Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yogurt, Kefir, & Smoothies, Oh My!

Like any toddler, Henry changes his food likes at the drop of a hat.  He liked yogurt, then he hated yogurt, then he liked yogurt but couldn't stand the chunks of fruit in the yogurt, etc.  This past week, however, he has been on a real yogurt/yogurt-related kick.

First, when we were out one day last week, I knew Henry was coming close to naptime, and likely would not make it home without falling asleep, and thus miss lunchtime.  So, when we were at the supermarket, I saw a bottle of kefir (a fermented milk drink) on sale and figured we would try it.  Kefir is a bit sour, so I wasn't sure how Henry would feel about it.  But, after having to sit in the backseat of my car with Henry for 15 minutes while he immediately said "more" after each sip, I knew he loved it!

This week I also got a shipment of Chobani Champions (Greek yogurt for kids) from Chobani (and no, I'm not being paid by them for this post).  The nice thing about the yogurt is that it is in a much smaller container (3.5 ounces versus 6 ounces), so Henry is able to finish the whole container.  Even better? The two flavors (Verry Berry and Honey-Nana) don't have chunks of fruit so Henry eats it without constantly spitting anything much neater now! 

Finally, today I tried making Henry a smoothie on a recommendation I got on Twitter by @Robinsbite (  Robin mentioned that her child wouldn't eat blueberries, but happily slurped down an entire blueberry smoothie.  Since Henry won't eat blueberries either, I figured I'd try it.  So, today I threw blueberries, strawberries, a container of Chobani Champions Verry Berry yogurt, a splash of milk, and a few ice cubes in the blender.  After a small power struggle over what type of cup Henry would accept, he too happily slurped down his smoothie from his Sippy Cup (rare occasion when I won the struggle).

Here's hoping Henry still likes yogurt next week!

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fast & Easy Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal

I've always liked the texture of steel cut oatmeal - it's chewier and a little nuttier than instant oatmeal or rolled oats.  Only problem is it takes way longer to make.  Instead of the 1 minute that microwaving my instant oats takes, preparing steel cut oats takes closer to 25 minutes.  Not gonna happen in my house.

I read recently, however, that some people soak their steel cut oats overnight, which can significantly cut the cook time.  A lot of the recipes I found called for boiling the oats for a minute the night before, or sticking the oatmeal in a crockpot, but I decided I would go the route of those who said they simply soaked the oats and cooked them in the morning.  So, last night I took a half cup of steel cut oats, 1 cup of 1% milk, 2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar, and a pinch of cinnamon and put it in my non-stick pot and shoved it in the fridge.  This morning I put the pot on my stove, brought it to a boil, and then let it simmer for 3 minutes.  It could not have been easier, and both Henry and I loved it.  It did make more than we could eat though (probably best for 3 adults OR 1 adult and 2-3 kids).  I'll have to see how microwaved/re-heated steel cut oatmeal will taste...

Anyway, I plan to make this a part of our morning routine.  Henry was getting tired of his oatmeal and applesauce and even though the nutrition info for steel cut versus instant oatmeal is virtually the same, for whatever reason I find I feel fuller from the steel cut oats (maybe its the chewing).

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cheesy Spaghetti (Squash) with Sauce

I've only had spaghetti squash a few times in my life.  The first time I had spaghetti squash was at my friend Michelle's house when I was in elementary school.  I had never heard of the veggie, and I vividly remember being apprehensive with the thought of trying a new food (I wasn't the ultimate picky eater growing up, but I was pretty darn close - probably would have been more fun to read my mom's blog about me...but alas the internet didn't even exist then).  My friend made it sound pretty appealing though, so amazingly I tried it and didn't mind it (that was HUGE).  The next time I had spaghetti squash was probably about 2 years ago when I decided to make it myself.  I wasn't quite sure how long to cook it, and assuming that the longer you roast a veggie the better it is, I roasted it for waaaaay too long.  It tasted fine, but with all the roasting it was one big mush and I missed out on the fun spaghetti strands.  Luckily, when I bought the spaghetti squash this week, my squash came with an instruction sticker:
This time the spaghetti strands came out perfectly!  After mixing it with some sauce and cheese, and throwing in some tofu, my meal was done.  Henry was actually pretty excited about the "spaghetti" and kept calling for "noo-noo" (noodles).  He ate a few hefty bites of the squash, but did not find the tofu that appealing.  I was impressed, however, because tonight when I asked if he wanted to try the tofu, he said "okay", took the piece of tofu, and put it right in his mouth.  Unfortunately within a second of biting into it, he found it revolting and spit it right out - gotta love that he was so willing to try it though! Overall, thumbs up for spaghetti squash, and we'll need to try again with tofu :)

