On The Menu: Pancakes!

  • Buckwheat Pancakes
  • Tried & True Buttermilk Pancakes

Breakfast is a favorite in this household of mine. My brother told me that it feels like home when he can smell breakfast cooking in the morning. We all love breakfast. The buttermilk pancake recipe is one of the oldest in my book. It never fails to come out yummy, fluffy and not even close to being dry and boring. If you try it and the pancakes come out bad, then I’m sorry, you did something wrong. My hubby’s made them a couple of times and they come out perfect! I decided to mix things up a bit and try buckwheat flour this time for Abby and myself. The benefits of buckwheat are so numerous compared to plain old white flour. With just this recipe, you get 24 grams of fiber plus many other essential vitamins and minerals. I was totally sold when I read the benefits. In the Korean culture, we eat buckwheat noodles so the taste was familiar.

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup of buttermilk (I used coconut milk)
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 cup of buckwheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries

Mix the dry ingredients together and once incorporated, add the wet and work out any clumps with a whisk. Heat pan on medium heat with some oil and pour out into 5-6 inch rounds. This recipe makes 7-8 pancakes. I substituted coconut milk and coconut oil in this recipe to make it dairy free. I’ll be honest, the texture was not as light and fluffy as with buttermilk but the taste was good because it added a hint of coconut to the pancake. *Note: Buckwheat flavor is pretty strong so adding half buckwheat flour and half all purpose flour creates a super delicious pancake with the benefits of buckwheat.

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For Abby I added one diced up strawberry and a couple more blueberries with a dollop of coconut yogurt.

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Buttermilk Pancakes

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda

As with the buckwheat pancakes, incorporate all the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients and break up any clumps with a whisk. This recipe will yield the same amount as the recipe above.

Yeah, in about 10 years she probably won’t like that I posted this picture of her.

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Enjoy!

On The Menu: Fruits, Veggies & Protein

  • Strawberry and Banana Smoothie
  • Baby Omelet, Broccoli and Tofu

If you’re a new momma and you’re like me, you probably wonder every day if your child is getting enough nutrition from all the food groups. I read up on the daily recommendations and honestly, it’s overwhelming and I wonder “how in the world am I going to get all this food in her??” Well, I have learned to take everything as a guideline. Being a new momma is tough as it is so who wants the added pressure? I surely don’t want it and can’t handle it with the baby, hubby and business already taking over my life.  Which, by the way, I have a found a fantastic most awesomely awesome way to relieve stress in life… are you ready… CROSSFIT! More on that later. So if you haven’t noticed yet, we are an avocado family. Abby is an avocado baby. That was her first food and she probably has had a serving every single day (minus a day or two). There is so much nutrition and good fat in avocado and because of it’s mild taste and buttery texture, it really does compliment recipes well. The other thing you might notice is that we like smoothies. Well, when your hubby comes from a family who owns a Juice It Up!, it’s pretty hard to resist the yummy smoothies he makes. For Abby, we just modify recipes by adding veggies, using fresh instead of frozen fruit and use coconut water instead of juice.

Strawberry and Banana Smoothie (makes 3-4 4oz pouches)

  • 8 Strawberries
  • 1 whole banana
  • 1 tub of yogurt
  • 1 avocado

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Since I use the Beaba, I cut the strawberries in half, the avocado in half and the banana in half. Blend well to incorporate and it’s ready! So nutritious and it tastes really yummy! For a thicker smoothie (adult friendly), use frozen strawberries and frozen bananas. You’ll probably have to add some juice or coconut water to get the blender going but the frozen fruits will create a thick and creamy smoothie.

Egg, Broccoli and Tofu

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of grated zucchini
  • 1/4 cup of grated carrot
  • 1 drop of sesame oil
  • Broccoli
  • Firm Tofu

Mix the two eggs in a bowl. Add the grated zucchini and carrot. Use a cheese grater because the veggies need to be small in order to cook quickly.  Add one drop of sesame oil for flavor or you can omit it. Heat up a pan on low/med heat with a bit of oil and use a table spoon to drop the mixture into rounds. They will cook quickly so keep an eye on them. This batch will make quite a bit so set some aside for future meals. Steam one large broccoli head. Since the amount I’m steaming is so small, I use a small microwave safe glass bowl with some water and cover it with another plate for about a minute. You can leave it whole or dice it up into small pieces. Dice the tofu into little blocks. That’s it!

