Homemade Flubber for Sensory Play

So y’all know that I’m a Health and Fitness Coach and that I like to cook and feed my family clean, healthy and delicious food. But above all else, I’m a Momma and playing with my little people is a huge part of what re-focuses my heart and fills up my soul.

This morning the weather was beautiful and sunny, but as it is late November here in Oregon, it was cold…like 27 degrees cold. Brrrrrr. Yesterday me and the bubs bundled up in mittens/gloves, jackets, hats, snow pants (for one) and leggings under pants (for two) and braved the cold for a bright, crisp sunshiny trip to the zoo. It was wonderful. The animals were full of energy, playing and wandering around. My babes walked almost the entire four hours that we were there and overall, the day was a success. But…I wasn’t quite ready to bundle all back up and head out for another big adventure this morning. Enter…FLUBBER!


My kids (most kids, really) LOVE sensory play. They love play dough. They love a bin of beans and things to scoop with. They love water play, sand, dirt, etc. Today I decided to try something new! So…we made some homemade flubber for sensory play! The recipe was so simple and I was able to whip up two batches (should have done three and had one for each kid, but…live and learn) in less than 10 minutes (and an added bit of “cooling” time).

Ingredients (for one glob of homemade flubber for sensory play)
*1.5 cups of water
*Food coloring (optional – pretty sure mine was from 1982…need to work on that. Haha)
*2 Tblsp. of psyllium husk fiber supplement (like Metamucil)

Tools:
*Microwave (you could very likely cook this on the stove, but it would obviously take longer and I haven’t tried it to be certain)
*A microwave safe bowl that is big enough to contain 6 (or more) cups

Directions:
*Add 1.5 cups of water into large microwave safe bowl
*Add drops of food coloring, if using
*Add 2 Tablespoons of psyllium husk fiber supplement
*Stir well until the mixture is evenly combined
*Microwave for 6 minutes while watching closely to ensure it does not boil over the edges. If it starts to bubble over, open the microwave door and let it cool for 30-60 minutes and then proceed.
*Place in the refrigerator to cool for 15-20 minutes (you may want to pour the flubber into something a bit shallower if your bowl is tall so that it cools quickly and evenly – I didn’t do this. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it did take a little longer to cool).
*After it cools, if it feels too sticky, micro it a little longer and then re-chill (I used two different bowls. One I needed to cook longer. The other I didn’t. Not sure why…)



 
Play:
*Once it is cooled and ready to play, give the flubber to your littles and watch them explore it. Give it to them solo, with no other tools or toys. Let them experience it just as it is. How it stretches, squishes, feels, flips, breaks, goes back together, etc.

*Once they seem to be losing steam a bit, introduce one “new” item at a time to use to play – kid-safe scissors, knife, figurines, cars, etc.


  


  

Share:
*Come back and tell me how you liked it! Share a picture or an idea for a “tool” to play with the flubber with. Send this to a friend. Enjoy!

Foodie Friday 11.20.15 – Yummy, Clean, and often Paleo Thanksgiving Sides

Happy Friday! I’m doing things a little different this week. Instead of my top three meals that we made this week, I’m going to share with you the top three meals I’ve been eyeballing for the ol’ Turkey Feast for Thanksgiving next week. Alrighty? Okay. Good. Glad you’re on board. 😉

A few years back (alright, maybe more than a few), I discovered the theory that just because it is a special occasion…just because you want your food to taste delicious…just because you want some pie…you don’t have to eat a whole bunch of crap! We live in the age of so many non-conventional ideas on how to fuel your body healthfully AND full of amazing flavor. Don’t let the holidays be an excuse! Be smart. Make some changes to your standbys, try something new and delve into the world of yummy and nutrient dense food! Celebrate with your friends and family. Share with those who have less. Enjoy. Treat yourself right. Your body will thank you.

Down to business!

