Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy Soup Month

January is National Soup Month and in honor of that, here are Katie Brown's top 10 reasons why you should make a big pot of soup today:

1.) It's the perfect time of year. When the cold air is blowing outside your door, it's time to warm things up inside.

2.) It's a tasty way to enjoy stale bread. Dunk some crusty bread into a big bowl of soup and taste the texture and flavor come back to life.

3.) Spoil those you love. You know the saying, "the best way to someone's heart is through their stomach -- and there's no better way to someone's heart than with comfort food.

4.) It's easy to keep it healthy. Keep that resolution every day - soup's a great way to include healthy choices in a creative and delicious ways for your family.

5.) It smells so good! When you're putting your house on the market, it's recommended that you cook something delicious to make your house smell yummy. Why wait until then? Enjoy the savory aroma yourself today.

6.) It's long lasting. I make a batch of soup that sometimes lasts a week. So whether you're single or cooking for a family, it's an easy staple to have on hand.

7.) It turns leftovers into today's entree. Whether it's a roast or chicken from the night before, or the veggies about to go south in your frig's produce bin, try tossing them into your soup, where they'll taste as good as new.

8.) It's an excellent way to hone your cooking skills. I tell people if they want to learn to cook start with soup. Soups are forgiving and a great way to learn how to use seasonings and techniques such as sauteing, browning and sweating.

9.) It's a sly way to try new cuisines. If you have an unadventurous culinary clan, like mine, soups are a good way to slowly introduce new flavors into your family's palate.

10.) Do I really need 10th? Just do it. It's fun!

We celebrated by making a big pot of this Senatorial Soup from relish. Mmm Mmm good!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lunch Napkin Art

I've been doing napkin art for both kids' lunches for the past couple of years. They both have their favorite subjects, and I try post them daily at http://lunchnapkinart.blogspot.com

Here are a couple examples:

Monday, July 23, 2007

Things Every Kid Should Do

Someone in our family is turning 8 soon so this recent list from Parents magazine, 44 Things Every Kid Should Do Before Turning 8, was very timely. They surveyed a bunch of interesting people, from Dan Zanes to Tony Hawk to Donald Trump and asked them to share the greatest moments of childhood. Here are a few things from the list that we've done or will be doing this summer:
2.) Run in the Sprinklers. And make sure at least one of your parents runs with you. - Maria Shriver

4.) Ride a Roller Coaster. - Dan Zanes

9.) Go to one-or more- major league ball games. - John Lithgow Although in our opinion, minor league games can be just as (if not more) fun.

20.) Raise money for something or someone you care about. - Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's

26.) Discover that bleeding owies can make you look tough even though they hurt briefly. - Tony Hawk

Another similar list, 33 things to do before you're 10, was recently published in the UK by Persil soap and contains fun things like:

1.) Roll on your side down a grassy bank. (In Seattle, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard has a great hill. Then have some of Fish & Chips at the Lockspot.)

22.) Pick some strawberries (or berries of any kind, for that matter.) If you're in the Portland area, check out Kruger's Farm on Sauvie Island, then go home and make some ice cream!

13.) Have your face painted. See my entry from July 4th, or if you're like Molly, just do-it-yourself.

So in these final weeks of summer, before back-to-school, if you're in need of some ideas for entertaining the kids, just check out these lists for some great ideas.

Weekly Reader - Flotsam

Flotsam by David Wiesner is one of our favorite recent reads and we've dug it out again this week before our trip to the beach. It's a wordless book, but the illustrations tell an amazing story. The pictures totally draw you in and take you on amazing journey to other worlds and times. It's perfect for any age, even if you don't have kids.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Now We're Cooking

After waiting for several months for a piece for Molly's Easy Bake Oven to prevent little fingers from getting stuck (and possibly burned) we had a few neighbor kids over to bake the chocolate cookie mix that came along with the piece. Obviously fairly unfamiliar with the portion size that you get from Easy Bake ovens, they were a bit surprised when their cookies came out the size of quarters. Still, it didn't stop them from inhaling them.

So right after that, we were saddened to hear that over a million Easy Bake Ovens, including our model, were being recalled. Apparently too few people had responded to the initial recall and over 200 kids had gotten their fingers stuck in the oven, several resulting in 2nd and 3rd degree burns and even an amputation. We immediately called the Easy Bake hotline and as sad as Molly was about returning the oven, she was happy to hear that she'd be receiving a $32 credit good for anything her heart desires from Hasbro.
Luckily we still have Sean's Queasy Bake Oven (Hasbro's attempt to sell Easy Bake Ovens to boys) from a few years ago.

Apparently one of the main reasons behind the recall is that the Easy Bake (as it says on the box) is really intended for kids over the age of 8. However, I think most kids that age are far more interested in cooking real food with you in a real kitchen. Here are some fun tips for cooking with kids from one of our favorite sites Kids Off the Couch (go and sign up for their newsletter today.) Another great resource is the Young Chefs Academy. Our friend Andrea recently opened her own franchise in Mill Creek, WA, so if you live in the area and have kids we encourage you to check it out.

When Life Gives You Lemons

Make lemonade, 0r maybe a lemon cake stand.

I recently came across the site Happy Tiers on The Daily Stroll and just LOVED their product, so the other day when I came across this Isaac Mizrahi plate at Target for just 78 cents, I just couldn't resist and had to make one for myself or rather my son, Sean. He's been wanting to have a lemonade stand this summer to make some extra spending money, and after a bit of research we were able to get a free lemonade stand, courtesy of Sunkist

and he even got $10 in start-up capital, plus cups, napkins a tablecloth and signage from Umpqua Banks "How To Be a Lemonaire" program. Inc. magazine has a list of 10 things to make the coolest lemonade stand. And to teach him the value of philanthropy, a portion of Sean's profits will be going to Alex's Lemonade Stand.

We were planning on having the lemonade stand today, but Mother Nature didn't cooperate, so now we're looking ahead to August. One of the things I'm most excited about is making one of these adorable lemon sandwich boards for Molly to wear:

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July!