Carnival: Travel and Vacation

Welcome to the June edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Vacation and Travel.

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. This month our participants are sharing ideas, inspiration and information on travel and vacations! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.



Travel Goddesses! It has been too many weeks. It just so happens that the last installation of my Traveling Light with Kids series coincided with this wonderful Carnival dedicated to Travel and Vacation hosted by Authentic Parenting. The plus? Not only will you get my tips for traveling light, but you will also get travel tips and stories from scads of other family road (and sky) warriors. Bonus!

Without further ado…

Traveling Light with Your Toddler

So far I have given you some juicy tips about efficiently packing for yourself, lowering your overall traveling stress level, and traveling light with an infant. If you missed those posts, you can check them out here, here, and here. Now, let’s talk toddlers!

Toddlers are totally fantastic. I wake up every morning excited to see what will come out of our daughter’s mouth or what new skill she will master. They are high energy little learning sponges. These characteristics, while endearing, can make traveling a bit of a challenge. When your toddler is used to spending days at the park, exploring at the library, or playing at home and with friends, the concept of staying in one place for an extended period of time during your journey can be a bit of a challenge. Little things can make all the difference. How can you travel light, but still have all the things you need at your fingertips to pack a heavyweight punch of enjoyment for your toddler? Try these tips…

Tip 1: Smart Snacks

Is there anyone who doesn’t like special snacks on a trip? I do. And your toddler will especially appreciate them. They occupy time and really taste good. My one go-to snack of choice for airplanes and car-trips alike is freeze-dried fruit from Trader Joe’s (the strawberries are great!). They are physically light, calorically light, healthy, delicious, and fun to crunch. I find these are particularly useful on airplanes during the dreaded “we have boarded but are still waiting for everyone else to get to their seats” times. They are also stellar upon take-off and landing to keep your little one’s ears free and clear from the altitude changes. So, dig in! Just make sure to check to see if your brand has added sugar and consider making them an exciting treat reserved only for your travels.

Tip 2: The animal pillow/blanket combo

One of the marvels of plush toy innovations is the animal pillow/blanket combo. The belly of the animal is actually a blanket that has been rolled tight and has had the animal velcroed around it. It’s great for naps, chilly planes/cars, and something familiar from home that can become an instant travel buddy. Another plus? They are inexpensive. We got ours at Costco for $7. It has been worth every penny. Worried about space? Simply slip a carabiner around the neck and attach it to your carry-on bag. This is bang for your luggage buck!

Tip 3: Ditch the Stroller

You are the proud owner of a mover and groover. Don’t worry about bringing a stroller. Its heavy, bulky, and your toddler will most likely want to walk anyways. Why fuss with extra “stuff?” Traveling by plane? Don’t forget your Ergo- or Boba-style carrier for those times when your toddler love wants to be carried through the terminal and your arms are full. At this stage, they especially think its fun to ride (and fall asleep) on your back! Driving? Stick your carrier in the trunk for impromptu museum visits and hikes. They are great and all-terrain!

Tip 4: Simple Toys

If you are adventuring, the change-of-scenery is like one, big, new toybox. The bonus for you is that you can keep the toys you bring with you very simple and light. Pack a small bag for plane, train, or automobile with a Magnadoodle, stickers (this is a must), paper, and a few books. Voila! Long-time entertainment. Also consider making your toy choices unique to only the times you are traveling…it makes it all the more exciting.

Tip 5: Invest in a travel potty

Sometimes, you’ve just gotta go. For those toddlers that are already good-to-go in this area or for those still in training, this can be a total stress reliever for you and them! My current favorite is the Potette Plus 2-in-1 by Kalencom. For about $15 you can invest in a travel potty that doubles as a stand-alone and a seat insert all while fitting into a medium-sized handbag. Awesome! It brings me peace of mind knowing that I can attend to her needs whether we are hiking on the trail (please observe pack in/pack out rules), in a busy airport, or in the car without a bathroom in sight.

Tip 6: Seek out some reversible clothing

Did your strapping boy get a little too fiesty with the ketchup at lunch? Wipe off the big chunks and turn his jacket to the other side! I stumbled upon the joys of reversible children’s clothing by accident when I bought a cute spring jacket for our daughter at a consignment shop this year. We have since invested in more reversible pieces that we bring with us whenever we travel. With two sides in one, you can pack less and be less stressed about doing laundry and changing clothes during the day. When you show up at Grandma’s house for special Sunday dinner, she will be none the wiser that junior has strawberries smashed down the front of his shirt (because it’s on the inside).

