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Here I will discuss my homemade baby food and who knows what else!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Well it has been forever once again. I have to be honest, I have not been cooking that much lately. I am about 13 weeks along with my second baby and still coping with nausea and heartburn almost all day long. That being said, poor sam has really been eating a lot of cheese toast, almond butter and jelly sandwiches, yogurt, and so on! However, this week I have pulled it together and made a couple items for him (and us) that he enjoyed. First recipe, chicken and dumplings. Really not that hard for any of you that haven't made it homemade. There are so many different ways to make this recipe, some call for herbs and spices and other vegetables, which is the route we normally take in this house, but NOT with chicken and dumplings! These dumplings are a bit different they are more bready and less chewy than what you may get at Cracker Barrel. Some people like it that way though, but this is my favorite.

Chicken and Dumplings
3 organic chicken breasts
1/2 t chicken boullion paste
1 can cream of chicken soup
black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
2 T crisco
3/4 c milk

In a pot, put just enough water to cover the chicken breasts and add the chicken bouillion. Just cook these on medium low heat until cooked through.

Remove the chicken breasts and boil the leftover cooking water until reduced a little (pour out some of you have to)

Turn down the heat, add the soup, black pepper, and milk, and shredded cooked chicken. Let the mixture get bubbly (be careful though, it may stick if it gets too hot!)

While that is warming up, grab another bowl to make your dumplings. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the crisco until mixed through. Stir in the milk just until all ingredients have been moistened.

Drop by spoonfuls into your pot until all have been dropped in and top pot with a tight fitting lid. Set the timer on your oven for 12 minutes and dont open until the timer goes off! Then it's ready to eat! Enjoy!

Next recipe I got this idea from a local restaurant called "The Redneck Gourmet". Pimiento Cheeseburgers! Sounds gross, but you just have to try it, pretty tasty.

First things first, I like homemade pimiento cheese, but storebought would be fine too.

Pimiento Cheese

6 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese
6 oz extra sharp white cheddar cheese
4 oz jar pimientos-drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise (may use less)
1 t sugar
diced jalapenos (optional)

Shred your cheese (it is much better this way, don't buy the preshredded stuff), add the sugar and pimientos and mix. Now, add the mayonnaise, I would start with half of that and stir it up and add more until you have the consistency that you like. Next add in the jalapenos if you like. Then it's done! So easy!

Make your normal hamburgers on the grill or however you prefer and when almost finished top with a generous amount of the cheese and turn off the heat to the grill and just shut the lid. Wait about 5 minutes then they are ready to go. I like to gently melt the cheese like this because it can sort of just melt off the burger if you get it too hot! These burgers are so good and worth a try. Sam also likes the cheese toasted on some bread as well!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sometimes you want to give your children something a little more elegant to eat for dinner than just diced carrots and chicken and fruit. Plain, simple, and nutritious, yes.....but also boring. It is hard for me to get a more elegant menu prepared for my little guy on most nights because we don't get home from work/daycare until around 6:15 and he eats around 6:30 every night. This does not leave a lot of time for creativity. Recently though I have prepared a couple little items that were simple but a little more exciting for the little guy.

Simple sweet potato "casserole"
1/2 cup diced sweet potato steamed (leftover from the previous night)
organic whipped butter
brown sugar
pinch of unrefined sea salt

I just warmed it all up in a bowl and melted the butter a little and pureed with my immersion blender. Pretty good substitute and a little jazzed up from the previous night which was just plain diced sweet potato. Yes I know it has butter and brown sugar in it, but it was good and just had a little of the bad items.

Southern squash "casserole"
1 small summer squash (organic if you can find) peeled and diced into bite site pieces (i don't remove the seeds, sam has always just eaten them, but if you would feel better about yourself if you seeded it, then please do)
shredded cheese
2 t minced onion
unrefined sea salt
organic whipped butter
organic cold pressed olive oil

In a skillet add 1/2 t butter, 1/2 t olive oil, squash and onion. Cook until tender enough for your child to eat. Add just a pinch of salt and put into a small bowl. Add the cheese (probably about an 1/8 cup) and just slighty puree with your immersion blender. I left it sort of chunky for sam so that it wasn't too close to baby food.

These items are just a quick easy way to add a little flavor and variety to your child's plate.

