vegan pesto quesadilla recipe

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I’ve been crazing mexican food lately, but it’s not as fun without real cheese. I finally got some Trader Joe’s brand of Daiya cheese last week, so I decided to make quesadillas because it doesn’t matter if the cheese doesn’t taste amazing in them, it’s more for the melty texture. I put some vegan pesto, cut up olives, and cheese on whole wheat tortillas and they were really good and very creamy!

I made vegan pesto by putting in the food processor:

A large bunch of basil (maybe 2 cups of leaves)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts (or you can use walnuts)

garlic to taste

I really don’t mind not having the cheese in the pesto and don’t notice it

I took the easy way out and cooked them in the toaster oven for a few minutes until they got lightly browned

Comparison of organic baby clothes brands

 

We have tried a bunch of different brands of organic baby clothes, and here are my thoughts (for our medium/large-sized baby who is now 10 months and 21 pounds). We particularly liked brands on Amazon because it’s easy to return them if they don’t fit. With so many cheap ($5 per item!) options available, there is no reason to dress your baby in conventional clothes that have pesticides, phthalates, formaldehyde, and chemical flame retardants on PJs!

Babysoy is on amazon and their shirts have been one of my favorites for fit. They have generous neck holes and also wider arm holes so Jack’s fingers don’t get stuck. We got a few of these T-shirts and wore them a lot, and you can even wear them past the recommended size since they are kind of wide-cut. I also like the Janey hats which run about 1 size small.

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Jack wearing babysoy shirt and hat, and toys r us organic pants

Under the nile is another of our favorites. We had a lot of the kimono shirts which were nice to not have to put over his head, but I think having to snaps all the snaps is actually harder than getting a shirt over their heads honestly. They also don’t seem to have sizes as large as the babysoy.

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wearing an under the nile shirt

I also recently discovered H&M makes organic baby and maternity clothes, and we got some cute shirts and pants for $5 each! It seems like their inventory changes often so I won’t link to anything specific, but they seem to have great deals. I found their sizes run one size large (we got 9 month shirts for our 10 month old).

Burt’s Bees also has organic baby clothes up to toddler age. I like that their clothes are all organic, and the prices are reasonable but you have to pay shipping and to pay shipping to return them. I found they also run AT LEAST one size small, and shrink a little too. Their head holes and arm holes sometimes can be on the small side for us too.

wearing a burt's bees romper

wearing a burt’s bees romper

We also ordered some shirts and pants from this random store I stumbled upon with great prices ($5 for an organic shirt and cheap shipping!) The sizes run quite large, and the section where the arm connects to the body is really big which I don’t like, but we used them as comfy relaxing at home outfits. The pants were fine and not as huge.

wearing this random shirt from horselover's hobbies and gifts

wearing this random shirt from horselover’s hobbies and gifts

I loved the fit of this long-sleeved shirt from Maple clothing. It was on the slightly cheaper side and was very well-made with thicker fabric and good sizing.

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maple organic shirt

We also got two shirts from Sage Creek organics which were very cute and colorful but ran small. One had buttons in front so it was fine, but the other one was tight to get his head in the hole.

Sage creek shirt with Gap bib

Sage creek shirt with Gap bib

The gap also has some gender-neutral organic clothes but they ran a little small and were expensive I thought. The quality was nice though.

I also saw that American Apparel has some organic things that are reasonably priced, but we never tried them.

In terms of accessories:

  • Our favorite legwarmers were from Barnyard Babies on etsy but I think they closed! The Babylegs brand dug into Jack’s thighs.
  • Our favorite socks are from Babysoy (size 12-18m fits out 10m old) after trying Jeffries and babylegs which both dug into his ankles.
  • Our favorite receiving blanket was the cheap hudson baby ones because they were the biggest. They worked well for swaddling, and I still use it as a blanket in the stroller now

easy dairy-free frittata recipe

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I’m still not eating dairy because of Jack’s allergies, so I tried making a dairy-free frittata this weekend for brunch which turned out really well! I added Daiya cheese, but I think it would still be good without it. My husband who often doesn’t like my weird and healthy cooking actually approved of this one!

Directions:

Saute a large pan full of veggies- I used mushroom, bell peppers, asparagus, basil, and garlic. I also added some cut up lox which was great! You can skip the sauteing if you want to make the process faster, but it makes it taste better.

Mix 8 eggs with a cup or so of unflavored almond milk, salt, pepper, and whatever spices you like

Pour the eggs over the veggies, and sprinkle with some vegan cheese if you want, and bake at 350 for about an hour, then broil for a few minutes until the top gets a little brown and is no longer jiggly at all

This reheats well later for an easy lunch the next day!

