The Thing About Comfort Food

When you think of comfort food, what comes to mind? My mom always says it's her mom's fried chicken wings or a baked potato.  And sure, while fried chicken wings are comforting in their decadence and deliciousness, they are not the first thing that I yearn for. As for baked potatoes, I realize this sounds crazy to some, but they never appealed to me. It's easy to find goodness in a great array of foods that are labeled "comfort foods" (like chocolate chip cookies, big juicy burgers, chicken soup or cheesy pastas). But what is it about comfort foods that make them so comforting anyway? What exactly are we looking for in comfort food? 

roast chicken and sweet potato

I've spent a fair amount of time these past few weeks helping a loved one who just had major surgery. Last week, I made dinner for her kids while she was in the hospital and yesterday I brought groceries to cook in her kitchen for her family. Both times, I relied on my own definition of comfort food: simple roast chicken (dark meat only). For me, roast chicken is a return to home. To reliably delicious family dinners where I sat around a formica table for 18 years with my parents and sister and discussed the comings and goings of the day. Where we hashed out familiar family chatter and where I began to discover, embrace and enjoy the world and my place in it. I'm grateful for those evenings, and a large part of what I find comforting in the food is that return to the simple pleasures of the company of loved ones. 

The smell of my mom's roast chicken and the taste of juicy thigh meat with white rice soaked in chicken juices is, to me, the most comforting food ever. When I was little, we had vegetable minimums; my mom told us we had to eat 4 green beans or two pieces of broccoli. I never had a problem with that, and in fact, green beans alongside that chicken and rice absolutely completes the comfort meal for me. And we must have eaten rice three days a week with dinner. I absolutely love rice. 

So as I set out to make a difficult time even slightly easier for my loved ones, I returned to my concept of comfort food and made roast chicken. I made some additions and modifications to suit the tastebuds of others and included a spinach salad with eggs, onions and bacon with a warm bacon vinaigrette that I knew would be appreciated. 

What do you seek in comfort food? 

Roast Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potato Chips

roasting chicken and sweet potato chips

8 drumsticks
2 large sweet potatoes
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 375. Arrange the chicken on a baking tray lined with either aluminum foil or parchment paper. Sprinkle salt, garlic and thyme on both sides of the meat. Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Slice the sweet potatoes into rounds. Arrange on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Roast for approximately 35 minutes or until the juices of the chicken run clear and the sweet potato chips are slightly browned and crispy. 

Spinach Salad with Bacon, Eggs, Onions and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

10 ounces baby spinach
3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
1 large red onion, sliced thinly
1 package of bacon
6 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Spinach Salad with Bacon and Eggs

Toss the spinach and mushrooms in a large bowl. Fry the bacon in a pan (I used a cast iron skillet). Remove the bacon and  reserve most of the bacon grease. Fry the onion in the same pan, in the bacon grease. Cut the bacon into small pieces and add to the salad. Remove the onion from the pan and when slightly cooled, add to the salad. While the skillet is still hot, add the mustard, sugar and red wine vinegar with the reserved bacon grease and stir vigorously so that the mustard clumps dissolve and a fragrant dressing magically materializes. Add the sliced egg to the salad and pour on the warm vinaigrette. Special thanks to The Pioneer Woman for the idea of this recipe! 

10K for LLS

before the 10K

I had a magnificent morning! 

I love to run. I love when music is blasting at an inappropriate volume in my ear as I propel myself forward. I love knowing that the sweat is well earned. I have some of my most productive, clearest thoughts while I'm running and for me, running is a solo adventure. It's precious time by myself. 

it's inspiring to be surrounded by so many motivated people!

it's inspiring to be surrounded by so many motivated people!

Today, I ran the Oakley Mini 10K, the world's original women-only road race, to benefit the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, a cause near and dear to my heart. I joined over 7,800 other women, all of whom had dedicated their morning to completing 6.2 miles around New York's Central Park. It's an overwhelming feeling for me; though I'm dedicated and content to complete the run by myself, I'm inspired by the crowd. 

In fact, I felt a bit choked up with emotion during the first mile, as I saw women of all ages, stages and fitness levels, filled with determination. And here we all are, lucky enough to take in the beauty of Central Park on a fine Saturday morning. 