Also, I am going to share the meal I made for me and Austin tonight because it was THAT good.

Flank steak quesadillas
1# marinated flank steak grilled and cut on the bias into small pieces (recipe for marinade below)
whole wheat tortillas
mexican cheese shredded
organic black beans drained and rinsed
onions and peppers sauteed
organic butter
jalapeno lime hot sauce (google this...Bruce foods louisiana brand jalapeno lime wing sauce.........this is the BEST stuff ever for flank steak or carne asada..YUM)

In a skillet melt about 1/2 t butter and spread out, lay torilla on top of butter and let cook slightly. Add your cheese and toppings and let melt. Fold tortilla in half before it gets too crispy and brown. Easy breezy dinner.

Flank Steak Marinade
2 T smart balance oil
2 T Tamari
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t dehydrated garlic
2 T salsa verde
2 T brown sugar
1 t cilantro paste (i buy it from publix or kroger in the produce section, great in a pinch when you don't have fresh cilantro)

I let it marinate in a gallon size ziploc overnight. SOOOO GOOD!

Hope you enjoy :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Toddler Tapas

This is so simple that it is ridiculous and maybe you are doing this already. Many nights I don't have a so called "meal" put together for Sam. I just go through my fridge and clean out any of his leftovers and combine everything to make a meal. A little of this, a little of that, and tons of variety which Sam loves.

Toddler Tapas (this is just tonight's version):
Diced and peeled English cucumber (the long skinny kind wrapped in plastic)
1/2 slice Havarti cheese
leftover organic baked sweet potato mixed with some homemade applesauce
Zucchini pancake (I will explain this later)
Ice water

So, there is protein, carbs, fruit, non-starchy veg, fat, dairy, it hits a little bit of every group and was put together in literally about 5 minutes.

So, the zucchini pancake is not a homemade item, I know I know, this is about homemade baby food! I bought one box of this to try it out and they are so delicious, I plan on making my own as soon as these are gone. When I come up with a good recipe I will be sure to post. So, the pancakes are savory and contain shredded zucchini, carrot, onion, basil, potato starch, wheat flour, egg white, garlic. These are so tasty and the first thing Sam cleans off of his plate!

I have made so many different versions, including foods like chopped up chicken, salmon, black beans, lima beans, banana, steamed apple, carrots, sliced tomato, wheat toast, cheese and spinach quesadilla triangles, etc. You see that the list goes on and on.

So, take a few minutes to see that you have in your fridge/freezer and just use your head and pick something from each of the food groups. Your child will probably love it because there is so much variety.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

It has been forever! I apologize! Honestly though, I really haven't been making anything special for Sam. He has been eating a lot of the food I cook for me and Austin or just some staples, like Salmon, with steamed carrots and applesauce, etc. I did make a HUGE (well for me) Christmas dinner for us and Austin's parents. I had not made any of the recipes before, but honestly they all turned out really great. To save myself a ton of typing, I am just going to tell you the names of the recipes and where to get them: (not figure friendly, but my taste buds are STILL thanking me)
1. Good Eats Roast Turkey-Alton Brown (food network)-this included brining the turkey before roasting....awesome recipe!
2. Carrot Souffle by Emeril (food network)-so good, you wouldn't even know it wasn't sweet potatoes.
3. Southern Cornbread Stuffing-Paula Deen (food network)-really good and moist, I do not like dried out stuffing.
4. Cherries Jubilee Black pepper crusted ham-southern living-pretty great as well.
5. Spice Cake with citrus filling-southern living (on the cover of the december issue)-funny story though, this is a 4 layer cake and I had nothing that was tall enough for this cake to fit into! I had to rig up the cake stand lid which ended up leaving a gap and the icing dried out after a couple days. So I ended up having to throw away the leftovers.

I also had a cranberry salad, green salad with homemade vinaigrette, and potato rolls. These were family recipes and would be happy to let you know how I made them if you are interested, just message me!

Sam ate all of the foods (except for the green salad) and loved it! We had tons of leftovers and I froze the extra ham which I used part of that for our new years dinner. I put some of the ham in the fresh turnip greens and also in the black eyed peas! SOO GOOD! I literally ate greens and peas for 3 days and was not tired of it at all.

Last night I made a homemade pizza using a recipe that my mom recently gave me. Sam ate a whole piece of pizza for lunch today, he was definitely digging it.

