Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

We rang in the new year Boston-style with some fantastic sledding. Hope you're having a good time wherever you are! Be safe, and I'll see you again in 2013.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas fun

We are having such fun with the girls! Best Christmas EVER!! Here are some pictures, and I'll get more video up soon.

Window shopping in Concord

Monday, December 24, 2012

happy holidays!

                                                Source: via Maryann on Pinterest

Our house is already a mess even a day before the main event, but I am enjoying every moment to its fullest. We are waist-deep in presents and macaroons and chocolate moose. The fireplace is fixed now, so we reveled in our first living room blaze in the new house last night. I am also patiently waiting for my new oven, an unexpected gift (our last one broke last week) that will arrive the day after Christmas. I hope you're enjoying some great holidaying as well. I'll try to update again when I can, but for now here's a few videos of Charlie exuding holiday cheer.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

the star of our show

Yes, that is a pretzel ornament behind Vivi. What can I say? We kinda like food.

Christmas is right around the corner, and Genevieve couldn't be more excited about it. My mom is in town to celebrate with us, and she mercifully allowed the overjoyed child to open one of her gifts early.  It was a box full of dress-up clothes, and Vivi got to work right away accessorizing herself with boas and frills. A girlier girl has never existed, nor one who is more anxious to step out on a stage somewhere. She's the yin to her wallflower sister's yang, and being a bit of a wallflower myself, it's a hoot to play the role of stage mother to one of my own flesh-and-blood offspring. What a ham!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

you had me at free shipping

BlogHer asked me if I wanted to write about a new Proctor & Gamble eStore, and at first I wasn't sure it was my thing. I always check these offers out to make sure they actually appeal to me, and thus hopefully to you as well. And then I saw it: "free shipping on orders over $25 and a 15% discount for new members." Sign me up! I love deliveries to my door. Oh, and free samples with every order. I live for free samples. Sold.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ten {mostly healthy} snack ideas for kids

animal crackers

Forgive me for the prosaic title? I'm sure I could have come up with one better, but my head is still a bit fuzzy from a virus. Okay then, on with it...

It's a well known parenting law that kids want to eat snacks more than meals. I could never lure my kids into the house from the sandbox by saying "Kids, LUNCH TIME!," but if I offer them a snack, they're in before I finish the sentence. Is it the fact that I serve more salty and sweet goodies during snack? Whatever the reason, I'm inclined to make snack time as nutrition-packed as possible. Because I'm not above sneaking healthy foods into my kids' diet.

Monday, December 17, 2012

salmon burgers

I'm getting excited about the holidays, mostly because I get to cook both lots of comfort food I love and new dishes I've been hanging onto until a special occasion. I'm getting back into the swing of the blogging thing, so in the spirit of the coming resolutions I'm planning to blog (and exercise!) every day of the end of the year, starting today--well, to tell the truth, exercise will commence when I shake this virus (UGH). I'll share a few recipes too, also starting today.

As indicated in my last recipe post, we are a seafood-loving family. As a kid, I would only touch canned tuna sandwiches and fish sticks, but my horizons are much broader now. I'll even dig out the cheeks and eyeballs if served a whole fresh fish. YUM. I've probably told you about Vivi's obsession with fish. The kid can be found circling her dad like a hungry cat if he breaks out a can of smoked herring. HERRING!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

serenity now

I wrote this title a week ago. I had originally intended this post to be about how I understand the "Serenity NOW!" Seinfeld episode much more as an adult than I did when I first watched it as a teen. I find myself mumbling it when the kids have asked me the millionth question as I'm forcing myself out of bed in the morning. It adds an element of the ridiculous that befits the situation. But now I have a completely different topic for which it also seems applicable. I'm going to write about that one instead...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Daniel Webster's fish chowder

Do you browse the "books for a quarter" section of your library? I take a frequent peek because I often find interesting books I wouldn't have found any other way. That was the case when I picked up Suzanne Cary Gruvner's "The Cape Cod Cookbook," a 1977 reprint of a book originally published in 1930. If you know of my love of heirloom recipes, you can imagine my delight at finding this treasure of New England history. Others might look at such a scrappy small book and think I'm nuts, but there it is.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

on kidneys and opinions

Don't you love when you have friends that accept your absences without explanation? I had an unexpected departure from the blog for a while there. Rather than do the whole traditional apology/explanation business, I'm just going on as though I didn't stop calling you for a while. Sound good?

