Champ, or how to Irish up your Mashed Potatoes

Are you looking for something to jazz up your corned beef and cabbage Saint Patrick’s Day dinner or perhaps a way to liven up boring old mashed potatoes? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Let me tell you about champ. Champ is mashed potatoes infused with the flavor of green, or spring onions. It is a creamy dish with a nice oniony zip that isn’t overpowering.

When I first met my Irish mother-in-law I learned that my hubs had loved this stuff called champ as a “wee lad.”  I had never heard of it before.  She told me it was mashed potatoes with spring onions.  She said it in a “if-you-want-to-make-my-son-happy-you-make-him-champ” sort of way.  Well, I figured I could do mashed potatoes with spring onions to make him happy. I figured I could do a lot of other things too, to make him happy, but mashed potatoes was no problem at all.

But it turned out that champ wasn’t as simple as mixing some onions into mashed potatoes, although a complicated dish it is not. If you take the time to do it right you will be rewarded with a tasty side dish, one that my hubs has said rivals his mother’s! The recipe below is adapted from (where I have found a whole host of Irish recipes I want to try).



  • 1 lb potatoes
  • 2 oz spring onions or green onions, chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • ¼ pint milk
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Peel and boil potatoes in water until done.
  2. Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the chopped onions and simmer slowly while the potatoes cook. (This is perhaps the most important step of this recipe and ensures the flavor of the onions is infused throughout the dish. The original recipe called for cooking the onion vigorously but I think slowly simmering the onions in the milk will extract more flavor, and prevent the milk from boiling over.)
  3. When cooked, sieve the onions and set the milk aside.
  4. Drain the potatoes and mash them.
  5. Add the onions to the potatoes and mix well.
  6. Add as much of the green onion infused milk as needed to produce a consistency you like (creamy, but not too runny).
  7. Season with freshly ground pepper (and salt if desired), garnish with fresh chopped spring onion if you wish.
  8. Serve the Champ with a central well filled with melted butter.
Posted in comfort food, potatoes, recipe, Side Dishes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Apple Pie Therapy

After being home for the Christmas holidays for 2 weeks, I am nervous about returning to work. Not so much the going to work bit, but the getting the kids out of bed and carted off to daycare bit. I am also nervous because I am planning to change my hours and work longer days. As a way of easing back into the working world after a 3.5 year break to be home with the kids, I had decided to split my part time work hours into three short days in the office and a handful of hours at home. I was lucky to be returning to an old employer who was willing to be flexible with my hours. But knowing that eventually I’ll have to up my hours to full time, I have decided to eliminate my hours worked at home and work three full days in the office. Along with my 45 minute commute each way this would make for one heck of a long day, and this would mean I would miss dinner with the kids. obviously it would also mean I would miss making dinner.  Some serious meal planning would be in order for this plan to work. The hubs says he can cook, but I don’t think he could handle screaming kids ready to murder each other while he nuked chicken nuggets cooked.  For this to work I will need to make a bunch of food ahead of time that he can reheat.

So on my last day of vacation before embarking on this ambitious plan, you would think I would be furiously planning meals of the cook once eat twice kind, shopping, and cooking.  But no. What did I do instead? Bake. If you can call it that. An oven was involved, but so was a tube of Pillsbury crescent rolls. The cutting butter into flour crowd would not approve of me calling this baking, but I was more interested in the end result than the process.  But maybe this is what my brain needed. Instead of freaking out about and over planning for a pending change in my family’s lives, my brain needed to zone out and I guess my body needed some sweet pastries, some comfort food.

So what did I make with the tube of crescent roll dough, you ask? I made individual apple pies. And even though they did not turn out all that pretty, they sure were delicious. And the best part was it took about half an hour.



  • 1 tube Pillsbury Crescent Roll Dough
  • 2 medium apples (I used Fuji) diced small
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 shake of cinnamon
  • small pinch of salt


  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Dice the apples into small pieces and put in a bowl.
  • Add the corm starch and mix to cover each piece.
  • Mix in the sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

    Apple mixture ready for the dough.

    Apple mixture ready for the dough.

  • Unroll the crescent roll dough and separate into individual triangular pieces on a baking sheet.
  • Place about 1 tbs of the apple mixture into each triangle of dough.  You may have some left over filling.

