Do you need a another Cookbook??? Yes you do!


Homemade with Love

Yesterday, I went to a really delightful luncheon here in Chicago. It was an impromptu event invitation that I am so grateful to have had the time to attend.

In the last few weeks, I have had the fortune of discovering a new blog, In Jennie’s Kitchen  and a new cookbook, Homemade with Love on Instagram.

Blogging and cooking are both loves of mine! Cooking has been a longtime passion of mine…blogging and reading blogs is a new passion.

Now, I have had the good fortune of meeting the creator of Homemade with Love, Jennifer Perillo.

I now realize that it was also fortunate for me that I missed her Chicago book signing, this past Sunday and that I am not afraid of twitter. To make a long story short, Jennifer extended an invitation to me to attend a very special small luncheon that she was preparing in her hotel here in Chicago.

To say, I was thrilled is definitely an understatement.

Among the invitees were some other bloggers, who are all much more recognizable than I…most were food bloggers, some were also writers, who represent various media and social media here in Chicago. A very nice mix of women and fun for me to meet, as my background is just so different, coming from nursing and social work.

What better way to relax everyone and encourage conversation with each other than to casually serve a delicious made from scratch lunch.

Jennifer did just that!

In the tiniest of working kitchen space Jennie created recipes from her new book Homemade with Love.

Firstly, we had some wine, sparkling water, or still water served with a strawberry compote to add a little bit of sweetness to our drinks…very refreshing.

Next we were treated to ….

Creamy Homemade Ricotta

Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Fresh Mozzarella Panzanella Salad

Chickpea, Parmesan and Fennel Salad

Orecchiette with Bolognese Sauce


Simple Roasted Chicken

Deep Chocolate Cupcakes with Deep Chocolate Glaze


It was a lovely marriage of flavors and Jennifer’s ease with preparing and serving made it obvious to me that I could make her recipes at home, as you will be able to do too after you buy her wonderful cookbook.

Jennifer also graciously signed copies of her cookbook for all of us.



I am impressed with her book, its’ layout, beautiful photos and helpful tips. There are icons on every page to tell you about each recipe. I love her Chapter on “Setting Up a Homemade Kitchen” which is surprisingly easy!

It helps that Jennifer is a warm and engaging mother of two, who understands what it is like to be thrown into single parenthood by the untimely death of her husband, Mikey. You can see her love for her kids and Mikey overflows into her passion for cooking.

She has truly written a delightfully beautiful cookbook that you can use in your kitchen to make your own family meals Homemade With Love.

Thank you Jennifer!


Jennifer Perillo and me…

Thank you also to Kitchen Aid and the makers of Glad, two companies who helped to make it possible for Jennifer to share her recipes and cookbook with us.


This post was not sponsored. I did receive a copy of Homemade with Love from Jennifer. All opinions are my own.



Why Bottle Feeding Needs Support…Weekend Reading

 Bottle Feeding Baby

Bottle Feeding is under attack and we all know moms who for very good reasons could not breast feed. We also know moms who bottle feed by choice.

I respect choice, as a nurse and social worker it is important that I do, because we all deserve support in our choices and decisions as to how we feed our babies. That is not to say,  I would not provide a mom with information about both breast and bottle feeding but ultimately it is mom’s decision.

For those moms who need support, I recommend visiting the The Fearless Formula Feeder.  Suzane Barston provides a forum for moms to discuss formula feeding in a very non-threatening, nonjudgmental way.

If you formula feed or know of any mom that does then this is a must read. It will connect you with Suzane Barston and The Fearless Formula Feeder.


I began following Suzie Barston’s blog, Fearless Formula Feeder several months ago, and have been impressed with her ability to (a) unpack the science, and (b) impact sensibility and respect for women who choose to formula feed. After reading her book and then interviewing Suzie, I know that this community will appreciate her academic rigor, and social insights.  – Walker Karraa


Have a nice weekend everyone!

When to Feed Your Baby Solids


Did you feed your baby solid food way too early?

True confession ….I did.

