Eggs. They are one of the cheapest (even if you buy the pasture-raised, organic ones!) and most flexible protein sources around. But many people feel like they are incapable of making them well. The truth is, eggs are actually quite simple, they just need a little bit of attention. So today I want to break down for you the different ways to cook an egg so that you can add these to your rotation for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners and then next time I will talk about different ways to use eggs in baking (i.e., beating an egg in all its stages)….
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!)….
We finally made it to the real deal days of spring! The days are longer, the sun is stronger, the flowers are blooming, and the energy levels are bursting. I don’t know about anyone else, but this is the time of year when my “senioritis” kicks in and I am deeply tempted to play hooky from life for a day. In other words: it is my favorite time of year.
It is also a time of year I love for the food inspiration. And I’ve been getting a lot of it lately! This past weekend my husband and I went on our annual weekend getaway to the Shenandoah Valley for wine tasting, hiking, and eating. We always stay at an amazing Bed and Breakfast with a chef that gives me ideas to last me a year and this year was no different! Beet soup with cheddar grit croutons, roasted new carrots with carrot top pesto, ginger pound cake with pineapple ice, sweet potato pancakes with rosemary-infused hickory syrup—it was unbelievable and I feel so blessed to be able to get to do that each year!
I am feeling so inspired that I wanted to pass some it along to you and share some easy recipes that take advantage of the awesome produce that is available in the Spring. I hope these will give you some fun ideas to kick start your cooking!…
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!…
When I was seven my parents got called into a parent-teacher conference because I was having trouble in the late mornings at school. During recess I would fight with the boys (literal kicking matches—I won a lot) and would also get frustrated during lessons when I didn’t feel like I understood. My parents couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Nothing was happening at home, I wasn’t complaining about school, why was I acting out?
Then one evening my mom heard a story on NPR about the importance of protein for brain function but also for staving off hunger and a light bulb went off in her head: I was hungry! The next morning she made sure that I had protein in my breakfast and, like magic, the problems disappeared! From then on, she was adamant that I have some sort of protein every morning.
So imagine my chagrin a couple of weeks ago when I started getting messages from my 7-year-old’s math teacher wondering why my normally helpful, engaged kid was suddenly having trouble. Had something happened at home? She asked. Were there problems with friends? We had long talks and strategy sessions with him but to no avail.
And then one morning it hit me: he was hungry. In the weeks leading up to the change he had been going through a breakfast strike where he would only eat a tiny bit of his breakfast each morning and in my attempt to respect his listening to his hunger cues, I had tried to be flexible about it. But now it was clear: the kid wasn’t eating enough….
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….
Each year for Christmas my aunt sends my parents an Irish smoked salmon. If you have never had Irish smoked salmon, you are really missing out. It is a completely different experience from the smoked salmon we eat on bagels.And this year my boys completely fell in love with it. So when we got home from our trip to Colorado the biggest request my boys had from the grocery store was smoked salmon. While I couldn’t give them the Irish kind, I was happy to pick up some of the kind we all know and love.
When I first started shopping and cooking for myself I never bought smoked salmon because I was never able to get through it all in time and it felt like a waste. I would have it on bagels with cream cheese and enjoy it immensely but then I always had more left that I didn’t know what to do with. Years later, as my confidence in the kitchen started to grow, I began playing around with it in different ways and discovered that I loved using it in cooking. It was easy to use and just a little bit added so much flavor (sort of like bacon).
One of my favorite ways to cook with smoked salmon is in a frittata. I love the saltiness and the kick that it adds, plus it pairs nicely with many of my other favorite frittata mix-ins. But the other reason I love smoked salmon frittatas, or any frittata for that matter, is that, along with some crusty bread and a salad, it is a quick, easy, and healthy dinner to get on the table in less than 30 minutes….
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)….