Category Archives: food

What’s for dinner?

IMG_2841

I love to cook. After having kids, cooking dinners was something I couldn’t wait to get back to and something I made a priority — I legitimately enjoy it and it makes me feel good — home cooked food, CSA veggies, a freezer stocked with homemade soups — it all makes me feel healthy, happy, and satisfied. I’ve had an unusually hard time writing this post as how a mom spends her time, particularly when it comes to homemaking duties, can be a contentious issue. I keep typing and re-typing because I don’t want to say anything offensive.

IMG_1433_2

The way I see it, we’re all hard at work balancing kids, family, husbands, jobs, dogs, ourselves, our friends. There’s a lot of compromise and choice to be made as a mother and for many cooking dinner every night is insane, undesirable, something happily outsourced, etc. etc. I can assure you that for me to cook dinner, I’ve had to give up a lot of other things. I probably shower less than you, I never blow dry my hair much less style it (in fact if you have any sort of a beauty routine you’re doing something I’m not – I’m constantly wishing I had chapstick on hand). Maybe you make time for a yoga class. Maybe you have a career (I’m at home full time which isn’t to say that I have it easy but I do have the ability to chop a few veggies during nap time). Maybe your house is cleaner than mine or you read a book, or you help you husband with your family business. Whatever it is, the point is, you shouldn’t sweat it that I’m cooking dinner. Cause I really do enjoy it. I love the puzzle of making what we have in the fridge work into meals for the week and the problem solving it takes to figure out how to use up that last stick of celery or that handful of cabbage.

IMG_2768

Lately, I’ve had to be extra strategic about how I fit menu planning, groceries, and cooking into our week. Gone are the days when I spent a whole Saturday working on the week’s menu, leisurely paging through cookbooks and making trips to the farmer’s market (yes, that was before kids). I gravitate towards recipes that take less than half an hour or can be repurposed as a second meal later in the week. I’ve long admired Jenny Rosenstrach’s darling and smart family cooking blog but I am downright obsessed with her latest cookbook. A good third of the book is devoted to strategy and while I’ve got some practice at that, I still learned some new tips (like every little prep effort counts). If you’re wondering how I cook dinner every night, Jenny lays out a process similar to mine: shop once a week, plan ahead, prep ahead.

The remainder of the book are the recipes and I’ve never worked my way through a cookbook the way I am with this one. Everything looks good and fits the bill for easy family dinners so we’ve been trying one after the other and we’ve yet to be disappointed. Shrimp rolls, BBQ pulled chicken (with homemade sauce), pasta with roasted butternut squash (above!), zucchini cakes, yum, yum, yum. There are great recipes for freezing too which makes weeknight dinner even easier. I’m actually trying to cook a little less so defrosting some homemade turkey chili allows us a little more time at the playground in the afternoons.

I’ve started giving this book to friends and family as gifts — hopefully they aren’t hating me for it — as I think it’s such a great resource. And/or a lifesaver. Anyways, give it a try and let know what you think. You don’t even have to buy it — my favorite go-to these days is to get cookbooks from the library. It’s nice to be able to check a book out and spend a little time with it before deciding if it’s the right cookbook to add to my collection. I request them online so when I’m at the library with the boys I can quickly swing by the hold shelf and grab my books.

Have you tried Jenny’s recipes before?

What are your favorite weeknight dinners? What are your best shortcuts?

Let me know what you think!

 

IMG_1674

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

Yogurt Sundaes

 

IMG_2117

If you’ve spent any time with me in the past two years, I’ve probably told you all about my yogurt sundaes. I’m a bit of a broken record it seems. After my first son was born, I often found myself craving something sweet late in the evening but also needing a decent snack to get me through all the night time feedings. I came up with the yogurt sundae as an alternative to a big bowl of ice cream — start with greek yogurt (or regular – I’m not going to stop you) and pile on ice cream shop toppings. Unless you’re really heavy handed with those toppings, you’re looking at a much healthier treat than a big bowl of ice cream. It’s also more substantial — lots of protein in the yogurt — so you can pat yourself on the back for making a healthy decision all the while indulging in the deliciousness that a few chocolate chips and raspberries create.

I make mine free form with whatever we have and whatever I’m craving that evening. If you’re not in the midst of breastfeeding a hungry babe and more mindful of your calories, you can always use a smaller bowl to keep things in check.

 

Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • Nuts – sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, pecans, pistachios
  • Fruit – berries, bananas, peaches, plums (try dried fruit in the winter!)
  • A drizzle of honey, maple syrup, or chocolate sauce
  • Sweet stuff — chocolate chips, flaked coconut, peanut butter chips
  • Granola

 

This afternoon I had fresh super sweet strawberries, a drizzle of maple syrup, coconut chips from Trader Joes, and a touch of granola.

