Wednesday, April 22, 2009


So conflicted ‘cuz this week I have good Audrey stories but Earth Day (and my planning for my Science Night workshop) has me thinking a lot about my “carbon cookprint” – new term I learned from the paper today. Too trendy and cute? perhaps. The article was useful, though, a few cookbooks I’d like to check out and heartening to hear that this movement to pay attention to how our food choices affect the world is growing.,0,1301593.story

So, in light of the whole Earth Day thing (and the preponderance of talk shows and news articles that bubble up this time of year), and after a discussion in my parent support group (yes, you should be jealous if your school doesn’t offer such a resource!) regarding processed foods, I realized that my mission here is really two-pronged. Or one-pronged with two major strategies. Or three. Math, not my strongsuit. ONE is eating locally – reducing that carbon cookprint and supporting local small farmers by buying directly from them. And a big tangent of that is getting kids to eat vegetables. But I also realized that I am trying more and more to wean my family from processed foods. Chicken (and Dino!) nuggets have been gone for over a year, not to mention McDonald’s. Just recently I stopped making boxed Mac n’ Cheese (whole wheat organic, but still, boxed) but I haven’t yet tried homemade Mac n’ Cheese. I have been trying to make my own bread, but I fear it is just not my thing. (And I’m having flashbacks to grad school when I went through a disastrous bread-making phase until my roommates started using the loaves as doorstops.)

The passion of this website for me has been finding the small steps that, added together, make a difference. And inspiring others to follow suit. So, I am adding a theme (which really began last week) of “stuff from scratch” recipes. Things I LIKE to make (and someday, I think I will like to make bread) from scratch, that take me one step further away from buying and feeding my family processed foods.

Lots of recipes this week! From the first comes the first Audrey story. In EatWell magazine (which I’m not entirely fond of) I found a recipe for LEMON CHICKEN STIR FRY, which served my need to use up some chicken breasts in the fridge as well as carrots and sprouting broccoli from the farmer’s market and garden. Morgan and I were quite pleased with the results. Audrey, perversely, didn’t like the chicken but ate all the broccoli.

Then, I got a beautiful new ceramic deep-dish pie pan and had a bunch of leftover late season apples from a Brownie snack, so I had to make an DEEP DISH PIE W/ WHOLE WHEAT CRUST. The WW crust definitely made it rustic, but it also gave us permission to have it for breakfast.

Then, I made it to the Santa Monica Wednesday Farmer’s Market for once and chatted up an older German couple pawing over Fava Beans – plentiful right now but not for long – who shared their recipe for SAUTEED FAVA BEANS AND MUSHROOMS. This was part of a meal that didn’t really work taste-wise – we had them with grilled pork chops and Kale and onions and they were overpowered. But we cooked the meal as a family – the girls were so into helping, especially shelling the fava beans with the soft fur on the inside – that the final product didn’t really matter. I think this dish would be better on its own or with something delicate like lamb.

THEN, it got really stupidly hot for a couple of days this week so I copied my friend Annie and turned the big pile of limes from my CSA into LIMEADE (recipe also works for Lemonade). I was trying to re-hydrate Morgan who doesn’t drink enough but of course it was Audrey (and I) who drank many glassfuls.

THEN, and this really has nothing to do with eating local produce, I made a very yummy treat which the LA Times called Graham Cracker Chewy Bars, but I call PECAN PIE SQUARES, which is what they are. Do not make these unless you have a thing to bring them to, because you don’t want them sitting around the house calling your name. They are really yummy and will make you popular at a potluck or committee meeting.

Finally: a recipe from Audrey. She came home yesterday saying that she and her friend Savannah had been discussing smoothie recipes and that Savannah had shared her families’ “secret” smoothie recipe. Audrey needed to have full control of the kitchen so she could make this “secret” recipe (after I peeled and sliced the apples, sliced the strawberries and peeled and sliced the bananas for her). I did slice the apples but made her do the rest herself, and behind barricades, she “futzed with it a bit” and created her own recipe. Which I thought was terrible, but she drank two glassfuls. I was going to include it, but she has hidden it, so I guess I’ll have to ask permission and stick it in later.

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