Spinach Alfredo Pizza
10 oz package of frozen spinach cooked and drained well
1 jar of alfredo sauce
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Pizza Crust
Crushed red pepper

Put the sauce, spinach, and crushed red pepper (I only used a few shakes because Sam was eating) into a saucepan and just warm
Prepare the crust, use whatever you like. I used the "pizza crust yeast" with the recipe on the back of the package, pretty good. It got really crispy which is what I like.
Put the sauce mixture on the crust and top with parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Optional toppings: roasted garlic, chicken, bacon, grilled chicken, roma tomatoes, onions, pineapple.

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving break is almost over!!! Sad. But back from the holiday food and back to our normal healthy lifestyle. Sam did pretty good at the Thanksgiving meal except for when the family gave him 1/2 of a fried apple pie!!!!! (it was made with the new "simple" canned biscuit dough and mom's cooked apples...so I guess it could have been worse!). Sam loves green beans and he is also Mr. Independent so green beans are a great food for him to feed himself. However, lately in his diapers I am seeing whole pieces of green beans which leads me to believe he isn't chewing his food adequaetely. And we all know (hopefully) that if we aren't chewing our food which is an important part of digestion then we aren't reaping the benefits of the foods to their fullest extent. Back to the drawing board for me to try and provide some handheld foods that he chews up well enough. I have decided to do ground veggies and feed with a spoon until some of those back teeth come in. Tonight his veg/starch combo was very tasty, I would have eaten it myself! Actually, Austin and I are eating it almost the same combination, just not ground up obviously because we do have back teeth, lol.

2-3 organic broccoli florets
1/2 baked potato
7-8 organic baby spinach leaves (or Kale, or greens-whatever you have handy)
1/2 garlic clove
2 t chopped onion
pinch (or less) unrefined sea salt
1 t smart balance light butter (or organic olive oil)

1. combine the broccoli, spinach, onion, garlic and steam for about 10 minutes in the baby food cooker (or whatever method you choose). Also, remember when chopping up your onion and garlic to let it sit for about 10 minutes before cooking so that it can fully develop those anticancer properties.

2. Add in potato to steamed veggies and roughly chop/puree with about 1 t butter and just a shake of the sea salt.

I added back a little of the cooking water to the mixture to get the right texture. This should make more than enough for one meal. I had enough leftover to provide a small side for lunch tomorrow. Sam ate these vegetables with steamed salmon and a few bites of the homemade whole wheat bread. He seemed to really enjoy all of it!

Another food tried over break was turnip greens, Sam seemed to enjoy these as well. Due to the fact that he only has 4 teeth it will need to be well cooked. Sometimes Austin and I eat our greens not well done like you are used to eating, I like a little bite to mine. But for Sam's sake, it needs to be WELL done. If you are accustomed to southern style greens you may not like my recipe but it is healthier.

Turnip Greens

Chopped greens
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic
red pepper flakes
brown rice syrup
white vinegar
organic olive oil

1. combine all ingredients. I know the amounts are not specific but it really depends on how many greens you are cooking. Usually I do a decent sized pot full. As far as the vinegar goes I probably use around 1/4 cup (depends on your taste), brown rice syrup 1 tablespoon (estimate?), red pepper to taste, salt pepper to taste, olive oil probably about 1 tablespoon. It really just depends how you like your greens. We always put hot pepper sauce on it just before serving (leave this off for the little ones).

2. Cook at a simmer until the greens are cooked down until very soft, like cooked spinach.

Hope this isn't too different from the regular that has smoked meat, or fat back, or turkey necks, bacon, etc. I just can't stand all of the greasiness in my greens. Maybe it is because I didn't grow up eating greens, but learned to eat them once I moved to the deep south. But they are GREAT! You should really give them a try. If you like spinach it isn't much different. Actually, I think spinach has a stronger flavor than greens.

Hope you and your little ones enjoy!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Well the first birthday party was a success and is over. Ended up doing 2 different cakes, not that there were that many people that I needed 2 cakes, I guess I just wanted to overdo it and try two different decoration styles. I am by no means a cake decorator as I have said in the past but would love to be able to decorate a little, so it was fun to practice with sam's first cake. The monkey cake was SO easy! Anybody could definitely create this cake without problems. The hardest part was decorating the face, which mine didn't look that great but I was happy to say I made sam's cake!

