postmodyrn EATS! : For Now
My baby girl is nine months old – which is amazing on several different levels. On one hand, she is progressing exponentially on her way to becoming a walking and talking independent toddler. On the other hand, the day-to-day process of managing Emilie is still quite challenging. We are definitely in a two-steps-forward, one-step-back mindset these days. For example, after two long months, feeding Emilie has finally become much easier! She now understands that it helps to open your mouth when you want to eat food, which has been a HUGE step forward for us. (Yes, it’s the small victories that make us the happiest). Unfortunately, just as we were celebrating this milestone, her sleeping has regressed quite drastically, and I in turn have regressed back to red-eyed zombie mom.
As a second-time mom, I am no stranger to sleep training, and up until a few weeks ago was fairly confident in my approach to getting my children down for the night. As recommended in several no-cry baby sleep books, starting at month three I was diligent about keeping Emilie on as much of a regular sleep schedule as you can with your second child. We also established a short but consistent nighttime routine, and I was careful to get her down in her bassinette when she was drowsy but not asleep. For a while this worked well -- and then summer hit. Our family took three trips (one with a nine-hour time difference), Emilie had two teeth come in, and after being exposed to germs from four states, three countries, and eight flights she got sick twice. Needless to say, every bit of work I did to establish good sleep habits has flown out the window and she is now back to waking up three to four (!!) times a night. .Sigh….
All that said, as I write this with a big cup of coffee in my hand, I remember some of the best advice my husband and I got when we were going through a similar experience with our first child. Our pediatrician told us: always say 'for now' after every statement you make about your child. Regardless of whether you are celebrating a step forward, or lamenting a step back, ‘for now’ should always be kept in mind. For example, “my child is/isn’t sleeping through the night.” For now. “Potty training is/isn’t going well.” For now. It might sound silly, but for me saying this to others (or just to myself) helps to keep everything in perspective. While a few weeks of waking up multiple times a night might seem endless, by persevering and reestablishing some better sleep habits, we will get through this time, and hopefully by the time I write my next post, our ‘for nows’ will be a bit more positive.
So, enjoy the ups while they last, and do whatever needs to be done to get through the downs. Certain days are really tough to get through. One of the only certainties of parenthood is that the ebbs and flows of raising a child will continue to test your patience, confidence, and resilience well into toddlerhood. It’s been my experience that there are far more ups than downs along the journey, but it’s definitely a bumpy ride. So buckle up. For now.
Meal Planning Tip: Maximize your time in the kitchen by preparing food that can easily be scaled without drastically impacting preparation time. This buckwheat sesame noodle recipe is a great example of this.
RECIPE: Buckwheat Sesame Noodles
I’ve chosen to use buckwheat noodles because despite having ‘wheat’ in the name, they are gluten-free. Energizing and nutritious, they are a great fast-cooking, healthy pantry item to have on-hand. First, the protein in buckwheat is a very high-quality protein which contains all eight essential amino acids. Buckwheat also offers a rich supply of flavonoids which help to maintain blood flow, and keep platelets from clotting excessively. Also, diets that contain buckwheat have been linked to lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. This recipe also uses tahini which sounds fancy and exotic, but is actually just ground sesame seeds and can be found at most supermarkets. Sesame seeds are a fantastic source of protein, healthy fats and calcium. They have been shown to aid digestion, stimulate blood circulation, benefit the nervous system, and promote lactation for all you breastfeeding moms out there. I’ve added grated carrots for taste and color, but also because they are an excellent source of antioxidant compounds that help to protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer. Other vegetables that can be added include green onions, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, snap peas, cooked edamame, or roasted sweet potatoes; as with most of my recipes, this one lends itself well to using can be adapted with whatever you have on hand in a well-stocked pantry.
8 ounces buckwheat noodles
2 carrots, grated on a cheese grater
3 Persian cucumbers, sliced in thin strips (julienned)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced in thin strips (julienned)
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, plus a few more for presentation
Any other chopped vegetable you have on hand
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
¼ cup tamari (wheat free soy sauce) or more to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
Juice and zest from 1 lime
A bit more than 1/3 cup tahini (stir the tahini before you add it to the sauce. It should have the consistency of a slightly more fluid peanut butter)
Optional: 1-2 teaspoons chili sauce such as Sriracha
- Using a whisk, mix together all the ingredients for the sauce. It will take a bit of stirring before the tahini mixes in with the rest of the ingredients, so be patient. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions – usually around 8 minutes – stirring occasionally as they can stick. Drain and rinse under cold water.
- Add the sauce, and mix to coat. Add the chopped vegetables and the sesame seeds, and gently mix to combine. Garnish with the extra sesame seeds and a few chopped green onions.
Note: This recipe makes quite a bit of sauce assuming many vegetables will be mixed in. If you just do the noodles and a small amount of veggies, you may not need all the sauce.