WEEK 34: The Best Place for Eating Pasta

And, where is the best place to eat pasta? Well, outside of course. At least, that is with my two boys. Pasta is a tried and true favorite, but it is also an obviously huge mess. So, when the weather cooperates, mommy and boys are both über happy. They get their pasta, the grass gets the droppings, and the boys get sprayed off with the hose. It’s a perfect mealtime for everyone.

This week, we also took the boys for their first dentist trip. I share this here, because I feel like good eating habits and oral hygiene go at least somewhat hand-in-hand. Does just over 18 months old and going to the dentist sound weird to you? Well, it did to me too, but our dentist even wants them to come in younger. He recommends when they get their first tooth. Well, that’s a little ridiculous to me, but we did go ahead and schedule since Wyatt seemed to be taking his sweet time getting his teeth and overall it was a fine trip, but I got reprimanded. Yes, in all my years, I’ve never had a single problem going to the dentist myself. Well, now I get in trouble for not having brushed my boys teeth well enough who have only been outside the womb for just over 18 months. I’ve learned my lesson and we’re on a strict teeth-brushing regimen from here on out.

One of my silly boys

showing off his only

4 teeth not too long

before his first ever

dentist visit.

Food Description

You’ve seen the mess before. I posted pictures of the boys eating pasta inside along with the pasta recipe. But, now here’s where the fun begins. Take the same, good ole pasta outside and what do you get? Well, it’s the same good ole pasta, but the mess stays outside!

Process

Chicken Sausage Pasta

You can find the recipe here. I’m just showing off the fruits of my labor with photos today.

What I Learned

I was reminded of how much I love being able to eat lunch outside (and dinner for that matter). This is a great time of year and a wonderful thing for mom and boys. One other tip that I’ve learned when feeding ultra hungry boys a favorite meal is to bring an extra dish to the table for seconds and thirds. It’s not always easy to get up with two ravenous 18 month olds, so I come prepared.

Reaction

The boys continue to love pasta almost as much as hot dogs and salmon! They made it through a whole round of thirds and I had to officially throw in the towel. Literally, I had to spray them off and throw a towel around them to clean them up…phew!

Summary

Remember to add-in those healthy vegetables into your sauce. Carrots and zucchini are a great place to start. Don’t forget the spices…make it tasty!

WEEK 33: 18 Months, Oh My!

Well, I officially have 18 month old boys. I know everyone says it, but time really does fly! And, these boys really are on the move. They are getting faster and faster every day. We had well-visit checkups this week and they are 1″ different in height and 4lb 10oz different in weight. They also couldn’t be more different in every area of personality, looks, demeanor, and development. They really do everything different and have a different means to the same end for almost every task, except for one. They climb the stairs the exact same way: right hand, right knee, then left foot, left hand. It really is in perfect synchronization as we go up for naps or baths each day.

Food Description

We didn’t do too much knew on the food front this week, but I did enjoy a few hours of mommy time as I left the boys home with dad to head out for a haircut. Anyway, we did introduce almond butter and the boys, of course, loved it!

Process

Almond Butter

We buy organic, raw, creamy almond butter from Trader Joe’s, but I think you can find various kinds at various stores.

  • The obvious choice is to spread almond butter on bread or toast.
  • For some added taste, include some slices of banana and honey. Local honey is best…try your farmer’s market.
  • Almond butter is also yummy on vegetable sticks. My boys don’t eat raw vegetables yet as I’m not sure they would be able to chew them well enough, but this is a good lunch or snack for me!

What I Learned

I didn’t learn much except that neither of my boys is allergic to almonds…phew. I will soon have to introduce the dreaded peanut.

Reaction

The boys love almond butter and seem to enjoy the stickiness of it all!

Summary

This is a great way to get some healthy fats into a quick and easy snack or lunch. I love, love, love having this new alternative for meals. Spreading a healthy nut butter on bread makes prep and cleanup super fast!

WEEK 32: More From the Grill

Summer nights are just wonderful for grilling. And, what mom doesn’t love enjoying dinner outside with LESS CLEANUP? I do, that’s for sure.

Food Description

Pizza is one of my favorite foods ever. It just is. It’s wonderful. Well, to be healthier and know our ingredients, I’ve started making the dough, sauce, and preparing the toppings…all for the grill. Another wonderful thing is to pop something you might normally bake and freeze for the little ones onto the grill while you’re enjoying your meal and closing the lid.

Process

Pizza Sauce

INGREDIENTS
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
{I used organic, canned versions of the above, but pureeing and making your own would be great!}
1 TBS ground oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried minced garlic
1 tsp ground paprika

DIRECTIONS
Mix all together.

Pizza Dough

INGREDIENTS
1 cup warm water
1 tsp raw honey
1 TBS yeast
2.5-3 cups flour (I use spelt or whole wheat or a mixture of both.)
1 tsp sale
toppings of your choice
shredded cheese of your choice

DIRECTIONS
Dissolve yeast and honey in warm water and stir. Set aside until frothy (7-10 minutes).
Pour yeast mixture into large bowl and add salt and flour (slowly). Mix together. Add more flour if needed to make dough consistency.
Knead 5-10 minutes.
Let rise for thicker dough.

HOW TO COOK IN OVEN
(Adapt for your grilling on pizza stone or directly on grate. Use parchment paper under pizza placed directly on the grill, for easy transfers.)
Grease your pizza pan or stone with extra virgin coconut oil.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place kneaded dough on pan and spread. Add sauce, toppings, and cheese and cook for 25-30 minutes.
Blend olive oil and fresh garlic and spread with brush on the crust.

Grill-Baked Butternut Squash

  • Cut lengthwise down the middle.
  • Scoop out the seeds.
  • Lightly coat the exposed flesh of the squash with butter or olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Add cinnamon and/or nutmeg to spice it up a little bit.
  • Place cutside up on the grill and cook with lid closed until fork tender, about 1 hour.

What I Learned

I’ve made this quite a few times now and still haven’t quite perfected the soaking of the grains for the dough. It turns out quite chewy, but with a great taste. I’m still working on it, so if you have any tips, please share. You can also easily freeze this uncooked dough in freezer bags.

Reaction

The boys love pizza, much to my delight! It is something that I’m careful to cut into small bites, especially with the chewy dough, and this is not an easy task. The squash turned out well and I just stored it in the refrigerator. This made it easy to cut into bite-size pieces and warm up for a few lunches the rest of the weekend.

Summary

Homemade pizza is one of my favorites and personalizing it with your own toppings can give it that perfect taste your wanting. I love the yummy taste from the grill, but the recipe works well on the pizza stone in the oven too. We will continue to enjoy pizza this way through the fall and winter to come.