Also I attempted a cupcake pull apart cake. Wanted to do a football shape and use Auburn colors in honor of the Auburn/Georgia game yesterday. A football shape seems relatively easy but actually it is a little bit hard to ensure that you have a nice rounded edge. But anyways, I was happy with the outcome and the cake tasted great!

Used the leftover cupcakes and just decorated them with the same icing.

I hope when it comes times for your kid's birthday and you want to make a cake you aren't intimidated by the decorating. I have zero experience, and it went pretty well for the first time I thought.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Are you tired of my pumpkin recipes yet? Well I have another, but this one is savory, not a dessert. This is a good way to get the veggies into your little ones (and maybe your husband) without them knowing. It also cuts down on the calories and fat. Turns a pretty unhealthy recipe into one that you don't feel bad about giving your kids or eating yourself.

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

2 cups dried whole wheat macaroni
2 T butter (I use the smart balance sticks)
3 T whole wheat flour (can use white)
2 cups organic skim milk
1 t dry mustard
2 t (sugar, agave nectar, raw sugar-whatever you prefer or have on hand)
1 dash grated nutmeg
2 cups cheddar shredded
1 cup pumpkin
kosher salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil your macaroni as usual, drain and set aside
2. Melt your butter in the pan, add in flour and stir until all of the flour is mixed in with the butter
3. Pour in milk and whisk until all lumps are gone. This will need to heat until almost boiling for the mixture to thicken
4. Once thick, turn down heat and continue to stir as you add in the dry mustard, nutmeg, cheese, salt/pepper, and sweetener
5. Now add in your pureed pumpkin and the macaroni
6. Heat until warm and serve.

This recipe is pretty good. It does have a slight pumpkin flavor to it. I served it to Sam for supper last night and he ate it up, just like that is how he had always had it. This is important to remember when you taste it because it is not exactly like the fattening regular mac and cheese we are all used to. If you are not a fan of pumpkin a slightly milder flavor to use could be butternut squash or maybe even carrot puree (I haven't tried to carrot). This makes a lot of mac & cheese so there will be enough for the whole fam as well as some to freeze for baby. I don't think freezing a large portion for the whole family would turn out very good....macaroni tends to get pretty mushy after it is thawed. Should be fine for your little ones though because they need it a little mushy anyways.

I am in the middle of baking cupcakes and a cake. Little Sam turns 1 tomorrow, but the party isn't until Saturday. I am going to freeze the cakes and cupcakes until Friday, then do the icing etc. I really deliberated over what kind of cake to make. Should it be a healthy cake with no sugar and using pureed fruits and no icing......or should I just get one from the store and go all out with the icing piled high? If no one was coming over for the party, more than likely I would have made a healthy version without icing, and maybe just some powdered sugar on top. BUT family is coming over and would probably pitch a fit if I didn't have a "regular" cake so that we could see Sam smush icing all over his hair and up his nose. So, I decided on a homemade "regular" cake rather than a storebought/bakery cake. First of all, if I am making it at home I know all of the ingredients involved and secondly, I really wanted to be the one to make his first cake.

I like to make all of my desserts from scratch, but the recipe I am using for the cake(s) is one that I got from a friend (thanks Jane Doe) who made these cupcakes for a baby shower. It involves buying cake mix from the store and then adding other ingredients. Plus it makes a ton which is better for me since essentially I am preparing 2 cakes and needed a ton of batter. The recipe is here-----> http://www.food.com/recipe/white-almond-sour-cream-wedding-cake-69630. It also says you can half this recipe if needed.

With the batter I made 24 cupcakes....I am attempting to make a pull apart cake, where you put all the cupcakes together and ice it like a cake, but instead of having to cut slices you just pull apart your "piece". With the other half of the batter I am going to attempt the martha stewart monkey cake......I am by no means a cake decorator but this one looked somewhat achievable so I am going to try. But this half of the batter I added 1/2 cup cocoa powder to make it chocolate. The recipe that goes with the martha stewart version is a banana cake which sounds great, but after reading the reviews everyone stated that the cake was like a banana bread.....that just sounded so dense and not appropriate for a birthday cake. I will post some pics if things are successful!

Hope you enjoy the healthy mac & cheese!