Saturday, October 30, 2010

Treat, please.

Halloween isn't even technically here yet and I'm already raiding the kids' trick-or-treats they collected today. Gotta make sure they're safe, you know.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

turkey bats

Saw a cool idea to press cookie cutters into cheese slices to make fun shapes to eat. We did that today with turkey slices for lunch. Bats, cats, and pumpkins. Fun!

My favorite comment: "These are really good, Mom." Like we'd just made a recipe or something.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Baby food is a hit, with non-babies

I moved beyond rice and barley cereal tonight and made a thin rice cereal-acorn squash tonight for our 5-month-old. I made a big bowl of it and told my older two kids that they could eat baby food tonight too, if they wanted. They loved it! My husband and I exchanged smiling glances as the kids kept asking for more. It was completely unseasoned squash that I had roasted in the oven. They just enjoyed eating "like a baby." Wonder how long it will take before the novelty of this wears off?

As for the baby? He wasn't so impressed.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week 74--Texas Inspiration

Tues – Fideo con Pollo (new recipe from my sis in Texas--see below)
Wedsbeef stir-fry
Thurs stuffed peppers and mashed potatoes
Fri fish w/cornbread and greens
Extras chip plate

Quickly assembled. I believe "comino" in the recipe below is cumin if my bits of Spanish serve. Happy cooking.

Fideo con Pollo
1 cut up chicken
1 small bag fideo or vermicelli
1 small diced onion
1 TBSP consomme (chicken bouillion)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp comino
2 TBSP oil
1 tsp salt
Fry chicken in skillet and set aside.
Stir-fry noodles in oil until golden.
Drain oil.
Add onion, stir until clear.
Add 3-4 C water with bouillion or chicken broth
Add garlic, pepper, comino, salt.
Add chicken and simmer, covered.

Rubber hits the road

Menu planning (for me) is done in order to make life easier. I will now put this to the test. It's after 10PM, and really, I just want to go to bed after a busy weekend away.

How quickly can I put a menu together? Let's start the clock:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Feasty Fast Food

Caution: Infomercial.

Imagine a fast-food restaurant that a group of guys sitting around one sunny Saturday afternoon would create. That's Five Guys. We tried one out tonight in the U of M campus. Truly, a great hamburger. No trans fats. Beef and 'taters au naturale. They even posted on a chalkboard where their potatoes were from that day. Nice. The music was too loud and lights too bright, but I enjoyed my burger so much I didn't really mind. It's also the first hamburger our "selective" son fully consumed. I'm not sure his little body knows what to do what that many calories.

Peanut allergies? Run away! You can scoop yourself a handful of in-the-shell peanuts to munch while you wait for your burger. If you need a fast-food fix, but don't want to suffer fast-food regrets ("Why did I order this? It's so nasty.") they're worth a try.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Week 73--An Italian, a Mexican, and a Jewish guy walk into the kitchen...

Mon – Steak and potatoes*
Tues – Enchilada casserole (Taste of Home)
Weds – Falafels* (box mix)
Thurs –  Pasta w/fried eggs and cheese* (Pepin: Fast Food My Way)
Fri Grandma's house
Here's the plan. Now to shop at some point. Interestingly, I think owning a hamster has made us eat more veggies. We have fun seeing what she likes, so we all get into taste-test mode w/carrots, broccoli, and other foods. Somehow my kids think the idea of feeding her cookies, ice cream, or other treats is totally ridiculous. It's interesting to me that they understand there is a difference between foods that a body requires, and those that it sometimes just desires. We don't spend a lot of time on this topic, but apparently it doesn't take much for them to get that there is some sort of difference. Happy cooking.

* indicates a meal that can be made in 20 minutes or less

Baby food reference

I found this list online for when to introduce certain foods to babes. My days of instant meal-prep a la breast-feeding are soon coming to an end and I needed to brush up on what to serve when. It's interesting to glance through just to remind yourself of options out there. I keep hearing about how fantastic quinoa is, but have yet to try it. Any good recipes you've tried?
Iron-rich Foods*
Beans & Legumes
-Red Kidney Beans-9-11 months
-Lima Beans-9-11 months
-Edamame-9-11 months
-Silken Tofu-9-11 months
-Cannellini Beans-9-11 months
-Butter Beans-6 months
-Navy Beans-9-11 months
-Aduki Beans-9-11 months
-Barlotti Beans-9-11 months
-Pinto Beans-9-11 months
-Chickpeas-9-11 months
-Reduced Sodium and low sugar canned baked beans-9-11 months
-Red and Green Lentils-6 months
-Peas and Split Peas-6 months
Artichokes-9-11 months
Potato with Skin-6 months
Pumpkin-6 months
Sweet Potato-6 months
Mushrooms-9-11 months
Figs-7-8 months
Prunes-7-8 months
Dried Apricots-7-8 months
Peaches-6 months
Raisins 12-15 months
Blackstrap Molasses-9 months
Whole-Grain Breads and Pasta
-Couscous-6 months
-Millet-7-8 months
-Barley-6 months
Leafy Green Vegetables
-Spinach-6 months
-Kale-9 months
-Swiss Chard-9 months
-Collards-9 months
-Turnip Greens-9 months
-Bok Choy-9 months
Fortified Formula and Cereals-6 months
Egg Yolks (well cooked)-7-9 months
Nuts & Seeds (finely ground)-6 months (if no history of family allergy)

*Absorption of Iron is improved by serving Iron-rich foods with Vitamin C-rich foods or Protein-rich foods.

