Archives for January 2012

How to Plan a Snow Picnic

Excerpts from this post were originally published in January, 2011.

We’ve had a mild winter so far, brilliant sunlight, crisp cool air, and a peaceful blanket of white snow – now that is the mix for a perfect outing. We’ve been getting outdoors every day out of sheer necessity; it’s far too easy to go bonkers when you’re snowed in! Sometimes we go sledding, sometimes walking, but all the kids really need is a snow bank to have fun.

In summer we practically eat everything outdoors, but winter confines us to the dining room table three times a day, and quite frankly, that gets old. Why not plan a winter picnic to change things up?

With proper planning and an adventurous spirit, a snow picnic can be every bit of fun -if not more- than a summer picnic. Here are my tips to keep everyone happy on such an outing – both parents and children!

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Spotlight Ingredient: Beets (Recipe: Beet & Orzo Salad with Feta)

Last November, when roadside produce stands were closing down shop for the winter, I snagged a ten-pound bag of young beets for ninety-nine cents. Thrilled at the great deal I had just made, I imagined the beets lasting us through the winter – and all for pennies.

They were gone by Christmas. Apparently I like beets, a lot. There’s something about their firm texture and earthy I-can-taste-the-garden flavor that satisfies my hankering for vegetables in January.

I’ve since discovered that my ardor for this hearty, affordable, vegetable is shared by few; too few, in my opinion. Perhaps cooks are deterred by the length of cooking time, as beets must be first roasted or boiled properly, but then again, so do potatoes.

I believe, as is often the case with lesser-known ingredients, that people just don’t know what to do with beets. Hopefully by the end of this post, I’ll have planted a few ideas for incorporating the mildly sweet, crimson-red beet into your cooking repertoire.

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How to Prevent a Domestic Disturbance

Written by Danny.

As the loving husband of your favorite Simple Bites Editor (Aimee), I’ve got the inside scoop on what really happens around here and today, I’m going to spill the beans and tell you one of our family secrets. We have a serious problem in our home, one that could very well lead to instability, sharp words, lost sleep and much, much worse.

Usually when there’s a problem in a relationship, both parties are partially responsible, but this time, I confidently accept no blame. It’s all squarely on Aimee’s shoulders.  You see, Aimee alone has a problem.  A serious one.

Her doctor has said that she needs to slow down and stay off her feet, but instead, she’s nesting. [Read more…]

Hello 2012


We’re 23 days into the new year and I finally feel like I’ve found my footing after the holidays.

Our Christmas break was a bit brutal as our household got slammed with sickness that left us housebound for the first week of 2012. Ear aches, flu, strep throat, pink eye – you name it, someone had it. Even the cats were sick, each of them making a trip to the vet for mysterious ailments. Good grief.

We were in survival mode, but fortunately Danny was home to pick up the slack, make pharmacy runs, administer the pills to the cats, and the eye drops to the kids. The man is a keeper.


On top of everything, I turned the corner into my third trimester, and with that milestone came a bundle of classic side effects. I’ll spare you those details, save to say they spurred me into action. We have reason to believe this little girl may come earlier than intended (I’m 33 weeks now), so over the last few weeks I’ve given full rein to my nesting compulsions and preparations for baby are well underway.

There’s a handmade cradle by my bed now, looking so inviting that both boys insisted they could still fit in it and would have tried, had I let them. A dresser drawer holds a handful of white infant garments, a few unisex items I saved from the boys. There’s now a shelf just for baby in the bathroom, with some of my favorite baby skin care products from Graham Gardens, and teeny newborn diapers.


Despite being housebound and hoarse, Danny and I teamed up in the kitchen to get some meals in the freezer. While the snow fell, we sliced and diced our way to build a little storehouse of lasagna, lamb & lentil stew, chicken soup, coconut chicken curry, chili and more meals for those early weeks with baby.

Just knowing little things like that are in place give me peace of mind. Let this tiny one come early; we can’t wait to meet her.

Oh and 2012? I’m ready for you too.

Recipe: Baked Brown Rice Pilaf

We’re a little over three weeks into the new year which is long enough to put your food resolutions to the test – if you made any. In this January edition of our Eat Well, Spend Less series, we’re taking a look at those goals and how we’re measuring up.

I recently shared my intentional food goals for 2012 (and loved reading yours in the comments!), and the one that I have to address daily is eating well for baby.

Diet in the third trimester is requires a bit more thought than usual for one obvious reason: I’m always hungry. Snacking takes on a whole new meaning, shifting from a casual appeasing of the munches to a full on survival tactic.

Thanks to an ever-growing uterus pressing on my stomach, I can’t comfortably eat a regular sized meal. Often my plate holds the same amount of food as my preschooler – and I’m feeling stuffed after the meal; hence, I eat small meals, but more frequently.

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