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  1. Friday, January 30

    Real Maple Syrup is the Only Maple Syrup

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    Since I’m all fired up today, might as well state my unwavering opinion on syrup. If it’s not real-live syrup from a maple tree, it’s not worth eating. There, I said it. And I KNOW there are those of you out there who would disagree. We’ll just chalk it up to insanity.

    And, yes, I do spend like 10, okay maybe even 15, extra dollars per bottle of syrup. I am unwilling to cut this item from our budget, bad economy or no.

    (The syrup pictured is from our friends, the Blackwells, in New Hampshire.  They tap and make maple syrup.  Pretty cool hobby, eh?)

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  2. Fired Up Friday!

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    Today I’m all fired up…first off, time to save handmade! There is legislation going into effect on February 10 which could single-handedly kill the handmade toy industry, among other things.  Click here to read more and see what you can do to help the cause.

    On to food matters…I meandered on over to Mom-101 last night, only to find myself especially fired up.  Have you heard the latest and greatest on the already-evil high fructose corn syrup?  Not only is it worse for you than plain old sugar and found in pretty much every food at the grocery store, but some of it has mercury.  Really?  Mercury?  Geesh.  Read more here.

    Lastly, I just read a NY Times article about salt. Did you know 80% of the sodium in an average American’s diet comes from packaged and mass-produced restaurant food?  That is HIGH.  Only 11% is from salt you add in the kitchen or at the dinner table.  Go noodle on that. (Homemade noodling only, please – for your health’s sake.)

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  3. Thursday, January 29

    I {heart} my rolling pin. For real.

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    Want to know why I love my rolling pin?

    Two reasons:
    - I love the handles with ball bearings.  Yes, I know lots of people like french style rolling pins, but I love my rolling handles.

    - The finish of the wood is, well, not so finished.  I had two rolling pins at one point. One with a shiny, polished finish.  One with a rougher, non-shiny finish.  I always used the shiny one because I thought it was nicer and seemed more “non-stick.”  One day I gave old scruffy a chance to show his stuff.  Oh my goodness, night and day difference.  I don’t care if you get a rolling pin with our without handles or what shape it is…you HAVE to have one that is NOT shiny and smooth.  Stuff just doesn’t stick to the rougher finish (floured, of course).  Granted, I have not used silicone or marble rolling pins…but my non-shiny, wood rolling pin works AWESOME.

    And that is why I love my rolling pin.

    Oh…and how cute is that little rolling pin I found for Cate at Target?  It even has the right finish! I can’t wait to make cookies with her again.

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  4. Tuesday, January 27

    She put the knife in the coconut and chopped it all up

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    Now that I have successfully gotten an annoying song in your head…on to today’s business.  Fresh coconut ice cream!

    Last week we finally had a chance to eat at Burma Superstar in San Francisco. (Quick aside, it’s a GREAT restaurant…fantastic food, great service, loved it.) One of their desserts was a deep fried coconut custard served with the most amazing coconut ice cream. Now that I have an ice cream maker, you know I had to figure the recipe out!

    Burma Superstar’s ice cream definitely had fresh coconut in it, so I went out and bought my first coconut.  I purchased a sweet young coconut, where the husk is not fully matured.  I thought it might be easier to cut through. Um, it might be easier (I’m not sure, but that’s my guess)…but it still wasn’t easy.  I recommend using a giant serrated knife and exercising PATIENCE.  It was worth the hard work.  The fresh bits of coconut in the ice cream…YUM.

    Oh – and if you have any coconut recipes to share, I have a TON of coconut water and leftover coconut sitting in the fridge.  Savory or sweet, if you have any ideas for how to use it up, let me know!

    Fresh Coconut Ice Cream
    Adapted from Ben & Jerry’s Sweet Cream Base
    - 2 large eggs
    - 3/4 C sugar
    - 2 C heavy cream
    - 1 C coconut milk
    - 1 – 2 TBSP fresh coconut, cut up into small pieces

    Whisk eggs until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Whisk in sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 min more. Pour in the cream and coconut milk and whisk to blend.  Follow instructions for your ice cream maker (in my 1-1/2 QT Cuisinart, I ran it for 25 minutes). Add the coconut towards the end. Enjoy! Freezes well.