Friday, November 30, 2012

{this moment}: turkeydaying

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. Photos capturing moments from the week. Simple, special, extraordinary moments. Moments I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

rocking out with the fam

Think your family rocks? Check out my post today about how you can enter a cool contest and strut your stuff.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

starting holiday food traditions

Welcome to the November 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Food
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we balance food, family, and simplicity. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.

It makes some sort of sense that after disappearing for a week I would come back to the blog talking about food. Practically nothing else (save decorating) has occupied my thoughts for the past fortnight. Just about my favorite part of this Thanksgiving--after my mom visiting, of course--is that the whole event somehow came together easily.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

{animoto}: family togetherness rocks!

My mom is coming today for Thanksgiving. We are so excited because it's been over a year since her last trip up to Beantown. I am really happy that I was given an opportunity to make a video where I could showcase our enthusiasm about the family togetherness that the holidays bring. Click here to see my video and learn more about how you can get a free video too! (No contest required!).

Saturday, November 17, 2012

our Parisian selves

There's a picture I love in the upstairs hallway. It sits on our Georgian desk (called so because it's from the Georgian period in England, not because it's from I a brat or what?), and I can see it while I walk up the stairs.

Nate has been gone for another two-week international work trip and arrives home again today. I find myself looking at the picture more when he's away, probably because I miss him. I imagine that the people in the picture are actually another version of us, living in Paris and sitting in squares and leisurely eating bread. Somehow, when I'm in the middle of parental squalor and chaos, this vision of our Parisian selves gets me through the moment. Maybe some day we'll make it back to Paris and meet up with our parallel universe. You think?

What are your tricks to achieve the "Ohm" state of mind?

Friday, November 16, 2012

don't mind me, I'll just be here sorting socks for the rest of ETERNITY

Where do all these socks go when I really need them?

It's been a while since I did a "day in the life" post, so here you go. My morning yesterday began with Vivi finally opening the antique crystal door handle to her bedroom by herself, rather than the usual Three Stooges-esque routine of standing at the door maniacally turning the handle in every direction and shouting for me to open it. I had not realized how much an improvement her quiet exit from the room would be, but Reader, it has added considerable joy to my start-of-day quality of life.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

on being my daughter's people

Vivi visiting with a neighbor. I love that Charlie got out a chair to sit and watch Vivi's conversation.

When you were a kid, did you envision your adulthood involving the phrase "Have your people call my people"? I certainly did. As a stay-at-home mom with nothing to do other than arrange our lives, I often joke anyway that I need a wife to do some of the things that seem to fall off the social calendar. I need people! Vivi, on the other hand, has people, and those people are me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

the decider

In doing some motherly introspection a few days ago, I mulled over a typical interaction that happens between me and Vivi lately. I'm starting from the middle of the story though, so I really should back up to what spurred the self-examination. I'm a Sunday school teacher for the first and second graders; I complain about this job probably too much to Nate and my mom, but secretly I love it. Six years old is IMHO clearly the best age next to eleven, and these kids are every bit as excited about life, potty/button/shoe-tying trained, affectionate, and not yet sarcastic as I had hoped. But I digress.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

perfect is as perfect does

Don't bother telling me that title doesn't make any sense. Grammar is not my friend today. In any case, that modified Gumpism is the phrase that's been going through my head over the past few days.

It all started with an episode of NPR's On Point about perfectionism. Did you catch it? I enjoyed it because members of my immediate family--who will remain nameless--have perfectionist tendencies, and I've often wondered if striving for perfectionism is simultaneously a sort of strength and weakness. The radio program addressed this issue in a way that didn't point fingers but at the same time offered an impetus for perfectionists to be less perfect. It's worth a listen.

Monday, November 12, 2012

{love the place you live}: leaf-peeping in New Hampsha

We took this trip a month ago, but I've been waiting for Design Mom to host another round of {love the place you live} to share the pictures. I highly recommend going leaf-peeping in New Hampshire. We rented a two-bedroom house for the weekend (the only way I will travel with my children) in Bartlett/North Conway, and it was so pleasant to hole up in a little house in the woods, making complicated meals while Nate watched football and the girls played Barbies in front of the fire. We went hiking and driving at every moment it was light outside.

