Wednesday, August 22, 2007

chocolate, beans and whole wheat pasta

as many of you know, we are a mostly vegetarian household and i don't cook any meat. our little jove has been vegetarian his whole life, although he has been offered pieces of chicken on various occasions (he always refuses). i make an effort to understand balanced nutrition and sources of different nutrients even more now that i am responsible for two little ones.
one nutrient that is a little harder for vegetarians to get enough of is iron. with that said, i have gone through two pregnancies/births and never developed anemia. iron is found in a lot of vegetarian foods, but it is not as easily used by the body in this form (non-heme). two ways to ensure adequate iron intake is to eat a variety of iron rich foods everyday and to eat foods rich in vitamin c along with the iron rich foods. for example, i always make my beans and rice with lime juice and red peppers to combine iron and vitamin c.

for more info, click here

iron rich foods
  • whole wheat anything
  • oatmeal
  • nuts
  • beans and lentils
  • raisins and dates
  • eggs
  • cocoa powder (my fave)
  • soy beans and tofu
i give jove at least two iron rich meals or snacks everyday and i try to sneak extra good stuff in where i can. some examples of things i give him are oatmeal with apple sauce (preserved with vitamin c), date and nut bars, shredded wheat cereal, mashed potatoes with egg yolk and beans and rice; also he will eat uncooked tofu and wheat germ out of a bowl for snacks. it is weird that he is so picky about some things, but will eat a bowl of wheat germ or tofu. whenever i bake or make pancakes, i throw in wheat germ, chopped walnuts and flax meal.
good luck to any of you with picky eaters

Saturday, August 18, 2007

baked lemon tempeh and curried cous cous

"you went all out," jupiter says to me. i smile. making food that jupiter loves makes me very happy. in fact, making food and sharing it with people i love is a major source of joy in my life.

another thing i like is the "barefoot contessa" (Ina Garten). she has a show on the food network and its is based on her catering/speciality store by the same name in the hamptoms (eastern long island). She does two things that make her one of my culinary heroes: she keeps her preparations and ingredients simple and fresh and she always makes her food with a person or occasion in mind and then shares the food with them. i can forgive her overuse of mayonnaise and butter. if you watch the show you have a sense of who she cooks for, her life, her friends; it is much more real and endearing than most cooking shows and she's chubby and cute (never trust a skinny chef).

so, i recently bought one of her cookbooks and i tried two of her recipes for the first time last night. the tempeh recipe was a recipe for chicken that i modified and the curried cous cous recipe i modified slightly. both turned out so well i have decided to share them.

baked lemon tempeh

2 packages of tempeh

3 lemons juiced (1/2 cup juice)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon miced fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

cut the tempeh into strips 1/3 inch thick. combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and allow tempeh to marinate overnight. place the tempeh strips in a 9 x 13 baking dish and bake at 400 degrees until crispy on the bottom and golden on top.

curried cous cous

1 1/2 cups cous cous (i use the whole wheat cous cous from trader joes)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1/4 plain nonfat yogurt

1/4 olive oil

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup shredded carrots (small hole on the grater)

1/4 cup minced, flesh flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup minced golden raisins

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 scallion thinly sliced

Place the cous cous in a bowl. Melt the butter in the boiling water and pour over the cous cous. cover tightly and allow the cous cous to soak up the water for five minutes.

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry powder, salt and pepper. Fluff up the cous cous with a fork and mix in the sauce. Add the carrots, parsley, raisins, pine nuts and scallions. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve at room temperature.

These recipes meet my three requirements for the food i make: yummy, fast and cheap.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

people, places and one cicada bug

jove on a water slide at Sesame Place

babies hannah and miranda get love pats from jove

jove and i find a dead cicada bug on the sidewalk

tia anabel visits

jove and his only first cousin, ariana

Sunday, August 12, 2007


jupiter has a lot of cousins; i think one time we counted 27 just on his mom's side. most of his cousins have young kids and i feel truly blessed that jove is growing up with his cousins.
this is the 3 year old truck crew: jove, jay and troy jr.

collections: jove's acorns

jove is fond of collecting items we find outside. most of the time these nature collections are made during our walks around the neighborhood. yesterday we were in a small woods and jove found a lot of green acorns that have been knocked out of trees during recent storms. he carried it in his pockets until we got home.
this bowl was made by mom; it is part of a collection of really beautiful dishes she made for us: cool square plates, little bowls and appetizer trays. i have tried to photograph the plates, but the lighting inside doesn't do them justice. i will do an outdoor photo shoot with the plates soon. i love them.

Friday, August 10, 2007

summer highlights

i know the summer isn't even over yet, but i feel like we have enjoyed this summer so much. of course, having papa at home with us is wonderful. the best things so far this summer have been watching miranda change from a newborn into a laughing, babbling baby, swimming in our pool with lots of friends and cousins and going on our trips camping and to visit friends and family in michigan.

we have a lot to still enjoy this summer: a couple of trips, a visit from auntie heather and hopefully more warm, sunny weather.

best of summer 2007 (so far)

  • jove playing in the sand at my parent's house on lake huron and driving grandpa's boat (he has since told us he wants us to have a house on the beach)

  • my dad and brother meeting miranda

  • mini-reunion with nan and fam and maggie and bruce

  • camping in the catkskills with miguel and olga's family and cousins

  • jove's 3rd birthday bug party

  • jove being able to swim by himself

  • jove spending a lot of time with his cousins

Saturday, August 4, 2007

garden's bounty

After many tries with plants such as squash and peppers, the real success stories of our backyard garden are the tomatoes and basil. This year my parents sent us an Earth Box as a gift-its a a container that produces huge plants and lots of tomatoes. We have so many tomatoes that we are having tomato salads every other day and still giving them anyway to anyone that comes near our backyard. Once I figure out how to upload pictures I will take some pictures of the plants.

The best part of gardening is including Jove in the process. He is my official tomato picker, but he tells me the basil is too hard to pick. He does help me turn the basil into pesto, which is one of his favorite foods.

So, if you have lots of tomatoes and basil here are some great ways to use them up.

Tomato Salad
2-3 big tomatoes or 10-15 little ones cut into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 oz crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Pesto Sauce
2-3 cups loosely packed basil leaves- rinsed and taken off the stem
1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (toast 'em in a fry pan on the stove, just don't forget about them or walk away or you will set off your smoke detector like I have many times)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste

put all ingredients in the blender and grind, this requires stopping and stirring a few times to make sure everything gets ground. use the sauce on cooked pasta or as a sandwich spread