The only spaghetti squash recipe you’ll ever need

The only spaghetti squash recipe you’ll ever need

Spaghetti squash is by far one of my favorite healthy meals to make. I’ve talked to plenty of my friends who just don’t like it and I’m convinced it’s because they don’t make it the right way…. and I don’t blame them. Most of the step x step how to recipes you find online are all very similar and I do it totally different.

I cut my spaghetti squash right down the middle width-wise, not length wise, which is different from all the other recipes I’ve seen. Two reasons for this: 1) you get much longer strands, and 2) it’s way easier!

I season the inside with a little bit of olive oil spray, garlic powder, salt and pepper. You can opt to take out the seeds before or after you roast it. I find it’s easier taking them out after roasting it in the oven.

Then I grab an oven safe glass/bakeware dish, put the spaghetti squash in there, flat side up (noodles side up), and put it in the middle rack of the oven. Once it’s in the oven, I turn it on to 460 degrees (which is higher than any other recipe that I’ve seen) and it works perfectly every time. No pre-heating necessary.

I cook it for 40-50 minutes. If you have a smaller squash, you may want to check on it after 30 min.

After 40-50 min, I take it out, let it sit to cool. It comes out sweet from the natural sugars in the squash that caramelize and it’s beautifully roasted, never too watery.

Then I typically buy my favorite Trader Joe’s clean marinara, add everything but the bagel seasoning to it and let it cook in a pot until warm and serve the spaghetti squash with that. I also use my favorite pesto from Costco sometimes too!

Let me know if you try this and how it comes out!

Pampers v Huggies

Pampers v Huggies

Diapers! A topic I’ve waited almost a year to write about so I can be as accurate as possible.

Huggies wins. For me, it’s pretty simple. I have given different Pampers diapers tries over time and they just don’t do as a good job as Huggies do. I’m not saying all Huggies are better than Pampers but I’ll tell you that the best Huggies diaper (which is Huggies overnites) are better than the best Pampers diaper.

From her birth, I’ve tried Pampers swaddlers, Pampers pure protection, Pampers baby dry and my daughter has made a complete mess in all of them. She’s leaked with her pee-pee, she’s done #2 right through them, they wiggle, they move. You have to be on top of it changing it after every one time he/she goes to avoid getting their pants wet.

Huggies overnites holds so much more and I’ve never had her leak out of them, going to the bathroom neither #1 or #2. And I don’t just use them for overnight, I use them as her go to diaper because they are that good.

I have tried Huggies little movers and Huggies little snugglers and they are not so good. I think Huggies little movers and Pampers baby dry have to be the worst.

I still haven’t tried Pampers Cruisers 360, but I’m not really willing to either considering I’m extremely happy with Huggie’s overnites. Right now she’s using size 3.

My daughter drinks a lot of water, and she eats mostly pureed fruits and vegetables on top of all the breast milk, so she’s constantly wetting her diaper. I change several diapers a day, but it really helps to have one that can hold out as long as possible for when I’m swamped with work or have a busy day out. It also makes a big difference in your laundry for that week.

What is your experience using different diaper brands? I know there are so many other options out there. What are your favorites?

Baby’s first steps, teeth and everything else

Baby’s first steps, teeth and everything else

I think back to when my LO was around 4 months old, I was googling anything and everything.  Trying to find out when she’d grow hair, when she’d get her first tooth, when she’d start crawling, when she’s start walking even.

There’s all these websites about “hitting milestones” and it makes you have thoughts about whether your baby is below average, average or above average in hitting them.

Throw all that out the window.

I have learned through multiple parents that none of these websites that explain milestones matter.  Some baby get their first tooth at 14 months, some babies start their first few steps at 15 months… it’s all relative.

Wherever your baby is in life is just fine.  The only thing you need to be conscious of, is that your baby is a happy and healthy baby and so are you mama!

My daughter started sitting up completely on her own at 4 months.  Everyone was like wow, that’s so early!  She said her first mama around 4.5 months and everyone was like wow that’s so advanced!

Well guess what?  She started crawling late into her 9 months, really about 10 months. Even then, she was doing a worm type of crawl. Around 10.5 months, her first tooth popped out and it’s still not completely showing.  She just now (at 11 months) started pulling herself up and sitting back down, walking on her walker by herself and drinking out of her sippy cup when she feels like it.  So I’m like whatever right, when it’s meant to happen, it’ll happen!

Your baby is perfect and unique just the way he/she is.  Parents who stress too much about milestones are just causing unnecessary stress for themselves and you don’t want that energy around your little one.  I have parents telling me that they are holding note cards up with numbers and the alphabet for their babies starting at 6 months.  Lol!

