Before moving to California, my grandma gave me a cookbook to encourage me to make meals for myself every now and then. She knew I was going to be diving into a pretty frugal lifestyle, primarily living off eggs, bread and peanut butter but wanted me to treat myself to a home-cooked meal every now and then (’cause she’s the sweetest!).
Now, I can’t say that I ever made too many of the “meals” in that cookbook, but I did make a lot of the desserts, my favorite being the easiest, tastiest banana bread of all time (made even better with mini chocolate chips).
As November is National Bread Month (and Sunday is Homemade Bread Day), I thought I would share the coveted banana bread recipe with you all today and a few other bread recipes, too!
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. baking sode
1/2 tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs
3/4 stick butter (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla
*Optional (but highly recommended): 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions: Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mash bananas. Combine all wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Slowly fold banana mix into large bowl until just combined. (*Add chocolate chips!) Scrape batter into loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. BOOM!
Popsicles…It’s what to make when tempers and temperatures rise.
My 3-year-old daughter has a crazy sweet tooth. Though she’s a great, healthy eater (cucumbers are a favorite snack) she is relentless in her pursuit for a “special treat.” That treat can be anything-an Altoid, frozen corn (weird, I know), frozen yogurt, ice cream-so long as it’s sweet.
The special treat thing makes me nuts mainly because I don’t want her consuming a bunch of sugar. Secondly, the distinction between what she calls “grow” food and “special treats” is creating a dichotomy I’m not at all fond of: food we want to eat versus food we have to eat. Since this is a kid who still cheers at a plate of steamed broccoli, I’d like to stave off that opposition for as long as possible.
So when she asks for a “special treat,” instead of dinner, it bums me out. And when she keeps asking, even after she’s had a special treat, I get annoyed. Inevitably, I end up angry that my kid wants ice cream instead of whatever I’ve just cooked. (BTW, I don’t like negotiations at the dinner table, like “if you eat four more bites of chicken you can have a scoop of ice cream,” because making dessert a reward for eating just reinforces the idea of the “special treat.”)
But how can I fault my kid for wanting to eat ice cream? I’d eat it all the time too if you could magically stuff all the nutrients of kale into gelato. My one rule around food is to not make a big deal about it, so I’ve been trying hard to keep cool about the ongoing requests for “special treats.” But still, I’ve been losing my mind.
Until I thought of the paleta, the frozen ice pops that are made mostly from fruit juice. They are a staple summer treat in Latin America (and a huge hit on the playgrounds here). Making them at home means I can stick all kinds of nutritious food inside them and my kid still thinks she’s getting a treat. The ones I make are basically frozen smoothies: I pulse frozen mango, kale, and some coconut milk in the blender and then pour them into reusable popsicle molds.
It’s a cinch and it keeps us cool, inside and out.
We have one more delicious delight to share with you for our Thanksgiving baby food series, and it is truly a delicacy.
With “My Potato Hero” and “Peas, Peas, Peas, Let Me Get What I Want?” already on the menu for baby’s Thanksgiving feast, there’s only one course left to cover: dessert.
Blending pumpkin (or butternut squash, if you prefer), pear, cinnamon and ginger, this treat is the perfect ending note for baby’s Thanksgiving meal. You might want to make two servings of this dish for a little extra “parental” sampling. Seriously, it’s delicious.
TGI(B)F ALERT: Don’t miss out on our rockin’ Black Friday Sale <Monday link> after Thanksgiving. Visit our store to start choosing how you’ll be spoiling you and your baby. Here’s what you can look forward to!
If you loved last week’s recipe for “My Potato Hero” from Lullaby Renditions of Foo Fighters,we know you’ll dig the sidekick dish we’ve picked to serve with it.
This perfect combination of peas and avocado will have your baby saying “Peas, peas, peas let me have some more,” and if you’re anything like us (the taste testers for all of RB’s baby food recipes), you’ll be saying the same.
We recently sat down with master chef and creator of Rockabye Baby’s delicious baby food recipes, Jeff Parker, for a little tête-à-tête. We talk food, music, inspirations and even uncover what his last supper would be.
When did you know you wanted to be a chef? Always! However, I grew up in a time before that was cool. So I often heard, “Honey, you don’t want to be the help.” I watched Julia and The Galloping Gourmet pretty religiously and then would go into the kitchen and try to make something. I wasn’t discouraged from cooking – just choosing it as a career path. My grandma taught me to bake to keep me busy, and I cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner, pretty much by myself, when I was 11 or 12.
Biggest misconception about being a chef- That it is glamorous, relaxing, fun work that gets you on TV! It can be any of those things at any given time. However, you’re mostly standing in a 4-foot square kitchen that is well over 100 degrees for 8 to 10 hours a day.
