Fastest Most Versatile (oil-free) Pesto Ever

Once stored in my freezer, this pesto gets all the mom-love my former self would have given a box of Macaroni and Cheese. Let’s be honest, at least once a week you need to feed someone (maybe yourself) quickly. The best part of solving that problem with this pesto is that in addition to it being quick and easy, it also happens to be incredibly nutritious!

I love pesto. And most other things you can pour over pasta. This recipe though, has saved me more times than I can count, from being ill prepared for meal time… or for company… or for starving kids… or for my most hangry self. It should probably be called Last Minute Annie’s Pesto. Once stored in my freezer, this pesto gets all the mom-love my former self would have given a box of Macaroni and Cheese. Let’s be honest, at least once a week you need to feed someone (maybe yourself) quickly. The best part of solving that problem with this pesto is that in addition to it being quick and easy, it also happens to be incredibly nutritious! Leafy greens? Yup. Healthy Fats? Yup! And if you’re searching for foods to give picky eaters, jazz this up with a name like “Green Monstah Pasta” or “Slime Covered Elbows” and watch your kids devour it! This pesto also makes an amazing spread. When I make an hors d’oeuvre board, the ramekin of this gets refilled before the hummus and the salsa. Someone always asks for the recipe.

Spinach Pesto

Breakfast in One Hand

The recipe that solved my hangry mornings and got me to work on time!

Spray baking pan and preheat oven to 350. I use a 6 cavity silicone baking pan by Wilton for this, but you could use a casserole dish and adjust the baking time. The important part is that your egg patty fits in your sandwich!

Ingredients

  • 7 eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup milk (I use Almond)
  • 2 cups of chopped steamed veggies (drained)
  • English muffins, Sandwich Thins, Pockets, Bread, Wraps…
  • Cooking Spray

1. Mix eggs, egg whites and milk

2. Divide veggies among 10 sections of the silicone baking pans. Add egg mixture, filling about 2/3 high. 

3. Bake 30 minutes, until tester toothpick comes out dry.

4. Make a sandwich of egg patty and your bread of choice. Enjoy!

4. Allow egg patties to cool and refrigerate for up to a week.

 

 

Mom Survival Stories: Morning

Eating and showering are for over achievers, right? Here’s how one mom figured out how to survive mornings with a toddler, clean and nourished!

If you can just manage to eat in the morning, there’s a good chance you’ll survive the day. It sounds deceivingly simple. I was lucky enough to spend the whole summer home with my one year old. (I was even luckier that his grandmothers took him on Mondays and Fridays!!!) Eating before nausea and starvation set in, I learned was my secret weapon. The logistical prowess to pull that off though… seemed akin to wedding planning. Every. Day.

For a good chunk of the summer, I showered in the morning. It was a great way to start the day. Every day, no matter what I was covered in, I could think back to 6:45- when I felt clean and human… and maybe even looked a little like myself. By August though, the honeymoon was over and my favorite toddler was done letting me shower. My little Houdini had started planning his escape from the seat I strapped him into every morning for my 6 minutes of spa-like bliss. I knew I was in trouble the day he popped his head under the shower curtain to laugh and scream his toddler ‘hello.’ For the next week my showers were stressful. They were full of extra special baby toys- here, play with these ice cube trays- sore throat causing baby songs, and a magically moving baby. One day, I opened the shower curtain to find only one leg still strapped into his seat, and the rest of his body under an open drawer. Finally, I had to push my personal hygiene off to nap time, for everyone’s safety.

During the clean period, as I wistfully remember it, I lazily (read: as fast as humanly possible- but sitting down, which was amazing enough) drank my coffee and ate my breakfast during my son’s first nap. Whether it was a dreamy 90 minutes or a 30 minute crap nap, I’d be nourished and caffeinated the next time I saw his cute little face. Once he started mastering the big escape though, I often found myself just starting to make my breakfast as he woke up. I’d hop in the shower the second the monitor showed me that his little bum was in the air, and he was squishing his face into his mattress for the dreaming to begin. Too often, I’d be cranky and nauseous by noon and have zero patience… even if I was still clean. 

Was I a terrible person? No. I was hungry. It occurred to me, that when my little guy took a morning crap nap- maybe 70% of the time- I wasn’t eating. And I was usually waking up for a 3AM feeding and up for real at 5:30. And I’m a breakfast person! So that’s a miserable combination.

Check back this weekend for the #1handedmeal recipe that saved me from starvation and saved my son from his monster mom.

