Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Healthy Tip

I do our school newsletter. If I need a filler I add in a "Healthy Tip of the Month." My tips come from Raising Healthy Eaters, 100 Tips for Parents by Henry Legere, M.D.

This is a great little book. It's easy and fast to read. You don't even have to read the entire book, you can just go through and read which tips sound good to you at the time. Here is one I feel very strongly about.

Tip 26 - Even if your kids are picky eaters, don’t cook separate meals.

There are many things you can do  to encourage your children to enjoy their meals, but one thing you should not do is prepare different meals for them. Your children will not allow themselves to starve, so don’t worry if they skip the occasional meal or if they just pick at some of your dishes. You’re not a waitress, and your kitchen isn’t Denny’s, so don’t feel that you have to whip up a separate meal for each of your kids. Let’s face it: most parents don’t have the time or the energy to prepare a separate meal for each member of the family, and you shouldn’t feel obliged to.

There are some things that you can do, however, to encourage your children to eat with the family. Include your kids in a weekly or monthly menu planning, but don’t allow them to engineer each meal around their one or two favorite foods. You should be aware of your children’s favorite dishes and do your best to incorporate them into your menu at least every other week. For typical meals, incorporate familiar and acceptable dishes, but keep in mind that children still need to be exposed to new types of foods. Remember, kids may reject a food more than ten times and then come to like it, so persevere.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cooking Class in Florence, Italy

I was just watching Samantha Brown's Weekend in Florence on the Travel Channel. What a wonderful weekend trip! If I had the money, I'd book the trip right now.

When I do book the trip I would love to take a cooking class in Florence. Faith Willinger is an American who has lived in Italy for the past 25 years. She now has one day cooking classes in Florence. How wonderful is that?

There are two different classes, "Lessons in Lunch" and a full hands-on Market-to-Table session. I have no idea what the cost is. I can't find that on the website. Once my trip is planned I'll inquire about the cost.

On Faith Willinger's website there is also a recipe page. It looks like she might change the recipe. There is only one listed. It sounds delicious. I'll have to try it. She also has pages about her pantry, traveling, and photos. It's worth checking out.

Buon appetito!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Salad with Apples, Dried Cranberries and Goat Cheese

One of our BMCC members altered a Cook's Illustrated salad recipe. I've had this altered version several times at our members home. It's a very tasty salad.

One thing I also like about this salad is if your kids don't go for lettuce there are still good things in here they can pick out.

Salad with Apples, Dried Cranberries and Goat Cheese
serves 6

14 cups hearty mixed greens, washed and dried
Goat Cheese
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped coarse and toasted
1 cup dried cranberries (can also use dried cherries)
2 medium Granny Smith apples

2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
ground black pepper

Combine vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt, and sugar in small bowl. Whisking constantly, drizzle in oil; season to taste with pepper. Toss with greens.

Quarter and core apples and cut into 1/8 inch thick slices. Toss greens, walnuts, cranberries, apple slices, and goat cheese together.

Hint: Use less greens, apples, walnuts, cranberries and goat cheese (just enough for your family) and save the remaining vinaigrette for next time.

Polpette with Mozzarella and Tomato

...or Italian meat patties. This is something my grandmother would make when my mom was a little girl. I haven't made it in a while. It's very good.

The recipe is from The Italian Kitchen by Gabriella Mariotti.

Polpette with Mozzarella and Tomato
serves 6

1/2 slice white bread, crust removed
3 tablespoons milk
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup dried break crumbs
vegetable oil, for frying
2 beefsteak or other tomatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 6 slices
6 canned anchovy fillets, drained and cut in half lengthwise (you could leave this out. we love it)
salt and ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Put the bread and milk into a small saucepan and heat very gently until the bread absorbs all the milk. Transfer the bread to a bowl, mash it to a pulp and let cool.

Put the ground beef in a bowl with the bread mixture, the egg and seasoning. Mix well, then shape the mixture into six patties. Sprinkle the bread crumbs onto a plate and dredge the patties, coating them thoroughly.

Heat above 1/4 inch oil in a large frying pan. Add the patties and fry for 2 minutes on each side, until brown. Transfer to a greased ovenproof dish, in a single layer.

Lay a slice of tomato on top of each patty, sprinkle with oregano and season with salt and pepper. Place a mozzarella slice on top of each. Arrange two strips of anchovy, placed in a cross, on top of each slice of cheese.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the patties are cooked through. Serve hot, straight from the dish.

Homemade Poptarts

Here is a fun recipe from my cousin. She had a home daycare for years so she has lots of fun recipes. This is not only fun to make with the kids, but you know what is going into them.

Homemade Poptarts

one batch of pie dough (homemade for store bought)
homemade or store bought jam

Roll out pie dough.
Cut into shapes and spread jam on them.
Leave a half inch or so around the edge without the jam.
Cover with another piece of the same size and shape dough.
Crimp the edges with a fork and poke vent holes.
Bake until the pie dough is done.
Store in a re-sealable bag.

