July 19, 2010

Caston Turned 8 Months Yesterday

Caston turned 8 months old yesterday and we celebrated by a dinner on the Landing!

It's amazing how fast time has flown since our lil one was born. A lot of changes for our family- new jobs, new location and new baby! But, our lives are complete now and we thank the Lord everyday for our son and the many blessings he has bestowed upon us!

Lemon Pound Cake with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

Blueberries and lemons go hand and hand...

I decided to take one of my "go-to" recipes to the next level this weekend. Some friends of ours finally sold their house in St. Louis and are moving south near us to live at Table Rock Lake! They were down visiting and I decided to make a pound cake, but wanted to dress it up a bit.

I had blueberries from the farm in the fridge, so thought a blueberry sauce would do just the trick.

I added lemon zest to the traditional pound cake recipe- which comes from Martha Stewart. Then I added lemon juice and zest to the blueberry sauce. The dessert was perfect topped with some vanilla bean ice cream.

You can do the same with any berries. We also like the cake with strawberries and whipped cream during strawberry season. This pound cake is a must have in your recipe box!

Classic Pound Cake
from Martha Stewart
Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan; set aside. Whisk flour and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

2.Put butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture until just combined.

3.Spoon batter into prepared pan, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until cake is golden and a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Turn out onto rack, and let cool completely. Before serving, dust cake with confectioners' sugar, if desired. Cake can be stored at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic, up to 3 days.

Bluberry Sauce
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 lemons, zested and juiced

Cook over medium-high heat until reduced and thickened.

July 10, 2010

More Baby Food Recipes

I've been experimenting in my kitchen with homemade baby foods. I decided before Caston was born that I wanted to make his food, but didn't know how fun it would be! And I've had a lot of response for me to post more on the subject and more recipes.

All you really need is a food processor or food mill, ice cube trays and a little bit of creativity!

I read about how good salmon is for babies because of the natural DHA and Omega 3 fatty acids in the tasty fish, so I thought how could I incorporate it in a baby food.

Sweet potatoes, olive oil and a few other ingredients make this baby food very tasty! I taste test all Caston's homemade foods. If I wouldn't eat it (and I'm not a picky eater) I won't feed it to him! I've tasted the prepared foods in the jars- NO Thank You- I'll pass on that!

Don't be afraid to put in some seasonings in your homemade baby foods as well. Just as long as you don't include sugar or salt in the food.

The older your baby gets the less finely pureed the food will become. Follow your babies reaction though- all babies are different and are ready for chunkier and more dense foods at different times. By the time most babies are 8 months old they can have some table food that the family eats, like potatoes, beans, carrots, cottage cheese (which Caston loves), yogurt (we buy YoBaby- it's easier on their bellies), and many other items. See more here.

Try to buy vegetables that are in season and local. Much of the produce we buy in stores is at least 14 days old by the time your purchase it in the stores and has traveled over 1,500 miles from farm to the store. If you can't find it local and fresh- choose frozen.

When pureeing foods, reserve the water the vegetables or fruit was cooked in to add back a little in the puree to mix easier. The water holds many of the nutrients your baby needs.

Also, just because you don't like something doesn't mean your baby won't. Be adventurous when making baby's food- he/she will thank you!

Here are some of the recipes that Caston loves (and they are mommy approved as well):

Fancy Salmon
2 (3 oz) salmon filets, poached and fully cooked
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 medium white potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp. onion powder

Cook salmon fully and set aside. Boil potatoes until soft. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree to desired texture.

Asparagus Delight
1 lb. of fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 head of fresh broccoli, cut
1 tsp. olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp. onion powder

After washing and trimming the vegetables- stem until tender. Add all ingredients in a processor and puree.

Spinach and Cauliflower Oh My
1 lb of spinach leaves (or use 1 bag of frozen spinach), cooked
1 head of cauliflower, steamed
1 clove of garlic
2 apples, peeled and cooked

Place all cooked items in a food processor and puree.

Red Cabbage Fun
2 apples, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups of red cabbage
3 T. of golden raisins
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup water

Place all ingredients in a pan and boil for 10 minutes and then puree.

Berry Bounty
1 cup of blueberries
1 cup of blackberries
1 cup of strawberries
2 bananas

Simmer the berries in water for 6 minutes, then strain. Place berries and bananas in food processor and puree. When you serve this, you might have to add some cereal to thicken it up. Cereal is great to thicken up fruit purees.

July 8, 2010

Tomato Cucumber Salad

Tomatoes are here....finally! Everything is ripe and ready for the picking and I couldn't be more excited. I'm like a kid in the candy store during this time of the year, so says my husband. I wait all winter for that first taste of a vine ripened tomato and when it arrives- life couldn't be more sweet.

I was at the farm earlier this week and mom and I were busy in the kitchen cooking dinner and I told her I would make the salad. We had just come up from picking produce from the massive garden my parents grow each year.

Grabbed a bowl and started throwing in a few Cherokee Purple Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and some seasonings. What was created was my ultimate favorite summer salad- made with truly fresh and local ingredients- straight from my family's farm. (Ahhh, life is so sweet!)

If you've never eaten a tomato cucumber salad, you're missing out. I would make a dinner out of this salad last summer, while pregnant with our son Caston. And, the best part is this is a healthy meal you can feel good about.

Be sure and stop in at the farmers' market to pick up your ingredients. Try and choose small cucumbers- as they are so much tastier when picked young. Enjoy!

Tomato Cucumber Salad
by Lane

3 small cucumbers, sliced
2 -3 medium tomatoes, cut in chunks
1 med. red onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced in rings
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
Dash of pepper
1/2 cup feta cheese, optional
1/2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients and chill. Serve cold.

July 3, 2010

Spinach Baby Food

So, it begins...our son is crawling! And, he's fast- too fast. Life is getting ready to get real interesting I can already tell. Baby gate installed- check. Outlet covers in- check. Breakables put away- check. Bring it on!

Here's one of his new tricks to please his parents or anyone that will watch. He even displayed his clapping skills to all the vendors today at the farmers' market. We bought some produce, meat and bread today. Some of the produce will be used for Caston's homemade baby foods.

I've been experimenting with baby food purees the past couple months. I wanted to make Caston's food - making his food is healthier and better for him, not to mention- EASY. Plus, it's farmers' market season and I'm able to shop local and make foods that are freshly picked from local farmers I know. What more could a mother ask for?

Caston's favorite foods are asparagus, spinach, salmon, avocado and blueberries. He has some blueberries from Persimmon Hill Farm the other night when we went out to do some picking.

Here's a great puree that is packed full of nutrients for your growing baby!

Spinach and Sweet Potato Puree
1 bag of spinach, cooked
1 sweet potato, cooked, peeled and cubed
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp of olive oil

Cook spinach and sweet potatoes. Place in a food processor along with garlic and olive oil and puree. Spoon into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. After frozen place in freezer bag and use within 1 month.