Tags: real food, recipes
Happy Food Revolution Day! In celebration of real food, I thought I would share a few summer recipes that I’m hoping to try soon:
It was a bit of a whirlwind week for us, and I was disappointed that, aside from making Valentine’s for J+J’s school parties, we didn’t have a chance to celebrate Valentine’s Day. In fact, I don’t even remember what we had for Valentine’s Day dinner, but I do recall very distinctly that I had wanted to bake a cake or cookies and never found the time. So on Friday night, I decided it was never too late for cake, not even a heart-shaped cake. And on Saturday morning, we had the best-ever pound cake made from this recipe that I shared a few weeks ago when we made cake pops. Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!
Tags: all-natural, dye-free, valentines day
I tried a new recipe for veggie burgers this weekend, and since I had extra beets on hand, I decided to try to dye some dry pasta pink. It wasn’t as easy as I expected, but here’s how it went down:
I started by cutting one large beet into cubes. I put the beets in a pot of water, brought it to a boil and then added the whole wheat pasta bows. Once the pasta was almost al dente, I turned off the heat and let the beets and bows soak for just over an hour. At first I didn’t think the pasta was ever going to absorb the beet color, but after giving up and going to the park, I returned and found a pot full of vibrantly colored bows.
Recent Instagram Pics: Barn doors at the Fort Worth Stockyards, Pencil and ruler heart spotted in the Bishop Arts District, Sunshine in Keller, Nutella Swirl Pound Cake
It’s been a pretty low-key week around here, with the exception of Jason’s very first field trip. His kindergarten class visited the Fort Worth Stock Show, something we’ve never done in the 5 years of living in DFW. I tagged along and have to say, I don’t think I’ll be heading back anytime soon. Guess I’m not much of a farm girl. Based on our conversation later, I don’t think Jason is eager to return either. He cited the egg juggling act and the bus ride as his favorite parts of the trip, with extra emphasis on the bus ride.
A few other favorites from my week:
- Completely agree with this post about food in American culture.
- And speaking of food, here are a couple of recipes on my list to try soon: Beet and Black Bean Veggie Burgers, Mini Lasagna Cups, and Baked Baguette French Toast.
- Totally loving the photography of Uta Barth.
- Such a cute idea for birthday party decor. Perfect for Jenna’s Hello Kitty-Rainbow-Flowers-Pancake birthday party this year.
- Are you hosting a Super Bowl Party? A friend of mine recently shared party ideas on Martha Stewart’s radio program “Living at Home” and posted details on her blog.
Tags: recipe, vegetarian
My aunt recently commented on one of my posts that my British roots are apparent in everything I do. I guess it’s no surprise then that I’ve always wanted to make Shepherd’s Pie – vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie. This week, I made my first batch of mini pies, basing them on this recipe. I substituted real butter (of course) for the vegan alternative and omitted the vegan Worcestershire Sauce since we didn’t have any on hand. Oh, and I mixed a bit of bacon in my husband’s pie. Surprise! Just the kind of vegetarian recipe he loves. Bacon or not, these pies were really good and I’ll definitely be making them again.
Tags: candy, valentines day
When we first removed artificial dyes and flavors from our diets two years ago, holidays were a bit of a challenge. Our kids were surrounded by vibrant cookies, candies and cupcakes, all of which contained the forbidden ingredients. These days, all-natural and organic options seem to be more readily available.
Tags: new year's, resolutions
I’m off to a pretty good start with my New Year’s resolution of cooking more. I love cooking sweets – cakes, crepes, cookies, etc. – so this year I’m trying to focus on meals more. I made mini quiches earlier this week and was hoping my egg-loving son would like them. I tried introducing them as scrambled egg cupcakes to reduce the ‘new-factor.’ Jenna loves trying new foods. Jason. Does. Not. But the boy loves eggs and, of course, cupcakes, so what’s not to love about scrambled egg cupcakes? He ate one, but it was was a bit of a struggle (and the promise of cookies may have provided the necessary motivation to overcome said struggle).
In thinking about meals for my family over the year so far, I’ve realized something about my initial resolution to cook more:
I want to cook more for my family.
This is challenging for several reasons:
1. Jason is a picky eater. He likes very plain foods along with the standard preschool fare (pizza, mac-and-cheese, sandwiches) and has very little interest in expanding his repertoire.
2. I am a vegetarian. My family is not. The challenge here is two-fold: limiting the need to cook different meals and learning to cook recipes that I’m not willing to taste. Not at all. I’ve definitely fried my share of bacon and cooked the occasional chicken breast, but I’d like to learn a few more recipes for the carnivores among us.
3. For health reasons, my son needs to maximize his calorie intake. We’re talking an enviable diet of cheese, cream and bacon. Unfortunately, we can’t all eat like this. Sympathy bacon-eating might sound like a great idea, but sympathy weight gain is not. In other words, I don’t need to learn how to make cake pops, I need to learn how to make cake pops but not eat them.
4. What started out to be about cooking is also about time together. Between our schedules and our devices, sitting down face-to-face and talking to each other becomes harder to do. I read this post about how the design of a chair responds to (and perpetuates) parents’ technology dependence, and it definitely struck a chord. I’m secretly hoping that cooking more meals will result in more time together.
So what sounded like an easy resolution at the start of the year is shaping up to be a bit more challenging. But I’ve got 11 months to go, right?
Tags: new year's, resolutions, weekly photo challenge
This week’s photo challenge theme is Resolved, a topic very appropriate for the first week of the year. I’m not one for setting New Year’s resolutions, but it did occur to me recently how much I enjoy reading other people’s resolutions. The internet is full of well-meaning declarations this time of year, and I find it fascinating to learn about what other’s are setting out to accomplish. There’s something very brave about publishing your resolutions in a forum such as this one, as it often involves admitting flaws and setting expectations among your readers that you are, in fact, working to improve on them. While I rarely set New Year’s resolutions, I do spend time at the start of each thinking about what they would be. One thing that stood out to me this year was a desire to make more home-cooked meals. When I returned to working outside the home almost two years ago, I felt that my schedule no longer allowed for cooking dinner each day, and over time we’ve started eating out more and more. This year, our children are a bit older and don’t need my constant attention the second I walk in and the babysitter leaves, so I’m going to stop using our busy schedule as an excuse to eat out. This year, I’m going to cook more. There – I did it. I published my New Year’s resolution, even if it is just the one. Expect lots of pictures of food on the blog this year. Someone has to hold me accountable.
To start, here are a few of my favorite pictures related to cooking:
Tags: cake pops, chocolate, recipes
One of our favorite Christmas gifts this year is a cake pop machine. It’s like a waffle-maker, but it creates little balls of cake. Jason and Jenna love cake pops, but I’ve never liked the overly gooey texture and overly sweetened taste of most cake pops. Since receiving the cake pop machine, I’ve learned that most cake pop recipes involve mashing together cooked cake and frosting in order to make them pliable enough to shape into the little balls. The nice thing about the machine is that you can make cake pops out of cake – no frosting needed. We’ve tried a couple of recipes so far: first, a chocolate cake recipe, next a pound cake recipe and, yesterday, I tried a chocolate variation of the pound cake recipe. Our favorite so far is the vanilla pound cake – the density of this type of cake is well-suited to cake pops. I used a recipe known as Elvis’s favorite pound cake, which resulted in amazingly moist and buttery cake. But since pound cake doesn’t use baking powder or baking soda, the batter didn’t rise enough to form perfectly round balls. So the next day I tried again, this time adding a bit of baking powder and baking soda and substituting cocoa for a small portion of the flour – because we’re a family of chocolate lovers. The result (photos above) tasted good, but didn’t have the richness or moistness of the original Elvis recipe. I may keep playing around with the proportions to see if I can get a better result, but it’s going to be hard to make anything other than the Elvis recipe. My family is hooked.
Tags: christmas, holidays
Decorating gingerbread houses has become a Christmas tradition for us. Some families have an Elf running around leaving a trail of marshmallows behind, we have our sticky, sugar-fueled children. This is one of Jason and Jenna’s most-loved holiday activities, but I’m not sure if it’s the joy of decorating or the joy of frosting that drives their excitement. There was definitely a lot of eating going on, especially since this year we were able to incorporate dye-free candy canes and sprinkles. (The red balls were left over from a couple of years ago, but luckily J+J know those are decoration-only.)
I think the best part of this year’s festivities was how much Jason got in on the action. He had announced in advance that his gingerbread house was going to be an “Angry Birds Lego Monster Haunted House” theme, and he quickly moved through the decorating phase so that he could work on arranging his cast of characters.
Here are a few scenes from our gingerbread decorating: