Beets for Breakfast, Beets for Lunch

Most people who know me know I love beets. I know, that’s a really weird thing to know about a person, but I feel with a love that is more than love for beets. I’ve been known to persistently push the purple wonders on people, and I may have even chased my former boss into her office while forcing them on her. (No, that isn’t why she’s my former boss, although I can see why someone would come to that conclusion).

beets

Doug understood me

I can eat beets every day and never be tired of them. My favorite way is to dress chilled sliced canned beets with oil, red wine vinegar, and some oregano. They’re probably my favorite food, and I only say probably because it’s hard to make a whole meal out of beets. But I do have a few beet based recipes that can be meals. A beet smoothie for breakfast and a beet spinach salad for lunch.

The smoothie is not my recipe . I found it on the blog We are Not Martha

This is, by far, my most repinned pin. I sometimes get several emails a day notifying me it had been repinned or liked. As much as this has been pinned, I have never tried to make it, mainly because chia seeds scare me. I hate slimy foods, and I didn’t know how quickly chia seeds slime. I finally decided to give it a try, and if you drink the smoothie right after making it (which you would anyway) the seeds stay crunchy.

The original recipe is here

        The only changes I made was I used half a can of sliced beets, and low fat dairy milk instead of soy milk, because I don’t like soy milk. After tasting my version, I realized why you would use flavored soy milk for the recipe.

Blender

My beet smoothie

Even though beets are sweet, this is pretty bland. I added a spoonful of sugar, and it did the trick. It was delicious and really filling. I’m not sure what the difference in sugar content is in sweetened soy milk vs regular milk and a spoon of sugar, but I guess you can pick your poison.

Smoothie

Yum!

Now there were lots of halves used to make the smoothie, so I became resourceful and used the ingredients for breakfast in lunch. Using the spinach as a salad base, I added a few strips of very thinly sliced onions, the beets, avocado, and some crumbled goat cheese.

Beet Avocado Salad

Use smoothie ingredients for lunch!

I’ve also made a similar salad for family dinners, so here is my “bulk” recipe:

Salad
1 package mixed baby greens
1 package baby spinach
1/2 an onion, thinly sliced
2 cans quartered beets
1 can half pears, drained and cubed
4 oz dried cranberries
4 oz candied pecans
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

dressing

Use fresh herbs for dressing

Dressing:
1 part olive oil
1 part balsamic vinegar**
1 splash of orange juice
a few leaves of fresh basil and oregano
**I used pear cranberry white balsamic, but regular balsamic is good too

dressing

Dressing ready to go!

Beet salad is an awesome lunch, side, or add some grilled chicken for dinner. MMMmMm beets all day!!

Salad

Beet, Pear, Cranberries, & Pecan Spinach Salad

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Baby Food Recipes

Baby Food

So I think I know why baking has become so “meh.” I found something else I love to do in the kitchen: making food for Giacomo. I stocked up and made over 30 pouches of baby food.  I still buy baby food, especially when it’s on sale, but I like knowing I have my homemade options too.

baby foods

I made:
Beets, spinach, and blueberries
Tropical fruits: Banana, pineapple, peaches, apricots, and mango
Sweet potatoes, apples, cinnamon, and blueberries
Butternut squash, peaches, pears, and apricots with ginger
Mixed veggies with garlic.
Sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, and cinnamon
Carrots and Peas

Not pictured here is peas and carrots. I forgot I reheated those in the microwave.
Baby Bullet

Making baby food is super easy. There is little to no cooking required. I used my baby bullet. Do you need a baby bullet? No. A regular blender or food processor will do. I even use an immersion blender for bigger batches because I know it won’t all fit in the bullet. The baby bullet is what my husband would call a UKG. Unnecessary Kitchen Gadget. It’s unnecessary because a regular blender or a hand blender will do just fine.

Hand Blender

But let me ask you this: does a regular blender have an adorable smiley face? Does it come with tiny food containers who also smile at you?

Baby Food Bottles

No. It doesn’t. So I relish in my UKG!

Another kitchen gadget I use (which even Matt agrees is totally necessary) is the Infantino squeeze station. I love this thing. It’s so much fun squeezing the food into the pouches. I label and freeze the baby food and Jack’s set for a while. The only foods I haven’t made yet are meats, and that’s because I have my own meat aversions.

Pouch Maker

Plus, Jack has a tooth! He’s eating soft rice, cereal bites, and pastas now, and it won’t be long until he’s done with purees. I’ll still make him fruit purees and pouches though for a while. They’re a great snack. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of the Infantino either. My friend Maureen had a great idea for another use of them: Adult fruit pouches spiked with the alcohol of your choice! I’ll definitely try those one day, but probably not until I’m sure I won’t, in a crazy mom rush, accidentally give Jack a boozy fruit pouch!

