Monday, June 25, 2012

Oatmeal Banana Bread


I really hate wasting food. Not that I never do it (Oops, double negative. Major grammatical faux pas, I know.), but I think over 30 years of my mother guilting me into never wasting food it really sunk in. She would always tell my brother and I not to put too much on our plates and waste it but rather put a small amount then go back for more if we're still hungry. I'm always telling Hubby this and when Bambina doesn't finish her food I make Hubby and I try and eat it. I will often freeze portions of what I make so as to not go bad, but of course, come trash day I'm always cleaning out the fridge and finding foods to throw away. It's so wasteful, and makes me think of the poor children sticking their hands into the rickshaws in India begging for money to buy food. (Although, if Slumdog Millionaire has any truth to it I suppose they were actually making money for their alleged guardian. Hmm, I do recall being at a train station in Delhi and seeing small children put on a little show and then going around with their hats collecting money. But I digress...) I do my best, but what more can I do?

So when I have fruits that are beginning to overripe, and we definitely can't eat it, I look for recipes to make them into cakes and breads. I make banana bread a lot, a lot-a lot. Actually, we had just finished a loaf of it last week when I had three bananas that were completely overripe. So I looked up recipes to make something different and healthy when I came across Oatmeal Banana Bread.

The results were fantastic! For having more egg whites than eggs and having whole wheat flour it was so moist and yumtacular! (Yeah, that's right yummy + spectacular= yumtacular. My lexicon tends to have words that may not fit in your repertoire, but embrace it. It doesn't have to be in Webster's to exist as a word, or does it?) Bambina and Hubby also enjoyed it. Hubby said it tasted even better with margarine on it, but I felt it was perfect as is. He easily could have said that because I told him it was made with whole wheat flour, which he's not a fan of. Overall, he must have enjoyed it because I made the bread on Friday and there's only one slice left. I bought extra bananas this week so that I can make the bread again when the bananas ripen!

Click here for the recipe

My edits:
1.) Used 3 ripened bananas
2.) Used 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all purpose flour 
3.) Replaced baking soda for baking powder and used a total of 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder

Amateur Cooking Difficulty Scale: 3
While it may look like there are a lot of ingredients to this, there really are not. It was as easy to make as any other banana bread. Also, you can easily add in raisins, walnuts or chocolate chips to the recipe or even bake it in muffin tins instead of a bundt or loaf pan. I wanted to keep it simple this time and follow the recipe and it came out so good that I think I will stick straight to the recipe next time. (Except for my edits, of course!)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cheesy Vegetable Bread (or Muffins!)


A couple of months ago I was looking for something different to make Bambina to eat. She was starting to get a bit more...particular with what she chose to consume. She was growing tired of being adventurous and willing to eat everything and felt it was time to become a food coniseur. My easy food days were over and I was entering the world of a toddler who was particular of what she put into her mouth. (I hate to say a picky toddler because picky has such a negative connotation. And really, I'm one of the most difficult people to cook for, so she has nothing on me.) To add to that, her tastes change on an hourly basis. While she may be obsessed with guacamole one week the next week she refuses it and will revert back to something she abhorred the week before. It's like being front row at a Giambatista Valli show during Fashion Week, the coned bras that were in last season are out and the neon biker shorts that were out last season are in this season, I just can't keep up nor can predict it.

I knew Bambina loved cakes, muffins and breads, something that rarely changes, so I contemplated how I could put all the nutrition she needed in one meal, into a bread. I googled every form of vegetable meat breads as possible and it appeared that such a concoction is common in Australia, because it was only Australian sites that had the recipe.

The concept was very simple, flour, vegetables, milk, eggs, oil and cheese. Throw it all together, pop it into the oven and voila! The work required was minimal and the reaction from Bambina was great! The first time I made it I used mini muffins and she loved it (I also got high remarks from Hubby and my mom. My mother, the vegetarian, enjoyed herself a couple of muffins not knowing it had turkey meat in it!). This second time I made it I threw it into a loaf pan and it got less than stellar reviews from Bambina. So before she would eat it I would put some margarine on both sides and warm it up on a pan on the stove and that made her much more pleased.

Click here for the recipe.