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  5. Monday, January 26

    And…we’re home!

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    We made it home safely last night.  This little weekend getaway has made me very grateful for the temperate climate in which we live…wow, it’s a lot of work bundling your kids up everywhere you go!  Living in coastal California sure has spoiled us.  But I DO miss beautiful sights like this…

    It’s official, I’m in love with Lake Tahoe.

    I’ve added my menu to yesterday’s post.  And if you haven’t posted your menu yet, hop to it!

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  6. Sunday, January 25

    Week 105 Menu

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    hello from route 80 north of lake tahoe! it is snowing something fierce and we may not get home before march, maybe april. but I haven’t missed a menu post yet and nothin’s gonna stop me (gotta love iPhone)!! but typing on my phone is NOT fun, so I’ll throw my menu up late tonight. so the pressure’s on! post your menus!

    and while we are crossing our fingers the snow lets up, it is beautiful. I mean really, really pretty. and a weekend in tahoe is worth it! (and for you worriers out there, we have chains on the tires and traffic is slow…we’ll be safe!)

    *UPDATE: We made it home!  Here’s my menu (sorry there are repeats from last week. I didn’t do as much cooking last week due to our last-minute trip to Tahoe):

    MONDAY:
    - Easy Apricot Chicken (Jen, thanks for reminding me about this old stand-by of mine…and I’m so glad it was hit for you!)
    - Rice
    - Veggie

    TUESDAY:
    - Beef Stroganoff with yogurt and dill (recipe in the February Real Simple magazine I want to try…it’s not online yet…if it’s good, I’ll type it up!)

    WEDNESDAY:
    - Chicken Masala (simmer sauce from Trader Joe’s, with chickpeas added)
    - Brown Rice
    - Naan bread from TJ’s freezer section (this will be my first time trying it…can’t wait as I’ve heard it’s great!)

    THURSDAY:
    - Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    - Quesadillas (as per Cate’s request)

    SATURDAY:
    - Eat out

    SUNDAY:
    - Homemade Mac & Cheese (I’m going to add cauliflower puree)
    - Salad
    - Crusty bread

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  7. Friday, January 23

    Rainy Day

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    I love rainy days, which means I love today. I think I’ll snuggle up with a blanket on the couch, grab a wanting-to-be-read magazine and eat frozen yogurt (yes, I’m obsessed with this stuff).

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  8. Frittata Follow-up

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    Just a quick follow-up on last week’s frittata recipe.  Unless you are feeding no fewer than 100 people…you can half the recipe with good result.  I did just that this week and used two 9.5-inch non-stick skillets (one was actually a crepe pan).  It worked like a charm and the pans were just the right size.  And now I swear to stop bringing up frittatas every chance I get.

    PS – 10″ skillets seem like more of a standard pan size…if that’s what you’ve got, that will work!

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  9. Thursday, January 22

    ‘Taste This!’ Cookbook

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    Just before Christmas I had the pleasure of attending a book signing for the new cookbook Taste This by Gina von Esmarch, a fourth generation San Franciscan. It was a lovely evening. Fantastic food (all recipes from the book) and great company.  I’m excited to share Gina and her book with you!

    Taste This is a great cookbook.  Easy to read.  Simple but delicious recipes.  I will definitely be using this book…both for entertaining and everyday eating.

    My favorites of the evening were the Red Grapes & Red Onions (with Goat Cheese)…and Gina herself!  She is a delight!  I love meeting fellow moms who are doing cool things.

    If you’d like to purchase the book, click here!

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  10. Tuesday, January 20

    Easy (and delicious!) Lasagna Recipe

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    If you haven’t tried this Spinach & Prosciutto Lasagna recipe yet, you should.  It’s easy and every single member of my family literally gobbled it up. I used to cook a last-minute “lasagna” where you use frozen ravioli as the layers.  It’s a GREAT idea, which is why I’m sharing it with you…but I do love this new recipe.

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again…so glad I subscribed to Everyday Food!

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