Cheesy Spaghetti (Squash) with Sauce & Tofu
1 spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces tofu, cubed
1/2 jar spaghetti sauce
3 slices muenster cheese (or any cheese), torn into small pieces (or use shredded cheese)

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  

2.  Microwave spaghetti squash for 4 minutes.  Then slice in half and scoop out seeds.  Place cut-side down on baking sheet, and bake in oven for about 25 minutes.  Once cooled slightly, use a fork to shred out the spaghetti strands.  Set aside.

3.  In a pan, heat oil.  Add cubes of tofu and lightly brown on all sides.  Pour out excess oil, and add in the spaghetti squash.  Add sauce and cheese.  Stir together and let warm through.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fussy Eating with Daddy too

Yesterday my husband had the day off while I had a training session for work that lasted all day.  That means that my husband had to do ALL the feeding yesterday, which is really quite rare.  For the most part, Henry has breakfast and dinner with me every day, and only has lunch without me on the days that I have to go into the office.  I wanted to make it easy on my husband so I gave him "Henry-friendly" foods for lunch and dinner...i.e. foods that I know Henry loves. 

When I got home yesterday, however, I found out that Henry pretty much refused all his meals yesterday.  Most of the meals and snacks actually ended up looking like this:
This isn't uncommon.  Frequently there are days when Henry chooses to forgo all meals...especially if he's had a day of really good eating beforehand (he tends to eat really well over the weekend), so it wasn't a concern.  But, it really gave my husband a glimpse into what's it's like to feed a toddler who's a fussy eater.  For some reason, Henry always tends to be on his best behavior with his daddy - taking 2.5 hour naps, playing nicely, etc., so I kind of appreciated that Henry showed his daddy what my days are sometimes like!

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

uh-oh Okra

Until a few months ago, I had never had okra.  It never appealed to me...especially after my depression-era grandmother who ate anything and did NOT waste, confided in me that the only food she wouldn't eat was okra.  Not a ringing endorsement.  But when I went to visit my mother-in-law back in September, she added okra to a tofu stir-fry.  I enjoyed the dish so assumed I also liked okra. 

Fast forward to this week.  At my fruit/veggie market they had bags of okra, so I threw it in the cart.  I searched for the highest rated okra recipe on, Roasted Okra, and made it for dinner Monday night.  It was ready after Henry ate, so only my husband and I got to try it then.  After eating numerous pieces of the roasted okra bites, assuming that I would like it with increased exposure, I finally had to admit defeat and realize that I just don't like okra.  My husband made it a few bites past me, but then also proclaimed he was not a fan. 

Last night I decided that Henry should try it too.  As soon as I put it on his tray, he picked it up - hooray! And then he examined it closely, smushed it between his fingers, and held it out to me.  When I didn't take it quickly enough, he immediately flicked it onto the floor (please now delete earlier "hooray"). Of course I tried again tonight as well.  This time i whipped out my trusty hummus trick.  It seemed like it might work.  Henry licked off the hummus, and then ate the whole bite of hummus and okra.  Success!  ...And then Henry gagged and spit out the okra.  Undeterred, I tried again.  Henry took the bite, moved it around in his mouth a bit, and then elegantly spit the okra out.  After that, he would only eat the hummus off his fingers.

It looks like okra was not a huge hit with our family.  I'm not willing to completely write it off yet though. So, does anyone have any really delicious okra recipes to share?

