Tag Archives: homemade

The rest of the day has to be better, right?

Ugh! What a morning!

Let me tell you one thing I know for sure: Automatic door locks are NOT as much of a convenience as you would think. I was at the gas station today, in the midst of a mayfly swarm, and I shut my door, only to hear a click and realize my keys, phone, wallet, etc. were locked inside. 

Again, ugh. 

Needless to say, I was an hour late to work and now I am in super-overdrive. I apologize if this post seemed a but rushed…

Silver lining: Baby was NOT in the car. See…something to be happy about :)

Anyhoo, let’s rewind to the much more relaxing yesterday:

My little man and I got up early and shared a smoothie! Well, he only licked the spoon because he can’t really have strawberries yet (they are a common allergen, so the recommendation is 1 year.)

The mash-up: Kale (from Grammie and Pop Pop Garden Pea’s garden!) strawberries, fresh bloobs from the yard, a nanner and some coconut milk.

Sideshow included a Food for Life sprouted grains bread heel spread with coconut butter. Dipping: YUM!

It had a few more chunks than I’d like, but pretty, I think. I had to make it in my food processor since I broke my faux Magic Bullet-ish puree machine. I’m thinking that what I need for a truly smooth smoothie is a Vitamix, but not so sure one is in the budget any time soon. I’d like to get the healthy smoothie habit started early with my boy, though, so I may have to do some shopping…

During naptime, I cut up this watermelon to snack on after dinner. Not fancy, just functional. Kind of feels like summer…

After naptime, we were both ready for playtime! You just can’t beat a blanket in the grass and a $.99 bottle of bubbles. 

Dinner included these zucchini fritters, adapted from a recipe in this month’s Food Network Magazine. (I’ll always take a new zuke recipe!)

  • 1 beast of a zucchini, shredded
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 small onion, chopped

I shredded the zuke and tossed it into a colander with the salt for 10 minutes, then pressed out the liquid. I then combined all the ingredients in a bowl, mixed well, and dropped the batter by the large spoonful into a bit of olive oil to pan fry until brown and crispy. Easy as that!

I’m thinking these would be good with a yogurty dipping sauce, or served with a dilly salmon. Next time…

Fritters alongside a plain old tuna salad, served in Belgium endive leaves, and some kale massaged with lime and sea salt. A simple, satisfying dinner that did not require a trip to the store.  :D Goal accomplished yet again!

Sadly, the lovely lunch of leftovers I packed for today lost its life in this morning’s keys-in-the-car-for-4-hours-on-a-hot-morning debacle. So, I ended up with chocolate chip cookies for breakfast (I was not entirely disappointed… ;) ) and this “veggie bowl” from the convenience store for lunch. Can you believe this was $6.65? It was totally plain–not even salt or anything–so I added a packet of Parm. This time, I was entirely disappointed.

…and hungry. :(  

I will not be locking my keys in my car again!

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What kind of appliance do you use to make a smoothie? What are your favorite smoothie ingredients?

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Filed under Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Rainy Day Squash Boats

I’m all for rain, but what’s with the threatening skies every time I have a day off!? Not being able to hang laundry outside really throws a wrench into the rest of my week. 

Rrrrr…. :x

Oh well. It’s good for the garden, right? Besides, a rainy day is the perfect time to take care of some things on the To-Do list and spend some playtime in the kitchen!

To-Do for Today? Baby food!

Back when I was prego, I got a lot of cr*p from people when I said I wanted to make my own baby food (among other things…) I never said I wanted to make every single bite of it, but I did want my baby to eat homemade food whenever possible. You should have heard all the comments I got…“You just wait…you won’t have time”…”Must be nice to have that much free time on your hands”…”Ha ha…I said that, too, and then I woke up to reality.” I heard ‘em all. Some people just laughed at me and rolled their eyes.

For those people, this is for you.

I timed it, and it took me all of 20 minutes during my son’s midday nap to turn one organic mango and 3 organic peaches into 7 servings of fresh, healthy, beautiful baby food. I mean, come on…it’s not rocket science.

Only the nice fleshy parts are included.

One for the next day at Grammie’s house, and the rest for the freezer. He’s not eating a whole lot at once right now, so I’m still making small batches. Once we graduate up to big batches, it will be even more efficient. 

I paid a total of $5 for the lot, and I don’t have to worry about all these scary recalls. Priceless, in my opinion.

It’s that easy, and believe me, I don’t have ANY spare time on my hands these days.

