Sneaking Veggies into Spaghetti

I thought I’d share my win of the day! Today, as usual, I had eight wee people age 5 and under. These little ones that have previously chowed down on their veggies and fruits, have recently begin to turn up their wee little noses. Once one of the older ones balk, they all seem to follow suit. So I’ve been thinking of ways to sneak veggies in. Of course I will still continue to offer fruits and veggies in their natural state, but if I can sneak some more in, I will!

One thing they all absolutely love is spaghetti. So today I decided to sneak some veggies into the sauce. I chopped up some sweet potatoes and got out some organic baby carrots. I steamed them until they were soft, and then put them in my Ninja with a little sauce and water.

veggies veggiesblender

I already have used Barilla’s veggie pasta, which is made with zucchini and spinach. It looks and tastes the same as regular pasta, and the kids love it.spag

spag2spag3

The sauce with the added veggies looked and tasted EXACTLY the same as it regularly does. I think it’s important to puree the veggies, as these little guys would immediately spy (and reject) grated veggies.

sauce

 

All of my wee people ate multiple helpings!

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Anxiety Disorder in Children

I recently had to submit an informal research paper on a special needs topic. I chose anxiety disorder, and I was surprised to find out how prevalent it is in children. This is the bulk of the information…

Some anxiety is a normal part of life, even for children. However some people, including young children, suffer from an anxiety disorder to the point where they avoid people, places, and activities. Anxiety disorders affect 18% of adults and one in every 8 children. Recently a trend has been noted of mentally ill people turning up in jails and homeless shelters. Researchers are reporting that parents and teachers can potentially alter the path of anxiety and related disorders in young at-risk children.

There are several categories of anxiety disorder in children. The most common anxiety disorders are separation anxiety disorder (beyond what is developmentally appropriate), generalized anxiety disorder, and social phobia. Separation anxiety is the most common anxiety disorder in children. It is a deep fear that something bad is going to happen to the child or a family member. The child may get headaches, stomach aches, or diarrhea when separated. With generalized anxiety disorder, children worry about multiple areas of their life, including the future, school, family, natural disasters, etc. Social phobia causes children to be very uncomfortable talking out loud and become “socially mute.” These disorders often make children want to hurt themselves because they feel hopeless. In one research study of eleven year olds, 3.5% had separation anxiety disorder, 2.9% had generalized anxiety disorder, and 1% had social phobia. Another study of 7-11 year old children found 15.4% of combined diagnosis.

Anxiety may be the result of nature or nurture. It may be nature as typically at least one of the parents is found to have anxiety disorder. In one study of mothers with anxiety disorder and their preschool children, 80% of their preschool children were determined to be insecurely attached. Out of twenty total children, three preschool children met criteria for anxiety disorder. 65% were classified as behaviorally inhibited. Anxiety may be the result of nurture due to the effects of negative or over controlling parenting, demographic area, and stressful situations. Some beginning symptoms can show around as young as 6 months old. Nature cannot be prevented, but nurture can be. It is important for educators to be aware of anxiety symptoms in students and respond appropriately.

Some studies have shown that young children with anxiety disorders grow up to have anxiety disorders and are at an increased risk of later depression, drug dependence, eating disorders, self-harming disorders, and educational underachievement. For example, one study followed children who were diagnosed with anxiety in first grade. They found that anxiety in first grade significantly predicted anxiety in fifth grade. Also, those fifth grade children who had been followed in the study tested lower in achievement test scores than their peers.

The most common anxiety symptoms include extreme concern about competence, excessive need for reassurance, fear of the dark, fear of harm to an attachment figure, and somatic (medical) complaints. A student with anxiety disorder may show severe separation anxiety, lower grades or test scores, or they may show trouble adjusting to changes and new situations. Sometimes students are absent more often than others, usually claiming to be ill. Sometimes students may be the ‘quiet one’ and receive less attention. Some students may suffer from depression also. They may cry often, seem sad, or just seem less ‘happy’ than the other students. Some children may not feel that they are important to anyone. Others may have irritability, anger, or hostility issues or have difficulty with relationships.

