Homemade ricotta chive gnocchi.

Don’t ask me how to pronounce this. In Ohio, you just say “Nock-y” but in New York you say “Ne-O-key” with a bit of an accent at the beginning. I prefer to just not say it at all and since I can’t order it without saying it, I have to make it myself.

There are a couple of awesome things about this recipe. 1. It’s vegetarian. 2. It’s cheap. 3. It’s super easy to make. All you need is

  • 16 oz of ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • chives
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • about 2 – 2.5 cups of flour
  • whatever spices you want to add (I use salt, pepper and garlic powder)

First thing’s first, put a big pot of salted water on to boil. While your water heats up, mix all of the ingredients together, except the flour.

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Once everything is mixed until just combined, start adding the flour about a half a cup at a time and knead with your fingers.

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Add around 2 cups of flour, still just a half a cup at a time, and continue to knead until the mixture becomes sort of doughy. Once you think you’ve added enough flour, drop a small ball of the dough into the boiling water. If it falls apart you need to add more flour. If it sinks and then floats, it’s good to go.

Divide your dough into 4 or 5 parts and roll out each section.

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Cut the rolled out dough into inch pieces and use a fork to indent each inch.

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Lastly, just drop each piece into the boiling water and wait for it to float to the top. Each piece should take about two minutes. Use a slatted spoon and place the pasta in a bowl with a little marinara sauce until ready to serve.

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Another great thing about this recipe is how versatile it is. You can basically substitute whatever you want or have on hand. Serve with a side salad and you’ve got a meal!

 

 

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Foodie baby.

I wish that I would have blogged consistently during Ruby’s first year. I’ve never even started a baby book for her (3rd child problems) but I figure this blog can serve as a sort of makeshift one since every week I document things we do and see. I’m going to write an update on Ruby soon but first I’m going to backtrack a little and recap Rubes’ first year and a half (almost) with food.

Ruby’s first food was breast milk. She was solely nursed for two weeks before we started supplementing with organic formula. It was a rocky road but I ended up nursing her for 6 months and I’m really proud of that. I’m not, nor was I ever, a crazy breast is best advocate (Parker was never breastfed and Theo was for one month) but the difference that I see between Ruby’s health and the boys’ health is undeniably the result of her early diet. Rubes is 16 months old now and has never taken an antibiotic. Actually, the only medicine she has taken at all is Motrin – twice for fevers, each of which lasted for one night. Despite only being eight weeks old when our entire house came down with a nasty stomach virus that lasted for two whole weeks, Ruby was the only family member who never got sick. She is constantly exposed to countless germs from living with gross big brothers who each were exposed to tons of germs at school last year and yet she has only had a mild cold once. Our boys are very healthy too but not like Rubes.

We waited until she was almost six months old to introduce table food to her and decided to go with the Baby Led Weaning method. Her first solid food was a banana and then we continued with soft foods like avocado, sweet potatoes and beans. We ended up giving her some pureed food, mostly that I made myself or the store bought organic pouches, but once she became acclimated to eating solids we just served her whatever we were eating. From our experience, I can not praise BLW enough. It is WAY easier than spoon feeding, it gave Ruby extra practice with hand eye coordination and it allowed her to get used to eating with the family. There were never any separate meals for the baby. Now, almost a year later Ruby is still eating like a champ.

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 I’m a big advocate for feeding your kids what you eat (and hopefully you eat a healthy variety of foods) because of the lessons that I learned from Parker. Until he was three, he basically only ate pizza, hot dogs, pasta and pb&j. This was 100% our fault because we made him separate meals. One day I had an epiphany and I realized that if I never made Parker try other foods he would never begin to like other foods. For an entire YEAR(!!!) after that, we struggled every night at the dinner table as we forced him to eat what we were eating. In the end it was worth it and I am so glad that we put in the work because now, at the age of 7, the kid eats anything. He’s an adventurous eater and will gleefully try anything once. Sometimes, if we’re eating something new, I’ll ask him if he likes it and he’ll reply with “not really” but he’ll continue eating it without complaining. Maybe he’s the next Andrew Zimmern 🙂 

