Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Where does the poetry go?

This is apparently what I look like when I am stressed. Thanks to Jeremy for capturing this moment when I thought I was going to fall to my death.  

Where does the poetry go
when stress moves in
creeping through the edges
of each door I close
daring to breach
the solace of my dreams
covering me
heavy and leaden
tucked tight
against my will?
Where do the words escape to
when my head goes fuzzy
cluttered with
to-do lists,
lesson plans,
the din of others
so thick
that I can no longer decipher
the tenor of my own voice?
Is there a place
where the poetry
and words
while I fumble
through life
wondering why
they escape me?
If only
I could live
in that place
week and weekend alike,
summer and winter,
at home and at work,
alone and in company,
so steeped in their presence
that the words
become my breath
and the poetry
becomes my blood.
I am breathless
my verse broken
each word
a stretch
for the serenity
that lies out of reach.
Who am I
without the poetry
and the words?

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tasty Bites: Almond Flour Pancakes

I am the person who will talk to you in the grocery line.  I just can't resist.  If you are buying something interesting, I want to know what you do with it.  It's honestly not all that more awkward than standing next to each other in silence pretending not to read the Enquirer titles.

So the other day when I saw the person in front of me piling no fewer than five bags of almond flour onto the conveyor, I had to ask.  It turns out that in lieu of gluten, she uses almond flour in just about everything---cakes, breads and. . .pancakes!  Cue the light bulb.  I was immediately smitten and planning our next pancake breakfast.  Why did I not think of this sooner?  In an effort to create a low carb dessert, Jeremy has perfected some almond flour pie crusts (which, incidentally, are totally yummy) but that's about as far as we took it.  Almond flour pancakes packed with healthy fats and protein. . .now that is something to get excited about.

An internet search yielded a variety of recipe choices so, as usual, I created a little hybrid:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just A Little Tipsy: Sneaking vitamins into your Mac & Cheese

I happen to love Jessica Seinfeld's book Deceptively Delicious.  Siena loves her vegetables most of the time but when the end of the week rolls around, our vitamin checklist is looking naked and she is in a mood, I am so not above slipping some extra veggie purees in the spaghetti sauce.

Anyhow, one of my favorites of hers is the Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash (the recipe is actually featured on her site and the homemade cheese sauce is easy and quick to make).  But you know how some nights easy and quick just isn't enough?  The nights when you can just about muster the strength to open a box?  Yeah, those happen to me too.  A lot.

So here's my tipsy: Stock up on a few cartons of butternut squash soup (sans sugar is best in my opinion) and in lieu of milk, mix it into your kiddo's mac and cheese.  Siena absolutely LOVES this and has never noticed the difference.  It's a win-win.  She gobbles it up like a treat and I get to inwardly smirk with the knowledge that she is scarfing down a healthy dose of Vitamin A (the one I find most difficult to check off the checklist each week).

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Just a Little Tipsy: A vitamin checklist

I am the mother who bought all organic produce and pureed all of my baby's food for the first year.  I sent her to daycare with her little bag of lunch food because I didn't want her eating anything of uncertain origin.  Then Siena turned one and simultaneously discovered that 1) she did not want to eat most of what I made and 2) she didn't have to.  Ack!  The first in a string of lessons in letting go was realizing that I would no longer be in complete control over what she ate, that I would need to learn to let the kid have a fruit snack now and then and that I needed to shift my gaze from every bite to the bigger picture.  Having spoken with Siena's pediatrician at length over what vitamins my little toddler required, he suggested that instead of stressing about getting her every vitamin every day that I should think of the vitamin requirements over the course of the week.

And this is when I developed one of my favorite little Mommy tools: A vitamin checklist.  Adapted from a list of vitamins (and corresponding foods) toddlers require found in the Williams-Sonoma Cooking for Baby Cookbook, I made myself a little checklist, laminated it and stuck it to the fridge.  Each week, I use a dry-erase marker to check off food items in each vitamin category and monitor what hasn't been taken care of yet.  In this way, I am able to incrementally chip away and even with a busy schedule, can quickly assess what she has been eating a lot of and what she still needs.  Hurray for the little things!

I am happy to share if anyone is interested in a copy.  :)  Just post a comment with your email address and I'll send it along to you.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nutritious Cookies Take 2 (AKA Yum!)

For those of you who haven't been following, I am in hot pursuit of a recipe for nutritious cookies that I can feel good about feeding my family and still actually want to eat.  Last week's first attempt at making the Runner's Kitchen recipe for "Best vegan cookies. . .ever!" was kind of a debacle, mostly due to the disastrous choice to use 100% cacao in the hopes that the other sugar (which I felt was a bit high already) in the recipe would compensate.  Not so, as evidenced by the sad words of my 3-yr-old daughter, Siena: "Mommy, this chocolate tastes bad".  Epic fail.

Anyhow, this weekend I'm back on the saddle and Siena is ready for another tasting, brave little one that she is.  I chose to return to the same recipe, only this time with a few important changes:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nutritious Cookies: Take 1 (AKA "Mommy, this chocolate tastes bad.")

I have been wanting to try these cookies since stumbling upon them on a random webquest for healthy cookies. (Worth a shot, right?).  When a friend later posted this recipe on a discussion thread we were having regarding healthy eating tips (Mahalo Kelly for the inspiration!), I decided it had been fated and to Whole Foods I must go!  I have to admit that I tend to avoid Whole Foods.  Something about that store just sends me into the grocery version of a shark's feeding frenzy.  I can lose hours in there, circling the beautifully displayed culinary treasures, poring over labels and generally salivating over everything.  Inevitably, however, I walk out of the store with one bag of random items that in no way adds up to a meal despite adding up to a small fortune. (By the way, if you haven't already you have got to check out this hilarious video: Whole Foods Parking Lot.  "Pay my 80 bucks for six things and get the heck out."  Love it.  I can so relate.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reflections of a mother/teacher: Are we raising humans or test scores?

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." -Albert Einstein
As I drove my daughter Siena to her first day of preschool, I watched her clutch the two pictures she crafted enthusiastically and unprompted for each of her teachers. I saw the hope and excitement in her eyes and internally, I felt myself cringe.  School, in her eyes, is a wide open world of possibilities, a limitless terrain of new discoveries. As an educator, I wish desperately that she were right, yet I fear that indeed this is becoming less and less the case.