Trim Healthy Mama: Yummy E Pancakes

THM Pancakes

About two months ago, I started the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) Lifestyle. I refrain from calling it a diet because you’ll see some THMs heads turn 360 when you do, but for all intents and purposes of the word diet – your diet is what you eat – and my diet is THM friendly foods.  One of my favorite E breakfast meals are the THM pancakes. I’ve made them several times now and have now perfected my method of making them. Because I respect copyrights, I cannot post the full recipe here, as it belongs to the authors of THM, However, I am sharing how I adjusted their recipe and methods to make the some super yummy THM pancakes that are approved by my kids!

  1. I use my ninja mega kitchen food processor bowl to grind my rolled oats into a fine (the finer you can get them, the better) powder. Any blender should work fine or a coffee grinder (but that would require several small batches to processed).
  2. I place the rolled oat powder into a medium mixing bowl. I add the baking powder, 4 tsp truvia*, and cinnamon**. Combine well. *I use a homemade truvia (it is much cheaper). **The cinnamon is my addition and I use about 1 tsp per batch.
  3. I put 1% fat cottage cheese into my food pro bowl and blend until it looks like a thick milk.
  4. Add blended cottage cheese to oats and stir them together.
  5. I use carton egg whites and put them into my food pro bowl and blend until they have doubled in volume at least and soft peaks forms.
  6. Now, add the egg whites to your oat/cottage cheese mixture. This part take a little while to get the oat mixture to combine. You need to let it sit for about 5 minutes or so to thicken up. This is very important. If you don’t wait, you will have very flat pancakes.
  7. I use the time that the pancake batter is thickening, to pull out my pan, started heating it on a med-low heat.20130907_151658
  8. Once my pan is warm, I make sure to use my laddle to mix the batter up and pull the batter up from the bottom. I like to make large sized pancakes, so I pour in about 1/2 to 3/4 of my laddle. I spray just a titch of grilling Pam* onto my cheap-o, non stick pan and pour the batter in. *I am not sure if Pam is THM compliant, but it has no calories and no fat and I really just spray a tiny dot.20130907_151912
  9. You need to wait until the pancake is almost cook through before you flip. The edges need to be just about dry before you flip. If you don’t wait, you will have a harder time flipping the pancake. The pancake should be a very dark golden brown when you flip it over.20130907_152105
  10. Once it is flipped, the pancake should only need to be cooked for 30-45 secs on the remaining side I usually serve this side face up since it more eye pleasing (at least in my opinion)20130907_152934
  11. Now, just repeat steps 8-10 until all your batter is gone. I usually make a double batch. This double batch got me 12 large pancakes. You can eat 2 of the these sized pancakes for your E meal. Pictured belowed is the back side of the pancakes. I freeze my packages in batches of 2 with a papertowl in between in a quart sized zip lock bag. I just warm them in the microwave for about 45 seconds or pop the frozen pancakes in a toaster for a quick and easy breakfast for me or my kids. My daughter calls them “Mommy’s Pancakes” when asking for them for breakfast.
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I love cinnamon! So today, I decided to have my THM pancakes topped with truvia sweetened 0% Fage Greek Yogurt and peaches sprinkled with a good dose of cinnamon! YUM!

THM Pancakes Peach

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Kaylen’s Five Year Old Interview

1. What is your favorite T.V. Show? Well, first I like Bugs (A Bug’s Life), Wild Krattz, and Wonder Pets

2. What did you have for breakfast? I don’t know

3. What is your middle name? Denna

4. Favorite Food? Dessert. ICE CREAM!

5. What food do you dislike? Well, your chicken.

6. What is your favorite color? Pink. Dark Pink and Plain pink.

7. Favorite lunch? Spaghetti.  (She likes plain spaghetti noodles)

8. What is your favorite thing to do? Helping you and daddy

9. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would it be? To Disneyland

10. Favorite sport? Games

11. When is your birthday? Oh, oh, oh… I Don’t know

12. Are you a morning person or a night person? I’m both

13. Pets? I love fairy pets

14. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share with us? I love sharing graham crackers with Ryan, but then he will squash them.

15. What do you want to be when you grow up? You. (Pointing to Mommy)

16. What is your favorite candy? Candy Canes. I want chocolate and candy canes.

17. Where is the farthest place you’ve ever been from home? (She didn’t understand this question)

18. What is your favorite book? My little ponies

19. What are you most proud of? When I am not making mess

20. What is your favorite movie? Little Ponies

21. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Chicken.

