January 29th, 2015
So, I have a love-hate relationship with my slow cooker. The love part is that it cooks for me. I mean, c’mon: that’s pretty awesome. The hate part is that it’s hard to find great slow cooker recipes. Having developed a few over the years, I know they can be tricky. It’s all too easy to end up with a soupy mess, anemic meat, or greasy slop.
Okay, I’m being a little dramatic with greasy slop, but you know what I mean, right? That slick of fat from meat that’s been cooked for hours. Not cute.
When I started working with clients, one of the challenges that I posed to myself was to find a great resource for slow cooker recipes. I thought that maybe I just hadn’t looked hard enough and being proactive would make the difference. I thought wrong. The challenge proved to be harder than expected. Until now.
Once again, the folks at America’s Test Kitchen have provided us with a go-to cookbook packed with tons of easy, family-friendly recipes. Their new book, Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution, has helped me churn out 3 easy, delicious meals in the last 2 weeks: Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin (recipe coming soon), Cuban White Bean and Plantain stew (a hearty, meatless stew that was a hit with all of my boys) and, my favorite, this Sweet and Tangy Pulled Chicken.
January 27th, 2015
It’s a little late to be talking resolutions, I know, but I’m just settling into 2015. What can I say: Sometimes I move slowly. This year I’ve decided to replace blockbuster proclamations about how I shall live life more healthfully, fearlessly, intentionally, and other-ly ways with small, manageable changes. I don’t need 2015 to be a year of big leaps. Instead, I’m happy to take my time with measured steps in directions I feel good about. One of the small changes I plan to make this year is to reduce the amount of refined sugar in my family’s diet.
Remember: This isn’t a blockbuster affair. I’m not eliminating sugar. I’m not motivated by a belief that sugar is poison (it very well may be, but that’s not what this is about for me). I’m just ready to do better. I know that refined sugar is in everything, not just sweets. It’s in our sandwich bread and ketchup, it’s in the daily vitamins my kids take and in the store-bought granola bars I pack when I don’t have time to make my own (which is a lot these days). With refined sugar hiding in so much of our food, I figure that I should do everything that I can to reduce it at home, especially at snack time.
I recently made this raw, Vegan Salted Caramel Dip and was surprised at how much the kids loved it. There’s video proof! I loved it, too, but because I’m not vegan and my taste buds have very recently enjoyed sugar and dairy fat, the two primary ingredients in conventional caramel sauce, I cannot say that this tastes like real caramel. It just doesn’t to me. That said, it is reminiscent of caramel and totally delicious. Seriously: lick the spoon until every drop is gone delicious. Even if you’re not vegan, this stuff is worth making to top on ice cream—d’oh!—I mean, serve with apple slices or swirled into yogurt.
January 20th, 2015
It’s been 10 months since I decided to take control of breakfast in my house, limiting cereal to three days a week and making a weekly breakfast meal plan that includes easy breakfasts that can keep the boys sated until snack time. What normally comes next is the story of how I’ve fallen off, but plan to get back to it for the new year. Well, guess what? Other than a few toast-heavy weeks, we have been going strong all 10 months, even adding new recipes along the way: smoothie bowls, the Berry Green Protein Smoothie, Pumpkin Yogurt Parfaits, and now these on-the-go Baked Oatmeal Bites.
These perfectly portioned bites are a revelation. Dump all the ingredients into a bowl, stir, bake, and store. I’ve decided that these have to be in my freezer at all times, so I always make a double batch. A handful go into the fridge for the week, the rest go into the freezer for breakfasts through the month and the occasional school lunch. They’re tasty enough to make an after-school snack, too, and are a wonderful early finger food.
January 13th, 2015
I know this woman. Her name is Rebecca and she is kind, funny, and generous. Like invite-you-to-her-house-the-first-time-she-meets-you generous.
Then there’s me. I’m a pretty open person. Like take-you-up-on-your-invitation-to-spend-the-weekend-at-your-house-the-first-time-I-meet-you kind of open. What can I say: I’m always up for getting to know new, kind, funny, generous people.
I loved Rebecca the first minute I met her and my family and I really did spend a weekend at her house. It was the second time that we met. We had the best time and I learned that, among all of the other wonderful qualities Rebecca possesses, she’s an mind-blowingly great hostess. Her home is cozy and inviting, her family is just as great as she is, and her cooking is superb. So it’s no surprise that Rebecca’s second cookbook, The Ultimate Blender Cookbook, is superb, too.
Before you go assuming that a blender cookbook must be filled with only soups and smoothies and can’t possibly be for you and your family, allow me to stop you and explain what this book really is.
It really is inventive, practical, and full of delicious food of the caliber that I was lucky enough to enjoy in Rebecca’s own home.
It really is a resource for easy family recipes that anyone can cook.
It really is a revelation.
People: we’re talking about a book packed with super tasty, healthy family recipes that come together in one easy-to-clean kitchen tool that works by flicking a switch and dialing a knob. I am not using the word “easy” lightly here. This is a must-have family cookbook.
January 9th, 2015
So, apparently, between my Smoothie Breakfast Bowl and Berry Green Protein Smoothie recipe, it’s smoothie week on One Hungry Mama. Believe it or not, it just kind of happened—I’ve been making smoothies like a mad woman these days—and I’m happy that it did. Even though it’s cliche, I need it. After the holidays, I’m desperate for healthy, light food, and food that’s low in added sugar. I may have ingested enough sugar over the holidays to power all of 2015.
Smoothies are a great way to take in a healthy dose of fruits and veggies. Smoothies can also be a sugar bomb. These two things work at odds given my need for healthy, light, low-sugar food, so I put together a handy list of tips for how to make a smoothie without added sugar.
