On The Menu: Jjajangmyeon

  • Easy Jjajangmyeon

Hi!

If you’re a non-Korean friend and reading this but don’t know what the heck I wrote in the title or have any idea of what I’m making and you’re still reading, GOOD FOR YOU! Before writing this post, I asked Sam if he knew anybody that didn’t like jjajangmyeon. We could not think of anybody. Seriously. I think as a Korean, you grow up with this dish and I equate it to the Korean “mac and cheese.” Basically, this is the default go-to dish that all kids will eat. As an adult, it’s almost always ordered at a Korean-Chinese restaurant (New Garden is the bombbbbb. End of story). I’ll admit, my first couple of times trying to make this were complete disasters. I followed various recipes online and wow, they tasted awful. One was too salty, one was way too watery and one tasted too jjajang-y. So what is “jjajang?” It’s a black bean paste.  It’s salty and it’s so unique in flavor but mild at the same time. Like I said, I have not met anybody who did not like it.  So finally, after much experimentation, I think I have finally found a fool proof and super easy recipe that the whole family can enjoy (gluten free when eaten with rice “jjajangbap”). The salt is controlled and I know exactly what goes in it. I feel good about giving this to her because it’s full of veggies. Actually, most Korean dishes are full of veggies so amen to that! Abby LOVES it. She actually prefers it with rice but either way, she gets messy and LOVES it!

Jjajangmyeon: Recipe was adapted from Maangchi

  • 1/2 pound of sirloin or pork loin, fat taken off and diced into small chunks (or whatever meat you choose)
  • 1 large zucchini diced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 large potato diced
  • About 1/4 cup of jjajang paste. Don’t pack it in because it’s pretty strong
  • 1.5 cups of water for sauce
  • 2 tblsp of corn starch or potato starch
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 tsp of sugar

Dice all the veggies and meat

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Fry the jjajang in some oil for a minute. It’s just to get rid of some bitterness. The jjajang I bought was the one that I found with the least amount of ingredients, no msg and no weirdo things in it.

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Heat a large skillet over medium heat and toss in all your veggies and cook until the potatoes are tender. Depending on how big you diced your veggies, this takes about 10 minutes. Then add your meat and and cook until done. Then add the jjajang sauce and stir everything together. As you can tell in the picture, I got excited and added the jjajang first, then the meat. Oops!

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Add about 1.5 cups of water and cover the pan for about 15 minutes under med-low heat. While that’s happening, dissolve your starch in the 1/4 cup of water

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Remove lid from your pan and slowly add the starch mixture into the sauce while mixing. It’ll thicken up quickly so pour slowly.  The sauce will become shiny and so yummy looking!

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Check for seasoning. I usually add a dash of salt and a teaspoon of sugar at the way end to balance out all the flavor. Boil some noodles or cook some rice. We used these noodles:

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Then it’s ready! You can garnish it with cucumbers but we don’t get that fancy around here.

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This is an old picture. I think this was one of her first times trying it but obviously it was love at first bite!

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Enjoy!

On The Menu: Amazing Cheese-It’s-Stars

  • Gluten free cheese crackers

Hello, hello hello!

One a personal note since many are wondering why I was M.I.A.: I just had to this past month to sort the crazy in life and really prioritize. I think when we get caught up in the every day, one can easily get lost in the routine of work, play dates/activities (for those of us with kids) and social media and become someone that they never wanted to be. So before I even get remotely close to a bad place, I have to check myself real quick and remove myself from the situation so I can re-focus and be the best me for God, my family and friends and ultimately myself. I’m still a work in progress but many of my long time family and friends would probably agree that I used to be a person that jumped to the worst possible case, filled myself and everyone else around me with anxiety/stress and felt the need to be competitive or better than. Ugh, I look back and I’m disgusted. It reminded me of an e-card I saw the other day:

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Life is just way too short to be caught up in negativity. With that said, I still don’t have a filter…heh…heh…

