Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hundreds Of Sunflowers

It's pretty embarrassing how steep the hill was that I climbed, pushing Rafael in his stroller under a blazing hot sun, to get these sunflower shots. When I know there is a chance for an interesting photography subject, I get ridiculously determined.

Rafael loved it though...because there were blackberry brambles along the way, and he's a sucker for any kind of slightly sour fruit. He kept making the baby-sign for 'more' and pointing at the bushes, commanding me to pick more for him to pop into his mouth.

So I kept him supplied with blackberries, and he kept me cheerful on the crazy walk up the steep hill, on the hunt for sunflower fields.

We're quite a team!


Monday, July 30, 2012

Baby Food: Nourishing My Growing Child

Each mother I know has a different approach to feeding their child. The main differences have to do with what is allowed, and at which age. My approach is: a large variety of vegetables, fruits, fats, and proteins; all organic; and high in nutrition. Whether I cook it fresh, as the picture above depicts, or serve up a glass of organic baby food (with some tasty additions that I will share with you), really doesn't matter to me. As long as I know the ingredients are high quality, and Rafael enjoys it, it's right by me.

He eats all vegetables and fruits, as well as pasta, rice, dark bread with butter, grain cereals, and natural cookies and crackers.

What I really love to do is jazz up his meals with tasty and nutritious additions. It's important to me that his food is never dull, and that he is introduced to many different textures and flavors early on. 

Here is a list of nutrition-dense and flavorful foods that I add to his homemade or store-bought meals. Keep in mind that I buy all of these in the best quality I can, which means free range, extra virgin, certified organic, grass fed, seasonal, or local, depending on the item.

-Coconut oil
-Coconut milk
-Fresh sweet cream
-Sour cream
-Sheep's yogurt
-Cow's yogurt
-Soft boiled or hard boiled egg yolk
-Fresh minced herbs
-Sea Salt (a tiny sprinkling for minerals and flavor)

Some favorite combinations are:

-Steamed sweet potato and broccoli with chicken, sweet cream, and sea salt
-Steamed potatoes, pumpkin, and zucchini with beef, coconut oil, and sea salt
-Steamed Chard, potatoes, and carrots with butter, egg yolk, and sea salt
-Sliced vegetables sauteed in coconut oil and eaten as finger food
-Blueberry-apple sauce with sheep's yogurt
-Strawberry-raspberry-apple sauce with cow's yogurt
-Mashed banana with coconut milk

The perfect finger foods, where he can practice his pincher grasp with thumb and pointer finger, are:

-Red currants
-Dark bread with butter, cut into little squares
-Wholegrain Cheerios

Foods and flavors I am looking forward to introducing Rafael to this fall and winter are:

-Baked apples
-Fresh figs

Bon Appetit, babies!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Into The Cool Comfort of the Woods

On unbearably hot days, we head to the cool shade of the forest. We've had a row of intense heat and rain storms, so there are mushrooms sprouting up through the underbrush. We also found tiny baby toads soaking in cloudy puddles, and yellow leaves scattered on the ground. 

I'm longing for autumn, but finding the beauty in summer, too.

Because every season is beautiful when you have love and laughter in your life.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rafael Turns 10 Months!

The past two weeks have been so full of progress for little Rafael! He is pulling himself around on his stomach, so quick, here and there...and he can go from lying down to sitting all on his own. That's a big step, and he's so proud about it! He looks at me and grins every time he does it. He is also pulling himself up, especially on the open dishwasher door while I empty it. 

He would love to play with the water in the dog bowl, and tries to all the time. He points at so many things all day long and always asks "Daaaa?!" which means 'there?' in german. So I tell him: "That's the fan....that's Kiki....that's an airplane....that's a bird....that's a book....that's a tree." He listens intently and soaks it all up like a sponge.

If I need to clean, I put him in his high chair and scatter Cheerios or red currants in front of him. He picks them up one by one and plops them in his mouth. This always buys me some time for getting chores done.

As the many fuzzy photos above show, it's hard to take a picture of him now! He is so active! And it's gotten very difficult to change his diaper or dress him, because he just wants to keep moving around, exploring everything, and lying on one's back is of course boring.

He is affectionate, hilarious, curious, and healthy. My little boy at 10 months.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Rainy Day On Anna Hof's Organic Farm

It was one of those warm, rainy days that you sometimes have in summer. My friend Neli asked if we wanted to join her on a trip to the organic farm Anna Hof, which I visited once before and posted about here

First we bought raw milk, meat, vegetables, and bread at the little shop they have, and I admired the rows of apple trees, the farm equipment (I love farm equipment!) and the surrounding green hills. 

Then we set out to explore the grounds, and visit all of the animals. Everything was green and glistening with rain drops, and it was so much fun showing Rafael the cows, goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits, and pigs.

The Anna Hof organic farm showed us what healthy, happy animals look like.

I just wanted to also note: I am so grateful to have made these new friends since having Rafael. Before I had him, I spent most of my time alone, and going places or being around other people felt taxing somehow. But now, I really love meeting up with my Mommy buddies. I love the things we talk about, the places we go, and the times we share. A day with nothing planned used to feel so freeing to me, but now I am always happy when I know I'll see my friends. It's very new for me, and I love it.

P.S. Look, Rafael is half as big as me! :)


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Day In The Country

Thank you, Dani, for another amazing day at your beautiful farm.
For the delicious meal you cooked for us.
For the walk through sunny fields and wild flowers.
And for the huge basket of flowers, herbs, eggs, and veggies!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Simple Homemade Strawberry Jam

Pick or buy fresh, aromatic strawberries...the best are the ones that are red inside.

I bought three kilos at the farmer's market.

Wash your berries.

Remove their stems. (See the redness throughout the cut berry? Yes, that's what we want!)

Weigh your washed, stemmed berries...

....being sure to keep the finest handful to eat raw and fresh.

Mash or puree the strawberries; I like to use my old pie dough cutter.
Add jelly sugar (I used the 2:1 formula: 2 kilos of fruit and 1 kilo jelly sugar) and stir on high heat until
it boils. Keep stirring while it boils for 4 to 6 minutes.
Have your sterilized jars, tongs, ladle, and funnel ready.

Ladle the hot jam through the funnel into the jars.
Close the lids tightly and turn them over for 10 minutes to seal them airtight.

Use pretty fabric and twine for the jar lids.
(Thank you, Morwenna, for giving me such a lovely jam lid set!)

Enjoy on scones, bread, toast, buns...or in yogurt, müsli, or cream.
Give to friends and family.
And keep some in your pantry to enjoy throughout the cold months of the year.



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