Learning to cook … one kid at a time

Kale Chips May 31, 2011

Filed under: 'Nack! (Snacks!) — gastromami @ 2:34 pm

Ren (and I) are loving us some kale chips

I had picked up some Brad’s Raw Chips:  Vampire Breath at Whole Foods a few months back but knew that, however yummy they might be, the $7 or $8 they charged (I can’t remember exactly) was hardly worth the meager serving that made our breath stink to high heaven for 3 days.

I bunch of organic kale runs about $1.99 and so I knew that I could make them just as easily, and cheaper, myself!

Remove the kale from its stem and tear into “chip-sized” pieces

In a large bowl toss one large bunch of torn kale with:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

a light sprinkle of salt

the zest of 1 large lemon

(I also love to add some freshly ground black pepper/garlic blend – can buy together in a mill)

Bake, on a baking sheet, for 30-40 minutes at 250˚ or until crispy

You can store in an air-tight container for a few weeks – if they last that long!

Ren approved!


He’s 2! May 27, 2011

Filed under: Dessert! — gastromami @ 8:02 pm

Hello there world.

Yes, I am alive

And, thankfully, so are the kids

Really, that’s all I can ask for these days

Having 2 is hard

For every sweet “bring tears to your eyes” show of affection between my beautiful children

There are 3 moments of utter chaos, crying and despair

But 3 weeks ago the ratio was 1:5 so things are on the upswing!

Just kidding, sorta.

I know I haven’t been posting much,

but the fact is,

I haven’t been cooking much!

However, my freezer is running low so I will be back at it soon!

But today my baby

my “best big brother ever!” (as he calls himself) baby

turned 2.


I can’t even begin to explain to you how much he has changed my life

From the moment I knew he was here the path of my life took a complete 180˚

and that is a good thing!


while I may be sad that my baby boy is growing up

this past year,

this passage between a baby of one

to a person of two

has probably been the most joyful year of my life

Never, ever ever in a million years could I have imagined just how amazing this year would be

To see him grow from, well, what Fiona is like

to the hilarious, rambunctious, sweet, strong-willed, spirited, and loving boy he is

means to me that I am at least doing something right

because this kid is down-right awesome!

How lucky this world is to have him in it!

How lucky I am to be able to call him my own!

Today, May 27th 2011,

I just want to wish him the happiest of birthdays

I love you kid

– Mama

We had our big party on Sunday with the Abuelos (more to come on that!)

but today we simply celebrated with some cupcakes and my favorite frosting!

Nana’s Maple Syrup Frosting

1/2 cup maple syrup

(PURE maple syrup – preferably New York State maple syrup!)

1 egg white

1/8 teaspoon salt

Beat egg white until stiff peaks form, adding salt at the end

Boil syrup until it forms a 2″ “hair”

Pour slowly into egg white while beating

Beat at high speed, constantly, until the frosting cools completely (it will thicken as it cools!)

Ren approved!


Happy Mother’s Day May 10, 2011

Filed under: Things that make me smile — gastromami @ 8:06 pm

There was something about having a little girl

Something about the female, this future mother, lying in my arms

that made me feel like a part of something bigger,

way bigger

than myself

Bigger then me and her

I saw myself and my daughter,

connected to my mom,

my beautiful Nana,

Nana Helen,

Grandma Farrell,

Grandma Corey,

and on …

and on …

and on…

I looked down at my little girl and this idea struck me

Her daughter was already there,

inside of her

Maybe it’s that we, as women, are born with our future children

Children that are a piece of every woman who came before us

Men, they produce (and expel) children over and over again

But us?  Women?

We are born already cradling our future generations inside of us

How freaking awesome is that!?

I had said, many times,

That I would be happy with all boys

But now, with my little girl,

I know that our circle,

my mom’s circle,

my Nana’s circle,

continues on

Inside my daughter,

My Fiona

Happy Mother’s Day

To my mom,

Why has made me the woman, and the mother

That I am today

I love you


Let it Be May 3, 2011

Filed under: Things that make me smile — gastromami @ 2:05 pm

There are many reasons why I’m Catholic

Well, really I’m Catholic because that is how I was raised.

But, the main reason I have remained a Catholic

is Mary.

And at no point in my life am I more grateful to have our Blessed Mother in my life than right now

‘Cause only God (and Jesus’ mama as Ren calls her) knows how many Hail Marys I’ve whispered during the the past week

… at bedtime with 2 kids crying …

… as I watch Ren practice his “jumping” from higher and higher perches …

… as Fiona gets squeezed loved to death …

… when I take a survey of what is not getting done around my house …

… when Ren grabs my coffee cup and dumps it all over my clean & folded laundry …

and I just can’t get to one while I am nursing, changing a diaper, consoling or kissing the other one

“When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”


Wheat Berry Salad May 2, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — gastromami @ 1:20 pm

This salad was on my dinner list for the week Fiona decided to make her early entrance.

I ended up making it a week or so after her arrival and, while there are really no pictures, I HAVE to share my new love of wheat berries.

I’m a texture person.  I love crunchy, chewy stuff.  Granola, nuts in my cookies, bulgur in my soup – I love it.

These little suckers, these “wheat berries,” are probably my new favorite food staple.

What are they, you ask?

Wheat berries are the whole wheat kernel – a true whole grain!

Since the kernel is left intact, the wheat berry has not been stripped of its nutrients and is a great source of fiber, protein and iron.

Wheat berries are short and brown, similar to rice, and have a chewy, nutty flavor when cooked. 

And oh, you can use them in so many, many ways!

I came across this recipe on and, since it has my favorite ingredients in it, decided to give it a whirl, with my own small alterations.

The only issue I had was actually finding wheat berries – we found them at Whole Foods (where I should have looked in the first place!)

To prepare the wheat berries:

Place in a medium bowl and cover with water (at least 2 inches above the grain)

Let sit for 8 hours

Drain and rinse.

Place in saucepan, cover with water (at least 2 inches above the grain) and bring to a boil

Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for one hour

Drain and rinse with cold water

(I like to do these steps the day before and put the berries in the refrigerator until I am ready to use them)

To the wheat berries add:

2 1/2 cups chopped cucumber

2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions

6 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

5 tablespoons minced fresh basil

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

(can also add 1 cup arugula)

In a separate bowl mix:

the zest and juice of 1 large lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Add dressing to salad and let sit, at room temperature, for 30 minutes

Before serving mix in 3-4 ounces crumbled goat cheese!

Ren approved!


May ONE May 1, 2011

Filed under: ONE — gastromami @ 4:47 pm