Homemade Baby Food
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).
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.
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!
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.
Squash and Beet Risotto
Yep – winter is here and I’m already ready for spring. Temperatures have been unusually cold, dipping in to single digits when wind chill is included which is just way too cold for mid-November. However this is the perfect time to just stay in the kitchen and experiment with new-to-me ingredients and all sorts of flavor profiles. Or throw a bunch of random vegetables in to a dish and see what happens – which is what happened here. I had a bit of delicata squash left, along with two candy-stripped beets, and half a vidalia onion. So I went for a random grain, in this case arborio rice, and started chopping!
In order to avoid a pink blob, I held off on adding the beets until the last possible moment. Not only did this ensure they were super crispy, but it also gave the squash an opportunity to shine on its own. In the future I would most likely going for a strong squash, acorn perhaps, but there is something to be said about the subtle taste of delicata. I enjoyed my risotto topped with a bit of pepper, while Joe was more traditional and went for the Parmesan cheese.
Roasted Vegetable Couscous
Welcome to Group A’s April installment of Secret Recipe Club! Every month I wait with baited breath to see what amazing blog I get partnered with and this month I was thrilled to see a blog I was very (VERY) familiar with. I have been following Evelyne’s Cheap Ethnic Eats since before there was a Dancing Veggies and it was after stumbling onto the International Incident Party link-ups that I decided to take my (now) hubby’s offer to build me a blog. So a HUGE thanks to Evelyne (and the other blogs of IIP) for inspiring me to go forth and blog! Needless to say picking one recipe from her blog was a rather difficult task but I was able to narrow things down to a top 10 by focusing on recipes that featured ingredients or cooking styles that are outside my normal range. Which is why I was debating such things as Coconut Brownie Waffles, Greek Yogurt Cheesecake, and Multi-Vegetable Paella before settling on her Roasted Vegetable Couscous. For the most part I stick with recipes that are either on the stove or in the oven as I’m normally restricted on cooking time thanks to the fur children. However some rather intense weather freed up the time normally reserved for dog walking, so I decided to heat up the kitchen and get to work!
I switched up the vegetables from the original recipe, but that’s one of the awesome things about this recipe – anything will work! I also cooked the couscous directly in the sauce in order to save a dish, which resulted in some ultra flavorful couscous, and added more chickpeas instead of serving it with the tofu since DH is on a no-soy diet. In the future I might be tempted to just do all the veggies in a saute pan rather then roasting, but there is something to be said about a fresh roasted tomato. All in all another awesome recipe thanks to Cheap Ethnic Eats and the Secret Recipe Club!
Greetings! Sorry for the long space between posts, turns out that running a food blog while moving is much harder than I thought. Luckily I am all settled in my temp place so had lots of time test out some new recipes, and in theory should be covered until the official move ends. Luckily this isn’t a long distance move, just heading on up 95 from DC to Baltimore – which is still enough of a transition to make things interesting. Add in the gov’t shutdown and things have been a little more stressful than normal. We are still hoping to close on our new place on time, but unless the IRS goes back to work (feels so wrong to say that) by the 8th our closing will most likely be delayed. Until then I’ll be camping out at my mom’s place – and her awesome kitchen – while my hubby is up north starting his new position. Not the most ideal living situation, but at least we can see each other on weekends so could be much worse.
This past week I decided to make a list of all the blog/cooking challenges that I have over the next month in an attempt to organize my life. This first recipe comes from /52weeksofcooking who are just finishing up a week dedicated to the incredible Julia Child. While most of her recipes aren’t exactly vegetarian, or vegan, friendly I found a few side dishes that needed just a bit of tweaking in order to go from awesome side to spectacular entree. In the end I decided to go with her zucchini tian since squash in all forms are in abundance at the local markets – wahOo Indian Summer!!! In order to make this in to a healthy veggie friendly entree I added some chickpeas for protein, switched the white rice for brown, and left the butter out. I also used almond milk in place of dairy and vegan shredded cheese.
When it came time for serving I enjoyed it with just a bit more pepper while my mom went for Parmesan cheese, which is exactly how my hubby would enjoy this dish so I was entertained. For lunch the next day I added a bit of fresh avocado to perk it up, after debating to serve it on top of salad greens. This might not be the prettiest dish out there, but it’s certainly delicious.
Summer Squash Sauce
For one of my Secret Recipe Club entries this month I did a delicious baked polenta, however I needed a topping for it. Since I’m trying to avoid grocery shopping right now I was stuck using whatever was in my fridge: onion, garlic, squash, tomatoes, a variety of beans, a bit of yogurt, and a lot of herbs. I decided to start throwing things together to make a thick and very colorful topping for my delicious polenta. The resulting dish was healthy and gorgeous, and delicious enough that the next day I got a lunch time text from my hubby saying he “loved the polenta squash stuff”.
I enjoyed this dish as is while Joe topped his with some Parmesan cheese, either way it was incredible! I used yellow squash for this but zucchini would work just as well, and this time of year both vegetables are certainly in abundance. As I mentioned, I served this over polenta but would also work great over brown rice or orzo.
Greetings! Hope everyone had an excellent 4th of July – and is now having a great weekend. Summer is finally starting to arrive, and the sun is finally shining. My garden isn’t as far along as it was last year but thankfully the local farmer’s markets aren’t having those issues. This layered treat is essentially a lasagna without the lasagna, just squash and other delicious vegetables. I kept things nice and simple and focused on vegetables that are currently in season, also making this the perfect Simple and in Season recipe!
I’m looking forward to doing this again in a few weeks with vegetables from my own garden but until then I’m lucky to have so many great farms just down the road. Hopefully the sun will continue to shine and the temperatures will stay up as I can’t wait to start enjoying tomatoes and eggplant that are as local as local gets!