oatmeal

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!

What I ate…a long time ago

Last week I took photos of my whole day of eats – something I rarely do anymore – and then I just forgot about it.

But they were good meals worth sharing so I’m posting them now because it’s food related and this is a food blog!

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It’s pretty atypical for me to have oats in the mornings nowadays, so this creation is more of an anomaly than the norm.  I was in the mood for peanut butter but I used sunbutter instead because I’m still nervous about eating nuts when I’m around P.  Even though I’m super careful it’s still scary.  It also had coconut and cinnamon for days.

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My lunch featured Quorn chik’n tenders which are easy to have in the freezer for random protein emergencies (because we all have those?!?! what??).  Anyway, I was in the mood for a salad with some oomph so I thawed some chunks and kinda worried they’d be weird.

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They looked like chicken with freezer burn, but tasted shockingly good!  The ingredients list isn’t short, but despite appearances, it’s all decent.  It’s actually mostly egg protein, and yet it doesn’t taste eggy at all.  I liked it more than gardein and many other mock meats.

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I tossed it with steamed kale, coconut chips, and tamari – a quickie take on this salad (again).

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My afternoon boost was green – thanks to the frozen spinach.  The rest of the smoothie had coconut milk, frozen banana, nutribiotic vanilla rice protein powder, and ice.

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Dinner was more kale (I can’t get enough lately) with salmon.

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I definitely phoned it in with this meal, but sometimes you need simple ones to balance out the more time consuming ones.  I know which days are going to be busier in advance so those days are the ones that I bust out the crock pot or turn to big salads.  Kyle loves kale salads too so it’s a win win.

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This one had kale (massaged with olive oil and avocado), quinoa, and white beans.  I used canned salmon from TJs so it was ready in minutes.

P still refuses to have anything to do with beans.  It’s breaking my hippie heart.  🙁  I’ll just keep trying…

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Kyle and I finished off his birthday cake while watching Girls.  We flew through all 3 seasons in a matter of days.  Now it’s on to the next season of Mad Men that I saw just popped onto our Netflix queue.  Woo hoo.

My highlights: week 8

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Swoon.

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We spent too much time at Lamps Plus last Sunday buying a chandelier for…drumroll…our new house!!!  I am still in shock.  More on that later.  In the two hours it took to find a suitable chandelier and matching chain, P managed to pee through an outfit and get super hungry.  Like a total rookie mom, I was prepared for neither.  We left at 11:30 thinking it would be a 30 minute trip, tops.  But we were way wrong.  Needless to say I made it work.  I changed him in the car and cleaned his outfit as best I could, then found a pouch of applesauce and corn puffs in the bottom of the diaper bag.  He was quite happy and fell asleep on the traffic-packed drive home.  Kyle and I both wanted to eat our own faces by the time we got home and were laughing at the ridiculous nature of the whole outing.  In the end we got a chandelier though, so mission accomplished! 

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My sister bought me a 6 pack of Roscato (aka the best wine ever) for P’s first birthday.  It makes me sound like a mega boozer, but if you’ve ever tried this fizzy red vino, then you understand.  If you haven’t, I suggest you remedy that situation asap. 

Anyway, I popped the cork screw top last weekend when we had some friends over.  The kids romped in the backyard while we sipped and supervised.

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Looking over the fence, keeping an eye out for our friends.

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The blue eyes babes.

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Salt and vinegar roasted chickpeas.  I made two batches and shockingly, P actually ate the salt-less ones.  Every day is a new food mood, though, so I’m not holding my breath.

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This week’s weather was rather schizophrenic.  Shorts!  Flip flops!!  I dressed like this for two glorious walks in the sunshine until the rain came.

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After a gorgeous start to the week, the storms hit on Wednesday and haven’t slowed since.  Spring is such a tease.  

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Went to the East Bay again on Monday for this lecture series.  I carpooled with my parents, but when I first got to their house my mom was out on a hike with the dogs.  Patty-cakes was so confused as to why the dogs weren’t in the backyard.  When they got home, he gave grandma a nice greeting, but quickly turned his attention to the pups.

