Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mango-berry Snacks

We love mango in our house and a cupcake from Crumbs in Hoboken, NJ this afternoon inspired me to post this recipe for some fruity snacks. The cupcakes featured are a "once-in-a-while" treat, as they're not waistline friendly. Make 'em up if you're heading to a book club or hosting a mom's group ... they're definitely best to share :)

For babies (six months and older): Mango Puree
For toddlers (older than a year): Mango-berry Sauce (you can also share a cupcake, or half-cupcake with your toddler ... but watch out for the sugar high!)
For mommies (of any age): Mango-berry Cupcake (adapted from Joelen's Culinary Adventures)

Ingredients:
- 1 box of vanilla cake mix (we like Dr. Oetker's brand)
- 3 mangos
- 1 small package of raspberries
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (use in place of the water called for on the recipe's box)
- 1/3 cup canola oil (use in place of the oil called for on the box)
- 4 eggs (use in place of the eggs called for on the box)

Cream cheese frosting (recipe from allrecipes.com - I'm sure there are healthier versions out there and I usually skip frosting, because I'm not a huge fan, but this is a great recipe that I use when I feel like a little extra sweetness)

Directions:
- Heat oven to 350. Line muffin tin with 24 paper cups.
- While oven is heating, bring saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Peel the mangos, cut the fruit into chunks (I've found that about an inch in size is ideal).
- When water is boiling, add the mango, cover and steam for about a minute.
- Spoon about a 1/3 of the mango pieces into a food processor. Process until smooth and let cool. This is Baby's Mango Puree.
- Rinse the raspberries, add them to the food processor and blend, until most of the berries are blended into the mango. 
- Let the new mixture cool. This is Toddler's Mango-berry sauce.
- In a large bowl, combine the ingredients according to the cake mix box, using the substitutions listed above. Add the mango-berry mixture.
- Add the batter to the muffin cups.
- Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Immediately transfer to wire rack to cool. 
- When cool, add frosting, if desired.

Bon apetit!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Road trips - lots of fun - too much food!

My husband is in the process of moving to a new role with his company in Cincinnati, so we drove over on Saturday (from our current home base in Connecticut) and came back last night. 

We had a BLAST in our new city ... we found a home, a great new preschool for our son and we loved all the new people we met. We're so excited for this exciting new chapter in our lives!

BUT .... 

We ate HORRIBLY the whole time we were gone!!!! 

We're back now, and as I reflect on the trip, I realize how poor our nutrition choices were while we were on the road. We normally eat mostly organic, mostly at home and don't tend to use a lot of processed food in our meals. On the road, it was the complete opposite ... we ate at restaurants (where they use lots of processed ingredients and salt), we relaxed our food choices, excusing ourselves because we were "on a roadtrip" and generally stopped caring what we put into our bodies.

This morning, I'm noticing that my son and I are paying the price, big time. Both our faces are breaking out, mine with acne, his with eczema (most likely the result of an increase in salt and dairy consumption). We're both crankier than usual and tired. The extra food just wasn't worth it!

We'll be taking another road trip in a couple weeks, when we move back, so I'm determined to develop a healthier strategy that will help us arrive at our destination healthier and happier than we did this week.

I'm going to post our plan, then follow-up and let you know how we did.

In the meantime, I'm hoping you'll share your travel challenges and healthy travel strategies with me. Is there anything you do before hitting the open road to help your family eat healthier? Are there any foods you've found "keep" well in the car?

Feel free to post your comment below, or send me a note at mommyandmemeals.com.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

A little naptime inspiration

Hey friends!

I'm enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition's health coaching certification program. We had a webinar this a few minutes ago (during Baby's naptime) with Dr. Bernie Siegel, a leading doctor who does a lot of research into the link between lifestyle and healing. Something he said really spoke to me and I wanted to share it with you all ...

"Up to the age of 6, your child's brain is like that of someone under hypnosis - what you say to him or her during that time will shape their thoughts and behaviors for the rest of their lives."
His point was that we should show our kids lots of love, because their brains are at a point of development where that love will literally get into the DNA of their brains and stick with them throughout adolescence, adulthood, etc. giving them the ability to become successful, confidant teens and adults.

As I reflected on that statement, I started thinking about how that applies to food. As moms, the food choices we make will stick with our kids as well. We can raise a new generation of healthy, happy people, by feeding our children healthy, wholesome, nutritious meals that allow their brains and bodies to develop to their fullest potential. 

Isn't that EMPOWERING and EXCITING!?!?

Have a wonderful afternoon.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New URL

Hey friends!

