Girls on Food

GOF Mom

Take Me, I’m Yours Morgan Street Food Hall & Market in Raleigh, NC

Recently, food halls have been popping up all over the country. When I heard Raleigh was getting not one, but two, my immediate reaction was “great, a glorified mall food court” because really, when was the last time you felt cool eating at the food court, amiright? But there are a couple huge differences at play here, so put your worries aside!

First, food courts are so often chains and standard fare. Morgan Street Food Hall & Market is, for the most part, neither. Rolled ice cream anyone? Poke bowls, empanadas, and ramen were the first things to catch my eye. Cousins Maine Lobster (the only option I would consider a chain) is slightly more accessible here, and with a lot more seating options! The line is still out the door but with a beer in hand and a bustling crowd, a far cry from the hot food truck rodeo lines you’re usually waiting in! Last time I tried that, I was “red as a lobster” by the time I ordered my Connecticut lobster roll!

Raleigh Rolls rolled ice cream, which is a treat for all! (yeah, I shared with the baby!)

When you first walk into Morgan Street Food Hall, you’ll see a bustling crowd and tons of seating options, from picnic tables to couches and arm chairs, and finally, 4 top tables with chairs. There are indoor and outdoor seating options, with a couple bars to frequent as thirst arises. There are 18 dining options, ranging from southern to Mediterranean to Asian; comfort food and hangover food and on to desserts and bubble tea. For our family, this is the perfect place for all of our meals out: we have 2 picky preschoolers who think the margarita pizza at Bella’s Wood Fired Pizza and Tapas is out of this world (and less than $10, thank you!).

For me, I get the “adventurous” foods I can’t talk the whole family into – ramen and poke bowls, while hubby gets to fill up on empanadas, which he loves! We have an Italian au pair living with us this year, and she has enjoyed working her way through the options Morgan Street has at her disposal. Currently, her heart resides in Raleigh.

I’ve now eaten at Morgan Street 3 times. Hubs and I met a group of friends here one night before an Umphrey’s McGee concert downtown. There were a lot of empanadas and some curry plates, a kick ass looking pizza, a whole lot of beer, and my amazing delicious tuna poke bowl, with fresh tuna on their California bowl (from The Bowls), loaded with amazingness and topped with avocado! It was incredible, and I couldn’t wait to go back!

So the next weekend, a girlfriend and I met up there, and she got ramen and I went back to The Bowls for round 2 – this time trying their spicy tuna on the Malibu bowl, which has spicy seaweed salad in it. The biggest difference was that the tuna was chopped up instead of chunks, so I would probably go regular tuna in the future.

We also ventured over to the bar, and I tried the Deep River Brewing Company’s (out of Clayton, NC) pumpkin pie porter, which was oh, so good and also very seasonal! It was delicious after a long afternoon of shopping and enjoying the suddenly cooler temps here in NC! Finally (maybe the first finally), we waited in line at Cocoa Forte Desserts for chocolate dipped cheesecake, which we were saving for when we got home, and then I talked my friend into trying out Raleigh Rolls, the rolled ice cream place! It’s a little bit Coldstone Ceamery (you get to choose 3 flavors that go into your ice cream, and then 3 flavors for the toppings) meets a sushi roll (because in the end, they hand you a bowl with 6 rolls of ice cream). So good news – you can sub flavors – I subbed in coffee flavoring for the graham cracker in my s’mores ice cream, and it was the.best.thing.ever! Little man ate way too much but also thinks I’m the coolest mom ever for sharing my ice cream with him, ha! (Verdict on cheesecake – its on a stick, so go ahead and eat it immediately. I waited a few hours to eat mine, and it fell apart really fast. Pretty sure it was user error though).

So the next day, my hubs was still out of town (he went on Phish tour last weekend), and I needed to provide food for my little ones for the 4th day in a row. So…I started thinking about that pizza, and the fact that cow burger has hot dogs. Surely they could find something to eat…

Here’s the deal – I was nervous to bring a 5 year old and a 3 year old and a 5 month old into such a busy place. But…they loved it! My son is begging to go back, my daughter can’t stop talking about the ice cream, and the baby slept thru the thing. We also found an awesome place for our family photos in 2 weeks. So all in all, a great trip. I will send you all day every day to Bella’s pizza – it was incredible, and the kids ate every bite of that pizza. I loved the portion size of the burgers (I got the classic cheeseburger) and I’d heard great things about it, but I would definitely trust your gut on that place. First, the line took F O R E V E R which I’m not really into, and wouldn’t have waited in it but our au pair and I both wanted a burger so we stuck with it. Second, we waited F O R E V E R for our buzzer to ring. Like it took the entire time the pizza cooked to wait in the line and order. Then the kids ate the whole pizza. And I took them back over to Raleigh rolls and waited for someone to turn melted ice cream into frozen ice cream rolls, and then the buzzer sounded as I was paying for them. So the burgers were delicious, great bun to burger ratio, and overall very satisfying, but with so many faster options, I’m not sure I would wait for it again.

Also, pro tip – if you have a picky child who only eats vanilla ice cream (I know, I know, its super weird but what I’m dealing with right now), there is another small ice cream scoop place in the food hall. Don’t waste your $7 on plain vanilla with a tiny sprinkling of rainbow sprinkles. Spend that money on the whole experience and all the toppings, and get Sir Picky something from the cheaper place!

So final verdict – run, don’t walk, to the Morgan Street Food Hall if you’re in Raleigh. Bring an appetite. Check out the unusual places, especially the bowls, the broth, and curry in a hurry, and take the time to wait in line for Raleigh Rolls! I’m looking forward to heading down there again next weekend after the International Festival to try out some new places!

Staying At The St. Jane Hotel And Dining At Free Rein In Chicago

My annual summer trip to Chicago was met with a big first for me – it would be the first trip with my 4-month-old daughter Marie! Usually, on my trips, I freely roam the city, restaurant to restaurant doing whatever I please… those days are over.

Now that we’re traveling as a family, I have a lot to consider when looking for a hotel. I wanted to make sure my stay was comfortable for baby Marie, charming to the eye for my husband and food-centric for myself. I was a little nervous about staying at a boutique hotel because I wasn’t sure how baby friendly it would be. Many boutiques I’ve stayed in, tend to be a smaller in bedroom size, with more sophisticated furnishings – great for adults but I need to consider the little one.

We decided to book a junior suite at the St. Jane Hotel, which opened in July, and it delivered on all 3 counts.

This boutique hotel is located in the 37-story Carbide and Carbon Building, built in 1929. The outside maintains an art deco flair with its black granite and gold accents and the moment you walk in, it feels half Great Gatsby half Lana Del Rey – Jazz age meets hipster chic.

Carbide and Carbon Building
Baby Marie loves the art deco style!

The Premiere Junior Suite is a bit of splurge, but it’s so perfectly spacious that it’s worth it or a family vacation. The astonishing views of the city, a roomy shower (that also has a beautiful city view!) and a big comfy bed are worth the upgrade. Bonus: the toiletries are products by Mason Margiela’s ‘Replica’ Jazz Club line, my all time favorite perfume!

A view from our room at night

St. Jane Hotel’s key restaurant is Free Rein, a modern French brasserie led by chef Aaron Lirette, who obtained a Michelin star for GreenRiver. Free Rein serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, offers a coffee shop, full bar and provides the hotel room service. Here’s how I savored the hotel with an ultimate epicurean stay.

I started the bright and early at their café, which is separated from the main dining room. The coffee is provided by Chicago fan-favorite Dark Matter and pastries by fellow Michelin star collector, pastry chef Evan Sheridan of Sixteen.

The Ham and Cheese Croissant, although not shaped in the classic crescent style, the Ham and Raclette is still flaky, buttery and I loved the addition of mustard on top. I loved my Dark Matter lattes every morning too, but with the time changes and general baby exhaustion, I did fuel up on their Nitro Cold Brews as well.

Ham and Raclette Croissant
Latte

Later on, Chicago Girls on Food blogger Hilary met up with me for lunch, where I was able to get a little break from the family and do what I love to do the most – explore a new restaurant. Highlights from this lunch included:

Sweet Corn Soup– corn, scallion, and coconut

I always love a presentation of soup pouring! 

Kanpachi Crudo– English peas, heart of palm, citrus, caviar 

Soft Shell Crab BLT– Bacon, gem lettuce, Old Bay aioli

Saffron Spaghetti – tomato, fine herbs, parmesan

I loved all of Chef Lirette’s artful takes on American classics for lunch. If I had to choose tops spots, my number 1 was definitely the Soft Shell Crab BLT. This succulent sandwich is paired perfectly with the crispy Old Bay seasoned fries. The Kanpachi Crudo is a close second, it felt like a spot-on execution of “summer on a plate”. For lunch, I recommend washing it all down with a glass of Virtue’s Rosé Cider, it’s crisp, lightly floral but pairs perfectly with any of the dishes above.

