Tag Archives: food

dinner tonight.

tonight i made bucatini with bacon and leeks for dinner. it was quick, easy, and delicious so i thought i would share the recipe here. i cooked this intuitively as i went, so all measurements are approximate.


1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
6 strips of bacon (you want to use 3 strips per person), sliced
1 large leek, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/4 cup of heavy cream
8 ounces of dried bucatini** (about half of a package)
a handful of kosher salt
black pepper
grated or shaved parmesan

1. melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. in the meantime, boil some water and the kosher salt in a large pot to cook the pasta.
2. add the bacon to the skillet and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes.
3. once the bacon is crisp, start cooking your pasta.
4. add the leeks to the skillet and cook until very soft, about 7 minutes.
5. stir the heavy cream and some black pepper to taste into the bacon and leek mixture.
6. once your pasta is nicely al dente, drain it, reserving about 1/4 cup of the cooking water. add the pasta to the skillet and toss to combine. add some of the pasta water to help thicken the sauce if need be. top with the parmesan and serve immediately.

**if you can’t find or don’t have bucatini, you can substitute any kind of pasta you like.

i served this dish with a side of roasted radicchio tossed with a balsamic reduction.

sylvie had leftover curried peas for dinner. i don’t think she’s quite ready for bacon yet!

stay tuned for a lot of new things happening on the blog. i registered a new domain on typepad and am currently working on the design of a new blog. not too worry, i plan to export all of my old posts to my new internet home! i’m so excited to expand my blogging beyond being a mommy. thank you so much to everyone who commented on my last post. your kind words and sage advice made my weekend that much brighter.

also, i now have a twitter account! sarawithoutan_h. you can follow me by clicking the link in the sidebar! happy monday!

the focus on food.

one of my favorite parts of stay-at-home mommyhood is being able to put a lot of focus on what i feed my family. i have the luxury of time. time to be able to make a small daily trip to the grocery store. time to make things like bread and biscuits from scratch. time to meal plan. time to cook. time to make all of sylvie’s food from scratch. it has been a great source of pleasure for me since sweet baboo started solids.

we have recently shifted things around in our budget to allow more funds to buy the best quality food we can. i am happy and proud to say we eat mostly local and organic on our very tight income. food is our top priority as a family. travis and i are of the mindset that we would rather spend our money on food (or good wine and beer) more than anything else. i love clothes and fashion as much as the next person, but if i have $50 in my pocket you won’t see me buying pants. you’ll see me buying locally raised, hormone-free, grass-fed beef to make the world’s most awesome pot roast. the reason for splurging on these items is simple: IT JUST TASTES BETTER.

so here i am, a foodie mama trying to raise a foodie spawn. so far she’s a great eater. of all the foods and flavors she’s tried the only thing that didn’t sit well with her was smoked spanish paprika. i pray to juan mari arzak that she’ll learn to love it one day. her list of likes includes sweet potato, asian pear, garlic, sweet curry, cinnamon, vanilla, peas, green beans, carrots, potatoes, turnips, leeks, celeriac, herbes de provence, and schmaltz (that’s rendered chicken fat to all you gentiles out there). i’m proud of this list, but i know better than to get cocky. i know that most babies will eat like goats, but that most toddlers will pick like birds. right now my best plan to combat this picky toddler phenomenon is EXPOSURE. i plan to use this golden time of eat-anythingness to expose sylvie to as many flavors and foods as possible.

tonight travis and i had one of our very favorite meals–roast chicken, roasted potatoes and carrots with butter and herbes de provence, and garlicky sauteed green beans. sylvie ate all of the aforementioned vegetables pureed with schmaltz and warm water. she loved it. i loved watching her love it.

while i cooked, sylvie teethed on a cold green bean and hung out in bed with her daddy.

i love letting her explore food in this way. we’re not doing baby-led weaning per se, but i do let her gum on some whole foods as well as practice spoon feeding herself. we seem to have found our happy medium, and meal times with sylvie at the table are a complete joy. i am so thankful to have this time with my young daughter as i watch her learn and explore her food and her world.


