Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mother's Day gift- the family meal

*Is getting meals on the table a hassle?
*Do you not know where to start?
*Are you getting home from work too late to do anything but pick up take-out?
*Do you have older kids that you want to lure back to the family table?
*Don't know what to get Mom for Mother's Day?
*Baby shower for #2 or #3 for the mom who has everything?

Give Mom and your family the gift of a personal chef!
I have not personally tried any of the services, but think they are a great idea! (This would have been the PERFECT gift after my daughter was born. I was eating granola bars and milk while getting over complications from a C-section with a husband in the middle of grad-school exams far away from family and friends!) 

Getting started
Get older kids in on the action with meal-planning and expect them to show up for dinner. Maybe a week of yummy, prepared food can take the pressure off everyone. Show up to the table, eat together in a pleasant setting and just learn to love the family table again. Then think about how you can make family meals happen more often. Inspired by a recipe? Can you afford more of the personal chef experience (may save money over eating out at chain restaurants like Chilis or TGIFriday...) Would you view this as a luxury? A necessity? Look at your food and eating-out budget and do some math. What value is the family meal at home? How much are you spending on boring, fried foods at chain restaurants? Here are some thoughts from local personal chefs and caterers:

As a personal chef, I consult with the client about what they need and what food they like. Once I know the type of food they like I create menu plans for them. I buy the groceries, prepare the food either at home or at their home and store in plastic containers. They freeze most of the containers and eat the food that is best refrigerated, warmed up and eaten in about 3-4 days.
The advantage is they don't have to plan menus, shop, cook, package/label the food and clean up. Most recipes are for 4-8 servings and take me about 30 minutes to prepare. The preparation and food costs for a recipe are about the same as an entree served in a chain restaurant.... clients do gain much more time to do other things.

A personal chef and catering company.They offer true personal chef services, as well as a weekly menu on my website that allows busy folks to order a la carte. Orders are placed online, then they cook the tasty meals on Monday and deliver to home or work! They even offer Kid's Meals for $5. They do offer gift certificates, so it's perfect to give Mom a break in the kitchen or pamper new parents. :-)

Solo by Bonicelli is a fresh meal delivery service providing an in-home, healthful, quality dining experience for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I prepare Solo meals with the finest fresh ingredients available, using exciting recipes I created. The meals are meant to be savored and enjoyed as if prepared by your own personal chef.  Perfect gift for Mother's Day!  Check out our Mother's Day Special! 

Personal Chef Services are the culinary equivalent of housekeeping services and for many people, especially busy moms, having someone plan for, shop, prepare and clean up after meals is a real lifesaver. I primarily serve families - and all of them have so much to do, they can't find time to go to the grocery store or even go out to eat. If they want a delicious, healthy made-from-scratch meal at home, they need a personal chef to do it.
... Simple finishing instructions accompany every dish, so there is never a panic-y moment when Mom wonders, "What's for dinner tonight?"
 Prices include groceries, and the total cost is close to what you would spend in a casual-dining restaurant including beverages and tip. For a family of six, personal chef services are as low as $12 per person per meal.

Please note I know there are men and fathers who do the family cooking, statistically women still are more involved in meal prep and cooking, so for ease I will refer to the cook as Mom or "she."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

chicken tender confessions

One of my Mommy-Hero friends taught me the joys of Ikea. Now that my child is tall enough and potty-trained, she can go in the babysitting area and I can buy something I don't need, like a pink ice-cream scoop for $2.99 and then read a magazine for an hour. M usually makes a little friend or two in the ball-pit and shoos me away when I come to pick her up so I don't feel too guilty. (She's also climbing in and out of the pit, throwing the balls in the hoops and getting a little activity on a rainy day.)

