Smooth Mornings

I hate vegetables.  There I said it.  I’m 32 years old and I don’t eat anywhere close to the daily recommended 3-5 servings.  If I get 3-5 servings a week I’m lucky.
 
I blame this on my mother, who made us kids eat veggies that made us gag.  Broccoli is my main nemesis since she used to drown it in melted Cheeze-Wiz and make us clean our plates.  The Cheeze-Wiz wasn’t the problem – I liked the stuff, but I clearly remember swallowing whole chunks of broccoli with a swig of milk like I was taking a vitamin.  I gagged the entire time. 

I want to like vegetables – I love walking through the farmers market in the summer and lusting after all the fresh, beautiful goodness in the stands. Who can resist the dewy piles of fresh asparagus, green beans, ramps, beets, turnips and squash? But despite several attempts in my adult life to like them, I just don’t. I can do lettuces and fresh spinach, any pepper that’s not green, carrots, tomatoes, and celery.  I don’t mind cauliflower if it’s roasted with olive oil and a fair helping of parmesan.  I might enjoy a spring pea or two, but only when they are in season.  The list pretty much stops there.

So I take multi-vitamin, eat lots of fruit and call it a day. I don’t usually stress over it.  But, being pregnant I’m paying much more attention to what I eat. With M I had a “green smoothie” just about everyday and I had them for breakfast often when I was on Weight Watchers.  This go around I haven’t been that good at making them, especially since I never feel like eating.  (True story! I’m the odd pregnant woman who gets very few cravings and feels like eating is more of a chore then a joy. The only think I want is milk…glasses and glasses of milk).

Inspired by Kyle Roth’s tweets about his family’s new smoothie tradition along with reading this post by Mir I got back into the smoothie swing.  I love green smoothies as you absolutely cannot taste the “green” part at all.  I also love that I can get in a host of daily requirements all in one swoop.  The best part is that M has taken a liking to them as well which means more veggies for her, too!

Here’s my basic formula for my favorite flavor combo:
One whole orange, peeled
One whole banana, peeled
Handful of raw (no sugar) frozen strawberries (about a ¾ cup)
1 serving/scoop vanilla protein powder – I prefer whey
As much fresh, baby spinach as you can stuff in the blender – I would say about 3 big handfuls or 2-3 cups
Some orange juice or water, depending on what you have – to thin to desired consistency

It looks like pond sludge but it’s mighty tasty and packs in 3 servings of fruit and 2 servings of veggies:

If I have it on hand, I’ll also add a healthy dose of flaxseed oil.  If I’m out of the protein powder or if I don’t want it (when the smoothie is a snack rather then a meal) I’ll replace it with a little vanilla extract.  And, after reading Mir’s post I sought out some Chia Seeds (Salba) at Whole Foods – they are in the supplement/wellness area – and have started adding about 2 tablespoons of those as well. 

This makes enough for a large drink for me and a smaller one for M and has become our morning breakfast. It really does keep me satisfied until at least lunch, and it makes me feel so much better about my overall nutrition. Plus, it’s less than 400 calories, gives me 1/3 of my daily goal of 60-70 grams of protien (when I add the powder) and lots of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

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Tiny Dancer

Dozens of calls, 2 hours of lunch time burned, 3 trips to the Capezio Store and we have a little ballerina:

TimidBallerina

For the first 10-15 minutes of the class she stood by herself and refused to move, prefering to just watch the 2 older girls dance from afar (another younger girl wouldn’t even go out on the floor).

Dance_wand

When the teacher brought out the fairy wands, M warmed up to the idea of dancing.  Then the introduction of shakers and little drums sealed the deal.

Dance_scarf

By the time the scarves came out, she was loving it! She can’t wait for her next class.

Thanks to for the comments on my previous post about signing up EARLY and over the summer.  If she likes the rest of these classes we’ll look into something more long-term for next fall.

She Wants to Be a Ballerina

For the past 2 months or so M has been obsessed with dancing and anything ballet.  She hones in on ballet books at the library, imitates things she sees on TV, says “I want to be a ballerina when I get older” and knows the French terms for several ballet positions. She’s never been in an organized class of any kind so we thought a preschool ballet class might be fun. Let the search begin…

Our city has a great Rec Department with all kinds of classes and activities so that was the first place to look. I found tons of ballet classes, except all the ones for ages 3-5 are between 10 AM and 1 PM on the weekdays. In fact, every single class offered for preschoolers, be it ballet, hockey or art, is during a weekday. After 5 PM classes don’t begin until age 8! To me this is a big old “F you!” to working parents.  They gladly take income taxes out of each and every paycheck but offer no services for working parents in return.  My taxes pay for this stupid Rec Department – too bad we’ll have to wait another 5 years to use any of its offerings! And for comparison, I checked with 3 other area Rec Departments and every one offers at least one evening or weekend ballet class for preschoolers. Calls to each ended in disappointment as I was told I had to be a resident to enroll M in those classes. The local YMCA and JCC both only offer weekday classes.

So I started looking around elsewhere and here’s a bit of news: dance studios don’t really advertise much, especially on the web. I finally found one that is close to our house and seems to have a good reputation.  I got really excited to see they have a Saturday morning class for 3 & 4 year olds.  But their “sessions” are 22-weeks long which translates into a few hundred dollars in fees! That would mean dance class every Saturday until the end of June.  I called anyway; ready to bite the tuition and commitment bullet only to find that their Saturday class is full and they usually give enrollment preference to families with older kids in their program.  Would I like to be put on a waiting list for next fall? Um, no thanks.

A lunch-time visit to the local dance-supply shop for help has given me some more hope. Another local studio has a Saturday preschool class, but their session started a week ago and they won’t return my several calls.  Here’s a Pro Tip: if your website and answering machine says your hours are 1-7 PM and no one ever answers the calls I make between 1 & 5 then I have no trust in you as a business. Moving on…

There is a Dance & Gymnastics studio in a nearby suburb that holds promise and the draw of a dance + tumbling combo class on Monday nights.  There is also a studio that is holding Saturday classes at a brand new fitness center that just opened very close to our house. And as a final resort – a studio about a half-hour away has a creative dance class on Saturday mornings.  Now…if I can get someone to call me back so I can talk to a real person.

Keep your fingers crossed that one of these places has an opening for our tiny dancer.  Because seeing all the adorable little leotards and skirts at the dance-supply shop just about killed me with cuteness.

Updated 1/13:  Lots of calls later, M is now signed up for classes taught by Remote Dance and held at the new Lifetime Fitness near our house.  Tomorrow night we’ll go get the proper leotard, tights and shoes – lots and lots of pictures to follow!