Our Purple Carrot review is in!

purple carrot

I’ve vented on this blog before that feeding a family is hard. You know, because everyone knows by now, that you are supposed to feed your kids a diverse diet of mostly fruits and vegetables. It’s just so HARD.  All Leo wants to eat is pizza and cookies. It’s not uncommon for him to abstain from dinner all together when he is served something new, unfamiliar or undesired; which is basically everything that not pizza or avocado sushi rolls. I am very fortunate that Lucy and Lenny will happily eat almost anything that I serve them.

Since we have become vegetarian, figuring out what to cook has been a little more difficult.  I don’t want to get stuck in a pizza and pasta rut and I don’t want to end up substituting eggs and dairy for the meat that we are leaving out because then really, what’s the point?

Enter, The Purple Carrot.

The Purple Carrot is entirely plant-based meal-kit service, that’s right… vegan. Mark Bittman, surprised everyone by leaving his job at the New York Times to become involved a while back. You may know him from the NYT, his cookbooks, or his Vegan before Six diet. The bottom line is that this dude knows good food and he knows how to cook. When I heard this, I was really interested.

I have never tried a meal kit delivery service. My view has always been that they were WAY more expensive than just going to the store and buying something to make dinner. When I heard about Purple Carrot, I was interested because I wanted to learn some new recipes that I could work into our weekly menu. After looking over the offerings for a few weeks, I placed our order.

Here’s what I thought…

The PROS

  1. A lot of diversity in the vegetables, recipes, spices and flavors used. It’s not all kale, people! We are half way into week three and we have made Indian, Korean, and Italian food. I learned that I love parsnips, where two weeks ago I would see them in the store and think, “what could I possibly do with these weird overgrown, pale carrots.”
  2. It makes A LOT of food! enoki  We are doing the family plan, which costs $74 a week for two meals. But that is enough food to feed four of us for dinner and at least 2 or three lunches worth of left-overs.
  3. GREAT RECIPES!  So far, out of five there are two that I am going to add into our regular weeknight dinners. These Pa Jun, Korean vegetable pancakes that everybody loved and a Ribollita that was perfect for a cold night.
  4. Pre-measured ingredients. I am sure it’s this way for every meal delivery service but since this is my first I really love it. Not having to go out and buy a big container of mustard seeds or curry powder when you only need a tablespoon is just awesome. And obviously, not having to measure.
  5. You can skip a week. You get to see the meals ahead of time so if you aren’t into what’s happening next week you can skip, no questions asked (as long as you do it by Thursday).
  6. Totally recyclable or reusable packaging.

The CONS

  1. The meals have a lot of prep. I usually spend a least twenty minutes chopping and rising before I even start cooking while my children are whine on the kitchen floor. Next week, I am going to try to do some of the chopping earlier in the day while Lucy naps.
  2. The family meals aren’t totally “family” friendly in the spice department. I’ve had to leave off chili flakes twice and once I had to create a separate side-dish for my kids because the side dish was kim chi. Luckily, I was paying attention and didn’t just dump a bag of chilis into our dinner per the instructions, or I would have been making macaroni and cheese in addition to my beautiful Purple Carrot meal. This only applies if you have really little ones or your family doesn’t like spice.
  3. It’s expensive. It’s definitely cheaper than ordering take-out but not as cheap as going to the store and buying your own ingredients.

The only other thing I could think of as a negative, that isn’t really a negative to our family, is that the meals are a little adventurous. If your kids are picky eaters and haven’t seen Aloo Paratha or Lentils before you may be met with some resistance. But trying never hurt right?

If you are trying to work more veggies into your repertoire, try the Purple Carrot!

xo

 

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What we are playing with now…

Now that Leo is (almost) 4 and Lucy is 9 months, we have had to shake up the playroom a little bit. Afternoons of entertaining just Leo used to mean a lot of coloring and crafting but now that Lucy is crawling around and putting EVERYTHING in her mouth so a lot of the tiny toys have disappeared. Some toys went straight into the trash or to Goodwill and others into boxes in the basement for when Lucy is older.  Here are some toys that are working for us now…Toys1. MAGNATILES– These seem like such an investment when you are buying them (and adding to your set) but no regrets here. Leo has played with these a few times a week for over a year and they have held up to being knocked over and stepped on hundreds of times. Lucy loves tapping them together to make music and she is really getting into knocking down Leo’s creations, we try to make a game out of it.

