Tag Archives: family
Post by Stephanie Noble.
One of the best parts of being a toddler’s parent is that something new happens every day. Most days those new things are positive: discovering fire engines, going new places, and meeting new people.
Until one day the new things are dialing 911, riding in an ambulance to the hospital and meeting ER pediatric staff. Then there is nothing but fear of what –ifs, lack of sleep worries and watching for glimpses of normal.
Sometimes, the most important part of decorating a room is making sure it’s a good place to be sick and recover. Aesthetics are pushed out the door by necessity and comfort.
Here are four things to have around to make a sick room comfy cozy.
I recommend the menthol ones. Not only do they do a great job of cleaning up a snotty nose, but they smell awesome and do a great job opening up the sinuses. And after catching my son sucking on clean wipes and saying, “Tasty,” I’m glad they are alcohol free. (And yes, they are pretty minty tasting.)
A blankie, not just a random blanket from the linen closet, but the blanket that brings the patient the most comfort. My mom made quilts for my siblings and me one Christmas. Mine is a tattered yellow mess with batting hanging out of it. But it’s the one I pull out when I’m sick and want to wrap up in something soft and warm. My brother does the same thing and says it’s like being “wrapped up in your Mama’s love.”
Comfort movies. I watch the BBC Pride and Prejudice when I’m sick, the familiar words and beautiful scenery lulls me to sleep. I’ve seen it so many times that I don’t feel badly when I fall asleep and miss and entire disc. I can wake up and pick up from wherever the story is in progress. For my son, that movie is Cars. My husband and I are no completely prepared to enter any Car’s related trivia contest. We even looked up what the Ferrari says in Italian to Guido. Losing oneself in another world temporarily can take one’s mind off feeling miserable.
Comfort food. I have made stacks of pancakes in the past week because it’s the only thing that my son would eat. I found out a friend’s choice is mashed potatoes with cheese. Another friend’s is homemade biscuits with butter and honey. My husband’s comfort food is Indian food, as spicy as he can get it. Whatever it is that appeals to your taste buds is better than not eating and getting sicker.
Thankfully, our home is now in the recovery stage. I’ve noticed that there are dishes to be done, laundry to fold, flowers to plant and some airing out to do.
Cars has been replaced by Curious George and Fireman Sam. Ham and cheese omelets were dinner last night. And the blankie has been washed.
Most importantly, our son was laughing, dancing and a bit bossy this morning. Things are getting back to normal.
Post by Alison Hein.
Grave oversight! There are no potato recipes on this blog. Crispy, salty, buttery potatoes are the foundation of the perfect breakfast. Only my waistline prevents me from potato-gorging on a daily basis.
Maybe twice-baked potatoes were your favorite childhood Thanksgiving treat, or perhaps later you preferred “loaded skins,” smothered with sour cream, bacon and cheddar cheese and backed with an icy cold beer. Historically, people love to stuff (and eat) potatoes. In 1876, Estelle Woods Wilcox recommended topping “Potatoes in Jackets” with breadcrumbs and cheese. Filling choices are wide open and limited only by one’s imagination.
So, crack an egg into the pillowy center of your stuffed potatoes. Add smoky paprika and bake them nice and hot. Strew with fresh chopped chives for some green crunch and a bit of sharpness. Grab your fork and let the yolk of the egg mix with the buttery, salty, smoky potatoes for a twice-baked breakfast in bed that’s worthy of gorging.
1 Russet potato
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3 tablespoons milk or cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon paprika
Fresh chopped chives
Preheat oven to 375°. Scrub potato thoroughly to remove all dirt from skin. Allow to dry fully. Using a sharp-tined fork, pierce several holes in the potato to allow to cook evenly. Coat potato with olive oil and sea salt. Wrap in aluminum foil, and bake until cooked through but firm, about one hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool. This step can be done the day before.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350°. Slice potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out insides of potato halves, leaving enough potato intact to support the skin. Place scooped potato in bowl. Add butter, milk, salt and pepper and mash or beat until smooth but still somewhat thick. Place a portion of the mashed potato back into the scooped–out skin. Make a raised border around the potato edges with the remainder of the mashed potato, leaving a hollow in the potato large enough for the egg. Sprinkle with paprika, retaining some to use later. Place stuffed potatoes into a baking dish. Crack eggs one at a time into a separate small dish, then slide gently into the mashed-potato hollow. Bake at 350° until egg white is fully cooked, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with remaining paprika, garnish with chives and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
Blini are a type of traditional Russian pancake made with yeasted batter. In ancient times, blini were prepared at the end of winter to honor the rebirth of the sun. This tradition still holds today when Russians celebrate Maslenitsa to welcome the spring.
Blini can be made with various flours, but buckwheat blini have an earthy richness that subtly enhance and bend to the myriad of topping alternatives. Serve them hot or cold, sweet or savory. Try them with butter and jam, chopped egg and mushroom, smoked trout and parsley, and most definitely try them warm and buttered with frosty sturgeon caviar and crème fraîche atop.