Travel light and safe family road warriors, and check out my other blog posts (see above) for additional traveling light tips! Travel is an amazing experience for folks of any age, but especially our little ones. The more you travel, the more they will grow to love and appreciate the diversity of our Mother Earth. It is a gift that will live inside of them forever. That is pretty incredible! So, get out there and get going!

Stephanie is a seasoned traveler who refuses to think that owning a home is the American Dream. There are far too many amazing places to live and experience! Someday she hopes to travel to New Caledonia off the eastern coast of Australia to experience as close to what it was like to live in the Jurassic Period 160 million years ago as she can get!


APBC - Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic ParentingVisit The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Traveling with a Sick Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her tips and tricks for traveling with a sick child based on firsthand experience.
  • Educational Travel | Pennsylvania, New Mexico &; LouisianaThat Mama Gretchen relives three childhood trips while outlining a plan for future homeschooling adventures.
  • Babymoon: A Cruise in Europe — Bianca from The Pierogie Mama writes about the babymoon that she and her husband took to Europe, via a week long cruise through the Western Mediterranean..
  • Travelling with our little oneStoneageparent describes what travelling means to her family, exploring the link between attachment parenting and travelling
  • I Just Can’t Do It — aNonyMous at Radical Ramblings describes the nightmare it is trying to travel with her daughter, and how for the moment day-trips to local areas will have to suffice.
  • Carnival: Travel and VacationMacgyvermama rounds out her “Travel Light with Babies and Kids” series with some juicy tips on how to travel light and stress free with your moving and grooving Toddler!
  • Traveling: Adventure, Nature, Family — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her hopes and fears for her Great Summer Camping Road Trip with her three small children.
  • Frustration Free Flying with Kids — Based on her extensive experience flying with her family, Laura at Authentic Parenting shares tips on how to make the trip fun for you and your children.
  • 12 Awesome Toys To Bring Along When Traveling With ChildrenAriadne over at Positive Parenting Connection is sharing about toys her children love and playful ways to use them that make travel with children more fun and less stressful for the whole family.

Thank you for following my weight loss journey!

Week 6

Initial Weight Week 1: 130

Final Weight Week 6: 123

Thank you for following my weight loss journey for the last six weeks. I still have a couple of pounds to go but I am proud of my success so far.

For me, the hardest parts of reaching a healthy weight are exercising, avoiding eating out, and skipping convenience foods. I am still in search for ways to make my exercise more effective… thinking about getting jogging stroller, but I can’t justify the cost unless I am sure I will use it (and I’m not sure).

Here is my prescription for a healthy diet:

–          Choose water has your main beverage

–          Try to eat as many vegetables as you can (especially bright colored ones)

–          Eat fruit when you want something sweet (preferably ones that are in season and locally grown)

–          Experiment with new healthy foods that you haven’t tried before

–          Bake, broil, or roast meats

–          Limit total grain intake and choose whole grains

–          Try to  limit eating out to once a week (very difficult for me)

–          Exercise often (the recommendation is 30 minutes on most days)

–          Treat yourself, but don’t cheat yourself!

Remember that life is all about balance and making the changes and choices that are right for you and your family!

What is your healthy eating “prescription”?

Adding Exercise

Olivia ready to exercise

This guest post is by Rachel Tainey, and is part five of a six week series.

Week 5

Starting weight: 125

Ending weight: 123

It’s almost go time! Three more weeks until Miami, and I am pretty happy with my weight loss so far. I have already lost seven pounds and I hope to lose at least three more. This week I have continued to be dairy free…. well, mostly. (I had cheese twice.)  I am still loving my coconut milk and coconut yogurt. Somebody told me about coconut ice cream and I’m dying to try!

As a dietitian I teach people that in order to lose weight and keep it off, a healthy routine should include nutrition and physical activity.  In addition to helping you reach a healthy weight, exercise has numerous benefits, including mood elevation–and as sometimes-sleep-deprived mamas, don’t we always need that sometimes? For me, healthy eating is much easier than exercising.

I wish I liked exercise. My mom is one of those people that goes to the gym every day and sometimes twice…but I have never really liked going to the gym, despite having memberships on and off throughout my adult years. I am the kind of person who is always in search for the right “fit” when it comes to exercise. I have gone through many phases looking for the perfect exercise match (kind of like exercise dating, ha!). I have tried roller blading, hot yoga, aerobics, home videos, and spinning–to name a few! The only thing that I have stuck to is walking. I love to look around and clear my head and the best part is that I can do it any time, any where, and with DD.