We occasionally then have lunch which is interesting. Ikea has pretty cheap food, but its not the tastiest either. The turkey wraps look good, as do the little salads, but they're pretty bland and flavorless and not pleasant to eat. On a side note, I imagine this is much like what school lunches will start to taste like with the nutrition push (much needed though.) You can eat healthy and delicious food, but if I don't like eating the "healthy" options because of poor quality ingredients or how they are prepared, can we expect a 4th grader to pick it over the arguably tastier fried options? (On another odd note, a behavioral study found that menus listing "healthy" options actually increased orders of "unhealthy" choices!)

 M had her penne with marinara on the side, so she was happy. I usually don't know what to eat when I go there. (I bring drinks to save money.) So today, as I was contemplating meatballs and gravy, or nondescript sloppy Joes and the random crawdad buffet, feeling like I "should" eat a wrap or a salad but dreading it, I settled on chicken tenders and fries. Then I prayed that I wouldn't see anyone I knew.

You see, I'm starting to see moms around who recognize me. Moms from an ECFE or a parent group I talked to.  I felt like I had to sit furtively in a corner dunking my tenders into a tub of ketchup while sipping my Coke. (Meanwhile my kid was eating better than I was.) I enjoyed the meal, but like back in my doctoring days when I was on the lookout for patients, I am starting to worry about what my clients will think if they see me engaging in less than stellar nutritional situations. 

So, if you do see me out, enjoying fried foods and high-fructose corn syrup, recognize that its not always how I eat, that I enjoy it on occasion and so I have it. Perhaps I can inspire that a healthy way of eating includes "forbidden" foods if you want them, in balance with other foods. That I was satisfied after 3/4 of the meal so I left some on the plate, that I was able to model for my child an enjoyment of a "forbidden" food without making any comments about how "bad" it was, or how "guilty" I feel or that I will have to skip breakfast.

So feel free to come on over and say "Hi!" and know I won't judge you for getting real potato chips at Cubs, or full fat ice-cream from Whole Foods!

kid fun in the kitchen

I have a photo of my brother around age 2 spinning the lettuce dryer. Of course it was orange- as was the kitchen in the early seventies- but its still a great activity for kids.

Here is M drying lettuce in her spinner. The ones with the cord seem to work the best. We got ours at Target for under $10. We had a fancy one with a plunger-type mechanism that never seemed to get the lettuce dry enough.

Especially at the farmer's markets, the lettuce might have more dirt and yes, even bugs in it (there is a price to pay with organic sometimes) so washing is important to me. Though its extra work, and generally one of my least favorite tasks, I think the taste is so much better than the pre-washed bags of lettuce that its worth it. Spend the extra time and money on the things you prize. Love fancy cheese? Organic milk? Strawberries? Nice fish? Hot-dish? A roast on the weekend? 

Farmer's market lettuce
In the height of the summer, the lettuce is so fresh and often cheaper than in the stores. Check out mid-week markets that don't have the crowds and hassle (or "pleasant hubbub" depending on your point of view and goals for the day) of the weekend markets. There are many sites with free parking where you can get in, grab your produce and get home. Ask the farmer about how they farm. Many do not have "organic" designation, but still are passionate about farming in a very safe, often chemical-free and sustainable way.

I soak the lettuce several times in cold water and have M spin it dry and poor out the water until there is no grit. Then I keep it in the spinner in my fridge if I have room, or put in a veggie bag and use it over a few days, so at least I wash once only. M is still  bit wary of lettuce, but sometimes she will eat it (especially the paler leaves.) She enjoys all the goodies that go on the salad, like tomatoes, cucumbers, Craisins so we give her a larger share of those, and a few lettuce leaves which she may or may not eat.

We just planted our first-ever lettuce in a window-box in the back yard. I'll keep you posted!
Happy Spinning! 