I know that I for one, can definitely wait a couple of months before I have to start chasing my daughter everywhere because she’s so mobile.  Everytime I take her to the pediatrician, he tells me she’s super healthy and that’s the most important thing I can ask for.

Your baby is learning from all their surroundings.  Taking them outside, them seeing dogs play at the dog park, them going to the grocery store, the mall, being around other kids and/or your family.  They learn by just playing with your bedrooms spring door stop.

Unless your pediatrician tells you something specific about your baby, I’ve learned to let all these milestones go.  My daughter wasn’t sipping a sippy cup or showing any teeth by 6 months, she wasn’t crawling at 7 months, she’s almost 12 months and not close to walking by herself… and I’m as happy as I can be.  She’s got a full head of hair that stands straight up and a toothless smile and she is my everything !<3

Weaning my LO off breast milk

Weaning my LO off breast milk

My baby girl is almost 11 months old, my milk supply is dwindiling and I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on what milk to give her next.  For my own personal reasons, I’ve never wanted to give her formula so I am extremely thankful and grateful that I’ve been able to produce my own milk for her this long.

I’ve read time and time again about all the different milks.  Oat milk, rice milk, almond milk, goats milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, flax milk, etc.  The biggest thing for me is that I don’t want to make my own milk.  I want to be able to buy something clean for me to just give her, but not create it from scratch.

I’ve been cows-milk-free for nearly 9 years.  I still eat cheese from time to time (usually just feta and goat) but not really.  I myself drink coconut milk and almond milk and I make sure it doesn’t have any added sugar, I make sure it doesn’t say “natural flavors” on the ingredients list (yuck to beaver secretions) and definitley, definitley make sure it’s carrageenan-free.

My mom used to make me my own almond milk (and bone broth) throughout my entire pregnancy.  She would blend measured overnight-soaked almonds, water, sea salt, vanilla extract and dates.  It was the most delicious almond milk I ever tasted but I know you aren’t supposed to be giving babies almond milk prior to 12 months (and it spoils extremely fast.)

Recently, I gave my daughter some coconut milk (in her chia seed pudding) and she loved it. Right away, she loved it.  So I had to compare my favorite brands which are Trader Joe’s, Vita Coco and Califia Farms.

These are the ingredients from Vita Coco:  Coconut Water from Concentrate (Water, Coconut Water Concentrate), Water, Coconut Cream. Contains less than 2% of Stabilizers (Cellulose Gel and Cellulose Gum). Fortified Vitamins and Minerals: Tricalcium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Vitamin A, Zinc Sulphate

These are the ingredients from Califia Farms:  Coconut Milk (Water, Coconut Cream), Coconut Water, Calcium Carbonate, Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate, Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum

These are the ingrediends from Trader Joes: Organic Coconut Base (Water, Organic Coconut Cream), Calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Phosphate, Guar Gum,  Xanthan Gum, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D2, L-Selenomethionine (Selenium), Zinc Oxide, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12.

At first glance it may look like Califia Farms is the winner, but it has 2 types of gums without telling you how much, they add salt to their milk and it has Potassium Citrate which isn’t great for you at all.

Trader Joe’s brand has one ingredient I can’t even pronounce, it has guar gum and xanthan gum and folic acid?

Vita coco is the one I went with. It explains it has less than 2% of the gel/gum and everything else is pretty healthy for us.

I’m leaning towards coconut milk because she loves it already! I am not looking at this to be a source of calcium, protein, or Vitamin D, for her… more of just a treat because she’ll still be missing a creamy milk.  So far, I’ve been mixing one date per 12 oz of Vita Coco coconut milk and she’s been guzzling down 1 bottle every day for about 4 days now.

She still drinks about 24oz of breast milk, 9oz of water and other foods daily. She has a super clean, super nutritious diet consisting of sweet potatoes, pineapple, beets, blueberries, A LOT of brocolli, leeks, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, mango, peaches, A LOT of spinach, pears, peas, apples, oats, rice cakes, dates, blackberries, strawberries, A LOT of avocados, prunes, zucchini, and chickpeas.

With that said, I’m not really worried about her lacking any nutrients. I just want to transition her easily from breast milk to another milk (as a treat) and plenty of water (which I’ve successfully done.)

How did you wean your baby?  What age were they?  What milk did you change to?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Vaccines for your baby

Vaccines for your baby

Today I read an article about a 5 month old baby getting measels in Chicco, CA and it got me thinking about vaccines.  In the past I have had mixed feelings about vaccines because there has been a lot of talk about how vaccines could cause autism and how we truly don’t know what goes into them.

