Book review: The Engine 2 Diet

I read a lot of books. Most aren’t blog-worthy, though I’ve been known to rate books and write reviews on Goodreads from time to time. This particular book is part self-help and part cookbook, and I enjoyed it overall.

The first part of the book reads very conversationally; it’s full of information that serves to convince you why you need to follow a plant-based diet and forego the animal proteins. The second half is full of recipes to help you achieve this. There is also an exercise section included if you’d really like to burn some pounds in 28 days, but it wasn’t anything I haven’t already been taught to do. (Actually doing said exercises, of course, is a different matter.)

Cute Husband started watching Forks Over Knives a few nights ago, and I ordered this book (with others) the next day. As the ending credits rolled, he acknowledged that he needed to change his diet, and I was eager to help him. After all, I’ve been trying for years to sneak extra vegetables into his diet, and for that same length of time, he’s insisted that a vegetarian diet wouldn’t work for him.

“I never feel full when I eat vegetables,” he would say.

Well, Forks Over Knives got his attention, and after he flipped through The Engine 2 Diet, he was still dubious but more willing to try a gradual transition to the whole-food plant-based lifestyle.

I’ll say this much for the content: it’s full of some great information (the kind of stuff that you wonder why you didn’t read in the papers years ago), but his approach to the diet isn’t as straightforward as one would think. Esselstyn gives two options: a full-blown, no-holds-barred approach that would mean tossing out half of the food in the house (and leaving The Boy wondering where all of his food has gone) or a more gradual approach that would cut back a few things the first two weeks.

Now, since the book touts a 28-day diet, I understand the two approaches. But I guess since I’m planning on taking a more gradual approach (I disagree with Esselstyn’s assertion that slowly scaling back would ultimately be less successful than going cold turkey), I was hoping to get some advice on how to ease into the program. But again, the cover touts a 28-day plan, and that’s what Esselstyn delivers.

The recipes in the second half are good. There was a dressing that I tried (and enjoyed with tonight’s dinner of baby lettuce fresh from my garden, mostly from the plant I purchased at the farmers market), and Cute Husband said he was full after eating a meatless dinner of Brussels sprouts and some macaroni and cheese. (Like I said, this will be a gradual transition for him.)

So if you’re looking to add more veggies to your daily eating habits, or if you want to cut back on eating meat and need some ideas beyond carrot sticks and apple slices, I would definitely recommend this book.

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Today’s shopping and culinary adventure

I told Cute Husband last night that I wanted to go to the Farmers Market in Celebration today. It’s been years since I last went; The Boy was still in a Baby Bjorn the last time. And even though they don’t typically have the huge array of vegetables like some of the other Central Florida farmers markets do, I knew that I at least wanted to get some local honey, and Winter Park Honey makes some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

This morning's field trip destination

The Boy elected not to accompany me, which was okay with me. Yes, it would have been a great lesson for him and it would get him out of the house for a few hours, but sometimes it’s easier to just fly solo when going to the farmers market.

My trip did not disappoint me. I spotted another edible plant to add to my backyard (and lucky for me, I still have one more container!) almost right away. The vendor seemed disappointed when I promised I would stop on my way out, but I think it’s because he hears that so often.

Assorted leafy baby lettuce greens. How could I possibly pass this up?

I walked the length of the (small) farmers market before making any purchases. (My mother would have been proud.) I passed a number of booths selling handmade wares, from glass coasters to cloth books to natural remedies that promised to cure any number of ailments. I also stopped at a few booths that looked promising, including one selling homemade preserves, but didn’t buy anything until I got my honey. (I purchased two varieties: raspberry and blackberry twist. The latter tastes like marshmallows. Delicious!) Then I stopped for dried fruit and nuts and fresh produce before returning to that first booth to purchase my plant.

Some of the fresh produce available today (that I didn't buy).

Since I didn’t find any kale or avocados at the farmers market, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home. Once home, I treated myself to an avocado kale salad. I’d never had a kale salad before Wednesday, and then it was on a program Cute Husband watched last night. I figured that was a sign that I should try my hand at making my own kale salad.

Ultimately, I tossed chopped kale with half an avocado, some lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. I then added some chopped pistachios that I found at the farmers market.

Lunch! Delicious, nutritious, and fresh!

