Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spinach and Brussels Sprouts Marinara

This is a MIRACLE RECIPE! As I mentioned, I have been reading “Eat to Live” by Joel Fuhrman, and I am trying to make major changes in our diet, one of which is to make sure that we greatly increase our green vegetable intake.

I originally made this recipe with no intention of putting it on LTY because I didn’t think that Little Frances would touch it!  If any of you have read the book, you know that I took a few liberties with his recommendations (namely I added salt and a little bit of parmesan cheese), but between that and the recipe, we managed to get Little Frances to GOBBLE, and I mean GOBBLE down Brussels sprouts! Amazing.

Not only that, this recipe is so easy, I cannot say enough good things about it. Try it, try it, try it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 14 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onions, chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can no or low salt chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Dr Fuhrman’s VegiZest or other no-salt seasoning

Steps:

  1. Steam the Brussels sprouts and spinach for 8 minutes, or until the Brussels sprouts are almost tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the water in a large pot and water sauté the garlic and onion until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the Brussels sprouts and spinach, chopped tomatoes, and VegiZest.
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Miscellaneous:

  • Since I do not have VegiZest or another no-salt seasoning (I have ordered some for future use), I just used a little bit of salt, some pepper, onion powder, and a dash of cayenne pepper.
  • I only had frozen spinach and Brussels sprouts, and it turned out fine.  I used much less than 14 ounces since frozen spinach is more concentrated than baby spinach.
  • Although the recipe doesn’t call for it, and is also not recommended, I did sprinkle a little bit of parmesan on this for added flavor.

Timing: If you used a no salt seasoning, this can be introduced as early as 9 months, as long as it is will mashed or pureed before serving.

Difficulty Rating: 2 out of 5!!! It dirties two pots, that’s the only reason it gets a 2.  Its really so simple and fast.  It’s the perfect side dish.

Epicute Rating: Yummy in the Tummy! <----- See left side of the page for descriptions.

I believe the word I am looking for is shovel!  Look at Little Frances go!

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Vegetarian Chili

Recently I have been reading a book called, “Eat to Live” by Joel Fuhrman, and it has been making me seriously rethink how I view nutrition… well long story short, it made me pull out a cookbook called “My Father’s Daughter” that I bought last year and then subsequently forgot about because it just didn’t suit my cooking style and the recipes called for all kinds of weird ingredients that I can’t find in Russia.  Anyway, I reread and sifted through the recipes and I came up with a few that I have been testing at home that I plan to share on this blog. 

Side note: I am so excited to finally be adding a recipe that calls for lentils!  Its about time I helped out Kelly with this particular category of foods.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 1/2 large, red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon mild chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon, freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
  • 1/2 dark lentils
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • Big pinch coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

Steps:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper, garlic, chili power, cumin and black pepper.  Cook, stirring for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.062
  3. Add the chipotle, stir and combine.
  4. Turn the heat up to high, add the tomatoes and their juice, crushing them a bit with your wooden spoon, and bring to a boil.065
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes.
  6. Add the lentils and the beans.
  7. Fill one 14-ounce can with water and add it to the pot, along with the salt.
  8. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes.070
  9. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 20 mire minutes, or until the lentils are soft and the flavors melted.

**My mom called right before Isla started eating so I didn’t get any pictures of her eating or the final product. Mea culpa.

Yield: The book says 4, but I would say that in my family we could stretch it to at least 6.  I’d call this a generous 4.

Miscellaneous:

  1. I just rinsed the beans and lentils together since I didn’t want to get more than one colander dirty.  It worked fine.
  2. I used kidney and white beans since I cannot buy black beans.
  3. Also, I left out the chipotle in adobo! I don’t have it and I am not a fan of the flavor.  I still enjoyed the taste.
  4. I also left my apartment for over two hours and left it simmering, instead of the 40 minutes the recipes requires, before adding the tomato paste.  Again, it was fine.

Difficulty Rating:  3 or 4. This one is a tough one for me.  I am giving it a 3 because it only dirtied one pot and one colander.  Normally it would have been a 4 because you had to come back 3 times to add things in, and it takes about 2 hours.

Epicutie Rating: Somewhat Yummy! <----See left side of the page for descriptions.

Sources say that Little Frances really enjoyed this, but she had had a long, tough day, so she didn’t gobble it down.  Considering her usual touchy evening taste buds, I think she must have liked it!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cinnamon-Maple Quinoa

In an effort to try to incorporate more easy, healthy grains and side dishes into my normally “one pot dinner” mix, I have had been making a few quinoa dishes.  I have to say, we are not loving quinoa, even though it has a fairly mild taste.  I thought that I would try a breakfast recipe with quinoa and change things up a bit.  We love breakfast and love making things sweeter... however, it was still not a big hit!  However, we try to share our failures here on LTY as well as our successes, and you might have better luck with your epicutie!  This recipe comes from Double Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree (We do not have sweet potatoes where I live so I used pureed butternut squash and I think a carrot puree would also work.  If you do not have any of the above, try a 1/2 cup of applesauce.)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup light vanilla soy milk or milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 teaspoons pure maple syrup divided, for garnish
  • 6 teaspoons chopped or ground walnuts or almonds, divided for garnish

Steps:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa in cold water and strain in a fine colander or cheesecloth.
  3. Add the quinoa to the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Cook for 12 minutes, uncovered and remove from heat.  Let sit covered for 5 minutes.
  5. In a separate pan, melt the butter.
  6. Stir in sweet potato puree, 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup, milk, cinnamon and salt. 
  7. When the quinoa has finished cooking, stir in the sweet potato mixture.
  8. Divide into bowls and top with a teaspoon each of maple syrup and nuts.

