Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cider Braised Kale with Sweet Cherries

I found this recipe for Cider Braised Kale with Sweet Cherries and it piqued my interest. I tend to put Kale in everything now, from soup to spaghetti sauce, but if we are going to have kale as a "side" I tend to be unoriginal and saute with garlic, salt and pepper. I haven't made it yet, but we have lots of beautiful kale from our winter CSA, so it will be on our plates at some point this week. Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Find Out What Produce has the Most Pesticides

Thought I would share a couple great websites:

This is the Environmental  Working Group's ranking of produce regarding pesticides. Remember that of the 70,000 chemicasl that are out there only 10,000 are regulated. The average fruit has at least 8 different chemicals on it and there has been no testing how those chemical interact with each other. You are the experiment.

The Non-GMO Project: Use this website to find products that have been verified as non GMO.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What We Had for Dinner

The fall back to school schedule is a bit full this year, I'm not sure how it happened, but somehow the boys have at least one commitment most weekdays. Tuesdays are my favorite, there is cross country, intramural sports, baseball and piano, and Tuesdays happen to be the day that I have most of my networking events too. Finding the time to make dinner, never mind something that everyone likes and is healthy seems like an impossible feat. This last week we have had the following:

Lemon Garlic Braised Chicken: I made this last Sunday and while it does take a while to make, about one hour of cooking time, I made a lot of extra brown rice which I used later in the week. For this dish, you place whole cloves of garlic in 2 cups of chicken broth and simmer for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, place the chicken thighs a saute pan and brown. When the chicken is done add 1 tablespoon of flour and make a roux with the fat. Slowly add about 2/3 cup of white wine, stirring constantly. Pour the chicken broth in the saute pan and continue to stir until slightly thickened. Place chicken, sliced lemon, and liquid into oven-proof dish and cook for about 45 minutes on 350. I served with local green beans, beets and shitake mushrooms, but you can serve with whatever makes you happy. While it does take a while to make, I love this dish because I can double or even triple it and we have leftovers or I can freeze it for dinner another week.

Fried Rice: With the left-over rice from the Lemon Garlic Braised Chicken I made what we call "Fried Rice" Not exactly Asian, our Fried Rice includes whatever vegetables are on hand at the moment. For this I scrambled 2 eggs and then sauteed, onions, carrots, swiss chard,  and mushrooms. I add the cold rice to the pan and let it heat through, not stirring too often. Once heated I add mixture of tamari, minced ginger, fish sauce and rice vinegar. Toss gently until mixed through. Serve with cashew if you like. Oh, and make sure you stir the ginger in thoroughly. I got sidetracked and we had a lot of ginger in one area.

Stuffed Pumpkins: I made this Saturday with the local Sweet Italian Sausage, red quinoa, and lentils as the base. Again I cooked extra lentils to use in soup later. For this I sauteed onions, garlic, carrots, sweet potatoes and one beet. Mix everything together and stuff your pumpkin. Cooking time is about one hour, but at least you can do something else while it's in the oven.

Lentil Soup:  We'll be having this on Tuesday! I made this on Sunday, while I was making a bunch of other things. Sauteed onions, carrot and sweet potatoes, added the lentils in and the broth that was left over from cooking them. Next add one 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes and I had some broccoli left over from something else so I put that in too. When I reheat I'm going to add some baby spinach and serve with a loaf of this amazing bread I bought from Sweetwater Baking Co. http://www.sweetwaterbakingcompany.com/index.html

Enjoy and try something new

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More About Chicken Nuggets

A couple weeks ago I posted about some of the ingredients in Chicken McNuggets. My son Brian is still walking around muttering about Silly Putty being one of the ingredients. To follow up that conversation, below is the link for a recent Huffington Post article showing how chicken nuggets are made. It is a little graphic just to give you the heads up.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Two Absolute Must Read Books

I read a lot and since I decided to open the restaurant and start this blog, I spend most of my time reading food and health related books, blogs, magazines etc. There is an abundance of information out there, and depending on the source some of it is contradictory.

Two books that I have read recently and love, are Food Rules, by Michael Pollan and Organic Manifesto by Maria Rodale. Both books are easy reads and inspiring. Both have suggestions for simple things we can all do to be healthier.

Food Rules is written as guide book and is broken down in to three sections and a total of sixty-four points or "Rules" of what and how to eat.  You can read this book in any order. I have randomly chosen pages to read. All of the "Rules" are easy to try and are pretty common sense, but I think a lot of us have forgotten as we move though our busy days. Two of my favorites are Rule #21 "It's not food if it is called by the same name in every language. (Think Big Mac, Cheetos, or Pringles.)" and Rule #27 "Eat animals that have themselves eaten well." Number 27 really hits home for me. Why would I want to eat something that was sick or diseased? That grosses me out.

In Organic Manifesto, Maria Rodale makes the case for organic farming. She shares how chemical farming came in to existence, what happens to the soil, animals, and humans when this method is used and after years of research at the Rodale Institute she shares how organic farming beats, yes that's beats, chemical farming.