My edits:
1.) Used potato, zucchini and carrot.
2.) Along with the cheese I added in garlic and sliced deli turkey.

I loved this recipe because you can exercise your creative side and add any vegetable or type of cheese your family prefers.

Amateur Cooking Difficulty Scale: 3
Simple recipe that makes you feel like a Top Chef contestant in the quickfire challenge given 45 minutes to create muffins and just like Richard Blaise you make a savory dish, sans the liquid nitrogen of course. Basically, it makes you feel creative.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Skinnygirl Margarita: Not a paid endorsement #3


Mmm... As I write this I can taste the cold refreshing  margarita smoothly slide down my throat unlike the usual frozenly sweet and acidic generic margarita you get at every Tex-Mex restaurant. Between pregnancy and nursing I haven't indulged in a Skinnygirl margarita in almost a year, I know, tragic. But we shall embark on our love affair again, soon I hope.

I've never been a big margarita drinker. I've had nothing against it, but I just found that anything mass produced in a large mixing machine with ice doesn't always taste the best. From my experience of margaritas it always tasted more like sweet and sour mixer and less like tequila, not that I need a drink overpowered with tequila, but I also don't need a drink that solely tastes of sweet and sour mix. That and the fact that the day after my 21st birthday (Yes, you know the condition you are in the next day) I went to a mexican restaurant where the margarita machine was on the fritz and the putrid smell emulating from the bar was indescribable. (Why we stayed and ate there is beyond me. Why my family still frequents this establishment on a regular basis is due to sheer blockage of memory.) So that's why I don't do frozen margaritas.

It wasn't until after graduate school that I experienced the margarita on the rocks. Before that my only experience of margarita on the rocks was a friend's boyfriend in college, who I often made fun of behind his back of course, who would always order a margarita on the rocks at every bar we would frequent. Ok, when it's $1 wells night and everyone is ordering a beer (And me Smirnoff Ice, I'm sure he was making fun of me behind my back) he would order a margarita. I found that so odd.

So after graduate school there was a South American restaurant my family would visit and my father and brother would always order the margarita on the rocks, which got me to try it. It completely changed my opinion of margaritas! It literally wiped the stench of the margarita machine from my nose. (Ok, so maybe not completely. I can kind of smell it while I write this.) But I did enjoy the taste. It tasted much more fresh rather than mass produced in a machine. There's something to be said about individuality. Oh and it was strong! See, that's what I love about margaritas on the rock, it can be made based on your preference.

My only problem with margaritas, whether frozen or on the rocks, is that they are highly caloric and leave you with a wicked hangover the next day. (A friend once told me that the more mixer in your drink, the worse the hangover so stick to hard liquor, not sure if this is true? Although I do believe that a hangover is due to alcohol withdrawal, so I'm not sure how the sweetener effects that?)  So for these reasons it was never my go to drink, I only dabbled in one or two while consuming Tex-Mex food.

Years ago when watching season 1 of The Real Housewives of New York City I watched as Bethenny had dinner with Luann and ordered a Skinnygirl Margarita which contained clear, premium tequila, fresh lime juice and a splash of triple sec. I was intrigued! Now, I'm not confident enough to order this in a bar (nor remember the ingredients other than tequila), but always wanted to try it. (I recall Alexis once ordering some similar concoction on Housewives of OC. I was embarrassed for her, trying to coin a similar drink. Sad.)

When Bethenny actually marketed and distributed this  Skinnygirl Margarita, I was ecstatic! Finally I get to try this amazing drink! Unfortunately, everywhere I went looking for it did not have it. Finally it took me going to a Spec's (Do you have Spec's in your neck of the woods? I think it may be a Texas liquor store, it's all over this city) to find the beverage. And sadly, it's constantly sold out.

So finally I got to try the drink and it was amazing! It held up to all the hype. It's an amazing margarita that doesn't give me a hangover (regular margaritas give me a headache if I just drink one!) and...and...and it's low in calories! There are only 38 calories in 1.5 oz. Now, of course I drink more than that (Imagine the massive goblets margaritas come in. I've even seen them come in fishbowls!), but still, compared to the trillion calories in a frozen margarita it's much healthier and tastes better too!

