The gift of sanity in your kitchen for Mother’s Day? Done! (And a toddler feeding tip, too.)

At the beginning of this year, I'd decided that as much as I love (and will always love) writing and developing recipes for you, I wanted to roll up my sleeves and help you in a more personal, meaningful, and long lasting way. I'd decided that I wanted to work with you one-on-one to help you take back your kitchen. I wanted to put ideals for how to feed your family aside and instead hear about the realities of your life so that I could provide you with personalized solutions to help you feed your family healthfully on a budget, deal with your picky eater without fighting, and make dinner every night without constantly feeling stressed out. I want to help you get rid of the stress of feeding your family, once and for all! So I developed my Real Family Food in Real Family Time program to do all that. I told you about the program for the first time two and a half months ago. There was no new site to point to (though super fun updates are coming soon!), no info about my program online (again, coming very soon), and no clue how you'd react. I just threw it out there to see if it would stick. I've been blown away by your response. Connecting with you has been the most exciting part of my career yet, combining my child development expertise, experience as a professional cook, and deep love for working with moms. It's that last part—my passion for helping moms—that has inspired me to open more time in my calendar this month to give away six free calls. Think of it as my Mother's Day gift to you. Or maybe it's your Mother's Day gift to yourself? My aim is to make it that. (more—including details on scheduling a free session—after the jump)

Quickest Spring Vegetable Fried Rice

Spring sprung! Then it went away. But it's back again! Sorta. Is the weather by you as crazy as it is here in Brooklyn? Well, weather be damned, I'm getting the party started. It's spring time and we're eating spring vegetables, damn it, even if, for now, that includes a few frozen peas. And even if I have to serve them up with only 15 minutes to prep. (more after the jump)

How to use baby purees to make (delicious) grown up food: 5 easy ideas

Maybe you've been reading for a while. Maybe you've scoured my archive madly looking for baby food inspiration. Either way, you may have picked up that I don't believe in baby food. I just believe in good, healthy food for everyone in the family. See, two beautiful things happen when you cook one meal with everyone's nutritional needs in mind. First, you end up eating healthier yourself. You'll find it's worth skipping the extra pat of butter and lowering the salt, for example, for your little one. Also, kiddo will eat more adventurously because, well, baby purees, plain steamed carrots and pasta with butter do not a grown up meal make. If you start with what you like, baby's going to get an amazing crash course in flavor. How you include baby in family meals—whether with purees or by handing food over baby led weaning style—is up to you. As far as I'm concerned, you're doing your job as long as you're moving baby along on flavor and texture in a developmentally appropriate way. But going the puree route comes with challenges. In particular, making them takes extra time and it's hard to think of that texture as fitting with grown up food—but not impossible. Here's how you make purees work for you and your schedule. (more after the jump)

{video!} Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

There's this thing, a process, that happens every fall. It starts with denial that summer is over. I just pretend it isn't. Then, right around this time, I enthusiastically jump into fall. With two feet and sweaters, squash, light scarves and apples. (Lots and lots of apples.) My enthusiasm for a new season lasts a surprisingly long time—I think that the many birthdays and holidays carry me through—and then, somewhere around January 6th I get sad. So, so sad that summer is over. Or maybe those are just the mid-winter blues? The point is that once I accept fall (even if a little late), I love fall. And fall food, too. I may be wearing a bright pink sun dress in my latest video for The Bump, but the warm and cozy Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower is all about fall. This is a stick-to-your-ribs side dish that's actually quite light thanks to protein-rich Greek yogurt. It gives the mash a creamy texture with only two tablespoons of butter and three of grated Parmesan. That's for a whole head of cauliflower, too! Genius. (more with video after the jump)

Miso Baked Eggplant

"Mama, guess what my favorite food is." "Pasta?" "Sort of." "Soba?" "Closer!" "Hm. Are we talking a sweet food or dinner-y food?" "Dinner-y foods are better." My heart flutters with pride. "Hm. Not soba..." I remember that the hungry boy sometimes confuses entire cuisines with specific dishes. I try another tack. "Your favorite food is... Japanese food!" "YES! I love it." (more after the jump)