I hope you will check both books out. Gain more knowledge about how your food is produced. The only way we can change the system is by what we buy.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

12 Fish You Shouldn't Eat

 Many of you have asked about what fish are ok to eat and what is better, farmed or wild caught. Click on the link to read about 12 fish that you should think twice about before buying. I liked this list because it also makes suggestions as to what fish are safe to eat and/or not endangered.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Healthy, Easy Dinner Salad

We haven't had summer squash or zucchini since the zucchini cakes about a month ago, but I saw this recipe from Clean Eating and had to try it. The local zucchini/summer squash season is pretty much over, but I was lucky to find a few at my favorite farmers market. I added mushrooms and substituted the champagne vinegar for rice vinegar and fresh mozzarella for the feta, because I forgot to pick up feta at the farmers market. The feta would only make this dish even better than it was.


enjoy and eat real!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fixing the Planet

Maria Rodale of  Rodale Inc. has a new book, Organic Manifesto, out. In it she discusses organic farming vs industrial farming and how organic farming can produce higher yields than industrial while sequestering carbon and potentially slow global warming. The link above has excerpts from her book and as a summary, it really puts the pieces together as far as how hunger, pesticide usage, cancer and other diseases all fit together.

The Rodale Insititute has conducted a study called the Farm System Trial which was started in 1981. It compares organic farming methods to industrial farming methods. I have not read all of the findings yet, however the evidence shows that organic farming methods can compete and possibly beat industrial farming method. 

My copy of her book will arrive Friday. I'll let you know what I think, of coarse. In the mean time click on the link above.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Using Leftovers for Lunch

Salad for lunch today! At least half of my lunches are salad. They are easy to throw together. Today we had a lot of left overs in the fridge and the yogurt and granola I had for breakfast has vanished. What got me started were the lentil and rice cakes I made the other night. I had put them in my salad yesterday and they were really tasty, so I thought I would do that again, then I found the Tahini, Tamari and Ginger Grilled Chicken I made last night and cut some of that up, added leftover black beans, tomatoes, green pepper, green olives and my favorite blue cheese, all of which was tossed over the baby spinach I used as my base.

Point being, be creative with your leftovers, make a sandwich, a salad or combine a couple of different things. I just read that American waste almost 50% of their consumable food. Don't be hesitant to combine flavors. I have been experimenting with different flavor combinations, like tomato and blueberries (really good) just to try something different.

AND as I wrote in an earlier blog post, salads are simple and travel well. This one took me less than 5 minutes. When I am working at the office I frequently will toss a salad together in a huge plastic container and bring a bottle of salad dressing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Favorite Local Restaurants

So if you are looking for cool places to eat out and want to expand past the frozen microwave food being served at Applebees or Fridays, and yes I'm serious about that. That is exactly what you are getting there. I'm always in search of places using local ingredients and something different. Oh yeah, and not getting food poisoning is good too. I recommend the following:

Oh My! Preztels

Darren Hodorovich is the owner of the Oh My! Pretzels, serving you guessed it.. Pretzels. These are not your ordinary soft pretzels though. Not only are they organic, but they actually taste AWESOME, not like the gluey globs I have seen at other places. Darren's shop is in Eagle right on Rt 100 and you can find him at the Anselma Farmer's Market, Great Valley Farmers Market, and the Elverson Farmers Market. He is also offering boxed lunches with pretzel sandwiches. These boxed lunches are perfect for corporate lunches. Email me or Darren for the complete menu: darren@ohmypretzels.com

Raw Can Roll Cafe

My girlfriend made me go here, and I'm so glad that I did. Raw Can Roll Cafe is a totally raw cafe and for those of you who are thinking huh? We're talking much more than just salad. I had the Thai Spring Roll, Jicama Potato Salad and Lemonade that was heavenly. I of course was too busy eating to take pictures, so go to the website and see for yourself www.rawcanrollcafe.com. Sheryl is the owner and she let us try the chocolate candies that make the trip to Douglasville totally worth it.

Station Taproom

I wrote about this before, but we have been here two more times since I last wrote. And I still love it. With Menu items like Beef Short Rib Egg Roll, Steamed Mussels in a Thai Curry Sauce, Lamb burger and the yummiest had cut fries I have ever had, I will keep coming back. Check out their website too. http://www.stationtaproom.com/home/

Monday, August 9, 2010

Silly Putty and Petroleum in Chicken McNuggets?