Enjoy!

These Cookies are Good.

IMG_1992

Once Houlton is down for his nap (assuming he takes one!), I’ve taken to having a little post lunch espresso. I usually pair this with a square of dark chocolate. And then, while I’m drinking and nibbling, I let myself do whatever I want for a few minutes (often wandering around the internet — my husband would add: looking at shoes!). It’s a nice little time-out before I start hustling to tackle all the things on my nap time to do list.

Yesterday we were out of chocolate so I reached for the only other chocolate in the cupboard. I try not to get Houlton processed foods/junk food/etc. however on a recent shopping trip I caved to the incessant requests from the cart (mama! i want dat! mama!) and let him put “the fox one” in the cart. Umm, kid marketing is AMAZING. Before he could talk, he could identify the packaged crap I didn’t want to feed him on a grocery store shelf. Paper towel aisle, whatever. Cracker+cookie aisle, freak out.

Anyways, this may be kid food but this is not kid food. They’re very chocolaty, delicious and not too sweet. I want to call them sophisticated. I mean, I suppose foxes are sophisticated? If they were squares instead of animal shapes, they’d be served on little china plates and  everyone would be savoring them after lunch. Lucky for me, they’re animals as I’m not sharing.

 

The New Quesadilla

 

I’ve looked at this Strawberry Leek Quesadilla Recipe in my Sprouted Kitchen cookbook before and thought it seemed a bit strange but for some reason, it sounded just right last week so we gave it a try. Not only did I love it, but I’ve been making riffs of it every other day since. H, despite not being a big cheese fan, loves it too.

Why is this quesadilla so awesome?

First, the brown rice tortilla. I would have skipped it if I hadn’t read the side note that insisted I give it a try for the crisp factor. She was so right. They crisp up in the most wonderful way and taste lighter than a regular flour tortilla which I loved. And now that I’m not concerned about them tasting subpar, I’m so excited to have an alternative to flour. For myself, I could care less about gluten-free but given that H eats lots of carbs and I strive for variety in his diet, it’s great to have a new option.

Second, another healthy thing, coconut oil. Coconut oil is supposed to be great for you and I don’t use it enough. It makes a great marriage with the brown rice tortilla and I get to pat myself on the back for again, variety, and healthy eating.

Third, more than one cheese! This is an important “trick” for cooking anything cheese related. When you blend different types of cheese with different flavor profiles like melty and mild (the mozzarella) with tangy and flavorful (the goat cheese), you take the deliciousness to a whole new level. Using just goat cheese would be too strong and it just doesn’t melt as well. It’s fun to try a salty cheese like romano mixed with something creamy too.

Finally, fruit! More than fruit, it’s just fun to get away from traditional flavors. I have been making our own versions — grated apples and aged cheddar with mustard, sauteed pears with spinach and caramelized onions… it’s fun and different and I think the brown rice tortillas help round out the non traditional thing. And of course for all kid cooking, this is one of those great recipes where you can sneak in the veggies.

We’re going to keep experimenting!

Thank you to Sprouted Kitchen for the inspiration… check out her blog and her cookbook. They’re both lovely and full of recipes that I love.

Lunch at the Sandbox

IMG_9252

My friend Jenny and I met for lunch with our boys at a place I can only describe as a Mommy Fantasy. Bumble in Los Altos has a gorgeous outdoor patio with a giant sandbox, a giant fish tank, kiddie bento boxes (adorable and hello! healthy, real kids food), special mason jars with straws, and even a playroom where the kiddos can be dropped off so mom can eat in peace. I mean… I wasn’t quite sure where I was for a minute. I’m also wondering why this type of place isn’t on every street corner. If I lived closer, I’d eat here all the time. The food was fresh and delicious and having my kid entertained while I eat, priceless.

I’m wearing one of my favorite dresses (uh, sweatshirt and cute) and my “mom heels.” Sometimes it’s nice to get a little height and polish without your feet hurting! Also, H took a huge tumble just after this pic was taken. I thought the picture was going to be a blur of him going down and me with a shocked/concerned/oops maybe I should have been watching him closer look on my face.

My dress: Madewell, Sandals: Hasbeens, Shades: Chanel

 

IMG_9256

 

This is my cute friend Jenny. She’s due in a month and looking adorable. We had to have a conversation about how she and her boy are both in navy and white stripes — she did it on purpose, I frequently do it by accident. She looks very chic with simple classic denim and stripes and fun neon pink shoes. Did you notice our awesome sandbox accessories? Jenny was raving about her tee and suggested I go out and buy a pile cause it’s soft and fits well.

Jenny’s tee: Gap Maternity

 

Advertisements