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.
Christmas-2017-55
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

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Look at that face enjoying the fruits of her labor!

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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?

Yogurt and Granola Fruit Salad

Spring is here and the best fruit is coming back in season.  This isn’t your grandma’s fruit salad with the canned fruit cocktail.  Although I admit, as a kid I used to pick out the cherries out of that bowl before anyone could get to it first.  I can’t wait to try this recipe out with fresh blackberries, raspberries, and peaches!
Ingredients:
2 bananas
2 pears
2 apples
1 pint of strawberries
1/2 cup of golden raisins
1/2 cup condensed milk
1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
sprinkle of granola on top
 
Core and dice the apple and pear.  Don’t bother pulling out your apple corer, just use this simple tutorial and you’ll never use that thing again.  Cut the core off the apple by squaring around the core.  Simple! Then you will have a flat surface on the apple pieces to easily dice them into 1/2″ squares.
 
Cut the strawberries in half and slice up the bananas. Add the raisins, condensed milk, and sour cream.  I know, sour cream sounds weird but it is actually a nice balance between the tart and the sweet condensed milk.  It also gives the milk something to hold on to.  If it’s too weird to put sour cream on fruit instead of the regular ‘ol potato go ahead and use greek yogurt.
 
Mix. Serve. Sprinkle granola on top of each serving.  I like to use Kashi or the Trader Joe’s brand. Enjoy!

Fritter Frenzy

Since I learned how to make broccoli fritters, I have been on a fritter frenzy!  Figuring out what else to fritter, I came across a banana fritter recipe on Martha Stewart’s website, and you know I can’t say, “no” to Martha Stewart.

Ingredients:
6 ripe bananas
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
3 Tbs vegetable oil

Makes about 10 two inch diameter fritters.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl.  I like my fritters with a bit of texture so I did not over mash.  Mix in the eggs, then the flour.  

Heat the oil in a large skillet to medium heat.  When the oil is hot (put the end of a wooden spoon handle in the oil and if there are tiny bubbles, it is hot enough), spoon large tablespoons of the mixture in the pan.  Flip with a spatula when it is golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes.  Cook the other side until it is also golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Top with ice cream, honey, cinnamon sugar, or eat all by itself.  It is great for breakfast or desserts (or any other time in between).

This is quite possibly the easiest fritter recipe, and yet it tastes so good!  You can even try it as a replacement for pancakes.  Enjoy!