Bernie, Two Months!

Hello from Bernie’s 10th week! She is nearly 2 1/2 months old and smiles more and more each day! We have settled into the best little routine where every morning we have wiggle time, then go to the gym to stroll and listen to Unorthodox, and then come home and make a big summery salad for lunch. In the afternoon we do a fun thing like read crinkly tail tale books or swat at hanging vegetable toys before snuggles and nap time (that’s when I watch Jeopardy and read Bringing Up Bébé). Then we make dinner and Eggboy and I watch Fargo while we wait for Bernie to poop so that we can then give her a bath without worrying that she’ll poop in it (yep, learned that one the hard way haha). It’s peak maternity leave livin’ around here and we are soaking it in. Also the weather has been amazing, so we are, as Bernie puts it, “GOO!” Some highlights from this past month include:

-Our first little family picnic! On Memorial Day, we grilled sausages, potatoes, and broccolini, and drank rhubarb soda while we enjoyed the evening breeze.

-Bernie’s first out of town visitors! Jaclyn and Katie came to town and we had the best weekend ever, which included a trip to Fargo for the Antiques Roadshow (with a stop at Silver Lining Creamery after), the North Dakota Shakespeare 5K (err- we walked 3Ks of it ;), an afternoon picnic in the backyard with cookies and cookie dough (and carrots for balance), and cinnamon roll pancakes at Darcy’s.

-Cuddle time with Mrs. Moose. Bernie’s been grasping and swatting at toys and in true baby fashion she definitely prefers the super saturated weirdly colored high contrast ones. The muted rainbow lover in me is like “😳🙄 But Bernie, this hot pink neon green bumble bee clashes terribly with your navy car seat, mustard outfit, and olive pacifier…” but it’s ok, maybe one day she’ll love dusty rose like I do??

-Bernie’s first Syttende Mai, Norwegian Constitution Day! She is 5/16ths Norwegian, so we went to Sons of Norway and ate lefse, krumkake, rømmegrøt, and all of the other faves. She wore her Norwegian accessories from our friend Trude in Norway and had the best time!!

-My first Mother’s Day, it was delightful! Bernie and I worked on her cookbook and snuggled the day away. Then the following week it was my birthday and we went out to lunch wearing identical outfits and spent the rest of the day baking cookies and cake!

-Bernie talks soo much!! We have great conversations about Ooo and Ahh and Goo, I love them.

-She has gotten very tall, she has Eggboy’s legs. Hallelujah!

Ok, we’ve gotta go pick rhubarb!! Bernie’s sending some friendly hiccups in your general direction and I’m waving! Bye!

-Yeh!

pancakes and sausage on a stick

Back in March when I was doing all of my meal prep, I realized that Mother’s Day would happen soon after I gave birth! It was a wild realization that I’d suddenly be an honoree of the day and I obviously immediately got the urge to cry and be emotional. I imagined my perfect Mother’s Day with a newborn (which is different than my perfect Mother’s Day with, say, a 6-year-old because by that time I can expect some super cute breakfast in bed, right?!) and what I imagined was holding a little nugget in one hand and eating my special brunch in another. A brunch on a stick. And one of my favorite brunches ever, pancakes and sausage! I mean, a bouquet of flowers would be nice but a bouquet of pancakes and sausage on a stick would be nice and tasty. So here we are, I made my own Mother’s Day brunch and it’s in the freezer now waiting to be microwaved. Lol. Pressure’s off, Eggboy! 

Pancakes and sausage on a stick were one of my faaaavorite breakfasts growing up. We’d get them in bulk from Market Day at school (does Market Day still exist?! Omg, it does!) and I’d have them before early morning ice skating practices. These days I can’t walk by them in the freezer section of the Super Target without seriously considering buying them every single time but then I look at the ingredients and have to put them down. So with this homemade version, even though they’re a totally fried breakfast version of a corn dog, I feel a little better about eating them because I can use my fave sausages (I like Applegate’s natural chicken sausages) and then also add some oat flour to the batter. More oats = more boob milk! Yeah! And the oats add a nice nuttiness to the pancake.

So here’s a big batch that you can make, freeze, and nuke for breakfast in a snap and Mother’s Day with a newborn and the like! 


Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick

Makes 18

Ingredients

1/2 c (65g) all-purpose flour

1/2 c (65g) oat flour, or more all-purpose flour

2 tb sugar

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 large egg

2 tb flavorless oil

1/2 c (120g) buttermilk

18 pre-cooked breakfast sausages (if frozen, heat them a little just until they’re soft enough to insert with lollipop sticks)

Flavorless oil, for frying

Maple syrup, optional, for serving

Clues

Fill a large heavy pot or high sided skillet fitted with a thermometer with 1” of oil and heat over medium high heat to 360º F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. In a separate small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the egg, oil, and buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Transfer the batter to a tall skinny glass or measuring cup (this step isn’t completely necessary, but it will make coating the sausages easier). Working in batches of 3 or 4 sausages at a time, insert popsicle sticks or lollipop sticks into the sausages, pat off any excess moisture with a paper towel, and dip them into the pancake batter to fully coat, scraping off excess. It doesn’t need to be a very thick coating as the batter will puff up when frying. Carefully lower the entire thing (stick included) into the hot oil and fry until golden, 1 1/2-2 minutes. Use tongs to transfer to a paper towel or wire rack. Repeat with the remaining sausages. Cool slightly before serving. 

To freeze, cool completely and then store in a ziploc bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, wrap loosely in a paper towel and microwave for about 40 seconds, or until heated through. Let cool slightly and enjoy!


spring veggie white matzo lasagna

I am so curious to see what our opinions are re: matzo after Passover is over this year because since last year’s Passover, we have basically kept the itsy bitsy Kosher section of our grocery store in business with our aggressive year-round matzo eating habit. I ate an insane amount of it while I was pregnant, with peanut butter and jelly, with Kewpie mayo and sliced cheese, and in extra shallot-y matzo brei covered in ketchup. Matzo was my go-to 3am snack, in bed. I am pretty sure Bernie is 1/3 made of matzo. Eating matzo is different when you have the option to eat bread though, right? Which is why we never got sick of it. This week without the option though, I’m afraid we’ll get sick of it and I’ll have to find another easy 3am snack. What a dramatic life we lead! 

When it came to baby meal prep, I was told over and over to make lasagna! So a matzo lasagna, one big enough to provide enough leftovers for a few good days, was an obvious choice for Passover. And I wanted to make sure it was veggie packed, so I converted my spring vegetable quinoa hotdish in Molly on the Range to a freezer-friendly layered situation. The matzo pieces get nice and soft with the white sauce, and the flavors of leeks, chives, ricotta, and peas whisper spring! Even though it’s totally loaded up with cheese and milk, the ricotta and bright flavors add a nice sense of airiness. And there’s layers upon layers of spinach in this. So go ahead, have seconds!

Thanks to Our Family for partnering on this post and providing all of the cheese for this delicious Passover supper!


Spring Veggie White Matzo Lasagna

Makes one 9” x 13” casserole

Ingredients

Sauce

1/4 c (57g) unsalted butter

2 large leeks, chopped

4 scallions or ramps, chopped, white and green parts separated

Kosher salt

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 tb matzo meal

3 c (720g) whole or 2% milk

1 c (236g) vegetable stock

1/4 c (75g) chopped chives

1/2 c (55g) fresh or frozen peas

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp onion powder

Black pepper

Hot sauce, to taste

Filling

1 large egg

1 (15oz) container our family part skim ricotta

3/4 c (3oz) our family shredded parmesan cheese

2 c (8oz) our family shredded mozzarella

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3 c (5-6oz) fresh spinach

9 sheets matzo (I use lightly salted matzo)

Directions

If planning to bake immediately, preheat the oven to 350ºf. If prepping ahead, see directions below.

To make the sauce, in a large pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the leeks, the white parts of the scallions or ramps, and a pinch of salt and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, and then stir in the matzo meal and cook for another minute. Add the milk, one cup at a time, stirring until thickened after each. Add the vegetable stock and continue to stir until thickened. Stir in the green parts of the scallions or ramps, the chives (reserving a small handful for the topping), peas, nutmeg, onion powder, a few turns of black pepper, hot sauce, and salt to taste. Remove from heat.

To make the filling, in a medium bowl, mix together the egg, ricotta, 1/2 cup of the parmesan, 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella, and the salt.

To assemble, spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9” x 13” casserole pan (see specifics below on type of pan you should use if you’re planning to freeze). Layer in the following: 2 sheets of matzo, a third of the cheese filling dolloped all over, 1 cup of spinach, a layer of sauce, 2 sheets of matzo, another third of the cheese filling, 1 cup of spinach, a layer of sauce, 2 sheets of matzo, the remaining cheese filling, 1 cup of spinach, remaining sauce, and then sprinkle the top with the remaining 3 sheets of matzo broken into pieces, and the reserved parmesan, mozzarella, chives, and a few turns of pepper.

Bake, covered with foil, for 45 minutes, and then for an additional 15 minutes uncovered, or until golden brown on top. Enjoy!

