7 Baby Gear Must Haves
My oh my have things changed in the last five years. Our newest little bundle of joy arrived and things are different from five years ago. While a few of these awesome baby gear items where around with my older two kids, they have definitely improved over the years. I also own and use these items on a daily basis with my lil man.
#1 Pack and Play : What I love about Pack N Play’s are that they grow with your child. The pack and plays are a great place to put newborns when you need to put them down. I use my Pack n Play in lieu of a traditional bassinet. Babies outgrow bassinets too fast and I don’t have extra space or money to spend. There are a lot of different features in the different Pack N Plays, I ended up getting a base model, but there are many different models that having lights, music, a vibrating feature, and a changing table. Then when your baby gets older it turns into a “playpen” which with having tiny chockable big kid toys around the house it will be nice to have a complete “safe” space for lil man where only his toys are permitted. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=pack+n+play&sprefix=pack+n%2Caps%2C225
#2 Infantino Sash Mei Tai Carrier: I love baby carriers for shopping trips!!! I particularly like the Infantino Sash Mei Tai Carrier because its easily adjustable and easily fit me and the hubby, there’s no changing the size or adjusting straps because you just tie it. The other benefit is that it can be converted three ways, front, hip, and back. I love how versatile and stylish this carrier is. Also the straps are nice and thick and don’t dig into my shoulders. I have carried lil man in this carrier for an hour and half before and didn’t feel any discomfort. Also in the front position I was able to nurse him and didn’t need to take him out of the carrier!!!! http://www.amazon.com/Infantino-Sash-Carrier-Black-Gray/dp/B005C9ODQ6/ref=sr_1_2?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1368823250&sr=1-2&keywords=infantino+baby+carrier
#3 Jeep Jogging Stroller: A jogging stroller that fits your infant seat will be the only stroller you will ever need. Also some jogging strollers lay flat so your newborn can lay down in it. I prefer the Jeep Jogging Stroller because it has real tires, no crumby hard plastic tires, meaning it’s a smooth ride for baby. And the Jeep stroller can go smoothly over grass and bumpy roads. This Jeep stroller even allows you to play music from your phone or mp3 player for you and baby. This feature would be great for picnics in the park or while your walking or jogging. http://www.amazon.com/Jeep-Liberty-Limited-Terrain-Stroller/dp/B004HO586Q/ref=sr_1_2?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1368822868&sr=1-2&keywords=jeep+stroller
#4 Skip Hop Diaper Bag: We all know the necessity of a diaper bag right? I LOVE this diaper bag because it is stylish, not too cutsie that the hubby won’t want to carry it. Also this diaper bag by skip hop has so many pockets you can throw your wallet, phone, and keys in a pocket and only carry this bag!!! Also it’s not too bulky and has a great shape, I love this diaper bag!!! http://www.target.com/p/skip-hop-sketch-dot-spark-tote-diaper-bag-black/-/A-14296793#?lnk=sc_qi_detaillink
#5 Tiny Love 3 in 1 Rocker Napper: I love this because it save space, and it will grow with baby up to 40 lbs!!! It’s a rocker, baby chair, and it lays flat. It also has a soothing vibrating feature, and has a mobile my lil man loves to plays with, he loves hitting the toys and watching the light show. Then when he kicks he rocks himself. I am very happy with this product. It also fits in our small family room without taking up too much space, it’s nice and compact. http://www.amazon.com/Tiny-Love-Rocker-Napper-Brown/dp/B0073DNYSW/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1368899411&sr=1-1&keywords=tiny+love+3+in+1+rocker+napper
#6 Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat: Oh how many ways do I love this car seat! It has a great built in head support for baby so you won’t need to buy one. It fits babies from 4-30 lbs which is important since now it is recommended that infants stay in rear facing seats until they are 2 years old. It easy with the push of a button to loosed straps when putting baby and taking him out, then its very easy to tighten them back again. It comes in a wide variety of colors. I choose the fuego for lil man. Also taking it out and carrying around is so easy, and then when putting the seat back in the car it snaps into the base with ease. When installing the base it even has a level to make sure it’s even, if you can easily adjust it so that is does become level with a spring loaded leveling foot. It’s also nice a cushioned and has a five point harness. Oh and to top it off, it has two latches that attach to the base of the car seat instead of the “old fashioned” one that only worked in cars, since the latches attach to the actual car seat you can latch them in SUV’s, Vans, Cars, and Trucks it’s no longer car specific. http://www.amazon.com/Chicco-Keyfit-Infant-Seat-Adventure/dp/B000MAER3Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1368825310&sr=1-1&keywords=chicco+keyfit+30
#7 Boon Naked Collapsible Bathtub: With three kids, two of them being older, I don’t have any extra space to store a huge baby bathtub, that’s why I choose this one it collapses flat and can hang dry!! It also will grow with lil man because I use it at the infant incline position now, then as he starts to sit I can switch the position so it won’t be in an incline but he can still sit in it, which will save water and be safer because if he slips he will have the side of the tub to grab instead of sliding around the large bathtub. This tub comes in blue, green, orange, purple, pink, and red. http://www.amazon.com/Boon-Naked-Collapsible-Bathtub-White/dp/B005VLXIS4/ref=sr_1_4?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1368825354&sr=1-4&keywords=boon+bath
Velata Caramel Hot Chocolate
This hot chocolate is perfect for cold nights and cozying up by the fireplace.
7 Velata Caramel Milk Chocolate Pieces
I packet hot chocolate mix
1 cup water or milk (depending on how creamy you want it)
In a microwave safe cup add 4-5 Velata Caramel milk Chocolate pieces, hot chocolate mix, and milk or water. Microwave on high for 45 seconds, then stir, and return to microwave for another 30 seconds. Continue with microwaving for 30 second increments until chocolate is melted. Pour into desired cup and top with whipped cream. Then using remaining Velata pieces and a cheese grater, grate Velata pieces on top. ~Note~ If you are currently warming the Velata in your fondue pot, you can just 1 an ½ tablespoons of the melting chocolate fondue into your hot chocolate. And drizzle the melting chocolate on top.
I know I will be getting questions as to what is Velata Chocolate, so here is my explanation. Velata is premium milk chocolate meant for fondue. However the Velata Chocolate can be used in many different ways, it comes in 50 cent size pieces and can be melted in Velata warmers. Velata the company is owned by Scentsy Family (yes as in the safe wickless candles.) You can purchase Velata chocolate through https://chocolatedreaming.velata.us I choose to use the Velata caramel milk chocolate in this recipe but feel free to explore with different flavors as they would all make a lovely addition to your ordinary hot chocolate.
It has been a long time since I had posted on here. I am going to be changing some things about this page, for one I will continue to post vegetarian and vegan recipes, but as my family is growing I will also be posting cleaning tips and charts and incorporating my interest is housekeeping as well. Stay tuned there are going to be some very exciting additions to this page.
Fall is officially here! I always enjoyed the prepackaged apple cinnamon and oatmeal during the fall. But the flavored oatmeal’s were one of the first things we cut out of our grocery bill to save money since the flavored oatmeal packets are so much more expensive than old fashioned oats. So I decided to try my hand at making my own apple cinnamon oatmeal. And guess what, it tastes way better than the packaged oatmeal! I didn’t calculate a comparison of prices but I am positive my recipe comes out cheaper and healthier. I added peanut butter and walnuts to the recipe to add a boost of protein, however you do not need to use both or either. But I enjoy it with peanut butter for a complete breakfast. By the way September is National Breakfast Month so happy National Breakfast Month Everyone!
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
½ cup old fashioned oats
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
1 tablespoons peanut butter (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts (optional)
1. In a microwave safe bowl combine oats with one cup of water and the cinnamon, vanilla, and ground nutmeg. Place in microwave and cook for 2 ½ minutes.
2. Carefully remove bowl from microwave. Add applesauce, brown sugar, peanut butter and/or walnuts. Stir and enjoy!
Since it is National Guacamole Day I am reposting my Guacomole recipe! Enjoy!
The Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs
I love hard boiled eggs; they are the perfect boost of protein when I need an extra boost of energy. I also enjoy hard boiled eggs post workout. My kids love hard boiled eggs as well. But just like me they only like perfect hard boiled eggs. Our definition of a perfect hard-boiled egg has no gray ring around the yolk and the yolk has been cooked through, so that it is a light yellow not an orange or dark yellow color. It’s also ideal that peeling the shell of is easy, especially if we are making deviled eggs. This is also perfect to pack in kids’ lunches or for a snack at school. Which reminds me, in the next few weeks I will be creating different recipes and tips for kids school lunches, since most kids are back in school now.
I like hard boiled eggs because the average hard-boiled egg only contains 78 calories and 6 grams of protein. Eggs are also high in vitamin B-12 which is important when eating a vegetarian diet.
