November 11th, 2012
The holiday cooking season is here. To celebrate—and to prepare!—I’ve put together a list of 6 essential pieces of cookware. These are my favorite pots and pans, pieces that every kitchen should have. Whether you’ll be cooking a big holiday meal, making edible gifts, or whipping up a few sides to take to a potluck, these pieces will help you make it through the holiday cooking season. And beyond. Way beyond.
November 9th, 2012
The horrible wake of a hurricane.
A presidential election. (An ELECTION!)
Then a snow storm.
It feels like everyone in NYC is a little off balance. At least in my small part of NYC. People are punchy, tired, happy and sad all at once. We’re on a weird energy plane, some frequency in between that’s making us all coco bananas (which is to say cuckoo bananas).
Times like these call for coco banana pancakes (which is to say coconut banana pancakes). For a moment—just one fine moment—these pancakes will tune you into something clear and good. For me it was lying on a beach with a pina colada and a good book.
Okay. I lied about the pina colada. I don’t even like them. But I was trying to keep the coconut thing going.
(See what I mean about being off kilter?! Even this post is weird.)
November 7th, 2012
These aren’t election celebration cupcakes. Not exactly. They are cupcakes that I made nearly a month ago to celebrate the hungry baby’s 3rd birthday. I’ve been wanting to share them with you for a while. I started 2 weeks ago when I told you how to make the homemade maraschino cherries that you’ll need for this recipe. I meant to follow up with the full recipe for Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes just days later, but then everything went topsy turvy. Since then, I haven’t been able to bring myself to write a post about celebrating my son’s birthday or, really, celebrating anything. Until today.
November 5th, 2012
Though it happens, I try not to post photos that I don’t love. I make food, I’m not a photographer. But, still, I had no intention of posting this pic snapped with my iPhone. After all, this was just a quick meal thrown together in our need of comfort. It wasn’t recipe tested three times over. I didn’t try to capture as good a picture as possible. It was just dinner one night.
Though this dish was exactly what we needed, in more ways than one, it wasn’t necessarily going to make its way here. This morning, though, as we returned to our normal routine, something that too many other cannot do today, I thought better of it. This dish, a full meal cozied into a single casserole, is exactly what home cooking is about. It’s easy, healthy, satisfying and something that the whole family can dig into. And, of course, with sweet roasted carrots and bright dill, it’s delicious. It’s just what we need right now. All of us.
November 2nd, 2012
I’ve sat at my computer amidst the chaos of a house filled with six cooped up people several times over the last few days. I’ve wanted to write to you and to share some of the cooking we’ve done while hiding from Sandy and staying clear of those working overtime in her aftermath. But each time I tried to write I got lost. In the news. On Twitter. Searching for ways to help. Working on a Halloween rescue plan. I have tons of recipes to share, but strangely little to say. (Don’t get used to it.) It’s hard to find words when you feel unbelievably lucky and are surrounded by so many who aren’t.
My family and I made it through the storm unscathed. We are safe—stir crazy, but safe. We were together the whole time in a warm, dry home, able to cook, play, watch movies and call loved ones who are also safe, though without electricity. My trusty computer speedily connected to the world each and every time I asked it to, even through the worst of the storm. And we went trick-or-treating last night. See, I told you: we are unbelievably lucky.
Many are not, though. The hungry boy is wondering if he’ll be able to visit his favorite place, Coney Island, this summer. I don’t have an answer. And what about my Jersey shore? These are just two hurt places that just two local people love. What about all the other places and all the other people with hurt hearts, lost homes, and damaged neighborhoods. I don’t have an answer.
October 29th, 2012
I’m an all natural mama. A from-scratch cook. But I have three junk food weaknesses: Oreos, nearly any sugar cereal and Snickers. There. I said it.
I do not bring these “foods” into my house. And when, a couple of times a year, I find a way to indulge, I hide from my children. Partly in shame, mostly so that I don’t have to share.
My homemade Snickers-inspired dip is a revelation. A gift. I can indulge without shame. I can share because there’s plenty, uh, I mean because it’s natural. Just four simple layers of homemade goodness—honey whipped cream cheese, an easy homemade caramel, crushed peanuts and melted chocolate—that make a perfect after school snack for Halloween or a great pre-Halloween cooking project with kiddo if you’re stuck hiding from frankenstorm (like us).
I’d say that this Snickers-inspired treat is also the thing you need to make if trick-or-treating is cancelled because of bad weather, but I’m rooting for the one time of year that my kids can indulge in real fake candy. Halloween will prevail! (Fingers crossed.)
Peek at this yumminess and get my “Snickers” dip recipe over at Momtastic.
It starts simple…
And then, like any good candy, gets gooey…
Wait: there’s more!
October 26th, 2012
I’ve been writing about making and choosing healthier Halloween treats for three years and, in that time, I’m amazed at how much has changed. More than ever, there are healthier options that don’t force you to be the Halloween grinch. With treats that are truly delicious, made with real food and without artificial flavors and colors, there’s no excuse: this year you’re going to be a natural candy wizard. Grab the hot glue gone now.
Halloween is only one day a year, there’s no reason to go mad over it. Your kids—and mine, too—will get their share of junk food and that’s okay. But it doesn’t mean that we have to buy icky stuff stuff we feel bad about. Oh no, all natural candy wizards do not add to the madness, they rise above it. With the help of brands like these.