Thanks to the kindness and generosity of so many folks in my life, I raised over $18,000 for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. Those funds will be used to fund research for new, life saving and life-improving drugs and for patient and family education and services. My team, Moms In Training, raised over $400,000 for today's event. This is a victory! 

The best part of the 10K? That was definitely when I saw my family at the finish line. Feeling so blessed today. 

Guide to Safe, Nut-Free Lunches

The school year is winding down, but all kids still need to eat lunch every day. Thanks to the strict nut-free guidelines at my son's preschool (soon to be my daughter's preschool!), I've learned about a ton of products that are both nut-free and produced in a facility that does not process nuts. As a nut-allergic person, it is incredibly comforting to be in a school that takes this seriously. Thankfully, my son doesn't seem to have any food allergies but because of me and as a family, we're hyper aware of those who do. As we approach a new lunch packing season, for families with kids headed to day camp, I wanted to repost this guide to help those who need to pack nut-free lunches for whatever reason. 

Below you'll find a guide to safe, nut-free lunches, largely based on a great, detailed list that I received from my son's school. A note about safe, nut free lunches: fresh, whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables are always a great inclusion into any lunch. And always nut free! If you have product recommendations to add to this list, please add them to the comments below so that others can benefit too. Happy summer! 

Safe, Nut-Free Lunch #1

Safe, Nut-Free Lunch #1

Safe, Nut-Free Lunch #1

Cheese and crackers is always a fun lunch for kids, especially if you add variety with a couple of different cheeses and crackers. 

Here are some crackers that are produced in a facility that does not process nuts:
* Kavli Crispbread - 5 grain
* Back to Nature - Harvest Whole Wheats
* Carr's Whole Wheat Crackers
* Mary's Gone Crackers Original

Hummus produced in a nut-free facility:
* Sabra Hummus
* Tribe Hummus

Want to make your own? Try these:
* Hummus
* Black Bean Dip
* Carrot White Bean Dip

Pretzels made in a facility that does not process nuts:
* Happy Herbert's Pretzels
* Unique Pretzels
* Annie's Pretzel Bunnies

 

 Safe, Nut-Free Lunch #2

Safe, Nut-Free Lunch #2

Safe, Nut-Free Lunch #2

My kids love lunch on a stick. We like to use tongue depressors for our fruit and cheese kebabs.

Yogurts processed in a nut-free facility include:
* Stonyfield Farm yogurt
* So Delicious Vanilla coconut yogurt (dairy free)
* Chobani yogurt
* Fage yogurt

For popcorn kernels to pop at home (we're huge fans!) you can use Arrowhead Mills Organic Popcorn Kernels (also gluten free). 

 

 

 

Safe, Nut-Free Lunch #3 

Safe, Nut-Free Lunch #3

Safe, Nut-Free Lunch #3

We are big fans of sunbutter. It's not hard to make your own at home, as long as you can find sunflower seeds that are packaged in a nut-free facility and not roasted in peanut oil.  My son loves it either with jam or banana slices. You can pack sunbutter as a sandwich or a roll up (made with a tortilla). Sunbutter Sunflower Seed Spread is processed in a nut-free environment and is also gluten free. Cascadian Farm makes Spreadable Fruit, which is made in a nut-free facility. 

* Happy Herbert's* Unique Pretzels* Annie's Pretzel Bunnies

Breads made in a nut-free facility include: 
* Udi's Whole Wheat Bread
* Rudi's Multigrain Bread

Tortillas made in a nut-free facility include: 
* Rudi's Tortilla Wraps
* Alvarado St. Bread Tortillas

Cheese Sticks packaged in a nut-free facility include:
* Organic Valley Stringles
* Horizon String Cheese

Other nut-free facility lunch options: 

Homemade snacks: 
My favorite nut-free and dairy free granola bars, made with Enjoy Life Foods dairy free chocolate chunks
Oatmeal Banana Bars
Dairy Free Banana Bread made with Earth Balance

Graham crackers: 

* New Morning Organic Cinnamon or Honey Grahams
* Annie's Bunny Grahams
* Mi-del Honey Graham Crackers

Cereal:
* Kashi Cinnamon Harvest or Autumn Wheat
* Cascadian Farm Organic Cinnamon Raisin Granola or Maple Brown Sugar Granola
* Cheerios

Rice Cakes:
* Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Cakes or Organic Caramel Corn Rice Cakes or Cinnamon Rice Cakes

