The Other Half…Birthday That Is

So remember we celebrated my daughter’s half birthday on New Year’s Day.  You’ll also recall I froze the extra cupcakes for my son’s half birthday which is just 2 weeks later.  I of course made new frosting, this time chocolate.  I’m happy to report the unfrozen cupcakes were delicious.  But for some reason my son wanted his frozen.  He asked me to frost his and put it back in the freezer.  O.K.  This meant my daughter wanted to do the same thing. O.K.

What’s next…heated ice cream?



Can’t Compete? Just Add Chocolate Chips

My kids always request that my husband make pancakes on the weekend.  It’s great.  They have their time together making pancakes and I usually go for a run.  The funny thing is my husband makes my pancake recipe and apparently does it better than I do.  He’s even gotten into the habit of making a double batch so some can be frozen and enjoyed during the week.  Great.


Except…the kids had a day off from school and I offered to make pncakes.  They replied “O.K. but make them like Dad’s.  Use his recipe.”  What?  His recipe.  It’s actually published in my book, but now it’s his.  O.K. I’ll give it to him.  Afterall the person who actually makes them and you eat and enjoy them shoudl get the credit.  However I didn’t want to hear I didn’t make the pancakes as good as Dad, so I upped the anty.  “How about if we add blueberries and chocolate chips?” I asked.  Well yes the crowd went wild and said “yes!”  So I did it made the pancakes Dad is famous for but added a little extra.  A touch of chocolate goes a long ways.  So I added about 1/3 cup of fresh blueberries and maybe 1/4 cup of chocoalte chips (not much but very exciting).


This could be a recipe for just about anything.  No, I’m not advocating adding chocolate to every food at every meal, but once in a while is fun.  And is was dark bittersweet.  So a bit healthier than milk or white. (ah the justification)



Chef Fight! Paula Deen vs. Anthony Bourdain

So I don’t really follow Paula Deen.  Her food just isn’t my style and her show isn’t very entertaining to me.  Although I know she has lots of fans.  I do like Anthony Burdain.  I’ve watched his Without Reservation show and read his books of kitchen honesty and irreverance to just about everyone.  I enjoy watching him go to far away lands and eat with the natives.  It’s not always healthy I’m sure.  But I don’t make any of his recipes either.

So Paula Deen has just announced she has type 2 diabetes.  This is unfortunate for her and millions of others.  And yes, certainly her diet has a big impact on that.  I suspect she’ll be switching out some ingredients and hopefully helping fans do the same.  I’m not sure Anthony Bourdain needs to kick her when she’s down.  But he does have a point….

Here’s more on the feud…


Contractors in the House…What’s For Lunch?

The Contractor's Lunch Special

We’ve definitately had our share of contractors over the past few years working on our house projects.  One thing I have learned is that they appreciate and rarely turn down food.  This is good because I feel really awkward having someone in my house and not offering them food.  I know this may sound odd.  I just have to be a hostess and offer someone in my home a drink or food.


I realize this isn’t the approach everyone takes.  I grew up thinking if you go to someone’s home you bring something – cookies, wine, flowers, small gift.  However when I became a mom, I realized I was the odd one bringing flowers to the playdate host.  After a few times coming to what is now my daughter’s best friend’s house, the mom (my friend now) requested I stop bringing things.  Actually a pineapple was the last straw.  I took the hint.


I assume everyone that comes to my house should be fed and/or wattered, or at least offered to be.  For playdates I always have or make something.  Even if the neighbor comes over for a brief moment I offer something.  I can’t help myself.  So having someone working on my house makes me feel like I should provide something as well.  The good thing about the contractors is they are usually hungry and are not picky.  I’m not running a restaurant (and they’re not family) so I don’t ask them what KIND of sandwich when I offer a sandwich.  This makes it easy.  They can eat it or not.  But they always do (or at least hide it and I don’t know).  Actually I like this approach for everyone.  I make the food, you eat or don’t eat the food.  But there’s no discussion, critique, or complaining.  Just a simple “thank you.”

Once we were having our driveway repaired on a hot day.  My kids and I made ice cream cones for the contractors.  I enjoyed watching my kids bring them to the guys and seeing their surprise.  A simple act of food and kindness goes a long way.

