October 6th, 2014
It’s a funny thing being obsessed with cookbooks, but not often cooking from them. I guess, for me, cookbooks are inspiration: I look through them less for recipes and more for new flavor combinations and novel ways to approach cooking. Not that recipes don’t matter. They are the point of a cookbook, after all, and I can tell if one is good just by looking at it.
Every once and a while, though, the recipes in a cookbook draw me in. I know that I can make something similar without the recipe, but I’m moved to follow it exactly. This happened with Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sam Tamimi, and more recently with the The Make-Ahead Cook from America’s Test Kitchen.
October 1st, 2014
Everyone’s favorite: a green smoothie! Okay, I’m being facetious. I know that you’re tired of green smoothies. But I also know that you like them. Right? Right? You’re just bored with the same old formula and this one is fresh and new and irresistibly delicious.
I’m a huge fan of cardamom and, if you are, too, this is your new go-to green smoothie. Paired with shredded coconut, coconut water and lime, this has a bright, exotic flavor that will transport you to southeast Asia. Or at least that’s what it does for me.
The mango lends this smoothie a bit of sweetness, but not too much. My kids like this as is, but you can always add a touch of honey if your children need a little bit more. And don’t worry about the kale: you don’t even taste it. It just lends a gorgeous green color and nutrition boost.
September 30th, 2014
Remember pizza day at your school cafeteria? It was my favorite, which is amazing considering the icky frozen pizza that my cafeteria served! I’m giving pizza day a makeover with these awesome make-ahead Pesto Pizza Rolls that are perfect for the lunchbox or an easy weeknight dinner.
You all know I’m a sucker for scratch cooking, but it isn’t always possible to make a pizza entirely from scratch, especially when it’s for school lunch. It isn’t even necessary given that it’s pretty easy to find quality store bought ingredients for this recipe. You can also swap in pizza sauce (again, homemade or store-bought) for the pesto and ricotta to make traditional pizza rolls.
September 26th, 2014
I can’t help but end travel week with a few thoughts on why I think travel—near or far, luxe or on a budget, by plane, train or automobile—is so important. And, yes, I realize that the timing for this may seem strange, but I wanted to reflect on travel at a time when you’re not likely to be busy traveling. Hopefully you have time to consider what you want travel to mean for your family before gearing up for the holiday travel season, when travel will mean decisions, logistics, and planning.
Difference is a big concept for little ones. It takes years for young children to understand that not every home is like their own. Friends and neighbors are our children’s first exposure to differences, but imagining diversity on a global scale isn’t something that children can start to do until they are at least 8- or 9-years-old. Travel is an amazing way to help young children picture the world’s many peoples, places, and cultures. It makes difference concrete and relatable, but it can also feel strange. That’s where food comes in.
Food is universal. It connects us all and, even when foreign food feels strange, it’s always a comfort to be fed. The food of another place or culture may be unfamiliar, but the drive to nourish and be nourished is a shared experience that connects us all; it is a reminder that we are more the same than we are different.
September 24th, 2014
It’s travel week here at One Hungry Mama! Travel and eating go so well together, but there can be more to it than just experiencing new flavors. Our family trip to a Parmesan dairy in Italy this summer was a wonderful reminder of how powerful it is to connect with how our food is grown and made.
Day to day, meals can feel like a chore but—take just one moment to stop and think about this—the food that we put on the table is the stuff that goes inside our bodies and our kids’ bodies. What we feed ourselves and our family is the fuel that powers our day and our children through learning, growing, and playing. I know how easy it is to get lured in by processed food shortcuts that make kid-friendly dinners easy breezy, especially during the school year, but it’s a scary slippery slope. One look at most ingredients labels is proof.
The good news—no, the great news—is that there are a lot of socially-minded companies making delicious, wholesome food products that help make dinner fast and healthy. Earthbound Farm Organic is one of them. The company that revolutionized salad (they were the first to sell pre-washed greens!), is on the forefront of making organic produce accessible; their products are available in 75% of markets in America!
From greens that you can eat straight out of the package, to salad kits that save me from my lunch-avoidant ways on weekly basis, and frozen fruit that make it possible for my kids’ smoothies to be organic, Earthbound Farm Organic has been leading the sustainable charge for years. So, yea, I’d say that I was pretty excited to be invited to visit Earthbound Farm Organic to see and learn more about how they are growing and making so many of the the products that I love using in my kitchen everyday.
September 22nd, 2014
I love cheese: stinky, mild, runny, or sharp, it’s all good with me. In fact, before my older son spent a year off of dairy, I would have been hard pressed to choose a favorite. After being deprived, though, my cheese allegiances became clear. I still love all cheese, but I’d missed some cheeses more than others and Parmesan was number one. Not only did I crave the taste, but I realized just how much I use it. Thankfully, my son can tolerate dairy again—Parmesan, in particular (thanks to a different lactose protein in Italian milk and also that Parmesan is naturally low in the proteins that irritate lactose intolerant tummies)—and just in time for us to tour a Parmesan dairy outside of Bologna, Italy.
