The Newlywed Cookbook ~ a preview

{photos by Sara Remington}

I'm so excited, honored and grateful for all the calls, emails, tweets and posts from friends and family whose copies of my first book, The Newlywed Cookbook: Fresh Ideas and Modern Recipes for Cooking With and For Each Other, landed on their doorsteps in the last few days, just in time for Christmas. We didn't expect the pre-orders to arrive until the last day of December, and books to hit the book stores  until the first of January.

Surprise, they are here! In bookstores {like Barnes and Noble}, online {Amazon} and wherever books are sold, as they say. I'm overwhelmed and beyond delighted by all the people who've told me they've found the pages to be beautiful, delicious and inspiring.

My New Year's wish and hope is that everyone who loves to cook ~ whether they be a newlywed, oldywed, almost wed or never wed, a twosome or a family ~ could have their own copy to dig into {this book is about so much more than cooking; it's about really living!}. In the meantime, here, a preview of a few of my favorite spreads and recipes, to wet your appetite. Please, enjoy, share and treat yourself to something truly satisfying with someone you love.

{get dirty, get growing and get green!}

{farm fresh. in every color, shape and size you dream of}

{a fat stack you won't soon forget}

{a luscious egg sandwich, pretty please}
{swirls of spaghetti, darling? Just one of the ways to treat the ones you love}

{well hello there. you're not quite like any other chocolate chip cookie I've ever seen}

 {let's run away together, just for the day}

 More previews, recipes and a schedule of when and where I'll be signing books to come.



Weekend Project: Peanut Butter Chocolate and Pretzel Fudge

{a DIY candy bar}

Okay, ya'll, you know there's nothing more generous to give at the holidays than the gift of your time and something decadent handmade in your kitchen. It's time to up the ante. The food-lovers in your life are way beyond chocolate. It's peanut butter, chocolate and pretzel time.

This year, I created ten delicious, hipped-up riffs on some classic homemade holiday food gifts  for Cooking Channel, and my favorite is this Triple-Decker Peanut Butter and Pretzel Fudge topped with ganache and sourdough pretzels. I'm not normally a fudge gal. Not for the making of nor the eating of (caveat, this is cheater's fudge, the kind made with melted chips). But this is so easy it hardly befits the Weekend Project category. All you need is an hour.

I like to think of it as a chic DIY candy bar, the kind my buddies at Baked would make. In fact, one of their books would be the perfect pairing for this gift if you want to up the ante yet again.

Click here for the recipe. Now hit the kitchen.



birthday hoopla

{click to enlarge}

The first year in a child’s life is an incredible journey, not just for the baby, but for the whole family. As a mamma, I have felt this quite profoundly, but never more so than when I realized it was time to plan Greta’s first birthday. I resisted at first. The turning over of the first year of a baby’s life has so many implications. The baby is becoming a toddler, independent in so many ways. The new mamma is on her way to becoming a seasoned one. The baby weight should be gone. The sleepless nights, over. Life back to normal. Except none of it is. It is better and more chaotic and more simple, all at once.

 Somewhere around the time I fully embraced this forthcoming milestone and started planning for the big day, I realized that Greta growing up means good things for all of us. She gets more and more fun, and hilarious every day. And us too! We sleep less, but laugh more. I’m more balanced, more accepting of others, myself, and f life just as it is. More able to let go of what I can’t accomplish, and embrace what I can, like a magical, memorable day for celebrating this major milestone. 

Hers was a day of soothing squash and farro soup and roasted baby acorn squash with pomegranates. Of Pumpkin Cupcakes with Creamy Cheese Frosting. Of balloons and garlands drifting from our old apple tree. Of hot Whole Grain Bavarian Pretzels, local beer, hot cider. Of endless little girl giggles, and apples. Of soaking up every available second of joy that this baby showers on her tiny world.
Greta’s beyond wild about apples, likely for the independence they represent {she can eat them without any help!}, and her mamma’s wild about apple orchards, so we brought the orchards of the Hudson Valley to our house with a half dozen varieties of fresh apples, hot cider, cider donuts and touches of roma red and blushing pink lady pink everywhere. This party is as easy to reproduce as are the recipes below, perfect for any fall occasion, or the simple milestone of learning to live, fully present, in every moment of your little one’s life.

