Category Archives: FOOD

Zoodles & Turkey Quinoa Meatballs

Am I late to the zoodle party? I thought zucchini noodles were out of reach because I don’t own a fancy spiralizer to make all my vegetable noodle dreams come true. But it occurred to me that I do have a madoline slicer. 99 problems, you guys.

If you’ve never used a mandoline slicer, don’t listen to that inner voice that says, “Oh, it goes so much faster if you don’t use the guard.” Every. Time. Hashtag zoodles and thumb for dinner

Zoodles & Turkey Quinoa Meatballs

Zoodles [Zucchini Noodles] & Turkey Quinoa Meatballs
serves 4+

For the zoodles:
slice up your zucchini [I use a julienne attachment on my mandoline slicer]
put it in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper, set aside.
To give you an idea of serving sizes, one large zucchini will make enough noodles for one adult.

For the meatballs:
[inspired by these asian quinoa meatballs]

1# ground turkey
1 cup quinoa [cooked however you normally do]
1 egg [We tried both a flax egg and potato starch-based egg replacer and the flax seemed to retain moisture best]
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 c onion, finely diced
3 T Worcestershire sauce
2 t olive oil [we needed this for our egg free version. I’m not 100% sure if meatballs with egg will need the oil]
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Mix all meatball ingredients together. Using a cookie scoop, form the meatballs [makes 30 or so]. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

When the meatballs have 5 or so minutes left, heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet. When it’s hot, add the zucchini. You only want to cook it a couple minutes, if you cook it too long the veg will start to break down.

Assemble bowl with sauce of your choice.

Leftover meatballs can be frozen!

Zoodles & Turkey Quinoa Meatballs

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Brinner Winner: Brussels Sprouts With Bacon & Eggs

This “recipe” is by no means going to break the internet with its originality, but it was delicious and didn’t take forever [unlike this zucchini lasagna which was also delicious and robbed me of an hour of my life]. And I’ve been in a “only new things sound good” phase for a while. Lame.

Brussels Sprouts With Bacon & Eggs | hey, beth baker!

Brussels Sprouts With Bacon & Eggs
Serves 4-6

3 cups of brussels sprouts, halved or quartered depending on their size
olive oil
salt & pepper

6-8 pieces of bacon

1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt

add ons:
creamed spinach [we mixed it in after the quinoa cooked]
feta cheese

Fire up the oven to 400F. Stick in your bacon on a foil covered sheet and your brussels sprouts tossed with evoo and s&p on another. Cook the bacon for 15-18 minutes. Cook the brussels sprouts for 22-28.

Stir together quinoa, broth, and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover. Turn heat to medium. Cook for 18 minutes.

In the meantime, if you have a desire to add some additional nutritional punch, cream a couple pounds of spinach.

When there’s only a few minutes left on the sprouts, cook your room temp eggs.

Assemble.
Enjoy.

So we’re totally in a “stick an egg on it” culinary phase right now, right? The Baker fam is slowly coming aboard. We didn’t buy eggs for a few years after Lucy’s food allergies were diagnosed. But now that she gets that she has to stay away, we’ve brought them back. I am still [in my head] grossed out by the idea of runny yolks so I probably cook them longer than most people. I also have a deep affinity for that crispy, crunchy, buttery egg edge.

This was another winner for the whole fam. I *think* the creamed spinach in the quinoa made it easier for the kids to eat. Maybe.

Anyone else tried something new and delightful lately? I’m taking meal board suggestions!

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Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

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I’m still not totally sure if I should indeed be sharing recipes with the internet, but I’ll forge on. After all, the internet is full of unqualified people giving unsolicited advice, amiright!? [And really, this is baaaaarely a recipe.]

I made these lettuce wraps last week after I saw this super infograph telling me romaine was super great for me. I like super great things.

romaine
via

To make these I chopped up a large apple (peel on – ain’t nobody got time for that), half a cucumber, ribboned some spinach, equal parts greek yogurt and mayo – like 1/4 cup each, a cup of cooked chicken (rotisserie saves time!), and the usual suspects of salt, pepper, and paprika. It would’ve been yummy with some egg (but the kid is allergic) and some poppy seeds (but I’m fresh out).

Also. This mayo. You. Are. Welcome.

photo 1(13)

We served it on our romaine leaves and everybody rejoiced. Even the kids. I had them at chicken. Calling it a lettuce taco probably didn’t hurt.

I love reminding myself that chicken salad doesn’t have to be the traditional grapes and eggs team that I’m used to.

