Friday, June 15, 2012

A new household favorite

I love when I try a new recipe and it is such a hit that it becomes one of our staple meals.  This recipe is really simple to put together, delicious, and very healthy.  I found it on my mom's pinterest, and you can find the link to the original website here. It is a broccoli, mushroom, and quinoa casserole.  You can also add chicken or other vegetables that sound good to you.  It is a lot like a broccoli and rice casserole with quinoa instead of rice.  If you have never tried quinoa, you should give it a shot.  It is a great source of protein, calcium, and folate, and fiber.  It has more protein per ounce than meat, and one cup of it contains 15% of the recommended daily allowance of iron.  You can read more about it here.

One 10 oz can condensed Cream of Broccoli soup (or mushroom), low-sodium if you prefer.  You can use fat free soup to make it a little healthier.
1/3 cup reduced fat mayonnaise 
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/4 cups reduced fat shredded cheese (cheddar, colby-jack, etc)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash freshly grated nutmeg (I don't use the nutmeg in it.  But give it a shot if you want.)

2 cups cooked broccoli
1 cup baby portobello mushrooms (diced and sauteed)
3/4 cup cooked, shredded chicken (if you want)
1 1/2 cups  COOKED quinoa
Feshly grated Parmesan cheese
To cook quinoa:
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt

To cook quinoa:
Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve until water runs clear.  In a small saucepan combine the quinoa, water, and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for 18-20 minutes, or until fluffy and the white ring/tail is visible.  Fluff with a fork.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a shallow (8×8 in or 5-6 cups) casserole dish – or individual ramekins – with vegetable cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, shredded cheese, Splenda, pepper, and nutmeg until well mixed. Stir in the quinoa, mushrooms, and broccoli.
Spoon mixture into prepared casserole.  Sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of Parmesan and bake for 35-40 minutes (20-25 minutes for ramekins) or until bubbly on the edges and golden.  Makes 8 generous 1/2-cup servings.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sophie is 2 and 1/2!

Time is flying by around here, and Sophie just went in for her 2 and 1/2 year old well visit.  Hard to believe how much she is growing.  In fact, she shot up from the 33rd percentile in height to the 64th!  Her weight has gone up from the 22nd percentile to the 33rd!  We are so thankful for her good health, growth, and development.  Sophie usually hates going to the doctor, thanks to a bout with RSV a year and a half ago.  The daily suctioning experience has traumatized her for life, I do believe.  She started crying as soon as the nurse started to take us back to the room.  Thankfully, there were no shots this time, and she actually was quiet (although unsure) during the doctor's exam so that the doctor could hear her heart and breathing. 

Sophie has made leaps and bounds since her last checkup in the areas of eating and language development.   She is now the "better eater" of my two girls, and will try most new foods.  Her favorites are green beans, broccoli (which she pronounces in Spanish as bi- gote), strawberries, grapefruit, and grapes. I am not sure why, but I feel so proud of my girls when they eat fruits and vegetable well and actually ASK for them!  I guess I thought getting them to eat good food would be a challenge, but I haven't had to put forth a whole lot of effort.  One thing that has been key in this, I believe, is having two different palates to please at once.  For example, Sophie never liked peas, but Sally loves them.  I would always offer Sophie a few peas when I gave them to Sally, and one day, she decided to try them!  Now, she eats peas, although they are probably not her favorite.  The reverse has worked in getting Sally to eat certain foods.  It just goes to show that if you keep offering something (which I probably wouldn't have done if I just had one kid to feed), even if they don't like it at first, eventually, they will probably try it. 

Sophie still has a speech pathologist come twice a month to help with her language development, and she is using a TON of words now.  The size of her vocabulary wasn't ever really a big issue, it was more getting her to use short sentences and a variety of verbs.  Her go-to phrase was "It's a ____," which could mean she wants something, sees something, doesn't want something, hears something, etc.  Now she still uses that phrase, but she is branching out and using a lot more verbs and 2-3 word sentences.  Sally is picking up on all the things we are trying to get Sophie to learn, and her language capabilities are amazing to me!  I guess that's how it goes when you have an older sibling.

Sophie's personality is so cute.  She is usually pretty quiet and reserved around new people and places, but don't let that fool you into thinking she is a quiet, docile, compliant kind of kid.  She knows what she wants and is very independent and strong-willed.  She loves to feed herself with utensils and copy all the activities she sees us doing.  She loves to go outside and swing or go on walks, but her favorite outdoor activity is just to squat down and dig in the dirt.  She loves to read books, and I think she could do that for an hour before bed if we would keep reading.  She is easy to take places and is pretty content sitting and watching what is going on around her (whereas Sally hates to sit still and wants to roam around and get into everything when we go somewhere). She loves to sing, and knows all the words to Twinkle, twinkle little star and Jesus loves me.  She will sing the songs out LOUD in her bed when she is laying down for her nap.  At night, she likes to "pray" and repeats the words I say back to me.  It usually goes like this: "Dear Jesus, thank you for my family.  For mommy, daddy, Sally, abuelo and abuela, and grandma and grandpa.  Please help me sleep well.  In Jesus' name, Amen."

She is such a joy!  Right now she is actually pretty sick, which breaks my heart.  She has been waking up with a high fever the past few nights.  The only way she likes to sleep is to lay across my body with her head on my chest, just like she did as a tiny baby in the NICU.  I hate that she is sick, but love that she wants to cuddle!  Pray for her to feel better soon!