Sheryl Jesin

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Hello 2012!

I’ve taken a bit of a blogging break lately.  Dylan was off school for winter holidays, we went away for 10 days, and now we are back in the swing of things.

You may have noticed a shift in my blog in 2011.  My blog started off as a place for me to write my thoughts about parenting and breastfeeding.  In 2011, I started writing more about exercise and healthy eating.  In reality, I think all of these themes are connected – my interest in parenting and breastfeeding ultimately led me to my interests in exercising and healthy eating.  I hope that the healthy habits I am establishing my own life will be an example for my boys!

Hopefully you have enjoyed the new direction my blog is taking, as I plan for it to continue to move that way in 2012.

Happy New Year readers!  I look forward to spending 2012 with you.

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Recipe – Avocado spinach banana smoothie

I’ve been a bit obsessed lately with smoothies made in my Vitamix.   I tend to make a smoothie each morning for breakfast – there is no better way to start my day!

I recently made a delicious concoction that I wanted to share with all of you.   Here is the recipe:

Avocado Spinach Smoothie


1 cup cold water

12 almonds

1/2 of a medium sized avocado

1/2 of a medium sized banana

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tbsp almond butter

1/2 tsp cinammon

1 medjool date

honey, to taste (I added 1/2 tablespoon)

1 tsp of chia seeds

1-2 cups of baby spinach leaves

1 scoop of Sunwarrior Protein Powder

6-8 ice cubes


Place all ingredients in a high powered blender, and blend until smooth.   ENJOY!

Creamy healthy deliciousness

Don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients – experiment, and use what you have on hand.  Customize your smoothie to match your own taste buds!

I should add that every smoothie tastes better in a reusable glass straw.  Get yours here.

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Meal planning Monday

Not feeling in a very bloggy mood today, but I will post our meal plan for the week.

Here it is:

Sunday – out for dinner

Monday – vegetable soup, chili over quinoa topped with guacamole, tabule salad

Tuesday – out for dinner

Wednesday – Spinach almond cakes, kale and carrot salad, roasted brussell sprouts

Thursday – same as Wed

Friday – out for dinner

Saturday – to be determined


Recipe – Avocado Kale Salad

Have I mentioned that I love kale?  Oh yes I have – here and here.  What’s not to love about a leafy green?  They are chock full of nutrients – including chlorophyll – which reduces inflammation in the body and maintains bone health.  Don’t forget about all of the live enzymes in raw leafy greens that can speed up cellular regeneration, providing us with energy and making us feel younger!  And greens also are a excellent source of calcium and iron – we can all use more of those!

I’ve learned a lot recently about nutrition from an amazing book called Whole Foods to Thrive, written by Brendan Brazier.   Brendan is an Ironman triathlete, a 50k Ultra Marathon winner, and the creator of Vega – a line of whole food nutritional products.  You could say he is a plant-based nutrition guru.

Whole Foods to Thrive has an abundance of delicious and healthy recipes.  I’ve been having fun trying out new things that the whole family has enjoyed.   Below is one of my favorites, which has been adapted from Brendan’s recipe on p. 159 of the book.


Time – 1o mins, Makes 2 large servings or 4 small

1 head of kale, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

1-2 green onions, finely sliced

1 lemon, juiced (you may want to start with half a lemon, and add the rest of the juice to taste, depending on how lemony you want it)

1 tbsp maple syrup

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, toss all ingredients together with your hands (yes, it is messy but FUN).  Squeeze as you mix, thereby creaming the avocado and wilting the kale   Serve right away.  Did you know that by wilting the kale, you are softening it, making it easier to chew and also to digest?  YUM!   I sprinkled some hemp seeds on mine before eating, adding protein and omega-3s and 6s!

Before mixing
After mixing

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Meal Planning Monday

Last week’s meal plan worked even better than the previous week’s plan.   I successfully incorporated leftovers, which saved a lot of time in the kitchen.  I used that saved time to test out some gluten free baking, which was a lot of fun.   Perhaps I will share some recipes in upcoming posts.

