Friday, July 15, 2011

Fun Food Friday - Little Sprout's Happy Birthday Hafla

Last year, when she turned four, Little Sprout didn't really want a birthday party and instead preferred to celebrate with a few close friends. I put together a spa party at the house (think pedicures, facial masks and cucumber slices on the eyes), and afterwards, we all went for tea. It was a wonderful day, and she loved every minute.

A year later, for her fifth birthday, she requested the same type of party but "at the spa, not at the house. And with massages." Cute, right? But of course the answer was "no" (although I've made a mental note of it as a possibility for one of my future birthdays)! As a second choice, we decided on a bellydance birthday - and it turned out great.

Apparently past her introverted stage, she invited all her friends to join her at the house for a class with her bellydance teacher, Miss Brooklynn. Twenty little girls shimmied around the house while the boys went on a spy mission to the playground, then everyone enjoyed snacks and cake.

I really enjoyed creating a vegan menu of kid-friendly food with a Middle Eastern feel, and of course, Little Sprout loved her magic carpet cake. Since I don't have any artistic talent whatsoever, I baked four giant rectangular cakes and whipped up some buttercream, then my mom transformed them into an awesome magic carpet. Our other challenge is that we don't use food dye, so I colored the frosting with turmeric to get the nice yellow hue and juiced blackberries, beets and spinach to giver her purple, red and green "paints" to decorate with.

Here's a peek at our menu.

Fresh Fruit Salad
Olive & Veggie Plate
Pita Triangles with Hummus
Moroccan Millet Salad
Cashew Cheese Logs with Crackers
PB&J Sandwich Triangles

Moroccan Mint Tea
Sparkling Fruit Punch

Magic Carpet Cake

Yikes! Did I really make that much food??? Surprisingly, we had almost no leftovers, except for the cake (I converted a cupcake recipe and made the equivalent of 9 dozen cupcakes!!!) I've promised the Moroccan Millet Salad recipe to a few people, so I'll be sharing that soon.

We all had an amazing time celebrating her birthday and although it entailed a lot of cooking, I'm happy that we pulled off kid-approved party food that fit both our theme and our dietary requirements.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Breakfast!!!

Last week, we were all craving a comfort food, breakfast-for-dinner kind of meal - plus something simple and fast - so I whipped up a quick tofu scramble and tried out the Brussels Sprout-Potato Hash from Appetite for Reduction.

The result was a totally delicious meal, but I felt guilty about the lack of veggies. Next time, I'll scramble some spinach in with the tofu and roast some asparagus to serve on the side. We don't eat tofu all that often, but this meal will definitely make an appearance again!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Great Green Lemonade

So for the past several months, the Sprouts have met the whole green juice thing with a lukewarm reception. Big Sprout will drink it, but I can tell he's not a huge fan. Little Sprout usually requires me to dangle a big carrot (or, in this case, cocoa-strawberry green smoothie) in order for her to drink it down. But today, I finally make a new recipe that they both loved, thanks in part to my new stevia plant. Sorry there's no picture - they drank it too fast!

Wanna make some green juice goodness your kids will love? Give this one a try:

Great Green Lemonade

1 head of Romaine hearts
2 cups loosely-packed greens (I used turnip greens, but spinach, kale, chard or collards would all work)
2 apples
1 lemon (more if you like it extra lemon-y or your lemons are small)
5 stevia leaves (more if you want it sweeter)

Run all ingredients through a juicer. I like the strain my juice through a mesh back (bought in the produce section of Publix) to get out any pulp that makes it through the juicer. Enjoy!

Sprout Ratings
Big Sprout - 5 sprouts
Little Sprout - 5 sprouts
Mama Sprout - 5 sprouts

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Food for Thought Thursday - Emotional Wellness

Although I focus a lot of food and fitness here at Growing Healthy Sprouts, this year has been a wake-up call for me regarding the importance of emotional health. Earlier this year, after reading Crazy Sexy Diet, I incorporated an amazing self-care practice that includes meditation, yoga, exercise and adequate rest. Although I've fallen off the wagon a few times, I notice such a difference when I'm in my routine that I always get myself back to it as soon as possible.

