Naptime Simple Tips: Fun & Essential Tips for Your Kitchen

New Mom Food via The Naptime Chef

Food for New Parents

Earlier this month we were having a lot of discussions on Facebook about food I was making and freezing in preparation for baby’s arrival. I also shared how I prepared my pantry for the next month when I won’t have the flexibility to dash to the grocery store like I usually do. Since I am now on the other side of all this I thought I’d share how things are going, what we are eating, and what people are bringing. I hope these help answer a lot of your questions regarding food suggestions for things to bring new parents. Also, as a reminder, I have a New Parents & Potlucks category in my recipe index if you need more ideas. I will definitely be including a chapter on New Parent Food in the next book. So if you have any requests for recipes or cuisines or food for special diets you’d like to see please let me know and I will do my best to accommodate!

Winter Pantry

Preparing My Winter Pantry

With baby due to arrive any day now I’ve spent the past couple of weeks stocking up my winter pantry. I know I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in the blissful infant fog over the next few weeks so I am making sure all of my go-to staples are filled to the brim to help me avoid daily dashes for food. Last week I spent some time flipping through my cookbook and jotting down ideas for easy healthy meals I want to focus on this winter.

Meyer Lemon & Ginger Tea Loaves

The Best of Naptime Holidays: Homemade Gifts, Party Food, Make-Ahead Breakfasts & More! {Naptime Simple Tips}

While I wrap up my holiday preparations in anticipation of next week I thought I would stop in with a quick recap of all of the best holiday food and party ideas I’ve been posting here for the past few years. These are some of our family favorites for the holiday season. The recipes I turn to again and again. Given my current state I had to be especially prepared this year (!) since lately I’ve been in no mood to stand on my feet for any great length of time. I am sure I’ll make up for it next year! In the mean time, I hope you and your families are looking forward to a fabulous and fun week ahead.

WFM Truffled Roasted Walnuts

Day 2: The 2012 Naptime Chef Favorite Things Holiday Giveaway! {Naptime Simple Tips}

Today I am thrilled to bring you my foodie holiday gift guide for 2012! Not only is this a gift guide of a few of my favorite foodie items, I also have the great fortune of being able to giveaway one of each of the items below. That’s right, it is kind of like Kelsey’s favorite foodie finds for the holiday season Oprah-style. I had such a blast putting this guide together. I hope you all get some good ideas from this list. Stay tuned for more holiday shopping tips and giveaways later this week!

Roasted Red Pepper & Spinach Dip with Kettle Chips for the Holidays

Roasted Red Pepper & Spinach Dip with Kettle Chips for the Holidays & Visa Card Giveaway! {Naptime Simple Tips}

When I talk about party food this time of year I am thinking about all the fun dishes to serve when you open your home to friends and family in November and December. In my case, I usually focus on recipes that are festive but simple to pull together in advance. I also like to make things that can be paired with store bought food. For example, this awesome roasted red pepper and spinach dip is perfect for Christmas because it is a beautiful shade of light red with little green flecks and it tastes delicious when served with a variety of Kettle Chips.

Spinach with Feta & Pine Nuts via The Naptime Chef

Spinach with Feta & Pine Nuts and Some Thanksgiving Menu Suggestions {Naptime Simple Tips}

Last week I got the new Barefoot Contessa cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. As I always do with her books, after only a couple of quick passes I tabbed dozens of recipes to try and kicked off with this one last weekend. I am slipping this into my week of Thanksgiving food because, although I have never served it for Thanksgiving, I can honestly say it would be a great addition to any Thanksgiving table. While creamed spinach may be more traditional at Thanksgiving, this lightened up version with salty feta and crunchy pine nuts would be welcome break from the tried and true. I’ll be reviewing the book more in the new year but I promise this one is a great place to start!

Madness Sales at Whole Foods save money

Whole Foods for $100: 10 Ways To Save at Whole Foods Market {Naptime Simple Tips}

Last week I revealed a little bit about on my recent collaboration with Whole Foods Market. In mid-October, pre-Sandy, I spent one whole week feeding my family exclusively from Whole Foods on a strict budget of $100. It was not easy considering the “whole paycheck” reputation of Whole Foods Market but I found it surprisingly doable. One of the keys to the challenge was changing my Whole Foods Market shopping habits. I’ll admit, I’ve never been a super-strategic shopper at Whole Foods Market and was surprised at how much money I could save when I actually applied myself to learning the signage and zeroing in on a set meal plan. Today I am going to share my new favorite tips for shopping Whole Foods Market and tomorrow I will share the menu we enjoyed for the week.

Homemade Vanilla Extract via The Naptime Chef

Holiday Gift Planning: Homemade Vanilla Extract {Naptime Simple Tips}

It is technically never too early to start thinking about holiday gifts. This year I was especially organized with my ideas. Since I knew I’d be in no mood to stand on my feet long periods in December I canned all my Peppermint Fudge Sauce in August! However, that isn’t the only think I give out around the holidays. Oh no, my friends, I always have several gifties up my sleeve including simple homemade vanilla extract.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread via The Naptime Chef

Pumpkin, Pumpkin Everywhere {Naptime Simple Tips}

We carved a jack-o-lantern last weekend and you better believe I was all over the “guts” as they spilled out. My daughter, of course, was completely non-plussed by my whisking away the mixing bowl of pumpkin gore. She stayed outside and kept right on carving! Meanwhile, I went outside and toasted some yummy pumpkin seeds for a quick snack.

Jeni's Blue Ribbon Baby Collection

Fall Favorites 2012 {Naptime Simple Tips}

Now and then I like to pop in to chat about some of my newest favorite things. This is the stuff I’ve been enjoying recently from around the internet and beyond. As you can probably tell, my baby nesting instincts are starting to emerge. Lately I’ve been flipping around home decor websites just as much as my favorite food rags. I’ve also been scooping out a few fashiony items, mostly concentrating on the things I can actually take advantage of now (i.e. shoes, bags, and make-up) while I can’t fit into normal clothes. I am also happy to report that I am far less absent-minded and wiped out than I was when I checked in last summer. Phew – I am glad that phase is over! Now I am just a normal pregnant lady who gets out of breath carrying groceries and craves chocolate like it is going out of style.

School Night Recipes via The Naptime Chef

School Night Recipe Round-Up {Naptime Simple Tips}

School is officially in session and stress season in the kitchen. One of the hottest cooking topics amongst my group of friends is quick, easy recipes for school nights. Of course, I am a huge advocate for a little advance prep the morning or afternoon before meal time if possible. If not, I focus on powernap-style recipes that are quick and easy and somewhat experimental. Above all, I really try and remind people that, no matter what, cooking should be fun. While whipping something up against the homework clock is not always a snap, it is possible. Give yourself a break in the kitchen and remember that food is love, serve up it with a smile and enjoy. To help you along with your quest I’ve compiled a round-up of some great recipes for school nights for your consideration. As always, let me know if there are more recipes you are interested in that you don’t see here!

Naptime Chef canning 2012

Preserving Summer 2012 {Naptime Simple Tips}

While we were in Cooperstown my Dad and I did a LOT of canning. It was so nice to have the time together in the kitchen, one of our favorite places, to catch up on life and exchange canning tips. After our canning marathon last year he sent me my first ever Ball Canning Set which I used all fall. This year he had me geeking out over my grandmother’s vintage Wear-Ever 17-quart aluminum cooking pot. When I finally located one on eBay he taught me how to actually use eBay (what can I say, I’ve never used it!) and he won it for me. Yay! Here is a summary of what we made this and the canning projects I have planned for fall! (Note: I’ll be taking the rest of the week off to concentrate on back to school insanity preparations, but will be back next Tuesday!)