Bath Time Wrestling

When my son was especially cranky late in the day, my go to response used to be to start bath time early and drag      it      out. Some soothing water, a few floating bath toys and we had a content baby… until recently. At 13 months, this little guy is very preoccupied with perfecting the art of “standing.” Pretty much all day long, he can be found practicing standing unassisted. If he’s cooking at his play grill, you’ll see him put his little hands out, one holding a plastic corn cob, and balance until he plops down on his bottom. He also likes to get up to standing these days without pulling up on anything- another impressive trick culminating in the diaper plop and very proud smile. All day long, I am impressed by this… waiting anxiously for the day he decides to take his balancing act on the road- and I start caring for even more boo boos.  

 

Just like when he learned to roll over and to crawl and to point, this kid wants to practice his newest skills everywhere he is, ALL of the time… This has turned bath time into a nightmare. If you’ve ever lost one of the horrific diaper change wrestling matches that start around 10 months, this bath time thing has the same intensity. The only difference is, instead of being afraid of getting covered in poop- I’m afraid both that he’s going to fall in the tub, break a tooth on the faucet and that I’m going to throw out my back trying to wrangle him back into a safe position.

Here’s what bath time looks like these days: Water, bubbles and toys ready, add baby. Baby smiles and splashes, collecting the toys that are floating around until noticing (suddenly) that there is a faucet on the other side of the tub.

Intervention #1. Lean over tub wall. Slide baby back to other side of tub with back facing the faucet. Distract with songs and toys. Make orange fish spit water at him.

 

Baby slides onto his knees, eyeballing the black stain I (still) cannot remove on the tub wall that separates us. Grabs the side of the tub to get a closer look, while pulling to standing.

Intervention #2. Lean over tub wall, swipe under legs with forearm, like a ninja. Baby is surprised to be in a seated position once again… facing the boring wall. My singing gets louder. He laughs. I love that laugh!!! All toys find their way right in front of the baby.

I look down to assess the wetness of my clothes. I did pretty well. My shirt is DRY. A shovel landed in my lap though. It held more water than I expected. Whatever. We’re still both safe!

Baby is standing again, holding the bar that used to hold our shampoo in place… (Ha!! Back when adult cleanliness was a thing.) Reaching for the shower sprayer, which is dangling next to the faucet that is covered by the hideous foam whale that is supposed to protect his face in the event that I can’t. And, it’s a good thing- because I’m pretty sure I can’t. 

Intervention #3. Lean over tub wall to seat wet slippery baby, but realize his grip on the bar is too strong. Ouch. My back. Re-position myself. Sit sideways on tub wall to get a better grip on those ridiculously strong fingers, all the while watching him sway and slide dangerously… now eyeballing that damn whale. 

 

Once I’ve pried his fingers off of the bar and seated him again, facing the boring side, I know the clock is ticking. He’s pissed. There are things he wants and they are all behind him. I release the drain and grab the sprayer. He frantically starts crawling in place after the moving suds. (Thank you, God for this distraction!) Over the next 90 seconds or so, I wash the baby, spray him down with clean water and wrap him in a towel. When we make it into his bedroom I realize we are 20 minutes ahead of schedule. It is NOT bedtime yet.

 

 

Things I Didn’t Know I Needed Until AFTER I Had A Baby

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase something through one of these links, a small percentage goes back to help support my work on this site. Thanks for your support.

Playpen. As soon as my little guy became mobile, my days became a game of chase and lift, and my nights re-babyproofing and worrying. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him for a second. I was spending very little time playing with him, because I was so busy saving him from EVERYTHING… the rock that came out of the bottom of someone’s shoe, the inside of the entertainment cabinet, the doggy door… While this playpen may take up half of my living room, and definitely doesn’t match anything… it’s AMAZING!!! It has given me peace of mind and a chance to play again. My little guys knows that’s where his toys are, so when you carry him near it, he kicks his feet, reaches for it and squeals. When we are in the playpen, we can relax knowing that everything is safe. I can even check my email, make a cup of coffee and on occasion… use the bathroom alone!

The OTHER 4 things I didn’t know I needed are here!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter so you don’t miss the other 4 posts in the Things I Didn’t Know I Needed Until AFTER I Had A Baby series!

 Ours is by North States and it's called the Super Yard. It should be called Peace of Mind.
Ours is by North States and it’s called the Super Yard. It should be called Peace of Mind.

Things I Didn’t Know I Needed Until AFTER I Had A Baby

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase something through one of these links, a small percentage goes back to help support my work on this site. Thanks for your support.

Portable Highchair. I was at a cookout a few weeks ago and watched my friend Kyle’s baby eat in her caio! baby portable highchair. About a week later, the same one, in the same olive green color, was on my front step- thank you Amazon. I didn’t know that I couldn’t live without a portable highchair until my husband and I talked all the way home from that cook out about ALL of its potential uses. We are not big campers, and we do not attend more cook outs than most people. We do however go to people’s homes who do not currently have a highchair aged child. And we hold and feed our son, who prefers to feed himself. This chair folds up like a camping chair. There is room for that in your trunk.