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A Piece of the Puzzle

autism heartAs many of you know, Ryan was a part of an Early Intervention program since he was about 2 years old. The first initial evaluation, I was told that he had some “red flags” for Autism. We were concerned about speech, but inwardly, I had some suspicions if the was displaying some signs of Autism. His Early Intervention therapy was extremely beneficial. As his parents, we learned new ways of working with Ryan. In addition to a speech therapist coming about 3 times a month, he was also able to attend a Sensory Pre-K Class. By the end of 2012, Ryan was finally beginning to say two word phases. He made huge leaps and bounds in his speech. He also started pointing. I had actually started to convince myself that maybe he was “normal” (for whatever “normal” means) but as 2013 continued on, some of his behavior became increasingly worse. Trying to get him into the Early Intervention program in North Dakota, proved difficult for us. Mostly because he was bordering on turning three and they didn’t seem to think it would be beneficial to enroll him since he wouldn’t qualify for services after three. His speech was improving every month and trying to get settled into our life here in North Dakota things became hectic.. months started to slip by and after seeing some behaviors worsening, I decided I couldn’t put off getting him into some kind of program or getting him evaluated. At this point, I was tired. Tired of the constant battle in my head and wondering if he was autistic-was I making it all up, did I just spoil him too much (I have heard this comment more than once), was it just a “phase” like most people would tell me and he would just grow out of it? I mean after all, he looks “normal.” I’m not sure what most people envision Autistic children as – but for some reason, I can’t help but think that people think Autistic children spend more of their time sitting in corner, flapping their arms, drooling all over them self having no kind of communication with other people. I just didn’t want the constant battle of wondering, so I set out on a mission to get a professional diagnosis done for him. I was also prompted to seek out a diagnosis because it was proving difficult to get services started in rural North Dakota. I knew that once I had the diagnosis, services would start to open up for him. So, I called about every number I could find on google relating to Autism Services in North Dakota. I talked to several different people and left several voice mails. Calling Minot State University proved the most helpful. They were able to get me in contact with Special Ed services in our county and they also told me about the Anne Carlsen Center in Jamestown, North Dakota. This was probably around the end of June, so with summer break, there wasn’t anything the Special Ed Services could do immediately since most were on their summer break. After contemplating whether or not go with public diagnosis services or with a private one (and posting on an autism group which would be preferred-which 100% said private would be the way to go), I decided to have his professional diagnosis done at the Anne Carlsen Center (a privately run center). Fortunately, they offer their Autism Clinic free of charge.

On Monday, we made the almost four hour drive down to Jamestown and spent the night at the hotel. His appointment was at 8 in the morning, and I just couldn’t see making the drive in the wee hours of the morning. We walked in and had to sign in, Ryan immediately went into melt down mode when I wouldn’t let him run up the stairs. He began to scream. I signed him in and then I heard someone say from behind me, “This must be Ryan.” I was a little embarrassed thinking they had known it was him because of the melt down he was having (but in hindsight, I am quite sure they were waiting for us to take us back to the evaluation room). As soon as they opened the door, there were four more people in the room around a table. I was taken a little off guard, because for some reason, I thought we would be given time to settle down and then everyone would come in. They introduced themselves and began the evaluation process and starting observing Ryan. They would ask us questions from time to time and sometimes get us involved with Ryan. I was pretty impressed with Ryan’s behavior. After a while, he warmed up to a lot of the ladies. The first part, they brought out toys and would ask him to complete certain tasks. They had a bubble machine which he loved and did not forget about even after they hid it from him so he could focus on something else 🙂 . Then they took him to a sensory play room. The most notable time spent in there was when Ryan was in the ball pit. He would lay so still and he was just about covered in the colorful, plastic balls. The first time, he just laid there which seemed to be for minutes (I’m sure it wasn’t). Then, I asked him if he was sleeping and he started to snore, and then I prompted him a few times to “Wake Up” and he finally popped up out of the balls. He repeated this several times. At one point, he asked to take his clothes off, which they allowed us to do. So, then he was running around in the play room in only his diaper. It was cute! Then back to the evaluation room for a few more play scenarios. Then, they asked us to leave while they discussed Ryan. About an hour later, they asked us to return.

His diagnosis was done using the DSM-V. With the introduction of DSM-V, they changed some of the criteria and also do not diagnose as PPD-NOS, Autism, or Aspergers.  Now, there is only Autism Spectrum Disorder with three different levels: level 1, requiring support; level 2, requiring substantial support; and level 3, requiring very substantial support. They walked us through the DSM-V and their answers. At the end, it was blatantly obvious that he is Autistic and there was nothing borderline about the diagnosis. His official diagnosis is he has Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level 2. They said with the old standards, he would have been diagnosed with Autism and that as he got older they would have continued to evaluate him with a possible diagnosis of Aspergers. They said, Ryan is extremely bright and full of potential. He definitely is very interested in learning how things work and wouldn’t be surprised if one day he invented something. In all the evaluation they have done, not one kid had shown interest in a chair lift in the play room. Ryan did and he was not satisfied with giving it a once look over. He had to move all the parts on it and see how it worked. Of course, I wasn’t surprised. Ryan is extremely bright, very inquisitive, and ALWAYS trying to figure out how things work.