Let me start with my current obsession: UNREAL candy. This brand is a shining example of what I’m talking about. UNREAL is a new line of candy bars made with no corn syrups, no GMO’s, no hydrogenated oils, and no artificial colors or preservatives. They currently make five candies, each nearly exact replicas of plain and peanut M&M’s, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Snickers and Milky Way bars. As if that wasn’t enough, these candies are priced similarly to those traditional candies.
I’m freaking out about this stuff. It’s candy, people—this is not for everyday consumption (uh, unless you’re still potty training a reluctant 3-year-old after 2 months)—but it’s real candy.
UNREAL could almost be enough, couldn’t it? The crazy thing is that there is more. More options. More all-natural treats. More Halloween fun.
October 24th, 2012
Today marks the second national Food Day, a celebration of healthy eating created by Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and powered by a diverse coalition of food movement leaders, organizations, and you.
There is no life without food. Food is health, family, connectedness, and pleasure. It is joy. Yet our American diet is contributing to health problems at a severity never seen before, for children and grownups alike. Our food isn’t just making us sick, the way it’s produced is also harming farmers, the environment, and the animals we rely on to keep us well fed. We’ve made cooking a chore and replaced the pleasure of simple home cooked foods with the cheap high that comes from the extreme sweet and salt of processed foods.
The food issues that we face as a nation of parents caring for the first generation of children with a life expectancy shorter than our own—along with financial pressures, limited family time, and sheer exhaustion—have stolen our joy for food. Today I ask you to stand with me and take one step towards reclaiming it.
The Food Day site will tell you that today is about sustainable food options, eradicating hunger, farm worker justice, access to and knowledge about healthier choices. To me, though, Food Day is about bringing joy back to the family table. The joy of feeling good about what you put in your body. The joy of knowing that you’re doing right by your family. The joy of knowing that your choices support your local and global community. The joy of taking pleasure in small actions.
Food Day isn’t about making a fancy farm-to-table meal (unless you want it to be!). For us busy parents, today is about moving the needle towards joy, even if just by a hair. We can transform our diet and we can even work together to transform the American diet, but even revolutions start with small actions. And small actions earn dedication when they bring joy.
So, today, to celebrate Food Day, do just one thing around just one family mealtime that celebrates the joy of healthy eating. Whatever it is—whether scrambling eggs from a local farm for a simple dinner or asking a farmer at the market to tell you about a vegetable you’ve never eaten before—seek out the same easy joy you feel when biting into a perfectly ripe peach or sitting down to a holiday meal with people you love. Those moments crystallize the joy of food and we can choose to feel them everyday. Starting today.
October 22nd, 2012
Subj: request for your child’s favorite cars characters
yup. that’s right. you’ll soon get confirmation that i’m throwing a disney themed birthday party. i’m the first. i’m going there. i stand proud.
in honor of this great event of parental resignation and humility, i ask that you please send me your child’s favorite character from the Disney/Pixar movie Cars by the end of the week.
if you have a child (ahem, a daughter) who does not have a favorite character from Cars, please know in advance that I will do the Disney thing and provide her with a Sally-themed goody bag in honor of the token spunky female character.
buckle up, bitches. you’re on my ride now.
October 19th, 2012
If I understand correctly, Pop Tarts are toaster pastries that get their name from the fact that they P-O-P in and out of the toaster. Sound right? Then these—and most other homemade—’Pop Tarts’ making the internet a tastier place are not really Pop Tarts at all. Made with a simple pie dough (as opposed to a flaky pastry dough), they are more like hand pies.
I have a feeling that you don’t care much about the veracity of my pop tart claim. (If you do, drop me a line and I’ll happily divert some of the time that I spend on Pinterest to a conversation about the accurate naming of home baked goods.) I have a feeling that you’d much rather know that these:
* freeze beautifully
* can be filled with nearly anything you like
* can be taken out of the freezer the night before you want to, uh, POP them into kiddo’s lunchbox or serve them as an after school snack
* are fun to make with kiddo (you can tell from my photo that the hungry boy led the charge on our last batch)
So, yea, pop tarts… hand pies… who cares?!
October 17th, 2012
Do you tire of me carrying on about meatballs? (I hope that’s the first time you’ve been asked that question!) A quick scan of my Indian Spiced Meatballs post reveals that I’m a serious fan. And who wouldn’t be? Meatballs are a wonderful early finger food, a great way to introduce animal protein, and also a grown up favorite, whether at dinner or a cocktail party. Meatballs are pretty much a perfect all-around family food.
This recipe is a quick adaptation of the Greek-Style meatballs that my grandmother made for me when I was little. When she—and, really, all Greeks—make meatballs with rice, they are usually cooked in an avgolemono (egg-lemon) sauce. It’s delicious, but requires a bit of extra cooking time. When Greeks whip up quick sautéed meatballs like these they typically skip the rice and serve the meatballs plain or in a quick-cook tomato sauce.
I combined both approaches to make this super easy, quick cook meatball that has the added grain which makes these a more complete meal for little ones. My approach cuts cooking in half, to just shy of 30 minutes, especially when you see my trick for dealing with the onion and garlic.
October 10th, 2012
I love apple butter, and I love my slow cooker, too. Lucky for me, they work well together.
You throw apples and some spices into a crock pot in the morning (or before bed), your house smells amazing for 10 hours, and you scoop out a sweet and spicy, dark amber spread that makes anything it touches more delicious.