something new. A friend from college liked a post made by someone I don't know (but who went to the same school). He linked to his wife's blog and the post really resonated with me. They've been through and are going through difficult times- just like us. Her post was about how different and hard things are since they've moved and started trying to plant a church.

I've felt that way so many times. Like we've moved too many times, like life is never going to go as planned, like we are drowning in problems, like God forgot something or gave us the short end of the stick. It is so hard to make sure my attitude stays right. To not spend a day wallowing in the things that are going wrong.

I have to continually remind myself that God loves us and His plan is perfect. Only God knows the plans He has for me, for Dave and for Gideon. There are days when I repeat Philippians 4:6-7 constantly to put myself back on track: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (NIV) 

I have to believe that God is working in us during this time. I have to believe that he has a plan and a purpose for what we are going through. He's teaching us patience and how to support and love each other no matter what. 

So often you only see the Phil. 4:6 but you really have to remember the next verse. Because, after praying, you need to remember that no matter what, God can provide peace. No matter how many times I tell myself to stop worrying, I can't stop my mind from worrying. It's God who gives me peace when I request it. 

Check out her post here.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I'm reviewing things now!

So, I discovered this awesome site called BzzAgent where you can get free stuff just for writing reviews and talking about the products you try out! So... because I like free stuff, I joined. My first campaign is for Lysol Touch of Foam.

They sent me a full size hand soap to try out and it's been sitting by my kitchen sink for several days. It really does make your hands feel soft and the foam is awesome- I've never seen a hand soap with foam so firm! The sad part is the scent - Creamy Vanilla Orchid is WAY too strong for me. But, I'm notoriously sensitive to scents so I think for most people it would be fine.

It was a lot of fun to do this campaign and I'm looking forward to trying more. (In other news, we are still waiting to hear back from the special ed preschool but Gideon is doing awesome with his signing and has even tried saying some new words!)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Good news and another evaluation

Gideon did great at his last two speech therapy appointments. He's actually said "my turn" and "open" while signing it. He's started vocalizing along with the signs- even if the sound doesn't sound anything like the word. He does the sign for "help" correctly and signs "eat" when he wants a snack. It's so awesome that he's communicating now! He even said "please" the other night when we asked him to!

At the beginning of yesterday's appointment, his therapist said she really doesn't think he is autistic because he's picking up vocabulary so quickly. Such a huge relief for Dave and me to hear that! She has referred him for occupational therapy because she thinks he might have a sensory disorder. I found a book at the library called Sensational Kids and he does kind of fit the description of sensory seeking children. We'll see what happens with that.

His special ed preschool evaluation is on Thursday. I'm not sure what it will entail but I hope Gideon is in a good mood.

In other news, I've been looking for a part time job and it sucks! My availability just isn't enough for most places. We will probably look into part time daycare for Gideon so I'll have a more open availability. It's definitely not an easy time right now... but we are making it work.

This was at the Seattle aquarium last week. He LOVED the jellyfish tube. And he said fish about a hundred times.

Friday, March 1, 2013

When what you expect, isn't what you end up with...

The last blog post is funny to me. I'd completely forgotten about this blog until my sister told me I should start blogging again. So, I opened it up today and, lo and behold, I was reminded of the torment of nightweaning. A time I thought would never end... when I thought I would never get good sleep again. Gideon is almost 3 and has been weaned completely for about 6 months now. That process wasn't as hard as I thought it would be... or maybe I just don't remember and I didn't write a blog post to remind me!

Gideon is the most amazing kid- loving, active, stubborn, wild, snuggly, focused, imaginative, determined, inventive, difficult, adorable, inquisitive, sweet, mischievous, loud, persistent and so friendly. He'll walk up to strangers and grab their shirt to get their attention, he'll grab an adult's hand at the play place or children's museum to try to get them to come play with him, he'll grab someone's ear if he can reach it. He has amazing fine motor skills and can climb almost anything. He loves to help by throwing garbage in the bin. He'll gladly help pour or stir things while I'm cooking. He climbs into his car seat himself . He lays down without a fuss to get his diaper changed. He'll usually stop when we tell him to (sometimes he keeps running though).

But, he doesn't talk. He babbles and screeches constantly- so much noise comes out of his mouth every day, but none of it is English. He started speech therapy a month ago and has picked up some basic signs - more, all done, mine, help and he created his own sign to get me to take my glasses off.

Then Tuesday, during his appointment, his therapist suggested we enroll him in early intervention and get him on the waiting list for an autism evaluation. So, I've spent the past three days making phone calls, making appointments, filling out forms and praying. I turned in the paperwork to get him into the early intervention program yesterday and he has a referral for an evaluation at  the Autism Center at Children's.

It's not easy adjusting to this new reality. I thought, by now, I'd be posting adorable kid conversations on Facebook. I imagined we'd be doing craft projects together. That we'd be able to spend a day out running errands or walking to the park together. I imagined that I'd be starting homeschool stuff with him soon. I did not imagine that he'd be in therapy. I didn't imagine that I'd be enrolling him in a special ed preschool. Or that it would be an ordeal to have him out of the house for more than a couple hours some days. I didn't think I would have to stay in the children's room at church with him because he's too much of a handful for other people. I didn't think I'd be spending so much time reading up on parenting special needs children.

But, isn't parenting all about doing what is best for your child? It doesn't matter what I thought these years would be like. It's about doing what is best for Gideon. So, we're going to get all the help we can to prepare him for school and life. Whatever comes next, we'll figure things out together.