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Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice

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Has everyone jumped aboard the cauliflower fried rice train? I tried this recipe last year and was hooked. I love to leave the cauliflower in the skillet for a little while to get some crispy bits (anybody with me?). The only thing that disappoints me is that I want more flavor with the dish. [We have to leave the eggs out of our fried rice for allergy reasons and it leaves me feeling like something is lacking.]

So inspired by the flavor divinity of the fantastic Seoul Taco, I decided to add some kimchi to our fried rice. Woah. Don’t be scared by the idea of fermented cabbage; both of the kiddos gobbled it up.

To make this dish, I mostly followed the recipe mentioned above (though I don’t use the grapeseed oil and I do add some toasted sesame oil in at the end). I switched the veggies to carrots and edamame, since that’s what I had on hand. I wanted to add some chicken to the dish so I split the cooking into thirds. I did my cauliflower first, then I sautéed the chopped veggies, and finally I threw the kimchi in with a can of chicken. Don’t judge the canned chicken part. Do find quality chicken that is only chicken, water, and salt. It’s a super time saver [for which I am in desperate need]. Throwing it in with the kimchi gave it an amazing flavor. It only took a couple minutes for those two to heat up and share some spice.

Overall the dish was quick(ish… Using the food processor to chop the cauliflower into rice certainly adds a step). But since I cooked it in thirds I was able to only dirty one pan to cook it in and a big bowl to incorporate it all together.

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Trader Joe’s Turkey Burgers

So this isn’t totally a recipe as much as a dinner suggestion. Continuing on with our low prep dinners, I bring you another of our favorites from my BFF TJ. The way we make this meal, it’s an hour and a half from start to finish, but actual time in the kitchen is less than that.

It takes me longer because I’m kind of a bun snob. If I’m going to use up calories on carbs, I want them to be amazing. Because of that, I end up making our bread most days. I was using a recipe for a 40 minute hamburger bun when my [amazing] mom mentioned to me that she was using my Mountain Bread recipe to make her rolls. I’m fairly certain she makes that bread more than I do! It sounded like a genius idea [Mimi for the win!]. After the first rise, I split the dough into rolls [it made 7] and let them rise their second rise on the stove I was heating up for roasted veggies.

dinner rolls | hey, beth baker!

[This picture is actually making me super sad because I took it at 5 o’clock but you can tell how dark (and dreary) and shadowy the kitchen already was. Sigh. Bring on the Spring.]

I found these Turkey Burgers in the frozen food section of Trader Joe’s and couldn’t pass them up at around $3.50 for 4 patties. I normally don’t like frozen, pre-formed patties because I think they end up dry – especially turkey burgers. But these are amazing! In order to give them a little more flavor I made up a simple marinade.

Turkey Burger Marinade
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons barbeque sauce
juice from 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper

So to give you an idea of how this dinner comes together pretty easily, let me break it down for you.

4:00 – Take burgers out of freezer and set on a cookie sheet. Make dough, set to rise in the bowl I mixed it in. Whisk marinade and brush onto burgers. Turn oven onto 450F. Chop sweet potatoes for sweet potato fries.
4:35 – Form dough into 7 rolls. Put sweet potatoes in oven to roast.
5:00 – Turn oven down to 375F. Put rolls into oven on bottom shelf, move sweet potatoes to top. Timer for 12 minutes. Heat a little oil in skillet and begin cooking turkey burgers, 4 or so minutes per side.
5:12 – Take out sweet potatoes. Turn broiler on high and set timer for 3 minutes.
5:15 – Assemble burgers and enjoy!

turkey burger | hey, beth baker!

We enjoy our burgers with spinach, avocado, and just a dash of ketchup.

If you really want a quick dinner pick up a bag of sweet potato fries at TJ’s and pick up your favorite bun, then your only dinner prep will be the marinade and cooking the burgers!

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[Quick] Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad

Asain Chicken Cabbage Salad

We’re in a season of life right now where there are a lot of activities happening from 3:30 to 5:30 a few days a week, which really cuts into my dinner prep time. So I thought I’d take a few days and share with you some of the quicker recipes I’ve found to save us from the “we’ll just pick something up” trap. I picked up most of the ingredients for this meal at Trader Joe’s because they have a lot of the stuff all ready to go. From start to finish, I’d say this took a little less than 10 minutes to throw together. I might double it next time because everyone [even the kids!] enjoyed it so much.

The recipe is inspired by this one from Bon Appetit so you get to feel a little fancy.

Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad
Serves 4

2 tablespoons canola oil
juice from 2 small limes
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon roasted red chili paste
salt & pepper

1 bag shredded cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/8 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup baby spinach
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1 rotisserie chicken breast, shredded
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

In a large bowl, whisk together the oils, limes, soy sauce, and paste. Add the cabbage, carrots, onions, spinach, cilantro, chicken, and sunflower seeds on top and mix together to make sure all the greens are coated. Serve and enjoy.

If you want to pump up the vegetable volume, some steamed broccoli would be nice in this too. Or if you double it, try one bag of shredded cabbage and one bag of shredded brussels sprouts. I highly recommend you don’t skip the toasted sesame oil [so, so good].

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Dinner, Cookies, and Dollar Tree

I feel like this title is a really good example of how my mental wheels are turning these days.

Lately it seems little things feel like big accomplishments. You did the dishes!? Take a rest. Your going to get a kid out of time out!? Eat a cookie first. You remembered to start dinner on time!? Check out Pinterest for a few. You cleaned the house!? Let the kids watch a show [or two]. Little victories abound.

So when dinner is good, I want to share it with the world. That’s logical, right? I did not, however, want to stop to take a super great picture of it. Sorry. Not sorry.

hey, beth baker!

Tonight’s dinner consisted of quinoa with roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts. [I coated mine in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika]. Topped with toasted pecans and bacon [The oven was conveniently already warm]. We tried out frozen Brussels sprouts for the first time [Good flavor! Weird texture]. Landon had three servings. Lucy cleaned her bowl. Victory!

It wasn’t too much hands on work [if you forget about peeling and chopping the b’nut squash]. It was hearty and filling and I’m ready to have it again.

I’ve also been indulging in some cookies lately. The bigger baby seems to get the bigger my sweet tooth. Not good. So I’ve been making these guys which, on the hierarchy of healthfulness of cookies, seem not so bad for you. They’re actually based off of these from 2005’s Eating Well With Diabetes cookbook. Notice that this recipe is also accompanied by a hastily taken picture just prior to consumption.

hey, beth baker!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 30-36

2 cups rolled oats, (not quick-cooking)
1 cup all-purpose flour [could go 1/2 a-p, 1/2 whole wheat or use oat flour for gluten-free]
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
4 tablespoons room temp butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine the dry. In a separate bowl, cream together the rest except chocolate chips. Combine the two. Add the chocolate chips. Drop onto cookie sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes.

They’re not allergy friendly. But they are pregnancy craving friendly. Actually I’ve been looking for foods to amp up my iron lately so I should switch out the chocolate chips for raisins but am I the only one who thinks raisins are way too sweet?

hey, beth baker!

And, to make me feel like I’m really winning at life, I found these lids at Dollar Tree. They’re totally for canned pet food, but they’re perfect for all the pumpkin recipes we’ve been baking up lately that only require 1/3 to 1/2 a can of pumpkin. As an added bonus they come three to a package!

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Oatmeal Pumpkin Chai Cookies

‘Tis the season to bake with gourds. I wanted to come up with something festive and fall-ish for the kiddos that didn’t require tons of ingredients. We’ve been working on this recipe for a few weeks because vegan, gluten-free baking can be tricky. Due to food allergies, we have to take out the eggs and dairy so we’re always trying to find substitutions that add back in some flavor. Vegan baking is a fickle beast. You’ll make something the same way all winter and then summer comes and it, quite literally, falls flat. Our first version of this cookie much more closely resembled a cake pop [though it was rather tasty]. So we’ve landed on this winner by using vegan butter spread to help the cookies fall out a bit during baking [and even baked them twice to make sure it wasn’t a fluke!].

oatmeal pumpkin chai cookies | hey, beth baker!

Oatmeal Pumpkin Chai Cookies
Makes about 18 cookies

1 cup oat flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons earth’s balance vegan spread (coconut oil works great, too!)
1/2 cup almond milk brewed with a bag of chai tea*
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add ins: chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or coconut. About 1/2 cup.

Preheat oven to 375F. Mix together the oat flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the vegan spread [not the sticks] and sugar. Next, add in the pumpkin, tea, and vanilla. Mix together and add in the flour fixture. Incorporate it all together and add in a mix in if you wish [we must]. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop dough onto parchment and bake on your baking stone for 12 or so minutes depending on how your oven bakes.

oatmeal pumpkin chai cookies | hey, beth baker!