When my first child was born, my aunt, ( who knew everything), insisted that I feed my infant some rice cereal so that she would sleep through the night. She insisted my baby was hungry all the time. While that may have been true, I knew better. But never the less I succumbed to the stupor of being a new mom and tried feeding my newborn a few spoonfuls of cereal to encourage a longer night’s sleep. Aren’t all new moms sleep deprived?

Even though I was formula feeding, my husband did not do the middle of the night feedings since he had to get up for work the next morning so I was desperate when it came to some long stretches of sleep and I thought perhaps my aunt was right.

Well, needless to say my dear aunt was not correct and my efforts to feed a “newborn” were frustrating, time consuming and fruitless when it came to lengthening my baby’s sleep time. Mind you, she was a good sleeper by all measurements, I simply wanted to rush her to sleep through the night. After a few days of attempting solids, I gave up and went back to nothing but formula for the next 6 months. She slept through the night when she was ready at 8 weeks of age.

So now, when I read that moms are still trying to feed solids, mostly cereal, to their infants at a very early age…

I do not judge.

From the statistics, this practice is done by moms that are still influenced by their moms and grand moms. It is an erroneous practice handed down from generation to generation and it probably will not soon end because simply, moms and grand moms are more influential in some cultures than baby’s pediatrician.

After all would your mom steer you wrong?

Feeding Baby


While many pediatricians are sympathetic to the difficulties parents face feeding their child nothing but breast milk or formula for six months, they say little good can come from feeding solid food to a child before he or she is physically ready.

“When a baby is ready to start eating food, he will put his hands in his mouth, and you will see him actually making chewing motions,” said Dr. T J Gold, a pediatrician with Tribeca Pediatrics in Brooklyn. “At 2, 3 months, they can’t even hold their heads up well, and they can’t sit,” making it difficult, if not dangerous, to put solid food in their mouths.

They also have yet to develop the proper gut bacteria that allow them to process solid food safely, potentially leading to gastroenteritis and diarrhea, Dr. Gold said. The early introduction of solid foods has also been linked to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, eczema and celiac disease.


Related Posts:

Baby Nutrition Important New Facts


Winter Comfort in Food…it can still be healthy!

Snowy suburban day...

With another week of winter weather washing over us, I am looking for comfort foods that are healthy and family appealing.

New York Times to the rescue…I love quiche or any “pie” that is savory and delicious….I also love tomatoes and look for ways to use them during every season of the year.

So here is a Tomato Quiche which can be adapted to winter by using canned tomatoes. It is made with a “Mediterranean Crust”  which might be time consuming but ultimately rewarding.

Sunday is usually a good day to cook in my house and then save meals for the rest of the hectic week ahead.

What do you do about weeknight dinners?

How do you meal plan for healthy meals for families on the go?

Related Links:

You can make a tomato quiche off-season using canned tomatoes for a rich tomato sauce that you blend with the custard filling. When tomatoes are in season I use the same filling but line the tart shell with sliced tomatoes.

Winter Tomato Quiche — Recipes for Health –

Vegetable pies and tortes are a recurring culinary theme throughout the Mediterranean region, where cooks pack the season’s produce into dough, enriching the dish with eggs and local cheeses and adding herbs for flavor.

Recipes for Health – Mediterranean Vegetable Pies –

Savory Pie Recipes for Health –

Weekend Reading…

  • Blowing Colors

All of us experience anxiety which is driven by fears of the future. Even our young children can be anxious. This is a wonderful video explaining a technique that a child or for that matter an adult can use to eliminate anxious feelings. We can teach it to our children while also benefitting from using this method ourselves.


Vegetable-based infant formula offers health benefits.

A new study has revealed that InFat – a vegetable-based fat for infant formula with a similar structure to breast milk – provides beneficial effects for the health and well-being of formula-fed infants.



If you are planning to breast feed your baby, you must plan for it. It is not always as easy as it looks for many reasons that are different for so many babies and moms. So research and educate yourself about breast feeding, find out how much support your hospital offers and perhaps get the name of a lactation consultant ahead of time and speak to her before you deliver. If you might be considering breast milk from other moms you should do so carefully and this article will help give you an idea what you should do to make sure that the milk is indeed safe.

Toast Tuesday…Feeding Baby!

