Freezer Meals · Gluten Free · Home Cooking · Secret Recipe Club

Oh baby

Homemade Baby Food

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Welcome to my September SRC post as part of Group A!  I’m still in shock how long I’ve been doing this blog which is why it hurts to say that this is going to be my next to last post.  While I’m still cooking (and eating!), I’m spending little to no time researching and developing new recipes – which is rather essential as a food blogger.  Right now my days are spent as a jungle gym and I’m okay with that.  Most likely I’ll come back to the blog, probably as soon as spring time but right now I’m doing lots of family favorites.  However, I did want to finish out my commitments to the SRC which had been such a huge part of my blogging identity.   This month I was assigned a blog with one of the most hilarious “origin” stories out there – it involves a muffin burnt so badly that it went THRU an apartment wall when tossed.  I can soooo relate to that – as well as the desire to focus on healthy recipes while still being tempted by the good things in life such as caramel and nutella (or biscoff)!!!!!  Burnt Apple  is run by an awesome mom of three kids who is juggling normally mom life along with some pretty intense medical issues such as Type I diabetes and colitis.  I found soooooo many vegetarian friendly recipes on her blog, including variations of some of my family’s favorite such as sweet potato black bean quesadillas.  However in the end the part of her blog that I HAD to focus on was her small but awesome section dedicated to baby food.  Baby E started doing solids a few months ago and it has been such a learning curve in regards to texture, color, and temperature.  As it gets closer and closer to the time I return to work I’m also starting to think about what I can do now to make things easier.  One of those is prepping baby food and WOW did I strike gold in being partnered with Burnt Apple.  She has a two column color-coded guide to freezing baby food as well as one of the easiest baby friendly applesauces out there – plus a healthy first birthday cake (which we’re going to need very soon).

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This month I did things a bit differently and instead of doing a “recipe”, I essentially did her entire freeze column using her “how to make baby food” and “baby food delicacies” posts.  All of the items I made can be stored for up to a month, which is great since husband is starting a new job this week and will have some rather insane hours for the next few weeks.  This way I can pick out baby girl’s meals the night before and just toss in the fridge to thaw before reheating.  I’m hoping that eventually I’ll be able to do this in the hour suggested – maybe then I can get back to blogging!!!!  I used a Ninja in place of a food processor and my Doctor Who Silicon Ice Cube Trays since 1) they hold just over 2tbsp and 2) everything pops out of the super easy.    The top picture is squash by itself while the second one is her apricot puree – which was a HUGE hit.  I’m hoping to do her Garden Vegetable combo this week since we have now checked all those veggies off on their own.

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Appetizer · Gluten Free · One-Pot · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Salad · Simple and In Season

Big Noise

Simple Beet Salad

beets

Summer is most certainly here – hitting over 100 degrees earlier this week before the heat index!  I’m trying to stay as cool as possible in the house, so avoiding the oven as much as possible.  Thankfully the local farmers’ markets are BOOMING with fresh and delicious produce making it super easy to make healthy dinners that don’t require much cook time.  With this simple salad the trick is to slice the beets on the thin side so that they can be cooked in under 7 minutes, nice and crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth delicious in the middle.

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To make it even quicker to get dinner on the table, I prepped them the night before so that they could soak in the oils.   We enjoyed these with a cold pasta salad, which had also been prepped the night before!  I find it so much easier to cook right before bed (and after dessert) and since it’s cooler outside the kitchen doesn’t become a mini-furnace.

Asian · Gluten Free · One-Pot · Secret Recipe Club · Vegan

Boom Boom Boom

Tofu Mushroom Cabbage Stir Fry

tofu_rice_cabbage

Happy 4th of July and with that, welcome to July’s installment of the Secret Recipe Club!  This month I got to visit Alaska by way of Anna’s Cheese with Noodles Blog.  I loved her in her intro she was up front about blog pictures, something that I’m so bad about that I have my husband do it for me!   I found so many incredible recipes on her blog including baked tofu bites and a corn pudding recipe so amazing it survived a divorce.  In the end however I couldn’t move past her Pork Mushroom Cabbage Stir Fry after reading that it’s so good it should be in a restaurant.  I swapped the pork for tofu and waited until the end to season the dish as tofu has a tendency to go from just right to over salted super easily.  I also used baby bella mushrooms as my store was out of the full size variety – luckily Anna’s recipe included the weight so that was a super easy swap to make!  She didn’t say what type of cabbage to use so I went with red over Chinese but either would work.

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Another fabulous dinner thanks to the secret recipe club!  I also reserved a bit of the red cabbage to steam with some apples and ginger for baby girl’s dinner and she was also a huge fan!  I’m also in the process of joining some other food groups – hoping that eventually my cooking spark will come back as little one gets older.   I still enjoy spending time in the kitchen but it’s no longer the sanctuary it once was.

