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
We’re six weeks into this crazy adventure with little Aldo and have yet to do much in the way of real cooking (or, to be honest, it’s me who has yet to be cooking much – Brett’s doing a great job of keeping me fed!). So I’m glad I decided to participate in Whisk‘s first recipe swap, which encouraged me to pick out and make something new from one of our other member sites. It’s particularly good I picked the recipe I did, since a bit of a rough patch for baby means I’m on a partial elimination diet while we figure out what’s causing his problems, and this one worked for my current dietary restrictions (no dairy, avoiding soy).
I was matched to Whisk member Tattooed Foodie, a site out of Eau Claire by “moderately tattooed food enthusiast” Kyle Lato. She has a great selection of straightforward comfort food – like spicy turkey beer chili, one pan chicken and couscous, skillet breakfast pizza (such a great idea), and caramel apple cheesecake bars (which is initially what I picked but it’s good I switched to these excellent black bean burgers, since I unexpectedly had to cut out dairy). I chose to make Kylie’s spicy black bean burgers, which made two great weeknight dinners for us. I’ve been looking for a good vegetarian burger patty for a long time, as well as something else to do with the big pots of beans we regularly make (this is actually a huge benefit – we often make large quantities of beans, but pairing them with rice or simply eating them with bread and salad can get a little boring). It’s a particularly good recipe to tweak with whatever spices, herbs, and other flavoring elements you might have around the house, especially if you cook the beans from dried (more on that in the recipe below). Read more
Hello there, all the way from over here in Maternity Leave Land! I left my job at REAP just over a week ago now, leaving myself a few weeks (maybe – turns out babies come on their own schedule) to rest, to avoid much of our August heat and humidity, and to make final baby preparations. I’ve been joking about how I might not get dressed on a daily basis, but that isn’t actually much of a joke – you try finding suitable clean clothes to wear day after day when you’re 8.5+ months pregnant. It’s exhausting enough to require a nap.
In any case – the really exciting part of this whole maternity leave business is that when it’s all done, Bowen Appétit will be my main gig. I’m not going back to REAP after babe arrives, and I’m very excited that in the fall I’ll be able to focus more on offering more and a bigger variety of classes in new locations. I’ll be scheduling quite a few private parties and classes over the holiday season (for those folks who like planning ahead, feel free to get in touch now!), and as with last year I’ll be offering gift certificates for private classes and class registrations. If you have any thoughts or ideas, definitely get in touch. And make sure you’re signed up for our monthly email newsletter (also on leave until the fall) to be the first to hear about classes and other fun announcements.
That said, I have a pretty great summery recipe for you today, one that was part of my celebration dinner last week on the night of my last day of work. I make a lot of fresh corn salads in the summer, though usually I throw in whatever haphazard mix of vegetables, herbs, and other things I can find roaming around the fridge. In this case I had a pretty specific vision, the result of which is the beauty below:
Being a person who not only loves food as much as I do but someone who does it more or less professionally, I’ve fielded quite a few questions over the last six months or so on how being pregnant has affected my diet, my tastebuds, my craving, my cooking activities, etc. etc. etc. There have been ups and downs as far as all elements have been concerned, but I will say as I head into my final month (final month! Okay, month-ish!) of carrying this tiny little human around that lately things in both the Cooking and General Accomplishments categories have been a bit touch and go. About six weeks back we started joking about how I could reasonably accomplish just one thing each day – go to work OR run an errand OR cook a meal OR do something social OR do a couple of chores around the house – but soon enough that joke became reality, and I wouldn’t hesitate to say that Brett has taken on the vast majority of household tasks, including the shopping and cooking. Lucky me, he’s a pretty fantastic cook, so we’re still eating well. But in general my preferred diet has taken on characteristics similar to that of me as a nine-year-old, albeit with significant improvements in ingredients and process, so even when I am cooking it hasn’t been much of anything to share here.
But I’ve spent the entire weekend swooning over a rediscovery of a particular childhood favorite, so even with a bit of hesitation I’m going to share it all with you today. Blame the baby, if you must, for what I’m about to share may be seen as a giant betrayal among many – the ground beef hardshell taco.