Feeding Baby

Whenever I have an idea about what is needed out there on the “world” wide web…surprise I find it.

That is what happened a few months ago when I was reading about new moms and breastfeeding in New York City where Mayor Bloomberg initiated a program “Latch on NYC”.

Since when does a city mayor have so much to say about how a mom feeds her baby and orders formula kept under lock and key on the maternity floor? I was perplexed by yet another Bloomberg health proclamation.

I believe that moms can choose how to feed their infants

I believe and know that breast milk is best.

I believe that some women cannot breast feed successfully.

I believe that no mom should feel guilty or be made to feel guilty because she chooses not to breast feed.

I believe that hospital staff should be educated and non-judgmental when it comes to a mother’s choice about feeding her baby.

I believe that hospital staff should not bottle feed a baby that is breast feeding without a medical reason to do so and and consulting with the mother.

I believe that when moms are having difficulty breastfeeding their infant they should have a place to go that will encourage them, yet not make them feel guilty and remorseful if they cannot continue to breast feed.

I believe that the Fearless Formula Feeder is a place that women can visit and be supported no matter…whether breast or bottle feeding.

Thank you, Fearless Formula Feeder!


FFF is a blog – and community – dedicated to infant feeding choice, and committed to providing non-judgmental support for all new parents. It exists to protect women from misleading or misrepresented “facts”; essentialist ideals about what mothers should think, feel, or do; government and health authorities who form policy statements based on ambivalent research; and the insidious beast known as Internetus Trolliamus, Mommy Blog Varietal.

via About the FFF | Fearless Formula Feeder.

What’s for Lunch?

School Lunch Dilemma

School is fast approaching and that means school lunches will be back in the kitchen routine. Hmmmm!

I have been reading about healthy ideas for kids lunches and recently had a discussion concerning family food ideas with a dietician colleague. She has the same issues with kids lunches…how do you make the interesting and tasty?

So much time goes into meal planning at my house and always has. Good healthy meals have forever been a priority of mine. It was handed down to me by my own grandmother. She made a delicious dinner every night. My mother was a single mom and worked full-time. Since my grandmother lived with us she took over cooking. Most nights, we all would have dinner together. It was an important time for us to catch up with each other and one that I looked forward to.

This fall, I am going to help prepare daily lunches for pre-school…the challenge begins and I am up to it! I think…

Creativity in lunch preparation has long gone from my food prep repertoire . Personally, I take my own lunch to work…it suits me…although it is far from creative… it is usually healthy.

Recently, on my trips to Whole Foods, I find myself looking at Bento boxes and flipping through Parents Magazine for hints as to how to be creative. I want to fix something healthy and interesting….food that a four-year old will enjoy at lunch time.

Our school is a nut free environment, which is of concern to our family, because our little preschooler has a nut allergy. As you probably know, nut allergies can be life threatening. So along with lunch goes the EpiPen, which is kept at school in case of a severe reaction.

I have decided to try the Bento Box…mainly to keep things interesting and organized for our little one and ourselves. The small containers will allow for a few little snack type foods like veggies, dips and grapes (cut in half) to avoid choking, another concern of mine as a pediatric nurse.

Kids have very small “windpipes 

they can easily be occluded by

a food as tiny as a grape, nut

or a chunk of hot dog.

The larger containers will be great for a sandwich, salad or something like a shish-ka-bob without the stick.

I am also purchasing a lunch bag to carry the bento box… that will make it easier to put some “blue ice” inside, keeping food cool and protected from bacteria growth.

A soup thermos also caught my eye…so, we have that as well. It allows us to change-up the menu and include some favorite soups with noodles and some veggies.

So far the food thing is coming together…now for the drinks. Milk really turns me off…no matter what, milk gets warm and there is nothing more distasteful! Water is really perfect with a squirt of juice or even a little mint. Our little one likes juice so a 50-50 juice-sparkling water is a nice variation. One suggestion from Parents Magazine suggests freezing the juice overnight so that it is slushy by lunchtime…great idea.

Parents Magazine, September 2012 issue has some wonderful top chef choices for the lunch box routine. None of them are too difficult…I give this particular article two thumbs up.

What are some of your suggestions for the lunch box dilemma every morning?

