Adult & Baby Frittata – Plus Some Bonus Baby Prep

I realized this weekend that no matter how prepared I think I am to get myself and my baby out of the house, now that I have a baby everything takes me one hour and 30 minutes. Yes, ladies and gents. I’ve become that person. But, let’s face it. I’ve become THAT person on so many fronts. I can’t help it. I HAVE A BABY, NOW. But a little piece of me HATES this part of me. Because I swore I wouldn’t be this person.

An aside: I reference becoming the person you swore you would never be in this post – because before you become a parent you actually have no fucking clue who you are going to end up being as a parent. You heard it here first. Also, the post gives you a glimpse into why everything takes you 90 minutes – even when it shouldn’t. Though I bet, if I read a post like this before I was a parent I would most likely swear that I would figure out how to not be the person the writer of the post became.

Sometimes when I get sad that I have partially become the person I swore I would never be, I take a good look at this mug my husband got me for Mother's Day and remind myself that despite the fact that I might be what I said I would never be, I'm the world's OKAYEST mom. And that's pretty damn good.

Sometimes when I get sad that I have partially become the person I swore I would never be, I take a good look at this mug my husband got me for Mother’s Day and remind myself that despite the fact that I might be what I said I would never be, I’m the world’s OKAYEST mom. And that’s pretty damn good.

On Saturday Neil and I were supposed to be at our friend’s apartment at 8:15am. Jeff and Jaime are doing the NYC Triathlon with Neil in a month and they have a daughter who is about 15-months. I’m on baby-duty while the athletes train. We woke up at 7am. We were prepped for the morning. But something happened – I guess I blacked out – and we weren’t ready to walk out the door until 8:30. And lord help me, I needed to stop and get an ice coffee on the way.

This is me with Isla and Em after arriving 30-minutes late to Jeff and Jaime's. But I made it! And they got to do their athlete training stuff. So, it's a win win!

This is me with Isla and Em after arriving 30-minutes late to Jeff and Jaime’s. But I made it! And they got to do their athlete training stuff. So, it’s a win win!

I’m telling y’all this bit of information because: 1) If you’re a parent, you’ll understand what I’m saying and 2) If you’re not a parent and plan on being one, but swear you won’t be like me, maybe one day you’ll remember this post when you do have kids and say – well at least I’m not the only one – and she warned me. And then you’ll thank me.

Now that we have that all cleared up. Sunday was Neil’s first Father’s Day and it was pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. It involved family time AND A TWO HOUR NAP FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY. So, any way you slice it – it was good. I LOVE FAMILY NAP TIME. Mainly because I miss naps like you wouldn’t believe. Y’all, if you don’t have kids, or if you’re kids are grown up enough to take care of themselves for a few hours, PLEASE TAKE LOTS OF NAPS.

Sunday also involved cooking for the adults and the babe. I didn’t have enough time to make the baby food and freeze it, so instead I prepped the baby food so tonight I can easily purée/mash and it’s ready to go.

For brunch I made a potato, kale and red pepper frittata that is baby friendly, and prepped additional red bell peppers for baby food. I also sliced up some corn to be made into baby food while the frittata cooked.

Here’s the recipe and break down of how I managed my time:

Potato, Kale and Red Pepper Frittata

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4 adults (or 2 if you’re me and Neil) and makes 1 cup baby food; Plus additional red pepper and prepped veggies for your baby food

Ingredients:
2 red peppers – one diced for the frittata and one sliced for baby food
30 frozen tater tots
1 1/2 cups frozen kale
2 garlic cloves finely diced
1 shallot finely diced
1/2 a Vidalia onion (or any onion) roughly chopped
4 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, or any cheese you like
Veggies that you would like to prep for baby food, since there is some down time while the frittata cooks (might as well make use of the time since you’ll already be in the kitchen)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400.