Monday, April 27, 2009

baby food and tricking kids into eating "healthy"

I met with a very dedicated local and organic baby-food producer yesterday who started Sweet Cheeks. If you live in the Twin Cities, you can find her products at farmers markets, coops and restaurants. Check out her website for more info.
I like the local angle, and also that her toddler food is flavored with garlic and onions, and things I like to eat. Her foods are frozen, made fresh and frequently, and don't have preservatives or additives. (I fantasized about making my own organic baby food, but never got my act together. This would have been a nice option. )

Lori has been a nanny for years and tested her recipes on lots of kids. (I managed to sneak in a potty-training question while we were there!)
To answer consumer demand, she has started a line called "Sweet Sneaks" with small portions of local, organic vegetables to stir into recipes ala Deceptively Delicious or Sneaky Chef. They look wonderful and will be a help to those interested.

I get this question all the time when I talk to parents. They wonder about how to improve nutrition for their "picky eaters" who only eat mac-n-cheese and a few other dishes.
A few words of caution if you're trying to trick your kid into eating better.

1) If a kid finds out he's been tricked, watch out! It can be a major setback in his willingness to try new things. One friend was tricked as a child into eating an organ meat by her Gramma and never ate anything other than bread, crackers and things she could identify there again.
2) Relying solely on stirred-in veggies and fruits does not aid in the acceptance of those fruits and veggies. There is no exposure to texture, color, smell. Its hidden. Your picky eater will stay a picky eater.
3)How long are you willing to keep this up? You might get it by a 2 year old, but will you want to do this when she's 7?

How to use Sweet Sneaks that fits into the trust model of feeding. (My humble opinion.)

1) Stir them into foods, but don't lie about it. Maybe even have your child help.
2) Use them as a transition while you continue to expose your child to the actual thing, over and over again. (Serve fruits and veggies in different ways, raw with dip, steamed with a little butter and broth, cut up in pasta dishes... I find that if M helps me prepare food, she might ask to try raw sliced red pepper while I chop it for a salad, even though she may not eat it once its in the salad every time...)
3) If you only plan to eat mac-n-cheese or a limited array of foods as a family anyway, then this will improve nutrition, but little else. (See #2 above.)
4) Try to learn new recipes, stews, soups where you can stir them in for their own flavor or texture enhancement.
5) If you've found a recipe you love in one of these cookbooks, cook it, but don't eat solely for nutrition something that doesn't taste good.

Friday, April 24, 2009

adoption webinar set for August

I'm excited to let folks know that I will be doing a Webinar this August for adoptive families through St. Paul's Children's Home Society and Family Services.  The webinar format is live and allows audience members to ask questions or share comments.
I'll be talking about feeding and the special role it plays in attachment. We'll also talk about developmental delays, food transitions, food hoarding or other behaviors that might result from not having had enough food, and establishing structure around feeding. I think it will be a great session! If any of you have stories you'd like to share about feeding your adopted children, please contact me! (

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

organizing recipes

It used to make me crazy when I couldn't find a recipe I wanted. Was it in my recipe box? That Cooking Light from 2 years ago? Joy of Cooking? etc.
I also didn't like getting my nice books all dirty or saving magazines. I started a 3 ring binder with plastic sleeves a few years ago and have been really happy with it. Its a little extra work at times, but has a lot of benefits.

You can display and protect handed-down recipes. See Grandma's lemon loaf in her handwriting.

You can tear pages out of magazines and save space by throwing the mags out when you're done.

You can tape the recipe cards you already have to a blank sheet.

You can add and cull easily.

Make up your own categories like sides and salads, dinner under 30 minutes etc...

No more blank sheets flying around when you're mother-in-law sends you a recipe or when you print one off the food network or epicurious websites.

You can remove a page and tape it onto a cupboard for reference at eye-level while you're getting messy.

Your recipes are protected from spills and stains.

You can mark and photo-copy favorite recipes from books so you have one source and don't have to hunt through a shelf of cook-books.

How do you organize your recipes? 