Depending on the type of anxiety disorder, students may have intense feelings of fear, panic, or unease. They may have uncontrollable thoughts that have become obsessive about normal or abnormal things. They may have frequent thoughts about traumatic experiences. They may display certain behaviors often or repeat them often with a specific ritual. They may have problems sleeping or have nightmares. They may have feelings of being suffocated, shortness of breath, nausea, or dizziness. They may lack the ability to stay calm. They may have muscle tension and will often feel uneasy.

Diagnosis and treatment can be difficult. Often pediatricians lack specific training to correctly diagnose or treat children who are depressed or anxious. A recent government report showed that there are only about 7500 psychiatrists currently treating children and adolescents, yet an estimated 5 million children are affected. Also, mental health care is expensive and often requires out-of-pocket costs as it is typically not covered by insurance. Unfortunately, there is also social stigma attached to getting mental health care which stops a lot of people from seeking help. If professional help is obtained, intervention is multi-faceted. Professional treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation training, role playing and modeling how to handle stress, bibliotherapy, group therapy, and medications. Often parents are worried about the side effects of medicine; however there it is important to note the side effect to not taking medications is that the child may remain unwell.

There are community resources available for children, parents, and teachers. The Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland in Towson accepts patients and has a wealth of information on the web. Their website is anxietyandstress.com. They have examples of what can be said, such as “you can do it, no matter how you feel” and “face the fear and it will disappear.” There are Panic and Anxiety Support Groups in our area that can be found doing a simple web search. One meets in Baltimore the first and third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 pm at the Church of the Redeemer on North Charles Street. It provides screening of anxiety disorders and provides support.

Teachers can be aware and help students with anxiety disorder. Children with anxiety disorder can feel alienated and set apart from their peers. Often they may be in an abusive or neglectful situation or they may just be in a high-pressured, over-scheduled, stressful situation. As educators, we need to be careful that we are not unintentionally adding to that by seeming to expect perfection. We also can be alert to the students’ behaviors. We should not try to diminish a person’s feelings, but try to be patient and willing to listen when the student has something to say. A student with social phobia will be afraid to talk to or in front of others, so we should not call on the student if they don’t raise their hand. We can reduce stress by utilizing small group discussions rather than large group discussions. We should try to model positive self-talk, and choose materials that incorporate positive messages about overcoming fears. We can encourage participation through one on one peer interaction. We can set up a ‘safe spot’ for the student to go if they need to be alone. We should respect the student by not talking about their struggles in front of others. We ideally should collaborate with the parents, other teachers, and professionals to come up with a plan based on the students’ individual needs to make a difference in the child’s future mental health.

References:

Gail A. Bernstein, MD; Carrie M. Borchardt, MD; Amy R. Perwien, BA.
Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents A Review of the Past 10 Years.
Retrieved from www.peace4minds.com/uploads/Anxiety_Disorders_in_Children_and_Adolescents.doc.

How to Help Children Under 10 Cope with Anxiety. Retrieved from
http://www.mommyedition.com/how-to-help-children-under-10-cope-with-anxiety.

CUCARD, The Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders. Separation Anxiety Disorder. Retrieved from http://www.anxietytreatmentnyc.org/separation.html.

Medscape. Pediatric Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Retrieved from
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/916933-overview.

WebMD Anxiety and Panic Disorders Health Center. Retrieved from
http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/recognizing-childhood-depression-anxiety?page=4.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Childhood Anxiety Disorders. Retrieved from
http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/children/childhood-anxiety-disorders

Chickens!

This summer we decided we’d get some chickens. A woman was renting incubators and we thought we’d give it a try. Three eggs fit in the incubator. She also had another family hatching three eggs and asked if we’d like to keep any that hatched from that batch as well. She said typically only one or two eggs would hatch for a total of 2-6 chicks.

So, July 1st we picked up the incubator and three eggs. On July 20th we could hear peeping inside all three eggs!

July 21st we woke up to two little babies! You can see we still had two days left, so these little guys were early!

We waited all day Thursday and most of Friday and were worried about the third baby chick, but then we heard peeping and the egg shook and after a couple hours, we got a third little baby!

This one we got to watch hatch! He was a big baby, and is still the biggest. Actually, I’m saying ‘he’ but I have no idea if it’s a girl or boy yet.

Here they are at two weeks. Aren’t they cute!?

The other family had three chicks hatch as well! The woman who rents the equipment was really surprised.