Fruit Snacks:
* Just Tomatoes etc. - Dried Fruits and Veggies (also gluten free)
* Little Ducks Organics - Tiny Fruits (also gluten free)  

 

 

 

This is What It Feels Like to Have an Anaphylactic Allergic Reaction

lifesaving allergy meds

This post is dedicated to the parents of kids with life threatening allergies. I've managed my fish and nut allergies pretty successfully all my life, and was raised to read labels and question ingredients. But accidents happen. In this post, I've laid out some strategies that have worked for me personally, and explanations about what it feels like to have an anaphylactic reaction, and why I act stupidly sometimes with the hope that it provides a bit of clarity to parents whose allergic kids may not be able to fully communicate during an allergy attack. 

The nuances of allergies can be complicated to explain to outsiders. For example, the reaction my body has to a walnut is far more severe than the reaction to a Brazil nut and yet they both cause anaphylaxis. Same with various fish. Over the years, I've unfortunately had the opportunity to gather this detailed data and have listed my top three tips below for eating out of my home. Sometimes, even after nearly four decades, I make mistakes and eat something that causes a bad allergic reaction. I have to live with this burden of guilt and regret when this happens and at the same time, I'm incredibly grateful to live. This weekend was my first allergic reaction in three years, and the first time that I've needed the epi pen since 2010. I'm still a work in progress. 

My strategies for eating out 
1. Avoid. There are many foods that I avoid completely and only eat if I've made myself because I've been burned in the past. This includes foods like pesto (walnuts), banana bread (walnuts), barbecue sauce (anchovy) and marshmallows (fish gelatin). If I'm at all doubtful that a food is safe, I don't eat it. There are plenty of other options in the world.
2. Lip Test. I usually do a "lip test," where I put a suspicious food on my lips and wait a few minutes. If I'm allergic, I'll get a hive immediately and I know not to eat the food. I've been enormously fortunate with this strategy and would recommend it to anyone with known food allergies that react immediately to contact with skin. If you aren't sure whether your skin reacts, and you have been told otherwise by your allergist, this wouldn't be an option for you.
3. Clean Hands and Utensils for All. When I'm at the grocery store, the bakery or anywhere else that I may be purchasing food where there are known allergens and potential cross contamination, I ask whomever is helping me to put on a fresh pair of gloves. I request newly washed ice cream scoopers, newly washed tongs, you name it. These days, many people are accommodating to the request. If it's an issue, however, you should question whether you want to spend a penny at that establishment. 

Note: these are things that have worked for me, but if your gut says it wouldn't be a smart experiment for you or for your child, or if your doctor has cautioned you not to vary at all from her recommendations, obviously do what feels right. This is not clinical advice by any means. 

photo courtesy of WebMD

photo courtesy of WebMD

What it feels like to have an anaphylactic reaction 
The worst part of an allergic reaction is the fear. Allergic reactions are painful, sure. But it's terrifying to feel something going wrong inside of your body and not be able to see any of it. I haven't had an allergic reaction in almost three years. This past weekend, my husband and I went to a party at a Russian restaurant about 45 minutes from our home, where I knew there would be lots of fish. I brought my Benadryl and my Ventolin inhaler but not my epi pen. I ate what I knew I could: brown bread and potatoes. After dancing and vodka, I was hungry. There was a dish on the table with pasta, chicken and tomato. I helped myself to some and danced some more. I needed another bite, and went back to the table to find different pasta and chicken. I put only the pasta on my plate and ate two giant forkfuls with the intention of going back immediately to dance. My husband came over as I was swallowing bite #2 and said "that's fish!" About 30 seconds later, I felt the reaction coming on and tried not to panic. I immediately took two Benadryl and two sprays from my inhaler.

The physical reaction
Beyond the panic, the first few moments of an allergic reaction make my mouth burn. My tongue feels prickly and I get hot throbbing hives on my lips. After about five minutes, I start to feel an ache in my esophagus as the hives move down my throat. I realize there's no going back because I've already swallowed the food. My next several hours are going to revolve around getting better. The panic makes my legs feel weak and I want to cry. 

