March 31, 2013

Simple Plates #13, New Eco Lunchbox

broiled carrots and asparagus, real food mac and cheese
We are happy to have some spring vegetables, lately.

spinach and cheese skillet-quiche, baked sweet potato, rye cracker with butter

frozen peas, Swiss cheese slices

whole wheat mini kale and swiss melts, apple slices

whole wheat pasta with simple peanut sauce and celery, fresh carrots, kiwi
At it's simplest, Asian-style peanut sauce can be a dollop of peanut butter stirred with a splash of soy sauce. Add grated garlic, ginger, a splash of rice vinegar and some sesame oil for a more complex flavor.

stir-fried zucchini, mango chunk, herbed omelet, sweet potato

raisins, whole wheat mini spinach and feta melts, carrot sticks

one of Darwin's birthday presents

Hmmm, how does this thing work?

chickpea chicken salad, pear slices

turkey-veggie meatballs, grapes, curried chickpeas, garlicky curly kale

apple slices, cinnamon/raisin/cream cheese sandwich on Ezekial toast, baked sweet potato
Darwin said (somewhat haltingly, thinking hard for the right words), "I love this cream cheese sandwich!"

turkey-veggie meatballs with marinara sauce, clementine pieces, strawberry, broiled asparagus

March 29, 2013

Outrageously Yummy Raspberry-Apple Pie

whole foods only
I've called this drool-worthy treat a pie, but it's kind of equal parts pie, tart, and cobbler. Whatever category it belongs in, it's in there with amazing.

Serve this to your little ones with pride. Its sweet-tart fruit filling, rich vanilla date/nut crust, and creamy real whipped cream are all 100% free of sugar, grains, and refined oils.

This was Darwin's birthday pie, which we ate at the park with friends and family. The pie wasn't fully assembled until we got to the party, hence the hasty photographs with messy plastic cutlery. But you get the idea. Happy (unbelievable!) second year, Darwin!

Outrageously Yummy Raspberry-Apple Pie
makes 1 pie

1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup whole medjool dates (about 7 dates)
1 tsp vanilla extract

5 apples, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cups frozen raspberries
1 Tbls. virgin coconut oil

2 cups heavy cream
fresh berries

In a medium saucepan, heat apples and 1/2 cup water until simmering. Cover and simmer 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples have broken down into sauce.

Meanwhile, pulse nuts in a food processor until coarsely ground. Pour ground nuts into a mixing bowl and stir in vanilla extract.

Remove pits form dates and mash thoroughly. Add them to the mixing bowl, and use your hands to mash the dates and nuts together until thoroughly combined.

Press the crust evenly into the bottom and sides of a lightly buttered nine-inch pie pan. Cover and chill.

Add berries to the simmering apples and continue to cook, uncovered, until berries have completely blended with the apples, about ten minutes. The mixture should be the consistency of thick applesauce; if it's looser, simmer a little while longer, stirring often.

Remove fruit from heat and add coconut oil. Cool to room temperature, and scoop fruit mixture evenly into crust. Chill.

Whip cream using an electric mixer of blender. Scoop and spread on fruit filling, and top with sliced berries.

Serve immediately, cold or cool.

ready to be lit

A couple pictures from the party...

opening presents with Uncle Jordan


snuggling a stuffed animal from Aunt Jacky

March 27, 2013

A Weekend of Family and Food

Darwin's Uncle Jordan, his Aunt Mao, and his cousins Luna and Sola drove all the way from Brooklyn to visit and celebrate Darwin's second birthday with us. I had fun putting together simple snacks for the road-weary travelers.
carrots, celery, radishes and hummus; baked whole wheat pita chips; green grapes; air-popped popcorn with extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, and nutritional yeast; clementines

The cousins played busily.

In the morning, I made breakfast for the three kiddos (only two shown). Everyone ate their broccoli.

Luna read Dr. Suess' tongue twisters for a rapt audience.

Birthday pictures and a recipe for Darwin's unbelievably tasty birthday pie coming soon!

