Grow Your Own Way · kid-friendly · Recipes

Tomato Tortellini Soup

New weeknight staple alert! This is a 20-minute meal that tastes like scratch (and mostly is), and provides delicious, warm little lunches. That is, assuming you even have leftovers. It really is that scrumptious.

We had parents night at Georgia’s school recently, and we got home that day with less than an hour to spare before we had to turn around and head back out the door. Patting myself on the back for buying fresh tortellini a few days earlier, I quickly realized I had the makings of a fast, filling dinner that would also serve the dual purpose of helping us move through our tomato stash. Which, if you’ve been following my Instagram since late August, is significant.

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Even with the cooler temperatures slowing down the ripening in our garden, I’ve put up 68 ounces (!!!) of tomato sauce, and made countless batches of creamy tomato soup for freezing and eating since September. I probably gave out 100 tomatoes to co-workers, too, and am now moving on to bringing in the green ones for folks who have good recipes for things like relish, fritters and stew. And all that came from just two plants!

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I did tons of caprese salad and homemade pizza during the weeks of late summer and early Autumn, but eventually that gets repetitive, and in the fall soup just starts to feel right. Georgia has never been a big fan of the texture of soup or stews, but I figured if anything could change her mind, it would be something chunky, creamy, and filled with cheesy pasta. And I was right.

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Inspiration for this recipe came from The Kitchn, but I made my own modifications and tweaks because I like more tomato chunks and a little less heft than heavy cream.

Tomato Tortellini Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 TBSP butter + a swirl of olive oil for the pot
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed or minced
  • salt and pepper to taste (don’t be shy)
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 or 3 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 cans (4 cups/32 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 package (about 14 ounces) cheese tortellini
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, torn
  • grated parmesan cheese, to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the butter and olive oil together over medium until warm, then add the onion. Cook until soft, then add the garlic, making sure it doesn’t burn. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the vinegar, then add the crushed tomatoes (with the liquid in the can) and the broth, cream and bay leaves to the pot. Add in some chunks of fresh tomato. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tortellini and cook for about 3 minutes (5 minutes if using frozen). Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves, and stir in the basil. Serve topped with fresh grated Parmesan. Enjoy warm!

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Notes

You can use either fresh or frozen tortellini; just adjust the cooking time up a bit for frozen to give them time to thaw by cooking in the sauce.

Subbing vegetable stock is fine; I like the taste of chicken stock better. You can also use another type of shredded cheese on top, such as pecorino.

Feel free to put that heavy cream back in there if you want it extra rich!

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For me, this kept in the fridge just fine for 5 days. I also froze two small containers of it for later. To reheat, either warm over low/medium on the stovetop or microwave for about one minute, covered.

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I hope you are having a wonderful fall getting ready for Halloween, Thanksgiving and (gulp) Christmas. I am actually already starting to shop for the holidays! Starting early is the only way I can stay on budget. We just took our annual family photos with our favorite photographer — here’s a sneak peek of one image so far ūüôā I can’t wait to get the full package so I can start designing my photo album gifts and Christmas cards.

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Baby & Toddler · Holidays · JPG · kid-friendly · minted · Slow Cooker

Boo! A Halloween Recap

Hope everyone had an awesome trick-or-treat! We had family over, walked around our neighborhood, and tried our hardest to tucker Georgia out before Daylight Saving Time hit us Sunday morning. Georgia dressed as her all-time favorite, Minnie Mouse, and the lucky girl got to wear her costume THREE times this week: once at my office Halloween party on Monday, another time at the daycare Halloween parade Thursday, and again Saturday night for the real Halloween. She was one happy lady! Just see how happy in this video.


Last year (see below!) she liked¬†walking around and meeting people, but this year she was really into the whole routine. She made it through the entire¬†neighborhood, instead of just half a dozen homes on one side of our little street, and she said “trick or treat!” “thank you!” and “happy Halloween!” to everybody we met.

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Last year. My Baby!!