{Sources: invitations, Sponge Cake Press. Vases and drinking cups, Ball jars. On Etsy: Party hat,  Tradewind Tiaras; felt garlands, Benzie; vintage baby dress, Stop the Clock; cupcake liners, straws and straw-toppers, Hey YoYo

Pure Pumpkin Cupcakes with Creamy Cheese Frosting

These cupcakes are the perfect first sweet for little ones. Arguably wholesome and undeniably delicious, made with pure pumpkin and rich Neufchatel cheese frosting, these beat sugary sweet cupcakes in any season, but especially for fall.

2 cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat white flour
1 cup light-brown sugar
1 cup raw organic sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground roasted ginger
2 sticks unsalted organic butter, melted
4 large organic eggs, beaten
1 15-ounce can organic pumpkin puree

1 pound Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted organic butter, softened
1/3 to 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, or to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
splash of pure vanilla extract

makes 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes, or about 3 1/2 dozen minis

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line three cupcake pans or four mini cupcake pans with cupcake liners and keep handy. Set out the Neufchatel cheese and butter for the frosting to come to room temperature. 

  1. Whisk together the flour, sugars, baking soda, powder, salt and spices in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter and eggs. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula, stirring until some dry bits remain. Add the pumpkin puree and stir to completely combine.

  1. Use a cookie or ice cream scoop to fill each muffin liner about 2/3 of the way full. Bake in the center rack, rotating tins back to front and top to bottom {if using more than one rack} once until muffins spring back lightly when touched and are just baked through, about 25 minutes for large cupcakes and 18 for minis. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

  1. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat the Neufchatel cheese and butter together with an electric mixer or the whip attachment on an immersion blender until smooth and fluffy with no lumps. Add sugar and honey or agave to taste {start with a little ~ the rich cheese, butter and pumpkin are decadent and tasty with just subtle amounts of sugar!}, plus a splash of vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Frost the cooled cupcakes, using the back of a small spoon or off-set spatula to swirl the frosting into careless swoops.  Top with your favorite cake topper or candles and celebrate!

Whole Wheat Bavarian-Style Soft Pretzels

These are really quite simple {no proofing required}, and just the thing for a first birthday. Babes of almost any age will love to hold these in their hands, nibble, suck or teethe on the soft whole wheat hiding beneath the shining, golden crust. Add coarse sea salt for grown-ups, and sides of mustard for dipping.

1 1/2 cups warm water {about 100 degrees F}
2 1/4 teaspoons {one packet} active dry yeast
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 stick {4 tablespoons} melted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg, separated

2 tablespoons baking soda
coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

makes 6 giant pretzels or 12 small ones

  1. Preheat the oven to 415 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or silpats.  

  1. Test the water temperature with a thermometer or your fingertips. It should feel like a warm Jacuzzi, between 100 and 110 degrees F. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and set aside to soften. The yeast should spread and begin to expand across the surface of the water. Add the sugar and stir together.

  1.  Whisk together the bread or all purpose flour, and 1 1/4 cups of the whole wheat flour and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, olive oil and egg yolk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula or the dough hook of a stand mixer, stirring until just a few dry bits remain.

  1. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface {or continue with the dough hook} and knead the dough together, adding up to 1/4 cup more of the whole wheat flour as needed. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic, and in one uniform ball. Set aside to rest.

  1. Mix together 2 cups warm water and the baking soda in a shallow pan. Divide the dough into 6 or 12 equal size portions. Keep the dough covered and working with one portion at a time, roll the dough between the heels of your hand and the floured bowl to make a long, skinny rope, about 1/4 inch in diameter. Holding both ends, cross the ends over each other, make one twist and then press the ends into the curved edge to create a pretzel shape. Dip each pretzel into the baking soda water then lay out evenly on the baking sheet.