    Filled triangles

    Filled triangles

  • Fold the dough into little packets. You can stretch the dough and play with it a little to make the sides meet. I started by making the corners at either end of the longest side meet and pinching together the edge. Then I pulled together the remaining edges. It’s OK to leave some gaps along the top edge, but try to make sure none of the juice drips out of the sides especially as the dough won’t stick to itself then.

    Long edge is pinched together

    Long edge is pinched together

Ready for the oven. Not that pretty but sure to be good!

Ready for the oven. Not that pretty but sure to be good!

  • Bake for about 15 minutes (following the directions on the package of dough) until golden brown.



Golden and yummy

Golden and yummy

Sweet and  gooey

Sweet and gooey


Posted in baking, comfort food, Dessert | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Having my Christmas Cake and Eating it too

January 2 might seem like an odd time to be writing about Christmas, but this isn’t altogether about Christmas, it’s about a bigger thing.  It’s about finding a way to stay sane when things outside of our control are stressing us out (which does happen around Christmastime, but around the year too).


Like everyone else I run myself ragged from about Thanksgiving to Christmas, planning holiday dinners, gift buying, decorating, Elf on The Shelf manoeuvering, etc, etc, all the while trying to juggle the daily hassles of daycare, work, meals, doctor’s visits and such.  I often wonder what the point of it all is. To me the holidays are about spending quality time with my family and loved ones, and going crazy trying to keep up with everything else just seems counterproductive. How can you enjoy any part of the holidays if you’re tied to the stove, tangled up with tinsel, stressed out about gifts, and just generally trying to hold it all together?


This past Christmas we were forced to slow it all down and in fact we cancelled our holiday dinner. After weeks and weeks of both kids being sick with croup, ear infections, colds and coughs, my little guys was finally diagnosed with walking pneumonia on Christmas Eve. This, after no less than four appointments in a two week span.  His sister thankfully just had a common cold.  The doctor jinxed me by exclaiming that it was a wonder I hadn’t gotten sick from the kids. Well, guess what happened the next day?  I woke up feeling like death warmed over.


My initial plan had been to cook Christmas dinner on the 24th since I grew up celebrating on Christmas eve. But after first spending several hours at the doctor’s office with both kids on the preceding Friday, and then again on Christmas Eve with my little guy who had gone downhill despite being on a nebulizer and an inhaler, I just couldn’t muster up the energy to cook a holiday dinner.  We were invited to spend Christmas Day with the hub’s aunt and uncle but I just didn’t think it was fair to bring the gift of illness to their house.  The hubs and Little Missy did end up going because they didn’t feel quite as sick as the rest of us (including my mom, who is visiting and has pretty much been sick since she arrived).  To be honest, I can’t even remember what we ate during those two days. I know I didn’t cook anything significant and I know the kids were not eating, period. Don’t get me wrong. We still enjoyed the Holidays, as much as one can dealing with a house full of sick people. The decorations were up and Little Missy was anxiously waiting for Santa and enjoying searching for the Elf every morning (who on many nights had been too tired to make the trip to Santa and was found in the same spot as the previous day).  We opened presents on Christmas Morning and the kids actually let us sleep in until about 8, probably being exhausted from being so sick.  The kids didn’t know there was “supposed” to be a special dinner and they wouldn’t have eaten any of it anyway, had I made it.

Nebulizer, Clarice, and Hess helicopter. It's all good.

Nebulizer, Clarice, and Hess helicopter. It’s all good.


So, in the end, despite being sick and exhausted and not having a Christmas dinner we had a special holiday without the stress associated with the expected hours of cooking and cleaning.  I cooked up the Brussels sprouts and green beans I had planned for Chistmas over the weekend and served them with some pasta and chicken.  Then I made the Christmas ham on New Year’s Eve with mashed potatoes and stuffing and heated up left over vegetables.  There was no stress and we had a lovely New Year’s Eve dinner.  I think I may take some lessons from this year’s experience and use them next year. Our Christmas dinner does not need to be extravagant, as long as we’re together and happy, and we can save the ham or roast or what have you for another meal which can be special all on its own without the pressure of pulling off the perfect meal.  The holidays are what you make it, so take it from me, don’t stress over them.  You’ll be glad you didn’t.

2012 DEC 005

Our New Year’s Eve Christmas Dinner

P.S. Despite the title of this post, we still haven’t eaten our Christmas cake!

