Baby Food

Becoming a mother for me was an overwhelming experience. I wanted to do it right. No, I wanted to do it perfectly. And when I say “do it” I mean be a parent. I refer to parenting as “it” because it felt like a project to me. It was this task that I had to accomplish. I took breast feeding classes and learned how to swaddle and read books about sleep. But as any mom knows, the “parenting degree” I obtained prior to giving birth did not make becoming a parent any easier. Because to sit in

a class and learn about breast feeding is quite different than actually getting that baby to latch on to your breast. And getting that perfectly tight swaddle is a little harder when the kid is kicking and screaming at the top of his lungs. Then there is so much to worry about. The nursing, the routine, the sleep, colic, vaccines, milestones, the list goes on and on…and all this worry is really exaggerated when you’re working on drastically interrupted sleep.  So when the time came for my first son to start solids, my brain was overloaded. I really didn’t feel that I had the capacity to take on the task of making baby food. And to be honest, I also didn’t know any better. At the time I did not know what I know now about food. I’m not even sure I knew that I could make baby food. It is difficult to explain just how foreign and overwhelming the whole thing was.

But I am a rule follower and I wanted to “do this” right…So I followed the books and started my son on cereal followed by a series of gerber veggies one at a time, etc. I did buy Earths Best organic baby food because one of the only mommy friends I knew at the time had bought those for her son.  Funny (true) story: our cousin was graduating from law school in Washington, D.C. I wanted to pack my son’s baby food for the trip but my husband didn’t let me. He said “Caro, surely there is a grocery store in Washington DC where we can buy his baby food. Its kind of ridiculous to travel with all this stuff. I conceded but not happily. When we got to dc, we were in a college town. Much to our surprise there WERE NO local grocery stores to buy baby food. We didn’t have a car. There was only little specialty places and a cvs type place. I remember walking in  and seeing in one little corner a few jars of baby food. They had sweet potato and banana. My poor son ate nothing but sweet potato and banana for 3 days because it never dawned on me that I could actually give him real food in soft pieces or mashed. I’m not sure what exactly I thought would happen to him if I gave him adult food but being the rule follower, paranoid first-time mother that I was, if it wasn’t made by gerber or earths best, he was not having it.

Wow!!!!! I’ve come a long way.

It wasn’t until Justin (my second son) was born that I was able to wrap my head around this baby food concept. I’ll never forget when my paradigm shifted. I was talking with a girlfriend of mine and I casually mentioned to her that I was curious about people who made their own baby food. She told me she made her own baby food and immediately offered me a book that helped her get started ” Top 100 Baby Purees”


(This is yet another example why it is so important to have a community of people around you to offer you ideas and support and help you grow)

When she brought me the book, I was expecting nothing short of a science project. To my defense, I don’t cook at home and I am (WAS) intimidated by the kitchen. When I opened the book and realized that to give my son “baby food banana” all I had to do was peel a banana and mash it with a fork, my world literally opened up. Its that easy. Really? On one end I was totally relieved, and on the other end I was totally embarrassed. How did this not dawn on me before? Talk about some serious tunnel vision.

I began with the easy stuff first and then I moved on to the more challenging meals like cooking with raw chicken. Yuck – but doable. Pretty soon I was buying more advanced baby food books and giving my son food was exciting and fun. My possibilities were endless.

Making my own baby food changed my life. Not only was I offering my son a much wider variety of non-processed foods but I believe that this was the first baby step I needed to move into my own healthier life style. Making baby food involves combining single ingredients and whole foods. When I was ready for my own transformation I thought about food very much in the baby food sense. I moved away from the boxed foods and the never ending ingredient lists that had more science words than food words. My salads, smoothies, soups, and snacks were nothing more than baby food with stronger spices. Something that may seem so simple to someone else, lifted a veil off my eyes and allowed me to see a whole new world.

By the time my third son was born, I had learned so much and grown so much that his very first solid food was egg yolk and avocado. Wacky huh!!!!! Turns out cereal is not the best first solid to offer your kids contrary to popular opinion. You’ll have to wait for another blog post to learn why!




You may remember from our Sarasota post that we mentioned we had Spinach with Meat sauce and the recipe would follow. Well, I thought that was a perfect Fearless Friday dish. I don’t know why but I find Italian food in general to be yummy comfort food. Pastas, lasagnas, baked ziti…all dishes that are usually made in large quantities for friendly gatherings and for the most part, everyone loves it.

On this particular evening, we were all exhausted from a long day at the beach. We got home and didn’t know what to make for dinner and Yaimy mentioned that she had a box of Spinach pasta – gluten free 🙂 She bought this box at Whole Foods and brought it with her…just in case.

Well, we had ground turkey in the fridge and Orlando whipped up this meal quickly and it was DELICIOUS!

Orlando likes using the 93/7 ground turkey. Meaning 93% meat, 7% fat. He feels that anything less is so high in fat that you might as well use the ground beef…but the 99% fat free ground turkey is so lean that he finds it too dry for certain meals. We avoid SUGAR mainly, so a little fat doesn’t scare us.

