Refreshing

There is something about heading into the fall that makes me want to embrace the remains of summer and start refreshing everything around me! I want to bask in the warmth of August and eat the fresh, beautiful foods of the season.

I also want to start cleaning everything out! Since I returned from our family vacation at the beginning of the month, I’m on a rampage to clear the junk out of our house and organize. I’m slowly working through the rooms in the house, and I feel like I’m reviving the energy throughout the whole house. Ahhhhhh!

One of my food challenges continues to be getting in enough servings of fruits and vegetables. I wish I liked more of them. Maybe that would help. But I’m giving up the self-judgment on that topic. I am willing to try new things, but I’m not going to beat myself up when I don’t like a food.

Still, I’m always looking for ways to bring those good-for-you fruits and veggies into my life. Sometimes I resort to a tried and true mom trick: I sneak them into my food 🙂  I roast veggies like eggplant and butternut squash with a little olive oil and salt. Then after they cool, I put them in the food processor. From there, I spoon the pureed veggies into an ice-cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, I pop them into a zip-top bag and put them back in the freezer. Then I have them ready to go when I want to add them to a sauce or soup, such as into a tomato sauce for spaghetti. It adds a bit of texture and the sweetness of the veggies that roasting can bring out. But I hardly notice that it’s there.

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Another thing I do to have fresh fruits and vegetables on hand is have them delivered. I use a service that delivers fresh, organic, local, in-season fruits and veggies. I just get the little box, and I only get it every other week. That’s enough for us! Sometimes I try something new, but I also tend to use all 5 of my substitutions to make sure I get foods that I and my family will actually eat.

Last week, I got a whole bunch of tomatoes. Boy are they amazing right now! And I knew just what I wanted to do with them: make a fresh, cool batch of bruschetta. I love this recipe from the Pioneer Woman. Cooking the garlic not only brings out the flavor, but it saves me and my sensitive stomach from a night of heartburn that I would otherwise get from raw garlic 🙂  She used 2 pints of tomatoes, but since mine were whole, I just used about 300g instead (I think it was about 4 or 5). I sliced up some French baguette and melted some fresh mozzarella on some of the slices and practically swooned over the flavors bursting in my mouth!

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Don’t those vibrant colors just make you want to get in your kitchen and whip up a batch, too??

Unconditional Love

I recently traveled abroad with my family. While we were at passport control, the unusually friendly young man looked from my passport picture (about 5 years old) to me and smilingly said, “You have lost quite a bit of weight. Congratulations!” He was perfectly earnest in his compliment, and I took it as such. It rather made my day!

I have to admit, I have been looking forward to getting a new picture for my driver’s license later this year. And I was wishing I didn’t have to wait another two years to get a new passport picture. Those pictures show the “old” me. The heavier me. No, thank you. But after getting that compliment, I laughingly thought, hey it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have a picture that demonstrates that contrast and shows how far I’ve come!

Later on, though, I began to realize the negativity in all these thoughts. After all, if I am going to truly love myself, don’t I have to love all of me? And that includes me at every age, through every stage, and even at every weight. I can’t pick and choose. It’s all a part of me. It’s a part of the woman I’ve become and am continually becoming. Instead of judging her – instead of criticizing her – instead of wanting to shun her, I should be embracing her. I should be thanking her. I should be loving her. She, too, deserves love. Of course she does. She, too, is special and talented and interesting. She still has all the other wonderful qualities I’ve been coming to appreciate in myself.

After all, isn’t this month’s challenge from Louise Hay to “… prove to myself that I unconditionally love and appreciate who I am”? I am certainly not loving myself unconditionally or appreciating who I am if I cannot love that other (bigger) version of me. And so I am trying to focus on sending her all the love she truly deserves. All the love *I* truly deserve.

Talking to Your Kids about Weight

I stumbled on to this article in Cooking Light about talking to your kids about weight.

Know what the experts say? DON’T!! Seriously. It’s a quick article to read through, but such profound advice.

Instead, they advise talking positively about eating healthy foods for strong bones and muscles.

I have also enjoyed the book Child of Mine by Ellyn Satter. She advises a division of responsibility when feeding your kids. It’s the job of the parents to decide what to eat, when to eat it, and where to eat it. It’s the job of the child to decide whether or not s/he eats it and how much (with the exception of high sugar foods). It’s made a world of difference to me since having my kids. I wondered how on earth I could feed them with a healthy sense of body image, when I’d struggled so much with the issue throughout my own life. The division of responsibility took the pressure off of me. I actually trust my children to eat. Even though they are picky eaters (but hey, so are my husband and I!), they are strong, healthy children.