The best part is that, while she likes picking out colorful wrappers, she couldn’t care less about actually EATING the candy, so more for me! ¬†Good thing I have a candy dish in my office for sharing the wealth.

The transition to Daylight Saving Time went fine¬†for us.¬†We had moved Georgia’s bedtime later bit by bit all week leading up to it, so Sunday morning she woke up at 6:10, which wasn’t too bad, and she took her normal nap from 1 to 3 p.m.¬†My goal was just to have her wake up later than 5 and to take her usual nap, and in that,¬†we succeeded. Spring forward is always much worse for us when it comes to sleep disruptions for Georgia anyway. Everyone felt a little out of whack Sunday with the time change, so we just made it a lounge day. Now it’s back to work.

Remember how I was lamenting my lack of Slow Cooker recipes last week? Well, you guys delivered when it comes to ideas! So many people reached out and offered their family favorites, and I’ll be posting the results as I try them out. Hopefully we have some winners. Meanwhile,¬†I wanted to share these two great ideas from A Year of Slow Cooking: A1 and Dijon Steak, which I just know Mark would love, and Brown Sugar Chicken, which sounds satisfying for my and Georgia’s sweet tooth. That blog even has a slow cooker apple crisp, but I’m not sure how you’d achieve a crunchy top that way, so I haven’t tried it out.

I hope to have even more slow cooker ideas to share in the coming weeks! Plus, an early holiday shopping guide. You know me, I like to be done with Christmas by Thanksgiving, and then I finish designing our holiday card¬†that weekend so I can mail it in early¬†December. Can’t believe that time of year is already approaching! Here’s last year’s card, and the post about our photo shoot.

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Photography by JPG // design by Minted

In closing, I just wanted¬†to also thank everyone who sent well wishes (and mushy recipes) when I had my wisdom teeth out last week. It went fine, and I’m feeling back to my old self now. My friend Jean even sent me homemade soup (and she has a one-year-old!) that tasted¬†simply divine.

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She gave me the recipe from Epicurious, and you better believe I’m going to make it! If I do, I’ll share here. I think Georgia would like it, too.

Have a great week everyone and I’ll be back soon! xoxo

Holidays · Recipes

Split Pea Soup

OK, finding dried peas was IMPOSSIBLE this week, which is why this post is so late. Am I crazy, or is making Split Pea Soup with your leftover holiday ham bone not a thing anymore? At Christmas and Easter my relatives usually fight¬†over the thing on their way out the door, and having pea soup for lunch all week is¬†supposed to be a post-holiday treat, not a chore. Poor Mark went to three different stores for me before finding a one-pound bag of regular old Goya dried beans yesterday. Trader Joe’s and Target said they don’t even carry peas at all, so this isn’t a case of stores running out because everyone else wanted to make pea soup, too.

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My mom always made a wicked good pea soup, but her memory of the recipe was approximate, so I decided to use a good old fashioned Betty Crocker recipe for this Split Pea Soup. My mom does not use celery or carrots in hers, but I wanted to try that and see how I liked it. I think it worked, so I’ll probably do that again the next time I make it.

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It came out delectable, if I do say so myself!

SPLIT PEA SOUP

Ingredients

  • 1 pound¬†dried split peas, sorted and rinsed
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp¬†pepper
  • 1 ham bone (or 2 pounds shanks)
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Directions

Heat the peas and the water to boiling in a 4-quart Dutch oven. Boil uncovered for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour.

Stir in the onion, celery, carrots and pepper. Add the ham bone. Heat to boiling and reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 1 hour 30 minutes, or until peas are tender.

You can either remove the ham bone trim and off the excess fat, and then chop some ham from the bone and place into the soup, or leave the bone in the soup and cut off some pieces with scissors, like I did, then remove and discard.

Heat to boiling again, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer about 30 minutes more or until the soup is your desired consistency.