One MAJOR change has been my discovery of a gluten sensitivity. My WHOLE life I have been so constipated. Like stupid, haven’t gone, backed up for 6-7 days constipated (told you I have no filter). Yes, I have been miserable and I have tried everything under the sun. I drank lots of water, ate fiber, took supplements and even resorted to eastern medicine stuff and no success. I was even prescribed a medication but my body adjusted to that in one week and I was backed up once again. So after doing paleo for about a month, I started noticing that when I ate breads or pasta, I was a lethal gas producing machine with a stomach ache for days. Hubby quickly looked it up because he was suffering with me and found that it’s common for a sensitivity to show up around your late 20’s and early 30’s. Needless to say, I have been pretty much gluten free for a solid month now. I take bites of yummy treats here and there but boy do I get the “stank eye” from Hubby because he knows what’s coming. Hubby has been great and has totally adjusted to a mostly GF lifestyle but still enjoys pizza and subs occasionally.  We are also flexible with Abby when out but at home, she’s pretty much GF. The best part has been that I have been pretty regular in the toilet department so it’s been a true victory for me. Actually, I look at it as a victory for our whole household since gluten isn’t all that great for you anyways (for mommies: while I was doing research for myself, I found lots of stories of success in calming tantrum/bad behaviors of toddlers by eliminating gluten from their diet. Just FYI).

I present to you a wonderfully easy snack recipe that we all LOVE. It’s so easy to make, quick and so freakin’ delicious. We finished the first batch in 2 days!

Gluten Free Cheese Stars (or whatever shape you wish) *copied from Fields of Green blog

  • 1 block of sharp cheddar (8oz) grated
  • 4 tbsp of cold butter
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 3/4 cup of sweet rice flour (for Koreans, it’s chap ssal flour)
  • 1/4 cup of corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum (binder)

 

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Sweet rice flour and corn starch

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Pulse all of the dry ingredients together first, then add the cheese and water until the dough comes together.

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Wrap in plastic wrap and chill dough for at least 30 minutes.

At this point, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

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Roll the dough out as thinly as possible and cut out desired shapes. I found that the thinner I rolled it, the much crispy and crunchy the cracker.

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Bake for 7 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 7 minutes.  The crackers puff up beautifully!

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I pulled them out because they had browning on the edges. If you want a super crispy cracker, I found that a minute more does the trick. They may be a bit more brown but it’s so good.

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Yes, she absolutely loved them. Don’t mess with her.

Enjoy!

On The Menu: Breakfast Cupcakes

  • Bacon, spinach, bell pepper and egg cupcake

My biggest problem with consistently eating right is the availability of choices. Good versus bad choices or to not eat at all. I am a snacker and used to be a bread lover (trying really, really hard). If I don’t have a “good choice” ready to go or in my face, there’s a huge temptation for me to just go right into the pantry and grab a ramen or bag of chips. You might be thinking why then would I even have such options in my pantry? Well, because I live with my husband (again, I shall remind everyone that he’s Mr. 12% body fat)  who grew up with snacks galore in his pantry and every single kind of Costco freezer food. He loves them and is able to regulate how much he eats so we have them in our house. Also, as much as we love whole nutrition, we can’t help but indulge in that bowl of steamy ramen with a runny egg once in a blue moon. If you’re Korean, it’s like a sin if you don’t enjoy that stuff. Ok, so moving along. Breakfast is the toughest for me. I love breakfast food (bagels used to be my bff) but most of the time mornings are hectic so if I skip breakfast, I usually make a really bad choice at lunch because I’m starving.  Smoothies are a great and easy option but I love bacon and eggs. These cupcakes are popular but mine do not have potatoes in them. They fit the “clean eating” and “paleo” bill but I just love these as my go-to in the mornings. I eat 2-3 depending on how hungry I am. Just make them all, put them in the fridge and pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds to reheat. It’s truly an easy and satisfying breakfast without all the junky carbs. Oh, Abby loves them too! Seriously, who wouldn’t? Next time I make them, I’m going to put half of the recipe in the mini muffin tin for her. Great finger food idea!

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup of frozen spinach chopped up
  • half a large bell pepper or one small pepper diced into small chunks
  • half an medium onion diced into small chunks
  • 4 slices of bacon or 4 sausage patties

Cook the bacon to your liking first. I like it a bit more on the crunchier side. After it’s done cooking, cool and chop up into small pieces and set aside.

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Dice and chop up all your veggies. You can actually put any kind of veggie into this recipe. I have used mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and onions before with a bit of basil for a more Italian-y (I just made that word up) breakfast.

