When we went to Sur La Table, we were surprised by how enjoyable it was to do a cooking class. The chef was fun and funny and made the meal prep easy and non-intimidating. He definitely saw potential in David though and gave him all the “hard” prep tasks and my more hesitant self was perfect for peeling the ginger with a spoon. When we are among friends and strangers in social settings, I am for sure the extrovert while David takes a bit longer to warm up to the crowd. However in task-oriented or performance-based activities, David readily let’s down his hair, dons his apron and digs in, while I question everything about myself and am paralyzed by my crushing imposter syndrome! By the end of class though, I eased up on myself and enjoyed every bite of the meal we cooked alongside Chef Roy. The food was so delicious that we decided to make a new New Year’s Day tradition of cooking Chinese food at home. So we invited my parents over and served up some Chinese barbecue pork and it tasted like perfection!
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
1lb pork tenderloin
Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and pour over pork. I placed the pork is a casserole dish covered in the marinade and let sit in the refrigerator for two hours. Take out of the frig thirty minutes before cooking to get it to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking dish in foil and place a wire rack on top. In a non stick skillet add a tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium. Add the pork to the skillet and brown on all sides about 4 minutes per side. Using tongs transfer to wire rack and roast in the oven about 15 minutes or until internal temperature registers 145. Transfer pork to cutting board with a well and tent with foil to let rest for ten minutes. Then slice and enjoy.
Mrs. Constantine asked Henry at preschool: What is your favorite food? Henry earnestly responded as though there could be only one right answer for him and everyone else: BROCCOLI. At pick up, Mrs. C had to verify the validity of that three year old’s statement to which my mother, who gets Henry from school, confirmed swiftly. He has said that green vegetable is his all time food choice for almost a year now, so yes, we eat a ton of it! I once heard a TV doctor say that broccoli is better for you than an apple so we are going with that. Broccoli is part of at least three-four meals at our house since it is green, easy, and both boys don’t protest it. From time to time, I try to do more with those flowery stalks than a mere steam or sheet pan roast. Two days ago we turned some broccoli and cauliflower into fritters and we won’t be turning back!
They may not look like the most tantalizing dish you have ever laid your eyes on but I promise that once this plate went down we left no fritter behind!
1 head of broccoli
1 head of cauliflower
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dices garlic
1/4 cup panko
1/4 cup flour (or you can do all panko or gf panko)
Steam the veggies together on the stovetop for about five minutes. Remove and place into a large mixing bowl with all the other ingredients. Mash together with a potato masher. In a frying pan, heat up a tablespoon of olive oil, with that tablespoon grab a heaping scoop of the broccoli mixture and plop into the pan. Using the back of the spoon give your heap a little press to flatten a bit. Repeat until you have about four patties in the pan. Cook for 2-4 minutes or until fritter is golden then flip and repeat.
Are you ready for the snow-apocalypse? the bombogenesis? the bomb cyclone? They are predicting quite a monster storm to hit Boston tomorrow. Some stations are saying 12 inches others 15, but the consensus is that there will be super high winds accompanying the storm ranging from 50 to 60 mph. Sheesh! That sounds nasty. My biggest concern is having power during this storm. Living in the woods is delightful during delightful weather but a little nerve-wracking during storms when trees come down. Please keep everything crossed that the timber falls away from any homes and that the power stays on. In preparation for staying home for at least the next 24 hours, we prepped some healthy cozy soup. Nothing feels better in winter than a warm belly. Especially after a week of record low temps! Tonight’s dinner was a crowd pleasure and super simple to throw together because you just throw everything into a single pot. My favorite kind of recipe because clean-up is easy peasy so this will definitely be a dinner we make during the busy work week.
1 butternut squash cut into 1 inch cubes
1 diced onion
14oz can of coconut milk
2 tablespoons lemongrass (I bought the Roland brand)
2 tablespoons fresh diced ginger
1 tablespoon diced garlic
2 tablespoons of butter
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of red curry paste
zest of two limes
juice of one lime
2 cups of water
In a large pot over medium heat, add the butter, garlic, onion and ginger and sauté until fragrant. Add the curry paste and mix into the aromatics. Add the butternut squash and water, bring to a simmer. Let simmer in pot half covered for 15 minutes. Add coconut milk, lemongrass, salt and pepper and simmer for 15 more minutes. Stir in zest of two limes and the juice of 1 lime. Use a blender or immersion blender to make smooth and creamy in texture. We toasted up a slice of bread and used it as a spoon to shovel in this delicious soup! Enjoy.