*To brew the chai tea for this recipe, I microwave 1/2 cup of almond milk for about 90 seconds and then let the bag of chai tea steep for a few minutes.

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Bacon Avocado Kale Pizza

You guys, we’re friends and we joke around a lot but woah. Woah. About this I do not joke.

Bacon. Avocado. Kale. Pizzzzzzzzzzzzzza.

I’ll be honest about two things. First, pregnancy is doing something to my taste buds and they have not been appreciating my cooking as of late. Also, it’s funny to me that I share both cooking and baking recipes on this blog because I am a “little of this, little of that” cook and a baker who rarely bakes a recipe the same way twice. Now that those dirty little secrets are off my chest, lets get on to the good stuff.

The so, so very good stuff.

Here’s my go to pizza crust. It’s my favorite because it only rises for ten minutes. There’s no need to start dinner early.

When you make that crust, you’ll have enough for two medium sized pizzas. For the first one I made a pineapple pizza. I threw some bacon on a cookie sheet to pre-bake a bit for ten minutes while the pineapple pizza was baking.. During that time I also sliced my avocado [pretty thin] and got some kale out of the garden. You won’t need much for this recipe, one stalk. Remove from the stem and tear up into smaller pieces. Put it in a bowl and drizzle it with a teaspoon or so of olive oil. And then… massage the kale. No, for real. Make sure each piece of kale is covered in olive oil. Give it a little massage so that it softens up and gets all shiny.

To assemble the pizza, just spread your dough out and cover it with your favorite marinara and cheese. Add almost all of the avocado and as much kale as your heart desires. Top it all off with the bacon that you’ve torn into smaller pieces and bake as usual [17 minutes is our magic number].

#bacon #avocado #kale PIZZA! | hey, beth baker!

Bacon Avocado Kale Pizza
8 slices

1 avocado, sliced thin
I stalk kale, massaged in olive oil
3-4 pieces of bacon, pre-baked for 10 minutes
1/2-3/4 cup marinara
3/4-1 cup cheese [we used a skim colby because it’s what was in the fridge]
1 prepared pizza crust

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We’re Just Here For The Ketchup [Eating Out With An Allergen Kid]

[I’ve been working on this post for four months. Don’t laugh. Sometimes I’m weary about writing about food allergies because I don’t want to seem like Cindy Complainypants. My kids’ allergies have followed the norm, for the most part: Landon, though he still has foods his tummy can’t tolerate, no longer vomits at the mere ingestion of eggs. As the allergist hoped, he has outgrown his allergies. Lucy’s due for her every-18-months testing and while we’re not convinced she’s outgrown her allergies we are hopeful that they’re no longer life-threatening, that her bloodwork will continue to show a decline in the seriousness of her allergies. The combination of her allergies numbers declining as well as having three years of being an allergy mom under my belt has helped me to feel a little more relaxed.]

We do not eat out very often. Maybe once a month and it’s usually something low key. Part of the reason is that we chose to have a smaller restaurant budget so that we could have a larger grocery budget. But, honestly, it’s mostly just because it’s hard.

Lucy is allergic to eggs, wheat, dairy, and peanuts.
Landon is intolerant to gluten and corn.

Did you notice something up there? I said Lucy is allergic to wheat and Landon is intolerant to gluten. That’s one of our most recent findings. It was a bit of a bummer for us because it meant tightening the reigns a bit. We’ve had to become even more vigilant. Which is fine. We can do that. We’ve had him tested for celiac and we’ve had his allergies re-tested and have just come to the general conclusion that while those foods don’t pose a life-threatening risk for him, his body is simply unable to process them the way others are able. It… messes him up. And he doesn’t need that. Nobody needs that.

So when people hear about their allergies they usually say, “Oh, my gosh! What do they eat!?”. That always makes me giggle. Fruits, vegetables, and allergen-free stuff I make from scratch. Honestly, it’s not a bad gig they’ve got. And, really, feeding them at home is easy. It’s feeding them out on the town that’s a problem. I have a few tricks for how to find things on the menu [it would be so easy if I could get my toddlers to eat salad]. I also thought I’d share some experiences we’ve had at specific restaurants and maybe if you’ve had a really positive or really negative experience you could share it in the comments.