My experience over the past six months has made me think a lot about how to teach these principles to the kids; I wish I'd learned this earlier in life, so I'm hoping I can start them off right. Little Sprout has a lot of emotions that I feel she needs some extra help in handling, and Big Sprout - as laid-back and mellow as he seems - tends to avoid his feelings until they erupt out of nowhere. I try to avoid gender stereotypes, but they definitely seem like the typical "women" vs. "men" approach to emotions to me.

In any case, we've been reading a lot of inspirational books lately, and as we prepare to begin our new homeschool year next week, I plan to expand on these great books and implement some daily self-care practices for us all. At least four days a week, we'll read one of the following books followed by 10 minutes or so of either meditation or yoga.

Here are some of my favorite inspirational books from our home library:

(my current favorite!) 

(a close second)

I'm really excited to be introducing the Sprouts to some tools that have been so helpful for me! I've downloaded several guided meditations geared towards children and will share more about those once we start using them!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesday - 40 Clove Chickpeas & Broccoli

I'm slowly getting back into the groove of cooking, but I'm still sticking to super-simple dishes. Fortunately, this one turned out to be quite tasty, too.

Last night's dinner was the 40 Clove Chickpeas and Broccoli from Appetite for Reduction. It's not the prettiest dish in the world (if memory serves, Isa advises that you don't serve it for company), but it was quick and tasty, making it a strong candidate for inclusion in our regular rotation.

Sprout Rating:
Big Sprout - 4 sprouts
Little Sprout - 4 sprouts
Mama Sprout - 4 sprouts
Daddy Sprout - 3.5 sprouts

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Congrats to our June Giveaway Winner

We're wrapping up six months of giveaways with a copy of Eat to Live, which incidentally is #5 on the New York Times best seller list this month. Congrats to our winner . . . Debra Dauderman!!!

While most of our giveaway books have gone to far-off places in this country (one even made its way to Canada), Debra is not only a friend but also my neighbor, so it will be easy for me to drop it by this week. Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stay Active Saturday - Watermelon 5K

We have a few friends running the Watermelon 5K this weekend, so we were going to go out to support them and let the Sprouts run the kids race. Much to my surprise, Big Sprout - who's been obsessed with baseball to the exclusion of anything else, including running - asked to run the 5K instead. So since I can't turn a 7-year-old loose on the race course and just wait for him at the finish line, I signed us both up and will be trudging along with him on Monday.

Running with Big Sprout is always an adventure; the concept of "pacing yourself" is lost on kids (at least on mine). The three 5K's we've run together in the past have alternated between wild sprinting and moderate walking, so I can only guess what Monday's race has in store for me. But, I'm glad my running history has inspired him to try it every now and then - and hopefully his interest will inspire me as well!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Something Good for the Soul - Positive July

If there's one lesson I've learned so far this year, it's that my mental and emotional health are just as important as anything physical that I do - and in fact, the former definitely affect the latter. In the blur that was our May and June, I've struggled to remember this a bit, so when my friend Regina (whose blog I'd definitely link to if she was "public" with it yet . . . hint, hint) created an event called Positively July, I took it as the inspiration needed to get back on track.

Here's how it works:

Step 1. Share 31 days of positive energy with the world.

Step 2. Invite all you friends to participate in Positively July.

Step 3. Each day in the month of July select someone from the first five friends on your profile page and share something positively wonderful about them - something they have done for you, for a friend, or for the world, share how they cared more for another than for themselves or simply something positive about them.

Step 4. Be sure to tag that person in the status and include the event title: Positively July.

If you're not on Facebook, feel free to play along via e-mail or however you'd like. In fact, you can play along right here. In the spirit of Positively July, share with us how someone helped inspired your or your children towards better health . . . or better yet, share it with them!