Monday, January 27, 2020

How To Take A Baby To A Restaurant (And Have A Good Time)

While it’s a bit nerve wracking to take a baby to a restaurant, here are some lessons we have learned to make it as enjoyable as possible. We took Birch out to dinner with us this weekend to Junction in Belmont. And we had a fun, romantic time! (Note this post is dripping with sarcasm!)

baby and dad in belmont, charlottesville, out to dinner

A Dozen Tips For Taking A Baby To A Restaurant

Get ready at 2:00

Seriously!! Don’t wait until it’s go-time to start packing up your diaper bag. When baby is napping, get all of his foods, bib, toys, and high chair ready. Take it from us – we’ve had way too many times when I’m yelling “Did you pack the Cheerios?!” and he’s yelling “Yes but what about the bib?!” when we’re trying to get out the door before everyone else.

Go at 5:00

Really 4:45 would be even wiser. You have to be earlier than the early crowd. This is a good idea for many reasons:

  1. Baby won’t be hangry
  2. The restaurant will be mostly empty so baby won’t disrupt the 7:00 date nights
  3. You’ll be able to actually get a table and the kind that fits with a high chair (not bar stool height!)
  4. You’ll get home in time for baby’s bath and bedtime with plenty of extra time for you two to relax with a movie
Pick a restaurant that is loud enough that little squeals won’t bother

Our favorite places to take the kids are big brew-pubs that are loud enough that other patrons won’t hear them. Mid-level restaurants work too, but we avoid anything with a white tablecloth. Because those are usually whisper only and because baby will try to pull said tablecloth off!

Pack whole bags of favorite foods

Don’t just pack a tiny container of Cheerios. Pack the whole damn bag! Because if your baby is like ours, he’ll eat his 25 Cheerios in three minutes and start signing for more right away. It’s always better to have twice as much food if you need. We either share our entrees with Birch, giving him bites of soft foods, or order him a kids meal, but sometimes what we order isn’t baby friendly or he just doesn’t like it. We always pack a backup assortment of somewhat healthy baby foods to supplement his dinner. Pouches are great to keep in the diaper bag for this kind of situation.

BYO high chair

This is optional, but highly recommended! We have the Lobster that clips onto the table and it’s so nice for a handful of reasons. For a younger baby who can’t sit in a wooden highchair, it’s more supportive. Wooden high chairs also sometimes don’t reach the table, so it’s would be extra hard for Birch to reach his food. We like that it brings baby to table height and comes with its own carrying bag. And it fits in your diaper bag. It’s also great to have if you’re in a booth so you can put the baby between you or if your restaurant is so busy it’s out of high chairs! (It happens.) Or ya know, the straps don’t work and you’ll spend the whole meal trying to get baby to sit down. Bringing our own means we know we have what we need. We don’t use the little tray that it came with. We’ll either use a restaurant plate or one of these stick-on placemats (that are also great to keep baby entertained!) Depending on the restaurant, we also bring our ezpz mat in the washable carry bag they come with. Don’t forget to pack your bib and baby’s water cup if he’s too young for a kids’ straw.

Remove all throwing hazards from baby’s reach

This might seem like an obvious one, but I once saw a baby throw a glass of wine! Their little arms can reach much farther than you think, so do be sure to double the length you guess they can reach and remove all table decor.

Pack a few toys in a wet bag

Pack washable toys that can be cleaned with soap because your baby will toss them all on the floor one by one! The wet bag serves as a place to store dirty toys until you can get home and wash them. A ziplock also works! Like food, bring more than you think you need because you probably won’t want to hand your baby his chew toy back after it’s covered in floor hair and food grime.

Don’t take the baby hungry

You might be tempted to wait until you get there to give baby some snacks, but you might encounter a wait or a melt down in the car. It’s best to give him a small snack before you leave and then the other 75% of his dinner when you get there.

Look at menu in the car

Do not dilly dally with the menu! It’s best to order right away since your ticking time bomb might decide dinner is over at any minute. If you can, check out the menu in the car so you have an idea of what to order and can get dinner on the way ASAP, especially for the baby if you’re ordering them something from the kids menu.

