Baby Bar Friday…Artichoke Puree

Baby D is really into eating by himself these days.  He does a pretty good job of eating everything I put down for him, but he still eats anything I feed him on a spoon too!  Reality here is that some nights I’m too tired to cook!  Miss A is good with a jelly sandwich or some noodles, but Baby D isn’t quite there yet, and I’m also trying to be better at offering him nutritious delicious food so he fights me less when he’s bigger!  Just a little experiment in the Mommy game.  I’m sure he’ll eat nothing but french fries and cheese sticks one day!  But I’m nothing if not persistent!

Since I do like to have various jars of food in the house to feed Baby D when I don’t want to cook fresh lunch or dinner, I decided that some artichokes might be a fun flavor for him to try next!  This was super simple to throw together, and reminded me of something that we might eat with any mediterranean inspired dinner I might prepare.

Makes approximately 4 4oz jars

  • 1 bag of artichoke hearts (I used Trader Joes)
  • 2 teaspoons good olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed, or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste (if making for baby, skip the salt)
  1. Boil frozen artichokes to thaw & heat through.
  2. Strain and put artichokes and other ingredients into a blender or food processor.
  3. Process until smooth

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Happy baby food making!  Hope everyone enjoys their weekend.  Ours is a busy one, but I’m hoping to get to make the kids some finger foods this week!

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Babyproofing 102…

How do you manage to not kill a baby when you have a screaming toddler?  I think that is the 50 gagillion dollar question of parents to more than 1 kid…OR…20 thousand if you hire a professional babyproofer!  I think I’ve mentioned here that I made it through all of Miss A’s life without babyproofing, she just got into different types of trouble.  I had to remove things like crayons, markers, nail polish etc, so to save my house from her wrath, but I never had to cushion the coffee table or tie down the toilet seat.

Baby D is proving to me that there will be no comparing these 2 kids of mine in the, getting into trouble, department.  He’s a lot more stealth-like with his mischief.  He’s gotten his head stuck under the sofa, sticks his little fingers into the sockets, pulls all the cords out of the outlets, was caught splashing away in the (thank gd just cleaned) toilet, pulled down a glass bottle and shattered it along with it’s contents (salt)…and the slamming of the doors (that is certainly going to end in pain)…all at times when I am dealing with the drama that Miss A brings!   How do you prioritize one kids mental safety over the other one’s physical safety?  You cave and do a little babyproofing.

Since this is really my first go at this, I decided to do a little inter-searching, you know….googling “first things to babyproof for protection against a Macgyver baby”.  The first site I came upon had a page of suggestions….in which these 2 statements were found.

“Never leave your baby alone for even a minute unless he is in his crib or playpen………Once you’ve made your home safe, and made yourself aware of the risks to your child, it’s important to just relax and let your little one explore. Only by being given the freedom to investigate his surroundings can your baby truly learn and grow.”

Uh-huh.  I see.  Let me get this straight.  Stick your kid in a cage, then sit back and relax while they are free to explore their cell.  Just how long do you think my kid would stand for that?!  I say -10 seconds!!!! I bought the outlet covers, and some baby gates to keep him away from Miss A’s things and am now in search of something that will stop the damn doors from swinging!  I’m not….NOT….putting him in a playpen, and his crib is for sleeping.  I’m packing up anything in his reach, or close to his reach.  It’s a good thing Mister LK didn’t let me replace quite every decorative thing I had before the storm!  I’m letting him fall a little, and cry a little, and learn a lot.  I’m going to lock the cabinet under the sink because he is the type to want to check out what is in there.  As we come to each new problem, I will pray the big girl gives me a break and lets me keep at least half my eyes on him, and if not, I hope the 5 lives he has left last at least until he’s more sturdy on his feet!

Speaking of the next problem….

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At least I buy organic, all natural dog food!

9 Months Old Already?

Hi 9 months.  It’s nice to see you.  Can you go away now please?  Go back where you came from and give me my baby back, ok?  Thanks.  Surprise, surprise, you aren’t listening…just like everyone else around here!