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2012 in review

My Dear Readers,

2012 has been a busy year for this mom who returned to work after staying home with my kiddos for 3.5 years. It was a year of big adjustments as I learned how to juggle the demands of my “job” as mom and my career. As a result I didn’t write as much as I would have liked.  Thank you for your visits to my blog and for staying with me.  I hope 2013 will bring more posts as I settle into more of a groove as a working mom and find the time to not only cook healthy foods, but also write about it.  I am glad to report that I have discovered that my little guy is much more of an adventurous eater than my little missy, so I am hoping maybe his open  mind when it comes to food will rub off on her a little.   Missy’s current favorite is broccoli of all things, which gave rise to a phrase I never thought I would utter: “You can have more broccoli when you have finished your fries.” Seriously? Seriously!

Happy New Year!


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 10 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Adventures in Making Pumpkin Pie


With Thanksgiving a few weeks away, and with Little Missy’s constant nagging about pumpkin pie, I’ve decided to break from our supermarket pie tradition and make my own.  Since Thanksgiving itself generally turns into craziness, I figured I’d practice make the pie early, and then either revert back to the store bought kind for the holiday itself or make another one if I feel confident enough.

Recently when I was at the store a no bake pumpkin pie box caught my eye.  I thought it might be the perfect option given Missy’s impatience and the fact that our oven rarely works the way it’s supposed to.  Besides, apart from butter, sugar, and milk everything else was already in the box. No messing about with pie crust needed!

I tried to make this no bake wonder with Little Missy’s assistance, but that turned into a nightmare. She was a little too excited about stirring the melted butter and sugar into the graham crust and crumbles of crust were spilling all over the counter. Add to that the fact that she had a cold (like the millionth one since starting preschool) and kept breathing, sputtering, and sneezing in the general direction of the pie.  Despite the germs flying about, I did let her stir the pie filling but she was a little slow and it started to set up quite quickly, and I needed to pour it into the crust.  In the end, her biggest effort ended up being licking the bowl, which she was quite happy with.  So the pie went in the fridge for an hour to set up, except it didn’t quite set up.  It was essentially pumpkin pie flavored, no scratch that, pumpkin pie spice flavored pudding in a concrete pie crust. It did not set up like a pie, so when you cut into it, it just kind of slowly oozed all over the pie server, and the butter in the crust had hardened so much you essentially needed a jack hammer to remove it from the pie plate.  I vaguely remember something about dipping the pie plate in hot water to release the crust, but that detail was conveniently forgotten at the time.  The flavor was spice-y. Not hot spicy, but just pungent, over spiced. Kind of like eating potpourri that was the consistency of pudding.  The only way I could see serving this would be to pour the filling into individual serving bowls and crumble some of the crust on top, but you’d have to do something about the strong flavor. Perhaps you could fold some whipped cream into it.  So, after all that, and after an hour of “is it ready?” Little Missy announced she did not want it because she likes warm pumpkin pie. Sigh.

So, on to round two of pumpkin pie making. At the store I hemmed and hawed about the pie crust. Since this was my first attempt at pumpkin pie I thought making the crust from scratch would just add too much pressure. And while I’ve made an acceptable oil based crust, I’ve also made some pretty horrible and overworked pie and quiche crusts. So I decided to go with a refrigerated pre-rolled crust to be sure the pie wouldn’t be ruined due to the crust.  Then came the decision: store brand, or fancy label?  I’ve never used these pre-made crusts before and I didn’t want to take any chances with a store brand crust, so I decided to shell out the dough (yes, pun intended) for the Pillsbury. I figured, it had to be good.

Well, I was wrong about the crust.  When I tried to unroll the crust it was kind of like starting a new roll of toilet paper and the paper comes off in bits. The dough stuck to itself in parts and peeled off in others. I had to pry it off the roll with a knife. In the end it looked a little like one of my early crochet projects: full of holes, a bit misshapen, and not that pretty.  I ended up having to re-roll it to fill in the holes and tears. The filling itself was a cinch to make. I just followed the directions on the can of pumpkin, although I did substitute the molasses for, gasp, corn syrup.  The baking did not quite go according to plan, as is often the case when my oven is involved.  To begin with, it turned out my pie plate (or casserole dish which was to double as a pie plate) was 8 inches and the recipe called for a 9 inch pie plate. So, my oven which is always about 5 degrees off needed 20 minutes longer to finish baking the pie, and even then it was still slightly jiggly in the center but seeing as the crust was getting verybrown, I didn’t want to risk burning the whole thing.  I hoped it would set up some more as it cooled.

