Tuesday, March 30, 2010

old mcdonalds

That's no typo. According to one experimental blogger, a McDonald's Happy Meal sat on her office shelf for a year without ever decomposing.
My Happy Meal is one year old today and it looks pretty good. It NEVER smelled bad. The food did NOT decompose. It did NOT get moldy, at all...I think ants, mice and flies are smarter than people, because they weren’t fooled. They never touched the Happy Meal. Children shouldn’t either.

The skeptic in me has a hard time believing this is actually true (like the Kentucky Fried Rat or the Neiman Marcus $250 cookie recipe) but since I'm not really interested in recreating the experiment I'll take her word for it. Sadly I'd probably eat the fries before they even had time to get cold. (So for anyone who thought we only did gourmet at the Habes house, not even close :) at least not for the grownups.)

hot meal? no thanks

So I may have figured out why B. would eat leftover peas for the nanny (and not me). Last night I roasted some salmon fillets and tried to get him to eat a little. He was having no part of it. I tried again tonight with the leftovers and he ate a sizeable chunk...cold. I think that might be the trick because the peas the nanny fed him were out of the fridge as opposed to the fresh-cooked ones I tried to feed him. So despite the fact that most kids seem to prefer warm food, B. likes it chilled. As for my claim that he loves roasted carrots--he proved me a liar tonight. Slight problem with consistency this kid!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

1st best pasta sauce

This comes from "Cooking for Baby." There's probably tons of other great, healthful pasta sauces I just like how easy this one is.

Roasted Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Puree

1 large red pepper
1 1/2 ozs goat cheese

You can either buy the roasted red pepper in a jar or make your own. I toast the red pepper in my toaster oven for 20 minutes. While it's still hot, put the pepper in a baggie and seal which helps steam off the skin. Once it's cool enough to handle, peel off all the skin and remove the seeds and stem. Puree the red pepper and goat cheese until smooth and creamy. Add about 1 spoonful of red pepper cheese mix for each bowl of pasta. So good!

2nd best pasta sauce

This recipe is a little more effort but so yummy plus healthier than mac and cheese every night. I don't remember where I found this, it's actually a zucchini spread that's meant to go on crostini but I tossed it with noodles and Ben ate it up.

Zucchini Puree

1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 small onion chopped
4 zucchini chopped (with the tops and bottoms removed)
4 cloves of garlic
12 basil leaves chopped
parmesan to taste
salt & pepper to taste

Saute the onions in the olive oil on low heat until soft and translucent. Add the zucchini, garlic and basil. Cook over medium heat until the zucchini is well cooked and squishy. Puree the zucchini mix. It works out to about a heaping spoonful of zucchini mix to one bowl of warm noodles. Then top with salt & pepper and parmesan. Stir well. Then you can freeze the rest of the mix in individual baggies so it's easy to reheat a little bit at a time.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

positive thinking

Having watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution last night (so good and so surprising that it's exec produced by Ryan Seacrest?!) I decided that I should be a little more positive about Ben's diet since at least he doesn't mind eating some vegetables and hasn't eaten a nugget yet (seriously gross when you see how they're made). He's been doing sweet potato puree since he could eat solids but a couple of months ago, once he started gumming solids, I roasted chopped sweet potatoes with regular potatoes and carrots and he can't get enough. Plus now that he can pick up little pieces (that start around 9 months) he loves to feed it to himself.

Roast Root Vegetables
1 peeled sweet potato, chopped into bite size pieces
3 carrots, chopped into bite size pieces
3 small red potatoes, chopped into bite size pieces
About 2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh rosemary or thyme if you have it

Preheat oven to 400 degree. Peel and chop all the vegetables. Put on a baking sheet or baking dish and toss with olive oil and pinch of herbs if you've got them (totally not necessary). Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes until the veggies are soft.

*I'm totally on board with everything Jamie does but I wonder if other people thought the show was preachy?

Friday, March 26, 2010

peas. really? really?!

Nanny just texted me: "does ben always eat a TON of peas?" I don't get it. I couldn't get him to eat his peas the night before but now he's gobbling them up? She tells me the same thing about the Dr. Pragers veggie burgers. For her, he apparently eats the whole thing but I can't get him to have more than a bite or two. Is she just a more convincing veggie pusher?? Is she making this stuff up to make me happy?? Or do vegetables just taste better at lunchtime? It's a mystery to me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

is giada de laurentiis a super mom?

I don't know when it first aired but I recently caught an ep of Giada De Laurentiis' show featuring daughter Jade's first birthday. Giada made this amazing looking Pastina with Peas and Carrots but here's the deal, Jade was eating the pasta with her very own fork. Full disclosure: I want Giada's life but no sour grapes here (even though the haters here are pretty funny). But is this really possible? Ben would be more likely to stab himself in the eye at this stage. So is Jade just an overachiever like her mom? Do Italian genes predispose you to be a better pasta eater? Or, thanks to the magic of television, was Jade actually 18 months when they shot her “1st birthday”? This is one of those things I must know. Like if you ever meet her, ask for me would ya?

