Wednesday, May 25, 2011

G on the Importance of Drinking Water

It has been hot. The boys have been working hard at playing outside, T-ball for G, soccer for R. I remind them it is important to stay hydrated, and the other day, as I was typing on my computer I heard G mulling around in the kitchen. Undetected, I snapped some photos:

In a mere minute, G had served himself up some ice water in true big boy fashion. (My favorite part? A toss up between using the tongs for the ice and standing on the toilet to get the cup filled!)

So consider this a public service announcement from G: drink water and stay cool this Memorial Day weekend!

Life is sweet,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Garden Growth

At end of this past weekend SPH declared: "I feel almost as if we've been on vacation!"

I agreed.

Great dinners Friday and Saturday night with good friends, our community's Spring Fling (bounce houses, touch-a-truck, fishing in a small pond, etc), R's last spring soccer game which featured him scoring two goals, inaugurating our new slip n' slide and lots of enjoyable work in the yard.

Our garden is growing:

Our small spring garden has sweet peas (of course!), collards, garlic, red onions, cilantro, basil and parsley. Soon the rest of the seedlings will be transplanted, and we're hoping we might have some actual vegetables to garden!

But we're already seeing signs of hope:

Our sweet lilac bushes are intoxicating us with their fragrance and the sun has returned...well, not counting the early morning thunderstorms.

It's a good time to be in the garden, especially with hopes of harvesting some of what we reap and creating with it in the kitchen.

Our meals for the week are low-key and laid-back, perhaps due to the vacation-y feel of the weekend:

Tex Mex Hodge Podge (from our weekend meals)
Grilled Chicken Sausages in Pita, Hummus, Marinated Cucumbers
Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon and Broccoli
Grilled Tofu and Spinach Salad

Peas and love-

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Edamame Caviar

Georgia, this one is for you:

I brought this quick, healthful and easy take on Texas Caviar that uses edamame to a brunch yesterday. I wanted something different and outside the box. I had intended to make regular ole' Texas Caviar, but didn't have pinto beans. So I added edamame and black beans and came up with this new take on a classic favorite.


Edamame Caviar

2 cups or so frozen edamame
2 cups or so frozen corn
2 cups or so black beans (if using canned, be sure to drain and rinse and drain again)
1/2 pint of grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 red onion, diced
1 red (or yellow or orange) bell pepper, diced
juice of one lime
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon is a good guess)

Mix the edamame, corn, black beans, tomatoes, onion and bell pepper in a large bowl.

In a jar, add the lime juice, cilantro, apple cider vinegar, water, ground cumin, oregano, garlic and salt and pepper. Seal the lid and shake well.

Pour the vinaigrette over the edamame mixture. Stir well.

Tastes best made the day before you wish to eat it, or at least an hour, be sure to stir again before serving.

Serves 12 as an appetizer, 6-8 as a side dish.

Just looking at this gets me excited to eat the leftovers with lunch today!


Monday, May 16, 2011

New Week, New Meal Plan

It's been awhile since I posted our meals for the week, but a few of you have told me how much you appreciate this, so it's back to the routine of meal plans on Monday.

Last week I worked on some new summer salad dishes, inspired by the hot, hot, hot weather and my intense desire to not turn on anything hot in the kitchen. I was trying to forgo turning on the A/C but I finally cried "uncle" mid-week when my poor sons were literally sweating, even with their ceiling fans cranked up to high. Look for some new summer recipes in the coming weeks.

But now we've gone from close to 90 degrees last week to 50s today and tomorrow. Time for a few last soups and cool weather meals before we return to late spring weather later this week:

Tortellini Soup

Chili Lime Salmon, Corn on the Cob (a sure sign of summer), Rice Pilaf and Eggplant
Vegetarian Enchiladas, Green Chile Rice
Indian Night--Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas, Mango Dal, Rice, Raita
Layered Taco Salad

Have a sweet week,

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Freedom a la Carte

Last Sunday, my Mother's Day began with me enjoying breakfast in bed from the three wonderful boys in my life. We went to church, had a lovely morning and then the real fun began.

But first, a little background...
Food carts are all the rage in the culinary world these days. Everyone from famous chefs to those short on restaurant start-up funds, to who just prefer the free road as their diner are starting up food carts. Haven't heard about food carts or food trucks? Here's two of my favorite local blogs about food carts:

Taco Trucks Columbus

Street Eats Columbus

But my favorite Food Cart? Freedom a la Carte, a food cart that supports my good friends' charity Doma.

So back to Mother's Day. I usually say that my Mother's Day is not about what I want, but I don't want: "I don't want to have to do the dishes, I don't want to do laundry, I don't want to clean up, I don't want to cook."

