Made-From-Scratch Baby Food Recipes.

I often have the "highlight reel" conversation about our Instagram because clearly the meltdown family photos and cardboard box shipping photos from the warehouse aren't the ones that attract new followers or get a lot of likes. But, the things I do share are the ones that are important to me, the ones that I love the most.

And it is true what they say about the meticulous level of care and caution provided to baby #1 vs baby #2 (and baby #3 in our case - who's featured here, love him!). I think part of it is parenting experience and knowing what to expect, while a lot of it is simply a lack of time and more focus on what is truly important. But, one thing I loved doing and truly believe made a difference for my little ones was making their own baby food.

It started when I tasted one of those dreadful pouches for myself. If you haven't done it I'd certainly recommend you give it a try. Another motivator was my quest to provide cleaner, more pure & organic ingredients and food choices for my family, right from the start. And as a third thought, I think exposing your children to fresh, new ingredients every day helps to make them more flexible and ambitious eaters for life.

While my "recipes" are always like my Grandmothers, teaching tips & discussions and loose approximations, instead of full recipes the below have been some of my favorite, simple combinations for you to try if you're looking to make your own baby food.

  • Peas + Mint
  • Sweet Potato + Sage
  • Apple + Cinnamon
  • Carrot + Nutmeg
  • Broccoli + Apple
  • Butternut Squash + Cinnamon
  • Spinach + Pineapple
  • Cherry + Pear + Kale

Other Baby Food Tips ....

  • For the purees I would simply steam the fruits + veggies and add them to the blender to puree. Sometimes I needed to add water to thin the puree and I'd add the water straight from the saucepan to take advantage of the nutrients. Add the fresh herbs at the end for a final puree.
  • For most ingredients I used fresh, organic fruits + veggies but for some things, like broccoli and peas I would go frozen (organic) as they're just as good and much easier sometimes.
  • I didn't have a lot of luck with fruits that browned easily - apples, pears + bananas - as the purees tended to brown quickly and taste not so great. And really, these tended to be the softer foods that I could mash with a fork and just feed to the kiddos with much less ease than a puree.
  • For the more "bitter" veggies, I tend to add a sweeter fruit component (like apple, pineapple, or peach) to jump up the flavor, while still keeping the nutrients and variation of adding another food to the mix
  • I make batches at a time one or two times per month. It goes more quickly and efficiently this way and gives you enough in the freezer to get you through.
  • Fresh herbs from the garden are such an easy way to amp up the flavor and give your babe a lot of flavor and variation from such simple ingredients.
  • This is in no way an endorsement but having tried everything from large ice cube molds to "baby food" containers, I loved this little squeeze pouch food system so, so much and I couldn't imagine making + storing baby food without it.
  • I would usually pair my purees with some organic brown oatmeal or plain yogurt to give a more complete meal.

Good luck - I'd love to know some of our favorite pairings and tips as well!

Also, be sure to take a peek at our new Baby + Child section on the site, including these Railroad Stripe and Bull Denim Bibs (which also come with the option of a great handstitched monogram as well)!

 

Photography by : Heidi Geldhauser / Silly Goose Photography

A Western-Inspired Nursery for my Little Cowboy

Since my youngest turns one next month (insert gasp + tears) I thought I would share a little glimpse into his nursery before he heads off to college. "The days are long but the years are short" really does ring true with your third.

Western Nursery Table
Giraffe and Crib
Giraffe and Hats

There is no space I love designing more than a nursery. It’s such an open book and allows you to have so much fun in the details. And, I believe it truly sets the tone for your little one when they’re just starting out. And with #3fourandunder I’ve had a lot of practice with nurseries over the last few years.

mom and newborn shot
newborn shot

Our youngest is Waylon and with an “outlaw” name like that, a western-inspired room was kind of a no-brainer in my book. Beyond his room, the inspiration for his room came from a vintage painting in my moms house that was painted by my great, great aunt of two men on horseback wandering through a prairie-like landscape. I love it and am still holding out hope that she’ll let me have it in his room at some point (hi Mom).

As you know, my thing is always about integrating heirloom pieces into your space in a way that doesn’t feel dated. These pieces bring your home to life and knowing the stories behind the pieces adds to the adventure when folks are touring your space.

Waylon’s space is one of my favorite rooms structurally in our house, it’s a cozy little room just off the master bedroom which has truly been the perfect place for him. The high roof and open rafter look with our shiplap just makes it feel cozy and sweet.

Hallway to Nursery
Hat Closeup
Nursery Window

The cowboy hats in the space line both sides of the bright window and we found them at the farm. Shane’s brother and cousin wore them growing up when they showed horses.

My always-neutral color palette helped bring everything together and cohesive, letting the tones and textures be the hero. A little bookcase and school-house chalkboard that was in my room growing up, with my guitar on the matching entrance wall welcome you upon entering. I cut out a few illustrated pages from a chapter book that belonged to my stepmom for display on the board, and the book sits on the shelf with her name (maiden) inside in third-grade type cursive writing. The book sits next to a row of vintage storybooks that my cousin recently gave me. They once belonged to my dad and his siblings and they are just so beautiful and special to me.