Wanted to drop a quick note to let you know that I moved this blog from the old "mommyandmemeals.blogspot.com" URL to it's own "mommyandmemeals.com" address. By doing that, I seem to have somehow deleted all your great comments. I'm not sure that I'll be able to get them back, with my limited technical skills :) I definitely enjoy reading them, so please keep 'em coming.

Have a wonderful evening...

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mad About Mahi Mahi

Ever since my husband and I honeymooned in Cabo San Lucas a few years ago, I've been in love with the flavors of Mexico. The fish tacos down there were AMAZING and I've attempted to recreate the taste for myself on more than one occasion. I had a few things in my fridge/pantry today that I threw together for lunch today and the taste reminded me of the sun, sand and fresh food.

For babies (six months and older): Rice 'n 'Cado Puree
For toddlers (older than a year): Mahi Meal
For mommies (of any age): Mahi Mami

Ingredients:
- 1 cup of freshly steamed brown rice, prepared according to instructions on the package
- 2 ounces of breast milk or formula
- 2 wild-caught Mahi Mahi burgers (we love the Whole Foods brand - from their freezer section)
- Juice from a quarter lemon

Directions:
- Heat oven to 400
- While oven is heating, cut avocado down the middle and scoop half into a food processor or blender.
- Add half the rice, along with breast milk or formula. Blend on medium until smooth. This is Baby's Rice 'n 'Cado puree.
- Place Mahi Mahi burgers on baking sheet or broiler pan (I use the baking sheet to keep more of the juice in the burgers - if you like your fish a little more dry, use the broiler)
- Cook the burgers for 8 minutes, then flip and cook for another 8 minutes. 
- While burgers are cooking, cube remaining avocado.
- Split remaining rice into two portions and spoon onto two places. 
- When fish burgers are done, put one on each plate, with the rice. 
- Top Toddler's fish with the plain avocado, this is his/her Mahi Meal.
- Top the other burger with the remaining avocado and squeeze lemon juice over the entire plate. The lemon adds a bit of "dressy" flavor that brings out the taste in the rest of the food. You can also add some fresh salsa and/or sea salt and pepper, if you'd like some additional flavor. Experiment and see what tastes best to you!

Bon apetit!

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Thank you for all the support!

Hey friends!

Thanks so much for all the sweet emails, phone calls, Facebook posts and encouragement. I'm so thrilled that you're all enjoying cooking nutritious meals for your families. I love all these recipes and it's so fun to hear all of your reactions.

I've had a couple of requests come through over the last week - for a cookbook, as well as a nutrition guide that can help new moms learn what's safe (and healthy) for their babies and toddlers. I'm going to start working on the cookbook (thanks to all the great technology out there, that might not actually be too hard!) and the guide. I'll do my best to have them out to you as soon as possible.

If there's anything else that will make your lives as "Head Chef of the Home" easier, please do reach out and let me know. I'm happy to help support you in your journey as a mom in any way that I can.

Have a wonderful week! 

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Kool Kale

Kale is chock-full of nutritious substances that are great for Mom, Toddler and Baby. This is more of a snack than a meal, but my son goes crazy for them as an afternoon snack! The olive oil adds some extra healthy fats for Toddler and the lemon juice and sea salt add some more flavor complexity for Mom.
For babies (six months and older): Kale Puree
For toddlers (older than a year): "Bday Suit" Chips
For mommies (of any age): Sweet & Salty Chips

Ingredients:
- 1 bunch kale
- 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Juice from about a quarter lemon
- Sea salt

Directions:
- Heat about a half cup of water in a saucepan on the oven. Bring to a boil.
- Preheat oven to 300.
- Rinse and dry kale. Separate leaves from the rigid stalk. Put the leaves in a large bowl.
- Separate a third of the leaves into boiling water and cover. Steam for approximately two minutes.
- While steaming, add the olive oil to the bowl of remaining kale leaves.
- Separate half of the leaves from the bowl onto a single layer on a baking sheet, taking up about half the space on the sheet. This will be Tot's "Bday Suit" Chips (i.e. naked).
- Add the lemon juice and sea salt to the remaining kale in the bowl (I use a grinder and usually give it two "grinds" - which I think equals about a teaspoon) and toss.
- Spread remaining leaves onto the other half of the baking sheet. This half becomes Mom's "Sweet & Salty" snack.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until crispy.
- Remove kale on the oven from the heat and puree using a blender or food processor. This is Baby's Puree.

Variations: for Mom's version, you can try adding some garlic salt (instead of the lemon and sea salt) or cayenne pepper (also instead of the lemon and sea salt). Freshly chopped garlic and sea salt are also interesting. 

Bon apetit!

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