Grab a bunch of cooking magazines at garage sales or Half-Priced Books and try a few. See if they're "worthy" of your new recipe binder!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

more counter space

As in most homes, counter-space is a premium. I grew up with bananas in a bowl or on the counter. My husband joined the marriage with a little wooden stand that sat on our counter and kept the bananas fresher by hanging them.  
Save room AND have fresh bananas! Pop by any hardware store, or even Target and buy one of those mug hooks (any screw-in hook that is big enough.) Find an out-of-the-way spot to install the hook, hang the bananas and you're ready to go. 
Kids and bananas

Bananas are a great early food for older infants and toddlers. You can mash them to the appropriate consistency. Older kids get a kick out of the peeling, and my 3 year-old likes to cut slices and pass them out at breakfast. (Check out Ikea for their sturdy, kids' table-ware that's perfect for learning skills.) 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

easy stew (New Zealand Stew)

This is one of my favorites and is really easy. It was passed down by my Gramma, but don't know the origin. Its tangy.

Margaret's New Zealand Stew

prep time 15 minutes, cook time 2 hours, serves 4-6

1 1/2 pounds lean beef (buy chopped stew meat to save time) or cube into 1 inch chunks

2 Tbspn flour
3 Tbspn brown sugar (lightly packed)
3 Tbspns mustard powder
1 lg onion (cut in half and sliced thin)
1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider if you have it or white)
1/2 cup tomato sauce 
1/4 cup Worcester sauce
1 cup apple juice (or cider)
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups frozen peas

preheat oven to 400 degrees. (Use oven-safe baking dish that is at least 2 inches tall)
Dump steak into dish, pour mustard powder, flour and brown sugar on top and toss to coat, spread evenly. Layer sliced onions and peas over the top. In a separate bowl, mix together all the sauces and pour over the dish. Cover and bake for 2 hours. Salt and pepper to taste.

Can serve with rice, potatoes or egg noodles. I prefer rice. May serve with salad or cooked carrots for a side. It comes out of the oven with a nice sauce and the whole house smells good. Clean up is pretty easy with only one-dish. I often soak it overnight and then wash it the next morning.

Friday, April 17, 2009

if it sounds too good to be true-it is

Could it be that easy? Just cut out the soda and the "childhood obesity epidemic" would be a thing of the past?

Recent headlines:
"High calorie drinks cause childhood obesity."
"Cut the soda, cut the fat."

The study did not have highest scientific standards. Kids estimated their intake (not the most reliable way to measure actual intake) for two days, and then the study "estimated" the effects of replacing soda intake with water. There was no actual intervention arm that had two groups, one drinking soda, one drinking water to measure results. (I'm not saying drinking less soda is a bad idea, I'm just skeptical of claims that doing so would result in dramatic weight loss, or any weight loss.) The authors call this a "key strategy" and simple and effective way to prevent childhood obesity. 

the science

In fact, the American Heart Association reviewed 50 years of data: "Studies in diet composition in children do not identify causes of obesity in youth." In other words, they were unable to find any cause- not soda, juice, fat etc. 

The DONALD study had thousands of kids followed over 17 years (much larger, more accurate, complete study than the headline grabbing soda-diet study) showed the same thing. This study looked at sugars, processed foods, fiber, in fact every imaginable combination of foods and was unable to even link (in spite of their best statistical efforts) diet composition and body mass index or weight. In other words, kids ate a huge range of calories and nutrients but you could not predict the size of the child based on the diet.

Study that actually did limit soda in schools

Another study actually looked at the effects of limiting soda in schools and found no difference in weight at the end of the study.  (Where was the national press attention here?)

(Fernandes, Meenakshi, The Effect of Soft  Drink Availability in Elementary Schools on Consumptiion. Journal of the ADA. 2008 1445-1451 Studied 10, 215 5th graders.

Here are a few quotes:

“soft drink availablitity at  school may have limited impact on overall consumption for elementary school children.” 

 “Overweight children were not more likely to purchase soft drinks.”  

“The removal of soft drinks from schools is estimated to decrease the share of children who consume soft drinks by 4%, but without significant impact on overall soft drink consumption.” 

