Quinoa scones

 

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

Sunday afternoon was dragging, and the wee tot was really hanging on the side of my leg. It seemed I couldn’t do anything without her pulling, grabbing, and whining while wandering around me. I was getting pretty tired of the rain outside, and the hubs and I weren’t feeling like tossing her in the car and heading out for an adventure. So I decided some tasty baking was in order!

I gave my daughter a slice of toast the other day with a barely there coating of strawberry jam and her new favorite word quickly became “toast.” I really can’t have bread around the house (I end up eating half the loaf while standing in the kitchen with slabs of butter hoping no one will catch me). I love quinoa and try to find ways to sneak the uber-healthy grain into everything. I found a basic scone recipe and decided to marry the two – quinoa scones with a dollop of strawberry jam. My wee tot thoroughly enjoyed squishing together the butter and flour and then helping cut circles with the cooking cutter. And, she also added just a little drop of jam to the top of each scone – while enjoying a couple of spoonfuls, too!

Yum.

Ingredients

1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa

2 cups flour

1/2 cup cool butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

dash of salt

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

1/2 cup milk

Your favorite kind of jam

How to make them

Measure all your dry ingredients and add them to a bowl and give a good stir. Make sure there aren’t any lumps and bumps. You can also preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a sheet tray with a piece of parchment paper.

Now you can cut up your cool butter and start crumbling the dry ingredients and the butter together. I say ditch the fork method and get busy with your hands! Or, get the kids to wash their hands and have them squish and squash until your dough is the consistency of course crumbs.

Add the quinoa, vinegar, and milk and stir until incorporated. You don’t want to mess around with the dough too much – it makes it more like little bundles of bread instead of little crumbly bundles of goodness!

Turn the dough out onto a lightly dusted work space and gently press and form the dough until it is about 2 inches think. Go ahead and start cutting out scones and putting them on your tray. You can use whatever shape you’d like – and this is another great opportunity to get your kids in the kitchen to help! Just make sure to leave a bit of space between each scone on your sheet pan.

Now make a thumbprint in each scone and fill with a small spoonful of your favorite jam. Once again, wonderful occasion to get the kiddies in the kitchen and scoop and drop their favorite flavor of jam!

Toss the scones in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes. Once they are golden brown and lovely, remove and let cool before eating. Really, make sure to let them cool. Hot jam isn’t great on the tongue!

Enjoy

Bye-bye baba

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

I started out this month with some pretty high hopes of getting the babe started on a couple of big transitions. My plans included getting rid of paci (I’m so not a fan – but the wee tot is), really starting potty-training, and no more babas. Yeah, we call the warm milk bottle at the end of the day a “baba” and that baba needed to go. The thing is, I think I want baba time more than the babe does.

Hmph.

During our last well-check, my pediatrician asked about the big bottle, “You aren’t still giving her a bottle, right?” Right, right.

Okay, so I lied. Are you going to tell on me?

I fully understand the baba could cause teeth issues, icky stomach stuff, and baby addiction problems. But, I sure like those few moments where I get to snuggle up with the babe. She’s SO active – it’s rare I get to wrap her up in a blanket and spend just a minute or two with her.

But, it’s time. The baba has to go.

So, yesterday, we picked up some big girl sippy-cups and figured it was as good a time as any to ditch those bottles. I tossed them far back in the cupboard behind the glasses, so the wee tot couldn’t see them, and handed her one of the new cups full of milk. She seemed happy enough – but that was the middle of the day.

Then, the true moment came. It was baba time.

I warmed some milk in the sippy-cup and offered it to the babe.

She took a couple swigs. Looked at it. Handed it to me, and said, “no baba.”

Well, bye-bye baba.

(I’ll miss you)

I think tonight we’ll try cozying up with a book before bed.

Sleep

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

I went to sleep last night at 9:00 pm. I don’t know the last time I’ve gone to sleep that early. It had been a long day and I was over-exhauseted, over-extended, and just plain tired.

While completely ignoring the husband’s taunts of being a party-pooper for going off to the cozy bed so early, I snuggled down and was snoring within five minutes.

Totally worth it.

I’ve been struggling with sleep stuff on and off for a couple of months now. I have no problem falling asleep, it’s a waking-in-the-middle-of-the-night-and-falling-back-into-dreamland issue. The husband snores, the baby cries, the cat yeooowls, and my eyes pop open and then won’t close again.

