Thursday, January 31, 2013

Quite a few of our favorite yummy mummies are expecting babies any day now and we're so excited to meet the lil' nuggets!  While the joy of a new baby is indeed exhilarating, parenting a newborn can also be exhausting.  Feeding schedules, dirty diapers and sleepless nights make the idea of cooking family meals exhausting.

In an effort to assist new parents many friends, neighbors and loved ones will deliver dishes of cooked comfort food. Mac n' cheese, meatloaf, fried chicken and much, MUCH more stocked our fridge for days after our son was born. We appreciated having something quick, easy and baked full of love we could microwave and have ready at a moment's notice.

As a post-partum mommy, I had a difficult relationship with food. I felt an enormous amount of pressure to drop the pregnancy weight as soon as possible. To me this meant dieting and depriving myself of any excess calories whatsoever. On the other hand, breastfeeding demanded I load up on nutrients and calories so I could provide these to my nursing son who, weighing in a whopping 5 lb. 3 oz., desperately needed them.

Putting my child's needs ahead of my own vanity, I gave myself a break and focused on eating foods rich in calcium, healthy fats, and carbs all in the hopes of growing a bouncing baby boy. I succeeded. It wasn't until recently that my body returned to its pre-preggo size. In fact, I'm a few pounds down from where I was before I got pregnant. I credit going back to work and chasing an on-the-go toddler.

Thinking back to those first precious days at home my mind and mouth remember the relief comfort food provided. Below are a few of our favorite Pinterest recipes we are planning to package for our yummy mommies and their beautiful babies. Tell us what you think and please feel free to share any ideas or dishes you've enjoyed receiving.

Also check out our Pregnancy Cravings: Fact or Fiction article to learn what the yummy mummy in your house might be craving and why.

Friday, January 25, 2013

I burned macaroni and cheese this morning. There are numerous things wrong with this statement. One, what was I doing cooking mac n' cheese in the morning? Two, who burns mac n' cheese? To be completely transparent, I didn't just burn mac n' cheese. I burned the microwaveable, so-called "easy' mac n' cheese. The foolproof stuff. The stuff they make for moms who haven't held a pot since the neolithic era. Yeah, that. I burned that.

Let's take this from the top. Last night was chaos. There were a thousand things that needed to get done of which I accomplished a solid 12%. Dinner, bath, laundry, dog walking, dog washing, gift wrapping and house cleaning were all items screaming for my attention. I managed to check most of these items off of my to-do list with just enough energy to wash my face, brush my teeth and hit the pillow.

At 1:37 a.m. I heard an all too familiar sound. My son, standing at full attention in his crib, screaming his lungs out. Round one. I crawled out of bed, in the dark, tripped over the dog, stubbed my toe on the doorframe, held him, rocked him, and somehow managed to get him to fall asleep again.

Round two. 3:42 a.m., the cycle repeats except this time I tripped over the cat.

By the time the alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. I was barely awake enough to hit the snooze alarm and not awake enough to get up again until 7:00 a.m. Dammitt. Late!

And we're off. Out of bed. Make the coffee. Let the dog out. Shower? Not the hair - no time! Throw the hair up. Find an outfit unscathed by baby vomit. Pour the coffee. Let the dog in. Wake the baby, who by the way refuses to budge now that it's a decent human hour. Change the baby. Dress the baby. Nurse the baby. Burp the baby. Baby pukes. Dress the baby again. Baby poops. Change the baby again. Then came the boom. My husband poses the question, "What did you pack for his lunch today?"

I quickly recap last night's events and realize that in the midst of everything I forgot to prepare my son's lunch. Dammitt. Major mommy fail. What to do? I can't send him to school with the same peas, pasta and ranch dressing that he DID EAT the day before. Surely his teachers would see that as lazy parenting. I'd have to come up with something new.