 For those of you who still, on occasion visit McDonalds, I thought I would share this article with you. We stopped going after I read Fast Food Nation and after a couple of occurrences where McDonald's went into Brian (at age 2 1/2) and came flying back out the other end about 30 minutes later. I know, gross, but I presume you have had a similar experience. Last time I knew food wasn't supposed to do that, but as you will read, a Chicken McNugget has 37 ingredients. I have made baked chicken fingers in the past, I only needed a few ingredients: chicken, bread crumbs, egg, flour, salt and pepper. I froze them and the chicken fingers lasted for several months in the freezer.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Nutrient Dense Foods

I see, and I presume you do too, lists of foods to eat all the time. Most of the time they are pretty similar. I liked this one from Delicious Living as it encompasses vegetables, fruits, legumes and beans, and nuts and seeds. Each section lists the top fruit, vegetable  etc, why it is important, and has links to recipes for each food that is listed. Check it out and I hope you try one of the recipes. I have made several of the recipes from the site and they have all been pretty good.Click on the title to go to the article.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Too Much Zucchini - Make Zucchini Cakes

Yes, you read that right, Zucchini Cakes. This is the time of year where all of my garden growing friends are trying to pawn of their summer squash and zucchini on me. I'm pretty sure we have has some sort of squash every night this week.. I'm a little tired of it (coming from someone who barely makes the same thing twice) and have been trying to come up with something creative to do with all the squash.
Don't get me wrong, I like zucchini and pretty every other squash. It's versatile and easy to cook. So in an attempt to do something different, I came up with these. The cakes kind of tasted like potato cakes.  They were a touch on the mushy side. Zucchini has a high water content and normally I would have pressed the water out, but I wanted to see what they came out like this way.

This is what I did:

Shredded 2 good sized, but not baseball bat size zucchini (in the food processor)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (substitute with rice or couscous, I happen to have quinoa left over
1/4 teaspoon tabasco
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, mashed

  1. Mix all ingredients together except olive oil and garlic. Form into patties
  2. Heat olive oil and mashed garlic
  3. Place patties into heated pan, cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown
  4. remove from pan, sprinkle a touch more parmesan cheese
I served this with a little arugula, chopped tomatoes, and roasted cumin scented chickpeas.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stuffed Peppers - What's for Dinner

It was Garth's turn to make dinner last night and Garth surprised me with mostly vegetarian stuffed peppers. Garth is a meat and potatoes guy and I was thrilled that he was trying something a little different. He did add a little sausage from Milky Way Farm, but other than that it was all veggies, a little cheese, pine nuts, the dried tomatoes I made this weekend, mushrooms and quinoa.

To make these, saute whatever veggies you are using. In our case it was a lot of zucchini, some tomatoes and all of the above. You could add spinach or kale, carrots, broccoli... whatever is in the fridge. Cook the quinoa, add veggies, stuff into peppers and bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

You can always substitute the pepper for a zucchini too. It's that time of year when I have more zucchini than I know what to do with.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kale Chips - That's Right!

A What Chip? That's right you read it correctly, a kale chip. And they are pretty tasty and amazingly similar to a potato chip. A friend of mine sent me a link to a recipe for cheesy kale chips, which I have of course lost, so I googled Kale Chips and low and behold several recipes popped up. We get lots of greens in our CSA share and while we love greens in general, sometimes I run out of ideas of what to else I can do with kale. I'm always looking for healthy snacks too, so this is perfect. Here's what to do:

  • One bunch of kale
  • Couple tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • A little minced garlic if you feel like it
  1. Wash and tear kale into small pieces
  2. Drizzle olive oil on leaves, massage oil thoroughly through leaves
  3. Sprinkle salt, pepper and minced garlic over oiled leaves
  4. Put on cookie sheet put in oven at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes
The edges on some of the kale chips will turn brown, but it doesn't effect taste.

Try them out!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Station Taproom - Downingtown PA

Garth and I went to the Station Taproom in Dowingtown last Friday. We were delightfully surprised. Located directly across from the Downingtown train station, if I didn't know it was there I would have missed it. But  now that I do, we will be back. The Station Taproom is a casual pub with great craft beers and even better food. Check out my short review on google and go see for yourself. Kids are welcome and you can eat well for a very reasonable price.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Refreshing Dinner Salad for Hot Summer Days

July is always hot in Chester Springs, PA, but we don't usually cross the 100 degree mark. We are this week and even though I have my air conditioning on, no one in my family wants to eat a heavy meal. We have been having salads galore. I made the following couscous salad for the couple of parties we have been too over the 4th of July weekend. It's easy quick and so far everyone has loved it.

Cranberry Ginger Couscous Salad

1 cup whole wheat couscous
2 cups water
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup tamari
1/4 cup oil ( I used peanut, but olive or sesame would work too)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/4 slivered almonds
1/4 dried cranberries
1/3 cup carrots, julienne
1/2 sweet onion diced (vidalia)
3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion

  1. Boil water, add couscous, remove from heat let stand 5-10 minutes
  2. Remove couscous from pan, fluff with a fork (gently) and chill for about 1 hour
  3. Prep onion, ginger, scallions and carrots. 
  4. Mix orange juice, oil, tamari, rice vinegar and ginger. Whisk until well blended and a bit frothy
  5. Remove chilled couscous
  6. Add almonds through onion
  7. add half of the orange juice vinaigrette, stir. Add more vinaigrette as needed
  8. Let sit for about 30 minutes for flavors to meld and then EAT!
As always feel free to substitute more, less or other veggies.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

In case my rant the other day wasn't enough, Bill Maher's "Anti-Pharma Rant" makes pretty much the same point, but much funnier.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Eat Your Way to Health

  • One third of all children are overweight or obese. 
  • The number of people who have Type 2 Diabetes has doubled over the last 10 years. 