This week Olivia and I have been vamping up our walk routine and have been taking longer and much more intense walks. One day we took a nice walk with friends through the steep hills of Westchester, and my butt thanked me later! This morning we participated in a beautiful two mile walk at the NY Botantical Gardens. DD loves being outside and so do I. Ever since she was a newborn, we would take walks together, even if it was just five minutes so that we felt that we did something for the day!

Walking is all good, but I need ways to make it higher impact. I’m going to try walking faster, hiking up steeper inclines, and walking with weights (which would be hard to do with a stroller).  Do you have any ideas?

What types of exercises have you tried? What’s your go-to way to get moving?

Did you know The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year is now for sale? Are you interested in learning more about gentle, mom and baby-friendly practices that foster a joyful, connected relationship? Want to introduce a pregnant friend to natural parenting? Check out our website or head over to Amazon to grab your copy today!

3 Money-Saving Tools for New Parents

Growing numbers of new parents gaining access to tools that have been used across time to save money and raise thriving babies. Check out the baby registries  of these mavericks (if you can find them, because they recognize that few items marketed as “baby essentials” are necessary or even useful), and you won’t find the funtime froggy bathtub, a baby swing, and most notably a crib. Usually, that is. It’s important to recognize that every family is different and while sweeping generalities can be used to give you a sense of their typical lifestyle choices, every family makes its own decisions independently, based on its own needs and preferences.

Anyone who’s purchased baby food, including infant formula, baby cereals and purees, not to mention all those fun teething biscuits and snacks with cartoons on the boxes, will tell you—they cost a pretty penny. But they’ve been around so long—and, more importantly, marketed so successfully—you’d never know they weren’t necessary to feed your children.

If foods like baby formula are such staples, then why aren’t babies born with a bottle and can of formula? Because they are born with something even easier to access, healthier, and cheaper. We humans are called mammals because our bodies are genetically equipped to feed our babies with human milk, and we begin making milk in preparation for the baby’s birth. It’s true, not all women make enough milk for their babies. I know—I  was one of the few who didn’t, at first. But it’s far less true than we’re led to think. More than 90% of women have enough milk, or can make enough milk to feed their babies. It’s just that new moms don’t get all the support we need to do it, in the form of skilled professionals like Lactation Consultants—or better yet, a wise community of elders—who can help us through the early days and the inevitable bumps in the road.

While we’re on the topic of baby food, I’m excited to share a revelation that changed my life, and kept our bank account healthy. Babies don’t actually need baby food! Really. I know what you’re thinking—here’s one of those blender ladies who is going to tell me to puree my own baby food. Actually, no. It’s much easier than that. Our babies—beginning around age 6 months and older—can eat the vast majority of foods that we eat. Things like whole fruit, cooked veggies and whole grains such as rice, quinoa, beans and even meat.

Not only can babies eat our food, they can also feed themselves. This is where the real fun comes in. Maybe you’ve seen a parent feeding their baby, or maybe you’ve been that parent airplaning mashed bananas into his mouth. You know that it takes both of your hands and your complete attention. You’re spooning the mush out of the jar, aiming it into the baby’s mouth, possibly making sound effects while encouraging him to eat it, then cleaning up when he’s done. Picture this instead. Cook dinner as you normally would, then put some food on his tray or plate. Let him practice picking it up, aiming it towards his mouth or just playing with it. Then clean up when he’s all done. What’s the difference between these two ways of feeding babies solid foods? In the second scenario, the parent can actually eat and enjoy the show! Chances are she has many comical pictures of her baby wearing his dinner, what with her hands free and clear. The long-term outcomes are even more impressive, though. Babies who are self-fed are less likely to overeat or be obese later in life. Not bad for budget-friendly dining.

Another top money saving baby-care secret is called Elimination Communication (EC), or infant pottying. Yes, really. Infants can be taken to the bathroom, and, in fact, they really want to be. No one wants to sit in their own filth, not even babies. Most parents who potty their infants notice that babies stop pooping in their diapers within a week or two. By tuning in to our babies’ cues, we’re able to better meet their needs. ECing parents also report less incidences of unexplained crying. You know those times when you fed, clothed, napped and changed your baby, and he still wouldn’t stop crying? Millions of parents chalk it up to a mystery of babyhood. But it just might be that your baby wants you to take off his diaper so that he won’t have to soil himself. It sounds crazy at first, I know. But pottying is fun for everyone – the baby who doesn’t have to poop in his diaper, and the parent who “catches” his eliminations and doesn’t have to change her baby’s diaper—not to mention pay for all those expensive Pampers!

