Monday, January 30, 2012

Are you ready?

For some "friggin' a we made the Superbowl again" football?

Or some "oh, ok, some other team made it, but I love a good game" football?

Or a "Who cares about football, I just want to see Madonna" football?

Honestly, if the Pats weren't playing, I'd only be tuning in for a few commercials. Sleep is much too precious these days. That said, the Pats are playing *happy dance* and though E and I are happily housebound due to a certain little man, we will be hosting our own Superbowl party for two. Even without a long guest list, a big sandwich, and an ice luge, we will have good food and beer. I'm all for calorie laden gorge-fests sometimes, but I figure lightening up a few things doesn't hurt either. If you're looking for a healthy option to serve guests that can be made in advance, takes very little time or work, and is frickin' delicious, this recipe is perfect. You can keep it warm in a crock pot and let guests serve themselves while they scream at the TV. Just make sure you leave out a stack of napkins, 'cause these buggers are saucy!

Turkey Veggie Sloppy Joe Sliders
adapted from Bon Appetit, September 1999
1 lb. ground turkey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup corn
3 Tbls. chili powder
2 Tbls. tomato paste
2 Tbls. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup ketchup
1 bottle of dark beer
olive oil
salt and pepper
Whole Wheat slider buns (Martin's makes a yummy potato version!)

Heat a little olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add turkey and cook until well browned, crumbled with a wooden spoon. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook until veggies are tender. Add chili powder and tomato paste and cook a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add ketchup and beer and cook, stirring until foam subsides. Redeuce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until sauce reduces. Season with salt and pepper, add corn and cook until heated through. Serve on slider buns.

Crossing my fingers that I get to see this face one more time! Swoon.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a $25 Gift Certificate to the Shop!
You'll still get your Valentines in time for the 14th!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Heart Felt - A Shop Update and a Giveaway!

With my favorite little papery holiday about to unroll itself into the post offices of America, I figure it's about time for yet another shop update! Valentine's Day makes me happy. It always has, even back in high school when I hosted Sergeant Josie's Lonely Hearts Club parties for all of my single friends. Funny how now I'm actually a Sargent for real. Hmph. I love all kinds of valentines, from sweet little vintage paper pieces to actually sweet baked yummies. I had to figure out a way to include some real sweets in the shop this year, since sugar makes me happy. Here's a peek at what I'm featuring for the holiday that Hallmark made:

and my Pictogram, Sign Language, and Pencil and Pop Valentines are back...

And to celebrate not only Valentine's Day, but the close of my first year selling on Etsy (Woot!), I'm doing a little giveaway, too. Leave a comment with your contact info and you'll be entered to win a $25 gift certificate to my shop!

Want to increase your odds of winning? You can earn an extra entry by:

2. Following me on Twitter and tweeting this giveaway
3. Following this blog publicly via Google Friend Connect

Leave a comment for each of the items above to make sure your entries get counted! I'll choose a winner via on next Saturday 2/4/12.

Friday, January 27, 2012


More, please!
Feeding a baby is never boring. Aside from the inevitable splatters of mush all over your face, in your hair and on the carpet, feeding a baby is a ton of fun. Being a food lover, I prayed I'd have a baby that would love food. The second the Bean spit out a mouthful of baby oatmeal, I was doubtful. When he projectile vomited avocado at me, I was seriously worried. Then he had a banana and all hope was restored. Every time I introduce Jude to a spoon filled with something new, he studies it. Checks it from all angles and then opens his baby bird mouth. He hasn't loved it all, but he eats it all. It makes for a happy mama!

We've long since mastered the art of spoon (rather than whole fist and spoon) into mouth, but feeding an older baby has it's own challenges. Namely, portion size and making sure the right nutrients are all there. I've gotten to the point where I realized combo meals are the way to go. Jude gets his fruit/veggie servings, a protein serving, and whole grain serving in every meal. It just makes my life so much easier! It may sometimes appear to be a disgusting dish (like pears, egg yolks and oatmeal, oh boy!), but homeboy digs it. Here's a little sample of how I make little man's daily menu:

His favorite meals ( the ones that literally make him squeal like a piglet) are now the things that are flavor packed, so I may end up with a foodie baby yet. These are two of our current bests:

Caramelized Cinnamon Apples
6 apples, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. cinnamon

Toss apples into a large saute pan with enough water to just cover the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 10 -15 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the water reduces. Continue cooking until the apples are browned and the water has become syrupy. Add cinnamon and puree or fork mash to desired consistency. Serve with yogurt, oatmeal, or whatever your baby likes best!
*freeze anything you don't serve immediately in an ice cube tray or refrigerate for up to a week

Pastina with Pumpkin and Parmesan
1 cup chicken stock (hopefully homemade!)
1/2 cup pastina
1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
parmesan cheese

Bring chicken stock to a boil. Add pastina and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in pumpkin. Grate parmesan over the top and serve.
*makes 2-3 servings depending on your baby! Refrigerate extras an serve in a day or two.

