The latest food discoveries

Baby (food) post coming ‘atcha.  If you have no interest, just close the browser.

Here are a few new tricks and trials I have to share…

-I’ve discovered a way to make apples (and hard/unripe pears) the perfect consistency for P to eat without the work of cooking them.  I just chop the fruit and freeze it (raw).  Once it’s been frozen for at least a day, I thaw it and voila!  It’s soft and semi-mushy and I can feed it to him straight away.  I have frozen fruit for two months and it still works, but I tried it with only one night of freezing and it wasn’t quite soft enough so I think anything longer than 24 hours is ideal. I first discovered this because I was trying to save a bunch of apples I got for cheap before they went bad.  Turns out, it was one of the most useful mistakes I ever stumbled upon. Apples are now a huge fave – almost as much as bananas!

-I got the nerve to try hemp and it was totally fine.  After the success with chia seeds, I was pretty sure hemp would be fine as well.  The more I read up and learn about sesame, the more I’m convinced they are in their own category when it comes to allergens and we shouldn’t punish all the seeds, if that is in fact the case.  I have yet to test sunflower, pumpkin, or flax yet.  Baby steps.  For now, I’m just happy that we have another vegetarian protein source that he tolerates!  It also makes the breastfeeding weaning process a little less anxiety-filled since I now have a milk alternative that I feel good about offering him (since dairy, soy, and nut milks are all allergens).  He’s fine with water, but ideally something with protein would be good too.  He hasn’t tried it as milk yet [update: yes he has] , so we will see how (if?) he takes to it [success].  Pretty much the only way he’s had hemp so far is in his oatmeal (hulled with fruit and cinnamon).

-I’m dipping into my freezer stash of breast milk and making purees and such with it.  I was waiting until he showed some interest in smooth textures since he wasn’t a fan of it at all before.  But the pouches that we used on our trip may have turned the tide in our favor.  Fortunately I had some reusable pouches to fill with my own creations.  The first thing I tried was a breastmilk, prune, apricot, pear, cinnamon concoction.  I let the dried fruit soak overnight in my pumped milk (that had been frozen then thawed).  I used just enough milk to cover the dried fruit so it got all soft.  Then I pulsed it in the bullet until it was fairly uniform in consistency.  Then I spooned it into the pouch and refrigerated it until we needed it.  The next day I had to run out around noon and figured it would be the perfect thing to give P – enough oomph to hold him over for a while.  He loved it and it worked like a charm.  I had extra that I added to oatmeal, which he also lapped up with enthusiasm.  I’ve since done a number of dried fruit mixes and they’ve all been winners.

The bigger bags of milk get divided…half to the bottle, half to the bullet…



If it doesn’t all fit in the pouch I just stir the extra into oats or quinoa or something.

If anyone has tips for making broccoli and beans enjoyable, please share!  I can sometimes sneak a bit of broccoli into avocado bites, but he’s pretty savvy at separating the foods he doesn’t like from the ones he does in his mouth and then spitting only the “yucky” portion out.  Sneaky guy!

[more] omni meals for the family

Leading up to our trip, I tried to make the most of what we had leftover in the kitchen and freezer.  The meals were mostly huge salads with grains – my effort to be cheap and use up every single perishable item in the house so nothing went to waste.  As you can imagine, these weren’t the most inventive or exciting meals (also they were insanely repetitive) so I didn’t bother taking pics.  I did, however, have photos of some of our dinners from the previous week that I never got around to sharing…so here they are (links to the source included).

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I made a (lot of) adjustments to this crock-pot sweet potato quinoa chili – some inadvertent because my brain wasn’t on.

First off, I didn’t use the slow cooker.  If I’m going to have to brown the meat before I add it to the crock pot, I don’t see the point of using it at all.  I’m lazy.

It was good, but I have a feeling it would have been better had I not totally effed things up by buying tomato SAUCE instead of diced tomatoes,  I seriously don’t know how I did that, but I realized it mid-pour and you certainly can’t un-pour tomato sauce from a big pot of chili.  I tried to compensate by tossing in halved cherry tomatoes that I had in the fridge and amping up the spices, but it didn’t taste as chili-like as the original recipe probably does.