  1. Beat the egg white until frothy. Brush the tops of each pretzel with egg white and sprinkle with coarse salt or leave plain, for babes. Bake in the center racks of the oven, rotating the trays once, until the pretzels are evenly golden brown and slightly shiny, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before stacking and serving.

hoorah! {a charming birthday party invitation}

Can I brag on my sister a bit? Good, because she is a gem. Not only because she gave me my first makeover, listens to me at any hour of the day, and makes me feel like I'm a part of a winning team no matter what I do, but also because she is so creatively inspiring! She, Jenny Goddard, is the creator of Sponge Cake Press, and this darling invitation for Greta's first birthday party, which are just a few examples of her detailed designs. Find more of Jenny's work here.

P.S. Stay tuned for photos + recipes from the party, coming in just a few...


one fine day

ny, ny

This day was, dawn till dusk, pure joy. From this morning's birthday pancakes to the barking sea lions in the Central Park Zoo to the birthday suit parade that went on long past bedtime, it was as happy a first birthday as I could ever dream of for our little girl. I didn't think it was possible to be filled with more wonder than we were a year ago today, when at 7:02 pm, our baby girl arrived finally, quietly just after sunset, and was laid on my chest. But I am. I wonder more and more every day, at the parts of her that are me, the parts of her that are Andras, the parts that are complete and utter original Greta.

Greta's tiny feet {she's walking!} and enormous appetite {family trait} are hard to keep up with, one of the reasons I'm not here to write as often as I wish, but a year went too fast, so I'm spending these days cherishing her, and putting together a first birthday bash at least one of us will remember forever. I'll see you here again soon with stories and recipes when we recover.

In the meantime, wishing you the happiest of days, whatever it is you're celebrating.


Newlyweds Cook: Luisa + Max {Date Night in Berlin}

Around here, Friday is date night. It's always given the end of the week a special sparkle, stealing away to the ladies room to put on lip gloss before András picked me up Friday from work, or slipping the secret ingredients for his favorite meal into the fridge for a surprise supper at home. It's a harder date to keep since baby girl arrived on the scene, but this sweet, sweet story from my friend and brand-newlywed Luisa Weiss, reminds me how important it is to keep the Friday fires burning. You might know Luisa as author of the well-adored blog The Wendesday Chef, but I'm guessing to one man, she's better known as the hightlight of each week, authoress of a superb plate of Spaghetti all’Amatriciana Tedesca, beloved wife. Join me in welcoming Luisa and Max home from their honeymoon in Greece and on with the rest of their joyous life together! Here is their story.  

 {photo by cinzia bruschin}

Luisa + Max
Berlin, Germany

Just a few months before my husband and I were married, he was offered a job, the kind of job that’s hard to refuse. Good news, you would think, especially in this day and age. And indeed, we were thrilled. But the offer was contingent upon one crucial thing: that Max move to another city, one in western Germany, just a little too far away for a daily commute from Berlin, which is where we live together.

Plenty of Germans, especially Berliners, commute elsewhere for work, since our city – as vibrant and beautiful as it may be - holds little in the way of employment for people in industries other than the creative one. In fact, Max’s father has this very life, working Mondays through Fridays in a town about three hours away from Berlin and coming home to Berlin and his wife, Max’s mother, only on weekends. A number of Max’s friends do the same dance each week.

It wasn’t ideal, we agreed. But it was doable. The commute would be just under three hours each way. And once a month, I’d go to see him, so Max wouldn’t have to travel every single weekend. The hope was (and is) that after a year or two, he’d be able to put in for a transfer to an office in a town just on the outskirts of Berlin and he’d move home. Our fingers are crossed.

Max and I are no strangers to long-distance love. In fact, in our early twenties, we spent five years in love while I lived in New York and he lived in Germany. We were too young and stupid for that relationship to ultimately flourish (and frankly, that amount of distance was, over that amount of time, the true killer). But after having found each other again in our early thirties and after I made the huge step of moving back to Berlin from New York, in part so we could we be together, the separation between Berlin and Kassel feels like a piece of cake.

