Prepping [a] Baby Food[ie]

This is my blog about family meals from scratch. As my babies ["LL""Baby Boy-yer"] are now 3 and 1 years old, it has become less about "baby food." Lately, we've been trying to focus more on having family dinners where everyone eats the same thing, with no exceptions for the little ones. But just search the posts because we have plenty of baby food recipes from the last few years. We're always looking for ideas on what to make to keep this family healthy and trying new things. Join me, and submit recipes and tips of your own!

Fridge clean-out dinner

Part of our healthy eating goal is for everyone to eat the same thing (kids too), but it doesn’t always happen. Tonight I made a lot of food at dinner because I had some things in the fridge nearing their expiration dates and wanted to get them all cooked. Additionally I made gammon (English for ham, I think), which I don’t like, as a treat for my hubby who loves it and was working from home today.

There was a bit of picking and choosing going on, but here’s what was on the table:
-Gammon (ham)
-Roasted asparagus (boy-yer loved these)
-Baked white and sweet potato
-Stir fried veg with cashews

Clockwise from the top: LL’s dinner, gammon, and my plate.

Pesto Pasta & Veg(gies)

LL loved it and insisted that her toy bunny get a small bowl as well. Boy-yer ate a little of the pasta but picked out and ate a lot of the pesto’d tomatoes and stringless runner beans.

I used some frozen spinach/sunflower seed pesto (recipe based on health barn USA’s pesto recipe and mixed it in with al dente pasta, sliced cherry tomatoes and boiled runner beans.

Paris Day 3

Everyone kept telling me how amazing the raspberries are right now in Paris, so on our way home from the metro this afternoon, we went searching for a fruit and vegetable stand rather than a supermarket because the produce at them is much better. It took a little searching but finally we found (3 blocks from the hotel) a very famous indoor market—Saint Quentin, which is in the 10th Arrondissement. We got some amazing berries (fraises & framboises) and the makings of a picnic dinner, which we ate in the hotel room. On the menu tonight was poulet roti (roast chicken), heirloom tomatoes, fennel and avocado with berries for dessert. So delicious and fresh!

Day #2 Paris

Finally found something to eat. 22 kilometers of biking is not going to be enough.

It was a beautiful day in the City of Light, and the Jardin des Plantes ended up being the perfect place to spend it with the kids. Unfortunately, our 6:30 am flight put a wrench in all of the day’s pre-planned activities. Our group was split up and we never got back together after leaving RER train. (Even when you live 15 minutes from the airport, a crack of dawn flight is not a good idea. I gave my sister an “I told you so” on that one.)

So being alone with two exhausted toddlers, no google, no sense of direction and a five word French vocabulary, we found ourselves having nowhere to eat dinner. (It was also 5pm, i.e., not French dinner time.) I know this sounds a bit ridiculous, but it is starting to be a pattern for us—every time we are on vacation anywhere with the kids, even in places known for wonderful food, we can’t find anywhere to eat. It’s probably a function of the fact that we are always staying in sketchy parts of town.

But in any case, having spent the latter part of the day lost and carrying the baby on my back while pushing LL in a stroller, we were exhausted and the kids were hungry. It was too early to eat anywhere, so we headed to the nearest supermerché and bought anything that didn’t require cooking. This ended up being: strawberries, a baguette, emmenthal cheese, plain yogurt, red, yellow and green mini tomatoes, and pre-washed lettuce. We had a little hotel bed picnic and of course it was fun for the kids anyway.

But this is Paris, so I’m hoping to have the opportunity to photograph some food porn tomorrow.

My favorite quick dinner recipe-I can’t stop making this!

I know I’ve posted it before, but I have to make sure everyone knows how yummy this recipe is—we are eating it again. On the plate, superfast Kofte in a gluten free pita, sliced tomato, goat yogurt for dipping (regular yogurt or tzatziki are also good), and sautéed mushrooms with snap peas.

Superfast Kofte

Yogurt Marinated Chicken Drumsticks (or other parts)

You gotta love a yogurt marinade because even chicken breasts come out juicy when they’re marinated in yogurt before cooking.  Most recipes say to marinate from 4 hours to overnight.  If you don’t plan ahead enough, not to worry, just do it as long as you have time for and don’t wipe off all the excess marinade.

This is excellent on an outdoor grill, but we don’t have one so I use the oven broiler.  Obviously (?) you need to turn the chicken over to cook both sides.

200 g yogurt
3-5 cloves of crushed Garlic
A handful of parsley
Salt pepper
Juice of one lemon
Paprika (purely for color)

If you’re not making these on the grill, put a small amount of EVOO on a baking tray and place the chicken pieces on top and slide under a hot broiler.  Turn once halfway through cooking.  For chicken drumsticks, it takes about 20-25 minutes total in my oven, but make sure to test yours for doneness with an instant read thermometer.  The internal temp should be at least 165 Farenheit/74 Celsius.

Check out this great article from the Environmental Working Group about all the many products that contain the foaming agent that Subway has received so much criticism for.  Even if you don’t eat at Subway, there are plenty of other products that contain the foaming agent Azodibicarbonide.  This illustrates the reasons why is is so important to look not just at the nutrition information but also at the ingredients list on any packaged food you buy.  

It is painful buying sliced bread at the supermarkets here in the UK because they don’t have Ezekiel bread and it’s the only brand that I trust.  Most sliced bread you buy in a supermarket contains chemical preservatives unless you buy it, like Ezekiel bread, fresh at Trader Joe’s or frozen pretty much everywhere else that carries it.  Even if you buy fresh baguettes (which are highly refined and therefore not great for a different reason—I’ve learned my kids and especially our au pair cannot go totally bread-less, so we do get these sometimes), they may still contain other chemical bleaching agents and/or preservatives.  It will say somewhere on the packaging, so you’ll know if what you’re eating is full of one chemical or another.

Taco Salad Night

Unlike chili powder, it’s not really hard to find taco shells or tortillas here in the UK, but I can’t bring myself to buy them after reading all the chemicals and preservatives in the ingredient list. (Nor will I buy taco seasoning for the same reason.) So I used Alton Brown’s taco potion #19 recipe, omitting the cornstarch: ( to season the beef I ground at home from extra lean steaks. Also I made peppers and onions with the same seasoning, and a Mexican rice.

Mexican rice:

  • 1 cup organic brown rice
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. mild chili powder
  • 1/2 c. frozen corn kernels
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)

Bring the vegetable broth and salt to a boil, add the rice and tomato paste and lower to a simmer.  Meanwhile, sauté the onion in some EVOO until translucent, then add the cumin and chili powder and sauté for 30 seconds more.  Add onion and spices to the rice while it simmers and add the corn.  Simmer rice for a total of 25 minutes or until done.  

Serve taco meat, peppers and onions and rice over a green salad with tomatoes and/or tomato salsa, plain greek yogurt, and a little bit of grated cheddar or other cheese and jalapeños. Hot sauce if you like that too.

The kids both loved this AND the next day when LL had a friend over to play, they ate some for lunch and her friend loved it too!