Category Archives: Recipes

in the kitchen this weekend


weekend dinners at our house means everyone’s in the kitchen. the trick to saving our sanity is keeping these little hands busy, even if it means extra chunky guacamole!

with mike in charge of assembling quesadillas with leftover rotisserie chicken, I usually head up the guacamole committee with my most committed workers 🙌🏼

i keep the recipe so simple these days. my recipe is a nod from the DALS cookbook:

1 avocado + juice of 1 lime + chopped onion (1/4 cu or to taste) + handful of chopped cilantro +  kosher salt (1/4 tsp or to taste) + cumin (1/4 tsp)

And ya know that thing they say about kids in the kitchen helping prep the food being more likely to actually consume it?  Not a chance! Well generally, in our house at least! 😋

Happy weekending and Cinco De Mayo celebrating!

 

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Adventures in Baby Purees: Lentils & Sweet Potatoes

                  [pictures from age 8 mo] 

Smooth, sweet, & creamy, this lentil and sweet potato puree is packed with protein and a good source of iron. With a savory hint from the sautéed leek, it is the perfect balance between sweet and savory. Our little guy is digging it right now! It also makes a fairly big batch so I have lots left over to freeze without needing to double the recipe! 

Baby Food Details:

Age: 10 months

Recipe: Annabel Karmel’s “Lovely Lentils” recipe from her book “Top 100 Baby Purees” 

Likes/Dislikes: He is still not a fan of texture so I try to keep things smooth & pureed. He much prefers sweet over any strong onion or garlic flavor so I halved the amount of leek called for by this recipe. The sweet potatoes give it a lovely sweetness.

Happy adventuring!

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First Food for Baby: Sweet Potatoes

I get anxious about starting solids. I think it’s the breastfeeding mama in me feeling like I am introducing another love interest, creating a love triangle, & a sense a competition. I want my baby all to myself! 

But the truth is, as a mama I do recognize the developmental milestones that come along with starting solids.  And nothing, not even the creamiest yogurt, will replace the love & warmth & connection a baby receives from nursing with mama. 

With that, I’ve found entry into the solid food domain can be tricky with a half step forward and a few steps backward. One day they gobble it up and the next 3 they act uninterested. So even though I am a passionate homemade baby food enthusiast, the first few weeks of trial and error can really put a damper on all that hard work of dicing and steaming and purée-ing only to watch so much of it go to waste. So I like to start out slow. One of my favorite ways to do that is with individual sweet potatoes.



As a family we eat sweet potatoes with dinner 3 of 7 nights most weeks. So to throw another one in to cook doesn’t take much extra effort. We usually make three at a time but I’m going to share how I would make just one for ease here. To cook a single sweet potato in the microwave, I score it with a knife (like the seams of a football) and microwave it for about 7-8 minutes depending on size of potato and microwave wattage.



Once it’s fully soft and starting to open along the seams, I slice it open and mash the sweet potato flesh.  I like to keep it simple so I may or may not add a pat of butter and usually do add a sprinkle of cinnamon for another layer of flavor.  Then I remove all of the sweet potato from the skin and thin it out with some water or milk (breast milk or cows milk work fine). 



Then, in batches, I put the mixture through a small mesh strainer to strain out any chunks and make it a really smooth purée. When baby is older, this step becomes unnecceary as they adapt to texture and get the hang of chewing. 



Once it’s through the strainer it looks like this! Perfect for a few bites at the dinner table on a weeknight with the family! 



Our little dude is 8 months here but we have been experimenting with this for the past 5 weeks or so. He loves sweet potatoes and I love that our littlest one is now joining the rest of us with sweet potatoes at the dinner table. As my almost-3-year-old would say “All the family has one! All Same!!” 

After a long day of work, it’s super quick and something I can feel good about feeding him.  And if he only takes a bite or two, I’m no worse for the wear. 

What are some of your favorite quick & healthy options to prepare for your little one as they begin solids? 

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Happy New Year & a Dinner Recipe!

There is something that resonates so deeply with me about the closing up of a year, on the brink of a new one. Each year I find myself indulging in two celebratory rituals:

(1) Pausing: This includes reminiscing about the year that’s passed, adventures embarked upon & traditions embraced, moments well-lived. And with this savoring, marking the passage of time, I pause to soak it all in. And in the pausing I begin to envision and daydream, imagination soaring as high as it will go, about how I can bring the best out of the coming year.

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(2) Cooking a special meal: I indulge in the gift of time, reveling the extra moments to be in the kitchen, losing track of time as it passes — simmering and seasoning, chopping and grating, the unforced rhythms I used to take for granted before motherhood.

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A Summer State of Mind: Mango Black Bean Salsa

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Note: So I actually wrote this post at the end of September & considering Halloween is less than 10 days away now — that fact may help put the first sentence into context! I’m still trying to find a rhythm with blogging and hope to get there soon.

It is officially Fall, there is a chill in the morning Chicago air, Halloween costumes are on sale, and the aisles are lined with candy and caramel apples. In our house, we are heaving one last summery gasp as we hold tight to a summer that seems to have passed in a blink.  Our first few weeks of summer were spent in anticipation for our sweet second baby to join us, long days spent at the park to pass time, holding hands, clamy & tight. Then he arrived!! And the next few weeks were spent inside mostly, getting to know our new dude. And as anyone experiencing a brand new life knows, thieves of time in all their adorableness, you blink and a season has passed.  Longing to have more days filled with hot sun, root beer floats, a ballgame hot dog, and smores, we continue right on making the flavors that keep us steady and unmoving in the season of our minds.  Some flavors we really soaked up this summer included fresh cilantro, mangos, and limes.  And this recipe has just the combination that takes our palette to a summer state of mind. 

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Inspiration for this recipe came from here. It’s easy to make a few days ahead to let the flavors marry or day-of (just as tasty) and load it on top of grilled chicken and a bed of rice.  This salsa can be fairly quick to whip together with all the ingredients easy to keep handy in the pantry. The only limiting factor I tend to have is the cilantro (time to grow my own?). Otherwise, that is the thing I always have to run to the market for.

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And while I certainly could use a little work on “respecting the seasons” as Mario Batalli would say, for now, I’ll take this last gasp of summer & savor it all for the moment.

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