Tag Archives: cooking

Matzo matzo ma’am!

8 Nov

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I was craving NY diner matzo ball soup like mad… Found an easy enough recipe and in around an hour I was getting a fabulous broth facial, taking in the aroma, the steam… It’s amazing how a few very bland ingredients and a little elbow grease can evoke so many (feared lost!) memories and taste just so perfect.

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I did a little better following the recipe this time, but without a couple of the ingredients and forgetting to halve another I did ad lib a wee bit. I’ll add a page here in the next few days with links to recipes, books, and tools I have used and adored. If I made any tweaks I’ll include those as well… Though I am surprisingly unscientific and lax about writing things down, so you may have to play some on you end of things. Really, it’s not that scary. Promise.

My belly is warm and toasty and I’m ready to hibernate.

Goodnight. Sweet dreams.

xo
B

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Islands in the stream….

18 May

Islands in the stream….

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

That is what we are…

Anyway… Where was I…

Kiddo is a picky eater- he’ll try most anything, but he’s a creature of habit and has sensory issues- so he’s very specific about what he likes and what he loathes…. (and if he changes his mind he will admit nothing!)…

So, he likes everything bagels, corn, and cheese….

So I popped the bagel (with some shredded cheese) in the Rocket Grill and it squished the daylights out of it! So I put it on a plate, put two little morsels of grilled (rocket grilled, baby!) chicken “sunning” on the Isle of Bagel…Of course, the sun is powerful (sun=corn in nifty little pinch bowls…pinch bowls are a lifesaver when you have a kid who cannot handle different foods even seeing each other, never mind *gasp* touching…)

The broccoli is a unique specimen of palm, found only on the Isle of Bagel. By the way, the stars in the blue sea are starfish, and that orange slice toward the back is the mainland (ok, ok, it’s one of those make-a-plate things and it’s an orange moon and a starry night sky)…

So, why does food need this backstory?

Because my kiddo is *that* detailed. He is also very rules based, so artistic presentations of food challenges his deeply ingrained meal & food rules in a fun and somewhat novel way. It’s fun, he’ll argue with me that the palm tree is really broccoli, if he’s tired I know better than to present anything with even .05% whimsy or all hell will break loose. We are working hard to soften some of his rules and his rigidity as living in the world with other people often requires compromise and a little grace and we are getting there, albeit very slowly. How slowly? He’s rules based, he has no gray area, he can’t generalize, so if a scenario is not repeated exactly (ie temperature, light, people present, etc…) he can’t apply the new rule or the exception to the rule, or even withdraw a generalization from his brain/bank to really understand or function reliably.

If you don’t know any kids who are this rigid- imagine potty training a child at home and then take them to grandma’s- most kids can apply their at home potty training to other locations (sometimes with a little urging or reminder and a little modification on everyone’s part)- they can ignore the variables-to a point- and find the constants (the potty, having to pee, etc). Alex can’t ignore the variables so he can see the constants clearly. In the potty training scenario, if you switch up the variables from his home/training base, it’s like he has never seen a toilet in his life and you have to start from square one. (and this isn’t a far off analogy- I was on the verge of making a public restroom scrapbook for him so we could study up before leaving the house- and so we could focus on the visual similarities in the comfort of our home). Is everything this intricate and challenging? Yes. It isn’t getting easier as time goes on, but it is changing, so there is no such thing as boredom. And in all this I can’t stop marveling at the details he notices- it’s like wearing reading glasses- he can see the words clearly but all else disappears…It’s like he can read the words and get sucked into the story but if you ask him about the physical book he has no idea what you are talking about… Raising Alex has made us appreciate the intricacies of thought and reasoning and creativity. Ok, now where was I? :-)

Last night he was in a good mood. He let me explain the food to him. He announced “I like my food plain” and I countered with “it is very plain, I just put it on your plate a little differently”. He hesitated and quickly gobbled up the sun/corn…

I showed him how he can pull a little bit off of the chicken to just taste it (chewing meat type stuff makes him gag or hurl- depending on how far he is into the meal)… And he tasted it and then even ate another little piece without our urging.

Unfortunately, the rocket grill turned the cheese bagel into a crispy, tasty grilled panini sort of a thing, and it was too dense for him to chew (without again gagging…)…

But I feel triumphant… The chicken was no longer stranded as it swam into his mouth and down to his tummy…

Alex declared that it was turning to night as he gobbled up the corn (thereby making the “sun” go down)…

He wouldn’t try the broccoli until I remembered the key to a 5 year old boy’s laughter. He wouldn’t buy the tree devouring giant scenario and then I remembered…

I whispered to him that broccoli magically transforms into horrific, near deadly, rank gas when you eat it.

He giggled and took a bite…

Victory is mine.

