Monday, September 24, 2007

apple crumble

its always good to have a good recipe to enjoy fall apples. i made this a few days ago with jove and it was yummy. its not overly sweet and very satisfying.

Apple Crumble
4-5 large apples (golden delicious are good for this)
1/4 cup of sugar
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of fine salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) of cold butter, cut into chunks

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Peel, core and slice apples into 1/4 inch slices. Place apples in a mixing bowl and toss with the lemon juice, sugar, flour and cinnamon. Pour into a lightly buttered 9 by 13 baking dish and spread out evenly.

In another large bowl, mix together the nuts, flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and salt for the topping. using your fingers work in the butter until pea-sized lumps are formed.

Top apples evenly with the mixture and bake for 45 minutes rotating the pan once while cooking.

bon appetit

Saturday, September 22, 2007

fall is here

tomorrow is the start of fall and i am very excited. October is one of my favorite months; i love the harvest, the falling leaves, halloween, the colors of autumn and the cooler days. I found a one-dollar cornucopia and i plan to fill it with acorns with jove. depending on how strange it looks, it may become our table centerpiece. jove, of course, thought it was a hat

we went apple picking a couple of weeks ago and it was a beautiful, sunny day. we have been eating our way through a half-bushel of apples. jove loves to pick apples, but not to eat them. under the peer pressure of the group, he always takes a bite out of one and then tells us again that he doesn't like apples.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

saving pennies and time

i love saving money and making plans. i don't know if these tendencies are neurotic, but i'd like to think they have helped me along in my life. i have started a new habit that has simplified my life so much that i thought i would share it with you. i create a weekly menu for what we are going to eat. this has helped me in three ways: i make only one trip to the grocery store every week, i waste no produce because i buy only what we will need and we eat a much more varied diet because i plan in the variety instead of reverting to easy stuff because i didn't plan. it sounds like it takes all of the romance out of cooking, but i actually like cooking more this way and i spend no time during the day wondering, "what will i make for dinner?" i try more new recipes this way as well.

here's this week's menu:
monday: peanut tofu with rice and veggies
tuesday: red beans and rice with cabbage salad and fried plantains
wednesday: veggie fried rice with soybeans
thursday: going out for pizza with friends
friday: eggplant lasagna and green salad

this week's menu is very easy, the only dish that takes more than 30 minutes is the lasagna. i write the menu on a paper that i post on the fridge. the friend that i got this idea from writes her menu in chalk on a chalk slate like you would see in a cafe.

this is the best new habit i have.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

snoodle bug

comfort foods

as a child, there were a couple of foods that i relished and would eat until i was full. my mom's pot roast with carrots and potatoes was one of them. I believe baked and roasted foods hold some magic in them; the flavors are richer and the golden edges are so yummy. No raw food diet for me anytime soon.

so in honor of baked goodness, here is a recipe for au gratin potatoes. but first, let me clarify, gratin is basically french for what americans would call a casserole. but, casserole is really just the name of the dish you bake it in and has nothing to do with what is in it. for me, casserole has always been synonomous with a mysterious dish of baked processed stuff brought by grandmas to potluck dinners (no offense, grandmas). so, casserole is the name of the dish and gratin means something baked in the aforementioned dish with cheese or bread crumbs on top. yummy!!

Au gratin potatoes

4-5 medium sized yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 and 1/2 cups grated white cheddar cheese
1 tsp of flour
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup of bread crumbs (optional)

preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
in a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, salt, pepper and olive oil. oil the bottom and sides of a 9" by 9" baking dish and layer 1/2 of the potato mixture, and sprinkle on half of the onions and half of the cheese. sprinkle the teaspoon of flour over the potatoes. repeat the layering and pour the milk evenly over the potatoes. top with bread crumbs if so desired. bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly and potatoes are tender.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

a good week

this past week has been filled with love and the excitement of new things. my oldest and dearest friend heather came to visit us. she met miranda for the first time and got to spend lots of time playing garbage truck with jove. i got some grown-up time with heather (sans jove) and heather got to snuggle miranda, even bathe her a couple of times. i feel so blessed to have heather in my life and excited that my kids have such a cool auntie.
heather agreed to be miranda's godmother (kind of a funny thing to write, considering how non-religious we both are). godparents in latin culture have more of a social role, less religious; so it is in this spirit that we asked heather to be miranda's godmother. i want miranda to have a smart, cool and independent godmother that can guide and nurture her.
when jove woke up yesterday, he asked me if i was sad and i said, why would i be sad? he said, because heather left and then he told me not to be sad because i have him and miranda to keep me company. i am sad that heather lives so far away.

yesterday, jove started pre-school. he loved it and they said he did very well. when i asked him what he liked best, he said, the playground. he goes two days a week. it is a montessori school and so far i am very impressed.

i will post some more pictures soon

Monday, September 3, 2007

pirate fun

we recently returned from our family vacation to williamsburg, virginia. we made some stops on the way down- sesame place (again!) and philadelphia. we ended up vacationing in williamsburg accidentally; our timeshare exchange availability was very limited, so we ended up in virginia in august which sounds hot and it was, but it was very bearable and we got to swim a lot. and, everyplace was pleasantly uncrowded because southern states have already gone back to school.

we went to the historical attractions which had people dressed in colonial garb, including black tri-cornered hats, which earned them the name pirates from jove. "momma, where are the pirates?"

the highlights of our stay were our trips to the jamestowne settlement and virginia beach. in honor of jamestowne's 400th anniversary (1607!), totally new exhibits were made- a replica of a colonial fort, a powhatan native american village and replicas of the three ships that brought over the original settlers. exploring the ships and grinding corn were the highlights for jove. there was also an amazing indoor (yay, air conditioning) museum documenting the larger colonial issues and history. i was impressed with the presentation of the history of enslaved africans and native americans and also a critical lens applied to colonization (for example, the original boats carried guns, why, if they were just peaceful settlers?) A very cool place, we highly recommend it.

virginia beach is one of the nicest beaches i've been to in the states and the day we went it was cooler and less humid. There was a very large and beautiful stone statue of neptune which jupiter and jove are standing in front of here. Virginia beach is near an airforce base and fighter jets were taking off and practicing. jove enjoyed watching them, of course, he doesn't know what they're for.

this brings up another point that i thought a lot about while we were on out trip, how to explain war and violence to a kid. on the colonial ships there were cannons and jove wanted to know what they were used for, we saw people firing muskets (i don't think jove had ever even seen a gun anywhere before this trip) and many of the children's souvenirs in williamsburg were toy muskets. the reality is that i can explain the logistics of war, but i really don't get it myself, why do people want to hurt other people?? maybe it sounds naive, but most of us teach our kids to share and to empathize with others, but this isn't really what society values. any thoughts?