Below is this week’s plan:

Sunday – Scrambled eggs, roasted sweet potato, steamed kale

Monday – Dinner at my parents’

Tuesday – Salmon cakes topped with a creamy cashew garlic sauce, roasted cauliflower, spinach salad

Wednesday – Leftovers from Tuesday

Thursday – Shanghai rice bowl – sauteed spinach, mushrooms and onions on top of brown rice, topped with chickpeas and tahini

Friday – Out for dins

Saturday – To be determined

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There is no prize

When I told my husband that I would be participating in National Blog Posting Month, he (half jokingly) asked if there was a prize for doing it. Nope, there is no prize. And there is no blogging police out there making sure that I post everyday. No one is going to give me anything if reach my blogging goal this month. So why do I bother doing it?

I like a challenge – I like setting goals and working towards something. It gives me a sense of purpose while I’m working away at it, and a sense of accomplishment when I meet my goal. I’ve enjoying NaBloPoMo – it’s been fun to sit down and write every day, and I feel good when I post something new.

This whole prize concept got me thinking. I do a lot of things that require a lot of work and dedication, but there is no prize in the end. For example – no one gives me a prize for working out. No one gives me a prize for making healthy home cooked meals, and no one gives me a prize for parenting my kids with love and compassion, and breastfeeding my baby day and night!

So why bother doing these things? As I said above, I like a challenge and I like the feeling of knowing I’ve done a good job. Also, as a mother, I want to set a good example for my kids and inspire them to be self-motivated. Hopefully when they see me working towards and reaching my goals, a spark will be ignited within them to do the same.

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Meal Planning Monday

Last week’s meal plan was generally a success – I found that the leftovers lasted longer than I planned, so I unexpectedly didn’t have to cook some nights (always a bonus!).   So this week’s plan will take that into account, and therefore includes two nights of leftovers.

Sunday – went to family for dinner

Monday – Spinach almond patties, roasted sweet potatoes, Israeli salad

Tuesday – leftovers from Monday

Wednesday – Vegetarian chili on top of quinoa, topped with guacamole

Thursday – leftovers from Wednesday

Friday – going to family for dinner

Saturday – to be determined!

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Ben and I were out yesterday afternoon and stopped by one of my favorite new places – Kale Eatery on Yonge St., just north of Eglinton.   I just recently discovered this vegan restaurant and just can’t get enough of it.

Yesterday afternoon, I had one of their juices – their kale, apple, lemon blend.   The flavour of this combination is sweet, tart and refreshing.  I highly recommend for an afternoon boost – it will do wonders for your energy level!

Ben liked it too – I gave him tastes on a spoon, and he just couldn’t get enough of it!

Delicious and nutritious!

Do you juice?  What are some of your favorite flavour combinations?


Solids the second time around

Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids in the Kitchen

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how kids get involved in cooking and feeding. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

When I first introduced solids to my first son Dylan, when he was 6 months old, it was a BIG DEAL. For weeks I read up on solids – what to try first, how much to give, how many days to leave in between introducing new foods. I made big batches of all kinds of pureed fruits and veggies and froze them in little individual sized portions. Every morning Jake fed Dylan breakfast and he often had something at lunch and dinner too. Everything went really smoothly and Dylan enjoyed all of the purees I made, and gradually transitioned over to table foods at around 9 or 10 months.

Everything is more relaxed this time around. Benjamin also started solids right around the 6 month mark. Like his big brother Dylan, his first taste of food was a bit of mashed banana. However, unlike his big brother, Benjamin has mostly skipped over purees.   Instead, we place appropriate food on Benjamin’s highchair tray and he feeds himself.

Corn is a yummy summer treat for everyone, including babies!

For the first little while, not much food ended up in Ben’s mouth!  For example, I’d place some small pieces of cooked sweet potato on his tray, and he’d mush them around, make a mess, and perhaps lick his fingers a bit.  We also used a mesh feeder and put fresh summer fruits inside and he’d suck on the feeder, and of course make a mess!

