A closer look at Sprout baby food

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, BUSY MOM TIPS, Cooking, FOR MOMS, Health and Fitness, Parenting, PRODUCTS

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This post brought to you by Sprout Organic Foods . The content and opinions expressed below are that of The Art of Making a Baby.

My friend, Kristen, wrote a guest post here a couple weeks ago about how she uses Sprout baby food to simplify her morning.  I love discovering new products that make it easier to raise healthy kids so I decided to check out Sprout Organic Foods myself. Lexi still eats fruit pouches especially when we travel, so I wondered if Sprout really is as healthy and as different as it says it is and I am super excited to share what I found out so those of you expecting or with babies (or older) can try Sprout out with your little ones.

Simplified Mornings from another mom

Written by Kristen. Posted in Best for Baby, BUSY MOM TIPS, Cooking, FOR MOMS, Health and Fitness, PRODUCTS

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This post brought to you by Sprout Organic Foods. The content and opinions expressed below are that of The Art of Making a Baby.

Hey, guys! Sprout asked me and one of my friends to discuss how their food pouches (and we both use it for different reasons) make our lives easier. Kristen and I have traveled together (our last trip was Gulf County you can read about here), we are both messy moms ( those moms who don’t seem to like to take the time to clean up and instead go have fun, guilty!!!! So our kitchens are always a mess), we both love writing and photographing, and we both work at Daily Mom. So Kristen is joining us today to talk about her breakfast and morning routine.

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My name is Kristen and I am one of Elena’s friends. We work on Daily Mom together and I am excited to be writing a guest post on The Art of Making a Baby. I love following along on all Elena and Lexi’s adventures here! I am always trying to be the best mom possible and offer my son whatever I can to enrich his life.  We’ve never been homebodies. As soon as he was old enough to sit up we were attending story times and other programs at public libraries. We got to Mommy and Me type classes that encourage his healthy development. I have taken him to a Bible study with me and to church on Sundays. However, we have never had to be consistently up and out of the house early for multiple days in a row. He’s never been on a real schedule.  Well now my son is enrolled in daycare and he has to be there Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday! Our mornings have changed significantly.

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When we are not on a schedule our mornings are pretty laid back. Elliott wakes up between 6 and 7 and we snuggle in bed for awhile. Once he is ready to get up, he starts his day with milk. After that we play or read for almost an hour before we make breakfast. Breakfast is always scrambled eggs and fruit. Now with the daycare schedule, our leisurely mornings are not cutting it. I am finding that we need a breakfast that can be prepared and eaten quickly. Unfortunately, after a trip to the grocery store, I realized that breakfast on the go options are not healthy! There is so much sugar in many breakfast options that I might as well feed my son cookies for breakfast. After one full week of daycare and barely making it out the door on time, I discovered a breakfast that is quick but very healthy. Sprout Pouches! Sprout Organic Foods are perfect when you are on the go and we are most definitely on the go now.

My son bounces from one thing to the next in the morning, making a lovely family breakfast in a timely manner impossible. He needs to eat and move on to get some play time in before we have to leave. I can open a Sprout Pouch and make him some whole grain toast to nibble on for an easy, delicious, but extremely healthy breakfast.   With a quick and healthy breakfast, I actually get to spend more time with my son and I treasure that as he is now beginning to spend more and more time apart from me.   I don’t even think twice about giving my son a Sprout pouch for breakfast or a snack because Sprout stands behind everything they make with their Honesty Pledge. They pledge to not use GMOs, concentrates, or preservatives. They pledge that all their products are whole, organic foods. What you see is what you get. Sprout honestly labels their products. Flavor names match the primary order of ingredients inside.

Go ahead and grab a Sprout pouch. Compare the ingredients on the back to the label on the front. Guess what? They will be the same. For example, the Spinach Banana Apple pouch contains spinach, banana, and apple. With Sprout Moms know EXACTLY what they are feeing their babies. There is nothing in a Sprout pouch that you won’t find in your own kitchen. Research shows that developing a love of healthy foods early on helps foster healthy eating habits for life. That’s why Sprout is committed to providing the best nutrition and uses only certified-organic, non-GMO ingredients like whole fruits, vegetables and grains.

