IS IT ME OR ARE CORN DOGS having a moment? I’ve seen tons of ideas all over Pinterest, including this gorgeous batch of fried mini dogs from Food Glorious Food, and decided to give it a whirl. The results were mixed: one-year-old Estelle liked them, nearly three-year-old Phoebe wasn’t thrilled. And so it goes… [Read more...]
IT WAS A BAREFOOT CONTESSA KIND OF WEEKEND in our kitchen. We made muffins, lots of muffins, based on a recipe from “Back to Basics”. As always, we made healthier changes. As always, they were delicious. [Read more...]
IF I’VE LEARNED ONE THING SO FAR, it’s this: figure out what works and do more of it. We’re all about spin-offs here, and this dinner is the Laverne & Shirley of pasta. We know Phoebe devours spaghetti with red sauce, white sauce, cheese, or really any topping. Today’s challenge: introducing Asian flavors. It sounds a little daunting but the secret is simple. Use regular pasta the toddler/kid/husband/other picky eater already knows (and loves), then go light and mild on the sauce. As usual I threw in as many veggies as I could fit into this white ramekin but you could go with all peas, only carrots, just zucchini–just pick something that your kids already like. If you’re experimenting with a new flavor like we were, now isn’t necessarily the time to throw in a curve ball of new veggies too. While I insist that Phoebe learn to be open to new things, I’m not a tyrant, or a martyr for that matter. And it worked…
WE’RE GOING FOR COMFORT FOOD. Both babies have nearly gotten over their colds and Phoebe’s pink eye is basically behind us but there are still lingering coughs at night, sometimes waking up the whole household. My own scratchy throat isn’t helping but it was this exchange with the two-year old that pushed me into yesterday’s muffin making process:
[Estelle starts crying in her room after Phoebe yells in the hallway.]
Phoebe: Her crying because I woke her up?
Phoebe: That’s funny mommy.
Me: No, it’s not funny.
Phoebe: It’s a little funny.
Muffins it is.
WE TRIED IT AGAIN. The pasta cups are back and this time, just as I
threatenedpromised, I added broccoli and ricotta cheese, trying for a bit of a quiche flavor. Speaking of flavor, I also added herbs, fresh parsley and basil. I thought they’d look festive and pack a bit of punch too. Also, the pan didn’t fall apart this time, which was a plus. [Read more...]
TOAST. TOAST WITH JAM. TOAST with peanut butter. This is how most mornings begin at our house, with a request for the same thing. Every day. Toast. In the past it’s been oatmeal which I admit is a gooier task to prepare and certainly to clean up. But really, how much can a piece of toast stick with you? The reason I ask is that we have a two year-old. One who has tantrums, and she does so pretty often. I don’t know if blood sugar is a contributing factor but I’d like to just rule it out. I know what you’re thinking. Are chocolate scones really the way to do it? Maybe. [Read more...]
THIS IS A CLASSIC ITALIAN MEAL, so naturally I’d never heard of it. That was before I moved to Rome and discovered that Italian food is more than pasta, tomatoes and cheese. (But they do that very well.) One of my favorite summer meals has turned out to be a version of the Big Salad I ate on a daily basis in NYC. Atop fresh and peppery arugula, comes fast-cooked strips of thin beef and shaved parmigiano cheese. If you’re lucky there’s also a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar. It’s the perfect mix of hot and cold, crisp and tender, sweet and salty. Mmm. [Read more...]
A PORTABLE LUNCH DOESN’T GET MUCH BETTER than this. With a play date coming up, Phoebe and I set out to make lunch for her and a play pal but there were strings attached. It had to withstand a trip across Rome via stroller. That’s where this new recipe came in. Continuing on my Sneaky Chef kick, I changed a few things from her Mac-n-Cheese Lunchbox Muffins and came up with something great. Though, in full disclosure, not everyone thought so. Only one of the four kids in attendance ate one, and you can guess which one it was when I say, yay! It was Phoebe, who shockingly employed not one by two of my usual “try-it” tactics to persuade her dining companion–a fellow toddler with the picky eating habits only a little guy his age can do so well– to try the cups and green beans. (Am I a glutton or what?) Oh well. Two moms and one toddler ate well. It could be worse, and sometimes is.
WE NEEDED MORE BREAKFAST options. So, back I went to The Sneaky Chef. Phoebe is a raisin fan and I’m a champion of whole grains which made “Mom’s Barley Breakfast Bars” a no-brainer. I followed the recipe this time, with the small exception of adding an extra teaspoon of cinnamon and doubling the raisins.
I WAS EXHAUSTED. It turns out that having a toddler and a baby (plus a husband, house and job) is tiring. I just needed a quick dinner but it had to be healthy. We’d been relying too heavily on pizza around here, being Rome you can imagine how often this possibility comes up, and I was craving something more fresh. That’s when I saw these giant shrimp at the store. Sold!
THERE’S A SECRET INGREDIENT IN this one. It’s even pictured above. The trouble with a mystery like this though, is that if you’ve read the title of the post it’s already given away. Hmpf. Anyway, pickles.
WE GOT LOCKED OUT. It’s happened before. Back when I was pregnant with Phoebe, my mom came to visit from Washington state. Something about the key in that door just wouldn’t work. It didn’t turn no matter who tried. I tried. My mom tried. Then we called Paul at work. He came home and tried. Next we called our landlords who made a call of their own, to their handyman. He was willing to come on a Saturday, a small miracle in itself, but he had to eat lunch first. So my mom and I went to lunch ourselves.
JAM IS A POPULAR ITEM at our place. Especially strawberry, especially in the morning. So when I saw a recipe for Strawberry Vanilla Breakfast Cookies in my Sneaky Chef to the Rescue cookbook, I jumped at the chance.
THE DIRT CUPS WERE a process. For Phoebe’s second birthday I set out to create a garden party in Villa Ada, Rome’s largest park. And the star of the show, other than the birthday girl’s pretty fabulous tutu, was the “dirt cups”, aka, brownies and pudding mixed together in tiny terra cotta pots with worms, dirt and a flower on top. One for every tiny guest. Here’s how it went.
FINALLY, A BAKED GOOD that Phoebe likes! And not a moment too soon. We started a play group this week and I’d been told ahead of time to bring a “healthy snack”. I wasn’t sure how the group would go but I knew this for sure: the last thing we needed was a lousy snack for our Ladybirds debut. And after the banana-carrot mini-muffin fiasco, the pressure was on.