I also made these pumpkin muffins with whole wheat flour and brown sugar and some chocolate chips, and they turned out great!

Sleep update at 10 months

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We have been doing some form of co-sleeping with Jack since he was born, and using the “wait it out” alternative to “cry it out.”  At first we side-cared the crib to the bed, but he ended up always sleeping glued next to me and not in the crib. Eventually when he was a few months old we took off the crib and he slept between my husband and I. At that point we kept the crib in the bedroom as a playpen type area. Recently, now that he’s crawling we put the crib back as a sidecar (with the toddler rail up) so that it’s harder for Jack to crawl off the bed at night.

This has been working pretty well. I slide him over into the crib after he breastfeeds most of the time, and sometimes he sleeps next to me if I’m worried he’ll wake up if he’s moved. He has more space that way and doesn’t end up sideways and kicking someone in the face. I think it also might make him gradually eat a little less at night because it’s less easy to just breastfeed while I’m half asleep, but we’ll see.

When he was a few months old Jack was sleeping about a 5 hour stretch early in the night, but for the last several months he has been waking up every 2 to 3 hours (sometimes more). He often wakes up every hour towards morning. At least he sleeps from about 7pm to 7am and really easily falls back asleep after he eats unless he’s teething. I generally don’t feel that exhausted unless he’s teething and I need to walk around with him at night. That’s one reason I really didn’t want him in the crib with the sides up- I feel like if I have to get out of bed at all it wakes me up more and I really feel it the next day.

At this point I’m not trying to change his sleep since he keeps getting new teeth every week to every few weeks. We tried to stop using the carrier to put him to sleep, but that resulted in bedtime taking hours of lying there with him and then when he started teething I gave up and used the carrier so I wouldn’t go crazy, so all that stress was for no reason.

Maybe after he gets his molars and we have a break from teething for a while we’ll try to set up a better nighttime routine and gradually decrease the eating at night by cuddling him to sleep instead.  Facebook has been a great source of support with wait it out groups, since most people I know use cry it out. I’m really glad to have those groups and also that all our parents never did cry it out so that we have places to talk that are understanding. 

Favorite dairy-free recipes

I’ve been dairy- free for about 6 months now because of Jack’s allergies and have found some really good recipes! I especially miss being able to buy prepared desserts at many places (like Trader Joe’s desserts almost all have dairy), so I’ve been cooking desserts at home. Plus breastfeeding burns a lot of calories, so eating dessert is ok!

Cashew mousse

I made an amazing cashew mousse pie using this recipe for the mousse and making pie crust by blending 1.25 cup dates, 1 cup hazelnuts, and a tablespoon of cocoa powder in the food processor and then pressing it into a dish and topping with the mousse.

 

vegan cheese sauce

I also tried an easier nutritional yeast cheese sauce recipe which turned out well. I usually make a vegan cheese sauce that’s raw and uses cashews in the food processor to thicken it and is really amazing, but I was too lazy to clean the food processor after cooking, so I tried this stovetop one and it was great, but a little lighter. I put it over pasta with frozen spinach and peas and it was a fairly quick and healthy dinner.

 

I’ve also been making these super fast peanut butter cookies:

1 egg

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup sugar

You just mix it up and make into flattened balls and cook for about 15 minutes at 350. They definitely have a lot of sugar, but I tell myself at least peanut butter has protein and healthy fat….

Non-toxic food pouches

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I think I mentioned before that Jack has not been a big fan of solids so far. He’s 10 months old now (I can’t believe he’s almost one!!) and we’ve been doing baby led weaning since 6 months. I love breastfeeding and want to continue as long as Jack wants to, but I also wish he would get some more calories from food so that it could be easier when I am away from him since he often refuses a bottle.

He has been minimally interested in fruits and vegetables in “fry” shapes and purees on loaded spoons, but my friends’ babies love those food pouches you can buy at the grocery store, so I finally decided to try one. We got an Earth’s best organic vegetable one and while it was messy, he actually ate more than usual! So I decided to research the least toxic food pouches to buy so that we can make smoothies and things at home to feed him. The pouches you buy at the  store are made of some plasticy thing, so while I’m sure they are BPA-free, I have talked before about the new chemicals replacing BPA which are also endocrine disruptions, so we try to stay away from plastic as much as possible.

Silicone is the most non-toxic plastic along with natural rubber as far as I know, so we decided to order the Sili Squeeze. I was sad that there were no 100% silicone options, and all the pouches had some kind of hard plastic spout. The sili squeeze seemed to at least be upfront about their materials unlike the alternatives I saw, and they use thermo-plastic elastomer for the nipple which is newer and has less safety info, but doesn’t seem incredibly bad at least.