Learn to eat super fast

Because taking a baby to a restaurant is one of the most unpredictable activities (even with a good plan!) you need to make sure you actually eat. See above notes on packing enough food and toys that they stay happy long enough for you to finish your meal.

Ask for check when entrees come

Since you’ll be ordering your meal shortly after sitting down, you might as well ask for the check when your entrees come. See ticking time bomb statement above. Just make sure you’ve thought about dessert first!

Order dessert to go

One way to carry the date night home is to bring a little dessert back in a to-go box. That flourless chocolate cake will taste a lot better if you can savor it bite by bite after baby is asleep!

Clean up the floor before you go

A quick swipe with your biggest napkin will get the majority of the big food off the floor that baby has rejected or tossed with delight. A small courtesy.

how to take a baby out to dinner

Leave a large tip

And the final key to taking a baby to a restaurant: leave a large tip. The wait staff at Junction was so nice and helpful when we asked for our food to come out “as fast as possible” and requested extra napkins for clean up. We are always thankful for great service, so a large tip is a must.

The beet arugula salad and vegetable chimichanga I enjoyed! We brought chocolate cake home for dessert.
junction charlottesville salad with beets and goat cheese dinner at Junction Charlottesville

What are your best tips for taking a baby to a restaurant! Sarcastic and serious both welcome : )

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You know “what to do” but are you ACTUALLY doing it?

When clients come to me, they often tell me that they’ve tried so many different diets, but none of them have “stuck” for more than a few weeks because they lose motivation. Often times, they know “what to do” when it comes to their diet, but they always end up falling into old habits.

I totally get this, and I too have fallen “off the wagon” and vowed to get “back on track” one million times in the past – only to end up right back where I started.

I remember trying the Atkins diet when I was desperate to lose weight. I remember eating entire blocks of cheese and deli meat for 2 weeks straight, thinking it was some magic way to weight loss. I ended up feeling terrible, giving up, and gaining back all of the (water) weight I had lost.

A lot of people think they just need to find more nutrition information by scouring the internet for the perfect diet. They keep program jumping and try the latest diet (i.e. Keto, carb cycling, intermittent fasting) until they find the solution.

But that doesn’t actually work. Diets just make us crazier and more frustrated. Most of us continue to do this over and over again, but here’s why it doesn’t work: They force us to follow someone else’s plan without checking in with our own bodies. We think we’re supposed to adhere to the diet perfectly to see results, and that’s just not the case.

The first month of the new year is quickly coming to an end. Sure, you can hop on the bandwagon for the next new diet or follow tips from health gurus, but, at the end of the day, you need to be able to trust yourself around food and practice moderation.

Macros teach you how to truly incorporate moderation, mindfulness and self-trust into your diet. And, trust me, the last thing you need to do is follow a trendy diet protocol, because… you’ve got this. With macros in your back pocket, you can have it all (just not all at once).

So, why should you track macros?

  • It helps you figure out how much food is appropriate for your activity level
  • It helps you find “food freedom” so you can stop feeling guilty about your choices
  • It provides you with a framework for your diet instead of feeling like you have no control
  • It helps you ditch the idea that restrictive diets are the only way for you to lose weight
  • It sets a plan in motion since you have achievable goals to aim for each day
  • It keeps you accountable and moving forward with a daily reminder of your goals
  • It helps you balance nutritious foods that are important for a healthy body with the delicious ones that are important for a healthy soul

The 6-week Macro Motivation Challenge will help you find REAL balance within your diet. Trust me, you can have the carrots and the cake, too!

Pre-sale registration is only open through Tuesday (1/28) and space is limited. If you’re interested in learning more about the challenge, click here for details.

Just a reminder: The pricing will increase next week. If you want to lock in the lowest rates and you’re ready to make a change in 2020, you can sign up here. The challenge officially starts on Monday, February 3rd.

If you have any questions, just let me know. I’m more than happy to chat!

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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Are you missing the foods you love?

Diets are notorious for eliminating all of your favorite foods. And what’s worse is going to a party or out to dinner with friends or family and watching them enjoy all of the most delicious food and drink while you’re eating a sad salad with plain chicken breast on top and drinking a glass of lemon water.

Whomp whomp. That way of living is depressing, stressful, and not sustainable. What if I told you there’s a way to have your carrots and cake, too?