We found out about the rental home on Air B&B, a fantastic resource for both letting out to vacationers and renting homes from owners. Now that we own a home I suppose we could consider renting out our house while we're on holiday, but I am not sure how I feel about that. Would you consider renting your home to strangers? Have you already done it?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

call for November carnival submissions: {food}

Chocolate cookies with toppings (recipe from The Pioneer Woman)

Thanks to everyone who participated in the October Simplicity Parenting Carnival! It was a great success! We hope you'll join us again, Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM, for another simplicity parenting carnival. If you’re joining us for the first time, feel free to check out the May, June, and August carnivals as well! Read more about our carnival and future topics here

Thursday, November 08, 2012

birthday soup and a mixed tape

Ten years ago today on my twenty-third birthday I was at Clemson University, presenting the results of my research project in Kenya (studying street children) at the Southeastern Regional Seminar on African Studies. My parents drove up to support me and sat in the front row, eyes trained on me, a regular smiley Frick and Frack of the supportive parenting variety. At the time, I was very happy to see them and have them celebrate my birthday with me but also mildly embarrassed that it might have appeared I had brought my parents to see my "show and tell" at the research conference. Ten years later, the embarrassment has fallen away, and I see it as a tangible display of real love. I cherish the memory.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

this is my message to you

three little birds

Politics don't mix well with the other writings on this blog, so I'll keep my comments as neutral as I can.  It's a day of mixed feelings for me. On the one hand, my guy won. But as a moderate/independent voter (fiscally conservative, socially liberal), I had actually struggled for a bit about who I'd vote for at one time, which puts me in a somewhat unique position of understanding how both sides feel today.

My concern resides mostly with a system that feels like it isn't working, regardless of who is in the driver's seat, so my happiness is short-lived. I long for a system I can feel passion and loyal pride for when speaking to friends from other countries. Yes, we all get to vote and that's fantastic and something to rejoice about in a world in which a simple vote is often denied. But I want more for us.

If you are hurting today and feeling lost, I probably can't offer you much in the way of consolation. Although it might be cheesy and mildly hippy dippy of me, I'll offer a song that added a small amount of warmth to my disconsolate heart back in 2004. It's Bob Marley's Three Little Birds, and I particularly like the version from Nick Jr/Noggin that has an accompanying cartoon.

Hugs to all aisles today!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

{right now}: celebrating "falter"

Right now I am:

~flipping through my new copy of smitten kitchen's cookbook (EEE!).

~laughing at Vivi's choice for President at her school's mock election: "I voted for the red guy because I like red"... and feeling relieved that preschoolers don't vote.

Monday, November 05, 2012

thanks Mom! {squared}

I got the best early birthday present ever when Nate offered to watch the girls for me this weekend and let me go south for some quality time with family and friends. His mom came up to help him, which involved tons of flying from the land of flamingos to the land of beans. What a gal. When I got to Georgia, my mom surprised me with a small family party, and I got to hear lots of great family stories as well as get my great grandma's recipe scrapbook (!). It was a blast. Thanks Moms!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

pumpkin pasta: a fast fall feast!

I stood at the refrigerator yesterday afternoon wondering what I could make for dinner. I had three requirements: 1) it was the end of the month, so I needed to use up leftovers before making my next grocery trip; 2) I was headed to an appointment after dinner, so it had to be fast; and 3) I had a cup of pumpkin (the rest of the can from making pumpkin cheese bread) and a cup of sausage (the remnants of sausage pizza). Easy decision!

Monday, October 29, 2012

sausage pizza: fun & inexpensive weeknight meal

I have much to say on the topic of pizza eating. For my toddler, pizza can be a vehicle for toppings she wouldn't consider eating on their own. Figs? Arugula? Onions? Olives? Broccoli? Foggetaboudit. But on pizza? Peesa! Yef pwease! she says as she slams the first piece in her mouth.

My four-year-old finds pizza-making a shade even more fun than pizza-eating, and I can see a special glimmer light up in her eyes when I tell her what's on the menu. Homemade pizza, yes!! I slide the learning tower up to the counter, and the two of us get to work rolling, slicing (yes, I hold my breath as I hand her a dull paring knife), and spreading.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

music man & horsie cuteness

We owe our weekend parenting sanity to man who calls himself "DJ Tiesto." Nate discovered that if you put on his station on Pandora, the kids magically behave themselves...for HOURS at a time. I'm telling you, it can be 30 minutes past starving and tired, and my children will miraculously turn from crazy banshees into perfect angels. It's downright odd. But do we ask questions? No siree Bob, we do not. We have beliefs about gift horses' mouths around these parts.

