Sunday, October 26, 2008


Look at this adorable preview picture we got from when we were in Maryland! Thank you to our friend Janelle B. an awesome photographer.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nutrition Class, Part Four

Crusty baguettes. Pumpkin muffins. Pasta marinara. Toast with jam.
You name it, carbs. They're everywhere. And for good reason. I mean, a good steak is one thing but do you really enjoy chicken breast after chicken breast that much? And no one I know enjoys butter enough to say that they would eat a whole stick. I have, however, heard of a whole loaf of bread being consumed in one sitting. I won't say who.

Carbohydrates are our primary source of fuel in our diet and for good reason. Carbohydrates are simply, sugar. Who can deny their love for sugar? Let me introduce another way to think about carbohydrates. As we discussed in our nutrition class, carbohydrates must reclaim their good name. Carbs do not make us fat. It isn't as if we are scooping white sugar right into our system. We must reform the popular belief that all carbs are bad. Think about them as energy that nourish our bodies, the fuel for our engine.

There are two different categories of carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are the sugars found in milk, table sugar, and honey. Complex carbohydrates, which should be our primary fuel, are found in grains. This is similar to the idea of whole grains; however, whole grains are more tied to the idea of fiber. You probably know that your breakfast cereal is a carbohydrate, but did you know that carbohydrates include milk, fruits, vegetables, legumes such as beans, as well as whole grains? If you choose to eliminate carbs from your diet, you are eliminating the major sources of calories from your diet.

Carbohydrates contain more than calories. They are rich in B-vitamins, contain small, healthy amounts of fats containing Vitamin E and a great source of antioxidants like lignans. They are also a source of fiber. Fiber is a part of a carbohydrate we can't digest. It is a starch like that found in grass, which, unless you are a cow with three stomachs, you can't digest. What's the point then of eating fiber? I tell little kids fiber is like a toothbrush for your intestines. That "grit" in fiber helps with the sloughing off of the dead cells in our intestines, which, like our skin, turn over every 2-3 days. Imagine if you never exfoliated your skin; then don't neglect your insides!

Fiber is also an important component of feeling full. If you aim to eat 25 grams of fiber a day, it can help with weight management. More than that, most of the high fiber foods are also the most nutrient-dense foods contain the greatest amount of antioxidants, which are powerful disease fighters.

Imagine a "diet" that made you so satisfied, so full and so healthy that you didn't have room for anything else. This is a diet where you can always "eat more". This is the diet made of the three "Eat More's". Your goal is to constantly be thinking, "How can I eat MORE...
...Fruits and Vegetables
...Whole Grains
...Healthy Fats

The question I get most often as a dietitian is, "What does a healthy diet look like??"
Start with fiber. It is a simple thing to count. Think about it as a budget, where you must spend $25 dollars in a day with the foods you eat, representing the 25 grams of fiber you aim to eat.
Read here at the Mayo Clinic to find more high fiber foods.

Start with whole grain cereal with milk for breakfast.+4 grams but if you just add 1/2 cup frozen blueberries or 1/4 cup raisins you increase your fiber by + 3 grams
Then for a snack, eat a pear + 5 grams.
Eat a healthy lunch like a sandwich on bread with 3 grams of fiber per slice +6 grams.
Snack on low-fat popcorn in the afternoon and add 6 grams.
Enjoy a side salad with dinner +2 grams and a medium potato +5 grams with your meat.

This day doesn't include all the other little snack you might have or dictate the exact portion of things. The point of this is to show you how a diet should always be about what you add first. Most of the time, we are over-fed and under-nourished. Guilt makes people swear they will "stop eating such-and-such". This is doing the right thing by subtraction, which will fail ultimately. Start by adding the right things in your diet. The wrong things will start to become less in the balance of the best things.
More on healthy fats next week...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nutrition Class, Part Three

Cooking starts with building skill upon skill. You have to be able to do more than read a recipe, you have to start a recipe. Many start with mechanical skills, like knowing the difference between chopping, dicing, and mincing. Another would be basic understanding about the cooking process, like how to sautée ingredients. Then you graduate onto classic French techniques. One of these, the girls in my class call, "The Marriage". They are referring to a marriage of three main ingredients in mirepoix: carrots, celery and onions. You can read about it here on Wikipedia. We made a vegetable soup the first class with it, and then on week two, started the base of our chicken pot-pie. Another technique we used to make the sauce for the pot-pie was a roux. In week three we used the same technique to make reduced-fat alfredo.

Reduced-fat Alfredo Sauce

In a saucepan, melt 2 Tb butter, 2 Tb olive oil. Add 2 cloves of smashed garlic. Saute until garlic softens, about 1 minute. Whisk in 4 Tb flour (or cornstarch for gluten-free). Continue to cook over medium heat briefly until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Then, whisk in 3 cups milk slowly, carefully incorporating small amounts at a time. Continue to whisk periodically for about 8-12 minutes over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Add 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and whisk until cheese has melted and incorporated into the sauce. Season with 1 tsp salt and black pepper to taste.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's around the corner...

