Blog

Minty St Patty's Day Shake

11 Mar Minty St. Patrick’s Day Shake

So many St. Patrick's Day treats for kids involve some sort of green food coloring. I am not averse to a drop or two of the fake stuff over the course of a year--especially around Christmas or Valentine's Day--but if it's not necessary I prefer to skip it, and I know many parents agree. This special smoothie from Smoothie-licious gets its gorgeous green hue from baby spinach and mint leaves. The spinach is virtually undetectable in the drink. But, if necessary, you can omit that ingredient when you tell your kids what's in their special St. Patty's breakfast or after-school snack.
Read More
Pumpkin muffin

24 Nov The Pumpkin Muffins That Made Me a Liar

As parents when we want to convince our kids to eat new foods it seems natural to extol their health benefits. "Jicama is soooo fun to eat--and full of fiber!" "Milk will help fill your tummy and build strong bones!" "Plain yogurt is the best--none of those nasty added sugars!" Sounds enticing to me, but it turns out that kids are not impressed. A 2014 study found that children are actually less likely to eat a food if they have been told how healthy it is. Just like a kid, right? I witnessed this very phenomenon with my own eyes a few days ago. Saturday morning I baked pumpkin chocolate chip muffins adapted from a quick bread recipe in The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion. I switched up the method a bit, subbed in some whole wheat flour, cut the sugar, and trimmed the amount of chocolate chips. The result was delicious -- tender, still sweet, and very pumpkin-y.
Read More
Pear-cardamom smoothie

02 Nov How to Improvise a Smoothie

I woke up a few days ago knowing that I wanted smoothie for breakfast, but unsure what flavors I was craving. One thing led to another: I was running late, hadn't finished my coffee, and knew I needed to get blending asap. I spotted the half-pear left on the counter after Rosa's breakfast, glanced at my half-drunk cup of coffee, and knew I had the ingredients for a delicious drink. But how do you go from lukewarm coffee and half a fruit to a satisfying smoothie? If you know the formula, you have a pretty good shot. In the Introduction of SMOOTHIE-LICIOUS I break down the Anatomy of a Smoothie, the components that most smoothies need to come together well:
Read More
TODAY show Halloween

30 Oct Wicked Fun Halloween Snacks (That Aren’t Sugar Bombs)

Kids LOVE Halloween. Candy! Costumes! What's not to like? I love it too, but what I'm not crazy about is the fact that if kids go to a party or two before the main event, they likely eat so much candy that they crash before they even start trick-or-treating. My solution is to try, try, try to feed Rosa something semi-nourishing before she pounds the pavement. It doesn't need to be a salad, for heaven's sake, just something that isn't 99% sugar. That's why I love the Halloween food in the October issue of parents. It's super-cool looking, but still healthy-ish. Think Turkey Meatball Eyeballs, a Spider Cheese Ball, and Hummus Haunted House Sandwiches (all developed by the very talented Genevieve Ko!).
Read More
Peach salsa2

15 Aug The Summer Recipe You Should Make ASAP

I admit that I am a fair weather Greenmarket shopper. Each year I sit out December-April, then head back in May for the promise of asparagus and, eventually strawberries. By summer I am a farmer's market fanatic. I love seeing how the market's offerings change week by week, with strawberries disappearing in late June (boo) about the same time peaches make their appearance (yay). Blueberries and zucchini arrive, then corn, and finally in August tomatoes and bell peppers. But for me peaches are queen. Ask me my favorite fruit, and I'll say a juicy, fragrant peach. The best peaches are only around for about six weeks, just a fraction of the year, so I buy many and eat them any which way I can. One of my favorite preparations is this gorgeous peach salsa. Fruit salsas are a staple at our house all year 'round. I love how they can add a punch of acid and sweet to a savory dish; I've found this sweet/savory combination especially appealing to kids. In fact, I included a recipe for Tropical Pork Tenderloin with a mango and red pepper salsa in Real Baby Food. But in the summer it's all about peaches. Last weekend I prepared this salsa at a book signing/demo at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket.   In action at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket
Read More
Zucchini bread 3

