Thursday, May 28, 2009

Summer Favorites Dinner Date

Why yes, I am still alive! Lizzy had a raging virus for most of the last week, which put a complete damper on my cooking. But I pulled it back together for dinner date last night! The original theme was going to be more centered on grilling, so naturally, it was 50 degrees and raining yesterday. Summertime in New England!

I worked with two of my favorite things to have in the summer - burgers and lemon squares. I've been making my own hamburger buns for a while now, on nights when I have the time to plan ahead, and they are such a treat - it's hard to go back to store-bought burger buns! If you have a bread machine, you have to try these. (If you don't have a bread machine, you need one!) I love lemon squares, but Abby hates how gooey and messy they are, and my traditional recipe is loaded with sugar. So I made lemon blondies - lower sugar, less messy, but still with a nice lemon flavor.

I simply must give a shout-out to LaDue & Crew's Pomegranate Sangria. Drooooool. I made a batch for the mommies last night and it was fabulous. I subbed in 2 cups of Diet Sprite for the white semi-sparkling wine both to cut down on calories and alcohol content. Celeste and I thoroughly enjoyed it - if you like sangria even a little try it out!

Zesty Turkey Burgers on Homemade Burger Buns

Zesty Turkey Burgers

I've been making these for years - there's nothing easier, and they're full of flavor

1 lb ground turkey
1-2 Tbsp prepared horseradish
1-2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Mush the turkey, horseradish, and mustard together. Form into patties and grill. Easy!

Homemade Burger Buns

1 1/4 cups water
1 egg
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp instant potato flakes
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
2 Tbsp wheat bran
1 Tbsp gluten
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast (or rapid rise yeast)

Place ingredients in the pan according to your bread machine's instructions. Program for the Dough cycle.

When the cycle is complete, turn the dough onto a clean work surface. For normal-size burger or hot dog buns, divide the dough into 12 equal portions (you can subdivide some of those portions to make little slider buns for kids). Flatten a portion out into a rough circle:

(dividing and flattening)

Next, pinch the edges of the circle into the center, like so:

It will end up like this:

Place the roll pinched-seams side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with all of the dough balls. You can also make hot dog rolls - make your dough ball into a long oval and tightly roll from a long end, like this:

Cover the buns with clean tea towels and let rest for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375F; bake the buns for 15-20 minutes, until golden and lightly browned.

These buns freeze really well and are delicious with butter and jelly for breakfast, too! Mine never ever ever turn out really pretty and perfect (especially my hot dog buns, they always look uneven), but that's the charm of homemade buns :-)

Lemon Blondies
(the big girls were a little excited for dessert...)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
zest from 2 lemons
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8" square pan with aluminum foil.

In a small bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, baking powder, and salt.

Melt the butter in a large glass bowl - set aside to cool slightly. In a food processor, process the sugar and lemon zest together until the zest is well-chopped and the sugar smells lemony. Stir the sugar-zest into the melted butter until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the lemon juice and the egg. Stir the flour mixture in until just combined.

Spread batter in the prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the blondies are set in the center.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"MomDonalds" Dinner Date

So tonight I decided to try a fake-them-out "MomDonald's" Happy Meal. I even made up some bags to serve them it--toy prize and all! They liked the idea of it (and loved the toys) but were not going to be fooled by the food. Well darn them! It was fun to try anyway. ;o) I also used this dinner date to showcase our food of the week-berries!
(at least they had fun)

Blueberry Fontina Sliders
(serves 2 adults and 2 toddlers)

1 lb. 94/6 (or 80/20) ground beef
1/2 pint of fresh blueberries
1/2 tsp. herbs de provence
3 slices of fontina cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Slider buns (Pepperidge Farms just came out with some that are HFC free!)
olive oil

1. In a blender, puree the blueberries until smooth
2. In a medium bowl combine the beef, berries, herbs de provence, salt and pepper
3. Using your hands, form slider sized patties.
4. Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add the burgers to the pan and cook on both sides until desired doneness (ours were med-well).
5. In the last minute of cooking top each slider with a small piece of the fontina cheese
6. Serve on the slider buns. (I also wrapped them up in parchment paper fast food style.)