✨STUFFING!✨

We are gluten free around here, but also don’t really use much GF bread to substitute, so I’m super excited about this grain-free cornbread stuffing recipe (uhm…with bacon! Hey…if you source it right, it is totally a superfood!).

http://deliciouslyorganic.net/cornbread-sausage-stuffing-grain-free-gaps-paleo/

✨Veggies!✨

LOVE Brussels sprouts and beets. So good. Such rich colors and flavors. I will definitely be adding some Brussels to this deliciousness! And we will use either grass-fed butter or avocado oil. Mmmmmmm…


http://www.culinarycolleen.com/roasted-carrots-and-beets-thyme-big-news/

✨Pie!✨

And of course, there was no getting around it…everyone needs a little more pumpkin pie in their lives…but only if it is goooood. Can’t wait to try this! My mouth is already watering. I’ll be using an ol’ fashion real pumpkin to make my puree, but other than that…here are the recipes I’ll be following:


http://www.primallyinspired.com/paleo-pumpkin-pie/
http://www.primallyinspired.com/paleo-pie-crust/

Man, I love Thanksgiving. It is going to be a little weird just being my little (sorta big) family of us five, but we’re gonna go with it. The sun is supposed to be shining and the temps are supposed to be cccccccooooolllld. It is going to be amazing.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Foodie Friday 11.13.15: Top Three Clean Eating Meals From This Week’s Meal Plan

This week’s round-up is pretty simple, but still tasty as can be. As always…each meal was served with a simple green salad with carrots, celery, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

✨Monday’s Steak and Chicken Fajitas with Sauteed Veggies and Brown Rice✨

Ingredients:
* Your meat of choice (we used chicken breast and beef short ribs)
* A mix of three to four bell peppers (we used two green, one red and one yellow) – cored, seeded and sliced
* One onion – peeled and sliced
* 3-5 cloves of garlic – minced
* 7+ crimini mushrooms – cleaned sliced
* Brown rice (we used 1.5 cups)
* Water or broth (we used 3 cups of chicken broth – brown rice is a 2:1 ratio)
* Seasoning: garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, dried onion, sea salt, black pepper, cumin
* Tortillas or lettuce wraps (we did half and half)
* Garnish: really up to you, but we used tomatoes, avocados, a little cheese for the kids and some plain whole fat yogurt (a la sour cream)

Directions:
* Rinse rice. Combine rice and broth into a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low(ish) and cover. Cook for 50 minutes.
* You can either thinly slice the meats and saute them in the pan with the seasonings above (like I would) or you can season them raw, grill them whole, and then thinly slice them (like my husband would…haha).
* If you saute the meat, while it cooks, prep the veggies. When the meat is cooked through, remove it from the pan.
* In the same pan, add a little grass-fed butter or avocado oil and toss in the onions. Cook a couple minutes, throw in the garlic and mushrooms. Cook another minute or two and then add in the peppers. Add same seasonings from above.
* When veggies are done, add the meat back in and mix together.
* If there is yummy stuff stuck to the bottom of the pan, rev up the heat and when it is super hot, toss in a tiny bit of broth and scrape it up!
* Serve it up!

✨Tuesday’s Grilled Salmon with Sauteed Kale and Baked Yams✨

* Wash and poke yams. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook for 45-60 minutes (depending on size) at 350*, flipping halfway through.
* Rinse and trim Kale (we used two bunches…but we really like kale)
* Mince 3 cloves of garlic.
* Heat avocado oil (or grass-fed butter) in a large pot (or pan, depending on how much kale you are cooking) over medium-high heat and add in kale and garlic. Toss frequently and be sure not to let the garlic burn on the bottom of the pan. Season with sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and dried onion. It only takes 10 minutes or so to cook the kale, so plan accordingly. When done cooking, sprinkle with fresh lemon juice.
* Brush salmon (or other fish of choice) with avocado oil and season with sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, dried onion and paprika.
* Grill 6ish minutes each side (depending on thickness and desired cooked-ness)
* Plate it all up, serve with fresh lemon, and enjoy!

✨Wednesday’s Italian Quinoa Skillet Meal✨

So I found a recipe on Pinterest that was my inspiration, but I changed a fair amount so the below link really isn’t all that similar, but…just I included it in case.