Kale is definitely an acquired taste, and I think I need to figure put the ideal “resting time” for it, since the lemon juice and salt work to soften the kale a bit. But overall, I think I did a good job. Cute Husband liked it, though he said he didn’t think he could eat a whole lot of it in one sitting.

Not a bad Sunday morning adventure!

My edible garden

Earlier this week, I told The Boy that we would spend some time in the garden on Saturday. My poor garden bed has been sadly neglected, and with our temporary house guests, I thought it might be good to have some flowers outside for them to visit once they leave their chrysalises.

I went to Lowe’s shortly after breakfast to get the plants I wanted to grow. I’ve had some success in starting seedlings on my kitchen windowsill in the past, but this has been a pretty crazy few months and I honestly haven’t made the time or had the inclination to plant seed this year. And I really wanted to place hardier plants into my garden bed this year, so I picked out a few different plants: tomato, cucumber, red pepper, jalapeno, green beans, romaine lettuce, basil, cilantro, watermelon, strawberries, and blueberries.

The haul from Lowe's, as it was in my car.

I had seen the blueberry plants in the past but was always a bit scared to try my hand at growing them. This year, though, I decided to take a chance and get one of the plants, and after reading the accompanying tag, grabbed another plant of a different varietal so that the two could cross-pollinate and produce fruit. The fruit, after all, is the whole point of growing blueberry plants, anyway, right?

I have a good-sized garden bed that Cute Husband built for me as my Christmas present last year. It’s four feet by eight feet, and last year it was home to a runaway basil plant, a hardy jalapeno plant, and The Boy’s wildflowers, which seemed to take over most of the garden bed. This year, I repurposed a little wooden crate-like box that came with some Clementine oranges and set The Boy up with his very own garden bed to grow his wildflowers.

As soon as I got back from Lowe’s, The Boy and I set to work on preparing the garden bed. This involved uprooting the giant basil bush and discovering its roots stretched throughout the garden. No wonder it was so big! I tried to rearrange a pumpkin plant that sprouted from some seeds Cute Husband tossed into the garden bed as compost last Halloween, but The Boy got overzealous and yanked the plant out of the ground, breaking its roots. I’ve placed it in water in hopes that some roots might grow back and I can salvage the plant (it’s flowering and tiny fruit that promise to be pumpkins are already growing), but only time will tell. At any rate, The Boy felt really bad about uprooting it, so I promised him that we would plant another pumpkin another day, and that helped cheer him a bit.

Now, I knew full well that my garden bed alone wouldn’t hold all the plants that I bought. Luckily for me, I had lots of containers in mind when I purchased them. The blueberries each went into their own pots and are at the edge of the patio, carefully positioned so that they will get full sun and be exposed to whatever rainfall we get. The strawberries are in little galvanized metal troughs, and I’ve place those on the edge of the coffee table on the patio, a little bit further under the roof of the covered patio, but still able to receive full sunlight and a good amount of rain. And the romaine lettuce, which needs only partial sunlight, especially during our hot Florida summers, is in a large pot by the sliding glass doors. It will still receive a few hours of sunlight, but I’ll need to make sure I remember to water it every other day or so.

The blueberries in their containers at the end of the patio. (The strawberries hadn't made it into their little troughs yet.)

The new basil that I bought got its very own pot that I placed between my patio chairs. I decided to keep it in a pot since last year’s plant went a little crazy, and I’m hoping this will keep it in check.

My new basil plant. Hopefully, it won't grow out of control.

As for the other plants…

The 2012 Spring/Summer garden bed. (That's the dying pumpkin in the far left corner.)

The tomato and cucumber are on the half of the garden that I’m calling my “Gazpacho Garden”. Separating them is a little trellis onto which I will tie the stalks as they get taller. In the two corners of the garden bed are the pepper plants. (See why it’s my Gazpacho Garden? All I’m missing is the garlic and the red onion.)

My Gazpacho Garden.

On either side of a broken cinder block that marks the center of the garden bed (and also acts as my stepping stone) is watermelon to the back and cilantro in the front. I know; they’re not related. But the cilantro (should it thrive) would go very well with my tomatoes and peppers in a pico de gallo. Again, all I’m missing is the onion and garlic.