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Crack all of your eggs and whisk thoroughly

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Everything in the bowl. I do not add extra salt to this recipe. For us, the bacon is already salty enough for us but if you like things salty, I suggest you stop liking salty things. Haha…just kidding… kind of… not really…But honestly, add a couple of dashes if you wish

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Line your muffin tin with paper cups. I tried it without cups and it was a mess because the cupcakes would not come out cleanly at all. Pour the mixture into 12 cups and try and make them as even as possible.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. They will be super puffy right out of the oven and deflate once cooled

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Once your cupcakes have cooled, peel the paper off and then toss them in a ziploc bag or tupperware for the fridge (you don’t want soggy paper cups). These will not peel cleanly but you should be able to get the majority of the muffin out of the cup.

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Enjoy!

Baby Products Yay, Nay or Eh: Magnificent Baby

Doesn’t the name just sound so epic? I love it.

I must catch everyone up on a little background first. So before Abby came, hubby and I read a couple of books on parenting and what to expect when baby came. I read about the different shades of poop, colic, rashes, feeding and all the other good stuff. But no where in any of the books was the topic of “reflux” ever mentioned. Well, our eager and anxious baby decided to come out into the world 6 weeks early! We were scared but mostly excited to finally meet her and we were told of what to expect with potential complications  a preemie could have. No mention of reflux whatsoever. Right after she was born, she went straight to the NICU and stayed there for 5 days. She was on formula since I had nothing to offer her yet. The thing we found so weird was that she would literally throw up all her formula a couple times a day. The nurses stuck a tube in her just in case she could not hold down any formula. Still, no mention of reflux or GERD. Well, she proved that she could eat and gain weight so she came home. At first, everything seemed fine. Then around 6 weeks old, she developed horrible eczema, spit up/threw up all the time, choked on all her feedings, arched her back after feeding, stopped wanting to eat and became inconsolable. She could not sleep for very long and the night’s were the worst. We made an appointment and explained to the doctor everything and asked him why she was refusing to eat now. He quickly said she has reflux and it seemed pretty severe.  He prescribed medicine and we tried it but nothing changed. I honestly think it only made her even more miserable because of the awful taste. WE WERE MISERABLE AND LOST.

The hubby and I spent hours researching infant reflux and the different things we could do like elevating her crib, me starting an elimination diet, how long we could expect her to have reflux and ultimately if there were any natural ailments. One thing we did read over and over again was to not have her laying down flat. I completely agreed with this because the moment we would lay her on her back, she would spit up a decent volume within 5 seconds no matter if she had just had her meal 10 minutes ago or 2 hours ago. The stuff that came up was extremely acidic and once it came up, she would cry in pain. It was so awful. Our three lifesavers (I kid you not) were infant probiotics, Angel Care Monitor, and Magnificent Baby clothing (yes, clothing!).  Abby’s G.I. doc advised us to forget about all medication (he knew we wanted as natural as possible) and start probiotics. There is so much great info on probiotics and the benefits for babies. But I bring up Magnificent Baby because their clothing gave us a small part of our sanity back.

Magnificent Baby: Gown (Amazon $25.20 Buy Buy Baby $29.99)

Footie (Amazon $19.21-$30.00 BBB: $24.99) Burrito Onesie (Amazon $12.23-$21.99 BBB: $21.99)

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While at Buy Buy Baby, a very exhausted Sam and I came upon the brand and saw the magnetic closures then we saw the price. $29.99 for a onesie gown. We freaked out at the price for 1 second, looked at each other then said to each other “why not?” That night, Abby finished her bath and the gown was open and waiting for her. We put a diaper on her and closed one magnet then like magic, everything buttoned down and she was done. Took like a second, no lie. No fiddling with zippers, snap buttons or buttons. You can never get the snaps wrong. She didn’t even have the chance to freak out or be fussy. Seriously, it was so glorious during those half-awake middle of the night feedings. So we did what any other desperate/crazy/sleep deprived parents would do: thanked the genius minds behind Magnificent Baby and bought more. Yes, the burrito onesie and a footie the next day. But don’t fret, we used our coupons! Abby wore these a couple times a week for 3 months so we definitely got our money’s worth. They are in amazing condition considering how much wear these got. Plus, the material is so soft and such great quality.

