July 3rd, 2012

Am I a Hypocrite? A Tale from the Picky Eater Trenches.

feeding kids

Here’s the scenario:

We’re away for the week, at a place where I love to cook, especially when we have visitors, as we did this weekend. I’ve also had a terrible summer cold. I cooked through it all weekend but last night, after our visitors left, I phoned it in. We ordered pizza.

Here’s the thing about pizza:

The hungry baby doesn’t like it. I know, I know. It’s insane. What child person doesn’t like pizza? We’re from Brooklyn, for goodness sake! It’s crazy nuts, but it’s true. And, P.S., the other one doesn’t like mac and cheese. It’s all backwards and shizz at my house.

So, we’ve got this pizza—two of them actually, because I had the audacity to order a smaller plain pie for Mr. picky pants—and he won’t eat it. He’d eaten the tomatoes, carrots and red peppers that I’d put on his plate. He’d even tried salad greens. But he refused the pizza. He wouldn’t take a single bite. And then it happened.

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June 30th, 2012

Easy Fourth of July Recipes that the Kids Can Help Make

4th of July Recipes Watermelon Stars

Photo via Hip Hip Hooray blog

There are a ton of cute Fourth of July recipes going around, but many use artificial food coloring and the others are pretty involved. I’m all for a good kitchen project, but the Fourth of July is the kind of holiday that calls for a cocktail and relaxed outdoor time. Instead, I say do some simple grilling, get the kids to make a few fun, easy treats, and then celebrate your independence from your kitchen.

If you’re down with my plan, here’s what you need to do…

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June 28th, 2012

Eton Mess. Quite possibly the easiest dessert ever.

Eton Mess recipe OneHungryMama

I know, I know. I often say that recipes are easy. Guilty as charged. But I have a defense.

Most of my recipes are easy. Because like (most ) of you, I’m building a repertoire of recipes that can be made in the limited time that I have to throw dinner together, with kids hanging on me or whining (which is surprisingly distracting). The only difference between you and me is that I’m developing my recipes from scratch and then, of course, testing them so that you don’t have to.

My point is that while I’m a food writer and a recipe developer, I’m also a mom who has to sling dinner like the rest of you. I believe in slow cooking—and think that you should, too—but it has a time and a place. What you see here, on my personal blog, is a reflection of what we eat in my personal house. (As opposed to my impersonal one?) So, yea, it’s mostly easy. And, even with that, this dessert takes the cake.

That’s right, I’m saying it: Eton mess might be the easiest dessert ever.

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June 25th, 2012

A Birthday, a Zucchini, Tomato & Pesto Tart, and the Cookbook that Brought the Two Together

Zucchini Tomato Pesto Tart recipe

In my line of work, you read a lot of cookbooks. The funny thing is that you don’t cook from them so much. Instead, cookbooks serve as a source of inspiration. It’s hard not to look at one without getting lost in my own thoughts of new flavor combinations or techniques to adapt. It’s rare that I end up making something straight out of a new cookbook, no matter how good it is. And so I guess you can call Alice Currah’s new book Savory Sweet Life: 100 Simply Delicious Recipes for Every Family Occasion a rare find.

Alice’s book instantly drew me in. The recipes are fabulous and the photos are gorgeous, but there’s more to this book than just that. What really grabbed me was Alice’s joyful approach to family meals. Her book is organized by occasions—”life happenings”—in a way that makes you look forward to kiddo’s next tea party, has you counting the days until the next birthday, and makes you eager for the holidays (even in June!). Alice’s book is a celebration of family life and the moments that make every stressful day, every battle with a picky eater, and every rushed meal worth it.

How could you not want to cook from a book like that?

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June 24th, 2012

Sunday Smoothie Break

Photo: Nina of Veggie Wedgie

Are you freaking out over the fruit at your farmer’s market? It’s all getting so good!

Like “it’s hard to do anything but eat this damn fruit on my way home” good.
Like “how am I supposed to cook with this when it’s perfect as is” good.
Like “all I want this afternoon is a killer smoothie” good.

You feeling that way, too?

If so, I have two suggestions.

1. Bring napkins or wipies to the farmer’s market. You’ll need them. Fruit is juicy this time of year.
2. Make one all of these 8 must-try smoothie recipes. (But not in one day.)

Yes, folks, I scoured the web and found 8 ridiculously delicious smoothies. THE smoothies of the season. (Smoothies are the new black?) Some are made with just fruit, some have nuts, and one is even whirled with ice cream.

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June 22nd, 2012

Baked Egg and Kale Cups

Baked Kale and Egg Cups

Steam.

Line.

Crack.

Fill.

Bake.

Eat.

