Saturday, April 21, 2012

10 reasons why we still nurse

As I nursed my baby before bed tonight I was thinking of how wonderful it is to breastfeed a toddler and how different it is from nursing an infant. Commonly, mothers stop nursing at one year (or sooner) due to a variety of reasons, but I fear mostly it is because breastfeeding a toddler isn't considered normal. There are so many good reasons to continue nursing. Here are my personal top 10.

10. Left the house without a snack? No problem! I self-generate snacks.
9. Toddlers are on the go all the time so sometimes it is really nice to just hold her still in my arms and snuggle.
8. Nursing burns calories like crazy and so I get to eat all the dessert I want!
7. I am healthier. Breastfeeding reduces my risk of breast, ovarian, uterine, and endometrial cancers. It protects against osteoporosis, and reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
6. I don't have to worry about if my toddler is eating a balanced diet. Picky? Refusing to eat greens? What about calcium? Is she getting enough fat? I've got it covered.
5. I don't have to roam the halls to get her back to sleep when she wakes in the night.
4. It is my all-purpose mothering tool. Cranky? Let's nurse. Hurt? Let's nurse. Scared? Let's nurse. Nursing is the fastest and easiest way to calm her down whether she took a fall or is having a tantrum.
3. She is healthier. Children's immune systems are not fully developed until the age of 3. While other children may be eating chicken nuggets and chocolate milk, mine is getting breast milk. Because of her diet, environment, and the immunity in breast milk, my child has never had anything more than the sniffles, and she only had that a few times. (I should also point out the fact that she does not have to go to daycare. But she does go to the Y and to the church nursery, so she is exposed to other children several times a week.)
2. The nutrition. Breast milk doesn't have an expiration date. There is no time in a child's life that breast milk is not beneficial or even less beneficial. In the second year (12-23 months), 15 oz of breastmilk provides:
29% of energy requirements
43% of protein requirements
36% of calcium requirements
75% of vitamin A requirements
76% of folate requirements
94% of vitamin B12 requirements
60% of vitamin C requirements.
1. The bond. Hands-down, nursing is the most precious to me because of the bond it gives me with my daughter. As her nursing needs have become less pure need and more emotional, nursing is a way for her and I both to say I Love You.

click on the picture to enlarge

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake

It's been awhile since I've featured a recipe. Probably because we eat the same old stuff all the time. I'm sure we all get stuck in the recipe rut. We have a few staples, Rice and Beans, and some sort of soup tend to make our weekly menu. Finally, for Easter we decided to make something new. It's from 101 Cookbooks, as usual, but it branched out of my comfort zone considering I thought it would be eggy. Fortunately, this Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake was not eggy at all! It was delicious and is a great way to eat less bread and gluten in the morning. It is not at all sweet and not at all like a dessert cheesecake. It was cheese cake in the true sense of the word "cheese."

I'm a terrible photographer, but Heidi is quite good, so check out her website for the pretty pictures of this cheese cake.

Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake
Heidi made hers in a springform pan. I don't have one, so I just used a pie plate and it worked fine.

2 cups zucchini, unpeeled & grated
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
zest of one lemon
2 large eggs, well beaten
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
drizzle of olive oil

Preheat oven to 325F degrees, racks the middle. Butter/oil a 7-inch springform pan or pie plate.

In a strainer, toss the shredded zucchini with the salt and let sit for ten minutes. Now aggressively squeeze and press out as much moisture as you can. Set aside.

In the meantime, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, shallots, garlic, dill and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Stir in the eggs and continue mixing until well combined. Now stir in the shredded zucchini. Fill the springform pan with the ricotta mixture and place on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for sixty minutes. If there is any moisture left on top of the cake at this point, carefully use a bit of paper towel to dab it off. Now sprinkle with the goat cheese and return to the oven for another 20 -30 minutes or until the goat cheese is melted and the cake barely jiggles in the center (it will set up more as it cools).

At this point, if the cake is baked and set, but the top isn't quite golden, zap it with the broiler (just about a minute) to get a bit more color on top. Remove from the oven and let cool five minutes, then release the cake from its pan. Cool completely, serve at room temperature drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a few sprigs of dill.