Chicken liver and berry puree (and a Whole 30 update)

Chicken liver and berry puree | Me & The Moose. Chicken liver, blueberries, blackberries, and apples are a fabulous combination for babies and toddlers (and adults). #meandthemoose #puree #chickenliver #iron #protein #berries

Yup, that's right. Chicken liver for babies. I was hesitant at first too, but we gave some to M when he was around 1 and he LOVED it. Who knew? Turns out, some people actually advocate chicken liver as a first food. Live and learn, I guess. M likes it plain, but combining it with berries and turning it a lovely purple color definitely makes it more appetizing.

M's passion for chicken liver was helpful during Whole 30, as it's an easy, savory, protein- and iron-rich dip for veggies or a topping for chicken, fish, and other meats with some balsamic onions. Speaking of Whole 30, I have a little update: When I last posted, I was pretty down about the process. After some time and perspective, I feel a lot better and have forgotten the painful parts. Kind of like childbirth.

So I decided to do a Whole 25 before we left for a friend's wedding in August (I procrastinated!). Historically, an event like a wedding would have made me totally body-crazy. I would have awakened every morning intending to eat nothing but steamed veggies and chicken and run 5 miles, only to crash and burn by 3 pm and hate myself by bedtime. Instead, I tried to focus on feeling good rather than on being either unrealistically ambitious (eat nothing, run lots) or completely rigid (my first Whole 30), and it really worked. I definitely "cheated" a few times, but I only ate things that felt really worth it, (Roberta's pizza= WORTH IT) and I felt pretty happy with myself when we got all fancied up for the festivities.

I haven't been Whole 30-ing since then, but I do feel like the experience has changed the way I look at food and eating and wellness and myself. I'm guessing we'll do another one in the new year, so stay tuned.

Chicken liver pate | Me & The Moose. Chicken liver, baguette, and a variety of red and purple fruits are one of my favorite party snacks or appetizers. #meandthemoose #puree #chickenliver #iron #protein #berries #chickenliverpate

Back to the puree! This guy is delicious. Trust me. Actually, don't trust me: Make it for yourself and see.

If you've made chicken liver before, skip these next few pictures. If you're a liver novice, here's what mine looks like at various stages of cooking:

Stage 1: Put some olive oil in a hot pan and add the livers, making sure that each one has some space in the pan. Cook in batches if you have to.

Stage 2: Ready to flip. Once you see brown creeping up the sides, flip those puppies over and continue to cook.

Stage 2! Chicken liver and berry puree | Me & The Moose.

Stage 3: Add the onions. Once you have an even browning on both sides, add the chopped onions. It's okay if there are some pinkish areas remaining because cooking isn't over yet.

Stage 3! Chicken liver and berry puree | Me & The Moose

Stage 4: Cover. Once the onions are translucent and the livers are mostly browned (it's okay of there are some slightly pink nooks, but you should see any "raw" patches), cover and cook over a low flame for about 10 more minutes. 

Stage 4! Chicken liver and berry puree | Me & The Moose.

Chopped chicken liver

.75 lb chicken livers
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil over a medium flame. Add chicken livers and brown on both sides. Once livers are browned, add the chopped onions. (It’s okay if there are small bits of pink still showing on the livers in the nooks and crannies- see photos.) Cook on medium heat until onions are opaque, about 5-8 minutes. Cover and turn heat to low. Let simmer for another 10-12 minutes or until livers are cooked through.

Immediately add cooked livers and onions and all liquid to a food processor or blender with hard-boiled eggs and balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste, but I’m usually very generous with the salt at this phase. Pulse the food processor until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Taste again for seasoning.

Yield: about 2 cups

Chicken liver and berry puree | Me & The Moose. Chicken liver, blueberries, blackberries, and apples are a fabulous combination for babies and toddlers (and adults). #meandthemoose #puree #chickenliver #iron #protein #berries

Berry compote

1 pint blueberries
1 pint blackberries
2 Tbsp water

Combine berries and water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the berries are cooked down, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly. Puree. If your little is opposed to seeds (like mine), pass through a mesh strainer. 

Chicken liver and berry puree | Me & The Moose. Chicken liver, blueberries, blackberries, and apples are a fabulous combination for babies and toddlers (and adults). #meandthemoose #puree #chickenliver #iron #protein #berries

Combo

2 Tbsp Chopped chicken liver
2 Tbsp Berry compote
1 Tbsp Applesauce

Apples and honey french toast, two ways

Apples and honey french toast | Me & the Moose. Stuffed or plain, this french toast combines fall flavors of apples and honey for a delicious breakfast or dinner. #meandthemoose #fall #frenchtoast #roshhashanah #apples #honey #breakfast

This post is a study in life with children. The once-round challah is squished from trying to coax M up the stairs and no matter how I tried, I couldn't keep his hands out of the honey. And he took a bite out of my prop apple. AND this was also supposed to be a Rosh Hashanah post, but here we are waving goodbye to Yom Kippur and I'm just now getting around to it. KIDS, AMIRIGHT?  

