Mar 28, 2016

Breakfast oatmeal shortcuts!

I've been eating oatmeal almost everyday for the last 5 years.  I've tried every method of preparing them - instant, rolled, steel cut, multigrain, baked, overnight, slow cooker. Oats are nutritious and filling and make a great first food for the day. Today, I wanted to share three of the easiest ways to enjoy oatmeal!






The first method that I still enjoy from time to time is instant oats! These are just really thinly sliced rolled oats. I love that they are so easy to make. I wake up hungry, so it's the simplest thing to just  microwave a packet of instant oats and gobble it up. While Quaker has a ton of different flavors and options, they all have plenty of added sugar and salt. That's when I found the McCann's quick cooking Irish oatmeal. These are plain, so you can add toppings to your preference. I add milk to the oats instead of water and microwave it for three minutes. Add in fruits and nuts/seeds that you like and your breakfast is ready! I always add sliced almonds or walnuts, chia seeds and hemp seeds. I vary the fruit by season - apple and cinnamon, banana and peanut butter, peaches, berries, mangoes! The options are endless!


These days though, my go to recipe is inspired by this new discovery! Quaker quick cook steel cut oats. While I like rolled oats, I feel like they are mushy and tend to get a bit gummy. Steel cut oats have this beautiful texture that makes it creamy and very porridge-y! I know the pack says 3 minutes but I cook for 7-8 minutes for a good texture that's also suitable for a baby. I throw in 1/3 cups oats and one cup water in a saucepan, set the timer. I dice an apple and add it in so it can cook. I stir once in a while to prevent the oats from sticking to the bottom. At the end of 8 minutes, porridge is ready! Spoon into bowls, add yogurt to baby's bowl, milk, nuts, chia and hemp with a dash of maple syrup to my bowl and breakfast's ready! Again, you can add any fruit you like in here. Just prepare with water if you're making this for a baby!



My last method is the most useful if you're making this for multiple people - in a slow cooker! Though my slow cooker is only 3.5q, it still makes too much for just me. I tried to freeze leftovers but that resulted in a weird texture. Now that my in laws are here, I make a cup and a half of steel cut regular oatmeal with 5 cups of water in a slow cooker. I cook it on low for about 7 hours. I add in only fruit because I also want to give this to the baby. But once I've removed her portion, I can add in milk, nuts and seeds and syrup and make it suitable for the adults.



I have the 3.5 quart Cuisinart.


I prefer steel cut oatmeal, so I'm not going to try overnight and baked oatmeal anymore. But if you're a fan of rolled oats, those are methods that you can try! I hope you found this post useful and it can make your mornings a little more fun. Now that I have these methods down to a routine, of course, my baby decided that she hates oatmeal, haha. So I'm going to hunt for something else that she likes and I'll share it when I find it. If you have any tips for baby breakfast recipes, please share in the comments. 

Mar 9, 2016

Butternut Squash and Kale Risotto (Baby Friendly Recipe)

Hello everyone! It's been a while, isn't it?  Well, this recipe brought me out of my blog hiatus, it's so good! I haven't tried many new recipes the last few months. By the time I finish making the baby's food and feeding her, I'm too tired to try anything new, so I end up making the same old recipes again and again. I'm so excited that she is almost ten months old now and she can eat the food I make for us (with a bunch of modifications!). I saw a recipe for butternut squash risotto on a baby food website and I was so eager to try it. My husband loves risotto, so, this was meant to be our first meal together!!

I used to dread risotto because of the constant stirring it requires. The great thing about this recipe is that it only needs a few stirs once in a while and not all the time. I made this in a big stainless steel pan. I bet it'll be even easier in a dutch oven. Adding the broth one cup at a time seems to be the key here!



Ingredients -

Frozen butternut squash - 1/2 lb of cubed squash (I got some organic frozen squash at whole foods. If you get fresh, great!)

Kale - 1/2 cup , rinse and chop (I used frozen curly kale)

Olive oil/ Butter/ Ghee - I used ghee to roast the squash.

