Monthly Archives: September 2009

when your kid doesn't eat dinner.

what do YOU do when your kid doesn’t eat the dinner you make? sometimes i don’t do anything differently. i try to serve at least one thing that i know j will love, whether it be the main dish or the side. i refuse to be a short order cook, but…when there’s enough ingredients out and about to make something that he’ll LOVE, i do, but only occasionally.

our kid loves panini…okay, okay, i know it’s just a fancy word for grilled cheese, but when it’s this good it needs a fancy word.

j loves pesto….and cheese. a boy after my own heart.

so recently i’ve been using the grilling machine as a panini press, and it’s fabulous.


the trick to this, though, is the bread, and i’ve been making this rosemary bread in my bread machine. you could use any good rustic bread, though, but if you do have a bread machine i’d say you have to try it. sometimes i put it in before bed and it literally wakes us up in the middle of the night because the smell is SO good.

i just spread some homemade pesto on the bread, add fresh mozzarella and grill it. for andrew and myself i sometimes add grilled eggplant, sliced tomatoes, really anything that fancies you. last week i served these sandwiches with some homemade tomato soup. yum. the perfect comfort food combo, no?



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{cooking group}:egg dishes (2 for 1).


this week’s attempt: to get j to taste eggs of a different texture. i was successful this summer in getting him to eat scrambled eggs, but let’s be clear: this boy is particular about his eggs. they must be SLOW scrambled, with herbs, freshly ground salt and pepper, and goat cheese. i have tried cooking scrambled eggs all different ways, but he just loves them like this.

being a fan of eggs myself, and being that they are so EASY to cook, i usually have one night a week with some sort of an egg-based dinner, whether it be a quiche, or a souffle (which i’m not great at, but will attempt again), or a frittata.

frittatas are my fave. they’re basically an omelette, right? except you don’t have to flip them and they hold all the “stuff” better, in my opinion. so this week’s first attempt with eggs was a frittata, and i’m sorry to say, that it wasn’t a hit with the little guy. he tried it and all, but he just wasn’t having it. andrew and i, however, LOVED this dish. i found it through rachel of heart of light when i was drooling and becoming jealous over her croissants (still a goal to try to make those, but i digress).  it uses boursin cheese, and, per her comments, and the fact that i have fresh basil coming out of my ears, i added fresh basil and used sliced baby yukon potatoes (i love the creaminess of these potatoes). i left out the scallions simply because i didn’t have any and was too lazy to go back out. i subbed onions in instead. it was DELISH. the creamy boursin cheese definitely made all the difference.

…a definite keeper….for me and husband anyway.

Potato and Boursin Frittata (adapted from here)

  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh, chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 baby yukon potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

    Whisk together eggs, salt, and pepper, and basil until just combined.

    Heat oil in an ovenproof 9- to 10-inch heavy nonstick skillet over high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add potatoes and onions to oil, stirring once, then cover and cook until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Stir potato mixture once, then cover and cook 3 minutes more.

    Pour beaten eggs evenly over potato mixture and crumble cheese over eggs. Transfer skillet to oven and bake frittata, uncovered, until set and just cooked through, about 15 minutes. Invert a plate over skillet and, holding them together with oven mitts, invert frittata onto plate and serve immediately.



    what did work for j? spinach quiche! go figure. this dish probably had more “good for you” stuff in it, so i was pleasantly surprised. this is a quick and easy recipe that uses Knorr soup for seasoning.

    Spinach Quiche

    • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
    • 1 1/2 cups cream or milk
    • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used Swiss in one quiche, Brie in another)
    • 1 package Knorr Vegetable Soup and Recipe Mix
    • 1 head of spinach (or a 10 oz. package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry)
    • 1 (9-inch) pie crust (I used this recipe)

    In a large pan, cook spinach in olive oil until wilted. Set aside.

    In a large bowl, combine eggs, cream, cheese, soup mix, and spinach. Spoon into pie crust. Bake in 375 oven for 50 minutes or until  knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Serves 4-6.

    **check back tomorrow to see what we do sometimes in the red house when j doesn’t eat what we make. it’s yummy, i promise.

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    {a bit} from the weekend.



    we’ve been having very weird cali weather: very foggy, kind of chilly in the morning, then uncomfortably warm afternoons. we are practicing the fine art of layering. nothing too exciting happened this weekend. halloween decorating, cupcake making, general housekeeping and that sort of thing. luckily, the afternoon light made for a perfect time to do my photography homework. it may not seem like much, but i learned to shoot in manual this week.  


    oh yeah, since j is my recent friday night date (football season takes away husband, you know), his request was to buy pumpkins, which prompted the halloween decorating. too early???