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Quick & Easy Chicken "Marsala"

Henry is a big fan of chicken, but it's not always easy to get him to eat veggies along with his meal.  The only veggies that I know Henry will definitely eat are corn and roasted cauliflower.  That's fine, and I'm more than thankful for canned corn, but I know I need to work to get Henry to eat other veggies too.  So my latest plan was to incorporate veggies into my chicken dish...which ultimately led to a version of Chicken Marsala.  Since this was a last minute decision, I definitely did not have Marsala wine, and the recipe I was working off of on (Chicken Marsala), also called for sherry, which also was a no-go.  I'm not easily dissuaded, however, and after a few swaps to the recipe, I was pretty pleased.  Not nearly as pleased, however, as when Henry proceeded to shove the chunks of chicken right into his mouth.  I even had to slow him down so he wouldn't choke.  And yes, in those feverish bites, slices of mushrooms also made their way to Henry's tummy.  I still doubt Henry would eat mushrooms on their own, but this method worked too!

Quick & Easy Chicken "Marsala" (adapted from
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch chunks
1.5 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup white grape juice

1.  In a ziploc bag, pour in flour, salt, pepper, and oregano, and shake to mix together.  Then add the chunks of chicken and shake it all together.

2.  In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Put the chunks of chicken in the pan, shaking off excess flour as you remove from the bag.  Brown on one side, and then turn chicken pieces over and brown on the other side. Add mushrooms, red wine, and grapejuice.  Cover pan and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sweet Potato "Fries"

Ok, I know based on the picture it looks more like just sliced sweet potatoes, but it's late at night, and creativity is lacking.  Anyway, when I was running through the supermarket on Thursday night, I found these pre-sliced sweet potatoes and decided that was the answer to a quick side-dish.  I threw them on a baking sheet, tossed them with honey, olive oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and a bit of salt and pepper, and baked them in the oven.  I'm not gonna lie - these did not really appeal to me.  They were quite sweet and a bit too nutmeg-y for me.  Henry, however, gobbled them up.  He even chose to eat them before his slice of muenster cheese tonight, which was the real litmus test since cheese is one of his favorite foods.  And of course my sweets-loving husband raved about them as well.  So, if you like sweet side dishes, this one may be for you!

Do you have any savory sweet potato recipes to share?

Sweet Potato "Fries"
2 tsp olive oil
24 oz. slices sweet potatoes (about 4 sweet potatoes)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 400.

2.  On a baking sheet lined with foil, pour oil.  Add the sweet potatoes.  Then pour on honey and spices (including salt and pepper).  Mix together.  Bake in oven for 15 minutes.  Then flip wedges over and bake 15 minutes more.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Creamy Roasted Pepper & Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

As you may know, I had about 3 ounces of cream cheese sitting in my fridge that I needed to use up (I used about an ounce on challah this weekend).  So tonight was the ultimate in using leftover ingredients in my fridge - what a rush! (Yes, I am aware of the fact that I have no life).  I used up a jar of sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and the rest of the cream cheese (yay!) in a pasta dish.  To add protein and fiber, I even added a can of white beans. 

The results? Henry's first bite was less than stellar.  He immediately cringed, and threw the bite a few feet from his highchair.  I thought that was the end.  But, when I brought my bowl of pasta over, he had renewed interest.  The next thing I knew, he ate about 10 shells, followed by a couple of apple slices.  I'm not quite sure if that means Henry really liked it, but I guess I'll find out tomorrow when I try to give him leftovers for lunch.  Either way, I thought it was really good!

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Sundried Tomato Pasta
1/2 pound pasta (I used medium shells)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, diced
2 roasted red peppers, diced
1 can (15 oz) cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
3 ounces cream cheese
a couple of ladle fulls of pasta water
pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

1.  Prepare pasta according to directions.  Be sure to retain the pasta water.

2.  In a large skillet, saute garlic in olive oil for 1 minute.  Add sundried tomatoes and red peppers, and saute 2-3 minutes more.  Add cannelini beans and mash mixture together with potato masher (I kept mine kind of chunky).  Then add cream cheese (still over the heat), and mix together.  Add 1-2 ladles of pasta water to thin out sauce.  Then add red pepper, salt, and pepper to taste.

