Wednesday, July 3, 2013

12 Months Old

Today our sweet little baby turns one! They aren't kidding when people tell you how quickly the first year will go. We love looking back at how Avery has grown and changed in this past year. I can't say that I remember all the little moments throughout the year, but I have tried to consciously enjoy them at the time. She truly is such a joy to us, and we love seeing more of her fun and silly (and often quite strong-willed) personality.

In the past month, she has really mastered the art of walking. This skill was perfected at my parents' house for the two weeks we were there. Within a couple days of being home, she was done with crawling. She loves playing outside and wants to walk everywhere we go. This presents a few challenges in places like the grocery store, or when we're running late for an appointment. She has also moved on to running (usually when she hears her Daddy in another part of the apartment).

Avery is eating a lot more finger foods, including chopped-up versions of our meals. There is not much she has tried that she doesn't like. She loves drinking milk at her meals and sipping on water throughout the day. She knows the signs for "more" and "all done" and uses them quite effectively.

She can point to her own hair, tummy, and toes, and ears and nose on someone else. In addition to saying "mama," "dada," and "amen," she can also say "doggie." She says the "sh" sound for shoes, and is quick to point out shoes anytime she sees them. She also tries to say the "s" sound, but it comes out sounding more like "sh" again. We'll often see her play with her hair if she hears us mention that word in passing. When we were at home, my dad made some comment about milking a cow, and from across the room we hear Avery start "mooing." Last night when I prayed with her before bed, she tried to repeat the word "sins" when she heard me thank Jesus for dying on the cross. It still surprises us when she understands what is being said, even when it is not being said directly to her.

We love watching her entertain herself either by reading books (usually out loud) or carrying items around the house from room to room. I often hear her in her room making herself laugh.

We love you so much, Avery, and we thank God for every day that we get to spend with you. Happy first birthday!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Food Obsessions

I have recently started buying and eating more avocados than I have ever eaten in the previous 27 years of my life combined. It started out as an easy baby food for Avery a few months ago, and then became our first homemade guacamole. After that, we chopped avocado onto a spinach salad with strawberries and balsamic vinaigrette. But then I was kind of stuck. So we ate a lot of guacamole.

Then I saw a recipe online for an avocado key lime pie. I usually have a bag of limes sitting on my counter because I love squeezing a slice into a glass of water or adding fresh lime juice to chicken. And key lime pie is one of Ryan's favorite desserts (and it has been an embarrassingly-long time since I have made him one). So last week, Ryan had to work the evening shift in the pediatric ER, and I got to work on the pie after putting Avery to bed.

The avocado pureed with yogurt makes for a thick, creamy base, and gives the pie a beautiful green color without adding food coloring. The addition of the chopped almonds to the graham cracker crust was amazing. In the end, you taste a creamy, tangy lime pie that is secretly a little richer and healthier thanks to the avocado. This is a must-try recipe!

Thanks to that recipe, I have tried a variation on the avocado-yogurt combination for a couple other dishes. First, by adding a little chopped cilantro, garlic, and lime juice, we made a cool and tangy topping for sweet potato and black bean enchiladas. And we improved our guacamole recipe by adding Greek yogurt to the avocado.

But back to the enchiladas...I can't remember where I heard about this idea, but we added baked sweet potato (mashed) to refried beans, black beans, and salsa to make a delicious filling. Ryan and I both loved it, and Avery even enjoyed a few bites.

Sweet potatoes are definitely our other newest obsession. They are pretty inexpensive up here in NJ. It has literally been months since I've bought or eaten a white potato. We have made sweet potato hash browns (saute the potatoes with onions then add a little crumbled bacon and a dash of maple syrup just before serving). And a couple nights ago, I added caramelized onions, crumbled goat cheese, lime zest, and garlic powder to mashed sweet potatoes and stuffed jumbo pasta shells with the mixture.

So here's to a summer of new twists on old classic recipes and trying something different for dinner tonight!
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