Something like the flu shot, caused me to become hesitant with shots because the only times I personally got the flu were the years I got the flu shot.  I haven’t gotten the flu shot in about 5 or 6 years and I haven’t gotten the common cold or flu in 5 or 6 years.
Or how many people have gotten the HPV shot, yet 79 million Americans are still affected by HPV.  I made a choice to not get the HPV shot and I test negative for HPV everytime.  These situations could be mental, but they’re also true.

Obviously HPV or the flu is nowhere near as serious or severe as other illnesses. I would consider myself pretty hollistic, very into health and wellness and always seeking a natural alternative solution to a man-made one.  So topics like this are conflicting for me but I always keep an open mind to what makes the most sense.

After reading the most recent story about the baby boy with measels it got me thinking differently now that I have a daughter.  I, like most parents, would do anything to protect my daughter.  I would never forgive myself if she were to contract something that could have been avoided had I allowed her a proper vaccine.  I saw pictures of the 5 month old and it broke my heart.  You can’t give a vaccine for measels at 5 months old, the baby is too young.  Knowing a mother has to go through seeing her baby suffer at any age, is so terrible, let alone a newborn and something that severe.  She was quoted saying something along the lines that it’s up to us in our community to vaccinate ourselves to be able to protect the ones who are too young to get those kind of vaccines from contracting a certain illness.

I wish we were more educated about vaccines.  Sure, we can Google the 6 different types of vaccines that are given to our babies at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, etc.. but it would be nice to have every Pediatrician/Doctor give you a brief of how long the vaccination has been around, how they were able to create it, statistics of those vaccinated v non-vaccinated along with other appeasing and knowledgeable information.

At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping our babies as healthy as possible.

This blog post was just a free thinking post to put my thoughts out there. Have you had any thoughts like these?

Late to the party..

Late to the party..

So.. I just got hip to chia seed pudding.  I’ve heard about it, but never enough to really give it much thought.

Recently, my friend in LA was telling me she makes it in the morning and it keeps her satiated until the afternoon.  I decided to try it.

After trying it and liking it, I started thinking how easy it is to make as a go to snack while you’re traveling/staying in hotels.  You just pick up coconut milk, chia seeds and maple syrup.  Every airbnb and hotel has cups/glasses and a fridge.  If you’re always hungry like me, it’s nice to have a little option like that.
I made the pudding a few times I was in Miami for the Miami Open.

I put 3/4c – 1c coconut milk, 2-3 tblsp chia seeds, some cinnamon and I add maple syrup until it’s just sweet enough for me.

Online, it says let it sit 3+ hours but I find it tastes much better when left over night, so I just make sure to prep 2 at a time and keep the cycle going.

While the pudding doesn’t keep me full too too long, it’s delcious and full of fiber, omegas, fat and protein.

People like to add raw cacao podwer, oats, berries, different kinds of milk, you should add whatever you want!!

What’s your favorite chia seed recipe?  Comment and let me know!

Interesting facts about breastfeeding/pumping

Interesting facts about breastfeeding/pumping

  • Your breast milk is changing to suit your baby’s needs.  When his or her saliva enters your nipple, your body reads it and produces the right “formula” for your baby for that specific point in time. The nutritional profile of the milk changes and grows with your baby.
  • You get no period while you’re breastfeeding! BUT you can still get pregnant, so be careful!  We’ve all heard of Irish Twins.
  • A pumping bra exists.  I went 3 months pumping without knowing of a pumping bra.  I know, I know right.  3 months holding the cones and bottles for the entire 15-20 minutes.  Get yourself a pumping bra STAT.
  • I used to pump for about 10 minutes until it seemed as if my breasts were completely emptied out and then I’d stop, when in reality they weren’t completley emptied out, it just felt like it. Then I found this great article about pumping and how you should pump at least 15 minutes, if you can swing 20, do 20 minutes.  You do not want to rush this.
    The reason for this is because another wave of milk comes in as you’re pumping.  It comes in right at about 14 minutes, you’ll feel another round of milk coming in and you want to pump long enough to feel that and pump that out.  I always set a timer for 15 minutes and right at almost 15 minutes is when I feel this so be patient. Waiting the full time also signals to your body that you need more milk production!
  • The size of a woman’s breasts have nothing to do with the amount of milk she produces.  A woman with large breasts can make little milk and a woman with small breasts can make an abundance of milk.
  • Breast milk contains naturally occuring cannabinoids in it that promote sleep and calmness in babies.