After loving the Skinnygirl Margarita I thought I'd venture out and try another one of Bethenny...err Jim Beam's (She recently sold her Skinnygirl drinks to Jim Beam to a supposed whopping tune of 120 million smackers) drinks, the Skinnygirl Sangria. Do you hear the sound of tires coming to a screeching hault? Yeah, not so fast there, Bethe...Jim Beam. Just because you beyond exceeded with the margarita doesn't mean you can manufacture more. Not only did I not like the drink, I was repulsed by it. I couldn't even finish the glass and gave the rest of the bottle to a friend who had yet to experience the high standard of the Skinnygirl Margarita.

Jim Beam now has a line of Skinnygirl cocktails, vodkas and wines. Wines? Really. Wine is wine. I don't find it has something that I need to make low calorie to enjoy. Wine isn't highly caloric in the first place and drinking wine should be chosen by taste composition not by calorie count. (This coming from the wine dilettante.) So I have no interest in buying a bottle of any of the other drinks and risk losing out on 13 bucks. (That's how much I spent on the margarita.)

If you can find the Skinnygirl Margarita in your neighborhood store, buy it! Sadly, I can only find the damn Sangria in my grocery stores and not the margarita. It takes venturing out to the liquor store to buy it, assuming they even have it in stock. If you find it, horde up like you're preparing for a hurricane and need alcohol to keep you entertained when you don't have power for two weeks. (If you don't live near the Gulf of Mexico, you won't understand this reference.)  Perfect summertime drink, winter drink or any time of the year drink. Just be cautious if you try an alternative Skinnygirl drink, you can't reach perfection with every try. 

Images
skinnygirlcocktails.com
http://www.aricortes.com/2011/02/22/happy-national-margarita-day/milagrorocksmargarita1/
bravotv.com

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Thanks Sister Sister, but I don't need your parenting Advice


I've always been someone who was interested in celebrity pop culture. I've had my subscription to US Weekly for years and I frequent PerezHilton.com and Realitytea.com on a daily basis, sometimes multiple (ok not sometimes, always) times a day. Since having children I've been more intrigued on the happenings of celebrity parents. Watching them grow through each trimester of pregnancy, seeing their maternity clothes, reading about their post pregnancy weight loss and seeing what types of baby items they purchase. (Yes, I did look up Jessica Simpson's baby registry at Bel Bambino and seriously folks, she's a millionaire, does she really need to register for anything none the less ruffled diapers?) But when they cross the line and start talking about their parenting styles, that's when it drives me nuts! Why do celebrities think we care about their parenting styles? And what exactly makes them the authority on raising children? 

What irritates me the most is when celebrities believe that just because they are a celebrity, they need to advise others on how to be a parent. Tia Mowry, you've gone through one pregnancy and have a child that is what, 6 months old, why do you think you should have a book out? And the child is just now around 6 months, when exactly did you write this book?

Now, I have not read the book (Don't tell me to go read it before I judge, I refuse!), but based on the cover, Pregnancy Tales and Advice? Ok, write about your pregnancy tales, that's fine. I'm sure your fans are curious to know how your pregnancy was, but advice? What authority do you have? Are you a doctor, midwife, nurse? Have some academic degree that we don't know about? Last I recall, your resume contains you yelling Rog-er! and having to put up with Jackee's screechingingly high pitched voice.

From watching Tia and Tamara's show (not Sister Sister, but their reality show on the Sytle Network. Yes. I won't hide it. I assume by now you know of my affinity for reality television. But I draw the line at certain shows, like Housewives of Atlanta and the Kardashians. Ok, so I may have watched these shows in the past, but they've gotten so way over the top that I've had to stop in disgust. Whoa, way off topic here) she's probably the last person to take advice from. During the show she and her husband discuss how much they disliked a potential pediatrician because he was pushing for their child to get vaccinated. As a parent, I am an extreme believer in vaccinations. I can't even get my child into a mother's day out program without showing proof of shot records, how would they get their child into school? But it's not for me to judge. That's just it. As a parent the most obnoxious personality to deal with is another individual (whether they are a parent or not) give unwanted advice when they have no knowledge other then they either have a child or know a child. You don't hold any authority on parenting nor do you know my child in the same capacity as I do, so who are you to give advice? Just because it's what Dr. Sears says or it's something that worked for you doesn't mean it's going to work for my child.

In the case of Tia, it's apparent that she wanted to use her so-called celebrityness (yes, a word I coined) to make a few extra bucks. What's something she's experienced that she can now relate with a new grouping of people, being a mother! So write about your tales, that's fine, but don't give me advice, I don't need it. Because you've had one child you know it all? Go through another pregnancy and raise another child and see how much of your advice you would change.

Now  there is the other realm of celebrities (Again, I use that term loosely. Think C list celebrities) that use their status to bring attention to their style of  parenting. For example, I think we've all see Alicia Silverstone's infamous video of feeding her child via the bird method, chewing food in her mouth and then spitting it into her child's mouth. That may be your personal way of rearing your child so lets keep it that, personal. You know it's going to cause controversy, because it is not the mainstream way of feeding your child, so don't pimp out your child simply to bring attention to you when you have a new project you want to plug.

Mayam Bialik is another example. She wrote a book about attachment parenting, another...I don't want to say controversial...but an alternative to mainstream parenting. That's fine and dandy if that's how you want to raise your child, but don't use your "celebrity" status to educate people on how to parent their children. What  makes you the authority on attachment parenting and can teach others? Look Blossom, just because you were the oddball in high school, are bitter that your flowered hats did not catch on as did Carrie Bradshaw's flower pins and are stuck playing roles where your lack of Hollywood standard beauty leads you to play  characters of extreme intellect and lacking social graces (ahem, your questionable obsession with Penny?) doesn't mean you need to compensate by educating the masses on attachment parenting.(Don't be fooled by my comments, overall I like Amy Farrah Fowler).

Here's the deal, folks. While I do like to watch celebrities parent, I don't need them to educate me on parenting. Don't use your status in society to capitalize on your mothering status, whether it is through a book or posting a you tube video. Oh! And if you are asked in a magazine about how parenting is, DO NOT make it sound like it's all unicorns and bubble baths, Katherine Heigl, don't tell me how being a zombie for lack of sleep for the first few months is totally worth the amazing bundle of joy when I'm currently in the zombie mode! And don't get me started on Giselle Bunchen's comments about how formula is like poisoning your child. I'm sorry, but does having Victoria Secret wings suddenly raise your parenting IQ by 20 points?

Ok. Can you tell I haven't had more than three hours of sleep at a time in the last 5 weeks? Sleep deprived diatribe done.

Images
amazon.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sister,_Sister_(TV_series)
amazingnotes.com
http://descendantsofhonor.com/mobile/forum/viewthread/m/2095131/id/3636561-who-was-your-crush-when-you-were-young-on-tv

Monday, June 18, 2012

Carrot Rice Loaf


No the prettiest of pictures, but I don't claim to be a professional, or even an amateur photographer. And I know, there's no excuse for the burnt edges. 

So I admit, I was curious about Bethenny Frankel's new talk show so I was perusing her website and came across some video clips. (Sorry, I cannot comment on the quality of her show as it is not being played in my city. I know, I'm probably missing out on her talking all over her guests as she has a knack for railroading a conversation, do we not remember the infamous "You need to get a hobby." voicemail?) I totally have the love/hate relationship with her. I find her to be a bit hypocritical with what she practices and what she preaches, but then I was hooked to her show and follow her on twitter. (Follow me on twitter, @TheTiffinGirl!- shameless plug, I know, but I only have 3 followers, one being my other twitter account!)

So anyways, I was perusing her website and was watching some clips of her with her daughter. Bethenny's daughter was born just 5 or 6 months after Bambina and I'm always interested in seeing parenting styles of celebrities, especially when their children are the same age as mine. (Another hypocritcal thing! I've read that she's raising her child as a vegetarian and only giving her organic produce, but I swear on her show Bethenny Ever After I saw her opening up cans of soup. I suppose she would claim they are organic cans of soup!) Anyways, she was feeding her daughter what she referred to as a meal in a loaf. It appeared to be
brown rice and maybe some corn too? I love one stop shop meals, especially for kids, makes for a quick meal time. 

