After what felt like an epic fail with Canyon Ranch, I decided to do what I do best – buy cookbooks. Under the guise of shopping for a birthday party present, I used this opportunity to retool and refresh by going back to basics – Bon Appetit. I’m really excited to kick this one off. Why? I love food.
I’ve had this cookbook for at least 10 years and I’m not sure I’ve cooked more than 3 recipes out of it. Even though our family is eating a bit more carefully to start the year, I’m going to hold the cookbook up to my same standards. It needs to taste good and be reasonable for me as a working mom and home cook. Emphasis: needs to taste good. First flip through, there seem to be some recipes that have some promise. We’ll see how it goes.
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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