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Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

Ever since Lil Z-Bear was born, we have started a switch to organic in our house. It’s a slow process and we are nowhere near where we want to be. However, everything we put in Lil Z-Bear is 100% organic. Think organic is expensive? Well, it is. But, if you compare buying conventional jarred baby food against homemade organic baby food, organic is cheaper. Way cheaper.

Daunted by homemade baby food? There is no need to be! It’s easy, fun, and inexpensive.  I don’t have any special equipment to make baby food (mainly because we just don’t have the counterspace in our small kitchen) but all I need is the stove and oven, and my trusty Cuisinart Food Processor.  Below are some recipes I want to share that always please Lil Z-Bear!

Butternut Squash

1 medium organic butternut squash

Cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil and bake half hour to 45 minutes at 400 degrees.  Squash is done when flesh is soft and tender and easily scoops out of the skin.  Mash flesh with fork or potato masher, or puree in food processor.  Add a little water to thin out and make smooth.   Portion out and freeze.  Thaw in warm water or microwave for 30 seconds.  Serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Sweet Potatoes

3 medium organic sweet potatoes (or organic jewel yams, I switch between the two, Lil Z-Bear loves both!)

Boil covered for 45 minutes.  Let rest until cool enough to handle and peel.  Mash with fork or potato masher. Portion out and freeze. Thaw in warm water or microwave for 30 seconds. Serve with a sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper.

Carrots

A bag of organic baby carrots

Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil and bake 35 to 45 minutes at 375 degrees.  Carrots are done when soft and tender.  Place in food processor and puree until smooth.  Add a little water to thin, if necessaray.  Portion out and freeze. Thaw in warm water or microwave for 30 seconds. 

Sweet Green Peas

A bag of frozen organic peas.

Boil covered in 3/4 cup of water for 15 to 25 minutes.  Drain and puree in food processor until smooth.  Add a little water to thin, if necessary.  Portion out and freeze. Thaw in warm water or microwave for 30 seconds.

Comice Pears

3 Organic Comice Pears (although any pear will do, and if you can’t find Comice, Bartlett and Anjou work very well, the soft, juicy texture of Comice pears make them ideal for baby food)

Organic Rice or Oatmeal Cereal

Peel pears, remove seeds and stem, and cut into cubes.  Steam or microvawe for 3 to 5 minutes.  Mash with fork or potato masher.  Add 4 tablespoons of organic rice cereal or oatmeal to thicken.  Portion out and freeze. Thaw in warm water or microwave for 30 seconds.

Banana

One small very ripe organic banana

Tablespoon of organic rice cereal

This is probably the easiest baby food to make.  Mash banana with a fork until smooth.  Add a tablespoon of rice cereal and mix well.  Serve immediately.

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I love to cook.  If I could make a living by cooking, I’d do it.  But two snags : I am not that great a cook (but I do alright), and the repertoire of things I know how to make isn’t that expansive.  When I step into the kitchen to make something, I either just envision the final dish and add stuff as I go, or I meticulously follow a recipe to make the final product.  I want to share a few of my sources for tried and true recipes:

 101 Cookbooks

I love this website because it compiles Heidi Swanson’s own recipes with those of so many other cookbooks (hence the name). I am willing to go to the mat for this: Heidi is a food genius!  I don’t know how she churns out recipe after delicious recipe without an ounce of meat, fish, or poultry. (And I am by no means a vegetarian!)  Her compilation of recipes focus on ‘natural, whole foods and ingredients’.  I have yet to try something from her website that doesn’t turn out scrumdiddlyumptious.  Her featured desserts make you do a double take with some of the ingredients she uses, but they always come out fabulous!  And her website is not just about food, but also her travels and her photography.  Awesome + Awesome + Awesome = Crazy Awesome! 

Savoring India

Part of the popular Williams-Sonoma Savoring series, you will fall in love with this book even before you make a single recipe.  The book is worthy based on its lush and vibrant photographs and mouth-watering descriptions alone.  Julia Sahini writes about food the only way it should be done: with unrestrained passion and reminiscence of fond childhood memories.  The recipes are easy to understand and easy to follow.   The book is peppered with personal experiences and fun facts.  Every recipe I’ve followed has turned out picture perfect and delicious.  And for those who are curry shy, fear not: the spices give a mélange of flavors, yet are never overpowering. 

Curry, Kabab, and More

This book of Pakistani recipes includes classics such as mattar pulao (rice and peas), shalgam gosht (meat with turnips), and yakhni (meat broth).  All the yummy offerings are the ultimate comfort food for this Pakistani girl: pulao with raita followed by zarda are the equivalent of pot roast, mashed potatoes and apple pie.  The recipes are well thought out and easy to make.  But what I love most: it’s a labor of love, the wife wrote the recipes, and the husband took the pictures in their house on their dining table, complete with white plastic doilies and silk flowers in the backdrop.

Alton Brown’s Recipes

This quirky man’s recipes are fun and flavorful.  His classic American dishes always hit the mark, and don’t be daunted by his rapid-fire pace and gizmos and gadgets, the recipes are quite easy.  Plus, I like the fact that he proves that cooking doesn’t have to be all Martha Stewart-y (no disrespect, I like Martha) and still be really tasty.

Happy eating!

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