All in all it’s a decent slice, though deeper than the typical pumpkin pie.

It did set up in the middle but the crust was tough and a little bitter in the darkest places.  This could have been due to the extra time in the oven or because I had to re-roll it.  Despite the slightly crunchy crust, the pie was a hit. The filling was fluffier and less dense than the store bought pies I’m used to and there was much more of a pumpkin flavor.  For my next pumpkin pie, I’ll have to buy a 9 inch pie plate and I will make my own crust.   I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll try to tackle that for Thanksgiving.

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Product Review: Rubbermaid Lunch Blox Lunch Boxes

When I was preparing to go from stay at home mom to working mom, one of the hardest things to do was to wrap my head around the whole day care thing.  Having been at home with the kiddos from day one (a total of three and a half years!), I had zero experience with getting kids packed up and ready to go to daycare.  I ventured out to Target, without really having a clue as to what I needed or wanted, I just knew I needed to find something in which to pack the kids’ (and my own) lunches.


Immediately upon arrival at Target, I was frustrated.  It seems no one who decides where things in Target are placed actually shops there because lunch bags and lunch boxes were at completely opposite ends of the store.  After wandering around the store, I finally found insulated lunch bags amongst the camping gear, and ice packs were thankfully in the next aisle.  The lunch boxes however, were in the opposite corner of the store, in the same aisle as the food storage items: plastic wrap, aluminum foil, etc.  Oh, and then there was also a random selection of lunch boxes in the baby aisle.  The selection of lunch boxes wasn’t that great, but with shopping time limited to either the couple of hours in between the two naps that my little guy still takes (assuming I have the emotional strength to go shopping with the little- ahem-angels), or the few hours after bedtime (with the hubs at home of course) assuming I have the energy to drag myself out at the end of the day, you just don’t have the luxury of shopping around.  Besides, with about a week from job offer to first day, I had a ton of prep to do and couldn’t spend much time on this task either.


Amongst a sea of uninspired boxes, the Rubbermaid Lunch Blox boxes caught my eye.  The green lids popped on the shelf and the various compartments inside the main boxes offered a variety of options for lunch components.  After all, my plan was to offer a variety of foods in an interesting presentation. I decided to buy two sets of the Entree Open Stock boxes for the kids and a Salad Kit for myself.

Rubbermaid LunchBlox Entrée Open Stock.Opens in a new window

The Entree Open Stock Box. Notice the two removable compartments, and the indentations on the lid. 

The kids’ boxes are rectangular and shallow and come with a small and large rectangular insert so you can pack a sandwich and a side and they won’t mix and get soggy. The lids have indentations that allow you to click other smaller containers from the same line if you want to pack more food without the different containers getting jumbled up.  Overall I’m satisfied with these boxes. My only wish is that Rubbermaid would offer more varieties of the inserts that go inside the box so that you could pack different sides, say crackers and fruit without mixing them.  But my bento box inspired solution has been to use silicone baking cups to create smaller areas within the boxes.  I should also add that because the boxes are quite long, they just barely fit inside a standard insulated kids’ lunch bag.


My salad kit is more of a cube shape and comes with an insert divided into three sections, a container for dressing, and an icepack.  The icepack attaches to the bottom of the box and the lid has the same indentations as the other boxes for additional containers.  The idea behind the insert is that you can pack salad fixings and keep them separated from your salad until you are ready to eat. It’s a nice idea but with the insert in place, there isn’t much room left for the salad itself.  In fact, on its own the box is a little small for a salad that is meant to be a meal.  Just to try to make a salad that wouldn’t leave me starving I ended up packing it so tight that there wasn’t any room to mix the salad ingredients or evenly distribute the dressing when I was ready to eat.  Trying to dig in the bottom for some greens, would result in something else flying out of the salad on to my desk.  Then there is the container specifically made for dressing.  I thought this was the best concept ever. I’ve always used those little jam jars you get at hotels or on an airplane for my salad dressing, but they’re just a little too small (and I don’t even like my salad to be swimming in dressing).  So, you can imagine my disappointment when on my first day at work I opened up my lunch tote, only to find an oil slick coating its bottom.  The dressing was still mostly in its container, but apparently the lid was not quite tight enough and some oil from my vinaigrette made it out.  At first I thought I hadn’t closed the lid carefully enough, but after six months on the job and more oil slicks than not, I have concluded that there is some design flaw with the lid that requires it to be closed precisely for an airtight (or oil tight) seal.  I have noticed that this is not so much of a problem with creamier or thicker dressings, but I mostly use vinaigrette, so it’s an issue for me.

