Strawberry season is here! I love, love, love fresh and seasonal strawberries and try to enjoy them in any way I can while they are around. Our own patch is starting to slow down now, but the strawberries from our farm share have been getting better each week and have been a big hit with the boys in a variety of ways. Probably the biggest hit (outside of just eating them as is) has been these strawberry muffins. My youngest son fell in love with these at a party in his class and I have adapted the recipe to be a tad healthier and he didn’t notice the difference at all (in fact he inhaled two this morning for breakfast!)….
The boys and I are in Colorado this week visiting my parents for Spring Break. Coming home to Colorado is always wonderful because we get to see friends and family, we spend time in the mountains and with horses, and we spend lots and lots of time outside. But the other reason I always love coming home is that I don’t think there has ever been a time when I didn’t fall in love with some new recipe that my mom has either developed or discovered and this week is no exception!…
Green. Green is the color of St. Patrick’s Day. When I was a kid growing up in Boston, if you weren’t wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day you’d get punched in the arm. Then, in college (and beyond) it was all about the green beer. Well instead of punches and terrible hangovers, I’ve got a fun treat for you that everyone will love: green muffins!…
Growing up my family never really ate convenience foods. There were no freezer dinners, no hamburger helper, no pop tarts, and no hot pockets. I was always intrigued by those forbidden foods since the commercials made them looks so appetizing and my brother and I were definitely known to beg and plead to try them. Finally, when I was about 10 my mom agreed to let us get the boxed mac n cheese, but only if I was going to make it myself and only for special occasions, like when we had a babysitter.
As I got older I had the opportunity to try some of the other foods that I had salivated over for years and years and time and time again I found them to be highly disappointing. They always tasted sort of cardboardy and fake. And, yet, even today the allure of those foods that patiently wait for you in your freezer, ready to miraculously turn into a meal is a strong one. So, when I have the time, I try to stock my freezer with homemade versions. Empanadas are a favorite, as are black bean burgers, and this week I have a new one to share with you: spinach and cheese toaster pastries….
If the forecasters are right, we here in the Washington, DC area are about to get socked with a blizzard that is expected to leave 2 feet of snow in its wake. This will likely shut things down around here in a big way for at least a day (probably more knowing this crazy city).
So as we all hunker down, here are some cooking and activity tips that might help you stay sane (and fed), even if you didn’t make it to the grocery store….
We all know the drill. Scrambling to get lunches packed, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, clothes on, maybe showered. There is a lot to do before leaving the house for work/school in the morning! One of the ways I try to streamline that process for our household is to prepare breakfast foods over the weekend that can go into the freezer to be pulled out throughout the week. Muffins, mini-frittatas, spinach pop-outs, waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, I make them all. But even with all of that variety, my kids have been starting to get a little sick of the offerings. So I wanted to come up with a different option: breakfast pockets.
That’s right. I wanted to come up with homemade hot pockets (a treat I was never allowed to have as a kid, but that’s a story for another post)….
As you have very likely heard, the East Coast is bracing for a weekend full of rain (if not a hurricane), which means many of us will be stuck indoors quite a bit in the coming days. I’m not going to lie, weather events like this and snow days (which hopefully we won’t get too many of this year) can be stressful and loooong when you are stuck at home. But instead of looking at these as an annoyance, it can be helpful to shift our perspective and look at them as an opportunity to get some cooking projects done!
So I thought I would share with you my steps to making an impending day at home a culinary hit. Plus I’ll share some recipes that might be fun to try….
My sons and I got back from being away for almost a month this past weekend and jumped right back into busy life (plus the boys don’t start school until next week, so I’ve had them around a bunch). Which has meant that this week has been one of those weeks where your main priority is to just keep your head above water. As I have struggled to figure out what’s for dinner based our CSA for the week and the on the quick (read: not planned well) shop I did on Sunday, I have been deeply grateful for two things: my super-quick staple recipes and foods in my freezer.
So in honor of those foods, I wanted to share some of the recipes that have saved me this week….
Zucchini and all summer squash are at their peak right now. They are everywhere. The farmer’s markets and farm share baskets are full of them and they are on super sale in the grocery stores. Given their abundance I have been on the search for new and different ways to cook with them. I’ve sautéed, roasted, and grilled them. I’ve added them to sauces, casseroles, and sweet breakfast muffins. But this week I decided to try something different: a savory muffin. And boy am I glad I did!
These muffins are simple, flexible, and delicious. They are wonderful as a side dish with a cold summer soup, like gazpacho (here is a great, super simple recipe), or with a big salad. They’d be wonderful with a light chili made in the crock pot, so your house doesn’t get too hot. And they’d make a great addition to a barbeque or picnic….
I like to think of myself as a pretty good cook. All in all, things move smoothly in my kitchen. There is only one major exception to this: pancakes. My whole family loves them and requests them a lot, but I have never been able to master them. I have set the smoke detector off so many times while making pancakes that we have a extra fan that we pull out whenever I make them. My younger son will ask, “Mama, is today going to be an alarm day?” And then there is the burning that happens—not all the time and never the whole batch, but just enough to make it really frustrating. I have tried all kinds of fats, different skillets, and different temperatures, but I have never been able to smoothly make a full batch of pancakes. It is incredibly frustrating.
So when I heard that you could bake a whole batch of pancakes in the oven I was overjoyed! There are a number of reasons why I am completely in love with this method of making pancakes:…