We’ve all heard about life in the trenches – the first three months of a baby’s life when he’s crying all the time, waking up multiple times to feed and needing to be swaddled, rocked, pacified, sung to, driven in the car, or shushed to sleep. I’ve been there, and they were the longest and most miserable three weeks of my life. But thanks to conversations with parents in-the-know, I learned that I didn’t have to keep muscling through, all three of us miserable as my baby cried her way through the nights. I learned that I could bring her into bed with me – that bed-sharing wasn’t unsafe, as my post-partum hospital nurse had told me, as long as it was done safely. Safe co-sleeping is one of the best-kept secrets in Western society, even though it’s practiced across the rest of the world. The U.S. government in particular has done an impressive job publicizing the perils of bed-sharing, citing many tragic deaths from co-sleeping, without mentioning that they are actually 46 times less than crib deaths over the same time period.

What’s so great about co-sleeping? For nursing moms, sharing a sleep surface enables a baby to feed quickly and easily, without mom’s feet once touching the ground. (Babies who aren’t nursing are safest on a separate sleep surface, close to their parents.) For babies, who have spent 10 months in utero, co-sleeping allows them the nearness to their moms, making the world less scary and helping them relax and sleep! Also, while the baby’s lungs are developing, nearness to his mom helps him to regulate his breathing, resulting in fewer instances of apnea and SIDS.

As one who has tread both worlds with the same baby, I can tell you that the tools in our parenting toolkit have fattened our bank account, built a close intuitive relationship with our daughter and increased our sleep. Taken together or separately, the experience has been priceless.

Miriam is a fun-loving mama who literally can’t stop kissing Dalia, her delicious 2 year old.  She loves reading, yoga, crafting and helping others find their paths through life coaching. She is co-author of The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year.

What about you? What are your top money-saving baby-care tools?

The surprise benefits of going dairy free

Week 4:

Starting weight: 127

Ending weight: 125

This is my fourth week of trying to lose weight and get healthy! This week was a little different… Last week my five month old daughter was diagnosed with eczema. I felt so bad for her. Her skin is so dry and I think that it itches, causing her to be mildly fussy. The pediatrician told us to use several topical lotions including a steroid cream. Besides the side effects of steroid use, there is strong evidence that steroid use is linked to osteoporosis later in life. I have had eczema and asthma my whole life and have been on various types of steroids many times, so my chances of getting osteoporosis are very high. I  really didn’t want to increase DD’s chance of complications later on. She’s only five months!

I decided instead to use coconut oil mixed with breast milk as a topical ointment and to try a modified elimination diet. The most common dietary triggers for eczema are dairy, wheat, eggs, and nuts. This week I decided to eliminate dairy from my diet to see if it would help. This is a big deal for me; I LOVE cheese, yogurt, and all things dairy. But I love DD more. I cried on the first day. For real–real tears. However, overall it really hasn’t been that bad. I have been using a blend of coconut and almond milk in my coffee and it’s quite tasty. I have also been eating almond yogurt, which is a little hard to get used to. I think I like coconut yogurt better. The hardest day for me was when I went to a mixer for the school I will be attending in the fall, and all they served was a platter of stinky delicious cheeses, crackers, and hummus. I was so proud of myself for abstaining from those amazing looking cheeses.

I am not quite sure if the dairy elimination is helping DD yet, but her skin is much softer, and she seems a little happier, so I am going to continue being dairy free for a while. The best side effect of the dairy elimination project was that I lost two pounds this week without really trying! Dairy, especially cheese, can be high in fat, especially the dangerous saturated fat. By cutting the saturated fat out of my diet, I also cut out extra fat. Amazing!

Are you on or have you ever been on an elimination diet? What did you eliminate? What was the most difficult adjustment ?

Hooray for small, healthy changes

Initial weight: 128

Final weight: 127

I was determined to get back on track this week and I am satisfied with the one pound weight loss (although I wish it was a little more).

