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Happy 2013

February 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Happy 2013

New Year’s stroll on the beach

February 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Strolling on the beach


Halloween 2012

February 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Gemma brought her own flair to her Karate costume when she found a sombrero, which she wore the rest of the evening.  Glad whoever the rightful owner was didn’t seem to mind.

Gemma on Halloween

Gemma … the Mariachi Karate Kid




Hot Flax Cereal with Berries

February 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Hot Flax Cereal with Berries

Hot Flax Cereal with Berries

Taming a Food-Thrower

February 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Speak of the Devil

Speak of the Devil

In keeping with the theme of this blog about experimentation I offer up my personal test of “the pop.”  You know, a pop on the hand or tail, meant to get your child’s attention and establish a negative association between their action and your response with the hopes they won’t repeat said bad behavior?  Gemma is now 20 months-old, but when she was even younger I began experimenting with a pop on the hand or tail, but questioned myself afterwards, especially when the only reaction I got was a giggle and smile.  She thought it was funny and a game, and I was teaching her to hit.  I abandoned this entry-level form of corporal punishment and began barking at Marco to do the same if he headed towards Gemma’s highchair when she began hurling food across the room.  ”No,” I said, “we’re teaching her to hit and it doesn’t do any good.”  At a loss, we became more stern, raised our voices and wagged our pointer fingers in her face when she threw her food (at every meal).  She continued to giggle, smile, smirk or just ignore us.

At a doctor’s appointment we mentioned our toddler’s rogue behavior, to which the doctor suggested we flick her on the cheek.  ”Really?  Flick her?  On the face?”  I asked.  ”Yep.”  Replied the doctor.  ”But I don’t think she will understand.  She seems to think being reprimanded is a game.” The doctor responded, “She is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong.”  The doctor, who has four children of her own went on to explain that some children are quite compliant (this comment led to an impromptu daydream where I imagined Gemma not trying to climb out of her stroller and shopping carts, not climbing up on the window sills and standing in chairs, not repeatedly trying to get into every cabinet, drawer or the toilets, and what seemed like a miracle too impossible to imagine … Gemma not throwing her food across the room).  I snapped back to reality to hear the doctor say that had one of their more unruly daughters been born first, she and her husband would have been thrown off thinking that’s just how toddlers are, but since their first-born was one of these so-called seemingly common as a unicorn, “compliant children”, they knew better.  Flicking the cheek would get their attention and thwart their renegade behavior.  I was a little disturbed by the idea, but mostly intrigued.

That night at dinner Gemma picked at her dinner and of course began hurling her food across the room.  Marco marched over to her highchair, scolded her with a strong “no!” and flicked her on the cheek.  Cue the waterworks.  She cried like a … well … a baby.  We both began explaining to her she needed to eat her food not throw it while trying to soothe her.  We felt terrible.  After dinner Marco unexpectedly flicked my cheek.  ”Ow!”   Cheek flicking has shock value for sure.  It hurts.  But it hasn’t kept our headstrong toddler from throwing her food.  Instead, she continued to throw her food and when we scolded her she would sort of  slap herself in the face like “this is what they do when I throw food.”  Seeing her make that association for the first time was a cringe-worthy parenting moment for sure.  Like she’s thinking “When I throw food, Mommy and Daddy hit me in the face.”  And she demonstrated this new association she’d made many times … well, as many times as she would throw her food, which was a lot.

Marco’s mom was visiting us from Italy and the first time she saw Gemma hit herself in the face she was understandably alarmed.  ”Who is doing that to her?”  ”Is that happening at school?”  she asked.  Marco and I looked at each other … “umm … no … she learned that from … us.”  I’ve never been so anxious to explain something in all my life.  I let Marco do the honors to be sure nothing was lost in translation.  To-date at nearly 22 months-old she’s still throwing her food, altough thankfully not hitting herself in the face afterwards, which Marco and I appreciate.  But alas … the name of this blog entry is a bit misleading because our food-thrower has not been tamed.

Kitchen Sink Pasta

February 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Healthy pasta salad in no time

Healthy pasta salad in no time

Fortunately my husband has a flexible schedule and is often home for lunch, but some days I am just not ready to feed all of us, especially when I get a surprise visit.  In a pinch, today I pulled together pasta and broccoli left-overs from the fridge, opened a can of organic black soy beans (which are really brown), added some feta cheese, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice … and lunch was served.  And it was delicious, if I do say so myself!

Miso Hungry

February 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Simple homemade miso soup

Simple homemade miso soup

Miso soup is one of the most nourishing dishes I can think of.  When I eat it I feel like my body is literally soaking up its nutrients.  Miso soup in restaurants can be tasty, but it could come from a pre-made mix loaded with sodium.  Making it from scratch is quick, easy, and gives you peace of mind that you know what’s in it, and it’s all good!  Here’s how you make it:

Miso Soup

Water – 4 cups

3-4 tbsps of wakame seaweed

Extra firm or firm tofu

Soy sauce (low sodium)

Miso paste

Chopped scallions

Cut your tofu in cubes, place in pot of boiling water along with seaweed.  Lower to medium heat.  Let the tofu become saturated and seaweed soften (about 5 minutes).  Take 1-2 tbsp of miso paste and in a separate bowl and add warm water.  Not boiling because you don’t want to destroy the nutritional benefits of the miso.  Miso contains healthy probiotic bacteria which is good for your gut and immune system and boiling water will kill the bacteria.  Mix the miso well separately and once your other ingredients in the pot are no longer boiling mix in the miso paste.  Mix everything well and add soy sauce to taste.  Chop your scallions and add.  Voila!  Healthy, delicious miso soup from scratch … in about 10 minutes!


February 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 



Creamy Lentil-Chick Pea Soup

February 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Quick and satisfying

Soups are easy, so I make them … A LOT.  Lentils cook quickly so this soup was ready in no time.  I’ll attempt to provide measurements, but I tend to be a dash of this and sprinkle of that kind of cook.  I’ll ballpark my ingredients the best I can but know seasonings you add should be to-taste … to your taste.

Creamy Lentil-Chick Pea Soup

Yellow lentils (one small bag from Trader Joe’s … or perhaps two cups)

Chick peas – one can or if fresh, one cup (but they must be soaked for literally days first)

Baby Spinach and kale mix (I added an entire container of pre-washed greens)

Cherry tomatoes – 10 or so

Salt (iodized sea salt) – 2 tsps

Pepper – a dash or to-taste

Toasted sesame oil – 2 tbsps

Cover the lentils and chick peas in water, bring to boil, add tomatoes, greens and reduce to low simmer.  Add salt, pepper and toasted sesame oil.  Cover and cook.  Should be ready to eat within 30 minutes.

The lentils and chick peas create a nice foundation, the greens provide additional nutrition and color and the cherry tomatoes add a nice tangy pop.  Rather than biting into a whole cherry tomato I chose to use my immersion blender to blend them and the greens in with the soup.  Blend to the consistency you prefer.

And there you have it!  Make a nice side salad and din-din is ready!


January 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment