More sugar snap peas, yellow wax beans and green beans, snow peas, turnips, squash, cucumbers, one carrot, one tomato, swiss chard, green onions, and oh my word basil. I had some cabbage, a little broccoli, and some yellow beans left from last week, so I tossed them all with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them for about 15 minutes on 450. (The cabbage I sliced into 1/2 inch pieces). It felt satisfying, finishing off three vegetables in one meal, and I never cease to be amazed by how wonderful roasted vegetables are, even in the summer.
The crazy exhaustion of keeping up with this little force of nature, the waking up in the middle of the night, the picking up mashed food off the floor 3 times a day, the relentless and unending trying to keep him from pulling everything off every surface and out of every drawer, and everything else that is challenging about this phase of motherhood pales in comparison to these moments when he takes my head in his hands and reaches up and kisses my whole face with his mouth wide open.
Usually Will eats sardines straight out of the can and has done since he was 6 or 7 months old. Well, I hand them to him out of the can; I don’t let him take them out himself because he obviously might lacerate his hand. But I am telling you, sardines with skin and bones, he will eat half a can at a time.
Usually. Yesterday I opened some and gave him a nice little morsel, and he wouldn’t touch it. That was pretty much my only protein idea for him for that particular meal, and as much as I do not want to become a short order cook for this baby, as darling as he is, I decided to mash up the fish with some leftover rice and an egg and make little cakes.
I added a dash of cayenne pepper and then cooked them in a pan like pancakes (about 2 T of “batter” each), and Will loved them. I sprinkled a little salt on after they had finished cooking. I ate half of them myself, they were so delicious.
Anyway, these pictures are terrible, but I promise you these were amazing. You could make them with tuna or salmon or whatever other kind of fish you might have on hand. I like sardines because the smaller the fish, the less mercury they will have!
I’ve also been making similar cakes out of leftover vegetables lately– 1/3 c. mashed sweet potato plus one egg, mixed well, to make sweet potato pancakes! Or 1/3 c. mashed beans, any kind plus one egg! I’ve never actually measured anything, but I think it’s usually a ratio of about 1/3 to 1/2 c. of mashed whatever to one egg. Will loves them, and it’s a nice change of pace from eating plain vegetables. (And he hasn’t been loving plain eggs so much these days, so it’s also a way to get more eggs into his little skinny body.)
Little Fish and Rice Cakes
1 can sardines, mostly drained (about 4.5 oz, preferably the kind with skin and bones!)
1 large egg*
about 1/3 c. cooked rice
Mix all ingredients, mashing the fish thoroughly. If you want, add a 1/4 t. of paprika or a tiny dash of cayenne (if your baby likes things spicy like mine does!). Heat some butter or coconut oil on med. in a skillet, and then cook as you would pancakes. Cook for a minute or two on each side, or until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt, let cool a bit (and check to make sure it’s not too hot before you give it to your baby). Makes about 10 small cakes.
*Obviously please follow your pediatrician’s advice about when to feed baby egg whites. Many people recommend waiting until 1 year to give the whites– if your baby is under 12 months you can make this with 2 or 3 egg yolks instead. I started giving Will whites around 10 months and he seems to have survived so far….
Our CSA this week. Two boxes of sugar snap peas, some yellow beans, kale, cilantro, dill, and beets. The beets I roasted Sunday afternoon, turned the oven off, and then forgot about the beets until noon the next day. I’m usually not one to err on the conservative side of food safety, but I decided to go ahead and toss them. I felt terrible. But on the bright side, Will loves the yellow beans, the snap peas are delicious.
And also on the bright side, in order to make room for our new week’s produce I decided to bite the bullet and do something with the turnips that had been sitting in the fridge all week. I have never ever cooked with turnips. Something about the pale whiteness of them turns me off. But I searched for turnip recipes on 101 Cookbooks and found this gorgeous miso tahini soup recipe. I didn’t have any tahini on hand, but I had some random sesame seeds in the pantry, and a lemon, so I made a tahini dressing in the blender and added that instead. And I’ve been buying miso in bulk lately (because Will loves eating little balls of it), so we had that as well. After the turnips had cooked enough in the soup I pulled some out, slathered them with butter and gave them to Will as he was eating dinner. He loved them. Anyway, the soup was delicious, and you can make it with any vegetables you have around. Any kind of greens are lovely in it, and it’s one of my new favorite way to use the odds and ends of vegetables toward the end of the week. (Read here for the health benefits of real miso. Since I wrote that post I’ve been buying it in huge tubs that are much more economical, and it lasts pretty much forever in the fridge.)
