Coconut creamed corn

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Creamed corn isn’t generally considered a “healthy” side. But swap in coconut milk for regular old dairy or a heavy bechamel sauce and you have a much lighter version of this classic that celebrates the beauty of late summer corn.

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This dish also comes together in minutes and is full of herbs and aromatics like garlic, shallot, ginger, lime zest, and basil. Add some quick sauteed shrimp, some grilled or roasted white fish, or a rotisserie chicken and you have a very quick dinner filled with healthy fats and real ingredients. You’re also free of gluten, dairy, sugar, nuts, and soy if you have corn leftovers for tomorrow’s lunchbox.

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Coconut creamed corn

½ tsp coconut oil
2 medium or 3 small garlic cloves, sliced or minced  
1 very large or 2 smaller shallots, sliced or minced
½-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced or shredded
3 large ears corn with kernels removed from the cob (about 2 heaping cups of kernels)
6 Tbsp coconut milk
Heaping ¼ tsp lime zest
15-20 basil leaves, chopped
¼-½ tsp flaky sea salt
Pepper

Heat the coconut oil over a medium flame and when hot, add the sliced or minced shallots. Saute for 1-2 minutes, until the shallots are translucent and starting to brown.

Turn the heat down to medium low and add the sliced or minced garlic. Saute for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. If the onions or garlic brown too quickly, turn down the heat.

Add the minced or shredded ginger and sauté for one more minute.

Add the corn kernels and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and let bubble for one minute until the milk has reduced to more of a sauce than a milk, but don’t let it disappear.

Remove from the heat. Add the lime zest, minced basil, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust according to your taste.

Yield: 3 servings

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Dole whip popsicles

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If Dole Whip isn't your favorite Disney park food, then what's wrong with you? For those of you who don't know, Dole Whip is basically pineapple soft serve. But's it's so so much better than that description implies.

I swear I'm going to tell you how to make it in a minute, but first I need to talk about some parenting challenges we're having. As always, skip to the next photo if you're only here for the food!

Lately, parenting has felt like being on a high ropes course. It's wobbly and scary and you rarely feel surefooted. Occasionally you reach a platform and feel like a badass who has everything figured out. But then you start the next leg of the course and feel even more wobbly because now you're tired and also annoyed at yourself for not learning enough from the earlier stages. And while you're taking all the necessary precautions, what if you prove the tragic exception?

The long and short of it is, M started preschool 2 months ago and isn't adjusting all that well. He's acting out a bit and having trouble sitting still and it's been hard to watch.

I want to chalk it all up to his being three and starting a new school (any school, for that matter), but words like "evaluation" and "sensory issues" have already been floated.

Maybe I'm just taking it too hard. To me, he's still the chubby cheeked baby with long eyelashes and a silly lisp, so to hear anything different is hard to accept. I'm sure most parents go through some form of growing pains the first time they get any negative feedback about their child. But oof, does it feel like a knife to the heart. 

And I'm doing my best not to let the feedback make me feel distant or separate from M. At first, hearing about his behavior made me feel like I didn't know him at all. But some 3-year-old acting out doesn't make him a bad kid and the more empathy I can have for him while we all hang in there and try to figure this out, the more successful he'll be when facing challenges in the future. 

But for now, it's just... rough.

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Anyway, this recipe is a great one to make with kids. M loves adding the ingredients and pushing the button on the food processor and that's really the whole shebang. He also calls Dole Whip, Dole "Yip," and it kills me.

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If you plan on eating this right away, then you get the true Dole Whip experience (well, a close approximation anyway). If not, and this recipe makes a lot so you won't likely eat it all in one sitting anyway, freezing it as popsicles is the most successful way to enjoy the leftovers. It freezes really hard, so trying to recreate that soft serve texture is nearly impossible later on. But the mixture makes oh-so-refreshing popsicles. Hang on to some for the first 90-degree day (here in CT, anyway) and thank me later.

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Dole Whip

2 large bananas, peeled and frozen
1 lb bag of frozen pineapple chunks
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 can full-fat coconut milk

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Eat immediately or pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Yield: 24 small popsicles or about 4 cups of soft serve

Dole whip bowl. Feel no shame about eating this for breakfast.