Virtue Rosé Cider

For dinner, the lights dim down and it feels a little fancier at Free Rein. The menu expands out to a number of new options, including large format items, intended for sharing.

I started with a glass of Clos des Papes “Le Petit Vin d’Avril” a rich, Rhône blend to pair with decadent dishes. The absolute favorite item was the Foie Gras Tourchon with black truffle, Marcona almonds, cherry compote and summer berries. This item will be available on the Fall menu, so make sure you pop in there soon!

Foie Gras Tourchon

My other favorites included the Tomato Salad, with black garlic, cucumber and sourdough and the large format Dry-Aged Slagel Farms Ribeye with chanterelle mushrooms, potato puree, and beef jus.

Tomato Salad
Dry-Aged Slagel Farms Ribeye

Staying in a very touristy part of town and relying on the hotel to have extraordinary food sets a bar very high and sometimes isn’t realistic, but Free Rein and the St. Jane Hotel exceeded my expectations.

GOF Tip: The room service menu offers some items from the Free Rein menu – go for the Smoked Whitefish Toast. Since I was watching Marie, it’s nice to have an easy-to-eat but still gourmet meal around!

Baby Marie admiring the gold elevator doors

Although the lunch portion was provided by Free Rein, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

Los Angeles Mom-To-Be: Julianne’s Top Pregnancy Picks

I’m officially 39 weeks down and I’m ready to pop!

Prepping for the birth of my first baby (it’s a girl!) was already pretty stressful but I wanted to share some of my discoveries that made my LA pregnancy relatively smooth.

BEST BABY PREP AND EDUCATION

Even after I read What to Expect While You’re Expecting, I still felt so overwhelmed about my upcoming birthing process. Like many others, I tend to learn better by having a teacher go through everything with me. I won’t mention the name of my health insurance provider, but after taking one of their complimentary workshops, which consisted of watching a dated promotional video with a nurse who just seemed “over it,” I decided I needed to find something more welcoming.

Photo by Morgan Pansing

I heard about Loom, a childbirth education center, from a friend of mine, who even after her childbirth still takes development classes there. After touring the minimalist (but still warm and welcoming) center in the Mid-Wilshire part of LA, I instantly felt so much more comfortable here.

I have taken both the Prepped and Accelerated classes and the Infant Feeding Basics class. What I like about these classes is that the instructors teach in a way that’s approachable, there’s no such thing as a “stupid question” and you’re encouraged to share what you’re going through. The sharing is is building the growing parent community there.

From taking these classes I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I’m so much more prepped for the big push!

Use promo code GOFXLOOM10 to deduct 10% from the cost of any class or service, valid until 5/16/18

BEST ONLINE MATERNITY SAVE AND SPLURGE 

Ingrid & Isabel, my favorite maternity clothing, has 2 different lines available. The line that I would consider a “splurge” is available at select boutiques (like Mom’s The Word, in the Beverly Grove area) and the “less expensive” but still super stylish line is available at Target. I stocked up on items from both and had plenty of chic but comfortable options.

My favorite items are in the image above
Cozy Wrap
Active Legging with Crossover Panel

BEST BABY SHOWER LOCATION

So here’s the thing—I did not plan my baby shower—it was a total surprise! I don’t have much to compare baby shower locations to, but I can note that this beats any baby shower at a house. This surprise party planned was by my mom, my best friend Marcie and #plusonebae and they nailed it with the location at The Culver Hotel. I’m a regular here, so I was stunned that they were able to keep it so secretive!

The party was held in The Studio, a part of the Parisian Room, which is elegant and perfect for a smaller gathering. The food and beverages were served buffet style with bottomless mimosas for everyone (except me!). The brunch service was prompt and attentive, and our server was kind enough to take many pictures of the whole gang together without

BEST FOOD DELIVERY SERVICE 

I decided to test out a couple of delivery box services and my favorite so far has been one of the leading services, Blue Apron. Meal prep boxes are great for busy weeknight meals, especially when it’s just me at home cooking for one. It’s also a great way to shake up your cooking routine, cause as much as I love being in the kitchen, I suffered from “pregnancy brain” during all of this! I just wanted to pick something up and eat it rather have to come up with a menu—but with Blue Apron, that’s taken care of for you!

