Tag Archives: babyfood

Pizza Pizza

Making pizza provides a fabulous kid friendly activity and meal.  It’s amazing how many vegetables I can get Bobby to eat just by offering them as pizza toppings.  He likes piling them on his little pizza.   Pizza 1And, then when it’s all baked, he’s so proud and happy to gobble up his creation.

To be honest, it took me a long time to find a good pizza dough recipe.  In the process, I made many a pizza dough Frisbee, that ended up being tossed into the trash.  To save you that trouble, here’s my “go to” pizza dough recipe adapted from Alice Waters, the Art of Simple Food.  The dough even freezes well!  So, make a batch and freeze half of it.

Ingredients

2 teaspoons dry yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water

3 3/4 cups unbleached white flour (can use mix of flours as well)

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cold water

1/4 cup olive oil

(if you like it sweet add a tablespoon of Honey)

(consider adding herbs to the dough)

Parchment Paper

Method

Stir together yeast and warm water until yeast is dissolved. Add 1/2 cup flour and stir well. Allow the mixture to sit until bubbly (30 minutes).  Add flour, salt, cold water and olive oil.

Mix thoroughly.  I use a KitchenAid Stand mixer with a dough hook.  Knead on low until the dough is soft and elastic, about 5 minutes. If the dough is too wet and sticky, add more flour, but only enough to form a soft, slightly sticky dough.

The dough is the right texture when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl of the mixer, but still adheres to the bottom.

Put the dough in a large bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. For an even better-tasting and more supple dough, let the dough rise overnight in the refrigerator. Remove from the fridge 2 hours before shaping.

Divide the dough into balls.  Allow the dough balls to rest at room temperature, for an hour or so.  Shape pizza dough on Parchment Paper.  Shape into desired shapes.  If doing fogaccia, you can make it into rectangles.  For a thicker dough, let the shaped pieces  sit for about an hour before baking.   Brush with olive oil and garlic.

Top with desired sauces and toppings.  My favorite is brushed with a salted garlic oil, then top with prosciutto, pears, white cheese and fresh herbs.  Bobby’s favorite is brushed with garlic olive oil, then topped with marinara sauce, veggies (mushrooms, zucchini & broccoli), and sausage.

Preheat the oven (and a baking stone if you have it) to its maximum.  Preheat for about a half hour.  Put in pizza and turn down oven to 400.  Bake for about twenty minutes. Let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

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Birthday Bash Baked Brie

Celebrating birthdays Sonoma style means being surrounded by close family, close friends and good food.  This is how we have been ringing in Bobby’s 3rd birthday.  The highlight food wise so far has been what I’ve named Birthday Bash Baked Brie (try to say that 10 times) or as it has also been called Brie Cobbler.   It is both easy and versatile.

You will need:

1 package of frozen puff pastry sheets

Wheel of brie

1 egg (beaten in a cup)

Two cups of fresh fruit (peaches, apples, pears would work well)

¼ cup sugar

1 Tbsp Quick cooking tapioca

Dash of cinnamon

Thaw your puff pastry sheets.  Slice your fruit.  Warm a saucepan and cook fruit with sugar, tapioca and cinnamon.  Stir frequently until the fruit is soft and the juices are thick.  About 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease an ovenproof dish with a bit of butter.  Lay one sheet of puff pastry on the bottom.  Unwrap brie and place on top.  Place fruit mixture on top of brie.  Fold pastry over brie – Depending upon size of brie, you may need another sheet of puff pastry.  Seal pastry at the seams.  And, then brush with an egg wash. Bake in oven at 350 until golden brown (about 40 minutes).  Let cool for a few minutes before serving.  Serve with crackers and/or sliced baguette.

Enjoy!

Dining With An Eight Month Old

While it is easy to enjoy a nice meal with a sleeping baby, once that sleeping baby awakens things change.  Months later the previously sleeping baby turns into an active monkey who can enjoy real food.  The challenge becomes being able to feed the happy active baby while also eating something yourself.

For the longest time, my husband, Tony and I would take turns appeasing CJ. Then, we appeased hungry monkey by putting him on the table in a Bumbo.  It worked for about two months.  Now he can bust out of the Bumbo, but he still wants to be part of the action.

The quandary became how to entertain CJ while also enjoying a meal.  After loads of trial and error, pulled tablecloths, spilled glasses, and plates tossed on the floor, I finally figured it out.  I followed his cue – and stopped feeding CJ off of a plate.  I discovered something heavy and bulky to put in its stead.  A cutting board!  After all, a wooden cutting board is too heavy for him to toss on the floor or otherwise mess with.  It goes right on the tablecloth and acts like an anchor for his food.  CJ feels like a part of the family dinner (and eats more too).

Now, we can literally dine together without worrying about dishes being dropped on the floor or tablecloths being pulled from their place.  At least not CJ doing that, my 3 year old is another story.

A 6 Month Old Foodie – Feeding Baby Sonoma Style

Raising kids in Sonoma has tons of benefits, beautiful weather, picturesque pastures and amazing local produce.  The food part of this joyous trinity seemed to disappear when I started feeding my 6 month old premade babyfood.

Have you ever tasted store bought babyfood?  The other day, I opened a jar of garden veggie dinner of the organic variety.  I gave some to CJ, my 6 month old.  He spit it out!  So, I had to wonder why his protest?  I tasted it.   It was absolutely dreadful.  I spit it out too!  It made me wonder about the long term effect of serving my child bland disgusting mush.  So, in a very dramatic style, I tossed the jar in the trash and threw some of my dinner into a blender (the magic bullet – best 20$ investment ever).   Shallot and lavender chicken, sautéed Romano beans and panko crusted mac n’cheese.  Interestingly enough, CJ gobbled down the blended mush.

It turns out that folks have written all about this phenomena – check out Hungry Monkey by Matthew Amster-Burton and Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman.

It has turned into a bit of an experiment for me.  As I fed my first son completely differently than how I am feeding CJ.  With Bobby, I followed the traditional approach.  First he had rice cereal.  Then I slowly introduced each food individually for about a 5 day period looking for allergies.  For awhile Bobby had very plain tastes that have taken awhile to undo.  That’s not to say I disagree with the idea of slowly introducing foods as to look for allergies.  But as a mom with a child with food allergies, I can tell you that in my experience the reaction a child may have to food can be really pronounced  (rash, wheezing, swelling, vomit).

It is quite possible that I stunted Bobby’s culinary tastes by feeding him such plain food for so long.  Having come to this realization, I have completely changed what and how I feed CJ.  Now for breakfast, he gets whatever we’re having.  Today it was bits of sweet potato banana scones (see recipe in my blog post).  For lunch, he gets blended fruits and veggies.  He snacks on fresh produce from the farmers market. He loves cucumbers, peaches and plums all fed through a mesh feeder.  For dinner, he gets a mashed version of whatever we’re having.  Over the weekend, he tasted and loved ribeye steak, basa fillets, and lavender chicken.   All were hits as he didn’t spit it out and wanted more.

Don’t get me wrong – sometimes he gets jarred food too as it is so convenient.   It is the rare instance that I don’t add some sort of flavoring to it.

So, if you want to start feeding your baby Sonoma foodie style – pick up a small blender like the Magic Bullet and a few mesh feeders.  Get creative and you won’t be disappointed.