We have a long ride ahead to get home. I have what feels like a golf ball stuck inside of my esophagus, my throat feels scratchy and and it's painful to swallow. I worry about the hives. I worry about my blood pressure plummeting. I try to contain the worry in my own head. I'm afraid to alarm the people around me because I need them to stay calm on my behalf, just in case. My stomach aches with both a sharp and dull pain that makes me want to close my eyes and sleep so that it will stop aching. Once the Benadryl kicks in, everything seems to be moving in slow motion. After about ten minutes, the hives on my lip go down, my tongue doesn't feel as swollen, numb and prickly but my stomach still aches. I know that I need the epi pen that's waiting for me at home. I'm full of regret. This is all my fault. I want to crawl out of my own skin from the knot in my stomach. I tell myself over and over that I can get through this and I'm grateful that my husband is with me. 

photo courtesy of surefoodsliving.com

photo courtesy of surefoodsliving.com

I don't always travel with my epi pen. Here's why:
1.  Stupidity. I don't think I'm ever going to have a problem, and even if I do, it's only under the worst circumstances that I need the epi pen. 
2. Cost. It's a burden to get refills of the epi pen. It requires time for an appointment with my allergist and there is a limit on the number of epi pens that insurance will cover at one time. Plus they're costly. Even if I go for years without having an allergic reaction that requires an epi pen, I need a non-expired one all the time. And not just one. I need one for my purse, one for my house, one for my car and another for just in case. 
3. The after effects. The epi pen makes my body jittery and uncomfortable. After the Benadryl and the inhaler, I feel drugged and uncomfortable in my own body. 

Every time I actually swallow a food that I'm allergic to, I need the epi pen. Every time. It took me years to come to terms with this because I hate the after effects of the epi pen but the secondary reaction that comes from not getting the epi pen (vomiting, hives the next day) is worse. Every time your child leaves the house, they should have the epi pen on hand. It's time I took my own advice. Within two minutes of getting the epi pen injection, I feel jittery and woozy all at once, but incredibly relieved that help is on the way. Everything feels like a monumental effort and yet I feel so speedy, like there's a highway full of race cars inside of me. I wait for the golf ball to go away and that's my signal that it's safe to go to sleep. This is what works for me, based on my personal experiences. 

The day after
After an allergic reaction like this, I feel bloated and out of it the next day. I need extra sleep. I try and put it behind me and thank my lucky stars that I got through it. I've never discussed the details about having a reaction with anyone so I don't know if this is standard. I haven't met so many people of my generation who have allergies like this, and when I have in the past, we've mostly compared notes on what we're allergic to and what medications we rely on. Do you have life threatening allergies? Is this generally how you feel during an attack? 

For nut-allergic families, I've compiled a Guide to Safe, Nut-Free Lunches. If your family or a family that you know has a child with life threatening allergies and you think they may benefit from speaking to an adult who has been through it, please email me. I'm happy to provide support. 

 

Quick, Easy Pasta for Busy Weeknights (and Egg Experiments too!)

Between spring fever, family birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day and the end of the school year, it's a wonder that anything gets done. Apologies for the silence of late, but we've been knee deep in egg-related science experiments, end of year activities and preparations for the busy Back to School season for LaLa Lunchbox and LaLa Breakfast. In the midst of everything, I've discovered a super easy, really fast dinner that has made our crammed days much easier: Pasta with Boursin and Peas! Here's my favorite part: once the kids tasted it, they immediately requested it for their lunches. And boom! Just like that, the ten minutes it took to put this dish together saved me big time on lunch as well. 

Lunch featuring pasta with Boursin and peas

As an aside, did you know that if you put eggs in vinegar, the acid breaks down the egg shell? 

eggs-periments

Did you also know that if you place a hard boiled egg in toothpaste for 24 hours, remove it and place the egg in vinegar for 48 hours, the part that was submerged in toothpaste will not decay? Pretty cool – and also a really cool way to show the importance of brushing teeth! 

Anyway, back to the pasta. I've made this once a week for the last four weeks and two of my kids have been wolfing it down for dinner and lunch (my third child can't have dairy). Remember Boursin? I remember slathering it on crackers as a kid and absolutely loving it's creamy, salty, garlicky flavor. Okay fine, I admit it: I used to eat Boursin with a spoon. Didn't you?! I hadn't even thought about Boursin for decades but when I came across the concept on Pinterest, I tried it immediately and the kids went nuts. 

pasta with boursin

Here's how we did it: cook one pound of pasta (whole wheat or white) and when it's finished and still hot, add 4 ounces of this (use the remainder for crackers, naturally!): 

Boursin for pasta

Add peas to that (I used 6 ounces of frozen peas that I quickly steamed) plus fresh pepper and some lemon zest and bam! Dinner is done. Lunch is too, if you've got leftovers. Hat tip to Joanna Goddard for finding this deliciousness and Danielle Oron for creating it! 