There are things that I am proud of myself for this week:

  1. Sticking to my no juice, no soda rule- I have always had an issue with water–it’s just so plain! I know that water is crucial to every function in our bodies and I preach the benefits of water to clients daily…. but it has always been a hard one for me. I haven’t had a any juice or soda and I have increased my water tremendously! I really owe it to my new water bottle. I have a new pretty, purple, brita water bottle that I am obsessed with. It makes me want to drink water! I am like the stubborn two year old that will not drink from a cup until she is presented with the prettiest Dora cup. That’s me! I know it sounds ridiculous but it’s true, and if it gets me to drink water, then hooray for the pretty purple water bottle!
  2. Saying no to the dessert case- Every week I go to Starbucks to do work and every week I am confronted by the display case of yummy looking desserts (see picture). For the last three weeks I have successfully ignored the case and have only purchased decaf coffee (with skim milk and a little sugar).  To satisfy my sweet tooth I made yummy blueberry muffins which were delicious and had all natural ingredients.
  3. Branching out- I had fallen into a lunch/dinner rut of eating all of the same foods all the time. This week I made a spinach pizza on whole wheat crust that was amazing. I also had a delicious spinach and butternut squash salad that I bought at a local gourmet supermarket (If you live in Queens or Long Island go to North Shore Farms!).
  4. Walking- Olivia and I have been walking every day for about 30-45 minutes. It’s great, we both love being outside! I do need to ramp up my exercise though, I am thinking about buying a baby and me yoga video.

Overall, I feel that I have made some positive changes, but now I really need to crank it up for the next three weeks!

Have you made any small healthy changes that you are proud of?


Did you know The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year is now for sale? Are you interested in learning more about gentle, mom and baby-friendly practices that foster a joyful, connected relationship? Want to introduce a pregnant friend to natural parenting? Check out our website or head over to Amazon to grab your copy today!

Remembering there is more to beauty than looks

My baby, 4.5 months

Week 2:

Starting weight: 128

Ending weight: 128

This was the second week of my own personal weight loss challenge. I was so proud of myself for losing two pounds last week…so proud that I allowed myself eat large amounts of restaurant food on two occasions this week. Let’s face it: it’s really hard to eat healthy at restaurants because of the large portions and high fat ingredients. It’s okay to treat yourself by going to a restaurant once in a while, but two times in one week really put a halt on my weight loss efforts this week. I’m going to keep that in mind for the next five weeks!

Speaking of restaurants…I wanted to share something that happened to me while out this week. I went to a delicious Italian restaurant in Manhattan and had a really good time…until we were leaving and the hostess smiled at me and congratulated me on my pregnancy! ( I am 4 and half months post-partum). I was stunned. I’ve heard about women making this horrible faux pau, but I never would have dreamed it would happen to me! What was worse than the actual comment though, was the way it made me feel. I automatically turned her seemingly harmless comment into “You are fat” in my head. I couldn’t get that comment out of my heard for days.

I know that I shouldn’t care about her off handed comment. I know that I should be confident in my body, beauty, intelligence and self worth, but instead I suffered a major blow to my self-esteem. I provide nutrition counseling for obese adolescents who are constantly battling with their self esteem and in this moment I finally understand how they must feel. All women of all sizes, shapes, colors and ethnicities are beautiful and strong and we shouldn’t feel so much pressure to be a certain weight or look a certain way! And certainly we shouldn’t feel bad about our weight after going through the most beautiful process there is: pregnancy and the birth of a healthy baby.

So, I’ve made a conscious choice to let go of the negative feelings that the hostess’s comment brought. I want to lose weight for me–not to fit the societal norm of what a woman’s body should look like.  Everywhere we look in the media we see beautiful celebrities at a few days or weeks postpartum, who look just as thin as they did nine months earlier. It’s important for us to keep in mind that we do not have to compete with Giselle or Jennifer Lopez. We just have to eat healthy, exercise and be the best mamas we can!

Have you ever been asked if you were pregnant when you weren’t? How did it make you feel?

Post-partum Weight Loss Challenge: One Mama’s Journey

Hi, Mamas!

My name is Rachel T. I’m a Registered Dietitian who specializes in healthy lifestyle modifications for children and families. I am also the proud mother of a beautiful 4 month old baby girl, Olivia.  During my pregnancy I gained 35 pounds and I still have 10 pounds left to go before I reach a weight that I’m comfortable with.

This is the first time in my life that I have been really concerned about my weight. I am also hungrier than I have ever been before, thanks to exclusive breastfeeding (well, exclusive pumping).  Thankfully making milk burns tons of calories (about 500 a day), so I attribute most of my weight loss to breastfeeding–yet another reason to love nursing my babe!

On June 8th I am heading to Miami for good friend’s bachelorette party, so that’s good motivation to drop those last ten pounds! So for the next six weeks I will be kicking my butt in gear and sharing my weight loss journey with all of you.

