BYTES of Informationon Motherhood, Food, Fitness & Real Life

Monday Kitchen Mania: High Protein Pancakes – Healthy Toddler Recipe

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My little guy loves food he can pick up and feed to himself. He also loves the texture of bread-based foods like pancakes. I love that he is independent and wants to feed himself, but I also want to make sure he’s taking in as much nutrition in each bite as he can. One food he loves is pancakes, however, these aren’t always packed full of nutrients that I know he needs like protein, calcium, and healthy fats. So I decided to experiment with the typical pancake recipe a bit and see if I could come up with a version he loves, but that is also a nutrition powerhouse!
This recipe is easy to make, looks and tastes just like a regular pancake, but provides you with so much more nutrition!

½ cup whole wheat flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 egg
½ cup Daisy Cottage Cheese
¼ tsp vanilla
1 tsp agave nectar
2 tsp cinnamon

In a small bowl, whisk the egg. In a food processor, combine cottage cheese, vanilla, and agave and blend until smooth. Add in the egg, flour, baking powder and cinnamon, and blend until evenly dispersed.

Heat a small, lightly greased pan (you can use cooking spray/coconut oil/butter, etc) to medium-low. Pour in ¼ cup batter into pan (or use the amount desired for the size pancake you would like). Heat until the edges of the batter become light to medium brown in color and the surface bubbles. Flip and continue to cook on the other side. Serve warm.
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Optional: if you would like to add even more nutrients into this recipe, try mixing in your favorite mashed fruit, such as ½ cup mashed banana or berries into the batter. If you add in the fruit, you can remove the agave to prevent your pancake from tasting too sweet.
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Disclosure: I am a member of the Daisy Health Network.

An Open Letter to the Parents of Honey-Rae: Why Being Different Is a Blessing

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Dear Tanya and Adam,

 When I read about the beautiful display of love you showed for your daughter by tattooing your legs, it brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful gift to show your daughter that her birthmark makes her special and unique! As an adult woman who has a port-wine birthmark that covers the lower left side of my face, ear, chin, neck, and chest, I want you to know that your daughter’s birthmark is a blessing, not a curse.

Sure, as a young child, and even now at times as an adult, I will occasionally have the “why me” moments of wishing that my body was the same as everyone else’s. Why can’t I wake up with a face free of embarrassing red marks? From age eight until my early twenties, I underwent regular laser surgeries in the hopes that my birthmark would fade away. Although it lightened a bit, it never went away. And looking back, I’m actual glad. If a cure came out tomorrow that would erase my birthmark for good, I’m not sure I would part with it. This red mark is a part of who I am, and it makes me unique and special, just like your daughter’s birthmark makes her. In fact, in a strange way, I have many reasons to be thankful that I was blessed with a birthmark. Whenever anyone looks strangely at your daughter, or if someone teases her in school, before becoming too upset for her, please keep the following in mind:

 Having a birthmark has shown me what real beauty truly is in others.

Others will love you for the real you, not for what they just see on the outside, but the beauty that shines from within. If someone dislikes you or avoids you because your mark makes them uncomfortable, that just shows you what type of person they really are inside. A true friend is someone who sees past any physical imperfections and instead, embraces the entire you- the special you from the inside out. Someone who only wants to be with you for your looks, isn’t a true friend at all. Your birthmark just helps you to weed these people out of your life faster than others can. Those around you, who notice you, and not your mark, are the people worth surrounding yourself with. The others don’t matter.


 My skin may be red, but it’s very tough

 From a very young age, people will notice your daughter’s birthmark. Some may stare. Some may make ignorant comments. Some are just curious. But the fact is, she won’t be oblivious to these stares. She will feel them. She will see them out the corner of her eye. When she walks into a room and sees people whispering, she will wonder if they are looking at her birthmark. I’ve been there. I’ve experienced it. It makes you self-conscience and at times; it makes you want to hide. But after a while, it makes you stronger. You learn that no matter what other people think, you have every right to belong. You can achieve anything you set your mind to. You are just as good as anyone else, no matter what your skin looks like. You quickly learn to ignore the stares and whispers. You learn that what others think doesn’t matter. You start to focus on you, and what you need to do to better yourself and rise above the whispers and stares. You learn to brush it off. You learn that you wont be accepted everywhere always and that’s OK. Others can show prejudice, but that doesn’t define you. Only you get to define who you will be, where you will go in life, and what you will achieve.


 I’ve learned not to judge a book by its cover

Just as I don’t want others to judge me because I have a birthmark, I have learned not to judge others solely on looks. It can be hard at times. You may see someone who is overweight and assume they are lazy. But did you know they have already lost 100 pounds and kill themselves at the gym everyday? Or what about that person you see who always looks disheveled? Did you know they spend every minute of the day caring for a dying loved one and don’t have time to care for themselves? The women with bad hair- maybe she is trying to manage the early stages of alopecia.