The past weeks we’ve been remodeling our dining room.  The kitchen is right next to the dining room, so it’s awkward to go to the kitchen if I’m at home and not offer lunch.  So sometimes I avoid the kitchen if I don’t have time to make everyone (the contractors) lunch.  Tonight I didn’t know what to do as two guys came to finish something unexpectedly around dinner time.   I held off dinner as long as possible, not wanting to sit down for a family meal while they are working.  Finally we (the rest of my family) gave in.  I kept thinking we could of at least ordered them a pizza.  Maybe I’ll make them muffins tomorrow…



Message from a Fellow Mom – Share the Love, and Food


A well marked Petit Appetit Cookbook

I get a lot of nice emails from parents and caregivers thanking me for help with recipes and information in my cookbooks.  I received this message on New Year’s Day which was a very pleasant way for me to start year.  This DC mom not only made Petit Appetit recipes for her son, but also shared gift boxes full of homemade treats with her playgroup too.  I love that!  So with permission, here’s the story (and her fun photos) I’d like to share…

“I am a first time, stay-at-home mother to Nicholas who is two years old. I breastfed my little guy for the first year and fed him both handmade and store bought organic purees while he was still tiny and learning to eat.  As he grew bigger, he ate and still eats like a little bird. He is pretty typical, in that he likes pasta, grilled cheese, cheese wraps, Mac and cheese (he loves cheese) and turkey dogs, but while I was making these things healthier (whole wheat or veggie pasta, whole wheat bread and cheddar cheese, etc.) I longed for a fruit or veggie to be thrown in there, and perhaps a little variety (gasp- I know).

I went to my local library and checked out a slew of cooking for kids sneaky type books and yours was one of them. I went through it and marked about 20! recipes that I wanted to try. I have made the graham crackers, Lisa’s cookies, fruity gelatin, citrus corn muffins, banana apple bran muffins, couscous pudding, and this very morning my son and I enjoyed a mango tango smoothie together.  Your book was definitely my favorite as I believe in the organic lifestyle as much as I can find and that doesn’t break our budget, and the recipes are truly tasty to me, and more importantly to my son!

I do quite a bit of baking, and this year for the holiday season, instead of making tons of unhealthy cookies to give to my son’s friends and their mommies, I made gift baskets full of healthy goodies that could be eaten as a breakfast (citrus corn muffins or banana apple bran muffins), or snacks (graham crackers or Lisa’s cookies). Therefore, saving my mommy-friends a little extra time in the kitchen, and they had the piece of mind knowing that their kids were eating something homemade, healthy, and organic to boot. Some of the kids ate all the snacks right then and there during the play date and for others the goodies didn’t even last overnight. I was seriously happy that an entire morning in the kitchen paid off and well, they are your recipes so I have you to thank. Thank you again.  Sincereley, Aimee from a DC Burb”


Chef Nick
adorable zoo pancakes
fruity gelatin
Gift boxes of healthy, homemade muffins and cookies



Another Evening in the Kitchen….I Can’t Stop Myself

Some evenings I just get too overambitious.  Today I just don’t have a clear focus and instead of having a meal plan, I keep cooking and cooking.  Hopefully something will come together.  I’m having trouble settling back into the mealtime routine after being on holiday and now getting the kids homework and activities in before dinner.  These are some photos of my kitchen right now at 6:24 p.m.

I just finished making maringues for my daughter’s kindergarten class.  However I’m already second guessing them and may make something else.  That’s more like 10 pm tonight.

I realized I thawed out pork chops for dinner this morning and actually had a plan for them.  However I remembered my husband saying he didn’t want to eat meat.  Call it a resolution.  Anyways I called to get clarification.  Sure enough when he said meat he didn’t just mean red meat but pork too.  OK.  But I can’t waste food.  So I’ve cooked that.  Even if we don’t eat it tonight, at least I can now freeze it.  Tip:  I could not have put it back in the freezer without cooking it.  Since it came from the freezer already.  However after cooking it can then be warpped and frozen.

Now I’m creating a vegetable stir fry.

And for another protein for those not eating pork, I’ve made some marinated tofu.

So now the plan is a stir fry over rice noodles.  You can pick pork or tofu with your veggies.  That will have to work.  Did I mention I did all this is about 45 minutes?  My family comes home from my son’s Tae Kwon Do in about 10 minutes…


Happy New Year with Resolution and Half Birthday

Happy New Year to all.  I, like many have a resolution for 2012.  It’s not earth shattering and no one may even notice, but here it is…to blog more consistently.  It may not bother you that I’ve been enjoying my holiday and not sharing my recipes, tips and photos with you the past few weeks, but it bothers me.  It has to do with commitment.  I make one and feel guilty if I miss my own “deadline” (twice per week).  I’ll write and I hope you’ll in turn read and share.

This is the first day of 2012.  But even more than that it’s my dauther’s half birthday.  And if you’re under 10 you know that’s a big deal.  My kids birthdays, and thus half birthdays, are less than three weeks apart.  So at the half I get away with making one batch of cupcakes (or one cake) for my daughter and freezing the other half for my son.  No, I couldn’t get away with that at the “real” birthday.  So we celebrated with a half a cupcake and half a scoop of ice cream.  I usually wrap and give one of something that comes in a pair (one shoe, one sock, one miten) – which of course they get the second too.  Once my son was mad and thought he had to wait for his real birthday for the other shoe.  I thought that was cute, but not practical as the pair would be outgrown.