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YAY (DOUBLE YAY): IT’S A WONDERFUL PRODUCT THAT WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE! F.y.i. while I was checking prices on Amazon, I saw that the Circus and Star Burrito onesie were on sale for only $12.13?!?!?!?! Largest size is 9 months for both boy and girl color ways! Such a killer deal! Since we first bought our pieces from Magnificent Baby, they have produced so many amazing prints and pieces for baby. Their bibs are also wonderful! Our only mistake was not knowing the care instructions fully (blame sleep deprivation). We actually did put them in the dryer and a couple of times they did not fully dry because the magnets stuck to the metal dryer drum. What helped us was placing them in a mesh laundry bag with other wet baby clothes and they would dry really well. Although most of their sizes only go to 9 months, they actually have a jacket with magnets that is going to fit Abby because we all know how babies and toddlers can get when trying to put bulky pieces on. I’m excited. Is it weird clothing excites me this much? Truly, it’s the little, genius things in life.

Magnificent Baby, you truly are magnificent!

Enjoy!

Baby Stuff Yay, Nay or Eh: Boon Bubbles Bath Toy

Sam and I decided to add a new feature to this family blog. BABY STUFF: YAY, NAY OR EH! We have tried so many different bottles, products and toys because my hubby is a bit of a nerd/geek in the “stuff” department. I mean, what guy doesn’t like new stuff? As soon as we were pregnant, he started researching the best stroller, car seat, clothing (yes, he definitely had a preference in the earlier days for Magnificent Baby), bottles and everything baby under the sun. I mean, we bought, tried, returned and became best friends with the sales associates at Buy Buy Baby and Babies R Us. I always told him he should start a YouTube Channel reviewing products or a blog but he’s shy. Haha.

So, we will present to our readers the price for the item, our experiences with it and at the end of the review YAY: it is worth it or NAY: do not buy or EH: it’s ok, not great, possibly a waste of money. By the way, all opinions expressed are our personal thoughts and experiences. If we all liked the same stuff, this world would not be a functioning world. Please don’t get defensive or hurt because we don’t have the same tastes. Got it? Good! (p.s. no one is forcing you to read this) With that out of the way, I present to you our very first product review!

Boon Bubbles Bath Toy (Amazon $14.37 or Buy Buy Baby $14.99)

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These caught my eye because of the cute colors. The image above is from the website but below you’ll see the true colors. These also come in a series of more boy friendly colors. Abby also loves bubbles and I thought it would be fun to have these in the tub with her. I want to make it clear that we do not buy many toys at all. From the start, Sam was very adamant about keeping toys to a minimum and buying toys for a purpose. He is anti very bright and flashy light toys. We both agreed that this could be a fun bath time toy. The bubbles come in two different sizes and they suction cup to the tub walls or even on baby’s body. You suction them on top of each other but the suction power isn’t strong. Which we totally understand because then this would not be a fun toy for baby. I see that this would become frustrating for an older toddler who would want to make something out of these bubbles. Abby really enjoyed bath time and stayed in the tub until all the water was gone (that’s a first for her). For us, it was fun but some of the suction cups on certain bubbles didn’t work well. We would start making things and the bubbles would all fall.

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EH: it’s ok, not great. The concept and design are really cute. I can totally see babies who love balls and bubbles would have a blast with these in the tub because they float and semi stick together very easily.

This one is your call!

Enjoy!

On The Menu: Super Green Juice & Good For You “Cereal Bars”

Well hello there!

It’s been awhile… a minute… forever and a day… ok, it has been way too long. The wonderfully fantastic thing is, ever since I started this little humble blog of mine, I have received SO many positive responses and many have asked me to update. Life has been so crazy busy because of Abby’s bi coastal birthdays and so far, our summer has been filled to the brim with play dates, friends, projects, work, church and most importantly family time. On a personal note, I had my body fat measured this past Saturday. You know, those trucks that come and you completely submerge yourself under water and feel like you’re going to die because you’re supposed to blow at least 95% of the air out of your body. Yeah, I did it and although the results were better than I thought, they still were not great. Boooo. On the other hand, my hubby received fantastic results and since the doc did say 80% of your fat/health/weight is from your diet, I received a huge thank you from him. Abby also received great remarks on her 1 year visit and the doctor was super impressed with her iron levels saying that her numbers weren’t expected to be seen until at least 6 years old, which she said was awesome! If any of you are curious, Abby clocked in at 50% weight, 50% head circumference and 80% height. Sooooo, I guess I’m taking care of my family well with their meals but ugh… woe is me… not. I feel great when I eat well and the doc this weekend said that doing 80% paleo was going to be good for me. Such positive words of encouragement because I do enjoy paleo but by no means am I a hard core cave woman. On that note, here are two recipes that have been big hits in our home. Yes, the juicing recipe requires two contraptions and why yes (insert best Asian British accent), I know my Vitamix can blend all the stuff without having to juice but seriously, the texture is a difficult one to gulp down so you really think a baby would be keen to that stuff? Uh, no… negative… bye. For babies and kids, texture comes first then taste. There have been many times where something touched the tip of Abby’s tongue and she was done.  I always want Abby to know how great something tastes so I am sensitive to blah textures. So if you are one to say that your child is picky or doesn’t like a certain ingredient, I always say to try and prepare it another way! Also, for the cereal fruit bar inspiration and recipe, I will have to say a huge THANK YOU to Against All Grain!