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    renovations at the red house.


    i don’t speak of our renovations much because, well, it would be like talking about brushing my teeth every day. it’s just something that is a fact of life, a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly occurrence that just is.


    we have lived in our home 5 years this august, and it’s dramatically changed during that time, however, since my computer crashed last year, most of the fruits of our labor in the way of before and after pictures are now lost in the internet universe, never to be found again.

    you can say our house is famous in the neighborhood. if i meet someone farther away in our tract, all i have to say is i live in the red house on the corner, and everyone, and i mean everyone, knows exactly what house that is.  it’s been called the barn (being that color red)  and the cat house (having once housed 20+ indoor cats). its former occupant was an elderly woman who lived for 50+ years in the house and told me upon our placing an offer on the house, that there was a lot of love in that house and to fill it up with just as much love.  it was a mess. a total and complete mess, and yet despite all the work that had to be done we loved it and saw much potential.

    our first task was to work on the floors, for those cats pretty much did their thing wherever they wanted. yuck. we cleaned up everything and refinished the wood floors. we also ripped out three layers of groovy gold linoleum and put in wood flooring, which is something i hope to never, ever do again. our last room to tackle as far as floors was our bedroom, and i’m happy to announce it’s now done. yay!




    now to tackle the 500+ renovations. yikes.

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    the siren song: sometimes we eat mcdonald's.



    {oeuf mcmuffin}

    despite our commitment to eating well, we sometimes just CRAVE fast food. we’ve watched supersize me (in fact, andrew watches it every year with his health class), and believe in its claims, but there’s just no explanation for wanting IT every now and then, and we won’t feel guilty about it people. everything  in moderation, right?

    besides, placing said food on your usual dishes somehow makes it better, no?

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    let the wild rumpus start.

    right, so you know that we are big fans of where the wild things are. and, yes, we are waiting with baited breath for the film to be released on october 16.

    so when faced with j’s two choices for halloween costumes being a pirate and max, well, we of course picked max, and opted to have a costume made (starvisions etsy shop). btw this month’s cookie magazine shows you how to make one, too.

    i figure that he could be a pirate anytime, but that he wouldn’t want to be max when he got older. see the logic?

    and yay! urban outfitters came out with a whole line of clothing inspired by the movie and book.

    wild thing man




    p.s. check out this video via cookie of an artist creating a where the wild things are mural. amazing.

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    {cooking group}: sweet corn risotto.


    i haven’t eaten meat in over 20 years, but live with two guys who looooove their meat. this past summer, since i had taken on most of the cooking responsiblity, we ate a considerable amount of vegetarian meals, and there were no complaints around here. 

    at two years old, j is all about texture. he will easily taste all types of food, but if it doesn’t pass the texture test, it’s promptly rejected. he loves rice, but the first time i tried to get him to eat risotto, it was a no-go. i thought, however, that i’d give it a go again, using the last of this season’s corn. i am proud to say…it was a hit!



    surely you all know this trick , right? use a bundt pan to catch all the corn kernels!



    Sweet Corn Risotto adapted from The New Vegetarian Epicure

    4 ears fresh sweet corn (I’m sure that you could use frozen. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of kernels)

    1 1/2 cups chopped onion

    1 Tbs. olive oil

    1/2 Tbs. butter


    6-8 cups vegetable broth

    2 cups Arborio rice

    3/4 cup dry white wine

    3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    2 Tbs. chopped Italian parsley

    additional Parmesan cheese and parsley

    Husk and wash the corn and peel away all the silk, then slice the kernels off the cobs with a sharp knife. Spin about a cup of the kernels in a food processor until they are roughly chopped and milky. Scrape out the chopped corn and return it to the remaining corn kernels.

    In a large non-stick saute pan, saute the onion in the olive oil and butter with a pinch of salt until it is translucent and tender. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth and regulate the flame to keep it just below a simmer. Add the Arborio rice to the onions and stir it gently in the pan for about 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir until it is absorbed.

    Add a soup ladle of the heated broth and all the corn kernels to the rice and stir, keeping it just at a simmer. Keep stirring until the broth is nearly all absorbed into the rice, then add another ladle. Continue this way, adding a little broth at a time and stirring constantly, or at least very frequently, with a wooden spoon for about 25 minutes, or until the rice is al dente. It should form a creamy sauce around grains that are no longer crunchy, but still firm.

    When the rice is just achieving this perfection of tender-firmness, stir in a last ladle of broth, the grated Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley. Serve the risotto at once, and pass additional parsley and cheese.

    A big thanks to Jocelyn of Raising Foodies and Simple Lovely for getting this group started. Check out the other participants of the cooking club on the sidebar here.


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