Whole Grain Pasta & Beef Bolognese with Romaine Salad (relax, that’s just juice to the left)

My favorite meal that I cooked from this box was the Whole Grain Pasta and Beef Bolognese. The serving size says 2, but it was much more ample than that.

I realized from testing Blue Apron during pregnancy that my husband and I will be using this delivery system when I’m nursing, cause I’m positive I will need a break from coming up with my own recipes!

 Blue Apron- Get $40 Off Your First 2 Boxes! *sponsored

BEST SWEET TOOTH CURBER

I picked up my first batch of Bare Snacks at my local Target and fell in love with all the different flavors! These treats are oven-baked when the fruits are at their ripest, bringing out the best flavors. They’re also non-gmo and B-corp certified. My favorite fruit chips were the Chocolate Coconut Chips, made with unsweetened coco powder and sweetened with coconut nectar. The Granny Smith Apple Chips were also tart perfection.

BEST ITEM I HAD NO CLUE I NEEDED

I learned (from my Prepped and Accelerated class at Loom) that it helps during labor to utilize a balance ball. Upon a run to T.J. Maxx, I got lucky and found a Gaiam Balance Ball Chair and I’ve been straightening my core and pelvic floor while running Girls on Food during the day.

Image via Amazon

It’s very easy to start slouching during pregnancy, since you’re carrying so much more weight than usual and I would say that this helped prevent my posture from getting too slouchy. I also didn’t struggle with my back as much as other moms have complained to me about.

BEST FACE OIL

I wish I could give my baby girl the credit for my glow, but I should actually credit Josie Maran’s Argan Moonstone Drops Makeup Priming and Highlighting Oil. I started using face oils when I noticed my usually dewy skin was getting a bit dry (common in pregnancy).

Image via Sephora

Not only is the lemongrass fragrance lightweight and doesn’t clash with my other perfumes, the holographic glow didn’t break me out at all! My skin texture has improved a lot since I started using this oil, and I plan to continue use after pregnancy.

BEST “SOFT COCKTAILS”

Peter Piper

First off, major props to Nomad Hotel for not calling them “mocktails”! LA’s latest renovated historical landmark (love the art deco) has a fantastic array of soft cocktails in addition to their fantastic bites. There are 6 different soft cocktail options and my favorite was the Peter Piper, with pineapple, lime, black pepper, passionfruit and white balsamic vinegar. It was everything I’d imagine a pregnancy craving cocktail would be, due to the tartness of it. So if you have a mom-to-be in your life, you must take her here!

 Be sure to follow Girls on Food on Instagram @girlsonfoodblog

Allison’s Corned Beef and Cabbage Pizza For St. Patrick’s Day

That’s right. I said it. Today we’re making a corned beef and cabbage pizza.

Why? Because tradition isn’t the boss of me. Because Wolfgang Puck made himself a household name by putting duck on a pizza. And because I believe that if you aren’t willing to lose every friend you have over a friendly competition, you aren’t playing hard enough.

Last St. Patty’s Day I was invited to a corned beef and cabbage cook off, and as maturity obviously hasn’t cured me of my insatiable need to win at everything – whether or not everyone else has any idea that we are competing – I wasn’t about to show up with a crockpot full of mushy carrots, and sad, wet cabbage.

No. I was going to up my game. I was going to do something new, something fresh. With a cool new POS for a pizza store (https://toppossystem.com/best-pizza-pos-system/) if I got that far. As Coco Chanel once said, I was going to be the lady in red when everyone else was wearing tan.*

I was going to give the people something they’d love. Something that would enter the annals of Irish folklore, giving birth to songs and rituals that would be sung around campfires and passed down, generation to generation for time immemorial.

And what do the people love? The people love pizza.

This recipe sounds a little odd at first but if you consider the elements – crunchy, pillowy pizza dough, buttery potatoes, creamy irish cheddar, salty corned beef, the sweetness of the caramelized, roasted cabbage – it begins to make sense. This pizza was such a hit that my incredibly picky husband not only loved it, but tried to convince me to serve it at Easter brunch. The pizza ultimately lost to a bacon, cheddar and mushroom quiche, but it has worked its way into our St. Patrick’s Day traditions permanently, and if you give it a chance, I think it might just find its way into yours.

