Monday, December 03, 2012

Introducing..... Holly!!

One of my good friends, Holly, has decided to start writing for Erickson & Co!! I'm excited to have her on board. She is super fun, smart, a great mom/wife, and she is trying to lead her family to a healthier lifestyle. We get along great and I think you will love her too!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Health Benefits of Breastfeeding

This week is National breastfeeding week. And although the week is almost over I thought I would post some neat health benefits of breastfeeding.

1. Breastfed babies see better - breastmilk contains the type of fats needed to build better nerve tissue in the eyes and the brain

2. Breastfed baby hear better - there are more middle ear infections among formula fed babies which can contribute to hearing problems.

3. Breastfed infants have better smiles - breastfeeding improves jaw alignment and the development of facial muscles so children who are breastfed experience fewer orthodontic problems.

4. Breastfed babies breathe better - they have fewer and less severe upper-respiratory infections, asthma, and nasal allergies.

5.  Breast milk is easier for babies to digest - breast milk is designed  for human infants so it is easier to digest for than formula. Breast milk empties more quickly from the stomach, which makes it less likely that breastfed babies will have problems with gastroesophageal reflex.

6. Breast milk protects immature intestines - breast milk contains immune substances that act like a protective paint, coating the digestive tract to keep germs from entering the bloodstream. This means that breastfed babies have less trouble with intestinal infections and diarrhea. They are also less likely to develop food allergies, because they are protected from exposure to foreign proteins that inflame the intestinal lining.

7. Breastfed babies have healthier skin - they are less likely to experience the allergic, rough, dry, sandpaper like rashes found in some formula fed babies. Breastfeeding is especially important if there is a family history of eczema or skin allergies.

8. Breastfed babies are less likely to become obese adults - Breastfeeding teaches healthy eating habits right from the start. Infants learn to match their intake to their appetite, without anyone prodding them to finish the last 1/2 ounce. Breastfed babies tend to be leaner (just the right amount of fat for their body weight) than their formula fed friends, ad leanness is an important contributor to overall health.

9. Breastfed babies are protected from many diseases - Breastfeeding is associated with a lower incidence of virtually every kind of infectious disease, including bacterial meningitis, urinary tract infection, and infant botulism. Children who were breastfed are less likely to develop juvenile-onset diabetes, Crohn's disease, and childhood cancer. Rates of SIDS are also lower among breastfed babies.

10. Breastfeeding makes Mommy healthier - At least one study has shown that breastfeeding mothers have a lower incidence of postpartum depression. Other studies have shown that breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers. It is also associated with a lower incidence of osteoporosis. Many women also find that breastfeeding helps them to lose weight postpartum.

I am very grateful that I am able to breastfeed my baby. We both love it. And I will continue to do so until he decides he doesn't need to anymore; I hope that it will continue for a long time. It has given us a great bond and I know that my baby loves me because of it.



References - "The Attachment Parenting Book" by William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

{Book Review} The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making


By Alana Chernila
Clarkson Potter Publishers
ISBN 978-0-307-88726-9


I love this book! The recipes are pretty simple foods yet wonderful, delicious, and things that most people eat in their everyday lives. The recipes range from pantry basics to foods that I never would have thought about making homemade (such as cream filled snack cakes, marshmallows, or peanut butter cups). And after making many of the recipes, my family has determined that they like the Homemade Pantry version better. And not a single recipe has failed me; everyone has turned out wonderful and delicious.  This book is great for beginners due to the easy to follow instructions and tips but also good for people that are experienced at cooking like me. I already make most of my family’s food from scratch, but this book added more grocery store alternative products to our kitchen.

{Book Review} Quinoa Cuisine

By Jessica Harlan and Kelley Sparwasser
ISBN: 978-1-61243-020-1
Published by: Ulysses Press

Quinoa Cuisine: 150 Creative Recipes for Super Nutritious, Amazingly Delicious Dishes

Before I got this book, all I knew about quinoa is that it is healthy. I didn’t even know how to pronounce the word ‘quinoa’. This book has now become a staple at our house. I love that there is a great introduction explaining what quinoa is (it is actually not a grain, but a member of the goosefoot family), the health benefits (it is one of the few plant foods that contain all eight essential amino acids), the various types of quinoa and quinoa products, the best places to purchase it, how to sprout it, and cooking tips.

I like that the recipes are very easy to follow and understand. Each recipe starts out with a brief paragraph either explaining what the recipe is, or where to find certain ingredients (or how to make them), sometimes explaining what some not well known ingredients are, and sometimes giving substitutions for ingredients that may be difficult to find. Although most of the ingredients used are things that I either already have on hand or use frequently or are readily available at our local grocer.

Each recipe has an icon that explains if it is quick and easy (defined as taking 30 minutes or less), if it freezes well, if it is gluten free, works well as a special occasion meal, if it is healthy (meaning low in fat or full of nutrients such as fiber, fruits, vegetables, or whole grains), if it is kid friendly, vegan, or vegetarian. This makes finding the perfect recipe really easy and it also makes it so when starting a new recipe you have a heads up what to expect.

The recipes are really good. Our family loves the quinoa pilaf because it can be made so many different ways, tri-berry smoothies, vegetarian empanadas, Thai summer rolls, green mango salad, two bean quinoa chili, stuffed artichokes with garlic lemon aioli, pea lemon and mint quinoa, rich chocolate zucchini bread, and many more.

The recipe chapters are broken down into the following categories: essential recipes, breakfasts, starters, salads, soups and stews, side dishes and pilafs, meat and fish, vegetarian, desserts, picnics packed lunches and other portable goodies, parties potlucks and presents.

In the appendix shows a few sample special occasion menus, and quinoa manufacturers and resources. I love that this book shows the manufacturers as this has helped me find places to purchase quinoa from.