I rummaged through the pantry looking for anything I bought that was quick and remotely healthy. Then I see it. Instant mac n' cheese. Okay, not healthiest option, I admit. But definitely the fastest. In a haze of motherly guilt I rip the top off, add the water, stir in the cheese powder and microwave on high for 3:30. Or so I thought. Fifteen minutes after letting the dog back out, feeding the cats, letting the dog back in, scraping the ice off my car and changing my son into yet ANOTHER outfit I realize that the microwave is still on and counting down from 33:00.

There are many smells I wish to avoid but scalded microwaveable easy mac has got to be one of my least favorites. I remove the miniature tub from the treacherous appliance and toss it in the trash. Back to square one. I seriously consider reverting back to the days of Plum packets and Gerber Crunchies, but the wrath of Ms. Lucy is enough to talk me out of it. There was only one solution. Peas and pasta, but with one significant difference, tomato sauce.

I added two heaping spoonfuls of tomato sauce to the reserve peas and pasta and called it a day. I threw some diced pears, a hummus dip, goldfish crackers and animal crackers into his elephant lunchbox and we headed out into the cold to bid farewell to this beast of a week.

TGIF. Tomorrow we go to IHOP.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Six months ago I introduced my son to the magical world of baby food. Mushy peas, prunes and carrots. Pureed bananas, strawberries and green beans. It was a fun, albeit messy, experience that I thought would make my life easier. No more 4:00 a.m. feedings. No more bottle warmers and pumps. No more whipping out the boob in inappropriate public venues. Just shove a Plum packet in his mouth and fill 'er up.

Eventually he graduated to the crunchy stuff . Even better! Throw some Cheerios and graham crackers in a bag and hit the road. Life was good. He was eating like a champ, moving and grooving to the baby food beat. Teeth were coming in and we could enjoy dinner in a restaurant as a family. Nirvana.

Then came the toddler room.

In order to graduate from the infant room to the toddler room at his daycare center, our son would have to start eating and feeding himself "real" food. Real food like pasta, rice, diced vegetables and even meat! Meat?! He's only got 7 teeth, how is he supposed to chew meat?

I was a nervous wreck. I was nervous about his transition from one room to the other. I was nervous about the food they would be feeding him in the toddler room. I was nervous about him choking on foods he wasn't quite ready for. Most of all I was nervous about how I was going to balance preparing these "real" foods on a daily basis for him to take to school.

It was time to go shopping. On most days I like to think I'm a thrifty and efficient shopper, today was not one of those days. Today, I was lost. Today, I was desperate. Today, I loaded up two grocery carts with anything and everything that looked toddler taste bud friendly.

Deli meat. Deli meat? Can toddlers eat deli meat? Buy it anyway. Tuna? Don't know but we'll give it a shot! Goldfish crackers. Cheese cubes. Apple slices. Smoothies. Feta cheese? You never know! Buy! Buy! Buy!

I got home and managed to find space for all of our experimental foods. I then proceeded to prep said foods ready for delivery to the daycare the next day. Start off simple. Peas and small pasta shells, mandarin oranges, Goldfish crackers with a small tub of hummus, and animal crackers for dessert. A sippycup of juice later his little lunchbox was stocked.  Not bad if I do say so myself.

All day long I wondered how he was reacting to his new foods at school. We had tried some ground turkey and tomato sauce the night before and he seemed to enjoy it. More importantly he kept it down and didn't choke. Would he have the same reaction to his lunch?

I pulled up to the daycare center and ran to the classroom. I expected his teacher to throw me a high-five or at least a reassuring head nod confirming that I had successfully transitioned my child from baby food to "real" food. Thus making him one step closer to the toddler room. I opened the door, opened the fridge and there it was. Peas and pasta, full.

"He liked the oranges. He liked the hummus. And he LOVED the Goldfish and animal crackers. But he hated the peas and pasta."

Brilliant. He ate everything I DIDN'T cook.

"He kept spitting them out. He wouldn't even chew them"

"Yes, thank you Ms. Lucy! I get it!"

I didn't know how personally to take this rejection. Was it my cooking? Was it the texture? Was the food too bland? Determined to get to the root of this problem, and pressed for time, I made my second attempt at peas and pasta this morning with one small difference. Ranch dressing.