It was still yummy – just not exactly what I set out to make.  I nixed the garlic and shallot and used an onion and garlic infused olive oil instead.  I also skipped the beans and added lactose free sour cream on top.  Without the sour cream, it was kinda just a tomato sweet potato quinoa dish.  The sour cream really made it great.


The photo of my meal looks not much like this cover photo, but I am not a food stylist so there you go.  I don’t think I mentioned this yet, but I’m aiming to cook every cover of BA this year.  I already did January, so here’s February‘s chicken and dumplings with mushrooms.

Holy labor intensive!  Bon Appetit needs a reality check with these recipes.  Who has this amount of time??  I read the recipe and decided it would have to be a weekend meal so Kyle could occupy P for a lot of the cooking time.  Good thing too, because I was sweating it out in the kitchen for 3+ hours, so I definitely wouldn’t have been able to work it into the meal plan on a week night.  I have small unreliable windows (read: nap times) to fit in meal prep/cooking now that this kid is all crazy active and mobile, so if it doesn’t fit in there, it’s not happening.  Hi crock pot, I love you.

The recipe was awesome for the record.


Nachos!  These are the kinds of meals that compensate for the ones with excessive effort (see previous recipe).  Lentils in the rice cooker make my hands-on work <5 minutes.

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Warm Chicken Salad


This was good, but needed more oomph in the dressing department.  I used pomegranate vinegar instead of red wine vinegar and I added mayo to the dressing too.  I just felt like the extra creamy, fatty flavor would help it out, and I was right.  I liked the fingerling potatoes a lot though, especially with chives.  Chives are a new fave.


I made the salad first and then added the warm shredded chicken right before serving.  I like warm lettuce because it makes it soggy-ish.  I’m a soggy salad person though.

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I intended to make kebabs with this meal, but ended up roasting the pineapples and red bell peppers separately.  I cooked the beef in a cast iron pan on the stove.  Then I served the whole thing over corn grits.  Baby boy had some too, but wasn’t a big fan.


Crustless quiche

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Kale, noodle, and sausage stew.

I used TJ’s GF brown rice noodles.  I used the same chicken sausage I used here.  Simple and hearty, but not heavy.


Big Ass Veggie Lasagna

I don’t have a recipe to link to because it’s just lasagna and I have a million lasagna recipes already on the site.  Let’s be real, layer noodles, marinara, cheese mix, spinach, and repeat.

I didn’t eat any since it had dairy and gluten, but Kyle was all about it.  I had no prob finding leftovers to grub on (mucho stuff stocked up in the freezer).

Other non-photographed meals included: mock Chipotle bowl with crock-pot salsa chicken, portobello fried rice, salmon burger salad, and pesto pasta.

Hidden greens

Another post on allergy friendly baby meals (and other ideas/thoughts/notes).


Here we are at 12 months…

I was telling my mom recently that each day it feels like two steps forward & one step back in the eating department.  [Actually I said one step forward, two steps back, but we really are moving in the positive so that’s an inaccurate portrayal of the situation]

Truth be told, I bet all parents feel like this, even the ones without children with allergies.  Some days he eats everything that touches his tray, other days he refuses all the same foods and it seems like he barely gets two bites in before he’s over meal time altogether.  But, he’s certainly not starving so his appetite is what it is.  I think it’s the ultimate intuitive eating.  Plus teething, growth spurts, and whatnot.  If only we were all so in tune with our bodies and their needs!  But I digress…


Here are some of the things pacman has been eating (more often than not eating).

Broccoli was an on-and-off success this month, which I am taking as a HUGE step in the green direction.

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As you can see, there was still a level of skepticism involved, but I found if I didn’t watch him or act like it was a big deal, he was more likely to act the same and just eat it. 

For the record, this was maybe the 5th or 6th try with steamed broccoli, so for any other parents meeting the same resistance , just keep trying!  I tried jazzing it up with coconut and olive oil, but he ended up taking it plain.

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I’ve also been throwing ripped up spinach in his scrambled eggs.  More sneaky chef action.  He loves eggs so much, I knew it would work, and it did!  I’m going to try adding zucchini next…and many more veggies in the future. 

Baking greens (spinach, kale, etc.) and squash (butternut, pumpkin, zucchini) into muffins and breads seems like a good gateway for the things I haven’t been able to get him to eat plain.  Although I will keep offering them solo, I’d love to get his palate used to their flavors any way possible, so if that means hiding them in other baked goods, then that’s what I will do.  Of course, it’s not just about getting his taste buds accustomed to these foods.  More importantly, I want him to get the nutrients!  So I will use any vessel to do so.