Most times this happens around 4:30am. This is that purgatory time of the morning. You’re stuck in that it’s-a-bit-too-early-but-not-really time. You could get up and start your day and be okay, but most normal people are still blissfully slumbering, and you know that, which makes things worse.

The National Sleep Foundation suggests that most adults need about seven to eight hours a sleep a night – but that it depends on the person, environment, elements….. Basically, they aren’t wanting to tell the general public a number so we all walk around touting that we deserve, should get, or need X amount of hours of sleep a night. But, I know I need at least six hours to function, and at least seven to fully understand sentences, feel confident driving a car, and not catch myself dream-walking through most of the day. If (and I say IF here because this option rarely happens) I get more than seven hours of sleep a night, it’s like being a new person. I feel like I was at the spa. It’s amazing.

So, last night when I slept for (wait, let me count on my fingers to make sure) just about nine hours, I am super ready for the day! Hell, I’m ready to take on the entire WEEK!

How much sleep do you get?

Healthful Mondays: It’s okay to say no

*this picture really doesn’t have much to do with this post, but I do love cupcakes and couldn’t resist.

It has been a long time coming. I’m happy with my life. I’m glad with what I’m doing and how I got here. I haven’t used anyone to get ahead, talked nasty, or trash-talked. And, along with that, I’ve gained a new life.

And, with that new life, I’ve learned how to say “no.”

I once had someone who I really respected (at that time) tell me that she wasn’t willing to continue working with me because I didn’t follow her lead – didn’t fit into her mold. I was so hurt by her comments because I had put so much trust in her, so much time. Then, my husband told me it was time to let go. That it was okay to say “no.”

And I did

And everything changed

I still have a really hard time saying “no” to adults. I have no problem telling my child “no” when the time is right. I think I understand that saying “no” to a child is something that only needs to be done in situations of emergency or extreme importance and it is not to be over used. But, when it comes to looking an adult in the eye and saying “no” – even a sugar-coated “no” – is still a bit hard for me.

You see, the guilt factor comes into play. Who am I to say “no” to a friend in need – that really could help themselves? How can I say “no” to someone who needs some extra time (which I know may end up taking all my time). What am I thinking saying “no” in the first place, right? I should be able to accommodate, help, assist, provide, entertain, and lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it, right?! RIGHT???!!!

No. I can’t.

And I won’t.

Sometimes tough love is the best love. This is hard to stick by, but sometimes offering no help is the best help. Sometimes it’s best to put first what is the most important, and sometimes that is you. You come first, and then whatever you find important next, and then next, and then next.

Hey, friends are great and all, but my family is definitely at the top of my list. I have to say “no” when they are put in harm’s way or when my time is going to be wasted. I have to say “no” when I think I may not be the best person to offer help, but that a professional or other loved ones may be better. I have to say “no” when I know by saying “yes” I will be led down a path that will drag me down down down into a bad place. I have to say “no” when I don’t think I am being asked to help for the right reasons.

So, the other day when another situation arose where I would’ve usually said “yes” (and there would have been bad results and things would have gone awry and I would’ve eventually become too involved and sucked in and ended up in a bad way), I said “no.”

And, everything is just fine, the world didn’t implode, things didn’t fall from the sky, and I went on with my day.

It’s okay to say “no.”

My jiggle-in-the-middle

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

While walking around the house the other day I noticed something unfamiliar. I looked down. Was I pregnant and hadn’t realized it? Had my dryer shrunk my clothes again? Did I put on my husband’s jeans by mistake? Hmmmm. Because all that jiggle and wiggle couldn’t be MY fault.

I reluctantly got out the scale and did a quick weight check.

OUCH.

Yes, the holidays were about a month ago and I admit to not doing much of anything to offset all that eating, drinking and general merriment. But, I eat healthy-tasty-home-cooked-organic-if-I-can-get-it food. Not that unhealthy calorie-laden bad stuff. So, I shouldn’t have this much junk in the trunk taking place.

Well, yeah. I did overindulge here and there. Who doesn’t around the holidays? I’m not looking to be Gisele Bundchen or anything. But I’d love my tummy not to jiggle (when I walk) and my tushy not to have that dimply-thing going on – you know what I’m talking about.

