Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's Moving Day!

We're moving!
Well.. virtually moving, not physically...but maybe physically as well but that's a story for a different day.

The story for today is that myself and my wonderful and like-minded friend Jess and I have decided to merge our blogging personalities into a dually authored blog titled BabyFoodScoops. 
('The Scoop,' get it? what? it makes you think of ice cream? oh.. me too.. I tend to blame that on the pregnancy...)

Anyway, as a reader this allows you more frequent updates, less ad space from Google, the perspective of more than one lovely blogging lady, and hopefully some darling photos of Jess's little lady Wren sporting her ever-stylish duds. So update your blog readers and hop on over to www.babyfoodscoops.com ..I'm looking forward to your feedback.

See you there!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chicken, Sweet Potato & Grape Puree

First of all, my grandest apologies for the lack of blog posting as of late. I've been spending my precious free moments in the kitchen, as well as actually completing a project I started nearly two years ago: electronically cataloging the mounds of recipes I have collected over the past fifteen years.  More on this later.. but yes..  you read that correctly.. fifteen years! This lady has been a kitchen inhabitant since middle school, likely the marriage of a like-minded cooking mother and hungry siblings who weren't into eating dinner at eight pm.

For those of you who haven't met Annabel Karmel's book First Meals, it comes highly recommended from this house! As a mom constantly looking for new ideas on flavor combinations and creative meals for our LittleOne, I have found more than a two dozen go-to recipes to work with. Karmel has the chapters segregated into stages based on age and/or texture preferences. Although our LittleOne is now over a year, we try to keep variety to her diet in terms of texture - similar to myself, some days she prefers her food in fingerfood-appropriate chunks, and other days a lumpy puree is right up her alley. This particular recipe is from Karmel's earliest chapter (6-9 months, or first tastes) and has gotten two thumbs up from our LittleOne's sticky little fingers.

I will warn the reader that the first, second, and third time you open the refrigerated puree, the smell may widen your eyes. At first I thought it was first trimester smell-sensitivity, but The Husband ensured me that he had the same response. Unless your puree has been in the refrigerator for two or three weeks, don't assume it has gone bad. Pureed chicken just smells that appetizing. Once it has been warmed, the smell dissipates and your LittleOne will be eating her protein and beta-carotene by the smell-free, blissful spoonful.

As with most of our cooking, we generally avoid peeling vegetables. Four reasons: 1. Time saver 2. More fiber 3. Adds texture 4. In the case of baby food that will be pureed anyway, we're not concerned about large pieces of peel.  However, if you're into that, both the grapes and sweet potato were recommended to be peeled in the original recipe.

Chicken, Sweet Potato and Grape Puree
3 Tablespoons onion, peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 sweet potato, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 cup unsalted chicken stock or broth
6 seedless grapes (we used red, however I'm confident either will be fine)

Saute the onion in the olive oil until softened but not colored.
Add the chicken and saute for 3-4 minutes until browned.
Add the sweet potato and chicken stock.
Cover and simmer for about ten to twelve minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the grapes and puree in a blender, food processor, or food mill until desired consistency.
Serve warm.
Refrigerate for up to one week.

Adapted from: First Meals by Annabel Karmel

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentines Day

Happy Valentine's Day! Albeit one day late, I say we spread the love and stretch out the red/white/pink celebration for an entire week. <-- Is she making excuses for posting late? or truly 'spreading the love'? You'll never know..

I didn't actually intend for this message to be late, but .. well.. I'll explain in a minute... so although the mister and I tend to avoid extravagantly celebrating the holiday, we have had fun the past two years with the LittleOne making crafty-but-simple homemade valentines to send to family members and her favorite little baby friends.

Though I will admit to helping with a few aesthetic touches, the stamps and stickers were almost entirely positioned by my 13 month old -- and she had a blast! Once she realized that the stickers would stay where she pressed them, we were on a roll. And here I was thinking that it would be a year or so before "craft time" could be a family event!

This year's valentines were extra special, as she had some big news to share -- hence the postponed postage of this message -- call me considerate, but I wanted to make sure that the grandparents were all alerted to the latest in the event they stumbled online and came across a blog post about it. Scratch that, I'm actually laughing outloud to myself about the prospect of that because my dear parents are still clicking on pop-ups that tell them they just won a $100 Target giftcard. I wish I were kidding. But, you know, just in case they found out what a blog was and decided to scour google.com to see if their daughter had one.

