macaroni & cheese with broccoli

Macaroni and cheese with broccoli

I’ve been craving mac and cheese for a few weeks but I haven’t been able to bring myself to buy the boxed stuff. While I (shamefully) love that fake Kraft box mix, one of the major bonuses of baby-led weaning with Isla is that we eat the same meals (most of the time) and this forces me to eat a little healthier. Okay fine, mac and cheese is not exactly healthy but making it from scratch is better than from the box, right? Way less sodium, for one, and REAL CHEESE! So anyway, I went for it and it was delicious. I used this recipe (from Joy the Baker) but used shells instead of traditional macaroni, white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose (only because that’s what we had), added broccoli and skipped the breadcrumbs and gruyère, though next time I’m totally adding the gruyère because it’s one of my favorite cheeses. The result: happy baby and mama! Isla absolutely loved her first taste of mac and cheese. I mean, are you really surprised? We each ate a big bowl for lunch and there’s enough left over for several days!

Tip: If you are with child(ren), make this when the babies are occupied or asleep. Once you start, there’s a lot of nonstop mixing going on so you really can’t walk away and, let’s say, stop the baby from licking the bottom of the shoes you accidentally left on the floor.

Another tip: If you want to include broccoli, cook your pasta until it’s nearly al dente, then add your uncooked broccoli florets to the pot and cook for the last 2 to 3 minutes.

Baby-led weaning broccoli mac and cheese

Macaroni and cheese with broccoli

Posted in Baby, Baby-Led Weaning, Cooking, Food & Drink, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

halloween costume DIY: baby sushi

Baby Sashimi Halloween Costume

You know how much I love sushi! I am not exactly crafty and I’ve never used a sewing machine before but I was determined to dress Isla as a piece of salmon sashimi (our favorite) for her first Halloween. I considered dressing her in some fluffy animal costume but I really wanted to make her very first costume by hand, even if it’s not the fanciest thing in the world. My mom, the creator of the best Halloween costumes on the planet, gave me some ideas for how to make the salmon pillow and it was so easy I wanted to share it with you. So here goes … Oh but first, please forgive the pictures. I did this at 10 p.m. after Isla was sound asleep so the light was pretty crappy.

Baby sushi halloween costume how-to supplies

SUPPLIES – I was able to buy everything I needed at Joann Fabric and A.C. Moore (except the shower poof, which is from Target)

1. filling for the pillow
2. 1/2 yard orange and white chevron fabric for the salmon pillow (I bought a whole yard because it was less than $5 but I used less than a quarter of it)
4. 1/4 yard of black, shiny, stretchy fabric for the seaweed (you could also use a scarf or other long, narrow, black fabric)
5. 1 piece pink felt
6. 1 green shower poof
7. stitch witchery
8. white elastic for headband
9. fabric glue

How to make a baby sushi halloween costume

How-to: Salmon Pillow

step 1: cut fish fabric into a rectangle and remember that you’re going to fold it over to make the pillow so make it twice the size (lengthwise) that you want your pillow and leave an inch to spare on each side (for ex. if you want an 8″ x 5″ pillow, cut your rectangle to 17″ x 6″)
step 2: place two pieces of stitch witchery along the edges of two of the three openings and fold the fabric over so it’s inside-out
step 3: place a damp cloth over the edges and iron on “wool” for about 10 seconds on each side (until the fabric seals together) — be sure to leave one side of the pillow open
step 4: let the fabric cool for a few minutes until you’re sure the stitch witchery will hold, then turn your fabric right side-out and stuff with as much filling as you need
step 5: fold the edges of the open side in toward each other and place a piece of stitch witchery between them, then repeat the ironing process
Voila! Salmon sashimi!

I don’t have pictures the making of the seaweed because all you need to do is cut a long piece of your black material, then tie the pillow on the baby and cut the excess.

Now for the headband …

how to make headband for baby sushi halloween costume

How-to: Ginger/Wasabi Headband

step 1: cut elastic to desired length (I cut about 16″ but Isla has a tiny head!) and use fabric glue to close the circle
step 2: cut 1 or 2 long strips off the felt and cut a piece off of the poof
step 3: arrange the strips of felt so they loop around and look like a pile of ginger, then sew onto the headband; repeat this process for the shower poof (not pictured)

And there you have it!

Baby Sushi Halloween Costume


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spooky saturday

Isla dressed as sushi for Halloween for Headhouse Square Pumpkin Fall Festival

Saturday was a good one. We celebrated Halloween a week early by taking our little sushi out to two festivals in the city. She “walked” the catwalk for her first Halloween costume contest at the East Passyunk Spooky Saturday Festival and witnessed some cool acrobatics at the Headhouse Square Pumpkin Fall Festival near South Street. We ran into a bunch of Isla’s buddies from music class, who were all dressed up and looking adorable, and enjoyed a visit with her best buddy, Carmen, too. Then we topped things off with dinner out just the three of us. It was a wonderful day. Oh, and Isla looked stinking cute in her sushi costume, which I made all by myself! It’s nothing fancy, obviously, but as someone who does not sew, I’m quite proud. I’ll share the how-to tomorrow. If you’ve procrastinated and are looking for a quick, last-minute costume, it’s really, really easy.

Isla Halloween Contest Spooky Saturday, East Passyunk, Philadelphia

DIY Baby Salmon Sashimi Halloween Costume

Headhouse Square Pumpkin Fall Festival Circus Arts performers; Philadelphia

Isla dressed as sushi for Halloween for Headhouse Square Pumpkin Fall Festival

Kids using typewriters at Headhouse Square Pumpkin Fall FestivalKids using typewriters. Now that’s something you don’t see every day!

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