I know. Not the most appetizing or gourmet solution, but, if it was an issue of the food has no flavor this should solve the problem. Quickly. Ranch to the rescue? I'll know more at 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Confession. I'm a working mom. There is no team here, no parade of odd-ball misfits quietly experimenting with recipes in a sterilized test kitchen. It's just me. Just me, my keyboard, my job, my child, my husband, my dog, my two cats and my desire to create a delicious space for people to find solace at the end of a hectic day.

While my intentions with Yumology were grand, I've learned that trying to maintain this site is hard work. Not the writing part per say, although finding 15 minutes of uninterrupted silence is rare these days. No, the writing is easy, it's the research, energy and money it takes to cook that's hard for me to commit to these days.

At the end of 2012 my husband and I took a long, hard look at our finances and we realized we were spending a good 80% of our money on food, worse, groceries! How can that be? We thought we were being so thrifty, shopping for ingredients rather than eating out every night, but the numbers proved us wrong. Something would have to give, and our time in the kitchen was number one.

We got into the habit of eating out. It was easy to do. Our day begins at 6:30 a.m. with a quick shower, a cup of coffee, a clean diaper, some Cheerios, a kiss goodbye and off we go. Me to work, my husband to drop our son off at daycare, then to work himself. I guess we'll call that breakfast, or break fast seems more appropriate.

Eating at work poses unique challenges all its own. If you're on your game you've probably brought leftovers from the night before. If you're not and you're trying to save money on groceries, you have no leftovers from the night before. Plan B. A microwavable Lean Cuisine is $1.87 when on sale, that's $9.35 and 1500 calories consumed for lunch the entire work week. Sure, hunger strikes 10 minutes after eating, but the savings are worth it, right? Ask me again in 10 minutes.

Obviously our 11 month old doesn't eat Lean Cuisines. We deliver a bag of 30 or so Plum fruit packs to his daycare weekly at $1.29 a piece. This on top of the weekly supply of Gerber snacks we've stocked his cubby full of. Baby fed. Job done.

On to dinner. After working a nine hour day - there's no such thing as an 8 hour day don't let them fool you- I frantically wrap up my projects, throw on my coat, head for the daycare and pick up my child. My child who cries in the car all the way home because he doesn't like his car seat. My child who rolls around on the changing table as I attempt to change his diaper. My child who refuses to be put down long enough for me to take off my coat. My child.

Then of course there's our dog. Our dog who has made a mess in her pen while she's been cooped up all day. Our dog who smells awful. Our dog who wants to jump, play, fetch, bark and torment my screaming child. Our dog who scratches at the back door demanding to go to the bathroom since she's been holding it in until our arrival. Our dog who will go outside only to bark at everything and anything that moves. Our dog whom the neighbors will complain about because she is barking at everything and anything that moves. Our dog.

Welcome home. The child is changed. The dog is out. The husband, who promised to start coming home at 5:00 p.m. like normal people, isn't likely to be home for another 30 minutes. The laundry is piled up. The toys have taken over the living room. You're still getting emails about things you did or didn't do while you were at your 9 hour a day job, and yes, dinner still has to be made.

Now comes the internal battle. Do I get back in the car, go to the grocery store, purchase supplies, load supplies in the car, unload supplies from the car, stock supplies in the cabinets, remove supplies I need in order to cook dinner, pull out the pots and pans, prep the ingredients, cook the ingredients, plate the ingredients, eat the ingredients an hour or two later, clear the table, wash the dishes and put the dishes away...or do I tell the husband to pick up something in a paper bag we can all wolf down and then throw away?

I guess it comes down to priorities and time management. I want more time to spend enjoying my family. I want to calm the crying baby. Walk the neglected dog. Snuggle with the husband. But I miss my kitchen, and I do, in a way, feel that not cooking for my family means I am neglecting them. I do my best to keep the supplies affordable, healthy and delicious, but time seems to be more of an issue these days.