On top of discovering the gelatinous muffin top around my middle, it’s seriously the worst time of year for hitting the neighborhood to sneak in a quick morning jog before the hubs heads to work or enjoy a long walk with the babe in the stroller. It’s pretty rainy and dreary. I’d much rather cuddle up on the couch with a movie, a jar of peanut butter, and a box of crackers (oops, did I say that?).

There’s no excuse. It’s time for a home gym – or some sort of work-out-in-the-home plan. But, how to do that? Especially on a budget, because I’m not going to buy any fancy equipment or anything. My parents had stayed in our guest room/office, which I had spruced up before their visit. There’s no reason why it can’t be a happy, healthy workout space, too!

I enjoy doing yoga and Pilates, so invested in a nice mat and got out the big bouncy exercise ball that had been hiding in the garage. I found an article by my friends over at the Motherboard with some great home-gym suggestions, such as picking up window treatments and some nice plants for your work out space. After I hung the curtains and potted the plants, I got ready to feel the burn.

Here’s the thing, I’m just starting out on this whole home gym thing and am not planning on adding much more to my yoga mat and exercise ball. But, if you are, take into consideration the amount of space and location of your workout spot. Positioning a treadmill in the room above kido doesn’t make naptime a great time to get in a run. Also, home gym equipment takes up space – and is heavy! So, check out the lowdown on how many square feet are adequate for different types of pieces!

For now, I’m enjoying some great yoga and Pilates and hoping that all that stretching, bending, and posing will magically burn the fat off the back of my legs – and obliterate that jiggle-around-my-middle.

We’ll see.

Meditation and stuff

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

The other day I wrote an educational article about meditation, memory and the young developing mind, which got me thinking about meditation in general. I totally admit to not buying into the whole “pondering” thing, but have never tried meditating myself. I just don’t really have the time to sit in a quiet corner to chant and ring a bell for a couple of hours.

Yes, as you can see, I’m totally uneducated.

I love yoga, have spent my wad on acupuncture (when trying to get pregnant), and eat pretty healthy. But, the whole chanting-breathing thing just doesn’t bring to mind relaxation, memory building, or weight-loss assistance. It makes me think of feeling silly and time that could have been spent baking cake.

I do love cake.

So, imagine my surprise when I found some pretty positive research linking meditation with building healthy memory. I don’t know about you, but the idea of not remembering things scares the bejesus out of me. I have a hard enough time getting through the grocery store without a list. I would hate to miss out on memories of my child growing up later in life.

I totally can’t remember half of the 90’s (ugh).

One study I stumbled across suggested that spending 12 minutes daily practicing Kirtan Kriya meditation aided in promoting healthy brain function and building memory development. 12 minutes daily. Maybe it’s time I got over my silliness and spent some time meditating.

I think I can do that, right?

After picking a meditation spot (I put a pillow in the bathroom – yes, the bathroom. It’s quiet and I can shut – and lock – the door), getting all comfy-cozy, and setting a nice chiming timer for 12 minutes, I started following the directions for the meditation pose. Yup, I felt pretty foolish at first, but then, I started getting into it. I tried chanting out loud, silently, and then quietly. And, before I knew it, I was feeling pretty good.

In fact, really darn good! Then the chimer chimed, and I set off on my day.

I’m already looking forward to meditating tomorrow…

*And, yes, that is me meditating (I took the pic while finishing my morning chant). My husband thinks I look like I should be in a Sudafed commercial.

Healthful Mondays: Birthdays

It’s my daughter’s second birthday today and as much as I can’t believe she’s two, I can’t believe how the time flew. I used to snort when others would tell me how fast time goes with kids, and now I get it. I really get it.

My daughter is two today and the time has crashed by like a big-ol monster truck hell bent on crashing through whatever gets in its way.

It’s funny because I was just talking with my parents about things we remember and our first birthday memories. I seem to have some lacking areas of brain as most of my early birthday memories are nonexistent. I have fleeting glimpses of cakes, party hats, crying (because someone didn’t do what I wanted), and more cake. There was a pretty special Barbie cake one year….

As we get older we put so much pressure on the whole birthday thing. We spend our early years trying to be older and then our older years pretending to be younger. We lie about our age, throw grand galas for ourselves, or hide in the dark eating ice cream all alone watching movies about being alone the rest of our lives and then eat more ice cream (that hasn’t happened to me – really).