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Yield: 6

Timing: If you leave out the nut topping, this recipe can be given as early as 9 months, with the nut topping, 12 months as long as the nuts are finely ground and your epicutie has no nut allergies.

Miscellaneous:

  • Rinsing the quinoa is very important!  I left this step out when I first made this recipe because I was not sure how I would strain it, but I had to throw away my entire first batch because it did not turn out.  The second time, I used a sturdy paper towel in my wire colander and that worked well.
  • I ground the nuts since I still do not feel comfortable giving Little Frances nuts that require a lot of chewing.

Difficulty: 2 out of 5.  Its pretty easy, but you have to dirty two pots.  I hate dirtying two pots and it takes a while.  Also, this is not a quick breakfast recipe and is more work than I like to do early in the morning.

Epicutie Rating: Somewhat Yummy! ----See left side of the page for descriptions.

Epicutie Frances was willing to try many, many bites of this at first, so by our LTY standards this one is Somewhat Yummy.  I think she ate so much because I told her it was like oatmeal, and she loves oatmeal! However, she seemed to really hate it the more she ate it.  She even gave it to her dad and said “Here Daddy, throw away” when she saw that her dad was emptying his bowl.  It would also like to add that this recipe got a big ole’ sourpuss from her mom and dad!

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pomegranates

In case you cannot tell from my lack of LTY blogging, things have been a little nuts at Little Frances’s house!  I have not been making too many new recipes.  However, we were recently introduced to a delicious new finger food that the entire household has fallen in love with, the pomegranate. I know that pomegranate sounds very exotic, at least to me it did  However, pomegranates can actually be found in most grocery stores.  The best part about pomegranates… they are a super food full of antioxidants. I encourage you to give this delicious fruit a try… you will not be disappointed!

pomegranate

Health Benefits of a Pomegranate (taken from HERE):

  • It is rich source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers, providing about 4 g per 100 g (about 12% of RDA), which aid in smooth digestive and bowel movements. The fruit is suggested in the diet for weight reduction and cholesterol controlling programs. Regular inclusion of fruits in the diet helps protect from colon cancers.
  • Punicalagin is a polyphenolic anti-oxidant compound found abundantly in the pomegranate juice. Studies suggest that punicalagin and tannins are effective in reducing heart disease risk factors by scavenging harmful free radicals from the body.

  • It is also good source of antioxidant vitamin-C, provides about 17% per 100 g of daily requirement. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents by boosting immunity.

  • Regular consumption of pomegranate has also been found to be effective against prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), diabetes, and lymphoma.

  • It is also good source of many vital B-complex group of vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), folates, pyridoxine and vitamin K, and minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, and manganese.

Preparation Steps:

The only thing that I do not love about pomegranates is that they take a little bit of time to prepare.  However, they are so delicious that I look forward to preparing them and it can actually be quite therapeutic!  Also, this should ideally be done on a cutting board, while wearing an apron, so that the juices don’t stain everything they touch.

  1. Cut off the crown of the pomegranate.  (Fun fact – the bible says that Solomon’s crown was modeled after the pomegranate!)155
  2. I use serrated knife to cut skin deep in various patterns along the pomegranate; this process is called “scoring.”156
  3. Soak the pomegranate in cold water for 10 minutes.  This will help you break the pomegranate apart and will keep the juices from squirting and staining your clothes.
  4. Break the pomegranate apart and pick out the seeds.  The white flesh should float to the top, and the seeds should sink to the bottom.157
  5. Skim the top of the bowl to remove the white, fleshy parts and then drain the seeds in a colander.159

Timing: I cannot find any guidelines on introduction to children.  My recommendation would be to wait until after your LO has molars and can grind the seeds.  So this would probably be categorized as a toddler food.

Difficulty: 3 out of 5!  It pains me to give it this rating because it is so worth the time, but it can be pretty time consuming.  It is not difficult, it just takes some time.  I try to do 3 or 4 at a time.

Storage: The seeds can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days… if they last that long!

Epicutie Rating: Yummy in the Tummy! ----See left side of the page for descriptions

Little Frances loves, loves, loves “grapes” as she calls them!  She asks for them all. the. time.  Don’t let this picture fool you!  This is the face that I have been getting when I prompt her for a smile…goof ball.  She loves them!

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WARNING:  Little Frances has also figured out that these fit very nicely into her nose… so some supervision when eating them may be required!!!!

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Little Tummy Yummies

About the Authors

This blog was started by two Babywise pen pals to document our adventures in high chair manners, making our own baby food and doing our bests to raise happy, healthy, thriving little ones!

Epicutie #1

Epicutie #1

Little Joy at 2 years, Sept 2012

Epicutie #2

Epicutie #2
Little Frances

Epicutie #3

Epicutie #3
Little Asher at 11 months, Sept 2012

Epicutie #4

Epicutie #4
Little Elizabeth, July 2013
  • Yummy in the Tummy: Epicutie thoroughly enjoyed each bite
  • Somewhat yummy: Epicutie seemed to somewhat enjoy the food at first, but seemed to like it less with subsequent bites
  • Not so sure I like it...yet: Epicutie somewhat rejected the first bites, but seemed intrigued. The next exposure may be better!
  • Confused: Epicutie rejected the first bites, perhaps due to texture or strong flavor.
  • Sour Puss: Epicutie gave a sour face indicating she did not like the food. However--if at first you do not succeed, try, try again!

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