To freeze: I’d recommend using a foil pan that you can place directly in the oven from the freezer. Otherwise, you can use glass or enameled cast iron pan, but it would be best to defrost it in the fridge overnight before baking to avoid cracking the pan. Once the lasagna is assembled, let it cool slightly and wrap in plastic wrap or foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, bake at 350ºf covered in foil for 1 hour 30 minutes, and then uncovered for an additional 15-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top and heated through. Enjoy!


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

this recipe was created in partnership with our family!

Turkey Spinach Meatballs with Tahini and Chimichurri

I’ve been preparing for this year’s Passover for months now. Ever since I realized that Passover would be Bernie’s first major holiday, I’ve had so many things going through my mind. This is our first holiday as a little family! It’s going to be the best thing ever! I’m going to cry so much!!!!!! Literally I can’t even imagine explaining the bitter herbs to Bernie without tearing up. And carrying her around while searching for the afikoman?? I’m weeping. The food, I realized, would have to be delicious and memorable but mostly prep-aheadable. In my freezer I have balls of Passover chocolate chip cookie dough and a white matzo lasagna (recipes coming soon for both of these), as well as chicken stock that will hopefully see some matzo balls. My mom is planning to be here for Passover so I’m hoping that between the two of us and Eggboy, we’ll be able to both snuggle Bernie all day long and roll a matzo ball. And braise a brisket. Even though braises do really well in the freezer, I didn’t get around to braising one before she arrived. (Oh, this is what Mom guilt is!)

I did however make a bunch of these meatballs that I love for multiple reasons: 

-The flavor is incredible, they taste sausage-y, thanks to a sprinkling of fennel seeds and a heavy hand with the herbs.

-There’s spinach hiding in them! Even though they’re warm and comforting, they’re on the more nutritious end of the spectrum when it comes to freezer foods.

-They’re great as a Passover dish or a non-Passover dish. They’re not like those foods that only really taste good on the sixth day of Passover when you have Passover goggles on.

-Eggboy is obsessed with meatballs. He is meatball boy.

-They freeze and reheat really easily. I store them in a ziploc bag, so they can smoosh in anywhere in the freezer, and then you can reheat them just by tossing them into red sauce or sticking them in the oven. 

Here I’ve plated them up with some creamy tahini sauce (garlicky yogurt sauce is also nice) and a super bright and springy chimichurri. It’s a fun way to eat them for a pasta-less week or if you’re just looking for a filling side for an otherwise vegetable-centric meal. When it’s not Passover I’m definitely piling these high on top of pappardelle. 


Turkey and Spinach Meatballs with Tahini and Chimichurri

Makes 22-24 meatballs

Ingredients

Meatballs

2 tb olive oil, plus more for cooking meatballs

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

Kosher salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds

8 oz fresh spinach, chopped

1 large egg

1/2 c (30g) matzo meal (or panko breadcrumbs)

Black pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp sweet paprika

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 lb ground turkey (93% lean)

Tahini Sauce

1/4 c tahini

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 tb water

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Chimichurri

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 clove garlic

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 c (100g) olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Clues

Preheat the oven to 425ºf.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large oven-safe skillet. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and fennel and cook for another minute and then add the spinach in batches, stirring, until wilted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the egg, breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, a few turns of black pepper, the onion powder, cayenne, thyme, oregano, paprika, parsley, turkey, and the slightly cooled spinach mixture and use your hands to mix to combine.

Wipe out the skillet that was used to heat the spinach and then heat a thin layer of olive oil over medium high heat. Form the turkey mixture into golfball-sized balls and brown them on all sides, in 2 or 3 batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. Transfer the browned meatballs to a plate. Once all of the meatballs are browned, return them to the skillet and stick the skillet in the oven for 7-10 minutes, until they’re cooked through and have an internal temperature of 160ºf. To make the tahini sauce, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, and water until smooth and pourable. If it’s too thick, add a bit more water, if it’s runny, add more tahini. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the chimichurri, combine all ingredients in a food processor, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, and blend until smooth. If you don’t want to use a food processor, you can also chop the herbs and garlic finely by hand and mix with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

To serve, spread a large dollop of tahini sauce on a plate or shallow bowl, top with meatballs and drizzle on the chimichurri to taste. Enjoy!

To freeze: cooked meatballs can be cooled and stored in a ziploc bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, place on a sheet pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350º for about 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Prepared chimichurri can be frozen as well. Defrost at room temp or heat briefly in the microwave. I wouldn’t recommend freezing tahini sauce, but it’s super easy to whip up!