Are you aware  that diabetes practically didn't exist 100 years ago? That the average doctor could work his or her entire career and not treat one single case of diabetes. I have read that this is a "life style" disease. And it is. We as a society don't eat well. We love quick and convenient, more is better.  All you can eat means you should arrive as hungry as you can and stuff as much food into yourself, because some how that is "value." It doesn't matter that you just consumed enough calories for 3 days because it was all fried.
It concerns me that we, as a society, are eating ourselves into disease. That we will spend an enormous amount of time and money at doctor's offices, on prescriptions, and tests that we could have spent on a vacation. That we will be sick and not feel well all for the sake of a cheap, easy meal.

I hear people say that buying organic or locally produced food is too expensive. That they don't like vegetables. And yes in some cases the up front cost is a little more (and even then not always) but the back end cost is lower... you are healthier, with a lower risk of cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. You are out doing what you love and less likely to be driving to a multitude of doctor's offices and taking expensive medications.  You are living!

I listen to Pete Dominick on POTUS, Sirus/XM a lot. His show focuses on whatever the political hot topics are, but what I like about him, is not only is he well researched, but he encourages everyone to do the same. He believes that in order to make smart decisions we all have to know the facts, and that comes from reading multiple view points.  I encourage you to do the same when it comes to your food. Read what is out there, check out my reading list if you want. OR to get started read Dr. Oz and Michael Roizen's book, YOU: Staying Young  or Wired Magazine's article about Google's Sergey Brin and how he is reducing his risk for Parkinson's Disease through diet and exercise. http://www.wired.com/magazine/?intcid=gnav

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Growing Veggies and Herbs in Small Spaces

Think you can't have a garden because you live in a small space with no yard? Think again. Creativity is the key here. All you need is a pot, some good dirt, seeds/plants, sun and water. I live in a townhouse and my "back yard" is about 9 feet by 20 feet. It's pretty wet out back, so we grow herbs and veggies in pots on our front porch, which faces west and gets great full afternoon sun.

My approach is pretty simple: buy plants or seeds, put in pot, remember to water. Starting your garden doesn't need to be very expensive either. If you don't have pots, ask your local nursery if they have any left over ones from trees or shrubs that have been sold. They are black and not  the most beautiful, but functional. If you have a few smaller decorative pots, put them in front and nobody will ever know.

Don't be afraid to experiment either. This year we are growing two pepper plants, one hot and one sweet; two different kinds of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, tons of basil, mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, lemon balm and the beginnings of a lime bush and orange bush. All in a  4 foot by 4 foot space.

Tips: Water in the morning or evening when it is cooler out. The plants will have more time to absorb the water.

Don't worry if something doesn't work out, just try another variety. I bought green bean seeds, and In don't know where they went, but they are not in the pot I put them in. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Giving Up The Grocery Store

I just read this on Food Freedom's blog. Carol Crownover of Austin Texas has stopped going to the grocery store. Read about her experience and why she gave up industrial agriculture. I see more and more people choosing local food. Taste the difference.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Information Overload?

I saw this yesterday on Huffington Post and thought I would share. Click the title and check it out.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Refreshing Summer Treats

I am always looking for ideas for something to serve my kids and their friends in the summer besides popsicles and those frozen icy things that come in a plastic tube (can you tell I have never bought them :0) It's not that I don't want my kids to have something sweet and refreshing, it's just the lack real food that bothers me so much. Most of those things are fake sugar, fake coloring and fake flavor... yuck.

Usually I make popsicle smoothies with the little popsicle forms you can buy, but they don't seem to be the "cool" thing to have now that my guys are a little older. I found a another great recipe from Clean Eating for lemon thyme granita. It takes about 30 minutes make and a couple hours to harden, with periodic fork scraping.

  • I mixed minced ginger, 12 thyme springs, agave, and water and brought it to a boil.
  • Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Strain the ginger, Reserving liquid in a bowl. Let cool. 
  • Juice 2 lemons, strain pulp and any seeds that jumped in and add to ginger, water mixture. Add 2tsp of chopped thyme, mix and pour into something close to a 9x9 pan. 
  • Throw in the freezer and scrape with a fork after an hour and periodically after that.

Mine came out a little coarse, but VERY tasty.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Food Labeling - Does it Help?

I have read in several food magazines about the ongoing dilemma over the benefits (or not) of labeling food products in more detail. Even Philly has an ordinance, that I believe was delayed until the fall, written that will require restaurant chains (more than 15 stores) to provide labeling for most menu items. Do you think this will help? When you go to the grocery store to you look at the label or read the ingredients. I would really like to know who is adding up the vitamin B12 they consume every day. Do you really want to know the nutritional value of Rita's water ice?  Please let me know what you think, write a comment. I would love some feedback.