Friday, October 26, 2012

{this moment}: autumn beauties

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. Photos capturing moments from the week. Simple, special, extraordinary moments. Moments I want to pause, savor and remember.*

Dancing punkin, flowers from hubster

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

bring home wine O_o

Once again Crappy Pictures has perfectly described my life the very MOMENT it is happening. Seriously, y'all, you should just go read her blog. What am I doing here anyway?

Okay, moment of self doubt over. I am here to report that there is currently a broken birthday candle, half an apple slice, and a plastic sheep under my foot right now as I stand at the kitchen counter typing. AND I AM NOT PLANNING TO PICK THEM UP ANY TIME SOON.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DIY holiday fun

Welcome to the October 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Holidays
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we simplify the holiday season. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.

In the past I wouldn't have considered myself the crafting kind. That's an understatement, really. I tried one Martha Stewart craft project in college--creating my own criss-cross ribbon photo board--which was an abysmal failure. Lately, though, I've been enjoying taking up more craft projects with my girls. Perhaps it's the fact that they are so small that makes me adventurous. After all, who cares if a child's art project isn't perfect?

Monday, October 22, 2012

did you read? {10 favorite cookbooks}

I've been known to gab about my love of cookbooks, even on the blog a few times. A good cookbook can be just as good as the best book, in my opinion. I love to nuzzle into the couch with a few cookbooks from the library to get some great ideas. Norah Ephron once likened the feeling of being taken away to another world by a book to the "rapture of the deep" experienced by deep-sea divers who forget which direction is the surface of the water. Rapture is definitely a word I'd use to describe my adoration of cookbooks.

Not many library selections make the ranks of the cookbooks I buy, but those that make it to my shelves aren't ignored and left to gather dust. I treasure them and consult them weekly. Some women have a purse to match their every mood; personally, I prefer to pair my moods with cookbooks. Whether I'm craving an international meal, a quick comforting recipe for the kids, or one made from ingredients found at the farmer's market, I have a book to do the job well. Below are a few of my favorites, for your consideration (note: these are indeed affiliate I can buy and then write about more cookbooks, of course!).

1) The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman

The hubster's family gave us this one the year after we got married. Mark Bittman is staffed at the New York Times and is one of my favorite food writers (I am also looking forward to purchasing How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food one of these days). I don't always agree with his column (see comments of another post), but his books are thoughtful and well-written. I love that I know when I have a delicious dish in an international establishment, say harira at a North African restaurant, I can come home and flip open the book to that recipe so I can attempt to replicate it. Whether you crave kung pao chicken, masala chai, or plaintain chips, you'll find them in this giant volume. We received a leg of lamb-- a rare inclusion-- in our latest CSA bundle, so I plan to try lamb tagine with prunes next week. I'm a sucker for prunes and meat together.

2) Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food by Jacques Pepin

You can read more about this one on my previous post about it. It's my all-time favorite cookbook and can frequently be found on my nightstand. Jacques Pepin is my food hero.

3) The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook: Heirloom fruits and vegetables, and more than 100 heritage recipes to inspire every generation by "The Fabulous Beekman Boys"

I wrote about this one previously too. The fall recipes are the absolute best, so now is the perfect time to check it out. Be sure to browse their website too (they also have a show on Cooking Channel, which I haven't watched yet because we've been cable-less for almost a year).

4) Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets by Deborah Madison

Another one given to me by my mother-in-law, a fellow avid home chef, this book pushes the limits of my ability to cook with local ingredients. She doesn't stop at just introducing us to vegetables like kohlrabi and escarole; she elevates humble farmer's market fare to another stratosphere. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the delicious results.

5) Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round by Marisa McClellan

While this isn't a traditional cookbook perse, I would argue its as important an addition to your repertoire as any book, if not more so, if you plan to preserve food. Canning requires exact balances of acidity, sweetness, and pectin in the case of jam, so the chemistry component alone makes me a preserving cookbook evangelist. You can fly by the seat of your pants when making soup, maybe, but unless you have tons of experience, I wouldn't try the same with blueberry jam. Like most cookbook authors today, Marisa also has a wonderful blog, which is how I found her book.

