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Happy 2014!!

31 Dec


Hoping 2014 will bring everything you wish for


Eating Your Curds And Whey

25 Apr

I wanted to share this article I wrote and styled for Edible Magazine. My husband is the photographer and my daughter was the taster.  I use the whey from the cheese making as my liquid in the biscuits, it creates less waste and adds flavor.


EMWC Spring 13 Stone's Soup Corner_Page_1

EMWC Spring 13 Stone's Soup Corner_Page_2Here is a photo from the Spring Issue by Matthew Carden emwc-cherry-on-top-winter-2012

In Honor of Julia

15 Aug

I couldn’t resist sharing this video with you, it really brought me back, I hope you like it too.

I grew up watching Julia Child on PBS. My mom and I would snuggle in bed and watch, and watch and laugh. We laughed about how she’d spill something and scrape it up off the counter, pop it in the pot and continue on cooking. She wasn’t graceful but boy could she cook! I do believe that is where I learned to remember a recipe with out writing it down. I had a knack for remembering ingredients and technique I’d seen on TV.  Mom is a great cook who highly influenced me. We would discuss the recipes and think about how delicious Julia’s kitchen set must have smelled.

When I grew up I had the distinct pleasure to work on the set of Jacques Pépin’s PBS Show, Jacques Celebrates. While working on that show Jacques often talked about Julia, how they fought over whether you salt the burger before cooking or after. They disagreed about so many topics but he always spoke fondly of her and with the utmost respect. He, a French trained chef who was the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle, and Julia, a home cook who discovered French cuisine later in life, made a perfect pair. I bet some of the things I learned from Jacques he may have picked up from Julia! I consider myself lucky, although I never met her (my husband did get that chance, lucky duck) she is all around me. Thanks Julia for your inspiration and fun spirit, you are missed.

Granny’s Drawers

12 Jan

When I was a kid I just loved going to my Bubbi’s house. (Bubbi is a word for a Jewish Grandma) The minute we got there I would run over to her bottom drawer in the dinning room because I knew that is where she kept the Hershey Bars. She also kept a host of other chocolates and goodies in there, those sugary fruit gel slices that we only got on Passover.

My Bubbi also always had her famous chocolate chip cookies in the freezer; she was never without a batch.

My point is is that back in the day when people moved slower it seemed like they were prepared. If someone dropped by, or if the whole family was coming for a holiday they were ready. It always made us feel special, like she cared and thought about is when we weren’t there.

Now we just run out and grab something prepared at a store because there is one everywhere you turn. I live between a Trader Joe’s and Whole foods, with a peppering of other stores all around. It’s fine for company and when it comes to your children’s lunches it may be easy to just grab a pre made sandwich. If you are like me you want fast and easy, and there is nothing wrong with that, but adding personalization can make a big impact on your child and is is not too much extra effort.

My solution is to start by making your child’s lunch very special. Some parents add a note, some draw hearts or smiles on the brown bag. Our kids are away from us all day and as much as they may resist hugs or kisses they really do need and want to be with us and know we care.

A really nice way to make them feel warm and loved is by adding a very small quick note, a drawing or stickers. Many schools are now requiring no waste lunches and in that case you may want to keep reading.

Now back to Grandma…a few years ago my husbands Nana died and she has an amazing collection of linens. She was a real collector, anything you can imagine, and she had a jar or drawer full of it. Lucky for us she had a whole collection of beautiful linen napkins. I don’t mean a few of them I mean hundreds. I sorted through to find the ones I thought my daughter would love and I took about fifty of them home. They are from the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s so cute and and brightly colored. Every day I choose two to go in her lunch, one for snack and one for lunchtime. She uses them as a place mat or a napkin. She never knows which ones she will get; it’s always a surprise. Sometimes I try to match the colors of her clothing, if it’s a grey day I add a floral pattern. Are you getting my drift? They wash up beautifully; I just toss them in with the laundry, no ironing for me!

She knows that I pick them for her and she knows that they were her great grandma’s, and that I put an extra bit of thought into her lunch. Getting away from paper napkins can make you, your child and the landfill feel good, and this is an easy way to get started. I was resistant because of the extra laundry but it is very easy to wash them.

So look in the drawers or ask your parents or grand parents if they have old linens or cloth napkins you could have. Any thrift shop should have a stack somewhere. So that is what you can gain from looking in Grandma’s drawers!

Finally Taking Control

8 Feb

Processed and sugary snacks at school, this topic has bothered me for a long time. A few years ago I met Ann Cooper our local shining star, whose life’s work is to transform how we feed our children in school each day, from highly processed to highly nourishing food. She is so inspiring and hard working and she cares about our kids. Now the government is taking and interest, well let’s hope it works. The truth about what our kids are eating in and out of school has had been plaguing me. I believe everything in moderation, we make cake, we eat candy but starting school each day with a healthy nutritious breakfast is key. Most schools have taken away high sugar breakfast foods, but still have highly processed snack foods available. Anne has been working her hardest to change what our kids are putting in their bodies because she knows that kids need healthy food to think and concentrate. If she can feed a district of 10,000 with a tiny kitchen and one stove then it can be done. When all that is required in a school kitchen to make lunch is a box cutter and microwave, something is wrong. Don’t even get me started on the physical aspect of what the junk the kids are eating is doing to them. A candy bar and a soda for lunch will not give you nourishment or brainpower.