And last, four green bean plants surround another small trellis on the other half of the garden. Cute Husband says I will ultimately have a giant green bean bush with the current setup, but as long as they produce green beans, I really don’t care what they look like. There is also a little carrot plant that I transplanted several months ago in a little corner. It’s still green and growing very slowly, but there aren’t any carrots attached to the greens yet. I’m still hopeful, though.

The green beans (with the watermelon on the right and the pumpkin withering on the left).

Once I finished with the garden bed, I set to work clearing the patio of, well, stuff that little creatures like to use as hiding places. I (carefully) shook out the plant covers that we used during the sporadic three or four freezes we had this winter and put them into a large zip-top bag so that I could store them in the house again, and I removed all the extra containers that I once used before I had patio furniture or a garden bed. I recycled what I could and tossed the rest. Yes, I’m sure someone else would have been able to make great use of them, but I just wanted them out of my yard, spider eggs and all.

After everything was planted and I’d finished putting everything away, I felt really accomplished, similar to how I’ve felt after a run. It took a lot longer than a run, though, but I think the payoff will be pretty awesome.

BPA is not our friend

When The Boy was a baby, I was frustrated that I couldn’t find BPA-free bottles. I wasn’t entirely certain why I wanted bottles that were BPA-free; I just knew that the chemical had been in the news quite a bit and undergoing quite a few tests.

It wasn’t long after The Boy started eating solids that I discovered that BPA was in all of our canned goods, too. I made most of The Boy’s food, but I did find it easier to open a can of peas and strain them than to cook peas myself. Needless to say, once I learned that fact about BPA in canned foods, The Boy didn’t get peas again until he was older.

Next to go were the canned tomatoes. Canned tomatoes, it turns out, have the highest concentration of BPA because the tomatoes themselves leech the chemical from the can’s lining. (Yikes!) After some research, I switched to Pomi tomatoes in tetra packs. The packaging is BPA-free and I like to have shelf stable tomatoes on hand, so I was pleased that my local grocery store carried this. Yes, it’s a bit pricier, but I’d rather remain BPA-free.

My pantry’s content migration to tetra packs from cans was well underway. I even switched to tetra-packed tuna. Yes, I was going to make this work.

Late last year, the results of another study were released, indicating that people who ate canned soup every day for a week had higher levels of BPA in their systems than those who ate “fresh soup” (though I’m not clear what, exactly, that means). All the same, it was disturbing, and, once again, I began buying soup in tetra packs instead of cans. Again, the tetra packs are more expensive, but they’re BPA-free, and that puts me at ease.

Somewhat.

Well, today I read that BPA is in our receipts – those annoying pieces of paper that we seem forced to receive from different merchants. Wendy’s even tucks the receipt into your bag when you go through the drive-through (though, really, I know I shouldn’t be eating anything from Wendy’s in the first place). This doesn’t sound like it should be a big deal except BPA can get onto our hands and into our systems that way. And even if you wash your hands before you eat, there’s a chance there may be some BPA in those recycled towels you’re using to dry your hands.

It’s enough to make my head spin.

So what does all of this mean? Why should I care about BPA? I mean, it’s not like any studies have pinpointed what kind of damage BPA can do to our system; only that it’s not good.

Well, all that changed when I read that a new study suggests obesity and diabetes may be linked to the ingestion of BPA. Apparently, there is some evidence that BPA can scramble hormone receptors, even doubling the amount of insulin the body needs to break down food.

It makes sense, right? Increased use of BPA worldwide; global increase in diabetes cases over the same time period. BPA may not be the singular cause of the increase in obesity and diabetes, but it does give one pause.

And it’s not new news. Apparently, a 2008 study by the American Medical Association indicated that adults with higher BPA in their systems had higher risks for heart disease and diabetes. But, of course, the American Chemistry Council refutes this.

So, how long does BPA stay in the body? I mean, is it too late for me to reverse the damage I’ve inadvertently done to my little boy by feeding him canned peas?

Well, no one really knows. But the National Resources Defense Council released a report indicating that freshly prepared meals stored in glass or stainless steel containers (and not microwaved in plastic containers) would significantly reduce the levels of BPA in the body. So it appears there’s hope.

But now it looks like it’s time to completely switch to fresh (or frozen) veggies and ditch the plastic containers. And I supposed I should stick with dried legumes, too.