I am all for more information when it's helpful, but in this case the only part of the label I read is the ingredients list. If it's not all real food, for the most part, I don't buy it. A quick scan at the ingredients will tell you how good something is. If it sounds like a real food, and is recognizable as one, then most of the time you should be ok. If you don't read ingredient list, I ask to you to check it out the next time you are at the grocery store. You will be surprised at what you are not putting in your body. And yes that would be real food. You are consuming lot's of preservatives, chemicals, extra sugar and fat. All stuff designed to make you want more, so you buy more.

So, if you have been thinking about trying to eat more healthy food try this:

1. Eat more veggies
2. Read the ingredients

Small changes will make a difference

And, by the way, that "natural flavor" that is in so many things, it comes from corn.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What We Ate for Dinner

Life had been full as of late, and last week was the first time in a while that I had a menu for dinner planned. What did we eat?

BBQ Shrimp and Sugar Snap Pasta Salad:
Another Clean Eating Magazine recipe. Oh this was so good and easy. The salad had grilled shrimp with Chinese 5 Spice powder on it, snap peas, cucumber, cilantro, basil and soba noodles with a gingery soy vinaigrette. A version of this will show up at the cafe. Email me at mary.kirschner@gmail.com if you would like the recipe.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Fresh Tomato Salad:
I made this at Brian's request. Another exhausting day at the pool (it's a tough life for Brian :) ) left him craving carbs. And you might be thinking whole wheat pasta, what a mushy mess! We only eat whole wheat and multigrain pasta. Cook it al dente and you should be ok. I made a fresh tomato sauce with local tomatoes from Lancaster that were super ripe, sauteed summer squash, zucchini and mushrooms, added a clove of garlic, a little fresh thyme, oregano and basil and of coarse a dash of sea salt and pepper. After sauteing the squash and mushrooms, I added the chopped tomatoes and herbs to the hot pan and let it sit for about 10 minutes to let the flavors mesh. Anyone can make this, just add your favorite veggie if you don't like squash or mushrooms.

Baharat Tomato Soup with Couscous:
I made this one of the days it was over 90 degrees thinking my family would revolt because I was serving hot soup on such a hot day. We were all surprised by how refreshing it was. The soup is made with a mixture of spices called Baharat which means "spice" in Arabic, fresh tomatoes (again) jalapeno, couscous, cilantro, and mint. When you taste this soup there is a hint of heat at first. Without adding any real "minty" flavor the mint finished the flavor sensation with a refreshing coolness. I can hardly wait to make this again. AND I had extra  of the Baharat and I have been using it as a rub on chicken steak too.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Raising the Chicken Finger Generation

Have you ever thought about how many times a week your kids eat chicken fingers, pizza  and hot dogs? What do they eat when you go out? Are you making different dinners for everyone? Have you ever thought about what your kids will eat when they stop eating off the "kid menu" Will it be more chicken fingers, pizza, and hot dogs?

If we are not exposing our kids to different foods, or at least supporting their curiosity to try different foods, what will they be eating as an adult? I truly hope it is more than just chicken fingers.

And yes, there are times when I am concerned that we are raising a whole generation of chicken finger kids.

What to do about it? What about picky eaters?

It is so much easier to open a box and heat something up. I get it. You are busy, and cooking takes planning, never mind trying to expand your child's food tastes. I had a picky eater. At one point Brian ate, yogurt, apples and dried pasta and that was pretty much it. (and yes you read that correctly - DRIED PASTA). It has taken a long time, but for the most part Brian will try new foods and  he now eats more variety than the average kid. What did I do, besides pull my hair out and worry constantly that he wouldn't grow and would be malnourished?

I exposed him to different food... repetitiously

Honestly I don't think there is a single answer, a fix it, but I can share what has worked for me and this works with adults too.

  1. Ask! Find out what it is about a certain food that the child doesn't like. Is it taste, texture, color, smell. 
  2. Introduce one or two new things at time, in small portions (like a bite or two). 
  3. Keep having the food show up every week, every other week, once a month, what works for your family. Remember all those baby books that told you to expose your child to a new food ten times before expecting your child to like it? Well this still applies and it may take twenty times. 
  4. Don't make new food a big deal, both on your part or your kid's. Bargaining, promising, threatening, yelling don't work. If your kid doesn't want to eat, don't make him/her. Let them explore on their own. Sometimes just looking at that weird stuff on their plate is enough.
  5. Try preparing the food different ways. Raw, steamed, grilled, stir fry - present it different ways. 
  6. Keep talking to your child. Ask them periodically why they don't like it. 
 Good Luck and keep trying new things!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Yup, That's the Logo

I finally uploaded my new logo and here it is. emi's cafe is making progress. I still don't have my location worked out yet but the delay has given me the opportunity to really refine my business plan and learn more about green initiatives that restaurants can take take to lower water consumption and electrical usage, even things like composting are an option. And yes, I will implement green practices where ever I can.  I firmly believe that small changes do make a difference. I won't be saving the world, but it's a start.

