Archives for February 2011

Winter Pizza Inspiration (recipe: Caramelized Onions)

Vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh basil are my absolute favorite pizza toppings. I slice the tomatoes thinly, tear the basil and marry them under a blanket of fresh mozzarella. A drizzle of olive oil and…heaven.

However, this deluxe pizza margherita is a summer-only treat, as local fresh tomatoes are but a memory of last August and – aww snap! – my basil plant got hit with frost months ago.  Now, tomatoes are tasteless rocks, a single bell pepper costs upwards of $3, and zucchinis are shriveled and soft. Not at all ideal garnish for my Friday night pizza.

So what is one to do during the winter months when the pizza cravings hit? I don’t love loading up pizza with meat – I prefer my ham glazed with a side of scalloped potatoes, thank you very much – and gravitate toward vegetarian toppings, no matter the season. Here are some of my favorites, plus my secret weapon recipe to great tasting pizza anytime.

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Three Favorite Pancake Recipes (Buckwheat, Cornmeal & Whole Wheat)

I couldn’t very well give you a line-up of all natural homemade pancake syrups and not share any pancake recipes now, could I? Besides, with Pancake Tuesday coming up, I thought you could probably use a new recipe or two in your back pocket to whip out for the kids.

These are three solid favorites from my griddlecake repertoire. In fact, I keep jars of buckwheat flour, cornmeal and organic whole-wheat flour on hand at all times as well as a jug of buttermilk for those non-supper nights when I just want to keep everyone happy.
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5 Ways to Conserve Coin in the Kitchen

I‘m guest posting over at Life…Your Way today and talking about ways to eat great and not break the bank. 5 Ways to Conserve Coin in the Kitchen is packed with super smart shopping tips plus kitchen organization techniques that also help me save money.

From the post:

“As I write this, I realize I haven’t set foot in a grocery store or market in eight days – and there’s food prepped for tomorrow’s dinner. How have I stayed out of the aisles and kept money in my wallet? Because we benefit from a weekly menu plan, a well-stocked pantry and a wee bit of flexibility in our meals; these actions save us time and money, too, as we buy just what we need and not more.”

Head over to Life…Your Way to read 5 Ways to Conserve Coin in the Kitchen.

Nourishing Nuggets: How to Make Spanish Croquetas

Croquetas or Croquettes are what I call “Spanish style chicken nuggets”. However, they are versatile as they can be made with different kinds of meat including fish. Adults and children love them alike which makes them a popular tapa (appetizer) throughout Spain.

Croquetas make a great lunch especially for children as they not only taste great but they’re nourishing. They’re made using flour, butter and whole milk creating a thick béchamel sauce. A meat is added and after a period of rest, they are deep fried in extra virgin olive oil.

Feel free to fry them up in coconut oil or farm fresh pork lard as these are also great sources of healthy saturated fats filled with vitamins and nutrients.

Being a busy mama, I always make a double batch of croquetas as they can be frozen and fried in smaller quantities as you need them.

Crispy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside, croquetas are typically made after a large batch of puchero andaluz or when having made homemade beef or chicken broth.  The tender extra meat is shredded and used in the filling.

Next time you make homemade beef or chicken broth, save some of the meat for homemade Spanish croquetas. Your family will not be disappointed.

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Cooking and Eating with Kids


Ah, February. With your icy snow, brutal winds and gray mornings, no wonder we turn our backs on you and set up camp in the kitchen.

Cooking and eating with kids has been an unofficial theme over at Simple Bites this month (well, that and sympathy meals). It’s only natural to hit the kitchen when it is nasty outside.

It started with a guest post on healthy snacks for kids. Cindy’s easy recipes for Apple Chips & Sun Butter Bites showed how easy it is to reform snack time. Even I was ready for an update.

In another post, I shared how winter is the best season for encouraging kids in the kitchen and Noah made a Baked Apple-Gingerbread Pancake almost completely on his own.


Simple Bites contributor Lynn then gave us a thorough post on baking with kids, not to mention a fantastic giant oatmeal cookie recipe. She provided a simple breakdown with doable steps and tons of super smart tips. She is not called The Cookie Baker for nothin’.

On a similar note, I guest posted over at Food for My Family on the (much discussed, often heated) topic of picky eaters. I give 5 Tips for Surviving with a Selective Eater and try to avoid pointing fingers at the parents. Seriously, can we stop giving parents guilt trips and just accept that kids are kids?


Last weekend, Danny, the boys and I ate nothing but pancakes as we were taste testing five varieties of homemade pancake syrup. There was no complaining to speak of from the picky eaters.

Look for a few new pancake recipes coming up just in time for Pancake Tuesday.