The only thing that I feel could have been better in this book is pictures. The book contains no pictures other than on the front and back cover. This is not a big deal, but sometimes I do like to look at the pictures in recipe books.

My family is learning to love quinoa; it is tasty, healthy, and very versatile. I recommend Quinoa Cuisine for anyone trying to eat healthier; this book will help you learn to love this awesome food.

I received this book for  free for review purposes. However, this did not in any way influence my opinions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

{Book Review} Top 100 Baby Purees




Top 100 Baby Purees: 100 Quick and Easy Meals for a Healthy and Happy Baby
By Annabel Karmel
ISBN: 978-0-7432-8957-3
First of all I want to say that I love the preface of this book! It reminds everybody why parents decide to make their own baby food – It is healthier and it tastes better! I remember the first time I decided to make my own baby food, my baby was about 3 months old and we went to a friend’s (their babies are four months older than Baby E) and they had me smell a jar of chicken puree; it smelled worse than dog food – there was no way I was ever going to feed that to my baby. Here is a book that helps me make my baby’s food better.

{Book Review} The Healthy Baby Meal Planner


 The Healthy Baby Meal Planner: 200 Quick, Easy, and Healthy Recipes for Your Baby and Toddler


This book has made a great addition to our “baby” cookbooks. The author, Annabel Karmel, shows parents how to make healthy, unprocessed, tasty foods for babies and toddlers. I equally love that many of the recipes for older babies and infants can easily be made for the whole family; this makes dinner time much easier. I like the details of the recipes. Annabel tells exactly how to prepare the ingredients and how to cook/prepare them.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

{Book Review} 201 Organic Baby Purees




201 Organic Baby Purees by Tamika L Gardner
Published by Adams Media
I really enjoy the book 201 Organic Baby Purees. Tamika Gardner really makes a point to let her readers know that making baby food does not have to be difficult. Instead it is a rewarding experience that allows parents to make healthy nutritious food for their babies. In the introduction the author states, “when you make your own organic baby purees, you’ll say goodbye to long receipts and limited choices. You’ll have creative control of every ingredient, texture, and taste your baby experiences without limiting her food world to what is sealed in vacuum-packed glass jars.” And that is exactly what this book shows you how to do.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

{Recipe} Lemon Bars

The first Tres Classique flavor I would like to introduce you to is Lemon Splash Balsamic Vinaigrette. I have made other things with other flavors but this recipe for lemon bars is my husband's favorite recipe so far so I decided to post this first.

{Business Spotlight} Tres Classique


I found Tres Classique through pure accident. My friend’s husband had just brought some Tres Classique’s products home from a recent trip and I just happened to be at their house when he was giving them to his wife as a birthday present. Oh my, they were the most unique flavor I have ever tasted and I had to buy my own.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

{Recipe} Chicken Idea

I recently found a super easy way to make yummy chicken... In the oven! I know this is something easy, but seriously it hasn't occurred to me to cook chicken breasts in the oven. I think it is healthy and quick; and you can do other things while it cooks! Here is what I have been doing:

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Plastic

Have any of you seen the documentary Bag It? (http://www.bagitmovie.com) My husband and I watched it tonight. And it made me sick. It gave me just a glimpse on how plastic affects our oceans, our waterways, and our bodies. It shows the plastic that sea and land animals consume. It was gross. They found some birds on a bird refuge (I don't remember the name) that had died and were decomposing and they were full of plastics that were not decomposing. I know it is totally gross to talk about decomposing animals, but it is even more disgusting that the poor animals eat the plastic because they mistake it for food.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Homemade Reusable Cleaning Wipes

These wipes are awesome. I love that they are reusable and convenient. After I use one, I allow it to dry completely and then I put it in a plastic ziplock bag under my sink. After I use the whole container I wash them and then refill my wipes container. The Original Reusable Microfiber Cloths are the perfect thickness and size for this project and Dr. Bronner's liquid soap is awesome without harmful chemicals.

Supplies:
-  1 large empty disposable wipes container
- 1 – 30 count pack of The Original Reusable Microfiber Cloths
- Dr. Bronner's liquid soap - Scent of your choice - I used Almond this time.
- water and measuring cup
- paper and modpodge (optional)


Instructions:
1. Remove paper cover from wipe container. If the glue is heated up (I use a hairdryer) it comes off easier.
2.  Roll microfiber cloths together (see pictures below). I found that if I leave the bottom fold folded and undo the top fold, then the cloths fit perfectly into my container. I also roll the middle very loosely when I start because I will pull the cloths out of the container from the middle and if they are rolled too tight, it is hard to get them out.


 

 

 3. Put the roll of cloths in the container.


4. Put 1/2 cap of Dr. Bronner's liquid soap into 1 1/2 cups water (you can adjust this ratio if you need to). In the picture I have a whole cap full and had to dump some back. And pour the water into the wipe container.



5. Put the lid on. You are finished unless you want to decorate your container.

If you want to Modpodge the container:

6. Cut the paper to fit the container 
 
7. Cover the container in Modpodge

 8. Put paper on container
9. Apply desired number of coats of Modpodge (I used three). Allow to dry between each coat.


My modpodge did not turn out the way I wanted. I used a thin paper and it went all wrinkly when I put the modpodge over it. Owell. The wipes are still awesome even if the container is not as pretty as it could be.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Homemade Granola

I love granola and homemade granola is super easy to make and it is usually a lot better for you than store bought granola (and cheaper). I like that I can add whatever extras I want (coconut, nuts, etc) and it can be different each time I make it. I've made this recipe a few times and it always turns out super yummy. We usually eat it with yogurt or just pour milk on it and eat it like cereal (we very seldom eat store bought cold cereal at our house).