By the way, I just received a copy of the Sneaky Chef cookbook in the mail… I’ll comb through it with an eye toward sensory defensiveness (particularly my kiddo’s, but there seem to be a few people cooking for kids like Alex and more typically developing kids seem to have many of the same food quirks) and let you know if it’s worth the purchase… I think kids can learn the joy of healthy foods without hiding them, but when dealing with sensory issues sometimes you have to go behind the scenes, hide the good stuff, and reveal it slowly… And sometimes you have to play with the food.

xo
Bek

LOVE School.

10 Mar

I just received a most delicious email!

Norman Love Confections (previously blogged about: Love. Norman Love.)  is offering chocolate cooking classes!

From the notice I received:”Expand your culinary horizon with a course taught by the world-renowned artisans of Norman Love Confections. You’ll learn expert culinary techniques and gain a lifetime’s worth of knowledge about your favorite ingredient and ours – chocolate.”

You too can learn to cast and handpaint chocolates (there is even a chocolate easter egg class at the end of March and the beginning of April), make ganache, create truffles, cookies, fondue or learn the subtleties of chocolate in it’s purest form (a must for dark chocolate fanatics) in a class based on Norman Love’s most recent release: BLACK (ultra premium dark chocolate, each unique piece in the collection features a different single origin cocoa as it’s foundation)

Download the course “menu” (pdf)

The class cost is $95 per person, the experience: delicious and priceless!

If interested, or if you have more questions, please call Lisa Mariani at 239-561-7215.

Norman Love Confections & the decadent chocolate salon is located off of Daniels Parkway, near Southwest Florida International Airport(RSW) in Ft. Myers, FL (mapquest/directions)

Everyone could use a little Love!  Don’t forget Easter(April 12, 2009) and Mother’s Day (May 10, 2009 in the US) are just around the corner… They do ship and everything arrives wonderfully fresh and beautiful!  I have ordered from them before and had them ship, and they did a beautiful job.  You can order via their website or by calling their toll-free number: 866.515.2121

You can, of course, find some sweet wearable treasures (crafted by this artisan) in my Etsy and SmashingDarling shops

xo

Bek

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The Best Mother’s Day Gift…

20 Apr

If you get the mother in your life a gift certificate for spa treatment(s) or something else requiring time away please please please make two things also a part of that gift… Generally, the two extras are free in regards to cold hard cash (or a swipe of the credit card) but they are worth more than money to an exhausted and hard working mom…

1. Help the mom, especially if she has responsibility to other creatures- be it small kids, a high-needs pet, an ailing relative, or is generally feeling frazzled and spread thin- help her find and make time to use the gift. That means, when you hand her the gift certificate say, or put a little note in it, that says “you rock, you work hard, I’ll watch the kids, you sit back and enjoy it…”

2. While the mom is away enjoying the gift certificate/experience that you so thoughtfully chose for her that you do everything in your power to make her return home a smooth one that doesn’t instantly negate the effects of her relaxing experience. You could, depending on what you have planned with the kids, strip the bed, wash the sheets, make the bed… put out fresh towels… Clean the bathroom counter and sink… Load the dishwasher…. Vacuum. Enlist the kids to put away some of their toys (they don’t have to be precise about it- give them a bucket or box or laundry basket and have them fill it)… You don’t have to do all of this or any of this. But I highly suggest at least NOT making extra mess and extra stress while she is away…

Trust me. She will remember her relaxing time, but most of all she will remember how good it felt for her family to show how much they love her, which is something that money can’t buy…

A friend of mine bought a pack of 10 cleaning services for the home for his wife for Mother’s Day one year- which is a really great gift but also a loaded one- anyone could take that the wrong way…. He turned it into an unbeatable gem of a gift by writing a little note about how the gift was so she could focus on things she wants to do (rather than the million things she has to do with kids and house and work and pets and relatives) and so they could stop fighting about the cleaning and reconnect with each other and as a family. He then helped her get the house ready for the first cleaning (you have to put as much clutter away as possible- you don’t have to sanitize from top to bottom as that would be redundant, but removing clutter from surfaces- even just stashing them in boxes to go through later, helps the cleaning folks do their job, and gives you a visual clean slate that is inspirational as far as trying to maintain it…). He also took the kids out while the cleaning folks were there so she could talk to them and keep an eye (she’s a nervous gal in general)… And when they left he brought food in so nobody would have to cook or mess up the sparkly kitchen until the next day…

That is thoughtful…

Us gals tend to overthink things and overanalyze… I think the best mother’s day present is when guys (and grown kids) put themselves in our shoes and overthink and overanalyze to prepare… That shows true appreciation (in my opinion)…

Of course, jewelry is almost always appropriate and you can find some gorgeous pieces at:  Clevergirl.Etsy.com

xo

Bek

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