Rubbermaid LunchBlox Salad Kit.Opens in a new window

The Salad Kit. See how little space there is for a salad when the insert is in place?

My final verdict is that the Entree Open Stock containers are okay for kids lunches, especially with the option of attaching smaller containers to the lid.  However, I am disappointed in the Salad Kit because of its small size and awkward shape, and because of the inconsistent seal on the dressing container. I have stopped using the main container and have started to pack my salads in a larger container from the Rubbermaid Premier Food Storage set.  I still use the dressing container and end up with the occasional oil slick in my lunch tote.

Rubbermaid 18-pc. Premier Food Storage Set.Opens in a new window

I love these Rubbermaid containers, but that’s a topic for another post. I use the deep medium box on the left for my fit-for-a-meal lunch salads. 

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Pizza Frittata, or What to do With Your Left Over Spaghetti Sauce

this frittata features red peppers and mushrooms

Spaghetti features prominently on our dinner menus because it’s so fast and convenient to make and even if you use store bought sauce, you can customize and vary it by adding different ingredients.  Of course there are always leftovers, and even though a portion of it comes to work with me as my lunch, I always seem to end up with more sauce than pasta, so here is one round two recipe I’ve come up with for left over spaghetti sauce.  I call it pizza frittata.  It’s great for brunch, lunch, or breakfast at night. And the kids love it, and why wouldn’t they? It’s eggy, tomato-y, and cheesy goodness!  What’s more, the flavors can change according to the flavors in your spaghetti sauce.

Pizza Frittata (serves 4)


4 large eggs (or equivalent in egg substitute)

1 cup spaghetti sauce

¼ cup milk

1 cup shredded cheese

1 tbs olive oil


  • Heat oven to 375F
  • Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and lightly whisk.
  • Add the spaghetti sauce, milk, and cheese and mix to incorporate.
  • Season to taste, but remember that the spaghetti sauce will already be seasoned, and the cheese will also have salt.
  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a 12 inch sauté pan and pour in the egg mixture and begin to cook, stirring gently so the bottom won’t overcook.  As the mixture starts to thicken, stop stirring and allow to cook for about 2 minutes, until it starts to bubble slightly.  Then cover the sauté pan and place it in the hot oven.  Bake for about 20 minutes, until the egg mixture has set. It may separate from the sides of the pan.  Allow to continue to set for about 5 minutes before cutting into it (the longer it rests, the more it will set up).  Use a flexible silicone spatula to cut and serve slices.
  • You can serve frittata with a garden salad, fresh tomato slices, hash browns, or crusty bread.
Posted in eggs, Mains, recipe, Round Two Recipe | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bento Boxing in the Featherweight Category

Making, writing about and posting photos of bento box lunches is all the rage in the mommy food blog community.  Blogger after blogger posts their children’s school lunches in cute compartmentalized boxes with creative sandwiches cut into flowers, butterflies, robots, etc, hard boiled eggs molded into different shapes, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other cute little treats.  To be honest, I don’t know how these moms manage to put together such elaborate lunches, and then how the lunches don’t fall apart as they get jostled in a school bag.  Then there are all the supplies you need to create these works of art, which don’t stop at the compartmentalized boxes. There are the egg molds, sandwich shape cutters, and various silicone cups to fill with berries, crackers, dip or whatever you want and further compartmentalize the compartments.  This is all enough to make a mom’s head spin, especially if she’s a newbie at the whole packed lunch thing.

use these to mold your hard boiled eggs

   cut sandwiches into cute shapes

  put it all in a whimsical lunch box

good enough to eat

Having been a stay at home mom since my little ones were born, I have not had to worry about packing any kinds of lunches, let alone getting creative with sandwich shapes and such.  But now that I am preparing to go back to work and putting the kiddos into daycare, I need to come up with some kind of solution to the picky eating and make it portable.  Don’t get me wrong. There is no way I’ll be able to make anything that will come close to what the bento box heavyweights create but I can learn some lessons from them.  What I’ve gathered so far is that bento box lunches should be visually appealing and offer some variety.  Beyond that I think you can go as crazy or simple as you want.  You can make sandwiches look like cats or offer up small portions of different items in pretty little cups placed in a lunch box.  Given that most kids eat a few bites of this and a few bites of that, I think the bento box approach to lunch makes sense (as long as you’re not losing precious sleep trying to arrange strawberry slices into a rosette). For inspiration check out this slide show from

