Learning to cook … one kid at a time

Bean & Butternut Squash Soup November 8, 2011

Filed under: Farmers Market,Lunch,Recipes — gastromami @ 12:58 pm

It’s soup season!

(and no, not only because we are a house of sick people!)

It’s also squash season which makes me a happy, happy girl – and a happy mama since it is a perfect food for Fiona!

I found this recipe on when I was looking for a soup recipe using cubes of squash so Fiona could eat what we were eating for dinner!  Oh, and it has bacon crumbled on top – winner!

3 bacon slices, chopped
1 large onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken stock
4 cups butternut squash, peeled & cut into 3/4″ cubes
3 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, undrained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1-3 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (to taste)

In a heavy pot (dutch oven if available) saute the bacon until crisp

Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain & reserve for garnish

Add onions and garlic to hot drippings and saute until golden, about 10 minutes

Add chicken stock and bring to a boil

While waiting for the stock to come to a boil, puree 2 cans of cannellini beans, with their liquid, until smooth

Add butternut squash, tomatoes, 1 can of whole beans, pureed beans & rosemary

Cover and simmer until flavors blend, about 15 minutes

Ren and Fiona approved!


Cucumber Soup August 9, 2011

Filed under: Lunch,Recipes — gastromami @ 10:47 am


“Use up the cucumbers,” she said.

There were cucumbers in the door, in a basket, in the vegetable drawer, pickled in jars, and more popping up in the garden every day.

One can only eat so many pickles

So cucumber soup it was


Peel, de-seed, and roughly chop 2 lbs of cucumbers

Peel and quarter 1 red onion

de-seed 1 jalapeno

pick 8 large mint leaves

Juice 1 lemon

For a batch that will feed 4-6 people:

2 lbs. cucumbers (peeled, de-seeded)

3/4 cup greek yogurt

1 jalapeno, de-seeded

8 large mint leaves

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 quarter of a medium red onion

1 teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic

Mix in food processor until smooth


small style: caprese sandwiches & pesto August 4, 2011

Filed under: Lunch,Recipes,Small Style — gastromami @ 6:34 am

Oh, what a happy, happy baby she is

It’s that time of year folks …

When (Dahlkemper grand-) kids all over the world grab their togas

(don’t all kids own togas?)

And head to Nanni & Zeus’ cottage for Toga Camp!

We are actually here for 4 weekends/3 whole weeks so that my city kids can do this:

and this:

and hang out in the garden:

On Fiona:

Romper:  Sckoon Organics via Zulily

Hat:  Zutano

On Ren:

Hat:  “My First Fishing” hat,  Bass Pro Shops (gifted from Abuela)

Shirt:  “You Are What You Eat,”  Nooworks Kids, gifted from Tia Lindy

Linking up at Mama Loves Papa: Small Style today!

My favorite items in the garden?

Which, in my mind, equals:

Nuts were ridiculously cheap at the store this week so I replaced the basic basil leaves with a homemade pesto!

Which, when you play your cards (or make enough – the game references come fast and hard at this place!) right, provides for multiple meals!

In a blender combine:

2-3 tablespoons pine nuts

(I’ve been known to replace with walnuts when the budget calls for it!)

2 cups fresh basil, washed and removed from stems

3 cloves garlic

1/4 – 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

a sprinkle of kosher salt

puree while slowly adding 8-10 tablespoons olive oil through the opening in the lid

Can be stored in the refrigerator, in a glass jar, for up to 2 weeks

(a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto will help prevent browning)

For the sandwiches I:

sprinkled toasted ciabatta with balsamic vinegar

a little fresh pesto spread

thick slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella

fresh, tender greens



Mediterranean Barley Salad March 31, 2011

Filed under: "Fast Food",Lunch,Recipes — gastromami @ 2:29 pm


If you’ve been reading my blog longer than a month

you know two things

1.  I love Cooking Light


2.  I love “just throw it together” meals and ‘salads’


This recipe falls under both of those categories


My only real changes were adding some (frozen) peas and corn and a little lemon zest



Cook 1 cup pearl barley according to package directions, omitting salt

(I cooked in chicken stock)


In a large bowl combine:

Cooked barley

1 cup packed arugula

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 cup corn

1 cup peas

(next time I’d probably add some red onion and a bit more arugula!)



In a small prep bowl whisk together:

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

the zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

(wasn’t too spicy but gave it great flavor – would only skip if your kids are super-sensitive to heat)



Drizzle dressing over the barley mixture and toss




Top with chopped pistachios for a little extra crunch!!




We ate this salad as our meal along with some celery and roasted red pepper hummus




Ren approved!



This makes for a fantastic “take to work/school” lunch over the next few days,

or as a side dish for dinner!


All I really want is a cheeseburger … March 15, 2011

Filed under: "Fast Food",Lunch — gastromami @ 9:57 am




It is officially the first Friday of Lent and all I want is a

Big.  Juicy.  Cheeseburger.

With Fries.

(and not sweet potato fries – no nutritional value extra crispy fries with aioli)


But it’s Lent.

And it’s Friday.

s … i … g … h


Speaking of Lent, I think it was pretty stupid of me to give up ALL desserts rather than my standard ice cream.

(especially since this I’m convinced is a girl due to my sweet tooth child really really wants something sugary!)

Also, I can see this whole “no dessert” thing killing our grocery budget as I’m substituting with fruit, and not just a few strawberries,

No, I ate almost an entire pineapple the other night.

(Time to start buying our grapes at Costco.)


Ok, enough ranting and raving about Lent.

I made the decision I made;  here’s to 37 more days of keeping it!

(and a few glorious days of ice cream sundae indulgence!)



So, since a cheeseburger wasn’t in the picture tonight

(and seriously, my kid won’t eat that (meat) anyway)

I scoured the cupboards and made one of my favorite summer dishes:


Fruity Couscous with Shrimp


This is a simple, simple dish.

It constantly changes, depending on what I have on hand.


First, cook the couscous according to package directions,


instead of water or stock,

use fruit juice!

Tonight, not wanting “too sweet” of a meal, I used 1 part vegetable stock to 1 part mango juice.


Then, throw in whatever you want!



Tonight I included:

1 can mandarin oranges

1 handful craisins

1 can baby corn, chopped into 1/2″ pieces

1 can garbanzo beans

1 bunch (seen better days) cilantro, chopped

1 handful fresh basil, chopped

(fresh and light herbs are key!)

** the “salad” was a little bit drier than I like so I also added about 3/4 cup mango juice



For the shrimp:


I seasoned with the juice of 1/2 lemon


freshly ground black pepper



Saute in olive oil until cooked!





Ren approved!


But Mama was seriously missing a cheeseburger ….


Makes a great “next day” lunch!!









Happiness …

Sometimes it comes in the form of meat



Even Ren ate 1/2 a cheeseburger!


“Really Fast” Quesadilla September 1, 2010

Filed under: Lunch — gastromami @ 3:26 pm

We needed something new for lunch today.

And our cupboards are looking awfully bare.

So we pulled out some whole-wheat tortillas, frozen corn, cheddar cheese, a can of refried beans and diced up a small, fresh tomato.

Voila!  Lunch.

Cook in a saute pan over medium heat, 5 minutes on each side

Ren approved!