I decided to search the Internet for brown rice loaf recipes and there were an abundant amount to choose from! I recall once making a lentil loaf that was pretty good, except that it had egg in it and I'm anti-egg thus it tasted it bit too eggy. I found a simple version of the loaf that had only brown rice, bread crumbs, carrot, milk and peanut butter. I know, peanut butter? Sounds like an odd combination, but surprisingly it came out pretty good! At least better than what I expected. When I served it to Bambino for dinner she devoured it, the next day at lunch she wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. The fickleness of toddlers.

Now, my father would highly disagree with the words pretty good to describe the loaf. He was spending the day with me and the kids when I brought out the loaf. I offered some to him to which he responded with "you lost me at brown rice." My father also does not like peanut butter so he was all but excited about the thought of brown rice and peanut butter combined. Wait one minute. He lied! I'm just now remembering him taking a peanut butter sandwich to work and me telling him to add some sliced banana to it like Bambina prefers. Oh the audacity of him to humiliate my oh-so-healthy loaf! I blame him for the reason Bambina refused to eat it on day two!

Overall, I found it to be pretty good. It's different, but not so shabby. I did feel it was missing some flavor, but I can't quite figure out what it is. Oh, and I didn't even mention to Hubby that I made this. His reaction would be on the same line as my father's!


I followed the recipe exactly as listed except I kept out the onions because I didn't have any. Maybe that's the flavor I was missing?! 

Amateur Cooking Difficulty Scale: 2
This one is very easy. While the brown rice is cooking, get all the other ingredients ready and then pop it into the oven. I'm not sure if I'll make this recipe again. I did like the brown rice flavor, but I think I may look up a different rice loaf recipe to try in the future. 


Saturday, June 16, 2012

H-E-B vs.Kroger: Not a paid endorsement #2

HEB logo  vs. Kroger logo

If you've read any of my postings you know I am a loyal customer of H-E-B, the local grocery store here in Texas. Growing up, my mother never frequented HEB, it wasn't too abundant at that time, only open in central Texas. We would often shop at Wal-mart, Kroger, Randalls and Fiesta for any foreign food items. It wasn't until I went to college in the city often known as the Oasis of Texas, the capitol of this lone star state, that I discovered H-E-B (or HEB as my friend's father often used to stay with disdain when he repeatedly saw it come across his credit card bill. Yes, HEB does sell beer.).

 Right off of 41st street in the Hancock center existed a grand, new and pristine grocery store with such a vast array of fresh produce, fresh french bread and all the frozen veggie burgers my heart could desire! I was lured in by the hype of all the other students on campus. That and the fact that it was the only grocery store close to campus!  (Notice I did not say walking distance. This is Texas, few things are within walking distance especially when you account for the 105 degree weather.) So it was in my freshman year that I horded up on frozen items (mainly Uncle Ben's rice bowls) to stock my freezer when I did not want to consume another Luby'sesque meal from the dormitory cafeteria. (Because Uncle Ben's frozen meals were better? Hey, I was only 18 then. Don't judge my juvenile palate!)

After my freshman year of college I moved off campus where there was an H-E-B within walking distance. Not that I actually walked. I already told you, this is Texas people, we walk nowhere except from our car to our arrival destination. Anyways, this H-E-B was ghettofied. It must have been one of the original ones, so I never went to it. (A friend of mine had a car full of hoodlums follow her home from this H-E-B. My response to her telling me this story was, "Why did you go to the ghetto H-E-B?") Politically speaking, it didn't have all the bells and whistles (french bread!) that I had grown accustomed to. Occasionally I would  stray to the Albertson's next door, but would usually travel all the way down to the Hancock center for my groceries. There was no monogamy at this point, I went by convenience. And Albertson's definitely tugged a bit more on my pocket strings.

By the time college was over and I moved out of college town, I still continued my love affair with H-E-B. While I did not live close to an H-E-B, I did make the commute every weekend because no other grocery store could compare to it's illustrious produce. And that fresh french bread. 

