Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The year of the stocking

When I was growing up I had this beautiful knitted stocking made by my Grandmother. It had my name on it and I loved it. It matched my brother's too. So after Jay was born I had this wonderful idea that he needed his Grandmother to make him a stocking too! So I ordered this book of knitted stockings and gave it to my mom (hint, hint). Talk about trying to bend someone to my own will, right? A couple of years passed and still no stocking. Finally last year my mom decided that she was not going to be able to knit the stocking. So I told her that I would take the project on. Easy, right? Well, I chose this pattern that has these cute Christmas pictures on them. One thing, I had never knitted patterns like this before. More than one color? Never. So I watched a few youtube videos and started to tackle Jay's stocking. As it started I realized it wasn't quite as hard as I had thought it would be. Which was when I made the decision and said it out loud, so now I have to follow through. I mentioned making one for each of my nieces and nephews on my side of the family. That's right, four stockings. Why? Probably crazy.

So Jay's didn't quite make it before Christmas. It actually was finished the beginning of January.
Then came Nell's stocking. For her, I put a little skirt on the elves at the top.
So now we hve two stockings and I've started on David's.
So now I've put it out there to everyone so if I don't finish, I'll completely embarass myself! Actually it's a good kind of accountability for me to put this here and make sure I get these finished. So Merry Christmas early and I hope to have an update for this soon.
Stay tuned for a fun announcement I hope tomorrow!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More baby food

Thought you might enjoy my latest creations! Nell sure likes them!! At seven months, "Blender Baby Food" recommends adding grains to your baby's diet. So we've tried a few new things lately and Nell seems to enjoy them way more than plain veggies (although apples and sweet potatoes are still her faves). Last week I made some "Jumpin' Jambalaya." It calls for:

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped peeled carrot (I cheat and buy a bag of the baby carrots so I don't have to peel the)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup long grain rice (I used jasmine rice since it's what I had on hand)
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf (I didn't have any so I left this out)

Heat oil over medium high heat and add the carrot, onion and celery. Stir until onion is tender.
I love this skillet!
Stir in rice until coated with oilAt this point, Jack came into the kitchen and wanted to know what smelled so good!
Add chicken stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Discard bay leaf.

Yeah, somehow I missed all these pictures.

At this point the recipe says to let it cool before putting in the blender, I put it in hot anyways (cause I'm a rebel like that). Puree it well.
Now the fun part is storing it! I found these great trays at Target online and had to have them. They can also be purchased from When I made Jay's baby food, I had cheap trays from Wal-Mart that I covered with foil when it froze. After a few hundred uses, they cracked. These are heavy duty thick plastic and have snap on lids. I love, love, love them! Used them to freeze breast milk and now food. Just remember that one ice cube is just under one ounce. It's more like .75 ounces.

So we fill the trays
Pop them into the freezer until they are solid. Then pop out and store in labeled freezer bags (it's amazing how much butternut squash looks like sweet potatoes when they're mush).
I just take a few cubes out and put them in a bowl. Then just microwave them for about 45 seconds. Stir well to eliminate any hot spots and serve (here is where I should have an adorable picture of Nell eating her groceries, only I take the pictures and I'm usually the one feeding her).

Other recipes we've tried are peach-banana oatmeal

1 banana
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup sliced peeled peaches (about 1 1/2 peaches)

But all in the processor and puree

I also made citrus cous cous, but nell hasn't tried that one yet.

1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tbsp chopped parsley (again didn't have on hand and didn't want to buy for one recipe)

Bring orange juice and chicken stock to a boil. Add in couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for five minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender. Meanwhile heat the oil in a skillet and cook the onion until tender. Put onions, couscous and oranges in blender and puree on high. Sprinkle with parsley.

This brings me to one important point with homemade baby food. Some times it doesn't turn out a nice light smooth consistency. This recipe turned out very thick. It was t hick when I put it in the processor. Don't be afraid to add more liquid to loosen it up. I added a little water and OJ when it was in the processor. After it cooled it was very thick so I added a little water to loosen it up again before transferring to the ice cube trays and I anticipate a little more when she eats it.

The book is "Blender Baby Food" by Nicole Young and I highly recommend it!