This toddler-friendly mac and cheese is loaded with three types of cheese and squash (you didn’t think I’d leave out a veggie, did you?) which is virtually tasteless and mimics that neon orange color that kids love from the boxed stuff.Read More
Back in 2012 when I first started teaching baby food cooking classes, a client of mine mentioned that her husband had been making chocolate avocado pudding, and that her baby was gobbling it right up. I put the idea on my imaginary list of recipes that I wanted to recreate, and then—-like every other item on my to-do list that I write in my head but never on paper—I completely forgot about it. Fast forward five years when that baby of hers is ready to graduate kindergarten, and here I am in my kitchen finally checking off this recipe. Do I regret not trying this sooner? Yes, but mostly because recently when I pay for avocados at checkout, I have to do a doubletake (2 for $5--seriously?!) and then you get home, cut it open, and it's all pit. Five years ago, if I can remember correctly, the world was a cheaper place for avocados, and hashtags like #avocadoproblems and #avocadofail and #willworkforavocados (okay fine I made that last one up), were not yet a thing.
But I digress.
In truth, this recipe was a real win for the kids, and I already am thinking ahead to tweaking the recipe for avocado-chocolate fudgsicles this summer (stay tuned!). The avocado creates a perfectly creamy texture and a blank slate that lets the chocolate from cacao powder and semi-sweet chocolate chips really shine through. It comes together in minutes after a whirl in a food processor or blender, and since it's made without refined sugar, it's a treat that I'm happy to serve my kids regularly. Also, unlike every other avocado recipe in the world, this can be made up to 24 hours in advanced and stored in the refrigerator. Because of the chocolate, there's no telling if the avocado turns brown.
Finally, another perk to this recipe is that it's allergy friendly--perfect for friends who are allergic to milk or eggs. But everyone will love it!
CHOCOLATE AVOCADO PUDDING makes 4 servings Ingredients: 2 medium ripe avocados 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips 1/4 cup cacao powder* 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/4 cup milk (cows, almond, coconut, or even water) pinch of salt 1/4 cup pure maple syrup Directions: In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips according to package directions. Cool for a few minutes, then add them to a food processor or blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until no lumps remain, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer mousse to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 20 minutes (or up to 24 hours before serving.
*I use cacao powder instead of cocoa powder because it is much less processed than cocoa powder and it contains a crazy high amount of fiber, nutrients, antioxidants and magnesium. You can find it in the same location in the grocery store as traditional cocoa powder. Yes, it's more expensive, but we use it sparingly enough that it's worth it for us.
We’re deep into the throws of Christmas vacation gone way too long—10 straight days of frigid sub zero temps followed by a blizzard that’s cancelled school the week the kids are supposed to be back (and parents are supposed to be breathing a sigh of relief). It’s been a long two weeks in the house, and although January normally calls for healthy recipes, we’re craving some serious comfort food. And a babysitter. We’re craving that too. But until than, we’ll take these homemade French fries. While many versions of homemade baked fries end up soggy and sad, this version gets extra crisp by preheating the baking sheet in a hot oven and arranging the fries in a single layer. But perhaps the most important part is resisting the urge to touch them while they are cooking. Let them get crunchy and crisp up while you play referee on boredom-fueled wresting matches/ fights over what’s on TV / general sibling showdowns that happen when you spend wayyy to much time together. What, is it only us?
Baked French Fries
Place a baking sheet in the oven, and turn your oven to 400 degrees. Scrub and pat dry 3 medium russet or Yukon gold potatoes.
Cut potatoes into evenly sliced 1/4 inch sticks (sticks should be evenly sliced to ensure they cook evenly). In a medium bowl, toss potatoes with 3 tablespoons canola oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Using an oven mitt, remove baking sheet from the oven. Spread fries on preheated baking sheet in a single layer, and making sure the flat side of the fry touches the sheet (and be careful since the baking sheet is hot!). Return to the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the bottom of the fries are a deep golden brown. Remove from oven, and use a metal spatula to remove fries from the tray. Season with extra salt to taste while they’re still warm.
I've always found that when it comes to Thanksgiving recipes, simplicity wins. Amidst all the heavy appetizers, a massive main meal, and the loads of desserts, this soup stands out as satisfyingly simple in its elements (it contains only 5 ingredients if you don't count the butter) and with all the flavors you crave on Thanksgiving day. It also gets its creaminess from the pureed squash--yep, there's no cream here--which is a welcome relief from the loads of rich and decadent foods.
In fact, I've made this soup almost every year for the past decade as a Thanksgiving appetizer, and it's a win with everyone. With subtle sweetness from the apples, it's a crowd pleaser for kids and adults. I serve it in the slow cooker, set on low, so it stays piping hot. Add pomegranate seeds to garnish, and the colors are vibrant and beautifully Fall in nature.
There are many ways to make a squash soup, and I always use Thanksgiving as an excuse to take shortcuts. You could buy a whole squash and cut it up yourself (more on how to do that here), or you could go for my choice and buy the more convenient (albeit: more expensive) prechopped squash.And like all soups, the longer it simmers, the better the flavors develop, so be sure to make this early Thanksgiving morning or even the day before. I've even made this a week or two before Turkey Day and kept it frozen until the day of, and no one was all the wiser.