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Enjoy!

On The Menu: 2 Soups+1 Puree Dinner

  • Chunky Chicken Noodle
  • Minestrone
  • Sweet Potato Chicken Dinner Puree

What’s baby friendly (for a baby who only has one tooth), figure friendly and wallet friendly? SOUP! Big batches last a long while and I even freeze some for future uses. Continuing on the effort to eat better, I decided that I would make minestrone minus the pasta. Then I thought, wait… Abby loves chicken noodle soup and they use the same base so why not make both?! So that is what I did on Thursday night after Abby went to bed. The funny thing was, I had attempted to make these soups the day before but in my hurry to get Abby fed and ready for bed, I opened the whole chicken, took the guts out and plopped the thing in the water. After it boiled, simmered and smelled SO wonderfully good for 2 hours, I proceeded to take the chicken out and guess what this mommy brain fart head did? I left the white soaking plastic sheet on the darn chicken and boiled it! You know, the white spongy liner that’s on the bottom of every raw meat package? Ugh… I shed a tear, called Sam at work, whined and told him how stupid I was and he then said he would buy me another chicken. Now that’s love folks! Who needs flowers or chocolate to feel better when there’s whole, raw, organic chickens? Love that man!

BASIC STOCK:

  • 8 qt. stock pot
  • 1 whole chicken (take guts out and plastic liner)
  • 2 carrots peeled
  • 1 onion left whole
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 radish

This is my go to stock recipe for all soup bases except for French Onion since that calls for a beef base. My mom taught me this recipe to use for her oh so comforting chicken soup with rice but for making soups and stews, I tweaked it by adding carrots and a radish. Toss all the ingredients into the pot and fill the pot with water until there is about an inch left from the brim. Bring the stock to a rolling boil then simmer for 2 hours. As you can see below, I have two different types of onions. I really use whatever I have left over for stock.

For both of the soups, I added more stock in the Minestrone soup since that was to be the family meal and worked with whatever was left for the Chicken Noodle Soup for Abby (which still made a LOT… basically enough for another meal for a family).

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Minestrone Soup

  • 2 small zucchini or 1 large
  • 1 potato
  • 3 med carrots
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of green beans cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tsp of dried basil
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1.5 cups of strained or crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups of stock
  • 1 13oz. box of Cannellini beans
  • 1 cup of pasta
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I love that Whole Foods came out with boxes for beans. The main reason that I rarely bought canned beans was because of the BPA content in canned foods. Honestly, it scares me. I have read the worst offender for BPA in canned foods are tomatoes because of the acidity. Ugh… scary. SO, I am very thankful there are other options out there now.

Chop all the veggies into similar sizes. Like this:

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*Tip: Costco has huge bags of frozen organic veggies. We always have green beans and broccoli in our deep freezer since we eat a lot of it. It’s cheap and convenient.

Saute all the veggies in a pot with some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to the desired level of seasoning. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add basil, oregano and tomatoes and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Then add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

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Once boiling, lower heat, cover and simmer for an hour. The veggies will cook and the soup will become one. Add the beans and your choice of pasta ( I like smaller size pasta since it’s easier to eat). If you did add pasta, cook covered for an additional 8-10 minutes. In this batch, I didn’t add pasta since I wanted it to be figure friendly. Check for seasoning and it’s ready to serve!

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Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 3 celery stalks
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 cup of frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 onion (the other half from the Minestrone soup)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp of thyme
  • 1/2 tsp of rosemary
  • 1 cup of noodles

I chopped all the veggies together for both soups. Since the only extra produce needed for this soup was celery, it was really easy to prep for both soups. Saute all the veggies in some olive oil for 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the bay leaf, thyme and rosemary and saute for a couple more minutes. Add the rest of the stock and simmer with a cover on for 30 minutes.