Bring a large, oven safe pan with a flat bottom to medium/high heat. Put a small amount of water in the bottom of the pan (about 3 tablespoons) – it should simmer when it hits the pan. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the onions and a little more water if the pan is starting to look dry. Bring the heat down to medium. Cook until shallots and garlic are golden and onion is translucent. Add the diced red pepper. Bring the heat down to low, add a little more water and cover the pan for about 4 minutes.

Downtime! Take 4 minutes to start prepping veggies you want to make for your baby. I had some leftover fresh corn on the cob, so I sliced the corn off the cob and then packed up the baby veggies in tupperware and put in the fridge to be dealt with later. I also bagged up the additional sliced red pepper.


Back to the frittata – after the 4 minutes, all the veggies in the pan should be soft. Bring the heat back up to medium, add a little more water (two tablespoons or so) and add the tater tots. Let those cook for about a minute, cover and bring the heat back down to low. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Downtime! In this downtime you can prep some more veggies for your baby. I was done with what I wanted to prep, so I sipped on a Rosé-Mimosa. What’s that you ask? That’s a bit of Prosecco topped with Rosé. It was good.

Back to the meal – once the potatoes are soft, mash and break them up so they mix in nicely with the other veggies in the pan. Then add the frozen kale. You might need to add a bit of water, a tablespoon or so. Cover the pan again for about 3 minutes, allowing the kale to cook down. Uncover, mix together and remove a cup of the mixture to be stored in fridge and mashed later for baby food.

Adult and baby food, side by side.

Adult and baby food, side by side. Baby food ready for fridge for mashing and freezing. Adult food ready to be crisped, cheesed and egged.

Now you can get to seasoning the adult portion of this meal. I used some smoked salt that I had along with some pepper. Season as you like. Then mash the adult portion down to make a flat pancake along the bottom of the pan (see above photo for reference) and turn the heat up to medium/high. Let that cook for 2 minutes, flip and cook for another 2 minutes. This creates a nice crust.

Sprinkle the top of the hash with shredded cheese and put the pan in the oven for about a minute, allowing the cheese to melt. Remove the pan from the oven and crack 4 eggs over the top of the hash. Put back in the oven and cook for 3-4 minutes for a runny yolk. If you want the yolk cooked more, cook it longer.

Remove from pan and serve.

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Peas and Thank You

Y’all, I have to be honest. This week’s recipe post is kind of a cop-out. But that’s because I’m out of town. However, I promised myself I would post every Monday and Friday. So, I give you this week’s recipe that’s good for you and your babes – pureed peas for baby and peas with truffle butter for you. And it all takes about 10 minutes. You’re welcome.

Here I am in Israel with my mom. That's why I'm copping out on this post. But I'm with my mom - so that makes it OK, right?

Here I am, out of town…with my mom. That’s why I’m taking the easy road on this post. But I’m with my mom – so that makes it OK, right?

**This post is a cop-out because once upon a time I wrote a post about how I love school cafeteria food. And in the post I included a recipe for peas with truffle butter. Yea, truffle butter. Because. Truffles.

Here we go…

Prep time: Not long 🙂
Cook time: About 10 minutes
Serves: 2-4 adults, depending on your main dish & about 1/2 to 1 cup of baby pureed peas, depending on desired texture

Ingredients:
One 16oz (1lb) bag frozen peas
1/2 tablespoon truffle butter, or regular butter if you don’t have truffle butter
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cool water

Directions:
Pour frozen peas into a medium pot over medium/low heat. Put water over peas to help them defrost and cover the pot for about three minutes. DON’T OVERCOOK THE PEAS. You want them to have a crunch and be slightly warm, but not frozen in the middle. Guys, there is only one thing that is worse than overcooked peas. Keep reading to find out. Once the peas are in a good place, transfer the peas to a strainer. Nothing is worse than watery peas. So now you know what is worse than overcooked peas.

Here is a photo of peas being strained, because I felt like I needed another photo.

Here is a photo of peas being strained, because I felt like I needed another photo. I’m sure more professional bloggers, and my husband, would advise against adding poorly taken photos of peas in a strainer just because I feel like I need another photo. Oh well.

