About Me

Hi! My name is Lexy Briest. I am a teacher, artist, wife, and best of all mom to Delilah Poppy. This blog is meant to document what I love and discover along the way of becoming a mommy, which to me is a never ending journey. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Beets, beets, and quinoa

As a mom/chef of a toddler, one has to have something up her sleeve at all times! My little munchkin has always been an adventurous eater, but I've noticed lately that her portions have shrunken, due to the toddler syndrome I am guessing. That coupled with the fact that she is pint sized (I mean she still has infant medicine when needed, and is in her baby bath.....). I want to make sure she is still getting all her nutrients and continuing her food education! However, exposure to so many types of flavors can take a chunk out of your wallet.

 SO I found these enormous golden beets for $2.69 a bunch at the grocery store and scooped them up without thinking what to use them for. That is very dangerous because it could potentially lead to wasted food, mind explosion of not knowing what to do with them or not having the accompanying ingredients when I do figure out what to do with them. Luckily, I had quinoa at home and I always have fresh herbs on hand. Really, one can't go wrong with throwing a bunch of stuff together in a bowl of quinoa, herbs, cheese and some roasted ANYTHING!

After the beets were roasted I got to thinking I could basically use beets, especially these golden beauties, in place of butternut squash in other recipes/concoctions.  These beets are a little lighter on your wallet than the squash, too. Plus, they get double points because you can use the green tops as you would any other greens like kale, spinach, chard or dandelion. Also, they are just so darn sweet. I did end up making beet green chips, similar to kale chips, because I am a chronic binge eater and I figure these are way better for you than regular chips! (They are almost gone :/)

I hope you get inspired to use beets in your recipes soon!!!

Golden Beet and Quinoa Pilaf

1 large bunch golden beets, scrubbed, and boiled till just tender (a fork should be able to just slide through and the skin can be rubbed off)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, or to taste
sprinkle of Himalayan salt
2 sprigs thyme and/or rosemary (pick something hardy)
1 garlic clove, minced
small handful fresh mint, chopped
4 oz soft goat cheese, cubed or crumbled
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed
3 cups cooked qunioa, still warm

After the beets cool slightly, rub the skin off with a knife or back of a spoon. Do this while still pretty warm. Dice the beets into bite size pieces. Toss diced beets with oil, vinegar, salt, chopped herbs and garlic. Spread evenly on baking tray.
In a preheated 350 degree oven, roast beets about 15-20 minutes. Turn beets and roast another 15-20 minutes till golden brown.  Keep an eye on them so they don't burn.
Add goat cheese to warm quinoa. It will partly melt, partly cluster. Add fresh mint and beans. Fold in beets. Hide from everyone else unless you are in the mood to share.

Beet Green Chips

Tops of fresh beets, stems removed, rinsed and dried really well (I let mine sit out on a dish towel for an hour)
Olive oil
Himalayan salt
Black pepper, old bay, chili powder, or any other seasoning you like on chips

In a preheated 350 degree oven, spread beet leaves over two baking trays sprayed with cooking spray  or covered in parchment paper. I had so many greens I did mine in two batches. Drizzle olive oil, salt and any other seasoning over the leaves. I sprayed my leaves with cooking spray to make sure they were all the way coated. Alternatively, you could drizzle the oil over the leaves and toss them before spreading on trays. Bake 15-20 minutes on one side, turn and bake 10 minutes more till crisp. Keep an eye on them; they will appear to steam if not enough time has gone by and they will quickly crisp up when ready. Eat right away!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Traditions (for this multi-faith/ethnic family)

Since becoming married and having a child, blending and balancing our religious faiths and traditions has been interesting. When it was just the two of us, taking turns for holidays was never too difficult because Jewish holidays don't often coincide with Catholic ones or at least Jewish celebrations often have multiple days. Having a baby didn't matter much either because she really didn't know what was going on that whole first year other than "It feels good to have my diaper clean," and, "That food is great!" That baby is now a full fledged tantrum throwing, emotional-hot-mess, no-no-no, "Delilah do!" human being who knows that this bunny strangers we meet in the grocery store talk about is REAL. So after a wonderful Passover Sedar at my parents house, we in fact had a visit from the Easter Bunny this morning. In more serious news, this Bunny left a basket with TWO chocolate eggs, one for each sweet year Delilah has blessed us. In addition, gardening tools, stickers, hair bows, bubbles and socks filled said basket. 

