Lil Bruiser’s

Sometimes I like to feature Los Angeles made products. I came across these kits on Instagram and thought they were so stinking cute. Imagine making Christmas cookies with your kids without having the mess of baking. It would be a Christmas miracle!

They came in a classic kraft package wrapped in bakers twine. Madeline went to work right away making cookies for everyone in the family.
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Christmas-2017-57How cute is the packaging! They would make perfect gifts. Madeline couldn’t wait to open it up to see what was inside.

It came with 12 complete Linzer cookies (12 tops and 12 bottoms), a jar of fresh, home-made jam, and a spoon to spread it, a small shaker bottle of powdered sugar, and instructions easy enough for a preschooler to follow.

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Don’t forget to dip your finger in there too cause the jam was just that good.

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I had a great time making these with Madeline. Not only was it beautifully packaged, but the cookies were the best Linzer cookies I’ve ever had! They were crumbly and buttery. There was a nuttiness from the ground almonds baked into the cookies and the raspberry jam was bright and fresh, tasting obviously home-made along with the cookies.

There’s also a vegan option on the site!

The cookies are baked to order and are good for 2 weeks. They are $25 a box and I’m actually going to order some for all my friend’s kids as Christmas presents. They would also make a good cookie-swap or white elephant gift.

You can order some too at www.lilbruiser.com

Christmas-2017

Look at that face enjoying the fruits of her labor!

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Garlic Thyme Potato Gratin

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I like to switch it up a little for Friendsgiving. Since I know most people will be having the usual dishes on Thanksgiving day. I don’t want people to get tired of turkey and mashed potatoes when Thanksgiving finally comes.

I made this dish for our recent Friendsgiving, which you may have seen on my Instastory last night. The casserole dish was completely empty by the end of the night! Question is, should I recreate it for Thanksgiving day this week?

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The potatoes soak up the garlic herb-infused cream, and it is gooey, melty and crispy with Gruyere and parmesan cheeses sprinkled on top.  I like to leave the skin on because it cuts down on an extra step, and I love the way the potato skin becomes a golden brown color. I also like to use Yukon Gold potatoes because they have a naturally buttery consistency.

This potato gratin recipe is a twist on mashed potatoes and is sure to be a hit with everyone. If you have the ingredients for mashed potatoes in your fridge and cheese, I highly encourage you to make this recipe instead.

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Garlic Thyme Potato Gratin

4 lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes
1 stick of butter
3 cloves of diced garlic
4 sprigs of thyme
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 pint of heavy cream
3oz Gruyere cheese
3oz parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Butter a large 13″x9″ casserole dish.
Using a mandoline, thinly slice the potatoes 1/8 of an inch. If you don’t have a mandoline you can use a knife, however, it will take longer and slices may not be as thin or even. Arrange slices in the casserole dish.

Grate the cheeses and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, Add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the heavy cream and continue to whisk for a few minutes to incorporate the butter into the cream.

Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes. Sprinkle the cheeses over the potatoes. Are you drooling yet? Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 1 hour. 

The grand finale to get the perfect crispy, golden top. Drumroll, please! Take the foil off after 1 hour and set to broil for 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on it cause this browns quickly!

Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

simple cranberry sauceYes, it’s that time again. Planning for the holidays. This year, I’m planning 3 Thanksgiving feasts: Friendsgiving, Workgiving, and Thanksgiving. Phew! I’m already tired thinking about it. Really though, I love cooking for others so it’s something that I look forward to every year.

Breaking up Thanksgiving into three smaller meals is really not too bad when you think about it (or maybe I’m trying to make myself feel better). Instead of making 1 giant feast, I will have enough space in my oven and cooktop for each mini meal, and I can also turn leftovers into a new dish for the next event. Last year, I reworked leftover turkey, gravy and stuffing into individual turkey pot pies for Friendsgiving.

Here’s a recipe for cranberry sauce. I grew up eating the sauce that came out of the can (still in a can-shaped mold). When I found out how easy it was to make cranberry sauce I never looked back.

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All it is is simmered down fresh or frozen cranberries with sugar! I like adding extras like orange juice/rind, ginger, herbs or spices. This recipe can be made a week in advance and stored in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

12oz of fresh cranberries
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water or orange juice
1 stick of cinnamon
1 Tbs cinnamon powder

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 5-7 minutes until most of the cranberries have popped.  Stir occasionally.

You may want to add more sugar if the sauce is still too tart for your taste.

S’more Summer

Summer officially ends next week. Nooo! This time of the year always makes me a little solemn; the days get shorter, the sweet summer fruit disappears from grocery stores and we go back to school. Although I haven’t been in school for years, that feeling still stays with me. Maybe that feeling will change for the better when my kids start going back to school and I’ll have the house all to myself again.

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Hand toasting marshmallows using a small culinary torch

To celebrate the end of summer I made s’mores – the quintessential summer snack. But not just any s’mores, gourmet smores with various fillings and cookies. Oreo, lemon meringue, and fluffernutter s’mores! Yes! scroll down to see how.

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As simple as a marshmallow and an Oreo cookie. The creme filling creates its own melty filling. Open up the cookie and place the toasted marshmallow inside and press together

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Andrew loves lemon meringue anything, so I made this one for him. Spread a thin layer of jarred or fresh lemon curd inside two Meyer lemon cookies. Place toasted marshmallow inside and gently squish together.

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If there is any other pairing that comes close to marshmallow and chocolate, it’s marshmallow and peanut butter. I don’t know why it’s called fluffernutter but it’s really fun to say. Go ahead, try saying it! FLUFFERNUTTER!

For this version, I used almond butter. Feel free to use anything you have on hand. Nutella or Speculoos I imagine would taste amazing on this a well.