This post began with the word confession. I guess that's what I'm doing, confessing my shortfalls as a wife, mother and self-proclaimed foodie. I love to cook. I feel as though I'm cheating myself and my family out of an amazing creative experience we can all bond over and enjoy. That's what cooking is right? According to all the magazines, commercials and stories found online.

I'm so torn right now. Cooking and I have always been the best of friends, but lately we can't get on the same page. Here's hoping this post helps. Here's hoping that cooking and I can reconnect and find that same special bond that made Yumology amazing in the first place. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It's hard to write about food when you're battling the stomach flu…actually…it's IMPOSSIBLE to write about food when you've got the stomach flu. It's impossible to hear about, read about, look at, smell or even think food when you've spent three days lying on the bathroom floor praying for the energy to make it back to the bed.

It's a nasty NASTY bug, and this year it's worse than ever. We thought our yummy household was able to keep it at bay, but this weekend we were invaded. I'm talking Trojan Horse invaded, we never saw this bastard coming! Everything was fine and then BOOM - upchuck city.

For those of you interested in the science of it, here's a quick Tummy Flu 101 to satisfy your curiosity:

The stomach flu is actually known within the medical community as Gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract; the stomach and small intestine. It is primarily found in developed countries and often diagnosed as rotavirus in infants and small children.

It takes 12-72 hours for this bad boy to show up once you've been contaminated. Contamination can occur from airborne pathogens to under cooked foods to swapping spit, so BEWARE!

There are a number of over-the-counter meds that many people try in an attempt to keep the nausea away, but the most important thing is HYDRATION, HYDRATION, HYDRATION!!! Drink like you've never drunk before. Even if you know it's coming back at 'cha, chug-a-lug baby. You'll hate it as it's going down and you'll hate it even more as it's coming up, but the cleansing of your system is crucial to a quick recovery.

Electrolytes are important to help keep your energy levels up so aim for sports drinks and even Smart Water which is fortified with electrolytes. We found a combination of Smart Water, Sprite and ice was what was going to get us through.

When you can eat again aim for something bland that will pad your stomach. No fruits, veggies, meats or dairy. Try crackers, white rice and bland pasta for a bit, until you feel you're ready to return to the world of flavor.

Here's hoping you and your yummies will never have to experience the tummy flu, but if you do, we hope knowing you've got a compadre in Yumology helps.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Image courtesy of

Lately our Yumologists have been asking themselves what they can do to challenge themselves in the kitchen while promoting a healthy lifestyle and tasty menu. The answer? Attempt a raw food diet!

Raw food diets are one of the latest and greatest nutrition and well ness trends. The guiding principals of which revolve around the idea that fruits, vegetables and even certain meats and fish, lose their inherent nutritional properties when cooked above 118 degrees F.  As you can imagine, a raw food diet is similar to a vegan or vegetarian diet, since many under cooked animal products can breed to dangerous and sometimes deadly bacteria.

While some controversy over the raw food diet does exist, many health professionals and organizations advocate the use of vitamin and calcium supplements as an accompaniment to the diet, to ensure practitioners receive all of the vitamins and minerals they may otherwise miss out on.

Our Yumologists are very excited to learn more about the raw food diet and our bodies as we attempt this New Year challenge. We have researched a ton of fellow food bloggers and found a handful of useful sites with raw food recipes we can't wait to try.

Here's to a happy, healthy and yummy new year!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's January 2 which means by now many of you have determined how you'll attempt to change your eating habits in 2013. Perhaps you're cutting carbs, maligning meat or vowing veganism. Whatever your gastronomic quest, we salute you...especially if you've already made it through the first 24 hours successfully.

An increasingly popular form of dieting is detoxing, a means of cleansing your body of the junk you've gorged on during the holidays.

Detoxing can come in many shapes and sizes. Liquid detoxes, full of raw citrus juices and exotic spices. Raw food detoxes wherein one consumes raw, green vegetables for a solid 7 -10 days and only drinks water.

What is your New Year diet plan? Do you even have one? Do you want one? Tell us, we're eager to hear the results!