So without further ado, I present you with corned beef and cabbage pizza. Let’s get to it.

Cooks note: because I invented this recipe myself, and because of the nature of pizza, you should feel free to experiment with the amounts and toppings to find a final product that uniquely suits your palette. I like a thick crusted, crunchy, cheesy pizza with a lot of toppings. If you don’t, you’re obviously wrong, but I’ll never know, so play around and have a good time!

Like all the best recipes, it starts with butter, cheese, and carbs.

 

I’m fortunate to be able to buy amazing pizza dough right at my grocery store (Wegmans HOLLAAAA). If you can’t, see if your local pizza shop is willing to sell their dough by the pound

I use a pizza stone for homemade pizza because I’ve found it to be the best way to get that chewy, crunchy, pizza shop consistency I love so much. If you’re doing the same, toss yours in the oven at 450 or 475 (depending on your comfort zone with a wildly hot oven) and let it heat up while you slice the potatoes. A metal pizza pan or baking sheet will work just fine too.

I use a mandolin to get thin, even slices, and because fingertips aren’t really that important to me. You can use a food processor for even thinner slices, or just (carefully) use a good sharp knife.

Set the butter to melting in a large saute pan over medium heat, and then toss in the potatoes. Season very liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Potatoes can take a lot of seasoning and with all these delicious toppings to compete against, they need it in this recipe.

I strongly recommend using Yukon gold potatoes on this recipe. Their waxy texture holds up well during sautéing and baking, and their buttery flavor is exactly what the salty corned beef and cheddar need.

While the potatoes are cooking through, shred your Irish cheddar using an old fashioned grater or your food processor. This is also the time to prep your cabbage. Slice the cabbage into 1/4-1/2 inch slices, then toss with the oil in brown sugar. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.

Sweaters, potatoes, booze, and cheese. This is what my people are known for. If you’ve met me, this makes perfect sense
A bit of brown sugar adds necessary sweetness to balance all the butter and salt of this dish. And also because I’m clearly trying to kill you.

Once you’ve cooked the potatoes through – you want them nice and tender – roll or stretch your pizza dough and place it on the hot stone or pizza pan. Now it’s time to top the dough with your delicious, buttery, salty potatoes.

Consider cooking up more potatoes than you need, lest you lose some to attrition
You should probably buy extra cheddar as well

Feel free to layer the potatoes thinly or to double up, as suits your preference. My Irish soul says the more potatoes the better, but this is a personal choice only you can make. Search your heart.

Now, gentle reader, it’s time to top the potatoes with that gorgeous pile of shredded cheddar. Did your pulse just speed up? Mine did too.

I feel like we could stop here and I’d still be really, really happy with this recipe

I was ready to call it a day after we topped the potatoes with the cheese, but since I’ve committed to this post, we now need to add the corned beef. This is your art. Fling that meat like you’re Jackson Pollack and that corned beef is your paint. Unless you aren’t the one who cleans the kitchen, then you should probably just place it gently on top of the cheese.

Yeah. It’s deli corned beef. If you want to spend all day braising your own corned beef just for this pizza, you can do that, but you should know that myself and every other mom at carpool is totally rolling our eyes at you

The corned beef gets topped with a generous layer of mozzarella, and then this belt buster is ready to meet the oven. Place it on the bottom rack, then place your sheet pan of cabbage on the top rack at the same time.

Once the crust has browned and the cheese is melted and golden, pull the pizza out of the oven. Let it rest for a few moments while the cabbage continues cooking. You want the cabbage to begin to caramelize and brown. Once the cabbage is done, give it a sprinkle of salt and pepper and it’s ready to meet its doughy, cheesy soulmate.

Admit it, you doubted me, but this looks pretty good, doesn’t it? Did I mention all the butter and cheese and potatoes?
You see what happens when you stick with me? Magic. Magic happens. And cabbage.

Once the pizza has cooled enough to cut, slice that baby up and top each piece with a helping of the caramelized cabbage. If you’re really extra you can make a Guinness reduction or a creamy mustard sauce to accompany it, but I’ve already moved on to the part where we drink Jameson so you’re on your own now.

Slainte, my friends! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all!