Download their Sprout Coupons and try the new Sprout pouch flavors: Mango, Spinach Banana Apple, Blueberry Banana Oatmeal, and Pear Spinach Prune. They use whole fruits, vegetables and grains. If you have questions about Sprout, and let’s face it, we all have questions when it comes to what we are feeding our children, Sprout answers everything right here.

Here is the mission of Sprout: Keep it honest. Make it real. I need that in my busy life. I need a company I can trust without giving it another thought.

It isn’t often you can simplify something without sacrificing quality. You can simplify your morning routine with Sprout pouches and you will have better mornings. My son gets a healthy breakfast, we spend more time together and we get out the door with less stress. I love it!

Where to Buy | Their Mission & Values | Sprout Coupons

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Big Announcement!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in 52 Weeks of Experiences, Adventures, BABY, Best for Baby, Birthdays, BUMP UPDATES, BUSY MOM TIPS, Cooking, Daily, Disney, EVERYTHING ELSE, Fashion and Outfits, Florida, FOR MOMS, Friday Finds, Fun as a Toddler Mom, FUN TIMES, GET FIT, Green Products, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, Letters to Lexi, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, Monthly Updates, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience, Nursery, Other Recommendations, Parenting, PHOTO, Photo Stories, Photography for Mommies Tutorials, Pre-CONCEPTION, PREGNANCY, PREGNANCY FASHION, Pregnancy Q of the week, Pregnant With Style, PRODUCTS, Real Life Photos, TODDLER, TRAVEL, Tried and True, VIDEO

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BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Some of you, who follow me on social media, might have noticed that for the last 6 months I have been working on a few projects. I am ready to officially announce the first one.

Together with a friend of mine, I started a new business, Melody Lane, a clothing store that is focused on making sure that women in all stages of their lives have access to comfortable, affordable and most importantly versatile clothing. (see below on details of a $500 giveaway!)

Pregnancy, motherhood, nursing, party, fitness, vacation, career, school – it’s amazing how many stages we go through as women that require a completely different wardrobe. So our goal is to offer clothing with versatility and affordability in mind. Items you could wear for several occasions and during several stages of your life. Clothing that is comfortable, yet still looks good, because I have to admit that since becoming a mother, comfort trumps looks, however I still want to look good.

Lexi’s Favorite Snacks

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, BUSY MOM TIPS, Cooking, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Health and Fitness, Life as a Toddler, PRODUCTS, Tried and True

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I haven’t written about what we eat in a long time. Tastes and routines evolve and so do our eating habits, so I want to update what our favorite on-the-go snacks of the moment are.

We still prefer fresh organic whole foods like fruit and vegetables to anything else. However there are times where packing a lunchbox full of perishables isn’t a good idea. Living in Florida doesn’t really help it. So during those days, we resort to nuts  and packaged snacks. I personally love going through the snack isle at Whole Foods trying to discover different types of snacks that would be better than what we are already eating.  This list below applies to both me and Lexi. In fact, our eating habits aren’t that different with the exception that I eat less healthy than she is (I am adult. I can. That’s my excuse)

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So these are the things we enjoy together.

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Seaweed snacks

This one blew my mind. One day we were sitting at the beach with our friends and my girlfriend Carla showed me roasted seaweed sheets that her 3 year old was obsessed with. She swore that Lexi would go crazy over them. I smelled the snack and ew! I am not a person who is normally grossed out by food. But I couldn’t believe Lexi would want to eat that. Two minutes later, she had devoured the whole package and moved onto the second one.

We have been buying these snacks since then and it is absolutely the most favorite thing of hers to eat on the go. A year later and I am now starting to dig them from time to time myself. Open mind, I’ll tell ya, keep an open mind. We can’t order them fast enough from Amazon. Just FYI, do not buy wasabi and teriyaki flavor is the best.