For your baby’s food – take half of the peas and throw them into a food processor. Blend until desired texture, adding water if needed. When your baby is ready for more texture, you can mash peas with a potato masher or fork for a chunkier consistency. Place mashed/pureed peas in ice cube trays and freeze for individual services.

GUESS WHAT – YOUR BABY PEAS ARE DONE! Now, onto the adult portion of your meal.

Poorly lit peas, ready for freezing.

Poorly lit baby-food peas, ready for freezing.

Put the rest of the peas back in the pot once drained, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Bring pot to low heat.

Mix in 1/2 tablespoon truffle butter, or regular butter. If you don’t have truffle butter, you can use regular butter and add truffle salt. Or truffle oil. Or truffle anything. And if you don’t have truffle anything, you can also finely dice up 1/4 cup mushrooms and throw them in. They don’t pack the same punch as truffle, but it will still taste delicious. And if you don’t have mushrooms, you can just butter the peas. Because butter makes everything better (and you’re still going to add cheese….cheese and butter = never a bad thing).

Once butter is mixed in, add the parmesan cheese so it gets melty.

Butter and cheese...yes, peas! (yea, I did that)

Butter and cheese…yes, peas! (yea, I did that)

Serve with just about anything. This is also really delicious over pasta!

Finished peas and a pork chop.

Finished peas and a pork chop. Ta. Da.

Two-for-One Risotto

Before I jump into this post, I want to address the photography and overall format of this blog. Let’s just say that I understand it’s “meh”. I’m not the best with technology, I don’t have the capacity to take staged photos and doctor them (unless it’s on my iPhone with a filter), and I just don’t have the time right now to make Simply in the Flavor “pretty”. But hey, she’s got a really great personality. She’s super friendly and honest, and she tries hard. So, give her a chance and see where she goes! Maybe she’ll become more attractive as you get to know her! And maybe one day she’ll get a makeover and be real pretty. But for now…this is what it is.

Now, onto business…My friends often ask me how I’m able to “whip up” such “elaborate” meals on weeknights and manage to make my daughter’s food from scratch.

Two things:

1. I love to cook – getting into the kitchen is relaxing for me. Chopping and cutting over a glass of wine or a bourbon on the rocks is something I actually enjoy. “Me” time these days is so limited. Today I found myself looking forward to a long subway ride so I could catch up on a stack of magazines without my baby or my husband talking to me. Because you know, sometimes I don’t want to talk to them. Or anyone for that matter.

2. It’s mostly an illusion because NOTHING that I make is difficult – and I whenever I’m cooking for me and Neil (the husband) I try to incorporate food that our daughter will eat. It’s like a two-for-one deal. Along with buying in bulk and coupons, two-for-one deals are my favorite. Basically I create a base meal that is baby friendly and then doctor up the adult portion. See below.

This week’s recipe post is an adaptation from two different recipes. I wanted to make risotto, but good lord – it’s a PAIN IN THE ASS. So I googled “easy risotto recipes” and wouldn’t you know, the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten had a recipe for Easy Parmesan “Risotto”. I also wanted to stock up my freezer meals for Isla. Every few weeks I make a bunch of food for her (in kitchen products that I already owned – NOT in fancy baby food makers…post on that to come next Monday) and throw it in our freezer. I also like to make a lot of food in general and have leftovers. Because leftovers are easy. And time is of the essence these days. The Baby & Toddler Cookbook has a risotto recipe that looked pretty tasty. I set out to combine the two recipes. I had some frozen butternut squash and spinach on hand (prepackaged frozen vegetables are a godsend…do you know how time consuming it is to peel and cut a butternut squash? VERY)… and off I went.

Two-in-One Vegetable Risotto

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4-5 adults servings & 2 cups of baby risotto

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
4 cups low-sodium Vegetable broth
1 cup water simmering water, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
16 oz package frozen butternut squash
16 oz package frozen spinach
1 shallot finely diced
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Bring 4 cups of vegetable broth to a simmer in a Dutch Oven. Add the rice, cover and bake in oven for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Look, I’ll be honest. I just left it alone for 45 minutes and the rice got overcooked. And it was still delicious.