 The truth is, when we judge someone on face value alone, we are missing out on so much. We have no idea why someone looks the way they do. And really- does it matter? So what if someone is overweight or has bad hair or bad skin. Does that make them a lesser person then us? Are they less deserving of our love or respect? Absolutely not! When you are one of the “judged” people, you look at others in a different light. You don’t just judge them by looks alone, but you look deeper and try to think about the entire person versus what one can just see on the outside alone. By doing so, you are able to befriend some amazing individuals who bring so much to your life, who you may have otherwise avoided due to face value alone.


 Most importantly, I’ve learned to love myself for me.

What makes me different makes me special. Every scar, every mark, every wrinkle, every wart we all have tells a story about us. It makes us our own perfectly unique individual. There’s not one other person exactly like you in this world. You bring to the world something no one else on this planet does, and you can use that uniqueness to bless those around you. Looks fade, bodies change, but the real you – what’s inside- is what stays the same. Embrace the real you, share it with others, and never, for one second, think you are anything less than the incredible person that you are. A mark on your body, whether it’s on your face or your leg, is just God’s way of showing the world that he wants everyone around you to notice just how truly special you are.


I know that your daughter is incredibly loved. She is a beautiful and strong child and she will grow up to be an amazing adult thanks to her supportive family. If at any time, she questions herself and her worth because of what others deem a “deformity,” make sure she knows that she is not alone. Having a birthmark just enhances her live, and she will be thankful for all of the lessons it teaches her as an adult.


I hope that by writing this, as I sit here wearing makeup to cover my facial mark, you don’t think I am a hypocrite. The truth is, as an adult who works with the public, I am still self-conscience. The fear of silent whispers and stares is always there. So is it easier to cover my mark at times? Absolutely! But whether it’s covered or exposed, the lessons it has taught me are invaluable. Perhaps without a birthmark, I may not have been as tolerant of others. Perhaps I may not have considered others feelings as much as I do today. Perhaps I may not have filled my life with individuals who love me for me and don’t care about pure physical beauty as much as the beauty that lies inside. For these reasons I am thankful I am me, mark and all, and you can take solace in knowing that daughter will feel the same way about her birthmark as well. 



Friday Fitness Challenge- Wall Squats

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If you have ever performed a wall squat, you know that they are tough! Your quads start burning and you feel like you may fall over. But if you stick with it, the gains in strength and muscles are well worth it! That’s why this Friday I challenge you to a full week of wall squats.

The challenge, if you choose to accept it- perform a wall squat for a total of two minutes per day, every day this week.

You don’t have to hold one wall squat for a full two minutes (if you can- that’s awesome). Instead, break it up into small amounts throughout the day. Start with squatting against the wall for 15 seconds, take a short break, and repeat three more times. Do this once in the morning and once in the evening. As the week progresses, challenge yourself to hold each squat a little longer. Build from 4- 15 second squats to 3- 20 second squats. And then two 30 second squats. Keep building and you may find yourself holding a squat for a full minute or more my the end of the week!

How will you fit in your #WallSquatChallenge this week?

The Woes of a Lollipop Kid

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No, I’m not talking about the “lollipop kids” from the Wizard of Oz. I have my own version of a little lollipop at home – my giant headed baby! Since he was born, Joey has a huge head. I don’t think when you look at him his head looks abnormally large, but when you look at his height and weight percentiles versus his head size, it’s pretty obviously he’s a little top heavy. For most of his life, his height and weight measurements have been under the 30th percentile. Most recently his weight is at 18th percentile for age (it’s back up after being sick for a while- he was down under the 10th percentile for a little while!). His height, although we can’t be sure since he never stops moving long enough to get a very accurate measurement, is somewhere between the 7th and 15th percentile. His head, however, is a different story.

Since birth, his head has been consistently between the 95th-99th percentiles. So what does this mean? Basically, he’s shaped like a lollipop- an adorable one, but he’s still a little lollipop kid. It can be tough- getting dressed is no joke. Getting clothing that fits his smaller body but can go over his head is quite a challenge. Very often the pull-over shirts get stuck on his noggin. He’s a big fan of buttons and zippers for that reason.

Even walking and running with an above average head can be a challenge. I actually brought him to the doctor after he had been sick because I was afraid he seemed a bit “woobly” on his feet. The diagnosis- he’s a little tired from being sick and has a huge amount of weight to balance above his shoulders. You can see it when he runs, the faster he goes, the more he starts to lead with his head and before you know it, he topples over.

I’m not too worried. I think his huge head is adorable and just perfect the way it is. In my opinion it’s probably just filled with big brains ☺ Sure he has to buy 2T hats when he’s still in 9-12 month clothes, but that’s OK. Ill take him just the way he is.


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