The Mayo Clinic Williams-Sonoma Cookbook

Last week we used the New Mayo cookbook – so I thought it would be fun to check out the old Mayo cookbook! The original. Going old school. When I pulled this one off the shelf I was a little disgusted by the amount of guck on the cover book jacket. I suppose that’s evidence that this book had a lot of use when I first picked it up – probably in 2001 or 2002. This is another early member of my cookbook collection and I definitely remember reading through the introduction to learn more about healthy cooking techniques as well as good baking substitutions. To this day, I always keep applesauce in the house. (And you should too! Especially if you have a dad who loves to stock your freezer with applesauce every fall.)

This was the first week of the summer that I’ve been legitimately home all day with H and C. My first week off the kids had drama camp and last week we were in Kansas, so I’ve had more time – and more meals – to prepare. To engage the kids a bit more in the process, I let them pick out the recipes.
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I gave them sticky notes and they marked recipes they wanted in the same way I do each week. It was pretty entertaining to watch them work – and after cooking some of their choices, I have a much greater understanding of how they make selections. It has nothing to do with the actual ingredients – but everything to do with color. Is the food their favorite color? If so – then let’s make it. As we all discovered this week, there were some hits and some definite misses.

The Recipes
Roasted Red Potatoes with Chive Sauce
Herbed Carrot and Beet Salad
Curried Potato, Leek, and Apple Soup
Corn and Lima Bean Medley
Roasted Vegetable Fajitas
Fettuccine and Summer Tomatoes
Wild Rice and Chicken Salad
Spiced Muffins with Golden Applesauce
Quick Brown Bread
Papaya Agua Fresca
Banana-Chocolate Shake  Continue reading

Spiced Muffins with Applesauce

My kids went crazy for these muffins. I made a spice substitution from the original recipe as I really hate cardamom, but cinnamon and nutmeg do the trick. Even pumpkin pie spice works. The ingredient list is fairly basic, but you’ll probably have to buy some dry milk. Who really keeps that around anymore? While these little gems are tasty, the texture is a little heavier – these are not cakeish muffins. But overall, a healthier choice for the kids to sneak! Tip: using an ice cream scoop makes filling the muffin tins super fast and mess-free!

Spiced Muffins with Applesauce
Adapted from The Mayo Clinic Williams-Sonoma Cookbook  Continue reading

Where’s the beef?

In my freezer. 200 pounds of it. I have a good friend who is interested in supporting local producers and asked who would be in for sharing a cow. Four families jumped in, sharing 800 pounds of grass fed, local beef for our grills this summer. I knew we’d have some meat for the freezer, but I wasn’t fully anticipating the mass of 200 pounds. Of course it arrived the week I was in Kansas, so Jeff threw it in the freezer and we organized it when I arrived home.

This is what the freezer looked like.

This is what the freezer looked like….what was left after the meat filled up the rest.

Continue reading

Pasta Salad with Cantaloupe, Salami, and Basil

My kids love pasta. According to C, he would eat noodles about 100 times a week if he could. (He just learned about 100.) I like pasta too, but sometimes it can get a little old. And then there is pasta salad. Granted, it’s a family friendly workhorse, but I get a little bored with it. It’s just….forgettable. I’ve been steering clear from it lately. But when I offered to help a neighbor out with a family dinner and she thought a pasta salad would be the easiest, I had to rethink my pasta salad strategy. I started googling. There were lots of recipes, but nothing that I thought was both kid friendly and inspiring. And anything with mayo or that couldn’t be prepared the day before were immediately out. Fortunately, there was a bright spot to help a girl out. Bon Appetit gave me a few ideas of what to avoid – and how to create – better pasta salads. This lit my inspirational fires and I trotted off to Target to grab a few things for our family road trip as well as the pasta for my salad. While I was there, I found myself looking at a cantaloupe and found my inspiration. A fun curly pasta, cantaloupe, salami, mozzarella cheese, basil. I think we’ll have a winner!

For the record – this is just a ball parking recipe. Adjust the flavors/amounts for your personal tastes. This passed the kid test (my kids devoured it) and Jeff told me twice that he liked it. That’s a good thing.  Continue reading

The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook

This past week brought us to the Flint Hills to visit my parents and to give the kids a chance to frolic around the prairie. Other than the heat and remembering what back sweat feels like, it was really great to see the rolling hills, hunt for chalk rocks and agates, and chase fireflies at dusk. Since my mom is my #1 blog reader, I let her pick the cookbook of the week. (Other diligent readers – your chance will come soon! It’s pretty easy – just tell me what you want and I’ll do it. Not a tough crowd here.) I could have guessed the book before we even started the road trip. She loves big, colorful pictures along each recipe (presentation is important!) and likes healthy cookbooks on her shelf. She’s nostalgic, so I knew she’d pick either a cookbook that I gave her or one we both have. Of course – she did both! The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook. I picked up this one for myself when I was working at Williams-Sonoma and I couldn’t walk past the cookbook shelf without taking something home. I knew my mom would love it, so surprise! It’s her christmas present. I may not be the most creative gift giver, but I know what works.

My parents live in the country about 25 minutes from town, so there is generally only one trip to the grocery store per week, and the rest we forage from the prairie. Don’t be too impressed – my dad maintains an extensive garden and my brothers have been growing potted herbs since the early 2000s. My mom knew the cookbook, but she wanted me to pick the recipes, so she just picked up a variety of ingredients that would work for most things. Monday night I grabbed the stickies and picked out the recipes that looked interesting and then I started comparing the ingredient lists. So – this is what we came up with!

The Recipes
Warm Potato Salad (with freshly dug red potatoes)
Garden Peas with Fresh Mint (frozen peas, but freshly picked mint)
Warm Coleslaw with Honey Dressing (fresh parsley)
Chicken Salad with Thai Flavors (featuring my mom’s lemongrass!)
Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Roasted Corn Vinaigrette
Banana Oatmeal Hotcakes with Spiced Maple Syrup
Jamaican Barbecued Pork Tenderloin
Tropical Fruits with Mint and Spices  Continue reading