Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and Recipes

Howdy friends! It's been Mr. Toad's Wild Ride over here in my head. What Disney world ride have you been living in lately? Usually I'm stuck on the loop of It's a Small World given that I'm with a one-year-old 24-7, but recently, I've been debating whether or not to go back to work part-time. So I've been on the daycare search. Let me tell you how fun that is. I actually wanted to run screaming from one woman's house after she explained loudly (because the television was blaring) that she feeds the children "government food" and that her chiuaua can get mouthy. I'm definitely going to write a post soon about the whole process because I think it's not only a huge decision for a lot of mothers, but one that challenges mothers in a lot of ways.

Speaking of challenging mothers, this is what E has been up to lately:

Climbing on stools and stairs and obsessed with computers. Obsessed.

Getting into precarious positions

We've also been having lots of fun at our movement play class at the YMCA.

And this moment, when getting her up from her naps, is my favorite part of the day.

Update on freezer meals: they're delicious and easy. As long as you make sure you defrost them overnight in time to cook them the next day. I always forget. Still, we have not ordered from the Dominos around the corner. Curses on them and their bready-cheesy aroma that encapsulates my house at 4 p.m. every day. You will NOT get me this month! I will just drink extra wine in order to distract myself.

Many of you requested some of the recipes I used for my freezer meals, so here are the top three I'd like to share:

Tomato Bisque (Aka: I can't believe it's not milk and cream!) Soup:
Seriously, I'm a snob about tomato soup and totally made a face when my MIL gave me this recipe. I was so wrong. This is now the only tomato soup I will ever eat. It is that good. Serves 6

3 Cups carrot juice
1 28oz can of San Marzano whole tomatoes (or whatever brand you like best)
1/4 C sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small bay leaf
pinch of saffron (optional)
1 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp Mrs. Dash
1/2 c raw cashews (or 1/4 c cashew butter)
1/4 c chopped fresh basil
5 oz baby spinach

In large saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cashews, basil, and spinach. Simmer for 30 min. Discard bay leaf. Remove 2 cups of the veggies with slotted spoon and set aside. Puree the remaining soup and cashews in food processor or blender until smooth. Return reserved veggies to the pot and stir in basil, spinach and let the spinach wilt.

Kale with Cashew Cream Sauce (with no actual cream in it - booyah!):
Serves 4

2 larges bunches of kale, stems and center ribs removed
1 cup of raw cashews, or 1/2 cup of cashew butter
1 cup of almond milk, soy, or hemp milk (uh, does anyone actually drink hemp?)
1/4 cup of onion flakes
1 Tbsp Mrs. Dash
Steam kale for 15 min. While kale is steaming, blend cashews, milk, onion flakes, and Mrs. Dash in blender or food processor 'til smooth and creamy. When kale is done, press it with paper towels or clean cloth to remove excess water, chop and mix with sauce. Easy peasy.

Hoisin Pork Tenderloin:
This freezes really well. I thought it was more delicious after being frozen for awhile. Serves 4

1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp sliced green onions
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves
1 (1 lb) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large Ziploc bag; add pork to bag. Seal and marinate in fridge for 2 hours (or freeze for later cooking). Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place pork on roasting pan coated with cooking spray and bake at 425 for 15 min. Sprinkle pork with sesame seeds; bake an additional 5 minutes or until thermometer registers 160 (slightly pink). Place pork on cutting board; let stand for 10 min. Meanwhile, pour reserved marinade into a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/3 cup (about 2 minutes). Serve with pork. Note: I found there wasn't any reserved marinade left after defrosting the pork from the freezer. So next time I'm gonna make more marinade.

Hope some of you readers out there try them out and report back on your amazement. :)


  1. One thing that has worked for friends of mine is a "mommy share" where you watch a friend's child for a part of the week and she watches yours for the other part. Then everyone's on the same wave-length and no one's paying for childcare.

  2. Oh! And I love seeing her daredevil side. She looks just like B in the crib picture.

  3. Thanks, Dori! That's such a fantastic idea - mommy share - I was talking with some friends about getting a co-op sitting thing going. Good idea! Also, she is looking more and more like her daddy. :( ha! I'll be coming into DC in maybe 2-3 wks from now...I'd LOVE to get together! I'll be in touch...

  4. How did I miss this new post? The child care thing is such a challenge--I just (gasp) registered Iris for preschool in the fall. Preschool! Wasn't she just born? Can't wait to hear your stories about the search, and I hope you find the place that's just right for E, and the job that's just right for you! Oh, and I totally concur about her looking like B in the crib pic--and Iris wakes up from her naps the same way. LOVE that.

  5. OK, that kale recipe is AWESOME. I'm still not sure about freezing steamed kale, but I bet you could easily freeze the cashew cream in 1-cup batches, then steam the kale whenever you wanted it. You could use the sauce for other things too...I bet it would be good on white fish.