Our CSA this week: one bag of spinach, a bunch of cilantro, two bunches of radishes, some green garlic, kale, (a ton of) collards, and micro greens. It’s quite a heap of greens, and it’s going to take awhile to wrestle it all into the fridge. I found a copy of Deborah Madison’s book Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets at the used book store this week. I had store credit, so I decided to get it for some fresh ideas for our weekly vegetables. Some of her recipes for greens include: Hearty Pungent Greens with Anchovies and Garlic, Chard and Cilantro with Noodle Nests (little fried noodle and cheese dumplings), and a simple Shredded Salad of Many Greens with a lemony dressing. She also has a recipe for radish butter for radish sandwiches. So I’ll try to cook through some of those this week and report back. Oh, the peonies bloomed overnight and John went out this morning and picked one for me.
This morning I went to the grocery down the street to pick up a few things for a cook-out we’re going to this afternoon. I came back to find this:
John was reading The Supper of the Lamb to Will, and Will was listening with rapt attention and playing with some toothpicks. I read in a book somewhere that Japanese babies have much better fine motor control than American babies, and that by a year they have a toy that involves putting toothpick-sized pieces of wood into an object with toothpick-sized holes. So I bought a little box of toothpicks, and John is going to drill some tiny holes in it one of these days. But until then Will really enjoys playing with them and sticking them in the holes of a sprouting lid. And picking up strawberries with them. He is clearly a genius.
This is the time of year when Ithaca makes up for the desperately long and cold months of winter. Now, it’s in the 70s most days and when we step out of our front door the air smells like flowers. And the peony bush is about to bloom.
My baby turned one today. I feel like I need to go on a spiritual retreat in the desert somewhere to, like, journal and process this past year, but I guess welcome to motherhood, eh? I read some blog post this morning where a mother said something along the lines of, “I’m too busy to feel emotions,” and I was like, wow, yes, that’s exactly how I feel. People ask me how I’m doing and try to access some deep part of my soul where maybe an emotion or a spiritual revelation or something might be lurking. I try to put on a, “Let me earnestly and deeply process all the varied emotions and spiritual revelations I’m experiencing and see if i can express the inscrutable complexities of my inner life in words that you might be able to understand” kind of face, and then usually I make something up so I don’t have to tell the other person that I am too busy to feel emotions any more. But overall I feel good. I mean, is “good” an emotion? If so, then I feel good. Life is really good these days.
We had a small family party tonight, just the three of us. I made a cake, which was actually a brownie recipe made with almond meal and coconut oil, and cream cheese frosting that was mostly cream cheese with just the merest amount of honey (ok, so yeah, I wasn’t the most excited about giving my tiny baby a ton of sugar, and I know I could have made a zucchini cake sweetened with only mashed bananas and applesauce or something, but I just decided to make a real cake, ok? Well, sort of a real cake.) With raspberries on top. and a little mini-cupcake for Will to eat.
(So this post is more about the cake and my emotions than about my actual BABY! I realize that, I do, but I truly and honestly do not have the wherewithal to even begin to write about how darling this boy is, how John and I are both beyond obsessed, how even the hardest days with him are better than the best days before he came along. How he does this adorable thing when he’s tired, where he puts the back of his hand over his eye (sometimes the backs of both hands over both eyes) and flaps his fingers, how he jumps up and down when I go get him from his crib, how he kisses my face with his whole mouth open and just nuzzles into my neck. I could write a lot, I could. About how motherhood has transformed me, how John is the best dad ever and has been since the minute Will was born, and how Will is literally the most delightful child of all time. But it’s 8:30 and I’m going to go get ready for bed.)
Oh, about the banner! I hope everyone is proud of how crafty I became at about 3:45 this afternoon. It was going to say, “Happy Birthday Will” but I only had time to make “Happy” before John came home, and we decided to go on a family birthday walk instead. The end.
John has been taking Will on a lot of walks lately. Sometimes they return with Will covered in dirt and leaves and carrying a stick in his chubby fingers (which makes me very happy, for the record– the more dirt the better, I say). Two days ago they came home with this: