Take a Taste Tuesday with Alison Gutwaks

My name is Alison Gutwaks. I am a mother, wife, daughter, chef, recipe developer, blogger, entrepreneur and love anything made with lamb or waffles!

I have a personal chef company in Columbus, OH called AliBabka. I focus on each client, individually. Many clients come to me because they are busy and don’t have time to cook, or do not want to cook. I excel at designing specialized meal plans for individuals with dietary restrictions. Catering on a small scale is another area I enjoy, typically less than 50 individuals. I have been hired to accompany families on their vacations and cater to them as their personal chef.

One of my favorite recipes to make with my child comes from the book, “The Pediatricians Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers,” for which I wrote the recipes.

Almond Butter Bites
Make 20 Bars

1 C. Almonds
1 C. Dried Dates, pitted
1 C. Dried Apricots
1/2 C. Almond Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350. Spread the almonds on a parchment lined baking sheet. Toast the almonds for 10-15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure they don’t burn. Set them aside to cool.
In a food processor, chop the almond until they turn into the consistency of coarse flour. Add the dates and pulse a few more times to finely chop. Add the apricots, almond butter, and vanilla and pulse until the mixture is smooth doughlike consistency and does not contain any large pieces of dates or apricots. Flatten the mixture into an 8X8 inch parchment lined baking pan. Refrigerate or freeze for 1 to 2 hours then carefully cut into 20 bars. Keep the bars stored in an airtight container int eh fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to one month.

My baby eats virtually everything. I have found kids by nature, copy their parents. If you eat it they will eventually try it, but it might take a few times! My son is only 1.5, so I don’t’ cook with him often. When I do, I’ll give him a plastic dull knife and we can chop together. He also loves counting with me as we measure out ingredients.

I reside in Columbus, OH with my loving and talented husband, Matan and wonderful 1.5 year old son, Azriel (Azi). I started a blog in culinary school and continue writing recipes at alibabka.com. Check out the website for more on my experience as a kosher chef in a non kosher culinary school and for fun recipes to try at home. If you are interested in hiring me for any occasion or trip, either locally or abroad, please contact me through my website, by email, or phone.

My dreams for the future are to continue making people happy through food and continue working on growing my skills and my business. I also hope to go on an African Safari one day…maybe as a personal family chef?

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Say-n-Play the Summer Away with Local Adventures

I am one for a big adventures. I love booking trips to far off destinations and then dreaming about the trip for months in anticipation. Sometimes, however, big trips just aren’t possible when juggling the multiple responsibilities of parenthood. Fortunately, there is so much to see and do right here in Columbus. So, to encourage families to find new places and new experiences in town, I am putting together 10 weeks of local adventures this summer.

Check-in each week this summer for specific guides for our local adventures and ways to encourage language development while completing them. My hope is that each and every adventure will be different and exciting. Please connect and share your experiences on the weekly adventures using #saynplaythesummeraway.

Toddler Water Safety with Goldfish Swim School

May is “Water Safety Awareness Month.” According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the leading cause of accidental-injury death among children ages 1 to 4. Goldfish Swim School aims to educate families during lessons by teaching steps that can be taken to prevent accidents from occurring.

When it comes to water, my daughter is fearless. She jumps right in with the expectation that we will be there to catch her. We talk to her about water safety and pool rules (“use walking feet,” “hold mommy’s hand,” etc.), but she is not yet grasping how powerful water can be and the caution she needs to demonstrate when she is in and around it. For this reason, I want her little body to know what to do if she were to fall into water. This is one of the major reasons I have had her enrolled in swim lessons from such a young age. If she were to fall in, I want the safety skills that we practice in our weekly lessons to kick in from motor memory.

Goldfish Swim School recently presented a free Water Safety event where we had the opportunity to get in the water and practice some of the important safety skills to build upon her muscle memory. The following skills were reinforced:

Back Floats: Teaching my daughter to float on her back was the first skill we went over during our water safety course. It was stressed that it is important for a child to know how to float on her back in preparation for if she were to fall into the water and drift away from the ledge.

Preparing to Go Under Water: We practiced “catching a bubble” and preparing to go underwater. “Catching her bubble” helps her practice closing her lips together and catching her breath in preparation for putting her head underwater. The “bubble” was modeled and once my daughter imitated the motion, she was prompted to jump into the water.