6) The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier by Ree Drummond

I adore her signature style of photographing each stage of the cooking process. It makes for a fun evening read and an instructional guide. She has such a way of making readers feel at ease, like we've been invited into her kitchen for a chat. I can't get enough of her blog. Um, also, carnitas pizza. Need I say more? She has a great show on the Food Network that I catch on Saturday mornings at the gym when I can.

7) Savoring Spain & Portugal by Joyce Goldstein

This one is sadly apparently not being printed any more. But I'm including it anyway because I love the notion that each international trip should be followed by a cookbook of the food in that area upon returning to the states. We went to Spain and Portugal in 2009 and have enjoyed this book (a third gift from mom-in-law!) even more because it reminds of all the delicious food we ate on our trip. We shared our favorite recipe from this book last year, a Galician fish soup that is one of Nate's specialties.

8) The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

I get many of my staple recipes from Ina, like hummus, tabboulehroasted vegetables, and granola. I love how simple and straightforward her recipes are. She of course also has a fabulous cooking program on Food Network. Not surprisingly, they love her in England as much as we do here. She has such a calm and joyful approach to cooking and to life, and her marriage reminds me of a set of my grandparents who seem to love cooking and eating as much as Ina and Jeffrey. They are a delightful pair.

9) My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness by Gwyneth Paltrow

The addition of this book on the list might surprise you, but she is correct in titling this book "easy recipes." They are as much about family and comfort as they are about being cookbook-worthy. It's my kind of cooking, and the photos are fabulous. I wrote about this one previously too. Gwyneth also has a great e-newsletter and website with more recipes.

10) The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

This book will be released on October 30th, so I can't offer an authoritative review yet, but c'mon! Anyone who has ever read her blog knows it will be amazing. Have you pre-ordered yours yet? I did!

Editor's note: This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday, Monday Mania and The Homestead Barn Hop.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

cranberry orange bran muffins

Isn't fall wonderful? In fall, I scramble to make all the meals I love to eat most in cold weather. The fall harvest is so bountiful, that as in summer it feels like the sky is the limit. Cabbage and kale are back, as are cranberries and oranges. Which can only mean one thing. Cranberry bread. (Ok, it means three things: cranberry bread, gwumpki, and mac & cheese with kale & mushrooms).

I've learned something about myself in the past year. I don't much care for quick breads. I've been making them since I first started using the kitchen (12 years old maybe?), and yet for some reason the fact that I don't like eating them didn't occur to me until this year. It seems to me the edges always get too brown and dry, and no matter how great the recipe, breakfast breads just don't travel well. Muffins, on the other hand, are the perfect travel food. When you have two kids under five, food that can travel is your best good friend. Hence, I'm sharing yet another muffin recipe today.

Flours & grains

This recipe is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe. I like that one but feel like they could have made it a bit healthier. While they are normally good at cutting fat, they don't much tweak the flour and sugar in their recipes, so I do it for them. I think a taste test wouldn't glean much difference, but the added bran and adapted sugar make them good for breakfast (instead of dessert, which the original recipe was bordering on). I might even use applesauce in place of more sugar next time, but I was worried about changing the solids/liquids the first time around.

cranberry orange bran muffins
makes 16 muffins (though I normally double my muffin batches)

3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. white whole wheat flour
1/2 c. bran (I like Bob's Old Red Mill 10 Grain cereal)
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. unrefined sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. grated orange rind
3/4 c. orange juice (about 1 large orange; you can supplement with cider or other juice)
1/4 c. oil
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 Tbs. maple syrup
2 c. coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1/3 c. chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degF. Combine flour through orange rind in a large bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl; add wet mixture to flour mixture. Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin cups (I like to use a 1/3 c. measuring cup). Bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and muffins spring back when touched. Let cool for five minutes in cups and then carefully remove and cool on wire rack.

Editor's note: This post is a part of Real Food WednesdayMonday Maniaand The Homestead Barn Hop.

