April 21, 2014

Baby-Blue Cheese Spread

A memory: evening-time, twenty-odd years ago, my dad and I unwrapped a cavernous, moldy wedge of blue cheese. Next to it, a Triscuit box waited with cardboard flaps thrown open like hands asking why not? 

My dad used a knife to apply the creamy smears of blue cheese onto one cracker at a time before placing them in my small hands. They were delicious! And I felt big eating them, initiated somehow by this adult-seeming food.

Darwin's too young to understand the slightly sophisticated reputation of blue cheese; he just knows he likes to eat it. He loves this spread, too, which marries the salt and tang of blue cheese with the smooth, mild familiarity of cream cheese and cheddar. It's a perfect way to share blue cheese with kids, especially when the serving bowl is rimmed with crunchy vegetables and whole grain crackers. The crackers pictured are a Triscuit-style cracker with two ingredients: whole wheat flour and salt. You can find one version at Whole Foods, and another version at Stop & Shop under the "Nature's Promise" label.

Baby-Blue Cheese Spread

1 cup crumbled blue cheese
8oz cream cheese, softened
6oz sharp white cheddar, grated

Combine all ingredients in a food processor with 1 Tbls. cold water. Process until smooth. Serve immediately for a creamy dip, or chill for a firmer spread.

April 13, 2014

Peanut Butter Quinoa Bars and an Announcement!

Our beloved Darwin turned three! - a jumping, joking, willful, curious, superhero-shirted three. At his birthday party, he indulged in his first ever classic cake (my mother's recipe, with butter cream frosting) and became the proud recipient of SEVEN superhero capes. Afterward, ordinary life resumed for our newly-minted three-year-old, with its morning trips to the library and walks around the muddy yard, dreaming of spring...

We cook together a lot these days.

He loves having a hand in the family food: scrambling eggs, tossing vegetables in oil. I sweep up a fair share of grains catapulted accidentally across the room, but I think it's a worthwhile sacrifice.

I'll help you. I'm a little bit small, but I'll help you.

I can only say yes.

One-bowl recipes like this one are especially fun to prepare with a little helper. Today, though, I cook by myself while Darwin plays at his Grandma's house. The clink of measuring cups echoes in the kid-less kitchen. I suddenly realize I'm sitting on the floor, whisking and stirring! Internal wiring: changed.

Scott and I relish this rewiring, this weird, big-hearted life with our kiddo. And in October, I'm excited to share, we'll be welcoming kiddo #2! Darwin is absorbing this news with curiosity and tenderness:

Does the teeny tiny baby in your belly walk?
Does the baby climb walls like Spiderman?

Is the baby in MY belly? 
Does the baby eat food?
I'm girl-thinkin' (As in, "thinking it will be a girl." This cracked us up. We have never said this, and have no idea where he came up with it!)
Is the baby THIS big?
Is she bigger than Australia?
I love you, little baby.

Pregnancy in the first trimester sent our normal eating habits into a tailspin. We made a few compromises during those intensely queasy weeks (gobbling boxed whole wheat Annie's shells and gloppy mayonnaise in our salmon salad), but I also developed a whole collection of great recipes to satisfy ultra-specific cravings. (How did I manage this?? I was so tired! Who knows.) In the coming weeks, I'll share them with you: crispy baked Ezekial chicken tenders, sugar-free baked beans, baby blue cheese-spread, veggie-filled beef stew, and many others. I can't wait!

Thanks for sharing our happiness and anticipation as Kid Can Eat becomes Kids Can Eat!

Peanut Butter Quinoa Bars
Makes 6 bars

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup dry rolled oats
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8x8" baking dish with parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg. Add all remaining ingredients and give them a good stir.

Spread batter into the baking dish and bake 20 minutes, or until edges are beginning to brown.

Let cool 10 minutes, then slice and serve. Refrigerate or freeze leftover bars.