Making Dinner with a Toddler: Sweet Potato Cabbage Daal, Red Kale, Slaw & Chicken

February 26, 2015

Step 1: Go pick up our CSA! Ava can walk with me now. She loves to check out the purple lights at the bar, stop and play peek a boo through the window with patrons, and rearrange the onions and potatoes at Harlem Shambles. Mama puts all the onions and potatoes back where they belong. She helps me pull the vegetables out of our CSA box, pulls my wallet and keys out of my shopping bag, and tries to escape 5-6 times. On the way back, she experiments with sitting down and lying down on the sidewalk and I encourage her to stand up again.

Step 2: Pop the chicken legs in the oven at 400 degrees while Ava starts unloading the CSA vegetables from our shopping bag.

Step 3: Notice that Ava has already started ripping the red kale apart and get out a pot of water and the salad spinner so we can wash, dry and rip the kale together. Ava is very industrious and spends lots of time transferring kale between the pot of water, the salad spinner and the floor. I rewash kale as we go. When Ava is ready, she puts the lid on the salad spinner and spins it very vigorously. I confiscate the kale so that she can’t put it back on the floor.

Step 4: As Ava is happily ripping up and redistributing kale, and taking occasional stair climbing breaks (prompting instant attention from mama), I start peeling a sweet potato. I stop to pull Ava off the stairs, change her diaper, nurse her, show her the sweet potato, remove her from the trash can, wash her hands at the sink, clean up all the water on the floor from giving the kale a bath in step 3, change her diaper and wet clothes, nurse her, read a few books, chase her, and nurse her. Peeling this sweet potato takes a very long time.

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Just When My Local Farmers Market Shuts Down for the Winter

December 30, 2009

I find out that Fresh Direct sells local produce, meat, dairy, and eggs in New York. You can plug in your zip code, and they’ll tell you what local food items (if any) are available in your area.

Year-Round Farmers Markets in New York

January 17, 2009

One of the best things about living in an urban jungle is that you can go out and buy turnips and rutabagas in the middle of January. In fact, there’s a great deal of local produce available year-round in the city, thanks to our amazing network of farmers markets.

Some of the markets are seasonal and some are year-round. I’ve compiled a list of year-round markets for those hearty souls who want to purchase their produce outside, in freezing temperatures, in the middle of winter.

List after the jump.

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Laying in Stores for the Winter

January 13, 2009

There’s an exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History where you can see everything that happens underground: moles tunneling up to eat tulip bulbs, earthworms slithering through the soil, tree roots  sending spiky little root-hairs out for water.

My favorite part of the exhibit is the chipmunk’s nest, which is filled with layers of leaves and acorns. The chipmunk sleeps on top of all her acorns, and when she wakes up after a long winter’s hibernation, her emergency food stash is right there waiting for her.

I’ve been feeling like the chipmunk ever since getting back to New York. I’ve laid in my stores for the winter – flour, grits, quinoa, oats, butter, oil, sugar, honey, black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, apricots, prunes, pecans, walnuts, cashews, almonds, peanut butter, milk, eggs, and cheddar cheese – and I feel as secure as the chipmunk asleep on her acorns.

Last week, I made oatmeal bread, lentil soup, and brownies, cooked dinner with a friend, met a friend for a home-made lunch at her office, and felt smug every time I walked past a bakery with my empty wallet. It’s the dead of winter and the beginning of a recession, but I have my emergency stash right here.

Recipes after the jump

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The Grocery Store Bottleneck

November 26, 2008

It’s finals season, and that really poses a challenge to my eat-closer-to home cooking philosophy. Getting to the grocery store or farmers market seems to be the biggest problem when I am stressed and busy…and eating at home is really difficult when the cupboard is bare.

I can’t do anything about my bare cupboard today, as I’m about to leave town for Thanksgiving, but I have a plan of action for getting through the next month of exams, interviews, and deadlines.

My plan is to stock my pantry, freezer, and fridge with easy-to-cook items when I get home.

Here’s my list:


  • Pasta
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Tomato sauce


  • Frozen green peas
  • Frozen green beans
  • Frozen broccoli


  • Cheddar cheese
  • Gruyere cheese
  • Carrots
  • Green Peppers
  • Apples
  • Milk

From there, I can make pasta with pesto (already frozen), tomato sauce, or chickpeas, onions & garlic, black beans (with green pepper, onions, and garlic) and rice, lentils (already in pantry) and couscous (already in pantry), cheese toast (bread already in freezer), and eat it with carrots or a green vegetable.