On The Menu: 1 Healthy Dessert & 1 Not So Much

  • Fresh Strawberry Pie
  • Chia Seed Pudding

There’s this place called Marie Callender’s. You might know the name because there are frozen dinners with that name everywhere. But no, you don’t know Marie Callender’s until you’ve actually been in the restaurant and have had their fresh strawberry pie. Every summer, my family and I would have it at least once. Fresh whole strawberries piled high with an unusually red glossy glaze, which then are all placed in a buttery pie shell. Red coloring sort of freaks me out but it’s ok in Sprinkle’s Red Velvet Cupcakes (found out they’re opening a location in Lenox with a cupcake vending machine and ice cream!!!!), red gummy bears and Marie Callender’s Strawberry Pie. So, the other day I was craving it and although I’m trying to be really really good with my eating habits, I just had to find a recipe and make it. Almost all of the recipes I came across added way too much sugar and strawberry jello powder or gelatin for the glaze. Ok, let me be honest. I don’t like fake strawberry crap so that was out. I tried the first batch with gelatin and ugh, it was disgusting. There’s a certain smell/taste that comes with gelatin and it did not belong in a strawberry pie. Also, why mask the wonderful taste of ripe organic strawberries with a ton of sugar?? I guess I felt daring that night so I decided to make my own pie shell (haha, I really don’t bake). It actually came out pretty decent so if I can bake it, anyone can bake this easy peasy crust. I lost my pie tin so I had to use my tart tin but it all worked out.

But I will start with the chia seed pudding recipe since it’s so ridiculously easy. This recipe isn’t only for the baby because I eat it and enjoy it. Sam tried it once… that’s it. It may sound gross but it’s pretty good and dare I say kind of “fun” to pop the seeds in your mouth. The texture resembles tapioca. Well, Abby LOVES it but I have to control her portions because the first day she had it, she pooped 4 times. I was happy and surprised because she usually deals with a bit of constipation but this had things moving along! Sorry, I’m very blunt about poop now. I think it’s a mom thing. Anyways, I looked up the nutritional facts on the chia seed and it’s packed with crazy goodness. It’s loaded with protein, fiber and good fats. Plus it’s paleo, gluten free and vegan so major bonus points there. Did I mention how easy it is to make??

Chia Seed Pudding

  • 2 cups of coconut milk (or almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup of chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • if you want it on the sweeter side, add honey or maple syrup

Pour the seeds, milk and extract into a bowl with a lid. Mix thoroughly, cover and place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours with occasional stirring. I made this after dinner and stirred it right before going to bed.

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In the morning, I stirred it once more it was done! Sorry for the picture quality. Yes, those little hands wanted that pudding so badly!

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Fresh Strawberry Pie

PIE SHELL:

  • 1 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 8 tablespoons of really cold butter diced into small chunks
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of ice cold water

Put half of the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients into a food processor and give it a couple of pulses. Add the butter and give it a go until the mixture is crumbly. Add the rest of the flour and pulse a couple more times until everything is still crumbly and the flour is mixed in. Take the mixture out and place it in a bowl. Add the water and start pushing everything together to form the dough. It should come together rather quickly.  Press it into a flat oval shape and keep it in the fridge for at least 1 hour (you can leave it overnight). Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Take the dough out and form it into the pie shell. Place it back in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then take it out and prick the bottom with a fork. Place a piece of foil over the pie crust and use pie weights or beans to weight it down. Bake for 15 minutes then take out the foil and weights and bake for another 5 minutes or until it’s golden brown. Cool while the filling is prepared.

FILLING:

  • 2-3 pints of strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of sugar (sounds like a lot but you don’t end up using a lot of the glaze)
  • 2 tablespoons of corn starch
  • 1 cup of water
  • Juice of 2 strawberries mashed through a sieve

Clean and cut the strawberries

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Put the sugar and water into a pot and cook on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Once dissolved, add the corn starch and whisk until smooth. The mixture will become thick rather quickly. The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon without running down.

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This is the mixture with the strawberry juice added

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When the mixture is cool, add the strawberries and toss to coat

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Scoop the strawberries into the baked and cooled pie shell. Feel free to pour the remaining syrup on top but that’s where I cut a significant amount of sugar.

The end product! It was so pretty and so good!

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Enjoy!

On The Menu: Confetti Spaghetti & You Got The “Beet” Pouch

  • Spaghetti with all the fixins’
  • Beet and Strawberry pouch

A couple of weeks ago, we went to lunch with friends of ours to The Patio here in Georgia. When I was in the hospital for 14 days due to my water breaking early, they brought me cookies and a sandwich from this place and OMG, it was good! Now that Abby was with us, I had to find something to order besides a sandwich. Their special of the day was “confetti spaghetti.” It’s a casserole that has lots of cheese, bell peppers, onions and meat. Since Abby LOVES spaghetti, I thought this would be perfect for her. She ate so much of it and got her white shorts all dirty (ugh! mommy’s fault). Now that Abby has reached a point in her oh so refined palate where she can discern what is good and tasty to what is bland and boring, I have found myself at a loss sometimes of how to get this girl to eat her veggies. My little broccoli floret eating baby is gone (sad face). We try and do the gluten free thing but I can’t deny this girl her spaghetti and we are pretty flexible because WE LOVE FOOD. I say everything in moderation! Thus, I decided to make confetti spaghetti and put as much goodness in it as possible without comprising taste. I was thinking of how to make the sauce sweeter to cut the acidity. Well duhh, use vidalia onions! They are everywhere here in Georgia and they are super delicious. Pair that with some sweet bell peppers and no sugar is needed… I promise.  This sauce is paleo friendly if you use pure tomato sauce and it would taste amazing over some zucchini noodles.

Sam even took it to work and ate it twice in a row! Abby ate it 5 times for dinner last week and loved it every single time.

  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 package of whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 4-5 mini sweet peppers
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the beef first. We got our amazing local grass fed beef from White Oak Pastures .

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Chop up all your veggies into similar sizes

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This is the pasta and sauce I used

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Cook your noodles then drain and set aside

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In a pot, add the veggies, olive and oil, pepper and salt.  Cook them for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Then add the beef and sauce. It should look like this chunky mess.

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Cook the mixture on low heat for about 30 minutes. All of the veggies will have softened. Gosh, this looks so good!

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Toss the spaghetti with the sauce  and half of the parmesan cheese. Place it in a casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake it at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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Abby enjoying it on day 2! Yes, she likes eating with her leg up.

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You Got The “Beet” Pouch

  • 1 large beet (about 4 inches in diameter)
  • about 10 strawberries

This is another one of Abby’s favorites as a snack now! This pouch got it’s name from the fact that every time I make it or pull one out for Abby, I sing the song “We Got The Beat” and start dancing in front of her. Weird, I know. Anyways, it’s great for any age (seriously, I would eat this like a slushy because I don’t like beets by themselves but the strawberries make this pouch taste really great). Cut the beets into fourths and boil until tender. Combine with washed and hulled strawberries in a blender and puree until the desired consistency is reached. If this is for a younger baby, adding some water will thin out the mixture. For some added health points, sprinkle some ground chia seeds in. Pour it into your favorite Squooshi character or the Infantino pouches. This will make approximately 4 pouches that are 4 ounces in size.

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Enjoy!