Yes, seriously. And it was as amazing as it sounds.
September 18th, 2014
I have it, hungry mamas and papas: your new favorite cookbook. I’m holding it in my hands. Okay, not really (since I’m typing), but it’s in my kitchen, already creased and stained. It’s a beauty, isn’t it? How can it not be with the promise of a 150 recipes that can be made and prepped ahead.
America’s Test Kitchen has done it again, this time with The Make-Ahead Cook: More than 150 kitchen-tested recipes youc an prepare on your schedule. Prepping meals ahead saves me. I know that the planning required trips some of you up, but that’s where this book comes in. Instead of pulling a stack of recipes and having to organize what should be made when, the always-helpful folks at America’s Test Kitchen take care of it for you.
September 16th, 2014
Someone one the One Hungry Mama YouTube channel recently asked me for more make-ahead school lunch recipes. You know I’ll never refuse you ideas when you ask for them (speak up and ask away!), so I whipped up these easy Ham and Cheese Muffins.
This savory muffin recipe is a fresh take on the classic ham and cheese sandwich. Not only is it tastier than a plain old sandwich, it can also be made ahead of time. How many sandwiches can you say that about?
September 15th, 2014
You guys, I’m freaking out. These Thai Chicken Burgers with Quick Pickled Carrots are so good. Like eat them for dinner once a week good. And they are quick and easy, too.
Tasty, quick, and easy: the family dinner trifecta.
The flavors in these chicken burgers are quintessentially Thai—especially paired with my Thai-Style Quick Pickled Carrots (recipe below, too)—but mild enough that the kids loved them. Even my picky eater. I just skipped the carrots for the boys and served them on a potato roll with nothing more than a little mayo. In addition to a pile of tangy pickled carrots, I served the grown up burgers with Sriracha mayo. Perfect.
September 12th, 2014
I once heard that the mark of a great chef is how well she can scramble eggs. Of course. It’s always the simple things that stump you, like how it took me years to figure out how to cook rice perfectly. Making hard boiled eggs is one of those kitchen tasks that you’d think would be a no-brainer, but is actually hard to do well. It’s not easy to consistently get a creamy yolk without that icky green outer ring and to escape rubbery egg whites unless, of course, you follow these easy directions for how to boil an egg perfectly.
All it takes is a little attention, or at least a timer.
September 10th, 2014
The first person to ever pique my curiosity about gluten-free cooking—and to convince me that it’s easy and doable—is Silvana Nardone. The founding editor-in-chief of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine and a former Italian bakery owner, I trusted Silvana. She knows food and, more importantly, she knows gluten. Though I’d never considered gluten- or dairy-free cooking, her first cookbook Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy, Delicious Meals became an instant favorite in my house. But as much as I loved the book, I didn’t realize just how fabulous it is until sickness hit.
It’s a long story that ends with us not having to maintain a gluten-free home, but there was a long period of time when we thought that we might have to. During that time, I experimented with my own gluten-free cooking, leaning on Silvana’s book the whole time. Then, a year later, we found ourselves having to take on a dairy-free diet. It was temporary, but lasted for 12 months and, again, Silvana came to the rescue. Even now, as we’re back to eating gluten and dairy with (mostly) abandon, Silvana’s recipes are a regular part of our life.
In the years since Silvana’s first book, she has become a pillar in the gluten- and dairy-free recipe community. She’s the woman behind the go-to gluten-free and dairy-free blog Silvana’s Kitchen and is among the most sought-after gluten- and dairy-free food writers and recipe developers in the business, with regular contributions to publications including Food & Wine. If Silvana knew what she was doing before, she’s mastered it now, and her new book, Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen: Timeless Favorites Transformed, is all about sharing her perfected classic recipes.
September 8th, 2014
I found myself in a quandary the other day. I didn’t feel like cooking, I had already cooked pasta on hand, and I really (really) wanted Middle Eastern food. What’s a hungry mama to do? Why, make this Pasta with Lemon Yogurt Sauce and Buttered Pine Nuts, of course.
September 4th, 2014
Sometimes you just need dinner to be quick and easy. Not the kind of “quick and easy” promoted by headlines or recipe titles. Those are never quite quick and easy enough. No, sometimes, when you’re just back from vacation or have worked an interminably long day or can’t believe that there’s so much to do to get everyone ready to start school again, you need a dinner that practically cooks itself—and fast. This Grilled Steak with Sweet and Sour Peppers is the answer.
September 2nd, 2014
With so many great-tasting, gluten-free products on the market these days, packing a gluten-free lunch is easier than ever. The main challenge is that, unfortunately, gluten-free bread is not on the top of my list of great gluten-free products. If you ask me, store bought gluten-free bread has a long way to go and the key to packing a delicious, easily gluten free lunch box is to work around the bread.
Watch for three of my favorite gluten-free lunch ideas, none of which use gluten-free bread. Because, even if you’ve found one that you like, you’re likely to use it to make traditional sandwiches and these ideas go beyond the sandwich.