Friday, April 16, 2010

What's Up and What Have We Been Eating?

So, it's been a while since I've had a chance to write anything. As my followers know I am opening emi's cafe, due to be open this fall. What will we be serving?... you guessed it REAL FOOD for lunch and dinner! The last couple of weeks I have finished up my business plan, been looking at tenative locations and I'm negotiating for one of them, found my website guy and now I'm talking to contractors and kitchen designers. I took my foodservice managers class and test. If you want to know about all the gross things that can happen to your food, and not just at restaurants, I'll be happy to share.

And what have we been eating? Not as much new stuff as I would like. Baseball has started for the boys and that puts a kink in to eating together every night, but worth every minute. We have been making a lot of rice, quinoa, and couscous with diferent veggies and chicken or shrimp.

We are having my parents over this weekend for dinner. I'm going to have a cooking day which I'm really looking forward to. I'm thinking about making a tandoori roast lamb for dinner, but will also be stocking up on granola, salsa and whatever else I'm in the mood for and can whip up with the boys. I'll let you know

Friday, March 26, 2010

Monsanto and the Government


I read this on Food Freedom's blog and thought I would share. It is one more example of corporations having too much control in the government and our government not doing their jobs. Clarence Thomas isn't the only one. I just heard on the radio the other day that most of the people appointed by Bush for Department of Enviromental Protection Agency have moved onto big oil companies. And yes I understand they are making big salaries and good for them, but it still leaves me wondering how much of an environmenalist anyone could be?

Monsanto is like the evil empire to me. Their mission as every business's mission is to sell product. I totally get that, but what I have a problem with companies selling neuro-toxins that are basically unregulated, that aren't tested in many cases and until recently were only tested on men. Did we forget our children's bodies are more sensitive than an adult? I presume most of you have read somewhere by now that there are an average of 10 different pesticides on your conventionally grown food. Did you know that no one has tested how they all react together? As I grumbled in an earlier post, strawberries are sprayed with relative from Agent Orange. We all know how well Agent Orange worked.

I have a problem with a company claiming that small farmers are stealing the intellecual property of Monsanto's GMO seeds. There have been several cases where the seed of another farmer has spilled and been blown into the unsuspecting small farmer's land.

So yes, I'm on my soap box again, but these things are important to me. The only way to change it is to change what we buy. And Please go ahead check the facts. I urge everyone to really find out what is in your food.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What do you want to eat?

Let me know what you like to eat. What is your favorite flavor, food, or cuisine?

What We are Having for Dinner

I spent Saturday working on menus and food costs projects for Emi's Cafe (I should be officially incorporated by the end of this week!) and found a bunch of recipes that I saved and haven't made yet. I was creating our menu for the week simutaneaously so I added a couple of them. I always try to incorporate at least one new recipe. I get bored eating the same thing so there is lots of change. My family is getting used to trying new flavors, textures and ingredients etc. I'm not hearing "What is that glop" as much.

This week:

Gingered Red Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes: This tasted great, was easy to make and would probably freeze pretty well. The only problem was the color and texture. The directions tell you to blend the cooked red lentils, which is fine but the color turned out to be a bit pukeish and very pasty. I'm going to have to try this again before I give out the recipe or send a link out. If I can improve looks and texture this will be a winner.

Soba Noodle Salad: Soba Noodles are made from buckwheat and can be found in the Asian section of the grocery store or at an Asian market. This would be great in the summer since it is served cold. It was very simple to make. I would marinate the flank steak (or you could use chicken) first before cooking it. The recipe didn't call for it, but it would add a little more flavor. Cook the soba noodles, shred about 1 cup of nappa, add about 1 cup shredded carrots, I added chopped scallions even though the recipe didn't call for them,  and a few bean sprouts.  For the dressing add equal parts of rice vinegar and tamari (all natural soy sauce) about a tablespoon of sesame or peanut oil, 1 teaspoon of minced ginger and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and mix. Toss over noodles and veggies.  You can either grill the steak (3/4 lb) and then slice thinly or stirfry. Let the steak cool a little and add to the salad. Let it all sit together for at least 1 hour.

Next time when I make this I will double the dressing and marinate the steak before cooking.