5 things I can’t live without - Delicious salty pork products (sorry vegetarians), sharp knives, my smartphone (unfortunately), Thai food (I studied cooking in Thailand for a month), and coffee – the elixir of life!
Music I love - I am a big country music fan — right now Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean are at the top, but I also listen to British pop, classic rock, alternative groups like Morcheeba, and the Ultra Chilled CDs when I need some down time. I’m also a sucker for a ballad belting diva!
If I were to write a book about my life what would it be called… Right now, it would be The Trouble With Garnish: Too Much Is Too Much.
Who has been your favorite person to cook for and what did you cook? This past year I have had a client (my only private dining client) who throws dinner parties for the rich and famous. On one occasion, Nancy Reagan was the guest of honor. It was great to see her getting out, and she is still the fashion icon she was in the ‘80s – only her heels are a little lower. What was for dinner? Leg of lamb, Potatoes Dauphinoise, roasted asparagus and chocolate layer cake for dessert.
Who would you love to cook for and what would you cook? I would love to go on tour with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and cook up delicious southern goodness!
What inspires you? I’m pretty simple and get inspiration from being outdoors, in the country. I love farming areas. It makes me want to be grounded and cook up beautifully and simply prepared foods from the source.
Best advice I ever received- “No one who is great at something, was always good at doing it.”
Best advice I have for home cooks - I have told this to everyone that has watched me cook or that I have taught to cook — really trust your tastes… if you really like something, most others will too. Also, there are a lot of recipes and cookbooks out there (some quite famous) that just don’t work… recipes should be a guide, not a rule.
What would be your last supper (ever!) choice - I really think that this should be “What would you eat on your last day?” One meal, hmmmm….perfectly grilled Wagyu rib-eye steak seasoned only with salt and pepper, asparagus with Hollandaise, buttermilk and roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and the darkest, gooiest chocolate cake. YUM! Now I’m hungry.
Final thought- I have had a wildly crazy and differing career path that led me to where I am now. But lately I have realized that, even though it may not have been the ideal path, I have a point of view that is uniquely mine and that has a lot of value. Trust yourself.
Have a question for our chef? Ask it in the comments below and we’ll share his answers in a future post. Also look out for more great recipes from Chef Jeff Parker leading up to Thanksgiving, and, of course, select Rockabye Baby releases!
Just in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving, this healthy baby food recipe is perfect for a chilly fall day–it’s a treat your baby will be thankful for!
(For Babies 6 Months & Up * Makes about 40 Tablespoons)
1 Small Cooking Pumpkin (or Butternut Squash), Peeled, Seeds Removed, and Diced
1 Medium Banana1 Pinch Ground Cinnamon
1 Pinch Ground Ginger (Optional)Water from Steaming or Pure Apple Juice
Place diced pumpkin in a pan with a steamer basket. Add enough water so that it just comes to the bottom of the steamer basket. Steam until very tender, about 15 minutes.
Transfer to a blender or food processor. Add banana, cinnamon and ginger. Puree until smooth. Thin with water from steaming, apple juice, or formula to desired consistency. Set aside to cool. Divide into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. When frozen, transfer to a freezer bag for storage.
Want the coolest baby shower gift but don’t know which Rockabye Baby CD to buy? Well, we were thinking of you when we designed our newest release. It’s a download card good for any one Rockabye Baby! digital album(over 25 albums to choose from, including lullaby renditions of The Beatles, U2, Metallica, and more!).
The download card comes housed in a beautiful eco-friendly gift package and each one includes:
A download card good for any one Rockabye Baby! digital album and easy-to-follow instructions
A healthy baby food recipe
Rockabye Baby! temporary tattoos
Fun activities including paper dolls, a mini baby book, and more!
Yup, that means you don’t have to worry about giving a CD that new moms and dads already have, or won’t have to guess whether they’d prefer Lullaby Renditions of Aerosmith or Queen.
Where do you get this masterpiece of a baby gift? Run to your nearest way-cool baby boutique, or visit here.
Does your baby move like Jagger and keep you up all night? Here’s the secret to a blissful evening - put on these calm and cozy bedtime renditions of Maroon 5. Your baby will never want to leave that crib.
Is your baby good as gold or bad to the bone? Depends when you ask, right? Rockabye Baby knows that even your sweetest thing can get crazy when it’s time for bed. For our first ever mini picture book with music, we picked a playful mix of songs and illustrations that sum up life with a little rocker – always good, sometimes bad. These instrumental lullaby renditions of baby’s favorite rock songs will lull your perfect angel to sleep, and tickle Mom and Dad too, Rockabye Baby style.