This post is linked to:
Friday Potluck
I'm Loving It

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snowfall and Football...

...both excellent reasons for hunkering down with a big bowl of something delicious. We got one yesterday (our first actual snow since the freak storm on Halloween, and it's January!) and the other begins this afternoon. Unlike most of our neighbors we are not morning the downfall of the J.E.T.S. Jets Jets Jets! but gloating in the glory of the Bradylicious Patriots. Oh and suck it, Eli. I was slightly tempted to paint that on a flag and hang it from our front porch, but that may not make us popular with the rest of the neighbors. Anywho, back to the food.

Football certainly means wings and nachos and beer, but I'm more into mess-less football food. Beer yes, beer in chili, absolutely. I've made dozens of different chili recipes over the years, but this one just keeps coming back. I've tinkered with it a lot, and it gets better every time. While beer and chocolate may not be something everyone digs in chili (I can almost here the Texans cringing!) it's worth it. Cozy and hearty and spicy and yum!

Playoff Chili

2 lbs. ground beef
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 1/2 Tbls. kosher salt
2 Tbls. chili powder
1 Tbls. cumin
2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbls. brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1 bottle of dark beer (Sam Adams' Oktoberfest works nicely!)
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
3 Tbls. tomato paste
2 15 oz. cans of kidney beans

In a large dutch oven over medium high heat, brown beef and drain off any excess fat. Add onion and cook until just translucent. Add garlic and peppers and cook until garlic is fragrant, about a minute. Add all seasonings and beer and cook a few minutes, stirring until foam subsides. Add tomato and bring a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an hour. Add beans and cook about 45 minutes, or until chili is thickened. Serve with cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro, lime, whatever floats your boat for a garnish.

Thursday, January 05, 2012


You knew it was coming. Take anyone who cooks and blogs about food and give them a baby and it's a given. The Baby Food post. I knew way before Jude was even born that I wanted to make my own baby food. My mother always did and she swore it was easier and cheaper than buying jarred food. As usual, she was right. Making Jude's food has proven to be far less expensive than buying it (read this article for some evidence!), and with a little planning, it takes very little time. It easily fits into our hectic schedule (being a mama, running an online shop, and working part time makes for a busy chica!). I love that I can control everything that goes into his food and it is so much fun to introduce him to new things. So far, Jude loves almost everything! Avocado was not a big hit, strangely enough, but once he can have hot sauce and cilantro, I bet that'll change.

Of course there are a hundred products on the market for baby food prep and storage, and many are wicked expensive. You don't need to run out and buy a Baby Bullet or a Brezza to make baby food, though. They claim to streamline the process, but really, it's not all that difficult of a process anyway. All you need is:
- a pot
- a blender (an immersion blender is awesome!)
- and an ice cube tray.

Really. A few good resources don't hurt. Try the Wholesome Baby Food site for great ideas for recipes, info on food allergies, and tips for introducing foods. I also love the book Super Baby Food. It also has tons of recipes, as well as lots of money saving tips, but it's been instrumental in helping me figure out portion sizes and feeding schedules for Jude. The sample menu plans are awesome. I highly recommend this book!

I try to make as many fresh fruits and vegetables as I can, but some are just far too time consuming (no way will I be shelling peas!) or are not in season. Those I buy in the frozen organic section. Spinach, peas, green beans, mangoes and peaches are all ready in literally minutes. Fresh vegetables obviously need more prep and cook time. Take a free hour and do a big batch or two at once!

Did you know a batter scoop makes a
great seed remover?  Works for melon or squash!
Basic Baby Puree
This method works well for fresh:
Sweet potatoes
Winter squash

Peel, chop into small pieces, and add to a pot with some water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until fork tender. Blend in the pot, or transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until pureed. I don't bother straining as enough water helps make any fruit or veggie smooth. Transfer puree to ice cube trays (they fit about 2 Tbls. per cube) and freeze. Transfer cubes to a ziploc bag labeled with the date and food type.

That's it! Done and done. Once you get into the swing of it, the real fun begins. Adding spices, making interesting flavor combos, and changing up the texture makes for interesting meal times. Currently Jude is really digging baked apples with cinnamon, oatmeal, and yogurt for breakfast. I don't blame him, it's fricking delicious!

So seasoned mamas, what do you like to cook for you baby?