LenaLoo:Looking at ADD Life Through a Creative Lens
 
Note: This clip was recorded on my phone, I can't figure out how the heck to rotate it. If you know how PLEASE let me know in comments!
My little one just turned 16 months old and has discovered his autonomous spirit. He loves saying "No!" (even if he really means yes). And he likes having choices. While I don't always bend to his whims, I do reward him with his choices rather often. Everyday, at every meal, he requests "Nanoos." If he eats his breakfast like a champ, I tell him, "Wow! You ate great at breakfast! Would you like Nanoos for lunch?" He responds excitedly, "Yeah! Nanoos!" Now, ramen noodles are not the most nutritious building block for a toddlers diet. So I sneak in all kinds of good stuff for him to try with his beloved Nanoos.

Sneaky Ramen
-1/4 Package of Ramen Noodles per child (remove seasoning packet)
-Garlic powder (not garlic salt)
-Onion powder or dried diced onion flakes
-At least one of each of the following -
    -Choice of: Firm Tofu, Shredded Chicken, Ground Beef or Turkey, Pulled Pork
    -Choice of Green Frozen or Leftover (steamed/cooked) Veggies: Peas, Broccoli, Lima Beans, Asparagus (pieces), Green Beans, Brussels Sprouts (cut in quarters), anything you have really
    -Choice of Yellow Frozen or Leftover (steamed/cooked) Veggies: Corn, Carrots, sweet potato chunks, butternut squash chunks, my hubby's cousin BadLuckBetty of La Vita Dolce suggested using Spaghetti Squash (they won't be able to tell the difference between the stringy squash and the noodles)
    -Optional antioxidant bonus (or sneaky way to get your veggie adverse kiddo some more nutrients): Veggie puree ice cubes (Did you make waaaaay to much baby food like I did? Use em up!) or fresh pureed veggies and/or beans (for the meat adverse toddler) The Sneaky Chef has some of the best purees in my opinion. I made all of Cohen's baby food using her recipes and I have all three of her cook books. Jessica Seinfeld also wrote a book too (that I also own) called Deceptively Delicious that has some good puree recipes.

If you are only cooking for one kiddo (and don't fancy eating ramen as often as they do), invest in a 6" sauce pan like this one from IKEA. Fill the pot about halfway with water and bring it to a boil. Break the 1/4 of noodles into smaller pieces (so you don't have to bother with cutting them up after they are cooked and mixed with everything else) and drop into the boiling water. DO NOT add in the seasoning packet!!! There is waaaaay too much sodium in it for only a 1/4 of the noodles (and for your young child). Instead, use a sprinkling of the garlic powder and the onion powder or flakes to taste. When the noodles are cooked, remove pan from heat and add in choices of protein and veggies. If your kiddo is a ridiculously messy eater like mine, remove majority of cooking liquid before adding in puree. Stir in optional puree to use as a sauce and to add flavor. Be creative with your combos! Change it up! Challenge your kiddo(s) to try something new!

Now if I could just get him to keep his food in the bowl...
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We started Friends Playgroup this month! It is a combined effort of Midtown Friends and Sacramento Friends. We meet every other Wednesday morning at Sacramento Friends in the nursery, or at a park when the weather is nice. It is open to young children and their Moms, Dads, Grandparents, or other Caregivers. On the opposite weeks, Midtown Friends hosts evening activities for Moms (Girl's night out is 2nd Wed night of the month, and is open to non-moms too; and Mom's group is 4th Wed night of the month). We let the kiddos run around while we talk about parenting and our kids among other topics and share a snack together. We also encourage bringing your lunches since Playgroup ends right about that time. It's nice to have an excuse to bust out my Bento sets and make Cohen and I cute lunches! Last meeting, one of the other kiddos decided that she had to have one, so on our trip to San Fran that weekend, we picked one up for her (and one for the only other "eater" that came). We are starting small, with about 5 or 6 families on the e-mail list, but we are hoping to outgrow the nursery by Summertime when we can meet at the park! It is a blessing to have friends who have kids too and have a place that we can hang out together without worrying about what the kids can and can't touch or that someone will be stuck cleaning up their mess afterward (we all clean up together before we leave).
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