Corned beef and Cabbage Pizza

Ingredients

1 pound fresh pizza dough (note: For best results, proof the dough in a warm place for one hour, for let it rise on your kitchen counter for 2-3 hours)

2/3 – 3/4 pound of deli corned beef, shredded

2 C Irish cheddar, shredded

1 1/2 C shredded mozzarella

4 C thinly sliced Yukon Gold potatoes

6 T butter

1 head fresh cabbage

3 T avocado or olive oil

1 1/2 T brown sugar

salt and pepper

Special equipment recommended: a mandolin and a pizza stone or metal pizza pan

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. If using a pizza stone, place the stone in the oven to preheat for at least 15 minutes.

While the oven is preheating, slice your potatoes. Melt the butter in a large skillet and toss in the potatoes. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

Next, slice the cabbage into 1/4 – 1/2 inch strips, then toss with the avocado oil and brown sugar, place on a baking sheet and set aside.

Once the potatoes are cooked through and the stone is hot, roll, press or stretch out your pizza dough and place on the hot stone. Top with the potatoes, and then all of the Irish cheddar. Next, distribute the corned beef evenly over the cheddar. Top with the mozzarella and place the pizza in the oven, on the bottom rack.

Place the cabbage on the top rack of the oven right along with the pizza. Cook the pizza for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust has browned and the cheese is melted and golden.

Let the pizza rest while the cabbage continues to cook for another 5-7 minutes, tossing once with a spatula. The cabbage is done when it is tender but not mushy, and starting to brown.

Slice the pizza, top with the cabbage, and enjoy!

*Haha, just kidding, that was actually Fran Drescher as The Nanny. But you get the point.

Basic Invite: The Perfect Cards For Any Event!

I’ve been looking for the perfect birth announcement card for when my baby girl makes her debut and I found it!

Basic Invite is a small custom print company out of Saint George, Utah offers cards for nearly any event. The best part is, you can preview them online to make sure you love it before you commit!

Events Basic Invite covers range from customizable graduation announcements, to birthday events, wedding invitations, nearly every event under the sun! 

Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51 

What separates Basic Invite from the rest? 

Nearly Unlimited Colors and Instant Previews – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. Basic Invite is just as colorful with our envelopes as they are with our invitations! Customers can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes so that they can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. All of the envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed. Foil holiday cards are also available in gold, silver, and rose gold. Customers can choose flat or raised foil on all of Basic Invite’s foil designs.

Custom Samples – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order. This is perfect for wedding invites, I know what it’s like to be a particular bride! 

Address Capturing Service – Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. So you can basically build a rolodex and keep it within Basic Invite for your next milestones. 

 

Check out Basic Invite on Facebook and Instagram to keep with up with specials and promotions. 

This post is sponsored by Basic Invites; however, all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own

Spumoni Mama Lactation Bites

Holy moly, I’ve finally hit 37 weeks of pregnancy (insert the nervous looking emoji here).

After reading the research on how oats, flaxseed and brewers yeast are considered active ingredients to help boost lactation in nursing moms, I wanted to come up with a quick bite that was tasty and full of nutrition. Bake-free “balls” and “bites” are trending (do you want to be baking with a newborn?) but I wanted to add a little variety of flavor to the mix. I’ve noticed many of these recipes use dark chocolate and dates as the sweet flavors.

This time around, I went in a more Spumoni ice cream-inspired route with pistachio butter (in addition to peanut butter, cause it’s expensive), dried cherries and milk chocolate. Spumoni is a famous gelato, a gift from Naples, but many Americans will recognize this frothy treat as the palate cleanser from The Old Spaghetti Factory, and that is where I fell in love with it. #noshame!

Please note: if you’re looking for an Instagram-ready, beautiful ball shaped bite, this isn’t that recipe. Frankly, bless those women who have the time and patience to make them so picturesque but I can’t imagine having the energy to make them that perfect when I start feeding.

Spumoni Mama Lactation Bites 

Makes 25 medium-size bites

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons brewers yeast
  • ½ cup flaxseed meal
  • 2 teaspoon coco powder (extra for garnish, to taste)
  • ½ cup organic Italian honey
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup pistachio butter
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup dried Montmorency cherries (much healthier than Maraschinos)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In the 10.75 qt. Culinary Junction Steel Mixing Bowl combine the oats, brewers yeast, flaxseed meal and coco powder.
  2. Mix in the Italian honey, peanut butter, pistachio butter and coconut oil.
  3. Fold in the dried cherries and chocolate chips.
  4. Spritz hands with a coconut oil spray and roll 2 tablespoons of mixture into balls.
  5. (optional) Dust a little coco powder on top of bites if you’re craving it.
  6. Place bites on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with coconut oil, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set.
  7. Pop them in your mouth and enjoy!