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What I like about these unique s’mores is that they don’t have chocolate. I always find it difficult to melt chocolate over a fire without the help of some sort of specific s’more making device or foil. The marshmallow is the only thing getting toasty here.

However you want to savor summer, these treats can definitely be made in the fall as well. So, what are your plans for this last week of summer? Let me know in the comments or tag my handle, @feedmysole, on your Instagram pic!

How to Make Baby Food

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Once you get your pediatrician’s approval to feed solids to your infant, it’s not difficult to make baby purees. With the right tools (and during the baby’s 30-minute nap) you can make fresh and healthy baby food for your little one. Not to mention it saves so much money, and you know that your little one is eating the freshest and healthiest food.

Tools Needed:
A food processor or blender, a saucepan, and a spoon

                         

Most likely you have these tools already. I like using the food processor over the blender because it gives a smooth consistency and it’s a great tool for home cooks because it can do several things whereas a blender just, well, blends. Which is fine for making baby food, but look into a food processor if you don’t have one already. I use mine for making pesto, salsa, nut butter, rice flour, pie crust, grating cheese, slicing veggies and so much more!

I would stay away from purchasing fancy baby food processors specifically for baby food because they have small capacities and it’s just another appliance in my kitchen that I won’t use after baby grows up. Same goes for a baby food steamer and blender-in-one. What will you use it for after the baby turns 1? Take that money and buy a real food processor or blender with a larger capacity you can use for years to come. You won’t regret it! Even this Cuisinart one is cheaper than a Baby Bullet.

Foods to Start With:
I like to introduce babies first to fruits because of the high sugar content similar to breast milk and formula. Some good ones to start off with are a banana, avocado, apple or pear, and even some sweet veggies like sweet potato and butternut squash.

Microsoft Word - how-to-make-baby-food.docx Here is a recipe chart as a guideline for how to start. I started the chart at 6 months but you can begin once your pediatrician gives the OK. Begin with 1 ingredient purees when introducing solids to infants. Switch the ingredient every 3 days to look out for possible allergies. After a couple months of trying out some new foods, add a new ingredient to the recipe. After another couple of months, you can try some proteins and nut butter. Since nuts are high on the list of allergens, start with just a 1/4 teaspoon to the recipe.

Prepare, Serve and Store: 
1. Boil hard vegetables and fruits for 5 minutes or until they are fork tender. A pinch of salt is optional but I recommend it for veggies. Never feed honey to infants under 1 year.

2. Blend ingredients with a little bit of the cooking liquid to retain as many vitamins and nutrients back into the food. For more nutrition, you can use breastmilk or formula instead of the cooking liquid. I like using breastmilk/formula with baby’s first foods because they are already familiar with the taste.

3. Serve at body temperature. If you microwave to warm the food up, do so in 20-second intervals while stirring in between.  Or place the baby’s bowl on top of the bottle warmer for a gentle heat. I check the temperature by putting the food on my inner wrist to feel for temp or taste it with a clean spoon.

If you’ve made a batch, serve what you think your baby will eat in one sitting and throw away any uneaten food so you don’t contaminate the rest of the batch with bacteria from baby’s saliva.

4. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days or the freezer for up to 2 months.

That is a basic introduction of how to make baby food. I’ve been having fun trying things on Drew lately and love watching her facial reaction when she tries something new. Peek over to my recipe for Broccoli and Avocado Baby Food to see how I make it at home.

Broccoli and Avocado Baby Food

broccoli-and-avocado-baby-food-1My daughter started eating baby food at 5 months. I like to make it at home because I know she is getting healthy and fresh food. Don’t get me wrong, I will buy baby food pouches for when I don’t have time to make her food or when we’re on the go, but if you have 30 mins you can make healthy baby food for the next several days or make more and freeze it to last longer.

Here’s a simple broccoli and avocado recipe I used a few weeks into starting solids. Her first food was avocado so I knew she would like this version.

broccoli-and-avocado-baby-food-1-2Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 5-7 mins

Ingredients:
1 half avocado
1/4 head of broccoli, stalks separated
pinch of salt

Bring water and salt to boil in a small saucepan. Boil broccoli until fork tender, about 5-7 mins. In a food processor, puree avocado and cooked broccoli. Add the boiled water a little bit at a time until ingredients come together in a smooth puree. 

broccoli-and-avocado-baby-food-2Adding the cooking liquid incorporates some of the vitamins and minerals that has seeped out of the vegetables during the boiling process back into the food. You can also use breastmilk or formula as the liquid to add even more vitamins into baby’s food, but the cooking liquid is fine as she still gets most of her nutrients through her milk when she feeds. Introducing solids is just that, an introduction to get used to all the different flavors and to practice using her tongue to move food to the back of her throat.

So far, Drew loves avocado, apples, broccoli, mango, and hates carrots. LOL, much like her dad.

What was your child’s first solid and how did they like it?

Night Market

This weekend is the 626 Night Market. Similar to the night markets in Asia with dozens of food vendors, this is the largest one in the U.S.! I’ve been going for the past few years because I’m originally from the 626 (the area code of the San Gabriel Valley) and have always found the best Asian mom and pop eateries at the Night Market. This year the 626 Night Market team opened their doors for the first time to Downtown LA and Orange County. Here’s my recap of the DTLA Night Market from a couple weeks ago.

mango macaron ice cream sandwich
chicken and lamb skewers
Thai iced tea with a cream popsicle
dragon whiskers, a Chinese dessert
grilled pork belly
melt-in-your-mouth pork ribs
Hope to see you at one of this summer’s Night Market! Oh, and word to the wise, beware of the stinky tofu stench, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the festivities =D
Santa Anita Park
285 W Huntington Dr.
Arcadia, CA 91107
July 18 & 19
Aug 15 & 16
Sep 12 & 13
4pm – 1am