Other things to substitute or add to the salad:

snap peas
snow peas
or anything else that appeal to you

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Health Scandal of the Decade – Monsanto’s GMO Perversion of Food « Food Freedom

Health Scandal of the Decade – Monsanto’s GMO Perversion of Food « Food Freedom

I found this on Food Freedom's blog. It does a great job of explaining what genetically modified organisms (GMO) and what Monsanto is doing to our food. Great stuff, the creator of Agent Orange meet agriculture. To me those two things don't mix, but you can find the cousin of Agent Orange on your strawberries.  Let me know what you think please.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Family's New Favorite Soup - Chicken Tortilla Soup

We have been eating a lot of soup lately. Mostly because I can double the recipe easily and freeze half. On those nights I don't feel like cooking, it's really easy to pull out some frozen soup and heat it up.
With all the snow on the ground there is nothing more comforting than hot soup. I made this twice in the last week it is so good. It takes about 45 minutes to make, you can double the recipe and freeze the soup too. And again, even my son Brian, who claims he dislikes chicken, loved it


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4-6 chicken thighs (see note)

1 onion diced

1 jalepeno pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 qt chicken broth

28oz can diced tomatoes

1 cup frozen corn

2 14oz cans black beans, rinsed

1/4 cup parsely and/or cilantro, chopped

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 soft tortillas, sliced thinly

1 lime quartered

  1. In a large sauce pot brown chicken thighs until cooked through, remove from pot and let cool. Drain fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon.
  2. add onion and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent Add jalepeno pepper, saute for 30 seconds
  3. Add the chicken broth, deglazing the pan and scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add tomatoes, corn, black beans, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes
  5. Meanwhile shred the chicken, and add back to the pot and simmer for 5-10 minutes
  6. Heat a small sauted pan over medium-low heat. Add sliced tortilla strips and "saute" until the strips start to brown and become crisp.

Ladle soup into bowls, add a little parsley/cilantro and squeeze lime on top of soup. Garnish with tortilla strips. Serves 4-6 as a main dish.


You can substitute 2 chicken breast for the thighs if you like. I use thighs because I think they add better flavor. The chicken breast have less fat.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Most Delicious Potato?

I shared some of the many, and I mean MANY potatoes I have received from our winter CSA with my mom. I warned her that the potatoes were really dense and took forever to cook. Tonight she emailed me and said "That was the most delicious potato I have ever eaten."  I had to read the email twice. A potato was worth commenting on? Really? It was a potato, we not talking tomatoes or strawberries here, and then I realized, of course it probably was the most delicious potato she had ever eaten. It was grown by two people who actually care about what they produce. It wasn't flown half way around the world, picked before it could have any flavor. It wasn't sprayed with wax or 12 different kind of pesticides (that no one has tested the effects of mixing together). This potato still had the dirt from the earth which it was picked. This potato is real and it actually had flavor.

I have been thinking about how to define real food and why it's important to me. My mom's comment pretty much sums it up. If you are going to eat - and we all have to - shouldn't it all be delicious?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Simplicity of Salad

We eat a lot of salad, at least a couple times a week for dinner and I frequently take salad for lunch. I love making salad because no two are ever the same. What goes in depends on the time of year and what I have on hand. To keep it easy I buy big tubs of spring mix or baby spinach at the grocery store. The tubs are easy because I literally throw a handful on everyone's plate or in my lunch container and add whatever else I feel like. If I have other lettuces from our CSA then I add that too, just for variation. My typical combination includes lettuce(s), some other veggies, cheese, nuts/seeds.

Too many times we get stuck doing the same old thing because it is easy and we just need to eat. Below are some of the things I put in my salads regularly. And remember this applies to any salad, pasta, chicken, tuna or other wise. Add a few walnuts to your fruit salad and taste the difference.

  • cucumber
  • fennel
  • carrots (usually the preshredded ones)
  • radishes
  • pepper
  • celery
  • mushrooms
  • asparagus (raw or cooked)
  • tomatoes (grape, cherry or otherwise)
  • cooked leeks
  • squash
    • zucchini, summer or cooked butternut
  • peas
  • snap peas
  • snow peas
  • sprouts
  • apples 
  • pears
  • raspberries
  • blueberries (dried and fresh)
  • dried cranberries
  • mandarin orange
  • clementines
  • cherries (dried and fresh) 
  • grapes
Nuts and Seeds:
  • walnuts
  • almonds
  • pecans
  • peanuts
  • cashews
  • sesame seed
  • sunflower seeds
  • flax seeds (grind first)
 Cheese: Just a little goes a long way! Think a tablespoon per person
  • cheddar
  • parmesean
  • bleu
  • gruyere
  • swiss
  • feta
Note: Please do not buy crumbled cheese. It tends to spoil more quickly and be of lesser quality

  • chick peas
  • black beans
  • cannelli
Note: I used Bush canned beans most of the time. The last time I read the ingredient label there was no salt added.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dinner Ideas: What We Are Eating This Week - part two

So what else are we eating besides Turkey and Black Bean Soup?

Tonight we are having Salmon w/ Pepita Lime Butter, and Curried Squash. The Salmon is from Eating Well http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/salmon_with_pepita_lime_butter_for_two.html and the Curried Squash is from Clean Eating Magazine. It has brown basmati rice, acorn squash (although I'm going to use butternut squash) and baby spinach in it. I thought the combination of the flavors of Mexico/Latin America and India might be fun to try. We'll see how everyone else likes it.

