Archive for March, 2012

Spicy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies for Grandpa

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

What do you get for grandparents that say they don’t need birthday gifts?  Something homemade of course.  My kids are great at making special cards and artwork, but we also like to make baked goods to send in the birthday package too.  Who doesn’t enjoy getting cookies in the mail?  I make an oatmeal cookie inspired by Oatmeal Cherry Cookies from the Junior League San Francisco Flavors Cookbook (which I helped recipe test for years ago), that has lots of savory spices and then added chocolate chips rather than cherries or raisins (to be honest I was out).  There’s not too much chocolate to overpower the spices, which I like.  They were a big hit.  I made extra so not only did Grandma and Grandpa enjoy them, but our family as well.   At our house they went quickly as a sweet treat with hot chocolate on a rainy afternoon.

Here’s the recipe….

Spicy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour or wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 egg yolks at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup reg or mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchmnet paper.

In a medium bowl combine oats, flour, salt, baking soda and spices.

In a large bowl or stand mixer cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Blend in dry ingredients until all are incorporated.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop tablespoon sized portions of dough 3 inches apart on prepared pan.  Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let cool on pan for 3 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

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Belly Up to the Bar – the Ice Cream Bar in SF

Monday, March 26th, 2012

A few weeks ago I saw the “Hot Spot” section in the SF Chronicle and knew my family was going to have to make a pilgrimage to The Ice Cream Bar in Cole Valley.  We had a full day in the city starting with the SFMOMA.  On Sundays they have fun and creative kids crafts and art activities which my kids really enjoyed.  It also gave my husband and I a bit more time to look around at the art we sometimes hurry past because the kids aren’t engaged enough.

Next we headed to Cole Valley.  We realized we were hungry, so we’d have to put have dinner before heading for ice cream.  We found a new favorite for my son, Crepes on Cole.  My son loves crepes.  This was a good pick because of all the choices of sandwiches, salads and crepes.   There was something to please everyone.  They even had almond milk for my daughter – hurray.

Finally it was time to hit the Ice Cream Bar.  There was a small line out the door for this cool neighborhood spot.  Inside there are a few small tables and a bar at the ice cream coolers and another bar in the back.  It’s a bit overwhelming at first.  You have to navigate the system and lines depending on what you order.  Plus keep your eye out for a table or stool.  The front ice cream case is for ordering ice cream, sorbet and sundaes.  The back bar which looks more like an adult bar (lots of bottles and potions and shakers) is for phosphates, floats and egg creams.  Yes, all those old fashioned favorites are hand made here.  The person behind the bar even crushes ice by hand with an old fashioned metal crusher.  I hadn’t seen one since I was a kid.  Luckily my kids got stools and shared a root beer float (homemade rootbeer of course).  My husband and I stood and had scoops of coconut and chocolate ice cream.  It was all very yummy.  I’d love to take my parents back.  My mom talks about ordering phosphates and hanging out at the local soda fountain with her friends.  I have a feeling this is more crowded and hip, but I think it would bring back some tasty memories and stories just the same.

 

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Petit Appetit Guest Blogs on Ginger Garner

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Latley I’ve been helping some other sites with blogs and content.  I was very pleased to be part of a three week blog series with feeding babies on Ginger Garner’s site.  Ginger is  founder of Professional Yoga Therapy (PYT), the first education program for Complementary and Alternative Medicine practice in medical therapeutic yoga in the United States. Ginger has traveled across the US teaching yoga and Pilates as Complementary and Alternative Medicine, while also raising awareness about mothers’ rights and improving women’s health.  She also is a mother of three.  Her youngest James, is eating my apple puree above.

 

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my daily life with school age kids, I forget about new babes coming into the world.  Then I see a cute photo or read a kind email or post about a mom feeding their baby for the first time, and I wish I was right back there.  If you’re looking for tips for feeding babies and a recipe for apple puree – a perfect first solid food, please see my guest posts here.

 

 

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Little Leprechauns

Monday, March 19th, 2012

We had lots of excitement over St. Patrick’s Day.  First my daughter’s kindergarten class made leprechaun traps to try to trap leprechauns and get their gold.  These are usually sweet, glittery boxes with rainbows and stars.  However there were a few that seemed a bit unkind – spikes and water to keep the poor green guy in the box.  Luckily the leprechaun’s stole the marshmallows (apparently what they eat) and just left a bit of mess (think toys on the ground, glitter dust and bead necklaces left behind).

My son also got his braces on last week.  Because the next day was spirit day and the day before St. Patrick’s Day he chose to get green bands on the braces.

