September 28th, 2011
It’s concord grape season! I’ve been buying bunches and bunches and, between gobbling them right off the vine, I’ve been using them to make my Peanut Butter and “Jelly” Muffins.
September 27th, 2011
Photo: Anna the Red
Is there really anything to say? This picture says it all!!
I did try (for about 5 seconds) to think of a way to link the title of this post with the lyrics of “Heart Shaped Box” in honor of the 25th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind, but that’s dumb.
Now I feel stupid… and contagious.
September 26th, 2011
It’s been a little while since Ms. Mary Mack and I’ve had one of our pow-wows. But, after a summer break in August, we’re back-to-it, and just in time for back-to-school.
For those of you who don’t know MMM, she’s a friend and writer who authors an eponymous mama blog where, once a month, she and I have a food-focused conversation. With school—and other kids’ lunches, play dates, and more time away from home—on the brain, we got into it about sugar. Here’s how the conversation started.
September 22nd, 2011
The Barilla Summer of Italy celebration has come to an end, but fret not. Our friends at Barilla, led by their venerable Executive Chef Lorenzo Boni, have left us with a parting gift better than a bottle of wine or mini-muffins for the morning after. No tchotchkes here.
Our gift from Barilla is simple, clear instructions on how to cook—and precook—perfect pasta.
These instructions, which I’m so excited to share with you, are an indispensable how-to for every family cook.
September 21st, 2011
I’m kind of obsessed of quinoa flakes and flour. Not because they are gluten-free (though I love that, too), but because they add a protein boost that’s proving especially important now that the Hungry Boy’s back to school. And quinoa paired with hazelnuts, all wrapped up in a pretty pancake package—BOOM! This is the stuff of superhero breakfasts.
Well, at least that’s what the Hungry Boys said.
September 19th, 2011
The kids have been back to school for one, two, maybe even three weeks. You in the swing of things yet?
Yea, me either. Which is why I’m working on a mini-series of Quick ‘n Healthy Roundups. During super busy and transitional times like back-to-school and the upcoming winter holidays, I especially rely on quick go-to recipes that I know everyone in the family likes. This series is about sharing those recipes by category so that you can rely on—and easily find them—too. Because without these recipes, I’d surely fall back on take out and eggs.
Oh, wait. Eggs are great. In fact, look for Quick ‘n Healthy: Dinner Eggs coming soon.
Either way, you get the point.
September 17th, 2011
This dish is inspired by one of my favorite Indian dishes, Chole Saag. Or, wait, Saag Chole. I believe the former is primarily chickpeas (chole) with some spinach (saag) mixed in, while the latter is a dish of primarily spinach with some chickpeas mixed in. My dish is definitely about the spinach, no question about it, because—move over, Popeye—I’m a mom on a mission.
I rarely plan meals around what I think my kids “need.” Obsessing over the many ways we can meet our children’s every need in real time is the worst part of popular parenting culture. I’d like to think that being thoughtful, loving and doing our best balance our children’s needs with our own is a good (or good enough?) approach. When it comes to food, that means making healthy food that I like to eat while making sure that my kids have access to a wide variety of healthy foods three meals and two snacks a day. But, lately, I’ve tired of seeing every green vegetable other than broccoli go to waste. And does broccoli even count as green when it’s lacquered in crimson ketchup? Yuck.
September 16th, 2011
As part of my work with Barilla, I recently attended Casa Barilla, a four-day event going strong through 5 pm this evening in New York’s Central Park featuring cooking classes, food and culture workshops and children’s activities. The admission is $5, all of which is donated to Food Bank for New York City (along with the proceeds of any Barilla sales from the Casa Barilla store). Once inside, everything is free—the workshops, interactive classes, food (there’s so much good food!), drinks and, my favorite part, the kids activities in the Piccolini Playground.
One of the many reasons I decided to work with Barilla is because it’s a fourth-generation family owned business committed to the power of family meals. The company has started “Share the Table,” a family dinner project; has commissioned a white paper on the benefits of the family dinner; has turned their site into a resource for making family meals a manageable reality; and—proving that Barilla will put their money where their mouths are—has created Piccolini, a line of healthy pastas for children.
September 15th, 2011
If you’re an devoted reader of food blogs, you probably came across Bloggers without Borders in recent weeks. In case you didn’t—or didn’t notice—I want to tell you about the inspired organization behind #afundforJennie, the massively successful fundraiser for food blogger Jennie Perillo who recently lost her husband to a sudden heart attack.
Why do I want to tell you about Bloggers without Borders? Because communities are complex and ever-changing, and being part of one, the way that I’m a part of the food blogging community, can be complicated. It’s not always easy to navigate relationships, communicate effectively, reconcile shifts in personal priorities with the larger priorities of the community and generally be an active, open-spirited citizen. Sometimes the challenges make you question your place in or commitment to a community. Other times something brings everything back into focus, reminding you that the connection between you and your community are a vital life line. Bloggers without Borders is one of those things for me.
September 10th, 2011
Summer is not officially over.
