Feeding our babies is the most fundamental way we nurture them, and Lauren and Matt decided to chronicle the adventure on their blog, YumNums. But wait, it isn't one of those excessively judgmental foody blogs. No, the reason we love it is because there is a lighthearted experimental fun to it, and an acceptance that it may someday turn into a blog about chicken fingers, as Lauren put it.
We don't foresee that happening, though. Matt is a Cordon Bleu certified chef working the back of the house in a Chicago restaurant. Lauren is at home running the blender. And together they go to farmers' markets, create lovely baby-friendly recipes that they generously share with readers, and, like all new parents, try to figure out the best way to actually get the food into the mouth of their daughter, aka Biscuit.
Their blog is fairly new (as is Biscuit!) but it's already chock full of inspiring recipes with really creative twists like peaches with parsnips, and many that the whole family could eat, too. We're dying to try the spaetzle with oregano and fire roasted tomatoes! And the photos are so sweet that we think Lauren and Matt should open up an Etsy shop to sell them. We hope a cookbook is in their future (any literary agents out there?) but for now, we'll keep YumNums bookmarked and the blender ready to go.
They were kind enough to take a minute to chat with us. Please help us welcome Lauren and Matt of yumnums to our Big Blog Family!
Why did you start blogging? We wanted to expand our daughter's palate once she was able to start eating food; Lauren was raised in a household where you have to have at least one bite of everything that is served and we wanted to pass this sense of culinary adventure on as soon as possible. As first time parents, we were intimated by the idea of making our own food from scratch, but found the process to be so rewarding. In the end, it seemed logical to share our experience with other parents so that they could learn from our trial and error and hopefully start making food on their own as well.
If a friend came to you and said she wanted to start making all her baby's food and money was not an issue, what kind of equipment would you tell her to buy? There are TONS of products on the market for at-home baby food prep, but we are firm believers that appliances should be multi-taskers... especially in our small kitchen. We just user our blender, but if money was no object we would buy a Vita-Prep in a second. Matt uses these at work, and they are AMAZING at making purees. For protein, we are a fan of the meat grinder attachment for our KitchenAid as this allows us to get a nice, fine ground along with veggies and herbs.
How do you come up with new ideas for food combinations? Does the food Matt cooks at work inspire baby food recipes? Most of the time, our ideas come from shopping. Matt will come across a single ingredient in the store and figure out interesting flavor combinations and techniques that he can use with that item. Other times, he is inspired by the classical dishes that he does at work; he'll take these and pare them down into something that is baby-friendly and easy to prepare. Most importantly, he looks to the basic idea of keeping it simple and working with taste combinations of sweet & sour, savory & nutty, rich & bright.
Has anything been easier/more difficult about the feeding process than you expected? We've been lucky enough to have a baby that is pretty fearless and will eat pretty much anything that we put in front of her. This has made mealtime a breeze, but it was definitely something that caused anxiety before she started on solids. We are pretty serious about food in this house, and the thought of a kid who would only eat chicken nuggets was terrifying. We'll see what happens once she really wrangles her own independence, but for now she's happy as a clam eating all the weird scraps on her tray.
Making food has been much easier than expected, though it does take some time. We set aside one afternoon to prep most of her food for the week, and we also do meal planning for all of us 6 - 7 days in advance. This took a while to get used to, as our previous meal planning usually went something like "What do you want to order tonight?" Now, we consume most of the food we buy and have a lot less waste.
You've blogged about working with foods that are in season as you cook for your baby. What new foods are you looking forward to trying out with Biscuit this summer? Anything from the farmers market! We live blocks away from the Logan Square Farmers Market, so we can't wait for those awesome mornings that we can cruise over there and pick up some fresh fruits and veggies. One of the best things about rising early with a baby is that you can be an early bird at the market and score the best and freshest foods. We can't wait for our daughter to see the amazing bounty that the Midwest growing season provides, and to let her pick her own favorites. Our personal faves are watermelon, cherries, plums, and beets.
Thank you so much, Lauren and Matt! Be sure to click over to YumNums for more recipes, photos, and yummy inspiration.
Since our inception, we have loved hearing from all of our readers as well as reaching out to several in the blog community. You are mothers, fathers, wives, husbands all writing about your families, style and what makes you tick. To continue fostering this great blogging community, we'll now begin featuring close-ups of our favorite family and design blogs as part of our "Big Blog Family."