Brunch Recipes Baked Egg and Kale Cups

Need more? Happy to oblige. You’ll find a recipe for these simply gorgeous Baked Egg and Kale Cups below. While the recipe offers pertinent details (they bake at 375 degrees) and other good-to-know tidbits (“sprinkle”—with grated Parmesan, salt and pepper—is an optional, but good move), you’ve already got the idea. Trust me—these are that easy.

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June 20th, 2012

All-Natural Fruit Rimming Sugar + 2 Fab Summer Mock/Cocktails!

raspberry pineapple cocktail rimming sugar

We hungry mamas are not the only ones who prep meals for kids and have something to say about it. Some hungry papas hit the stove, and even those who don’t have insights into family eating and dinnertime dynamics. (Yes, mamas, even useful ones!) Grandparents have food rules or, more often, non-rules, and the grown ups at our kids’ schools have an important perspective on what our kids eat, too. Then there are our sitters who sit in the middle of it all, working to keep our kids fed and happy while also managing parents, teachers, kids at the playground, other sitters and, often, their own cultural perspective on food and feeding.

There are some changes I’m working on for One Hungry Mama (good, exciting changes!) and one of them is to make this a place where all of the people who help feed families share their perspectives. How can we feed without stress, on a budget, in a way that helps our children develop healthy habits, but also allows them have some delicious fun? How can we do it together. I want to talk about it from all sides.

We’ll talk more as the voices on One Hungry Mama take shape. In the meantime, though, I’m excited to introduce you to the Hungry Sitter, a young woman (who I’m very lucky to know) using her experience and natural way with children to earn money as she builds a dance education business. The Hungry Sitter is super active, very funny, thoughtful and, of course, loves food. She’s worked for families all along the spectrum—some have left feeding completely to her while others have been adamant about super strict rules (that put me to shame, thank you very much!). And the best part is that she has a lot to say about it all.

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June 16th, 2012

Still Looking For Father’s Day Ideas?

Photo by Susan of Our Family Eats

Don’t despair. You still have time to pull together something delicious and thoughtful. The key is to keep it simple.

I listed tons of easy recipes with big flavor in yesterday’s post on Father’s Day dinner. All of the recipes are mine, all are hungry-papa approved.

I also rounded up some great manly Father’s Day recipes on Cool Mom Picks. These are from around the interweb, all easy enough for the kids to help with the cooking (even little ones!).

See?! It’s all going to be all right. Good even.

Have a happy father’s day.

Enjoy!
Xo

June 15th, 2012

For the Hungry Papas

spicy bacon wrapped tenderloin Ingredients

Food is a big part of the hungry papa’s life. Partly because it is a big part of mine, but also because he’s worked hard to come by his voracious appetite. He was once a painfully picky eater who teeter tottered between hot dogs and enriched pasta with marinara sauce. But now, despite such allowances, the Hungry Papa is a chowhound of the highest order. It was a slow transformation that started late in life, not until in college, but his palate has fully blossomed, along with his taste for culinary adventure. And the hungry papa’s love of food is one of the many things that I love most about him.

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach (how many times have you read that this week?!). In my relationship, it goes even deeper than that. Our mutual love of food is a bond between me and the hungry papa. It drives our decisions about where to travel, it brings us together when we’re mad at each other, it reminds us that we share similar values, even if we’ve come to them in remarkably different ways. Making the hungry papa a special meal is not just the way to his heart, but to his soul, through mine.

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June 14th, 2012

The dinner playdate solution (and a great school lunch, too!)

Pizza Muffins

I’m not one for cutesy food. Probably to a fault—or at least to my children’s dismay—but I just can’t bring myself to stuff a cookie into a cookie, bake everything in a jar, or make a habit of putting funny faces on pancakes. Every once and while, though, I get down. I’ll shove something unexpected onto a stick (it works: kids like food on a stick) or make spooky, finger-shaped chocolate covered pretzels. I’m not a total wet blanket. (Ahem.)

These Deep-Dish Pizza Muffins (can be shared with kids 12+ mos)* were a challenge for me. I know, I know. They’re hardly cutesy, but they do scream “KIDS FOOD!” in a way that bugs me. If I can’t imagine making a recipe for just me and the Hungry Papa, then I can’t imagine making it for any of us. So, while we thoroughly enjoyed these, pizza muffins would normally be out since the Hungry Papa and I are not down with eating them on a weekly rotation.

Two things changed my mind about these: I found the recipe while reviewing the new, free Everyday Food cooking video newsletter with editor-in-chief Sarah Carey and the Hungry Boy had a dinner play date. Sarah’s video sold me on pizza muffins (she’s that good) and these are a perfect meal for hungry kids after a long day of school and hours of play.