It’s still warm.
The markets still have tomatoes. Not for long—but they are there now.
I’m still wearing dresses.
I know that school has started (well, for most). And I can tell you that I’m beyond excited to get a pair of new boots. But please don’t give up on summer yet.
Buy fresh fruits and veggies, as much as you can. Freeze fruit. If you’re up to it, can, can and can some more. Keep your cooking light and fresh. Grab some bottles of rose. Keep drinking iced coffee. And iced tea, too.
If you have any doubts—if you think you’re ready to break out the slow cooker or make stew—this Tamarind Iced Tea is the elixir you need. It will wash your doubts away, keeping the summer spirit alive inside you, especially paired with some long, hard thinking about the many cold weather months ahead.
September 8th, 2011
This giveaway is CLOSED! Congrats to Ana and Frank Marino, and thank you to all for sharing your favorite Italian dishes and places in Italy. You’ve all inspired me—now you’ll have to deal with the onslaught of Italian food posts for weeks to come!
Now keep reading for the Almond Arugula recipe!
Last night I had the pleasure of attending a class on light Italian cooking at one of my favorite NYC spots, Eataly, with Barilla Executive Chef Lorenzo Boni. Simply Healthy Italian Pasta was one of many wonderful NYC experiences celebrating Italian culture during the Barilla Summer of Italy.
Summer of Italy culminates on September 13-16 with the first U.S. Casa Barilla, a four-day event in New York’s Central Park featuring cooking classes, food and culture workshops and children’s activities. Once you cover the $5 admission, everything inside is free! (All of the proceeds benefit the Food Bank for New York City; each $5 provides 25 free meals to NY’ers in need.) Then there’s the main event: Andrea Bocelli live in Central Park on Thursday 9/15, for which I’m giving away two pairs of vouchers for free entry to the concert and VIP area!
September 7th, 2011
Did you know that some kids and grownups need up to 4 cups of veggies per day?! That’s a whole lotta the good stuff. And—with carb-filled breakfasts and picked-over packed lunches— a whole lotta pressure on dinner.
Serving a dose of veggies at breakfast is my favorite way to keep dinner from bearing the brunt of the day’s intake. I avoid the last minute scramble to over pack dinner with veggies and the kids don’t feel that frantic “eat all your veggies!” pressure at the end of a long day. Instead, we all get to enjoy a well-balanced dinner knowing that we’ve eaten well all day.
September 6th, 2011
It may be September 6th but, with Labor Day just behind us, I declare today the very beginning of back-to-school! In honor, I’ve got an exciting giveaway from MightyNest, my favorite one-stop resource for all-natural, organic and non-toxic kid products. All of the products available on MightyNest are free from known toxic ingredients such as BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, melamine, formaldehyde, flame retardants and parabens. They even interview each manufacturer about product ingredients, overall manufacturing processes and safety testing. If there is even one slight component that doesn’t meet their criteria, that product is not selected.
These folks are serious about making sure your kiddos stay as healthy as possible. How serious? Just read the MightyNest pledge to find out.
On top of it, founders Kristen and Chris Conn, two parents themselves, offer a resource center on the site so that you can do your own research. If you want to follow up your research with a purchase, you can do it right there without having to hop around the mighty interweb. Or you don’t have to. Their goal is to give you access to the information and options for purchasing safe products.
To celebrate a healthy back-to-school season, Kristen, Chris and her team have agreed to give one of you a package of eco-friendly lunch gear. The MightyNest gift pack includes:
September 4th, 2011
I’ve made no secret that Rome is my favorite city in the world. That makes Italy a very special place to me. I feel at home there. The people, the fashion, the warmth… the food.
Oh, the FOOD!
Given my passion for Italy—and Italian food—it was a no-brainer to say, “Si!” when asked to celebrate the Summer of Italy with Barilla, an exciting six-week celebration of authentic Italian food and culture with lots of on-line fun and a bunch of special events in my hometown, New York City. All of the events leads up to the first U.S. Casa Barilla, a four-day celebration in New York’s Central Park from September 13-16 featuring cooking classes, food and culture workshops, children’s activities and more.
I’ve been having a blast galavanting around NYC to attend Summer of Italy events like the Barilla Meal for a Meal giveaway/fundraiser, all of which are open to the public. And now I’m happy to report that the road leading up to Casa Barilla just got a little more adventurous!
September 2nd, 2011
Well, hello there!
The hungry family and I are just back from another vacation. This time we were away for 15 days—4 of them unplanned thanks to hurricane Irene. I’ve barely been back for 24 hours, but have tons to share with you starting with these thoughts on eating while away from home. I know, I know. We’re coming to the end of vacation time, but I thought this might be useful if you’re going away this holiday weekend.
I was just reminded of how hard it is to stay healthy while traveling, but a little creativity—and time for food shopping—make a big difference. It may sound nuts, but I hit the supermarket about every three days while we were away. I took my time, but you don’t have to linger. A quick 10-minute trip can make the difference between being at the mercy of restaurants and room service and eating healthily.