My philosophy on nutrition:

– Moderation, moderation, moderation

– Don’t skip meals ever

– Don’t drink your calories–stick to water

– Skip diet foods and drinks, which contain loads of chemicals–especially toxic for nursing mamas like me

– Eat a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and healthy dairy

– Treating yourself is okay (as long as you remember it’s a treat)

Okay so all that being said, since Oliva’s birth I have broken two of my cardinal rules! I have been skipping breakfast almost every day and I have been drinking way too much juice (…and I hate to admit it…soda).  So these are going to be the two major areas I work on.

I also plan on cutting down on my portion sizes and increasing my fruit intake (I’m pretty good with veggies!).

Week One

Initial Weight: 130                 Final Weight: 128

Week 1 triumphs

– I tried coconut milk yogurt for the first time. Not sure if I love it yet, but it was pretty good.

– I only drank water and seltzer (and of course decaf coffee, with skim milk and sugar)

– I ate breakfast every day

– I lost 2 pounds, yay! ( a healthy weight loss is about 2 pounds a week)

Week 1 issues

–  I ate more prepared foods than I want, like Kashi or Amy’s frozen meals for lunches. I need to work on this.

– I ate half a cupcake yesterday. Eek! That was definitely a treat.

– Today I was really craving French fries and came so close to getting them…but I ate wheat thins with hummus instead. While it’s a good compromise, I probably ate too many crackers!

Here are some pictures of my meals from this week and a picture of Olivia eating her favorite doll!

For new mamas, what have been your challenges when it comes to returning to pre-pregnancy weight? What questions do you have about making healthier choices?


Did you know The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year is now for sale? Are you interested in learning more about gentle, mom and baby-friendly practices that foster a joyful, connected relationship? Want to introduce a pregnant friend to natural parenting? Head over to Amazon to grab your copy today!

Spiced Beef Stew

My favorite meals are the ones that come together in less than ten minutes, but taste like they’ve taken all day to prepare. The only way I really know how to make that happen is in the slow cooker. So, I’m adapting most of my best recipes and so far, so good. Last night, I mastered a pretty amazing stew. The depth of flavor in the sauce is matched with beef and fruit that melt in your mouth!


2.5 pounds stew beef (Swap the beef for chicken or lamb if you’re looking to mix things up.)

6 cloves of mashed and diced garlic

1/2 c olive oil

4 teaspoons cumin

1/2 t ground ginger

1 t each: salt, turmeric, paprika, ground pepper

1 T cinnamon

3-4 cups beef or chicken stock (If you’d prefer a thicker stew, add less stock.)

1.5-2 cups dried prunes or apricots

1/4 c flour (optional)

garnish: cilantro



Mix olive oil, garilc, and spices in your slow cooker.

Add beef.

Pour stock over the beef.

Cook on high 6-8 hours.

About a half hour to an hour before you’d like to eat, drop in the fruit, and take out about 1/2 cup of stock. Mix the hot stock with the flour, to create a slurry. Then, add back into the stew, stir, and recover for about 30-60  minutes.

Serve over plain couscous, rice, or eat as a stew.


This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter.



Nursing and Pregnant Mothers’ Snack: Easy Baked Custard

I love eggs. I love milk, especially the raw stuff. This baked custard has been my go-to dessert in late pregnancy, and now as a nursing mama, as I try to maximize my nutrients and stay fueled. It’s fast. It’s easy. There are three ingredients (or four if you’re ambitious). It’s breakfast, lunch, dessert…and maybe even dinner.

4 cups of milk

  • If you use raw milk, supposedly the custard will be runnier unless you heat it to 160 degrees. I have never done that, and still have a great consistency.
4 eggs

1/4 cup maple syrup (or more if you really like it sweet)

  • honey or sugar may also be used, but maple syrup yields a flan-like flavor

1 teaspoon vanilla (homemade is easy!) (optional)
sprinkle of nutmeg on top

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Blend milk and maple syrup together. Add eggs. Blend well. I use a stick blender.
3. Fill  ramekins 3/4 full or if you want to be super simple, a 9×9 pan.
4. Fill 9×13 dish with 1-2″ of water.
5. Place ramekins or pan in the large dish.
6. Sprinkle nutmeg on top.
7. Baking time seems to vary depending on how full the cups are, how large they are, and your oven. In general, ramekins will take about 30-45 minutes (raw milk takes longer!). A toothpick will be your best gauge of doneness.
8. Remove ramekins from dish and cool before refrigerating.

This post is part of Painfree Pregnancy’s Sunday Superfood carnival.