Three Winter Recipes

I haven’t posted any recipes lately, so today I thought I would share 3 winter recipes. All of these recipes feature seasonal produce grown locally here in Oregon and maybe where you’re from, too! All of them are simple and comforting. In the first two recipes, winter vegetables are the stars. Both are a great way to work more winter vegetables into your kids’ meals. And as you know, I’m a big fan of vegetables.

Stuffed Winter Squash

The pile of winter squash that we had held over from our fall harvest CSA share inspired this recipe. We were still working on eating up all the winter squash and root vegetables for several weeks after the CSA pickup ended, which was nice. This recipe used a couple of those squash, as well as being a very effective way to clean out our fridge. I looked at a few recipes online to get an idea of proportions for the filling, but in the end I just winged it, and it turned out great. Both Husband and BabyC enjoyed this dish, too.

This recipe makes a main dish for 4. Consider this recipe a jumping-off point and modify to fit your preferences and what you have on hand. I think you really can’t go wrong with this one. If your kids are old enough to help, you can even ask them to brainstorm what would go well in the squash and allow them to create their own recipe. Want to add some raisins? Apples? Chick peas? Cheerios? Sure, no problem! Continue reading

A Quiet Holiday, Toddler-Style

It is Christmas Day, and BabyC is taking a peaceful morning nap, her tummy full of blueberry pancakes and Mama’s milk. She is 13 months old, and I wonder if she noticed anything special about this morning. Daddy didn’t have to go to work, and the three of us snuggled in bed for a few extra minutes this morning. Then Daddy made breakfast, and BabyC and I played with her grandmother.

BabyC happened upon a gift bag and slowly explored it. It was a 30 minute process. The bag contained 4 pieces of wooden play food, each wrapped in tissue paper. BabyC pulled out the first piece, slowly unwrapped it, and examined it. It was a piece of wooden swiss cheese, and she stuck her finger into each of its little holes. She shook the tissue paper around, listening to the noise it made. Then she picked up both the paper and the piece of wooden cheese and took them on a lap around the house, as if introducing them to their new home. Finally, she saw the gift bag again, and it seemed to occur to her that there was something else inside. She pulled out another piece and repeated the process. She has not yet learned to open an entire gift at once. Instead of finding the limits of the gift first, she was truly enjoying every part of it. And I think she has no idea that there are probably 10 more gifts for her under the tree. There was no, “what’s next?” after opening her gift, and we didn’t push another one on her. Instead, we had breakfast together and then started winding down for her nap.

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Fruits vs. Veggies: Are They “Nutritionally Equivalent?”

As I was researching the topic of how to encourage kids to eat more vegetables, I kept running across statements that fruits and vegetables were basically interchangeable, like this one from child feeding expert Ellyn Satter’s site.

Fruits and vegetables carry the same nutrients, so a child can be well-nourished on either.”

I’m currently reading Ellyn Satter’s book “Child of Mine,” about feeding children, and finding it full of good insight. I like her philosophy, and I’m not trying to call her out by checking the validity of her statement. Many many great nutritionists offer a similar reassurance to parents who worry about their child’s aversion to vegetables. Dietician Jill Castle did in her comment on my veggie post. (I love her blog, by the way – full of good feeding advice – and she’s working on a book!) Any good child feeding expert will tell parents to, above all, not worry too much about whether their child eats vegetables or even fruits for that matter. Don’t worry, because there is only so much you can do (which I outlined in my post), but beyond that, you can’t force a child to eat anything. Having any emotional investment in that idea will almost certainly backfire. So telling parents that fruits are basically as good as vegetables helps them relax at the dinner table, which is a good thing.

But, being the nutrition nerd that I am, I wondered about this purported “nutritional equivalence” of fruits and vegetables and wanted to look at the numbers myself. Continue reading

Some Random Thoughts on Feeding a 13-month-old

Last week, I wrote about how to encourage a toddler to eat more vegetables. That article got some really wonderful comments from experienced parents and from professionals in the field of nutrition. If you haven’t read the comments on that article, I encourage you to go check them out. The comments are at least as interesting and informative as the article itself. I am really grateful for these comments. I love writing for such a smart and thoughtful audience, and I love when a post can start a good discussion.