early bird special

We went to Boa this weekend and (gasp!) brought Ben since there was no one to babysit while we went out for surf and turf. First reservation was at 5:30 and they did have high chairs so... We actually managed to get through drinks, appetizers and dinner in about 50 minutes with just a few squawks before it felt like we were pushing it. Question is, if you go for dinner at 5:30, no matter how nice the place is, shouldn't you expect some kids? I used to hate people that brought their children to nice restaurants but unless you're dealing with some crazy Mario Battali reservation system (the only table for two @ Babbo still seems to be at 5:30 or 10:30) then you just shouldn't be eating that early. Right? Or have I just drunk the mommy Kool-Aid?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

so much for keen-wa

I'd heard so many good things about quinoa (pronounced keen-wa I recently learned) that I figured it was a sure thing. It's a grain, it's a green leafy vegetable, it's high in protein -- fricking steak, spinach and whole wheat goodness all rolled into one little nutty brown bead. So I steamed some quinoa up couscous-style with vegetable stock and added a mess of sauteed veggies (1 diced red pepper, 1 diced zucchini, 1 bunch diced asparagus, 1/2 diced onion and 4 cloves diced garlic). The reaction was instant, he spit it right out. Wah-wah. But I thought it was delicious (and way tastier than brown rice if you're looking for a substitute). Oh well, tomorrow I try again but this time I'm gonna coat it with tomato sauce and see if that makes a difference...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

this is my life

You know you're a parent when "What can I make for dinner?" replaces "I have nothing to wear"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

state of the union

For the record, here's a list of Ben's likes: bananas, bread, cheese, zucchini, peas, soup (but not pea soup, weird), Dr. Pragaer's veggie burger, yogurt, pasta, Cheerios, pancakes, chicken, turkey, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, apple puree, pear puree, fruit leather.

And dislikes: salmon, raspberries, watermelon, broccoli (but cream of broccoli soup he likes, weird), kiwi

I really have to come up with some new ideas this weekend...

(Edited March 21 @ 3:27p.m.)

it's not just me!

Too funny. Strolling through Whole Foods last night and bumped into a mom looking for something to feed her 14-month-old. "He can't just eat noodles all the time." LOL. I thought I was the only one who used pasta as a fallback for every meal. Then we both agreed avocado was a wonderful thing and moved on. I hope she found something. I tried raspberries and broccoli (again). No luck. But he did eat an entire organic leather fruit strip - peach flavored. Probably won't be feeding him one every day but good to know.

Monday, March 15, 2010

weeknights, woe is me

I just cannot get home from work early enough to get organized. I tried making cod fillets in a breadcrumb garlic crust but was rushing around and not paying enough attention. I overcooked the fish to the point that it got rubbery. So dinner was roasted root veggies and yogurt. Ben seemed to have no problem with that but at some point (when he can talk?) the kid is gonna say, "Uh, enough with the side dishes and dessert, where's dinner?" I really wonder how other parents do it? Especially when feeding time at the zoo is 5p.m. I want him to eat what we eat but cannot seem to get a homecooked meal on the table that early. Bah.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

pancake breakfast

Cooking For Baby is this great, beautifully illustrated, cookbook I've been using for inspiration ever since I made Ben's first fruit purees at age 6 months. The recipes range from really basic to fairly exotic for a kid (chicken and mango quesedillas anyone?). I've been riffing on their recipe for pumpkin pancakes since Feb. 6 (Ben was almost 10 months old that first time). Now I'm using pear puree and it's like breakfast crack -- neither one of us can get enough. They're not necessarily the fluffiest (that honor goes to these pancakes) but they're delicious and relatively good for you -- at least IMHO.

Pear Pancakes
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or melted butter but if you've got rugrats underfoot it just seems like the path of least resistance is best)
1/4 cup pear puree (or pumpkin puree, I haven't tried apple yet but assume it works just as well)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder and brown sugar). In a separate bowl or measuring cup whisk together the wet ingredients (milk, eggs, oil, pear puree and vanilla). Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until everything is just mixed together. Preheat frying pan to medium heat, coat the bottom of the pan with a little oil or butter. Pour in batter and cook on one side until bubbles begin to pop on the surface. Flip and cook for about 2 minutes more on the other side.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

spaghetti night

Stealing inspiration from one of my favorite dishes at Rosti, we had spaghetti with tomato sauce and goat's cheese tonight (with broccoli on the side - semi success with the veggies).
Ben's had mac 'n' cheese before and noodles (De Cecco's Farfalline seem to be small enough for him to enjoy) with roasted red pepper and goat's cheese sauce but this was his very first bowl of spaghetti -- except I cheated and chopped it into little pieces rather than giving him long strands. We'll save that photogenic experience for the weekend when I've got more time to clean up.
FWIW, Pomi makes the very best chopped tomatoes that come in a box (the marinara version is meh). It's got such a clean, fresh flavor, you don't even need to do anything but toss the tomatoes with your pasta. (Of course I like to add a lot of garlic and so far Ben seems fine with that.) The only spot locally that I can find Pomi is @ Bay Cities Deli -- the best Italian spot for miles and I tend to stock up every time I visit. But I just found this awesome looking place online and now I gotta order something!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

to be clear

I am obsessed with chronicling every bite that goes into Ben's mouth. The idea of a pristine digestive system--GM food need not apply!--is fascinating. I'm not naive, the minute a McNugget touches those lips we'll have to adjust. But right now it's like our own little Truman Show taking place in the kitchen. And we are God/Chef/Director all rolled into one. Only good, healthy, unprocessed stuff for baby. (Even if mommy and daddy are stocking the fridge with Diet Coke and white bread.)

a little bit of this and that

@ 11 months

Complete disorganization today. We forgot to bring our wallets to Whole Foods (never mind Whole Paycheck, we didn't have a buck between us) so plans for a beautifully prepared meal were set aside just so I could feed Ben something, anything. Bah. Bad start to a baby food blog. So it was mashed avocado, whole wheat bread, bits of turkey and vanilla yogurt. All at the same time. His choice.