So, on to the recipe…

Meat Sauce

  • 2 – 2 1/2 lbs ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • mix of oregano, basil and thyme
  • peas, carrots, and any other veggies you want to sneak in 🙂
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 small can of Rotelle tomato paste
  • 3 chopped tomatoes


  • Cook the spinach pasta according to the instructions on the box


Yaimy had taken a nice block of Manchego cheese on the trip also, so we grated the Manchego on top of the pasta… WOW!!!! We all loved it!

FYI: Sneaky Orlando had made a cabbage soup the night before and true to form…he snuck some of the veggies from the cabbage soup into the pasta. The result: our brains registered that we were eating a delicious Italian pasta dish that satisfied all our taste buds…but the truth is that we were having leeks, garlic, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, green beans, peas, and asparagus under all the deliciousness and actually eating a quite healthy meal. Obviously, we welcome vegetables and it is not necessary to sneak them in to anything, however, its good to know that you can offer this dish to your friends and family whether they are anti-veggies or not. They’ll never know the difference!!!!!!

Enjoy your weekend!!!!!!

Fearless Friday… Carb-free lasagna

By Caroline:

We all know that at the end of a long week sometimes we just want comfort food. And we definitely want to treat ourselves to something delicious… But at the same time we’re afraid of totally going off the rails. So we thought about the concept of fearless Fridays. Giving you a recipe from time to time thats a healthier alternative to comfort food. It doesn’t have to be the healthiest meal in the world, but we are striving to make better choices. So here’s our first attempt at a healthier weekend meal. It takes some time to make so it’s perfect for Fridays or Saturdays with friends.

By Orlando:

Eggplant lasagna.

It was as good a lasagna as any I’ve ever had. I know it is hard to believe, but I swear it’s true. In place of pasta sheets, we use eggplant sliced in 1/4 inch slices length-wise. A mandolin is ideal in order to get even slices, but you can eye-ball it with a knife. This is a take on a recipe I found online.

The meat in the lasagna is ground turkey and chicken. You can use one or both, but I wanted the depth of flavor that the combination would provide. You can use turkey or chicken sausage as well if you want. A quick note on ground turkey: always check the fat % on the package. Turkey that is 85/15 (15% fat) is as bad as eating ground beef. A 99% or “fat-free” turkey is ideal, but it is super dry. I usually use a 93/7 blend which is still healthy and reasonable.

This is NOT one of our weekly go-to dishes mainly because I use a good deal of cheese (even though they are all fat-free or 2% milk cheese). Also, it is not as packed with vegetables as I normally like. But the true genius of this dish is that you don’t use any spaghetti sauce. The sauce is comprised of all ground turkey/chicken and a combination of red wine, tomato paste, and a small can of Rottela. In other words, you are saving the 100-plus grams of sugar contained on Prego or Ragu. Add to that the absence of any pasta, and you have a relatively healthy, very low-carb lasagna that you can make as a “weekend cheat” dish. As I always do, I will eventually find a way to add a lot of veggies to this dish and make it even healthier, but I didn’t want to go crazy on my first attempt and risk watering-down the lasagna. One of the keys to a good lasagna is that it can stand on its own after plating. This lasagna did so in large part because it was not overly-sauced, but it still had an awesome saucy taste inside of the ground meats.

Mock Noodles

  • 2 large eggplants, peeled, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch noodle-like strips
  • cooking spray (olive oil spray is best)
  • salt and pepper

Meat Sauce

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground sirloin or 1 lb ground turkey breast and 1 lb ground chicken (or 2 pounds of your favorite)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) package sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons italian seasoning (or mix of oregano, basil and thyme)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (if you dare!) (optional)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 small can of Rotelle tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes (for less sugar, 3 chopped tomatoes)

Cheese Mixture


  1. 1
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. 2
    Spray cookie sheet, arrange eggplant slices and season with salt and pepper.
  3. 3
    Cook slices 5 minutes on each side.
  4. 4
    Lower oven temp to 375.
  5. 5
    Brown meat, season with salt, pepper, and Italian Seasonings and place in a bowl.
  6. 6
    Add red pepper, onion, mushrooms, and garlic in olive oil until cooked (don’t forget to season).
  7. 7
    Add spinach, season, and cook for 5-10 minutes. Please DRAIN any excess liquids!!!!!
  8. 8
    Add the meat to the mixture and add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and red wine. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Blend ricotta, egg and onion mixture in a bowl. Spray cooking spray in bottom of 9” x 13” glass pan. You can use a smaller pan for a taller lasagna.
  10. 10
    Layer ½ eggplant slices, ricotta, meat, mozzarella and parmesan.
  11. 11
  12. 12
    Add last layer of sauce, then mozzarella and parmesan on top.
  13. 13
    Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.
  14. 14
    Remove foil and bake or broil another 5-10 minutes until cheese is browned.
  15. 15
    Let it rest 10 minutes before slicing, if you can wait that long!