{video!} Cumin Lime Roasted Carrots with puree for baby

It's a funny thing, introducing yourself on video. Even funnier, though, is watching yourself on video for the first time. And I don't mean home videos shot while screaming your child's name from the sidelines like a soccer mom banshee. Or even ones shot before you put on lipstick and drink coffee on Christmas morning. No, I'm talking professionally shot videos that require a 6 person crew rigging your kitchen with bright lights and telling you to smile more (I should have). When you see yourself I see myself on one of those kinds of videos for the first time I cringe… and also feel excited and proud. I've been wanting to make videos for you for a long time now, but wasn't prepared to do it without professional help. I wanted to make sure that the videos were well shot, clear, fun and easy to watch. I wanted to make videos not just to see myself on film, but to enhance your experience and inspire you to cook. So I waited. And one day I got a call from the good folks at The Bump, a fab site for pregnant and new mamas. Now, just like that, I have a handful of cooking videos to share with you over the next few weeks. Before I tell you more about the videos and featured recipes—all foods for you that also work well for little ones—I want to share a few quick things: (more—including the video & recipe—after the jump)

{parenting} Essential Baby Food Resources

This week on Cool Mom Picks check out my 5 essential baby food recipes from 5 essential baby food sources. I even threw a bonus in there for y'all! So, yea, all that solids research you were planning to do this weekend... done! Did I leave out your favorite baby food resource and go-to recipe? Head on over to Cool Mom Picks and tell us!

{cauliflower custard recipe} Custard Is the New Puree, But Better

Puree is not my favorite word. Unless printed on the menu of a five star joint, it pretty much sends anyone who isn't in the throes of feeding a barely-toothed child running. And, really, that's too bad. Because, though it's true that purees can easily be shared with babies, they are not necessarily baby food. What's the difference? Pear, Almond and Plum puree with Cardamaom, which makes a mean grown-up breakfast mixed into Greek yogurt. (Guaranteed better than any fruit-on-the-bottom stuff.) Mint and Cantaloupe puree that makes delicious pops. Coconut Coriander Carrots that are a more delicious side dish than makes sense. Truly—this puree is so delicious it's almost weird. Cauliflower Puree that, swirled with browned butter, would kick mashed potatoe's butt if mashed potato had a butt. And I could go on. (Really, I could—see?!) But, still, I know, purees, especially vegetable purees, can be inexplicably unappetizing, at least in theory. I think that it might just be the word. I say call it a "mash" and move on. If that doesn't work, though, here's my new trick: turn it into a custard! (more after the jump)

{recipe} Three Alternatives to Plain Mashed Potatoes

Christmas is in three days—THREE days?!—and I can feel the food blogosphere quivering. Talented cooks everywhere are working overtime to snap pictures carefully styled to make your mouth water and post all of their holiday recipes up in time. Me included. But these recipes, the second post in my guest stint at Baby Center’s Momformation, […]

All-Star Baby Food Recipes

Exciting news!! By popular request, I’ve launched a button that leads to one place where you can find all of my posts on starting solids, feeding baby and my feeding philosophy. See it? (Top right!) The posts you’ll find when you click on “Introducing Solids & Feeding Baby” will be tightly focused on philosophy and […]

5 Simple Ways to Feed Baby While Feeding Yourself

Through all of my experience—earning an MA in child development, working with other child development experts, consulting with nutritionists, pediatricians and even a nutritional anthropologist—I’ve come up with one of the most important ways to help children develop healthy eating habits. Ready? (Drumroll, please!) Share ONE healthy meal for all—baby, toddler, big kid, parents—from your […]

{into the mouth of babes} Introducing High Allergen Foods

There is much more awareness of and sensitivity to food allergies these days—a great thing!—but, along with that, seems to have come fear of high allergen foods. Especially when it comes to feeding babies. Keeping our children safe is, of course, the most important thing, so it’s good to know which foods are high allergen, […]

{food & learning} Fruit + Herbs = Perfect Together

My recent Apricot Peach Basil Puree (meal for the babe, popsicles for the boy) got me thinking about fruit and herb combos. I love them because the right pairing just makes sense, but still feels a little unexpected. And it’s a great way to introduce young children—even cautious eaters—to new flavors. I especially love combining […]

{food for thought} All About Yogurt!

June. The sixth month of the year. The beginning of summer. And National Dairy Month. In honor of Dairy Month, I was invited by the fabulous folks at Mamapedia to join a webinar hosted by the California Milk Advisory Board and Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, authors of Real Food Has Curves. I don’t know […]

{into the mouth of babes} Peas, Kale, Pineapple… Oh My!

Okay. I swear these posts aren’t an excuse to post ridonculously adorable pics of the Hungry Baby. It’s just—have you tried taking an appetizing photo of green puree? Not so easy. It’s been two weeks since we started solids and the Hungry Baby has already tried something like 13 foods. On most days, he eats […]

{into the mouth of babes} New Series: Musings on Feeding Baby

So, have you caught on? I don’t believe in baby food anymore. I mean, I believe in feeding babies. (You see those chubby hands? They belong to a little someone who feasts in my kitchen.) I’m just not into making separate batches of special baby food. Instead, my littlest one, who started solids two weeks […]