Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tubie and Non-Tubie Foodie

Food, as you know, is a big deal in this house. It seems I am always thinking about food! If it's not what's for supper, it's what will the kids eat to get their calorie goal met, to how much do I blend to make this work, to why it didn't work so I can tweak it next time. Needless to say, food is a major part of our lives. It gets tiring thinking about it, but it doesn't have to be hard. 

Photo Credit
On a good eating day we still struggle a lot. I need to be creative in order to help them succeed in meeting their calorie goal orally. One idea I use is the food tray. 

I pull out two ice cube trays and fill each spot with something they like. I did it this week on a particularly hard day. Here is what I have in each space from bottom to top:

First Picture (bottom to top)
Gluten/Casein free cheese
Gluten free turkey

 Second Picture (bottom to top)
Gluten-free turkey

I added two skewers so the kids could either use them to eat their food or could make almost a kabob out of the different foods in any combination they wanted. For some reason removing the forks and adding skewers opens them up most of the time. 

If you don't have ice cube trays (which you can get them for $1 for 2 of them at Dollar General type stores), you can use other things such as muffin tins, muffin cups placed in an 8x8 baking dish, or anything small that you can find multiple of in your home. 

Of course there are days when even fun foods like this won't help them eat. On those days I pull out my Vitamix and begin blending. Sometimes I blend for the day. Sometimes I blend for a single meal. Sometimes I blend after they have attempted to eat and I use what's left of their meal. Each day is different in the dietary need they have. 

Blending foods can lead to some ... interesting (yeah, that's the word I will use) ... colors. But sometimes, some rare times, I get some pretty colors. Yesterday is the perfect example. 

Come on, PURPLE!! 

Ignore the extension that's yellow. One of the meds discolors them the second I use it. It's a clean extension.
So, how does one get a purple blend? It's pretty simple. Let me share the recipe.

  • 3 slices of gluten/casein free turkey lunch meat
  • 1 banana
  • 1 Cup almond milk
  • 1 handful blueberries
  • 1 carrot
  1. In a high powered blender (we use a Vitamix) add the almond milk and then the rest of your ingredients
  2. Start your blender on low speed, slowly building up speed as the ingredients begin to incorporate. 
  3. Turn on the high speed and blend for about 1 minute (blueberries can be grainy, this keeps you from having to strain your blend). 
  4. Turn off the high speed and slow back the speed down to the lowest setting. 
After blending this I got the notion in my head to taste it. I am not sure why, maybe it was the pretty color drawing me to it. I have to admit, if this was cold (it was slightly warm), I would drink it as a smoothie. It was delicious. It tasted like bananas with a touch of blueberry flavor. You couldn't taste anything else in the blend, not even the meat. Just a note in case you have a kiddo who would like a smoothie to take orally. 

Photo Credit

Friday, March 17, 2017

I am Dehydrated - Spinach!

About 18 months ago, give or take, my husband bought me a dehydrator. We were thinking jerky of all kinds. Then I was scared to use it. Maybe I couldn't make jerky. Maybe it would taste horrible. Maybe, maybe, maybe. 

Then I discovered a group on Facebook all about dehydrating. Yep, there's a group for almost everything on Facebook. I read everyone's post about all the things they dehydrated and why. It fascinated me. 

I kept stalling. 

Then someone on my blended diet board (mostly for families who use a blended diet with a feeding tube), someone mentioned dehydrating for blends. I was hooked. It was time to figure this out. 

I had some spinach that I couldn't use in the amount of time it would be good, so I decided to start there. 

Let me share what I did. 

1) I washed the spinach in my sink in 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water. I used room temp water and room temp spinach, though that's not really required (the temp). This helped kill off any bacteria and such. I let it soak for 10 minutes and then patted it dry. I let it air dry while I set everything up. 

2) Next, I cut parchment paper to the size of the trays (need to find silicone mats so I don't have to do that each time) and laid it down on the trays. I then laid spinach on all 6 trays. That took a while to do one leaf at a time. 

3) Once all 6 trays were filled, I stacked them on the machine (short side being used, there is a tall for thicker cut items), and set it for the temp I wanted. I did low and slow to help maintain as many nutrients as possible. 

4) I waited and waited and waited. Finally my spinach was done. I wanted it crispy for this project, so it took a bit longer. I pulled all the spinach out (this is all 6 trays full once it was dehydrated). I stood amazed at the tiny bit of spinach before me compared to what I put in the dehydrator. My husband came by and kept popping the leaves into his mouth eating them like chips. Yes, he has requested I do more of them without the next step involved so he can eat them all. 