My husband’s birthday follows our daughter’s and then mine pops up a couple of months later. Both the hubs and I grumble about our birthdays and get haggard thinking about how “old” we are.

Bah.

Here’s the thing, we can’t stop time. We are all getting older and older and older. Instead of hiding in the corner and shoving chocolate down my throat, I’m going to embrace this whole birthday thing and set a positive example for my daughter.

So, when I was trying to figure out if we should do it up for the babe’s second birthday or just make a cake and let her go at it, I figured I’d opt for just the cake this year. She’s got lots and lots of years ahead of her for planning big gatherings and enjoying overwhelming sugar-crazed madness with her friends. Her future birthdays can be about if so-and-so is invited or if it’s time for that big overnight-birthday sleepover. I think this year I want her all to myself (and her dada, api and oh-mama). I’m being selfish and enjoying through her this year.

And, this way we all get cake, and you know how I love some good cake.

Happy Mondays: Living

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

This was a crazy weekend. Our daughter is at a stage where she doesn’t sleep because she’s afraid she might miss something. This means at 5:30 am I have a very awake and verbal babe in the other room going, “mama, mama, mama, mama……dada?” Your heart melts even though you’re so pissed about being awake at 5:30 am YET AGAIN.

So, this weekend, the husband had great plans for keeping the babe busy and awake during the day so she would sleep blissfully until 7:00 am – because that’s totally sleeping in for us. There were hopes of some morning hubs/wife time, coffee in bed, the child serenely awakening, you know, the whole happy-family thing. The husband and I made a list of all the fun items we needed while shopping and cozy-ed in for the night on Friday.

None of that happened.

None of it.

Bright and early Saturday morning (4:30 am) our daughter was awake and singing the ABC’s in her crib. The husband was still snoring, so I just waited it out. By the time he awoke at 5:30, she was singing itsy-bitsy spider pretty loudly and very off-key. Yes, cute, but not so cute when we had gone to sleep at 11 the night before. Oh, and I had been sprouting gray hairs since 4:45 am.

So, the husband did one of the most Amazing Things and took the babe upstairs so I could get a bit more sleep. In the almost two-years of our daughter’s life, he didn’t wake up once during the night to help feed or soothe her (mainly because he might be the soundest sleeper I have ever met). Which means I’m more than happy to let him hang with her a couple of uber-early mornings and not feel bad about it.

Then, we tried to run errands and didn’t make it far. Our back tires needed replacing, it was raining, the car was spinning. We also needed to meet with future-photography clients in the afternoon (with the child) and ended up having to ditch the shopping for tires.

Boring.

After we met with clients, got the baby to bed, and finally ate dinner, it was time to plan the next day. We had a model coming for a photo shoot, which meant the house needed cleaning, clothes selected, and ideas sorted out. It also meant getting the babe to really SLEEP. Otherwise the next day would be a disaster.

Well, 5:00 am rolled around and the ABC’s came tra-la-laaaaaaaaing out of the babe’s room, which almost went to the beat of the hubs snoring. I grabbed the wee tot, tossed her in the bed, and we all actually snuggled and snoozed for the first time ever! In the past, our daughter would just grab, pull, poke, and prod. But, this morning, she blissfully hung out allowing me a seriously needed couple of hours of dozing.

While grabbing my coffee, I received news that a friend had gone missing. This is a friend I’ve known for almost 10 years. The last thing you ever what to hear is that someone you know and care about is missing.

The day went by in a daze. The photo shoot went smoothly. The hubs did his job, our make-up artist was totally amazing, and the model was hot.

I stood in the corner trying to be motivational but I just wasn’t there.

Life is precious. We so take it for granted.

You never know what might happen

Please. Love your life, and love each other.

*We received word our friend was located and transported to the hospital late last night. I have no idea what happened and really don’t know if I want to imagine what did.

Healthful Mondays: The holiday pounds

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

I put my jeans on the other day and they were tight. Not just a little tight, like shimmy on in and then do a couple of squats to stretch them out tight, but muffin-top tight. Thanksgiving was a blowout with cheese, sausage, stuffing, BREAD, butter, MORE BREAD, a good amount of mashed potatoes and gravy, and some cookies for dessert. I also made that cheesecake and ate my fair share. So, basically, I’ve packed on some holiday pounds.