BUY HERE: Seaweed Roasted Snacks

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goodnessknows snack squares

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I consider this a treat which is one of the reasons why it is so awesome. Packed with nutty goodness, fruit/berries and DARK chocolate with specifically retained phytonutrients, it acts like a treat, but is natural and wholesome.

While technically these are a snack I use the word “treat” with Lexi, so she eats these instead of bad treats. It has chocolate, so she is happy. And it is loaded with wholesome nuts, oats and berries, so I am happy. Win win. Natural and tasty treat. 

Wholesome toddler snacks

Each goodnessknows package contains 150 calories, no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. My favorite part is  that it’s divided  into 4 pieces so you’re not tempted to eat the whole bar and give it out as little squares

My favorite is Peach & Cherry with almond and dark chocolate flavor. Lexi loves the apple, almond&peanut, dark chocolate ones. goodness

BUY HERE: Amazon

FIND RETAILERS: goodnessknows

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Edamame peas

Lexi lovingly calls them “mommy peas” ( aw which breaks my heart as I am writing this on the plane to Vegas away from my girl)

When we make them at home, we always buy organic, since they are soy beans and soy is ALL pretty much GMO, unless it’s organic or Non-GMO certified. Unfortunately at the restaurants we can’t really chose organic and non-GMO, so we eat whatever they serve.

You can buy bags of frozen organic edamame peas that are quickly prepared in boiling water and make for a great snack at home or for a lunch box.

BUY HERE: Organic Edamame Peas

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Prunes and Dried  apricots

This is a total throwback to my childhood. My mom used to give them to us and only when I became an adult, did I appreciate their taste of prunes. I love them now and so does Lexi. If dehydrated properly, they are a nutritional powerhouse.

BUY HERE: Dried Apricots | Prunes

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GoRaw bar

My Little Kitchen Helper

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, BUSY MOM TIPS, Cooking, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Health and Fitness, Life as a Toddler, Other Recommendations, PHOTO, Photo Stories, PRODUCTS, TODDLER

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I know that I’ve slacked in the department of product reviews since getting busier, but I am hoping to fix that in the near future and trickle out reviews of some of my favorite things or at least compile them into the TRIED and TRUE posts.

This is going to be more of a story of how our life evolved with the product than an actual review, but in so writing about it, you will get a good idea whether you might enjoy this product as much as we did or not.

This particular item has sneakily made its way into our life in more ways than I anticipated. We had featured a Kitchen Helper on Daily Mom, right at the time when I was struggling to keep Lexi occupied while I cooked. I had also heard good things about it from MULTIPLE people. So I thought it was a worth product to try and see if it solves our little problem. Our first test was Easter Cooking out of all things. I took an egg nest recipe from Daily Mom (of course), Lexi and I put on our favorite Mommy and Me aprons and we started cooking.

My kitchen help

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Cooking, Health and Fitness, Other Recommendations, PRODUCTS

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I wouldn’t be able to cook and get meals done the way I do if it wasn’t for these handy appliances.

Here is what I use virtually on daily basis.

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Fagor Juicer

{holy crap, it’s on sale on amazon for 42% off!!!)

I’ve only recently started making my own juices but that was something on my to-do list for years. Little did I know what a difference it makes in the taste of the juice. If you haven’t tried squeezing your own apple juice or orange juice, come over to my house and I’ll do it for you, because it is SERIOUSLY night and day. It’s like the juices you drink at restaurants and buy at the grocery stores aren’t juices at all, even if they are organic and not from concentrate.

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The biggest two complaints I’ve heard about juicers from friends and online reviews are that they are hard to clean and assemble/take apart or that they are too hard to use ( especially when it comes to manual juicers).