PS This lecture featured Joan Dye Gussow & Michael Moss, speaking on “Consumerism, Marketing, and Health.”  They got me fired up all over again about the crap the majority of the nation eats, and how big businesses target us, and why our grocery stores look the way they do.  Ugh.  Somehow it was depressing and discouraging, while still being inspiring and motivating.  But if you’re looking for answers, I came away with nada.  If only we could all have the time and financial resources to make our own food from real ingredients and completely boycott processed products.  Not super realistic though.

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Breakfast battle: sweet or savory?  I don’t do “or”.  It’s sweet AND savory for moi.

On the left, steel cut oats with golden raisins, strawberries, and cinnamon.  On the right, two fried eggs. 

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Testing out the umbrella stroller.  I got it at the thrift store for $6 in preparation for our travel.  All it has to do is last 12 days.  Or at least just the flight portion.  I can rent something once we arrive if it turns out to be a p.o.s.

So far so good though.  I treated myself to Starbucks because I had negative cups at my parents’ house and then P got an eye infection and I had to go to the hospital and yadda yadda, I wanted caffeine.  The stir stick made a nice toy for him.  It’s the simple things…

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Twinsies.  And it happened twice!  So weird cracking into an egg and seeing double yolks come out. 

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Breakfast strata for Kyle.  Sourdough, Green Valley organic plain lactose free yogurt, spinach, eggs, salsa, and parmesan on top.  He loves the gluten and dairy, so P and I live vicariously through him. 

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Aint no drizzle holding back our family jog.  But lack of sleep does (P is sick).  This was a short run, but we did it, and that’s all that matters. 

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He fell asleep like this.  Like, wtf, that cannot be comfortable. 

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Top meal of the week was packed with these roasted veggieeeeeeees. 

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Kale salad lunches were a close runner up.  All good.

My highlights: week 7

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Mama’s little helper.

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The addition of shoes to the wardrobe has transformed him into a little boy.  He’s non-stop exploring.  Still not walking, but he’s perfected his cruising skills, so it’s only a matter if time (days).

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Green toys.  And now the word tractor is a part of his vocab.  Davis appropriate.

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Inspired by Vintage Mixer’s kale coconut & chicken salad I made this guy for lunch.  I have been struuuuuggling with lunches lately.  I don’t know what to eat without soy or nuts or hummus.  I’ve been trying to limit meat to dinners only, but I have to get better about prepping things for myself.  I don’t know why I don’t!?  I plan and make everyone else’s food in advance.  From now on, I’ll include my lunches in the weekly meal planning.  We only have dinner leftovers 13% of the time so I should really give myself more nourishing and thought out eats. 

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A non-smoothie afternoon snack.  I actually had 4 cookies.  The photo lies.

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Coffee date with P’s girlfriend. 

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While he ate lasagna, I ate this.  Kale, carrots, brown rice, and salmon topped in tamari.  Kale is all I want lately! 

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Even though he’s teething, he’s still a happy boy.

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Here’s that aforementioned lasagna.  He requests it every week.  You’d think it would get old. 

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But I guess you could say the same about smoothies for me.  I had, like, five hundred this week (ok, maybe six).  Frozen spinach is the best ingredient.

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Our delayed Valentine’s dinner.  Tamari mustard salmon.  Kale salad with pomegranate arils and candied walnuts and pepitas.

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I tossed the pepitas and walnuts in olive oil and maple syrup, then roasted them at 350 degrees F for ~20 minutes.

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Meanwhile I massaged the crap outta the lacinato kale (olive oil, maple syrup, lemon juice & zest, salt & pepper).

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We popped bubbles too.

We agreed that our presents to each other would be chocolate, so I picked out his (below right) and vice versa.

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theo and Vosges.  He knows me so well. :)  Guess how much is left?  None! Duh.

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Me and my monkeys went to the zoo.  We got a membership for patty-cakes’ birthday.

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Dairy free gluten free waffles.  I made them for me and my (ex) coworker.  We usually do our breakfast dates at restaurants, but I had her over instead.  She had just come off a string of four nights in a row.  Brutal. 

Gluten and dairy free waffles [nut free, soy free, dairy free, gluten/wheat free]

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups GF all purpose flour (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tbsp NuNaturals tagatose
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Mix the dry ingredients (flour, sweetener, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon) together.

In a separate bowl whip the eggs, then add in the milk and vanilla and stir all the wet ingredients together with the dry ones.