Dole whip bowl. Feel no shame about eating this for breakfast.

Chai spiced sweet potato and orange oatmeal

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We're back from a very impromptu trip to Disney during which we ate primarily ice cream, sausages, and french fries. It was really nice to worry mostly about having fun for a few days, but our diets definitely took a hit. To reverse course, we're pushing the veggies, even at breakfast. 

This puree is delicious with oatmeal, yogurt, or on its own. Though the chai mixture contains a lot of different spices, the end result is very mild. And yes, I realize that "Chai" actually means tea, but I think Starbucks has conditioned us all to use "Chai" as shorthand for versions of this spice combo.

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I boiled the sweet potatoes here, but feel free to use the microwave, steamer, or oven if that suits you better. I find boiling to be the fastest and easiest method.

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Though it's more work, use whole oranges instead of orange juice since the juice doesn't have nearly as much fiber as the actual fruit.

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Chai spiced sweet potato and orange oatmeal

Chai spice mixture:
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cardamom
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
¼ tsp fennel seeds
1/8 tsp salt

For the puree:
1 lb sweet potatoes (1 x-large or two small), peeled and cubed
2-3 large oranges, peeled
water (as needed)
1-1½  tsp chai spice mix

Cube potatoes and place in a medium saucepan. Add water until just covered or until the potatoes just start to float.

Bring to a boil over high flame. Once boiling, turn the flame down to medium. You want a strong simmer, but not a boil. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender, but not falling apart.

Drain and add to the blender. Peel and add oranges and 1 tsp of chai spice mixture. Blend until combined, pausing to scrape down the sides as needed. Hold off on adding water until the oranges are fully broken down because you won't likely need more liquid. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 Tbsp of water at a time until you've reached your desired consistency.

Yield: 2.5-3 cups or 22-25 oz

 

To eat with oatmeal:
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup water
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup chai spiced sweet potato and orange puree
2 Tbsp toasted coconut flakes (unsweetened)
1 Tbsp juice-sweetened dried cranberries
1 Tbsp maple syrup (optional)

 Yield: One serving

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Purple carrot and coconut applesauce

Toddlerhood is a time of highs and lows, for the toddler and for his parents. This week, for example, M, started saying "Go away, Mama;" screaming at the very top of his lungs when he wanted something; and spun in a circle so much that he barfed. But he also said, "I miss you, Mama;" spelled his name (he's a genius! or at least, a genius mimic); and was completely focused and determined while trying to use chopsticks, all of which made my heart grow about ten sizes.

In our bad moments, I'm desperately trying to remember that M's acting out is normal limit testing and that it'll pass, but it is SO HARD. Living with a toddler is like having an irrational, demanding, perfectionist, narcissist for a boss, but who's sometimes so cute and wonderful and effusively loving that you can forgive his disturbing lack of empathy.

All that to say, my kid is normal. And like all normal toddlers, really really loves applesauce. To bulk this one up, I added carrots because then I feel like he's getting more than just some fruit. I also tossed in some coconut milk to add a little fat for those days when applesauce comprises a meal. Also, though we're far from apple season, our farmer's market always has barrels of over-wintered apples that are cheap, local, pesticide-free, and perfect for applesauce.  

A few notes: I didn't bother to peel my apples because a lot of the fiber is in the skin, but mostly, I'm lazy. However, if your little likes things very smooth or is just starting out with purees, go ahead and peel them. I also roasted these because I like the flavor and a chunkier end product, but if you're looking for a smooth puree, do a boil/steam combo as described in this recipe

Purple carrot and coconut applesauce

2 lbs apples (about 3 very large apples)
8 oz purple carrots (about 2 large or 4 small carrots)
¼- ¾ cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 400. Peel and chop carrots and apples (don't bother peeling the apples; see note above). Place on a sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes or until carrots are fork tender.

Puree the apples, carrots, and coconut milk. Start with ¼ cup and add more coconut milk until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Store in the refrigerator, but heat for 15-20 seconds before serving to loosen up the coconut milk. Stir and test for hotspot

Yield: 26 oz or about 3-3 ½ cups.