Rewind to 2003… and chocolate, nachos, wine, donuts…

When I first started losing weight, I didn’t want to give up my favorite foods, and I knew there had to be a way to incorporate them into my diet while also working toward my goals.

If there’s a will, there’s a way, and I’m so thankful that I discovered macros because I was able to enjoy all the foods I love while also achieving my health goals. I lost about 25 pounds over the course of a year without restricting myself or “dieting.”

Counting macros doesn’t mean that you have to eat rice cakes and salad with dressing on the side. And, if done correctly and confidently, macro counting sets you up for success, not just in 2020, but for the rest of your life.

If you want to find a truly LIVABLE way of eating, consider signing up for my 6-week Macro Motivation Challenge. It’s an affordable way to start tracking macros with the support of a group. You can find additional details about the challenge and register here.

You don’t have be anti-social or deprive yourself anymore. You’ll learn how to navigate “situational eating” and develop confidence in your ability to be consistent with your diet while also LIVING your life.

The pre-sale rate ($159) goes away TOMORROW, so be sure to take advantage and claim your spot now. It’s time to relinquish the old “all-or-nothing” ways of doing things and try something new. Give macros a chance and make 2020 your best year yet!

P.S. The challenge officially starts on Monday, February 3rd, which just happens to be National Carrot Cake Day as well as the day that I published my first post on Carrots ‘N’ Cake!

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Ground Turkey Meatballs Recipe

These ground turkey meatballs are the perfect, multi-purpose meatball!

Wouldn’t you love to have a meatball recipe that you could use anytime you make something that requires meatballs? Well this is that recipe! This multi-use turkey meatballs recipe is perfect for using in soups, pastas, with creamy sauces, for appetizer recipes, meatball subs, rice and noodle bowls, mezze platters and even just on their own!

A white bowl filled with ground turkey meatballs sits on a white table, ready to serve.

HOW TO USE MEATBALLS:

Here are some recipe ideas for using meatballs.

  • Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Meatball Sandwiches/Subs
  • Meatball Pizza
  • Served on their own with toothpicks as appetizers
  • Meatball Casserole
  • Meatball Sliders
  • Add as meat to nearly and soup.
  • Add to salads
  • Cook inside a grilled cheese sandwich

SUBSCRIBE:
Remember to subscribe to my free, Gracious Pantry Newsletter to receive all my latest recipes in your inbox! Click here to sign up!

MORE HEALTHY MEATBALL RECIPES:

Enjoy!

Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry

GROUND TURKEY MEATBALLS RECIPE:

Ground Turkey Meatballs

Wouldn’t you love to have a meatball recipe that you could use anytime you make something that requires meatballs? Well this is that recipe! This multi-use turkey meatballs recipe is perfect for using in soups, pastas, with creamy sauces, for appetizer recipes, meatball subs, rice and noodle bowls, mezze platters and even just on their own!

Author: The Gracious Pantry

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped spring onion (in a pinch, yellow onion works too)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (Panko or homemade)
  • 1 large egg
  • oil (for sautéing)

Instructions

  1. Place the turkey meat in a large bowl then add in the onion, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined, as best as possible. Next stir in the breadcrumbs and again stir until as well combined as possible. Now add the egg and mix until well combined.

  2. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and set aside. Using a medium-size Oxo cookie scoop, scoop up some of the turkey mix and shape into meatballs and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat until all of the meat is used – be sure to space out the meatballs so they don’t stick together. This recipe will make 19 meatballs. Once finished place the meatballs in the freezer for 10 minutes. This is just to firm them up a bit so they stick together, you don’t want to freeze them.

  3. After 10 minutes remove the meatballs from the freezer, drizzle just enough olive oil to coat a pan and allow the oil to warm up a bit. Set the heat to medium-low. Arrange some meatballs in the hot pan, don’t crowd them. Cook for 5 minutes before flipping and cooking another 4 minutes. I like to rotate the meatballs so they brown a bit on all sides. From your first batch, check a meatball to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. Enjoy as desired!

Recipe Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.