Get ready for gluten and dairy free zucchini muffins (without nut flours or nut milks). 

In other news, P has FINALLY gotten the hang of drinking water out of sippy cups (praise the Lord!!!), which means liquids are soon to be on the menu.  He probably only drinks 1/2 cup of water a day, but it’s better than nothing.  Each day he gets the hang of it more and more, so I’m optimistic that we are about to turn a corner. 

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I made this green juice (for me) and he was so interested in it, that I decided to give him a sip.  I was expecting he’d make a face of disgust, because it had celery and kale in it (plus spinach, apple, desiccated coconut and coconut milk), but he liked it.  He took a few more messy slurps after the first taste…which left him with an adorable green mustache that I wish I got on camera.

Omni meal plans

I’ve been keeping up with weekly meal planning for almost a year now – with random weeks off due to travel/holidays/etc..  But for the most part, it’s been a very successful technique in keeping our food budget in check. 

I thought it would be way more expensive once we started including meat, but it hasn’t been too significant of a difference because the marginal increase in animal protein is balanced by the fact that we all eat the same thing (thus, a decrease in overall ingredients).  One meal as opposed to three.  At least for dinner.  I pack Kyle’s lunches and they do contain wheat and dairy and (until we run out entirely) nuts, since he’s not nursing and out of the house when he eats them, it’s no big deal.  Otherwise, we are a communal diet family. 

I slipped up a bit this week because I had some mad tempeh cravings, but otherwise here are the allergy friendly dinners we shared.

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Salmon burgers over a huge salad with TJ’s Caesar dressing.

I called and left a message with Trident Seafoods about their facilities and they called me back and were so helpful!  They are all peanut and tree nut free, and one of their two facilities is sesame and free and the other is not but they still clean it thoroughly between the use of sesame products.  The customer service rep showed me where to look up the ID number of the product (on the bottom of the package) to determine which facility it was made at.  We happened to get a package from the sesame free facility!  And since the package is already labeled as gluten free, we are in the clear.  Win! 


Kale, quinoa and tempeh Caesar salad.


I can’t get enough Caesar dressing lately.  TJ’s makes a non-dairy version that’s pretty great.  Unfortunately, it’s not vegan, but at least P was spared one allergen (the tempeh is soy, of course).  From now on I’ll probably nix the tempeh or use chicken instead, but since we are on a budget, I didn’t want to let the tempeh that’s been in our fridge for the past month go to waste.  I’ve been eyeing it for far too long and I finally caved.


It was so good, but not worth the poor eczema flare P had as a result.  I had thought eating it at dinner and waiting 12 hours overnight wouldn’t be too bad, but I think it takes longer to clear out of my system.  At least in that amount.  🙁


Home-made Chipotle bowl.

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For the rice, I mixed corn, cilantro, and lime juice into brown rice.  For the chicken, I cooked two breasts in the crock pot covered in salsa for 8 hours on low.  It shredded in 5 seconds and made for minimal hands on work.  Kyle demanded a repeat of this meal immediately, so I suspect it will be a regular.


It was seriously easy so that’s fine by me.  I served the chicken and rice with romaine and avocado.


I’ve made this broccoli salad previously (both times adding quinoa).  Just as good this time (I had two more huge servings and the leftovers for lunch the next day).


I actually made us two separate meals this night because we didn’t have very much GF pasta after P ate dinner (his appetite keeps surprising me!).  So Kyle had wheat pasta with this pesto (frozen from our summer produce) and I had the (above) mish mash.

Since you probably can’t tell, it’s TJ’s pasta with kale and roasted veggies topped in an avocado/nutritional yeast sauce.  Despite appearances, it was delicious.


Kyle’s dad was in town on Friday night (Valentine’s Day) so our romantic dinner was re-scheduled for Sunday.  I made a stew with veggies, kale, rice, and sausage.

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Saturday was P’s first birthday party, so we treated ourselves to sushi that night.  No pics because I devoured it superfast.  Avocado inari is my fave.

And here are a few more meals that I photographed from the previous week but never shared…


Pasta with marinara and home-made lentil “meatballs”.  I made extra pasta for Kyle’s lunch the next day, as well as extra GF pasta for me & P.