When Hubby and I settled into our house, one of the draws was the H-E-B plus! that opened up in basically the backyard of the house. Yes, that's right. To call it H-E-B isn't good enough, it's H-E-B is so superfluous that to describe it earns a plus!. That's right, it even has it's own exclamation mark! (We did once walk to this H-E-B. It was after we were hit by a hurricane and there was nothing to do. We actually put on roller blades and laughed at the people waiting in line at the...yes, you guessed it, HEB gas station... waiting to get gas with nowhere to go.) 

So it's been five years now that I've been shopping at H-E-B plus! and it's like a second home. Since I've been a stay at home mom I go at least twice a week. I know the staff, they know me and Bambina. (Bambino has yet to make his first visit since the doctor has orders to keep him away from my grocery mecca until receiving his two month vaccinations, but much of the staff does know of his existence!) While I don't know the names of the staff (Except for one of the managers, Deena. Shout out to you, girl!) I do know their faces. I often talk to the produce workers and on occasion they've gone to the back to get me the good stuff.  The deli peeps are my friend, mainly because they love Bambina and like to give her samples of turkey and cheese, which she loves.  And of course the cashiers and baggers. Hubby is always shocked when we go to H-E-B together and the amount of people who know me and Bambina. He recently took Bambina without me when Bambino was born and people were talking to him because they recognized Bambina!

So why am I droning on and on about the wonderful HEB? Well, a couple of years ago a Kroger opened up close to the house. Initially I was anti-Kroger. How dare I cheat on my true love. Nothing can be better. Nothing. But then, one day on my way home from work I stopped at Kroger because it was on the route I go home. I was unimpressed with the produce, but their chicken was cheaper. (Reminds me of Martin Short's line in Father of the Bride, "You want the cheaper chicken?" But in his accent, of course.) So I would  often go to Kroger just to buy chicken, but then HEB starting carrying their own line of chicken which was just as cheap, so I stopped going to Kroger, until recently.

For some reason I felt like something different so I ventured out again. Bambina sure liked her some Kroger, they had toy cars attached to the carts for her to ride in! Granted, no one showed her love like H-E-B or gave her samples. There was no Kroger mascot to attract children, like H-E-Buddy at HEB. (Bambina can now say buddy because of him.) The produce had greatly improved since my last visit and some was even cheaper! They had more of a variety of yogurts for Hubby and when the new shipment of milk comes in, the old shipment goes down to 2 bucks! And it still has over a week until it expires! I don't know H-E-B, Kroger is starting to have a beauty I had never seen before. 

So here is my dilemma. As much as I love me some HEB, dare I cheat on my longtime love for something cheaper? The answer to that is a big fat yes. Seriously, what has HEB done for me? Provide me friendly, family style service, yes. Save me money? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Look, I'm not going to end a twelve year relationship with the HEB, not for something new and different. But, I'm not going to feel guilty for straying a little bit, especially when the price is right! 

So at the end of the day, saving money is more important to me than loyalty. Whoa. This is not intended to be an after school special, folks, but it is my reality, at least in the world of grocery stores.

Images
heb.com
kroger.com
http://65.17.207.30/fw/main/Shadow_Creek_Ranch_Town_Center_Pearland_TX-23C1126.html?LayoutID=72
http://www.markramseymedia.com/2011/09/krogers-agency-is-foolish/

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mexicali Pie


I had this post saved in my drafts from March, so I thought I'd share...


Yes, it's partly eaten, but this way you can see the layers! I know, I know, not the prettiest of photos.

I made this recipe on a day when I had a real itch to make something new. I was tired of making the same dishes and I could tell that Hubby and Bambino were tired of eating the same foods. I searched toddler friendly recipes on Google (Toddler friendly equates with Hubby friendly) and came across this. It looked interesting and different. And most importantly, it looked easy!

With Hubby's history with cornbread, I wasn't sure if he would like the recipe, but it was a hit! He said that the cornbread complimented the meat layer and Bambino scarfed down a heaping helping which I had mashed together with some fresh guacamole I made. Overall, big hit! Will definitely be making it again!

Click here for the Mexicali Pie Recipe
My changes
1. I used ground turkey instead of ground beef
2. I added in kidney beans
3. Instead of canned tomatoes, I used 1 cup chopped roma tomatoes and 1 cup of salsa.

Amateur Cooking Difficulty Scale: 3
This is a pretty simple recipe, I must say. The two components are the meat mixture and the cornbread, but then it all bakes together. Easy peasy, definitely going into heavy rotation!

The Freezer Method


So I have this nasty habit of starting new projects and never completing them. (Ahem, the multiple, long lapses between posts?) My brother will even vouch for me claiming that when we were kids I would refuse to finish playing board games with him. Perhaps because I was bored? I've had many excuses over the past 6 months as to why I haven't posted, nausea from pregnancy keeping me out of the kitchen, tiredness of pregnancy and then...the actual birth! Yes, Bambino's baby brother has arrived. (I shall now be grammatically correct and refer to Bambino as Bambina and her younger brother as Bambino. Hey, I took Spanish all through middle school and high school and minored in the language in college, don't expect me to know Italian as well!)

A month after Bambino's arrival we're all doing well (despite a trip to the emergency for stitches, and no it wasn't the baby). Still having sleepless nights, but hey, that comes with the territory of newborns, right? I've been itching to express my cerebral side (Ok, so I'm not sure if my quirky blogging counts as cerebral, but as a mom consumed with Elmo and soiled diapers, it's the closest I can get for now!)

For anyone who has had a baby, you know the difficulty of managing caring for the child and feeding your belly. If you've read any of my blog before, you know that I am fixated on healthy eating, thus what we were going to eat when I knew I wouldn't have time to cook was on the forefront of my mind in the last trimester of pregnancy. We don't often eat takeout or consume frozen, packaged meals, so convenience was not on my side.

I decided to attempt what I failed at with my last pregnancy, the freezer method. (Yes, I coined that term, or so I assume so don't go scour the Internet to see if it exists and prove me wrong. I enjoy living in my own narcissism.) About a month before my due date, every time I would cook a meal I would freeze about two servings and place it in an airtight container and label and date the food. Additionally, two weeks after Bambino was born, my mother spent a week helping me cook (or I should say I sporadically helped her) to replenish the freezer.

I must say, the freezer method is genius! I made sure to heat everything up in the oven or on the stove. When Hubby was warming up his own food he would do it in the microwave, but it still came out pretty well, so he says. There were only a few days that Hubby picked up some takeout, only because his palette was yearning for something not cooked at home (or by me). Bambina and I were able to stick to everything we had in the freezer and I occasionally I could whip up something easy for her or more often my mother would cook something.

For those of you who are going to have a baby, have a medical procedure planned, or maybe you just have a small household and when you cook it makes too much food, well the freezer method is just for you!  It's an easy way to portion off some of what you have already cooked so that at a later time you just pop it into the oven or microwave. Think of it as your own tv dinner! (Sounds like a late night infomercial. Can you tell I'm often awake passed 3am when all the cable channels flip over to paid programming?)

Tricks to the Freezer Method:

1. Don't freeze an entire meal into one container (unless you have enough people to eat that much.) Section it off into portion sizes.

2. Label and date everything you freeze. Trust me on this one, when you have multiple items in the freezer it's hard to distinguish between meatballs and banana muffins. (I think the photo above speaks for itself.)

3. Take the container out a day in advance to defrost. You don't want to eat anything straight from the freezer, defrost and then heat up the next day. It will taste better.

4. Heat your food fully! Eating something that is partially frozen on the inside will scar you from the freezer method. Thus, defrosting the food a day in advance will help with this.

5. Get a good, airtight container to freeze your food. Seriously, heating up food that has freezer burn does not taste good and it will also scar you from the freezer method. Heeding my mother's advice (the queen of the freezer method), I used Rubbermaid containers

I plan to continue with the freezer method for times when the amount I make exceeds mouths to feed. It's great to take out food on a busy week out of the freezer rather than serving packaged food. Often times, when I have a multiple step dish that is time consuming to make but Hubby loves I make extra and freeze it so that he can enjoy the food and I don't have to stress about making it again! Also, when I start making baby food for Bambino, as I did with Bambina, the freezer method will be in full effect.

Share with me your thoughts on the freezer method!