When it comes to preparing food for her 3-year-old son, author and chef Aurora Satler shared these words of wisdom…
“He’ll always see something he loves and recognizes on his plate and something new to try.”
“When I can give him something that’s really vibrant, he’ll want to try it because it’s so visually interesting, especially when I say ‘rainbow.’”
“You’re trying to create a healthy eater… finding things that he loves and expanding on what he loves.”
“I can’t win at every meal. That’s another realization as a mom. Every meal is not going to be a win.”
One of the biggest challenges new moms face: feeding the whole family. When Lansdale native Aurora Satler welcomed a son, she made “wonderful purees for him” but sometimes forgot to nourish herself. “I was starting to think that this has to be easier, and everyone has to eat,” recalled the chef and food stylist.
Three years and a daughter later, she’s written “The Ultimate New Mom’s Cookbook,” covering everything from pregnancy cravings to picky toddlers to family meals — all with a dash of humor.
“People always ask, ‘What makes this cookbook different?’ and ‘Why this cookbook?’” said Satler, now living in New York City. “It is completely targeted to young children, but my single friends will love it as well.”
“They’re the recipes that you keep coming back to, the recipes that people remember,” she added. “I love the brisket that I have in there. The fish tacos and the jerk chicken sandwiches are my husband’s favorites.”
Her firstborn enjoys Cloudy Day Meatballs, Bun in the Oven Banana Zucchini Bread and Mommy and Me Green Smoothies while her baby girl eats homemade purees.
“I use the same purees I’m using for her to make smoothies for my son and soups for us,” explained Satler, who’s’ “really trying to rethink how we do baby food and make it not so daunting for moms.”
Take pureed carrots, for example. “I can make that sweet or savory. I can make that into a million things,” she said. The goal: “gradual steps, so we’re all eating one meal together” because “it’s more work if you try to do that separation.”
The book also includes “easy-to-digest” nutritional information, so “you get what you need without having to read a ton about it,” Satler described.
In other words, it’s “all the mom advice if you were making a book for a friend who was having a baby for the first time.”
Bun in the Oven Banana Zucchini Bread
Makes 1 loaf
This is an easy-to-digest breakfast that is tummy friendly and full of goodness. Many baked goods contain eggs, which are high in choline. Choline is a B vitamin, and you need 450 mg of choline per day during pregnancy. Many prenatal vitamins have no choline at all.
This is also toddler approved, great for using up bananas that are about to become overripe and has the bonus of combining two great loaves into one healthy and totally delicious recipe.
6 tablespoons butter
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1½ cups mashed bananas (3 ripe bananas)
1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 small zucchini)
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup oats
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric beater. Next, add the egg and mix well. Mix in the banana and zucchini. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, oats, baking soda and salt to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, stirring until just mixed. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake in the center of the oven for about 60 minutes. Test with a wooden toothpick or skewer; once it comes out clean your bread is ready. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to finish cooling on a wire rack.
Note: This bread lasts about 2 days out on the counter under plastic wrap or in a sealed plastic container and up to a week refrigerated. Be sure to cool completely before storing. In hot weather, watch it more diligently and keep in a cool, dry place.
Soba Noodle and Broccoli Rabe Buddha Bowl
This is an energy-packed lunch that tastes yummy, looks pretty and is definitely picture worthy… go you! The bonus for kids is that noodles are fun, so they can double as a sensory activity, although my little man just likes to throw them. The bonus for parents is that you pop this in a bowl, and it’ll give you the energy you need to do what you do well!
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped into 1-inch pieces and rinsed
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 cup shelled frozen edamame
1 cup quartered grape tomatoes
1 cup sliced scallions, slice on the diagonal to make it prettier
12 ounces soba noodles
1/3 cup tahini, well mixed
1/3 cup water (prevents the tahini from separating or becoming lumpy)
2 tablespoons sambal (if you don’t like to taste heat only use 1 tablespoon)
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Sesame seeds, for garnish
In a large sauté pan, add the sesame oil and cook broccoli rabe stems and florets on high. I cook the stems and florets first, working my way from the base to the leaves, which take less time. Once the stems have softened, about 4 minutes, add the tender leaves and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to make sure the leaves reach the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper and remove to a large bowl. In the same sauté pan, cook the frozen edamame with 1 tablespoon of water until warmed and the water evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the edamame to the bowl with the broccoli rabe. Add the grape tomatoes and scallions to the bowl as well.
Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, water, sambal, soy sauce, lemon juice and garlic. Drain the cooked soba noodles and rinse with cold water to prevent noodles from sticking. Drain again and then toss the noodles and sauce into your large sauté pan. Add your dressed soba noodles to the bowl with your broccoli rabe and other ingredients. Toss until well mixed and serve just warm, garnished with sesame seeds.
Note: Going gluten free? Substitute rice noodles for the soba noodles and coconut aminos for the soy sauce!
It’s OK Not to Share Jerk Chicken Sandwiches
Makes 4 sandwiches
This sandwich is pretty legendary as it almost ended my marriage. OK, a bit of an exaggeration on that one, but it definitely put a hiatus on the honeymoon period. On my actual honeymoon, my husband had scouted a cute café that was boasting these tasty sandwiches as he picked up our morning espresso. The rest of our day was planned around lunch, and when we finally sat down to eat, I said I wasn’t really hungry and ordered a salad. Big mistake. To add insult to injury, I said I wanted “just a bite” of his sandwich but definitely took a wee bit more. As my husband describes it, all I left him with was a bite full of bread. Since that day, I’ve been trying to recreate this sandwich and atone.
For my toddler’s meal, I like to serve the diced chicken over rice with a side of diced mango.
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 pound thinly sliced chicken breast
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sriracha
½ teaspoon hot smoked paprika
½ cup finely chopped yellow mango
¼ cup finely chopped tomato
1 tablespoon minced jalapeño, optional
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 kaiser rolls
8 slices pepper jack cheese
4 leaves Bibb lettuce
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. To marinate: In a gallon plastic resealable bag, combine the garlic, lime juice, parsley, thyme, smoked paprika, onion powder, ginger, nutmeg, cumin, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, brown sugar, olive oil, salt and soy sauce. Seal and shake to combine. Place the chicken breasts in the bag, seal and shake to distribute the marinade. Marinate at least 10 minutes or overnight. To make the rémoulade: In a small bowl, mix the lime juice, mayonnaise, sriracha and smoked paprika together. Refrigerate until ready to use. To make the mango relish: In a medium bowl, mix the mango, tomato, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and cumin together. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.
To cook the chicken: In a large sauté pan, add the vegetable oil and heat on medium-high heat, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the marinated chicken and cook for 2 to 4 minutes per side. The thinner it is sliced, the faster it will cook. You want the pan preheated, so you get a nice char on the surface of the chicken and the inside remains tender. To make the sandwiches: As the chicken is cooking, slice your rolls in half, place them on a baking sheet and dress all sides with the rémoulade. Top each half with a slice of cheese. Bake for about 4 minutes, until the buns have just toasted and the cheese has melted. Add the chicken to the bottom half of each roll and top with lettuce and mango relish. Serve warm.
Note: Do not be daunted by the list of ingredients; most are spices and pantry basics. If you don’t have a lot of spices in your pantry, you can substitute a store-bought jerk rub for the jerk marinade to avoid buying multiple ingredients.
RECIPES COURTESY OF “THE ULTIMATE NEW MOM’S COOKBOOK” BY AURORA SATLER