Category Archives: Yummy

Cooking, baking, food and eating

Foodie Baby all mapped out

I’ve alluded to it before, but when Wonder Boy was young I had a series called Foodie Baby (actually, a separate blog but we threw it all together here later) where talked about my dining experiences with a toddler.
I posted about many local restaurants to me and a couple not-as-close, describing food menus, high chairs commentary, and so on.

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Well, now that Lil’ Wonder is 13 months I am considering revisiting this series, though I admit, my dining budget is smaller than it was before.


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But here is a fun gadget for you to play with – a map of all the locations I talked about a couple of years ago!

Each location is current as of the date the blog post posted. I haven’t gotten to revisit all of them, so if someone has greatly changed please just let me know.

 

Little Green Pouch, little green baby

 Disclaimer: I received samples to review. All opinions are my own. No other compensation was given.

Lil’ Wonder has finally reached the age where he can now hold his own pouch and slurp it up.
He is a pretty independent eater, so I’m a lot happier giving him a pouch rather than having to feed him tiny bites one at a time to make sure he isn’t stuffing his mouth on banana.

I have been using the heck out of my Little Green Pouch pouches I got last fall- they load from the top and have all of the necessary information on it so I can hand one to a babysitter or granparent and walk off knowing that they can throw it in the dishwasher (I can only hope) when I’m gone.

 

I am making batches of my go-to baby food snack and freezing a pouch or two fir grab and go days, knowing Lil Wonder will have a cool snack when he needs it.

This recipe is my base for smoothies at home when I have avocados available. The CA drought so I freeze them by halving them and scooping out the flesh in one big piece with a large spoon, placing them in a freezer bag.

Trying to get healthy food in Lil’ Wonder is a little bit harder than it was for Wonder Boy- by the time dinner is around I’m a bit weary, the boys are a bit crazy and the dishes are still in the dishwasher because Lil’ Wonder loves to play with it when I’m loading and unloading.

 

Green baby food and smoothie base recipe

 

This has avocado and banana and spinach (or what greens you want) which makes it a great way to get vitamins and healthy fats in a baby that gets to share his brother’s french fries when we’re out and about.

For baby food, fresh fruits is fine. If you want this to be a baby smoothie on a hot day or use this to build a smoothie for yourself or a child, use frozen banana or avocado to chill it (or just add ice before blending.)
For Wonder Boy, I added some almond milk and honey to make a smooth treat for breakfast – make sure it’s cold and thinned out enough to slurp through a straw (check here for some tips to getting a kid to eat green smoothies).

Green Smoothie base or Baby food recipe - great cool meal for summer!

My recipe is roughly a half an avocado, a medium banana, and a small handful of baby spinach with the stems ripped off. I have a stick blender, so I make sure anything tough is gone so my baby can’t choke on a piece that isn’t blended so well.

If you have a better blender or a food processor, that should mix it up great. I use this as a base for Wonder Boy – I put coconut water, orange juice, berries- whatever I have that will make a smoothie for him to slurp up at the same time.

 

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I shoved about a third of a cup in a Little Green Pouch for our last trip to Disneyland and it worked great- except I forgot a bib and Lil’ Wonder was so joyous eating he got it all over himself.

I threw Lil’ Wonder’s lunch in the freezer for a while to get really cold knowing it would be a hot day at Disneyland. The pouches are pretty tough and have all the instructions on the back – perfect for someone who’s tired and trying to set up baby’s meals for the next day (you can freeze, but don’t microwave- just warm in water).

And he threw it on the ground a couple times and it didn’t split open from the top where you load it.

I use a spoon, but if you had a funnel or was making well-blended baby food you could just pour it in.

And you just put the lid back on and the whole thing back in the diaper bag until you can wash it!

 

The secret is now mine

I used to have better time to do creative things. I wrote random pieces of short story. I crocheted. I tried to sew big projects, but ended up with little projects.

Now I am trying to use making food as a creative outlet- but it’s hard to do all the things I want to do while feeding a family and cleaning up after two little boys all day long.

Last year I had given myself a challenge of finding the best local cinnamon roll. The winner of my informal taste testing was Sugarbird Desserts.

I grabbed a couple on occasion at my favorite Saturday farmers market, and got my family hooked on the cupcake- like treats right before she stopped selling them at the market. That last half-dozen I got were like gold. And yum.

So when the owner started offering classes, I was sent by the family to learn the secret of the roll.

It had been a while since I had created something other than a quick dinner or a box of brownies as comfort food, so i was eager to take the time and try something new without dirtying up my already-messy kitchen.