It’s a sad sign of the times when simply buying food is a complicated endeavor.

On today’s menu: Pumpkin Flan

I started the morning with a redo of the Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit Muffins that I made yesterday. (And I found them on Pinterest.) These are really good (Cute Husband enjoyed them), but the ones I made yesterday went a little crazy with the egg going everywhere. But I think it also may have had something to do with the amount of biscuit dough that I put into each muffin cup (I went with a simple homemade biscuit recipe instead of using ready-made biscuits like the recipe suggests), the fact that I didn’t dock the dough with a fork when I put it into the pan, and the amount of egg that I used. So I modified all of that (the biscuit recipe yielded 10 muffins), removed the milk from the egg in the muffin recipe, et voila! They turned out beautifully!

Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Biscuit Muffins. Yes, I know that sounds weird, but they're amazing. Just go with me on this.

Next up was the pumpkin flan recipe I’d been eyeing. I needed to run to the store, anyway, so I made sure I picked up some egg whites in addition to more eggs. I swear; I have used more eggs these last few weeks than I have all year. This is what happens when I start feeling a bit creative and want to cook.

So here’s the thing with the flan recipe as it currently reads: I’m not a huge fan of ginger with pumpkin. I know they go very well together, but I just don’t want it. Maybe this summer I’ll be more in the mood for ginger, but right now, I’m all about cinnamon and nutmeg, so I modified the recipe a bit. I wanted pumpkin pie flavors but a in creamy flan with a drippy, syrupy caramel sauce surrounding it instead of a flaky crust.

Oh my goodness, I’m hungry.

My mother used to make flan, but I was never a fan of her recipe. I’m not entirely sure why; I would typically inhale anything my mother cooked (as long as it didn’t include mung beans or seafood), but I drew the line at her flan. Over the past 15 years or so, I’ve developed a taste for flan in general, and I finally decided to try making it myself. And now that I know how easy it is, I may need to do this more often.

Pumpkin Flan: It's like a lighter, custard-y version of pumpkin pie filling, only without the flaky crust getting in the way.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 egg whites (or the equivalent in liquid egg whites)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup milk

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a heavy saucepan (I used a saucier, myself), combine the first three ingredients and simmer over low heat until sugar melts, then increase heat to medium and cook until caramel turns a dark bronze, being careful not to let it burn.
  3. Carefully pour the scalding caramel into 6 ramekins, being sure to evenly coat the sides as well as the bottom, and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the next three ingredients until they are well blended and a smooth consistency.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  6. Pour (or ladle) the mixture into each of the prepared ramekins.
  7. Place the filled ramekins into a deep baking dish and put the baking dish into the oven. Pour enough hot water into the baking dish to surround the ramekins, creating a water bath.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick (or flat skewer) inserted into the custard comes out clean.
  9. Allow the ramekins to cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  10. Before serving, run a knife around the edges of the ramekin to loosen the custard, then invert the flan onto a small dessert plate, allowing the caramel to surround it.

Make It Monday: Cheesy Pizza Poofs

(Two posts for a Make It Monday? I’m out of control! But seriously, I made the pumpkin ice cream yesterday and, well, this is what happens when The Boy doesn’t have school and I stay home to keep him entertained.)

I discovered a recipe for Pepperoni Pizza Muffins on Pinterest some time ago, and I just hadn’t made the time to make it. Upon looking at this recipe, I discovered there are several other variations, all basically making the same Pepperoni Pizza Puffs.

But I don’t happen to have pepperoni on hand today, and, well, I really wanted to make something that doesn’t have a processed something-or-another in it already.

The other crazy thing that was missing from the other recipes was garlic. Isn’t that bizarre? Who makes a pizza-anything without garlic? It would be like telling the story of Star Wars without Darth Vader, or Gone With the Wind without Scarlett O’Hara.

It’s just wrong.

So I modified these other recipes to make my own recipe for Cheesy Pizza Poofs. (And make no mistake about it – they are definitely cheesy!)

Cheesy Pizza Poofs: Easy and cheesy!