If you have a baby, this soup too is a winner! It's the perfect pureed consistency for babies who aren't quite ready for textures, but it also contains delicious flavors and spices to help expand their little palates.
Squash and Apple Soup
2 tbsp. butter
2 medium onions, diced
3 tsp curry powder
3-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (or around 3-4 cups butternut squash cubes OR 3 cups of butternut squash puree)
2 apples, peeled, cored, cubed
·3 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add onion and saute until tender. Stir in curry powder
Add squash, apples, chicken stock and salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until squash and apples are tender
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or alternatively, transfer to the soup in batches to a blender (careful, it will be hot!). Serve warm with pomegranate seeds as a garnish.
One thing is for sure at this time of year: You're going to be eating a lot of apples. Here in November, apples are the only fresh fruits left at the farm stand, and that fruit (along with pears and bananas), will be what my kids survive on until citrus season begins this winter. Happily, my kids LOVE apples--our family goes through at least a dozen a week!--but it's also nice to change things up a bit.
This recipe for baked apple chips is so simple, and it's the perfect project for a rainy homebound weekend day. All you have to do is slice the apples nice and thin, let the kids sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon, and then set them in the oven on low for an hour. Your home will smell wonderful all day, and you'll end up with sweet and crispy chips that are perfect for snacking by the handful or packing into lunch boxes.
Cinnamon Apple Chips
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sugar
Heat oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Core the apples. With sharp knife, slice off 1/2-inch from top and bottom of apples and discard. Saw gently crosswise into very thin (1/8-inch) rings
Arrange apples on the baking sheet in a single layer. Place the sheet on the middle shelf in oven, and bake for 45min-1 hr until apple slices are lightly browned and almost dry to touch.
Let chips cool on racks completely before storing in airtight container.
With all the adorable treats there are to buy and make (and eat!) on Halloween, it's refreshing to have something that you can serve that feels slightly redemptive. Especially if you're a parent like me who likes to steal their kids' Halloween candy in the name of safety. As in: "Hmm, that Butterfinger packaging looks iffy. I'm going to have to confiscate that." This pumpkin hummus has all the feels for something that looks super spooky (it's orange, after all!). And you could serve it with black tortilla chips and baby carrots, or even top it with plastic spiders!
Plus, with 5 simple ingredients and 2 minutes to pull it all together, it's totally doable to make despite the chaos of the crazy day. We promise it's worth it!
In a food processor, add 1 garlic clove, 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas, 1 cup canned pumpkin, juice of 1/2 lemon, and 1/8 teaspoon of ground cumin. Puree until completely smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Seriously, does it get more beautiful than this? This recipe, which uses roasted beets in place of traditional chickpeas, makes a show-stopping spread (seriously, what little girl wouldn't love a PURPLE dip?) and is a great use for leftover roasted beets. I love adding this to a crudite platter alongside pita and veggies at a part--it adds a great pop of color
This recipe calls for 1 pound of roasted beets, but if you're starting out with our beet baby food ( Get the recipe here) you'll want to set aside about 1 cup of pureed beets to make this recipe in place of the cooked, roasted beets below. Add the pureed beets and follow the rest of the recipe as is.
Roasted Beet Hummus Ingredients: 1 lb cooked or roasted beets, quartered OR 1 1/2 cups beet puree 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped (optional) 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/2 tablespoon tahini 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1 garlic clove 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt Directions: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. Taste throughout and adjust the balance as you see fit. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro, if desired.
Isn't it amazing how summer feels so long ago already? Even though school JUST started, those lazy summer days get so quickly replaced by hectic mornings, weekend soccer practices, and back to school event... after event... after event.Read More
If you dislike cooking, you are going to love this. If you're outside roasting on this sticky 90 degree day, you are going to love this.
If you like recipes that can be prepped and on the table in less than five minutes, you are going to love this.
If you like the idea of your child eating vegetables and if you like vegetables in their purest, most-refreshing form, then you are going to really really love this.
Because unlike many gazpacho recipes that require blanching tomatoes, peeling cucumbers, and straining the finished product, this is the no-fuss (read: no work) version. All we do is blend up veggies with little else, and the result is something so refreshing, so delicious, and so impossible to screw up (I'm looking at you, so-called non-cooks).
Best of all, my kids eat this up AND love helping with the prep. My 5-year-old washes the veggies, my 2-year-old transfers the veggies I chop to the blender, and then they both fight over who presses the on button while I wipe tears of unfairness and mop up the food they've dropped and squished all over the floor. It really is quite fun.
But back to the soup. I love this served with an add-your-own-toppings bar with bowls of chopped peppers, cucumbers, hardboiled eggs, and croutons that can be spooned over the top. So good!
No-Fuss Gazpacho Soup
Ingredients: 3 slices bread 2 pounds of tomatoes, cut into quarters and seeds squeezed out and discarded 1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Directions: Place bread in a medium bowl and cover with water until saturated. Squeeze water from bread and place bread in a blender. Discard soaking water.
In the same blender, add tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, garlic and vinegar. Blend until well combined, about 1 minute. With motor running, add oil in steady stream until well blended. Stir in vinegar; season with salt and pepper.T
Transfer to refrigerator to chill before serving up to 48 hours.