Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Kate Ate: Baby's First Food Essentials

I am in total denial that she is even old enough for this, but here we are. Little Kate has entered the world of real food and when she had her first blissful taste of Avocado shortly after she turned 6 months we knew that she was more than ready. She was so excited with each bite and kept pulling the spoon to her mouth! She's tried tons of different vegetables and some fruits already and is doing so well with new flavors and textures. Another little food lover- I'm so proud. 

Pulling out all of my baby food making supplies made me so happy. I love cooking for my family and having little mouths to feed, although challenging at times, is so much fun. Here are some of my favorite baby food making products!

Beaba Babycook Pro- while not necessary, it certainly makes the entire process much easier! I love having one appliance that steams and purees and that is only used for baby food. Cleanup is easy, too. I love this thing!

Oxotot Baby Blocks- the best containers for food storage as well as taking on the go. They are freezer and microwave safe and also stack neatly in trays for tidy storage in the fridge or freezer.

Beaba Silicone Multiportions Container- These trays are my favorite for freezing purees. Each section holds a 2oz. portion and pops out easily when you are ready to use. I also use these to freeze my marinara sauce for pizza! I pop two out which is enough to cover a pizza and dip pizza knots in!

Beaba Silicone Spoons- the best baby spoons!

Cooking for Baby- This book is great! It was my go to for Will. The recipes are organized by baby age making it easy to work through and experiment with different flavors and food combinations.

Little Foodie- My newest discovery this time around. I'm loving this book and the Baby Foode blog is one of my favorites right now! 

Additionally, these mesh feeders are great for frozen fruits and veggies for teething babies. Bumkins bibs are easy to wipe down and throw in the wash. 

I'm looking forward to many more first food adventures with this little princess!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Greek Turkey Meatballs

Meatballs are a weeknight dinner staple around here. I love throwing in different flavors and they make for delicious lunch leftovers. Bonus points because Will almost always eats them. These Greek Turkey Meatballs are so fresh and light for Summer. The lemon zest is an incredible addition to the meatballs and makes all the difference I think! Thanks to my friend Faith for passing along this yummy recipe! 

I prepped the chopped ingredients during naptime and just mixed the meat in and popped them in the oven, making for a dinner that was ready in 30 minutes. I served these on top of my favorite salad (arugula, romaine, green onions, feta and kalamatas with roasted lemon vinaigrette) and it was bright and delicious! Minus the small amount of crumbled feta in our salad, this meal was entirely Paleo and Whole 30 friendly. 

If I wasn't Italian, I would want to be Greek. 

Greek Turkey Meatballs
recipe adapted from Primally Inspired

1 lb. lean ground turkey breast
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
drizzle of olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Form meatball mixture into 1-1/2 inch balls. Line up  on prepared baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until meatballs are firm and cooked through.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Chicken Gyro Bowls

I'm a huge fan of dinner bowls right now. It's so easy to find whatever fresh veggies I have on hand, throw some chicken or fish on the grill/grill pan, and come up with a pretty presentation in a bowl. They have become a new go to on weeknights and so easy to recreate for quick lunches as well. In this month's issue of Cooking Light, there is an entire section devoted to "the bowl", and the elements that make them up. Their "Bowl Building Blueprint" is exceptional- it's a great guide and source for inspiration if you are in need of some. 

These Chicken Gyro bowls were perfect. As the weather warms up, we love lighter meals and this was delightful. I used a baby arugula blend as the green base and layered tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, chick peas and Kalamata olives. I made a quick tzatziki to go on the side which was perfect as a chicken dipper!

Chicken Gyro Bowls
recipe adapted from Cooking Light

2 cups quinoa, cooked
2 Tbsp. olive oil. divided
1 cup baby arugula
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup cucumber, chopped
1/2 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
A few slices of red onion
handful Kalamata olives, thinly sliced

Quick Tzatziki
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
splash of red wine vinegar
salt to taste

Cook quinoa according to instructions on package.

Combine dry spices in a bowl. Rub all over chicken tenders. Grill on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes on each side, or until done. 

Layer up all of the goodness in a bowl. Top with a dollop of Tzatziki. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts + Bacon

If you've never caramelized brussels sprouts, do it and you'll never go back. These leafy green bite-sized veggies are on all the trendy menus right now and always a stellar side item. Pancetta and bacon are the perfect match to sprouts and that's just what I did here with this recipe. I started by cooking a few pieces of thick cut bacon, sauteing chopped shallots in the bacon grease and cooking the brussels sprouts low and slow until they were nice and golden- all in my cast iron skillet! We love, love, LOVED these sprouts and I think you will, too. 

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts + Bacon

6 slices thick cut bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped 
1 large shallot, chopped
1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

In a cast iron skillet or large saute pan, line bacon up to cook and turn burner on medium. Cook the bacon until it is nice and crispy, flipping halfway through. Set on a plate with a paper town to let the grease drip and set aside to cool. Do not remove the bacon grease from the pan. Once the bacon is cooled, give the sliced a rough chop. 

Depending on how much bacon grease you have, remove a little (I ended up dumping about a tablespoon because I had a ton). On medium- high, saute the shallots until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add brussels sprouts and turn burner down to medium. Cook sprouts until they are nicely caramelized and golden, about 20 minutes. When they are done, season with salt and pepper and toss with chopped bacon.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Kate: 6 Months Old!