Skim the fat at this point, or later before serving (that’s what I did). Serve warm with toast or a salad.¬†IMG_9517

Start to finish, this took just over 3 hours, most of it simmer time. I started right after putting Georgia to bed Friday night and finished up right in time for ME to go to bed, at 10:30. I put portions into takeout containers for me to have lunches all week. If you make this in a cast iron Dutch oven, it may take quite a while to cool down completely, so I’d recommend storing in a separate container. It will look much more liquid-y when you first stop cooking and then it’ll solidify overnight, which is how long I like to let it sit before eating.

Betty Crocker’s Tips include:

How to sort and rinse peas.¬†Preparing split peas for cooking is easy, BC says! “Just pick over the dried split peas and discard any grit or discolored peas. Place the split peas in a bowl, and cover them with water. After a minute or two, remove any skins or split peas that float to the top. Finally, rinse the split peas in a colander.”

What to do if you have no ham bone?¬†“If you’re looking for another option for a ham bone, use 2 pounds of smoked pork hocks.”

How to eat this. Like you need the help. “Serve this hearty soup with warm crusty bread and a fresh green salad drizzled with raspberry vinaigrette. Mmm!” Adorable.

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Nutrition Per Serving: 170 Calories, Total Fat 2g, Cholesterol 15 mg, Sodium 30 mg, Carbohydrate 33g, Fiber 13g(!), Protein 17 g.
Baby & Toddler · Holidays

The Easter Bunny Came! {+ our new fave camera}

Hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend! We¬†had a wonderful Easter. Georgia¬†not only wore her bonnet the whole day, to my complete surprise she also hunted for eggs rather enthusiastically! My brother hid plastic eggs (with stickers inside) around our house for her to “find,” and she loved it so much we had to keep running behind her to re-hide them in new places. It was adorable.

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Daddy had to work, so Georgia and Mommy went to church, where we stood on ours chairs to better see the special musicians, and then played with our friends in the nursery downstairs. Then we went home and Georgia took a nice long nap while Mommy made a glazed ham, and pretty soon Grammie, Uncle Brent and Auntie Michelle came over and we all ate a nice big dinner! Daddy made it home just in time for baby’s bedtime.

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The ham came out great — even G¬†ate it, and loved it!¬†— and I’ve got a Split Pea Soup queued up for the ham bone later this week. I’ll be posting my recipe on the blog as soon as I can! In the meantime, it’s back to work, and crossing my fingers for continued warm weather¬†so we can start our garden, plant some flowers, and enjoy our front porch.¬†

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My brother’s girlfriend brought the coolest¬†camera to capture the fun¬†¬†yesterday: the¬†FujiFilm Instax, which is like an old-school Polaroid that develops instantly.

Georgia was a little freaked out by the photo popping right out of the top¬†(she’s only ever seen an iPhone camera, remember!) but quickly got the hang of it and loved seeing her pictures right away. I might have to get one of these things.

She was so into the pictures that she barely wanted to look at the Easter Basket Grammie brought her! She did, however, pause long enough to eat an entire Lindt Chocolate bunny. What can I say? She has good taste. Hope you all have a great week, and stay tuned for my Split Pea Soup recipe!

Baby & Toddler · Drinks & Smoothies · Recipes

We’re back (+2 Vitamix recipes)

Do you ever feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? Ever since having a baby, I sure do. I think it’s frowned upon to say that, but traveling with a child is down-to-the-bone¬†exhausting!¬†

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I’m so glad we got away from this snow. And it never feels like we spend enough time with our family by just seeing them every six months, especially since they used to live up north full time. But I always come back feeling that¬†we should have stayed longer, and like I need to still take a few days off before going back to work so that I can get my life back together and recover from flying with a toddler. Our return flight was delayed, and Georgia did NOT cope well — she threw a water bottle and poured milk on our seat mate, who turned out to be a very understanding grandpa, and kicked the guy in front of us for three hours straight. She head-butted me so hard at one point that I thought she’d broken my nose. Oh, and did I mention that Mark got food poisoning and spent the entire day with a barf bag? Not fun. We actually talked about driving next time even though it takes three full days.

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On the plus side, I think we might be only house in the entire Greater Boston area that doesn’t have horrific ice dams right now. We didn’t have a single leak when we got home, and our next-door neighbors snow-blowed us out so we could get in the driveway upon returning from the airport. We really are so lucky.

where did our house go?
where did our house go?

On our last day in Florida, Mark and I took Georgia to Nokomis Groves for her first citrus swirl. Well, technically she had the lime-vanilla cone in utero, but she very rudely made me throw up the entire thing an hour later, so we had to go back! It only took her one attempt at biting the ice cream before she figured out to lick it and protect her front teeth.

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P.S., can we talk about the fact that mom has never owned a pair of¬†Topsiders, and this kid already has¬†a hot pink pair?? Someone’s daddy sure spoils her.

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She’s in a major daddy phase right now, which is kind of a relief after 18 months of mom-clinging! ¬†

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Georgia also tried her first smoothie while in Florida. My aunt just got a Vitamix (jealous!!) so we made Georgia a smoothie¬†with blueberries, plain Greek yogurt and banana. She loved it! She only just started using sippy cups with a straw a couple weeks ago,¬†so I’m hoping this is the start of her finally giving up her bottle for good. She is SO attached to it.

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If I had a Vitamix, the main thing I’d use it for would be green smoothies, followed by soups. Why green smoothies? Because the Vitamix can puree vegetables, even rough ones like kale, in a way that standard blenders just cannot. If you like to add greens into your fruit smoothies, the only way to make them drinkable instead of gritty is to go with a high-end blender like the Vitamix. Plus, it’s self-cleaning, and has an automatic off sensor when purees are¬†done.

I have a great Cuisinart that we received for our wedding, and it’s still going strong after 7 years — maybe when it dies, I’ll think about investing in a Vitamix! My favorite green smoothie is Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie,¬†the original classic:

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I leave out the herbs and substitute some ice for the water because I prefer green smoothies very cold.

My aunt made a great soup with her Vitamix this trip, and she showed me how. It’s a Sweet Potato Soup that you start on the stovetop and finish in the Vitamix, adding a dash of cream if you want to make it more rich. It has all kinds of spices and some peanut butter in it — yum! We ate it topped with salted cashews.

Sweet Potato Soup

Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven or heavy-duty pot with oil and heat over medium. Add in one large diced onion, 3-4 minced garlic cloves, and 1 TBSP minced fresh ginger, and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add in two good-sized peeled and chopped sweet potatoes. Cover with 4 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth (the contents of one cardboard box). Pour in 1 cup of water and add in 4 -5 cups of unsalted or low-sodium diced tomatoes (she uses fire roasted).  Add in a 1/2 cup of unsalted peanut butter (smooth), then the following spice mixture: cinnamon (1/4 tsp) cumin (2 tsp) coriander (2 tsp) sea salt (1/4 tsp) and cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp). Bring to a boil. Let cook for about 12 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add in 4 cups of fresh Swiss Chard; she uses the entire bunch from the store, stems and leaves chopped. Cover the pot and let the chard wilt about 2 minutes.
It’s ready to eat as-is at this point, but she let it cool and¬†then blended in the Vitamix until pureed. If desired, add in some half & half or veggie stock. Serve¬†with some nice crusty bread or croutons, and salted peanuts, cashews or asiago cheese¬†on top.

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Well, tomorrow it’s back to braving the snow and the MBTA commute again for me. Don’t I wish I was still eating well and enjoying nice weather down south! Alas, reality comes crashing back down eventually. I hope you all stay safe and warm if you’re in this snow vortex gripping the northeast! And if you use your Vitamix for something really creative that I didn’t mention, or you have great smoothie recipes to share, call ’em out in the comments.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Recipes

Trader Joe’s Tag: Tortellini Roasted Red Pepper Soup

The pictures for this came out terrible, but it’s a hearty soup that comes together really quickly. We picked up all the ingredients at Trader Joe’s but you could easily make this from any store with comparable products! This isn’t soup from scratch, but it is fast, creamy and satisfying, and uses up leftover prepared pesto that you may have made yourself or bought for another recipe. Plus, it’s vegetarian and filling without being bad for you.