Freezer Meals · Gluten Free · One-Pot · Secret Recipe Club · Vegan

Flying Free

Austin Black Beans

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Hey everyone!  Only a week since my last SRC post thanks to May’s bonus week.  This week is my “normal” group A post – but there is nothing normal about the blog I was partnered with.  I’m very lucky in that I’ve had Leslie’s Cocina de Leslie blog twice so far, once as my regular assignment and once when I decided to adopt a blog while 38wks pregnant.  Leslie’s blog has soooo many amazing recipes that when the powers that be offered to switch me for a “new” blog I told them there was NO NEED to be hasty – that I could happily and easily find something new to make.  With that, this post was supposed to be all about her Mole Ranchero.  While the ingredient list is a bit daunting, the dish came together in no time at all.  However my camera man got a bit peckish and ate the sauce set aside for the photo as a post dinner snack.  So…back to my very long list of recipes!  I had marked her Austin Black Beans when I adopted Leslie’s blog so was thrilled that some nasty weather made it the perfect time to give them a whirl.  I used the vegetable oil instead of lard and left out the lime juice due to my allergy.   I also added the cilantro straight to my bowl as it tastes metallic to hubby and totally omitted below.

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 Another great recipe from Leslie!  So glad there was an oops and that I got another excuse to explore her blog – think I have a good dozen recipes to try! This meal would also freeze well for the slow cooker, just add the 8 cups of water directly to the slow cooker along with all the ingredients.  Instant dinner!!!

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Appetizer · Dessert · Gluten Free · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Secret Recipe Club · Side Dish · Vegan

In my Head

Sugared Wine Grapes & 

Garlic Chive Fries 

fries wine-graps

Welcome to a special themed edition of the Secret Recipe club!!!  Whenever a month has 5 weeks the 5th week gets a special theme and is open to members across all of the groups!  The special theme for today is Picnic/BBQ which is rather perfect for Memorial Day.  I was given The Cookaholic Wife which is run by Nichole who is “owned” by Gidget and Itty von Kat – her adorable cats!  I might be a dog person but totally understand the concept of being owned by a pet 😀  I totally failed this month at picking one recipe – but it’s a special day so that makes it okay to do two, right?!?!?  First up: garlic-chive fries!  Garlic + potatoes = WINNER!!!  We had friends over for dinner and these fries were devoured in minutes – and for once my hubby didn’t feel the need to coat his fries in Old Bay.   Next up: Frozen Wine Grapes.  These were the dessert for the same dinner and omgoodness they just made the entire dinner seem so fancy.  The best part is I was able to make them during baby’s morning nap, freeing me up in the afternoon to tidy up the place.  Love love love anything that can be done in advance!

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With the fries the only change I made was using minced garlic in place of the garlic salt while the grapes were perfect as is so head over to Nichole’s blog for that recipe!!!   These grapes could also be added to a sangria to give it an extra punch or as a practical alternative to a travel ice bag to make sure your food stays cool while heading to a bbq or picnic.

A bonus reason why you should check out Nichole’s blog?!?!  She’s another Maryland blogger!  I’ll overlook that she prefers Delaware to MD’s Eastern Shore, after all nobody is perfect!  I’m actually finishing this post up from MD’s Eastern Shore so I might be a bit partial.

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52Weeks · Dessert · Gluten Free

In the Kitchen

Brigadeiros 

brazilian-truffles

I’m one week behind on this post, technically last week was Brazil week over at /52weeksofcooking but thankfully they have a three week grace period.  When I saw the challenge was to cook something from Brazil, the first thing that came to mind was meat – and lots of it.  Brazilian steakhouses are pretty popular and every year most of my GenCon friends go there for dinner the final night.  Obviously that’s not going to work for my blog but some research pointed me towards a simple and delicious dessert recipe.  Generally I stay away from the super chocolate heavy desserts in favor of caramel but these truffles seemed so easy I just had to give it a whirl.   I found a number of different recipes online, all of which had different cocoa:butter:milk ratios so I gradually added the cocoa until I got the right taste and consistency.

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 Sprinkles are the traditional topping, or so Google tells me, but any small treat would work – shaved coconut, mini chocolate chips, nuts, or anything else that goes with chocolate!  One word of caution – I used Wiltons sprinkles for these and while they tasted normal to me both of my family members with nut allergies said they tasted very nutty.  I’m not sure if that’s unique to the white ones but will be avoiding this brand in the future!

Also want to wish a Happy 5th Birthday to my favorite nephew 😀

Freezer Meals · Gluten Free · One-Pot · Slow Cooker · Soup · Vegan

Lost and Alone

Vegetable Chili

chili

Another one of my awesome freezer meals – this time one that also doubles as a great way to clean out the fridge/freezer!  Once we had finished prepping my list of meals, I checked what I had left and decided I could squeeze out at least one more meal.  This hodge podge of ingredients was fantastic last weekend when Mother Nature decided we needed another round of cold weather, to include snow!

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We topped this with cheese but chives, sour cream, guacamole or nothing would also work.  As for the vegetables, whatever you have on hand will work.