Apples and honey french toast | Me & the Moose. Stuffed or plain, this french toast combines fall flavors of apples and honey for a delicious breakfast or dinner. #meandthemoose #fall #frenchtoast #roshhashanah #apples #honey #breakfast

Anyway, tis the season for leftover challah, so hopefully this breakfast-for-dinner (or breakfast-for-breakfast) treat comes in handy. Since this one contains a lot of honey, remember not to feed it to those under age 1.

Apples and honey french toast | Me & the Moose. Stuffed or plain, this french toast combines fall flavors of apples and honey for a delicious breakfast or dinner. #meandthemoose #fall #frenchtoast #roshhashanah #apples #honey #breakfast

French toast with apples and honey butter

My go-to recipe for basic French Toast
Leftover challah (Cut into 4 thick slices)
1 Tbsp butter
3 eggs
½ cup milk
½ tsp cinnamon (heaping)
pinch nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Honey butter (Adapted from here)
¼ cup butter, softened
3 Tbsp honey
pinch sea salt

2-3 apples, peeled (optional) and chopped

Apples and honey french toast | Me & the Moose. Stuffed or plain, this french toast combines fall flavors of apples and honey for a delicious breakfast or dinner. #meandthemoose #fall #frenchtoast #roshhashanah #apples #honey #breakfast

First, peel and chop the apples. In a microwave safe container, cook on high, uncovered, for 1 minute. Check and continue cooking on high for 30 seconds at a time until apples are soft, but have a little bite and shape left.

Next, make the honey butter: Firstly, if you're like me and always forget to take out whatever needs softening/defrosting, here is a really good tip for quickly softening butter. Seriously, this method has changed my life. Thanks, Buzzfeed Food! Smoosh the softened butter around with a spatula. Add the honey and a pinch of sea salt and stir to combine. Set aside.

In a frying pan, melt 1 Tbsp of butter. In a separate container, whisk the eggs. Add the milk, spices, and vanilla and whisk to combine. Dunk both sides of the bread slices in the egg mixture (as many as will fit into your frying pan) and leave for a few seconds to let the bread soak in the liquid. When your pan is hot, cook the bread slices until golden brown. Flip and repeat until golden brown on both sides. Repeat with all of the bread. The liquid should be enough for 4 large slices of french toast.

Serve with a spread of honey butter, some apples, and a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of sea salt on top.

Apples and honey french toast | Me & the Moose. Stuffed or plain, this french toast combines fall flavors of apples and honey for a delicious breakfast or dinner. #meandthemoose #fall #frenchtoast #roshhashanah #apples #honey #breakfast

Apples and honey stuffed french toast

Adapted from this stuffed french toast recipe
Leftover challah (Cut into 4 thick slices)
1 Tbsp butter
3 eggs
½ cup milk
½ tsp cinnamon (heaping)
pinch nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Stuffing
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
2 tsp honey
1 apple, chopped into small pieces
Pinch of sea salt

To make the stuffing, combine the softened cream cheese, apple sauce, honey, and salt. Put the cream cheese mixture into a plastic bag and put in the fridge until needed.

Starting at the top crust, make a cut down the middle of each thick bread piece but stop an inch from each side and the bottom to create a pocket in each slice. Cut enough so that you can get some filling into the pocket, but leave enough room around the edges that the bread won't break and spill the filling.

In a frying pan, melt 1 Tbsp of butter on low heat. In a separate container, whisk together the eggs, milk, spices, and vanilla. Take out your bag of cream cheese mixture and cut one bottom corner to make a piping bag. Open each slice of bread and fill with about 2-3 Tbsp of cream cheese mixture. Squish the bread and filling together a bit. Working with one slice at a time, dunk both sides in the egg mixture and let the bread soak in the liquid. When the pan is hot, cook the bread slices until golden brown. Flip and repeat until golden brown on both sides. Repeat with all of the bread. The liquid should be enough for 3-4 large slices of french toast (the slices here are larger than those in the other batch of french toast, but I let them soak less because of the filling, so I was able to eek out a fourth slice, but barely).

Serve immediately with a drizzle of honey on top.