I don't think that I was ready to be a parent. Maybe no one can ever really be ready?
E came along and I fell apart. My saintly husband kept us all alive and afloat. At about the 13 month mark, things began to turn around a bit.
I'll admit, that first year was a bit hazy. I don't really remember much about each of his milestones, except that they continued to be met. I feel so very guilty about that. He rolled, cooed, sat, crawled with one knee down and one knee up in the air. He pulled to stand, cruised and then ran. He wore out shoes and scraped his knees and one day, things started to get better.
I started to notice the things he was teaching me, mainly unconditional love and forgiveness.
There are times I lose my patience and raise my voice. Usually because he is doing something a typical three year old does. He is learning about his world in the best ways he knows how. He asks questions, millions of them. He asks for help, over and over for things that he can already do. He makes mistakes, he forgets his words, he wants to "help" me make dinner. It is in these moments when I know that I can't take one more moment of whining, that I "need" to get dinner or laundry or cleaning done. I get exasperated and I tell him to "stop". His lip quivers and he says, "are you happy?" And it makes me feel so small and awful, the parenting failure of the year.
He is being a normal three year old and I am being a grouchy mom.
It is cliche and it is true, the laundry, dishes, floors, bathroom counters, they can all wait. He is three now, today, in this moment. We will never get this day back. I must remember to take a deep breath and pause. When I am on the brink of telling him to "knock it off" I will look at him and tell him I love him like crazy.
Because that is what we say at our house.
I will think it in my head and I will tell him. I never want him to be uncertain of this fact. He is loved and it is amazing.
Oh, what we could all learn from toddlers.
Lesson One - Unconditional Love
In my less-than-mom-of-the-year moments, I get frustrated, my voice raises, I tell him, "if I have to tell you again, I am coming over there to help you." I plop him on the floor for his mini time out and he cries. I silently chastise myself to remember that he is not a tiny version of a grown up, that he actually does not know better. He typically tries to correct his behavior and he forgives instantly. He asks if I am happy and then tells me whether or not he is happy and immediately throws himself into my lap regardless of the answer. He plants kisses on my face and says "I just needed you". He melts my heart and I need him too.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
E has been into "honey bars". This would be the oats and honey variety of granola bars we picked up at Open Harvest last weekend. I hadn't been in there but it was great. A local cooperative grocery that I plan on going back to. The bars he choose were a pretty traditional crunchy oats and honey bar with flax seeds. The ones we made to match them are more on the chewy side. Both are really good and plant based. (We use local raw honey at our house. You could try substituting agave or maple syrup but I can't say as to how well they would work or what they would taste like.)
- 2 cups crisp rice cereal
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/3 cups roasted flax seed
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used my homemade version)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2-3/4 cup raw (or regular) honey
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (measure in liquid form)
- 1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½- 1 cup mini dairy free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
- In a large bowl, combine your oats, rice cereal, and flax seed. Stir until well combined. Set aside.
- Place sugar, honey, coconut oil, and sea salt in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly. Boil for exactly 1 minute so mixture combines and sugars dissolve. Take pan off the heat and add in peanut butter and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Pour over the oat/rice cereal mixture. Stir until well combined.
- Let this mixture sit for several minutes.
- Line 9x13 pan with parchment paper cut to size.
- Pour out granola bar mixture into pan. Press with spatula. Then immediately spread your chocolate chips on the top and press again.
- Allow to cool in fridge or on counter. Once the bars have cooled completely, lift out of the pan. Cut the bars into the size of your choosing.
- These freeze well individually by wrapping in plastic and placing in freezer safe bag or container.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Saturday was E's "halfie" birthday.
|A big 3 1/2 year old|
For dessert after dinner I made him Mint Double Chocolate Brownies. He's a big fan of frosting (what 3 1/2 year old isn't) and was glad to see extra chocolate chips.
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons ground flax
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 1/2 cups unbleached sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cups cocoa powder
3/4 cups unbleached white flour
3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
3/4 cup earth balance butter
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 -3/4 tsp peppermint extract (to taste)
3-5 Tablespoons unsweetened original almond milk
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
For the brownies
Preheat your oven to 350°
Line an 8" pan with parchment paper and oil the sides.
Combine flax and water and set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, and vanilla.
Add the flax mixture and whisk for 1 minute more.
In another bowl, combine cocoa powder, flours, baking powder, and salt, stirring well.
Pour liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until everything is combined.
Add 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips and stir until just distributed.
Put the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly.
Bake for 26-30 minutes. Do not overcook.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes
Lift the brownies from the pan and let cool for 30 minutes more.
For the frosting
Add 2 cups powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of almond milk and beat well with mixer.
Add peppermint extract and more sugar or milk until spreadable consistency is reached.
Spread over cooled brownies and top with 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips.
Place in refrigerator for an hour to allow frosting to set.
Monday, March 10, 2014
I am on a condiment kick apparently. Tonight it was ketchup. I used raw honey in this version but one could try maple syrup if honey is not part of your lifestyle. The good news... this took all of 1 minute to combine the ingredients and about 90 seconds to heat through on the stove and has no processed sugar in it. Just what a mom wants to hear!
1 small can (6 oz) tomato paste (I used Trader Joe's brand)
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon raw honey
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
pink Himalayan salt to taste
ground pepper to taste (just a pinch)
Combine all ingredients in small sauce pan and stir to combine. Heat over medium flame until all ingredients incorporated. Add a bit more water if you like a thinner ketchup or a bit more honey for sweeter.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
My Ninja and I have been fighting with almonds. Or maybe I have been fighting with the Ninja. I'm not really sure. All I know is that I am losing. Repeatedly. Almond butter and I are not friends at the moment but I will be having another go at it in the near future. I needed some nut butter success and so I took the boys to the bulk bins and bought some peanuts (for now) and almonds (for later). This is the most pitiful recipe post because there really is no recipe. It was that easy and oh, so
Homemade Peanut Butter
- 3 cups of roasted unsalted peanuts (or as many as you choose to use, I just poured what I had into my food processor)
- 1 tablespoon of honey (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
-Pour peanuts into food processor and blend for 2-3 minutes scraping down the sides as needed.
-Add honey and salt once the butter consistency begins to form.
-Continue to process until creamy, approximately 3 more minutes or to taste.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
After my last post on hummus, my husband commented that it had not gone unnoticed that due to the massive influx of chick peas and tahini, the amount of baked goods had exponentially decreased. I took to the kitchen to make some chocolate chip cookies that turned out pitifully (read tasted good but had a weird soft texture and were quite flat). I then cheated on these as they are technically a "no bake" bar. They do, however, taste like a crispy Reese's Peanut Butter Cup I am happy to report. They also got good reviews all the way around. We eat honey at our house as it is a high vibration food but if you are out on the honey you could certainly use agave or, I suppose, light corn syrup.
Plant Based Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Bars
1 Cup Peanut Butter (I used Jif Natural Creamy)
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Honey
1/2 Teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt
3 Cups Crisp Rice cereal (I used Trader Joe's brand)
3/4 Cup Vegan Chocolate Chips (I used Enjoy Life mini semi sweet)
1 1/2 Tablespoon Vegan Butter (I used soy free Earth Balance)
1. Put the peanut butter, sugar, honey, and salt in a pan.
When peanut butter mixture gets hot and starts to bubble, remove from heat and stir in rice crispies.
3. Scoop into an 8x8 or 11x7 pan lined with parchment paper.
6. Pour melted chocolate on top of the peanut butter crispy layer and spread.
8. Remove from pan using the edges of the parchment.
9. Cut into bars.
10. Try not to eat 25 of them in one sitting. Yikes.