1. Place eggs in a pot with cool water. Make sure the water covers the eggs and goes approximately 1-2 inches above the eggs.
2. Add one teaspoon of salt to the water. (This is an optional step but helps with the peeling process.)
3. Place pot on stovetop and turn heat on medium high. Bring eggs to a rapid boil. (This time will vary greatly depending on the size of the pot, for small batches of hardboiled eggs I use a deep sauce pan.) Once the water comes to a rapid boil let them boil for 1 minute. (You will have the perfect rapid boil when the eggs start dancing in the pan.)
4. Cover pan with lid, and turn off heat. Let eggs sit in the pan/pot for 15 minutes.
5. Drain hot water and run cool water over eggs for approximately 1 minute or until they are cool to the touch.
6. While cool water is running over eggs put 2-4 cups of ice in a large bowl and add cold water. Add one teaspoon of salt to ice water and then place the eggs in the ice water. Make sure ice water completely covers the eggs. Once eggs are completely cooled, peel and enjoy!
Mocha Coconut Oatmeal
½ cup old fashioned oats
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut, divided
1. In a microwave safe bowl combine oats, almond milk, cocoa powder, instant coffee, and vanilla. Place bowl in microwave and microwave for 2 ½ – 3 minutes.
2. Add in sugar, coconut oil, and one tablespoons shredded coconut and stir until combined. Top with remaining shredded coconut and enjoy!
I call this my emergency chili, because I always have these ingredients on hand. This can be cooked on the stovetop or using a slow-cooker. This chili is delicious and very filling. It is packed with protein, fiber, and lycopene, beta carotene, potassium and vitamins C and E. Unlike other canned fruits and vegetables tomatoes do not lose their nutrients in the canned process. In fact canned and cooked tomatoes contain more lycopene than fresh tomatoes.
2 15 ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
30 ounce’s canned black beans
30 ounce’s canned red kidney beans
30 ounce’s canned light red kidney beans
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, sauté until onions are translucent, approximately 5-10 minutes.
2. Slightly drain the tomatoes, pour out about a tablespoon from each can. Combine tomatoes, onions, and spices in cooking method of choice, either slow cooker or stew pot.
3. Drain and rinse canned beans. Add beans to mixture.
4. If cooking over stovetop let simmer for 1-1 ½ hours. If cooking in a crockpot it can cook on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 3-5 hours.
So I love eggless banana bread! Could one of the reasons be because I can taste the batter without worrying about salmonella, yeah ok maybe that’s one of the reasons. I also love the texture of eggless banana bread. So I have made this banana bread many different ways. Prior to my vegan challenge I have made it with butter, but since I have been eating vegan I have used vegan margarine (Earth Balance) and coconut oil. I used the coconut oil as an experiment since I was out of Earth Balance, but luckily it worked out great!
Eggless Banana Bread
3 ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup margarine, butter, or coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup sugar
½ cup walnuts, chopped
¼ – ½ cup ground flax
1 cup flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease pan.
2. In a large bowl combine bananas, margarine (if using butter or margarine make sure it is softened,) vanilla, baking powder, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix in flax and walnuts. Then mix in flour and whole wheat flour.
3. Pour batter in greased pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked.
Today is National Hot Dog Day! If you’re thinking, is a vegetarian talking about hot dogs??? Yes, there are many great vegetarian and vegan hot dogs. Veggie Patch makes delicious vegetarian hot dogs, if you boil them too long they will get longer and will become wrinkly, they still will be delicious but they just won’t look appetizing, so watch the timer. Are corn dogs more your style, if you have a Trader Joes near you they have scrumptious corn dogs, which my kids absolutely adore! (My kids are not vegetarians, however they like these soy corn dogs more than regular corn dogs!) Thanks to Tofurky Vegans can enjoy savory “hot dogs.” I have tried Tofurky’s basic hot dog and their Beer Brats, both flavors are savory! So far I haven’t found a vegan hot dog bun, so if you know of any please let me know.
So for dinner tonight I will be enjoying a Tofurky’s Beer Brats, on a vegan sourdough bun topped with ketchup, mustard, relish, and of course onions! If onions seem to strong, dice onion into small pieces and place in cold water for a couple of minutes, drain and enjoy! So what are your favorite things to put on hot dogs? My dad puts guacamole and jalapeños on his dog. My husband enjoys banana peppers on his hot dogs. Another popular option I have seen is sauerkraut. So what is your favorite topping on hot dogs? Whether it is weird or wacky or simply ketchup let me know! Enjoy your hot dogs today!