For the last seven years Bryan and I (and for some of that time, Delilah) visited his family and enjoyed a most scrumptious Easter Dinner. Every year we come to expect his mom's delicious artichokes that are humongous globes of awesomeness, her cheesy potatoes and traditional ham. Many of her recipes come from the women in her family no longer with us, and I love hearing about her memories of them. In fact, one of my favorite parts about holidays is hearing about our parents stories of those they love and miss. 

With such a short spring break this year, not to mention the semi-banshee, semi-angel toddler we are sporting now-a-days, we had our first Easter ever as couple at home. It was bittersweet: sweet that we didn't have to ride in the car for 7 hours each way with you-know-who; bitter that we haven't seen our family since New Year's and are missing this gathering. So I tried to incorporate many of the foods we have in NY for Easter on our menu today:

Breakfast played homage to the cheesy potatoes my Mother-in-Law bakes: I did hash-brown cups with baked eggs over asparagus spears. Bryan's mom always supplies us with eggs to decorate, which we eat Easter morning while we wait for the real meal. And it is Easter, so we had to have eggs! 

We enjoyed artichoke risotto and grilled lamb chops marinated in rosemary and garlic. I have to admit, even though the risotto was so good and "the best" Bryan's ever had, I did miss my MIL's steamed artichokes! On a side not, I tried this new organic wine from Frey Wine Vineyards out of California, as any good chef would before using it in their risotto, and it was delish!

For dessert I made a strawberry-rhubarb pie. Typically we have carrot cake in NY, but I made one with this recipe for our Passover Sedar, so this spring pie was shouting to be made! 

Now that dinner is over, and the sidewalk chalk has been broken out, Bryan and I need to think about how we will be blending our faith's in the years to come, especially as Delilah starts to expect things/questions things/be a teenager one day :(. We all know we will be starting with the food, so at least that part is going to be easy. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Clean Eater

I jumped on the Clean Eating bandwagon last year and have loved the way it makes me feel energized, healthy and mindful of what I eat. I have been a little lackadaisical for the last month or so due to the holidays. So we hit it back into high gear starting with one of our favorite recipes in the Briest household: Pancakes!

Delilah eats hers on a daily basis for breakfast, usually alongside yogurt and fruit. Occasionally I treat her to mini chocolate chips. I got the recipe from a friend (see below) but created my own for my new favorite, Lemon Poppy seed Protein Pancakes. Both are a great way to get lots of protein and fiber in a grain-free way.

Lemon Poppy Seed Protein Pancakes
created by Lexy Briest

3 organic eggs
3 tbsps coconut flour
2 banana's, peeled
1 lemon, zested and juiced
pinch each of cinnamon and ground cardamon (can be omitted but recommend)
poppy seeds to taste
1/4 tsp pure vanilla

grass-fed butter, coconut oil or nonstick cooking spray for griddle

Combine all the ingredients up to the vanilla in a blender. Grease griddle or large frying pan. Pour batter in small (2-3") circles. The bigger they are the harder it is to flip because it is a moister pancake than wheat ones. Flip after the edges turn golden, 2-3 minutes. Fry other side 1-2 more minutes till cooked.

Coconut Protein Pancakes

3 organic eggs
2 tbsp's coconut flour
2 banana's, peeled
pinch of cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla
grass-fed butter, coconut oil or nonstick cooking spray for griddle
mini chocolate chips, or blueberries optional

Combine all ingredients up to the vanilla in a blender. Grease griddle or large frying pan. Pour batter in small (2-3") circles. The bigger they are the harder it is to flip because it is a moister pancake than wheat ones. Sprinkle chocolate chips or blueberries if using them.  Flip after the edges turn golden, 2-3 minutes. Fry other side 1-2 minutes till cooked.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The new, Glam, BRAT diet

As summer comes to an end and my little munchkin gets some sort of dreaded tummy bug, both her diaper and her belly need a little extra TLC. After many diapers of disaster in the last 48 hours, Delilah has been put on a probiotic a la doctor to restore health to her GI tract as well as a modified BRAT diet a la mama.

She got her beloved banana at breakfast, and would eat it at every meal if I let her. For her Rice course, the mama provided a decadent mushroom risotto. I absolutely love risottos because you can dress them up so many ways! I had some local eggplant just sitting, begging to be used, so I grilled them and stacked them between mounds of the warm risotto to satisfy the inner chef in me.

