A loaf you say? Hmmmm

I am someone who, if given the choice, would not normally be excited about a loaf. Being raised a vegetarian I have never had meatloaf and it has taken me a long time to appreciate this particular comfort food. But that is the thing, loaf IS such a good comfort food. It is warm and substantial. So I thought I would make a go at it. I turned to my beloved Mollie Katzen and found this wonderful recipe in The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.  Drop what you are doing and make this right now.

Tofu, Spinach and Walnut Loaf

-Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil a 9×9 baking dish. (The recipe calls for a loaf pan but there was WAY too much to fit into one loaf pan. I suppose if you are very attached to the loaf shape you could put it into two loaf pans).

-Heat 1 Tbs. of vegetable oil in a deep skillet. Add 2 cups minced onion, ½ lb. minced mushrooms, and 6 gloves of minced garlic. I just blended them all in a food processer. Sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

-Add 1 cup ground walnuts, 2 lbs. fresh spinach (or 20 oz. frozen, defrosted and drained), ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce (I used 3 Tbs. cider vinegar and 1 Tbs. soy sauce as a substitute since Worcestershire sauce has anchovies), and 1 tsp salt. Cook for another 8 minutes, until the spinach is wilted and everything is well combined.

-Stir in 1 Tbs. soy sauce, ½ lb. mashed tofu, 1.5 cups cooked brown rice (you have to plan ahead and cook your rice!), fresh black pepper, and ¼ tsp of nutmeg.

-Spread into the pan and bake for 1 hour (or more, there were some cold spots, and the crisper the outside the better, basically cook it as long as you want without burning it). Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot with sauce (below) and a sprinkle of paprika (which I forgot, woops!)

Dilled Horseradish Sauce

-Melt 2 Tbs. butter into a medium saucepan. Whisk in 1-2 Tbs. of flour and cook over low heat, whisking often, for a minute or until the flour is cooked (slightly browned).

-Whisk in 1 ¼ cups of warmed milk and cook over low heat whisking often for another 5 minutes or until it started to thicken. Stir in 1 Tbs. prepared horseradish and ½ tsp of salt and remove from heat. Stir in 1 Tbs. minced fresh dill (or 1 ½ tsp. dried) and black pepper. I used dried and it was fine. Maybe it would be a little brighter with fresh, but then what am I going to do with all that dill!?!?

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Boobies!

So as you know by now, the lack of exposure in our culture to breastfeeding is one of my big pet peeves. So I was pleasantly surprised to come across this picture in one of those free parenting magazines:

I love this picture for many reasons. One is that you can see the whole breast, it’s not peeking out from the hole of a nursing bra, it’s not even covered by the top of a shirt, it’s just there. I also love that you can see some of the areola, but not too much. It’s actually a great example of a good latch (and how would women know what a good latch looks like when we never see pictures like this?!?!).  I love the content and peaceful look on the baby’s face. What better argument for breastfeeding than that face, right?

So in relation to this topic, I wanted to comment on two TV shows and their depiction, or lack thereof, of breastfeeding.

One is the show Up All Night. We never really find out whether or not she is breastfeeding (or why), but in a recent episode they travel on an airplane and it is clear that their daughter is taking a bottle. There is some comedy around a mid-security line diaper change as well as some anxiety about running out of bottles (you know what you never run out of on a long trip? breast milk!). Anyway, I think this show missed an opportunity for some comedy, because you know what is hilarious? Trying to breastfeeding standing in a security line. Or, as I recently experienced, nursing a squiggly 10 month old during take-off and holding her feet so she doesn’t kick the person sitting next to you. But you only have one free hand so you have to alternate holding one foot at a time. So she kicks the person next to you with her free foot. And she is having a blast. Comedy. I’m just saying, those writers missed out.

The next show is the L Word. Don’t get me started on the many problematic things about this show. But you know something this show doesn’t lack? Boobies! There are breasts everywhere, all the time, usually for sex. However, when one of the characters has a baby, they refer to breastfeeding but NEVER SHOW HER DOING IT! So we learn that breasts are for sex and that breastfeeding is something to hide. This on a show about lesbians! LESBIANS! Aren’t they supposed to be feminists or something?!?! ARGGG!!!

Does anyone have any good media examples of breastfeeding to share?

 

Best Cookbook EVER

Just a quick note. Our little one is 10 months old today! I can’t believe how quickly it has gone by.

Now to cookbooks. As you may or may not have already figured out, we cook vegetarian and I love the Moosewood cookbooks. However, I have begun paying attention to which Moosewood cookbooks are Mollie Katzen books and which are post-Mollie Katzen (AMK-After Mollie Katzen).

I love her. I love her illustrations. I love her playfulness. I love the commentary on every recipe. She is an inspiration. However, her recipes are often intense, meaning: Many ingredients (most of which we don’t have around the house), lots of chopping, lots of pans and lots of time. So I’m often daunted by her cookbooks. Granted, some of our favorite go to recipes come from her books, both her Moosewood books and post-Moosewood books (Gypsy Soup, Cauliflower Puff, Indonesian Rice Salad) but they take work. And did I mention we have a baby? So yeah, lots of work is not so great right now.

