My 1 Year Pin

Diet Coke in a locker

 

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a Diet Coke addict. I mentioned this to a friend yesterday, and he supplied me with this picture from HIGH SCHOOL, 13 years ago. See? Proof. My college roommate claims that I used to wake up and drink a soda with breakfast. Soda instead of water, basically.

Deep down, I always “knew” that diet sodas were about the worst thing I could put in my body, but it wasn’t until I watched this documentary that I was scared straight. Scared, as in, quit cold turkey the next day. I realized that the “DIE” in Diet is more literal than I had thought.

And it was HARD. I mean, for the first month after I gave up Diet Coke, I actually had dreams about driving through at McDonalds just to get a cold icey soda. Seriously?!

It has now been 1 year since I have had a DROP of Diet Coke. I think that I have had one or two diet sodas over the past twelve months, and that’s even enough to get me craving it again. It’s crazy how addictive diet soda is (spoiler alert: it’s not the caffeine that’s addictive!). I know that diet sodas are a slippery slope for me, and that I have to stay completely away from them.

Here’s to the rest of my life, remaining diet soda free!

Should 2 Year Olds Have Birthday Parties?

2 year old partyAt some point in time, every parent wonders how they should approach birthdays. As a family, for the last 4 birthdays in a row, we have paid very close attention to the boys’ birthdays. I’ve thrown a Old MacDonald Party, Basketball Party, Dump Truck Party and a Train Party.

For AJ’s 2nd birthday party however, we just invited the family over for some hotdogs and potato salad. My mom let us use leftover cake from Easter, and we picked up a chocolate cupcake at a bakery for AJ. In total, we had only 5 or 6 presents tops.

No guests. No decorations. No games. No fancy cake.

And you know what? It was just as much fun! For me, it was probably even MORE fun. Sure, we did a little bit of extra cleaning throughout the day, paying special attention to a good deep cleaning of the deck, but we were probably going to do that anyways. Because I wasn’t stressed out about guests and decorations, I was able to relax and enjoy myself! I didn’t realize that a small part of me was dreading birthdays because of all the “work” involved.

And our 2 year old loved all the attention during his birthday song. He was so hilarious while he ate his cupcake that he actually had quite a large audience gathered around him for the better part of an hour. Get this– he divided the cupcake in half, right down the center, and didn’t touch the other half (not even the frosting!) until he was finished with the first half. We even tried to rotate the cupcake when he wasn’t looking, but he just reached his hand over and continued to eat from the opposite side. See what I mean about how he marches to the beat of his own drummer?

The entire time we sang, he gave us coy smiles.

Aj happy over cake

Aj clapping over cake

Once we blew out the candles, the drama began. We attempted to take the candles out, but he screamed, “NONONO!” as loud as he could muster.

AJ crying over cake 2

AJ crying over cake 3

AJ crying over cake 4

Finally, he tasted a little bit of frosting and calmed down 🙂 See if you can spot Gregory’s “gollum-face” in this next picture as he eyes AJ’s chocolate cake.

AJ eating cake with Gregory watching

AJ coy face at birthday

AJ messy cake face 3 signature

AJ messy cake face 1 signature

AJ opening presents 1

AJ opening presents 2

 

What about you? Do you host parties every year for your kids?

Vegan and Gluten-Free Banana Bread

Vegan Gluten Free Banana Bread

 

Yesterday, my 3 year old was watching Daniel Tiger and they made banana bread together. As they finished singing a song about baking a “Love Cake”, Gregory turned to me and said, “I wanna bake Dadda a Love Cake.”

How can you say no to that, right? So I pulled up Anna’s recipe and made a few tweaks. I switched out brown rice flour, because I was out of almond flour. I used almond milk instead of coconut, and honey instead of maple syrup. I’m into coconut sugar lately, mainly because it’s not as sweet but still gets the job done without spiking my blood sugar levels! Win!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a separate bowl. I put the bowl on a low stool so that my 3 year old could stir 🙂

2. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl.

3. Combine the last 4 ingredients in a mixer. Slowly stir in the banana chunks, stir until smooth.

4. Heat the coconut oil in a small saucepan until melted, then add it in.

5. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients, stir until smooth.

6. Spread mixture into a pan greased with coconut oil.

Let me say, this banana bread tastes like dessert with hardly ANY of the glycemic side effects. (especially if you use almond flour instead!). But when my 3 year old presented this to his Dad, singing “I baked you a LO-VE cake!”, it tasted pretty darn sweet.

A perfect dessert, if you ask me.

Recipe: Easy Pad Thai Quinoa Casserole

Pad Thai Casserole cover

Jesse and I absolutely LOVE Thai Food. This should be no secret. We’ve created a Thai Quinoa Casserole and a Curry Recipe in the past few months.

But Pad Thai takes takes 20 minutes standing over a hot stove while 4 boys run around, bumping into you. Yikes! In busy household time, 10 minutes of prep plus 20 minutes of frying is the equivalent of impossible.

So our family is super into casseroles. Whenever we can find a recipe we like, we attempt to casser-fy it. Pad Thai is my absolute favorite Thai dish, and I order it 90% of the time when we go out. So I decided it was time for a casserole version!

Here it is! Voila!

 

Easy Pad Thai Quinoa Casserole

Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 7 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Pre-cooked chicken chopped into small pieces (we make a batch at the beginning of the week and use for everything) or tofu if you’re vegan

1 cup rinsed quinoa

1 cup chicken broth (or veggie if you’re vegan)

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup chopped green onions

2 cups shredded cabbage

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup all natural peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce, (gluten-free is almost impossible to find, so we skip this)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (use agave if vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • t tsp. chili garlic sauce

For garnish:

  • 1/4 cup crushed peanuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water for 7 minutes. It will be undercooked.

3. While the quinoa is boiling, combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat and stir until combined.

4. Combine the cabbage, carrots, chicken and onions in a casserole dish. Add the quinoa and chicken broth and stir together with a fork. Add the peanut sauce and stir again.

5. Cook for 30 minutes.

6. Garnish with cilantro and chopped peanuts! Enjoy!

Pad Thai Casserole 2

 

Pad Thai Casserole 4

 

And, of course, here was Dinner #2 for the picky “under 5” crowd in our family 🙂

Pad Thai Casserole 3