Climbing Out of the Pool: Once my daughter was in the water, we practiced turning towards and reaching for the wall in order to climb out. It was reinforced to us that staying safe in the water is knowing how to get out of the water quickly and safely.  She practiced the technique of climbing out of the pool using the “elbow, elbow, tummy, knee” method. (One elbow first on the ledge, then the next elbow, followed by pulling herself up on to her belly, and finally up on her knees.)

Click Clacks on the Wall: The final skill we practiced were “click clacks” along the side of the pool (walking her hands along the pool ledge). This helps her little body learn what to do if the water is too deep or she can’t swim to a ladder. She is also completing one heck of a bicep workout!

The emphasis that Goldfish Swim School places on water safety is so important to help keep these little humans safe. As we move into the summer months, and water activities become even more prevalent, it is important as a parent to be vigilant around water. We are thankful Goldfish put on this Water Safety event to provide my daughter with additional practice for what to do to stay safe in and around water.

The Details: We are currently in the Goldfish Mini 2 class at Goldfish Swim School. We attend lessons at the Goldfish Swim School in Dublin, Ohio. Check out the link for location, address/telephone details and how to sign up for lessons.

Disclaimer: We were provided free swimming lessons by Goldfish Swim School in exchange for collaborating blog posts. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Take a Taste Tuesday with Megan Pollock

Hello! My name is Megan Pollock, and currently, I have many different identities these days. A wife. A Speech-Language Pathologist. A mother. A dog enthusiast. A feminist. Oh yeah, and a Bobcat. (OU Oh Yeah!) Of all these titles, the mother title is the newest. 11 months new to be exact. Motherhood has been one of the most rewarding and challenging roles I have ever taken, as cliche as it sounds. It amazing how you can have so many different feelings at once in a day when you become a mother. Ranging to utter joy, to doubt, to frustration, to anxiety, to sadness and then back to pure happiness. This range of emotions and change has caused a totally different dynamic and added a new challenge to my “wife” title. It is a new balance, that my husband and I are still trying to learn. It has brought us closer, of course, and there are times without realizing it, we find that we are further apart. I often work in the evenings, which is wonderful because I get to spend more time with my son, but it can also be difficult because I spend less time with my husband who works a 9-5 job. This change has made us realize that the time we do spend together is extra important. Dates don’t happen frequently, because we don’t have many sitter options. Therefore, we have learned which may sound silly, to take the “chore” of grocery shopping (that we have always enjoyed doing together even before we were married) and “turn it to eleven.” In other words, make it a family date. To be honest, this wasn’t something we consciously came up with. It happened naturally after I gave birth to my son and soon became a tradition.

Now, if you are wondering, “How the heck do you turn your grocery shopping into a date?” I have two words: Whole Foods. Now I know you might be thinking, “Oh, you mean Whole Paycheck?” Well…we only make our trip there a special monthly treat. Otherwise we spend our time at Lucky’s. (In my opinion, the best. grocery. shop. ever.) I like to think Whole Foods is the “fancier” version of Lucky’s. So once a month, we will do our grocery shopping at the Whole Foods in Dublin and end it with a lovely meal at The Trattoria.

The Trattoria, is an Italian restaurant in the center of the store, and has all the fixings of a really really nice restaurant: amazing food, a huge selection of wine, friendly service, and even white table cloths! The best part is….your infant can join you because it’s a grocery store! AND….it is reasonably priced! I promise.

Here’s why:

  • No corking fee. You can pick any wine off the shelves in Whole Foods and you only have to pay the cost of the wine. Our favorite choice is the Trinity Oak’s Cab. For every Trinity Oak’s bottle you buy, they plant a tree!
  • The food. You can pick any steak OR cheese in the store departments too…and again, you only pay the amount it is in the store. They will cook the steak exactly how you like it right in front of you! Also, the main courses on the menu range from 14 dollars to 24 dollars and you can always get small plates or appetizers too, which range from 10 dollars to 16 dollars.
  • They don’t take tips. (Now, I still leave a small one since my son began eating solids, and often leaves a mess.)

Here are some reasons why it is the best for babies and toddlers.