After all, we are in the same time zone these days. The same country, too. We are each other’s wake-up calls and good night calls. I can hop on a train or get in the car if I really need to see him. Just knowing that he’s that close goes a long way. Every Saturday, we wake up together. Every Sunday evening, I drive him to the train station and we wave to each other, again and again, as he walks towards the tracks. And every Friday night, barring a train delay, Max comes home in time for dinner.

That first meal together on Friday evening, after five days of not seeing each other, is always special, no matter where we go or what we eat. Sometimes we make cheese sandwiches and munch on quick cucumber pickles on the living room couch. Sometimes I make us a simple pot of spaghetti with tomato sauce (a sauce Max learned to cook so well that I had to include that fact in our wedding vows). Sometimes I put on lipstick and heels before I go pick him up and we drive straight into the city from the train station, settling in at the bar at our favorite sushi restaurant, where we watch the sushi chef work furiously behind the bar, fingers flying. Sometimes, rarely, just as a guilty pleasure, we get currywursts from a street vendor, piping hot and sweetly spicy, and eat them in the front seat of the car, the way we used to do years ago, before we had any idea how our story would end. Or, really, how it would continue.

“But you're newlyweds!" people sometimes howl when they hear of our living arrangement. "Isn't it haaard?" And I don't think it's always easy for Max. He's the one with the weekly train rides, the new city to adjust to, the homesickness. All I do is miss him, but from the comfort of our home and our city, I don't think I really get to complain.

Plus, the upside of our arrangement is that our weekends together feel sacred and romantic. From the activities we choose to do, the people we see and the meals we share everything is done more deliberately, with more care and thought. The time we have is precious. We don’t want to waste a minute.

Luisa generously shared her favorite restaurants in Berlin to hide away with Max which you can find here, but since most of us can't get to Berlin tonight {poor us!}, here's her recipe for your date night. 


 Spaghetti all'Amatriciana Tedesca

When no restaurant holds the appeal that a home-cooked meal can, we stay home and I make spaghetti. These days, with summer gone and the cold nights of Berlin’s autumn stretching into daytime, we need fortification from our spaghetti sauce; a simple tomato sugo spiked with basil won’t do. In heavy rotation around these parts lately is what I like to call Spaghetti all’Amatriciana Tedesca. Instead of using guanciale or pancetta in the tomato sauce, I use German Schinkenspeck, which is the very lean part of a cured ham (it has a thick cap of fat, but I cut that off and the meat below is entirely lean). I like to buy a thick slice from the butcher at my favorite market on Saturday mornings and then use it all week long, cut into tomato sauce or diced finely in potato salad. It has a much stronger flavor than pancetta or guanciale, but it works incredibly well with the sweet onions and tomatoes and the kick from the chile. It’s hard not to eat the sauce straight from the pan while cooking.

 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
A 4-by-4-inch chunk of lean Schinkenspeck, cut into large dice
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 small dried chile, broken in half
Salt to taste (optional)
200 grams dried spaghetti (I calculate about 80 grams for me, 120 grams for him)

serves 2

1. Put the olive oil in 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat and add the diced Schinkenspeck and onions. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and fragrant, about 7 to 10 minutes. Do not let the onions brown.

2. Pull the peeled tomatoes into long shreds with your fingers and add to the onions. Reserve half of the tomato puree; you don’t want this sauce to be too gloopy. Add the broken chile and stir to combine. Let the sauce simmer while you put a pot of salted water on to boil for the spaghetti.

3. The tomato sauce should simmer for about 20 minutes, about the time it will take you to boil the pasta water and cook the spaghetti until al dente. If you find the sauce getting too dry, add a spoonful or two of the tomato puree and let simmer. Taste the tomato sauce for seasoning just before serving; if needed, add some salt to taste. But between the chile and the Schinkenspeck, you probably won’t need much.

4. Drain the spaghetti, reserving some of the starchy pasta water. Put the drained spaghetti in the pan with the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Add some of the starchy water to loosen the mixture, if necessary. Serve and eat immediately. 