Green curry fish stew

Green curry fish stew | Me & The Moose. Bottled green curry makes quick work of this tasty Thai-inspired stew that’s chock full of fish and veggies. #meandthemoose #Thaicurry #healthymeals #whole30 #whole30recipes #onepotmeals #dinnerrecipes

Guys, Friday happened. I'm still in denial and I can't have wine for 6 MORE DAYS. Why did I do a Whole 30 now? I'm talking about the inauguration of DJT, obviously. A more thoughtful post is in the works, but I couldn't write about food without mentioning the thing that has occupied my brain for the past week.

For me, one of the things I like about having a child is that his needs are so immediate that caring for him forces me to be in the moment much more than I ever was pre-parenthood. That required compartmentalizing has gotten me through the past few days. I feel this way about cooking too. It's an activity that forces me to pay attention and helps me to block out the worry that can sometimes drag me into its vortex.

So, it'll be an active four years in my kitchen.

No doubt, I'll be making this Thai green curry fish stew A LOT. It's a very delicious vehicle for vegetables and while not technically "hiding" them, the vegetables become part of a whole and don't taste like themselves necessarily. When M was a baby, one of his favorite purees from Baby Foode was chicken, carrots, mango, and Thai red curry paste, so he's always liked these flavors.

This version of Thai curry is not at all traditional and is also technically more of a soup than a stew because there's a lot of sauce. But to me, that's the best part, so I'm not complaining. If you're doing a Whole 30 or are just curious about what's in your food, check your labels because not all Thai curry pastes are created equal. Thai Kitchen brand is definitely Whole 30 compliant.

And don't be scared of kohlrabi. If you can't find it, cabbage or broccoli stalks are the closest substitutes and also the closest in taste. You can eat kohlrabi raw, sauteed, boiled, or roasted and it's available in most grocery stores and farmer's markets. Here is a great description of what kohlrabi is and some suggestions about what to do with it.

A note about stock: Read carefully because we've only found one brand that is Whole 30 compliant. We could make it ourselves, but stock is one food prep area where I get REALLY lazy, largely because we have a store around the corner that makes homemade stock that is cheap, Whole 30 compliant, and really really good. And then I don't have to handle a whole raw chicken again. Bully for me.

Green curry fish stew | Me & The Moose. Bottled green curry makes quick work of this tasty Thai-inspired stew that’s chock full of fish and veggies. #meandthemoose #Thaicurry #healthymeals #whole30 #whole30recipes #onepotmeals #dinnerrecipes

Green curry fish stew

½ large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cup fish stock (or chicken/vegetable stock or water if you can't find a Whole 30 compliant stock)
1 can full-fat coconut milk
5 Tbsp Thai green curry paste (or just go ahead and use the entire little bottle)
1 pint mushrooms, chopped
1 bunch baby broccoli (if using regular broccoli, use 6 oz or about 2 cups)
1 medium kohlrabi bulb, chopped
2 cups raw baby spinach (1 cup frozen)
1 lb white fish (thawed, if frozen)
2 Tbsp fish sauce
Cilantro for garnish

Heat oil over a medium flame and add onion and garlic, cooking until the onions are opaque, about 3 minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook until they start to wilt a bit, about 5 more minutes. Add the baby broccoli and cook for one minute. (I removed the long stems because they didn’t fit into my pot, but you can absolutely leave them on or cut them up into chunks.)

Add the coconut milk and the fish stock and bring to a boil. Add the spinach, kohlrabi, and fish and bring back to a boil (this only takes a minute). Push the fish down to make sure it's covered by the cooking liquid.

When the pot is back to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer until the fish is flaky. I had extremely thin slices of cod, so this only took about 8 minutes, but if your fish is thicker, it will take longer. When the fish is cooked, stir in the fish sauce and sprinkle with cilantro.

Makes 7-8 cups, which was about 4 adult servings and 2 toddler servings

Green curry fish stew | Me & The Moose. Bottled green curry makes quick work of this tasty Thai-inspired stew that’s chock full of fish and veggies. #meandthemoose #Thaicurry #healthymeals #whole30 #whole30recipes #onepotmeals #dinnerrecipes