Here's my

Here’s my “risotto” baking. And as you can see, I desperately need to clean my oven. But that’s not going to happen.

Meanwhile, place frozen butternut squash and spinach in a colander in sink. Run hot water over vegetables until slightly tender – the middle of squash and some chunks of spinach can still be frozen. Bring a medium skillet to medium-high heat. Drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil in pan and allow to heat for a moment. Stir in squash and spinach. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover pan for 2-3 minutes. Once vegetables are completely cooked, remove from pan and scoop onto separate plate. Set aside one cup for baby’s risotto – we will get back to this. In the same pan, add remaining olive oil and diced shallots. Cook until translucent and add the remaining butternut squash and risotto. Season with salt and pepper. Guys, I added truffle salt. Because I add truffle salt to everything. Because why not?

Remove rice from oven and slowly add simmering water (OK, OK. I didn’t use simmering water. I just used lukewarm tap water). Rice might be caked to the bottom of the Dutch oven, but slowly stir in water and it will break it right up. My risotto wasn’t that thirsty, so I only added 3/4 cup water. Just keep stirring in water until you like the consistency of what you have. Don’t worry too much! Relax! Remove 1 cup of rice and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to remaining rice in Dutch oven and stir. Add 1 teaspoon of butter to the 1 cup of rice for baby and stir.

Sister rices. Get it?

Sister rices. Get it?

Add the 1 cup of vegetables that you set aside to the 1 cup of baby’s buttered risotto and stir. Set in refrigerator and forget about it for a while.

Get back to your adult meal. Stir in 3/4 cup parmesan cheese to rice. Mmmmmmm. Add the vegetables from your pan to the pot of rice and stir. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Done and done! I served this with simple salmon and baked cod.

Over exposed and poorly lit dinner.

Over exposed and poorly lit dinner.

When you’re read, remove baby risotto from fridge and if necessary, puree to texture that is appropriate for your baby and freeze in ice cube trays for easy individual servings. Yes, regular ice cube trays. You don’t need fancy “baby” freezer trays.

Baby risotto - puree if necessary.

Baby risotto – puree if necessary.

Ready for freezing. Another one of my favorite things. Freezing anything and everything.

Ready for freezing. Another one of my favorite things. Freezing anything and everything.

One More Time with Feeling!

Yes. It was as good as it looks.

Yes. It was as good as it looks.

Well hello /family/friends/fellow bloggers/followers! It’s been a while. As per usual, I kept up my blog for some time and then completely abandoned it for a while. The good news – the last time I kept it up for five months. The time before that, it was only two months. Maybe this time I’ll keep it up for eight months. I’m clearly on a four-year plan for a consistent blog.

Anyway, last we spoke I was cooking up simple yet delicious recipes in my NYC kitchen and sharing them with you on this blog, along with some anecdotal story that I found hilarious or heart-warming and you perhaps thought was “meh”.

There is a new and exciting component to this blog that I’m working on. It is fresh, fun and will help you plan parties for 2-100 people. What is it, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned to next Thursday morning for the post. For now, you can wait with bated breath for its arrival.

Since I last blogged I turned the big 3-0 and I’m loving it. There is something about being 30 that gives me a sense of confidence that I didn’t have before at work and in my every day life. While I was always outspoken, I did come into contact with people who I allowed to speak to me in a way that I didn’t like and made me feel pretty terrible. Since this whole 30 thing happened I’ve stood up for myself a lot more, and it feels good. I’m also working on letting go of feeling guilty for things that are out of my control. But I’m Jewish, and that whole “Jewish-guilt” thing is true. So I have a feeling this will be a long battle.

I’ve also cracked the code on cat-sweater wearing grandmothers. Yes, that’s right, people. I’ve done it.

Just me and my paw prints.

Just me and my paw prints.