Sweet little peanut is 6 months old! We cannot believe that it's been half a year with tiny princess already. She is just the sweetest baby girl and we are loving every minute with her. She continues to be the happiest baby! At her 6 month appointment she weighed in at 13 lb. 5 oz. and 24 3/4 inches long. We also got the okay to start solids so we will be doing that this month! 

We are still in size 1 diapers and mostly 0-3 month clothes and some 3-6 month. Sleep is finally getting on a more regular schedule and mommy and daddy are very happy about that! She goes down between 8-8:30pm and usually sleeps until 7am or so. This was not without hard work but she is sleeping well and doing great! 

Spring has sprung here finally and Kate loves to be outside! She looks around and takes it all in. She has really started to notice Wrigley this month and is interacting with him more. He runs around the backyard like a crazy animal and she just watches him go, laughing and making the funniest baby noises! 

I feel like 6 months is about the time that their little personalities start to develop and it is so much fun to watch. Kate does this cute little thing with her tongue and her bottom lip. I laugh when she does it and she realizes that she is getting a reaction out of me and keeps doing it! She loves to make us laugh- just like her brother. She's blowing lots of bubbles and making new sounds every day. She gives us the biggest smiles and we never have to work for them. 

Kate is LOVING being on her stomach right now. She is so comfortable with her little legs kicking in back and a toy in front of her. She isn't sitting up yet and is still a little small for the Bumbo seat as she squirms right out! She's getting stronger everyday and I'm sure will be sitting on her own in no time. 

Since she was a few weeks old, Kate has been joining Will at his weekly music class and she absolutely LOVES it. She's so entertained and just kicks and smiles and has the best time. She can totally hang with the big kids.

This little girl is the snuggliest little nugget and I don't hate it one bit. She would nap in my arms at all nap times if I let her. She loves her legs lightly scratched and her face rubbed and her hair lightly combed after her bath. Such a pampered little thing! She's definitely a mommy's girl right now, too. 

During her sixth month, we also celebrated my birthday, Kate's first Easter and her little friend Nora was born! I cannot wait to see these sweet girls grow up together. 

We also went to the strawberry patch with Allison and Hazel! So much fun.

Watching Will and Kate together seriously makes my heart burst. They interact in the most special way and he can make her smile and laugh like no one else. It's crazy that I questioned if I could love a second baby as much as I love Will...I know every mom says that when they prepare for their second but it's so true. I have learned that love doesn't divide. It multiplies. 

Each month just keeps getting better and I love my days with my little pair of lovies. 

Happy 6 months, Princess Kate!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Faves

I hope that everyone had the best week! We have a relaxing Spring weekend ahead and I can't wait. Here are some favorites from around the web lately...

These Whole Grain Peanut Butter and Honey Banana Muffins are a new favorite. We went through two batches this week and I'm about to make another. They are the perfect snack or a quick breakfast to grab on the go. Bonus- Will LOVES them. 

{ via }

I'm really into quinoa salads lately. I don't even add a ton of quinoa- only about a half cup and load the rest up with veggies and bright citrus vinaigrettes. This week's was Greek inspired with tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, cannellini beans and kale. Ina's Quinoa Tabbouleh with Feta is one of my all time favorites.

{ via }

I'm addicted to baby bows and have found so many cute sites to order from and add to Kate's collection. I recently found Zozu Baby and ordered their swiss dot Zoe bow. This lavender one might have to arrive in my mailbox next!

Clean Mama's 15 minute bathroom cleaning routine. This has been a game changer.
How to ripen an Avocado in 15 Minutes. Say what!? This is a trick worth trying.

Have a great weekend! And grab a Spiked Seltzer for your next Happy Hour while you're at it. You won't regret it.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Banana Berry Baked Oatmeal

Hello! I’m still here and we are still cruising and loving life. It’s been a crazy few months but I am really hoping that now is a good time to get back into the blog groove. I'm officially declaring this the week to bring my blog back to life. I’ve missed my little space so much! Since Kate was born, it’s been a whirlwind in the best possible way! She’s been the best and happiest (and smiliest!) little addition to our family.

In an effort to mix up the breakfast menu lately, I searched for a baked oatmeal recipe as I knew it would be something that the little mister would enjoy. I found a few recipes and ended up tweaking them and the result was SO GOOD. Breakfast prep always makes me feel organized in the kitchen because I always know that we will have something easy to grab, especially when we are trying to get out of the house by a certain time. Mornings with two little ones can be crazy but we finally have more a routine now that Kate is getting a little bit older and much less high maintenance than those blurry newborn days.

I used bananas and berries in our oatmeal, but any fresh or frozen fruit would be great! I’m going to make our next batch with peaches and blueberries.

Baked Banana Berry Oatmeal
Recipe adapted from Epicurious

2 cups organic old fashioned oats
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp. Baking powder
½ tsp. Sea salt
1.5 tsp. Cinnamon
2 cups almond milk
1 large egg
3 TBSP. unsalted butter
2 tsp. Vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
2 ripe bananas, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 cup frozen blackberries
1 cup frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep a square 8 inch baking dish using a stick of butter to lightly coat the bottom and the sides. Coconut oil also works well!

In a bowl, mix together the oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, milk, egg, half of the butter and vanilla.

In the prepared baking dish, arrange sliced bananas in a single layer. Sprinkle ⅔ of the berries on the top of the bananas. Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats. Give the dish a few little shakes to even it out. Put the remaining berries on top.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top is nice and golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the remaining butter on top. Slice and serve!