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 whole milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1-1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 3/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • marinara sauce for dipping
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients. (I like to kind of unceremoniously dump them in, but that’s just me.)
  3. Add milk and egg, then mix thoroughly with a fork or whisk.
  4. Add cheeses and mix together, ensuring the cheeses are incorporated into the batter. (The batter will be lumpy.)
  5. Let the batter rest for at least 10 minutes.
  6. While the batter is resting, grease and flour (or just spray with Pam for Baking; it’s much easier) a 24-cup mini-muffin pan. (I like to bake in my toaster oven, so I actually use 2 12-cup mini-muffin tins.)
  7. Using a small scoop (the kind you use for cookies or really tiny scoops of ice cream), portion out the batter into the 24 cups. (This actually yielded 30 poofs for me, but they’re also pretty tiny.)
  8. Bake at 375 degrees until the tops are golden and the batter has puffed up a bit, about 20 minutes.
  9. Heat up the marinara and serve immediately with the pizza poofs.
The Boy liked these a lot (and nodded enthusiastically when I asked if he wanted me to pack them for his lunch tomorrow). And start to finish (complete with 3 different batches baking in my little toaster oven) only took about 75 minutes (that’s including an hour of baking time, if you haven’t followed the math on the instructions above), so this recipe may require more than 5 ingredients, but when your prep time is only about 15 minutes (including the time it takes for your precocious 4-year-old to break the eggs and add the milk), it still gets billing as one of the easiest recipes in my repertoire.

My sous chef at work. (You don't think I always let him eat for free, do you?)

Make It Monday: 4-Ingredient Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream

I found a recipe for vegan coconut ice cream on Pinterest a while ago that I’ve been wanting to try, but since it’s so close to Halloween (and I’m on a bit of a pumpkin kick right now), I decided to modify it and try making a pumpkin ice cream, instead.

Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream

I changed a couple of things on the coconut ice cream recipe when I made it yesterday, besides just adding pumpkin. The original recipe called for vanilla, salt, lemon juice, and ginger. Since I used pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling), I opted to eliminate all of these. I also swapped the quantities of coconut cream and coconut milk, knowing that I’d need to compensate for adding density in the form of the pumpkin puree.

Also, because I used regular (read: not unsweetened) coconut milk, it eliminated the need to add additional sugar. Amazingly, even without any cinnamon or other spices, this ice cream had a lot of different flavors going on. Pumpkin and coconut, it turns out, work pretty well together!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 15 ounces coconut cream
  • 2-1/2 cups coconut milk (not the unsweetened kind)
  • 15 ounces pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

Method:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least two hours.
  3. Pour the chilled mixture into a frozen ice cream maker and follow the machine’s instructions.
  4. Serve immediately for soft-serve ice cream or place into a freezer-safe container and freeze for 2-3 hours if you desire a thicker consistency.

Despite my recipe yielding more than the 1-1/2 quarts that my ice cream maker holds (if you have access to one that holds 1-3/4, you’re in luck!), this turned out really well. I had read that a simple pumpkin ice cream could be achieved just by adding pumpkin pie filling to vanilla ice cream, but I think this recipe was just as easy.

It’s definitely more pumpkin and not really very vanilla, though.

The real reason for all these uniform shirts

When I bought The Boy’s uniform, one of my girlfriends from my high school days asked me why I bought as many shirts as I did.

“You got way too much,” she declared. “Even if you only do laundry once a week, you don’t need that many shirts.”

Now, to be honest, I bought 7 polo shirts: two in black (which is his dress-up uniform shirt color on Mondays) and one each in aqua, powder blue, gray, navy, and olive green. Add to this that he wears a PE uniform on Wednesday and can option to wear a Spirit shirt on Fridays, yes, at first glance, it looks like I bought too many.

But then we have mornings like today.

He dressed himself this morning in his aqua polo shirt and khaki shorts. The morning started out wonderfully. He even had his socks and shoes on and went to the kitchen to eat a healthy breakfast of peach yogurt.

Once he was finished (and I helped him scrape the last bits of yogurt and fruit out of the cup), I instructed him to go to the bathroom and wash his hands and face. I’m not certain how he manages it, but he often winds up with a ring around his mouth after eating yogurt. I left him in the kitchen, presuming that he would go the bathroom to wash up, and returned to my room to change my clothes.

As I was getting dressed, he came into my room, a happy grin on his face – and white streaks of yogurt all over the front of his shirt.

Ugh.

