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!)