Learning to cook … one kid at a time

small style: leftover Christmas January 19, 2012

Filed under: Small Style — gastromami @ 8:05 pm

Is he not just the cutest?

I recently read a post, or FB status, or tweet or something online about moms

and how we can’t wait to get our toddlers into bed

and then, once they are asleep, we moms look at pictures & cry about how fast they are growing up

That is me tonight

Ren has discovered that the best way to get my attention is to Wake Fiona Up


So, after getting angry & stressed & re-rocking my baby for the 3rd time & hugging my toddler so tight because I really just want to yell

I went into iPhoto to organize and saw this picture from my parent’s caroling party

Can’t resist this kid …

On Ren:

Hat:  Zeus’ “Danta” hat

Shirt:  Bit’z Kids

Pants:  Gap

Linking up at Small Style on Mama Loves Papa


small style: a vintage Christmas December 29, 2011

Filed under: Small Style — gastromami @ 8:53 pm

I know I am late to the Small Style party today

I know I haven’t blogged in For.Ev.Er

But I couldn’t pass up sharing this photo of the cutest kid I have ever laid eyes on

On Reny:

Suit:  hand me down from Uncle Aron, circa 1981, and made by my beautiful Nana

Shirt:  H&M

Bowtie:  Janie & Jack


Ukulele:  borrowed from his Zeus

Linking up at Small Style on Mama Loves Papa


small style: December ONE December 1, 2011

Filed under: ONE,Small Style,Uncategorized — gastromami @ 10:14 am

Reny is 2 1/2

Fiona is 7 1/2 months (!!)

Inspired by Adventures in Babywearing

On Fiona & Ren:

Personalized Christmas shirts:  Smocked Steal of the Day

Pants:  Gap

Socks & Shoes (Fiona):  See Kai Run

Linking up at Small Style on Mama Loves Papa

Posting from my dinosaur, college-era iBook (I don’t even think they make “iBooks” anymore?) – this post just took 30 minutes! 

Hope my computer is fixed soon!!


Bad Mom Confessions & Small Style: Beach Edition November 17, 2011

Filed under: Small Style — gastromami @ 11:52 am

We left sunny & hot Miami this morning and arrived in Philadelphia in the cold, gray rain this afternoon

Ren feel asleep in the car around 1, woke at 4, talked to me for 10 minutes and then said, “Reny more nap,” and fell asleep for 25 more minutes

It was a fun trip

And I was a “bad mom” …

On Saturday Ren went to bed at 11:30 pm after salsa dancing all night long – and was up at 6:15 am & I didn’t care

For the past 5 days he lived on juice, pastries, pork, rice & beans, gingerale, fried plantains & ice cream

For breakfast today we fed him 2 croquettes & 1 1/2 pastelitos de guayaba y queso

I was so lazy that all I gave Fiona to eat was Cuban bread & a few carrots on Saturday

While changing Fiona’s diaper this morning I thought, “wow, you must’ve eaten a ton of almonds,” before realizing that my 7 month old doesn’t actually eat nuts and she was simply emptying half of Key Biscayne’s beach from her system

One plus of the beach trip was that it was the motivation I needed to finally wash Ren’s carseat cover – and I almost puked when I realized just how dirty I let it get – sorry buddy!

… so yea, I was a bad mom,  i.e.  It was a great trip!


On Fiona:

Hat:  gifted

Swimsuit (with built in swim diaper):  iplay via Mamabargains


On Ren:

My First Fishing hat:  Bass Pro Shop, gifted

Rashguard:  Target

Swimsuit:  Hartstrings

** Linking up at Small Style on Mama Loves Papa


Small Style: 67˚ in November? I am in PA, right? November 10, 2011

Filed under: Small Style,Things that make me smile — gastromami @ 7:28 am

I bailed on my friend today

We were supposed to go to the zoo but, after over a week being shut up in the house with sick kids, I was completely selfish and canceled the zoo in favor of dropping both kids with the gym’s sitter so I could spend 90 minutes ALONE, with music, getting out some aggression

I can’t even describe how great that was

I was so happy after that I happily headed, full of energy, to the park for a picnic

where I ran into another friend – a new friend from my old neighborhood that I miss, even though we have only known each other a few months

It was great




I am in Pennsylvania

Sad about the news from Penn State this past week

Happy about 67˚ in November

On Ren:

Sweatshirt:  Children’s Place

Shirt:  Gap

Jeans:  Gap

Shoes:  Crocs (on the wrong feet but he did “by myself!”) via Zappos

* I hated Crocs – that is until I realized that he could put them on ALL BY HIMSELF!  One less thing I have to do to get out the door?  Sold!

On Fiona:

Sweater:  Boutique Collection i.e. Best Sweater Ever (hand me down from cousin Charlotte)

Cardigan:  Zutano via The Mini Social

Shirt:  Gap

Pants:  Bungalow BeBe

Socks:  Babylegs via Zulily

Shoes:  See Kai Run

Linking up at Small Style at Mama Loves Papa

** Every one of these pictures were taken on my iPhone & have not been altered

*** That is why I will NEVER give up my iPhone


Small Style: The Washer November 3, 2011

Filed under: Small Style — gastromami @ 6:02 am

Did you hear about the family with the washer in their living room?

Who, me, Mama?

I’m not playing with this washer, no way Jose!


My beautiful washer & dryer that I’ve made Reny drag across the United States, out of the house, into the apartment, out of the apartment & into the house (as a cloth-diapering mama I need a good washer!)

just didn’t fit down the stairs with the 24″ clearance

And so they sat, and sat, and sat in the living room, where my musically-inclined toddler thought they were giant drums!, until I sold them on Craiglist to a well-deserving young couple, 4 months pregnant, that was so excited to have their very own washer & dryer before the baby arrived (oh my, they have no idea how much they will need it!)

