Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

resolution salad, crockpot cassoulet, & a cookbook review

Author's Note: This post is not sponsored or paid. I just really like this book and think you will too.

I've been interested in Laurie David ever since I read an article about her in Outside Magazine eight years ago. Okay, so a confession is at that point I thought/hoped she was a real live version of the fictional character portrayed on Curb Your Enthusiasm (read: she's not).

Anyhow, I eventually learned to love her for her great environmentalist work, and when I heard she wrote a book about family dinner, I was intrigued to find out more. The book is called The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time.

Friday, November 29, 2013

projecting

We had a pleasant day of not doing much but feeling like we were always doing something. Nate and I had many conversations, often while holding or munching a piece of food. Some were about household matters we should address at some point; the painting of the bathroom cabinetry, the printing and hanging of pictures, the purchase and assembly of bunk beds. We're already thinking ahead to the new year and all those nagging projects we wanted to complete this year but didn't.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

{day 9}: meal planning, sprouts, giveaway


Author's note: This post includes the Day 9 instructions for those following the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays series, as well as a recipe for Firecracker Sprouts, and a review and giveaway of a Craftsy cooking class. Enter the giveaway below and then scroll to the bottom to find out what it's about.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

world food day: vegetarian quinoa chili

Today Oxfam celebrates World Food Day, the anniversary of when in 1945 the Food and Agricultural Organization was formed as part of the UN to eradicate world hunger. In honor of the cause, I am sharing a simple and easy vegetarian recipe for quinoa chili that utilizes local, seasonal ingredients (minus the spices and quinoa from overseas, which we are grateful to be able to get from so far away).

Here's a snippet from the Oxfam America website, discussing what you can do today to help address this issue:
This World Food Day, use your power as a consumer to change the way some of the world’s biggest food companies do business. As demand for sugar increases, so does the rush for land to grow it. Oxfam has found that companies that supply sugar to Coke, Pepsi, Associated British Foods and other food and beverage giants are kicking poor farmers off their land and robbing them of their rights – leaving many homeless and hungry. 
Land grabs are the sugar industry’s bitter secret. But we can change this. You’re a consumer - big food and beverage companies care what you think. Get the facts and take action at BehindTheBrands.org. - See more here.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

on not becoming The Goops

Alternate title: But I still refuse to eat snails.

Have you read French Kids Eat Everything yet? I'm not finished with it, but it's already a game-changer for us. A lovestruck Nate turned to me at dinner last night and wistfully said, a hint of a glistening tear in his eye, "This is just how I wanted dinner to be." Okay, I'm kidding about that. That kind of husbandly praise is the stuff of dreams...

With how much I talk (read: gloat) about feeding my kids real food, it might surprise you I have a lot to learn about teaching kids to eat well. Yes, I usually manage to get my kids to eat healthy food, BUT I have come to dread meal time due to their whininess, messiness, disregard for normal decibel levels and decent personal space, and sibling rivalry that accompany every meal. I was becoming a cross between a hair-raising psycho and a punch-drunk lunatic at dinner, getting into immature discussions with my kids about who was going to get the purple plate and which child would be allowed to sing the third verse of the rainbow song.

Then, the clouds parted, and this book fell into my lap. Or something like that.

But, seriously y'all, I was skeptical at first about whether the tricks in this book would work for us. I have employed some aspects of attachment parenting, and one of them that I associate with the trend is to offer children choices and let them articulate their preferences and control aspects of their food world. If I had to pick one thing I've learned in the last week, it's that the science does not agree; in fact, it suggests children aren't capable of deciding what they should eat, and these decisions actually stress them out.

But the proof is in the pudding: how did the experiment work for us? I am dumbfounded by the fact that not only did these fancy tricks work, but they have made ME enjoy food more. Who could have thought that was possible?

Here's a nutshell about why I give this book two enthusiastic thumbs up, with a few caveats (so maybe, one enthusiastic thumb and another regular thumb):

Caveat first: I don't have as many ingrained issues with food as the writer apparently does [Example: she is a self-professed lover of McDonald's. Gag me with a spoon.], so I had trouble identifying with her tendency to whine about her great luck. She seemed to have begrudgingly taken on the challenge to feed her kids French food--WHILE LIVING IN FRANCE AND MARRIED TO A FRENCHMAN--whereas I look at these opportunities to mold and change my kids as fun experiments. To me, a person who doesn't thank her lucky stars that she can benefit from the wisdom of the best foodies in the world has a bit of a chip on her shoulder. But then again, I try never to judge a woman for a reaction to her mother-in-law's advice.