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Tortellini Roasted Red Pepper Soup

INGREDIENTS (all Trader Joe’s)

  • 1 bag dried tortellini, with cheese filling (pesto filling is also OK)
  • 1 carton¬†creamy Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup
  • 1 package frozen Melange a Trois (tri-color bell peppers)
  • 1/2 jar pesto (adjust amount to taste)
  • optional: grated cheese for topping

DIRECTIONS

Set a medium pot of water to boil. Boil the tortellini until they are just cooked (usually when they float to the top). Set aside.

In another large pot — I used a cast iron Le Creuset dutch oven — heat the entire package of soup over medium until simmering. Add in the whole¬†package of frozen bell peppers and pesto, then stir in the tortellini. Once it’s all heated, it’s ready to serve!

Top with grated parmesan or pecorino and enjoy warm.

(This makes a thick soup; if you’d rather it be a bit thinner, use half to 2/3 bag of cooked tortellini instead).

The great thing about this recipe is that you can adjust it however you like. Don’t want to use frozen bell peppers? Go for frozen peas, or string beans. I threw in half a can of corn that was lying around from my Shepherd’s Pie a few days before! Love pesto? Add the whole darn jar. Not a fan? Scale it back or omit entirely. You can use any brand of creamy tomato soup, but I really like how the roasted red pepper element adds flavor here. It’s relatively healthy and will also leave you with a few tasty lunches for the week. Plus, even though I love that it’s vegetarian, you can always change that by throwing in some chicken sausage, kielbasa, ground beef or leftover rotisserie chicken. The possibilities are endless.

Dig in and enjoy!

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CSA · Recipes

Salad-spiration

Gotta tell ya, the heat zaps my appetite. Mark doesn’t like soups, which are¬†my usual go-to for muggy nights when I don’t feel like eating, much less cooking. Things like gazpacho shooters,¬†Sweet Potato Soup,¬†and Fennel-Potato Soup with sour cream on top, Creamy Cauliflower Soup:¬†yum! refreshing! But lately, I’ve been having a few light, creative salads instead. Start with your favorite greens and add a few of my favorite toppings, and you’re good to go. Some of my top combos:

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Greens topped with chopped tomatoes, taco strips, avocado, shredded cheese and cilantro, with creamy dressing such as Newman’s Southwest or Trader Joe’s Cilantro.

Avocado kale salad, shown with Lemon Pappardelle & Sweet Sausage. (Click image for recipe)

Kale, torn by hand and rinsed/dried, mashed with two ripe avocado and drizzled with two organic lemons. Excellent topped with watermelon, chicken, feta, tomatoes, parmesan, or walnuts.

Simple Caesar: 1/2 cup olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp mustard, 2 diced garlic cloves, squirt of anchovy paste (optional) and a splash of Worcestershire sauce (also optional). Whisk, and pour over chopped romaine lettuce. Top with freshly grated parmesan and homemade croutons if you’re in the mood.

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My Chipotle knockoff! I take kale, avocado, corn, pico de gallo, black beans, shredded cheese and a light vinagrette and toss it all together. Optional: add grilled chicken. By avoiding the sour cream and fatty dressing (not to mention the side of chips and guacamole) this stays refreshing and healthy.

The last one, I don’t have a good picture of. It’s a strawberry jam salad tossed over spicy arugula, and it is to die for!¬† I blogged about this when I was first getting started, so my photos are horrendous, but the result was delicious.

You take a green with some bite, like arugula, and match it with something tamer like mesclun mix to cut the sharpness (unless you really love straight arugula). Then you make a dressing out of olive oil (3 TBSP), balsamic vinegar (1 TBSP), and strawberry jam (2 tsp) plus salt & pepper, and mix into the greens, then top with fresh strawberries, goat cheese¬†and almonds.¬†I’ve always wanted to try tossing some mint on there, too! If you do that, let me know.