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June 12th, 2012

A Dreamy Cardamom Butter Cake with Orange Whipped Cream & Berries

dreamy cardamom butter cake berries and orange whipped cream

I’ve been going and going. I’m tired. But, then again, I’m always tired. What’s new? My exhaustion isn’t notable, but I do have to take a seat.

Wait. I can’t take a seat. There’s too much to do. But there’s always too much to do. This isn’t notable. But, really, this time I have to take a seat. They’ll be back soon, and then my chance will be gone. I have to sit. Now.

Maybe I need to lie down. Yes! Lie down. Or is it lay down? Jesus, why can’t I keep that one straight? So frustrating. I should look it up—look it up and remember it once and for all. I should do that. Now. If I don’t, I’ll forget. They’ll come home, my chance will be gone and I’ll forget. Hell, I forget even if they don’t come home now. I always forget small things (big things, too), even when they matter. Forgetting things is not notable.

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June 9th, 2012

Taco Bites: Have a fiesta this weekend!

Fiesta Taco Bites

We have the Hungry Papa to thank for these adorable Beef and Bean Taco Bites. They were tasty because of me, but cute and festive because of him. I always give credit where credit’s due.

Last Saturday night was taco night at our place and we’d run out of shells**. The Hungry Papa went to grab tortilla chips and found the kind shaped like a scoop. He filled the crunchy bowl-shaped chip with the fixings spread across the table—taco beef and beans, cubed avocado, a particularly casual pico de gallo, and cilantro broccoli slaw—and, just like that, the Taco Bite came to be.

Tell me you don’t think these are genius?! First off, how cute would they be for a kid’s birthday party? They’re also pretty enough to be an appetizer at a grownup fiesta. (Pin that to your Cinco de Mayo board. Or, um, mine.) Even better, they make an irresistibly fun family dinner without any more work than a regular taco night. Seriously, what kid is going to say no to these?! It’s dinner in a TORTILLA CHIP. It’s THEIR SIZE.

I dare you to find a child who will resist. I tried. The Hungry Baby is a reluctant eater. In fact, he wasn’t feeling taco night. Until…

Hungry Baby Taco Bites

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June 7th, 2012

The Great Pea Experiment. (And Lemony Pasta with Ricotta, Asparagus & Peas)

Lemony Pasta with Ricotta, Asparagus & Peas

Have green peas hit your farmer’s market? Not snap peas (though those are great, as well), but rather proper English peas. (You’ll be happy to know that I’m off of the Spanish accent, but less happy to hear that I cannot say “English peas” without putting on a bloody horrible British accent.) The fresh green peas here in New York are gorgeous—plump, firm and cheery. Kinda like my bum, but green. (Groan.)

Peas are well loved in my house. Well they are by the big one; the little one accepts them, which is better than most vegetables. As a result, we eat peas frequently, so frequently that the kids have started requesting handfuls of the frozen kind. I hand them over reluctantly, insisting that they don’t eat too many. (I imagine that they’ll become like those bead-stuffed beanie babies.) “Wait for dinner!” I nag. But they don’t care. Honestly, I’m not sure why I bother since a frozen pea isn’t that different from a frozen pea that’s been steamed.

But fresh peas are a whole different game. This they learned the other night while feasting on this lemony pasta tossed with shaved asparagus, fresh peas, fresh ricotta and mint.

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June 6th, 2012

The Tastes of Summer: Strawberry Coconut Waffles

Strawberry Coconut Waffles

It takes a lot of restraint to save peak season strawberries for a recipe. The hungry kids and I nearly always eat ripe berries straight out of their iconic green basket. They are irresistible—it’s that simple. That and there’s something overwhelmingly joyful about nibbling all the way to the dusty, green stem, ruby colored juice dripping down your chin and, in the case of the hungry baby, into the soon-to-be-gone folds of his chubby neck. Strawberry season marks the first time in nearly a year when we east coasters get the chance to let sweet nectar from fresh fruit drip down our face. It marks the beginning of summer.

There’s nothing better.

But I did it: I recently managed to save one (of many!) pints of strawberries to use in my cooking. The result is these Caribbean inspired Strawberry Coconut Waffles. If strawberries mean the start of summer, I figured why not take it all the way and go island with my berries.

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June 2nd, 2012

Picture this: 4 easy steps to your own square foot garden

easy how-to: square foot gardening

I love, love, love this infographic from Frugal Dad. And not just because it’s purdy. It also makes an important point: Growing your own food can be easy and affordable. Plus, you’ll save money in the long run and eat healthier. Even the kids.

Research shows—and, more importantly, lots of parents can tell you—that kids are more likely to eat healthy foods when they help grow or prepare them. Because what’s more exciting than watching a plant grow? EATING IT!

Check out this fab weekend find and start planting. (It’s not too late!)

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