January 6th, 2015
I’m on a smoothie kick. I’m also on a mission to reduce the amount of refined sugar in my family’s diet this year. It’s not that we eat an excessive amount of refined sugar, but I know that we can do better without skimping on flavor or good times. Given that I make most of our treats from scratch, I’m thinking I’ll save the refined sugar for when I’m baking treats. The rest of the time, I’ll be looking to sweeten our eats in natural ways.
Smoothies are an easy place to start. While I never add granulated sugar to my smoothies, I have been known to throw in raw honey or even maple syrup. Don’t get me wrong: If a little raw honey is going to make the difference between my kids slurping down a fruit and veggie packed smoothie or having them turn their noses up to it, I’ll be adding raw honey. A few teaspoons is still relatively low in sugar and adds a lot of nutritional benefit. That said, if I can make a smoothie sweet without any added sweeteners, I’m going for it.
I whipped up this Berry Green Protein Smoothie recipe in an effort to make a breakfast or snack smoothie that is low in sugar, has some greens, and is packed with protein. Not an easy feat, but this does the job perfectly. Coconut water combined with lots of berries gives this smoothie enough sweetness for me and my family but, you know, see my note above. If a little honey makes the difference here, add it. Try to be as judicious as possible if you’re set on keeping this low sugar.
January 5th, 2015
I’m looking for a fresh start. To 2015. After all that holidays eating and drinking. And, mostly, to the day. I want to start everyday fresh. Cinnamon buns are good (I mean, really good), but I’m craving something light and fresh, like this delicious Smoothie Breakfast Bowl.
I admit that I was skeptical the first time that I came across a smoothie bowl (in Portland, OR, of course). A smoothie in a bowl? I wasn’t ready to swap my straw for a spoon. Then I went on smoothie rampage.
It all started with this Apple Pie Smoothie and a smoothie app (I am still obsessed with it). I was happily making smoothies every morning and, thanks to the app, was able to keep the flavors interesting. Then the boys stopped. They got used to cinnamon rolls and leftover holiday cookies for breakfast and, suddenly, smoothies held no interest. Until I changed things up and, you guessed it, served their smoothie in a bowl topped with crazy goodness.
Just like that, we’re all back on the smoothie train.
December 30th, 2014
Have you tried St. Germain? The elderflower liquer has become a favorite of mine and, though too much can be cloying, used sparingly, St. Germain adds a delicate, floral sweetness that’s perfect for the holidays. Who am I kidding: it’s perfect for any day, but given that it pairs especially well with champagne and dry white wine, it’s a great choice for New Year’s Eve.
I’ve added St. Germain to everything from margaritas to scotch. Because of it’s sweet flavor, it easily swaps into a huge variety of drinks for sugar or honey. But my favorite way to enjoy St. Germain is the simplest: added to champagne. The basic recipe is easy—1 1/2 parts St. Germain topped with our favorite champagne (or prosecco)—but you should really go by taste. Then garnish with whatever you have around: I like using pomegranate seeds or a pretty lemon peel twist.
December 29th, 2014
If you’re a cookbook junkie like me, you probably grew your collection in a big way this year. With so many great new reads, from Prune to A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus, it’s hard to choose a favorite. That said, I can tell you which new releases you should have. Yes, you, family cook. These are my picks for the best cookbooks for families 2104.
If you’re wondering what I mean when I say best cookbooks for families, let me break it down:
December 23rd, 2014
You know the date? I don’t mean to stress you out. Of course you know the date—it was a stupid question. Christmas is in just days and it’s okay that you haven’t finished your holiday shopping. You’re not a bad person, you’re just a busy person. And maybe a little disorganized. Hey, none of us can do everything.
Said me to myself.
If you’re in the same boat, I have a lovely, easy gift idea that totally works at the last minute: DIY Vanilla Extract. It comes together in 5 and all you have to do is hit the store for cheap vodka, vanilla beans, and a pretty bottle (Target, Walmart, your local craft store, or even a hardware store where you can get mason jars will do). Nice ribbon and tags will go a long way, too.
December 15th, 2014
I’m obsessed with this recipe. Strawberry Jam. No cooking. No major wait time. No gelatin. Just berries, honey, lemon juice, and chia seeds. This is the kind of genius that The Grain-Free Family Table cookbook by Carrie Vitt offers readers.
I’ve been following Carrie and her blog Deliciously Organic for a while now. Her tasty cooking and commitment to unprocessed eating captured me from the first moment that I found Deliciously Organic. Pure eating isn’t just a lifestyle choice for Carrie, it’s truly a healthy choice. Her story is a powerful example of the healing power of food and her recipes will help you eat healthily and happily—and, of course, deliciously—no matter what your diet.
December 12th, 2014
I’ve been hard at work at Cool Mom Picks rounding up food and kitchen gifts for everyone and every holiday. From edible Hanukkah gifts, to indispensable kitchen gadgets, to food gifts that will make any child swoon (hello, personal ice cream maker), I’ve got what your foodies, picky eaters, and family cooks want this holiday season. And maybe something for you, too.
December 11th, 2014
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Gail Simmons, my favorite foodie mama (who’s a Brooklynite, too, now, thank you very much). If you don’t know, Gail is a culinary expert and judge on BRAVO’s Emmy-wining series Top Chef, as well as the head critic on Top Chef Masters. As if that wasn’t enough, she is also a special projects director at Food & Wine, and the author of Talking With My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater. She’s a mom, wicked smart, and a killer cook, which, all together, makes her a hero. If you don’t believe me, try her recipe for this gorgeous Shaved Vegetable Salad with Quick-Pickled Radishes.