Raised from Scratch

growing up outside the box: alternatives to processed food and television

About Raised From Scratch January 11, 2012

Filed under: About RFS — annalope @ 5:55 am

Hi there! I’m Anna, a mom who gave up restaurant life for a chance to stay home and raise my daughter Ella. We have a great time getting messy in the kitchen, and although I thought I was good at throwing caution to the wind when it came to creating recipes , she takes it to a new level like only a toddler can, and I go along smiling… sometimes cringing… as she tosses half my carefully measured ingredients out of the bowl, onto herself, or the counter, or the floor. But I never regret sharing the experience with my little one, and there’s no other kitchen I’d rather be cooking in.

Parenthood is an ongoing adventure and I don’t presume to have mastered much of anything about it, but I know how much parents can help each other by sharing their stories, trials and triumphs alike. I also know that I have a lot of recipes and ideas to share, and I struggle with the confinements of being a stay at home parent, no longer cooking professionally. I look at some of the countless beautiful blogs written by parents, with flawless pictures obviously staged away from the eyes and grabby hands of a hungry toddler — something I simply don’t relate to. So while I post my recipes somewhat timidly and share pictures which surely will reveal spilled flour on the counter-top or dirty dishes in the sink or a small blurry hand sneakily removing the food I’m trying to photograph, I hope you’ll forgive the imperfections and instead find the freedom to go create your own mess in the kitchen.

Wishing you a delicious day!


A Village of Resources

Filed under: Resources — annalope @ 5:44 am
Tags: , , ,

Links listed here are to provide support to parents, perhaps broaden your horizons, and hopefully make you feel more at ease trusting your instincts, loving unconditionally, and enjoying the experience of parenthood. It’s not easy finding a village (location or community of people) to help you raise your child, but by gathering and sharing resources I hope to prove your village does exist, albeit perhaps scattered and distant.

Re: Gentle/Positive Discipline

Awesomely Awake

Natural Parents Network


Re: Breastfeeding

La Leche League


Re: Elimination Communication / Natural Infant Hygiene

Diaper Free Baby


Goldfish Rant January 10, 2012

Filed under: Healthy Snacks,Rants — annalope @ 8:42 pm
Tags: , ,

Ready for a brave confession?

I am anti-goldfish.

Everywhere children are present, seemingly every play date my daughter and I attend, every picnic, every diaper bag, these little munchable monsters are invading, and I sometimes feel pretty helpless to stop their plans of taste bud domination.

Over-reacting you say? Those cute smiley fish are a processed food containing 10% of an adult’s daily suggested sodium intake in one serving. They are low in sugar, offer some protein and are free of preservatives last I checked, so it’s true there are plenty of things on the market that would be worse for our kids. But just because something is acceptable doesn’t make it ideal, and there are so many alternative snacks to offer our children to help them expand, rather than limit, their scope of foods that register on the happy mouth radar. Fresh fruit, smoothies, mini sandwiches, cooked sushi, hummus, quiche bites, tortilla pinwheels…let’s make it a goal to get more creative when it comes to offering snacks!

A mom reminded me at a play date today (where my daughter kept asking for more and more goldfish) that kids want what other kids eat. Every parent knows this is pretty much a guarantee — your child will try to steal whatever the other kids are eating around him. It made me realize that one of the reasons Ella, 27 months old, is not a picky eater is because she rarely eats communally with other children outside of snack time. At home and at restaurants she eats what we eat and we order off the adult menu for her. I don’t want to deprive her (okay, I DO want to deprive her of junk-food), and I do let her have a few handfuls of goldfish when they are around, but I do it grudgingly. Don’t get me wrong — I  do willingly and happily offer my daughter treats on a fairly regular basis. She went trick-or-treating this year and tasted a lollipop for the first time (the rest of the candy never made it out of their wrappers and she never missed it). She grew accustomed to little nibbles of homemade fudge or cookies on a nearly daily basis at Christmas time. We order pizza from time to time (pizza in Chicago is not to be missed after all), and I love how excited my daughter gets sharing a cup of gelato with me using those dainty little spoons.

The real point of this rant is not just that goldfish are lacking in nutrition to make it a suitable daily snack; it’s that we parents are missing an opportunity to serve nutritious foods to our children in the company of their peers. Play dates are the perfect time for them to form positive attitudes toward healthy snacks and to learn to accept variety in their diets! Serving the same cracker day after day after day suggests to a child that it’s okay to want salty junk food all the time, and that it’s not unreasonable to expect the exact same food every time they’re hungry. If we put extra effort and forethought into what we are buying and preparing for those malleable taste buds when foods are first being introduced, chances are we’ll save ourselves a lot of arguments as the toddler becomes a potentially picky eater.

My heart sinks just a little every time I enter a house and see the ubiquitous goldfish bowl. The damn fish just stare up at me with that knowing, triumphant smile. “Go ahead,” they say, “try to explain to your toddler that a happy, brightly colored fish that delivers crunchy bliss should be passed up for the hummus”. It might be a losing battle, but I’m not done fighting it yet.


Mini Pumpkin Bran Muffins with Chocolate Centers January 3, 2012

These make a tasty snack or a healthy dessert if you make them with chocolate centers. And since nothing is more satisfying than warm chocolate coating your mouth and making an appearance all over your child’s happy face, I recommend serving them before the chocolate hardens. They are delicious and perfectly sweet enough sans chocolate should you worry about your child eating nothing but the chocolate center (surely you realized this possibility, yes?).

Mini Pumpkin Bran Muffins with Chocolate Centers

1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour

 t. baking soda

1 t. baking powder

¼ t. fine sea salt

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. nutmeg

1 t. cardamom

¾ cup oat bran

¼ cup brown rice syrup

3 T. pure cane sugar

15 oz pumpkin puree

2 whole eggs

¾ cup unsweetened  applesauce

Handful of large bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare mini muffin tin by lightly coating with butter or oil.In medium bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Add oat bran to flour mix.

In large bowl combine all remaining ingredients except chocolate chips, whisk until well combined. Add flour and bran mixture, stir to combine. Fill miffin tins ¾ full with batter and place a single chocolate chip in the center of each muffin cup.

Bake 12-14 minutes. Cool in pan 2-3 minutes, then move to cooling rack to cool completely.