March 25, 2013

Simple Plates #12

green grapes, fresh green beans, turkey-veggie meatball, peanut butter on Ezekial toast, fresh carrots

fresh mango, roasted chicken, spinach, fresh carrots

nectarine slices, toasted whole wheat pita, herbed omelet, sauteed mushrooms

broccoli with butter, banana-berry quinoa

fresh green beans and carrots, whole plain yogurt

whole wheat pita pizza with tomatoes, feta, red onion, and kalamata olives; kale; nectarine and clementine pieces

strawberries, easy dal with chicken, avocado, radish, green salad with balsamic vinaigrette

lemony roasted cabbage, spinach skillet-quiche, baked sweet potato fries

whole wheat pita pizza with feta, dill, and kalamata olives; baked sweet potato fries; avocado

fresh carrots and green beans, toasted cheddar sandwich, avocado, strawberries

kiwi, lemony lentil soup, clementine pieces, garlicky kale
The recipe for this lemony lentil soup comes from Bint Rhoda's Kitchen, a new and lovely food blog featuring traditional Palestinian dishes.

strawberry, avocado, baked sweet potato rounds

March 22, 2013

Real Groceries

kid food
Cooking real food three times a day (at least) restores many rituals and rhythms that used to be part of regular life before convenience food arrived.

Here's one: going to the grocery store (or farmers' market) every day, to buy a little of this or that to make dinner.

Years ago when I lived in San Diego, I blushed when a cashier bid me farewell with "see you tomorrow!"

Now I'm at peace with my grocery habit. I don't buy shoes, or expensive jeans, or computer gadgets...

Polishing off the last head of broccoli is usually what compels me back to the store.

What last bite compels you?

March 20, 2013

Simple Plates #11

grilled cheddar and onion on whole wheat pita, spinach, strawberries, avocado

Mexican black beans with shredded cabbage and cilantro and hot sauce, clementine pieces
My years in San Diego taught me to love shredded cabbage with a little cilantro and lime juice as a topping on Mexican-inspired meals. Darwin is very curious about hot sauce and consented to a few drops of Cholula on his snack.

pea pods, roasted chicken with brown rice and roasted vegetables, pear slices, baked sweet potato chunks

spinach and cheese skillet-quiche, Ezekial toast, apple chunks, radish

little radish-eater

cucumber slices, baked sweet potato fries, whole wheat pasta with butter and Parmesan cheese, clementine pieces

kalamata olives, garbanzo beans, Asian spinach with onions, strawberries

blackberries, cucumbers, steamed carrots, yogurt-dill dip
This fresh, simple dip uses 1/2 cup minced fresh dill and one clove of garlic to a cup of whole plain yogurt. Add a little sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Asian spinach with onions, blackberries, peas, carrots, hummus, avocado,  baked whole wheat pitas

strawberry, clementine pieces, brown rice and roasted vegetables with roasted chicken, peas

Ezekial toast with two cheeses, sauteed curly kale, strawberries

March 18, 2013

Fruit-Sweetened Banana Nut Muffins

These rustic, comforting muffins are another freezer staple for us, like our breakfast cookies.

I searched for a good, real-food muffin recipe for a long time. Do you know of any? Call me a purist, but I wanted only whole grains, whole fruit sugars, and virgin oil. I tinkered through a few edible but lacking batches (um, banana gnocchi??) and arrived here, delighted, at these yummy banana nut muffins. They're less dessert-like than others of their kind, but I've never wanted that from a breakfast muffin. Instead, they're mildly sweet, hearty, and sustaining.

Darwin likes to eat them while careening in circles around the living room rug. I like to eat them toasted, cut in half and topped with a shameless slab of grass-fed butter.

I'll take five, please
Whole Wheat, Fruit-Sweetened Banana Nut Muffins
makes 12 muffins

2 + 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (I like a mixture of hard red winter wheat, and white whole wheat)
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1/2 cup whole plain yogurt
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, gently heated into a liquid state
1/3 cup shelled walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup raisins
1 scant tsp. baking soda
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 and fill muffin tins with foil liners.

Measure flour, salt, and baking soda into a small mixing bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, then add bananas, yogurt, and coconut oil. Whisk vigorously, until oil is completely incorporated.

Stir raisins and walnuts into the wet ingredients.

Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and fold until well-combined, but not over-mixed.

Spoon batter into muffin tins (they will look pretty full) and bake 20-25 minutes, until muffins are completely set and tops are golden.

whole wheat, fruit-sweetened banana nut muffin, broccoli with butter, strawberries