today is cold. the kind of cold that makes one want to hibernate. we’re talking negative lows and single-digit highs. i had planned to venture out to the store this afternoon to collect some ingredients for dinner. the frigid winter air quickly dashed those plans. we had very little food in our cupboard, but i managed to come up with something pretty delicious. i called it cheater’s chili.

i started with a jar of newman’s own marinara, 2 cans of black beans (rinsed well), some white quinoa, and a cabinet full of freshly organized spices.

i simmered the sauce and beans together for a few minutes while the quinoa cooked on a neighboring burner. to turn italian marinara into a chili base, i threw in a dash of anything usually at home in a chili. this included ancho chili powder, mexican oregano, cumin, dried cilantro, pre-made fajita seasoning, hot sauce, red wine vinegar (to cut the sweetness of the sauce), and a small pinch of cinnamon. the results were surprisingly delicious, especially topped with sour cream. i think this last ditch effort to avoid the cold air may just become a warming winter staple.

sylvie had a leftover puree of pot roast vegetables (carrots, turnips, and potatoes.) this combination is her clear favorite so far. curried peas are a close second.

as you can see, my sweet girl eats her meals in the buff. i’m a big fan of letting her get messy during meals, but was not digging the sudden increase in laundry. this way she gets to explore her food and build the coordination skills to feed herself, and we simply plop her in a bath afterward. messy meals make for the cutest pictures.


the first night of sharing our food with sylvie was a success! as i said in the last post, we had pot roast for dinner tonight. i took some of the carrots, red potatoes, and turnips out of the cooking liquid and pureed them with some vegetable broth and water. she LOVED it. oh my goodness, i could barely get the spoon away from her! after she ate all of it, she lifted her bib to her mouth and licked the rest up. hilarious!

the first thing i learned from feeding sylvie solids is that she does NOT like bland food. when we started plain brown rice cereal she would barely finish a teaspoon of the stuff. so i tried a little experiment. i added a pinch of sweet curry powder to the mixture. she gobbled up almost 2 tablespoons of it right away. it was amazing to the see the difference a little flavor could make. from then on i was sold. the vegetables she had tonight were simmered for 3 hours in wine and broth with various herbs and spices. i’m hoping to work up to the point where i can just puree her food using the cooking liquid. i’m sticking with organic, sodium-free vegetable broth until she gets little older.

so far my sweet girl has been a great little eater. i hope it stays that way through toddlerhood and beyond!

first foods.

tonight sylvie had her first vegetable puree–peas with garlic and sweet curry. she has been eating brown rice cereal once a day for the past two weeks. we added sweet curry powder to the brown rice cereal about a week ago. she LOVED it. we decided it was time to give something green a try. of course, we documented the occasion.

once she got over the surprise of a new taste and texture she hungrily dove toward the spoon, mouth wide open. her positive reaction makes me so happy. we are attempting to raise an adventurous eater. i think the keys to this will be introducing bold flavors early and serving her what we eat. my plan from here on out is to feed her a pureed version of whatever we’re having for dinner. we know she has slight allergy issues with dairy, but other than that nothing is off limits. everyone’s having pot roast tomorrow!

if there are other moms (or dads) out there attempting the same, i highly recommend you read hungry monkey: a food-loving father’s quest to raise an adventurous eater by matthew amster-burton. i’m only 35 pages in and this book has already blown my mind in the best possible way. not only is the writing witty and insightful, it is also practical and includes dozen of recipes. i’m waiting on another book called my two-year-old eats octopus: developing children’s palates so they’ll love to eat everything by nancy tringali piho. i’ll revue it once it gets here. hurry up amazon!

they way i figure it babies grow up all over the world on the foods of their culture from the get go. babies in japan, zimbabwe, and argentina probably don’t eat strained sweet potato for six straight months. they happily eat what is available. i hope the same for my child.

day two.

today is day two of our post-thanksgiving cleanse. no meat, eggs or dairy. the next 6 days are essentially a vegan diet. today we had red and white quinoa with grilled vegetables for lunch and spaghetti squash with homemade tomato sauce for dinner. they were both so good that i may enter them into our usual meal rotation! i think it’s recipe time.