My own husband didn’t realize how much we needed our own washer & dryer until he helped me load up our clothes to take to the laundromat until the new set arrived,  “We went through ALL THESE CLOTHES in 1 week!?”

(and to think I was being conservative in what we wore!)

The benefit of going to the laundromat?




Thanks to the fact that chefs have all sorts of connections – we got hooked up with the Most Beautiful washer and dryer E.V.E.R.

Which sat in the living room

So Ren could play “drums,” again.

On Ren:

Shirt:  Mini Rotation via The Mini Social

Pants:  Gap

Shoes:  New Balance via Zappos

Linking up at Small Style on Mama Loves Papa


small style & a review: Frankford Hall October 13, 2011

Filed under: Restuarant Review,Small Style — gastromami @ 1:47 pm

I realized a few weeks ago that, since at least before Fiona was born, I have not looked at any Memphis blogs.

While sad that I no longer feel a deep “I need to know what is happening” connection to my old home, I have truly, honestly begun to feel right at home here in Philly – at least I was until we moved 3 miles away from that home. 

*** In fact, Tricia and I were out walking on Saturday and I saw countless people on the street – and now I’m a stranger again (sigh) ***

One of my favorite blogs in Memphis was Dining With Monkeys – written by local writer Stacey Greenberg

(also of Memphis Rock-N-Romp – my NUMERO UNO, would fly back for, need to start here in Philly, favorite Memphis activity!!!!)

So, unable to find anything of comparison here in Philly – I’m going to start my own little Philadelphia food review, for families, here on GastroMami.

To start, I’m going to “cheat” and use a meal prepared, somewhat, by my husband (but it’s not his restaurant!)

There is this thing about my husband:

He must cook a pig 3-4 a year

Or else he gets all grumpy, and twitchy & wants to take off and head to Austria

Despite the fact that he did this recently:

(that would be the lamb that kept humping the pigs)

There is something about The Swine that feeds his Cuban soul

And, although he makes a killer Lechon Asado at Alma de Cuba,

when Frankford Hall asked him to do a pig roast for their Oktoberfest, he said yes without hesitation

(and without asking me if he could disappear for 48 hours to smoke said pig,

but, with that said, I married him with full knowledge that he would drop everything for pork)

Little did we know that we would be doing a super-duper quick move during this period.  Good thing my wonderful, beautiful, spirited sister Tricia was able to head our way to help wrangle my children while I packed & Reny roasted some pork.

Reny picked up the smoker on Friday and began his own spiritual ceremony.

Tricia rolled into town on Saturday (with a piece of Ren’s new bed – wait until you see it!!!!) and we got to work drinking wine packing.

Sunday morning came and I was desperately feeling the need to GET OUT and away from toddler who won’t get dressed, a baby who keeps finding bubble wrap to eat, and boxes piled up in my tiny apartment.

So I went for a run and decided to make a water stop at Frankford Hall where my husband spent the night in his car, tending to some pork.

I was running down Girard Ave. and, immediately after emerging from the SEPTA bridge I smelled it – heaven.

The smell of this pig did something to my soul that made my little legs pump faster and faster … was I becoming part Cuban or was it the fact that I knew I would be eating multiple pork sandwiches in just a few hours and, therefore, must burn the calories now?

Whatever my motivation, I headed back home, showered, piled the kids into the stroller and set off with Tricia for lunch – ’cause nothing says “let’s get motivated to pack” like hitting up a Oktoberfest celebration (complete with beer) at noon.

We met a few friends at the restaurant and I was immediately impressed.  Besides during my early morning run I had not seen the space before.  The restaurant is a converted warehouse space, complete with exposed ceilings and brick walls.  While half of the space is inside, large garage doors open completely to reveal an open-air, gravel patio with numerous picnic tables.

We spotted our friends who were drinking beer on a beautiful fall day while their kids played in the gravel with shovels & dump trucks!

There is no server at Frankford Hall – you order your drinks from the bar & your food from a separate food window.  They give you a number to take back to the table and a runner brings your food when it is ready.

The menu is small – but perfect for a beer hall:

Sausages & sauerkraut, pretzels, spaetzle & fries dominate the menu


Homemade applesauce, fries, mushroom spaetzle (by far the winner – cream, thyme, mushrooms, dumplings!!) & the special of the day:  Reny’s pulled pork sandwich:  Bavarian marinated pulled pork served on a pumpkin seed roll with a pumpkin vinaigrette slaw.

The winner of the day was the soft pretzels!

Warm, soft, baked – they were perfectly cooked, salted and paired nicely with either spicy mustard, sweet mustard or a provolone cheese sauce.

(napkins, silverware & mustards are all self-serve)


Pros of Frankford Hall

Great space for hanging out with kids (during the day) – we were there for 3 hours!

Menu appeals to both adventurous & timid eaters

This Sunday featured:  Kids eat free!, face-painting, a magician & balloon clown

Great beer selection

Games for kids & adults alike!  A giant scale, ping-pong & arcade games.

Cons of Frankford Hall

Clean bathrooms but no changing table

Plastic silverware, paper serving containers – come on, it is 2011 … at least use biodegradable and/or recycled items


We will definitely be stopping by Frankford Hall again when the weather is nice!



On Ren:

Shirt:  Gap

Lederhosen:  direct from Germany, hand me down from Uncle Nate

On Fiona:

Dress:  Mini Rotation via The Mini Social

Diaper:  gDiapers

Espadrilles:  Mexico, gifted from Abuela

Linking up at Small Style on Mama Loves Papa