Not to be outdone by her brother’s new green smile, my daughter put together her own green.  She was easy to spot and made up for any other students lacking green spirit.

 

This year St. Patrick’s Day was on a weekend so I had some time to make green shamrock pancakes (added food dye), green eggs (added pesto), cut kiwi  and green juice (mix of fruits and spinach in belnder).  I must say the kids loved it.  It wasn’t very appetizing looking.  But every once in a while it’s fun to hear a squeal at the breakfast table with a bit of surprise and “magic”.

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International Potluck with Falafel Recipe

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Growing up I remember visiting my grandmother in Rhode Island and she would spend all day in the kitchen making Syrian food.  Everything from grapeleaves (she even grew and picked her own leaves), lamb kibbeh, tabouli, stuffed squash, etc.  She never followed a recipe.  Just did it from memory of watching her mother and grandmother.  I’ve made her recipes (from an old cookbook my aunt gave me), but they’re so labor intensive I usually only make one item at a meal.

My son has been making a family tree and studying hertitage at school.  The studies culminated in an International Potlcuk at the school.  Each family was supposed to bring a dish from your family heritage.  Originally my son asked me to make grapeleaves, but I just didn’t have the time to do that mid-week.   Instead we selected falafel.  Funny I don’t remember a lot of falafel at my grandmothers, but my family likes them and it’s quick.  It also serves my vegetarian daughter well.  This recipe is from Real Simple (I’m sure my grandmother would never use canned chickpeas).  I did make her cucumber yogurt dip though.  It too works with lamb or grapeleaves.

The event was really fun and I was amazed by the variety of foods.  Everything from pot pies from England, samosas from Africa, pasta from Italy, sushi from Japan, to sausages from Germany and more.   It would be a fun theme for any large gathering.  And it was great to see kids, and adults trying foods they’ve never seen before.

Crispy Falafel

2, 15 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 shallot, finely diced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoons kosher salt

3 tablespoons fresh parseley, chopped

1 1/2 cups panko or dried breadcrumbs

2 eggs, whisked

1/4 cup canola oil

Yogurt Sauce

1 1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

(add a pinch of brown sugar if too sour)

 

In a food processor, processor chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water until almost smooth.

Add the shallot, cumin, red pepper, garlic, salt and parsley and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs.  Pulse to add together.

Remove from processor.  Roll unto 2 inch diameter balls and flatten slightly to form patties.

Place remaining breadcrumbs on a flat dish.  Dip patties in eggs then roll in breadcrumbs to coat

For cucumber yogurt sauce combine all ingredients.  Cover and let sit in refrigerator at lease 30 minutes.

Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook half patties (do not crowd) until golden brown, about 3 – 4 minutes per side.  Drain on paper towels.

Add remaining oil if necessary and cook remaining patties.

Serve with yogurt cucumber dip, pita bread and spinach.

 

 

 

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A Parent’s Dilemma – The Fruit Loop Necklace

Friday, March 9th, 2012

My daughter greeted me at pick-up on the 100th day of school, wearing this necklace.  I tried not to look horrified as I saw her classmates eating these Fruit Loop necklaces.  Ok…I confess.  I did eat some Fruit Loops when I was a kid.  My mom and most others didn’t know the benefits of whole grains and the toxicity of red dye #5.  My dauther proudly explained how she counted out 100, and asked if she could eat some.  I said “It’s so colorful and you worked so hard.  How about if I take your picture with it and we go and get a gelato instead?”  She was happy with the offer.  She got to show the necklace to dad and brother later that night and then we said goodbye necklace.

 

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Stuff It! Peppers That Is.

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Peppers are great little colorful bowls to put some healthy fare.  It’s a great way to use up ingredients in your fridge or reinvent some left-overs.  Any grains will do as well as sauteed veggies, meats, tofu, etc.  The good thing about these is they can be made easily for everyone’s tastes and dietary restrictions.  Last night I sauteed some ground turkey with fresh thyme and garlic.  Then cooked some black forbidden rice.  I combined the rice and turkey and added some spinach chiffanade and filled the half sliced pepper.  I topped it off with a bit of parmesean cheese and put it in the oven to bake for about 35 minutes.   These are quick and easy and pretty too.  They went with tomato soup and a crusty french baguette.

(As for those dietary restrictions you may notice something from the photo.  Two are without cheese – my husband is cutting back.  Two have just the rice mixture without turkey – for my daughter.  But it was easy to please everyone.)

 

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