And yet the author concludes sodas need to be removed, school areas should rezone so kids can’t go to fast food to buy soda etc…

What it means: Unhealthy weight gain is a complex issue. Genes, stress hormones, chaos in the home, parental feeding styles, cycles of restriction and bingeing, lack of structure and grazing, dieting,  and anxiety about weight all play a role. No single or even combination of dietary factors predicts weight, so interventions based solely on diet fail. While we may desperately seek a quick and easy solution, so far there hasn't been one. I again would argue that HOW we feed kids is the missing piece. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Helicopter Feeding

I've taken to calling it "Helicopter feeding." We've all seen it, heck I did it before I learned about the Division of Responsibility in Feeding: Parents are responsible for WHAT, WHEN, WHERE kids eat. Kids are responsible for HOW MUCH and IF. (

Picture two scenarios.

Dad #1 is having dinner with his two year old. The focus is on the food. How much, what order, how many bites little Timmy is eating. Dad often leans over Timmy, and places foods like vegetables before him, moves the beverage away, threatens Timmy that he has to have "two more big bites" of chicken before he gets his dessert. Dad's arms fly around the table, pushing, feeding, taking away. He is overly-involved and is trying to do Timmy's job-that is deciding how much and if to eat. No one is having much fun. Timmy is resisting, and in fact eats very little. After one bite of chicken and thirty minutes of bartering, Dad gives in and and gives Timmy a small bowl of ice-cream. This dad is a helicopter feeder.

Scenario #2. Dad and Susie- same age as Timmy. Dad has set the table with small pieces of chicken, some ketchup for dipping, corn, a new vegetable for Susie which is beets (could be anything) and rice. Next to her plate Susie has an appropriate portion of ice-cream. Susie has helped lay the table by putting napkins on each plate. They sit, and Dad begins eating. Susie has a plate with compartments and begins dipping chicken in ketchup. Then she takes a few bites of ice-cream. She loves corn so she digs in, experimenting with adding ketchup. She goes back to the ice-cream. Susie eyes the beets, watches Daddy eats a piece He explains that it is a little sweet, and not crunchy. He shows her his pink tongue. Susie licks a piece and then puts it down. She finishes her ice-cream, and has some more corn and chicken. They talk alot about the amazing color of the beets, but she doesn't eat any more tonight, and Dad doesn't push it. They both enjoy the meal, and Susie eats some chicken, corn and ice-cream, skipping the rice and beets this time. Dad has not reached over or threatened, bribed or begged Susie to do anything. He has done his job, which is putting a variety of foods on the table and allowing Susie to do the rest. 

Which dinner would you rather have? Which kid would you rather be? Which parent? Which style reflects how you were fed as a child? Which child seems to have a more varied and nutritious intake? As the kids grow up, which one will be more likely to want to participate in family meals?

The science is there to support a trusting feeding model. Kids pushed to eat fruits and veggies tend to eat less, kids fed in a controlling style eat less well, tend to then eat more when away from the parents, and eat more in times of stress. Some kids would rather fight than eat. Taking the struggle out of mealtime helps even picky eaters accept a greater variety. 


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

pantry must have...

I didn't grow up watching my mom cook with broth. We had the little cubes that she used often, but this is so much easier and less salty in general. I almost always have some of this boxed-broth in my fridge. (Remember to date everything that goes into your fridge. See my January post save money and space for tips.) 
I use it for quick soups (the quickest is just broth, soup noodles and peas. Its a soothing, simple brew for colds or upset tummies-or strep which we all had recently again!) M had two bowls for lunch. 
I also use it if I'm sauteing something in a pan, like pork chops or onions with a little olive oil. Rather than adding more oil or water, I add a splash of broth to add flavor and keep things moist. Many recipes call for broth, and I make lots of pan sauces after I fry some protein. Its great for cooking large cuts of meat in the slow-cooker or the Dutch Oven. I also often cook veggies with a small amount of broth and butter. Carrots chopped small, frozen peas, some broth and a pat of butter left to simmer for 20 minutes is a great side dish and finger-food for older infants. Its just always there, and I'm grabbing for it all the time. You can also use beef or vegetable or fish. When I make soups other than chicken, I usually mix equal beef and chicken broth for a richer flavor. Try it! What else do you use broth for?