Ingredients:
* 2 cups of quinoa
* 4 cups of broth (or water)
* 32ish ounces of your choice of spaghetti sauce. I used Autumn Calabrese’s “Grandma’s Tomato Sauce” from her “Fixate” cookbook. Yum.
* 1lb of ground turkey (or chicken sausage or ground beef, or something else delicious)
* 3-4 cups fresh spinach – rough chopped
* 3-5 cloves of garlic – minced (I adore fresh garlic)
* 1/2-1 onion – diced
* Seasonings: garlic powder, dried onion, dried (or fresh…if fresh, add it in last) basil, dried oregano, sea salt, black pepper and a touch of chili powder

Directions:
* Thoroughly rinse the quinoa in a fine sieve (for about one minute). Place rinsed quinoa into a medium sauce pan on medium heat (with no oil). Let the heat sort of dry out the excess water from the quinoa. Stir often and keep the quinoa from burning. Once the quinoa is dried out a bit and starts to stick to the pan, add in the broth and bring to a boil. Toss in a bit of grass-fed butter or avocado oil, turn the heat down to low-ish, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes.
* Meanwhile, heat avocado oil in a large skillet or stock pot, add onion and garlic and cook until they start to soften and the garlic is fragrant. Add in the meat of your choice, season to taste (with above seasonings) and cook through.
* Add the cooked quinoa, marinara/tomato sauce, spinach, and any additional seasonings into the skillet/pot with the cooked meat.
* Stir to combine and heat through.
* Serve with the optional Parmesan cheese topping and enjoy!

http://makethebestofeverything.com/2015/10/italian-quinoa-skillet-meal.html

Let me know what you think and share a picture and how you liked them, if you give them a try!!

Comment, like or share this post with someone who may wanna have a few new ideas for meals thrown their way each week! Thanks for checking in!

Foodie Friday 11.6.15: Top Three Clean Eating Meals From This Week’s Meal Plan

Foodie Friday: Top Meals of This Week's Meal Plan

Here we go! So grateful to have had some help in the kitchen this week. Made it so much more enjoyable! Thank you to my mom for some veggie prep on Monday and to my husband for all the help on Thursday and Friday.

All meals served with a simple green salad with carrots, celery, dressed with EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar.

✨Monday’s Coconut Flour Pizza with TONS Veggies and Chicken Sausage✨

I tripled the recipe and made three sm/med pizzas. It fed three adults, a kid that eats as much as an adult, and two pretty hungry toddlers with nearly one full pizza leftover.  I added a touch of dried rosemary, thyme, black pepper, onion flake, garlic powder and sea salt to the dough and used actual eggs instead of flax “eggs”.

While the crust cooked in the oven, I sauteed the onions a bit first then tossed in the mushrooms, zucchini and squash and seasoned them with sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion flakes, paprika, and chili powder. Once they were cooked, I removed them from the pan, removed the sausage from their casings and sauteed them up. Once done…same thing…removed from pan and then added in the garlic and kale and cooked them in the little bit of goodies leftover from cooking the sausage.

After the pre-cooking of the dough as mentioned in the original recipe, I topped the crust with tomato paste (so simple, but great flavor…I like Muir Glen brand organic tomato paste…and as a note, their cans are BPA free), and then layered on the goodies before throwing it back in the oven for another 10 or so minutes.

We made this a cheese-less pizza and it was amazing, but just for good measure, I added a little cheese to the kids’ pizza (on top of the sauce and under the toppings like a good ol’ fashion pizza). As a final touch, I diced up fresh tomato and tossed them on top of the pizza.

http://www.feedmerachel.com/2013/03/17/coconut-flour-pizza-crust-grainnutsugareggsoydairy-free-paleo-vegan

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✨Thursday’s Ham and Bean Soup✨

Out the door early today with my little guy to volunteer for a good chunk of the day in his classroom and his school’s library, so Daddy was on duty with dinner prep. He doubled all veggies (and used both rutabaga and parsnips) and used three cans of Great Northern white beans. He also substituted chicken broth for water, added in some bonus seasoning – garlic powder, onion flake, dried thyme and dried rosemary, and used the slow cooker on low for about 7 hours.