These were really good. The girls weren't impressed honestly but I think that had more to do with overall disappointment at it not actually being from the 'real' golden arches. Kara and I thought they were really good. The blueberries made what could have been drier/less flavorful burgers (due to the 94/6 ground beef) juicy and flavorful. I served them with carrot and zucchini sticks cut to french fry size with some ranch dressing for dipping. Again...non-plussed.

Blackberry Mango Smoothies
(serves 2)

8oz. Ceres mango juice
4oz. vanilla soymilk
1/2 pint fresh blackberries
1/2 c. frozen mango

1. Put all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Serve!

Here's a little video to show the reaction to this meal. You can see the initial excitement shortly followed by disappointment. Be sure to watch Abby's reaction to the smoothie and her realization that her french fries were swapped out for veggies. Priceless.

Maple Sour Cream Strawberry Pies
(serves 6)

2 frozen or refrigerated pie crusts
1 pint fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 egg white

1. Roll out the crusts and cut into rectangles
2. In a small bowl, combine the strawberries, sour cream and maple syrup
3. Top one half of each rectangle with a scoop of the strawberry mixture.
4. Brush egg white along the outside edge of the rectangle. Fold it in half and pinch the sides closed with a fork. Cut a couple slits in the top.
5. Brush the tops of the individual pies with more egg whites
6. Bake on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve!

These were the all around hit of the night. So easy, good ingredients and oh so yummy.

Just for fun...the toy prizes in action...

I hope you all have a nice Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Baked Berry Pancake

My idea was to do a healthier, berry version of a Dutch Baby pancake... didn't quite work out. This is tasty and Abby and I liked it, but it doesn't have the puff and delicacy of a Dutch Baby - instead it has whole wheat flour and flax and juicy berries. A good enough trade for me for a weekday breakfast!

Baked Berry Pancake

1 lb strawberries, hulled and sliced (or 1 lb any berry!)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp ground flax meal
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 425F. In a large oven-proof skillet, toss strawberries until the begin to soften and let out their juice. Meanwhile, whisk together the flours, flax, sugar and salt in one large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until no lumps remain.

When the oven is ready, pour the batter all around the berries. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, until pancake is puffed and golden. Invert onto a serving plate and slice to serve (Abby thought this was a strawberry pancake, which made her even happier!).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Black and Blue Sauce

This week, Celeste and I will be playing with berries! I'm starting the week with a savory sauce that paired perfectly with roasted pork loin. The berries combined nicely with the thyme and pepper - it was fun to use berries in a non-sweet way!

Black and Blue Sauce

1 small onion, chopped small
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper
2 cups total of blueberries and blackberries
1/4 cup stock
2 Tbsp red wine (optional)

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion, dried thyme, salt, and pepper (I did a fair amount of pepper to give the sauce a little kick). Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften. Add in the berries. Cook, stirring, until berries are starting to release juice and break down. Pour in stock and wine, if using. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until sauce is thickened and reduced. Serve with roasted pork or chicken.

(My husband wished it was thicker - if you like a thicker sauce, stir in 1 Tbsp of cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp of water when the berries are well broken down)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Indian Dinner Date!

I turned to the local library to find some inspiration for dinner date this week, and the first cookbooks my hand landed on were for Indian food! The very first time I tried Indian, I got terrible food poisoning. So it's been a cuisine that's taken me a while to love to learn, needless to say.

I thought this dinner turned out well, but the girls had little interest in eating it. Lately, dinner dates have been working against us, and the girls are having trouble transitioning from playtime to dinner time. Abby had a little fish and some rice, but ignored the vegetables (that whole Month of Veggies thing didn't really do its job!). I think Neko ate pretty well, but I wasn't paying much attention (too distracted by trying to get Abby to stay seated at the table!). Lizzy devoured her plate of food and ate half of Abby's fish, as well!

Fish Baked in Tomato Sauce with Coconut Vegetables
Fish Baked in Tomato Sauce

4-6 Tilapia filets
14 oz can diced tomatoes
8 oz plain non-fat yogurt
12 oz water
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground ginger
salt & pepper

In a large pot, combine the tomatoes, yogurt, water, and all spices (with salt & pepper to taste). Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced by almost half. Puree the sauce (either in a blender or with an immersion blender).

Preheat oven to 400F. Lay Tilapia filets in a 9x13 baking pan. Pour the sauce over the filets and bake until fish is cooked through and flaky (I was using frozen filets, and it was about 35-40 minutes baking time).

Coconut Vegetables
(This dish is like baby steps towards getting your child to like spicy curries!)

6 cups chopped mixed vegetables (we used sweet peppers, zucchini, carrots, and onion)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 13.5 oz can light coconut milk
1/2 tsp curry powder (add more depending on your child's heat tolerance)

Heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and curry powder. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes, until veggies are tender.

Saffron Yogurt

This "dessert" was a complete fail with the big girls, though Lizzy devoured hers. Celeste and I really liked it, so maybe this is more of an adult treat! The cardamom and saffron flavors were intense and different. Celeste thought it should be sweeter, so I will give the amounts I used - but sweeten it to taste!

1 1/2 cups plain non-fat yogurt
1/4 tsp saffron threads
1/2 Tbsp milk, warmed
2 Tbsp agave nectar or honey (no honey for kids under one!)
1/8 tsp ground cardamom

Line a fine mesh strainer with a coffee filter and set it up over a cup. Put the yogurt in the filter; let drain in the refrigerator for a few hours, until a lot of the water has come out and the yogurt is firmer. One of those gold coffee filter things works well for this, as you can see!:

Soak the saffron threads in the warm milk while the yogurt is straining. When the yogurt is ready, simply stir together the yogurt, saffron-milk mixture, agave or honey, and cardamom. Sweeten as desired. This is a great make-ahead snack, as the flavors are even more intense with time!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Apricot ( But Mostly Peach) Chicken and Rice

Apricot (But Mostly Peach) Chicken and Rice
(serves 4)

So I'm having the same problem that Kara is having. Where are all these "in season" apricots?? I tried 3 stores with no luck. I had this idea for apricot chicken and to improvise (with no apricots) I decided to try canned apricots. Well guess what? The store only had canned apricots with Splenda. Bleh. I decided to get peaches canned in juice and call it a day. There IS apricot juice in the recipe so the fruit IS being utilized to some degree. ;o)

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat and cut into chunks
olive oil
1 c. apricot nectar
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. turbanino (or brown) sugar
2 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1/2 c. warm water
1 can of peaches in juice (or 2 fresh peaches, pitted and sliced.
2 c. chicken stock
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. brown rice
1/2 c. wild rice

1. In a medium saucepan combine the rices, stock and butter. Bring to a boil. Stir once and then reduce the temp. to low. Cover and cook for 50 minutes.
2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil (a couple dashes) over med-high heat. Saute until cooked through.
3. In a small saucepan combine the juice, vinegar, sugar and mustard. Cook on medium heat until the sauce begins to bubble. Reduce the temp. slightly and cook for another 5 minutes to let the flavors come together.
4. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and water. Stir this mixture into the apricot sauce. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce begins to thicken.
5. Add the sauce to the chicken in the large skillet. Gently stir in the peaches.
6. Serve the chicken and peaches over the rice and spoon some of the sauce over the top. Serve!

This was a good blend of sweet and savory. Definitely a toddler pleaser!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Apricot-Almond Snack Cookies

I generally make two kinds of cookies - "snack cookies" that are healthy treats disguised in cookie form, and then true oh-so-good delicious treat cookies. The apricot-almond cookies I made up yesterday are definitely the former! They are very lightly sweet, surprisingly moist and chewy, and are chock-full of good-for-you ingredients. The girls were delighted to have "cookies" at snack time, though I doubt they were fooled into thinking these were the same as a good old chocolate chip cookie!

Apricot-Almond Snack Cookies

1 1/2 cups raw almonds
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp apricot preserves
2 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup rolled oats
6 oz dried apricots

Preheat oven to 350F. In a food processor, grind together the almonds, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, and cinnamon until almonds are finely ground and mixture is starting to clump together. Pour mixture into a bowl and set aside; then, grind the rolled oats and dried apricot together in the food processor until the apricots are finely chopped.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, honey, preserves, and sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the ground almond-flour mixture. Stir in the ground apricot-oat mixture.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. (if you have extra dried apricot, you could chop it up and stick a little piece in each ball to decorate - like a health-nut version of those peanut butter blossom cookies). Bake for about 13-15 minutes, until cookies are lightly browned. Let cool completely - they taste much better cooled than warm.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Roasted Apricots and Potatoes

This week, Celeste and I are playing with apricots! Apricots are, theoretically, in season from May to August. I had no luck getting any fresh apricots, so I'll be playing with dried apricots this week. Maybe Celeste will have better luck! I made a side dish last night of roasted apricots and potatoes topped off with goat cheese. It was tasty, but the dried apricots were too sweet - this would be much better with fresh apricots.