Freeze the extra. They thaw quickly and impress for last minute brunches, unplanned get-togethers or spontaneous breakfasts in bed.
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 packet yeast
2 cups buckwheat flour
Additional butter for cooking
Add milk to small, heavy saucepan and place on stove over medium heat. Allow to heat, without stirring, until tiny ripples begin to form across the surface of the milk (scalded milk). Remove milk from heat and add butter, honey and salt. Pour milk mixture into large bowl. Allow to cool until tepid, then sprinkle yeast lightly and evenly across surface.
Let yeast rest about 10 minutes, until it begins to activate and resembles wet sand. Stir in buckwheat flour, cover with a light tea towel, and allow to rise in a warm, dry place until doubled (at least 2 hours).
Separate eggs into two separate bowls – one for whites and one for yolks. Whisk the yolks until smooth and light, then whisk into batter until evenly mixed. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into blini batter.
Place pan or griddle on burner over medium heat. Melt a small amount of butter in the pan for the first blini. Use a tablespoon to spoon batter into pan and cook until small bubbles appear across surface. Flip once with thin spatula and continue cooking less than one minute until lightly browned and cooked through. Serve warm or cool with a variety of toppings.
Makes approximately 100 2-inch diameter blini.
Buckwheat Blinis with Smoked Trout and Crème Fraîche
10 buckwheat blini
2 tablespoons crème fraîche (or substitute sour cream)
2 to 4 ounces smoked trout
1 tablespoon Italian parsley leaves
Place a dab of crème fraîche on the surface of each blini. Break off a small piece of smoked trout and place on top of crème fraîche. Place another dab of crème fraîche on top of the trout and add a parsley leaf for color. Can be made several hours in advance and served lightly chilled.
Post by Alison Hein.
Kevin and I have the best neighbors in the world. Ann and Frank are always adventuring off somewhere, never failing to bring us a small (edible) memento. (You may recall an earlier post that featured Frank and his fabulous Frittata Italiana-Mexicana. Last year our neighbors traveled to Italy and returned with a small stainless canister, filled with luscious golden olive oil from 1,000-year-old trees! When they visit Florida, we often find a surprise gift box on our doorstep, bursting with citrus bounty from the Sunshine State.
I opened just such a box recently, and tucked inside was a mixture of Florida Valencia oranges and Ruby Red grapefruit – so fresh and so lush, the citrus aroma wafted from the package and filled my kitchen with the scent of sunshine. I closed my eyes, inhaled deeply… suddenly, a vision of Broiled Florida Grapefruit popped into my head. It was one of the first dishes I learned to prepare in my seventh grade home economics class, and it sounded pretty dumb to me. Until the taste of warm, caramelized sugar mingled with the tart, juicy citrus fruit snap, each spooned segment a sweet-tart delight. Then, scraping against the inner fruit rind, and filling my spoon to the brim with juice turned elixir from heating and sweetening.
Add a maraschino cherry for garnish if you like, for a pop of color and a retro look for your breakfast tray. Then serve up your loved ones (or beloved neighbors) a little sunshine along with breakfast in bed.
1 Florida grapefruit (any variety)
2 to 3 teaspoons brown sugar
2 maraschino cherries, for garnish (optional)
Slice grapefruit in half. Using a grapefruit knife, cut all the way around one half of the fruit between the skin and fruit. Slice along fruit segments remaining in grapefruit. Place in ovenproof dish or pan. Repeat with second grapefruit half.
Turn on broiler. Sprinkle each grapefruit half evenly with 1 to 1½ teaspoons of brown sugar. Place fruit under broiler, approximately 3 inches from heat. Broil for a minute of two, until sugar starts to melt and crystalize. Remove from oven and place each grapefruit half in a small serving dish. Garnish with maraschino cherries, if you like. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.
Post by Mark T. Locker
Sometimes you just run out of books to read. Sometimes you just can’t read THAT book one. more. time. Sometimes everyone is sick of every book in the house. And sometimes there just aren’t enough stories in the world to satisfy a hungry mind. I think a combination of these led to the creation of a new set of characters in the shadows of my son’s bedroom on Saturday night. The stories themselves are, needless to say, not remarkable. A fellow named John is stinky and loves stinky things: rotten onions, old socks, you name it. When he meets Stinky Skunk, their shared appreciation creates a new dynamic duo! I was going for the laugh factor here, and with a four-year-old, stinkiness is pretty low-hanging fruit.
My point here is more about the process. It’s sometimes utterly painful to try and make up a story off the top of one’s head. But the payoff is enormous. Letting my son input details into the story, like what kind of stinky stuff they like, or telling me what they find in a bush makes it much more fun. And he isn’t the world’s greatest literary critic, but seeing his eyes light up as I weave a silly, spooky adventure makes it all worthwhile.
So go tell a stupid made-up story to your kid or loved one today!