Raspberries in the mesh feeder – messy but oh so fun!

As time went by, his pincer grip further developed and he got more and more food in his mouth.   Some favorites included peaches, raspberries, blueberries, and watermelon.   I found that his eating really took off at month 9.   These days (at month 10), I try to give Benjamin a little bit of table food at every meal.  He loves pretty much all fruits and veggies, and has also tried oatmeal, rice, and beans.   He also loves soups and my morning smoothie!  He even loves the sprouted lentils that I pick up at our local farmer’s market.  For liquidy things like soups and smoothies, I attempt to spoon feed him, but he usually doesn’t like it!   Instead, I put some food on the spoon and then give it to him, and he feeds himself.

So in an unintentional manner, I have been feeding Benjamin according to the baby led weaning method.  According to this method, a parent provides appropriate food for a baby, and the baby feeds him or herself.

I found this information on Wikipedia:

Baby-led weaning places the emphasis on exploring taste, texture, colour and smell as the baby sets their own pace for the meal, choosing which foods to concentrate on. Instead of the traditional method of spooning puréed food into the baby’s mouth, the baby is presented with a plate of varied finger food from which to choose.

Self-feeding supports the child’s motor development on many vital areas, such as their hand-eye coordination and chewing. It encourages the child towards independence and often provides a stress-free alternative for meal times, for both the child and the parents. Some babies refuse to eat solids when offered with a spoon, but happily help themselves to finger food.

Makes sense to me!  I’m happy that I’m encouraging Ben towards independence and developing his motor skills!    But truthfully, we are doing baby-led weaning because I don’t have the time or interest in preparing purees, and I also don’t have the time to spoon feed Ben!   Mealtimes are busy in our household and everyone has to fend for him or herself!

Who doesn't love a piece of freshly steamed broccoli?

I’m much more relaxed about food the second time around.   Partially because I’m busier this time with a 3 yr old to take care of also.   And I know that up until a year, a baby’s main source of nutrition should be breastmilk.  Since he still breastfeeds around the clock, I know he is getting lots and lots of the best source of nutrition!

How have you approached solids with your babies?  Have you found it different the second time around?

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

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

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 8 with all the carnival links.)