Super Green Juice

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Banana

Prep apples, carrots and cucumbers for the juicer

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Juice away! This amount made enough for all 3 of us. Once I portioned out Abby’s 4-5oz, I added 2 medium beets to our juicer and that was enough for 2 16oz mommy and daddy juices.

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Grab a handful of spinach. I make sure it’s baby spinach because the texture and taste are very friendly once blended. Yes, this was all for Abby.

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Add half an avocado, half a banana and all the spinach into the blender along with the juice

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Blend away… so beautiful

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Abby, enjoying her cup with saran wrap because we didn’t have any clean straw cups at the moment. No Judging 🙂

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Good For You “Cereal Bars”

Have you ever tried the bars that are meant for babies and kids that are in the stores? Heck, even the nutri grain bars. They are gross and even if it’s organic, there are so many unnecessary ingredients. On top of that, it’s stupidly overpriced for sugar and grain. Ok, end rant. This is my solution to those bars. They taste really great, have half the sugar of a nutri grain bar and 30% less sugar than a Plum bar. Abby enjoyed them today as well as both hubby and I.

  • 3/4 cup of almond flour (The finer the better. Honeyville is a great brand)
  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 2 eggs (must be at room temperature or your oil will harden up like mine did.. yayee)
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup or agave
  • 1tsp of vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons of a preserve (I mixed strawberry and guava). You are free to use as much filling as you want, technically.
  • 3 tablespoons of water

Combine all the dry ingredients and incorporate well then set aside

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Combine all of the wet ingredients (minus the preserves) and whisk them until creamy. For mine, I think the coconut oil messed things up so it became frothy. I told you I couldn’t bake!

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Combine all of the ingredients together and either use a stand mixer to blend well or do what I did and use your hands. Again, I can’t bake and I’m really lazy when it comes to it.  Once it forms into a dough, divide it in half and wrap each in saran wrap. Place them both in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Once they are a bit harder, roll one out to a 1/4″ thickness and cut the sides off to form a rectangle or square. A pizza cutter works best for this. Then cut it down the center then cut vertical strips that are about 2-3″ across. Spread a thin layer of preserves

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Use a spatula to lift the other side and press all of the edges together. This dough is very easy to work with so doing this is simple and quick. Repeat for the other piece of dough that is in the fridge. I came out with 11 bars but I think it’s because my measurements were inconsistent. Obviously…

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Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes until they turn golden brown.

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These were yummy… not too sweet and filling. I love giving Abby something like this as a snack because it has a good amount of fiber, protein and healthy fats.

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Enjoy!

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!

On The Menu: Paleo and Gluten Free + Baby Pouch

  • Almost Mexican Style Chicken
  • Chicken Dinner Pouch

When I was trying to look my best for my wedding 5 years ago, I ate this meal a lot. I also grew up eating it so for me, this is comfort food. When my mom comes and visits, we make and eat this at least once. It’s that good and that simple. Perhaps it’s so good because it’s so simple. This is also the chicken you’ll find when you go to your local Americanized Mexican restaurant and ask for a chicken salad, chicken quesadilla or chicken tacos. If your chicken isn’t grilled, this is the same shredded chicken but mine is better. Seriously. The stuff at restaurants almost always lacks flavor because it’s so watered down. This meal is also incredibly figure friendly and there’s absolutely no guilt with this meal. I make a huge batch of this but it only lasts for 2 meals because my hubby and I love it. We also found out that Abby loves it too.

