To TV or not to TV?

Or better yet, does the baby get TV? Or do most people start that at toddlerhood?  Or wait until the recommended (by the AAP) 2 years?  In all reality, I totally know there’s no way to avoid it once the kids get into public school (Sillyboy has enjoyed several screenings of Happy Feet parts 1 and 2 during substitute teaching and awards time during his first year of kindergarten, all without me knowing until afterwards…), and then there’s all kinds of tv everywhere: waiting rooms, mall food courts, inside stores, at the gas stations, etc.  And what about the “educational” tv shows?

ImageI think even for 5 months old, I try to avoid Bambina watching tv.  Her brain is still developing at a rapid rate, her mind is a little sponge- and I’d rather her soak up some board book story reading time than even the Veggie Tales sing-a-longs.  But I get crazy looks when I explain this to the extended family.  Especially since we do limit Sillyboy’s “screen time” which includes his time watching tv, dvds, playing on the wii, gaming on his Vtech Innotab, etc.  (We’ve yet to invest in a Nintendo DS, yet…).  He realizes there’s such a thing as too much screen time, and even brings it up to his grandparents some.  But as we all advance with technology, how do we keep it real by keeping less screen time in our every day lives?  Interactive classroom teaching is everywhere- and Sillyboy sends emails on his own and downloads and reads his choice of kid-friendly titles on the Kindle Fire.  I can’t keep up!

I guess I should get with the times and realize we can’t escape it.  We just need to keep with the old adage “Too much of anything isn’t good for you”- and that includes screen time.  Let’s see how long I can hold out before Bambina figures out who Barney or Elmo are!

Green Machine Gets Smoothie

Okay, bear with me on this “add one more green thing” food excursion, because it’s just not as easy as it sounds.  So what we’re doing, it just having that one green thing until we get tired of it and then we plan to replace it with something more awesome that’s green.  And by “we” I mean Sillyboy and I.  The husband is just a observer because he’s not sure how long our little pact will last.

Juices are all the rage- or at least they were last year.  And now- history repeats itself and the smoothie is back ya’ll!  (Yes, I say ya’ll on a random basis- don’t hate, hater!).

I was skimming through either the latest issue of Babytalk or Parenting magazines and found a small recipe section for easy smoothies.  I’m all about easy- and easy to me is 5 ingredients/steps or less (think Claire Robinson).  I attempted to find the online version of the page, but since they are melded together on one site, I haven’t found it yet to share the official copy with you.  But share I will, because I totally tore out half the page and promptly stuck on the fridge.  Out of the 3 fruity recipes listed, only one met my criteria because it was both green and vegan (i.e. no yogurt or milk).  And it was awesome-sauce.  Except Sillyboy is freaked out by the bits-o-green that float around.  Back to juicing kale instead?

Here’s the supply breakdown:

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Green Machine Smoothie

1 cup organic kale (washed and chopped- no stems please!)

1/2 green apple (peeled and chopped)

1/2 banana (peeled and chopped)

1/2 cup of orange juice

3 ice cubes

And there you have it- stick all the ingredients into a blender for about 30 seconds- the Green Machine.  I used our Magic Bullet for the one-drink occasion.  This is NOT to be confused with Naked Juice’s green machine that contains seaweed and some other many green ingredients.  It is delish/sweet/not tangy/fresh/frothy goodness.  And a bit textured.  Just a tad.  If you’re the kind of person who can handle pulp in your orange juice, you wind mind the kale crumbles in there.  But if you can’t handle it and pulp makes you gag (like the husband), maybe pouring it through a piece of cheesecloth will work better (like for Sillyboy’s anti-pulp drinking case).

ImageYou get your fruit and green servings in there at the start of the day- which is helpful in case you decide to pig out on onion rings later when the kids are in bed.  We love us some late night greasy (albeit not often) trips to Sonic.  Viola!  Green is good.  have you figured out any other ways to fit some healthy green food options into your family’s meals?

An Easy Way to Find Green at Breakfast

I challenged a 6 year old.  They love challenges, but I this was a tough one.  I challenged him to eat something green every day.  Unfortunately, green eggs and ham don’t count because A.) he’s already had that as part of a meal during a week long school author-study, B.) He doesn’t eat ham (or any beef/pork products), and C.) they didn’t grow “green” that way. The vegan version is so green, it kind of freaks me out anyways.  Ideally I would love to have him eat something green at every meal, but we’re working with baby steps here- and a pretty stubborn almost-first grade kid.  So we tried to think of foods he likes that are green: green beans, peas, kale, spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, avocado, and kiwi.   Fruit for the win!  Lucky him- and lucky momma, he enjoys Greek yogurt (though the husband does not in the least), too.

Green things Sillyboy does not like: cabbage, honey dew, brussel sprouts (I think he gets that from me), and mustard greens (ditto).

Here’s our super-easy healthy breakfast – with a bit-o-green:

1. Organic granola- we can’t get enough of the Cascadian Farms versions (U.S. grown and certified organic).

2. Fage Total 0% (full-fat) Authentic Greek yogurt (it’s actually made in Athens, Greece).

3. Pack of Ripe & Easy kiwis

Spoon in as much Greek yogurt as you love, sprinkle some granola on top, and add sliced kiwis.  Sillyboy will eat two bowls of this with two kiwis each on a wakeful weekday.  There you go- some green for breakfast.  Does anyone have other green ideas for breakfast?  The green smoothie route was short lived already, so we defeated that fad.  Not that they aren’t great, we just need a more substantial breakfast in our house of heavy eaters.  What are some other kid-friendly and time easy ideas for breakfast?

Fried Sweet Potato

We are definitely a potato family, I just try to steer us away from french fries. But since nightshades aren’t all that glorious (another reason french fries are the devil, besides all that grease), the better- and way healthier option is sweet potatoes. I haven’t found a sweet potato I don’t like. Not to be confused with yams- which aren’t a nightshade, but also aren’t grown in the U.S. I try to come up with different ways to serve sweet potatoes, including mashing them with a bit of orange marmalade (great idea from Rachel Ray), baking fries in the oven, and sauteing them with some sesame oil as a dinner side. But another super easy kid friendly way, is just to fry them them in pan.

We grabbed a large sweet potato, scrubbed, and peeled it. Then I sliced it into thin, flat rounds.

Then in a small bowl, I combined some salt, black pepper, and about a 3/4 cup of flour. We added some water and mixed, just enough to get a good moist batter. If you’re not worried about the vegan route and prefer a crispier batter- use 1 egg instead. Dipped each slice in and fried it a lightly oiled pan.

Each side cooked for about 3 mins. and then rested for a minute before we scarfed them down. It’s a great way to get some more vitamin A and C in your system, especially instead of drive thru french fries. And the sizes are perfect for a non-fancy finger food at snack time.  If you ever get to eat tempura battered appetizers at Asian restaurants, this recipe is pretty similar with a few less steps (and less heavier batter).  Now, if we could just get rid of the oily part completely….What’s your favorite battered-at-home recipe?