What’s your go-to salad for summer? Sometimes I just pick up a bagged version from Trader Joe’s or Target and space it over a few days, especially when I’m by myself for dinner while Mark is on nights. Luckily, these days he’s home fairly often in the evenings, and Georgia is over her 10-month sleep regression (as in her age, not the duration!) so we can even spend time together after supper. And you know what’s crazy? Even when she’s sleeping right upstairs, I still miss her. Because she’s awesome, and I can’t believe she’s only been around a little less than a year ūüôā

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My BFFL! (that’s breast friend for life)
Uncategorized

Back to work

Well. I went back to work this week. The parts I thought would be difficult were a piece of cake; conversely, I was blindsided by things I hadn’t anticipated.

She's usually asleep at drop-off AND pick-up :(
She’s usually asleep at drop-off AND pick-up ūüė¶

I thought I would cry when Mark dropped me off at the train. I was actually fine, and getting back to the office felt like I’d just been on vacation for a couple weeks. But finding clothes that fit and are flattering every morning has been difficult, and Georgia has been waking up at different times every day — anywhere from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. — which makes it hard to figure out when to shower, blow dry, do my makeup, etc. I know it’s been hard on Mark to get up and play with her while I’m getting ready, since he’s used to sleeping in after working late at night. I know we will figure it out in time.

How I prepped

Getting lunches, dinners, snacks and breakfasts ready ahead of time was essential. Thankfully my Mom came over the Sunday before I went back (since Mark works weekends, often until very late at night) to help me prep. She did my laundry, helped me clean my house and do the dishes, and just generally served as a second brain so I wouldn’t forget to pack anything. Even better, she played with Georgia when she wasn’t napping, so that I could focus a little bit on getting one thing done without any interruptions.

My friends at work offered to bring me breakfast that first day, which I thought was very sweet ūüôā And I had a couple presents waiting for me when I got back to my desk — check them out in my office! Pretty, right?

Two colleagues treated me to welcome back plants on Monday-- a Christmas tree and a bunch of blooms!
Two colleagues treated me to welcome back plants on Monday — a Christmas tree and a beautiful bunch of blooms!

My dad & stepmom also helped out by dropping off some pre-made dinners the day I went back, and by subtly checking in on my husband during his first day home at what he calls “Daddy Day Care.” He did great, actually. I left him detailed instructions and prepped all the bottles, bibs and toys he would need that first day, and he took it from there. I’m so blessed to say they they are getting on great together every day, which makes it easier for me to be back at work even though I miss her so much while I’m gone. In fact, I stayed home on Thursday, and found to my dismay that she already prefers his style of eating and going down for naps. I was nothing but a huge disruption!

I’ll be posting the recipes for what I made myself to eat for breakfast for the week very soon.

Since I’m pumping midday, to facilitate better nursing success and to help keep my milk supply up, I did the following:

  • Brought instant oatmeal, which helps maintain milk supply
  • Carried a reusable water bottle everywhere, for the same reason
  • Packed clementines, cheddar cheese, yogurt, granola bars and dark chocolate to snack on, since breastfeeding makes you famished (and you need the extra calories to produce enough milk).

I made myself my favorite Tropical Smoothie also, and I pre-made some Risotto for Mark to have around the house for lunches and early dinners before work every night. I know how hard it is to make yourself lunch at home when the baby is there. When it’s just me, I eat these awesome Campbell’s Go Soups — you heat them right in the bag and can pour them into a bowl one-handed — and for this upcoming week I am going to make Mark a Shepherd’s Pie. All he’ll have to do is reheat it, and it’s nice and filling. You can make it meat-free, too. (The soups are great for me because they help keep up your milk supply).

