Archive for the ‘ Veggies ’ Category

Tuesday Timesaver: 30-Minute Orzo with Spinach & Feta

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

orzo

Mason has loved feta cheese since we let him try it a few months ago at Cava, a restaurant in Capitol Hill’s Eastern Market neighborhood. He hadn’t had it in awhile so last night I decided to prepare him a new dish starring  the tangy cheese. I cut the feta into small cubes and tossed it with chopped steamed spinach and cooked orzo. The dish was so easy to make and it’s super versatile:  I can serve it plain or toss it with fresh tomato sauce. I can also mix in lots of other veggies (tomatoes, sweet pepper, carrots, sweet potato, cauliflower) as well as chicken, beef, or salmon. Mason tried the orzo with just the spinach and feta today at lunch and he loved it.

A few words of advice before you start cooking… I used frozen organic spinach, which seemed like a great idea until I steamed it and saw all the stringy stems. I spent 10 minutes picking through the greens and cutting off the stems, and I probably missed some (it was a tangled mess!). It would have been much easier to use fresh spinach and remove the stems before steaming, or at least use frozen spinach without stems. Then there was the mess.  By the time I finished mixing all the ingredients together, orzo was everywhere–on the kitchen floor, stuck to the bottom of my bare feet, in the sink, on the counter. Granted, I’m a messy cook — at times frighteningly similar to the storybook character Amelia Bedelia — so if you’re neat in the kitchen this is probably a non-issue.

Try out our recipe — and let us know what you think!

Orzo with Spinach & Feta

Ingredients

1 cup orzo
3/4 cup fresh spinach
1/3 cup feta cheese
Olive oil

Directions

1. Wash and chop spinach. Remove stems and steam until wilted. Drain, pat dry with paper towels, and set aside.

2. Cook orzo in boiling water with a splash of olive oil according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

3. Chop feta cheese into tiny cubes and toss with drained orzo and spinach.

4. Freeze leftovers for up to three months.

Yield: 10 two-ounce portions

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Deadlines, A Journalism Conference & Amazing Veggie Lentils

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

This past week kicked my a#s. It was exciting and fulfilling and wonderful but exhausting. The first half flew by in a blur of deadlines and then I flew to St. Louis Wednesday night for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication‘s annual conference. I was part of a panel discussion about social media and magazines and I met some truly inspiring professors, including Jacqueline Marino of Kent State and Dr. David Abrahamson of Northwestern. I flew back to New York Thursday night, woke up Bug and covered him with kisses, stayed up late drinking wine and reconnecting with Chris, and worked all day Friday. Friday night was all about Bug. After he went to bed I unwound in the kitchen by chopping up veggies for a hearty pot of vegetarian lentils and watching old Sex in the City episodes. The dish was a hit with my family and I’m hoping it will be a hit with yours too.  The lentils and edamame are a great source of protein and the veggies are healthy and packed with vitamins and minerals. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 large carrot
1/2 cup edamame
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup peas
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 cups vegetable broth
Olive oil

Directions

1. Cook carrots and garlic in olive oil until soft (5-7 minutes).

2. Add edamame, broccoli, peas, and vegetable broth. (Start with 2 cups of vegetable broth; add in more if needed.) Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 50 minutes. For firmer lentils, simmer 20 minutes; check the texture and continue to simmer if desired. For smaller babies, cool slightly after simmering then puree in a blender of food processor.

3. Freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.

Yield: About 12 ounces

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Fresh & Easy Finger Foods for Flying

Monday, August 8th, 2011

edamame
Mason took his 15th flight yesterday. Since our trips always seem to conflict with Bug’s mealtimes, I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to feed him in the air. We never mastered in-flight purees — more got on us than in Mason’s mouth due to turbulence  — but finger foods have been a snap. Bug has taken 4 flights since he started eating finger foods, and I think we finally have a great list of fruits and veggies that travel well, are easy for Mason to feed himself, and aren’t too messy. To prepare the fruits and veggies for travel, I dice them up into bite-size pieces and freeze them overnight in BPA-free containers. The next morning I pack the containers with ice packs in plastic Ziplock bags and tuck them in the diaper bag.  By the time Mason’s ready to eat, the produce is still fresh and the texture is soft but slightly firmer than usual (and easier for Mason to manage) from the freezing. Here are the fruits and veggies that have worked best for us.

1. Asparagus

2. Edamame

3. Sweet potato

4. Carrot

5. Green beans

6. Peas

7. Apple

8. Strawberries

9. Blueberries

10. Pear

cookie

Once Mason had his fill of fresh fruits and veggies we let him try half the cookie the flight attendant handed him when we boarded the plane. As you can see in the photo (above) Bug didn’t really know what to think of the crunchy, cinnamon-spiced cookie. In the end, he took a bite or two of it and then smeared the rest on Chris’ shirt.