Date Night In Berlin {with Luisa + Max}

It's Friday, date night and reunite night for today's sweet Newlyweds Cook couple, Luisa + Max. In case like me, you're dying to know where Luisa Weiss + her hubby are eating tonight in Berlin, here are three of their favorite sweet spots in and around their sparkling city. 

Our favorite Friday night haunt is a fantastic Japanese restaurant in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg called Sasaya. We invariably sit at the bar, always wedged into a corner, so we can watch the head sushi chef work while we eat our dinner. It’s like theater, only with better food. I usually order the wakame salad and the omakase sushi, while Max is incapable of walking into the place without getting an appetizer of fried chicken (crisp, greaseless and delicious), which comes with a wedge of lemon on a Kraft paper-lined straw plate.

Lychener Strasse 50
10437 Berlin
Tel: (030) 4471 7721

When Max’s train is delayed, we head to a Spanish restaurant in Kreuzberg called Bar Raval, where the kitchen still bustles after 10:00 pm and the wait staff is sweet and kind, if slightly harried. The crisp cava is served in coupe glasses, there are complimentary dishes of addictive green olives on the table and their pan con tomate (or pa amb tomaquet, technically, since it’s a Catalonian restaurant) is a smoky, salty, chewy, juicy delight.

Bar Raval
Lübbener Strasse 1
10997 Berlin
Tel: (030) 5316-7954

If it’s one of those Friday nights, you know, the kind that caps a no-good-very-bad-stinky-to-high-heaven kind of week, then we hop in the car and drive to a quiet part of the Ku’Damm (western Berlin’s shopping mile), where, at a stand that’s an institution for old West Berliners like us, we each order a currywurst, a Berlin specialty consisting of a deep-fried hot dog sliced into rounds, doused liberally with curry-flavored ketchup and served with a hot roll on a fluted paper plate with a small plastic trident. Yes, currywurst is an acquired taste. Yes, it can be delicious. And yes, sometimes it is just what you need for dinner. Take it from me.

Bier’s 195
Kurfürstendamm 195
10707 Berlin
Tel: (030) 881 8942


Marriage, Stinky Cheese & Fig Jam {an anniversary story}

Three years ago today, I married this crazy, brilliant, handsome, playful man. I love him more than I ever dreamed it possible to love. And when you love someone, sometimes you want to steal them away from the world and have them all to yourself, just for one day. That's how I'd hoped to spend today, in my favorite city with my favorite guy. Maybe we'd eat at abc kitchen or swing Greta between us in the park or just sit outside together at our favorite beer garden with our baby girl toddling at our feet and try not to be busy, just for a few minutes.

Yesterday, we found out András had to go to Boston for work this week, so there would be no dinner at New York's chicest local food mecca, no shared stein of beer, no Netflix streaming snuggled side by side in bed.

When he told me, I did a requisite pout. Then I spent a good hour feeling sorry for myself, something I don't believe in but allow myself about once a year. Until my friend Breana told me she spent her very first anniversary at home in North Carolina eating stinky cheese and fig jam while her hubby, Scott, was off doing his dissertation research among the cheetahs in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

That was a good reminder that in marriage, we didn't sign up for one perfect day together once a year, but instead, for all the simple, imperfect days we share in between, including the support and sacrifices it takes to follow our dreams. Perfection? That's what the wedding day is for, one magical day to get you started, something to relive when you're apart, and to hold onto anytime you need a little bit of fairy tale.

Today I have these photos from our fairy tale, and sweet Greta who is our happily ever after. And by tomorrow, András will be back by my side again.  But in the meantime, I'd like to commence the the tradition of the wild-card Stinky Cheese & Fig Jam Anniversary, redeemable for leather (3rd), pearl (30th), gold (50th),  diamond (75th) or any other anniversaries anytime you have to celebrate your special day apart from the one you love.

I'd love a story to keep me company while I stir my fig jam. Tell me, when you have had to spend your beloved day away from your beloved, and what did you do to sulk or celebrate? 