http://melissaknorris.com/2014/01/bean-and-ham-soup-frugal-suppers/

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✨Friday’s One Pan Mexican Quinoa✨

The hubs was at it again tonight…This time I was lucky enough to have some time for myself tonight to get some work done while my fabulous husband prepped and cooked dinner AND entertained the kids. Swoon. He used 1.5 times the amount of quinoa and broth, doubled the garlic, added 1/2 a diced onion and some bonus seasoning – garlic powder, onion flake and paprika. Also..super important … we RINSED the quinoa first. We also diced up, seasoned (same seasonings as used in the quinoa), and sauteed a couple of chicken breasts to throw on top. Yum.

http://damndelicious.net/2014/04/09/one-pan-mexican-quinoa/?m

Foodie Friday: Top Three Meals of This Week's Meal Plan- One Pot Mexican Quinoa

Let me know what you think and share a picture and how you liked them, if you give them a try!!

Comment, like or share this post with someone who may wanna have a few new ideas for meals thrown their way each week! Thanks for checking in!

How to Harvest Heirloom Tomato Seeds to Save for Next Year’s Garden

Daylight savings time. That special time of year when it is suddenly pitch black by dinner time. Ha. I guess that means we are really in the thick of Fall. I guess that also means that the days of bountiful harvests of delicious, juicy and flavorful tomatoes is fast coming to a close. Darn. We had a few really delicious tomato varieties this year in the garden. Our plant that produced the best was a Black Krim organic, heirloom tomato plant (as far as I can tell, I don’t remember what the gal who I bought it from said). Woah. So good. We had some really good Romas too, but they just aren’t as overwhelmingly delightful as the Black Krims. We also had a yellow-ish heirloom variety (the larger ones pictured below), but it didn’t fair too well in our crazy heat wave. Anyway…the point is, I WANT MORE! And so…I have harvested and prepared some seeds to save for next year’s garden! Genius, right? You should do it too!!

Here’s how I harvested my heirloom tomato seeds to plant again!

1. I picked a few really ripe and delicious looking Black Krim tomatoes from the vine.

2. I cut them in half (stem part up as I cut, to reveal the most seeds) and sort of squeezed the seeds AND the gel and juice surrounding them (basically all the goodies) into a small glass container.

3. I added enough filtered water to cover the top of the tomato goo, covered the container, and let it sit out to mold. Oh…you read that right. I waited about five days, though the article I had read said to wait 3-5 days. I kept forgetting about it. The molding process separates the gel from the seeds.

4. Once a layer of white mold formed on top (and I actually remembered the plan), I drained the gnarly concoction and let any floating seeds go right on out with the liquid. They would be duds come Spring and wouldn’t germinate. Boo. Then I saved (obviously) the seeds hanging out on the bottom.

5. I used a fine sieve and water to rinse off the good ones. You will want to really get in there with your hands, making sure all the gel is rinsed away.

6. I placed them on a labeled paper plate for a couple of days to let them dry out. This worked really well as the seeds didn’t stick to it too terribly! Nice!


7. When the seeds were completely dry, I transferred them into a small (think lunch sack size) paper bag that I had cut most of the top off of, taped it up, labelled it and tossed it in the fridge. You can also store them in any dark, dry, cool location, but I figured I’d go refrigerator to be safe.

That’s it! Now…this is my first time attempting to harvest heirloom tomato seeds to plant again, so we’ll see how it turns out next Spring. Haha. But, it seems like it should work perfectly and that next year I will have loads of amazingly delicious organic, heirloom Black Krim seeds to plant and share!

Now … all I need to do is find a rockin’ gluten free, somewhat clean, fried green tomatoes recipe for my late crop of tomatoes that I just don’t think are going to see the light of the sun enough to ripen at this point. Bummer. Or…is it? I hear fried green tomatoes are pretty dang goooood! Stay tuned for that adventure!

Have you every harvested seeds, tomato or otherwise, and had success with them producing the following year? I’d love to hear about it!

*the original info that I used to know what to do came from: http://www.squawkfox.com/2009/10/20/save-heirloom-seeds/