A blog for parents.   Recipes, interesting articles and the exploration of parenthood.

new year's recipe with "home & family"!

When I heard that Hallmark's Home & Family wanted me to come onto their show to do a demo of a New Year's baby food recipe I was excited... To say the least. But, I knew I would be walking into unfamiliar territory. I mean, sure, I had been an actress for years and I have done a few holiday cooking segments for this blog but nothing that would be shot live to air. With hosts. Asking questions. Yikes. When I arrived for rehearsal, there were about 50 people running around. They immediately rushed me to the kitchen to get started. Marks were being set, the AD was hurriedly pointing out which camera to look at and which was the "cooking" camera, cue cards scripts were revised with Cristina and the ingredients for my recipe were there - but we weren't going to "rehearse that part". It was a whirlwind! And I have experience on sets! And yet, I was completely put at ease by the crew & hosts. It really is a "home & family" over there! From the producers to the AD's to sound to set design to the guest hosts, everyone came to say hello. Cristina & Mark were very warm & Debbie is an absolute hoot! We talked about her new baby girl (who is adorable!) and babies in general for a good 30 minutes after shooting. I think I would've been shaking in my boots if not for the fabulous people of this very fun show!

 Cristina Ferrare & Debbie Matenopoulos enjoy Simple baby foods with founder Nicole Tubiola.

Cristina Ferrare & Debbie Matenopoulos enjoy Simple baby foods with founder Nicole Tubiola.



I was not surprised at their reaction to the yumminess of this baby food recipe, but I was so pleased to see the word getting out about how GOOD homemade/handmade baby food tastes. Bland?! No way. We want our kiddos craving adult flavors for years to come! By the way, this puree can easily double as a family meal. Just serve it as a stew for the older members of the family or use the puree as a "meat sauce" over pasta or rice! DELISH!

pork tenderloin with black-eyed peas & collard greens

  • This is a stage 3 baby food purée (10+ months)
  • To make a stage 2 purée (8+ months) leave the lemon & tomatoes out. Substitute another cup of salt-free chicken stock. You may need to add more pureeing liquid to make a less textured puree.
  • To make a stage 1 purée (6+ months) leave out the lemon, tomatoes & herbs. You will need to add more pureeing liquid to make a silky puree.
  • To turn this into a family meal, simply serve the stew to older children or add the baby food puree over pasta as a delicious meat sauce!

Prep time:

10 minutes

Cook time:

50 minutes

Total time:

about an hour


34 oz. About 9 pouches, 2 ice cube trays


  • 6 oz cubed pork tenderloin    

  • 1 cups frozen black-eyed peas

  • 1⁄2 bunch (about 4 cups) collard greens, sliced & de-stemmed

  • 1 cup onion, diced

  • 1 carrot, diced

  •  1 stalk celery, diced

  • 2 cloves of fine chop garlic

  • 1 can of diced (no salt) tomato (14.5 oz)

  • 1 cups no-salt chicken broth 

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 1⁄2 cup of high quality grated parmesan (3/4 cup of generic)

  • 1⁄2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 sprig of thyme

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder  

  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

  • 1 squeeze of lemon


  1. Heat 2 tbl of EVOO over medium heat 

  2. Add the rosemary & sage to the cubed pork tenderloin & mix

  3. Add the pork to the warmed EVOO & brown for 5 minutes 

  4. Take pork out of pot & put the trinity of chopped onion, carrot & celery in

  5. Soften for 3-5 minutes. Then add garlic, sprig of thyme, bay leaf & cook for another minute

  6. Add the pork tenderloin back into the pot with the black-eyed peas, diced tomato, chicken stock, garlic powder, onion powder & pepper. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover & reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes

  7. Add collard greens to the stew & stir. Cover & continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes. (test beans for doneness)

  8. Turn off heat. Remove sprig of thyme & bay leaf. Strain juice (but keep the juice in a pouring vessel to add to the puree)

  9. Add the cooked ingredients into a food processor with a squeeze of lemon & 1⁄2 cup of parmesan. Add about a 1⁄4 cup of the cooking liquid. Pulse to the desired consistency adding more liquid if needed.

I hope you have a fabulous New Year! Cheers to 2015!