Heirloom Guitar
Vintage Storybooks
Vintage Picture Books

I always love functional but cute storage elements for a kids space and love using one of our Steele Canvas Baskets for toys, blankets and such. This sweet little rocking chair from my Great Aunt Ashley (my namesake) was also passed down to me and is often home to a monkey or teddy bear, depending on the day.

My mom sewed and hand-painted the strong little felt banner for his space, inspired by an old vinyl record. We’ve had so many comments on it that we just added these little banners to our site as part of our Southern Artisan Collection (thanks Mom) so you can have one too. And, the giraffes were gifted from my Dad, one for each of our first two children. We were holding our breath that a third one didn’t show up this go-around.

Steele Canvas Basket

As for the furniture, we moved this lengthy antique buffet table up from our dining room to sit in as a changing table. It’s the best one I’ve had, so much space and the perfect height, and I can stash the non-pretty essentials in the space below. I helped carry this up the stairs, so I really do appreciate it up here. We also inherited my Grandmother’s old campaign dresser, which once sat in a guest room in her home. It was originally a robins egg blue, but we painted it black to be a strong element in the room. I love the tarnished brass accents. This campaign-style has become especially popular over the last year or so, so we’re right on trend pulling in this classic piece.

Repurposed Buffet

I know we are so fortunate to have be passed down so many special treasures from our family before us. If this isn’t the case for you, start by checking out some pieces that family members may have (and be willing to part with) and think about how you could incorporate them in your own space. And, when you’re purchasing new pieces, consider at least buying one or two things that are truly special so your little one has something they could use in a nursery for their own children one day.

Now, onto planning a first-birthday party over here…

family portrait

Southern Artisan Collection : Polder's Old World Market

Every time I look to add a new craftsman to our Southern Artisan Collection it makes my heart happy. So after I became fast friends with Loran over at Polder's Old World Market over on Instagram I knew there were good things to come.

There are few things I connect with more than the hand carved spoons I grew up having in our kitchen, that still are used today. The pieces they craft are a collective effort by their entire family, made on their farm in the hills of Tennessee, and they truly couldn't be more beautiful or thoughtfully crafted.

We're introducing two special pieces as part of our collaboration ...

The Mother + Daughter Wooden Spoon Set, which was truly inspired by the notion of handing down made-from-scratch cooking skills to the next generation side-by-side in the kitchen. This is such a special set to me.

hand carved wooden spoons
small wooden coffee spoon

The Wooden Coffee Spoon was more inspired by a hole I found in my kitchen. Having a cup of coffee to me is a part of my daily routine, a comforting thing I look forward to. This beautiful piece has become a staple in my own kitchen, from measuring my grounds to stirring a splash of almond milk into my coffee. A simple piece that is suddenly elevated by the beautiful hand carved details and unique marks that let you know each piece is one of a kind.

So you can get to know a little bit more about this talented family, where their inspiration comes from and how their pieces are crafted, here's a little Q&A with Loran Polder.

Handmade Wooden Spoons

Q. The name of your business is Polder's Old World Market, previously Old World Kitchen. What does “Old World” mean to you? 

A. Old World brings many different things to mind for us. It means quality, first of all, but it also has a sense of rustic elegance combined with practicality. It brings to mind visions of culture and meaningfulness and beauty in the ordinary. 

Q. What made you think of making spoons initially? 

A. We were seeking a simpler lifestyle and dreaming of farming. We had been bringing baked goods, seedlings and honey from our beehives to local farmer's markets. Our first wooden spoons were made by my father, as his contribution to the wares we brought to market. This idea, and our lifestyle dreams, ended up birthing a whole brand concept. 

Q. How do you select the wood for your spoons? 

A. We salvage fallen hardwoods from the forest floor around our farm. It is exciting and incredible to see the gorgeous wood inside a fallen log that would otherwise rot and go to waste. We get a lot of satisfaction out of turning that wood into beautiful, useful items. 

Q. What inspires the designs of your “Dreamware” line? 

Bread Board

A. I would say it is a combination of things. We're very inspired by the rustic, gourmet culture of rural Europe, by the way the people of Europe celebrate everyday moments so well. But I also feel that all of the personalities in our family team greatly influences the variety of style we incorporate into our designs. 

Q. What family heirlooms inspire your designs?

A. My mom inherited a beautiful handcrafted bread board from her great grandmother years ago. That board inspired us to create our line of cutting boards and bread boards. Beyond that, I would say our Old World heritage on my dad's side, more than any physical item, inspires us in our crafting.

Q. What is your favorite thing about working on this business as a family? 

A. Definitely just being able to work together right on our farm. We value that opportunity and we don't take it for granted.

 

I'm so thrilled to have these gorgeous, hand carved pieces as part of our Southern Artisan Collection.  I'd love to know what you think

 

5 Ways to Enjoy Watermelon.

One of my favorite things about Summer is the endless options of fresh fruits and vegetables. There is nothing quite like the taste of a perfectly ripe tomato, cantaloupe, strawberry or slice of watermelon. It makes eating healthy so easy, so you can still sneak in the occasional ice cream + chocolate sauce.

5 ways to enjoy watermelon

Watermelon reminds me of childhood vacations. To this day I love buying watermelons from the back of a truck in South Georgia heading to the mountains or along the Gulf Coast on the way to the beach. So today I’m share a few of my favorite ways to enjoy watermelon this Summer.

cut a watermelon
summer watermelon
sliced watermelon
watermelon recipes for entertaining
ways to serve watermelon
watermelon with salt

1. Sliced with Salt
The old classic, my favorite way is to wait until that special week when watermelon is at its peak of perfection. Slice it up and sprinkle it with a touch of kosher salt. The salt only enhances the sweetness and gives it a tad bit of texture. I especially love it when the watermelon is cold with salt. There is nothing more all-American for the 4th.

2. Grilled Watermelon
This is a new one for me. We tried it out on the Big Green Egg a few weeks ago and I must admit I was a little skeptical. We sliced the watermelon and brushed it with a thin coat of olive oil and sprinkling of salt. I couldn’t even believe how sweet and almost honey-like the flavor of the melon became. Easily dessert for the evening, I do think it could have been good with a scoop of ice cream, something cool against the warm and juicy wedge. Next time I might try cubing it and adding in the mix to our shih kabobs.

3. Watermelon Salad
An easy choice when you need to bring a fresh dish to a friends house for a cookout or when you’re off for a a Picnic, cube your watermelon into bite-sized chunks and add fresh basil (torn), feta cheese and toss in a simple drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction. Again, I love the sweet and savory note and using all the fresh elements together. I also like to add a few turns of fresh cracked pepper to this one.

4. Watermelon Ice
For a refreshing treat, especially great when you have an overload of sweet watermelon, cube your melon and place in a Ziploc overnight in the freezer. Add cubes and a few splashes of coconut milk (from the can) to the blender until pureed. Spread the mixture into a flat metal sheet cake pan and place in the freezer. Let it chill for several hours and take a fork to scrape the mixture into what will look like a pile of chunky, shaved ice. Spread it around the pan again and refreeze. When you’re ready to enjoy, take a fork and again scrape the mixture so you have the same snow cone / shaved ice consistency to enjoy. I love the blend of the coconut and watermelon flavor and the amount of water in the fruit keeps it very refreshing and light.

5. Watermelon-Infused Water
I’m always trying to find an excuse to drink more water, especially during the hot Summer months in the South. This is especially simple but love it for entertaining. Take a melon baller and fill a Ziplock bag with balls of Watermelon, freezing them until completely solid. Add these to tall glasses of water as ice cubes at your next gathering with a few fresh mint leaves. It will leave a refreshing and subtle infused flavor.


Love to know how you enjoy your watermelon!

enjoying watermelon

Checklist for the Perfect Summer Picnic

I love eating outside in the warm weather. Dining outdoors such a great way to make summer memories with your family and it brings back so many perfect childhood memories. So, I thought I'd share a little checklist with some tips to make your summer al fresco dining the best ever!

1. A sturdy carry-all - Baskets are traditional and can be quaint for an outdoor affair. But don’t limit yourself! Use a backpack for a hiking picnic or fill up your favorite burlap tote for a picnic in the park.

2. Cloth napkins - They are sturdier than paper and won’t blow away. Plus, you just throw them in the laundry instead of the trash.

3. Small cutting board - This is super handy for slicing cheese, fruit, or bread. It’s a great way to serve in a chic rustic style without having to bring extra serving dishes. Plus, it will give your food a little lift off the ground.

4. Hydration - Infuse water with your favorite combination of lemons, fruit, and herbs the night before. The water will be refreshing and delicious and add bright color to your picnic table.

5. Picnic tablecloth - Whether you are dining al fresco on the patio or on the grass in a park, a tablecloth is essential. It keeps dust from getting on your food, provides a serving space on a large blanket, and a nice one just adds that extra touch to make your picnic extra special

6. Keep it simple - Choose foods you love, but don’t cause a fuss; make it easy on yourself. I sway towards making a simple sandwich in advance and wrapping it in brown butcher paper which eliminates the need to bring a plate. Then, I indulge in simple finger foods foods like plump blackberries or vine ripe baby heirlooms that burst in your mouth. Something that is easy and delicious to emphasize a beautiful summery day.

I'm excited to share the launch of our new Picnic Collection. A super lightweight and carefree crinkle cotton that was made for effortless Summer entertaining.

 

photography : Heidi Geldhauser