Friday, May 22, 2015

Cookbooks for Produce

As the season for produce from CSA's and home gardens has finally arrived, I thought I would share three of my favorite cookbooks for inspiration on how to use all that fresh produce.

Steven Satterfield's Root to Leaf is my newest cookbook and I'm really loving it.  I read it from cover to cover on our Spring Break trip!  I found that I really enjoy the format he uses in his cookbook; he breaks the book up into four seasons and what's fresh and in season during that period.  I also love  how he starts each section with information about each fruit or vegetable that includes history, differences amongst the various varieties and how to properly keep and store the produce.  The recipes also feel very doable and not overly complicated or requiring ingredients that I have to special order!  I've made a few recipes so far and each one has been a keeper.  Also, I love that the recipes often have a southern twist.  I recently made a rhubarb recipe with our very own harvest of rhubarb!

I purchased Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison  last year and have found it to be a good resource as well.  It is divided into sections based on the vegetable.  It too has a ton of information about the vegetable (and the different varieties) along with recipes.  The only negative I've found is that the recipes sometimes call for specialty varieties that aren't growing in my garden or available at my market.  However, I've made some very tasty dishes from this book and consider it valuable to my summer time cooking repertoire.

The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson is just so fun to thumb through.  For better or for worse, pictures and graphics are very important to me in a cookbook and she nails it!  Her style is so charming and the pictures make you want to make every single thing in the book!  Though we are not vegetarians, I've found it to be great for side dishes and the cocktails are always good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Favorite Things #48

I've been on a smoothie making streak lately.  I just love that I can drink something tasty and get healthy stuff in my body at the same time.  The children are even on board with the smoothies, though there have been a few that none of us could get enthusiastic about (oat smoothie anyone?).

I also love our glass smoothie straws!  They are wide so that the thick smoothie can travel through the straw.  I chose to get glass dots on ours (they are four different colors) so that they wouldn't roll off of surfaces and so that we would know whose was whose drink.  I think they are loads better than disposable ones and they are attractive too.  They even came with a little brush to clean them with.

Anyone have great smoothie recipes to share?

Monday, May 18, 2015


Here's a little update of what's been going on in our household...

Bryce took Harris on a backpacking trip with another Dad and son.  It was a great foray into hiking in with a full backpack.  Bryce said Harris did great!

Best friends at the May Day event at school.

Grace's ballet school just completed their spring show, Don Quixote.  Grace was not exactly thrilled with her costume this year (she was a fire dancer) but it worked on stage.  After the show, she had a sleepover with her ballet friends.  I love that she has this group of friends separate from school and that she shares a common interest with!

I recently got to accompany Grace's class to the Met for a field trip.  The parents who attended had a great time as well as the children.  That's a win-win!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Please and Thank You

I'm not very good at praying.  You know those people who can say a beautiful, touching and heartfelt prayer and it seems as if the words are just flowing naturally from their lips?  I'm so not one of them. In fact, praying often takes the form of conversation for me and God.  And many, many times it only consists of "thank you" and "please."

thank you for my family
thank you for my home
thank you for my many blessings
thank you, thank you, thank you

please let me be a good Mom
please watch over my children
please heal those who are ill
please, please, please

Yesterday, I left to drop Harris of at the baseball fields for warm-ups and Grace stayed home to get ready for ballet.  No more than a minute down the road, Harris realized he left his baseball bat at home (something he has never done before) and I decided to turn around and get it.  As soon as we pulled in the driveway, Grace came running out yelling for me.  All the fire alarms were blaring and a pot holder was in full flames on the stovetop.  I was able to easily grab the holder with tongs and fling it in the sink full of water and a crises was averted.  Grace handled a scary situation beautifully and with a clear head and I'm so proud of her.  And I'm so thankful.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mother's Day Gifts

I thought I'd share the sweet little love gifts I got for Mother's Day this year in addition to breakfast in bed!

Grace gave me fruit jelly belly's since I love them so and topped them off with a darling strawberry origami that she made. 

Harris wrote a poem(ish).  Please note that he said "Happy Mother's Day Mum."  That's because lately we are trying to be a bit more British (or, you know, British at all).  Thank you Harry Potter. And Princess Kate.  

Bryce got me the loveliest, most wonderful and charming book on kitchen gardens.  It's no longer in print, and I'm just so happy to have it that I've already read it cover to cover.  The illustrations are by Tasha Tudor and are darling. 

It's even signed by both author and illustrator!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Being a Mom

I love being a Mom.  In fact, I sometimes worry that entirely too much of my identity is wrapped up in being a Mom to Harris and Grace.  I worry about when they leave the nest and I no longer have them home to make special treats for, or dinners to plan, or even carpools to organize.

Already there is a shift in my role as Mom.   Special picture books, themed food and organized crafty activities no longer occupy much of our day. Instead it's school, baseball, ballet, friends and worry.

A whole lot of worry.   Are we doing this right?  Are we giving it enough thought and attention or are we just making it through the day (that's what it often feels like!).  Should we scale back or push more?  Do the children know the value of hard work?  Are they too entitled?  Are they kind?  Do they think of others?  Are they respectful?

Of course, they fail and we fail.  Often.  But that's ok and hopefully we learn from our mistakes.  In the end, I just want our children to be good people with solid morals and character.  I've realized that I don't care if they go to an ivy league school or are protégées in music, sports or dance.  I just want them to know that they are loved and valued and that they can contribute to making our world a better place to live in big ways but also, and perhaps most importantly, in little ways every single day.  I feel like perhaps that's my most important role as a Mom and I'm so honored to be able to work toward that end with Grace and Harris.  My prayer, always, is that I can be up to that task and do right by these beautiful children that are mine to raise!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Eosinophilic Esophagitis Update

Two weeks ago, Harris had another endoscopy to see where he stood after having been back on corn for 4 months.  The scope had been scheduled for a month ago, but the doctors decided they wanted Harris to be on Flonase for 4 weeks to cut out the possibility of seasonal allergies messing up his numbers.  I'm happy to report that he had a totally normal scope with zero eosinophils!  That makes two perfect scopes in a row (we'd never had one before January!).  Harris has been off of corn since 2011 and either he's outgrown his corn allergy or, more likely, he was never allergic to corn in the first place.  This method of testing and discovering allergies is so imprecise and involves so much guesswork that it can be incredibly frustrating!

I wasn't sure that this scope would turn out so well as he had had a week with bouts of dysphasia, even getting an apple stuck for several hours during school.  Of course I'm left wondering what that was about, perhaps he had something that we were unaware contained a taboo ingredient? Or perhaps he just didn't chew his food enough?  Honestly, for a child with issues with his esophagus he doesn't take small enough bites!  Also, when that apple got stuck?  He didn't feel the need to mention it to anyone at school and therefore went the rest of the day with an apple stuck in his esophagus (nothing will go past the impacted food, not even saliva).

Our next step is to put gluten back in his diet and have another scope in three months.  Harris is a tad disappointed as he was hoping to go back on dairy so that he could have real ice cream!  For now we will just revel in the fact that we can finally, finally enjoy corn on the cob!  We missed it for the past four years...
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