Jennifer's blog

Maddie’s Ultimate Blueberry Banana Smoothie

In honor of Spring, and 22 days and counting into our breakfast challenge, Maddie has come up with the ultimate smoothie recipe. Absolutely indulgently delicious, and chalk full of potassium, antioxidants, and good-for-you fats, the word straight from Maddie’s kitchen: ”You gotta make this...SOO good with the coconut milk and honey!!”

For protein, you can add yogurt, protein powder (whey or hemp both taste great and add protein punch) or a side of whole grain toast and nut butter.

Please forgive us if you are still trapped in the snow (in which case, stick with hot oatmeal, and file this away for a couple of months!), in Austin it hit 90 degrees last week...

 

Blueberry Banana Smoothiewhole grain toast with nut butter

Children's Appendicitis: Questions We Parents Fret About (but May be too Afraid to Ask)

Breaking news: appendectomies are actually a very popular topic of conversation in the right circles. Of all the blogs on kids health I have ever posted, or stories I have ever recounted to fellow parents, this one was absolutely one of the most popular, and word traveled fast... After my son’s appendectomy, everyone from teachers at my son’s school to heads of companies (and not coincidentally, dads and moms) approached us to ask, “What exactly were the symptoms again? Will I be able to tell in time if my child has appendicitis? Would my child die if their appendix ruptured?”

I thought I would turn proverbial lemons into lemonade with our recent ER visit and write a small series of blogs on appendicitis, since our recent firsthand experience seems to have struck a chord with many parents. This time, the second blog, I wanted to take a few minutes to calm fears and dispel myths...

BREAKFAST CHALLENGE SUCCESS: French Toast with Fruit

I forget how quick French toast really is to make. It combines the protein of the eggs with the complex carbohydrates of the bread, which satisfies the protein - complex carbohydrate balance that feeds little one’s brain. Equally important, he loves it!
This recipe is easily modifiable for food sensitivities and preferences, and feels like a treat to my son. With nearly 12 grams of protein per slice, this is a breakfast that seems like a decadent treat, and still gives us the protein/complex carbohydrate balance we’re looking for. This recipe is my variation on a wonderful Good Housekeeping recipe (thanks, Delish.com for posting!) that we’ve amended to accomodate my son’s favorite ingredient (cinammon, cinammon, cinammon!), and his food sensitivities.

Breakfast Challenge Day 1: Healthy Breakfast Suggestions

Well, the breakfast challenge began today, with a not-so-inspired but healthy breakfast in our house of sprouted grain (Ezekiel) bread with nut butter and a pear (at least part of a pear). My assistant, Maddie’s household had a more inspired start -- with a new kind of smoothie -- inspired, she tells me, by a magic bullet infomercial. (I love those things!)

We’ll be including our favorite recipes as we go along this month, but this morning’s realization was that, as with any game, I probably should start with a game plan. Here’s a list of possible breakfast options -- so I don’t have to think TOO hard first thing in the morning.

Suggestions for Healthy Breakfasts

Oatmeal with fruit -- use milk or almond milk to cook the oatmeal for protein, stir in your child’s favorite fruit (a little dried fruit often such as dried apricots and raisins goes over well in my house), and sweeten with a bit of real maple syrup.

The 30-day Breakfast Challenge

The Shame

I’ve been taking a lot of heat lately -- from my own parents, and my mother-in-law -- and the truth is, I deserve it. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that’s how I was raised (and both behavioral and cognitive studies on children agree!)... and yet...

Too many mornings we are racing to the car with a toaster waffle or granola bar in hand. Lunch, dinner, we have raised a beautifully balanced eater (throw a little sauce on his greens and he’ll down anything from broccoli to kale), but breakfast? Well, suffice it to say, we haven’t raised much of a breakfast eater, and both sets of grandparents have noticed.

The Importance of Breakfast

Maddie’s Amazing Fever-Reducing, Headache-Calming, Belly-Soothing, Health Drink

When my assistant Maddie came to me and said her 3 year old daughter wouldn’t drink any of the teas I had prescribed for her recent illness, I was surprised. I’d even gotten arrogant -- I mean Chinese herbs, they’re usually yucky, no surprises there. Its really a matter of gentle insistence -- after some gentle but firm encouragement the first few times, my son associates them with getting better (his mother is also an herbalist, so for better or worse he’s had to indulge me). But teas with sweet slippery elm and honey? Sickeningly sweet loquats? Ginger tea? I hadn’t met the child who wasn’t a taker.

The Many Uses of Witch Hazel

My assistant tells me yesterday about her aunt’s mother: how every morning of her adult life, she would soak cotton balls in witch hazel and place them on her eyes while she laid on the ground and did her stretches for about 30mins.  Since my assistant is now worried that age is getting the better of her eyes (I personally doubt it, her skin is as good as my seven-year-old’s), she’s wondering if she can co-opt this old-time remedy...

Drooling and Fussy: How to Soothe a Teething Baby

When a dear friend calls and says that her angelic little baby boy, now four months old has turned into a slightly less angelic version of himself, a little drooling fussy version who only wants the breast (thatʼs not how she worded it actually, thatʼs all me, remembering the days of teething myself -- my son had it BAD), I breathe a deep sigh for her...and for me, because, whenever I think its time to expand my sweet family, memories of teething encourage me to circular file that thought. (holding a baby, on the other hand, has the exact opposite effect...)

Christmas Cookie Crisis: Kids Stomachache Remedies

We do our best — really. Every year, we go into the holidays eating healthfully, raiding the winter greens from our garden, concocting healthy soups, wearing our scarves (and yes, I’ve even gotten better about making my son wear his coat — for more on this, see my Paris blog on his runny nose…) And every year, about one week from Christmas, it all falls apart. Even when we put a healthy dinner on the table at home, he’s already eaten too many pecan sandies and mint chocolate brownies at the school winter faire to do anything besides pick at it. And try as I might, I never manage the resolve to say no to all of his holiday indulgences — perhaps because I’m not saying no either. Try telling your son to lay off the cookies when you’ve just stuffed your third scoop of peanut butter blossom cookie batter into your mouth.

The “Eddy Test”… and Other Signs of Appendicitis in Children

It’s 6pm, after 33 hours of traveling home from Vietnam (yes, I counted, for good measure), and I step into the Austin Airport. I’ve been gone for 10 days, which feels like double any time I cross the international dateline from where my son lives. He’s seven now, and occasionally I try out the theory of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” for an exotic girls’ trip or for work, but when he reports via Skype that, “Mommy, I can’t find the fun in life without you,” I’m ready to go home. So when he’s not at the security exit, jumping up and down, I’m surprised. When neither he nor my husband is at baggage claim either, I am, admittedly, slightly disappointed — and slightly irritable.

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