Friday, October 19, 2012

{this moment}: fall vests

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

p.s. As usual, I broke the "single photo" rule. Sometimes a moment stretches on, you know?...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

ministering to my dear ones, Betty Crocker style

The book pictured above is one my mom found me at Marshall's many years ago; it's a reprint of the original Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book from 1950. She figured correctly that I would love the illustrations and descriptions (as well as some of the recipes of course). I rediscovered it in my daily basement organizing a few days ago and have been delighting and chuckling in reading it ever since. Here's one of my favorite passages from the introduction:

We dedicate [this book] to homemakers everywhere, --to all of you who like to minister to your dear ones by serving them good food. That's an age-old way to express love and concern for their welfare. And it's just as important today when we make use of the latest short cuts, equipment and prepared foods as it was when women made their own bread, butter, cheese, --all the foods their families ate.

Grand, isn't it? My favorite chapter above all others is "Meal-Planning & Table Service." You can imagine all the juicy sentences I've been gleaning from it. The first is the introduction, which tells you the basic seven foods to eat. Behold, the "Circle of Good Nutrition." Because that's a thing.

Group 1: Green and Yellow Vegetables 
Group 2: Oranges, Tomatoes, Grapefruit (or raw cabbage and salad greens) 
Group 3: Potatoes and Other Vegetables and Fruits 
Group 4: Milk and Milk Products 
Group 5: Meat, Poultry, Fish, or Eggs (or dried beans, peas, nuts, peanut butter) 
Group 6: Bread, Flour and Cereals 
Group 7: Butter and Fortified Margarine (with added vitamin A)

I must report to you that you've been doing it all wrong. According to the wisdom of 1950, we all need to be eating more yellow vegetables, oh and some fortified margarine (with vitamin A!). Margarine is so important, in fact, that it gets its own CATEGORY. Boy, I was way off. I think the best is when they combine potatoes with fruit. Science, y'all.

Here are a few other passages from that chapter (italics are theirs):

Planning, preparing, and serving meals is an art which develops through inspiration and thought...It's important to plan a variety of foods for well balanced meals to keep your family well nourished. But above all, be sure those meals are appetizing, attractive, and delicious to eat. For mealtime should help build happy home life.

Indeed. Here, here!

It may be only a ruffle of lettuce to set off a salad; a bunch of purple grapes for an accent note on a platter of roast chicken; a few tiny pimiento bells to add color to a bowl of oyster stew at Christmastime. Whatever the finishing touch, be sure to make it as good to eat as it is to see.

Mmmm, pimiento bells. One of the more underrated garnishes, apparently.

The cocktail section begins with the best sentence ever written in 1950...

The clever wife has a simple appetizing cocktail (cold in summer, hot in winter) ready for her weary husband when he comes home at night.

Amen, sistah.

From a chapter titled "Short Cuts," here are some suggestions for keeping your personal outlook high (bold is mine, it's a must-read):

Eat proper food for health and vitality. Every morning before breakfast, comb hair, apply make-up, a dash of cologne, and perhaps some simple earrings. Does wonders for your morale. While children are napping, do something refreshing. Write, knit, or listen to pleasant music. Harbor pleasant thoughts while working. It will make every task lighter and pleasanter. Notice humorous and interesting incidents to relate at dinnertime.

Can't you just imagine this perfect housewife, cheerily handing her husband a drink and reporting the mysterious incident with the missing sock (spoiler alert: the dog ate it!)? I wish it were still a job to write such passages in today's world. I would so rock at that job. Except that I'd probably be fired for suggesting that housewives meet their husbands at the door wearing only a cocktail and a smile. Heck, they could have used some shaking up of tradition, right?

Here is Betty's suggestion for a Sunday evening supper dish:

Welsh rarebit with tomato slices, anchovies, and gherkins. 
Chilled pears. 
Chocolate cupcakes. 
Coffee, milk, and tea.

Because nothing goes better with my rarebit than some gherkins and tea.

Thanks for indulging a weirdo historical cookbook lover and reading along with me!

Happy cooking, ladies.

Editor's note: This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday, Monday Mania, and The Homestead Barn Hop and:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

a yard!

The girls have spent the past two afternoons joyfully running through the backyard, turning over rocks and poking bugs with sticks. It's a small space, but it's all theirs, and they seem to understand the significance of this truth.

I've been chatting with neighbors over the fence, and I enjoy the proximity. I keep thinking about the generations who lived in our home before us, chatting with their neighbors over the fence. Our home has been lived in, and I look forward to the years we will add to its history.

The cat is enjoying herself too.


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