The kiddos started daycare today, so I have spent the past few days getting together materials to make their lunches.  I found some divided lunch boxes by Rubbermaid and even went the extra step of buying some silicone baking cups. Then it occurred to me that the silicone cups might not make it back home either because Little Missy might think they are too cute to put back in the lunch box or they might get accidentally tossed.  So I decided to start out with just regular paper baking cups.  Those will only go in Little Missy’s lunches. I don’t trust the Little Fella to not try to eat the cups if I put them in his lunches.  Here are the two lunches I came up with for the kiddos for their first day of daycare.

Little Missy got a flatbread turkey and cheese sandwich with cherry tomato halves and pretzels. There was also a cheese stick and a cereal bar.  She ended up eating the tomatoes, pretzels and cheese, and nibbling on the sandwich.

The Little Fella got the same sandwich with sliced kiwi fruit.  He ate most of his lunch.  I am beginning to think he eats more than his big sister.

Posted in Packed lunch, self feeding | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Baked Falafel Patties

Serve with salad or in a wrap or pita.

Falafels are Middle Eastern patties primarily made of mashed up chick peas that I think are a little piece of heaven.  I don’t remember when I first had falafel but it may have been at the Middle East Restaurant and Night Club in Cambridge, MA, where I distinctly remember discovering that hummus was actually really good (as opposed to the icky stuff they had served at my college dining hall).  One of my favorite places to eat falafel was at a little Middle Eastern sandwich joint in Providence, RI that made a delicious wrap with lettuce, tomato, onion and tahini.  The best thing about the place was the free sample falafel you got as soon as you walked in the door. Being a poor recent college grad at the time, free food was very important.

Despite loving falafel, I never ever thought to make them at home. Perhaps I was put off by the fact that they’re typically breaded and deep fried and I didn’t want to go to all that trouble, or just never thought I could pull off such an exotic dish.  Unfortunately all the store bought falafel patties or balls I’ve tried have been quite dry so I haven’t made them that often, though surprisingly my little picky eater does like them.  So, when I found a recipe for baked falafel in one of my newer cookbooks, I knew I had to try it.  The recipe comes from the Pampered Chef’s Make it Fresh Make it Healthy cookbook.

These were really easy to make and I don’t know why I’ve been avoiding making them at home for so long. They came out fluffy and moist with a nice crunchy crust.  They were a little on the mild side but you can always play with flavorings by adding different spices.  What’s more, both kiddos enjoyed them. Little missy declined the yogurt sauce I made to go with them, saying it was “spicy,” which is the reason she gives nowadays whenever she doesn’t like something. But the little guy ate the patties, sauce and all.  I served them with a fresh salad with a vinaigrette dressing (which the little guy declined, in typical baby form by spitting it out).

The recipe is below, with my comments in italics.

Baked Falafel Patties

2 cans (15 oz) garbanzo beans

1 medium onion, quartered

½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

½ cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves

½ cup AP flour

¼ cup refrigerated pasteurized egg product (If you don’t have an egg substitute or don’t want to buy a carton for just one recipe, you could use 1 egg instead)

1 tbsp ground cumin, toasted

2 garlic cloves, peeled

¾ tsp each salt, and coarsely ground black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil, divided


Preheat oven to 400F. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. Place beans in a food processor, cover and pulse until coarsely pureed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Transfer beans to a mixing bowl. Combine onion, herbs, flour, egg product, cumin, garlic, salt and black pepper in the food processor. Cover and pulse until finely chopped. Add onion mixture to beans, mix well.  (Be careful when you open the food processor cover after pulsing the onion. It will feel like you were hit with tear gas.  I always chop onions with a knife and do a fair amount of crying but I was not prepared for this instant full on onion assault when I opened the food processor lid.)


Brush large sheet pan with ½ tbsp of olive oil. Using a large ice cream scoop, drop 12 scoops of falafel mixture onto the pan, spacing 1 ½ inches apart. Slightly flatten the patties with the back of the scoop.  Bruch tops of patties with the remaining oil. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Remove pan from oven onto a cooling rack.