Fool Proof, Easy, Works Every Time Veggie Recipe

What is it about veggies that most of us just don’t want to eat them? I say its bad memories. Its the memory of the soggy broccoli you had at a restaurant or the canned vegetables your mother made you eat for dinner. The truth is that most people sabotage vegetables. Its not the vegetable…its the preparation. Boiling and over steaming are probably the biggest culprits.

But when you decide that you have to make vegetables the biggest part of your daily diet…you better find a way to enjoy them or you’re in big trouble. We have definitely found a cooking method that works:


The recipe we are about to share with you is the most basic, embarrassingly simple way to cook almost any vegetable and LOVE it.

Here’s what you do:

Take Asparagus for example:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • drizzle olive oil and some salt on asparagus (Trim an inch from the bottom)
  • toss in a bowl
  • lay flat on top of parchment paper or aluminum foil on a baking sheet
  • cook for 30 minutes (time may vary depending on vegetable and your oven. You need to be vigilant the first few times you make the vegetables so you can note the time that is right for you. You don’t want to overcook the vegetable but you also don’t want it to be too hard)


Other veggies you can try this method with include:

  • butternut squash
  • sweet potato
  • parsnip (trim an inch off the bottom)
  • green beans (trim off the ends)
  • brussel sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • carrots
  • beets
  • zucchini
  • squash
  • red and green peppers
  • garlic (to use in soups and other recipes…yummy)
NOTE: Don’t be afraid to combine the vegetables in one tray. While they generally have different cooking times, a combination of asparagus, carrots and brussel sprouts, for example, will cook well together.

This cooking method has allowed us to start this love affair with vegetables. Caveat: We don’t like using this method on broccoli because we find it to be too dry. We will post another recipe for broccoli, but we encourage you to try any and all of these veggies using this simple recipe.

What’s so great about this recipe is that you don’t need fancy ingredients or techniques and you don’t have to be a great cook to pull this off. Even I can cook this and I rely entirely on my husband to do the cooking.

We usually use this method at dinner time and we tend to make a large portion. We love leftovers because our kids go to sleep so early that they won’t enjoy this veggie until the next day.  We also sometimes double up on the veggies…for example we’ll make roasted butternut squash and green beans and use the squash as the carb.

But another great little perk is that I incorporate the leftovers in my meals the next day.

For example: My absolute favorite is to have the roasted butternut squash in my fridge for a few days to put in my salads. It is DELICIOUS! I also snack on it if I’m hungry and I need a snack. I just heat it up and eat a few bites and its filling and healthy.

If we have left over red beets I also put it in our salads the next day, but sometimes I make a beet smoothie in the morning.

We try to make our morning and afternoon vegetables RAW because that is the way you get the most vitamins and minerals from the vegetable. But it is nice to throw in a cooked vegetable into your salad every once in a while and keep it interesting.

We hope you’ll put this recipe to the test this week and try as many vegetables as you dare!!!


Carb alternatives

We do not follow Atkins, however, we do believe that you need to eliminate the rices, breads, pastas, crackers of  your daily diet. The problem is not that “Carbohydrates” are bad for you. Carbs provide energy and energy is necessary for life. The problem is that we are living in a society where wheat (gluten) has been altered to the point that it is dangerous for you. The rise of Celiac’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome are highly attributed to these products.  It used to be that the white carbs were the bad ones because they were processed and that continues to be true…however, we are fooled into thinking that whole wheat is  a “healthy” alternative, when the research is now proving otherwise. Unfortunately, even when you shop at the store and read titles like “Multi-Grain” bread or chips, if you follow our principle of READING THE INGREDIENTS, you will find that these products are made primarily of whole wheat. You need to stick to WHOLE GRAINS and it has to be 100% whole grains.

Now, we are Cuban. We eat double and sometimes triple carbs in most meals (white rice, black beans, and yucca is a common example).  It is tough for us to make a meal without “carbs”until this day. What do we do?  We have learned to replace the carbs that we are used to (rice, pasta, potatoes) with vegetables that are satisfying, delicious, and starchy.

Here’s a a general idea…

You want a baked potato= make a sweet potato (no butter or sugar needed) it is sweet and healthy on its own.

You want mashed potatoes= make a cauliflower mashed potato. You won’t know the difference.

You craving pasta? Instead of pasta, roast a spaghetti squash, make a simple tomato sauce with ground turkey, and pour it atop the squash. Is it identical? No. But you won’t miss the pasta after a while.  (This is just one website to teach you how to make the spaghetti squash but you can google it and find other informational websites)

Often times rice is the cornerstone of all meals. Rice is easily replicated by whole grains. Don’t fall into the “brown rice” scam. Most brown rice is just white rice with molasses and not a whole lot more nutritious.  Get whole grains like Quinoa, cracked bulgar, and millet.

You can also put raw cauliflower in a food processor and it will turn into “rice-like” portions that you can saute and serve in place of rice. You can actually make a pizza crust out of it.

PLEASE NOTE: Don’t dream about making this pizza recipe without PARCHMENT PAPER. The crust is too sticky and won’t succeed without parchment paper.

For a great article on the evolution of wheat, please read this article: