Friday, April 10, 2015

recipe: vegetarian taco salad

a few years ago, i came up with our family's taco salad recipe and we still use it to this day! it's one of my favorite dinner salads because it is so flavorful + filling. i recently discovered gardein meat-free products, and their chipotle black bean burgers are delicious + perfect for this recipe. i hope you try this recipe soon!

vegetarian taco salad
recipe by brooke field
serves 4 as a main dish

salad
1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
2 poblano peppers, diced
1 cup corn, frozen or fresh
15oz can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
15oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 teaspoon each chili powder, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, salt & black pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced 
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 lime, juice only
2 heads romaine lettuce, cleaned & cut into 1/4" strips
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
9oz tortilla chips, crushed or 4 taco salad bowls
1 avocado, diced
4 gardein black bean burgers

dressing
8oz sour cream
1 1/2 limes, juice only
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, minced
1 teaspoon each chili powder, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, salt & black pepper

instructions:

prepare quinoa according to package instructions to make 1 cup.

meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. add onion, peppers & corn and saute until they are tender, about 7 minutes. add seasonings, 1 tablespoon water & beans. saute one more minute then remove from heat. add cooked quinoa, tomatoes, cilantro & lime juice.

transfer taco mixture to a large bowl and prepare the black bean burgers on directed on package, then slice.

mix dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. refrigerate until ready to serve.

in a large bowl or on 4 large plates, combine lettuce, taco mixture, black bean burgers, cheese & tortilla chips. top with a dollop of dressing. 

serve leftover filling as cold tortilla wraps for lunch the next day.

baby eats // 6-12 months

i planned to start feeding harper solids at 6 months old (because it's recommended to wait until 6 months old, when they can sit up unassisted). but to be honest, i was feeling a little overwhelmed with the idea and it seemed like a ton of extra work. so at 6 months, she was just really just gnawing on large chunks of food to get the taste, but not really swallowing anything. but with some pressure from garrison to start the process at 7 months old, i decided on a combination of feeding her some form of what we were eating, in addition to making purees to freeze in case our meal wasn't baby friendly and to use for lunches + snacks. 

at 9 months old, she would really only eat 3-4 bites at each sitting. i started to worry that all my homemade baby purees that were taking up a good portion of our freezer would go to waste! but by 10 months she was eattingt about 1/4 cup at each breakfast + dinner. such improvement in just a months time! it didn't take long to put a dent in our stockpile. between 11-12 months old, she was eating 3 meals plus 2 snacks per day, in addition to nursing, and now at 12 months + 3 weeks, she is completely weaned from breastmilk.

it's so easy to make your own healthy baby food! all you need is a pot, steamer basket, blender + storage containers.

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here are some of the foods she enjoyed during this 6 month period:

breakfast:
 
oatmeal + berries: this is what i made myself for breakfast anyway, so i started sharing it with her, and continue to do so at 12 months old. i never pureed it or used 'baby' oatmeals. prepare your favorite oatmeal to make 1 cup, stirring in fresh or frozen berries at the end. you can add a bit of plain yogurt if desired, but no sugar for baby. at 12 months old, add a few splashes of cow's milk.

snacks:

plain yogurt 

banana - the easiest baby food ever

tropical yogurt with avocado, banana + pineapple - blend 1 banana, 1 avocado, 1/2-1 cup pineapple + about 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt until smooth

banana + coconut milk + cinnamon

green smoothies - share your favorite smoothie recipe with baby once she's a bit older + won't mind the coldness, just make her portion a little thicker + without cow's milk or sweetener

applesauce + cinnamon - it's so easy to make your own applesauce! just peel + core a few apples, add to a pot with 1 inch simmering water + a steamer basket, cover + let simmer until tender, then blend with a dash of cinnamon

apple + strawberries + banana + chia - same instructions as above, but add a few strawberries, a half or whole banana + a tablespoon chia seeds when blending

whole peas - harper's favorite snack since 10 months old, add a pinch of salt + pepper if desired

lunch + dinner:

pea + avocado - if you add spinach to this one, i suggest using it raw (not blanched)

beets + radish + chia

broccoli + potato + olive oil - i add a little salt + it makes a great side for the whole family!