Having said that, I learned loads from this book. I've only been to France once and then only to Paris, but even after a few days there, I learned easily that the French have figured out how to make good food. They enjoy food so much and so well. What I didn't know was that they have many rules about what, when, and how to eat. Being someone who likes to cook and eat--and someone who is sometimes painfully attempting to teach my kids good manners--I appreciate a culture that is willing to take time in crafting good, well-mannered eaters.

I also didn't realize how many bad American eating habits I have--and even worse--that I'm passing down to my kids.  I had become resigned to my fate, forgetting--or perhaps never knowing to begin with--that I have role in their meal-time education (Rule #1). Could it be as simple as they were misbehaving because they weren't aware that there were meal-time rules?


French Food Rules

Food Rules
Illustration by: Sarah Jane Wright for French Kids Eat Everything

Here are few of the rules she discusses in the book that I am most taken with (in my own words):


Up the formality! 

The French lay a tablecloth (!!), even for small children; they forgo paper napkins and sippy cups, opting instead for glasses, cloth napkins, and real silverware; and they announce the beginning of the meal with a quick phrase, "To the table!" When everyone is seated, they say "Bon appetit!" to signify that everyone may begin eating. My kids love rituals so took to these improvements like buttah. Vivi sets the table with a purpose, as though she has been lying in wait for the chance to be given this task. We've always said a blessing, which is now like icing on the cake instead of the only ritual.

Documentation of our first foray into tableclothing. It's a Kenyan wrap skirt. Cute, huh?


Respect each other...and the food! 


Imagine a meal with small children in which you don't have to endure loud interruptions and whining. Wonderful, right? How is this magic accomplished??

Actually, it isn't that hard. Once I got started, I figured out quickly that the rules I was implementing were exactly what they were already doing at school. Duh. If they say "But I wanted the purple plate!," I say "You get what you get, and you don't get upset." If they say "I don't want tabbouleh!," then I say "You don't have to like it, you just have to taste it." And after both of those phrases, they pipe in with "That's what my teachers say!" Oh, right.

I can't believe I didn't use these rules sooner. I always imagined that if I stopped them from jumping around and yelling, I would somehow be stifling their joy. But while I previously would have used my "Let kids be kids!" go-to parenting rule, I now realize that what I was doing was robbing everyone, including myself, of a chance to eat a peaceful meal. By stopping the chaos, I offer respect to my dinner guests and myself--and to the food we are eating, for that matter.

Plus, I've added an element of fun by asking them a few questions about their day, like their favorite thing, something they didn't like, a funny part of the day, and a time they helped someone. Both of the girls relish this time to shine with everyone listening. And I relish the opportunity to start new Mom catchphrases.


No food bribes or rewards (Rule #2). 

This rule is actually harder for me than I had thought. In my opinion, this rule exempts the once-a-year bribe of "If you do well at the doctor, you can have a lollipop!" But it also means that you can't stuff your kid's face with animal crackers every time you're in line at the bank. You can't jump into the car knowing you're going to get stuck in traffic and bribe your kids with fruit snacks and chips to make it the duration. You can't swoop in after your kid falls down or doesn't get the purple plate and say "If you eat your peas, you will get a popsicle!" What I failed to realize is that I was teaching my kids to fill their voids with food, and by doing that, I was making their relationship with food emotional. Yikes.


No snacking (Rule #7). 

This rule is tied with the rule above. "It's okay for them to be hungry" has become my new internal mantra. Once I attempted to stop our constant snacking, it occurred to me I had been teaching Charlotte to be a snack monster (see: toddler terrorist post). Her hunger monster still rears its head on occasion; however, just as I wouldn't back down when I tell her it's time to brush her teeth, I feel confident that keeping her from simple carbs and sugary juice is going to pay off in the end when she learns to reward her patience with satiety instead of stifling it with empty calories.


Eat family meals together (Rule #4).