It’s not just me. The husband has a little extra wiggle around the middle, too.

Now, how to get rid of the pounds? With Christmas in just a couple of weeks, I know there is more and more eating, along with a good amount of drinking, right around the corner.

I like doing yoga, walking, sitting, reading, and eating. Yoga happens if I’m lucky – and if the babe’s awake, most of that short yoga session is spent with her hanging on me or trying to imitate down-dog. I do spend a good amount of the day walking and moving about, but, I’ll be honest, I sure like sitting, reading, and eating.

I needed help and I needed it FAST! How do other mamas get rid of the extra pounds? If I start good healthy eating and exercise habits right now, maybe they’ll last through Christmas – and beyond!

My friends over at Momster had some fantastic ideas from real-life ladies dealing with the same thing. What I learned is there’s no way to shed the weight without putting forth some effort and and giving the whole shedding of pounds process a good amount of time. One mama suggested switching over to salad plates at meal times – awesome idea (although the hubs wont like it)!

Now I’ve got motivation for cutting back during meals, but what about getting my sweat on? It’s really hard to make time to exercise when you’ve got a wee tot, but I can’t keep using that as an excuse. And maybe there are some things I could be doing WITH the babe that I haven’t thought of.

I love Fitness Magazine and enjoy checking out what they have to say on the health front and found a fun article sharing winter ways to shed the holiday pounds. Along with great ides, they included calorie counts for some of my favorite treats, which also put things a bit in perspective, too.

So, instead of spending loads on a gym membership, I’m going to strap the babe into the baby-back-pack and head out on a brisk hike – and drag the hubs with me. Although there’s no snow in my neighborhood to shovel, spending an afternoon weeding and raking the leaf-ridden yard will also burn tons of calories!

What’s your secret for beating the holiday bulge?

Healthful Mondays: Music and math

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

Over the weekend the husband decided he is a musical genius and purchased a guitar and amp to play around with. He also picked up a small set of bongos for the babe to pound on. I wasn’t really sure what she was going to do with them – or if she would really understand that they were noise making things – but was totally surprised when she started tapping away on those bongos. AND, she was kind of good, too.

On Friday we visited my good friend and her son, along with making some yummy whole-wheat blueberry muffins. My friend’s husband is a a REAL musician and has an organ at their place. This big-piece-of-music-making thing quickly became the main focus of our time together on Friday. All my daughter wanted to do was play that organ.

She totally threw a fit when it was time to go.

I’ve known she likes music for a while. She totally loves to dance and has really gotten into singing – or pretend singing – songs from preschool (you know, because she’s not talking yet), and has just started this tap-tap-tapping thing. Kids have an internal motivation from birth to move and experiment with their bodies. Dancing and bouncing to tunes are just simple ways they have to express themselves and experiment with gross-motor movement. Eventually that dancing and bouncing turns to clapping and dancing and bouncing. That clapping is a chid’s exploration of controlled noise making – or music!

I think it’s pretty cool because music is not just a wonderful way to express yourself, it also aides in learning!

YES – learning music helps young minds understand and math concepts such as patterns. Music also encourages the right and left brain to work together in harmony to accomplish something – playing an instrument! It doesn’t matter how good you are, playing any sort of instrument, or even singing, boosts the brain’s math capabilities! And, it’s not just playing an instrument that encourages a happy math-ready brain, but listening to music has brain-boosting benefits, too.

No matter how young or old you are, sitting down to that piano, even if it’s been 20-years since you’ve played, is a great way to fine-tune the brain’s math abilities. Your brain is always ready to learn, and playing and listening to music is a fantastic and fun way to keep the brain motivated. So when the hubs was all the sudden super excited about turning his horrid guitar strumming into something more serious, I was completely behind it (especially because with an electric guitar, he can plug EARPHONES into the amp)! The acoustic has been placed in a comfy spot where our daughter can practice her strumming, right next to her wee set of bongos.

Yeah, sometimes I’m not in the mood to listen while the babe is slamming away on the bongos (or to the husband attempting his latest guitar masterpiece), but I remind myself that while they are making all that noise, they are both encouraging their math skills!