Julian is with us.

Today, November 8th, 2016 marks Julian’s sixth birthday – the day this beautiful, sweet soul came into our lives.

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It was a cold, snowy fall day. As a matter of fact, his entire life here on earth with us was filled with lots and lots of snow. It snowed on Christmas while he was home with us. I remember watching the snow fall almost every day while we were at Yale for those three weeks in January 2011. There were such high snow piles in our yard on the evening that I came home on January 19th, the day that Julian died.

So, as you can imagine every time it snows, we think of him and it makes us smile to think about his soft face and his gorgeous big eyes looking back at us.

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Meet our son, Julian.

Even though Julian isn’t physically with us, I know for a fact that he is with us. I am always pleasantly surprised by all the signs that are around. They remind me that he is here, loving us, guiding us and as I write this, I smile thinking about it and about him being present with us on such a deep, emotional and spiritual level. I believe and it makes me happy. I could tell you countless stories of these signs and some would amaze and surprise you. Some may seem “coincidental” if you believe in coincidence, as I used to. Now, I believe everything is around us and guiding us in our path. To me, there isn’t coincidence. It’s much deeper then that. People come into our lives at certain times for reasons beyond what we know. It’s all part of our journey in life here on earth.

Do you think there is more to life then what we can see? That there is “something else” at work here? That our souls continue on? Do you have faith in something extraordinary?

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If you acknowledge it and are open to it, it is amazing. We love you Julian and we feel your eternal presence, love and guidance. Thank you for teaching us about what is truly important in life.

Happy Birthday to our sweet, handsome little man.

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Vegetable Bolognese

Well, I hate to admit it but it is officially Fall and it is so very COLD outside. I am starting to hibernate and want to cook warm meals and bake cookies and muffins. Oh wait a minute, I never stopped baking cookies and muffins, but I do miss my tomato and cucumber salads. Oh summer, how I miss you so much!

Ok, back to reality. Fall is very pretty with all the leaves changing colors but only when it’s at least 65 outside 🙂

Last night, I made one of our favorites, Vegetable Bolognese. We haven’t made this dish in quite some time. There are so many great recipes that sometimes you forget about the old ones. I made it with the kids in my summer cooking camp and they all LOVED it. This is a wholesome, hearty meal and you will want to make it over and over during this cold weather.

Serve it with a good bottle of Pinot Noir and it is a fab combination!

Buon Appetito!

Tortellini with Creamy Spinach and Kale

Tonight, we made one of our family favorite recipes, Tortellini with Creamy Spinach. This is super creamy and oh so delicious, plus it’s packed with tons of nutrients! Typically, we use frozen chopped organic spinach in this recipe, but since we used fresh ingredients from our garden, we threw in some fresh kale too.

Our garden is growing so well that we were able to use fresh spinach, kale and basil straight from our own backyard. What a great feeling and such a great lesson for the kids, as they helped me pick the fresh vegetables. We’ve been eating tons of lettuce from our garden too, it is delightful. The other day we made this simple salad with romaine and arugula from our garden with a simple dressing – fresh lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt. I sauteed thinly sliced pork chops and it was a complete meal.  This is one of the beauties of the summer season, fresh produce right in your own backyard and local farmers market.

Oh yeah, tomorrow is our first day of our farmers market here in town. We can’t wait to see what they have available for us this season. The kids and I truly enjoy exploring the market every single week, we even venture over to neighboring towns to experience their farmers market. It’s such a blessing to be able to eat all of this local, organic food.

Ok back to the recipe…. you should definitely make this dish. It is so easy and such a kid pleaser. If you prefer to use plain pasta,  you can do that for sure. We’ve always used tortellini because we just love more cheese in our dish 🙂

Enjoy and Happy Summer!

Summer Cooking Camp

There has been a tremendous amount of interest over the past couple of years in a Food Jules Summer Cooking Camp. Well, I have some good news… I am thinking about hosting our very FIRST Food Jules cooking camp this summer. I am leaning towards hosting it during the early part of August.

Please email me at liz@foodjules.com if you are interested in learning more… I will post more information in another week once I finalize dates/location.

Thanks for all of your support!

Cleanse Day #3

We are on the third day of our Ten Day Cleanse by Dr Oz and it’s going great. I can already feel the difference, lighter and less appetite. Plus, everything I eat just tastes really great and I don’t crave as much of the stuff I can’t eat. Although, when I was baking Valentine cookies for the kids to bring to their friends at school, they smelled SOOOOO good!

I started the day with a cup of warm water with lemon. Then, for breakfast I made these Vegetable Mini Frittatas with red and green peppers, turkey bacon and quinoa. Delicious. I love eggs and especially eggs with turkey bacon and it’s all part of the plan. I made them in a muffin pan so they were super cute and convenient to take on the go. Just pop one or two or three in your mouth and go. The kids took some today for lunch too.

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The frittatas filled me up until late in the day so I only had a smoothie, a Chocolate Almond Smoothie, as an afternoon snack, followed a little later by an apple.