Back in December, a friend of mine and I decided we were going to wear some ugly-Christmas gear to a non-ugly-Christmas sweater party. My friend found me the cat’s pajamas of a sweater – A red sweatshirt with kitties prancing around (one has a real-live bell on its tail!) and the sweatshirt reads, “Grandkids leave paw prints on our hearts”. I paired that sucker with a nice green turtleneck, a pair of leggings and some Christmas socks. I arrived at the party to major laughs. After a cocktail I realized how happy I was to be in such comfortable clothes. No adjusting some skirt I was wearing. No worrying about eating too many appetizers so that my jeans would feel tight. No rearranging a shirt to make sure it stayed where it was supposed to. I was in my cat-digs and I was at peace. My friends all accept me and love me for who I am, so I wasn’t worried that I needed to dress to impress. I looked at my husband and said, “Is it sad that I can envision myself as this type of grandma?”. Suddenly, I started to get excited about the prospect of eventually embarrassing my unborn children and grandchildren. These cat-sweatshirt wearing grandmothers have it all figured out. They are at an age where they aren’t concerned with what anyone thinks about them, their friends and family will love them no matter what they wear. Plus, they can have some fun embarrassing everyone around them because they are so confident in who they are. They know how the world works, and realize that things they worried about for so many years just don’t mean a damn thing. They know what truly matters. It’s actually genius.

Now to food. After New Years I found myself at Fairway where they were having a major meat sale. And I mean major. I got myself a beautiful 1.5lb beef tenderloin (already tied up!) for a total of $13.75. As you may or may not know, beef tenderloin is very expensive. Looking back on it, I should have stock-piled those suckers. But alas, we live in NYC and don’t have much freezer space. Last night, I made this delicious and EASY beef tenderloin recipe that impressed my husband so much he said it tasted like we were at a fancy restaurant. I love when he says that stuff to me. I paired it with these Brussels sprouts and a sweet potato with cinnamon and sugar. Overall prep time was 15 minutes and total cook time was 1hr. So all in all, for 45-minutes I watched Downton Abbey and sipped a Bourbon on the rocks while my dinner cooked. SOLD.

Get The Fat Outta Here

Creamy, delicious, amazingly satisfying...CAULIFLOWER!

Creamy, delicious, amazingly satisfying…CAULIFLOWER!

A few weeks ago while I was at the gym I got the most intense craving for something creamy. Mac and cheese? Mashed Potatoes? Vichyssoise? I almost got up and left the gym in the middle of my ab workout. I could barely control myself. However, Neil and I are on somewhat of a healthy pattern (I use the term lightly). So instead of jetting out of the gym and bulldozing anyone who stood in my way, I finished my ab set while trying to think of a way to create something really creamy, delicious, flavorful AND healthy.
Cauliflower. That was my ticket to cheat a world of creamy-overindulgence. I have read a million different recipes that use cauliflower as a substitute to make them healthy. Pizza. Steaks. Mashed Potatoes. I could totally do this!

I exited the gym, carted myself to the grocery store. Leeks were on sale (because to be honest they looked like they had about 15-minutes of life left in them) so I grabbed those along with some cauliflower. I also picked up some nonfat Greek Yogurt (I prefer Fage over other brands because of it’s thick consistency).

I headed home and created this recipe that tasted unbelievable. I actually impressed myself with how simple the recipe was and how devilish it tasted. Next time you’re craving something super unhealthy but don’t feel like blowing a bazillion calories, search the wonderful world wide web for what you’re craving and just add the word “healthy”. You’ll be amazed at what you can find!

Overindulgence Inspired Health

All this took 15-minutes. BOOM.

All this took 15-minutes. BOOM.

After a weekend of binge eating in Bloomington, Indiana, Neil and I were craving a simple and healthy dinner. We had been at Indiana University, my alma mater, with Neil’s brother and our sister-in-law to watch the Little 500 bike race. Neil’s brother Brian also went to IU so we were both very excited to get back to our college town and show our significant others all of our college memories. Most of my memories included food.