Recipes:

For all recipes that require cooking, cover food with water just enough to cover food. Cook until soft enough to blend.

Cooking Food

Cook food before pureeing and cool before packing.

To save time, I used the pre peeled and cubed sweet potatoes and butternut squash. I also used some canned food to save time, but you can definitely use fresh. You just need to peed and cube everything before cooking if you use fresh. Generally, I’ve noticed about 3-4 fruits = 1 can. Rinse any canned fruit that is packed in syrup or juice. Don’t use fruit sweetened with artificial sweetener. If you prefer fresh fruit, simply prepare as directed above.

Beets, spinach, and blueberries

1 can sliced beets, drained & rinsed
1/2 a bag of steam-in-bag spinach
1 cup blueberries

Steam spinach in microwave (use the other half of the bag for another recipe).
Blend together fruits and vegetables until desired consistency. Add water by the tablespoonful if needed.

Tropical Fruits

1 1/2 banana
1 mango
1/2 can of peaches, drained & rinsed
1/4 can of apricots, drained & rinsed
1/2 can of pineapple, drained & rinsed
1/2 can of pears, drained & rinsed

Blend fruits together until desired consistency. This should be soft enough, but add water if needed.
Tropical Mix

Sweet potatoes, apples, cinnamon, and blueberries

1 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 large apple, peeled, cored, and cubed
1 cup blueberries
dash of cinnamon

Cook apples and sweet potatoes. Add blueberries and cinnamon and blend to desired consistency.

Butternut squash, peaches, pears, and apricots with Ginger

1 1/2 cups of butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 can of pears, drained & rinsed
1/2 can of peaches, drained & rinsed
1/4 can of apricots, drained & rinsed
Dash of ginger

Cook squash. Add fruits, ginger, and blend to desired consistency.

Mixed veggies with garlic.

1/2 bag of spinach
1 1/2 cups butternut squash
1 cup sweet potatoes
1 cup baby carrots
1 cup peas frozen
1 medium or 2 small cloves of garlic

Cook all the veggies and blend to desired consistency

Sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, and cinnamon

1 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 large apple, peeled, cored, and cubed
1 1/2 bananas
dash of cinnamon

Cook apples and sweet potatoes. Add bananas and cinnamon and blend to desired consistency.

Peas and Carrots

1 cup baby carrots
1 cup frozen peas

Cook and blend to desired consistency.

For those of you who know me well, you know one of my favorite foods is beets. I have been known to force them on people, and now I am starting the brainwashing process for my son. I don’t seem to have to try to hard though. He loves beets already!

Jack likes beets!

I Should Start Baking Again

My mom’s birthday was recently, and I did something I haven’t done in a really long time. I baked. I used to bake all the time. It was a very soothing hobby. Cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, pies, pastries, buttercream and fondant icing all made from scratch. I’ve baked one or two things in the past few years, but it’s been a few years since I really got down and dirty in the kitchen. At the height of my baking, I was baby-free and I worked part time, but I can’t really blame the baby or work for my lapse.

Baby Shower Goodies

The funny thing is that I worked at a bakery all through high school and a lot of college and never baked or decorated while I was there, but I did grow a bit of an aversion to cakes and cookies. That happens when your hair starts to smell like cookies and you dream of the holiday rush.

baking

Afterwards,  I spent to spend so much time perfecting recipes and piping icing, and I rarely ever ate any of it. Instead I’d find people to pawn my hobby off on. Eventually, though, everyone else started to become bored of cakes and cookies, and it all started to go to waste.

fly cake

I was looking at some older pictures and I realized I need to get back into the baking game, at least a little bit. I made so many cute things for everyone else, and now I have to make sure I can make something adorable for Jack. Plus, everyone has been deprived of baked goods for long enough. It’s time to re-introduced them.

Birthday Cakes

For my mom’s birthday I thought about baking a from scratch, I really did. But then I got into the kitchen and felt really “meh” about the whole thing. It wasn’t the same. I just didn’t feel like lugging out the mixer, and my mom doesn’t like sweet icing so it seemed like a waste to make butter cream. Instead, I jazzed up some box cake and made a cake and cookies. Super easy to do! For the cake, just replace water with orange juice (or whatever juice you like), add a splash of vanilla extract, and your cake is instantly flavored and more refreshing. I added a few raspberries to the batter before baking too.

Orange Raspberry Cake

The cookies are easy also. Add 2 eggs, 1/3 a cup of dried cranberries, 1/3 a cup of candied pecans, and 2 tbsp of orange juice to boxed cake mix. Scoop batter onto parchment lined trays and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Cake Box CookiesCake Box Cookies

I filled the cake with banana pudding and iced it with whipped topping. I didn’t get a chance to take a pic of the cake or cookies  because they were torn into pretty quickly, but I guess that’s a sign of how tasty they were. *Note to self, take pictures of everything before you go over mom’s!

IMG_0071

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