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Add your choice of pasta (I did a longer shape this time for Abby to hold) and cook covered for another 10 minutes. Shred as much chicken as you want and put into the soup. Take one final taste to check for seasoning and done! This is a soup that we all crave when it’s cold outside or we’re feeling under the weather, especially Sam.

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Sweet Potato Dinner Puree

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup of any steamed green
  • Boiled onion from stock
  • Boiled carrot from stock
  • As much stock as you need

Since I didn’t want any of the veggies from the stock to go to waste, I blended them with one large sweet potato that I steamed.

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Add as much broth to fit the needs of your baby. Some like it chunkier, some like it on the watery/smooth side. This made 5 dinners for us just by using what was left and one sweet potato.

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A picture of our family from our first trip to the zoo this past weekend!

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Enjoy!

On The Menu: Brazilian BBQ

  • Tri Tip
  • Brazilian Salsa
  • Roasted Potatoes
  • Pao de queijo

Hubby and I had the awesome privilege of going on a summer mission trip to Brazil in 2006. We stayed in Sao Paolo for a couple weeks and went into the Amazon for a bit. We absolutely fell in LOVE with Brazil. Everything about it was so fascinating to us. The people, culture, food and history. Needless to say, we came back with a little piece of Brazil and cannot wait until Abby is old enough to go with us again. When we are craving some red meat, we either have tri tip or ribeyes. There’s nothing like eating churrasco (grilled meat in Portuguese) or pao de queijo (cheese balls) in Brazil but we have been able to create something pretty close to it at home. Abby enjoyed the sides, especially the cheese balls. This dinner is quick to whip up and is perfect for those summer nights of grilling.

 

Tri Tip:

  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the tri tip, my hubby seasons the outsides with pretty coarse salt and pepper. When eating churrasco, getting little bursts of saltiness is key when eating the meat. That’s all he seasons it with. The simpler, the better. He does let the seasoning sit on the meat for a good hour or more and never grills the meat cold. He uses wood charcoal on a no fuss Weber 22.5″ grill. Again, the simpler the better. My hubby is super particular about his grilling and isn’t keen to gas grilling. He saw the meat in Brazil being grilled over an open fire and loved the flavor from it. I remember when it was time to get a new grill, he wasn’t looking at the fancy ones, he was looking at the Weber’s and I just did not understand why. Perhaps he knows what he’s doing because that man’s meat ALWAYS comes out fantastic!

 

Brazilian Salsa:

  • 5 medium sized tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 of a large red onion or 1 medium red onion
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar (or more if you like the taste)
  • salt and pepper

This salsa is complimentary with the meat. Eating it together is like eating a grilled cheese and tomato soup, spaghetti and meatballs… you get the point. It’s a MUST! Scoop out the pulp and juices of the tomatoes and dice all the veggies into similar sizes. Toss it all in a bowl and pour in the vinegar and season to taste. That’s it! I believe the original recipe calls for regular vinegar but I love the depth of flavor that balsamic vinegar has. I’ve received SO many compliments on this salsa but little do people know how simple it is.

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Pao De Queijo (cheese balls):

  • BUY THE PRE MIXED PACKAGE!

I looked up a recipe but you need tapioca flour (thus why they are gluten free… yayee!!) and a bunch of other ingredients. We are so lucky to have a little local Brazilian Market 2 miles away from us. We purchase all of our Guarana and Pao De Queijo mix there. Directions are so simple and all you need is 1/2 cup of water and 2 eggs for delicious cheese ball-y goodness.

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Roasted Potatoes:

  • 15 small potatoes of any variety
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper

Slice cleaned potatoes in half and place in pan. Drizzle some oil and sprinkle some garlic powder, salt and pepper.  I don’t have measurements because I just sprinkled and tasted. If it tastes salty, great! Remember, the potatoes are dense so they need flavor. Place in a 350degree oven for 30 minutes. I baked these and the cheese balls at the same time. I usually would bake the potatoes at a higher temp but since the cheese balls called for a specific temp, I just threw the potatoes in as well and they came out fine.