But for the right reason and the right cause I turned all of this on its head and decided to forgo a pedicure and leisurely lunch and instead:

...spend my afternoon helping serve up empanadas, gazpacho and some of the best gourmet sandwiches I've ever tasted in my life.

See that super-talented chef next to me in the red? Lara Yazvak, a brilliant chef who worked at Northstar Cafe and some other great restaurants in town. She is now using her uber talent to support the couple on my left, Dan and Julie Clark, who founded Doma.

Freedom a la Carte
will be touring around Columbus beginning next month. Go ahead and "like" them on Facebook and you can have the best lunch of your year, all while supporting efforts to end human trafficking.

Peas and Love,

Friday, May 13, 2011

Simply Delicious Dessert

I try to be humble, really I do. I abhor false pride, probably stemming from a decade of living and working in a city brimming with pride. But there are times when I come up with a new food idea, and I am pretty darn pleased.

What if I told you I came up with a wonderfully easy, no-cook, sweet and chocolate-y way to eat dessert, that is all-natural and only 85 calories and with one gram of fat?

Yeah, I was excited too.

I've already eaten my photo shoot/recipe, but I plan to make some more when the boys come home later this afternoon. It was so simple, I just took three beautiful food ingredients:

And sliced 1/2 cup of strawberries, drizzled one tablespoon chocolate syrup and topped with 2 tablespoons whipped cream to create:

This delicious chocolate-covered strawberry-inspired dessert was so simple, I am sure I am not the first to try it. But for me it was a first, and I just had to share.

Strawberries are in season so round some up and give this a try. A guilt free way to enjoy the early spring harvest!

Have a sweet weekend,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Citrus Glazed Chicken

This is our new favorite chicken recipe.

It is a good "most of the prep work is done ahead of time" dish. I make up the marinade in the morning, let the chicken (we use thighs, but any cut of the chicken works) rest in the glorious citrus flavor, and when we are ready, I pop them in the oven, broiling briefly at the end to caramelize the honey in the marinade a bit.

Now that grilling season is upon us, this recipe is moving outdoors to the grill next time I make it. Grill on medium heat, and you will be good to go.

I was making up the marinade and even the colors of the preparation of this dish made me smile:

The flavors are even more happy: citrus, honey, and a touch of tang from vinegar. Yum.

Citrus Glazed Chicken

juice of 2 oranges (about 1/3 cup)
zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 - 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs*

In a glass 9x13 dish or large bowl, mix all ingredients except the chicken. Stir well to fully combine.

Add the chicken and move around in the dish or bowl to ensure total coating. Marinade for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. If marinading for more than an hour, try to flip the chicken once during the marinade time, if possible, but don't sweat it if you cannot.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cover a jelly roll pan with foil and place a cooling rack over the pan. Place the chicken on the cooling rack:

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Turn over to broil. Remove the pan, flip each chicken piece, and place under the broiler for 2-4 minutes or until slightly browned.

*if using chicken breasts, legs or wings, you will need to adjust the cooking time.

Serves 4-6.

Bright flavors for a bright spring dish!

Peas and love,

Monday, May 9, 2011

Smells like Mom Cheeseburgers

I love Mother's Day, especially since I am a mom and it always feels like a really superb annual review. When I worked full-time, I had a wonderful boss who always gave positive feedback when it was due.

"Great job!"

"You worked hard on this, didn't you?"

"Wow, thank you."

I also grew up with a mom who lavished praise when it was due. Good grades, homework, extra-curricular activities, were always encouraged with kind and uplifting words. (thanks mom, you really know how to make a daughter feel good!)

Funny thing is, now that I'm a mom, most days I feel like I am doing a pretty good job, but when I balance getting the laundry done with putting a meal on the dinner table, I'm rarely met with a "wow, thank you!" from the boys.

This is typical, I know...but on Mother's Day, it is similar to an annual review, and if you are like the large majority (or I hope, all) of moms out there, you had a stellar review:

"Thanks for all you do for me mom!"

"You are so special"

"I love you"

Or, in my case, I got the very rare kudos from G:

"I love the way you smell mom, you smell like cheeseburgers!" (said with obvious pride that he was giving me the highest praise) Not sure where this came from since:

A: I had just showered and was ready to walk out the door to church
B: We haven't cooked or eaten a cheeseburger recently
C: I have been reassured numerous times since this comment that I do not, in face, smell like a cheeseburger.


Enough musings for the day, I have one last giveaway, another pot from Le Creuset. Yes, the fine people of Le Creuset gave me two French Ovens, one for each of my blogs, so please cruise on over to and enter because I love my readers and I can't wait to give this one away to you.

This is my last goodie to giveaway for's been a good three weeks!

