Monday, January 27, 2014

Carrots and Ear Infections

I've been under the weather all weekend long. It started with a sore throat on Thursday evening and grew over the weekend to include throbbing sinus pain and a completely stuffed nose. Naturally, I went to the doctors this morning and as with every time, I was amazed that she prescribed tea, carrot juice and nose drops. Yeah.

My regular doctor here (the Hausarzt) is very homeopathic. The fact that I am still nursing has her erring on the side of caution. ALL.THE.TIME. So, I am hoping and praying that the tea, nose drops and carrot juice help to cure me because being sick bites the big one.

While I was there, the doctor asked how Alexa was feeling. I told her that she's been having trouble sleeping the past few nights and that yesterday and today she was pulling on her ears. She very kindly checked Alexa's ears and the poor little bean has fluid in her right ear again. No antibiotics here though. I have to massage near her nose and give her carrot juice. Not kidding.

I was swimming in a sea of sinus headache and trying to keep Alexa from wiping everything off of the good doctor's desk, so I let the carrot juice suggestion go by without so much as a "Huh?!". However, once I made it back home I tried to figure out why in god's name she would prescribe carrot juice for an ear infection.

All this talk of carrot juice had me very intrigued, so I googled it. The World Carrot Museum had a ton of really cool and interesting information on the health benefits of carrots. Apparently, carrot juice can help dispel mucus from the ear. No wonder the doctor recommended giving Alexa a little carrot juice.

Carrots have other amazing health benefits as well: they're very high in potassium, carrots can help reduce bad cholesterol and also when eaten regularly, can help enhance the quantity and quality of breast milk in nursing mothers. Carrots are amazing!

Sometimes the American in me just wants a prescription for antibiotics and to call it a day with all of this being sick nonsense. Other times, I'm amazed that a little patience, a lot of tea and water and some rest can cure just about every illness. There are so many home and natural remedies that actually work, we just need to take a little time to educate ourselves about them.

After reading about all of the amazing health benefits of carrots, I did in fact look up several recipes for carrot juice. I even whipped up a batch for my little bean. Here's hoping it helps!

Homemade Carrot Juice

7-8 carrots, unpeeled
1 1/4 cup cold water
2 cups boiling water

Blender or food processor
4-6 Coffee filters 
2 Liter pitcher

Wash carrots very well. Cut the stem off all of the carrots and then cut the carrots in 2-3 inch chunks. Add all carrots chunks to the blender along with 1/2 cup cold water. Blend on high. Add water as needed. (I ended up needing 1 1/4 cups, you might need more or less depending on the freshness of your carrots.) Stir carrots and add more water, blending on high until carrots are very well pureed. Add 2 cups of boiling water and stir. Let the carrots steep for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mix well and get ready to strain. Using a coffee filter over a bowl, pour some of the carrot juice in and strain. I squeezed the filter to remove as much of the juice from the carrot mash as possible. Pour the juice from the bowl into the pitcher. Repeat until all of the carrot mash has been filtered. Discard the carrot pulp and coffee filters. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Fresh carrot juice can be mixed with fresh orange juice or a multivitamin juice for flavor. Alexa had no problem drinking it straight, but I preferred the flavor when mixed with multivitamin juice.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bangin' Eggy Muffins

Alexa has started becoming a little bit fussier when it comes to eating. She is way too cool to eat any kind of purees anymore and food that is "big" is way better than food I cut up into tiny pieces. She is also very into her fork. If it can be eaten with a fork then it is A+ in her eyes! However, she now is only eating peas and corn in terms of veggies, whereas before I could get that kid to eat every veggie under the sun...including spinach and brussel sprouts! I tried coming up with some ideas as to how I could incorporate proteins, veggies, fruits, etc. the way I did with her purees, but in a finger food friendly version. The first good idea I found was the eggy muffin. I figured anything muffin shaped has got to be good and let me tell you, I was right!

Please experiment with other ingredients and let me know how they turn out.

7 Eggs, scrambled
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
4 oz. herb cream cheese, softened (I threw it in the microwave for about 15 seconds)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
4 slices deli ham, sliced into small pieces
2 slices deli cheese, sliced into small pieces
1/4 cup (roughly) frozen spinach leaves (if frozen in balls just use 2-3 balls)
1 tomato diced

Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F). Place frozen spinach in a  microwave safe dish and microwave for 3 minutes. Scramble eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add milk, water, cream cheese and parmesan cheese and mix well. Add deli ham and cheese and tomato and mix well. Chop up spinach then add to the mixture. Grease muffin pan (unnecessary if using silicon muffin pans). Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, distribute mix into muffin pans. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Makes approximately 15-18 eggy muffins.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chicken Fried Rice

I've been seeing a lot of recipes for various Fried Rices going around on the internet. Since I love a little fried rice, I decided to throw together my own little concoction. It was super quick and easy to make and Alexa had no problem eating it.