Fig Jam

2 pounds green or purple figs, stemmed and quartered
1 1/2 cups raw, organic sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup water

makes 3 8-ounce jars

  1. Toss the figs, sugar and lemon zest together in a non-reactive saucepan and let them sit, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the lemon juice and water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until figs are soft and the liquid is jammy, about 20 minutes.
  3. Cool and transfer to sterile jars. Store in the fridge for up to 2 months. Serve with scones or toasted bread and stinky cheese. 


Heading to Memphis To Sing the Tomato Blues

{homegrown. hurley, ny}

Sometimes it's hard to let go of something. Like tomatoes. See the passing of tomato season means it's really fall. The season Greta was born in. Which means she's almost one. Not so much baby. Yes, still a baby, but no longer the tiny kind that fits in a pouch on your chest and goes with wherever you go without wiggling to get out and crawl and walk and, sigh, run ever more toward being a big girl. It means there's no more the first time she wiggled her toes in the sand or the first time she said Mama or the first tiny tomato she ever ate right off the vine.

{tomatoes irene. hurley, ny}

I got to thinking about all this tonight as I packed for Memphis, where Greta and I are headed bright and early in the morning to celebrate my dear, sweet Aunt Dorothy's 80th Birthday. I got to thinking we might need to sing a little tomato blues while we're down there. 

{food network kitchens. chelsea, ny}

In the meantime, I'm leaving you with this tomato retrospective and a few of my favorite fallish {is that a word?} tomato recipes to help you bid adieu to the summer's-over blues.

{lunch. porva, hungary}

Eight Outstanding Late-Season Tomato Recipes

101 Cookbook's Spiced Tomato Gratin

{fallen. hurley, ny}


{The Highchair Chronicles} Let them Eat....Everything!

{Quentin eats, photo by Jennifer Martine}

Babe: Quentin
Mama: Jennifer
Q's Birthday: September 17

Isn't it strange that you can actually make a friend through Twitter? Jennifer Martine is my first and best twitter friend. {I guess that makes us BTFs}. I knew her name because she photographed the gorgeous photos in my friend Louisa's luminous book, Lucid Food. I started following Jennifer on Twitter to keep up with her pretty pictures, and when we figured out we had babes  about the same, age, we started talking purees. Before long, we were trading photos of our kiddos feasting on their first forkfuls of our yummy creations. Today's Jennifer's birthday, and I thought it would make her day to share a classic shot of her feeding her beautiful boy, Quentin, who just turned one, and along with it, what she's learned since he first hit the chair. I love her breezy, mother's-instinct-is-best approach to feeding, and I think you will too: 
"When I started feeding Quentin solids I couldn't believe how quickly he took to it. Maybe we got lucky -- he's just a product of two foodie parents -- I don't know.  But I do think there had to be something about the encouraging (nom, nom, nom) sounds I would make and the smile on my face that made him feel comfortable about it. I also did my best to time the feedings after a small bottle so that he wasn't totally starving and frantic but also got his taste buds going. I would mash up banana and avocado, add some whipped up peas and just experiment away. Sometimes, I would just think in general of the equation of something sweet + something savory+ something really healthy. Broccoli+Apples+Banana or Squash+Banana+Avocado. Then we started whizzing up some of whatever we were eating like pasta or chicken and potato. Only a couple of times Quentin not like the texture of something or if it was too bland he would get bored. I was amazed at how easily he took to different flavors,even spicy or garlicy stuff, he just loved it all! 

Then as he got more into it I started giving him things he could feed himself like big slices of oranges, teething biscuits and and those puffs you can buy that dissolve easily. As he got more experienced I tried different textures and chunkier mixtures. You could tell that he was learning how to chew things long enough to swallow and I trusted him to figure it out. It was hard at first not worrying that he was going to choke on something all the time and I had to give him the chance to learn how to chew big bites. Now he eats with abandon. Savory, spicy, sweet, sour. He eats what we eat, we feed him off of our plate, we let him try to feed us, etc. etc. We just make it fun, we don't stress and let him taste just about everything." 
There are many awesome ideas for feeding your babes that come from Jennifer and her hubby Tyler's experience feeding Quentin, and their attitudes around food, but here are my two faves: 

Rule #2: Let them taste everything {as long as it's safe}: 
Yes, there's a little list foods that are generally known to be unhealthful, too acidic or higher risk for allergies for babes under one {like citrus, peanut butter and cows milk}. Talk to your pediatrician for guidance. Beyond that, feed your babies FLAVOR!  Don't assume they won't like a food because it's too "grown up" or because you don't like it. Babies like sweet, sour, spicy and savory--even garlic-- just like we do! 