Here's the full recipe (slightly modified from the original):
1 lb pasta - I used penne but anything will suffice
4 oz of Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs
6 oz frozen peas, steamed
fresh ground pepper to taste
zest of 1/2 lemon 

Cook the pasta as directed on the package. Drain the pasta and while still hot, add the Boursin and stir so that the cheese gets all creamy and delicious. Add the steamed peas. I included 2 TB of the water from the steamed peas so that the pasta had better moisture. Add the lemon zest and mix thoroughly. 
 

I removed the peas one night and had them on the side instead. 

I removed the peas one night and had them on the side instead. 

Pile into the Kitchen for Mother's Day!

There's a sweet collection of Winnie the Pooh stories that my 2 year old is obsessed with these days. The pages have been torn and taped in places from those moments that her excitement got the better of her. One of the stories is about a scavenger hunt, and ends with Christopher Robin telling Pooh and the crew that friends working together is the greatest thing in the whole world. I thought of that story over and over this Mother's Day. 

My husband had a Mother's Day plan. He and the kids would get up early and make me a fabulous breakfast (not in bed – I have a thing about food in bedrooms). How do I know about this plan? Because my kids can't keep a secret! Well, my 9 year old can. But her brother and sister spilled the beans. They created a menu using LaLa Breakfast on the iPad and each person claimed a role in the making of a delicious Mother's Day breakfast.

LaLa Mothers Day 2015

Most important first step? Coffee. My husband took charge of that one. The kids created a Mother's Day Breakfast Sandwich that they knew I'd love – the SAT sandwich: Applegate Sausage, Avocado and Tomato with fruit on the side. My husband, armed with the camera, sat back and watched the collaboration magic. My littlest one washed berries: 

washing berries for Mother's Day

My middle guy chopped bananas:

LaLa Mothers Day bananas

My 9 year old stole the show. I'm so impressed to see how motivated she is in the kitchen these days. She's eager to prepare foods and has been careful to watch, listen and learn new techniques. She toasted bread, sliced avocado and tomato, and even prepared the sausages all by herself and brought their sandwich vision to life. 

LaLa Mothers Day avocado
friends working together

The Greatest Gift in the Whole World! The sandwich was delicious, of course. But as I sat in my bedroom – under strict orders not to come out until they gave the green light – I remembered that I'm celebrating my 10th Mother's Day this year. Tenth! And my big family is finally getting to a place where we're able to pile into the kitchen and work together as a team. It's an absolute thrill to see a spark of independence in all three of my kids. And sure, it sounded hectic in the kitchen at times (I sat quietly playing Words with Friends and drinking coffee) but look what came out of it! The SAT is a perfect sandwich, and this savory breakfast with a hint of sweet was a delicious way to kick off Mother's Day. Awesome teamwork! 

LaLa Mothers Day 2015 SAT

Apparently parts of it had to be made a couple of times: 

LaLa Mothers Day 2015 avocado toast
LaLa Mothers Day ipad

I'm grateful at my soul's core for the opportunity to be a mom to my three kids. Thanks to them I feel hope, courage and tenderness in ways that I hadn't previously even comprehended. I'll be celebrating later today with my phenomenal mom, without whom none of this would have happened. 

Three cheers to moms everywhere and to the folks who love them and make their lives richer! And best wishes to you and yours for a happy and healthy Mother's Day! 

My son was busy drawing a heart for me on the iPad and didn't want to be part of this photo. 

My son was busy drawing a heart for me on the iPad and didn't want to be part of this photo. 

Apple Coffee Cake

Coffee cake is one of the greatest desserts out there. Truth be told, I love most things with a crumb top (who doesn't love the combination of brown sugar, butter, flour and oats?) but this particular recipe is wonderful because it doesn't require any fancy gadgets and it's simple enough for my almost 9 year old to make entirely on her own. I've made this recipe four times in the last week; I've given away one, frozen one and helped to eat two. 