I always wanted to enact this rule, and I had done it sometimes, but I admit there were many occasions that I would spend their meal doing dishes or reading blogs in the kitchen instead of sitting with them. Now I look upon meal time as an important part of their education and sit at the table with them, even if I on rare occasion am not eating a meal myself (and I try to make sure I am eating with them). When they are finished with the meal, I let them have time to blow off steam and be silly (read: not at the dining room table), and I take that time to do my quiet recharging or cleaning.


I've been reciting a poem to the girls called "The Goops" that my parents recited to me as a child, and it has taken on a new meaning lately. Turns out that "The Goops" is actually a series of books written in the early 1900's to teach children manners, so it's no wonder it stands out now.

The Goops 
by Gelett Burgess (1900)

The Goops they lick their fingers,
The Goops they lick their knives,
They spill their broth on the tablecloth-
Oh, they lead disgusting lives!

The Goops they talk while eating,
And loud and fast they chew,
And that is why that I 
Am glad I'm not a Goop--are you?


the goops
Image credit: Gutenburg.org
Author's Note: I shared this post with Tasty TraditionsWorks for Me Wednesday, and Whole Foods Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

on the range {week 9}: buttermilk roast chicken

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."
 Others from that portrait session...



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

{on the range} week 7: Cinderella ate my daughter

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."
Genevieve: Climbing mountains wherever she can.
Charlotte: Proving that gearing up to go out in the snow is still a good time for a gal to accessorize.


On the Range
February 12-18, 2013

Milestones

  • "Charlieisms" are suddenly sprouting up every day. Last night she said "Burrrrrrt, Mommy. It's cold!" and "My tutu didn't fall off yet!" (she meant to say 'tattoo').
  • We're having February vacation week, and Vivi went to winter camp yesterday. Unlike with the school report (i.e. "What did you do today?" "Nothing"), she was aflutter with news of the morning, including brushing wool, feeding sheep, climbing "Bird Hill" and spotting deer and wild turkeys, and cracking her own eggs when cooking a snack. Winter camp is a great success!

Media

  • I just finished Cinderella Ate My Daughter, and it was an eye-opening page turner. I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up for moms questioning the place of pink plastic Barbies and pants that read "JUICY" on the bottom in their daughters' lives.
  • Thanks to this Splendid Table episode, I got a new book from the library called The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook. I've already tried a recipe for "biscones," a cross between biscuits and scones. Ah-mazing. I give lots of thought to a new cookbook purchase before pulling the plug, but this one is a serious contender for 2013. Next recipe up: savory chicken cobbler. Mmmmmmm.

Moods

  • Meditative. We got another six inches of snow on Saturday morning. For most of the day we got the thick flakes that resemble the paper cutouts we grew up making in grammar school, so it was a beautiful sight.
  • Frustrated. I learned this week there's a setback in my doula certification paperwork, so I feel like I'm back at square one, just waiting with nothing I can do to speed up the process.  


Meals

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

{on the range} week 6: blizzard grub


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."
Genevieve: Dreaming of superheros as she gears up to play in the snow.
Charlotte: Couch-bound for much of the weekend, my poor sick baby didn't get much of a chance to enjoy the fluffy white stuff.

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.

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

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 links...so 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.

Monday, October 15, 2012

pasta amatriciana

Amatriciana is a classic Italian sauce that traditionally includes cured pork and pecorino. I love it because it allows me to turn some bacon ends into a meal. I learned about it from my CSA farmer, who is never short on great use-it-up recipes. After making beef bourguignon a few nights ago I had some bacon I needed to use up in the fridge. I grabbed a jar of marinara, some spaghetti, and a wedge of Parmesan cheese. Voila! Dinner is served.



pasta amatriciana

1 Tbs. olive oil
½ lb bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red onion, chopped
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 jar marinara sauce
1 lb spaghetti or bucatini
splash of red wine vinegar
freshly grated Parmesan
chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. In separate pan, heat olive oil over moderate heat, add bacon and cook 5 minutes or until it begins to render some fat.


Add onion and continue to cook until onion begins to brown and bacon begins to crisp (about 12-15 minutes).



Remove all but about a teaspoon of bacon fat. Add marinara sauce and crushed red pepper flakes. Turn up heat slightly to bring to a simmer, scraping any bits off bottom of pan. Simmer 5 minutes. Turn heat to low and add splash of red wine vinegar.