This is where the Moosewood cookbooks AMK come in. The two books we have make all the recipes so easy. Simple Suppers and New Classics are two of my favorite cookbooks. Simple Suppers is great because they define simple in so many ways. Sometimes it means quick; sometimes it means only one pot; sometimes very few ingredients. But whatever it is, the recipes are delicious.

So I recently started exploring Moosewood Restaurant New Classics. It is wonderful. There are a few duds but some of my new favorite recipes are from this book. I will share two of them below. I have already made both of these recipes three times each! The only thing that is lacking from these Moosewood books AMK is a little bit of that character and personality I love so much about Mollie Katzen’s writing. But did I mention the delicious factor?

Enjoy!

Instant Tamale Pie

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil an 11-inch casserole dish.

Mash a can of pinto (or black) beans WITH their juice in a large bowl. Add and mix ½ cup of corn, ½ cup of salsa, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp oregano, and ¼ tsp salt.

Buy a role of pre-made polenta. The recipe says to use 12 ounces of it, but they come in 18 ounce tubes, so I just use it all. Cut it into ¼ inch thick rounds and layer them on the bottom of your casserole dish, slightly overlapping. Spoon the bean mixture over the polenta.

Sprinkle on 2-3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro on top. Then add 1 cup of grated Cheddar cheese on top of that.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes and then uncover and bake for another 15 minutes, until the beans are bubbling and cheese is browning. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Devour!

Presto! Chocolate Cake

This cake is amazing and so super easy. And you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen already.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 or 9 inch square pan. Or make it in a bundt pan, like I did, but make sure you grease really well!

In a large bowl mix 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, ½ tsp baking soda, and ¼ tsp salt.

In your kitchen aid or with an electric mixer combine ½ cup of butter with 1 cup of sugar. When the butter and sugar are combined, add 2 eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.

In a small bowl combine ¾ cup of water with 1 tsp vanilla. Add the flavored water by thirds to the creamed mixture, alternating with the flour mixture and beating after each addition.

Poor into the pan and bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.

When the cake is almost done, make the glaze. It’s so easy! ½ cup of chocolate chips, 1/3 cup of jam (apricot is a nice choice), and 2 tablespoons of milk. Put in a small pan and warm on low heat, stirring constantly until melted.

When the cake is done, pour hot glaze on top (if using a bundt pan, flip out of pan to make right side up on a plate before pouring the glaze on).

Serve warm or at room temperature. Yum yum and yum!

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Dream Feeding-My Favorite Feedings

Sorry it has been a million years. Between the holidays and the baby crawling and cruising, blogging has taken a WAY backseat. But here we go.

So my friend, over at frecklesinthefog turned me on to the idea of Dream Feeding way back in September. This is the idea that if the baby goes to bed at 8, she will be up at 12 to eat. And if I don’t go to bed till 10-10:30, this can be difficult. So why not feed her in her sleep when I go to bed at 10pm? The theory is that she will then sleep till maybe 1 or 2am. I haven’t done that this often, since she often wakes up once before we go to bed to eat. But lately she has been sleeping solidly when she goes down around 8. So I’ve begun Dream Feeding her. I’m not sure it works in terms of sleeping longer, but it has become one of my favorite feedings of the day. Here is why. I rarely get to watch her sleep now since she is sensitive to light as she is first falling asleep (either at night or for naps). So with the Dream Feeding, we have a little light on and I can watch her sleeping. She is so peaceful and beautiful, it is truly magically. Secondly, not only do I get to watch her sleeping, I get to watch her nursing. The way she puts her little hand on my breast and snuggles up to me is just precious. I also relish this time as my wife often falls asleep next to us and so I get to look at both of my loves so sweet and peaceful. I am starting to look forward to these feedings, both for the extended sleep, and the ability to see and appreciate my bonding with the baby.

I nurse our daughter down to sleep. For naps, for bedtime, that is the way it is. I have stopped worrying about this and have accepted that it is what is normal for us and that is totally fine. It can be inconvenient if I need to be away, but babies are not meant to be convenient. I recently came across this quote in the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

“You may hear the advice that letting you baby fall asleep at the breast creates a ‘bad habit’ because it sets up ‘undesirable sleep associations’ that require you to be there for every nap and bedtime. That’s just not true. The natural design is that babies, nurse, and often they fall asleep at the breast. You don’t ‘teach’ them this, and it’s not a bad habit. It’s just normal” (page 231).

So, that being said, much of our nursing ends up being in the dark as I am trying to get her to go to sleep. Recently I have been offering the breast more during the day (with the fantasy that she will sleep more at night) and to sooth any fussing. This means we have also been doing more “conversational nursing.” This is my other favorite kind of feeding. This is when we talk and play and bond and nurse all at the same time. This can involve her playing with my necklace or my mouth. It often involves me smiling at her playfulness and her stopping nursing for a second to smile up at me. She will often make happy moaning eating noises. These are often short, but wonderful little moments of reconnecting throughout her very busy and social day.

I wanted to share these nursing experiences because I believe these are the kinds of behaviors that mothers often don’t discuss with each other, especially as our babies get older and society believes they should be sleeping through the night and eating mainly solid food. These two nursing experiences are good reminders of the way in which breastfeeding is more than nutrition, it is an important way of connecting.