though i’m married to a chef who has taught me a lot about the beauty of a home-cooked meal, i am not the best at putting together my own dishes. i am notorious for eating whatever is leftover in the fridge or subsisting on sandwiches (tuna, pb&j, egg salad, deli meat) and mac and cheese. this was all well and fine until ramona started eating more and more regular food and was getting sick of her purees and roasted sweet potatoes and i needed ideas of nutritious foods to give her that i could also enjoy eating. i was also gaining weight (after i had lost more than what i had put on while pregnant!). so something had to give. i needed ideas for small family meals (though ramona eats what i eat, i’m essentially cooking for one) that consisted of healthy, in-season whole foods.
in comes chef karolina, a fellow sakura bloom mama, who offered to let me try out her new meal plan service. i was so excited! each thursday, a meal plan arrives in my inbox. it gives me three dinners, one lunch, one breakfast, and one snack (or bonus) meal. the recipes are written plainly and clearly and there’s a complete and concise grocery shopping list in the back. hooray! also, each week focuses on one main ingredient and different ways to incorporate it into your food. the first week was asparagus then there was leafy greens, then garlic, then spinach. from this approach i’ve learned how to use up all my produce (i am so guilty of letting good stuff go rotten from not using it all up) and how to appreciate the versatility of these seasonal items.
there’s just the right amount of leftovers, interesting seasonings, and so far everything ramona loves every single dish i have offered her.
if you’re needing a little help figuring out what to make for yourself or your family (she’s got meal plans for singlets, larger families, pregnant women, and baby too!), please visit her website to find out more.
pictured above is her Farro Salad with Kale, Cherries, and Feta. i’d suggest doubling the recipe so you can have yummy leftovers. not sure if i was supposed to, but i ate this all in one sitting!
what you need:
- 1/2 cup farro
- 1 1/4 cups, chicken or veggie stock
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 lb kale, roughly chopped
- 1/4 lb cherries (dried or fresh, pitted and chopped)
- 1 T red wine vinegar
- ground pepper
- sea salt
- 2 oz feta cheese (can also use goat cheese)
what you do:
1. In a saucepan, put farro, stock, and 1 T oil bring to a boil.
2. Bring heat to a low setting and cover pan. Simmer for roughly 30 minutes or until done.
3. Meanwhile, heat 2 T of oil in a skillet. When oil is hot, add chopped kale and sprinkle with salt.
4. Turn down heat to medium hot and, while stirring frequently, cook the kale so it is almost crispy without burning. About 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
5. In a small bowl or jar, combine remainder of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and whisk/shake.
6. When farro is done, combine it with the cooked kale, cherries, dressing and feta. Toss well and serve.
thanks, karolina! your food is so so scrumptious.
this tropical kale smoothie pictured above is ramona’s new favorite food. chef karolina, who creates healthy and tasty meal plans, graciously agreed to let me share the recipe w you. have a little one that you can’t seem to offer enough veggies and fruits too? or do you need more leafy greens in your own diet? this smoothie is for all of you.
tropical kale smoothie [that your child will love]
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup kale, roughly torn or chopped
- 1/2 cup almond, coconut, or cow’s milk
- 1 t extra virgin coconut oil or coconut butter
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple or frozen mango
- pinch of cinnamon
- (optional) ice
blend until smooth. add ice if you prefer it more frothy.