I handed over the recipe card, took out the ingredients and let my daughter do the rest. This is a three-part recipe: cake batter, crumb top and apple slicing. First, she measured the dry ingredients for the cake. 

coffee cake dry ingredients

Next, she made the crumb top and set it aside, chastising me occasionally for nibbling.

crumb top for apple coffee cake

Next, she added the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mixed until a nice batter formed. We softened the butter in the microwave so that all was needed to make the magic happen was a spoon. 

mixing the cake batter

When the batter was mixed completely, she poured half into a ceramic dish lined with parchment paper (easy cleanup!). 

slicing apples for coffee cake

My daughter sliced one apple, placed the slices in a layer on top of the batter and sprinkled with cinnamon. 

apple coffee cake

She poured the rest of the batter on top and spread it around and topped with the delicious crumb top. 

apple coffee cake
happy cook!

She baked it in the oven and the house smelled fantastic! The hardest part was waiting to eat it. I love bringing my kids into the kitchen and it's been delightful watching how skills and capabilities change over time. Once upon a time, she was only able to participate in cooking alongside an adult. Now there are dishes she can make entirely on her own! Added bonus: she rinsed all of the dishes, placed them all in the dishwasher and wiped the countertops. 

A whole new world is opening up in my kitchen and boy am I excited! 

Apple Coffee Cake
Crumb top:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
dash of salt
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup rolled oats

Cake:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon plus more for dusting the apples
5 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk (we used unsweetened soy milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 apple, peeled and sliced (preferably granny smith)

Line a ceramic dish with parchment paper (ours is oval, about 8x13). Preheat the oven to 375. In a small bowl, combine all of the crumb top ingredients. Mix them together with your hands, so that the butter is evenly distributed and there's no clumps of flour. We softened the butter in the microwave to make this very easy. Set aside. 
Next, add the flour, baking soda and salt to a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, butter, egg, milk and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix completely. Pour half of the batter into the baking dish. Spread the apples on top in an even layer. Dust the top of the apples with cinnamon. Add the rest of the batter and spread evenly. Finally, add the crumb top. Bake in the oven at 375 for 25 minutes and reduce the heat to 350. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. Enjoy! 

Teething. Again.

2 year old at playground

This weekend was glorious! Goodbye winter coats, hello short-sleeves! My crew headed to Central Park and I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to Mother Nature after the winter we've endured. My kids climbed trees, marveled at the cherry blossoms and played their little hearts out at the playground. 

But last night was a rough one. Out of nowhere, my littlest one, now 2.5 years old, got the runny nose/congestion/cold that comes with teething. Her third 2 year old molar poked it's way out of the gum yesterday and with that came the slew of teething-related agony all over again.

My other two kids were early teethers and both had all four 2 year old molars by the time their second birthdays rolled around. Teeth used to pop out two at a time, like weeds and then poof! the teeth would be fully grown in after what felt like thirty seconds. Not this one. Her teeth take their sweet time in every way. After we get through this, we have one more molar to endure. 

My teething strategy is twofold: deal with the crunchy cravings and soothe the cold. I'll be making my own croutons for my gal to gnaw on, and though I didn't have all of the ingredients for a classic chicken soup, I threw together what I had in my kitchen this morning for a spring-like chicken soup. In fact, my 2 year old budding chef, who loves soup, threw it all together in the pot, with the exception of the raw chicken, and declared it "Carina Soup." 

IMG_1699.JPG

Delicious! I had the veggies already prepped in my fridge, which meant I was able to throw this together in under 5 minutes. The rest of the time is completely hands-off. Boy do I love that. What are your go-to recipes for kids when they're under the weather? 

Spring Chicken Soup (aka Carina Soup) 
3 chicken thighs
4 carrots, peeled
1 cup sugar snap peas
2 scallions
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 cube bouillon (*note: I normally avoid bouillon because I've heard bad things about yeast extract and it's relation to MSG. That said, I do keep some in my house. The bouillon that I used in this recipe is vegan and does contain yeast extract as the third ingredient. I used it because I wanted to hasten the flavor so that my daughter could enjoy this soup today for lunch. I didn't add any salt.) 

Method
Place all ingredients into a soup pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for at least an hour. 

Enjoy!