So what now? Nothing really that I wasn’t already doing or wanting to do. His diagnosis doesn’t really change a thing or who Ryan is. It just helps us know how to better help him and get him the services he needs. I will never let Ryan be defined by Autism – it is simply helps explains why he may do certain things. I don’t expect anything less out of him or out of us as his parents. I’m going to keep being an advocate for my son and bring out the best in him as anyone parent would do for their child – autistic or not.

I’m still sorting out all of my feelings. I did not cry when they told me. I had already known in my heart. However, on the ride home, I did feel like crying sometimes, but no tears fell. I can’t help but wonder what long term this means. Will he be able to have meaningful relationships? Will he learn to be compassionate? I hope so, but I know I need to concentrate on the here and now. I think it will take a few days to fully sort out all of my feelings.

Our next step is following up with an already schedule appointment in early September to set up local services for Ryan. Also, finding a pediatrician for Ryan where so that he can get an official referral for occupational therapy (OT) services. He will also most like continue to speech therapy.

I love my little Ryan and I’m very thankful that I listened to my mommy instincts and continued to seek out help for him. All research shows that early intervention is extremely beneficial it helping with the long term aspects. I’m still excited to see what his future holds and who he will become.

My baby girl is five

It’s finally here, Kaylen is five years old. No longer a toddler or baby, but a young lady. A very happy cheerful girl who still can’t get enough of being chased around and tickled. She loves to laugh and play silly games. It’s satisfying and sad for all at the same time. I’m not quit sure what it is about her 5th birthday, but it just seems like it’s an end of era and onto a the next phase in her life. Every day she is asserting her independence more and more. “No, Mommy, I can do that all by myself… No, I don’t want any help…I can do whatever I want to do” Ok, that last phrase got her in trouble, but just goes to show that she really has a mind of her own. If you tell her she is cute, she will tell you, I’m cute and beautiful! But that Ryan is cute and she is beautiful. I’m happy that I’ve raised so far a girl who has confidence  in herself and I hope that stays with her throughout the years and she won’t ever second guess that she beautiful inside and out just the way God made her.  She has such a kind and sensitive heart. I love her so so much.

She came into this world at 5 lbs 2 oz and change my heart in an instant. God must have known how my heart needed her badly. The emotion I felt at being able to hold her for the first time is still to this day hard to put into words. In that moment, I truly knew what unconditional love felt like and finally understood the love that God had for me in His heart.

When it was after midnight today, I asked Kaylen if she knew what today was, and her eyes got soo big and I told her she was five. She laughed with delight and excitement. We sang her Happy Birthday before bed. I’m baked her a chocolate cake that she will get to have in the morning. A birthday tradition I have started with her since I’m a working mother who doesn’t get to spend her whole birthday with her. Can’t wait to see more excitement and delight in her eyes as we celebrate her birthday on Saturday. 🙂

Oh my CHICKPEAS!

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I found a chickpea, feta, and parsley salad on Pinterest. It looked so good, I had to give it a go. I mostly stuck to the recipe as listed, but I did change a few things. I used yellow onions (allergic to red), added more cilantro than parsley (i prefer cilantro), 4 TBS of lemon juice, made sure to season well with salt and pepper, but I also have Excalibur Sweet and Sassy Seasoning and a good heaping of that as well. The container of feta was only 4 oz, so I just used 4oz instead of 5 oz. Also, I had no olive oil on hand, so just vegetable oil. YUM! Next time, I’ll add less parsley. I’m not big on parsley, but I wouldn’t omit it. I just love cilantro way more.

Our First Sensory Box

I think it was a several months ago when a friend on FB posted a link to a very fun, crafty, tons of stuff to do with your preschooler blog: http://pinkandgreenmama.blogspot.com/. My friend specfically mentioned her “sensory boxes.” I had no idea what a sensory box was, but after seeing all of her different sensory boxes, it look like tons of fun for the kids. I can across her blog again and there have been some recent posts about Sensory boxes, so I went on a mission to make my kids first sensory box – I decided to do a fall theme.