The OTHER 4 things I didn’t know I needed are here!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter so you don’t miss the other 4 posts in the Things I Didn’t Know I Needed Until AFTER I Had A Baby series!

 This  caio! baby portable high chair  is amazing. Get one for someone who doesn't know they need it. It's a game changer!
This caio! baby portable high chair is amazing. Get one for someone who doesn’t know they need it. It’s a game changer!

5 Secrets to a Freezer Full of Homemade Baby Food

Stock your Baby Food Toolbox: Wax paper, Freezer Bags, Cutting Board, Canning Jars, Sharpie Marker, Nail Polish Remover

Flash Freeze It! This is why I rarely have to chop up finger food on the spot! I cut up pears, cooked sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli and just about anything else my little guy will eat, into just the right size pieces for his little fingers. I lay them flat on a piece of wax paper and pop it in the freezer on a cutting board or a cookie sheet. After a couple of hours I transfer the frozen bite sized pieces into a freezer bag. There is almost always a quart size bag of sweet potato bites, another of frozen pear bites, and another of spinach omelet bites. Finger food… done!

Immersion Blender & 3 oz. Canning Jars: This is all I need to make ahead plenty of tasty purees. See an overripe banana on the counter? Puree it with an avocado and a few pieces of mango from the freezer! In just a few minutes you can fill 6-7 of those little canning jars to grab and go.

Sharpie & Nail Polish Remover: If you have a bottom drawer freezer like I do, it can be tricky to determine the contents of all of those little glass jars from above, especially when they are stacked. When I make and freeze oatmeal, I use a Sharpie to label the top with an O, and A for avocado smash. Later, a little nail polish remover will leave those covers sparkling and ready to be relabeled!

 This is what my freezer really looks like- no clean up for the camera. There's avocado smash, blueberry oatmeal, broccoli puree blocks, moon cakes, quinoa patties, pureed pear blocks, cut up pears and roll of homemade oatmeal cookie dough hiding underneath! 
This is what my freezer really looks like- no clean up for the camera. There’s avocado smash, blueberry oatmeal, broccoli puree blocks, moon cakes, quinoa patties, pureed pear blocks, cut up pears and roll of homemade oatmeal cookie dough hiding underneath! 

Plan Ahead: A little prior planning goes a long way. Some weeks, I’ll make one or two things each night after dinner. I might let the veggies steam while we eat, and puree them right in the water pan after. I can spoon them into the jars and they’ll be cool enough to freeze before bed. Other weeks, I’ll make a list and get it all done on Sunday morning.

Ready for Solids

We put off solids as long as possible… mostly because I was really, really afraid of the nightmare I had let grow in my mind…a shit storm to be exact. I had read article upon article about how to “handle” non-EBF baby poop.

We put off solids as long as possible… mostly because I was really, really afraid of the nightmare I had let grow in my mind…a shit storm to be exact. I had read article upon article about how to “handle” non-EBF baby poop. And, in my mind… it was going to be BAD!!! Turns out, I was wrong. The moment my son started eating solids, he did not start spewing flame like poop, ruining all of his diapers and requiring excessive plumbing accessories. That’s unfortunate for my dad and husband, both of whom I harassed relentlessly for the 2 months prior to our starting solids to create the perfect poopy diaper spraying system- better than anything that was sold commercially, because you know- we love to DIY around here. 

 My poor dad. He watched so many YouTube videos about what cloth diaper families need after solids... I used this setup for about a week! But having it really calmed my fears:)
My poor dad. He watched so many YouTube videos about what cloth diaper families need after solids… I used this setup for about a week! But having it really calmed my fears:)

We started with oatmeal, the regular old fashioned oats, pureed with my immersion blender. My little guy was 7 months then- and more than ready. He loved his oatmeal and soon added avocado and carrots to his repertoire. We talked a good Baby Led Weaning game in the beginning… but then I fell hard for the immersion blender, and Kade started getting more purees than anything else.

We’re working on balance though. Now at 10 months, he has pureed fruity oatmeal for breakfast with moon cakes and sliced pears to feed himself. Lunch might be some pureed veggies, or soup with some omelette finger foods or some pieces of hard boiled egg, chicken or noodles. Dinner is a lot like lunch, although after 4PM everything is negotiable. Tonight he fed lots of his food to the dog and spit some other favorites out. So, he actually ate a few slices of an egg, some strawberries and a few spoon fulls of my smoothie for dinner. More importantly though, I think this is just the breakthrough the dog needs to start to like the baby!