1 Cup cooked chicken, diced (I used the leftovers from a whole chicken I made earlier in the week.)
1/2 Cup (or more) mixed vegetables (I used some frozen peas, frozen green beans and cooked fresh carrots)
1 scallion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil
2 Cups of cooked rice
1 teaspoon vegetable boullion
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

Add 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of vegetable boullion to a saucepan, bring to a boil. Add 1 Cup of uncooked rice. Cook for 13-15 minutes or until tender.

In a hot frying pan (or wok if you have one), add the coconut oil. Allow to melt and swirl it around the pan. Add all of the vegetables, including the scallion and the garlic. Allow to cook 3-4 minutes. Scramble the egg and canola/vegetable oil in a seperate bowl. When the vegetables are cooked push them to the side of the pan. Add the egg/oil combo and using a spatula mix like you would while making scrambled eggs. Once cooked, add the chicken and two cups of the cooked rice to the pan. Add the soy sauce and mix very well. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.

Pasta with Spinach, Chick Peas and Tomatoes *Gluten Free*


1 Pound gluten free Pasta
1 can organic chick peas
1 can organic diced tomatoes with garlic and onions
1 bag of organic frozen spinach
1/2-1 Cup Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Boil Pasta until tender, drain and set aside. In a large pot, add olive oil and heat on medium heat. Add chick peas, diced tomatoes and frozen spinach. Cook 3-4 minutes until spinach is no longer frozen. Add Pasta to the pot, mix well. Add Parmesan cheese and mix well. Serve hot.

This was such a quick and easy recipe that I threw together and it was absolutely delicious!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

5 Sensory Stimulating Activities For Your 9 Month Old

(I was working on this post before we left for vacation. I never got around to posting it then, but I didn't want you to miss out on these cool activities for your little one! I hope you enjoy them. Happy playing!)

1. Sensory bins. There are countless varieties of sensory bins that you can easily make with things around the house. Alexa's current favorite is a water sensory bin.

Water Sensory Bin
You'll need a small bucket, warm water, baby wash for bubbles, small bath toys or small plastic toys, scoops and a thick towel. Put about 1-2 inches of warm water into your bin, add a squirt or two of baby wash while filling the bin, then add toys and scoops. Place the bin on a thick towel. Now baby is ready to play! **Adult supervision is mandatory when children are playing in or around water.

2. Sensory bottles. Sensory bottles are a cheap and easy way to entertain any bored child! For a 9 month old, it is important to consider safety when making your sensory bottle. Be sure to super glue the lid closed so that any small pieces can not be reached or eaten by your little one. There are lots of different themes you can use for Sensory bottles. A very easy sensory bottle is the sound bottle. Other themes include colors, sizes, etc. For color bottles, you can use colored pompoms or glitter.

Make your own Sound Bottle
Supplies - super glue, clean, dry empty water bottle and dry beans, rice, or sand. Fill the empty water bottle with a few tablespoons of dry beans, rice or sand. Super glue the lid onto the bottle. Now baby has a fun new toy that makes a fun sound and is visually stimulating as well.

3. Bubbles. Blowing bubbles is such a simple and inexpensive way to stimulate your baby's senses. There are lots of cool ways to expand upon blowing bubbles by creating glow in the dark bubbles, colored bubbles, or even edible bubbles!

4. Finger painting. One of Alexa's absolute, most favorite things to do! Finger painting can be messy, but there are so many ways to cut down on the mess. Adding a drop or two of baby wash to the paint and having baby paint in just a diaper with a towel over the high chair, are just a couple of ways to cut down on the mess. There are even recipes available to make your own homemade finger paint for infants and toddlers!

5. Tissue Play. I spent 1.34€ on a box of tissues and gave it to Alexa. I showed her how to pull the tissues out of the box, wave them around, rip them up, or wipe her face with them. She will sit and play with these for 10-20 minutes at a time. After a month, we still had the same box of tissues and she still enjoys pulling them out. Awesome, inexpensive activity. Plus, as a bonus, clean up is super quick! When she is a little older I will show her how to pull them out and then put them back into the box.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

We're Back!!

After six glorious weeks in the US, we have finally returned! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year! You will not believe how much Alexa has grown in the last six weeks. She is taking steps and climbing on everything in sight. We are seriously debating removing all of the furniture and just laying down padding everywhere.

We had such an amazing time in the US. As soon as I actually unpack, I will download the thousands of pictures that I took and share some of them with all of you. But for now, I just wanted to say welcome back to the blog! I am really looking forward to all of the awesome adventures that are waiting for us this year. With Alexa on the move, this is surely to be a crazy and exciting time for us!

Until later,