The Last Supper

Our oldest left us and went back to college last week. We had a lovely month with her and we all enjoyed each others company, it really was a great vacation together. The day finally came, the day that we had known about for a month, she needed to pack up and leave her real home for her adopted home. It has always been our tradition that a special occasion, whether it is “bad” or “good” has a special meal. So I asked our college student what she wanted for her last meal at home, for this visit. It was a good exercise for her, it took her mind off the not so happy departure while she was researching. She chose a great meal especially for a balsamic junkie like she is! I made the Chicken Sausage Burgers with Balsamic Onion Barbecue Sauce. I made a few changes, turkey instead of chicken, bacon instead of the pancetta and of course no buns since we are gluten free. We enjoyed our meal together and made good memories for her to take back to school with her.

I love my smoothies!


Having a great tool to make my morning breakfast has really made a difference. We shopped around and stalked the local COSTCO’S until a Vitamix show was close by. I make at least one smoothie every day and salad dressings once a week- no more bottles for us! Soup, from fresh into the container and hot and ready to serve out of the container, is a great concept but I haven’t found a recipe I love yet- any suggestions? My next experiment is going to be making brown rice flour from rice grain!

Kitchen inspirations

In 1984 I discovered that I love to travel. My parents sent my two youngest brothers and me to explore the West. We left Wisconsin, traveled through 16 states and put over 3,000 miles on that tiny little Toyota Mini-Cruiser camper.
We slept on roadsides, truck stops and campsites – things I wouldn’t allow my daughters to do now. We ate local food, cooked local food on our tiny propane stove and made lots of memories.
The next summer we tried the East Coast. It was the same plan except that we stayed with some friends in Brooklyn. I met Alyse, the mother of my friend, and she changed everything I knew about food! She was the first person I had met who made food an experience, not a necessity, from presentation to pairings – so much more than ingredients went into her meals.
That Christmas I was invited back and I was able to help with the holiday meals. Alyse, born and raised Jewish, married into an Italian, Catholic family. To say that Christmas was an extravaganza was an understatement! The Christmas holiday ended with a New Year’s Day celebration. She invited all of her friends in her Brooklyn neighborhood to her New Year’s Day Dessert Open House. It was the first time that I had heard of a Trifle and I was able to build it. We spent the day preparing ambrosia, cakes, pies, cookies; drop, bar and sugar, it was all there and there were so many people there to enjoy it. I saw the look in Alyse’s eyes as she saw her “works” being enjoyed and saw the enjoyment on everyone’s face too. It was a moment that began to define how I feel about food, of course I didn’t know it then but as I look back on what has inspired me in the kitchen Alyse holds a major role!

The Clean Program

Last year a friend asked me to prepare some meals for her.  She had just started a new business and her schedule was very full.  The book she wanted me to use for recipes was Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself by Dr. Junger.  We had already been eating gluten free for over a year so the recipes were not shocking.  As my husband read beyond the recipes he could appreciate the philosophy and decided that we needed to give it a try! That was fine with me- he did the reading and I did the cooking.  We are a great team! The first two days were difficult, but not even close to impossible.  As we added days to the program it became easier and we began to feel better and lighter and more “clean”.  That was seven month ago.  I still enjoy my morning smoothie and no longer need coffee to make it through to lunch.  I have lost over 25 pounds and it was easy and I feel so much more healthy.  Through the elimination diet I discovered that soy and dairy don’t work for my body, but that is okay, there are so many other foods out there that support my body and make me feel like I am supposed to feel- clean!

Gluten Free Quinoa Pancakes!

Gluten Free Quinoa Pancakes

Breakfast for dinner- love it!

Using left over Quinoa we made  wonderful gluten free pancakes and served it with a little butter.  We tried all kinds of condiments on top, sour cream, syrup, apple sauce and even mustard as a nod to some German relatives and their love of potato pancakes :)

Definitely will have these again!

 

How did it all start?- What’s for dinner?

What's for dinner

 

In 1985 I moved from my small Midwest hometown to a large metropolitan city to be a Nanny.  One of my responsibilities was  preparing nightly meals.  No problem I thought, I had always been comfortable in the kitchen, with so many family memories having been made there and so many fabulous meals having been prepared and eaten there.  So I started making what I knew.  After the first two weeks I had run through my Midwestern repertoire and it was time to step it up.

I made a trip to the library and was amazed by the number of cookbooks on the shelves.  I was hooked.  I took home an armful of the most interesting and poured over them, making notes, planning meals and imagining.  I couldn’t get enough of those first cookbooks.  I kept exploring, making notes as I prepared each meal, experimenting with ingredients and food pairings.  Dinners became much more inspired.

Many years and shared meals later, I was standing in my kitchen and thinking about what to make for dinner one evening for my own family of five, and it occurred to me that the exact scene was being replayed all over the world.  Someone trying to figure out what to make for a meal, whether a special event or just Thursday’s dinner.  Things have changed since ’85, and living and eating healthy is our main focus, but still figuring out what to make hasn’t changed at all.

Many nights I have stared at the cupboard trying to plan a nutritious and wonderful meal that I my kids and husband would enjoy only to come up blank and resort to an old stand by.  You do not need to!  Sharing these muses and food ideas with you, on our journey to living more healthy (and stress free) lives, will help you decide the answer to the most asked question of all – what’s for dinner.