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He loves pasta with olive oil or chicken broth.  Frankly I can get him to eat anything with chicken broth.  It’s how I shoved brown rice and squash down his throat just yesterday.


This was a Sonoma “chickn” salad made from Beyond Meat chicken-free strips.  I love their products so much.  They are getting “beefy crumbles” soon which should be interesting.

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I basically tweaked the Whole Foods version of the Sonoma salad that first introduced me to Beyond Meat’s product – mayo, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, celery, salt & pepper.


Served atop a salad (or on a sandwich the next day).


In addition to Caesar I’m really into mayo these days.  It’s all about the condiments, baby.


Rosemary and lemon chicken and red potatoes with mixed veggies.  We all ate this one, no alterations needed.


Spoon Fork Bacon’s shaved brussel salad with quinoa instead of pretzel bread and bacon instead of pancetta.  So good we made it again for P’s birthday party.


Brown rice, broccoli, and organic chicken sausage.  I wasn’t too keen on the sausage, to be honest.  The flavor was fine, but the texture weirded me out. 

So there you have it – an assortment meals for our omni family.

My highlights: week 2

Hey hey!  It was a good week around these parts.  I got some time to hang with girlfriends, I took P to the library and the zoo, and I even fit in several workouts.  Happy dance.  🙂

Here are some photos I took throughout.

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Beet, carrots, apple, ginger juice + an article from my dad about the range of GI/immune responses to oats.  Gluten is one tricky beast.


Hilarious pose.  This kid kills me.


Do you have a textual relationship with your sushi provider?  Guilty!


I looked over and…this.  Standing is now his fave.  Ok, thumb sucking is still his actual fave, but sometimes he does both at once.  Yes really.


Tired on the way home from swim lessons.


I feel like I have tried every sippy cup on the shelves at Target (that’s an exaggeration, I couldn’t afford that, there are about 5 million brands).  I may have found the winner?  Maybe?

[Question: Why do they sell sippy cups in 2 packs that aren’t available to buy as a single cup?  I don’t want to waste double the amount if it won’t work.  Food for thought.]


First time with chicken.  Big hit.  Huge.

The first time he tried it, he was chowing down like a champ, loving it, getting his grub on…and then suddenly he had a complete melt down.

I’m still not sure what triggered his freak out, but at some point he rubbed his eyes and then started getting upset.  I tried not to worry, but since he did a complete 180 from foodie heaven in a split second, I naturally feared the worst.  Eye and ear rubbing are triggers for me when watching him for allergic reactions, so yeah, I was concerned.  Once I got him cleaned up I took him out in the backyard to (a) distract him with various things and (b) check for rashes in better lighting.  His face is perpetually chapped right now so I’m having the darndest time determining what’s a real rash and what’s simply the result of winter weather.  I’m trying to wipe his face and nose less, but it’s a catch 22 because then I worry about allergens he’s exposed to that go from his hands to his face.

Whoa tangent.

It ended up being nothing.  He didn’t nap that afternoon so he was probably just cranky.  That combined with some excessive face rub downs were the only issues.

But because Kyle came home from work and asked about his red face – thereby reinforcing my concern – I did call and talk to a Whole Foods food preparation member about how they make their organic roasted chicken.  Probably should have thought of that beforehand, but it’s stuff like this that only crosses my mind after the fact.  I wound up learning that there’s nothing added to the plain rotisserie chickens (no oil, no seasonings, no nada), but the salt and pepper and BBQ ones do have rubs.  The ingredients for those are all be listed on the price-tag / label.  And now I know!


I’m making other people’s (delicious!) food creations a lot lately because when it comes to our family diet, I’m learning as I go.  That’s why it’s radio silence on the recipe front.  I highly recommend this broccoli salad.

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The mayo dressing is great and the combo of raisins and sunflower seeds is awesome.  I added quinoa to make it more of a side dish.

I’m usually not a leftovers person, but I was all about it for lunch the next day.

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He’s definitely onto us with the video monitor!  Hahaha.  So the camera is now wall mounted.  He’s too smart.

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Mexican was clearly a theme since I made both tortilla soup and nachos this week.  Basically I like chips.  And salt.

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Zoooooooo.  Giraffe intrigue.  His eyes were glued to them the entire time.


These two.  <3