Thursday, January 28, 2010

mmm, Mmm, MESSES!

There's no better place to get messy than in the kitchen (except maybe the bathtub!)

Stay tuned for a messy post next week...

Thanks to all of you who read and send me your oh so yummy comments. Happy Cooking!

Monday, January 25, 2010

cooking tools to help kids get creative

Cooking with a child is another wonderful way to connect: with each other, the world, and our unique creative selves. It allows us to explore natural materials, mimic real scientists, and learn ways to approach future problems. As children play with recipes and ingredients, they ask questions and make discoveries that will lead to a greater understanding of their world. So with an eye towards encouraging our kids to really get cookin', here are a few wonder-filled tools that help can us cook up some good old-fashioned curiosity and creative fun together.

Read the rest of this piece on The Savvy Source

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Juicing fun

Oh the joys of a trip to Central California, where winter means oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruit. Yum!
We came home with TONS of them, picked from the grandparents' tree, where we know they were grown with much love!
And here's Zeal's new favorite kitchen gadget - the citrus juicer:

The one we used is a Braun, and was sooooo easy to use. It also strains out a lot of the pulp and all the seeds as it was juicing. A far cry from the old hand citrus juicer that has been a staple at our house for years. With the large quantity of citrus we were processing, we couldn't have done it with that old one. No way.

As for the juice, it didn't last long enough to take a picture of the final product. Mmmmmm. Nothing like fresh squeezed juice.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

our favorite sippies

Cheers to all the companies who are now making sippy cups that are safe for our toddlers to be drinking from!!!!

Here are our favorites:

The Foogo sippy, made by Thermos, (yes, this is how she carries it around).


The Safe Sippy.

The best thing about both of these (as opposed to other stainless sippies out there, is that these don't leak and have that "must suck to get anything out of it" stopper. And oh yeah, they are chemical, plastic, and BPA free. Yippeeeee!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

who gets the leftovers?

Oh my, this girl just LOVES her broccoli. It's like one of those standby foods we can always count on to keep her in her highchair.
But who does she give her leftovers to when she's aw-duh (all-done)????

Can you say "Doggie Bag?"

Sunday, January 17, 2010

tortillas continued...

So our special entree finally got made, even after that (oh so fortunate) snowflake incident.

This is one of Zeal's most favorite meals, and I just realized I haven't ever posted about it.

Tortilla Shells, a.k.a. "Zeal's Zesty Taco Salad"!

We fill our tortilla shells with our favorite guacamole recipe (Thank you dear Ina!). But here's the quick and yummy on how to make your own healthy taco salad bowls:

1. Set 2 empty food cans on a foil lined baking sheet.
2. Drape a foil square (made from a larger piece of foil folded in half two times) over the top of each can.
3. Quickly immerse a tortilla in water/oil mixture as in this recipe, then lift out and let drain.
4. Drape the damp tortilla over the foil on the empty food can and "sculpt" with fingers (if you place it slightly off-center the shell with have a dramatic higher flair to one edge).

5. Bake the taco salad shells in a preheated 450 degree F oven until they're lightly brown and firm enough to hold their shape, which will take about 4 to 5 minutes.
6. Using pot holders, carefully lift the shells off the cans and place them cup-side-up on the pan; the edges on larger tortillas might need support when the shells are inverted so loosely crumple some foil into 4-inch balls and push them against areas that sag.
7. Return the shells to the oven and bake until they're crisp, about 2 to 3 additional minutes.
8. When cooled, fill with whatever, as my grandma says, gets your "sufficiency so fanci-full"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

sidetracked by snowflakes

We've been spending a good deal of time Welcoming Winter here recently. But Zeal was sad that the recent rains had melted all the snow away and his daily treks to the "sled run" were becoming less, well, just "less".
So I dragged him into the kitchen to help make some tortilla bowls to hold our favorite guacamole salad for dinner. Well, it wasn't really dragging since he was quite pleased that that would be our dinner.

Instead, we got inspired to use our tortillas for a sweet afternoon treat, Snowflake Crisps (his name for them).

Here's what we did:
1. Soak 1 flour tortilla in a pan of warm water with 1/2 teaspoon of oil. Remove from water after about 10 seconds and blot dry.

2. Fold tortilla in half and half again, and then in half again one more time (three times).

3. Cut on the folds as you would a paper snowflake.

4. On a cookie sheet with parchment paper, bake for about 5-10 minutes in 400 degree oven, or until slightly crispy.

5. Remove from oven. While still warm, brush with butter...

6. And sprinkle with sifted powder sugar or a cinnamon-sugar mixture. Or both :)

Yummy yummy snowflakes! And Zeal just loved the snowflake pattern left on the parchment.:

We never did get around to our tortilla bowls and ended up warming up leftovers. Something for tomorrow's dinner, I guess.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Can you taste-test this for me? Pretty please....

Okay, so truth be told, Zeal is getting a little (okay, a lot) sick of having oatmeal for breakfast. I just love it. I usually slow cook it (putting it on (with a dash of cinnamon while its cooking) as I wake and letting it sit on low for about an hour until everyone else starts to emerge from slumber). I then add some honey or agave, chop some walnuts and toss in some raisins and apple chunks. Finish with a dash of milk (and a cup of coffee), and to me it is the most perfect start to my day. Zeal? Not so much. I hear, "Oatmeal again!" and "Do I have to eat that for breakfast?" To which I usually respond, if you're still hungry afterwards you can make yourself something else. And being a growing boy, he usually is, and he usually does.

So here it is... I kind of feel bad for serving oatmeal 4-5 days a week (the other days he usually gets pancakes, waffles, or something else super fun so don't feel so bad for him, now). But like I said, the mama-guilt has started to settle in. But I do love my oatmeal. So... I tried to compromise.

Here was the result:

Moroccan Oat Surprise (my own little concoction)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3 cups boiling water
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1 whole clove
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4-1/2 cup raisins
1/4-1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
chopped pecans
sweetener (honey or agave)

Directions: Combine first 7 ingredients and cook on low for 10 minutes, or until water is absorbed and you get the oatmeal texture you desire. Add raisins and apricots and mix. Served with chopped pecans, honey and milk. Make 4 servings.

So here's my dilemma. It actually went over very well with Zeal, but got mixed reviews from others present. So, if you please, would you make this recipe for Moroccan Oats and post a comment or send me an email letting me know what you thought? Pretty, pretty please with honey and pecans on top.

Oh, thank you, thank you!

Friday, January 8, 2010

gingerbread fun

Did you hear? The holidays were here! They came and went as fast as our annual batches of snowball cookies and cinnamon nuts!
I managed to snap a few shots of our never to be missed Gingerbread houses, only this year we had a collective effort with the cousins and made only one house, er, castle. That's right a Gingerbread castle. It was so fun, took three days to plan, bake, and decorate, and was COMPLETELY 100% kid made!

Here it is:

We used this recipe for the gingerbread. So yummy, even if you are using lots of it for walls that aren't being eaten. After all, it also doubles as a recipe that makes good, sturdy walls and such.
And did you hear that Jennifer McCann has a new book out. Check it out!

I swear I will attempt at getting up some of the photos and recipes we have been working on together sometime very soon. A new year's resolution of sorts. Thanks for being here, continuing to visit even in my brief absence.
Welcome! Here you will find simple recipes, inspiring ideas, personal stories, inspiration, and tools to experiment and explore the kitchen together.  So enter the family kitchen with absolute abandon, and begin your journey towards thinking outside the recipe!