Note to self: People will always tell you YOU CAN’T. Always know that YOU CAN. (especially when little eyes are watching your example and taking notes…)

Once that was done, the sun came out so grilling came to mind. I have vowed not to shop for a few days because I want to use up some of the masses of random groceries taking over my kitchen, so I started rummaging…

Hmmm….a few yellow summer squash from the garden. Those are fresh and perishable, so they definitely need to be involved here…

Quinoa needs to be used up….have a can of black beans….some tomato sauce…garlic, sea salt….hmmm….

Squash boats! Sort of. They were too small to dig out the middles and stuff, but they were happy to be topped with a yummy quinoa something-or-other.

Olive oil, salt and pepper.

Oh, too dark. Nope! Turns out they were just right.

Pot full o’stuff. More than enough for 2 dinners and 2 lunches!

I feel like this was missing something green, but my kale was buggy. Eek! A good dousing of hot sauce kicked it up a little.

In the end, I feel like I accomplished a few things: I spent very little, I used up some neglected pantry items, and I fed my family the way I want to without much time in the kitchen. 

Feeling like a pretty good mommy today… :D

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A lot of people say that they can’t eat a healthy made-from-scratch diet because they don’t have time. What’s your response to that excuse?

The zucchini/squash onslaught has begun! What’s your best recipe?

Reminder: don’t forget to enter to win free products from Turtle Mountain! I’ll be picking a 2 winners on Saturday, 6.26…

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Filed under Home & Garden, Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Squash Blossom Insecurity

OK, crafty foodbloggers…I have a challenge for you.

It irks me to no end that there are so many things I don’t utilize from my garden. 

I was reminded of this irkiness by a post on Oh She Glows this morning…(garlic scapes are among the things I don’t use.)

…along with beet greens, fiddlehead ferns, and many other things I probably don’t even know I can use.

But by far, the one thing that makes me feel the most wasteful is:

THE SQUASH BLOSSOM.

I know these can be eaten, as I’ve seen many a cooking show featuring beautiful chevre-stuffed, tempura-battered squash blossoms with luscious dipping sauces. 

I just don’t know if I can pull that off. :? But I sure would feel like a pretty hot mama if I did…

Does anyone out there have any tips, recipes, general words of encouragement pertaining to the use of the oh-so-beautiful squash blossom? I sure do expect a lot more to pop up soon, and the husbo really wants to eat them (of course, he could learn to prepare them! But I’m not holding my breath… )

Help!

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Tortilla-Crusted Tilapia

I’ve decided there is not nearly enough poetry in my life.

Once upon a time, my life was all about poetry. I spent my senior year in college immersed in it. My senior honors project was an independent research paper and 2-hour presentation (yikes! 8O ) focusing on the works of Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath and Alicia Ostriker. A little self-indulgent, maybe, but valuable nonetheless. I was struggling with a lot of inner demons at the time, and connecting with these women was cathartic in a way that I couldn’t have found anywhere else. 

Which reminds me…I’m setting the goal of revisiting Ostriker’s The Mother/Child Papers sometime in the very near future. It enthralled me back then, and I can’t wait to read it again through my new mother’s eyes. The author wrote the book during the 1970s, right before the birth of her son, and the undercurrent throughout the book is her personal conflict with bringing a child into a world where wars, shootings and bombings were top of mind in the daily news. 

Boy, can I relate to that.

It’s a delicious book of rich poems. I highly recommend it, along with The Volcano Sequence and Stealing the Language.

Around that same time, I was also getting to know another set of fabulous women who became my lifelong friends. “Inspiring” just doesn’t seem to cut it, but I can’t come up with a better word… I’m happy to say that I keep in touch with several of them, and while I can’t see them often, I count them among my biggest blessings thus far in my life. I spent many an hour engaged in conversations that helped shape me as a woman, many of which happened at a restaurant called The Batdorf, where the food was as good as the company.

My favorite dish? The Tortilla-Crusted Tilapia. It was a thick piece of flaky, white fish covered in a thick, seasoned crust, served over a pile of garlic smashed potatoes. I miss it almost as much as I miss those discussions over a glass of Cab or a dirty martini…(That was one of my saddest realizations after leaving college. Most people I come across now want to chat, not discuss…BIG difference :( )

I can’t go back to 2006, but I sure can recreate this dish at home!

I have to credit the original recipe I found to recipezaar.com, but I made some tweaks and this is my version. (A note about this recipe: this crust freezes really well, so make a double batch and freeze half. Prep time is about 5 minutes when you just pull a bag of crust mix and some fish out of the freezer. This recipe has saved my life many times after a long day at work…)

Tortilla-Crusted Tilapia

4 tilapia fillets

6 whole wheat tortillas, torn in pieces

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded 

1 or 2 teaspoons lime juice, to taste

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

1 egg (for dredging. You can use any dredging method you like. Egg and milk, just milk, just egg, or a non-dairy alternative like almond milk. I use coconut milk.)

Preheat oven to 375º. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or cover with foil.

Place tortilla pieces, peppers, lime juice, cilantro and spices in food processor. Pulse until mixture is uniform with thick crumbs.

Spread mixture on a plate.

Dredge each fillet in egg/milk/etc., then in crumbs, patting to adhere. (I prefer a really thick coating of crumb). Don’t forget the bottom! Place on baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes, then uncover to crisp up the outside of the crust, 5–10 minutes more, depending on thickness.

Nowadays, I forgo the smashed potatoes in favor of a more diverse side dish. While I like fresh veggies best, I also like quick and easy, so this time we tried this new frozen side from Alexia. 

Wow, was it easy! Not too bad on flavor, either. 

I’m pleasantly surprised by this ingredients list…especially for a prepared, frozen option.

Ta-da! Just like The Batdorf used to make! …or close, at least.  (The aroma is close enough to really take me back there…)

I’m really itching to get my nose into that book, but my brother is in town from Ohio so we’ll spend the day visiting (for the first time since Christmas! :D ), and tomorrow is my husband’s family reunion. Oh well…I’ll get to it sooner or later.

Yeah, I miss those days of wine and poetry, but it’s a trade-off, right? One love for another…

.

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Have you ever tried to recreate a favorite restaurant dish at home? How did it turn out?

Was it as good without the atmosphere?

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Filed under Recipes & Food

Burger and Fries!

I have some catching up to do!

What gets my vote for best 3pm snack this week? 

These guys, who made a surprise appearance at my desk during the afternoon slump! They arrived courtesy of my friend who happens to be a registered dietitian, so I ate one happily, no questions asked, and packed up the other for the Hus.

CHOMP!

Did you ever just get bored with your ol’ standby breakfast, only to eat it and realize why it became your breakfast of choice in the first place?

Yesterday, my cup runneth over with So Delicious coconut milk (beverage) and Granbiotics granola, topped with cranberries and one date, for good measure…

…along with more Mother’s Milk tea. I think this stuff is really working! I thought all that galactagogue talk might be a bunch of hooey, but my supply is increasing nicely. I still don’t like the anise flavor, but it’s not bothering me that much anymore. Besides, I never really liked handling poop or having bags under my eyes from sleep deprivation before either, but I deal. It’s all part of parenting, right?

Breakfast was fun. Little F is getting so curious about Mommy’s food, and he intently watches as I raise and lower my spoon for each bite, not aware that he’s imitating my motions with his mouth. It’s super cute, and I love that he’s watching me eat something healthy (most of the time… ;)

I just love being a mommy. Especially his mommy.

Daddy wanted burgers and fries, so I decided to oblige him, ABCGP-style!

I had a bunch of beautiful parsnips, courtesy of my favorite grocery store Produce Man (my Dad!) so I cut them up and made some parsnip fries! A drizzle of olive oil on one side, macadamia nut oil on the other, salt and pepper.

I also sprinkled a few with some chipotle powder a friend made for us out of our garden jalapenos…

400º for about 25 minutes…

A few were a little thin, but the core was really fat and I didn’t have much choice. Maybe smaller parsnips are better?

His burger: moo-cow. Mine: Sunshine!

Fresh salsa, crumbled feta, and basil from the garden, with a swipe of avo-hummus underneath.

Bruschetta Sunshine Burger, maybe? Either way, deeee-lish.

It was time to thin out the beet patch, so I found myself with these beautiful babies…

Not sure what I’ll do with them yet, but this new addition to the family sure is giving me some ideas…

I can’t think of a better present right now! Many thanks to Grammie Garden Pea!

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Do you eat the same thing for breakfast every day? Do you get bored? (I find that limiting my options makes it easier for me to make sure that A. I actually eat breakfast , and B. I make a healthy choice at 5am. Do you agree?)

What’s your favorite way to eat beets?

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