All in all this dinner took 30 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to cook (waiting on the oven and grill). This is what the spread looked like with the addition of corn, broccoli and GUARANA!

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Enjoy!

On The Menu: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

  • Breakfast (egg, toast and avocado)
  • Lunch (One of Abby’s favorite smoothie mixes)
  • Snack (cheese, fruit, crackers)
  • Dinner (Dakbulgogi (teriyaki) chicken and rice)

(Before I post, bye bye Posterous 😦 They will be shutting down at the end of this month. Hello new blog and new name)

I have tried to be pretty consistent with menu planning once every week since moving to Georgia. Of course there are weeks where we get away with making spaghetti, ramen or bibimbap (mixed rice bowl) for a couple of days. But I want to make use of the resources I have around me. We feel really blessed to have great farmer’s markets close by and a Whole Foods is literally 5 miles (4.9 to be  exact) away from me. I usually plan the meals on Sunday while Abby is napping and I get my inspiration from the Food Network, magazines or whatever we are craving. It’s always a wide variety because we’re Korean so Korean food is always good, we LOVE Italian and Mexican and as far as American cuisine goes, a nice hamburger, stew or roast can hit the spot too. Thus, I made it one of my missions to open Abby’s palate up as much as possible because I was a pretty picky girl in my early years (another reason for Baby Led Weaning since you literally offer everything you eat). You might be thinking that some ingredients or flavors might be too strong for a baby but Abby has been handling everything great! Below is what Abby had to eat for a couple of days. Breakfast was different because it’s easy but she enjoyed the same lunch and dinner. Like I’ve said before, I try and work with the same ingredients so that there’s little waste. With a little prep, you can have a wholesome meal plan set for a couple of days.

Breakfast: Egg, Toast and Avocado

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of green onion chopped
  • 1 piece of bread
  • 1/2 of an avocado

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Yes, I wanted to “try” and be cute with her food. Nothing went to waste as Sam ate whatever was left. I tried giving Abby regular scrambled egg with no salt and she wasn’t a fan. I decided to put chopped green onions into the egg mixture before cooking and it bam! she loved it with no salt needed. I cut a piece of soft bread from a Korean bakery and spread avocado on it. Then sliced up the remaining avocado half into chunks.

Lunch: Zucchini, Squash, Broccoli, Yogurt, Avocado and Banana Smoothie

Recipe makes a little over 14oz. of food. We split it up into 4oz pouches

  • 4 frozen cubes of zucchini/squash and 2 frozen cubes of broccoli. 6 cubes total
  • 1/2 of an avocado
  • 1 4oz tub of vanilla Yobaby yogurt (it can be any flavor)
  • 1 medium banana

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I absolutely love Fresh Baby’s freezer trays. I buy a big head of broccoli, one large zucchini and one large yellow squash and puree them. Once frozen, I have them as standby anytime I want to add veggies into her food because veggies are always less liked than fruit. I defrost them for a couple of seconds before incorporating into the mixture. I’ll probably be giving her smoothies with veggies in it until she’s 18 or out of the house. 🙂

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Using my awesome Beaba Babycook that I got from one of my dearest friends!

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We bought the Infantino Fresh Squeezed Station at Target for around $24.00 and the Squooshi Reusable Food Pouches on Amazon. The Infantino is great for freezing and storing and the reusable pouches are great for the day’s use.

Snack:

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Organic butter crackers (generic version of Ritz) from Whole Foods, cheese chunks, two grapes peeled and one large strawberry. Sam and I love this snack combo (from our days working at Nordstrom). That’s probably why she eats it so often 🙂

Dinner: Chicken, Rice and Broccoli (dinner for the whole family)

  • Korean Teriyaki Chicken (seriously, so good and the ingredients are easy to find)
  • 2 chicken breasts (about a pound)
  • 4-5 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sugar (if you like food on the sweeter side, add 3)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine
  • 4 garlic cloves minced finely or grated (use microplane)
  • 1/2 in chunk of ginger minced finely or grated (use microplane)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil

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Cut the chicken breasts into 2 inch chunks and strips. Mine were not uniformed at all. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and toss the chicken in. Cover the chicken in the marinade and cover the bowl or transfer into a ziploc bag to sit for at least 6 hours or overnight is best.