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I’d never worked with yeast before, but had a couple packets in my kitchen with a winter goal of learning how to make bread.

Since it is now April I obviously never achieved that goal, but smelling the fermenting yeast and hearing the conversations of the bakers around me made me realize I was going to learn a lot that night.

We went over each step, with me scribbling notes on my recipe handout and smearing butter on it. My apron was quickly covered in flour and sticky dough, but I was having fun.

The class was small enough everyone got some attention but had just enough people to make you feel you weren’t on display all of the time.

And the result, after mixing and rolling and a just a little more flour?

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Breakfast the next morning.

 

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The joy on his face is hidden because he was scarfing it down that fast.

Of course, mine are NOT the same as Heather’s, but they were amazingly delicious. She also gave an orange roll variation I am dying to make to the attendees.

Lean closer ad I’ll let you in on the secret behind the amazing rolls.

Ready?

Click on over to the Mom, Can I Have a Bite? blog and sign up for one of her classes. Because you need to learn from the master herself.

She also has private classes and pie-making class – something else I’d like to learn how to do.

And if you’re not sure yours came out right? I’d love to taste one for you.

 

Note: I paid for the class and was in no way compensated for this post. Full disclosure just in case, y’all.

Knotts Berry Bloom

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

When I was little, I thought Knott’s Berry Farm had a big patch somewhere were they grew the berries.

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I mean, it was called a berry farm, right?

Well, this spring they are holding the inaugural Ghost Town Boysenberry Festival, where park guests can try boysenberry treats and even buy plants and fresh berries from a stand that replicates the original berry stand that was once where the theme park is today.

Ah, I have finally found the berries!

The spring Knott’s Berry Bloom event also includes an egg hunt for kids 3-11 where a scavenger hunt will lead them to the one and only Easter Beagle himself.

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More games and musical performances are throughout the park, including boardwalk games with Peppermint Patty and Sally, new show in Camp Snoopy and at night the new show Bloomination fills the night air with dance music while glowing flowers and vines light up the night.

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I’m also giving away two tickets to Knotts! To enter, simply follow the Rafflecopter directions below.

Giveaway begins today and ends April 6. Winner will be announced April 7 or after.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cooking at Williams Sonoma

Disclaimer: I was invited to walk the Wednesday morning farmers market and attend a cooking demonstration at the Temecula Promenade Williams Sonoma using ingredients from the market. All opinions are my own. No other compensation was given.

I have always tried to make Wonder Boy a part of food preparation and cooking.

Since he was a baby we have gone to our local farmers market, farm stands and browsed the produce section of the grocery store for what would make a good salad or dinner.

And always, he has been a sucker for tomatoes. Sometimes sliced or dices, but always little tomatoes he devours in a couple of bites, sucking the juices.

As part of my ongoing Grace series, I want to have a spring and summer kitchen where I have on hand the staples I need to make a great dinner from the fruits and vegetables that entice us most. Still working on that.

Earlier this month I was invited to a farmer’s market walk through and a private cooking demonstration at Williams Sonoma at the Temecula Promenade. I took along Wonder Boy in the Ergo 360 for the morning’s adventure. Because I’m still breastfeeding and  wanted him to go on a foodie adventure with me.

The Temecula Williams Sonoma is one of their locations that offers cooking classes. I loved that you could see what was going on in the pan from a mirror above. The culinary manager and residential chef Monica Rigali answered questions as she sped through a recipe using mostly ingredients from the market.

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I jotted down a few tips to remember from her demonstration…

- stainless steel pans are non-reactive and distribute heat evenly in the pan (I use all non-stick, makes me think about when I replace them…)

- She likes to use slices of garlic rather than crushed in a pasta dish because it gives a nice bite

- finishing a dish with olive oil adds a little creaminess

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There’s even kids cooking classes! When Wonder Boy is older I could see driving to a Williams Sonoma for a fun trip. I have a hard time shopping there without getting a gadget – this trip I came home with a Zoku popsicle maker to gift and a salad dressing emulsifier that Wonder Boy adored.

And what we got to taste that morning? Divine.

 

pasta

 As given by chef Monica Rigali

Pasta with Basil, Tomatoes, Olives and Shrimp

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced

1 cup fresh basil, loosely packed

3-4 plump fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced

1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

coarse ground pepper

sea salt

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Add shrimp and saute until shrimp starts to turn pink. De-glaze the pan with white wine. Add olives, tomatoes, pepper flakes and basil and stir gently for about five minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

 Note- our samples were topped with thin asparagus that had been roasted in a pan with olive oil and salt. Yum! Too bad Lil’ Wonder fell asleep during the demonstration or else I would have to share.