Roasted Apricots and Potatoes

1 1/2 lbs small potatoes, halved or quartered (depending on size)
1/2 lb apricots, halved
1/4 cup apricot preserves
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried rosemary
3-4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 400F. Whisk together the preserves and vinegar; toss with the potatoes and apricots. Put coated potatoes and apricots in a small casserole dish. Sprinkle with dried rosemary, salt, and pepper. Bake for about 45 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Serve topped with crumbled goat cheese.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Kara's Birthday Dinner Date!!

My super duper blogmate and friend Kara celebrated a milestone birthday this week and to honor the occasion I planned a dinner date full of her favorites! I asked her what she wanted and she told me that she often had spaghetti and meatballs and/or hummus on birthdays past so I decided to give these a go with some Itty Bitty Bistro flair!

Sicilian Hummus Dip
(serves 8)

So what makes this dip Sicilian? Nada. I just thought it made it sound extra Italian. Did it work? I've never even been to Sicily. My friend Jen has though. Maybe she could tell us if there is anything Sicilian about this dip. ;o)

1 can of garbonzo beans
1/2 c. lowfat cottage cheese
1/4 c. fresh parmesan cheese, shredded
1 bunch of fresh basil
3/4 c. cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
pinch of salt

1. Add all ingredients to food processor. Process until smooth. Serve with crudite or toasted baguette rounds.

Kara's Birthday Spaghetti and Meatballs

I did my best to channel my inner Italian Grandmother for the spaghetti and meatballs (even though I'm Scandinavian and not Italian whatsoever.) When in doubt I would ask myself "What would Giada do?"

Ingredients for the sauce:
1 med or large sweet yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 green peppers (i used small ones), seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 roma tomatoes, diced
2 cans of tomato sauce
2 cans of tomato paste
2 cans of tomato juice (soda sized cans)
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. italian seasoning
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 bunch of fresh basil, chopped
salt to taste

1. In a large saute pan, saute the olive oil, onions and green pepper over med-high heat until the onions begin to be translucent.
2. Add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.
3. Add the diced tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Cook for another 5 minutes.
4. Transfer the mixture to a crockpot. Add the tomato sauce, paste, juice, brown sugar, baking soda and salt (just a few shakes to start).
5. Cook allllllllllll day. :o) I put mine in the crockpot at 10:30 am and served it at 5 pm.
6. Add the meatballs (recipe below) and fresh basil an hour before you plan to serve.
7. Check the taste of the sauce. Salt if necessary.

Meatball ingredients:
1 lb. 'meatball meat' (I found this in my Shaws. It was a blend of beef, pork and veal.) You could, of course, use just one of these or even ground turkey or chicken
1 c. italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper (couple dashes of each)
1/8 c. fresh parsley, chopped
olive oil
1/2 cup warm water

1. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients, except water.
2. Slowly add the water until the mixture is moist but still a consistancy to roll into meatballs.
3. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.
4. Using your hands, roll 1-2" sized meatballs. Add them to the pan as you make them.
5. Cook for about 7 minutes or until cooked through.

Ok, this next one I'm pretty proud of...I also got to showcase the Valencia one last here we go....

Kara's Cara Cara Chocolate Citrus Cupcakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)

Cupcake ingredients:
1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
zest and juice from 1 Cara Cara orange
1 c. lowfat vanilla yogurt
4 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 squares bitersweet baking chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Spray the insides of the liners with Pam for baking or the like.
3. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and whisk or beat until well combined.
4. Fill each liner half full with batter.
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Frosting ingredients:
1 box of powdered sugar (16 oz)
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp (or more) of milk
zest from 1 lemon
2 Tbsp lemon juice
zest from 1 valencia orange
2 Tbsp orange juice

1. Combine all ingredients exept milk and juice in a mixer. Mix until a thick paste forms.
2. Add the milk, zest and juice. Mix on high until fluffy adding splashes of more milk if necessary.
3. Spread on cupcakes and garnish with a little more zest if you'd like. Serve!