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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Mini Keto and Primal Crab Cakes

crab cakes recipeCrab cakes may remind you of cocktail parties, weddings, or sun-soaked getaways to the seashore where you seek refuge from the sun at a fish shack that serves only the freshest local seafood. Most traditional crab cake recipes include breadcrumbs or flour (or both) and are deep fried in vegetable oil so the end result is a greasy, bready puck that disrespects the naturally sweet, succulent essence of lump crabmeat. We remade the classic crab cake to make it Primal and keto-friendly. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients; we like the way the vegetables and seasonings accentuate the crab, but if you prefer a pared-down version, the crab, almond flour, herbs, mayo, egg, lemon juice, salt and pepper would make a perfectly lovely crab cake, too.

Mini Keto & Primal Crab Cakes

Ingredients

crab cakes recipe

  • 8 oz. lump crabmeat
  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dill, chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen Mayo
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Avocado Oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the crabmeat.

crab cakes recipe

Combine the crabmeat, almond flour, parsley, celery, dill, carrot, onion, salt, pepper, and paprika in a bowl. Mix in the mayo, mustard and lemon juice. Whisk the egg and mix it in with the crab mixture.

Form 16 small crab cake balls from the mixture.

crab cakes recipe

Heat the oil in an oven-safe pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the crab cakes to the pan and sear for 1-2 minutes. Carefully flip the crab cakes over and sear for an additional 1-2 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the crab cakes are firm.

Allow them to cool slightly before removing them from the pan. Insert toothpicks and arrange them on a platter. Create a quick dipping sauce by mixing your favorite Primal Kitchen Mayo with a little lemon juice and paprika.

crab cakes recipe

Nutrition Information per serving (per crab cake):

Calories: 83
Total Carbs: 2 grams
Net Carbs: 1 gram
Fat: 7 grams
Protein: 24 grams

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Friday, January 24, 2020

Weekly Link Love – Edition 65

Research of the Week

Blue-blocking glasses improve mania patients’ sleep quality.

The human landscape of ancient Africa looked a lot different 3000 years ago.

Without changing caloric intake, time-restricted eating improves metabolic health.

Ramadan-style fasting (30 days of 14-hour fasts, from dawn to sunset) activates proteins related to cancer protection, glucose regulation, fat burning, cognitive function, and immune function.

In Danes, taking fish oil was associated with larger testicles and better sperm parameters.

Women who take the birth control pill tend to have smaller hypothalamuses.

Grass-fed beef is darker, firmer, and less acidic than grain-fed beef.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

primal blueprint podcast

Episode 400: Dr. Corey Riser: Host Elle Russ chats with Chiropractor and Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner Dr. Corey Riser.

primal health coach institute podcast

Primal Health Coach Radio, Episode 44: Laura and Erin chat with Anya Perry and Deanna Wilcox, founders of Plan to Succeed.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Media, Schmedia

California may call Tylenol a carcinogen.

American Southerners in particular are inactive (but everyone’s pretty bad).

Interesting Blog Posts

Fat from your last meal sets the metabolic table.

Dr. Danenberg goes carnivore for his cancer.

The glucose-lowering effect of ketones.

Social Notes

Amy Remondi explains how she learned the science of Primal health and fitness while building her business.

Play a little. Or a lot.

Everything Else

What the smartphone has done to our concept of “space.”

Talk like an Egyptian.

More calls to look into the ethics of Harvard’s meat science research.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Interesting stat: When trying to lose weight, female doctors tend to personally use intermittent fasting, ketogenic diets, and low-carb diets.

Question I found interesting: What’s driving people to seek out and relish objectively painful and uncomfortable stimuli like cold water swimming?

I agree with this principle: Happiness (and love) is what matters.

Why not both?: Exercise as a caffeine alternative.

One of many: The forgotten art of squatting.

Question I’m Asking

Are you worried about the coronavirus?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Jan 18– Jan 24)

Comment of the Week

“Years ago my brother was placed on a drug for high blood pressure. Within two weeks he had a heated disagreement with his neighbor and code enforcement at his home that led to a SWAT team being called. Fortunately one of his neighbors was a cop in the same city; he was able to de-escalate the situation and no one was harmed. The next day my brother realized his outrage about many things had begun after taking the drug. He discontinued it. Three years later his wife was put on the same drug; due to constant arguing, they ended up divorced. They had been high school sweethearts.”