Christmas will be here soon. October always makes me think of Christmas shopping, because classically my mom and sister and I would head out for an early start during our "girl's shopping trip". Now, we didn't always do just Christmas purchasing, but I have determined that at least I need to get a headstart with idea planning. My friend, Emily H, has some great ideas. I also am really into using Etsy for my shopping, as the mall is even more overwhelming with a little one. It is like shopping Anthropologie but online, and for less.

You see, I have to do shopping this month. I have all our families' birthdays clustered together, the majority of them being in the fall, which is then followed quickly by Thanksgiving, holiday preparations and then Christmas. So, I am looking and gathering and planning away. Some of my ideas are: Emily's barrette holders for little girls we know (shh... don't tell them) and her suggestions to use Etsy. I am also going to start shopping for the books I want to give all of our other little friends. There is another discovery I made the other day while I was shopping, called Francesca's Collection. They have all sorts of "boutique-y" items but for a lower price point. I saw their store down in Gilbert and really like some of the things they had. If you need ideas for cool baby toys, Emily showed me this link to Moolka. I have had a really hard time finding good infant toys that aren't overly much, so this is a great site. I think I am going to place an order because I have another baby shower coming up.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Free Handbag

I'm wishing and hoping and praying :)
I would love to win the silver bag... I have always wanted a cool silver bag to serve as both mommy and Kate's bag...
check it out on

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My first hat

How adorable is this? We found this hat I used to wear when I was a little girl in the cedar chest and we put it on Kate this morning when we dragged her out for a morning walk. It is incredibly sad to think my trip is coming to a close, because this was the first walk my mom and I have gotten to go on since we arrived. I can't say Kate and I have been early riser though!


One of the wonderful things about being at my parent's home is thoroughly enjoying true fall. Fall decorations, weather, sweaters, socks and crisp apples. The light is golden in the morning and afternoon. The sun remains a friend throughout the day that you don't have to hide from like in Phoenix. Most of all, I enjoy what we call in Dutch hezlig. It is the most cozy, homey atmosphere you can imagine. Every time I come back, I am more convinced that my mother's home is the most beautiful home I have ever seen. Even the painter giving an estimate on Monday said the same thing. Her color palette, the mixed new and old, the ever changing all is so homey. I can't wait to mimic her someday again with my own home. Even the front porch is a still life waiting to be captured. And who better to bring it to life than my little girl?


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Brett's soccer game

We joined a crowd of adoring fans to view Brett's team win 2-1 today. Brrr! It was chilly when the sun went down, so when we took her out of the sling, her little chin was quivering! We watched the boys score while chatting with the friends, siblings and mothers during the less interesting parts. My mother proved her sports prowess after all those years watching us, by helping Carolyn and Janelle define Chad's pass before a goal as an "assist"; she has come a long way from yelling "Go! go! get them!" at basketball games in years past :) 
By the way, don't you think that her new glasses are super cool??


We have always joked that my Dad is "Goldilocks" for his very precise preferences on everything from where we put the shoes in the hallway to the type of toothpaste he uses. 
But he has competition.
Kate decided that she likes TempurPedic mattresses; she slept two and a half hours on Uncle Peter's mattress. It was a wonderful nap and we are going to try to take more of those once we get home.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

My first wedding

My friend Tali took some pictures of Kate at the wedding we attended on Saturday. It was a beautiful, unique location that Drew and Melanie picked in Frederick, in a wooded glen facing a beautiful pond. It is a little late in the season to have an outdoor wedding, but the weather cooperated and it turned out beautiful. Kate was the star of the show, aside from the bride and groom, and enjoyed meeting all of our friends back East. She did wonderful for three and a half hours, smiling, cooing and greeting everyone. Then as we entered the reception, she put her little head down on my shoulder. It was if she was saying, "Mommy, I'm done. I met everyone. Can I go to sleep now?"

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Land of Flax

Seeds are in.
Especially in the Jansen household.
Everywhere I look, there they are: flaxseeds.
Not that there is anything wrong with flax. It has all sorts of health benefits for your immune system, your heart health and not to mention your digestive system.
But here, they take it to a new level.
The first thing my mom did was announce that she had purchased me a fabulous chocolate flaxseed cookie when she was getting her flax and oat coffee after pilates the other day.
Then I go to look for a snack. Flaxseed crackers. Ground flaxseed. Flaxseed oil. Bread with flaxseeds. Not to mention my chocolate flaxseed cookie.
Let's just say that I have a very healthy colon right now.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I'm all packed!

Here we come D.C.! We are off to visit for twelve days and while we are there celebrate Marmie's birthday. Travis will join us next week for the festivities, but we needed extra time to visit all our East Coast friends and family. We'll see you when we get back!