"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."~Maya Angelou

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Baking Bug

Temperatures are slowly dropping, leaves a starting to turn color and the sweet smell of woodsmoke is beginning to perfume the air. It is the start of a wonderful season, probably my favorite. The first family outing of the fall tends to be apple picking in our house, which we will be doing next weekend. If you go to early the apples are still a little green and quite tart, so you definitely want to wait until mid to late September. My personal favorite to pick is Cortland apples. They not only taste delicious, they are excellent for baking. What to bake you ask? Well cooking with apples is easy and very rewarding. A few of my favorites are applesauce and apple muffins. I encourage you to let your children help you in any way they can. Under good supervision most two year old's and up can help cut up the apple after it has been peeled, and of course add ingredients to any dish. Below you will find the recipes to my homemade applesauce and some apple muffins that include other very healthy ingredients, which provides a "delicious and nutritious"(as my son likes to say) way to start their morning.  I hope you enjoy them as much as my family does!!! Happy Baking!!!

Homemade Applesauce
Peel and slice up as many apples as you wish, you will probably want to use at least 20 apples though.
Using a steamer, put about 2-4 inches of water in a pot, add apples to steamer and cook until soft. When all apples have been steamed I put them in a food processor to blend. I always add some cinnamon to my applesauce, and depending on the tartness, a tablespoon of sugar.
I enjoy storing my ape sauce in mason jars, but any glass jar will do.
Cool and refrigerate, but don't expect it to last to long, it is just to yummy!!!

Glorious Morning Muffins
2 eggs
3/4 C veg oil
1/4 C milk
2 t. vanilla
1 C white flour
1 C wheat flour
1 C packed brown sugar
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 C shredded carrots
1 C shredded peeled apple
1/2 C coconut
1/2 C raisins
3/4 C sliced almonds
Heat oven to 350. In large bowl beat eggs, oil, milk and vanilla with whisk until blended. Add flours, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. With spoon, stir in carrots, apple, coconut, raisins and 1/2 cup of the almonds.
Divide batter evenly among muffin tray, will make 18 large or 30-35 mini. Sprinkle remaining almonds over batter.
Bake 20 min or until toothpick comes out clean.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Is your child getting enough sleep?

  Counting sheep. Listening to the chirp of crickets. The whirl of a fan or music from a radio sometimes do the trick too. All of these things may or may not help us get to sleep. As an adult we may rely on outside white noise to settle us down at night, or reading a good book and having some tea. As we settle ourselves down from busy days, it is important to remember to do the same for our children, as their ability to unwind is our responsibility.
                 I can not stress enough my belief that a bedtime routine is not only helpful, but necessary. Having a routine not only comforts your child from as early as 6 months old, but gives them a sense of consistency that is so important in their changing lives. I know everyone would love to be at home every day with their children, but that is not always possible. So as a child's day may change from a sitter to home, or school to home, having a consistent routine will give them a tremendous sense of security. Both of my children have always had the same routine; dinner, baths, quiet play and bed, and I have some great sleepers! Now of course there are some tantrums and such thrown in there, but they know what's coming next. They can count on going upstairs after dinner to take a nice bath, and know that they will return downstairs to play for a short while before stories and bed.
               I have found an excellent website I am excited to share with you that has several great features including the amounts of sleep recommended for various ages. The bottom line is all children over the age of 1 should be getting at least 10 hours of sleep, while some children will want up to 13 with daytime naps on top of that! Another point I want to stress is to remember that it does not work to your advantage to keep a child up to help them sleep better, in fact it will have the opposite effect by making them overtired and harder to settle down.
                Sleep is so important for their development, both cognitively and socially, and I hope everyone will take a moment to reflect on their child's sleep pattern and adjust it if necessary. Sweet dreams everyone!