Monday, April 13, 2009

kids cooking-gear at Target

Friends gave us this great little rolling pin for $1 from Target. I saw them again available today. (Dollar section, Midway Target, not sure if others will have them...)
M loves making cookies with play-dough and floam. (Also can get cookie-cutters for cheap at the Target dollar aisle.) 
M surprised me when we made pizza dough and she was really very good at rolling it out. Keeps little hands busy, and fosters a new cooking skill. Its pretty good quality considering its been used often and still works. I would hand-wash this one.
Have fun!

What if my kid is skipping breakfast?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Kids who skip breakfast are not only hungry, but have difficulty concentrating, have more behavioral problems, have lower energy and are heavier in the long term. I remember as a physician seeing teenage girls who would pass out at school. We ended up doing EKGs (heart rhythm tracings to rule out heart problems), full neurological exams, possibly even neurology referrals, and most of the time the verdict was that the girls were skipping meals to try to lose weight.

 What happened to breakfast?

Since the 70's, as the percentage of Americans qualifying as overweight and obese have increased, breakfast consumption has dropped considerably. 

First, look at why breakfast is not happening in your home. Is your child sleeping late? Is no one else having breakfast at home? Are there breakfast foods available? Is your child on a swim or hockey team with early morning practices? (I used to swim early mornings and couldn't eat breakfast, but made sure I had something for right after.) 

Then, problem-solve. If your child has to make a 7 am bus, time might be tight in the morning. Think about moving bed-time up by 20 -30 minutes to start (you can do this gradually.) You might pack back-packs and pre-pack lunches the night before. It takes some work and planning, but it really is THAT important to have breakfast. 

Next job is to get back into the habit of eating breakfast. Depending on your child's age and resistance, this might mean starting with something appealing to the child, or something that can be eaten in the car on the way to school. Maybe take your older child with you shopping and brainstorm a few options that you can have on hand. (Remember, a very young child should not be making decisions about what to eat, but an older child might appreciate some input.) 

How about a breakfast bar and milk in a thermos or a milk-box? A protein/granola bar? A bagel with cream cheese and a bottle of juice smoothie? A pop-tart and milk? PB &J?  A baggie of dry cereal and milk? Trail-mix and juice? A banana and a protein bar? If you swing by for fast-food, can you find something with protein, fat and carbs? A breakfast egg burrito with milk? An egg-McMuffin with ham and milk? (A sugar load like maple syrup, pancakes and juice will leave your kids hungry sooner and with an energy low, add some milk and its getting better, and way better than nothing.)

Once you have your child back into the habit of eating something, you can branch out and increase variety and maybe have better luck getting her to sit at the table. Can you sit with your child 3 mornings a week? Can you start brewing coffee at home to save 10 minutes on the Starbucks run to save money and maybe toast a frozen waffle and serve it with some banana slices and milk? My kid loved cinnamon raisin toast for awhile with butter and a glass of milk.

Remember, if you're facing feeding challenges, think first of adding, rather than taking away. Be positive, start from where you are, whether its pop-tarts and you add milk and a banana, or if you're making home-made flax pancakes. 

Saturday, April 4, 2009

out of town

I will be unavailable to answer comments or emails from 4/5-4/12/09. Happy Spring!

all things to all people...

This is something I've been struggling with for awhile with this blog. My goal is to help all children, indeed all families become confident and joyful eaters who enjoy the family table.