Pumping at work

This has been a challenge. Between remembering the ice pack and the Pump,¬†to figuring out when to charge it and how to¬†clean it,¬†I’ve been juggling a lot of logistics. And that’s before having to beat people away from my desk with a stick in order to get to the privacy room in our office! I feel lucky that we have a dedicated lactation room, and so far I’ve been able to get there every day by 1 p.m. to pump. My yield has, unfortunately, been going down a little bit every day, so I may have to go twice a day or just make sure I’m eating and drinking (and minimizing stress) enough, as all those things can affect supply.

This breastfeeding thing is no joke.

Georgia at 16 weeks

She is amazing. Still so sweet, so fun to be with, and a pretty good sleeper (though not every night is a breeze to be sure). These shots were taken on Thanksgiving Day at Mark’s grandfather’s house in New Bedford. We also got some great pictures with her two cousins! My sister-in-law is due with their third baby in early January, so by the New Year Georgia will have three little cousins to grow up with. To think that less than three years ago there were no babies in the family! Life is amazing sometimes.

Recipes

Sweet Potato Soup

This creamy soup has a hint of heat and goes great with crunchy tortilla chips, fresh sliced avocado and a swirl of sour cream.

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced (plus one for garnish)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced
  • 1 jalapeno, fresh or from a jar, seeds removed and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a stockpot or Dutch oven on the stove top and heat to boiling, then simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are softened. Mash a bit by hand, then let cool. Transfer to a blender once it’s no longer steaming (or use a handheld immersion blender) to puree into a smooth soup. Serve plain, or top with sour cream, tortilla chips & fresh avocado slices. Delicious.

CSA 2011 · Recipes

‘Ribollita al Pomodoro’ soup

Looking for a way to use up leftover crusty bread? Throw it in this hearty soup with vegetables, beans and seasonings, and¬†you’ve got major comfort food. My main reason for making this: to use up the remainder of a good-quality French loaf I’d bought to serve alongside my slow cooker beef stew. Also, I had lots of leeks from my CSA, so I used those where otherwise I might have included onions. I combined two well known Italian recipes, one for Ribollita (a thick Tuscan soup) and pappa al’pomodoro (a sweet tomato-based soup), into one mash-up with apples and curry that came out unexpectedly fabulous.¬†Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese!

Ingredients

  • Day-old French bread
  • 1 can Cannellini beans, with their liquid
  • Parmesan cheese

Vegetables

  • Leeks (2, chopped)
  • Celery (2-3 stalks, chopped)
  • Carrots (1 or 2, chopped)
  • I can diced tomatoes (use fresh if available)
  • I large granny smith apple, cubed (unpeeled)

Seasonings

  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • Kosher Salt
  • Curry powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Red pepper flakes or cayenne

Wet ingredients

  • Almond milk (eyeball to achieve desired consistency of soup)
  • Veggie broth (1 can)
  • Olive oil & Butter (eyeball it to sautee the garlic)

Directions

Melt the butter with the olive oil and saute the garlic, celery and leeks until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes over medium heat. You don’t need onion with all that flavor from the garlic and leeks!

Add the carrots, tomatoes and bay leaves and stir to combine well for a few minutes. Add the veggie broth, apple and other seasonings.

Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes (the house will start to smell awesome). Add the cannellini beans and bread and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, for another 5-10 minutes.

Add the almond milk to taste at the end, when the soup is on low. You don’t really want to let the almond milk boil up. If the soup looks too thick, add a teeny bit more almond milk or water; don’t forget it’ll thicken even more as it cools. Test to make sure the carrots are cooked through; add seasonings to taste, and you’re done.

Top it with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Approval from a very discerning nose.

A few tips:

  • The flavors blend together even better as leftovers. Eaten the next day, I think this soup actually improves.
  • If you have it, a drizzle of good-quality olive oil will make an excellent topping here with the cheese. As for cheese, try parmesan, pecorino, or both. They’re each just salty enough.
  • If you don’t care for chunky soups, you can puree this to a smooth consistency using an immersion blender.
  • Increase the heat by upping your quantity of red pepper flakes/cayenne, or even by throwing in some good hot sauce.
  • The quantity of bread is very flexible. Tailor it to your liking and whatever you have on hand!