Note: I am a grandmother, whose daughter lets me get involved in the food/lunch dilemma because I really enjoy it… we do all of it together and fortunately we have the same dietary concerns for children. It is my pleasure to share with you as we navigate this together.

Related links:

Upgrade Your Lunch Box: Tips For Packing A Creative Lunch –

Bloomberg on Breastfeeding.

Rant on the Politics of Breastfeeding:

Another breastfeeding issue…Mayor Bloomberg of NYC has initiated a program in his City which is supposed to promote healthy breast feeding.

Do we really need politicians to get on this “bandwagon”….Are not mothers, moms enough to decide on their own, how they want to feed their baby?

Women who stop breastfeeding do so because they are miserable and so are their infants…it is not because they did not want to breastfeed to begin with…it is because they were not initially successful or after trying and trying with good support systems they still were not successful and their babies were not getting nourished nor sleeping.

Any mother knows this can lead to a vicious cycle of crying and sleep deprivation on the part of the newborn and the mom. It is horrible when it happens ….Where is Mayor Bloomberg after mom goes home from the hospital?

I am all for breastfeeding and am aware of all the benefits of it…but I am not in favor of a Mayor getting involved in a choice that is personal and has nothing to do with him.

Politicians should stick to kissing babies on the campaign trail and stay out of the feeding frenzy.

Kara Spak: N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg is wrong on breast-feeding – Chicago Sun-Times.

Reasons to Breastfeed Anywhere!

Good Monday morning…

Once again, there has been an incident where someone went up to a breastfeeding mother and told her she had to cover up or leave. Once again, the media feels to need to create a breeding ground for ignorance by asking questions like “should there be any restrictions on breastfeeding in public?” The answer to that stupid question and yes…there are stupid questions, is simply NO. There should not be any restrictions. There is a myriad of reasons why women should and are able to breastfeed anytime, anywhere.

via 50 Reasons for Breastfeeding Anytime, Anywhere | PhD in Parenting.

Whenever, I read posts like this one I wonder just how far we have come in our thinking. Why, oh why, are people still offended by breastfeeding in public? Why does a mother have to go to a Ladies’ Room to feed her child or cover their infant’s face with a blanket? In my opinion this is ridiculous!

Where and when to breastfeed a baby should not be an issue, yet it is …personally if I were breastfeeding I would enjoy a nice quiet space where I could relax with my baby…I would enjoy a quiet place if I were bottle feeding as well.

Who does not like a quiet relaxing meal?

If a soft chair or quiet private space was not available I think I would try to make do and find a comfortable alternative. It would not be on a floor of a store or an airport unless I was desperate. I am not that relaxed a person to chill out in public on a floor but there are those moms, who are…more power to them.

Here are my reasons for breastfeeding anytime, anywhere…

  1. Your baby is hungry.
  2. Your baby is hungry.
  3. Your baby is hungry.
  4. Your baby is hungry.

Week in Review….ParentingintheLoop!

Summer Solstice… NYC


Healthy Child Healthy World is one of my favorite sites for excellent information…this week has been a long one for me but I would love to share these wonderful articles that as so apropos for summer.

Have a great weekend!

See you all next week…hopefully!

  • The dog days of summer have arrived early at Chez Sorensen and my girls are practically living in the pool. I love that they’re spending oodles of time outdoors, but we’re going through copious amounts of sunscreen and my kids aren’t exactly fond of the laborious effort it takes to slather their bodies repeatedly throughout the day.

via 3 Sunscreen Safety Tips You Probably Don’t Know, But Definitely Should | Healthy Child Healthy World.

  • Dr. Harvey Karp is a legend at Healthy Child Healthy World. Dr. Karp is a founding board member and a driving force behind the work we do every day.

via Dr. Harvey Karp, America’s #1 Pediatrician, Makes a Housecall | Healthy Child Healthy World.

  • Vegetarian PestoFresh and flavorful! Check out this recipe for a versatile and vegetarian pesto that you can use all summer!

via Vegetarian Pesto | Healthy Child Healthy World.

Chicago Bean at Sunrise

Photos of “my two Cities”… via Flickr…