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I’ve learned from Ruby that the idea of babies needing dull food is wrong. Because she eats what we eat, she has been exposed to lots of different spices and flavors that most babies typically aren’t. We eat cumin, chili powder and cayenne a lot in our house and Ruby seems to love it as much as we do. She also eats onions, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, tahini, and mildly spicy salsa to name a few other strong flavors. Some of her favorite foods are shrimp, beans, any kind of berry, bananas (lately she’s been asking for a banana every day), salad greens, french fries and her absolute favorite – cheese of any kind (she’s her mother’s daughter). Josh and I can not think of even one food that she doesn’t like. She’s a big time eater and a major foodie baby and watching her grow into healthy eating habits is awesome.

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A quick little recipe idea.

A while ago, I read about another blogger making cheesy rice balls for her babies. Not the delicious cheese filled Italian ones but a healthier version to allow the babies the ability to actually eat rice on their own before they begin using utensils. While I was grocery shopping last week, I noticed a rice blend at Trader Joe’s (brown rice, black barley and daikon seeds) and it reminded me of the easy little idea so I grabbed a bag, came home and threw half of it in the rice cooker. 25 minutes later the rice was done and I was on to the next step.

Straight out of the rice cooker, so it was still super hot, I mixed in shredded carrots and a about a cup of cheddar cheese. The cheese melted and I formed the mixture into little balls about the size of Ruby’s little palm. Perfect baby size! I placed them all on a plate and allowed them to chill overnight in the refrigerator. The next day she tried a couple for lunch and loved it! I had one too – they were delicious. The next time I make them, the only thing I will do differently is use a green veggie like chopped kale or spinach rather than carrots (I used carrots this time because I had some shredded on hand that needed to be used). As usual, I just eyeballed everything which is why I’m calling this a “recipe idea.” Enjoy!

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Breakfast ice cream!

Well. Since I’ll never live up to my posts from earlier this week I’m just going to ahead and share a simple recipe 🙂

We are huge smoothie drinkers here. So huge that I actually killed my blender a few weeks ago while making one. I still haven’t bought a new blender yet so we’ve had tons of frozen fruit in our freezer with nothing to use it for. For some reason, this week I went way overboard with the amount of fruit I bought while grocery shopping (berries and melons and stone fruits, oh my!) and I started to notice little, teeny, fruit flies invading our basket. Rather than throw away the browning bananas that the people in my family are terrified of, I peeled them and threw them in the freezer. And then this morning, I asked the boys if they wanted ice cream for breakfast.

IMG_4806I threw one whole frozen banana into my food processor, along with some frozen mixed berries and a little orange juice. I eyeballed everything but just make sure you don’t use too much juice because then you’ll just have a thick smoothie rather than sorbet. Puree it for as long as it takes to reach the consistency that you’re going for and add more fruit or more juice to help the process.

IMG_4808And then voila! You’ve got breakfast ice cream.

IMG_4810Best enjoyed outside in your pj’s. Even if it’s raining.

IMG_4809Just beware of brain freeze!

IMG_4814Don’t forget there’s only a few days left to enter the Woolzies giveaway! Just post a comment over here, letting me know what your family does to be a little bit greener. 

The Brooklyn flea market

Brooklyn is gorgeous. I wish we would have homeschooled and lived there.

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Theo’s baseball game was cancelled so we spent our day there at the flea market.

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It’s awesome how much the boys love flea markets. It’s like junk heaven to them.

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This was by far, the best flea market we’ve ever been to.

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Theo fell in love with about 6,347 things. Like this bug collection that cost $6,347 (not really but there were lots of expensive things here).

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Like this furniture. I wanted a lot of it.

