Julia’s Child, a great little novel about a woman trying to succeed in the organic children’s food business, is on tour this month. From the publisher,  “Julia Bailey is a mompreneur with too many principles and too little time.  Her fledgling company, Julia’s Child, makes organic toddler meals with names like Gentle Lentil and Give Peas a Chance. But before she can realize her dream of seeing them on the shelves of Whole Foods, she will have to make peace between her professional aspirations and her toughest food critics: the two little boys waiting at home. Is it possible to save the world while turning a profit?
Julia’s Child is a warmhearted, laugh-out-loud story about motherhood’s choices: organic vs. local, paper vs. plastic, staying at home vs. risking it all.”

As much as I enjoyed the story, and I do recommend the book for anyone- mom or not- seeking balance and trying to be more conscious of what we put in our bodies, I was equally intrigued by the real life story of the author, Sarah Pinneo. She left a high powered job on Wall Street and in addition to making her own delectable organic goodies and writing books, Sarah also writes about food and sustainability for several lifestyle publications.

Sarah was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me, and provide a recipe to share with all of you.

What was the hardest thing about making the jump from Wall Street to pursuing writing? 

I always knew I wanted to do it. Every year I would have to fill out these very corporate self evaluation forms, and I would stumble on one particular question. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I would give the savvy answer—I would claim that advancing up the corporate ladder was my goal. But even though I often loved my Wall Street job, I’d always been more interested in writing and publishing. I did an internship at Random House during college, and I edited a college guide for St. Martin’s Press. To me, it was the Wall Street job that always seemed like an accident.

But the timing was tricky. Working on Wall Street was very helpful to my family’s financial stability, and I’ll truly never know whether I made the leap at the right time. But it felt right to me.

What advice would you give to someone contemplating a big career change like you made?

If you can, leave on a high note. My career was going well when I left, and that helped to give me the confidence to make the jump. A couple of  years earlier, things had not been going well. I considered throwing in the towel and leaving. But I’m glad I stuck it out a little longer. If you’re going to do something risky, it helps to feel that the choice was entirely your own.

Are you as strict with what your kids eat as Julia is in the book?

I’m glad you asked this question, because usually people assume that I must be neurotic. The answer is: no and yes. I cook very healthy organic food at home, because when you’ve done as much research as I have into the food system, it changes you. I only buy grass fed beef, for example. And most of our vegetables are organic, etc. But I have never performed a secret switch of my kids’ Halloween candy, like Julia does.

Outside of our home, my kids eat everything. There are ski mountain hot dogs of dubious origin and birthday party treats full of red dye #40, and I do my level best to go with the flow. I never want to give my kids the impression that our choices are somehow superior to what other families do. Every mother employs her own expertise wherever it lies.

What inspires your recipes? Some of the combinations aren’t immediately obviously appealing, so how did you decide on the various combinations?

Writing the recipes for Julia’s Child was a real challenge, because everything had to contain very little added sugar. The Apple Cheddar Muffets are a fun example. My uncle used to eat his apple pie with a thin slice of sharp cheddar cheese. I thought those two flavors would work well against a traditional corn muffin, and so Apple Cheddar Muffets were born.

Can you tell us about your next writing project?

One of the things I’m working on is a novel about a woman whose toddler develops a life threatening allergy to eggs. I’m fascinated (and, as a mother, horrified) by the idea that what might be a perfectly healthy food for one child will land another in the hospital. I continue to be very interested in the way food choices work in society.


Apple Cheddar Muffets

Excerpted from Julia’s Child by Sarah Pinneo (Plume 2012)



1 very large apple or 2 small ones

2 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg lightly beaten

1/3 cup whole milk

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar, divided


“…The first time I wrote this, I put ‘organic’ in front of every ingredient.  But it looked overzealous and uptight.  (Don’t say it—kind of like me.) What do you think?…”  Julia’s Child p. 97.



Preheat the oven to 400°F. Generously grease and flour 12 muffin cups.

Peel and core the apples and dice finely.  If your toddler is helping, peel and slice an extra one to share. If you play your cards right, he or she will be busy eating the apple slices while you’re measuring out the dry ingredients.


In a small skillet, melt the butter and sauté the apple until tender and just beginning to brown, about 7 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, sour cream, and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients; then add the apples and butter.  Stir just to combine.


Spoon into the prepared tin, and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until very brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffets comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a rack. Loosen muffets by ringing their edges with a plastic knife. Turn them gently out onto a plate. Serve warm or room temperature.



Doesn’t that recipe sound great? Be sure to pick up your own copy of Julia’s Child. And if you want to know more about Sarah, you can visit her website here. She’s on Twitter, or you can find her on Facebook.