  • Baking & letting go — Cooking with kids can be a mess. Nadia at Red White & GREEN Mom is learning to relax, be patient, and have fun with the process.
  • Family feeding in Child of Mine — Lauren at Hobo Mama reviews Ellyn Satter’s suggestions for appropriate feeding and points out where her family has problems following through.
  • Children with Knives! (And other Kitchen Tools) — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy teaches her children how to safely use knives.
  • “Mommy, Can I Help?” — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes about how she lets her kiddos help out with cooking, despite her {sometimes} lack of patience!
  • Solids the Second Time Around — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts her experiences introducing solids to her second child.
  • The Adventure of Toddler TastebudsThe Accidental Natural Mama shares a few things that helped her daughter develop an adventurous palate.
  • A Tradition of Love — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy looks forward to sharing the kitchen traditions passed on from her mom and has already found several ways to involve baby in the kitchen.
  • The Very Best Classroom — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw’s Newest Thoughts reveals how her kitchen is more than a place to make food – it’s a classroom!
  • Raising Little Chefs — Chef Mike guest posts on Natural Parents Network about how he went from a guy who couldn’t cook to a chef who wanted to teach his boys to know how the food we love is made.
  • In the Kitchen with my kids — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares a delicious soup recipe that her kids love.
  • Papa, the Pancake Artist — Papa’s making an incredible breakfast over at Our Mindful Life.
  • Kids won’t eat salad? Try this one! — Tat at Mum in Search is sharing her children’s favourite salad recipe.
  • Recipe For a Great Relationship — Cooking with kids is about feeding hearts as well as bellies, writes Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • The Ritual of Mealtimes — Syenna at Gently Parenting Twins writes about the significance of mealtimes in her family’s daily rhythm.
  • Kid, Meet Food. Food, Kid. — Alburnet at What’s Next? panicks about passing on her food “issues” to her offspring.
  • Growing Up in the Kitchen — Cassie at There’s a Pickle in My Life shares how her son is growing up in the kitchen.
  • Harvesting Corn and History — From Kenna at School Garden Year: The kids in the school garden harvest their corn and learn how much history grows in their food.
  • My Guiding Principles for Teaching my Child about Food — Tree at Mom Grooves uses these guiding principles to give her daughter a love of good food and an understanding of nutrition as well as to empower her to make the best choices for her body.
  • Kitchen Control — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro writes about her struggles to relinquish control in the kitchen to her children.
  • Food — Emma at Your Fonder Heart lets her seven month old teach her how to feed a baby.
  • Kitchen Fun? — Adrienne at Mommying My Way questions how much fun she can have in a non-functional kitchen, while trying to remain positive about the blessings of cooking for her family.
  • Kitchen Adventures — Erica at ChildOrganics shares fun ways to connect with your kids in the kitchen.
  • Kids in the Kitchen: Finding the Right Tools — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares some of her favorite child-sized kitchen gadgets and where to find them.
  • The Kitchen Classroom — Laura at Authentic Parenting knows that everything your kids want to learn is at the end of the ladle.
  • Kids in the Kitchen — Luschka from Diary of a First Child talks about the role of the kitchen in family communication and shares fun kitchen activities for the under two.
  • Our Kitchen is an Unschooling Classroom. — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle explores the many ways her kitchen has become a rich environment for learning.
  • Montessori-Inspired Food Preparation for Preschoolers — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares lots of resources for using Montessori food preparation activities for young children in the kitchen.
  • My Little Healthy Eater — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares her research on what is the best first food for babies, and includes a healthy and yummy breakfast recipe.
  • Two Boys and Papa in the Kitchen: Recipe for Disaster?MudpieMama shares all about her fears, joys and discoveries when the boys and handsome hubby took over the kitchen.
  • Food choices, Food treats — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea shares her family’s relationship with food.
  • learning to eat — Catherine at learner mummy reflects on little M’s first adventures with food.
  • The Night My 7-Year-Old Made Dinner — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! shares how her 7-year-old daughter surprised everyone by turning what started as an idea to play restaurant into pulling off making supper for her family.
  • Cooking With a High-Needs Toddler — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how Montessori-inspired activities and a bit of acceptance have helped her overcome hurdles in cooking while caring for a “high-needs” child.
  • Kids in the Kitchen – teaching healthy food choices — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her belief in the importance of getting kids into the kitchen using her favorite cookbook for kids to develop healthy food choices now and hopefully into the future.
  • Make Milk, Not War — Tamara at Tea for Three remembers the daily food fights as she struggled to feed a picky eater.
  • teaching baby birds about good food. — Sarah at Small Bird on Fire writes about the ways in which her family chooses to gently teach their son how to make wise food decisions.
  • 5 Ways to Enhance Your Baby or Young Toddler’s Relationship with Food — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares simple ways to give your child a healthy beginning to her lifelong relationship with food.
  • Toddler at the Table: 10 Creative Solutions — Moorea at Mamalady shares tips for preventing meal-time power struggles.
  • How My Child Takes Responsibility During His Mealtime… — Jenny @ I’m a full-time mummy shares how she teaches and encourages her 32 months old son on adopting good manners and responsibilities during his mealtimes…
  • megan — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares six tips for overcoming some of the the difficulties of cooking with multiple young sous chefs, and a recipe they all can agree on!
  • How BLW has made me a better parent — Zoe at Mummykins shares how baby-led weaning has changed her approach to parenting.
  • My Budding Chef — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom is no cook but is happy that her daughter has shown an inclination and manages to whip up yummy goodies for their family.
  • Kids in the Kitchen: An Activity for Every Age — Gaby from Tmuffin describes how she keeps her kids busy in the kitchen, whether they are one week old or two years old.
  • The Phantastically Mutlipurposed Phyllo — Ana at Pandamoly shares how Phyllo is used to create enticing dishes at home! Anything can be made into a Struedel!
  • Kitchen Kids — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen shares her children’s most favorite recipe to make, experience and eat.
  • Independence vs. Connection in the Kitchen: won’t you please get yourself your own snack already? — Lisa at Organic Baby Atlanta wishes her daughter would just go make a mess in the kitchen. But her daughter only wants to do it together.
  • Grandma Rose’s Kitchen — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter reminisces about her childhood and dreams of filling her kitchen with people, love, noise, and messes.
  • Healthy Food Choices for Kids — Jorje offers one way to encourage children to make their own healthy food choices at
  • Cooking food to thrive rather than survive — Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales is trying to foster a lifetime of good food habits by teaching her children about the importance of avoiding junk, cooking healthy meals, and learning about the whole food process.
  • Evolution of a self-led eater — Sheila at A Gift Universe shares the story of how her son grew from nursing around the clock to eating everything in sight, without her having to push.
  • 10 Ways Tiny Helps In The Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explores the ways in which her toddler actively participates in kitchen-related activities.
  • The Complexity of Feeding a Child — Feeding children a healthy diet is no straight-forward task, but Lisa at My World Edenwild shares some general guidelines to help your child thrive.
  • Lactation CookiesThat Mama Gretchen shares a fun recipe that will benefit both mamas and babies!
  • The Best Books and Websites to Inspire Kids in the Kitchen — Need inspiration to get your kids in the kitchen? Dionna at Code Name: Mama rounds up some of the best books and websites that can serve as a source for ideas, recipes, and cooking with littles fun.
  • A 4-year-old’s smoothie recipe — Jen at Grow With Graces and her son set out to make a smoothie without the usual ingredients. She let him improvise. See how it turned out.
  • Independent Food Preparation (My Toddler Can Do That?) — Megan at Montessori Moments shares simple ways for children to prepare their own healthy snacks.
  • Follow Your Gut — Amy at Anktangle shares her philosophy about intuitive eating, and how she’s trying to foster her son’s trust in his own inner wisdom when he feels hungry.
  • A TODDLER-STYLE LUNCH + RECIPEManic Mrs. Stone photographs how to have messy fun during lunchtime with a helpful toddler.