03 Aug Recipe: Summer Zucchini Bread

Well, it's August, so that must mean it's zucchini bread time. To me, it just wouldn't be summer without this recipe. My mom made it when I was a kid, and every year I bake it to much acclaim from Dave and Rosa. (In fact, today Rosa had a friend over while I was baking. She literally asked, "What is that wonderful smell?") We eat it warm out of the oven or spread with peanut butter for breakfast. I will probably make several batches throughout the month and will freeze some for later in the year when we desperately need a taste of summer. Nearly every time I make this recipe I tinker with it a bit. Sometimes I use canola oil, sometimes olive. I might play with different flours, and I almost always trim the amount of sugar. Like most quick breads this batter also bakes up beautifully as muffins. I even included a version in the breakfast chapter of Real Baby Food as Zucchini and Carrot Donuts. Did I mention this recipe is also really easy? There are no special tricks here, just measuring, stirring, and summoning your will power to wait until the bread is just warm before cutting a slice.
Read More
BeetsYogurtDill.Real Baby Food

20 Jun People Are Talking (About Real Baby Food)

Real Baby Food has been out for almost two months, and I'm happy that it has received a strong response. I believe so much in making cooking easy and accessible for parents, and it was my goal with Real Baby Food to show moms and dads that whether they're cooking for a 6 month-old or a 6 year-old, feeding and eating with kids can be fun, enjoyable, and delicious for everyone involved. I've been honored to have Real Baby Food featured on many of my favorite sites and thought I'd share the full list in case you missed any of these thoughtful posts.
  • Mama Glow called Real Baby Food a "Glow Worthy Book". (Mama Glow is one of my favorite new websites, by the way. It's so positive and, frankly, I feel calmer and happier just looking at it!)
Read More
CantMissCanteloupe_CROPPED

02 Jun Smoothies = Ice Pops

One of the best things about smoothies is that they make delicious ice pops with almost zero effort. Just blend and freeze. Can't-Miss Cantaloupe is one of my favorite recipes from Smoothie-licious. Pale orange and refreshing, this smoothie isn’t super thick, but it has a lovely fresh cantaloupe taste. Use green grapes for the prettiest color. To make ice pops, simply pour the smoothie into molds and freeze for a few hours. Paper cups and Popsicle sticks will also do the trick.
Read More
Cookbooks

04 May My Top 5 Family Cookbooks

It's no secret that I am an avid declutterer. Rosa's everyday artwork is not long for this world, and if I feel so-so about a shirt it's quickly pitched into the donation pile. But cookbooks are another story. Gosh, I just love them. I could stand in the cookbook section of a bookstore for hours, just taking in the jacket art and flipping through the pages. My desk at Parents is lined with stacks of cookbooks, and I've piled about 20 into a makeshift standing desk. At home guests frequently comment on the fact that cookbooks almost completely dominate our bookshelves. I use cookbooks for reference, for inspiration, and of course for cooking. But there are a few that see the most action on a day-to-day basis. I thought I'd share my five favorite family cookbooks in the hopes that you'll find inspiration in one too. First, what is a family cookbook anyway? Here is my easy definition: it's a cookbook I use to cook for my family. Some are officially targeted towards families or kids; others aren't. None are for "kid food", though, a concept I'm wary of to begin with. Without further ado, my (current) five favorite family cookbooks:
Read More
MeatballSliders_Jenna Helwig Baby Food Book12107

27 Apr Recipe: My Go-To Tomato Sauce

Real Baby Food is out this week (yay!), and one of my favorite recipes in it, one I make almost on a weekly basis is the Go-To Tomato Sauce in the Dinner chapter. Inspired by Marcella Hazan's classic version, this sauce is brilliant in its simplicity. Aside from one cut (slicing an onion in half) there is no chopping involved. Just simmer a can of crushed tomatoes with some aromatics for half an hour--and voila--you have a light, tangy, crowd-pleasing tomato sauce perfect for coating pasta, dipping polenta diamonds, baking eggs, topping pizza, or assembling these Saucy Meatball Sliders. I frequently make a double batch and freeze half to use down the road. After making it once you will too I bet. The recipe:
Read More