While sauce is simmering, cook and drain the pasta according to package directions. Reserve a bit of pasta water if your sauce needs thinning. Add pasta to the sauce and toss well. Serve with cheese and parsley.

Our farmer also recommends green salad, bread and a nice merlot to round out this yummy meal.

Editor's note: This post is part of Real Food Wednesday, Monday Mania, and:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

a loaded tootsie: on kids and food bribes

Vivi marched in the door of her school yesterday proudly holding in two hands a sheet of homework--her very first, a page full of scribbled As--and gave it to her teacher, announcing "I get a prize now!" The prize would come at the end of class. I spent the three hours away from her occasionally pondering what the treat could be, and I found myself saying "Please let it not be candy." Upon picking her up I learned the prize was, of course, a tootsie pop. Greaaaat.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

spicy pickled carrots: {UFH challenge update}



This year is roaring by at top speed; I daresay it's the fastet-moving year of my life, and the omniscient they say that life only starts moving more quickly the older you get. Sheesh. I love that this blog gives me a chance to document all that happens around here, as these days I can't be relied on to remember it all, and I suspect (ala the wisdom and wit of Nora Ephron) that my memory will only get worse too. While conducting my mid-year time-flying assessment, it occurred to me how long it's been since I updated y'all on my Urban Farm Handbook challenge. Not since March?! Whoa baby.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

market tip: get to know your farmers

Welcome to the August 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Farmer's Markets
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about something new they've learned about their local farmers.
***
gleaners after the market
Image Credit: from a local article about "gleaning"
Have you ever looked into where your food comes from? Have you spoken to a farmer who cultivated one part of your meal today? These are questions I couldn't have answered well just a few short years ago. We began our intentional food journey by joining a vegetable CSA when we lived in Virginia. It was gratifying to know we were helping to support a farm, and we would run home with giddy excitement on CSA day to find a crate of veggies on our porch.

When we moved to Massachusetts, we weren't satisfied by simply having the food dropped off on our step. We wanted to know our farmers, by name if possible, and know the ins and outs of the farm itself. We choose to buy the bulk of our fresh meat and produce straight from two local farms so that we know the farmers and their process and support them both.

In summer time, we pick up the remainder of our fresh food at our farmer's market. Prior to this month, I couldn't tell you anything about those farms apart from the name and spot in the parking lot where they were each located. I could tell you which one had my favorite bread but not what ingredients the farmer used to bake it.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

top 10 favorite breakfasts

cupcakes and cashmere
Image Credit: Cupcakes and Cashmere

Yesterday morning as I struggled to get everyone ready and out the door to get to my 9am spinning class, I realized I'm staring at many mornings to come. Once Vivi begins 9am, 5-day/week pre-k in one month, we'll be doing the morning rush EVERY DAY. Oh boy. How did I not consider this fact until now?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

did you read? {3}: sustainability edition

Hey, remember that series I said I'd start writing back in February, then posted twice and kinda forgot about after that? Woops! Best laid plans and all that jazz. It's all good because I'm coming back at ya' with another post today, and I hope to make the series at least a monthly thing, since I've actually been reading quite a bit of worthwhile material.

If I haven't already smacked you in the face with this little bit of 411 about my life, 'tis the year of the urban/suburban sustainable homestead. Here are some of my favorite reads in that genre...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

hello rhubarb!



I didn't grow up eating rhubarb. It doesn't grow in the south because the weather is too warm (even MA is a little warm, it prefers the colder weather in Canada). I have a tendency to view vegetables I never ate as a child in a skeptical light. Fruity celery? No thank you.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

weekend work: make-ahead menu + the pantry plan


Oh lawdy bee, I need Nate to come home STAT. I've been holding up my end of the bargain for so long (must be all that tiger blood), and I am nearing the end of my proverbial rope. I have such sweet friends though, y'all. They seem to understand how hard it is to single-parent two kids for two months even better than I do--and yet--they don't give me the pity eyes. You know the look moms give, with the chinless, puckered mouth thing. Dislike! I have gotten this look a ton in the past month. My two Beantown besties do not do this, which is why we can be friends.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chuck Norris believes it's not butter

The closet of doom, aka. the office closet.

I know I really should be paying attention to areas in my home like the closet above, but how can I begin tackling these kinds of projects when my Google Reader tells me I have 1000+ unread articles?

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