Scoop/pour onto greased waffle iron in batches. 

Makes ~10 waffle squares.

If your appliance can control how dark your waffles end up, these are better on the shorter end of the spectrum.  At least in my opinion.  I like soft fluffy waffles.  My first batch was dark and slightly crispy on the outside (more cooked than I’d like).  I adjusted the setting to shorten the cooking time, so second batch was perrrfect.  Doughy and delicious. 

Feel free to cook as long or as short as you want.  They’ll taste good either way.

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P liked the waffles too.  At least the ones that were fresh off the iron.  The leftovers weren’t soft enough for him, so I ate his scraps instead (topped in sunbutter).  With his leftover berries and eggs.

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Little pom lover.  Whodda thunk? 

A little birthday boy

In order for all my tasks to stay straight in my head, they have to be written on paper.  With check boxes.  Because otherwise my mind will never ever shut off.  I will literally lie awake at night going over all the things on my to-do list…

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So I have this.  OCD?  Yes.  But oh so helpful too. 

For the birthday party, it kept me right on track, and guess what?  The hour leading up to our guests’ arrival was completely stress free.  I had nothing to do because I had already done everything!

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Here’s the food!

In addition to a veggie platter with ranch, chips with salsa & guacamole, we had a couple of salads.

Shaved Brussels Sprout Quinoa Salad [gluten/wheat free, dairy free, nut free, soy free]

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We’ve made this twice before and I thought it might be weird to serve brussels at a 1 year old’s birthday party, but Kyle was the one who pushed for this dish (and I only recently got him to TRY brussels!!), so that’s saying something about how good it is!

I used quinoa instead of bread to make it wheat/gluten free, but otherwise it needs no tweaks.

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My mom brought a gluten free pasta salad as well.  This dressing was more like a sweet tomato sauce – very different from what I was expecting, but really good!

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And of course, it’s not a birthday party without cake!!

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Clearly I’m not a professional froster…we’ll call it “rustic”, yes?

I shared the recipe for this chocolate cake before here.  It’s gluten/wheat free, grain free, dairy free, nut free, and soy free. 

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If you refer to the above to-do list, you’ll see this was a Thursday night task. 🙂

As was the baking of the cake.

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Both went into the fridge until Saturday morning, at which point I let them come to room temp. [I had to nuke the frosting for ~20 seconds in the microwave to soften it enough to spread, but it hardened again after.]

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Ice ice baby.

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I sliced ‘em small because it’s definitely a decadent dessert.  It’s rich, but not in a way that leaves you feeling blah. 

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Baby’s first chocolate!!

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I was nervous people wouldn’t like it.  Or there wouldn’t be enough. 

Paranoid hostess that I am, as a back-up, I baked oatmeal raisin cookies too.

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You guys, I’m famous…The Kitchn published my question!

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As you can see, the cake was a big hit, which meant there were lots of cookies left over for meeeeeee.  Okay, and K and P.

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I had a few for dessert later that night.  Mmmmm…

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Here’s the recipe I used for the cookies (it’s a combo of a bunch of different recipes I googled).  I didn’t want to use multiple flours or xanthan gum so that’s why I resorted to making my own recipe up.   I also didn’t want 48 cookies.  Why do cookie recipes yield so many dang cookies!?! 

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies [gluten/wheat free, dairy free, nut free, soy free]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp gluten free whole rolled oats
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp gluten free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix wet ingredients together and stir so the egg is well whipped (make sure the oil isn’t too hot so you don’t cook the egg when it’s added).  Add the rest of the dry ingredients, except the raisins.  Mix until combined, then fold in the raisins.

Scoop and roll into balls and place on greased cookie sheet (or parchment paper).

Bake for ~18-20 minutes.  Let cool before removing from sheet.

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Notes: If your dough doesn’t hold together it may be too soft – refrigerating it will help it firm up.  However, if you leave it in the fridge too long, the coconut oil will harden too much and make it difficult to scoop – just let it come back to room temp. 

These are really yummy cookies, if I do say so myself.  Sweet, but not too sweet.  Not exactly healthy, but not packed with excessive sugar or fat.  I am a sucker for all things oatmeal raisin, but if you’re a chocolate person, feel free to sub some chunks for all or part of the raisins.