Cook in a pan over a medium heat until all the chicken is cooked through.

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Abby’s dinner with a broccoli floret that I saved on the side from the puree.

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Yes, it’s messy but it’s oh so fun!

We all enjoyed this dinner because it was gluten free! For all of you worrying about salt and sugar content, Abby has a very large rice and veggie ratio compared to the meat. I diced up only 2 chunks for this meal. She didn’t get a whole lot of fruit but she had her Super Acai and Berry Tofu smoothie today! Will post that recipe soon.

Enjoy!

On The Menu: Juicing

  • green juice

So I have a confession: trying to lose baby weight has sucked… majorly. I’m so envious of the ladies who magically go back to normal within 3-4 months. The thing that majorly sucks about this kind of weight gain is that things have shifted. Just because the scale says you’re back to normal doesn’t mean you look normal. Anybody feel me on this? It’s been difficult to workout consistently with everything else going on in life. Trying to cut out carbs and healthier eating just wasn’t producing the same results I used to get in the past. SO, I asked the hubby for a juicer for my birthday and my in-laws surprised me and got me the fantastic Hurom Slow Juicer. I was inspired after watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and thought a detox would be a great way to jump start my body into healthy mode and to make good choices while exercising. I told hubby that I would commit to 10 days and I’m on day 3 and wow does it suck. But, I want to stick to it to cleanse my system out. This is what I have been juicing and eat this 3 times a day with 20oz of water before each drink.

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Looks pretty huh? This tray makes two servings of juice (my breakfast and lunch today). Celery, kale, carrots, cucumber, ginger, lemon and apples.

 

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The juicer doing it’s thing. It’s really quiet compared to other juicers. I was quite surprised.

 

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Cheers to health! Yummy………..

 

I need a Disneyland churro right now 😦

On The Menu: Mama Mia! I’m back :)

  • Roasted Tomato, Basil and Garlic Spaghetti

Wow, it sure has been a looooong time since I last posted. I have continued my cooking adventures but with a new addition to the family! Abby is now almost 9 months old! Time has truly flown by raising this little munchkin. I’m finding so much enjoyment in thinking of her meals and preparing them.

When it was time for Abby to start solids, we decided to do purees then move on in the traditional progression. Purees are the easiest way to get nutrition in her (veggies and fruits) but she started expressing interest in feeding herself at 6.5 months. I read up a bit on baby led weaning and also had a friend encourage me to give her chunks of food. At first I was thinking “nooooo way! she’s going to choke and only has one tooth!” But my friend reassured me that I could help her and that she would learn to work through the food. Well, she was right! I started by giving her steamed vegetables and soft fruits. Then I added cheese and some bread. She handled everything very well. We are definitely fans of baby led weaning!

One of my favorite recipes (and my mom’s) is a simple pasta dish. I thought this would be perfect for Abby and it would be another opportunity to open up her palate. She was in love at first bite. She isn’t a very eager eater (pretty sure from the reflux issues we had early on) so when she’s stuffing her face, I know I hit the jackpot with her taste buds. I apologize for not taking picture of the process or the final product before baby got to it.

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Roasted Tomato, Basil and Garlic Spaghetti

1/2 box of organic spaghetti

1 tub of cherry or grape tomatoes

4 cloves of garlic peeled and smashed

1/2 cup of chopped basil

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

salt to taste

Set the oven to 450 degrees. I cook over cook the spaghetti by a couple of minutes so it’s easy for Abby to mush with her one tooth. Toss the tomatoes, garlic and olive oil with a pinch of salt in a pan. Bake it in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the tomatoes pop with the juices running. Drain the cooked pasta and return to the pot. Toss in the tomato mixture along with basil and incorporate well. Mix in the cheese and at this point you can add a bit of salt for flavor or none at all since baby’s have a sensitive palate. Like many pasta dishes, it’s even better the next day and easier for baby to grip.

Enjoy!

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