Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Two Years and the Baby Brezza

Today marks two years of blogging. I was hoping to make it to 100 posts by now, but I didn't. I was close - just short by 6! The life of working mama is my life right now, and that's okay with me. My son is a sweet reminder to slow down and enjoy the little things, to not get stressed out about checking things off my to-do list.

I must share, however, that my cooking repertoire has now expanded to baby purees. Exciting, huh? The little man is eating solids and his favorites so far are sweet potatoes and apples. No surprise, right? Green beans come in last place, but he has managed to get them down without spitting them out. For those interested, I've been using the Baby Brezza baby food processor (a gift from my Auntie Lucy and grandma). It's worked pretty well, although I think a piece snapped off after the first use and now it won't steam and blend as one sole function anymore. I have to do each step separately (i.e. press two buttons instead of just one).

Though it's not a necessity to make your own baby food, the Baby Brezza is quite convenient and less to clean up. In about 20 minutes, I can steam and puree fresh (or frozen) vegetables or fruits. I've been using ice trays to freeze portions and I have plenty stored up for the weeks ahead. I puree with what I've got. :) Butternut squash saved up from the winter, apples, green beans, avocado, sweet potato, up - bananas, peas, and peaches!

Bon appetit, from Mr. Jake!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Muffalettas & Mojitos

My poor neglected blog. It may seem like it's on its last leg. I hope not. I feel like I'm being stretched to fulfill a number of needs these days. Ok, it's not just a feeling, it's my reality. Husband. Baby. Cats. House. Job. Family. Friends. And somewhere out there, you blog readers. How some of you have multiple children and an active blog is beyond me. All that to say, here I am.

So this post. It's two-in-one. I didn't serve these two things together, but alliteration is lovely, so I'm making it work. Muffalettas and mojitos. Strawberry mojitos.

Here's the scoop on the muffaletta:

It's a sandwich, made famous in New Orleans, Louisiana. It's made with Italian ingredients, but served all over Cajun country. It's a part of our family food history because my parents have journeyed to New Orleans every year since I was a little girl and there hasn't been a trip to NOLA without a muffaletta from Central Grocery.

On one of their last trips, they brought us back a jar of Central Grocery's olive salad, which makes this sandwich unique. Marinated olives in olive oil and herbs, with bits of carrot and cauliflower, this salad is good between any two pieces of bread. It's the key to the muffaletta. And you can general find some version of it in any Italian deli or market. Add a quarter-pound each of thinly sliced provolone cheese, Genoa salami, capicola, smoked ham, and mortadella onto a large loaf of Italian bread (something like Ciabatta works well), and you have yourself a New Orleans classic. You can really use any Italian cold cuts that you like, but the salami, ham, and mortadella are pretty standard.

Yes, that's a lot of meat and cheese. But this sandwich is big and is meant to feed a lot of people. Or one REALLY hungry giant.

So, how do you make it?

1. Cut the loaf of bread in half (top and bottom).
2. Generously spoon on the olive salad onto the top half of the bread. Let that olive oil soak in.
3. Put a little more of the olive oil on the bottom half of the bread.
4. Layer on the meats and cheese on the bottom bread half.
5. Very carefully put the two halves together. Olives will fall out. Stuff them back in.
6. Cut into portions.
7. Share with friends.
8. Wipe the oil off your hands with lots of paper napkins (don't use cloth napkins - oil stains!).

And a cocktail:

My hubby made this for me after a long day of working and mothering. We had mint and strawberries in our CSA box. It was a cocktail meant to be. It was fantastic, refreshing, and just what I needed. He's sharing his recipe with you here!

Strawberry Mojito
1.5 oz. White rum
1/4 Lemon, juiced
1 T Agave nectar
2 sprigs of fresh mint leaves
1 sliced strawberry
Club Soda

Muddle strawberry, mint, agave, and lemon juice in a highball. Add ice, white rum, and top off with soda water. Garnish with mint sprig and strawberry. Enjoy!