2. ZINGO– OK, this game isn’t totally baby-safe.  The tiles are on the smallish side but not in a totally terrifying choking hazard kind of way. It’s also nice for Leo to have a big boy game that his sister can’t play with, it is helping him learn site words and symbols and also the art of winning and losing graciously. Unlike some other kid’s games, this one makes it fun to put the little tiles back into their holder, so small pieces don’t end up all over the house.

3. PUPPETS– We have all kinds of soft finger and hand puppets and both kids like them.  Specifically when they are on my hands and I am acting silly.

4. DUPLOS– speaking of building toys…forget the fact that all of his friends have real Legos. I am so grateful that I didn’t buy the big boy Legos and have to take them away. Leo can still have fun and make creations with his Duplos and Lucy can happily sit by and chew on a few while her brother builds.

5. COSTUMES– Who doesn’t love dressing up?  Leo can’t get enough of costumes and they are totally baby-safe so when he gets bored and throws them on the floor it’s not a big deal.

6. MUSICAL TOYS– We have had the same little egg shakers, piano, xylophone and drums since Leo was a baby.  He still plays with them and Lucy enjoys a good jam session as well.  It’s a great way for her to interact with her brother and vice versa.

I’m still on the hunt for more big kid toys that aren’t choking hazards but our playroom seems pretty well stocked at the moment. What are your kids playing with?

mood board monday… newborn essentials

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  I had a great weekend myself attending Blogshop in LA, which is essentially a photoshop bootcamp.   The class was so so fun but it was a rough weekend because Lucy is on a bottle strike and I have a pretty bad cold so we were suffering together, separately…  Despite that, the time flew by as there was so much great info packed into the two day workshop! I hope to show off some of my new skills right here on the blog starting with my first Mood Board Monday post!

With a lot of friends having their first babies and setting up baby registries, I keep getting asked what items they will “need” for their babies.  There are so many baby products from wipe warmers to swaddle sleep sacks and sound machines and night-vision monitors the stuff can get crazy overwhelming!  With Leo, I think we bought one of everything.  The fact of the matter is, you don’t need special baby towels, you can use your bath towels.  Although, the baby versions are pretty cute. They make special pillows for nursing, soap for washing bottles, and bathtubs for babies…  some of these things are nice to have; but really, you can give a baby a bath in the kitchen sink. These are a few things that I just can’t live without.

Moodboard--Baby-Stuff

1. Diapers! Seems obvious doesn’t it?  Well specifically, Honest Diapers.  We love these diapers around here.  Not just because they come in cute patterns but because they are free of diaper-rash inducing chemicals and fragrances.

2. Boba Wrap.  I just got this when Lucy was born and I don’t know how I lived without it with Leo.  We have an Ergo carrier but he was really about 5 or 6 months old before he could sit in there comfortably.  This wrap is so snuggly and warm for baby that Lucy always falls asleep in it which allows me to have two hands free for grocery shopping, picking up Leo from school and even meals out.

3. Stain Spray. With babies come stains; I won’t go into details and gross you out but you will need this for their clothes and yours.  We love this version from Honest because it works great and it’s biodegradable and non-toxic.

4. Carters Swaddle Blankets. I use these for everything but swaddling. We throw these down on the couch or bed before we put Lucy down (supervised of course) to hang out or have tummy time, we use them to keep her warm, to create shade when she is in her stroller . These come in a ton of cute patterns for girls and boys and wash up super-soft.

5. Carters Flannel Lap Pads. OK, so these don’t come in a bunch of cute patterns but we like them anyways!  We always have one of these on the changing pad and a clean one right next to it so we can quickly swap it out instead of changing and washing the big bulky changing pad every time there is a mess on it.  Keep one in your diaper bag and use it as a barrier if there is a mess in the car seat.  Trust me, you will use these things a ton.

6.BABYBJORN BabySitter. OK, if you have little babies like us you will probably have to wait a few weeks to start using this (they say 8 pounds). You need a place to put your baby down while you get s!@t done! We found that this works well with Leo and Lucy.  I think it’s because it bounces with their little movement.  As a bonus, it comes in organic cotton and doesn’t have baby animals all over it.

I know I am leaving out a few big items like a car seat and something for the baby to sleep in but overall, you really don’t need a lot of “baby stuff.” Did I forget something major??? What are you must-have baby items?

how to use toys and candy to get your child to sleep…

So it only took 3 years and a few months, but Leo is finally sleeping through the night in his own bed.  If you know me, you know that I am not a well-rested individual. We have failed at “sleep training” multiple times with Leo and most mornings over the past three years, Lenny and I have woken up with him between us with only a vague recollection of the early-morning logic that led us to let him sleep there.  I was honestly starting to worry that I would be waking up with his smelly foot in my face when he was fifteen.  Not that I don’t love a good Leo cuddle, but at some point, it’s time to cut the cord.

