lessons from abuela, and sausage and potato mini empanadas

When my children were transitioning to solid foods, moving beyond the rice cereal phase, I gave them simple things to try – simply prepared chicken, unseasoned peas, mushy carrots, and whatever the little jars of baby food held. I am sure that I read in a baby book or was advised by A Knowledgeable Person that bland is better, because this was my mantra when preparing the kids’ meals back then. That technique worked well for my daughter. She was a good eater, and she liked just about everything we put in front of her.

Oliver was another story. My son picked at his food, spit out what was in his mouth, or just played with the indistinguishable bits of mushy, overcooked vegetables. Food, or at least the meals that I prepared back then, never seemed to interest him.

For Oliver’s first birthday, we invited his nanny to the party. Meri, or Abuela as we fondly called her, had watched Madeline until my daughter was two, and she was doing the same with Oliver. The party food that day was simple – ham and turkey sandwiches, potato chips, and likely some other equally boring, unmemorable fare. Oliver nibbled on a sandwich roll, and in typical fashion, ignored the rest of the food.

housekeeping bits, including a ziplist partnership

Housekeeping Bit Number One:

I have a new partner around here, and his name is ZipList. Or is ZipList a her? Regardless, we’re getting along quite well.

You may have seen the subtle change in the site. If you looked closely, or if you printed a recipe recently, you may have noticed that there is a new little icon on the recipe part of my posts.

happy tears, and a slow-cooker summer berry grunt

The blueberry farm was a new one to me, not the one we visited last year. I was pleased that this new one was so close to our home, just about 10 minutes away. My husband was pleased that the berries were going to be free.

On Facebook the day before, a friend posted a photo of her blueberry haul – gallons of the dark blue berries overflowing bags and buckets on her kitchen table – and I couldn’t resist leaving a comment asking where she scored this amazing harvest. She wrote back with an address, and less than 24 hours later, we were driving down a two-lane country road flanked by pastures and small family farms.

Because it was Mother’s Day morning, I assumed we would have the field to ourselves, but I was wrong. The dirt road outlining and, in some parts, cutting through the fields were meant for commercial trucks and picking crews. Today, they were lined with minivans and family cars, and people of all ages – including several multi-generational families – were moving slowly along the rows between blueberry bushes, hunting the for the biggest and juiciest berries.