Thursday, April 12, 2012

Product Review - Eucerin Calming Body Wash & Calming Creme

My little girl has very sensitive, very dry skin, and a slight amount of eczema in a couple places on her legs and feet. We have a prescription of topical cream from the doctor, but unless a spot is really bad or bothering her, I don't like to use it, some ingredients and side effects are a little scary.

Her skin is the worst in the dry winter months, of course. I had tried all sorts of lotions on her before this, and none really cleared up her skin. It moisturized a bit, and her skin was less dry/ashy, but it didn't take care of the eczema flare ups, or last too long. I felt so bad for my sweet girl, always being so itchy, and itching to the point of breaking her skin. I was determined to find something to help her.

I remembered when she was tiny, we used this:

and it helped immensely. However, it was more of an ointment versus a lotion or cream, and very greasy. It never really absorbed into the skin. I have many baby pictures of my girl with a very shiny forehead. :) I didn't want to go down this road again, but remembering the Eucerin/Aquaphor worked well, decided to check out some of their other products.

I went in looking for lotion initially, but when I saw the Calming Body Wash, a lightbulb went out. Normal soap made her skin worse, so we always used organic California Baby body wash. But starting a bath/lotion routine would be even better for her skin! So I picked up a bottle of the body wash, as well as the Calming Creme. They were both around $8 per bottle. 

At bathtime that night, I soaped her up with the body wash. After bath, dried her skin slightly (until she wasn't dripping, basically) and slathered her with the lotion. I then put her in one piece 100% cotton jammies, so she couldn't get under her shirt and scratch her belly while she was sleeping. I think it also helped the lotion absorb better, or something...kind of like when you massage and lotion your hands (or feet) and then put on cotton gloves (or socks). The next morning, she woke up and her skin was soo soft. Not dry and scaly. It looked much better, and she said it didn't itch anymore. We repeated the bath/lotion for the next 2 nights, 3 nights total and her skin was completely healed, soft, smooth, and best of all, no itchies!! 

I was truly amazed after using these products, and so glad I purchased them. They have helped her so much. It is important for us to keep on top of this, because I realized after it had "fixed" her skin so wonderfully, it didn't last forever without at least putting on the lotion everyday. The only downside to this routine is the smell of the body wash. It claims to be "unscented" on the bottle, which means there is no man made perfumed scent added, however, it does not smell very pleasant at all. The good thing is the "no scent" scent doesn't cling to the skin, and I can't smell it on her afterwards. The Calming Creme does not have a scent either. 

All in all, this is the only way to go to keep my little lady's sensitive skin comfortable, moisturized and under control. 

*I was not compensated in any way for this review, I just love the stuff and wanted to share!*

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Homemade chicken nuggets - success!

Today was the day I decided to undertake the making of homemade chicken nuggets! I had looked through a few recipes for homemade chicken nuggets the last day or so, and in the end, kind of created my own version based off of those.

I gathered my ingredients first.
Organic chicken breast tenders, store bought breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs, homemade breadcrumbs, an egg, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

My original plan was to use the breadcrumbs I had in my cupboard. Once I opened them, I realized there wasn't much left in the can. I decided to make my own breadcrumbs.
It is times like these I wish I had a food processor, but my blender worked just fine. I threw in a couple pieces of bread, and pulsed it for awhile. They seemed pretty moist, so I put two more pieces of bread in the toaster, and put that in the blender too. I wish I had thought of that from the get go! They weren't as crunchy or dried out as "real" breadcrumbs, but they worked better than the "wet" bread. But I threw it all in there.

 After I cut up the chicken tenders into bite sized chicken nugget pieces, I cracked an egg into a bowl, and stirred it up a bit.
I had taken my store bought (or 'boughten' as Grandma always said! I think I was about 20 before I realized that was not a brand name.) breadcrumbs and dumped them into a bowl with my homemade bread crumbs. I seasoned it with a little salt and pepper, and some Italian seasoning. I wasn't too sure this was necessarily the flavor I was going for, but the "boughten" breadcrumbs  were Italian, so I just went with it. I added some Panko to that bowl as well, but in the end put some in a separate bowl too, and they still stuck pretty well after the first coating of breadcrumbs.

It ended up being a little chicken assembly line! First dip the chicken into the egg...
And then right into the breadcrumbs.
I had decided beforehand that I would freeze them before cooking them, and then just pull them out of the freezer and pop them into the oven when we wanted some. To prevent them from freezing together into one big clump, I laid them out on a cookie sheet, and stuck that into the freezer for an hour or two.
After that, I put them into four different baggies and popped them back into the freezer. When it was time for supper, I pulled out five pieces and put them on my baking stone, in a 350 degree oven for around 20 minutes.
They didn't get as golden brown as I would've hoped, but they were done. They were so moist on the inside, and nice and crunchy on the outside from the Panko. In hindsight, I would season them a little more, and maybe a little differently. If it wasn't for the breadcrumbs I had, I wouldn't have gone with the Italian seasoning, but it wasn't bad. Next time I will probably throw some seasoning salt in the mix for some extra flavor.

They were a big hit with my girl, though! She can be SO picky, I was dreading even giving them to her, in case she rejected them. But she loved them! I was so glad. And as a mom, it felt so good to be giving her something made from fresh, wholesome, mostly organic food!
Apologies for the open mouth shot!

This took a little time to do, but the end result was so worth it!

Homemade Chicken Nuggets:
          Chicken tenders
          Panko Breadcrumbs
          One egg
          Seasonings of choice

1. Rinse chicken tenders, cut into bite size or nugget sized pieces.
2. Crack egg into bowl, stir with fork.
3. Put breadcrumbs into bowl, add seasonings and mix.
4. Put Panko breadcrumbs into separate bowl.
5. Dip chicken into egg, into breadcrumbs, and then into Panko.
6. Lay on cookie sheet.
7. Put cookie sheet into freezer for an hour or two, then transfer to freezer bags and put back into freezer.

When ready to eat, put nuggets onto baking sheet into a preheated 350 degree oven for around 20 minutes. Nuggets are done when white all the way thru the middle.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Our Journey

I am just a mom who wants the best for her child. I have a three year old daughter, H, who is VERY picky. All she ever wants to eat are chicken nuggets, cheese quesadillas, and jelly sandwiches. Sometimes toast or a cereal bar for breakfast. On top of being a picky eater, she also doesn't have a huge appetite and eats like a bird. It drives me crazy! I've had jobs working with kids in the past, and have realized how frustrating it is to have a child that doesn't eat well. When I was pregnant with H, I remember thinking, "I hope she is a good eater when she is older!" more than once. When she was small, she ate very well. She was breastfed exclusively until around 5 months, when we added some organic oatmeal, and homemade fruit and veggie purees. She would eat almost any sort of fruit or vegetable I gave her, and even enjoyed it! That didn't last very long, and now at age 3, it is difficult to get her to try anything. I have about a 50/50 chance of getting her to even TRY something she says she doesn't like, let alone get her to actually chew and swallow it, and even take a chance at liking it. Being as I was such a stickler when she was younger - breastmilk only, no juice, homemade baby food, organic as much as possible...I was always so proud of the food I fed my daughter. She became picky, I was wasting food because she wouldn't eat much of it, it became frustrating...I ended up giving in to the crap food she wanted all the time. As she is getting older, and the more I read on the nasty, nasty things in processed food and fast food, it horrifies me that I let junk like that enter my tiny little girl's growing body. I decided to stop ignoring that voice in the back of my head, stop pretending I didn't know any better, stop avoiding articles about the bad stuff...basically stop being naive and ignorant. I know better. I want to be a better mom to my girl, and stop giving into the "easy" foods, stop being cheap, and make sure my daughter gets wholesome, good food. It starts today.

There has been more than one occasion where I have tried to do this in the past, and have failed. Why? Because I tried to take on too much at once. I am kind of a "all or nothing" type person. My house is full of crap food at the moment (just keeping it real), so I always felt the need to throw (or, more than likely, give away) everything out, and start over. Let's be realistic for a moment...that really just isn't possible, feasible, economical, or even very smart. This isn't a fad, this is a life change. It won't happen overnight. We are starting slowly.

I decided to tackle a couple of H's favorite meals first...chicken nuggets and quesadillas. Buying organic chicken tenders, breading them myself, baking them, and popping them in the freezer for her to enjoy instead of the processed chicken nuggets in our freezer now is the first step. I'd like to try my hand at homemade tortillas someday, but at the moment haven't really discovered yet how hard (or easy?!) that may be. Other things she likes to eat (most of the time!) are rice, pancakes, jelly sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, hotdogs, cinnamon toast...and that is really it. I guess my first goal is to have some homemade, healthy/as organic as possible versions of her favorite foods on hand. I'd also like to increase her fruit/veggie consumption. She loves most fruit, but does not like many veggies. I need to start figuring out how to get her to eat more (ha!), convince her to try them more, or at the very least, hide them in some of her favorite foods!

Starting with the chicken nuggets tomorrow. Post (with recipe, and pictures!) to follow. Wish me luck.I'm not much of a cook!