Food Category Archives

Post Party Fridge Forage

chili bowl

I woke up this morning with a visceral understanding of the phrase “bone tired.”  Yesterday’s festivities for Joe’s 33rd made for a big day–big effort, big energy, big love–and we were happy for it. He seems to have genuinely enjoyed the day and, with the exception of a few instances of loose mothering in favor of playing hostess (skipping Leo’s bath and not adhering to our normal bedtime rules which led to a bit of a nocturnal meltdown…), I felt the celebration was a huge success.

But, the last thing I wanted to do today was anything I didn’t really need to. So came the mission of the day: avoid the grocery store at all cost.

Breakfast was easy to create with some tried-and-true eggs and toast. As was lunch, thanks to the bits and bobs of leftover meals we had squirreled away. Dinner, as always, posed a larger challenge.

One of my greatest joys (and one of the skills Joe most admires in me) is scrounging around in cupboards and reaching to the back of our fridge to pull together a delicious meal. Making something out of nothing, in other words.

Today’s post party fridge forage was a challenge I relished, turning the uninspiring contents of our kitchen into a from-scratch chili.

spices

pot

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of Brad’s Organic Kidney Beans
  • 1 can of Brad’s Organic Black Beans
  • Half a red bell pepper & Spanish onion (leftover from Thursday’s stir fry)
  • Large white onion
  • Half jar of medium salsa (left over from the birthday party)
  • 1 pork shoulder (frozen bone with some meat still on it, saved from the pulled pork I made in October)
  • 2 peppers in adobo sauce (from….(?)…but they passed the taste test)
  • Ground cumin & cayenne

Directions:

  • Add onions, red pepper and a tablespoon of oil into saucepan, add ground cumin and cayenne, sautée until just fragrant.
  • Add onion mixture, two cans beans (with juice), adobo peppers (chopped), salsa and pork shoulder into large soup pot.
  • Bring to a boil, uncovered. Then turn flame down, cover pot and let simmer for a few hours until the liquid reduces and the flavors blend.

chili pot

chili 2

Serve with rice, shredded cheese, sour cream (or greek yogurt), chopped cilantro or green onions. Perhaps a lime wedge. Basically, whatever you have.

In case you’re not weird like me, and you don’t save animal bones in the freezer for untold amounts of time, you could add ground turkey, spicy sausage or an extra can of beans (in lieu of meat) to this fridge forage chili.

Here’s to a Sunday spent successfully indoors. Bon appetite!

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Baby’s First Purée

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If WordPress allowed for sub-headings, the full title of this post would be, Baby’s First Purée: A party in baby’s mouth, A pain in mommy’s butt. 

Early motherhood seems to be riddled with moments that were better as fond daydreams than as reality. The greatly anticipated journey to solid foods with Leo was one of those moments.

img_0983.jpgI had planned to share this post weeks ago: my triumphant Pioneer Woman mission of hand-making meals for my baby. Unfortunately, my pioneer-woman-visions were quickly replaced by the reality that Leo was bewildered and a little grumpy at the prospect of eating food.

I boiled, sautéed, steamed. I mashed and blended. I put away an auxiliary stash of delicious, handmade food in the freezer as I had been told to do.

img_0324.jpgimg_0318.jpgAt first Leo would apprehensively tongue the purée he was presented with. Then his face would take on a look of confusion and disgust. He would begrudgingly swallow or, just as often, casually expel the contents of his mouth.

Worse than that, each time during the dinner dance, he would utter the animalistic growl of frustration that we’ve come to dread. It’s the sound a meat-grinder makes when you turn it on but forget to put the meat in: metal on metal. He makes this sound when he’s hungry but we’re not meeting his requirements. It happens occasionally at the breast when my milk isn’t letting down quickly enough. And now it was happening…every single time…when we fed him solid foods. It is the sound of my nightmares.

Needless to say, my dreams were dashed when my hard work of preparing and blending baby’s first purees seemed to go unappreciated.

Perhaps it was the fantasy of a full-bellied, soundly snoozing babe that had me so excited to introduce purees. Perhaps it was imagining Leo’s first foods as a gateway to our whole future together: rife with exotic travels and tastes.

Or perhaps it was ego. Another notch on my “perfect mommy” belt: nourishing my baby with my body and then by my sweat and elbow grease. Since our breastfeeding journey had led us to supplementation at 4 months, and no matter how much I rationally understand that supplementing is ok as long as baby is getting what he needs that’s all that matters, maybe I thought this was my way of somehow taking back the status I had lost.

Regardless, I felt defeated and nearly gave up on the whole concept until I read that it can take up to 15 times of introducing the same food before baby responds. He’s learning a whole new approach to eating, after all.

So we tried, again and again.

We used prepared foods, sometimes doctored up with cinnamon or paprika from our spice cabinet, to get an idea of his tastes before I would make the foods on my own. And now that he’s graduated to stage two foods…blends…I feel more confident sharing watered down versions of our dinners with him.

He seems to be getting the hang of things. Though there are some foods he still doesn’t care for, there are many that he flashes big smiles at the taste of, and I have come to realize the joy that I had originally anticipated in introducing my son to a world of new flavors.

img_0985.jpgimg_0335.jpgTherein lies the beauty, of course, of becoming a parent. It is learning that happiness doesn’t come from a perfect, manicured version of mothering but rather, the montage of messy, head-scratching (and head-aching) scenes that we navigate and become stronger as a result of. It is meeting the fear and unpleasantness head on and rejoicing in the ever-present silver lining.

Leo’s First Apple Purée:

  • 2 sweet eating apples (Pink Lady, Gala, etc.)
  • Water

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  • Peel, core and quarter the apples
  • Sautée in a pan with water until soft
  • Blend in food processor until smooth
  • Add a dash of cinnamon
  • Freeze for up to 3 months in a covered ice cube tray.

Voila!