Vinaigrette and yogurt sauce (also from the Pampered Chef)

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sugar

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 garlic clove, pressed

To make vinaigrette, whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl.

To make the yogurt sauce for the falafel patties combine ¼ cup plain yogurt and 1 tbsp of the vinaigrette. Actually the Pampered Chef directions call for sour cream instead of yogurt, but I don’t typically have sour cream in the fridge, whereas I always have yogurt. Sour cream would make a thicker sauce. I also added a few sprigs of fresh cilantro that I had shredded.

Posted in Beans, comfort food, recipe, Toddler Favorite, vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Green Eggs and Ham – How I got my kid to eat spinach

I have the biggest trouble getting my little one to eat green vegetables and they’re really hard to “hide” in other foods. The last time we had spinach, which was on her request, it ended up being thrown across the room.  You see, Little Missy has this book called “Little Pea” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal about a little pea in whose world you eat candy for dinner and veggies for dessert. Only this Little Pea hates candy. But he begrudgingly eats it to get his dessert of spinach. We read this book several times a day and Little Missy talks to Little Pea, telling him he needs to eat his dinner to grow big and strong, and if he doesn’t eat his dinner, we won’t get dessert (oddly enough she hasn’t internalized the message in the book).  So, when she requested spinach for dinner one night, I wasn’t all that surprised and was a little hopeful that she was finally getting the point of the book. I decided to make a quick creamed spinach. Like really quick, you heat up frozen spinach and mix in Laughing Cow cream cheese wedges, at a 1 cup of spinach to 1 cheese wedge ratio. No need to wring out the spinach as the moisture combines with the cream cheese to make a light sauce. It sort of looked like the spinach in the book, which had the appearance of soft serve ice cream (perhaps that’s why Little Missy is a little obsessed with it). Well, I don’t think I need to fill you in on the details, as you already know it was unceremoniously flung across the room. So we were back to square one with the spinach thing.

Recently I was thumbing through my copy of Double Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld and came across a recipe for Bacon and Egg Cups.  It’s basically eggs mixed with cauliflower puree baked in a tortilla cup.  I decided to take a risk and make this using spinach instead. It’s a breakfast food, but there’s no reason you can’t make this for lunch or dinner.  In fact, I made this for dinner and would you believe Little Missy enjoyed it so much she asked for it again for lunch the next day?  Ironically, Little Missy is not familiar with Dr. Seuss’ book, because she just can’t sit through more than a few pages of it before losing interest, so I can’t bump up her interest in this dish with the help of Sam I Am… Well, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I prefer Missy to eat stuff because she likes it and not because of some book.  Here is my recipe for Green Eggs and Ham (or Spinach Egg Cups), adapted from Seinfeld’s:

Spinach Egg Cups (makes 4)


Non Stick cooking spray

4 fajita sized whole wheat tortillas (no bigger than 8 inches)

1 large egg

½ cup liquid egg whites (or 3 large egg whites)

½ cup spinach puree

4 slices bacon, chopped (use your favorite, whether it’s vegetarian, turkey, uncured, nitrite free, etc)

½ cup shredded cheese (again use your favorite and change it up to change the overall flavor)

Handful of chopped tomato and scallions for topping


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 4 cups of a muffin pan with cooking spray. Fold each tortilla to create a cup shape and press into each muffin cup. This may take some practice.  Start by folding in half and then creating at least 2 pleats to make a cup. You’ll have to play with it a little to get it to sit in the muffin tin.
  • To make the spinach puree, microwave about a cup of frozen chopped spinach until hot. Wring out the excess water and puree in a mini chopper. If you don’t get the water out, it’ll separate as you bake the cups and make them soggy.  You can use the spinach as is too, but it blends in with the egg more smoothly if it’s pureed and at least in our household that seems to be an important factor when it comes to eating it or not. You may get more than the ½ cup or spinach you need, just reserve the rest for something else.
  • In a bowl, whisk the egg and egg whites and stir in the spinach. Season with salt and pepper if you wish. Pour the mixture into each tortilla cup. Sprinkle with the chopped bacon and cheese. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes until the egg is cooked and the cheese has melted and browned a little.  If you use larger tortillas and their edges stick up, keep an eye on the oven to make sure the edges don’t burn.
  • Top with tomatoes and scallions and serve with your favorite egg condiments. Be careful when serving these to children as they will be hot in the center. I recommend cutting in half or quarters for children. They can then easily eat the pieces by hand.
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