I’ll be coming up with more lactation-boosting recipes soon, so stay tuned for those!

I also wanted to note that you don’t have to be a mom-to-be to enjoy these! My husband couldn’t stop eating these too!

Ginger Peach White Sangria Mocktail For Moms To Be

The night before I found out I was pregnant, I was out at happy hour enjoying a nice glass (or two) of sangria. That was about 5 months ago, and I now find myself sometimes missing the good ol’ days when I could indulge in a nice glass of that beautiful red or white fruity-with-a-kick glass of goodness! Can any of you mom-to-be’s relate?

Now at restaurants, instead of ordering wine, I’m asking the waiter if the bartender can whip up a mocktail. It’s actually fun seeing what fun drink they can come up with. Recently, I decided to try out my own mocktails and I’ve been experimenting with different flavors to find fun “fancy” juices that I can drink out of classy glasses. I’m telling you, even drinking water out of a champagne or wine glass really helps you not care that you have to give up the good stuff for the next nine (cough **ten** cough) months.

This past weekend I tried my hand at a white sangria and was pleasantly surprised with the results. I combined a non-alcoholic Moscato, peach juice and ginger beer for a sweet but spicy concoction. The non-alcoholic Moscato can be found in the grocery store in the section where they sell cocktail mixers and it’s called FRE. If your local store doesn’t sell it, white grape juice would be a good substitute.

Ginger Peach White Sangria Mocktail

The recipe as is will provide a sangria on the sweeter side. If you like a really strong ginger taste, just add a bit more ginger beer.

Ingredients

750ml bottle of FRE non-alcoholic Moscato (or about 3 cups of white grape juice)
2 cups peach juice
1 cup ginger beer
1 cup frozen peaches
1 cup frozen mangos
1 cup frozen strawberries
Seltzer water

Directions

Step 1: Add frozen fruit to a pitcher.

Step 2: Add the non-alcoholic Moscato or grape juice, peach juice and ginger beer to the pitcher and mix well.

Step 3: Refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Step 4: Pour sangria into a fancy glass and top with a splash of seltzer water and more frozen fruit.

Step 5: Put your feet up and enjoy!

This recipe is so easy and really really good! Enjoy 🙂

Kinilaw For a Mom-To-Be

I’ve finally hit 35 weeks of pregnancy and I can confirm the fast food and other gluttonous urges are hitting me pretty hard! But I have been in the kitchen creating recipes that are meat/poultry-free, clean and using sustainability conscious ingredients.

When asked to develop a recipe with Blue Harbor Fish Co I jumped at the chance!

Their products tuna is MSC certified sustainable and dolphin-safe. Plus, I love the pouch option, they save so much room in my well-stocked cabinet.

Kinilaw is traditionally a Filipino dish similar to poke or ceviche. I wanted to create a pregnancy-friendly recipe for those of us out there who are missing our raw fish.

Kinilaw For a Mom-To-Be

1 serving

In a small mixing bowl, combine the following:

1 3 oz. pouch Blue Harbor Wild Albacore – No Salt Added

2 tablespoons Calamansi juice

1 tablespoon grated ginger

3 tablespoons thinly-sliced red onion

1 tablespoon coconut vinegar

1 Thai chili sliced and de-seeded

1 tablespoon coconut milk

Pinch of fresh cilantro (extra sprigs for garnish, if you like)

Salt and pepper to taste

Serve alone or with tostadas for a crunch.

Enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Blue Harbor Fish Co; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

Island Mama Lactation Bites With The Culinary Junction’s Stainless Steel Bowls

Being a 31-week pregnant lady, I’m hitting that point where I’m realizing:

A) “pregnancy brain” is very real

B) waddling isn’t exclusive to penguins

C) everything is just becoming so much harder.

Not only am I carrying more weight than I am used to, but carrying items of heavier weight has become tougher for me. Even everyday kitchen items like my standard glass mixing bowls are becoming a pain to carry.

When our friends at The Culinary Junction reached out to me to product-test their 6-Piece Stainless Steel Nesting Bowlsthe timing couldn’t be more perfect! I had an inkling to get a head start on prepping my recipes to help boost lactation (for when the time comes), so I knew I’d make great use of these bowls.

(more…)