3.  Serve over pasta (I just mixed it all together).

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Unlikely Pairing

Last night I decided to make tilapia again.  You might remember from last time that tilapia did not go over so well with Henry.  This time I decided to make it really easy and I just poured some Mr. Yoshida over the fish and cooked it.  I gave a few pieces of it to Henry along with some leftover roasted asparagus.  At first he just stared at the food and refused to try it.  And then I offered him hummus.  Definitely not a flavor that necessarily goes with Teriyaki sauce and fish, but Henry loves it.  So, I put some in his bowl on top of the fish and asparagus.  Next thing I knew Henry ate the entire stalk of asparagus along with all the pieces of fish.  He even ate a couple of the fish bites without hummus.  And then he asked for more.  Granted, he was asking for more hummus, but he accepted the fact that it came with more fish.  A very pleasant dining experience...thank you hummus!

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Not Just Cholent

For Saturday lunch this weekend we had company.  We don't use fire or electricity on the sabbath, and since I'm not a huge fan of leaving my oven on over the entire sabbath, or keeping a hot plate plugged in the whole time, I usually stick to cold/ room temp foods or cholent that can go in my slowcooker.  This weekend, however, I wanted to try something different from my usual beef cholent, so I looked for some chicken stew recipes online.  After much searching, I found a French Chicken Stew and figured I would give it a try.  Since I was going to be cooking it a lot longer than the 8-10 hours, I had to do some doctoring...instead of boneless, skinless chicken breasts that were diced up, I decided to use bone-in, skinless, chicken thighs so that they wouldn't dry out.  I also wanted it to be more stew-like so I added some quinoa.  And, I wanted to make sure it didn't end up dried out, so I added more water...and some white wine for added flavor.  Oh, and I adjusted the seasonings because...well because I'm almost incapable of following a recipe as it's written.

Anyway, everyone at lunch seemed to like the stew...although it's always possible that everyone is just saying it's good to be nice.  But, I do know that Henry happily ate chicken from the stew on Saturday, and then gobbled up a pretty big bowl of it today.  So, my toughest critic seemed to approve!

French Chicken Stew (adapted from
1 cup navy beans (soak the night before, and then throw out water)
8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
3 stalks celery, sliced
3 large carrots, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tsp granulated garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground sage
1 heaping tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp chicken consomme powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup white wine
3 cups water

Spray cooking spray in your crockpot.  Put all the ingredients in (I tend to put the beans on the bottom so if they burn it's a cheaper ingredient that's lost).  Cook on low setting for at least 12 hours.  (Mine cooked for about 20 hours).

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Black Bean Roll-ups

I hate to waste food.  I will go to great lengths to use up all leftover food and food ingredients.  Leftover soda from having company? It becomes the base for a sauce for chicken or meat.  Leftover kosher for passover mustard? Once again, it gets mixed into a sauce for meat or some sort of pasta dish.  Amazingly, even with some pretty gnarly ingredients, the end product usually turns out okay. 

This past weekend, I bought cream cheese because we were having brunch.  The problem is that we pretty much only eat cream cheese on bagels (aside for when I was pregnant and had a craving for cream cheese and Triscuits), and I normally don't eat bagels.  So, I quickly had to think of what to do with so much cream cheese.  Tonight I didn't have anything prepared for dinner, and I also didn't have much time.  I remembered, however, a recipe that my cousin Deb had made with wraps, black beans, and cream cheese.  I didn't have time to look up the recipe, so I improvised.  I took some cream cheese, mixed in some medium salsa, spread that on a whole-grain wrap, and then sprinkled diced red pepper, black beans, and corn. 

It took a total of 3 minutes, and Henry ate almost an entire wrap.  Makes me wonder why I make more time-consuming dishes... (As a side note, Henry preferred the half of the wrap that I hadn't cut up into cute little rolls). 

I still have about 4 ounces of cream cheese left.  Anyone have ideas of what else to do with it?

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!