We are finally back in Madison after two months of travel, and we’re trying to soak up every last bit of this summer. Aldo is toddling around like a crazy man, and between running after him and comforting the inevitable bonks and bumps that come with new mobility, we’re focusing on all the joys of late summer in the Midwest – tomatoes, corn, eggplant, peppers, melons, and more tomatoes, and more corn, and more tomatoes, and more corn. Most evenings I cut up a hunk tomato for Aldo with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and because he’s in the midst of an ardent tomato strike (not his first), I slurp up the leftover pieces from his plate and don’t think twice about it.
The first weekend we were back we were invited over to a friend’s house for burritos, and we wandered the Capitol market that morning to stock up on summer basics (aforementioned corn and tomatoes) and to grab the supplies for a Mexican-inspired roasted corn and poblano salad. I’m a huge fan of corn salads in the summer and generally go with a raw base, but when I saw the poblanos which I knew I’d want to char and peel, I let the corn follow suit. Read more
Does your spice collection need a reboot? Here are tips on where to buy your spices, how to store them, and the basics of grinding your own.
It comes as a surprise to no one, especially me, that Aldo starting to eat solid foods has been one of the most rewarding and fun parts of this whole ordeal. (Can you call having a baby and raising it for nearly eight months an “ordeal”? That seems simultaneously too negative and way too casual. Like I’d need at least 10,000 more words to describe what it’s like, but a decent percentage of them would be way more positive than “ordeal.”)
Also unsurprisingly, a lot of people ask me what he’s eating and what our general philosophy is on how and what he eats. Baby led weaning? Homemade? How quickly to introduce allergens? What to introduce and when? The way we’ve gone about it is a fairly good indicator for how we’ve done most things as parents – do some reading, pick and choose the elements we like to form a generalized plan, then see what works and what doesn’t, reformulating the plan nearly on a dime as needed. If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that you can’t go into anything with too many expectations or being too rigid, because this fantastic little guy is actually a human, and he has plenty of his own thoughts and preferences.
And through everything (and we’re not just talking about food here, but also sleep, and play, and everything else he does), I get more and more of this sense that he’s going to be just fine. We can provide a general structure, but as long as we go with our intuition and take note of the signals he sends us, it’ll all work out okay. Read more
It’s time for another All Whisked Up! I’m one of the founding members of Wisconsin Whisk, and every few months we randomly assign blogs to feature one another’s recipes and to introduce our readers to other local sites. Perhaps, for some of us, it also helps us commit to writing a little more often … (apologies, apologies).
This round I was pleased to be assigned to All Food Considered, a Madison-area blog from T.J. Thering. T.J.’s background in engineering gives him a particularly methodical approach to his content and, as his title might suggest, the site’s recipe index covers an impressive array of cuisines and techniques. My favorite part of his site is his collection of 31 culinary lessons, including his advice on kitchen equipment, an overview of ingredient substitutions, and a detailed guide to eggs (as many of you know, my absolute favorite food). This is the sort of content I’ve always intended to develop here on my own site, but T.J. has actually made it happen – perfect for the beginning cook, someone looking for answers to basic cooking questions, couples putting together a registry, or a recent college graduate looking for how to stock and use their first real kitchen. Read more
(It took me over a week to get this post written and posted. Since then, the year has changed! Happy 2016 and here’s to a delicious new year!)
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how I thought life would change with a little one in the house. I figured we wouldn’t get much sleep (and we’re actually doing much better on that front than I would have expected), that we wouldn’t be able to get out of the house that easily (and in the winter, that’s mostly fine with us anyway), and that we wouldn’t be in control of our daily schedules nearly as much (true more than I predicted). But I hadn’t really thought about how much more difficult it would be to cook, especially healthy meals, and how difficult it might be to get moving on a daily basis. Pre-baby we had a pretty solid exercise routine – gym, run, or yoga 7+ times/week – and while our diets were sometimes a bit indulgent, we primarily cooked meals from scratch and prepared a lot of vegetables.
But with baby, all of that has changed. We rely on takeout and quick meals much more than expected, especially considering evenings are the main time the three of us have together. We’re making an effort to turn that around, but some days it’s easier than others. Aldo is happiest rolling around on the floor with a pile of toys and an attentive parent or two, and he usually only lasts in a seat in the kitchen for 15 minutes or less – generally not enough time to get a healthy meal together.
But a few days ago, with Brett working from home during the day as sort of an ersatz Winter Break, I took advantage of a bit of energy and quiet time to pull together a healthy lunch of items we had in the fridge and pantry – French lentils tossed with mire poix and a mustard vinaigrette, topped with fresh parsley and some crumbled feta.