 

The Sili Squeeze

We have tried it a few times so far (once in the bath tub because it can be messy!) and it’s working just as well as the store bought pouches. I like the “squeeze with eeze” newer pouch because the original required sucking and this one is easier to get food out of, although messier. I put a smoothie with banana, blueberries, and spinach in it and Jack was a fan more than of many other foods we’ve tried.

I also looked into those mesh feeders, but there seems to be no non-toxic ones as far as I saw. I also looked at the lighter weight ones similar to the disposables you buy at the store like Squooshi but their web site doesn’t list what it’s made of except to say BPA free etc. I trust companies who are more transparent, and I also think that crinkly type of plastic they use is definitely not silicone or natural rubber!

One thing I’m excited to use when Jack gets older which is 100% silicone is these cool freezer-pop style things

Addicted to cloth diapers!

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Jack in an Imse Vimse diaper cover

 

Now that Jack is crawling, I’ve been getting some non-wool diaper covers for him because the covers are getting dirty from our floors, and the wool is more of a hassle to clean. I still love our wool for nighttime and sometimes in the day, but I’ve also been trying some new things.

Since we do EC and change his diaper whenever we see it’s wet (VERY OFTEN) I thought of getting an organic cotton fitted diaper to use as a cover, even thought it wasn’t waterproof. I ended up buying this fitted diaper which I am liking so far. I like that no snaps are exposed so if the prefold we put in there migrates no snaps dig into his skin. I wish we had the money to just buy a ton of fitted diapers, but they are expensive! Our prefolds were about $1 each (used) but the fitteds are $10-20!

I also ordered a large Imse Vimse diaper cover which is organic cotton outside and PUL inside to be waterproof. I was sad that it wasn’t a lot bigger than the medium size though, and the velcro already started digging into Jack’s leg and leaving a red spot. If I ever have the chance I’ll try to switch it out to snaps, because otherwise I like the cover.

I also ordered a Bumgenius 4.0 pocket diaper, which is sadly not organic at all. I wanted to try a pocket diaper to use when my family watches Jack sometimes because they don’t check his diaper as much as I do and I don’t like him to feel uncomfortable and wet. I watched a youtube video comparing how wet a bunch of diapers fet, and Bumgenius won, so I figured it was better than a disposable at least and decided to try it. I do have organic bamboo fleece I bought which I use to line the prefolds at night and sometimes during the day, but I’m thinking the not-organic fleece material of the Bumgenius will wick moisture away better.

I’ll let you know how they do!

Transitioning back to part-time work

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I have been working a little bit since having Jack, but mainly from home or days where I’m only apart from him for 4 hours or less at a time. In the last 3 weeks though, I finally started doing one or two days a week of longer days (anywhere from 4 to 10 hours away depending on how far I have to drive).

It’s been a challenge to pump because I don’t have much down time at work, and it really makes me impressed by all the moms who work full time and pump!

I only bought a manual pump after having Jack because I wasn’t sure if the expense of an electric one would be worth it since I work part-time, and so far I’ve found that I like hand expressing more than pumping. I REALLY like not having to wash off/clean any extra parts (I express right into a bottle), not having to worry about mold in the pump (that happened once!), and I don’t like the suction feel of pumping. I found that hand expressing is just as fast, and I can get about an ounce in 5 minutes if it’s been a few hours since Jack last ate.

Last week I only had time to pump for 10 minutes after 4 hours of work and I got a plugged duct, so I really need to make sure it spend more time doing it. It’s a challenge because I don’t get paid for breaks since I’m an independent contractor, so my preference is to work quickly so I can just go home and feed Jack, but I don’t want to end up with mastitis!

Jack has also never been a fan of drinking from a bottle, so we ordered some new nipples to see if that helps. He gets barely any calories from solids either. I keep reminding myself that some babies sleep 8 hours a night, so if he doesn’t eat for that long during the day he will be ok, but it still makes me nervous. Last week he ate 1/2 an ounce over 10 hours! My husband is staying with him today and trying some faster flow bottles to see if that works any better.

I feel lucky I was able to wait until Jack was 9 months old and eating some solids to leave him all day, but it’s still hard. I definitely understand why in some countries they have a year of maternity leave! It really doesn’t make a lot of sense to me that I have to pump in a bathroom stall during the day to avoid clogged ducts while my husband tries to get Jack to eat from a bottle unsuccessfully at home, when we would both be a lot happier just breastfeeding! But at least I only have to work 1-2 days a week thankfully, and I’m sure it will get easier as Jack eats more solid food eventually.