Adventures of an unfussy foodie.

January 30, 2015

Big Batch Freezer-Friendly Hummus

It's time I owned the truth: I have a picky preschooler on my hands.
I'm not sure what has happened over the past couple of months, but my big boy, who used to be excited to try new things and loved all sorts of foods is suddenly unwilling to taste his dinner and eating like a bird.

I know.
It's normal.
Blah blah blah.

At least he'll eat fresh fruit and veggies with wild abandon. But protein? Good day to you, sir. But, happily. you know what else he loves? Hummus. He'll eat hummus and veggies for any occasion, and it is a sanity saver.

And so. A big batch of hummus cannot go amiss in my house.

The night I made this hummus, I could not stop eating it! I don't know what it is about this hummus, but it was absolutely the most amazing hummus I'd ever had, and certainly the best I've ever made. And the best thing is, I've still got a stockpile! Something to get us through this picky-kid wasteland of simple carbs.

And while we're on the subject of carbs, have you tried these Pita Bite Crackers from Trader Joe's? If not, you should. And while you're at it, scoop up some of this hummus to go with it. You won't regret it.

Big Batch Freezer-Friendly Hummus
from The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila

7 c. cooked chickpeas
10 - 15 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 c. fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
1/2 c. tahini
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. good olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until uniformly smooth, stopping to scrape sides as needed. Taste and adjust salt to taste.

Transfer to airtight containers for storage. Put some in the fridge to snack on -- it will keep for 4 days to a week. Put the rest in freezer-safe containers. Will keep for about 6 months. To thaw, set in refrigerator for a day or so. Stir to recombine any liquid that may have separated (in my experience, there will only be a little bit).

Makes about 7 cups.

January 19, 2015

Red Robin Freckled Fruit Salad Copycat

I often feel bothered by the tendency of bloggers to begin a new post with an apology for a long gap between updates. One more post or one less from me on your reader won't shake anything up for anyone -- not even for me. Whatever drives me to this non-existent place to write the words that come bubbling up from the place inside me that wishes I could connect better with the world around me; I wish I had more of that to give. Because it means a lot to me that anyone would come for the recipes or the photos, and especially for the words -- if anyone besides my mom comes for those.

But my plate is fuller these days. Simple things get me through swift days of "What are you doing, Mama?", and "Please will you please read me another story, Mama?", and "Rawr! Raaaaaaaaawr! I'm a dinosaur/lion/bear/monster, Mama!" Sometimes I don't want to break from the rhythm of our life by pulling out the camera to document it. I just want to live it. These are good days -- whatever I may say to the contrary when I'm overwhelmed or just ready for a break.

We like trips to the library, play dough at home, baking cookies together, watching Sesame Street, singing silly songs, coloring, snuggling, tickling, hide and seek, and not bothering to worry about what the rest of the world is doing. And we like snacks. We could snack all day.

I wrote those words and took that picture of my Bryce almost an entire year ago. So much has changed since then: my baby boy has outgrown that high chair, lost a tooth, broken his collarbone, started preschool, and is now a proud big brother to a new baby boy. Now my days include a lot more rocking, nursing, peek-a-boo-ing, and "let's be a little quieter while Judah is napping".  But what's more shocking is how many things have stayed the same. Those words I wrote still ring true. My now big boy still wears that sweatshirt (it was a little big then and is a little small now, but he still wears it), still eats from that plate and fork, still drinks from that cup, and until very recently he still played in the giant box you can see in the background. There is still a considerable amount of Raaaaaaawr-ing to be had.
These are also good days. Very sweet and precious days we're fortunate to spend together.
And we still love to snack. Snack all day.

So that's what fruit salad is for. It's simple to throw together, gets something healthy in little tummies, and provides some color and brightness to these gray January days. This one in particular packs in a lot of Vitamin C to stave off cold and flu season. Bonus!

We live just far enough away from Portland for the great restaurants there to be only an occasional indulgence (or, if we're being realistic, a box on our to-try-ASAP list). If we go out as a family we're much more likely to end up at a chain, since that's what we have nearby. One chain we actually like is Red Robin, and Bryce especially likes their Freckled Fruit Salad. So I took a shot at recreating it at home. The strawberries in the original are defrosted from frozen, and the orange segments are canned mandarins. I prefer fresh, so that's what I use. But definitely use the frozen strawberries and canned oranges if that's what you like and/or have around.

This makes a great accompaniment to eggs and toast at breakfast, or with your sandwich at lunch. We even love fruit salad with dinner. (Breakfast burritos for dinner anyone?)

Freckled Fruit Salad
Makes about 4 cups

1 small deli container cut fresh pineapple, including any juices
1 c. or so strawberries (frozen and defrosted or fresh), quartered
2 small cans mandarin oranges, drained OR the segments of 2 clementines
juice of 1 clementine
1 small apple (I used Gala), cut into bite-sized chunks
1 Tbsp. honey, or as desired

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Taste and add honey to sweeten if desired. Let chill for at least 30 minutes to let flavors mingle before serving.
Keeps well in the fridge for a day or two.

November 08, 2014

Another Important Introduction

Last Thursday was a whirlwind day, to say the very least.
I went to my routine 37-week prenatal appointment at 10:45 in the morning, and, after a ridiculously quick and intense 2 hours of labor, had our second-born child, Judah, in my arms by 5:00 that night.

He is perfect and sweet and, so far, doesn't seem to like to sleep at night, so we're tired around here. But happy. Oh, so very happy.

I won't have much to say on the subject of food for a while. Altogether too much snuggling to be getting on with. Here's wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving season!

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