I have zero complaints about our Fagor Juicer. Once I figured out how to take it apart, it was a breeze – 5 different parts to clean that easily snap in and out of the juicer and rinse clean with simple water, as long as you don’t let the juice bits sit on it for hours. I am not kidding: you just run them under running water and voila (Depending on the fruit sometimes you have to help the stuck skin from under the disposal shute)

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The juicing part is easy. You throw cut up fruit inside and it pours juice out of one end and waste out of the other. It rarely gets stuck or clogged. I honestly have zero issues with it and it makes perfect juice.
It’s considered a slow juicer which means it takes its time to get out every possible drop of juice from the fruit, preserving vitamins, minerals and all the nutrients. All the materials that come in contact with food are BPA free.

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While for those of us who eat fruits and vegetables on daily basis, juicing  might not be such a big deal, aside from  the taste standpoint, for average eaters who rely more on meats or processed food, juicing is almost a must because you can cram so many more fruits and vegetables into a glass of juice than you can actually eat in one sitting. So if you or your baby isn’t a fan of the green stuff, juice it with something sweet and have them drink it – perfect solution! You can find a ton of tasty recipes online by googling “juicing recipes”.

BUY HERE / LEARN HERE

Cuisinart Multi-cooker

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I heard about multi-cookers from my sister who lives in Russia who swears it’s the solution of all world’s problems.
It really is pretty neat. I have a Cuisinart 3-in-1 multicooker (as you can see from the sticker that I didn’t bother removing for months. lol. Also it’s on sale on Amazon as well.) I am not sure if everyone is familiar with the concept, because I didn’t know what it was prior to her mentioning it. It’s basically like a slow cooker with several settings: slow, steam and sautee/brown. It really is as simple as it seems. You throw a bunch of food inside, close the lid and set the correct setting and the timer. On the saute function they recommend that you stir occasionally but otherwise it really can be left to its own devices.

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It is especially helpful because I barely have any time to cook, but it’s something I HAVE TO DO, so I try to find ways to make it less of a time consuming process without sacrificing food quality.

This cooker works well with both veggies and meats on both slow and saute functions. It’s huge and the finish does not contain any cancer causing chemicals (PTFE/PFOA) that are commonly found in non-stick surfaces (I emailed the company and checked). Cooking beans is a breeze on the slow cooker option, vegetables do great on the sautee setting and I would imagine meats would do great in it too.

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The pot itself is removable so you don’t have to move the whole appliance to clean it or serve food. Temperature can be set custom, there is a timer and my favorite “keep warm” feature.

Meals I usually make in it are any type of vegetable combinations, potatoes and mushrooms, beans and peas. It works out really great because I often make 2-4 meals at a time and this doesn’t have to crowd the stove surfaces.

BUY IT/ LEARN MORE

MiTutto Hand Blender

Oh wow, what a tool!

I always despised using those big kitchen appliances that chopped things because they were a pain to clean. At the same time, blenders were not up to par either, because they would only puree/chop up the bottom of the food pile and leave the top untouched. You’d have to shake it in order to get the top food down to the blades.

MiTutto is like this kitchen “wand” that does pretty much everything. It has a bunch of adapters for aerating, whipping, mixing, chopping, crushing, pureeing food, so it replaces many appliances and can be used in any dish not just the provided one.

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The two major uses of MiTutto for me are to make purees for popsicle and smoothies and to get vegetables chopped evenly. The even chopping part is pretty self-explanatory and it’s most likely due to the small and evenly sized bowl. But where it really shines, at least for me, is the pureeing part.  See, because it’s a handheld wand, when you puree fruits or vegetables, you can control the angle and pressure of it. That makes it easy because you can push down on the fruits/vegetables to force them to mush even if they are “resisting” like it often happens in traditional blenders.

Does that make sense? It takes seconds to get things pureed. It comes with a convenient measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring: seriously a great tool starting from baby pureed solids to any kind of daily cooking.

