It’s Joanna’s virtual shower! And a bunch of dangerous baby foods!

Flirty fruits, Mixed bag | February 13, 2014 | By

Today’s post is an extra special one. You see, my Internet friends, Joanna and her husband Mike from way on over there at, are expecting a baby. So sweetheart Aly from way on over there at (also expecting a baby) suggested we throw Joanna a virtual baby shower. Fun! And this way, we don’t even have to have a bunch of old women yelling, “Save the bows, save the bows, bikini time!” Score. So welcome to your shower Joanna!!!

I’m new to virtual baby showers, but from what I gather, everyone surprises Joanna with their posts at the same time, usually with a recipe or something special and baby related. Since my blog rep is to try out weird, creative foods, I made a special trip over to the weird food Mecca, T&T, on a hunt for some interesting foods that were baby sized. Or actual babies. I wouldn’t put it past T&T. Anyone ever read Jonathan Swift, circa 1729? Anyone, anyone? Bueller…

“I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.”

Right now everyone reading is thinking, “Who invited her.” No worries, there will never be any actual cannibalism on this blog.

But I did find lots of interesting foods that were babyish. Baby-sized, mostly. Let’s start with the fruits. First up, we have a picture of my cat Rudy lounging with a baby watermelon. Rudy is not impressed, if you couldn’t tell, but his needs have kind of taken a back seat in recent years. Joanna, this watermelon will be about the size of the baby you are about to give birth to, if you’re lucky. I birthed two watermelons, each with no drugs. My kids are not nearly grateful enough. I’ll be including a watermelon recipe at the end of my gripping commentary, so hang tight.

Baby watermelon

Next, some baby honey mandarins. They taste pretty much like regular mandarins, but they’re cuter. Cut them into quarters for kids and they gobble them up. The mandarins are pictured with one of my two ungrateful watermelons.

Baby mandarins

The watermelons are cute, though, no?

Next up, some baby bananas. You see, when a mommy and daddy banana love each other…

Baby bananas

And now let’s move on to more dangerous baby foods (although I wouldn’t suggest feeding them to actual babies unless pureed). I haven’t cooked many of them yet – feel free to suggest recipes. My next number of posts will grow from this one, highlighting a few of the following.

Here are some baby dried shrimp. I’ve always seen these in China town and wanted to experiment with them. They’re small enough to be water bugs. Sea monkeys, if you will.

Small dried shrimp

Next, some lotus rootlets. I had never heard the word “rootlet,” but as soon as I did I was sold.

Lotus rootlets

And now for two things that I might actually bring to a shower. I did once bring biltong to my cousin’s baby shower, but I sheepishly snuck it back out again from the pinkified pinkness without a reveal. Anyway, I grabbed these cute red bean bunny buns. My kids never would have gone for a red bean bun, but they gobbled the red bean bunny buns. Easy – steam for 15 minutes.

Red bean buns

Just be careful how you plate them…

red bean bunny buns

And I also got some short ribs. You might argue with me that “short” is not exactly babyish, but have you ever seen a tall baby? I think not.

Short ribs

I decided to marinade the ribs to prep for dinner tomorrow, and chose a recipe from “Weber’s Real Grilling,” which I just mentioned on Joanna’s most recent post where she discussed her cookbook obsession and asked for our favourite cookbooks. Funny story. I went to one of my three cookbook shelves hunting for Real Grilling, and I started to get panicky because it seemed to be missing.


I hunted for it for a while, only to find out that I had taken it off the shelf two minutes prior to when I lost it, and that it was on the counter in front of me. Cooking with wine when there isn’t any wine in your cooking has its drawbacks, people.

Funnier story. Looking at that picture made me realize how many Jamie Oliver cookbooks I have. I like Jamie Oliver. I mean, I really like Jamie Oliver. Go ahead and judge, but who else am I going to go for, Emeril? Although secretly I do think he’s kind of cute too. Anyway, once I had a steamy dream with Jamie Oliver. Right when the dream started to get interesting, I stopped Jamie Oliver and said, “Hey, if you’re cooking with hot peppers, do you throw the seeds in too?” We all have our priorities.