So, now we have six! They are four and a half weeks old now. They grew out of their box, took over our dining room for awhile, and now are in the basement.  They make such a mess! I made an aviary in the basement for them as they are beginning to fly. They are old enough to go outside each day for just awhile. Dan is looking over coop ideas and has to get to work on one soon so they can go outside full time in a few weeks.

I’m praying for at least five hens and hope to have some fresh daily eggs by Thanksgiving or Christmas! 🙂

Banana Danish

So I have modified my morning breakfast danish. I look forward to it each morning, it is just heavenly!

I melt 1 T cream cheese and 2 T butter at 30 secs in the microwave. I put a paper towel over it as it nukes, so it doesn’t splatter.

Whip in one egg, 2 spoons splenda, and about 1/4 of a banana.

Microwave 1 min, 25 secs. I top with a big spoon of cool whip.

The carb count depends on the amount of cool whip and banana you add. Bananas are fairly high carb fruit, with 26 carbs in a medium banana. If you are eating low carb, I believe fruit is healthy enough to include some and your carb count will still be low.  This is just wonderful!

 

~ Enjoy!

Best Low Carb Burger Buns!

Hands down, these are the best hamburger buns I’ve tasted! They also would be fantastic for any other bread purpose. I toasted one and smeared on peanut butter. I toasted another and topped it with butter, equal, and cinnamon. It’s excellent!!

I got the recipe here at low carb friends, an older post back from 2003.

I ordered the Atkins mix and a muffin pan for about $10 each on Amazon. This is the link for the muffin pan I bought: OvenStuff Non-Stick 6-Cup Muffin Caps Pan And this was the Atkins mix I bought: Atkins All Purpose Bake Mix, 2-Pound Bag I ordered them on Thursday and they came Saturday! That was super fast and I couldn’t wait to try.

Here are the ingredients:
1 8oz Pkg cream cheese
2 T olive oil
3 eggs
1/2 cup Atkins Bake Mix
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1) first thing is to put the lemon juice in the heavy cream to ‘sour’ as you get the other things ready

2) soften the cream cheese in the microwave about 30 seconds

3) mix all the ingredients with a blender until smooth

4) spoon in 2 Tablespoons mix for each muffin onto pan sprayed with Pam


5) bake at 350 for 12-15 mins

These were perfect!

And as I said, the possibilities are endless.  Add or top with sweetners like butter, cinnamon, and equal. Or add some garlic powder and top with butter and cheese. Or make a sandwich! It’s bread without the carbs.

Using a measured 2T per muffin, I made 18 muffins with one mix. That’s less than 1 carb per muffin and it was the perfect size to hold a hamburger as well as tasting exactly like a bun.

One of these days I’m going to try to make my own almond flour mix… but for now, this is awesome!

Enjoy! And be blessed! ~

Low Carb Hamburger Bun / Bread

Since hamburgers are allowed on the low carb lifestyle — but the bun is not — I have been looking for a way to eat the burger besides with a knife and fork. I tried the Oopsie/Revolution bread and wasn’t able to get it right. I found the Atkins mix kind and ordered the Atkins mix and a muffin pan, but it’s not here yet. So, yesterday I got the bright idea to try the egg/cheese pizza crust as my hamburger bun. It was delicious! And super easy. I think it might be my new lunchtime favorite.

1) Stir one egg and add in a handful of cheese. So far I’ve used cheddar, mozzarella, and a bagged mix. All worked. I added sea salt, garlic powder, and ground pepper as well.

This is what it looked like.

2) I divided it into two lumps on my cast iron skillet. The skillet didn’t even need greasing, because it’s already well oiled.

I cooked them while my hamburger cooked. I love low carb because I was free to add mayo and I added a slice of American cheese.


Doesn’t this look yummy?!
It was! It is kind of like a pancake consistency, but it holds all of it together so I can eat it in my hands. It’s quite filling.

I was so excited about them that I made them for dinner last night too. Same amount made into smaller rolls for the family. I added a bit of cheese and more garlic.

SO, so easy!!!

Enjoy! And be blessed! ~

Mock Danish

My new favorite low carb breakfast each morning is “mock danish.” I read about it in some forum and tried it out. Linda has it on her site and just now I did a search and see someone even did a youtube video for it.