To start with, we have to decide where we’re going to eat before we go there. That way I can go online and look at the corporate information regarding allergens [assuming it’s not a local place]. I learned this after a trip to Mellow Mushroom with the kids this year. I was talking to my waitress about what they offered. I told her the specific allergies the kids have and she said, “Oh, we have a gluten-free crust and vegan cheese!” I was so excited! It was the first time they’d ever ordered off the menu. Their stomachs were upset later but we were on vacation, so I just hoped their little systems were trying to adjust. I began to get suspicious when Landon had some eczema pop up. So I looked at the company’s website and egg was an ingredient in the crust! There is nothing that will give you mom guilt quicker than giving your child a food they can’t have, assuring them it’s safe, and then having to help them through the reaction. Major fail. So now we check corporate websites and talk to managers.

Talking to a manager is always the most important step. The best experience I’ve had with this was at an Olive Garden in Atlanta. We told our waiter of the allergies. It’s frustrating, and a bit challenging, to feed allergen kids because there’s almost never an option on the kids’ menu that’s not fried, breaded, or cheesed [that doesn’t say good things about kids’ menus]. When Lucy was the only one we were buying meals for we’d have to either split a plate with her and make our meal something she could eat or pay for her to get an adult meal.

After we found, and modified, an item on the menu to fit her needs, the waiter alerted the manager and the chef that someone at our table had food allergies. The manager came over and was pretty sympathetic that it was hard to find something on the menu. I thought that was nice because sometimes we’re treated like our allergy issues are inconveniencing them. Next the chef came over with a pen and wrote down the details of Lucy’s allergies. I love that because otherwise they’re sending the waiter out to double check things a few times and that makes it hard to relax. I also like this idea of having a card ready, we’re totally going to start doing that. Oh, and if you are wondering what we can order at an Italian restaurant, it’s plain chicken breast and vegetables cooked by themselves. That’s right. The kitchen has to stop what they’re doing and clean work surfaces to avoid cross-contamination, get out new pans and utensils, and keep all of the food separate [okay, so maybe it’s super inconvenient for them but a kid’s gotta eat].

At sandwich restaurants we can usually just order some extra meat for our sandwiches and have them put it on a separate plate. Mexican is our favorite because it’s pretty easy to find dishes that work. Chinese would be okay but there are so many egg dishes that it’s hard to feel safe. The hardest, though, is “American” food. For example, tonight we went to Culver’s for burgers and there was not a single thing the kids could eat. They didn’t have dedicated fryers so their allergen statement said the fries contained gluten. When I tried to ask the cashier about it she directed me to…the allergen statement. Of course, I’d brought food for them, the fries would have just been a bonus treat. But I got a little sad. Not one thing for them on the menu. I could’ve probably just ordered them a plain burger but it doesn’t do much in the way of filling them up and it didn’t seem like they’d take great care to keep them away from the buttered buns back there.

family date | hey, beth baker!

The kids had a blast. They ate rice cakes, pineapple, and peas. They just loved the experience of sitting in the booth. Some place new. I brought along some coconut milk ice cream so they really got the whole experience. It was a great dinner, even if Lucy was just there for the ketchup [yes, she did dip her pineapple in the ketchup and use it for a filling on her rice cake sandwich.

family date | hey, beth baker!

It helped that we’d set them up with our expectations. We told them beforehand what kind of behavior we’d like to see and told them the restaurant only served fries that made them sick.

family date | hey, beth baker!

After dinner we made it an official family date night. We saw some favorite friends at the store where I used to work and they gave the kids some “baboons”, totally making their night.

family date | hey, beth baker!

Then we wandered around a nearby sculpture park for a bit and had a great time playing tag, hide-and-seek, and pretending we were birds. I guess that makes little dining annoyances seem like no big deal.

family date | hey, beth baker!

family date | hey, beth baker!

family date | hey, beth baker!

I feel like there are two camps of allergy moms [and maybe really all moms]. You can choose to get upset that restaurants won’t cater to your family. You can get frustrated that something in your life is “harder” that you think it should be. You can even get angry that you don’t have “normal” children. But I’m allowed to treat them however I want [I can make them think the way we eat is totally normal]. I can be calm about food allergies and take it in stride or I can make them feel like they’re an inconvenience. I want them to think this is okay. That it isn’t a big deal. I want them to think they’re special even. And that these allergies have helped our family eat so much healthier. That I don’t mind making things from scratch for them. That they’re worth it. And food allergies are cool! [Too far? ;)]

family date | hey, beth baker!

family date | hey, beth baker!

family date | hey, beth baker!

And somehow, as much fun as the dining in a restaurant booth experience was, when I show Lucy these pictures all she can talk about is running like an airplane, skipping on the ramp, and “the park that didn’t have a playground but was still fun.”