Pumpkin Muffins

It's that time of year when I start thinking of Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Bread--anything pumpkin. Here is a great muffin recipe I got from my cousin, who is a BMCC member.

Pumpkin Muffins

1 box of spice cake mix
1 small can pumpkin
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 to 2/3 cup cinnamon chips (or 1/2 to 2/3 cup raisins)

Mix at medium speed for 2-3 minutes
Fill muffin cups.
Bake at 350˚ - mini muffins bake for 12 minutes or regular muffins for 18 minutes.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pork Loin in the Crock Pot

Here is another recipe from the BMCC email archives. As winter approaches I know many of you like to use the crock pot. I've heard rave reviews about his recipe.

Pork Loin or Short Ribs in the Crock Pot

Just put pork loin or short ribs (no bones and very little fat) I use the leanest cuts available. I've done this dish with chicken too and it is just as good.

1 can of condensed golden mushroom soup
2 - 3 cubed peeled potatoes (you can use sweet, regular, or both)
1/2 chopped onion
baby carrots
3/4 cup water

Put all of this in a crock pot (potatoes on bottom) on low for 6-8 hours. The meat will fall apart when done. I usually serve this with green beans or peas.

If you want to make this on the stove top,  which is good too, brown the meat and onions first  and then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

NOTE from another BMCC member on this recipe: Check your crock pot settings. Mine has only low and high. A dish like this = LOW 10-12 hours, HIGH 5-6 hours.

Kauai Chicken

I have two friends who have started "Functional and Fabulous Recipe Friday." I thought I would join in and take this opportunity to add all those recipes from the BMCC emails to the blog. There are so many fabulous recipes the group has shared over the years. I really want them on the blog.

Here is one of the first recipes one of our members shared way back at the beginning in 2003. I've had this dish at her house. It's wonderful. 

Kauai Chicken
An Easy Standby

8 chicken thighs

1/4 cup EACH white and brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
1 minced garlic clove.

Coat thighs in shallow pan with half of sauce mixture, bake uncovered for 25 minutes at 400˚. Turn chicken, and remaining sauce, bake another 15 minutes.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Two Yolks in One Egg

One of our members posted this on her blog. I thought it was a good one to post here.

"Does anyone know, when baking and using eggs if you get two yolks in your egg whether that still counts as one egg or two?? I have been working through a dozen extra large "cage free brown eggs" and just about every one of them so far has had two yolks in each shell!"

First of all, WOW, that is some chicken!

Here is what I found on the web on answerbag.com. Sounds good to me.

"A double-yolker is usually a jumbo, which is a third larger than a medium and 20% larger than a large, which most recipes are based on. If it's an old recipe, count it as one and a half, but eggs are usually added for the consistency of the whites--yolks just add color, richness, and flavor." 

Any other ideas....leave a comment.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Lowering Your Grocery Bill

Here is some tips on lowering your grocery bill that the BMCC shared in some emails in 2005. I thought it should be on the blog. I hope you are able to get some ideas.

• knowing what your family eats and what they won't.

• Certain things are cheaper at Costco, like meat, bread, eggs and milk

• Keep a food journal that tracks prices of foods you regularly eat

• One thing I practice, that I enjoy is getting the grocery store ads and going over what menu I could do with all the sale items.

• I also look at the ads to stock up on what is a good deal, like cereal or juice. (this is where  the journal comes in handy)

• I almost never buy cleaning products, paper products, or baggies or foil at the grocery store. Once a month I will go to Walmart or Target to get those. The price differences are huge

• for my weekly menu I try to have at least one dinner that leads to the next, like pork cutlets one night and fried rice the next (I use the left over pork from the day before) or BBQ chicken one night and BBQ chicken pizza the next. There are lots of meals that use small amounts of meat, like stir-fries, casseroles, pasta dishes, and soups

• A great book and website is "Miserly Moms" by Jonni McCoy. She has some great tips. (there is also a website. The link is in our favorites list to the right.)

• Another tip, I got from my single mom, is I always use cloth napkins, real plates and flatware. No paper or plastic. It's a waste of money. I can wash cloth napkins and dishes and stainless flatware. People think it's fancy, but I'm really being cheap. It's amazing what just getting rid of paper napkins will do

• Find a friend, relative or neighbor who has fruit trees. Offer to pick the fruit and take some home with you. They usually have more than they can eat. My girls LOVE doing that and then I get a bunch of free food. My mother-in-law has 2 apple trees (among other things). I make tons of apple sauce. It's so good. Better than store bought and MUCH cheaper.

• Plant a garden. You don’t need a lot of space. One or two nice size planter boxes work great. Things like tomatoes and lettuce are easy to grow and so good from the garden. Make sure you plant things your kids will want to eat. Some type of window screen on top if you have birds or critters that you need to keep out. If you have an onion or garlic that has sprouted in your kitchen, put the entire thing in the ground or in a pot. The greens will grow and you can use them to flavor all your dishes when you don't have the onion or the garlic. Also good in salad.