Fillo & feta pie

I lucked into some nettles last weekend (thanks J&J!), and also had some fillo dough in the fridge, so I threw together an easy nettle-spinach pie with feta.

  • any cooked greens, such as nettles, chard, kale, spinach--about 1 cup (more is fine)
  • 1/2 onion sauteed in butter and olive oil until soft, left in pan
  • dill and oregano and rosemary, chopped (or use pinches of dried)
  • about 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • About 12 sheets of fillo dough, cut into squares, or leftover bits to piece together
  • 1/3 stick butter, melted
  • sesame seeds to garnish
  1. Heat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Chop up the cooked greens and mix in with the onions. Add herbs, stir and heat through.
  3. Brush butter on the bottom of a shallow casserole or pie dish. Layer on 4 squares of fillo dough (or piece together four layers from smaller bits), brushing each square with butter before adding another.
  4. Sprinkle half the greens mixture and half the feta over the squares.
  5. Repeat with 4 more squares, buttering each. Sprinkle on the rest of the greens and feta.
  6. Top with 4 more squares. Fold over or just squish down the edges so they don't cook too quickly.
  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cook 30 minutes or until fillo is becoming golden.

That is it! I love fillo dough, it is like a lazy woman's quiche in a box. What do you use it for? Do you get stingy with the butter like I do? I refuse to melt more even when I'm starting to run out.

Baby food mill

When I wrote about making our own baby food with the Foley Food Mill, I was talking about large-batch purees, but that's not the whole picture. In fact, our baby's doctor seemed pretty sure at his 9-month checkup that he should be eating the same food that we were eating, even though at the time he only had one tooth. Not purees. I quizzed her to make sure I was understanding: so if we have spaghetti with sausage for dinner, he should too? Yes. So if we have ham sandwiches for lunch, he should too? She paused, then, yes.

We got home and tried giving the kid some chunkier stuff, and he immediately gagged and choked. Not ready yet! What to do? Let me show you our baby food mill.

I first laid eyes on this contraption when some parents at the farmer's market were running pad thai through it for their baby. Now that our kid is between the total mush stage and the ham sandwich stage, we use this mill several times a day. Sometimes we mill up the food we're having ourselves (chicken stew, for example). But often we're having some crazy spicy grownup food, so we'll improvise. For example, I keep steamed zucchini chunks or roasted sweet potatoes in the fridge. I mill it up, stick it in the baby food steamer, maybe mix in some baby cereal, and feed.

The First Years Bottle Warmer The brand doesn't matter, but if you have a baby you need one of these. Warms bottles of milk AND jars of baby food AND little glass bowls of food that I just set on top.

Another popular food with baby--canned beans (black or kidney) or garbanzos that have been through the mill. We keep a small container of these in the fridge, then grind them and add them to jarred baby food for texture and protein. A fully-cooked egg yolk also works well.

Milled egg yolk. I guess they've decided you can feed babies egg whites now, but we haven't yet.

Here's a food mill recipe: Peaches for dessert
  • 1/2 canned peach (in water or its own juice)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt
  • a few walnuts (optional)
Run the peach through the food mill--like this:



Mix with the yogurt. Run the walnuts through the mill. Mix nuts into peach-yogurt. Feed to eager baby.

Kids in Nature: Leaf Hunt

Saturday I went on a housecleaning rampage, and there was one thing I kept finding in the strangest places. Underneath a book bag on the hall chair. Set neatly next to the lamp beside the futon. Stuffed into the coffee holders on the stroller. Mixed into the bag I took downtown with water and snacks and sunscreen. They're leaves. Usually they're maple leaves, but sometimes there are others--long thin beech-like ones, pieces of flowering grass, strips of ornamental stripey grass found on our walks. I don't know how I didn't put this together before, but my kid likes leaves.

Thinking about these leaves this morning, I came up with a game that she might like to play with me. She's pretty good at plant identification, so I promised her a "Leaf Hunt." I made a chart of leaves with the names of each and a "typical" photo I copied and pasted from Google Image.

Nine leaves on the chart: Left column is chickweed, dandelion, maple. Middle is grape, clover and violet. Right column is cinquefoil, buttercup and plantain. (I went outside and checked that they were all there before I made the chart.)

We start our leaf hunt. She picked the order. Violet was first, then maple, then this favorite--dandelion!

We got a giant hardcover volume from our resident book guy and pressed each leaf in a fold of wax paper. We'll check on them again in a few weeks.

Her idea was to cross off each leaf after we'd found it. We got all nine and had a great little botany lesson!

Did you like leaves as a kid? Or do stuff like treasure hunts or scavenger hunts?

Stylin Blogs I Like

I've been feeling overwhelmed lately and it's a drag. It probably has a lot to do with our favorite little person teething for over TWO WEEKS. I can see that bad-boy tooth almost coming in (top left). But it apparently still/always hurts judging by the crying and screaming and even trouble taking a bottle when I'm away at work. Poor little fellow! Sometimes it takes an hour after bedtime to coax him to sleep, and after that I'm just exhausted. Plus, getting up every 2 hours to soothe him some more. Ack! (Someday I'll look back on this and laugh! Ha!) Also, there's something about a house constantly exploding with toys and books and bottles of sunscreen and discarded kid clothes and CDs the baby has been "filing" on the floor and clean folded laundry piling up that is also pretty exhausting. I'm sure I'll get used to it someday...?

For now, I've been turning to some creative and lively blogs for relief and inspiration. Guess what, they're not about food or electro-pop (well not mostly). They're about DESIGN and STYLE. I am obsessed with this blog--the bright home with cool touches, Kathleen's stylin' outfits, the gorgeous graphic design projects that she shares, tons of stories and photos and glimpses into hip lives in Oklahoma City. Wow. I think I even bought a pair of shoes because of Kathleen. Here she is:


Credit: Jeremy & Kathleen, Anatomy of an Outfit: My Favorite Skirt

Here are my new shoes:

Not really the same... but for me they're totally related.

** LOVE this blog. Sherry & John seem so adorable and full of beans, their writing has a casual, hilarious tone and they serve up lots of practical DIY and frugal-decorating info. For instance the ongoing story of their living-room parsons chairs (from craiglist find to slipcover saga to dyeing project) is fascinating! The concrete paver patio laid down in a frenzy for their daughter's first birthday party! The handmade "distressed" behind-the-couch console! The fact that they name pieces of furniture things like "Karl the Sectional"! The fact that doing all this is now their JOB. So funny and fresh, I admire yall.