D1New since last month…I didn’t think it was possible, and I’ll stop jinxing myself, but the kid moves more than the NYC subway system.  I can get about 20 minutes a day of him in the exer-saucer, and that is in 5 minute increments!  I’m tired!  His crawling has turned into this weird spider walk on his hands and feet.  He’s ridiculously fast.  I can’t pee without him getting into something or somewhere he isn’t supposed to be!  I have baby gates now…something I never had before…o keep the baby OUT of things! D2He has all 6 teeth now.  4 on top, and 2 on bottom.  I believe the teeth are done coming down for the time being, since his face has cleared up and so has his mood!  Except for that damn ear infection he had during this month!  He took his first antibiotic at 9 months old (like a champ)…pretty damn good for a formula fed baby who slept on his belly since birth!  We spent one day a week at the doctor for 7 weeks until we got that ear infection diagnosis!  Not that I ever wish for my kids to be sick, but when they are in pain, you look for a concrete reason with a medicine fix!

Drool status…going strong.  Teeth or no teeth, this boy can drool.  If he’s dressed, he’s wearing a bib.  I change his bibs every 2 hours or so.  They are always soaked.  It is gross.  He’s like a slug.  Everywhere he crawls, he leaves a trail of slime behind.  It is helpful when he crawls off when I’m dealing with Miss A and I can’t seem to find where he’s gotten to!

D4He is still putting everything in his mouth.  Including a ton of food!  The flavor combinations I can feed this kid rival the judges of Top Chef!  I hope to get lots of recipes up here on Fridays!  I hope I can keep it up!  His babbling is getting clearer, and he’s been heard a time or 2 saying Mama.  He’s got Baba, Lala, Nana….and he screams.  In public.  Loudly.  It’s fun when I’m at a restaurant…and unlike Miss A…this one doesn’t have a bobo to stick in his mouth and make him quiet!

D6He is still having his love affair with his puppy.  He spends his days chasing T around and we really can’t decide if he’s trying to get him off his face, or coaxing him TO his face!!!  He has started to really grab at T & pull hard.  I am shocked, but it must be true love because T just sits there & takes it.  Makes no sense seeing as how if I move my foot in bed, he growls at me…and I am the one who butters his bread, so to speak, or literally.  Whatever.

D3Baby D, you are growing too fast.  Slow it down ok?  You are keeping me on my toes and there’s no one I’d rather run around after like a lunatic!  You’re a sweet sweet boy, and a wonderful little brother.  When you see your sister, your face lights up and my heart melts.  When you wake up and smile at me, I just want to freeze time.  You’re a good boy little man and I am looking forward to all that you are going to teach me!

10 months…here we come!!!

Baby Bar Friday…Couscous with Apricots

A few years ago, I went to a cooking class given in someone’s house.  The class was given by Levana Kirschenbaum, a kosher chef with a flair for the mediterranean style.  I left with a package of recipes that I should have used more frequently.  Of course they were lost in the storm, so I decided to put my memory to the test and try to recreate these flavors for Baby D.  One of my favorite recipes from the class was a lamb and chicken stew? with dried fruits.  I have a really strong aversion to blended meats, so I left out the lamb and chicken, but when I make this for the bigger people in the family I will just put some of the meatless part on the side next time!  For now, I made it more of a brunch item for Baby D!

Makes approximately 4 4oz jars.

  • 8 organic turkish dried apricots (I found them at Trader Joes)
  • 3/4 cup israeli cous cous
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1tsp EVOO
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • additional water for boiling apricots & lightly pureeing
  1. Put apricots in a pot and cover with water, boil 15 minutes.
  2. In a separate pot, sautee chopped red onion in the EVOO until translucent (about 4-5 minutes)
  3. Add the couscous to the pan and stir to lightly brown.
  4. Add the 1 cup of water to the couscous and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer according to package directions (6-10 minutes)
  5. Put apricots, tumeric, cloves & cinnamon in a blender with couscous.  Add 1/4 cup of water at a time until you reach the consistency appropriate for your baby.

I very lightly pureed this so that the couscous is generally whole but the apricots became pasty.  Baby D prefers more solid food to thin purees, but if you add more water and blend more, you can get this to a smooth consistency for younger babies.

It is really delicious!  Baby D devoured it = success to me!

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Baby Bar…Long Island Branch…

A little while ago, Grandma got Auntie H a Vitamix.  She fed her youngest homemade baby food, and the kid’s friends loved it.  So she sold over the summer under the name “Baby Bar”, which I thought it was pretty clever.  Then…Grandma upped her game and bought ME a Vitamix for an early Hannukah present!  This was amazing since I’ve never even owned a blender.  I was making smoothies and soup and loving it.  Then Baby D turned 6 months old and it was time for him to eat some real food!