In any respect, I was thinking of you all yesterday and hoping that you had a warm and wonderful Valentine's Day! XOXO

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Well, since I started the year with the plan of short-term monthly goals, I figured it best to hold myself accountable with an update from the previous month. January was a bit less successful than I had hoped when it came to accomplishing my objectives, however you may have heard me mention that we've been 'busy' with some unexpected time-consuming business that we can all discuss at a later date. The point is not to beat yourself up over the things you didn't do, but to realize that without writing them down ahead of time, the likelihood that these things would have been accomplished is slight. So without further ado, my January goals, I'm 3 for 6 .. 

-Take vitamins and fish oil daily.
-Cook, Sit, and Enjoy five family dinners
-Cook with fish at least once. 
-Email to the LittleOne once per week (see Email for Babies) (2/4)
-Orchestrate Interactive Dinner Party 
-Make and Attend an Eye Appointment

(Red: Not Started/ Yellow: In Progress/ Green: Complete)

Moving forward into February, I'm taking some of the unaccomplished January pieces as well as challenging myself to move forward. At this pace, I won't want to see the length of my December 2011 list!

-Email to LittleOne once per week.
-Acquire fresh fish, and prepare for a glorious dinner.
-Read a novel. 
-Blog & Share three additional toddler-favorite recipes.
-"Spring Clean" the RedDoor master bedroom, bathroom, and closet.
-Finish Step 1 of adorable knitting project

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Three Bears (Purple) Porridge

As with many other parents who work outside the home, our weekends at home with the LittleOne are sacred. At least once per weekend we try to sit down together and enjoy a long, lingering dining experience as a family. One meal together really shouldn't be ridiculously challenging to coordinate, but sadly it tends to be. We've been 'busy,' remember?

So rather than aim for dinnertime, where timing can be hit-or-miss with the LittleOne, this weekend we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast together of Purple Porridge. As we ate, we recited to the LittleOne the infamous story about Goldilocks and the Three Bears, adding our own touches. (i.e. she made sure to knock politely before entering, and of course she was sure to take her shoes off at the door..) Anyway, the recipe was a huge hit and The Husband can't wait to revisit the leftovers early next week!

Note: We do quite a bit of cooking on the weekends to ensure that everyone is adequately nourished throughout the week. This recipe was doubled with no changes to cooking time, and is easily reheated on the stovetop or microwave for repeat enjoyment. 

Purple Porridge

Extra blueberries for the Little One
1 1/4 cups water
dash of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons agave nectar (or honey)
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped or grated orange zest
1/2 cup milk (we had vanilla soy milk)

Bring water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan.
Add salt, cinnamon, agave and oatmeal.
Stir well.
With extra cinnamon, for The Husband
Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for five minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed before adding blueberries, orange zest and milk. Bring to a simmer, and cook five additional minutes or until oatmeal is thick and creamy and the blueberries have begun to burst.
Remove from heat, cover, and let stand five minutes, then serve.

*Note, mom added bananas, which everyone thought was a grand idea and soon all three of us had them in our bowls. Highly recommended addition to an already-stellar oatmeal experience. 

Bananas for mom, highly recommended!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Roasted Root Vegetables with Rosemary

Today's recipe is brought to you by the letter "R" .. 

Everyone has a favorite food, and although she can't communicate much beyond pointing, clapping, signing for "more," babbling "that," "this," and rooooaring like a lion, we are quite sure that the recipe that follows is her favorite. The Husband is also a fan, so much actually that we had to start doubling this recipe to use as an adult side dish as well.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Rosemary
1 parsnip, washed and trimmed, wax removed
2 carrots, washed and trimmed
1 sweet potato, washed
Olive Oil
1-2 tablespoons Rosemary, crushed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Chop all vegetables to a uniform size (if feeding to a young child, we tend to choose something between 'finger food' size or a bit smaller).
Toss vegetables in 1/8-1/4 cup olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary.
Spread in 8x8 or 8x13 glass pan and cook, uncovered, 30-45 minutes, or until vegetables are fork-tender.
Allow to cool.
For adults, may add salt and pepper to taste

We hope you enjoy as much as our LittleOne!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

So touched.

Those of you who know me personally know that I work in oncology. Sometimes those days are rough, some days are joyous. Sometimes you rush home and hug your family, and sometimes you are so touched by something that you can't help but share it. I hope you don't mind the digression from normally scheduled programming, but this was one of those stories.

Life is so much shorter than it should be for some people. Do me a favor and think of the thing that has been aggravating you the most today.. and then watch this video and put it into perspective. I know it made me feel pretty grateful to have a healthy family and friends. I wish the same for you, I really do.