BUY IT/LEARN HERE

Homemade Popsicle recipe

I wanted to share this amazing popsicle recipe I came up with using the MiTutto wand. The ingredients are really interchangeable and I only came upon this because those were the only three ingredients we had in our house. I would not necessarily recommend any of these brands of ingredients specifically. Normally I would go for an organic peanut butter and soy milk creamer, because the coconut one turned out to have titanium dioxide in it (what?). So if you try this recipe, just replace the ingredient brands with the ones that you like to use. I’ve been asked for this recipe a few times on Instagram – it’s really delicious.

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Ingredients:

1 pear

1 spoonful of Peanut Butter (other butter)

1/3 of a cup sweetened creamer ( coconut, soy, dairy- whatever you use)

Add to the blender or MiTutto cup and blend. Pour into a popsicle mold, freeze.

Lexi ate the whole thing in one sitting. A huge hit.

Week in Food

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Cooking, Daily, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Health and Fitness, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, TODDLER

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I’ve been asked to do this post by multiple people, I’m just sorry it took me so long.

Warning: I am not a good food photographer. In fact, I kinda suck at it! I just don’t have the time or the patience (I’m super impatient!) to stage and snap pretty shots. So if you’re weirded out by food or whatever, skip it. If you wanted to know what Lexi eats on a weekly basis, read on.

Toddler Vegetable Soup

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Cooking, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Health and Fitness, New Mom Experience, TODDLER

TODDLER VEGGIE SOUP

I cannot think of a healthier meal for a toddler ( or an adult for that matter) than a vegetable soup.

As adults, Andrew and I love a simple vegetable soup as a low calorie and tasty alternative to any meal. In fact, a big bowl of vegetable soup fills you up and only “costs” you 100-160 calories ( the way we prepare it).

For toddlers, though, a veggie soup packed with more hearty vegetables, offers hydration and those precious vitamins and minerals that  many babies reject.

Obviously, offering a picky eater a vegetable soup won’t make him suddenly eat vegetables. Alexis eats vegetables just fine and that’s why this type of soup is her absolute favorite. However, even at times when she rejects certain veggies, this soup is always welcomed by her.

Baby Solids: What we cook

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Cooking, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience

What our Toddler eats

If you missed previous BLW posts, you can visit them here:

BABY LED WEANING
SOLIDS: GEAR 

I’ve been emailed and asked about what we cook for Alexis in terms of BLW and how our whole feeding process goes. So here is the breakdown.

First thing you have to remember is that we don’t really eat like a typical American family.  You almost never see green beans on our table, or green peas, or corn. No mashed potatoes (no reason for that, we just never get around to making them), no meats, no dairy. What you will see is mostly other types of vegetables, fruits, grains and fish. My husband was vegan for a couple of years, but I think we’re slowly starting to permanently introduce fish. I would always eat certain fish, because of its benefit when pregnant and now, but my husband used to stay away from ANY animal products (except for trace amounts in baked goods on occasion). But I think we have decided that the benefit outweighs the disadvantages. I do eat eggs once a month or so now, my husband doesn’t. We’ll occasionally “cheat” if we have to or want to. So at this point our family is a bit of a smorgasborg of vegan/pescetarians/vegetarians/whatever. However, our eating habits are constantly changing and I am not exactly sure which direction we are going with them.

Our goal is (and of course that doesn’t always pan out) to make sure that Alexis has a protein source at almost every meal (beans, fish), a few vegetable servings every time, whole grains (which can also be considered high in protein if you stick with quinoa) and fruit/berries for breakfast.

Introduction of Solids: Baby Led Weaning

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Cooking, FUN TIMES, Health and Fitness, LIFE, New Mom Experience, PHOTO

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I am so excited to be writing this post.

Other food posts:

Toddler Mealtime | Vegetable Soup | Baby Solids: What we cook  | Baby Solids Gear

Baby Led Weaning ( BLW) has been one of the most fun, relatively stress-free experiences so far, if I can say so, being only over a month into it. But I feel like it’s only going to get better from now on.