Garlicky Green Beans

Garlicky Green Bean (9)

Travis opened up his new Raddish Kids box tonight. This month’s theme? Family date night! The kit was intended to overlap with Valentine’s Day, and quite cleverly; these days, Valentine’s is more about the kids than just the grown-ups! But we received our box too late for the holiday, so were happy to settle in for a family cooking night here later in the month.

As with all Raddish recipes, I loved that even my pre-reader could help gather the ingredients, based on the bold, bright pictures.

Garlicky Green Bean (1)

First, we prepared the topping (a gremolata, I recognized, although that wasn’t specified). Travis got to help with big boy steps! Together,  we chopped a bunch of parsley. Two tablespoons went into a bowl.

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Next he grated the zest from one lemon; that joined the parsley in the bowl.

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I smashed three garlic cloves for him, and he carefully peeled back the white paper.

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Then we got to use this month’s keepsake: a garlic minced. I’d never seen one quite like this before that rocks back and forth,  and to be honest, I found that it didn’t mince a clove as well as a knife. But for kids, it’s great, since no knife is required. The recipe card also featured a run-down of all the ways to mince garlic.

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As he worked, we read the facts about garlic and its history of medicinal use on the recipe card. “Is lemon good for me?” he asked after. “Is parsley going to keep me strong?” I love that he already has an understanding of the connection between what we eat and our health.

Next up, we heated 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add 3 tablespoons panko and the minced garlic; cook for 4 minutes, until lightly browned.

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Add the garlic mixture to the parsley mixture, along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons vegan Parmesan sprinkles.

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Next up we trimmed 1 pound green beans, using scissors to snip off the pointy ends.

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(Note: For all of these advanced kitchen skills, Travis loved helping for a moment or two, and then preferred to watch me finish. I recommend the same if you also have a young chef, but big kids can take on more ownership of the recipe).

We cooked the green beans in a pot of boiling, salted water for 7 minutes, which was the recipe card’s suggestion for medium tenderness. Drain the green beans in a colander, then transfer to a bowl; drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and sprinkle with the gremolata.

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Proud chef! This is actually his happy face saying “Garlic!” though it looks like a grimace. He devoured every last green bean, and the grown-ups, too!

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Visual Discovery

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A relative praised Veronika’s strong eyesight over the weekend, a nice compliment and a reminder of why I take the time to play little games at each stage that strengthen her vision. At three months old, we’ve moved beyond black and white and beyond bold colors, and now she can start to enjoy complicated patterns.

I sat her down comfortably and pulled out a variety of household objects with colors and contrasts for her to enjoy. First up, a ball of multi-hued yarn.

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Then I showed her one of daddy’s ties. I talked about what the item was, as well as descriptions of the color and images on it.

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This bandanna from big brother Travis was a hit!

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So much so that we tied it in her bassinet for visual fun later in the day.

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Even a two-tone hairbrush can be fun in this game.

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Just be careful; unlike some games we play, items from this one weren’t meant to end up in the mouth!

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If you’re stumped for what items to show your baby, head to the closet. There are sure to be racks full of interesting colors and patterns.

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She especially loved one of mommy’s dresses!

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Energy-Boosting Smoothies

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This past week, I noticed my energy levels flagging a little; it’s right around this point that breastfeeding takes a lot out of you! Baby isn’t quite ready for solids yet at three months old, but needs upwards of 600 calories a day of milk alone. With my son, I hadn’t realized how many calories go into producing milk each day, and soon found myself underweight. Smoothies were my life saver.

So feeling like my supply has been a little low for Veronika, today’s activity was to make some energy-boosting smoothies to keep us both healthy and strong!

Energy Smoothie (1)

I played around with a few variations, and here are three that I loved. For all of the following recipes, simply combine the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. You can add ice if you like, but I prefer my smoothies without it.

Smoothie 1:

  • 5 ounces vanilla non-dairy yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh mango
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup carrot juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Energy Smoothie (2)

Smoothie 2:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 cup chopped Granny Smith apple
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

Energy Smoothie (4)

Smoothie 3:

  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 6 ounces apple juice
  • 1/2 cup avocado
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach or watercress
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds

Energy Smoothie

This last was my favorite, rich and creamy from the avocado, and an instant energy boost. Feel free to play around with the above suggestions. Use oat milk if you like it better, or pumpkin seeds in place of the sunflower etc. If you have a recipe you like best, please share in the comments!