WOW Christmas is kind of like the motto for the month of March: In like a lion and out like a lamb. Or maybe it is more like frenzied like Black Friday shopping all day everyday for three weeks and then a quick retreat into a stress induced nap until New Year’s Eve? Driving home from my last present run, I turned to my mom and said, “Okay now for the the next three days we won’t go near route 9” and just saying that out loud felt exhilarating and liberating and like a lie. We both knew that three days before Christmas was too long of a stretch to truly avoid the “need” to venture back out into the storm. Once David was officially off from work for a four day holiday weekend though we slipped into our pjs and did not come out of them! We committed to eating our way through the holidays in stretchy pants with the little ones magically experiencing the joys of Santa’s present delivery. Henry and Owen spent a lot of time in front of the fireplace calling up to Santa in the days before his arrival to ask if they could have cars and if they were good and if Santa sees them. I nearly died laughing at the cuteness. And then it snowed on Christmas morning and all the magic just exploded over Massachusetts. The little guys exhausted themselves outside running in the snow and eating more of it than is appropriate. It felt a little hectic at times as we tried to cook enough meals to feed at least four hundred people but it also felt like the first year we were starting some real holiday traditions: baking cookies, watching a few Christmas movies under blankets, baking pies and cooking dinner together as a family, playing in the snow, opening presents, and spreading Christmas cheer loud enough for all to hear! We had two sets of grandparents with us, a fire, smiles and enough coffee to fill a swimming pool. It was all quite delightful. Fast on its heels was my thirty-third birthday yesterday which started with sleeping in until 7AM (HOLY DOODLE!) and ended with a pile of cannoli! Now it is time to tuck myself into sugar coma for a minimum of 7 days. The boys are busy playing, David is back to work, and I get to take one more week off before going back into the classroom. The holidays hit fast but they are so sweet….especially with the littles the holidays are so so so sweet.
Eating breakfast isn’t something I do enough. Yes, yes, that is a terrible thing to say but with two kids and a clock ticking for me to get in the car and head to work somehow the easiest thing to strip away is my breakfast. With a half cup of coffee drunk, we are off to races! Thankfully summer and the explosion of timelines is a reminder that actually I need breakfast to keep me from snapping at those around me and to just fuel up for what the day brings. I have been experimenting with ideas for easy get up and go breakfasts and landed on this protein packed meal that kept me full way past lunchtime even!
I made it mostly overnight and then just warmed it up for the rest of week.
1 cup of quinoa and 1 cup of steel cut oats soak overnight in water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Then rinse in the morning in a strainer and toss into a saucepan with almond milk. Bring to a simmer and stir for about ten minutes. Place in a bowl and top with anything! I did cinnamon, raspberries, and almonds. And then just heated up the leftovers and had a hot belly warming meal every morning. It was quite delightful.
A lot of mommies will tell you to eat what you crave, it’s a way of your body “telling” you want it wants while growing that little human. I like this idea although I am not entirely sure it is true. Those times when I was craving Sour Patch Kids did my body really want sugar to compensate for a deficiency, or was I just being a hungry mom-to-be in that moment? Gray area, perhaps?
Truthfully though most of my cravings have not been for “junk” food which has been helpful. And right now, I cannot seem to get enough eggs. So on this rainy Boston day, while Henry naps, I cooked up a delicious cheddar, broccoli, potato frittata by Sarah Waldman. It hit the spot and I am not sure if I can care it with anyone else!
I have gotten into a groove. It is a weird pattern though but it seems to work for us right now. Henry likes to eat dinner around 5/5:20PM. An early bird to the dinner table causing the rest of us to join the little man earlier than we might like for our family dinner. The turn around time then from when I get home from work and when Henry wants to eat dinner is too narrow for me to cook a hot meal. So how do I solve this problem? I cook dinner the night before! Yup, so on Sunday night at 6:30PM, I cook dinner for Monday night. Then on Monday when we get home, we just warm it up and enjoy a family dinner. This helps me from buying take-out and eating junky foods, and lets us all get in a nutritious meal in our narrow window. Then Henry goes to sleep and I can take my time cooking dinner for Tuesday, etc. etc. And of course snack on it to make sure it is good.
What have we been noshing on? Some super simple and delicious Stuffed Acorn Squash.
2 acorn squashes (about 1 1/2 pounds each), halved and seeded
1/2 cup bulgur
4 ounces manchego or Cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
3 ounces cured chorizo, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
Heat oven to 450. Place the squash halves cut-side down in a baking dish, add ¼ inch water, and bake until tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Prepare the bulgur as instructions. In a medium bowl, combine the bulgur, manchego, chorizo, parsley, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. When the squash is done stuff with the bowl mixture. Place back in the over for 5-8 minutes to melt cheese and warm it all up. ENJOY!