Wednesday, January 29, 2014

More frozen baby food!

Baby is loving these combinations too!

-Sweet potato and avocado
-Sweet potato, apples, Greek yogurt and nutmeg
-Carrots, pears, Greek yogurt and cinnamon

Make sure you steam those carrots first!

I didn't mention this in my last entry, but when it is time to feed baby I do the following:
-microwave the cubes for about 45 seconds on high
-add about a tablespoon of rice or oatmeal baby cereal and mix
-add 1-2 tbs of water to make it a smooth purée consistency
-sprinkle in some ground flax to keep baby regular!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Let's keep it moving!

Baby was content to sit on the kitchen floor today, learning how to bang spatulas on pots and pans (yes, she did this for the first time today!). So while she kept herself busy, I voraciously raced around my little kitchen to make two dishes that could fill us up for the next few days!

The first will be called, "Chicken and vegetables on pasta with creamy goat cheese, mushroom, and red pepper sauce." Not very catchy, but very descriptive!

For this filling dish, you will need:

-1/2 bunch kale, stripped from the stalks, torn into chunks and rinsed
-2 chicken breasts, or 3 chicken thighs
-olive oil
-5-6 mushrooms, sliced
-1/2 red pepper, sliced thin
-1/3 onion, sliced
-1 tbs butter
-4 tbs flour
-4 cups chicken broth
-1-2 tbs goat cheese
-salt/pepper/Italian seasoning to taste
-1/2 package of pasta of your choice

Flash boil the kale (boil for one minute and drain). Set aside.

Heat up 2-3 tbs of olive oil in a pan on medium heat. When hot, put in the chicken breasts/thighs and let simmer on low-medium until browned on each side and cooked through. Remove from the oil and let cool on a plate with napkins (to soak up excess oil). DO NOT THROW AWAY OIL IN PAN. Meanwhile, soften onion, mushrooms and peppers in a separate pan with butter. When the butter is absorbed, add 1 tbs oil to keep the vegetables from sticking. Once soft, remove the vegetables from the butter/oil with tongs and temporarily store in a bowl close by. Pour the oil from your cooked chicken INTO the pan with the oil from the cooked vegetables (combine the two). Now add flour and stir with a whisk (you are making a roux!). This will get dry and sticky pretty quickly. Slowly add the chicken broth and stir, it should get thicker and creamier as you go. While stirring, add the goat cheese and stir until thoroughly combined. Season with salt/pepper as desired.

The process of making a roux is not a perfect science (at least not for me). If you feel it gets too runny, add more flour. If it's too thick, add more chicken broth. The important part is to get it right before you add the other ingredients in.

Add the cooked vegetables, chicken, and kale to the roux. Season with Italian seasonings. Allow these ingredients to simmer on low while you boil water for pasta. Cook the pasta slightly less than directed since you'll be baking it more later. Drain the pasta and put it in a deep casserole dish. Top the pasta with your vegetable roux mix. Cover and refrigerate for later, then bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Voila!

Now clap and yell "yay!!" for your kitchen buddy who just discovered how to play peek-a-boo with the strainer!!

Next dish, French onion soup! I used a packaged mix for this...please don't judge me. BUT, I added:
-1/2 bunch of kale (raw, I figured it would cook in the soup)
-4-5 mushrooms, sliced
-freshly sliced onions (as directed)
-2 cups whole grain egg noodles

The moral of the story here's okay to use store-bought mixes once in a while! They are great gifts! But I try to "jazz them up" with fresh ingredients so they are a bit more healthy and hearty. I will upload a pic tomorrow!!

Now go pat yourself on the back for keeping it moving in the kitchen!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Winter Warmth

It was time for a new soup! I constantly get recipe ideas in my email from, a great source for ideas! I came across this one recently and of course had to try it because of the added kale! Yum!

You can use the exact recipe if you want, but I made a few changes because...
1) Mr. Pt hates tomato soup so I cut out the tomato paste
2) I had celery in my fridge dying to be used!
3) I love egg noodles!

So here is my version:

-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 stalk celery, diced
-1 onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, chopped
-14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes
-2 14 1/2 ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
-8 ounce (about 2 cups) whole wheat egg noodles
-1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
-1 bunch fresh kale, tough stems discarded, cut into 1-inch pieces and washed
-2 cans small white beans, drained and rinsed
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, broth and 3 cups water. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Add pasta and Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Stir in kale; cook 5 minutes more. Reduce heat to medium and stir in beans, salt and pepper. Heat through. Serve with crackers or freshly sliced bread! Stay warm and enjoy!

Baby food smoothies!

I swear, sometimes I think Baby eats better than me and Mr. PT!

Today I took a few fresh ingredients and processed them into about a month's worth of baby food! We are trying to get Baby to pack some pounds on her little frame, but in a healthy manner. We are also hoping to develop her little taste buds early on so she won't curl her nose at baked kale when she is older! Ha!

So here were my ingredients, grouped into individual recipes:

-2 frozen bananas, thawed
-1 mango, peeled and sliced
-2 tbs plain Greek yogurt

-1 russet potato, baked with the flesh scooped out
-3 bunches broccoli, steamed until very soft
-1/4 cup mild cheddar cheese

-1 sweet potato, baked with the flesh scooped out
-1 apple, peeled and diced
-1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

I basically threw each group of ingredients into my food processor, puréed until the chunks were gone, then scooped the mixture into ice cube trays.

I froze these for about 2 hours, then popped them out and quickly stored them in freezer bags. Now they are happily sitting in my freezer waiting to eaten by Baby!

My thought is that you could also use these cubes of goodness to throw into smoothies or heat up for soups. The possibilities are endless!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Continuing education

So how many of you made New Year's resolutions this year? How many include the words "be healthy" or "lose weight?"

Seeing as how it's halfway through January already, you might need a little something to keep your motivation strong. Remember, if your goal is to be a healthier person (for the rest of your life!), you need to make some changes to your lifestyle, not just what you eat.

Mr. PT and I recently watched a TED Talk that pretty much sums up how we have come to feel about our eating habits. It also touches on a lot areas that Mr. PT is investigating in his research endeavors right now.

Take a listen!

If you are still wondering what "mindful eating" looks like, check out this article. It should give you some ideas on how to make that resolution come true!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sweet potatoes rule!

After a LONG leave of absence from my blogging days, I am back! Baby is able to entertain herself for at least five minutes which means I should be able to write a blog entry at least a few times a week!

We will see how it goes! I hope I didn't lose all my readers!

Mr. PT and I ate a late lunch today so we kept dinner light. We have really been digging sweet potatoes so I decided to mix it up by making twice baked sweet potatoes. I think they turned out really well!

To make this simple meal, all you need is:
-1 large sweet potato
-1 tablespoon of butter
-A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
-1/8 cup of sliced almonds

If you are in a hurry, put a large sweet potato in the microwave (make sure you stab it with a knife first) and the zap it for five minutes on high. Turn the sweet potato over and cook for five more minutes. Slice the sweet potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out the insides of both halves and put them in a small bowl. Mash the sweet potato innards with butter and nutmeg. Put the innards back into the skins. Sprinkle the top with sliced almonds and salt if you desire. Bake in the oven at 350° for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!