  • The variety of options you have for your child if they are eating solid foods. If your babe doesn’t love the food on the menu, you can always head over to the buffet and pick out the food, pay for it and eat it when you get to the restaurant.
  • If you forget something, remember…you are at a grocery store. They are likely to have it! (We forgot a bib once!)
  • The carts conveniently fit perfectly up to the tables at The Trattoria. No high chairs needed!
  • If your babe cries, you can always push them around or entertain them elsewhere in the store. Plus, it isn’t the end of the world if they cry, because you are in a noisy grocery store!
  • They have white paper on top of their tables. This makes me feel better when my son makes his usual disaster while he eats.
  • The floors are tile, which also make it for an easier clean up.
  • You are not making a mess in your home. For some reason, I don’t mind cleaning up messes when I am out to eat versus when I have to do it in my own home.

We recently went this month with another couple who are new to being parents. It was such a fun and productive double date as you can see from our pictures.

Thank you Signe for including me on your Tasty Tuesdays, and thank you to all the mothers out there in Columbus who took the time to read my write up. Cheers to being creative to maintain our sanity in this new way of life!

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Take a Taste Tuesday with Lauren Seitz

Hey there, I’m Lauren! I’m a wife, mom and reading specialist in the Columbus area. My daughter is 19 months old and enjoys being outside, dancing and chasing our dog around the house. I am so happy to be collaborating today and sharing with you one of the ways we have fun in the kitchen!

Every night at dinner time, you can find my little one clinging to my legs while I cook or asking to come up so she can “mix, mix, mix”. (She does the cutest little motion with her hands as she says it too!) I try and let her join in when she can and I can tell that she loves being in the kitchen. It probably stems from her love of food, because she’ll eat just about anything. I think it also helps that she sees us in the kitchen almost every night. I love to cook and hope that this provides us with many opportunities as she grows to spend time together doing something we both love! One of my favorite things to make with her is guacamole. Avocados were her first favorite food and to this day, she can put a whole one down if we let her. It’s also a fun one to make with kids because it’s simple and fun to mash up the various ingredients. Having everything cut up ahead of time makes it super quick for her low attention span and means we are just that much closer to trying out the finished product! I try to teach her the terms for the foods we are using, and have her repeat them, as well as terms for what we need to do. It is hard to keep her from “taste testing” sometimes-we had a few less tomatoes than I planned on using in this one!

I’ll be honest that I am usually not one for recipes. I wing it more often and add a little flair if I feel it needs it but that’s part of the appeal of cooking for me. Guacamole is one of those things that is perfect for adaptations too which will help if your kids are a little more picky. Here is my “recipe”and some photos of us making it together.

4 avocados, peeled and cubed

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 of a small red onion, diced

1 handful of chopped cilantro

Juice from 1 lime

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 small jalapeño (optional-I chop for us and add in after getting some out for her)

Mix all ingredients together, mashing the avocado as you mix. Add more cilantro or salt to your liking. You can also substitute white onion for red, add Tabasco instead of jalapeño, and add chili powder for a little extra flavor.

I’d love to know other recipes your kids love making with you! You can find more about me and my family on my blog, takingintheSeitz.com and on Instagram @lseitz8986!

Thank you for letting me share a little about me and my family in the kitchen!

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Take a Taste Tuesday with Angela Chang

Hi! I’m excited to be joining you for Take a Taste Tuesday! My name is Angela Chang, and I am a former Montessori infant and toddler teacher, currently a SAHM to two little girls. I write over at MOMtessoriLife.com, where I share how to be Montessori at home through ideas for activities as well as Montessori parenting philosophy.

Including young children in the kitchen has become a passion of mine, although I will admit that I used to hate it – it’s messy, you can’t control everything that happens, and it takes a little longer to get the food prepared. It would be easier to just do it all myself. However, I have seen that if you prepare ahead of time, the benefits and skills gained by your children far outweigh the inconvenience.

My daughters are just one and a half and three years old, but they are very active in the kitchen. They cut fruits and veggies, crack eggs, stir ingredients, brown meat, thicken sauces, and do a variety of other kitchen tasks while I prepare meals. Preparation and simple modeling are key for safety – they know what parts of the pots and pans are ok to touch when they are on the stovetop, and they know how to hold crinkle cutters and other sharp utensils so as not to harm themselves or each other. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer to prepare your meal with a toddler, so build in extra time when you are planning it.

If it takes so much preparation, why is it worth it?

The benefits to preparing foods with your toddler:
1. Your child is not getting in the way or under your feet the whole time you are trying to cook. Instead, she is standing on a helper tower or stepstool right beside you, actively helping or watching.

2. Your picky eater is more likely to taste more foods. When your child helps prepare something, she knows exactly what goes into it. More exposure equals more willingness to taste and possibly even LIKE new foods.