For dinner, I made myself a Burrito Bowl, with black beans, lettuce, grilled chicken and some fresh pico salsa. At bedtime, I was a little hungry, so I fixed myself a Brown Rice Cake with Almond Butter, yum. I know that I”m not supposed to eat anything after 8pm but I was very hungry and since I am still nursing Benny, I just had to have a little something and that seemed to hit the spot.

So, the days are going pretty quickly. The challenge will be this weekend since it’s Valentine’s Day on Saturday and we have a family birthday party on Sunday! Until tomorrow…

Ten Day Cleanse

My husband and I, along with a couple of friends, have started a Ten Day Cleanse by Dr Oz. It’s simple, you can eat REAL whole foods, it’s inexpensive and it’s quick, just ten days. Plus, it opens up your world to thinking outside the box with different meal options, not just sandwiches, pasta and pizza!

You can follow our journey during this cleanse, by viewing our daily recipes and meal ideas. I’ll post daily with pictures and recipes on what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is a fun challenge and so easy to do. I hope you’ll join us.

Here is some quick information about the cleanse.

Drink fruit and protein packed smoothies. Eat lots of vegetables, particularly, the low glycemic ones. Drink lots of water. Drink a cup of green tea. No caffeine. No sugar. No wheat. No dairy. No alcohol. Plus, you can’t eat after 8pm.
You can snack in between meals, on raw almonds, an apple, hummus or any of the same low glycemic vegetables. Make sure to eat plenty of protein, either fish, chicken, eggs or Greek yogurt. In the smoothies, we add whey protein powder and flax seed.
Lunch and Dinner is easy with soups, salads and lots of vegetable and protein packed meals.
Join us and meet the challenge!

Baby Food 101

Hope you all had a great holiday with your family and friends. It was great to spend some quality time with all of our family and close friends but it was especially nice to enjoy some “quiet” family time at home. Now, it’s back to the good old routine.

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Many of you have been inquiring about recipes. I haven’t posted any recipes in quite some time, quite frankly, it’s been so busy with all the holiday preparations and all the after school activities, plus having to take care of a very energetic, fast growing, little boy. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking and baking though, especially baby food (and these sweet, coffee cake streusel muffins).

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Benny is almost eight months now, I just can’t believe it. He’s crawling around very quickly, standing, eating solids and trying to pick up and eat finger foods. He’s such a sweet, happy, energetic little boy.

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He’s been enjoying trying all new foods. It’s a fun time. I love, love making and feeding the baby. Some of you have been inquiring about baby food recipes so let me give you a quick roundup of what “we” have been making for Benny. Making baby food is easy. Just peel, wash, cut, steam and puree. It’s that simple!

First of all, in the beginning, I waited at least ONE week in between trying any new food, just to be sure there weren’t any allergies. When he was about 5 months, I started giving him baby cereal, Earth’s Best Rice Cereal, followed by Earth’s Best Oatmeal Cereal and then Nurtur Me Quinoa Cereal, all made with breastmilk. He loved it and continues to devour it.

Then, shortly thereafter, he started eating single VEGETABLES. I always start with vegetables rather then fruit, just because fruit tends to be sweeter and babies already prefer sweeter so it’s good to give them a head start eating their vegetables. Plus, I always try to get seasonal, organic produce. I think it’s important to give their growing bodies the purest, whole foods. If I can’t find it fresh, then organic frozen is my second choice. Plus, it’s a great option for a quick meal, just steam and puree! I purchased these 4oz. glass jars, great for baby food, safe for the freezer, heating up and serving! Picked up the Wean Green jars on Amazon and the Ball jars at Target.

We started with all the ORANGE and YELLOW vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots, winter squash. Then, we moved on to the GREEN vegetables, zucchini, peas, green beans, kale, spinach. I also gave him parsnips, but that wasn’t his favorite. After all the “first foods for vegetables”, we moved on to FRUIT. We gave him apples, avocados, bananas, mango, peaches, pears and prunes.

Now, the real fun has begun, with mixing different foods together and this is where many of you have been asking for my “recipe” combination ideas.

Well, we have created a lot of great combinations. He is enjoying all of them and to be honest, I enjoy them too. I try all the food I make before giving it to him, just to be sure it’s good. A good chef always tastes his food before giving it to others.

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Some of our combinations have been, peas with sweet potatoes, kale with sweet potatoes, spinach with white potatoes, zucchini with corn and quinoa, butternut squash with sweet potato, purple carrot and chickpeas, banana and avocado, acorn squash with green beans, blueberries with pears and avocado and most recently, mango with pears and Greek yogurt, spinach with carrots and potato, apples and avocado. I’ve been trying to avoid adding rice to his meals, as I have these rice type of crackers for teething that he eats every couple of days.

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He’s also been enjoying eating finger foods, such as O cereal, peas, rice pasta and broccoli, cut up into the tiniest of pieces. It’s fun, keeps him occupied while we eat dinner and helps him practice his pincer grasp with his fingers. Making baby food doesn’t have to be complicated. Of course, it’s always a good idea to have a couple jars of ready made food at home for those emergencies, but making baby food honestly is really easy and a lot of fun. Plus, you can’t beat the fresh taste instead of food that has been sitting on store shelves for who knows how long!

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Until next time, happy cooking and happy 2015 from our family to yours!