Rule #3: Create a formula that works: 
When you start combining foods, create a go-to formula that makes meal planning and preparation easier, like Jennifer's": something sweet + something savory+ something really healthy. Try Broccoli+Apples+Banana or Squash+Banana+Avocado or Pears, Peas and Avocado. 

What are your food formulas and favorite combos to keep your little ones engaged in their thrones? 


Five Vows for Newlywed Cooks

brooklyn, ny

Dinner in our home can be an effortless affair. I’m kind of crazy into cooking, and hubby is such a good eater, he’s fine with whatever I whip up. Occasionally, Julius commands the reigns, and it’s fun to see what he creates. But it takes time to iron out the inner workings of newly wedded mealtimes, so I thought I’d share a few tips that help make our kitchen a place where love, peace and deliciousness reign supreme.

If my sweetie loves it, I will make it again: When I first began cooking for Julius, he’d complain that he never would get a chance to have a favorite because I rarely made the same thing twice. I still like to experiment, but now, on those nights when I stare into the fridge willing dinner to simply emerge, I am grateful to have a few dishes in my repertoire that are as reliable and winning as toast + butter. What better foundation of said collection than the meals you and your honey love best?

We will adopt a No Vegetable Left Behind policy: Oh the first year of marriage: comforting pasta dishes, Modern Family cocktail hour, jaunts to the Chocolate Room to share a perfect brownie sundae—it’s bliss, but it can make your skinny jeans angry. Our advice: develop a few ways to prepare veggies that are so good, the two of you will be happy to eat them a few times a week. Don’t worry; we have you covered with a recipe to get you started.

Together, we will develop a system: In our home, whoever is doing the cooking is not washing dishes; other couples alternate days or weeks on KP, and some make a few meals on Sunday to last the week. Your approach will depend on how you feel about cooking, work schedules and all of that un-fun stuff, but even a loose arrangement may prevent silly tiffs about meal logistics.

I will learn something new: If even you are bored with your meal before you make it, consider trying a new technique, a new dish, a new spice—something to jazz up your food life; eating with variety not only satiates and develops a curious palate, but it also boosts nutrition. Take a class, buy a cookbook or steal a few moves from a foodie friend who cooks.
If I’m not cooking, I’m not looking: No one likes a backseat driver or a Monday morning quarterback, so do not micromanage your beloved when he is preparing a meal for you, even if you are just trying to help. It is annoying and condescending (or so I’ve been told).
Bonus Vow! I will say thank you: There is a pretty much global proverb that goes something like this: Be Grateful. So in the spirit of heeding ancient wisdom, if your spouse puts forth A-level effort and produces a C-quality meal, the loving thing to do is just eat it.

We told you ours, now you tell us yours. What vows or strategies rule your newlywed kitchen?

 Kale Salad

Kale salad is all the rage these days, and this version is one of my favorites and a crowd pleaser, to boot. Ideally, this dish would be made a few hours before serving so the kale has some time to break down, but you can make it as little as 30 minutes in advance. Leftovers make a delicious lunch.

To make salad, combine juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons grainy mustard (optional) and 1 small clove of pressed garlic in a large bowl. Add 1 bunch of washed and dried thinly sliced kale and toss to coat completely. I prefer lacinato, as pictured above, but other varieties work just as well. To the kale mixture, add 1/4 cup each of chopped kalamata olives and grated hard Italian cheese (such as parmigiano reggiano, grana padano, piave or pecorino romano), a handful of toasted pine nuts and salt and pepper to taste. Toss again to combine, and enjoy!

Eat Well,

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New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.