Monday, November 19, 2012

Pizza Party!

I had some leftover pizza dough to use up this week, so we invited a couple of my daughter's friends over to make pizzas.  I set up a work station for each child, with small bowls of sauce, cheese, and grilled veggies.  The girls pilled toppings onto a par-baked crust and then we baked each small pizza.  They eagerly waited as the pizzas cooked and then seemed to genuinely enjoy eating their pizzas, feeling proud of their accomplishment.  While I made my dough and sauce from scratch, you could easily buy pre-made dough (trader joes and whole foods both have ready-made crusts and fresh dough to take home, and there are plenty of other brands out there as well) and sauce.  If you would like to try to make the dough and sauce, here's a link to my go-to dough recipe.

And here's how I make easy homemade pizza sauce.  This really is easy.  There are just a few ingredients and it tastes great every time.


  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup minced garlic (buy pre-peeled fresh garlic and throw it into your food processor for a quick prep.)
  • 2 tablespoons italian seasoning (adjust as needed to taste)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (adjust as needed to taste)
  • **3 large cans (32 oz or so) of peeled canned tomatoes, drained, but save 1 cup liquid aside
  • 12 oz tomato paste

Equipment required:

  • Sauce pan
  • Immersion blender, food processor, or standing blender (**optional - if you do not have this, use crushed tomatoes in the recipe instead of plum)


Heat olive oil in large sauce pan over medium heat. 
  • Add in garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds (the garlic will become very fragrant - DO NOT burn the garlic.  If you do, throw it out and start over because burnt garlic = bitter sauce.)
  • Add italian seasoning and continue stirring for 30 additional seconds
  • Pour in drained tomatoes and tomato paste, stir
  • Add reserved liquid from tomatoes
  • Bring to a low boil
  • Add brown sugar, salt, and pepper
  • Check for flavor and add more sugar or salt as needed to acheive desired flavor
  • Blend the mixture thoroughly until smooth
  • Lower heat to simmer and cook until reduced to thick consistency.
  • Check for flavor again and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Remove from heat and use immediately or cool and use as needed for pizzas. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New Home, New Friends, New Foods!

We've moved across the Atlantic and are settling into our home in Qatar.   Now that the dust has settled, it is time for me to get back to posting regularly.  Lila is 11 months old now and eating table foods, so I am pureeing less and chopping more.  The produce selection here is limited, since we are living in the middle of a vast desert.  However, the Qataris import quite a bit of goods, but we do not have the variety that we find in the States.  So far, we are enjoying the tiny green zucchinis that are produced in this region because they are tasty and dirt cheep.  I balance out that cost savings with indulging in organic spinach and rasberries imported from the U.S.

We have joined a mom's group and are already enjoying meeting a number of nice women and kids from all over the world.  I hope to begin a healthy cooking class series through this group. 

More to come soon...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fruit Popsicles

With temperatures already in the 100's here in Arizona, frozen treats are in high demand!  My toddler and I made some strawberry kiwi pops this weekend and she really seemed to enjoy the process, and she definitely enjoyed eating them!  Here's a quick description, though they are pretty self explanatory.

Frozen Fruit Pops

Ingredients:  Any type or combination of fruit, cut into small pieces, fresh fruit juice or fruit puree

Directions:  Fill popsicle molds with cut fruit, then pour juice or puree over fruit pieces to fill mold to 1 inch below top. Freeze until set and enjoy! 

What we used this time:  Sliced strawberries, sliced kiwi, and a puree of strawberries made in the blender mixed with fresh squeezed orange juice.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Baby's Carrot Puree

I made carrots for Lila today and she seemed to like them quite a bit.
I've made carrot baby food before, but have always boiled the carrots, so I decided to try roasting them for a change of pace. In general, I think roasting carrots brings out a nice sharp carrot flavor that is lost when they are boiled. Unfortunately, roasting them also dries them out a bit, which seemed to effect the final texture of my baby food today.

Despite adding quite a bit of milk to the roasted carrot puree, it was still a bit course-- not smooth enough for an early eater like Lila.  The texture will be perfect for her in a month or two, so I froze the puree and will use it later. So I ended up re-making the carrots the way I always have --by boiling them until very tender and then pureeing.

Here's a very simple recipe for carrot baby food --roasting or boiling the carrots, depending on your preference.

Carrot Puree
Ingredients: Whole carrots (I suggest buying the freshest ones possible- farm fresh carrots are so yummy!), expressed breast milk or formula

1. Cook carrots-
             Roasting- preheat oven to 350, line sheet pan with foil, wash carrots - cut carrots into one inch pieces and scatter on sheet pan - bake until very tender (around 45 minutes for large carrots)              OR Boiling - wash carrots, cut into even sized pieces, bring pan of water to boil - add carrots to boiling water and boil until very tender - drain and allow to cool slightly
2. Puree carrots in blender or food processor.
3. Add liquid, if necessary, until mixture reaches appropriate consistency for your baby.
4. Serve warm or cold. Store in airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to three months.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Toddler's Smoothie

So my toddler is a pretty good eater, as toddlers go, but I still feel like I have trouble getting enough fresh vegetables into her diet. My biggest challenge with her is getting her to sit still long enough to eat a balanced meal.

In my ongoing search for foods that excite her and hold her attention, I discovered that I can put just about any combination of fruits and vegetables in a blender, announce that we are having smoothies, and let her press the start button (under close supervision of course), and she will happily drink it up in a flash. We have carefully limited her intake of sugar --especially through highly processed sugary foods-- so she still gets pretty excited about things that are just slightly sweet, but wouldn't compare in sweetness to a traditional dessert.

If you want to deliver veggies to your kids through smoothies, I would suggest starting with green smoothies when they are young. I think kids (and adults) are likely to reject more vegetable heavy combinations if they have gotten used to the sweet fruity versions that you find most often commercially.

Today, I decided to throw together a smoothie for her, but was lacking two of my staples: oranges and bananas, which make green veggies more palatable. So I made one without those classic ungredients and she still gulped it down happily.

Here's the simple recipe:

Blue Broccoli Bliss
(This is a very mildly sweet smoothie, and is great for very young kids who are just getting used to drinking smoothies.)

Suggested Ingredients:  (Change this up any way you would like - adding your favorites to it!)

1.  1/2 cup yogurt (I like Fage plain whole milk yogurt, but didn't have any on hand today, so used Chobani Lemon - you can use whatever you prefer)
2.  1/4 - 1/2 cup frozen broccoli
3.  1 cup whole milk
4.  1/2 cup frozen blueberries
5.  1 t - 1 T agave nectar


Combine in a blender, adding additional liquid (milk or water) as needed to reach desired consistency.  Pour in a chilled glass or sippy cup and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lila's First Food: Roasted Zucchini

I plan to start Lila's solid food adventures with green veggies, as I did for her sister two years ago. I think it makes sense to start with the less sweet veggies and move to the more palatable ones, rather than do it the other way around. So, for her first green veggie, I selected organic zucchini.

I sliced it, roasted it, pureed it, added some expressed milk to it, and served it up to my little girl. It took her a few tries to figure out how to swallow it, rather than push it out of her mouth, but she seemed to get the hang of it pretty quickly.

Here's a quick recipe if you would like to try it.


Ingredients: Zucchini, expressed breast milk or formula

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Line a baking sheet with foil
3. Slice zucchini into even sized pieces
4. Bake until very tender - about 25 minutes for quartered pieces, allow to cool
5. Puree in food processor or blender until very smooth
6. Add milk or formula until desired consistency
7. Use within three days or freeze for up to 3 months

TIP: You can freeze small portions in ice trays. Once frozen, pop the cubes out and store in a freezer bag.

Who is Lila?

Lila is my daughter. My husband and I want to give her every opportunity to live a healthy, happy, long life. I believe one of the ways to do that is to nurture her rapidly growing body and mind with food that I've made myself. I am starting this blog on Lila's six month birthday, the day that I've decided to introduce her to solid foods. She has been breast fed until now. I plan to focus my posts my experience of feeding Lila, but I will also write about the trials and tribulations of feeding my two and a half year old as well. I plan to share recipes, tips, success stories, and not-so-successful stories on this blog.