I decided to use the split green peas to start with. I wasn’t sure if Ryan would try to eat them so I wanted to start off with something more than oatmeal, but nothing he would choke on. They also had a great feel to them. I found myself being lulled into space listening to them clinking together as my children played with them. We have a local store called Winco that has a very large selection of bulk items. I was able to get 11 lbs of the peas for about 7.00 dollars. All of rest of the items where purchased from Dollar Tree, so add another 8 bucks to our cost. The bin was given Kaylen from her grandparents, so I get to count that as free. It was pretty good size. It had good depth, but my kids didn’t have to reach down into the bin to play. So let’s say 15 for this sensory box which I will be able to reuse all the items. I thought the pumpkin was overly big for the container, but my kids had a great time playing with the “very big pumpkin.” It kept my son entertained for 50 minute straight. He didn’t think about getting up or doing anything for 50 minutes. My daughter played for about 1 hour straight, but she wanted to get up run around with Ryan. It was totally worth the investment of 15 just for that alone!

Before the fun begins:

It was great learning fun. They just loved running their hands through the peas. They felt very cool on your skin when you buried your whole hand. We hid the squash and pumpkins. I had Kaylen pretend she was baking. We went over colors. We talked about fall and how when fall comes it makes the trees turn pretty colors and the leaves fall off the trees which we acted out with letting the leaves fall over the bucket. My kids just giggled with delight. They were very content just scooping, raking, and letting the peas run through their hands. We then got some of their dinosaurs to join in the sensory box fun and they both really like that.  We buried the dinos and had fun digging them out. It seems like there is just endless possibilities with the sensory box. I think it will be a great winter activity or for my friends would live in hotter climate a fun summer activity. What a great way to develop your child’s imagination. If you are interested in creating your own sensory box, check out http://pinkandgreenmama.blogspot.com/2011/10/sensory-boxes-101-tips-and-inspiration.html

Here are just photos of all of our fun! You should be able to click on any of the picture to bring up the gallery to view larger images.

Ryan’s 1st Day of Sensory Pre-k

Ryan has made huge improvements since his first meeting at early intervention. He still struggles with communicating his every day needs (hungry & thirsty) but he has picked up a ton of words. He has started also making animal noises. He is saying mama more often. He’s pointing at objects and he will bring items of his interest over to us. I couldn’t be happier with his progress and now only wish I would have called Early Intervention sooner. He shocked both Jeff and I last night when we told him it was time to eat and he climb into his chair and pointed at his placemat and said FOOD!

We were happy when we learned Jordan District Early Intervention had a sensory pre-k class. Ryan will be going to this class twice a week. So in total, he has intentional “learning” times 3 times a week now. For one of the session at the pre-k class, a parent must be there. Jeff went with him for his very first class.

They got there a little earlier than expected (like 25 minutes), so Jeff was able to get a few pictures of him playing in the room while they waited for his classmates and teachers.

Open, Shut, Open, Shut

His class is two hours long.

The first agenda item was Arts & Crafts. They got to use paint bottles with sponges on the end and paint dots onto construction paper.

Next, it was playtime. He got to explore the room. He loved the swing (pictured below) and keep getting on and off again. He also played with some fish and trucks. He also brought a couple of books over to Jeff to read.

Then it was “Work” Time – He sat a table with a box of sensory toys which included slinky, koosh ball, windup frong, top, and a bendy straw. He could play with the box for a few minutes and then Jeff’s would pack the toy back up into the box. The objective was to get Ryan to sit quietly for a few seconds before he could get the toys back. The overall objection is for Ryan  to learn to sit still in his chair. After he masters that, then they will move onto working with him to get him to follow specific instructions (like put the cube in the circle) while sitting in a chair. I would love to say that Ryan sit quietly, but most of the time, he just screamed his head off. Jeff tried to wait for a pause in the screaming to give him back the box which quiet him down and then the crying would ensure as soon as the box was taken away.

After Work Time, they got to go play in the motor room. It has a slide, rocking horse, ball house, etc, and a outside play area. He spent a large portion of time time “driving” around in a play fire truck or going down the slide. Towards the end, he was having full in the ball pit.

After all that playing, it was snack time where Ryan got shredded carrots and small crackers. I’ve never even thought of shredded carrots. He has eaten carrots at home, but never shoestring like.

Last was circle time. They sat around in the circle singing some wiggle songs, then used maracas, and finally they had big book with flaps that they were supposed to take turns opening and closing the flaps. Ryan spent most of the time screaming and flopping around because he did not want to stay in the circle and he wanted to do all the flaps himself and did not want to take turns with other children.

Which after all the screaming, by the time of I meet up with Jeff for lunch afterward to get the skinny on his first day was like, Jeff was pretty on edge… which is completely understandable. I would have been too.

That was his first day at his pre-k class. I’m hopeful with this class and us continuing to learn different ways of teaching him that we will continue to see Ryan improve.

Just one last picture of more play time from Ryan…. he stacked the blocks up all by himself. He does have an attachment to his dinosaurs which you can see here he held onto while stacking the blocks.