I asked if he wiped his mouth on his shirt, and he denied it, so I sent him to Cute Husband to show him what he had done. (Cute Husband spoke to him and later relayed to me that The Boy insisted he did not wipe his mouth on his shirt, saying that he wiped his runny nose on his shirt and the yogurt just appeared there afterwards.)

So The Boy had to change his shirt, and I (mercifully) had a clean assortment of uniform polos from which he could choose.

Now do you understand why I bought as many as I did? Maybe it’s a residual effect of being a Girl Scout in my youth, but I’ve realized in the short time that I’ve been a mother that I cannot be prepared enough for my child.

And really, at least yogurt is white. It could have been a lot worse.

Baking like it’s Fall: An easy Pumpkin Cake

I’ve been busy in the kitchen today.

Last night, I saw 100 Pumpkin Recipes pop up on my newsfeed, and among its many links and photos was one for Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting.

I bought some cans of pumpkin puree last year when I wanted to make pumpkin ravioli. That never happened (though it still might), so the cans have occupied space in my pantry, mocking me whenever I opened the doors. So I really wanted to make something – anything – with my pumpkin puree.

When I perused the recipe, I realized that I was only missing eggs from the list of ingredients. (The Boy and I used them this morning to make French toast.) I even had cream cheese frosting in the refrigerator, so I didn’t need to make that from scratch! (Homemade cream cheese frosting is so much better than the packaged stuff, though. I know this.) So The Boy and I braved the rain (he got to test out his new bubble umbrella) and made a quick trip to the grocery store. After all, I needed to get bread for sandwiches, some lunch meat, and veggies for tonight’s stir-fry, too, so it’s not like I only needed to get eggs.

I followed the recipe, but I mistakenly added a stick of butter to the batter (I was able to remove about half of it) because I was a bit distracted and read the wrong line. The Boy helped me add the eggs and measured both the oil and the sugar (and consequently spilled quite a bit of the latter on the floor), and he eagerly added the pureed pumpkin to the bowl before he got bored and returned to his Dinosaur Train toys. The batter was a bit runny, but, as it turned out, neither the runny batter nor the extra butter were issues. It took a bit longer to bake the cake (they really don’t resemble bars at all), but when I pulled it out of the oven, it was heavenly.

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The Boy seemed to enjoy eating the cake (evidenced by the speed at which he inhaled it), and if Cute Husband likes it, too, this may be a recipe to keep on hand.

And pumpkin puree will never mock me from the pantry shelves again.

Brunch à la maison de Caines

The Boy woke at 4AM today, insisting on sleeping with me in my bed. Since Cute Husband is at a convention this weekend (but will be home tonight for dinner), I let The Boy crawl into bed with me under the condition that he go back to sleep. After much fidgeting and tossing about, I sent him to the bathroom to relieve himself (the cause for all the fidgeting) and back to his room to go to sleep. Then I (mostly) closed the door to his room to keep the sunlight out in efforts to encourage sleeping in.

Around 9AM, he finally bounded out of bed (I, mercifully, was already awake) and came into my room to greet me.

“Mommy!” he exclaimed. “It’s morning!”

The rainy weather dampened my plans (again) to work on my garden, but I had the brilliant idea of making French toast for breakfast. I was a little nervous; The Boy reacted poorly to eggs several years ago and I’ve been hesitant to give them another go. He can have them in baked goods, so I know it’s really just a sensitivity, but I honestly haven’t tried scrambled eggs or even French toast because the Scrambled Egg Incident really freaked me out (and I have no desire to ever repeat it). But since he’s over his dairy sensitivities and doesn’t react adversely to soy products anymore, either, I decided to give it another go.

I cracked open my copy of The Joy of Cooking and found the basic French toast recipe. The Boy eagerly cracked the eggs and helped me mix together the ingredients and was even quite interested up to the point of actually cooking it. Once the bread hit the skillet, though, he was over it and elected, instead, to play with the Duplo house we built yesterday.

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But he enjoyed eating the finished product.

As for any adverse reactions, well, about an hour after eating, he said his stomach hurt, but it wasn’t the kind of hurt that meant he was about to vomit. So I’m  not certain what to make of that. I think he’s okay with scrambled eggs now, but I think I’ll limit it.

And until I’m totally certain he’s okay eating eggs on their own, I’ll still watch him very carefully.