I’ve been working on a post to compare the nutrient composition of common fruits vs. vegetables in response to one of those comments, but let’s face it – things get hectic this time of year. That post will be finished in the next couple of days – sometime after I’ve gotten the rest of my gifts mailed off and planned our meals for the next week. In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about food a lot and thought I’d take a few minutes to jot down some of my random thoughts on the current mealtime state-of-affairs with my 13-month-old BabyC: Continue reading

A Dozen Things Reference Books Won’t Teach You About Raising A Baby (Guest Post from Kristine Wise)

I’m so excited to roll out ScienceofMom’s first ever guest post today! I love the idea that this blog can be a platform for the voices of other parents. In today’s sweet post, Dr. Kristine Wise touches on many of the joys and challenges of first-time parenting, and I’m sure you can relate! I met Kristine when we were both students in the doctoral program in Nutrition at UC Davis, and last year we gave birth to our first children about one month apart. She is a scientist, a teacher, a runner, an amazing cook, a steadfast friend (as in the kind who calls you up after 6 months have slipped by since you last talked and says, “ahem, we need to catch up!”), and now a fabulous mother. Her post is focused on the surprising lessons she’s learned as a stay-at-home mom. Any working moms want to weigh in with their experiences?

A Dozen Things Reference Books Won’t Teach You About Raising A Baby

Guest Post by Kristine Wise, PhD

Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mom. I’ve always loved kids and years of babysitting taught me at least the basics of child care. I knew you had to cradle a baby’s neck, I’d changed diapers, and I still remember how important my blanky was to me for many (probably too many) years. I have a wonderful role model in my own mom who makes mothering look easy and fun, so I thought being a stay-at-home mom would be, if not easy, then at least a natural fit for me. In the short year since ET was born he has taught me more than I ever imagined, and I wouldn’t trade being a stay-at-home mom for anything. However, it’s not always fun, and it’s definitely never easy, and at times I still question my qualifications. Here are a dozen of the unexpected lessons I’ve learned and observations I’ve made. Continue reading

How Can I Encourage My Baby or Toddler to Eat More Vegetables?

This post is my answer to a friend’s concern about her 11-month-old, who refuses to eat most vegetables. It is such a universal concern that, with her permission, I turned it into a blog post. She writes:

“My 11-month-old is a pretty good eater when it comes to everything but veggies. He can sift through a bite in his mouth and spit out only the vegetables. I am trying not to add salt or oil or cheese to the vegetables, but he hates them! (Sweet potatoes/yams are okay, and once in a while peas, too.) Any suggestions on how to incorporate vegetables into his diet?”

I think just about every parent wishes her child would eat more vegetables. We found that BabyC became much more selective about what she ate right around 11 months, and there was a noticeable drop in her vegetable intake at that time.

When all else fails, put veggies on the floor. BabyC finds food on the floor more trust-worthy and interesting than food on her high chair tray.

We all want our kids to eat well today (or at least on average over the week), but we also want them to form healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. Are there any strategies we can use to get our babies and toddlers to eat more vegetables? Luckily, there is a ton of interesting research on this topic. Continue reading

10 Things I Don’t Want to Forget About My First Year of Motherhood

BabyC turned 1 a few weeks ago. I have been in denial about this milestone. I’m still calling her my baby, even though she is acting every bit a toddler. It is bittersweet for me, this crossing of threshold from baby to toddler. I will be a mother for the rest of my life, but this first year of motherhood has been so full of joy, sometimes found in surprising places, that I don’t want to forget any of it. But already, it feels like such a blur. How many moments have passed when I have paused and told myself, “don’t forget this one!”? How many times have I felt so overwhelmed with love that I have wished I was a poet or a painter so that I could distill the way this baby girl makes me feel, so that I could somehow conjure up the feeling again, next year or decades later?

So, before I forget, there are a few things that I want to be sure to remember about my first year as a mother:

1. The way BabyC looked at me with instant recognition the first time I held her. Whether it was my voice, my smell, or my touch, she immediately relaxed in my arms and looked up at me, confidently. Me? I was a wreck. Continue reading

Can a Stay-at-Home Mom Raise a Feminist Daughter?

A few weeks ago, there was a great discussion on Wandering Scientist about how two working parents can fairly balance the work of raising children and keeping a home up and running. This got me thinking about how Husband and I split the work in our household, where we have a clear division of labor right off the bat: Husband works outside of the home, and I stay at home with BabyC. Our division of labor is not equal, but is it fair? Could we do better?

When Husband and I met, we were in medical and graduate school and usually had similar workloads. We shared cooking and cleaning fairly equally then. During our 2+ years of marriage prior to the birth of BabyC, Husband and I both worked long hours, but as an emergency medicine resident, he worked slightly more and in a more emotionally draining job. Much of the housework shifted towards me during this time. I would usually spend one of my days off cleaning, shopping, and cooking, and Husband would spend a day catching up on sleep or occasionally playing golf. This bothered me a bit then, but I assumed that things would re-equilibrate once Husband’s workload lightened after residency. Of course, I should have known that nobody’s workload would lighten once we added a baby to our family. Continue reading