1 large zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 large red pepper, julienned
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper
a small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 cup of white or red quinoa (we used both)

3 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
the juice from 1/4 of a lemon
1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon of chili garlic sauce, such as sriracha

1. Fire up your grill or place a grill pan over medium-high heat. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables on both sides until soft and covered with nice, dark grill marks, about 4-5 minutes per side.
2. Meanwhile, put the quinoa in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and cover with 2 cups of water. Place some slices (4 or 5) of the fresh ginger in with the quinoa. Simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water is gone, about 10 minutes.
3. Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
4. Remove the ginger slices from the quinoa and spoon a generous amount on each plate. Top each pile with some grilled vegetables, and spoon a few tablespoons of sauce over the top. Eat it!

i wasn’t expecting much from this dish. i like quinoa, but i wouldn’t say i LOVE it. that said, i LOVED this dish. It was so healthy and flavorful! I will definitely be making this again.

today was a pretty relaxed day. sylvie and i hung out this morning while travis taught his class. we read books, watched yo gabba gabba and sesame street videos on youtube, and took a bath. she was in such a good mood this morning! travis went into the studio for a few hours this afternoon, and i worked on illustration commissions while sylvie napped. i got a lot of work done, and that always feels good. i think it’s time for a shower followed by some hot herbal tea. have a great night!


travis and i, like the rest of america, ate a disgusting amount of heavy food this past week. we are using this week to detox. today is day one of a nine day detox diet of our own devising. the diet plan is as follows:

DAY ONE: no meat or eggs
DAY TWO: no meat, eggs or dairy
DAY THREE: no meat, eggs, dairy or grains
DAYS FOUR-SIX: raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, etcetera ONLY
DAY SEVEN: add grains
DAY EIGHT: add dairy
DAY NINE: add meat and eggs

in addition to the restrictions above, we are also cutting out refined flours, sugars, caffeine, and alcohol for the duration of the diet. we are doing our best to eat all organic, as well.

we ate vegetarian today, which isn’t all that unusual for us. we both love meat, but i think we may like vegetables more. for lunch we ate at one of our favorite veg places in town. we both enjoyed different versions of tofu curry. for dinner we ate tuscan white bean and roasted garlic soup. i shredded some parmesan on top because i can’t have cheese for a week starting tomorrow. i can’t even recall a day when i’ve gone without cheese EVER. <3CHEESE<3

as a way of holding us accountable during this diet, i will post each day with our menus. i may even include a recipe or two! cooking is one of my very favorite activities. no matter how bad a day i've had, i know i am competent in the kitchen and can put a nice dinner on the table. would you like the recipe for the tuscan white bean and roasted garlic soup? i thought so. it's a mash-up of a few different recipes i stumbled across.


4 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
4 cups of water
1 teaspoon each of dried rosemary, thyme and fennel seed
1-2 bay leaves
2 cans of organic great northern beans, drained and rinsed well
1 large baking potato, peeled and cubed
1 bunch of kale, ripped into bite-sized pieces
10-15 cloves of garlic, separated but not peeled
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Pour all of the water and vegetable broth into a 6 quart or larger dutch oven. Stir in the rosemary, thyme, fennel seed, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add in the beans, potato, and kale. Let simmer for an hour with the lid cracked.
2. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the garlic cloves into some aluminum foil, sprinkle with a little water, and seal the foil into a pouch. Roast for 35-40 minutes, until the garlic is soft and slightly browned.
3. Once the soup is done simmering remove half of it from the pot. Squeeze all of the garlic cloves into one of the soup portions then puree using a traditional or stick blender. Stir both halves of the soup back together. Season to taste and top with some shredded parmesan cheese.

this soup was delicious! it is naturally fat free and very filling. we had enough left over to freeze a few portions, as well. soup is just so comforting at this time of year. tomorrow we say goodbye to milk and cheese for a week. stay tuned to see if we make it!

oh, and since this is a baby blog, here are some pictures of my girl.

check out that head control!