What we’re eating

I have three exciting (for me) food updates today: the state of baby-led weaning, our local seafood adventures, and my new love of stuck-inside-all-day-thanks-to-four-feet-of-snow baking.

Baby-Led Weaning

Baby-led weaning powers on full-steam ahead, as I cannot take a bite of anything without my sweet sidekick begging to participate. I have started automatically preparing a mama and baby spread for every breakfast and lunch. She’s usually asleep for dinner, thank goodness! Here’s a sampling …

Breakfast:

Apple and banana oatmeal with plain homemade yogurt, toasted almonds, cinnamon, and molasses for me; apple and banana oatmeal with yogurt and cinnamon for Bea:

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I usually load up her spoon and then place it on her tray. Sometimes she actually picks it up and tries to eat from it …

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… and other times, she takes a more direct approach.

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I go back and forth on whether I should be letting her eat grains. Googling is dangerous, and plenty of support exists for every side of every argument (for grains vs. against grains). I try to keep a balance, so sometimes I’ll just offer something like banana and steamed apple sticks with yogurt.

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Note: I’ve tried to offer Bea raw apple sticks a few times, but the pieces break off in her mouth and make her gag in a way that I can’t handle, even though she probably can. So, for the sake of my heart, I am still steaming her apples. Also, Bea seems more spitty on the days I offer her yogurt, even though she LOVES it, so I’m trying to be mindful of how much I give her.

Lunch:

Toasted sourdough bread topped with mustard, cheddar cheese, butter-fried egg with onions, and avocado slices for me; avocado slices, butter-fried egg with onions, roasted butternut squash sticks, and steamed kale stems for Bea:

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I like to put a little bit of everything on her tray so she can make her own choices. She usually starts with orange (she knows orange means sweet!) and works her way toward green.

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Note: Bea had some vomiting episodes after this meal. I have not yet determined the cause. Was it the egg? The onion? Teething drool? She’d eaten all of these foods before, so the jury is still out. I’ll just keep a close eye on her the next time these foods come into rotation.

Avocado is the one food that Bea does not seem to love so far, which is strange because avocado is the one food I would choose to accompany me if I were ever stranded on a desert island. Here’s her avocado face:

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Happens every time! I won’t give up, though.

I am continuing to freeze baby portions (love these) of any delicious meals we happen to make, which has been so convenient during the past month of snow days.

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When we’re too low on groceries to put together a balanced meal for her, I can thaw some roasted carrot, purple cabbage, and butternut squash mishmash or a serving of “farmer’s pie” with sweet potatoes, black beans, and ground pork (all from the farm still!) with some other veggies.

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Um, or I can just eat during her nap times and trick her into a breastmilk-only day. Which happens pretty often.

Yay foodie baby!

Local Seafood

After a few years of feeling guilty that we live in Gloucester and hardly take advantage of the local seafood options, we joined Cape Ann Fresh Catch, a community supported fishery. We signed up for five deliveries of locally caught fish over the course of the winter. Sadly, our two February deliveries have been cancelled due to the excessive snow, but we received a credit to use toward a future order. We will definitely be signing up for another share in the future!

I am a total scaredy-cat when it comes to preparing fish (not sure why, since it is SO easy), and this program is forcing me to conquer my fears. We received pollock the first week and followed a super simple recipe to prepare it. The recipe was so simple, in fact, that I can’t remember exactly what it entailed. I do think white wine was involved. The result was delicious, and we ate it before I could take a picture.

The next week was monkfish, which I would rank pretty close to the top of my scared-to-prepare list. We used the recipe that CAFC emailed to us that day, and it was INCREDIBLE.

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Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Select a baking dish large enough to hold the monkfish fillets in one layer without crowding. Pour olive oil over the bottom. Turn the fillets in the oil to coat well all over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush the fillets with mustard. Scatter onions and garlic around the fillets. Place the baking dish on top of the stove and heat until the oil begins to sizzle. Add 1/3c white wine, and scatter sliced mushrooms around the fillets. Bring the wine just to a simmer. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake 15 minutes. Baste the fillets and return to the oven. Continue baking about 5 minutes. Swirl 1 Tbsp butter in the sauce. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.”

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This meal made me swoon. We served it with roasted butternut squash slices on the side.

I selflessly shared a few bites with Bea, and even she loved this fish. I can’t wait for the CAFC to resume in March. I hope the snow stays away so the fishermen can get back out there!

Baking

I have an ongoing love affair with Bob’s Red Mill. You can read more about it here. Every time a package from BRM arrives, I feel like the luckiest girl alive. In November, BRM sent this holiday package of cheer.

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(Those are starch-based packing peanuts, btw. They dissolve in water. I’m so impressed.)

The package included a giant flour sack towel (?) and an ornament …

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… and, most importantly, two full-sized packages of cake flour and whole wheat pastry flour!

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I’ve since used the pastry flour for a few pie crusts, using the recipe on the back of the package.

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And cake flour for cupcakes, loosely following the recipe on the package since I never have sugar around and had to substitute with a combination of molasses, honey, and maple syrup:

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Embarrassingly ugly (food photography is the first thing to go when I’m chasing this crazy baby around … or when I need to eat a cupcake RIGHTNOW) finished product with peanut butter frosting:

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While Google is a black hole for researching babies, it comes in so handy when I don’t have the ingredients for buttercream frosting (i.e. sugar) but could maybe make something with the peanut butter and yogurt and maple syrup I have available.

OH, and peanut butter cookies, made using the recipe on the whole wheat pastry flour package:

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I actually had all of the ingredients for this one! I added the chocolate chunks because … peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies far outrank just plain peanut butter cookies.

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The little bebop helped me with this project. I’ve made these cookies twice, and I feel a third time coming on soon.

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(Ever SO patiently waiting for the old man hairline to fill in.)

And butternut squash waffles with the BRM cake flour.

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Snow day baking is a family affair (sometimes).

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Anyway, as if I did not already have wonderful amazing grains coming out of my ears, this fantastic package arrived a couple weeks ago.

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Some of the “oatmeal” in the beginning of this post is actually this 10 Grain Hot Cereal. I prefer the texture of steel-cut oats, but this cereal cooks in 8 minutes, so I’ve been loving the efficiency. And, this shipment came complete with a clever oatmeal thermos that has a spoon built in! Erik brought his oatmeal breakfast to work in it today. I kid you not, I accidentally just typed breastfast instead of breakfast. Glad I caught that! We know where my head is.

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This post was brought to you by the brilliance of the Tula back carry, without which I would not have been able to cook a single thing. I just need to find a way to stop this baby from happily yanking out the teeny hairs at the nape of my neck one by one …

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