And Twins for Lunch!

25 03 2015

Well, I promised a photo of the green smoothie, and look here it is — almost three years later!  And I was right about one thing back then:  The famous green smoothie of June 30, 2012, was the beginning of a new era, but not only in our beverage options.  In fact, in just 2 months and 3 days after that posting, our girl/boy twins, LA and BB, arrived on the scene.  And IMG_1100with that we immediately entered the world of families with three children, which is a crazy place to be when you’ve only had one for almost five years.  And this explains my three-year hiatus.

But while I may have taken a lengthy break from blogging, let me assure you that my kitchen saw no such vacation!  I will admit that I have made exactly ZERO yeasted breads since 2012, but LA and BB have been great teachers in so many other subjects, including “How to Make Dinner in Random 2-Minute Intervals Between Nursing Screaming Twin Babies” and “What to Cook When None of Your Children Will Eat the Same Two Things.”  So, yeah, there’s been plenty going on.

And the smoothies?  Well, they are definitely an old family favorite at this point, and I have a tried and true formula that is easily tweaked in a variety of directions.  While I occasionally make a pink or orange smoothie that involves no veggies (just fruit) or a chocolate nut-butter smoothie, most everyone seems to prefer the green smoothies, so who I am to argue with that one?

I’m not one of those moms who whips up a smoothie for breakfast every morning.  Sorry to disappoint.  The kids generally get a couple of pieces of toast or a bowl of hot or cold cereal, and that’s it.  If I have time to toss them some cut-up fruit left over from lunchbox packing, then that’s a great day.  But the smoothies are handy to make later in the day and pour in a sippy cup for the kids as a snack after school or when we are out and about.  We also enjoy them with a weekend breakfast or lunch, especially when it feels a little grain/protein-heavy or when the grown-ups are having a tough-to-chew green salad for a side.  Here’s the formula:

(Makes about 7 cups, give or take)

1 handful of ice

1 handful of cashews or hemp hearts

2 apples (or pears)

2 bananas

a bit of something citrusy (pieces of orange, a scoop of orange juice concentrate, some frozen mango or peaches)

1/2 cucumber (if available)

1/2 bunch of kale or spinach

1/2 cup or so plain kefir or yogurt

1/2 cup or so cold water as needed

And blend!  I almost never put berries in a smoothie because it seems like a waste since the kids eat them up like candy in their natural form anyway.  Plus most berries will turn your green smoothie into a REALLY unattractive shade of brown.  Trust me on this one.  Even if they look excited when you put that brown smoothie in front of them, they will NOT be happy when they take a sip and realize it tastes like sweet and sour fruitiness instead of chocolate.  Because let’s face it… chocolate is really the only liquid in a cup that should be that shade of brown.  Right?





Mmmmm, Sweet Potatoes!

31 07 2008

Yes, that’s right.  Masher loves sweet potatoes … well diluted with breastmilk anyway.  We started ’em a few days ago, just put a few sweet potatoes in the oven to bake and mashed them up when they were done.  Since they were still pretty lumpy, I put a couple of scoops in the food processor and then pushed them through a sieve.  Half of the strained mixture went into the fridge for immediate consumption, and the other half into the freezer for later.  I still need to get some ice cube trays for freezing small individual amounts of whatever I make, but I just put it all in one container for now.

And then, since I totally overestimated and baked three giant yams when Masher probably eats the equivalent of 1/20 a sweet potato at one sitting, I made some very tasty sweet potato banana bread using the leftover potatoes and chunkier bits and a few overripe bananas on my counter.  I modified the recipe slightly, using less sugar and more banana and potato than it called for and made two loaves.  Yum!

Speaking of overripe fruit, yesterday I had a mushy plum and another banana wasting away on the kitchen counter, so I played with a recipe from this week’s Post food section to make a tasty frozen dessert.  My version was easier and probably healthier–just processed the banana and plum (skin, too, for the plum, not the banana!), added some yogurt and honey, and stuck it in a bowl in the freezer for a few hours.  Even my yogurt-averse husband thought it tasted pretty good!  And it was especially refreshing after the fire-breathing chicken stew we had for dinner.  (Note to self:  One family doesn’t need more than one-two jalapeno plants in their garden.  Seven is way too many.)

Unfortunately, Baby Masher wasn’t ready for any this exciting food, although we do plan to debut the all-mighty avocado with him tomorrow.





God Bless the Internet …

26 07 2008

… Because I don’t know how we lived without it.

See, I had been feeling pretty uncomfortable about this whole “solid foods” thing.  It’s something I hadn’t quite admitted to myself or on this blog, but it’s true.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, and I definitely felt as though it was something very personal, but I kept wondering to myself why everyone asked if we had tried the baby cereals yet.  I wondered why everyone asked automatically about the cereals, even the doctor.  I wondered whether babies started with rice cereal in Mexico, or Pakistan, or Zimbabwe, or Japan.  Looking at the cereal, which resembles fish food more than anything else, I wondered what magical properties it possessed that the brown rice or oatmeal in my cabinet didn’t have.  Okay, so I can read on the box that there’s an iron supplement, but what the heck?  If the babies NEED the iron, isn’t there some other way for them to get it besides adding some supplement, which more than likely can’t be absorbed by the body anyway?  And I especially wondered how Masher would transition to eating the food that we eat when he’s starting out eating food a world away …  and in a part of the grocery store I rarely visit, the aisles.  As a girl who shops around the outskirts for fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, and dairy, with monthly ventures into the aisles for whole grains and beans, I couldn’t understand what I was doing staring at a small shelf of canned strained chicken and peas and the like.  I eat at the farmers’ market.  Can’t my baby do the same?

So, like any good 21st century dweller, I Googled.  And I came across a really helpful web site that began to address many of my concerns … and led me to a book, which I ordered on Amazon.com (yay for the Internet, again!) and that was delivered to my house a day later:  Feeding the Whole Family:  Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents.  And, after one read, I decided this would probably have to be my new bible.

A paragraph from the book that sums up the answer to my concerns:

When we give babies separate meals made of factory-created food that is bland and full of fillers, we do them a disservice.  This trains them to expect separate meals and prefer bland empty calories.  Do your children a favor and introduce them to food with flavor.  Let them recognize a variety of simply prepared whole foods as the familiar tastes that trigger “home” in their mind and bodies.  Feed them what you eat.  Make what you eat good enough to feed your baby.

             — Cynthia Lair

Look.  It would be one thing if I were still working 50+ hours a week.  And as the author of the book points out, there are organic processed baby foods out there these days, which is a huge step forward as far as processed baby food goes.  And it would be another thing if my husband and I didn’t already eat pretty conscientiously.  (I say “conscientiously” because we always cook organic and heavily local at home, but we are equally happy to stuff our faces with nachos and beef fajitas at Rio Grande from time to time.)  But I’m not working now, and – as family – we’ve already made huge strides toward eating primarily “whole foods” (Michael Pollan of The Omnivore’s Dilemma asks, “Would your grandmother recognize the substance as food?”).  I think we’re ready to go the whole way.

So, what does this Cynthia woman recommend as baby’s first food?  Apples, avocados, bananas, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, and winter squash, any of which should be cooked, mashed, and mixed with breastmilk or water (if necessary) to the consistency of soup.  Sounds delicious.  Scratch everything that came before.  We start anew.