Ahhhhhhhh, Fall is in the air (finally)! It’s my favorite season for so many reasons…sweaters, boots, pumpkins piling up on my front porch, chili in the crockpot, football games, cooler temperatures…
Even though you can get organic, canned pumpkin year around, it just sort of makes sense this time of year. It’s such a versatile, healthy, clean ingredient that is easy to come by, easy to use, and delish.
If you need more convincing, check out this article on one of my favorite sites Mind Body Green and you’ll learn pumpkin is packed with Vitamin C and fiber, carotids to help prevent aging (yeah!), magnesium, potassium, zinc…and so much more!
Instead of listing some of my favorite ways to use pumpkin (one is right here if you want to check it out), I decided to share some awesome links that give you HUNDREDS of uses for this orange nutritional powerhouse. Enjoy!
1. Huffington Post tells you all the things you can do with one can of pumpkin
2. Greatist shares a variety of uses for pumpkin, including a cocktail (#winning)
3. Prevention gives some really different recipes such as pumpkin hummus, you know I will be trying this
4. Eating Well wants you to make a pumpkin burger, among many other options!
My husband and I used to have “Superfood Monday“. When I say we used to, I think we did it like once. Maybe twice. But it was a great idea! For dinner on Mondays our whole meal consisted of superfoods. So we are bringing it back. This inspired me to google what are the healthiest foods on the planet. You will find a lot of differing opinions in the search results but I liked this list from Fitness Magazine. There’s nothing crazy, everything is accessible to everyone, and the items all seem to be pretty tasty and satisfying.
So..stock your fridge and pantry and have these items around you all the time. It’s sort of a no brainer.
Lemons– according to Fitness Magazine just one lemon has 100% of your daily Vitamin C requirement. Squeeze some in your smoothie, enjoy with warm water first thing in the morning, and add to your homemade salad dressing at dinner.
Broccoli– There is a massive amount of Vitamin K up in those stalks! Enjoy it steamed, make a broccoli salad, or roast them with EVOO and salt and pepper.
Dark Chocolate– You’re welcome. Great for reducing blood pressure and loaded with antioxidants. I have a piece after dinner, add some to my smoothie bowls, and put bits of dark chocolate in my oatmeal in the mornings.
Avocados– I eat an avocado almost every day. Loaded with healthy fats, fiber, and folate…it’s a superfood powerhouse. Make guacamole (duh), avocado toast, or just add a little pink salt and eat the delicious meat straight from it’s own jacket.
Salmon– Right, we all know salmon is soooo good for us. So eat more of it. Wild caught is best and loaded with Omega 3s which we want and need. Grill it, steam it, eat it raw at a great sushi place, whatever. Up your intake of salmon ASAP.
Ok, that was a little much, I admit it. AND I promise all my posts are not going to be baby centric from now on!
But, Aubrey recently turned six months old and I have been LOVING making him homemade, CLEAN, (questionably) delicious purees to eat a few times a day.
Before anyone yells at me, yes I know “before baby turns one, food is just for fun“. And it is! So far he has enjoyed pureed sweet potatoes, carrots, TONS of avocado, green beans, squash, zucchini and green peas. We have recently gotten into spices as well. He has had curry, turmeric, and pepper.
He began, as most babies do, trying rice cereal based on the advice from our pediatrician at four months old. Um, have you seen (much less tasted) rice cereal? It’s more like a mush? So we quickly moved on to purees.
I know this is going to seem super basic to most of you mama pros but I had no idea what I was doing and realized a lot of my new mom friends didn’t either!
Sidenote: I had a personal goal of nursing Aubrey for a year. I nursed for four months exclusively and then off and on with formula until five months when he went all formula (we chose Earth’s Best Brand Organic Formula at the recommendation of my sister in law and it has been great to us so far). And you know what? I am thrilled I made it that long and with my decision. (enter hand waving bye emoji)
So….back to purees. I buy a bag of organic frozen vegetables that have NO other ingredients in them (always make sure). I boil them for about twenty minutes (let’s be honest, at least ten) and then add about four scoops of formula to the watery mixture or I drain and add 6-8 ounces of breastmilk from my frozen stash. I let this cool a bit then blend in my Vitamix, I have learned you do not have to cook avocado so I just add ripe avocado to the vitamix with either formula or milk FYI.
Another sidenote: Make sure your vitamix is thoroughly cleaned. A lot of times I make a smoothie and then just rinse it out, but before making something Aubrey is going to eat I make sure there is zero residue of things that could be dangerous to him at this stage like honey.
Once blended, pour your fancy puree into your fancy baby food trays (aka ice cube trays with tops) and freeze for a day.
Then I pop them out and put two or three each in breast milk bags, identify the ingredients and the date on the outside, and throw them back in the freezer.
Each morning Aubrey has a bag that I heat up in my Kiinde Kozii bottle warmer. I serve it to him with a silicone tipped baby spoon and although it’s a HUGE mess, he loves it!
He is all smiles and for those of you who say it’s not good to give your babies food yet, don’t give YOUR babies food yet!! And for those of you who are curious, I encourage you to try it. My sister in law told me another benefit. She says teaching them to eat from a spoon this early helps their speech development later on. It is a win win in our house.
I have made the choice not to introduce sweeter fruits alone yet, just veggies sometimes blended with fruit but my advice to you is do whatever the heck you want! Just be safe and make sure you’re sticking to Stage 1 veggies and fruits when they are 4-6 months old. At his six month appointment our pediatrician told us to go ahead and introduce peanut butter so we have and surprise, he loves it. We mix a little organic peanut butter (with no ingredients other than a little sea salt) with water and he sucks it off the spoon! He is also starting to have “bites” of things, not just purees. I plan to try eggs next…
When I don’t have time to make my own or we are traveling, I have found that Aubrey loves Plum Organic Purees. I squeeze the goodness out and feed it to him with a spoon.
And in case you forgot, I am not a doctor or an expert but I am happy to share with you things that work for me and my little boy (I love it when you guys do the same, um, hello we could all use a little help).
So my sweet tooth went crazy this summer as my pregnancy drew to a close (woohoo!). But there are so many clean options I really don’t feel guilty about it and have started eating more sweets even now post partum. Did you see my banana on Instagram that I covered with a sauce of melted coconut oil, cacao, almond butter and honey topped with toasted coconut and pecans. I mean…so good.
I stumbled upon this recipe for Chocolate Mousse on a Sunday evening and let’s just say it was made almost immediately; well, after I let the coconut milk chill for a bit. I halved the recipe because I knew I would be eating it alone…and eating it all! It is smooth, creamy, sweet and has this rich, luxurious texture that you really just have to try it to understand it. I made mine in the food processor FYI. This would be an easy and impressive dessert for a dinner party too…put in pretty little dishes and top with berries and a mint leaf…done!
Check out the rest of this site Super Healthy Kids…it’s adorable and has tons of good ideas. Great Facebook find!
I don’t know if this sweet tooth is going to continue but as long as there are clean treats like this one around, I am okay with it!