What does your babe like to eat when you travel?

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What Mason Ate Today, Part 2

Friday, July 22nd, 2011


On Fridays after work Mason and I meet up with a group of neighborhood moms and their babes. I’m so lucky to have met these women:  They’re dynamic, talented, and inspiring, my sisters in motherhood. Our kids are all about the same age and we can share any parenting quandary without fear of judgement — we’re all first-time moms who met during those particularly vulnerable postpartum months and we formed a bond. I can count on them. When my nanny had a last-minute doctor’s appointment that conflicted with a mandatory meeting at work, Diane arranged for her nanny to care for Mason. When I failed to find the frozen fruit-holding teether that so many moms think is a miracle, it was Florence who finally found it and bought one for Mason. And so on. Tonight we watched as Zann and Mason entertained sweet, serene Charlotte with their rambunctious little boy antics and we  marveled at how big they’re all getting. It’s amazing how much they’ve grown and how miraculous they all are.

Today was special for another reason. In addition to enjoying my time with the girls and watching Mason delight in his time with the other babes, today was another one of those days where Mason ate a fun variety of foods, everything that was served to him as well as a little of this and that from our plates. Here’s today’s magic menu. What did your babe eat today? Did he/she try anything new?


Breakfast

Oatmeal with yogurt mixed with organic peaches
Part of my cheese omelet
A few bites of blueberry muffin

Lunch

1-1/2 veggie-filled meatballs
Organic sweet corn
Cherry applesauce
An organic strawberry, mashed

Snack

Organic apple puffs
Organic banana, diced

Dinner

Chicken-apple soup
Organic sweet potato, diced
Greek yogurt with cinnamon-spiced blueberries and apples

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Mini Veggie-Filled Meatballs for Baby

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

meatballs
Yesterday morning I made miniature meatballs for Mason. I mixed up the ground beef (you can also use turkey), shredded carrot, chopped spinach, homemade applesauce, onion, egg, and breadcrumbs Tuesday night after Bug went to bed and let the ingredients chill in the refrigerator overnight so that the bread crumbs could absorb moisture and flavor. Since Mason and I were up at the crack of dawn Wednesday morning, and he was fully absorbed in his new toy computer, I decided to shape and bake the meatballs before work so Bug could try one for lunch.

The recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens, where I work as a digital food editor, and it was inspired by the White House Kitchen Garden. I love that it’s super simple to make and that it’s an “all-in-one” meal with lots of veggies, fruit, and protein. I also love how versatile meatballs are. Next time I can make them with ground turkey and add in just about any veggie I like (sweet peppers, perhaps?).

Even babies as young as 8 months old can eat the meatballs. For Mason, who turned 11 months old on Tuesday, I cut the meatballs into tiny pieces that he could pick up and feed himself. If he were younger, I would have mashed up the meatball with a fork and fed it to him in small bites from a spoon. Mason enjoyed his meatball with brown rice penne pasta in tomato sauce. I couldn’t resist taking a taste — it was so yummy I think the whole family is going to have pasta and meatballs this weekend!

Below is my variation of BHG’s Mini Turkey Meatballs recipe. Do you make homemade meatballs? If so, what do you put in them? If not, what kind do you like to buy at the store?


Mini Veggie-Filled Meatballs

Ingredients

1 egg
1/2 cup jarred or homemade applesauce (recipe below)
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
1/2 cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs

Directions

1. In a small bowl stir together the egg, applesauce, sweet potato, green onions, salt, and pepper.

2. In a large bowl combine turkey and bread crumbs. Fold egg mixture into turkey mixture; mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. (This step is important for the bread crumbs to absorb moisture and flavor.)

3. Heat oven to 450°F. Shape turkey mixture in 1-inch diameter balls. Place meatballs on a foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until no pink remains (170°F).

4. Serve meatballs with spaghetti and sauce or as a pizza topper.

5. For easy shaping, turn the turkey mixture onto waxed paper. Pat it into a 9×8-inch rectangle, then cut 36 equal-size squares. Roll the squares into balls. Or shape meatballs by using a small cookie scoop, occasionally dipping the scoop in water to prevent the meat from sticking.


Makes 36 mini meatballs.
For freezing directions see the recipe on BHG.com.


Homemade Applesauce


Ingredients

4 Gala apples
Water


Directions

Wash, peel, core, and dice apples. Cook until tender (about 12 minutes). Puree until smooth.  Add water if needed. Makes 16 ounces. Freeze leftovers for up to three months.

*Shameless plug: For more healthy recipes for your whole family, check out the new Veggie Love tablet app that I helped create for Better Homes and Gardens. It has 50+ veggie-packed recipes, plus tips for how your kids can help make them.


Image: BHG.com

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