02.20.2018

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We are a family of professional snackers. From dawn to dusk we are planning snacks, packing snacks, eating snacks, cleaning out snack containers and doing it all over again. The boys start each day with a “snack plate” as they call it (a tray of foods grabbed from the pantry and fridge to hold them off until breakfast which is about 10 minutes later…) designed to satisfy their early morning hunger as well as distract while I pack more snacks for school, after school, and hockey practice. While we snack on a lot of really simple things like popcorn, nuts, sliced fruit, hummus, and cheese, we have a few favorite snacks we whip up when we crave something special – mango lassis are at the top of that list.  

The beauty of the mango lassi is that it is packed with nutritious ingredients, keeps the kids full, and works for us adults as well. Sometimes we each sip on one while getting ready in the morning and other times I stick them in the boys’ hands in the backseat of the car  (lidded mason jars with straws work particularly well). Luckily, this lassi tastes good at breakfast, snack time, and even for dessert. Our mango lassis are most frequently sipped but the mix makes great ice pops in the summer and is fun transformed into a lassi bowl (simply pour the mango lassi into a shallow bowl and top with granola and sliced fruit or berries) on slower mornings.

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Mango Lassi

Makes 2

1 cup whole milk plain yogurt

1 cup frozen Dole mango chunks

⅓ cup milk of your choice (use your favorite nut, plant, or dairy milk)

1 fresh orange, juiced

Simply blend all the ingredients together until the lassi is the consistency of a milkshake. Pour into two glasses, pop in a couple of straws and sip. In the hot summer months I like to add a small handful of ice to the blender to make an ever slushier lassi.

This post is sponsored by Dole Packaged Foods.

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03.16.2017

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This week on Food52 I shared my favorite way to cook dried beans and how to stretch a pot of humble beans into a week of family dinners.

I was always intimidated by cooking dried beans. I would either forget to soak them ahead of time (ahhhh!) or keep them simmering in a pot, only to find them undercooked at the end of the day. After a while, I began to shy away from recipes that suggested I try it again.

Discovering the simplicity of preparing dried beans in the slow cooker has thrown my trepidation out the window. You just combine a few ingredients and turn on the machine! A few hours later you have a perfect pot of beans. Life-changing. (But if you don’t have a slow cooker, fear not: I recommend the method outlined in this recipe.)

Click here to read the full story and get four recipes from Feeding a Family including: Slow Cooker Black Beans, Buckwheat Crepes with Delicata Squash, Black Beans & Avocado, Kale & Sweet Potato Tacos on Homemade Corn Tortillas, and Black Bean Quinoa Burgers.

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All photography by Elizabeth Cecil.

02.02.2017

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I wrote The Beginner’s Guide to Juice Making for Food52. Check it out! 

Whether you received a juicer over the holidays, are in the midst of a New Year’s resolution kick, or simply want to get more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet (who doesn’t?), you may be curious about juicing…click here to read the full article and get the recipes.

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Photography by Elizabeth Cecil

04.08.2015

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A few weeks ago I read this article, Is It Sexist to Judge a Cookbook by its Pictures?, and besides spending an odd amount of time thinking about the writer’s points (what do you guys think!?), I quickly checked Thug Kitchen out of the library. I wanted to read and cook from this book not only because of the article but because its point of view is so opposite of mine.  F*ck is not just included on every page but practically every sentence. The aggressive language feels really unnatural to me, making it almost painful to read, but I am clearly not living the thug kitchen life. That said, I love the food in this book. All the recipe appeal to me and the ones we’ve tried have been delicious. This Baked Citrus Tofu with Creamy Peanut Slaw is the first recipe we picked out. It made a perfect light dinner and even better lunch leftovers.

PS. If you are feeding little ones adjust or omit the hot sauce (Nick and I just added Sriracha to our own bowls). The baked tofu needs to be first weighted down to remove excess water then marinated for 2 to 8 hours so plan accordingly.

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Baked Citrus Tofu with Creamy Peanut Slaw

From Thug Kitchen

Peanut Dressing:

3 tablespoons peanut butter

2 tablespoons warm water

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha or your favorite Asian-style hot sauce (optional)

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari

Slaw:

3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage

3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage

1 carrot, cut into thin matchsticks (we made ribbons w. a vegetable peeler)

1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions

1 tablespoon raw sesame seeds

Tofu:

1 block extra-firm tofu

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons Sriracha or similar hot sauce (optional)

2 cloves garlic, thickly sliced

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First, place the block of tofu on a rimmed baking sheet and weight it down with a heavy pan to draw out the excess water. Let it sit weighted for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, slice the tofu into 1/4-inch rectangles.

While the tofu is weighted down, make the citrus marinade. In a shallow baking dish, mix together the orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, olive oil, hot sauce, and garlic. When ready, put the sliced tofu in the marinade and let sit for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. To bake, preheat the oven to 450 F and grease a rimmed baking sheet. Bake tofu for 15 minutes, flip, and spoon a little more marinade on each piece. Bake for 10 more minutes, flip, and sauce again. Bake for a final 5.

To make the slaw, first prepare the peanut dressing. To do this, mix the peanut butter and warm water together in a medium glass until it’s creamy. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients to the sauce and mix well. In a large bowl, combine all the slaw veggies. Pour the dressing over them and toss it all around until everything is coated. Serve the day it’s made topped with baked tofu and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

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11.21.2014

Most mornings Dylan builds an elaborate structure of some kind before pre-school. Sometimes it’s out of magna-tiles, other times out of legos or blocks. The moment he walks out the door I quickly take pictures of it from all angles so I can try and fix it, to my best ability, after his little brother inevitably knocks it down. Some days I pass the test and he doesn’t catch my mistakes in a wall or tower but other times he knows right away that something is different and starts to inquire about every detail of my day – did anyone come over, what did Gray do, did I touch anything?

It’s this balance of a spastic one year old and thoughtful four year old that is challenging. Baking together as a threesome is not that fun these days. The little guy wants to splash in the flour while the big guy wants to crack the eggs all by himself. Lately, when Gray is napping Dylan and I get to work in the kitchen together where used the rest of our locally harvested cranberries to make muffins. Baby brother was quite happy when he woke up.

PS. The cheetah is basically part of the family.

Cranberry-Orange Muffins
From Flour

3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/3 cups pure cane sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup creme fraiche, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
2 cups chopped cranberries

(The zoo before being demolished.)

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 F. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin, coat with nonstick cooking spray, or line with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolk until thoroughly mixed. Slowly whisk in the sugar, butter, milk, creme fraiche, and vanilla until well combined. Pour the butter-sugar mixture into the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold gently just until the ingredients are combined. Gently fold in the cranberries and orange zest until evenly distributed. The batter may seem lumpy, but don’t try to smooth it out.

3. Spoon the batter in to the prepared cups, dividing it evenly and filling the cups to the rim (almost overflowing).

4. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown on top and spring back when pressed in the middle with a fingertip. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan.

5. The muffins taste best on the day they are baked, but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you keep them for longer than 1 day, refresh them in a 300 F oven for 4 to 5 minutes. Or, you can freeze them, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 1 week; reheat, directly from the freezer, in a 300 F oven for 8 to 10 minutes.