Friday, July 29, 2011

Lasagna: Eggplant Style

Lasagna is one of Scott's absolute favorite foods.  I'm a pretty big fan too.  I haven't made it in ages though because for a long time Belle did not tolerate me consuming dairy (such sadness for me).  So now that she seems to care less what I eat (bring on the ice cream!!!!), I embarked on making a gluten-free lasagna.

I went to Whole Foods with high hopes of finding a selection of gluten-free lasagna noodles to choose from.  There was one box.  They were made primarily from corn.  They were mini lasagna noodles.  And they were $8.00.  So I passed on the genetically-modified, gummy textured, overpriced noodles and hit up the produce department instead.

So here is my favorite lasagna recipe made with roasted eggplant slices in place of lasagna noodles.  I like it even better than the original.

Ingredients

2 medium-sized eggplants
olive oil
sea salt
pepper

1 lbs. Italian sausage or ground beef
1 onion
2 cans tomato paste
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups stock (beef, chicken, or veggie - go homemade if you can)
1 T oregano
1 T garlic powder
2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 T honey

12 oz. ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 egg

Mozzarella cheese

Slice your eggplant into disks.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

 before
after - yum

Brown the sausage/beef and onion in a large pot. 


When it is cooked through, add your tomato products, stock, seasonings, and honey.  Let simmer for 1 hour.  Don't skimp on this part.  It makes the sauce more yummy if you let it go for a while. 

When it's about done, combine your ricotta/cottage cheese, Parmesan, and egg.  Blend until smooth.

Then start layering: 

Sauce
Eggplant
Sauce
Mozzarella
Eggplant
Sauce
Ricotta mixture
Eggplant
Sauce

Bake 30 minutes at 350.  Top with more mozzarella, then bake 15 minutes more.


Note to self: use a larger baking dish next time. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Changing My Response - An Exercise in Empathy






This little sweetum (The one riding a bike in mis-matched pj's while pulling the dog who is wearing a blanket as a saddle on a leash behind her...) makes me question my ability to parent every day.  I have to learn to focus on big picture issues.  I can't stop every tantrum from happening.  I can't make her obey me.  I can't change her heart.  But I can change my responses to the every day happenings of life.

So this is what I sit around evaluating: How am I screwing up my children and how can I avoid that.  Seriously, I sit around having those exact thoughts going through my head.  Regularly.

My latest response I'm working on re-framing is showing empathy to my children.  Here's a little example:

Evelyn will decide that she isn't going to eat her supper.  I tell her that once she gets down she's done eating, so she needs to eat her dinner so she won't be hungry later.  But what does mom know?  She gets down anyway.  Later that evening she complains of hunger.  There are a lot of responses I could pull out here.  My instinctual response is to say, "I told you this would happen!  Why didn't you eat your dinner???"

That very well may be a justified response.  I want my response to show empathy though.  So my new response (when I'm being intentional) is to say, "I'm so sorry, honey.  I bet you do feel hungry and that's hard."

Because I'm trying to look long-term, and here is my fear.  Someday she is going to be 16.  And she's going to do something that I warned her she shouldn't do.  It may have very real consequences beyond feeling hungry because you didn't eat your dinner.  She will experience real hurt.  The last thing I want is for her to expect my response to be, "I told you this would happen!  Why did you do that???"  Rather, I want her to know that regardless of the choices she makes, she will be met with love, compassion, and respect by her parents. 

It's more important to me that my children know that they can come to me with anything and be met with empathy and respect, than to think that I can control them by having my responses be judgmental.  That in some way, my shows of judgment will somehow cause them to exhibit only positive behavior.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sickness, Gifts, and Summer Flying By

We have had another round of illness make it's way through the house.  Days when both the girls are sick are stressful for me.  I don't deal with super-cranky kids very well at all.  Then I was sick.  I'm a big wuss when sick, but thankfully my dear sweet hubs has pity on me.  He took Monday off of work so that I could spend the day bumming around in my pj's and taking naps.  Thankfully I'm feeling like myself again today. 

It is my one and only niece's birthday today!  Happy 8th birthday Kaylin!  She was just a baby when Scott and I started dating, so it feels weird to see how big she's gotten and realize we have been together that long.  I wanted to make her something special for her birthday.  Unfortunately with all the sickness, I haven't made it to the post office yet, so she will be getting it as a belated gift.  But it's coming in the mail.  Gifts that come in the mail can come at any time because gifts in the mail are just about the most fun thing EVER.  So here's what she's getting:


I'm so excited about it.  It is a lot bigger than any other dress I've sewn for my littles.  And I've never made doll clothes before.  I'm hoping she will like dressing to match her American Girl doll!

And also, have you noticed that it's mid-July already?  Our home study is almost done.  It's painfully hot.  And Bella's first birthday is in a few weeks.  WHAT?!?!  Yeah, I know.  Crazy.  I'm not ready for it.  Emotionally or logistically.  It's hard living away from all your family on big events.  Do I throw a party down here or wait until we're up there?  Who knows.  I'm not sure yet and while I felt like I had plenty of time to decide, it appears that I do no.  To be honest I've been thinking more about a theme and things I can craft for it.  That part I'm excited about.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Quick Comparison

Annabelle at the top and Evelyn at the bottom, both around 11 months old.  I used to not think they would look anything alike.

We had physicals a couple days ago for our home study and here's where the girls differ a bit.  
Annabelle: 20 lbs. 2 oz. - 65th %ile, 28.75 inches - 55th %ile
(Evelyn at 11 months was 17 lbs. 14 oz. and wasn't over 20 pounds until 18 months)

Hmmm, I wonder why you've been chunking up so much?


Evelyn: 25 lbs. 1 oz. - 25th %ile, 39 inches - 96th %ile
(She has weighed as much as 27-28 lbs. in the last few months, but has had a couple gluten exposures and her appetite fluctuates a lot.)

You are almost 3 and still fit in a bucket.

Annabelle also received her second haircut to get rid of some of the crazy overgrowth over her ears.  She was starting to rock the Hasidic Jew look.  Things are a bit more even now.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

To Do While the Kids Are Sleeping - Sweet Deliciousness

You know you like to snack on things when your kids are sleeping or not looking.  This is the perfect nap time treat for mom.  I guess you can maybe do it while your kids are awake if you want to have to share, but really, you know you're a 3-year-old at heart and don't want to share sometimes.

Don't try to bake this.  It can't be done.  You will get a small pile of burned goo on your cookie sheet.  It has no leavener.  This is for pure, raw enjoyment.

For those luckies out there who get to devour glutenous goodies, you can try it with your flour with amazing stretchability that I miss greatly, but I have no idea if the ratios will be correct for you.  


Single-Serve Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

1 1/2 Tbls each of sorgum, brown rice, and tapioca flour
1 1/2 Tbls light brown sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla
1 Tbls water
1 1/2 Tbls softened butter
chocolate chips to your liking

Mix it all up in a little bowl with a fork. Add the chocolate chips.  Scoop and enjoy.


You're welcome.  :)
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