When Miss A was starting food I had high hopes of making her food from fresh fruits and veggies.  Then we moved.  And we had no kitchen.  And we had ants in a major way in the bathroom we used to prepare her bottles.  She ate organic jarred food…and she is perfectly fine!  I, however, enjoy cooking and really wanted to make baby food like my lil sis’.

Here we are at 9 months and Baby D has devoured every puree I’ve ever made him.  All the basics have been covered.  I’ve done some reading and have decided that at this point we are jumping right in.  With Miss A…we fed her almost every “high allergen” food before we were supposed to…and didn’t even realize it until months too late.  With Baby D…it’s more on purpose, because he has no family history of food allergies & I don’t really believe that waiting to introduce these foods has any real benefit other than perhaps … well … I don’t really think there are any.  If they’re older and need some Benadryl, they are harder to get it into without a fight, and respiratory distress looks like respiratory distress at any age.  All this to say that if I see a recipe floating around that has nuts in it…he’s probably eating it.  If I see a citrus or strawberry concoction that I’d like to try…some of that will be mashed or smoothed or cut up for Baby D.  I do still make separate baby food for him but mostly because I don’t always cook for us and I’d like to have things for him on hand and easily accessible!  This has turned into a seriously fun endeavor for me.  I plan to share the recipes that are a huge hit here…particularly the ones that can be turned into adult food, like the amazing soup I made for New Years Eve!  (That soup will get it’s very own post!)

The meal I most need to prepare in advance for Baby D is breakfast.  See…I don’t really eat a proper sit down breakfast.  These days I drink a Shakeology shake and am on my merry way.  There will be no sharing of that stuff with the baby…no matter how healthy they claim it is…at least not until he can drink it from a straw!  On the hunt I went for a yummy, nutritious, make ahead breakfast that wasn’t oatmeal or rice cereal (those things bind him).

Enter…Polenta.

Blueberry Almod Breakfast Polenta to be exact.  With some modification since the recipe calls for honey, and honey for babies does not = allergy.  It = Botulism, and there’s no Benadryl for Botulism.  So I used a drizzle of maple syrup, 1 because it is a safe sweetener for babies and 2, because I wasn’t making it for myself, so I didn’t see the need to over sweeten it with 1/3 cup!

The other adjustment I made was that I cooked down the blueberries before I whisked them in.  I found it brought out their natural sweetness a little more and also made them softer so I didn’t have to chop them up first to prevent choking.

Makes approximately 8 4oz jars.

  • 4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cups quick cook polenta
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract – or the 1/4 teaspoon of the inside of a vanilla bean if you have one!
  • pinch of cardamom (up to 1/4 teaspoon)
  • creme fraiche or sour cream, optional
  1. Bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to low and add polenta, whisking constantly until smooth. Add almond meal and continue whisking until the polenta thickens to a creamy consistency. Add butter and whisk until it melts completely.
  3. In a separate pan, cook the blueberries down until they are mostly soft and a little bubbly.
  4. Turn heat off and whisk in syrup, blueberries, vanilla and cardamom. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream and an extra sprinkle of blueberries.

I didn’t do the creme fraiche for Baby D…I’ll reserve that and the extra sweetness for the day I eat breakfast with him!

Vanilla Almond Blueberry Breakfast Polenta

Vanilla Almond Blueberry Breakfast Polenta2** The above views on feeding my baby are MY opinions.  If you’re interested in this recipe and have a baby under 12 months old, please consult your doctor before feeding your child anything you are unsure about.  

Baby D can’t get enough of this breakfast cereal.  If anyone is interested in some for their baby or toddler, and they are local, let me know and I’ll whip up a batch for you!

 

Welcome 2014…With Love & Light

Happy New Year from the LKSquared house to yours!

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We brought in the new year with some of our friends and family here at our house!  We ate, drank, and got covered in sparkles!  The kids played together and the adults had fun too!  There was a tuxedo, a gown, some sweatpants, leggings and jeans.

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NY8There was an adorable dog visitor & many pretend “broken legs” healed.

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So what if the kids stayed up until 11:56pm before passing out?!  (They couldn’t make it to 12am????? Lame…)  But they sure were cute!