Who invited her??

I’ll finish with the Weber recipe for the short rib marinade, as well as a simple recipe for watermelon mint salad. But before I do, I want to say a hearty congratulations to Joanna and Mike. As I’m sure you’ve learned from Sweetie Petey, kids are amazing. I wish you both the greatest happiness with your family, and you, Joanna, the best of luck with welcoming your watermelon into the world. From our family to yours, here is a picture of some pizza love we had for dinner tonight that we’ll send your way (the love, not the pizza, unfortunately). I value your long distance friendship, and look forward to hearing about your kid adventures!

And for anyone else reading this, please comment with some cute parenting advice for Joanna. 

pizza love

Mint watermelon salad with feta (serves 4)

  • 1 baby watermelon, cubed
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • Good hunk of feta cheese
  • Handful of mint
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Pepper

Prepare everything, adding mint and feta just before serving.

Bourbon marinade

Combine the following ingredients. Makes about 1 cup.

  • 1/2C bourbon
  • 1/4C ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  1. Leave a Reply

    Mike @ Midwestern Bite
    February 13, 2014

    I’d definitely invite you to every party… especially a baby shower.

    We could sit in the back, chug Molsons, bite the heads off tiny crustaceans, and laugh at all the silly girly antics around us.

    (This whole idea was very sweet. Thanks for participating!)

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 13, 2014

      Not Molson’s, Mill Street… I could give you a tour of the best beers in the back row while we spit crustacean heads and watch your worms and chickens fight for the scraps. I’d be up for baby showers like that every day!! 🙂 Congrats again!

  2. Leave a Reply

    February 13, 2014

    Great post! You are so funny and have great ideas. For the baby shrimp…I’ve only seen them out of the shell, so that was a bit weird, but at the same time it should be expected? I mean, I do know what adult shrimp look like in shells. 🙂

    Thanks for your post and for having so many fun things to share!

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 13, 2014

      Thanks again for hosting the shower!! My friend says the baby shrimp can go whole into sticky rice for added texture, or they can be pureed down to make a sauce for pad thai. I just hope they’re not too fishy. They smell pretty fishy!

  3. Leave a Reply

    Joanna @ Midwestern Bite
    February 13, 2014

    You gals are really all too sweet. I think I have officially nicknamed the baby “Rootlet.” Or “Water Bug.” Or maybe “Sea Monkey.” Love this post and how everyone made my virtual shower a part of who they (or their blog) are. It was perfect and amazing and I am so thankful to have such great friends!!

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 13, 2014

      Can’t wait to see pictures of rootlet! Or lotus flower. Bet that translates to something good. Look, we just named your baby!! Best of luck!!!

  4. Leave a Reply

    Trevor aka The Burger Nerd
    February 13, 2014

    LMAO – you crack me up! What a funny post. But I have to say though, I was kind of disappointed that Balut didn’t make an appearance. Nothing says love thy young like eating unborn baby animals lol.

    Thanks for putting a smile on my face, great post.

    Btw, every time I read one of your posts it reminds me that I don’t go to T & T nearly enough. It’s like a foodie amusement park.

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 13, 2014

      T&T is semi far from me, so I can’t just pop in, unfortunately. But that means that it’s always the result of a very focused mission. I love it! And oh, the balut. Poor Aly, who hosted this shower, apologized on her blog for stepping away from foodiness for a while because with her pregnancy, normal baking rubbed her the wrong way. When I read that I crossed fingers that she hadn’t read about the balut!

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 13, 2014

      I’m hosting friends for dinner this weekend. One is very adventurous, the other hates seafood. Let’s see the look on her face when I serve her up a plate of those baby shrimpies…

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