Salt and Pepper

Dash of turmeric

Onion - 1 small, diced

Garlic - 3 pods, finely sliced

Arborio rice - 1 cup

Vegetable broth - 4 cups (either store bought or home made. If store bought, get low sodium)

Method -

1. Heat oil in a pan and when hot, add the cut butternut squash. If you spread them out, they'll get nice and brown. Add kale and cook for a few minutes and set aside. (I removed a bit for the baby and added some smoked paprika to ours)

2. Heat some more oil and fry the onions and garlic.

3. Add the arborio rice and give a stir.

4. Add the broth once cup at a time and stir. If you stir every 3-4 minutes, the risotto won't stick at the bottom.

5. Once the broth is absorbed and the rice puffs up, add another cup of broth.

6. Keep cooking for 35-40 minutes. I read in some places that you shouldn't cook arborio rice for more than 20-25 minutes but at that mark, the rice still felt uncooked to me. Taste test and continue cooking to your preference.

7. Add salt, pepper and the cooked butternut squash + kale and give it a good stir.

8. Sprinkle some parmesan on top and serve!

For the baby, I served it with some cottage cheese which she loves.

Both husband and the baby really loved it. I did too, which is why I decided to record it in the blog, haha!
Definitely give it a try if you're looking for a warm and comforting dinner. It takes a little time but it's super easy! Hope you enjoy the recipe.




Jan 30, 2016

Crave/Save - Domo Biker Leather Backpack

I've been looking for some fun backpacks to use in school and as a kind of diaper bag. The Marc by Marc Jacobs Domo Biker Leather backpack totally caught my eye. The visible zipper detail and clean lines makes this bag super stylish! The price though!! Crazy!

Marc by Marc Jacobs Backpack

For a fraction of the price, The Honest Company makes a diaper bag which you can buy here. What's better, it's vegan leather and has gold details as opposed to the MBMJ's silver ones. Love!!

The Honest Company backpack


Have you used backpacks for diaper bags? Did you like them?

Dec 28, 2015

My New Hobby

Hello hello!!  Sorry, it's been a while.I've got my hands full with this baby of mine. She is a delight, I tell you. Always on the go. Most of my new recipes are baby food recipes and I don't want to bore you with that. So let's talk about my new hobby - crocheting. A couple of months ago, I told my friend that I wanted to make some stuff for the baby. Her mom offered to teach me crocheting. She taught me to do a half double crochet and I did five stitches and let it sit for a month! I was so intimidated. Luckily, once I get an itch to do something, I research the hell out of it. I decided to approach crocheting the same way I approach my studies. So, I read all about it first, then I watched countless video tutorials. Youtube is a treasure trove!

I started practising with some spare yarn and tried out a bunch of stitches. Finally, I was ready to make my first piece. I first made a very very easy hat with a pompom. It looks cute but there was no technique involved. Just a bunch of DCs and a pompom. For my next piece, I wanted to make a little play mat for her to sit on. There are play mats that have dolls and textures built into them but I just wanted a simple one. Most baby blankets and mats are rectangular with the same stitch repeating all over. I found that a little boring, so I decided to challenge myself with a beautiful star pattern. I improvised the pattern from this video here.

I used the Bernat blanket yarn and 10 mm crochet hook, if you're interested.



The center looked a little plain, so I added a magic circle to the middle to liven things up a bit. I also added a single crochet border to the blanket. I absolutely love how the blanket turned out. It is the size of a tummy time mat with a little extra on the sides. The baby sits and plays with her toys on it quite comfortably. I've also covered her with this while she naps and I'm next to her. Keeps her warm without restricting airflow.

It gives me such joy to make these things for her. I feel like I've always avoided learning anything that doesn't help me in my career. I'm glad I stopped that thinking and learned something creative. I love that I get to be creative and make something useful with minimal expense. Bonus - it keeps me from buying even more baby clothes, haha.

I wanted to learn a new skill in 2015 (other than balancing a baby on my hip and a bowl in my hand, haha) and I'm glad I accomplished that at the very end :of the year) For my next project I've planned this beautiful granny square blanket with some gorgeous colors picked out. It will be a while before I finish it but I'll make sure to share here when I do. Feel free to follow me on instagram if things are too quite here. I post there more often because it's private and quick.

Wish you all a wonderful, amazing, prosperous new year and see you in 2016!!