I hadn’t been back to Bloomington since I graduated in 2006, so it was a special treat. We ate a giant dinner Friday night at Scholar’s Inn. I demanded that we hit up Scotty’s for waffle fries and ranch dressing for lunch on Saturday before the race. Scotty’s came out with a gluten free menu and a few days before we left for the trip I noticed both the ranch and the fries weren’t on the menu. I figured this would happen, but to be safe I gave them a call while I was still in New York so I could prep myself for depression. Of course, the lovely Scotty’s hostess confirmed that both items were not gluten free. I cried for a minute, but then took solace in the fact that at least I had the memories of how amazing those delicious spiced waffle fries were, especially paired with the most amazing ranch dressing on the planet.

I also had to hit up Jimmy John’s. They serve an unwich, which is just a lettuce wrap, so it’s not all that exciting – but on principle I had do go. And here’s why…Neil (unintentionally) took away my last shot at ever eating a proper Jimmy John’s sandwich. It was October of 2009. Neil and I were in Athens, GA – his college town – to watch the UGA play LSU. The dreaded celiac had not been diagnosed yet and I told Neil that my only request while we were in Athens was to hit up Jimmy John’s. NYC has no Jimmy John’s. I missed it. It was a quick and simple request. Well…we ran late to to the tail gate (and G-d forbid we miss out on 10-minutes of drinking) so Neil promised we would stop at Jimmy John’s on the way out of town. Well…on the way out of town everyone wanted to go to some calzone place (which honestly wasn’t all that good, if you ask the person who was craving a Beach Club sandwich). Needless to say, time ran out and there was no stop-off at JJ’s. I was devastated. Neil told me cheer up – “You can always get Jimmy John’s next time we are in Atlanta. It’s not like you’ll never eat it again!”. I believe in that moment he put a gluten hex on me. Three months later I was diagnosed with celiac.

So after stops at all the Bloomington highlights – including the ever famous my-parents-are-in-town-so-let’s-go-to Malibu Grill – we got home, felt gross and needed to do something healthy. I was craving a fancy meal, but didn’t feel like doing much prep – as per usual. My friend Stephanie makes incredible salmon and always talks about how simple it is. She inspired me to come up with this disgustingly easy baked salmon recipe. I paired it with this simple watercress salad as well as some bagged frozen rice that I doctored up with a little lemon, scallions and salt. Dinner took a total of 15-minutes. And it was so good that I made it again on Friday night for company.

I made a Cake…and Some Soup

Neil went out of town last week to head to Vegas with a bunch of his guy friends to celebrate a buddy’s birthday. I’m sure they all got drunk, acted like idiots and had the times of their life. I on the other hand had an extremely productive weekend which included a potluck dinner with some gals, writing, reading, a concert, a book fair, an 8-mile walk with a new amazing friend, the gym and cooking. I packed in a lot and still managed to catch 7 episodes of Felicity on my couch with my cat. (We recently purchased Hulu Plus which has proved to be the best thing that has happened in regards to my love of late 90’s television.)

Neil is out of town for the entire week – after Vegas he had to head to San Francisco for a work conference. For some reason his exodus sparked the Suzy Homemaker inside of me. I decided I was going to make a giant pot of soup for the week – it’s so friggin’ easy to make and that way I would have dinner for the week and I could come home every night from work, jump on the couch and get lost in Kerri Russel’s hair debacle from season 2. With all that extra time on my hands not cooking dinner every night I could get through at least 3 episodes an evening!

I had a ton of leftover broccoli from potluck dinner. I made this broccoli salad for the potluck I mentioned above and the typical Jewish mother inside of me purchased two extra heads, just in case. My mom had mentioned an easy soup recipe, so I headed to the grocery store to pick up a few items I needed. This is a combination of her recipe with my own tweaks.

While at the store I suddenly had a craving for cake. I marched myself down the baking aisle and picked up what I needed to create this delicious vanilla cake with chocolate frosting.

A few hours later I was in the kitchen with the soup on the stove and the cakes in the oven. I NEVER bake. It’s not my thing. But this was truly simple. And the soup. Oh man. It was DISGUSTINGLY easy and so delicious.