However, I have clients who are nutritionists, clients who only shop at Whole Foods, and then I also talk to parents who "hate" to cook and never do it, ordering all their foods frozen and pre-packaged. I hear from vegetarians who want more recipes without animal products, I hear from families where the kids only eat Mac-n-cheese and chicken nuggets. 

How can I make a blog that is relevant to all families, to reach all those kids? If I write about eating a pop-tart being better than nothing for breakfast, will I turn off the only local and organic folks? If I write about an all-organic butcher, which is not an option or choice for many families, will they stop tuning in?

I hope not. I think everyone can use some help, I know I did. I hope that for those of you who are further along with cooking, or who choose not to eat meat that you can find something of value in my postings. I know almost everyone can learn more about the HOW we feed kids, regardless of the WHAT at this point. And then there are always my rambling insights into topical news stories and Bratz dolls!

Here are a few things that I think hold true for everyone.

Be positive about changes and start with adding, rather than taking away. (For example, if you always get pizza on Monday, eat it at home with milk and apple-sauce or corn.)

Make the family meal a priority. Shoot for 3 times a week if you find you're all eating on the go.

Make the family table a pleasant place. Preschoolers need to behave, but so do grown-ups. Save serious money-talk, or bickering for after meals.

Don't lecture young children about "nutrition." Enjoy a variety of foods, and be positive about foods. Avoid labeling foods as "good" or "bad," which kids take literally and leads to fear and shame associated with eating.

Turn off the TV, Ipod, phone for family meals.

Don't graze. Kids should eat 3 meals and 1-3 snacks depending on age and timing.

Eat breakfast.

Provide food for your children. Have milk, cereal, bananas, and other options available if you just can't get family meals together. Get help if you're overwhelmed. (read Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family)

Buy local if you can.


Friday, April 3, 2009

bath-tub crayons-not just for the tub

Sometimes you just can't include the kids in cooking and you might need them out from under-foot for safety reasons. M enjoyed using her bathtub crayons to draw in the sink. She stood on her step-stool and enjoyed making designs and then washing them away again. Consider a smock or bib for this one. You could also draw on some kitchen plates and wash the designs away if you'd prefer to have the kids with you in the kitchen, or worry that your child might not be able to resist the bathroom walls next to the sink! Maybe have them try out some designs and take pictures. Then take the kids over the weekend to one of those pottery places that lets you paint and fire real plates for a keepsake or gift for Dad or Gramma.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Garlic Pepper Jam Pork Roast - YUMMY!!!

Sorry about the lame photo, dinner was SO YUMMY I forgot to get the camera out until half-way through the meal!  I used the delicious Lucille's Kitchen Garden Garlic Pepper Jam which was a great deal at $6 a jar and would make at least 3 roasts. Click here for where to get it and more info.It was really easy and everyone loved it. Link here to the recipe.
The prep took about 15 minutes, took about 2 hours 15 minutes overall. Cooks for 2 hours, but not much to do once its in the oven. (I used our stand-by Whiskey instead of the brand listed, and I didn't have rosemary salt, so I improvised with 2 to 1 salt and rosemary that M helped me mix together.) I used slightly less jam than the recipe called for since it was our first time using it and I didn't want to over-spice it for our 3 year old. 

It was a great weekend meal. We ate the pork with rice (a little sauce on the rice was super.) For a super-easy side, I sliced an acorn squash in half, scooped out the seeds, put the halves face-down in a pyrex baking dish and cooked them in the oven with the roast for the last hour of cooking. If the squash doesn't pierce easily with a fork, turn the heat up to 400 and let it cook another 10 minutes or so. I also found some decent artichokes for a good price so we ate those too. ( M protested it was "yucky" several times- which we ignored- after about 10 minutes, she asked for a few artichoke leaves and enjoyed quite a few. She didn't care for the heart much, but she tried a bite.)

Cook Once, Eat Three Times
We also sliced some for leftovers that I'll cook with mushrooms and pasta with a quick broth and cream sauce later in the week, and froze some shredded meat for some BBQ sandwiches for a quick meal.