Protein-rich Foods
Egg whites (well cooked)-7-9 months
Yogurt 7-9 months
Greek Yogurt 7-9 months
Cottage Cheese7-9 months
Ricotta Cheese 7-9 months
Mild Cheddar 7-9 months
Pasteurized Goat Cheese-9-11 months
Beans (see list above)
Legumes (see list above)
Amaranth-7-8 months
Quinoa-7-8 months

Vitamin C-rich foods
Kiwi Fruit-7-9 months (later if concern of sesame seed allergy)
Citrus-9-12 months
Berries-9-12 months
Red, Orange and Yellow Bell Peppers 9-12 months
Cauliflower-6 months
Cantaloupe-6 months
Peaches-6 months
Nectarines-6 months
Broccoli-6 months
Zucchini-6 months
Butternut Squash-6 months
Pumpkin-6 months
Sweet Potato-6 months
Juice-7-9 months (diluted 1 part juice 10 parts water)

First Meals By: Annabel Karmel
Cooking for Baby: Lisa Barnes
Baby and Toddler Cookbook: Rachael Anne Hill

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Star in the Apple

After reading a story about a star in an apple at school this week my kids have been apple-crazed. Here's a picture of a slice.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Secrets to Quick Meals

I read this in the newspaper (which we received a free copy of a month ago and I'm still reading, if that gives you any sense for how unlikely I am to actually subscribe). Here are ones I liked:

— skip measuring spoons and practice eyeballing
— gather all ingredients before you begin (I love doing this. It's a close as I'll get to having a prep chef.)
— use quick-cooking proteins (chicken, fish, flank steaks)

 The biggest "duh" suggestion:

— multitask

Hello! If you're female this is instinct. Does anyone not multitask while waiting for the water to boil? Really? You just sit there and patiently wait, never mind chopping the onions or helping your kid find a piece of her Pinkie Pie Princess Pony Castle that's missing? Please.

Week 72—Storytime

Mon – Beef and noodles, cornbread (we were supposed to have fish, but it was bad after forgetting about it all weekend)
Tues – Pepper lime chicken, green beans, couscous/rice*
Weds – Pasta puttanesca, salad, crusty bread (Viva Italia)
Thurs –  Pork kebabs w/grilled plums and couscous (Real Simple)
Fri Chili
Extras steak & potatoes*; pancakes & smoothies*
It happens sometimes, when you get into a really interesting book (Book Thief—thanks, Colleen). You somehow manage to carve out all kinds of time in your day to read it. So much time, in fact, that you forget about feeding people until 10 minutes before dinnertime. This week's menu, therefore, is centered around prioritizing reading time. And I've modified my fast meals to be 20 min. or less. We'll see if it helps increase my list. Happy cooking. 
* indicates a meal that can ideally be made in 20 minutes or less

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Menu-plan breakdown

Went to cook this evening. No steaks. No seafood. No anchovies for the pasta dish. Nearly had to go out to eat (tragedy!), but tacos saved the day. Menu plan ≠ shopping list this week. Other than losing the hamster, thank goodness this is the greatest crisis we faced today.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jumbo Broccoli

Just read a research finding in Parents mag that when kids were served larger portions of veggies, they ate more veggies. Maybe that's why a jumbo portion of broccoli went over so well in my house recently.

I had cut off small portions for each of my kids. Then they saw the gigantic piece left on the serving plate. My son asked for it. I thought, why not? Looks fun. And it was. Both kids ended up eating giant pieces of broccoli, and ate more than I've ever seen them eat before. Cool!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pasta Party

You know you need a night out when your Freudian eyeballs read "party pack" on the side of a box of dried pasta when what it really says is "pantry pack."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Week 71—From the Archives

MonPasta Puttanesca w/crusty bread (Viva Italia)
TuesChinese cashew chicken (Crock Pot Book)
WedsSteak and mashed w/corn on cob
Thurs Chicken fingers (Epicurious)
Fri Tilapia fillets w/spinach salad & cornbread
Alt Ham & barley stew

Remember Week 20, anyone? Neither did I, but it looked tasty so I'm reusing it with a little modification for this week's menu.

Every now and then you get into a food groove. I went through a time when I bought hummus every time I went to the store. Then it was Pirate Booty. Sun Chips. Avocados. My current food groove, going strong through most of the summer, has been spinach salad with strawberries, sunflower nuts and poppyseed dressing. They're not always that healthy. Hope it lasts! Happy cooking.