– That’s a sad, alarming story, Lisa.

Golden_Collagen_640x80

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A Trip To Charlotte + Celine Dion

Mazen and I drove south for two days for a trip to Charlotte, NC so I could go to the Celine Dion concert with my sister! He was out of school so it made sense for us to go together so he could play with his cousins. We left Birch at home with our sitter and his father because he hates car trips. And let me tell you the five-hour trip was looooong with me driving the whole way. I was so stiff when I got out of the car I could barely walk!

We arrived on Monday evening and after a quick visit with Larbs and Matt, we went to sleep.

The Charlotte Discovery Place Museum

On Tuesday morning Emerson had preschool, so Uncle Matt dropped us off at the Discovery Place Museum where we spent a few hours exploring.

Discovery place museum charlotte nc

All Kinds of Science Exhibits

We loved the rainforest, the aquarium, the “bed of nails” and the IMAX! Our IMAX show was about rescue dogs, and it was so moving! We would definitely recommend the museum if you’re traveling with kids on a trip to Charlotte.

Discovery place museum charlotte nc rainforest net bridge Discovery place museum charlotte nc air chair Discovery place museum charlotte nc Discovery place museum IMAX charlotte nc

Lunch at Optimist Hall

Larbs, Matt, and Avery picked us up and we headed to Optimist Hall for lunch. It was a super cool food hall with a ton of different food options and common seating – great for a group!

I had half a pizza and a kale salad!

Play Time + Quiet Time

After lunch the cousins played for a bit until Emerson’s nap, and then we all had some quiet time. It was nice to recharge a bit before going on a walk and getting ready for the concert.

Dinner at The Crunkleton

We headed to dinner at The Crunkleton which specializes in wood-fired cooking and amazing cocktails. A lot of the Charlotte restaurants have turned over since my last trip to Charlotte (and when I lived there). This spot used to be one of my favorite salad places called Crisp!

We met a few blog friends there and had a great time chatting it up! 😉 We shared mushrooms, brussels, mussels, salad, fries, and wings. Totally delicious food!!!

Celine Dion

This concert was a long-time in the making. Really 25 years in the making from when we used to put on Celine concerts in the living room, but rewind back to this summer when Matt (my sister’s husband) asked me if I would want to be her plus one if he surprised her with tickets for her birthday. I said absolutely and we started to make plains. But plans came to a halt when he saw she already had something in the calendar for this week. He decided to give her a card with a choice: see Oprah speak the week before or move her plans to go to Celine. On her birthday, I got a text during dinner that read: “I CHOOSE CELINE!” Needless to say I was thrilled.

We had great seats that were on the side of the stage but second row. When Celine came over to our side, we were 10 feet away from her! She played all of our favorite songs. The whole arena was singing along!  Celine also looks amazing! Her voice sounded like we were back in 1997 walking out of the movie Titanic. It was an amazing show!

Breakfast

We had eggs and toast and fruit for breakfast before Mazen and I hit the road.

A Visit to Davidson College

We took the western route home so we could swing by Davidson College! I gave Mazen the quick version of a tour around campus, and we walked to the Union for lunch!

The Best Quesadillas

I couldn’t find the little notepads we used to place our lunch order until I realized you now order digitally on a computer. “Remember the days when we used golf pencils to order wraps and quesadillas?!” Mazen was thrilled that I raved about the late-night quesadillas, so that’s what we got! We shared one, and I had a side of veggies. I told the woman checking us out that I was class of 2005 and came back to the union just for a quesadilla. She said that’s what everyone comes back for!! Too funny. Mazen fit right in with the college kids in his hoodie. He asked some good questions about what college is like. It’s never too early to start thinking about it! (Right now he wants to go to UVA!)

We ran into Steph Curry

We wrapped up our visit at the store where Mazen got a pullover and we bought Birch a toddler ball cap. Look who we ran into! Then we hit the road for the long trek home.

We missed our little Birchie!

Thomas sent me a pic of them playing at the park <3

And we had a cozy time catching up.

It was a quick trip to Charlotte and back, but we packed a lot in! I do not miss the traffic one bit, but it seems like it’s gotten a lot cooler since I left.

Have you been to Charlotte? What’s your favorite part?

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