Peas and love,

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Le Creuset French Oven winner

(drum roll please)

The winner of the awesome Le Creuset French Oven is...

#38 -- "mary"

Mary, not sure if you are a mother, but perhaps this will count as an early Mother's Day gift? Either way, drop me your address and contact information at

Sad you didn't win? Like second chances?

Check out my other blog at Monday morning for your second chance. Yes folks, there is a bonus second Le Creuset French Oven that will be given away next week on my Family blog.

Until then, enjoy the rest of your weekend and I'll be giving away my second (and sadly, for now, last) Le Creuset French Oven in the coming week.

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there,

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo Burrito Bowls

(Don't forget: You have until this Saturday, May 7 at 4pm EST to enter my fabulous Le Creuset French Oven giveaway!)

Today is Cinco de Mayo, one of my very favorite eating holidays. We're doing Pork Carnitas with Corn Salsa, Roasted Tomatillo Cream Sauce and beans and rice washed down with some excellent Mexican libations. Ole!

But what if you need a quick, cook-free (my wonderful SIL J, are you listening?) way to celebrate tonight?

Check out my new Burrito Bowls recipe. Actually, this isn't really a recipe, per se, more of a way to celebrate without extensive details...a great way to enjoy this holiday.

Burrito Bowls

3 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice of one lime
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 - 15 ounce cans black beans
1/2 - 1 teaspoon each chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, garlic powder
1/4 cup beer or water
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Toppings: salsa, corn, chopped cilantro, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, guacamole, diced red onion, sour cream, etc.

In a medium bowl, mix rice (if you don't want to cook the rice, buy frozen, already cooked brown rice), cilantro, lime and olive oil.

In a microwave safe dish or bowl, mix the black beans, spices and beer or water. Cook on high for 2 minutes. Stir well, let sit for five minutes.

Assemble the rest of your ingredients. By all means, feel free to get creative and make your own quick salsa or guacamole, but store bought works great too.

Prepare each bowl:

In each bowl place 3/4 cup rice, topped by an equal amount of the black bean mixture. Top with cheese and any other desired toppings:

Garnish with a few tortilla chips.

Serves 4.

Peas and Love,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Le Creuset French Oven Giveaway!

If you cook and know this logo:

you know it is synonymous with:

in sum: the ultimate in kitchen cookware

Le Creuset is offering a very special give away, a 5 1/2 quart round French Oven in Fennel:
It's a beauty, isn't it?

But this is more than a beautiful cooking pot. It is a culinary heritage, something your children's children can use in the future.

And I want *you* to have it.

I'll give you two chances to win:

1. "Like" Le Creuset on Facebook and post a comment on this blog that you have done so.

2. Post this giveaway on your Facebook page and again, post a comment on this blog that you have done so.

I'll choose a winner by using on Saturday, May 7 at 4pm EST and post the winner's name shortly thereafter on this blog.

Peas and love,

PS-I am getting no kick-back, freebies, back scratching or other benefit to post this giveaway. I wanted to host this giveaway because I think so highly of the Le Creuset product line and I heart my readers.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal

I know this is a blog about food, but I would be remiss not to give a huge shout out to our military and all those who helped bring justice and a bit of closure to the horror of 9.11.01. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

* * * * * * *

Mother's Day is 6 days away and in our home we have a tradition of SPH, R and G bringing me breakfast in bed. SPH is a great kitchen creative genius, so I've had some wonderful breakfasts presented to me.

Is your man or are your children not adept in the kitchen? Hand them this recipe, it is easy, can be made the night prior and popped in the oven. Not big into breakfast in bed? Then make this yourself next time you need a special breakfast. It is delicious and can be infinitely adapted to your tastes.

I owe this recipe idea to my cousin M, who shared the new to me idea of baking oatmeal, and my friend Meg who shared the wicked cool idea of making carrot cake inspired oatmeal. Thanks ladies!

Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal

3 cups whole oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped pineapple or applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 cup milk
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (alternately, you can make this in the evening and bake it in the morning, just add about 10 minutes in the baking time).

In a large bowl mix the oats, cinnamon, baking powder, nutmeg and ginger (if using).

In a medium bowl, combine the oil, pineapple or applesauce, brown sugar and eggs. Mix well, making sure that the eggs are fully incorporated. Add the carrots and mix well. Add the milk, and mix well.

Add the egg mixture to the oats and mix well.

Grease a 9 x 13 or similar sized pan. Add 1/2 the oats. Sprinkle with raisins and walnuts (if you have folks who aren't into raisins like SPH, you can sprinkle the raisins, omitting an area for your non-raisin lover--same with the walnuts).

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until slightly browned on the edges.

Serve and garnish with vanilla yogurt, if desired.

Serves 6.

Peas and Love,