Here’s my recipe ~ I make it and eat it in one microwaveable bowl:

1) gather eggs, sweetener substitute, cinnamon, butter, and cream cheese.

2) melt 1 tsp butter and 1 oz cream cheese in a bowl for about 20 seconds.

3) stir in 2 eggs, some cinnamon, and 1 pack equal.

4) microwave for 30 seconds, repeating till done (until the center isn’t jiggly)

5) I top with another tsp of butter, a dash of cinnamon, and a spoon of whipped cream.

It may look funny, but it’s quite yummy!

I count it as 5 carbs. 1 for the cream cheese, 2 for the cinnamon, and 2 for the whipped cream.

It is very filling and satisfying! And very quick and easy as well.

Enjoy! And be blessed! ~

Easy Egg Muffins

This morning I tried something new. Egg muffins!

1) I mixed two eggs, a bit of sour cream, and some sea salt in a bowl. Poured 1/2 in the bottom of a buttered cupcake tin.

Added in some chopped veggies, bacon bits, and cheese. Then topped with the rest of the egg mixture.

2) Popped in the oven and baked for 15 minutes at 350.

The finished product! I ate all three. 🙂  I was able to pop them out and eat them by hand. Plate and fork were not necessary, so this would be a very convenient food to eat on the go. It wasn’t crumbly at all. Very tasty and easy!

Enjoy! And be blessed! ~

Low Carb Pizza

Pizza is my favorite food. I used to work in pizza places, then managed some, then even co-owned two. I LOVE pizza! All kinds. My favorite around here is Three Brothers. We (used to) get Papa Johns a lot, as they’re nearby. Dan’s favorite (but my least) is Dominoes. I also like Ledo’s. Thick, thin, crispy, chewy… it’s all good!

Now that we are eating low carb… the one thing I miss most is pizza. I don’t really miss bread or pasta. But I do miss pizza! I’ve tried several online crust recipes and they were awful. I tried one on Linda’s site and so far it’s the best.

I woke up this morning craving pizza for some reason, so I made some and remembered to take photos.  It’s a pretty easy recipe.

1) Crust

In a bowl, mix an egg and a handful of cheese and a bit of garlic powder. We always have cheese in the house- I’ve used mexican 4 cheese, cheddar, and mozarella. Use whatever is your favorite.

Spread it out on a stone if you have one, or a very well greased cookie sheet. I’ve tried well greased foil and it was awful. It sticks and the whole point is a real crust. It doesn’t take like real crust if half of it is stuck to the foil.

This is the egg/cheese mixture before baking. It looks like mac and cheese, but it’s not. 😉

Bake at 450 for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat and bake at 400 for 5 more minutes.

2) Top the cooked crust with your favorite toppings.

Pizza sauce is the only real carb source here. Mine has 6 carbs per serving and I only used about 1/2 a serving.

I added a handful of cheese, and 4 peperoni. I would have also added veggies, but I didn’t feel like cutting them up.

Put back in the center of the oven on Hi Broil for 5 minutes.

Here is my finished product:

Doesn’t it look scrumptious?!

It has a bread-like crust consistency where you can pick it up and eat it by the slice in your hand. And it takes like pizza, not like egg. It’s crazy to me that eggs and cheese can taste like pizza crust, but it does!

Enjoy! And be blessed! ~

Low Carb Cookies

I wanted to make something off of Linda’s low carb site, so I found a recipe that I already had the ingredients in the kitchen. I changed her recipe a little, here’s what I did:

1) Put these in a bowl in the microwave for 20 secs to melt:
2 teaspoons peanut butter (2 carbs)
2 teaspoons butter

2) Mixed in:
1 egg white
2 scoops chocolate whey protein powder (6 carbs)
8 tsp equal
3 tsp water

3) Dropped on wax paper and microwaved at 20 second intervals
It took me a total of 70 seconds.

Here is what they looked like coming out of the microwave:

It made 8 cookies, for a total of 1 carb each (total, not net).  I’m not sure why her recipe only makes 4 cookies. Mine were a pretty good size.

This was incredibly easy. It only took me a matter of minutes. I ate one right away and it was surprisingly good! My husband LOVES these!

Enjoy! And be blessed! ~