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But we settled on trying a lot of food instead. This was from Asia Dog. Organic 100% beef hotdogs, one with kimchi and nori flakes and one with asian slaw, toasted sesame seeds and scallions. The one on the left was the best but the kimchi was not very spicy.

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We also tried macho pollo tacos. I’m not a fan of corn tortillas but these were delicious.

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Of course some ice cream with sprinkles.

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And a lemongrass and lime Brooklyn soda.

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And then we did a little shopping. Each boy got $5 and could choose whatever they wanted. Theo chose a rusty horseshoe for his nature room.

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And Parker chose a ring. To be like Sonic, of course. The vendor lady told me that my kids were awesome and super polite. I loved that, because they are.

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All the while, Ruby ate an artisan grilled cheese, pointed out every single dog and baby that she saw and ended up a sweaty mess.

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Brooklyn is a really cool place and I can’t wait to go back.

The almighty rice and bean bowl

Beans are a staple of our diet in this family. Josh and I LOVE beans and they are a cheap and easy meat substitute. From beans you can make burgers, soups, burritos, side dishes, salads, HUMMUS (!), and my absolute favorite – bean bowls. Years ago when Josh still stood watch and Parker and Theo were babies, I came up with an easy dinner for myself that I could throw together in a few minutes, as a single serving, while still having a healthy meal. That’s when the almighty rice and bean bowl was created.*

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I used to use Trader Joe’s microwavable rice pouches but now, with no microwave (a story for another time), I just throw some brown rice into the rice cooker on the quick cook setting and come back 25 minutes later to perfect rice. We eat beans so much that I usually have some already waiting in the refrigerator or freezer only needing to be warmed up. If I don’t then I’ll cook them in the slow cooker or the rice cooker. Simply throw some of the rice and beans into a bowl and top with whatever you want. Tomatoes, cheese, corn, onions, salsa, sour cream, avocado, etc. This can be a really healthy meal or a calorie bomb. It just depends on what you top the rice and beans with. I try to keep this a low calorie meal (especially right now) so I load my bowl with veggies and salsa rather than sour cream and cheese.

This bowl included:

1/2 cup of brown rice (100 cal)

1/2 cup of pinto beans (120 cal)

1/4 cup of corn (35 cal)

1/4 cup of mozzarella (I desperately wanted cheddar but mozzarella is less calories – 80 cal)

1/4 cup of avocado (90 cal)

1/2 of a roma tomato (15 cal)

1/4 of a cup of salsa verde (20 cal)

about a 1/4 of a cup of chopped red onion (about 10 cal)

a little fresh cilantro

For a total of 470 calories. Not bad for an entire meal. Of course I could have skipped the cheese and saved some calories but I actually ate very light all day so I had a few hundred calories to spend 😉 So many, that I even added a serving of tortilla chips to the meal!

In case you’re wondering, a serving of tortilla chips is 7 chips. Seriously. 7 chips. Who eats just 7 chips? Apparently I do now. 

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*Yes, I know that I did not, in fact, invent the rice and bean bowl. 

A fabulously boring weekend in photos

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husband’s homemade pancakes on saturday morning.

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sunday afternoon homemade pizzas.

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i want to be a big kid too. wait a minute. it’s way too hard.

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homemade (healthy) Chinesish takeout.

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shovel worthy spinach and cheese quinoa casserole. we agree it’s the best way we’ve ever eaten quinoa.

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one pineapple juiced and turned into popsicles. pulp and all.

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she desperately wanted to fit into her baby doll’s robe.

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morning run view.

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sleepy boy after a long day of baseball. after this picture was taken, we had to bribe him with doritos to keep him awake.

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baseball friday, saturday and sunday.

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cgc vigorous pulling into the new york harbor. i was extremely excited to randomly see the only boat josh has ever been on pulling into our new home.

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my favorite summertime breakfast. vanilla yogurt, peaches and pepitas.

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perfection.