Don't fret, I served it with a side of Gianelli Turkey Sausage for our protein. And also because I can't spell apparently and thought chicken was one of the foods for the Brat diet (Delilah prefers Turkey as her poultry of choice, and now so do I!).  (I just checked and Wikipedia says BRATCH, the "CH" being for chicken, is a variation, so there!).

I took this opportunity to make a double batch to freeze for my stock of back-to-work grab and go. I froze both the risotto in single serve portions as well as a few portions of protein by mixing the sausage with some leftover organic kidney beans. I also set up a tray of toddler sized portions to serve Delilah. Double score!


As for the "A", she had her probiotic hidden in some unsweetened organic applesauce (a real treat since she never gets purees anymore other than in her yogurt ). I have yet to give her toast- because I don't eat bread and that would mean going back out to the store. Maybe I should grab a loaf of organic bread and leave it in the freezer for future situations?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Make-Ahead Time Saver

It is getting to be that time of year where I have a giant mixed bag of emotions...school is starting! Being a teacher is unique because you never outgrow those feelings from when you were 5 years old and first started school. Excitement, nervousness, anger that summer is coming to an end.

One of the emotions I am battling with has to do with time. As a mother we are always worried about time. I know that when I get home from work I have exactly one hour to prepare and eat our dinner, play with my cuddle monkey, and if it is bath night then I only have 40 minutes for all of those things. It really is not a lot of time as my little mini-me is asleep in her crib by 6:30 every night (I know, it seems early but it is at her request!). Also, in the morning I will have zero play time as we have to get her up from her slumber at 7:30 to have her changed and dressed for daycare.

 Last school year I struggled with having her food ready to go to daycare let alone having mine made for the day and dinner on top of that. This year I have a plan! I will create make-ahead meals that can be left in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for longer. If I am going to actually make that work for at least a few weeks (let's face it, it can't really work for the long run as I am a foodie and can not deny my need for freshness), I need to start NOW. I have exactly 15 days, 4 hours and 19 minutes before I have to go back to work.

I bet many other moms could use some freezer make and take ideas, so here is the one I started with: it is a twist on a recipe found here: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cilantro-pear-turkey-sausage-50400000117233/. The changes I made were doubling the recipe, using organic ground pork, which has less fat then conventional ground pork (I got it on sale for less than $3 a lb!), and using a spray oil.  I served it with a fresh tomato-basil-cucumber salsa and baked organic sweet potato wedges. After dinner I split half the patties in half and stored each half with a whole patty in Ziplock baggies in the freezer. That way I can pull a perfect 3 oz portion out as needed.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sharing is Caring

I feel so blessed that Delilah is an adventurous eater. I am very proud of the fact that she is very disciplined in her food education thus far. Lately she has been eyeing my plate in a different way, noticing how my food looks different than hers (i.e. it is not cut into tiny bite size pieces!). Though they are the same foods on each of our plates, now she wants her food to look like mine.

Tonight she decided to go for the 3-4 inch long string bean from my plate and found that it was in fact too difficult for her to chew herself. Again, I am so proud that this moment of frustration did not result in a tantrum.  Rather, she choose to explore her options, and after a few tries, settled on feeding the sting bean to me up until the last half-inch at which point I handed the rest back to her. That was an acceptable form of compromise according to Delilah, and me, too! Now what to do about a favorite summer time treat, crabs....... :)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

First Kiss

Little girls think about their first kiss very early on. There are many kinds of first kisses.  Like the one at your 5th birthday party when your prince charming wakes you from your pretend slumber at your princess themed festivity (yes, I have cool parents!).  Or the one on the playground in elementary school. Then there is the one that you were dared to do in middle school. And of course the one from your first boyfriend in high school.  All those kisses only have one thing on the big smoocher I recently got tonight: they were sloppy and wet!

As we continue to experience many firsts with our darling 13 month old, I have never been caught as surprised as I was when Delilah planted one huge open mouthed kiss in my mouth/chin region at the end of our bedtime routine.  After a long week of trying to keep up with the tiny energizer bunny/food guzzler/ diaper hoarder/only-wants-to-go-outsider, this was the best first kiss I have ever had (sorry, Bryan).  It took all I had not to cry but to carry forth my loving mini-me to her crib where she ravenously scooped up her second and third paci, cuddled up to her lovey and sat up to graciously accept my nightly kiss on her precious little head.