Friday, January 30, 2009


Look, I can see the writing on the walls. (Actually, the truth is that I can see the muffin top above my jeans.) It's easy to hide under those snow bibs now, but spring is coming, and so it's time to get serious about a plan to avoid embarrassment (come my high school reunion).

I get the distinct feeling that I am not alone here. So here's a shout-out to all the winter-weary mamas coming to terms with the fact that they've accumulated a little extra pudding under the skin this year.

If you are the type that craves salty-sweet, you can avoid a dietary shame spiral (Fritos dipped in Nutella?) with this snack. You will like it. You will feel classy eating it...well, classier than the Frito/Nutella option, anyhow.

Proscuitto 1.8 oz (4 slices): 100 Calories, 6 g Fat, 0 g Fiber (2.5 WW Points)
Cantaloupe 4.7 oz (1/2 cup): 46 Calories, 0.3 g Fat, 1.2 g Fiber (0.7 WW Points)
Total: 146 Calories, 6.3 g Fat, 1.2 g Fiber (3.2 WW Points)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Celebrating Change

Inauguration Day was quite an event, yes? No matter which guy (or gal) you voted for, you can't deny the excitement that surrounded this past Tuesday. And I can't deny that I'll find any reason to justify a party. So to celebrate this historic presidency, we got together with a few of our neighbors for hors d'oeuvres, drinks and an encore of the inaugural address on the TiVo.

The eight us sophisticated adults waxed philosophical about change, history and the years ahead over mini Moroccan lamb burgers, endive with Roquefort and walnuts, shots of creamy wild mushroom soup, and prosciutto-wrapped melon. Our six children (most of them under 6 years old) ran around like the heathens they are, occasionally chanting, "Yes we can!" at the top of their lungs, but mostly whining and arguing over Legos.

Despite the distractions, we all had a great time. For dessert we indulged in cups of Obama Blend coffee and Galette des Rois, a French pastry cake traditionally served on the day of Epiphany. But the dessert--most typically associated with the New Year--still seemed fitting. After a few sips of champagne and a peek of the new First Lady in her ball gown, we packed up our worn-out kids and we called it a night. Good times, good friends, good food...Good luck, Mr. President!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Inspiration for a Chilly World

It’s that time of year again—that magical time when seed catalogs start appearing in mailboxes everywhere, sporting page after page of jewel-toned produce splayed out in all its glory. It’s almost like a little veggie burlesque show, really—sugar snap peas with their pods bursting open, tomatoes glistening with morning dew…and don’t get me started on the melons. But I digress…

It’s also the time of year when foodies like me (with barely a lick of gardening sense) are tempted to just start buying up a dozen or so seed packets of whatever they wish they were eating right now—my current cravings include fava beans, and New Orchid (orange flesh) watermelon. For me at least, making a wish list of recipes I want to make sure grace my summer table this year is far more productive than going crazy with an online order to Johnny’s.

Finding culinary inspiration for the New Year is easy in Local Flavors by Debora Madison. It is a well-rounded cookbook that highlights the bounty of the farm market. Filled with stories of Madison’s experiences at markets across the country, it includes the kind of recipes that will make you clamor for warm, sun-saturated tomatoes and sweet corn—for example, her recipes for Chilled Sun Gold Tomato Soup or Warm Corn Custard with Berries.

Cookbooks like Local Flavors are great for people who participate in CSA’s and find themselves wondering, “What the hell am I supposed to do with all this kohlrabi?” Better yet, many of the recipes utilize several veggies together to make coherent dishes, which helps keep your palate from getting bored when certain items are in abundance. I picked up the book last summer and fell into the trappings of Madison’s recipes for summer fruit desserts like Plum Kuchen and Apricot-Cherry Crisp. This year I vow to be more nutritionally diplomatic.

Madison also takes care to include winter fruits like citrus and subtropicals, as well as recipes using farm-fresh eggs and cheeses. And given the general year-round availability of many fruits and vegetables, there are plenty of recipes that are relevant to your kitchen no matter how much snow is piling up in your driveway. (This afternoon, it was heaven take a break from building an igloo in our backyard to pop a handful of Florida strawberries. I didn’t care at all that they traveled a thousand miles before reaching my doorstep—and you know what? They were pretty tasty!)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hot Damn!!

Tonight I am thankful for:

Wednesday Night Special on made-to-order, ooey-gooey pizza from Whole Foods. 16" of lovely mushroom pizza for $8.99. It's about the only reason I'll walk into Whole Foods given my urge to splurge on food items outside of our budget. Although I must admit that I left the store with hot pizza in hand and a six-pack of Dark Horse Brewing Company's Reserve Special Black Bier Ale-see what I mean about the urge to splurge?

It got me wondering...What is your weakness- the item(s) you are most likely to toss into your grocery basket that you had no intention of buying when you walked into the store? Chocolate? Booze? Lucky Charms? Just curious...