I had heard on a mommy message board about clocks that teach children to sleep through the night so in a moment of desperation I purchased the Kid’Sleep Classic. The basic idea is that there is light that illuminates when it’s time to sleep (a little bunny sleeping) and a light for when it’s time to wake up (a little bunny playing with the sun in the background). You tell your toddler, “DO NOT GET OUT OF BED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES UNTIL YOU SEE THE SUN.” And they will magically do just as they are told.

Well, as you all might have figured, the clock does not have magical powers.  After a few morning mishaps with the clock (otherwise known as parental error) we had it working. Around 5:30AM I would hear Leo shouting in his room, “Mommy, the sun is not up.”  So we had to adjust our game plan. This time it was, “If you stay in your bed until the sun comes up you will get a present.”  It worked the first morning.  A present a day turned into a sticker a day, five stickers could be cashed in for a present or treat, then 8 stickers, then ten… and now it’s just part of our routine. No rewards needed!

So maybe the clock is magical…or maybe presents and candy are magical.  Who am I to say?

Although I do miss our family slumber parties a little bit…

IMG_1915If only bribery worked on infants.

 

what to do about crocs…

IMG_0587 We have a serious problem in our house.  My son only wants to wear Crocs.  Occasionally, if he is distracted you can get another pair of shoes on him but you can’t let him see his Crocs or he will immediately want to change.  You can get some really funky smelly feet if you wear the same shoes everyday, even if they are made out of dishwasher-safe plastic. Due to this problem, and against my better judgement, I actually bought him more Crocs. So now we are rotating between three pairs; light blue (his favorite and REALLY smelly), green and yellow (for College game day- Go Ducks! and play dates) and navy blue (for special outings and Jewish holidays). I personally, would never wear Crocs, I think they are pretty hideous. I will admit, reluctantly, that they make a lot of sense for little kids.  They are easy to get on and off; Leo can sometimes even do this himself, once and a while on the right feet too. I just don’t know if this is just a phase or if I will be packing up a big box of Crocs for Leo to take to college someday. Or maybe I will have to wean Leo from his Crocs cold-turkey and with much protest…like sleep-training… but for fashion.  I just hope the allure of real shoes is to powerful to resist.  As long as they aren’t my shoes… IMG_0470Excuse the blurry image of Leo in my black wedge sandals…

board book club, i love you, stinky face…

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa Mccourt is one of those books that makes me a little weepy.  Probably, because I have read it to Leo about two million times. When I ask him to choose his own bedtime book this is one of his frequent picks. This is book for little boys and their mamas.

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From the books back cover: “Even if her little boy were an alligator or a super-smelly skunk, this mother would love her child unconditionally.”

This about sums it up.  It’s hard to explain unconditional love to a toddler but I think this sweet little book does a pretty good job.  The book as two “parts,” the mama and her son; Leo loves it when I read each part in a different voice. I usually try to do something soothing and calm for the mama and high-pitched and whiney for the son- am I projecting?

Leo frequently has be go back and re-read the page that asks “Mama, if I were a big, scary ape? Would you still love me then?” I wonder what that’s all about?

board book club, baby talk…

I remember shopping for books as a weepy emotional pregnant lady; buying Leo hard-bound copies of all of my childhood favorites like Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny. Then arranging them lovingly next to small stuffed animals on his bookshelf like something you would see on Pinterest.  Oh, a mother can dream!

I don’t know why no one ever told me that babies and toddlers under no circumstances should be trusted with books with rippable (did I just make that word up?) pages. After the destruction of a few pretty paper pages we learned that board books are where it’s at! Portable, mostly-indestructable and most importantly…tasty.

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Here is a vintage shot of Leo around 7 months old being very literary.

So over the next fews months I am going to “review” some of our favorites and share them here with you in our new lovely category “board book club.”

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Baby Talk has been one of our favorite books for a while now. Because I am generally forgetful, I can’t remember if this is one of the books that we bought or if it was a gift.  It’s a pretty simple book one page shows an adorable baby and it says something like “this baby is hungy” then you flip the giant flap and it shows the same adorable baby eating and the words “yum yum” in a jumbo font. You get the concept. Leo has loved this book from the beginning, we have probably had it since he was around 8 months old.  At first he just loved looking at all of the other baby faces in the book, a few months later he loved lifting each of the flaps on his own and now he loves saying (his version) of the words on each flap. It’s awesome to see that Leo is actually learning something from all of our reading!

What are your favorite board books?