5) Since I am going to use this in smoothies and for tube feeds, I need it powdered finely. So, out comes my Vitamix blender. Now, as much as I love my Vitamix, I have to admit, it's overkill for this job. A nice coffee grinder would work very well and would have less clean up (smaller canister). But, I don't have a coffee grinder or such, so I used Mr. Muscle. 

6) Blending! 

7) Pulverized into a fine powder. I then put the entire contents into a Ball jar. By the way, what you see here is the entire large box of organic spinach. This is a neat jar made by Ball and it's for spices. It's about half the height of a Ball jelly jar and the spinach powder is half of that. Yep, my kids are amazed at my awesome shrinking powers. 

Let me warn you. If you decide to start dehydrating, you will be addicted with your first batch. I am already setting up for my next batch. I am thinking fruit leather (think fruit roll ups without the junk). I am going to let the kids decide on the flavors. 

Want a good site for dehydrating information? I can set you up there, too. 

Friday Humor

I had to pass this on today. I laughed at her response so much I honestly thought I would wake up my family (thankfully that didn't happen).


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Healthy Unhealthy Milkshake

My younger son is having a hard time getting his nutrition in the last week. Last night I had a melting down child on my hands because he didn't want a tube feed. "No tummy feed, Mom, just no." What's a Mom to do?

I don't know what most Moms do, but this Mom went into the kitchen and tried to do a quick brainstorm.

I ended up with a 600 calorie brainstorm Linus decided to name "Mom's Healthy Unhealthy Milkshake". Call it what you want kid, as long as you like it.

And he did ... a lot!

It's simple but not horrible for you, so I didn't mind giving it to him. Here's what I did:


1 Cup gluten/dairy free coconut ice cream in dark chocolate flavor
1 Cup organic spinach
1 medium - large organic carrot (broken into 3 or 4 pieces)
2 Tbsp MCT oil or any oil to the calorie total of 135 calories (many traditional oils like avocado/olive/etc have 120 calories/TBSP)
1/4 Cup plain almond milk (or any safe milk for your child)
4 - 6 ice cubes
safe chocolate sauce or chocolate chips (optional for extra chocolate flavor)


  • In a Vitamix blender (use what you have), put in the almond milk, oil, spinach, and carrot. 
  • Blend on high speed for 30 seconds until smooth
  • Add in ice cream
  • Blend on high until smooth
  • Add in ice cubes
  • Blend between low and high for about 30 - 45 seconds; just long enough to crush the ice cubes for a smooth milkshake texture
  • Add in extra chocolate (chips or sauce) if you desire more chocolate flavor
Afterward I realized I didn't want a big mess, so I put the milkshake in a Squeasy Reusable Pouch to keep in the mess and to make sure he didn't smell it just in case it didn't 100% smell like a chocolate shake. 
Sorry for the messy lid. When I said he liked it, he REALLY liked it. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

So God Made a Farmer

I remember Paul Harvey coming on to tell us "the rest of the story". His voice is one of my favorite and the only one I could imagine reading the following piece (which, by the way, is from his 1978 speech to the FFA).

Photo Credit
"And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker"
-- so God made a Farmer.
God said, "I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board"
-- so God made a Farmer.
"I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild; somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies, then tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon -- and mean it"
-- so God made a Farmer.
God said, "I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt,  and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say, 'Maybe next year.' I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps; who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, and then pain’n from tractor back,' put in another seventy-two hours"
-- so God made a Farmer.
God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds, and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place
-- so God made a Farmer.
God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark."
It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners; somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church; somebody who would bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says that he wants to spend his life "doing what dad does"
-- so God made a Farmer."

-- Paul Harvey

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Day Without Women - My Take

I wrote this yesterday in response to the "A Day Without Women" event going on today.

Tomorrow is "A Day Without Women" day. I will be honoring it in the following ways:
  • I promise to hug my children in the morning in a way only a Mom can hug.
  • I promise to worship my God as a woman after His own heart.
  • I promise to love and devote myself to my husband as only a wife can do.
  • I promise to be a sister, daughter, and girlfriend to my friends as only a woman can do in a time of need or pain. 
  • I promise to educate my kids as a Mom is called to do.
  • I promise to be the woman God called me to be.

I am not doing this to SUPPORT "A Day Without Women", I am doing it to show that my family never has to worry about such things as I will ALWAYS show up for "work" as a woman, a God designed and honoring woman. I will celebrate March 8 not by checking out, but by checking in.

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