apple + quinoa + yogurt + cinnamon - she didn't like this texture until 11 months, also it gets dry in the freezer, so mix with extra yogurt when serving

meat - harper loved all meat from the beginning! give them a large chunk to gnaw, or dice it up plain or mixed into a veggie puree

leftovers:

every week, we seemed to have an extra ingredient leftover that i would make into some sort of puree to freeze. either search for a baby food recipe on the internet that includes your leftover ingredient, or just think about what might be good. one week we had pork tacos with coleslaw for dinner, and i made a cabbage + rice + pork puree with the leftovers, which she loved.

in addition to leftover ingredients, go ahead + puree your leftover meal too! spaghetti, chili and veggie soup + rice were some of harper's faves.

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spices: don't be afraid to add flavor with spices right from the start!

storage: i loved the idea to use breastmilk storage bags for freezing homemade baby food! since these are included through my health insurance and i don't pump, i was happy to put them to use. spoon 1/4 cup into bag, label + date, place flat in freezer until frozen, then you can stand on end for easy retrieval. to thaw: place in fridge for several hours or place in a water bath.

peanuts: research/opinions are always changing regarding when to introduce peanuts to children in hopes of avoiding peanut allergies. i personally lean toward the idea that either you have an allergy or don't, but that is based on zero research. whenever you do decide to introduce peanuts, here's a tip: mix 1-2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter with a few splashes milk of your choice & stir, adding more milk until your desired consistency is reached, then spoon feed to baby.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

a year of nursing

march 16, 2014  one of the first times i nursed harper in the hospital following her birth. it was a strange 48 hours of learning to nurse with practically no privacy as hospital staff came in & out of my hospital room, but it wasn't as uncomfortable as i would've thought.
june 14, 2014  hiking flat top mountain in anchorage, alaska
july 17, 2014  in a cramped car following a camping trip
august 6, 2014  my first time nursing literally on-the-go as we hiked mt sopris. i loved the feeling of being a true mountain mama!
august 17, 2014  i liked to keep the lights off in the mother's lounge at church for a more relaxing atmosphere
august 21, 2014  outside of costco after a camping trip, we might have looked a little homeless, but even if we were at least my baby would be fed!
august 30, 2014  at around 5 months old, we could lay on our sides to put her down for a nap, which was probably creating a bad habit :)
september 11, 2014  stopped for a snack break while biking...someone was hungry!
^ nursing on neighborhood walks was also fun
^ one of my favorite nap-time nursing session photos

Sunday, April 5, 2015

easter 2015

easter 2015! i almost forgot this wasn't harper's first easter because she was barely a month old last year. there was something so special about easter this year, between also being our church's general conference weekend, spending the day prepping our trailer for the move, and having a one year old tall made the festivities that much better. on saturday morning i took her to our neighborhood's egg hunt. she just loved standing still watching the easter bunny + other children run around. one boy ran past with his basket so full of eggs that two dropped out, which harper quickly crawled over to retrieve. 

for easter/conference breakfast, i made some yummy blueberry cream cheese danishes, then harper opened up her easter basket, which was filled with lots of goodies from grammy + her aunties. we spent the rest of the day listening to conference talks and helping pack up our apartment. and for dinner, i continued the tradition of our favorite ham sliders with a green salad.

harper's outfit - dress: jcrew baby / moccs: freshly picked 'platinum'

Saturday, March 21, 2015

product photography: booskers boutique

i snapped a few photos for my friend who recently opened an etsy shop, booskers boutique. she makes the cutest hair accessories! i was spoiled to be surrounded by creative people here in the valley, and i hope some of it has rubbed off on me when i attempt to be more creative after the move.