Rustic Genovese Basil Pesto Pasta:  Again this is from Clean Eating Magazine. This is pasta (multigrain) with  basil pesto,  1 russet potato, cherry tomatoes and green beans. I'm going to add parsely to my basil pesto because I don't have enough fresh basil to make pesto. Of course you can buy pesto too and just add the other ingredients. 

I'll also be serving a huge salad with this too. Probably mixed field greens and cucumbers and who knows what else. I always do something different!

Black Bean and Feta Quesadillas:  I'm planning to make this on the weekend. It's quick, easy and really good.  I saute a little onion, add a 15oz can of tomatoes, one 15oz can of black beans and mash it together so that it becomes a really rough paste.  Add a little salt and pepper, about one teaspoon of chili powder and a tablespoon of chopped parsely. Mix altogether and add to whole wheat tortillas. You can cook them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or put them in a saute pan with a tiny bit of oil heat them that way.

Enjoy and I hope you try something new.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dinner Ideas: What We Are Eating This Week

It's been warmer here the last couple of days and I'm really dying to grill. The grill, however is in the gargage surrounded by the sub-floor, the bamboo floor, and bathroom fixtures for the basement project we've been working on for a couple of months. There is a small path from the back door through the garage and out the garage door, so getting the grill out isn't going to happen for at least another week when we should have the sub-floor down. So since I'm stuck cooking inside for the next couple of days, this is what we are having:

Turkey and Black Bean Soup: This is a staple at our house. It's easy to make, you can double recipe, it freezes and frequently it's something I give as a gift. Even Brian, my oldest and my sister, who claim they don't like beans, love this. The original recipe is from Cooking.com, but I have changed enough to call it my own.

The Recipe:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 lb ground turkey
1 tablespoon chilipowder
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
several dashes tabasco
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1 15oz can black beans
1 quart chick stock
10oz spinach, kale or other steaming greens, washed, stems removed

  1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven add olive oil and ground turkey. Brown turkey until completely cooked. Remove turkey.
  2. Add onion and saute over medium heat until translucent
  3. Add turkey back to pot and add spices. Let cook for several minutes to allow flavors to blend
  4. Add chicken stock, tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes
  5. Add spinach or kale. Cook until wilted and serve.
Serve with at little parmesean as garnish.


I prefer Kale when I know I'm going to freeze this. The kale holds up better and doesn't get mushy.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Chicken Pot Pie

Last week in my post I wrote that I was going to make Chicken Pot Pie from a Bon Appetit magazine that I have had for quite some time. Well, I didn't thoroughly read the ingredients or the directions for this recipe, which by the way, is not my usual menu planning method. I went to make this Sunday afternoon, and read the instructions only to find that it required three, yes that's THREE sticks of butter. Now I remember why the last time I made this was about seven years ago. All that butter, two for the cream cheese crust and one for the  sauce in the filling, not exactly on my healthy list. The pot pie was outstanding, we were all falling all over ourselves to have the last bite, but now that we have eaten it, I'm going to have exercise twice as much this week

The reason why I chose this recipe, artery clogging that it is, and what you will see here over and over is to try something different! Just a little change can be inspiring. Add a little something different to a recipe that you make all the time. Try a food that you thought you might not care for. As I always tell my guests when I'm serving something new "You can always spit it out" and I hand them a napkin.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dinner Ideas: What We Are Eating This Week

The holidays are over and we are getting back to our regular schedule. As I do every year, I endeavor to seek different things to try. This week is no different, most of what I'm cooking this week, I have never made before. I have chosen pretty simple meals during the week and a couple of more time consuming recipes this weekend. So, this is what we are eating:

Minestrone Soup with Quinoa: I found this in January issue of Clean Eating Magazine and it was amazing. It took a total of 30 minutes and even Brian who is rather particular went back for seconds. The recipe included tomatoes, carrots, cannelli beans, spinach, and of course the Quinoa (pronouced KEENwah) I added chicken broth and celery.

Stuffed Butternut Squash: Around Thanksgiving we saw an article about stuffed pumpkins and what to put in them. I have been planning to do something similar since then, but hadn't gotten to it. Tonight I stuffed butternut squash with wheatberries, sausage from one of the local farms, brown rice, leeks (I had these left over from something I made a couple days ago) dried cranberries, a couple mushrooms and chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. I cut the squash in half, scooped out seeds and a little of the middle and spooned the wheatberry and rice mixture over. This was perfect tonight. It has been so cold and this warmed us all.

Chicken Pot Pie with a Twist: I'll be making this during the weekend. You can forget the standard peas and carrots here. This is a recipe from an old issue of Bon Appetite and has roasted red peppers, shitake mushrooms, and green beans. I bought a whole chicken so I'll probably make two and freeze one pie.

Coq Au Vin: Last weekend Garth and I watched Julie and Julia. Watching Meryl Streep as Julia Child inspired me to give one of Julia Child's recipes a try. I have never made coq au vin, which is a chicken stew made with red wine. I googled Julia's recipe and will be making this over the weekend too.  Here is the link to the recipe I will be making http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/recipe?id=7113750

Happy Cooking!!

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