THIS FROSTING IS SERIOUSLY GOOD. No joke. (Toot toot goes my own horn.)

Happy Birthday Kara!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

French Rice Salad

Jenna at Food with Kid Appeal posted a recipe the other day for French Rice Salad. I had a feeling it would be a hit with me and my kids, so I tried it out. It is delicious!!

I did that stupid thing where you convince yourself you have a bag of corn in the freezer so you don't need to pick any up when you're at the store - and then get home and, lo and behold, no corn. Grr. So I made the salad with peas instead, which tasted great, but doesn't look nearly as pretty as Jenna's! This salad is a definite must-try - I made a big double batch yesterday and it's already almost gone.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pork and Orange Stir Fry

With Valencia oranges on the menu this week, I turned to a classic - orange stir fry! I actually don't do many stir frys, as my children are usually a little too rowdy at dinnertime for me to be standing around at the stove. I was, at least, able to prep everything beforehand, and with the aid of Yo Gabba Gabba, dinner came together easily!

I love pork with oranges, but chicken, tofu, or beef would work well here, too. I also tossed in some of my leftover citrusy edamame, which added some extra yum. The girls both loved this dinner, though Abby had me separate the components into different piles - heaven forbid foods be mixed together!

Pork and Orange Stir Fry
(I took a picture of everything ready to go... and forgot to take a picture of the final outcome! It looked like a stir fry, no big whoop)

(amounts are approximate... it's a stir fry, you just kind of go with it!)

1 lb pork tenderloin, sliced very thin
2 Tbsp corn starch
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups sliced carrots (I used my new crinkle cutter!)
1 orange, supremed (or some canned mandarin oranges)

1 orange, juiced (or 1/2 cup orange juice)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients. Set aside.

Toss the pork slices in the corn starch to coat. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the pork slices and the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the pork is cooked through. Add the broccoli and carrots and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. The sauce should react with the corn starch from the pork and start to bubble and thicken. Gently stir in the oranges. Serve.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Orange Scented Rice

One of my 2 Valencia orange challenges for the week was to come up with a side dish showcasing the in season Valencia. Tonight we had fish, rice and a veggie planned for dinner so I thought it would be interesting to add the orange to the rice. The end result was good but not to die for good. I think with some tweaking however it could be really, really good. On a second attempt I would like to try to add some sweetness, maybe golden raisins. I think this would compliment the orange flavor well.

Orange Scented Rice

(makes 4-6 servings)


1 c. brown rice
2-1/4 c. water, chicken stock or veggie stock (we used chicken stock but for this particular rice I think I would use water next time)
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1 orange
1/4 c. chopped almonds
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
salt to taste

1. Bring water or stock and zest to a boil.
2. Stir in rice. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 40 minutes.
3. Lightly toast almonds in a small saute pan on low heat. (Approx. 5 minutes)
4. With 10 minutes left on the rice cooking time, add the onion and garlic.
5. Stir in almonds and orange juice.
6. Salt to taste. Serve!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Orange French Toast

Celeste and I are starting a new series: each week, we're going to focus on recipes that incorporate one in-season vegetable or fruit. This week, we're playing with Valencia oranges! Apparently, they are the only orange in season in the summer. In his book 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life, David Grotto tells us that oranges are a great source of potassium and vitamin C, and are also a good source of folate. Go oranges!

Orange French Toast

6 slices wheat bread
zest from 2 oranges, finely chopped
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (I used vanilla soy milk for extra yum!)

Whisk together the zest, eggs, and milk. Soak each piece of bread in the egg mixture. Cook on a hot griddle for 2-3 minutes per side (or until cooked through).

Optional: Orange Topping

Chop up the two oranges which you used for zest. Combine them in a small saucepan with 2 Tbsp water, 1 tsp of honey, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer the mixture while you make the French toast, stirring occasionally to break up the orange segments.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

MoV Day 20: Greek Stuffed Mushrooms

Woohoo! My family finally finished the Month of Veggies plan! The plan was great for inspiring me to be more creative with my vegetables - both which ones I serve and how I prepare them. Unfortunately, I don't think it did a darned thing to "Get [my] picky kid to start trying (and yes, loving!) vegetables in just one month" as claimed in the article. Oh well.

