Monday, November 21, 2011

Gluten Free Low Glycemic Carrot Cake Recipe (and birthday boy in action)

We want to delay Xavi's experience with "white trash" as long as possible...I mean, he has his whole life to get loaded up on the stuff after I lose control of his diet, right? When he's a teenager?  I'm talking about white flour and white sugar = white trash.  So I looked for a cake that had no wheat flour and no refined sugars.  This one sounded great since it used almond meal AND coconut flour AND coconut oil....mmmm, yummy AND healthy.  It turned out very moist and tasty. Lots of our guests wanted to have some of this instead of the Costco cake that had two pounds of frosting on's definitely worth a try for your next tea party, first birthday cake (cousin Jeanne), retirement party (Gramma Nina) or treat that's not quite a guilt inducing, hide the evidence sweet satisfier.  Enjoy!

Golden Chalice Carrot Cake (borrowed from Pathways magazine, Issue 31)
11/2 cup almond meal flour (can use gluten free flour, but cover 5 min after baking for moisture)
1/2 cup organic quinoa, coconut, or amaranth flour (or combination)
2 tsp. aluminum free baking powder
2 tsp organic cinnamon
1/4 tsp organic allspice
1/4 tsp organic cloves
1 tsp Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
1 cup virgin coconut oil (warmed just enough to liquefy)
1/2 tsp sweet leaf stevia or raw, powdered stevia leaf
1 cup raisin sauce (soak 1 cup of raisins in a jar with 1.5 cups water.  refrigerate overnight or can boil raisins in water until soft.  blend in blender to make paste.)
1 tsp. organic  vanilla extract or flavor
3 cups grated carrots
4 eggs
1/2 cup chopped organic walnuts (optional)

1. preheat oven to 350; grease and flour a 9x9x2 pan.
2. mix almond meal or flours, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and salt
3. blend in oil or ghee, vanilla extract, stevia, and raisin sauce
4. add grated carrots.  then eggs, one at a time, beating well after each time.
5. blend in walnuts if desired. (really good)
6. bake 30-40 minutes or til done. 
Cool and cover after 5-10' to maintain moisture if using flours other than nut meal.  Frost with cream cheese frosting OR leave it all unfrosted.
7. serve warm if not frosted, or at room temperature if frosted. 

Golden Chalice Cream Cheese frosting
8 oz softened organic cream cheese
1 tsp. organic vanilla extract or flavor
1 tbsp. organic pure maple syrup or 1/4 cup raisin sauce
1/2 tsp. sweet leaf stevia

1. mix together all ingredients until smooth.  spread immediately on room temperature cake
( I might double this next time as I like the frosting a bit thicker.  this amount just covered the top of the cake. We also sweetened it just a bit more than the recipe called for...add agave or other sweetener like raisin sauce or stevia to taste.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Xavi's Birthday Party (Weekend!)

We had a birthday party for Xavi last Sunday (believe it or not, I started this post last Sunday night!)...initially the forecast was calling for rain for the whole weekend, and although Saturday was cold and rainy, Sunday dawned (and we were up at dawn) clear and sunny.  Matter of fact, it was so sunny, our neighbor let us borrow their sunshade tent to put over the food to keep from melting!  I let Xavi take off his lil man jeans to play AFTER everyone saw him in his party pants. 

We had so much fun!  Neighbors, Friends, Family, and their kids joined us for the celebration at beautiful Pines Park near our home.  We had lots of food (too much as usual), a pinata, goody bags for the kids, and time to chat (what a luxury! :)). 

Our angel Debbie and her husband, Ron
Little Miss Charlotte...two weeks younger than Xavi

Dr. Jen's middle two kids having a go at the pinata...the poor thing was critically injured from the first hit.  We had to tape the head on so that everyone could have a turn. 

Xavi dug into his special gluten free, low glycemic carrot cake (not ready for him to have refined sugar) and partied hard.  He seemed to know that it was all about him and enjoyed every minute of it.  I did manage to get him to take a nap just before the party...which saved the day!

Xavi found this perfect sized soccer ball and had a blast...even though it was another boy's ball.  Guess I'll have to find him one this's perfect for him. 

It all went so fast, I am glad that we've been celebrating his birthday all week...Gramma Nina flew in from El Paso to spend the weekend with us.  As usual, she was a huge help and Xavi got to spend some quality time playing with her.

