She no longer drinks from the bottle or sippy cup, preferring a real glass that allows her to achieve that enviable milk mustache.
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It all started with my early attempts to breastfeed my first child. Just weeks in, she wasn’t having it and neither was I. There were tears. A lot of tears. But soon we both moved on and I began to look forward to the day that she’d start drinking milk again. Not my milk but the good stuff that comes from cows. The full-fat, cream-on-top milk that I dreamily imagined pouring into an ice cold glass that she’d clutch with her chubby little toddler hands. It’s amazing how quickly those early days flew by. Her babyhood, swallowed up by time. It sounds sad, perhaps, but I’m actually ok with it. I love her toddlerhood (tantrums and all) and I am more able to appreciate the babies’ babyhood. It works out.
Nowadays, our fridge is always stocked with milk, her favorite drink of choice and one that accompanies nearly every meal. Our choice is full fat and organic and her choice is cold, always. Most mornings, we all go through a glass of milk each: in our cereal, our oatmeal, and in our glasses.
She no longer drinks from the bottle or sippy cup, preferring a real glass that allows her to achieve that enviable milk mustache (she continues to work on it). She’s now able to put her glass back in the fridge and soon enough, I imagine, she’ll be able to pour it herself. When time is on my side (and this, folks, is not often) I try to prep dinner early so that we can eat as a family together, like we did before the babies were born.
Like many families, we’ve come to accept that dinnertime isn’t quite a leisurely activity right now but I cling to the memories of our first time around at parenthood. How eagerly I anticipated things getting easier and how quickly things DID get easier. I watch her now, with her big hazel eyes and her dark blond ringlets — how carefully she holds the glass and gingerly places it back on the table. How she does her best to wipe her hands — and cleans the table while she’s at it.
My early attempts at cooking postpartum have been slowish but some recipes offer both nourishment and reassurance that, hey, it’s gonna be all right. A ways back, we developed a recipe for the Pairings Box that we called the Turntable Kitchen Mac and Cheese. It was part of a ‘Childhood Favorites’ collection and continues to be a favorite both with us and subscribers. I’ve been meaning to make some tweaks to it and one idea that I’d been mulling over was how it would taste with the addition of broccoli — undoubtably our family’s favorite vegetable. Good news: the Turntable Kitchen Broccoli Mac and Cheese may now be the new hot thing on rotation. Not only does it offer more nutritional value, but it’s a crowd pleaser for both kids and adults…and you guessed it, it sure pairs well with milk.
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Broccoli Mac & Cheese
3-4 small broccoli crowns
1 1/2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup of grated cave-aged Gruyere
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup of Panko breadcrumbs, plus more to taste
1/2 pound of rigatoni, or other tube-like pasta
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut off the stems from your broccoli and then cut crowns into bite-sized pieces.
2. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until ‘al dente’ (can be pierced with a fork but not falling apart). Drain and set aside.
3. Combine the cheeses in a large bowl and set aside.
4. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente (or just slightly undercooked). Drain the pasta in a colander and set aside.
4. Combine the milk, cream, and butter in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low. Use a large wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir the mixture slowly until the butter has melted. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese mixture and season with salt and pepper. Turn up the heat to medium and stir the mixture until the cheese is melted. Remove the saucepan from heat.
5. Gently mix the pasta and broccoli into the cheese sauce, stirring until well coated.
6. Generously butter a large glass or ceramic baking dish. Transfer the mac & cheese into the dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and plenty of Panko breadcrumbs (if you like a crunchy topping, you can use more).
7. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.