The reason I bring this up is because yesterday in the New York Times there was an article called, A Federal Effort to Push Junk Food Out of Schools
“The Obama administration will begin a drive this week to expel Pepsi, French fries and Snickers bars from the nation’s schools in hopes of reducing the number of children who get fat during their school years.” Finally it is being paid attention to like smoking or drinking….it is dangerous and America is killing itself one bite at a time. The sad truth is that most parents are not leading by example. We can’t expect our kids make the right choices if we are not. If you want your child to sit still, to pay attention to be focused try starting with their diet. Our kids are the future and we need to teach them to respect themselves and take care of themselves. The fact that they can buy crap in school is just sending the wrong message. Thank you Mrs. Obama, I appreciate your focus and I hope people will start to listen.

Here are some healthy lunch ideas:
Soup in a thermos is a great healthy warm lunch. Send some whole grain bread and a soup. Add fruit for that sweet ending or child wants more food buy or make organic healthy muffins.

Taste Testing Peanut Butters – Not Just for Kids!

6 Oct

I love peanut butter, maybe it’s that nostalgic icon the pb&j that brings back the memories. Although I was never a fan of the jelly part, I just preferred the sticky nutty spread all alone. A tasting comparison is a great way to get your kids eating foods they may not think about.  Any ingredient can work, whole wheat pasta, jelly, juice, cheese, tortilla chips, anything you can think of. Give each of them a plate with samples of one type of food item, have them taste it, smell it, and look at the color. Discuss or write down the findings and decide by voting which food they like the best.

This particular Peanut Butter tasting was all grown ups from the SFPFS. Our panel ranged from master taster to recipe developers to home cooks. We each had a plate with 11 samples of “oil on the top, natural peanut butter.” I can’t say we were very scientific about the tasting, just that we tasted, and then yelled out our opinion across the room. It was a lot of fun, and I’d do it again, even with jelly!

Here’s our sticky conclusion:

8 votes – Trader Joes Organic $2.99
7 votes– Santa Cruz Dark Roast 3.99
6 votes – O Organics (Safeway) 2.50

5 votes – Laura Scudders 3.89
4 votes– Santa Cruz Light Roast 3.99
2 votes– Trader Joes regular 1.79
0 votes – MaraNatha Organic 3.15
0 votes – Adams 3.89
0 votes – 365 (whole foods) 1.69
The no-stir Skippy and MaraNatha products received no votes.

The overall winner was Trader Joe’s Organic at $2.99. The group agreed it had a focused peanut taste with mild salt and a bit of sweetness.

The second choice was Santa Cruz Dark Roast at $3.99, it was the most expensive. We all agreed that the deep peanut color and roasty flavor set it at second place.

The third choice was O Organics 2.50 (Safeway brand) it was considered to have mild flavor and a smooth texture a typical peanut butter.

Sunflower Butter is a great alternative for peanut butter.
There is also a new almond product called Barney Butter go to What’s Cooking to read about it.

Play is Back

16 Sep

With school in full swing, I thought this was a good time to share this short post.
I am getting serious on you but don’t worry regularly scheduled programming will return as soon as possible.

A while back I had the pleasure of listening to a fantastic author and researcher named Kathy Hirish-Pasek. She spoke about her book Einstein Never Used Flash Cards. Not only was she funny and energetic but a wealth of information on the subject of how our children learn. It was as if she was speaking directly to me, I breathed a sigh of relief for my school days past and my daughters future.
School for me was an endless struggle of failing miserably and succeeding superbly. Trying to fit inside a box of purple and white dittos, smelling the wet ink feeling the frustration before I even tried. Sitting in endless math classes feeling lost and knowing summer school was in my future.
I hid in the art room, throughout my years in middle and high school I retreated to the art room where the familiar smells of tempera and clay welcomed me. I was good at art I thrived there, I received praise there I was smart there I succeeded there.
My daughter at the wise age of five loves to play, make up stories and be in her fantasy land as much as possible. I do not feel the need to drill her on flash cards or force her to stifle her creativity. I was worried about her academic prowess. She is learning through her play they kids are designed for that, have you ever seen a four year old able to sit still for more that 10 minutes? Drilling her with flashcards may put my worries at ease but it is about her not me right? Hirish-Pasek says, ” putting children in a rigid structure as young as two or three can create anxiety, hostility and fear.” They need us their parents not tutors, she also states that, “children as young as nine are experiencing anxiety attacks,” that is an outrageous statistic. We want our kids to be creative thinkers not robots, the system is an endless snarl of red tape and test scores, not designed for individuals but fore the group.

What does this have to do with food and your child you ask? Well, Hirish-Pasek is passionate about learning through play, touching, exploring, imagining and more and so am I.
Let them play and teach them while they are comfortable and relaxed. If your child needs to brush up on letters, serve alphabet soup. If they are having trouble counting, count and stack carrots, teach it out of context and see what happens. Our kids don’t have to struggle just find out how they learn best and follow their lead.

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