Meal planning Monday

I’ve dabbled in meal planning before with some success.  I tend to write out meal plans for a week or two, then get distracted or tired of it, and then stop for a bit.   Then I start, stop, meal plan in my head for a bit and then get totally distracted and we order take out for a few days in a row.  I’ve recently discovered that I have some food sensitivities, and they have made it more difficult for me to eat outside of the house.  As a result, I have been cooking a lot lately and I figured it was time to give meal planning a try again.

I have decided to do weekly plans of dinners.   Breakfast these days tends to be the same for me – a smoothie – and lunch tends to be leftovers from dinner.  I am going to list out this week’s dinners below.   If any of the items catch your eye, let me know, and I will post the recipe.

Sunday – Black bean burgers topped with guacamole and pico del gallo, roasted butternut squash and a kale salad.

Monday – leftovers from Sunday.

Tuesday – A bowl with brown rice, sauteed onions, spinach, roasted sweet potato.   Topped with chick pea, pea and lentil sprouts.  Sesame oil and tamari drizzled on top.

Wednesday – Butternut squash soup, salmon, roasted carrots, kale salad.

Thursday – A bowl with brown rice, steamed bok choy and mushrooms, topped with chick pea, pea and lentil sprouts.  Tahini sauce on top.

Friday – going to family for dinner.

Saturday – going out for dinner.

There you have it!  Now I know what I need to buy from the grocery store for the week.  Having it planned in advance lets me do some prep work the night before (I may make the rice on Monday night for example – enough for Tuesday and Thursday’s dinner).

Do you meal plan?  What are some of your favorite quick and easy dinners?