Almost Mexican Style Chicken (salad or tacos)

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 7-8 cloves of garlic finely minced (this is what makes this dish… do not skimp out on the garlic!)
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • jalapenos (optional)
  • cilantro (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Corn tortillas if you want tacos

Boil the chicken breasts in water until cooked through. Save about 2 cups of the chicken broth and set aside. While waiting for the chicken to cool, chop the veggies.

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Cut the lettuce pretty thinly so you can use it either for a salad or tacos. You need to use iceberg. The crunchy-ness of the lettuce goes really well with the chicken. I have also been pretty lazy and just used iceberg lettuce cups with the chicken.

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Shred the chicken

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Toss the chicken back into the pan (do not use oil… this recipe does not need ANY oil) along with the broth that was set aside. Toss in the garlic, onion and tomatoes. Salt and pepper the mixture and toss once more.

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Then cover for 15 minutes and cook in medium heat while stirring occasionally. The mixture will cook and all the veggies will have melded together to create a wonderful smell and taste. Check for seasoning once more. If you do add more salt, let the mixture cook for another minute. At this point, I set aside a small bowl for Abby before adding in the jalapenos. If you choose not to add the jalapenos, it’s done! If you do add them, cook for another 2-3 minutes.

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Warm corn tortillas for tacos or make a bed of lettuce and scoop the mixture on top. Garnish with cilantro or add as much cilantro as you like. My mom adds a whole cup of it. She loves cilantro. I actually got seconds because it hit the spot! Abby enjoyed alternating taking bites of the chicken and tortilla. She wasn’t a fan of the lettuce at all.

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I even ate leftovers for breakfast this morning with 2 eggs and avocado after my workout at Crossfit Reliance. I was starving and this only took 2 minutes!

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Baby Chicken, Peas, Corn and Squash Dinner

  • 1/2 cup of chicken mixture
  • 1/2 cup of peas
  • 1/2 cup of corn
  • 3 oz. of squash

Toss the chicken mixture into a blender. Add the peas, corn kernels and squash. Then blend. I had to add about a tablespoon of water to get it to somewhat of a smooth consistency.

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Enjoy!

On The Menu: Hubby’s Cooking!

  • Breakfast Scramble Tacos
  • Soba

I am truly blessed to have the best hubby! Being together for over 14 years definitely has had it’s fair share of ups and downs but I wouldn’t change any of it. He’s so amazing and I’ve fallen in love with him even more after seeing him with Abby. He always told me he never wanted to be the kind of dad who just took a back seat and let the wife do everything. From day one he has been so proactive in Abby’s life and has done anything and everything to help the both of us. Ok, ok, enough of the mushy stuff. He also loves cooking and made brunch and dinner last week. These meals so simple and easy. The dinner is really something you throw together.

Breakfast Scramble Tacos

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 an onion diced
  • 1/2 a bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 a russet potato or 3-4 fingerling potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 sausage patties
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • Cheese is optional
  • Corn tortillas

We cooked the bacon separately because my hubby always loves extra bacon on the side. We get applewood smoked bacon that’s locally made at Whole Foods and the sausage is from Thompson Farms in Dixie, GA.

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After the bacon is done, set that aside. Saute the veggies in some oil (or you can use the bacon grease) until it’s cooked through. Add the sausage to the veggies and cook until done. Then add the bacon and eggs. Gently fold the mixture around so that you have chunks of eggs instead of an egg paste. Sam didn’t add any extra salt since the bacon and sausage were already salty.

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Warm the tortillas and serve! I assembled mine and put lots of hot sauce… yumm! Gluten free deliciousness!

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Abby enjoying hers!

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Soba

  • 1 pack of buckwheat noodles
  • Green onion
  • Seaweed sheet
  • Soba soup base

We always have a couple of quick meal options in the fridge. One of them is soba. It’s quick, easy and good! Just boil the noodles, chop some green onions, cut the seaweed into little strips and follow the directions of the soup base bottle. That’s it! Takes 15 minutes.

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We used two bundles for our dinner.

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Just dip the noodles and slurp away!

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Abby’s portion barely had any broth in it due to the salt content. I would say for that bowl we put a teaspoon of broth in. She liked it! She actually likes anything that has to do with noodles and slurping.

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Enjoy!