Steamed Milk in May?!

Frothing Milk in His Jacket

Today was cold and rainy here in Northern California.  I have to keep reminding myself it’s mid-May, as we put on rainboots and remember umbrellas to head out for the day.  We would usually be making fresh lemonade by now.  But today when my kids got home from school they asked for steamed milk.  I thought it was a great idea as I needed to warm up too. 

Luckily I had been doing lots of cooking and food prepping with apples for some videos (more on that later) so we had our steamed milk (aka Little Lattes) with homemade applesauce and mini apple banana bran muffins.  It was comforting and warmed us up for a bit. (and my son finally removed his jacket)

I’m still hoping for some sunny and warm weather soon, but in the meantime maybe you and your kids would like to share some milk and muffins too.  See the recipes…

Little Lattes (from Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry)

Everyone likes the warmth and comfort of a warm drink on a cold day. Having a frother on hand is great for making quick foam from any kind of hot milk. When making steamed milk for my latte one day I discovered my son really enjoyed the foam on the top. I poured him a glass of the warm milk and he loved it. I laughed at his cute milk foam mustache.

Makes 1 cup

 ¾ cup organic vanilla soy milk (or any organic milk)

 Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until just under boiling, 5 to 6 minutes. Pour milk into a frother and froth until foam becomes thick but it can still be poured.

Kids Korner

Serve steamed milk with a shaker each of cinnamon and chocolate and let kids top their lattes with something special like the grown-ups.

Mini Banana Apple Bran Muffins (from The Petit Appetit Cookbook)

These mini muffins have all the flavor of a big muffin, but fit nicely into little hands.   Of course you can also make these in a regular full size muffin pan, just remember to increase baking time to 15 to 18 minutes and check for doneness.  Be sure you’ve already introduced wheat and eggs before giving these muffins to baby.

Makes 24 mini muffins or 12 regular muffins

1 cup organic wheat flour

½ cup organic oat bran

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

¾ cup organic applesauce or homemade apple puree

3 medium organic bananas, 1 mashed (about ½ cup) and 2 sliced for muffin tops

½ cup organic light brown sugar

2 cage free, organic eggs

 Preheat oven to 375F.  Grease 24 mini muffin cups or 12 regular muffin cups.

 With a fork, combine flour, bran, salt, and soda in a small mixing bowl.  Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in a microwave for 25 seconds on High.  In a large bowl combine butter, applesauce, one mashed banana, sugar and eggs.  Mix together with a rubber spatula.  Add flour mixture to applesauce mixture and stir until just blended.  Batter will be lumpy and very moist.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling two-thirds full.  Place banana slice on top of each muffin.  Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown and set.  Cool muffins in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before turning out muffins.


Wow! So Many Food Photos….So Little Time

When I started testing recipes and working on my books I rarely took a photo of the food.  The publshers weren’t going to include photos (eventhough I was dissappointed) so I didn’t take many.  Every now and again a magazine or online editor would ask for a photo to accompany a recipe or to the promote the book.  I would usually remake the recipe even if the deadline was first thing the next morning and shoot some photos.  Of course this was a few years ago before blogging (as least before I was doing it).  Now I need a photo for just about anything and everything.

So the past year or so, the camera lives on the kitchen island.  At any point during my cooking I take photos.  Sometimes the food is getting cold to eat, while I’m plating and arranging for a photo.  Lately even picking veggies in the garden has been a photo op.  And my kids now ask “Do I need to wait for a picture?”, before they can pick a strawberry.  I must say my camera work and set-up has improved much over the years.

So my problem is now this – too many pictures and not enough time to share and write about the food, meals, recipes, experiences.  I realize the remembering to take photos was the tough part at first.  However now that’s it’s automatic, it’s the finding time to get it out there that’s the problem.  And now having all the photos, I feel guiltier than I did before, when I don’t have time to share/blog/facebook (still haven’t figured that one really).   

Just to be poinient, I’m not including a photo for this post.  Miss it?


Pesticides Link to ADHD

Thought this was of interest for those who need more cause to buy organic.  While there are links of ADHD in children to heredity and exposure to tobacco and lead, there is also evidence that exposure to high levels of pesticides commonly found on berries, celery and other produce could raise the odd for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

Read the article here.


Fake Food Fun

The Buggy Diners

A few weeks ago we visited my family in Los Angeles and went to KidSpace Children’s Museum.  We had such a good time, exploring both inside and outdoors.  Inside was a great exhibit with bugs.  Huge tunnels, giant leaves, and web like climbing structures allow kids to explore and meet larger than life bugs eye to eye.  There’s even a cafe where you can pretend to order or serve up bug specialties….

Here are a few….

The poo poo platter, of course
Insect sushi
Can't recall the name - just gross

This gruesome fake food reminded me a bit of our visits to Japantown.  Is the same “food manufacturer” making the museum play food as the Japanese noodle houses across the country?  I would love to know how the plastic food came to exist and who suggested it first.  There is something to be said for reusable fake food.  There’s no waste, as in some places that actually make the real dish to set out for diners to view.  Plus the real food could be a health hazard.  How long can it sit there?  There’s no odor with the fake stuff.  I have never been to Japan.  Can someone share with me, if fake food happens in Japan or is this an American tradition? 

Either way my kids loved to play with the fake food at the museum.  And back at home they enjoy gawking at the fake food in Japantown, trying to decide what to choose for lunch.


Picky vs. Choosey Eaters – The Adult Set

My husband forwarded a great article to me today about picky eaters.  I thought it was going to be another writing about kids and how they won’t eat anything but peanut butter and jelly and cereal.  However this was different.  It was pickyness in adults, specifically when dining out.  I love this article.  This is so true.  When I’m discussing food with parents who tell me their kids are picky, we always get into a larger discussion about what the parents eat, or don’t eat. 

Somehow it’s o.k. for mom or dad not to eat vegetables, but not for kids.  I’ve had parents tell me “I’m not an adventurous eater.  But I’d like my kids to be more open”.  We all know kids model parents’ behavior (as well as peers, friends, family etc).  So you need to start there.  If I was a child listening to some of the orders adults give in restaurants (no wheat or cheese at a pizza restaurant?), I too would be puzzled.  Or diners who want vegan or raw at a restaurant that doesn’t advertise or have menu items as such.    A steakhouse simply can not (and should not) accommodate someone who is eating “raw”, other than a salad.  And there are some great places that make vegan desserts, but not the usual pastry chef at every restaurant.   

What most people call “picky”, I call “choosey”.  If you look up the word picky it says “fussy”.  Fussy then means “easily upset” and “close attention to details”.  Choosey however means “particular” and “selective”.  I think this is more appropriate and positive when thinking of food, no matter what age the diner.  We want to be selective and pay attention to detail when making choices.  Parents are able to choose what to give their children.  And parents are able to choose what to buy to cook and eat.  I think children have less of a choice, as they’re usually made for them, so maybe that’s why they’re labeled “picky”, as they get upset about the parent’s choices.  It’s interesting that the adults in this article are labeled picky.  I think they are unreasonable.  Yes, the customer is right, but not if in the wrong type of restaurant.  It’s kind of like asking a fast food joint to cook your burger medium rare – it’s not on the menu and not an option.

Here’s my summation on this article and the expectations of eating away from home… 

Diners are able to choose their restaurants – so if you’re picky, choose a different one or choose to cook it yourself at home.