Cousins Eric and Dianah (bookends of photo) joined us for the afternoon as did Auntie Lala (by Xavi).  His favorite present may have been the vacuum like push toy that makes 'pop pop pop' noises like popcorn?  Totally old school and a classic toy..he loved it from the start. 
We forgot to open presents until we got home...people were so generous with fun toys, cars, trucks, puzzles, helicopters, balls, and of mommy's favorite, cool clothes.  But it did take a few people to get the presents open and put together...meanwhile, Xavi loved to play with the boxes and wrapping paper. 

Gramma putting together the 'elefun'...thanks Robersons and Mignogna's.  We spend LOTS of time playing with this one.

We sure missed those loved ones that couldn't be here with us...for the party and most days as well.  We hope to see you all soon and catch up.  I can't believe our baby is already a year old.  So many good memories and lessons's to many more. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy First Birthday Xavi Matteo!

 I can't believe how fast this year has gone.  Where did the time go?  Seriously.  I remember this day one year ago so clearly that it seems impossible that Xavi is one already.  I swear, I am just not going to blink anymore.  YIKES!  We had a happy day in the beautiful sunshine; remembering the ups and downs of this momentous year with all of its rites of passage, "firsts", and things I never thought I'd do or say. 
 Here's my top 10 list of "things that have surprised me most about being a mom".
#10:  My doggies that were once my babies are now my pets. They are still so special to me, but they definitely got a demotion, which is still surprising to Diego who still insists that he deserves a place in our bed. 
#9:  Other people's kids still annoy me, but a lot less than they used to.  And the mom with all the stuff on the airplane OR the crying child?  totally different perspective now.
#8:  I can be completely content sitting on the floor playing with child's toys, balls, or just watching Xavi be "busy" with his toys. 
#7:  Boobs no longer mean what they used to mean...and I've nursed in more public places than I thought I would AND in front of people that I swore I would never nurse in front of. 

#6:  I know what my kid's cry means and what to do about it (most of the time)...without reading books! That sure doesn't mean that I can "fix" it all the time, but 90% of the time, I'm in the ball park.  It's that 10% that gets you though, right?..."I don't know why he's crying!  Help me...maybe he sprained his vocal cords"...OR maybe he has a giant load in his pants, why oh why didn't I check this 15 minutes ago? DUH! 
#5:  My pee/poop/puke threshold has definitely increased...but I think that only extends to my kid's pee/poop/vomit.  Xavi's first three months were spent with puke encrusted hair, clothes...although past that stage, we are however dealing with the switch to cloth diapers.  I did not consider how i was going to clean poop off the diapers that I was going to now be washing and about up close and, I bought a diaper sprayer to minimize the hand on poop contact, only to discover that if I don't spray it just goes all over the walls, floor, seat, etc. 
So, like I threshold has definitely increased.

 #4:  I can survive and function (how well may be a matter of debate) on a lot less sleep than I used to think I required.  I still don't really know what it's like to get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but the 5-6 that I do get is cherished and hallowed time. 
#3:  I have gone one year eating NO chips and salsa, NO onion or garlic (except on accident), two bites of ice cream, and minimal candy or products with corn syrup in them (well, until this halloween).  It's surprised me how easy it was to give up foods that cause a significant and noticeable reaction in another human being.  Ingestion and breast feeding of certain foods causes a chain reaction of sleep interruption and constant crying/whining with no poop in the pants to blame it on.  How much easier to choose healthy foods if our bodies cried, whined, and kept you up at night complaining about what certain substances are doing to us internally? Now my Guiness?  That's another story...mmmm, beer!
#2:  I finally know how much my own mom and dad love me...and what a nightmare I must have been for them at times!  I've apologized for their heartache often this past year...but again, mom and dad? I am sorry!   I can even understand why people actually choose (chuckle) to stay close to their parents after having need all the support you can get and no one is like mom when you don't know what to do with this tiny little human being.

#1:  And the number one thing that surprises me most about being a mom?  My dream car is either Mario's tank of a truck Land Cruiser (although it is currently sunbathing in Hawaii) OR a sweet, souped up MINIVAN with automatic doors and easy to flip seats!  (Yes, Uncle Mark, I owe you.  I forgot what we bet but I remember swearing that I would NEVER own or drive a minivan...) 
Ultimately, it's knowing what unconditional love feels like that really blows me away about being a parent, about being a mom.  I've never known what it truly means to love unconditionally, and in raising this flesh and blood of Mario and mine, I know.  I would give my life for this child.  I would sacrifice whatever I needed to for his happiness, his health, his life. And there is absolutely nothing that he coudl do or say that would make me stop loving him. My instinct is to wrap myself around him, protect, shield, hug and kiss (til he barfs (Larsen joke)), and never let go...I am now learning that it is all about letting go, giving in, realizing I never had the control in the first place, and loving in word and in deed every day.  I know I have a lot more to learn, but for today I laugh at what I understood about being a parent 366 days ago and cherish what I've learned in the last 365.  Here's to many many many more.  I love you Xavi.  Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Home sweet home

We made it through the week at work and school, said good bye to Gramma and Grampa, and got ourselves to the airport on time.  We had time for a little breakfast and exercise at the gate before boarding...then we were off to OC and papa!  

It worked like clockwork this on the ground, board early, charm all the ladies (and a few of the guys), fuss a bit, and fall asleep.  Mom breathed a sigh of relief and enjoyed some quiet time to watch mindless TV, eat a snack, or take a (gasp) nap.  Dad was there to pick us up and carry our stuff...YAY!!!  It was a relief for both of us to finally be home and feel safe in our little unit.  The house looked amazing...tile floors and beautiful laminate...but more importantly we could all breathe easier.  I know Mario worked hard while we were gone...we were so thankful, but did everyone? 
I'm not so sure... 

Home sweet home.  I love the sound of home...and of my boys playing together. 
It's hard to believe that it's already been 364 days since little Xavi came into our lives...changing it and us forever.  This is me one year ago today...  
Today, like that day, I made breakfast, fed the dogs, and took a walk...then not knowing how my, nay OUR life would never be the same, and not knowing that I would never be the same.  I'd like to think I'm better, stronger, wiser from the reality, I have good days and bad, but I also know that being a mom is the greatest gift...and the best job in the world.  This time last year, I was deep in the throes of labor...battling the fear and intensity, the doubt and raw emotions that spilled out of me with every contraction.  I know that Xavi worked just as hard as me that day...Today, he is walking, running, and playing with balls.  He is saying, in addition to "woof woof", "momma', 'ball', 'boo-oom', and oh sh"... (no, not 'oh sh@*'...just oh sh)"  he plays and laughs, flirts and sings.   He's even learned to dance when he hears music.  We'll have time to celebrate his birthday and those milestones tomorrow, his official birthday.  For right now, I'm going to spend some time remembering our first dance.  And we still have 3.5 more hours to go...Today, like that day one short year ago, I know there is no place like home and now, back to dancing. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Operation 3: Wisconsin - 40 hour work week

That means VitaKids for Xavi and work for Momma.  Thankfully Gramma had a few days off and so Xavi got to spend some time with her on two afternoons while mom finished her day.  As always, I missed him terribly when we were apart, even though he's just across the street and in very good hands.  I don't know...something just feels like it is missing and my heart doesn't stop aching.  Of course, it feels good to get work accomplished and see friends at SP...but I'm always so relieved to have him back in my arms...there's no feeling like that on earth.  I think Gramma was a little relieved too since he wore her out.  "It's a good sore, though!" 
playing with the balls at VitaKids

He loved being outside, even though the air was getting pretty "crisp"...especially in his great Packer jacket!

It was hard to catch a still photo of him...perpetual motion he is.

Playing with gramma...they are so mischievious together...can you see the twinkle? 

Yep, he got her glasses off...giggling his head off.

Little monkey

Tubby time!

Eating time...can you tell he'd been feeding himself?  His hair is plastered with food...too fun!

Then it was off to play in the dirt like a good little boy

Xavi had a good week at school...he played more than he ever has while there.  He loved these hammers and walked around all day with them. 

They celebrated his birthday on his last day and he got to paint his own crown! 

Taz patiently awaiting his scraps...

Yay!!! Trish came to was so fun to catch up and see her sunny smile!

He kept smiling at himself in the mirror...that's me trying to catch him in the act. 

Who loves you baby? 

Gramma and Grampa dressed up like Dillinger and his girl...they looked awesome! 
We'll be back...soon!