These stuffed mushrooms went over like a lead balloon with Abby. Is it just her? I can't really imagine any 3-year-old going for them. My husband and I ended up eating almost all of them by ourselves, and we quite liked them. I baked up the leftover stuffing (the recipe makes way more stuffing than I could jam into the mushroom caps) and Lizzy gobbled it down. But trying to get Abby to pick up the mushroom cap and take a bite was a no-go. I'll keep these on my list for appetizers to serve to adults!

Greek Stuffed Mushrooms

12 mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and chopped
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 425F. Bake mushrooms caps, smooth side up, for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add mushroom stem pieces and garlic. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the bread crumbs, tomato, and feta.

Scoop the filling into the mushroom caps. Return to oven and bake for 8 minutes longer. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Citrusy Edamame

I am almost done with this darned Month of Veggies! This thing has taken two months, thanks to sickness and travel. I feel like the recipes this last week have been kind of random (the theme being "try something totally new", but how "totally new" is acorn squash to any kid? Squash is such a ubiquitous baby food). Last night's was Citrus Edamame. On the one hand - yum! I love edamame! On the other hand - is it a vegetable? Really? I mean, I guess it is, but I think of it as more of a bean/protein kind of food. So serving it on the side of Celeste's Mega Omega Fish Nuggets kind of felt like serving two proteins.

But - they were delicious! I love edamame, but have only had it in the pod and coated with salt. These edamame were light and tasty, and a great way to introduce them to Abby. She loved them! So did Lizzy! I cut the oil out of the recipe because SERIOUSLY, Parents Magazine, enough with the oil all over all of the vegetables!!

Citrus Edamame

2 cups frozen shelled edamame
1 tsp finely chopped orange peel
1 Tbsp orange juice

Cook the edamame according to package directions (for me, this was microwaving them for about 2 minutes. Easy!). Toss with the peel and juice and salt to taste. So fast and easy!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Baby Dinner Date!

Dinner date was a little different this week - it was created with Lizzy in mind! When Abby was a baby, I lovingly made all sorts of meals with just her in mind. Lizzy, on the other hand, is always just fed whatever bits and pieces she can manage of what I've made for the rest of us. So this week, I created a dinner for Lizzy (and for all the babies out there who are mastering table foods but don't quite have the teeth for a lot of chewing yet). I also used the Day 18 of the Month of Veggies recipe! Multi-tasking!

Multi-Grain Bean Patties with Curried Acorn Squash

Multi-Grain Bean Patties

1 cup cooked grains (I used a mix of amaranth, quinoa, and barley)
1 can of white beans (or 1 2/3 cup prepared beans), rinsed and drained
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 clove garlic
salt & pepper

Mash all ingredients together in a bowl until a paste forms. (You may want to add some breadcrumbs if you think the mixture is too wet). Drop by small blobs onto either a skillet or an electric grill - these worked surprisingly well on my Foreman grill. Cook for about 5 minutes in the grill, or about 5 minutes per side on the skillet. Crumble up to serve to baby, or serve on a bun for big kids!

(we pretended they were burgers for the big girls!)

Curried Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash, sliced into wedges
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1/2 tsp curry powder
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. Place squash wedges with 1 Tbsp of water into a covered dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the apricot preserves and the curry powder. Brush the apricot mixture over the wedges and season with salt and pepper. Return wedges (uncovered) to the oven for 10 minutes more.

Roasted Berry "Sundaes"

2-3 cups fruit (as appropriate for your baby), diced. We had blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi.
1 Tbsp butter
nutmeg and cinnamon
plain Greek yogurt
agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350F. Spread the fruit in a baking dish. Dice the butter and scatter over the berries. Sprinkle the fruit with cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake for 15 minutes; stir and let cool.

Scoop a little Greek yogurt into bowls; top with some roasted fruit and drizzle with agave nectar. Roasting the fruit should ensure that it is soft enough for a toothless baby - but beware, this will make a big mess!

* * * * *

This dinner was a big hit with Lizzy - she cleaned her plate! Since Lizzy is a little older, I like to add herbs and spices to what she eats to help her develop a palate for all sorts of foods - hence the basil, oregano, garlic, curry, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The big girls liked the dinner okay, but they were awfully busy playing to settle down and eat. Luckily, they both wolfed down dessert - and since they had just the merest drizzle of agave, their "sundaes" were a safe way to let them feel like they were having a treat!