Chicken Soup for Your Cold

Best for Babies 10+ Months

I don’t actually think chicken soup cures colds. I mean, I wish it did. Standing in line at CVS for 15 minutes and getting my ID scrutinized just so I can purchase a box of overpriced cold medicine is not my idea of fun. But chicken soup definitely makes me feel better when I have a cold and Mason seems to agree with me. In addition to his teething h-ll, Bug has a miserable cold and now I have the same miserable cold, naturally. I wish I were battling this cold by myself but since Bug and I are in this together, I’ve been standing in a steamy bathroom with him, rubbing Vicks on his chest and feet (and mine), and turning on his humidifier at bedtime. I also whipped up a giant pot of ginger-spiced chicken soup filled with veggies and brown rice Monday night. We each ate a bowl of the deliciousness last night and both of us seemed to feel better afterwards. It’s cold and rainy in New York today…perhaps we’ll have to eat leftovers tonight:)

Try out our fave cold symptom-soother — and let me know what you think! What do you and your kids eat to feel better when a cold strikes?


Ginger-Chicken Soup


1 roast chicken
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 cup frozen peas or edamame
1 medium onion
1-3/4 cup brown rice
1 tsp. ground ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
32 ounces Chicken broth
1 cup water
Olive oil


Peel and chop onion and carrot. Cook in olive oil until onion is transparent and carrot is tender, taking care not to burn (about 5 minutes on medium heat). Set aside. Shred roast chicken and add to a pot with carrots, onion, chicken broth, water, peas/edamame, and ginger. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add rice to the pot at the end of the cooking time, according to package instructions. Serve hot.

Tuesday Timesaver: 30-Minute Orzo with Spinach & Feta


Mason has loved feta cheese since we let him try it a few months ago at Cava, a restaurant in Capitol Hill’s Eastern Market neighborhood. He hadn’t had it in awhile so last night I decided to prepare him a new dish starring  the tangy cheese. I cut the feta into small cubes and tossed it with chopped steamed spinach and cooked orzo. The dish was so easy to make and it’s super versatile:  I can serve it plain or toss it with fresh tomato sauce. I can also mix in lots of other veggies (tomatoes, sweet pepper, carrots, sweet potato, cauliflower) as well as chicken, beef, or salmon. Mason tried the orzo with just the spinach and feta today at lunch and he loved it.

A few words of advice before you start cooking… I used frozen organic spinach, which seemed like a great idea until I steamed it and saw all the stringy stems. I spent 10 minutes picking through the greens and cutting off the stems, and I probably missed some (it was a tangled mess!). It would have been much easier to use fresh spinach and remove the stems before steaming, or at least use frozen spinach without stems. Then there was the mess.  By the time I finished mixing all the ingredients together, orzo was everywhere–on the kitchen floor, stuck to the bottom of my bare feet, in the sink, on the counter. Granted, I’m a messy cook — at times frighteningly similar to the storybook character Amelia Bedelia — so if you’re neat in the kitchen this is probably a non-issue.

Try out our recipe — and let us know what you think!

Orzo with Spinach & Feta


1 cup orzo
3/4 cup fresh spinach
1/3 cup feta cheese
Olive oil


1. Wash and chop spinach. Remove stems and steam until wilted. Drain, pat dry with paper towels, and set aside.

2. Cook orzo in boiling water with a splash of olive oil according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

3. Chop feta cheese into tiny cubes and toss with drained orzo and spinach.

4. Freeze leftovers for up to three months.

Yield: 10 two-ounce portions

Deadlines, A Journalism Conference & Amazing Veggie Lentils

This past week kicked my a#s. It was exciting and fulfilling and wonderful but exhausting. The first half flew by in a blur of deadlines and then I flew to St. Louis Wednesday night for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication‘s annual conference. I was part of a panel discussion about social media and magazines and I met some truly inspiring professors, including Jacqueline Marino of Kent State and Dr. David Abrahamson of Northwestern. I flew back to New York Thursday night, woke up Bug and covered him with kisses, stayed up late drinking wine and reconnecting with Chris, and worked all day Friday. Friday night was all about Bug. After he went to bed I unwound in the kitchen by chopping up veggies for a hearty pot of vegetarian lentils and watching old Sex in the City episodes. The dish was a hit with my family and I’m hoping it will be a hit with yours too.  The lentils and edamame are a great source of protein and the veggies are healthy and packed with vitamins and minerals. Enjoy!


1 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 large carrot
1/2 cup edamame
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup peas
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 cups vegetable broth
Olive oil


1. Cook carrots and garlic in olive oil until soft (5-7 minutes).

2. Add edamame, broccoli, peas, and vegetable broth. (Start with 2 cups of vegetable broth; add in more if needed.) Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 50 minutes. For firmer lentils, simmer 20 minutes; check the texture and continue to simmer if desired. For smaller babies, cool slightly after simmering then puree in a blender of food processor.

3. Freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.

Yield: About 12 ounces

Fresh & Easy Finger Foods for Flying

Mason took his 15th flight yesterday. Since our trips always seem to conflict with Bug’s mealtimes, I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to feed him in the air. We never mastered in-flight purees — more got on us than in Mason’s mouth due to turbulence  — but finger foods have been a snap. Bug has taken 4 flights since he started eating finger foods, and I think we finally have a great list of fruits and veggies that travel well, are easy for Mason to feed himself, and aren’t too messy. To prepare the fruits and veggies for travel, I dice them up into bite-size pieces and freeze them overnight in BPA-free containers. The next morning I pack the containers with ice packs in plastic Ziplock bags and tuck them in the diaper bag.  By the time Mason’s ready to eat, the produce is still fresh and the texture is soft but slightly firmer than usual (and easier for Mason to manage) from the freezing. Here are the fruits and veggies that have worked best for us.

1. Asparagus

2. Edamame

3. Sweet potato

4. Carrot

5. Green beans

6. Peas

7. Apple

8. Strawberries

9. Blueberries

10. Pear


Once Mason had his fill of fresh fruits and veggies we let him try half the cookie the flight attendant handed him when we boarded the plane. As you can see in the photo (above) Bug didn’t really know what to think of the crunchy, cinnamon-spiced cookie. In the end, he took a bite or two of it and then smeared the rest on Chris’ shirt.

What does your babe like to eat when you travel?

Tuesday Timesaver: Brown Rice in 90 Seconds

Brown rice is a healthy, easy way to get babes used to food with texture as they transition from smooth purees to chunkier purees to finger foods. I use brown rice to make Mason’s fave cheesy casserole with peas and it’s a great side with so many dishes, including veggie-filled meatballs, baby cheese sauce, chicken-apple soup, and roast chicken. Rice is certainly a snap to make but I was delighted to discover this whole-grain brown rice that heats up in the microwave in 90 seconds — perfect for those nights when I’m really tight on time.  It’s all-natural and it packs 5 grams of protein per serving. The caveat is that it has more sodium than the boil-in-a-bag variety from Uncle Ben’s, but Mason only eats about 2 ounces at a time so the amount of sodium that he’s getting per serving is still very low. We generally have four Mason-size servings left so I freeze the leftover rice. It thaws overnight in the fridge and keeps in the freezer for up to three months. What are some of your fave ways to serve rice to your babe?

Mini Veggie-Filled Meatballs for Baby

Yesterday morning I made miniature meatballs for Mason. I mixed up the ground beef (you can also use turkey), shredded carrot, chopped spinach, homemade applesauce, onion, egg, and breadcrumbs Tuesday night after Bug went to bed and let the ingredients chill in the refrigerator overnight so that the bread crumbs could absorb moisture and flavor. Since Mason and I were up at the crack of dawn Wednesday morning, and he was fully absorbed in his new toy computer, I decided to shape and bake the meatballs before work so Bug could try one for lunch.

The recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens, where I work as a digital food editor, and it was inspired by the White House Kitchen Garden. I love that it’s super simple to make and that it’s an “all-in-one” meal with lots of veggies, fruit, and protein. I also love how versatile meatballs are. Next time I can make them with ground turkey and add in just about any veggie I like (sweet peppers, perhaps?).

Even babies as young as 8 months old can eat the meatballs. For Mason, who turned 11 months old on Tuesday, I cut the meatballs into tiny pieces that he could pick up and feed himself. If he were younger, I would have mashed up the meatball with a fork and fed it to him in small bites from a spoon. Mason enjoyed his meatball with brown rice penne pasta in tomato sauce. I couldn’t resist taking a taste — it was so yummy I think the whole family is going to have pasta and meatballs this weekend!

Below is my variation of BHG’s Mini Turkey Meatballs recipe. Do you make homemade meatballs? If so, what do you put in them? If not, what kind do you like to buy at the store?

Mini Veggie-Filled Meatballs


1 egg
1/2 cup jarred or homemade applesauce (recipe below)
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
1/2 cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs


1. In a small bowl stir together the egg, applesauce, sweet potato, green onions, salt, and pepper.

2. In a large bowl combine turkey and bread crumbs. Fold egg mixture into turkey mixture; mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. (This step is important for the bread crumbs to absorb moisture and flavor.)

3. Heat oven to 450°F. Shape turkey mixture in 1-inch diameter balls. Place meatballs on a foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until no pink remains (170°F).

4. Serve meatballs with spaghetti and sauce or as a pizza topper.

5. For easy shaping, turn the turkey mixture onto waxed paper. Pat it into a 9×8-inch rectangle, then cut 36 equal-size squares. Roll the squares into balls. Or shape meatballs by using a small cookie scoop, occasionally dipping the scoop in water to prevent the meat from sticking.

Makes 36 mini meatballs.
For freezing directions see the recipe on

Homemade Applesauce


4 Gala apples


Wash, peel, core, and dice apples. Cook until tender (about 12 minutes). Puree until smooth.  Add water if needed. Makes 16 ounces. Freeze leftovers for up to three months.

*Shameless plug: For more healthy recipes for your whole family, check out the new Veggie Love tablet app that I helped create for Better Homes and Gardens. It has 50+ veggie-packed recipes, plus tips for how your kids can help make them.