3. Your child will feel like a valuable part of the family with an important contribution to make. She will be proud that she helped make dinner, or that she made her own lunch.

4. You will be able to spend time bonding over new experiences. If you work outside the home, you may not see your child all day until it is time to prepare dinner. Working together in the kitchen allows you to spend quality time together.

Skills you can work on while cooking with toddlers:
1. Sensorial Differentiation: Taste test as you prepare food. Smell the different ingredients. Notice their colors and the ways they feel. Most importantly around the stovetop, explore heat and make sure your child knows what parts of the cooking implements become “too hot” and which remain cool enough to touch.

2. Vocabulary: Name the ingredients you are working with and their attributes.

3. Fine Motor Skills: Precision is needed to cut, spoon, and stir ingredients. Practice will refine those skills.

4. Hand-Eye Coordination: Putting ingredients in the proper places is necessary to have a complete meal prepared.

5. Following Directions and Sequencing: Describe the steps you are taking with words like “first,” “next,” and “last.”

If your child is anything like most toddlers I know, she probably often wants to do things “by myself!!!” So let her! Under your careful supervision, allow her to have some independence in the kitchen as you prepare meals together. It will be great bonding time for both of you, and you may even have your own personal chef in a few years!

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Take a Taste Tuesday with Lindsay from Find Where You Fit

Hi! I’m Lindsay, a Columbus mom, physical therapist, and author of the blog Find Where You Fit.

I like to incorporate our active lifestyles into dining by going on little picnics. The kids and I will go into the kitchen, talk about food groups, and pick some food items from each to bring along on. I find that using this strategy gives them enough rules and enough freedom that we all get what we want.

Sometimes we take it to a park, go on a short hike or hit a playground, then eat. Sometimes it’s as simple as eating in the front yard on a blanket. When we have finished eating, the fresh air tends to inspire some outdoor play rather than asking for TV. We are so happy it’s picnic season again!

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Sitting Made Simple

A few weeks ago I was invited to the Sitting Made Simple Headquarters in Merion Village to learn about the Sitting Made Simple journey from CEO Amanda Knapp, current staff/past sitters, and families who are currently using the babysitting service. At this meet-up I learned that there are real people behind the computer who are helping you with your babysitting needs. The staff helps match your family with a quality babysitter. There is no app and no lengthy list of sitters for you to scroll through and pick on a whim based on reviews. Listening to Amanda speak about her company, it is clear that she knows her sitters, is in control of the company, and hires only the best. She does not stand for anything less.

Actual headquarters with actual humans working behind the scenes.

Sitting Made Simple is a babysitting scheduling service that allows parents to book a sitter from your computer whenever one is needed. You can schedule requests, choose your provider, request time changes, and cancel appointments at any time directly through the website.  There is a one-time initiation fee as well as a booking fee paid directly to Sitting Made Simple each time you reserve a sitter. Hourly rates start at $10 and are paid directly to your babysitter. Amanda stressed that she hires only the best, and her babysitters are reliable and responsible. Each sitter is required to complete the following before woking with the company:

  • A personal interview with the Sitting Made Simple team
  • Completion and passing of a clean background check
  • Possession of a clean driving record
  • Certification of Infant & Child CPR

We are fortunate to have family in the area to watch our daughter. She has never had someone who isn’t family, let alone someone we haven’t met before, watch her. Recently, there have been a few occasions where family members have fallen ill/schedules conflict, and we have been desperate for someone trustworthy to watch our daughter. When one of these times arises for us, it is nice to have Sitting Made Simple as a back up.

I didn’t feel comfortable writing this post without actually experiencing the service. Even though I had met the CEO and a few of the babysitters, I have to tell you I was extremely nervous booking a sitter online. The anticipation was the worst, and I was envisioning all of the ways the night could go wrong. All of that stress was for nothing! Our sitter arrived on time with her Sitting Made Simple bag to identify her and immediately introduced herself to our daughter. My girl was so excited that she didn’t even cry when we left. The babysitter followed our directions exactly and we were given log notes detailing the events of the night. The sitter even complied with my crazy requests for pictures throughout the night!

Overall, I am impressed with Sitting Made Simple. I appreciate that this company has been built from the ground up by a #girlboss and it is more than just an app. I am thankful there is a responsible and reliable option for sitters in the area.

Disclaimer: The initiation fee was waived to encourage us to try the babysitting service.  All thoughts and opinions on the experience are my own.