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NY12It was great to have our friends here…and especially wonderful to celebrate with these 2 sweethearts before their 2 bitty babies make their debut!!!!  We are thinking of you guys!!!!  We can’t wait to meet the babies….but we will! (PS – have we ever seen a more gorgeous pregnant girl?  There are TWINS in there!  She’s magnificent & I’m jealous.  I was hideous…anyway…)

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In the spirit of the new year, I’m putting some of my goals out there!  not resolutions…those never last.  But I’d like to set some goals….so here they are!

BAD HABIT I’M GOING TO BREAK:  Emotionally eating … for my friends!!!!

A NEW SKILL I’D LIKE TO LEARN:  So…I really want to learn to knit, but I think that might not be this year’s skill.  This year I’d like to learn how to be a better self-promoter & be able to grow my photography business!  In search of a lifestyle, portrait, baby, bday party, photographer???? Check me out at http://www.lksquaredphoto.com!!! (always learning!)

A PERSON I HOPE TO BE MORE LIKE:  My cousin S.  After the way that his friends and family spoke about him at his wedding (see here), I hope to be a little more like him everyday.

A GOOD DEED I’M GOING TO DO:  I would like to a little more for someone effected by a natural disaster.  A little pay it forward something…

A PLACE I’D LIKE TO VISIT:  I would love to visit Texas this year.

A BOOK I’D LIKE TO READ:  “The First Phonecall From Heaven” by Mitch Albom.  I have enjoyed his other books and think I’ll enjoy this one too…if I can find the time!

A LETTER I’M GOING TO WRITE:  I will write a letter to Miss A & Baby D this month with some thoughts I have about them! (Good ones…I promise)

A NEW FOOD I’D LIKE TO TRY:  I would like to try Indian food.

I’M GOING TO DO BETTER AT:  Keeping calm.  Finding my balance and maintaining my patience.  I have a tendency to react quickly…especially with Miss A.  I am going to work very hard at this.  Modeling behavior for her, that I like, will hopefully help her to find a way to imitate me and make us both happy!

Wishing everyone who stops by to check out my little family and even those who don’t, a very happy 2014!!!

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The Ramblings Of Miss A…

Baby D has been getting most of the love here on the blog.

2014 is going to be the year of BOTH kids!  I’m so busy making sure to not leave #2 behind that #1 is being hurried along and I need to make this about both kiddos since they are both pretty freakin’ amazing.

Miss A is 3 years and 8 months old.  The workings of her brain are something that I don’t think I can begin to comprehend.  She certainly is her Daddy’s girl!  Smart doesn’t scratch the surface.  Either does sensitive, nosy, and sometimes cranky!  She’s a girl with many emotions, and she’s not afraid to tell you which one she’s feeling…

Surprised“What???? I can’t drown the baby???? But if I do then we can just go get another one.  At the hospital.  Then we can get a GIRL baby!!!!!  Right Mommy?  Can we do that?????”

Uhhhhh no….not so much Miss A.  Drowning the baby in the bathtub is generally considered bad…and would likely result in Mommy and Daddy going to jail & you never seeing us again….  (contemplating this fate…..) “oh….ok….well then can I just pretend?”

OMG….

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Serious“Mommy…this is very serious.  Baby D is under the couch.  He is all the way under there and he can’t get out.  You must come now.  It is an emergency!  photo

She wasn’t lying.

Angry

 

I am SO ANGRY!  I am angry and frustrated.  I want to wear my pink dress and you said I have to wear pants.  I won’t wear pants.  I hate pants.  I hate clothes and these clothes look horrible on me.  I will never look pretty.

Right.  Right back in 1930.  Women in pants are ugly.  Somewhere, somehow you’re getting the right message kid.

photo (2)sometimes she wins.

Happy“Do you know what I dreamed about Mommy?  About my family.  I love my family.  When I go to the Doctor and I get a shot, I am not scared.  I am brave.  I just close my eyes and I dream of my whole family hugging me and then I’m not scared.  Then I don’t cry.  And when I open my eyes, then I’m done with my shot and I was brave!  Daddy cries.  Hahaha.  He’s scared.  I’m not scared.  My family makes me happy.”

photo (4)Oh Miss A…with all of your moods, emotions, and tempers that change with the wind….Mommy and Daddy and Baby D love you more than you’ll ever know!  We can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for you!  You’re getting very big and I hope we grow together and stay connected as much as we are right now as these years fly by us!

I love you Sweet Pickle.