This Nanny Loves::: These Silly Lunch Plates

You guys, we love these plates. A lot!  Do you have them, too? If you don’t, you have to invest in these for your little ones! Whenever I pull these out at breakfast or lunch, we get the serious giggles. They’re just so funny to three year old’s. And maybe it’s odd they get so much pleasure from eating hair and earrings, eyes and cheeks, but I can’t blame them: these faces are so cute, you really do just want to eat them all up.178 179

If you’re interested you can order the plates here.

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This Nanny Loves::: Snack Kebabs

There have been a lot of table battles over here. The kind of epic proportions where someone goes screaming into timeout and the rest of us pretend like we can’t hear the noise in the kitchen. So when things get tough, I get out my battle swords and stick food on them. For some reason, no one fights the kebab snack. And for whatever reason, I don’t really care, because as long as we’re eating and happy, I’m not going to question it!

Here are some of our favorite afternoon snack kebabs! Am I the only one who does this little trick?  Kabob 1Kabob 3Kabob 2

 

We’re almost through the week. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can….

A Little Bit City….but a Little Bit Country, too

Even though we live in the city, we aren’t the greatest “city folk”. I mean, we aren’t bumpkins stuck in city or anything, but no matter how long we live in the city we can’t seem to shake these “country” roots.   After a Sunday of cleaning and moving chickens around from here to there, we sat around an early dinner table to eat a veggie pot pie. If home had a taste, I’d like to be pot pie. It’s so filing, making both belly and mind satisfied. I must say, I prefer life this way; it’s best of both worlds here in our little place in the city– it really is.potpie dinner

(Included in our pot pie: Broccoli, corn, potatoes, onion, and kale.)

Garden Fresh Pizza

I’m sure there is pizza in Heaven. There has to be. I mean, how can there NOT be?

After a quick trip to my garden the other afternoon, I came back with whole lot of basil and our first sandwich tomato. I ran into Sean’s office and demanded he touch, demanded he smelled, demanded he get as excited about it as I wasn’t. Spoiler alert: Sean’s calm demeanor translates excitement very differently than mine. So, I settled for him smiling at me and ran (literally) into the kitchen to get started on supper.

I was going to put my garden finds on a tortilla, but I decided to make a garden fresh pizza instead, because even though I love things on tortilla, I love pizza a little bit more.

I decided not to make a sauce. Instead I put a layer of tomatoes, basil and garlic over the my crust. pizza 1Then I added mozzarella cheese and sunflower seeds. I love seeds on my pizza!  pizza 2

Then I cut it up and served it up. I was still excited. And Sean smiled. I think know he was excited, too.  pizza 3

Then I ate it. A lot of it. And I didn’t regret one bite.

Tricks for Great Picnics

Every day I go to work, I think, “Thank God I do what I do.” Then when we go to the park for picnics, I say it again, and again, and again. Being a Nanny is the best career in the world!

Once Spring comes, I believe in going on regular picnics. After being locked inside for months with all that snow, it’s refreshing, for all parties involved, to get outside for a morning of playing at the park followed by a picnic. With years of nannying under my belt, I’ve learned a few tricks about how to take the nannying show on the road and out of the house for a day.

Here are some of our tips for great picnics!

1. Don’t sacrifice good food just because you’re away from the kitchen. When I first starting nannying, I thought going on picnics meant only eating PBJ sandwiches and juice boxes. Big mistake. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a good PBJ, but the more picnics I experienced, the more I realized that I don’t have to leave all of our “good” food at home. Now, I just bring it along with us. Interestingly, I have learned that bringing a pre-made salad or our favorite: pesto; is actually easier to bring than messy sandwiches. And it’s a bonus for me, too, because my metabolism certainly can’t keep up with all of that kid food. pestoWhat are you favorite picnic lunches?

2. Pack your sun screen. Duh. Who wants a sunburn?

3. Keep your picnic blanket in your car. I always keep my picnic blanket in the car. With two-year olds sitting at picnic tables is a challenge! The distance between the seat and the table itself makes it hard for little bodies to lean in for their food without falling forward. Also,  a lack of backing on the picnic tables makes it very hard to eat and chatter without falling backward. Because we’ve learned these lessons the hard way around here, I am sure to always keep my blanket in my car. A huge bonus for me with this trick is that as long as I keep the blanket in my car and only take it out for picnics, I can never forget it, because it’s always with us. In turn, we never have to deal with those pesky picnic tables again. There’s nothing better than lounging on a big red blanket while we eat! Then, after we’re done making eating our lunch mess meals, all we have to do it shake it off and throw it back into the trunk!

4. Pack small to-go containers. The mom I work for is always buying these cute portion-sized containers of hummus and other side dishes. Recently she found out that Jif makes to-go peanut butter! Luckily, we don’t have any peanut butter allergies here, because taking our Jif to-gos with us to the park makes snacking away from the house much easier! We can get some much needed protein, as well as a sweet-fix in one sitting. These are perfect for dipping pretzels, apples and animal crackers in without bringing a mess along.  If you haven’t bought any before and you have some peanut butter loving charges, I highly recommend them!peanut butter

5. Don’t forget your favorites at home. I used to a have a “no toys outside of the house” rule. I was always worried about having to keep track of more things and leaving “someone” important behind. I have since revised my rule to “if you can carry it, then you can bring it” rule. The truth is, I have learned, that if a child brings along a favorite toy to the park, it teaches them to be responsible for something other than themselves. It encourages them to love and nurture, as well.

One day, we brought Buzz along to the park and their imaginations soared! They pushed him on the swing & down the slide and he even got to join us for our picnic. There is always room on the red blanket for one more! The hardest part was keeping Buzz out of trouble!DSCF6685

What are your tricks of the picnic trade? Do you spend as much time on picnics as we do in the summer?

Mmmm…Monday//The Good News about Squash Soup

Before the change in seasons hit the farmers market, I loaded up on squash for the winter.  And now, I am busy trying as many new squash recipes as I can.  But with all this squash-eating, I decided to go back through my cookbook and notes to remind myself just what exactly was in it for me.  After all, shouldn’t we always know what we are putting into our bodies before we open our mouths? 

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The bad news about squash?

It looks like baby food.  (Also note: it is also impossible for me to take an appetizing picture of squash soup, which classifies as bad news, too. )

But the good news about squash?

Well, for starters, there is much more good news than bad news, so that in and of itself is already “good news”.

Other good news?

Squash, while technically sneaking under the bracket of fruit, happens to be one of the most fully loaded & health packed gourds. In fact, that baby food color is actually a determining positive sign for us, who are eating it. Seeing this color in any food (of the earth food; discounting Cheetos) signifies a prevalence in  carotenoids, and specifically in butternut squash beta carotene.

The good news about carotenoids? Human bodies are able to take these carontenoids and beta carotene and then automatically convert them into Vitamin A, which is helpful for 1.  immune system up-keep; 2. fighting heart disease; and 3. assisting in cancer prevention. Additionally, beta carotene is able to convert more Vitamin A than any other carotenoid.

And so, as I sat down last night happy to be eating my Butternut-Curry Squash Soup primarily because it was low in fat & high in fiber (and I had LOTS of high-carb meals & drafts this weekend), I was also excited to be giving my body a boost before starting my week.

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Hooray for fruits that not only taste good, but are also good for us! Lots of good news all around.  Have a good dinner in your coop!