Mother of Pearls & an Emerald

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Farmer's Markets, Vegetables, Locavores and more May 31, 2008

Filed under: Garden,Green Living — motherofpearls @ 12:39 pm
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Where we live, the Farmer’s Market season gets in full swing this coming week.  We cannot wait to meander down all aisles taking in all of the beautiful produce, flowers and treats. You can search for your local Farmer’s Markets here.

I stumbled upon a supremely interesting blog while searching for some vegetable recipes, A Veggie Venture. The author, “Your Veggie Evangelist” Alanna Kellogg, has an amazing archive of recipes that I cannot wait to try throughout the season. And I want to quote a lovely piece of her blog that rings so true for me on why we blog about food. (Darby, Cheryl, Ghadah, and Kristine, this is especially dedicated to you, thank you for all of your inspiration and friendship!)

“Our moms and grandmoms shared favorite recipes with their friends across kitchen tables. Food bloggers do too, it’s just that the table is the Internet and the chairs sit in homes all over North America and Europe and Asia and Australia and New Zealand and even some sprouting out from South America. And lo – there are men at the table!

*Food bloggers are family, of sorts. Several times a week, we ‘break bread’ together with our posts and comments. We celebrate our successes and comfort our hurts. We learn from and challenge each other. We even have a school where everyone’s both student and teacher. Is it friendship? Yes, I think so. Is it community without geography? Absolutely.”

Veggie Venture also has some wonderful graphics for bloggers to use in promoting the “Locavore” movement! Don’t know what a locavore is? It’s someone who favors buying locally grown produce in season! And this movement is gaining exposure as people discover that the best-tasting and most sustainable choices are foods that are fresh, seasonal, and grown close to home (or at home!). An absolute favorite book of mine by Barbara Kingsolver chronicles just this idea, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. In a beautifully narrated prose, Kingsolver’s family challenges themselves to spend a year eating only what is grown locally, in season, or home grown. So no cardboard, tasteless supermarket strawberries in December or pears in March… When you finish the book, you just think to yourself, this is such a simple, beautiful idea and makes perfect sense. It’s just that we, as a fast food nation, have gotten so incredibly far from this premise. But I want that for the Pearls. I want them to learn about all of the beautiful, delicious and healthy foods we can have at our fingertips. I want to teach them how to prepare and enjoy them and share them with friends and family (and learn a thing or two for myself on this journey.) So come along, more vegetable adventures are sure to follow!


Pearls' Garden Adventure #3 Planting the Garden! May 30, 2008

Filed under: Garden — motherofpearls @ 9:05 am
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Yesterday evening we were able to get some of the garden planted in between bouts of rain.

Tomatoes (Sweet 100, Roma and Fourth of July)

Parsley, Basil, Red Peppers, Self-Blanching Cauliflower

Blue Lake Green Beans & Be Sweet Edanames

We still need to plant all the squash (zucchini, butternut, yellow) & cantaloupe! And we now have space ready for blueberry, golden raspberry, and strawberry patches! The Pearls love their berries, I can just see the idyllic picture of them plucking them warm from the branch, faces covered in sweet berry juice. (Father of Pearls and his Mom both told the hilarious story of their dog who would nibble these sweet golden raspberries right from the branches!) Many, many thanks to them for all of their time and love they put into this “little” project! We can’t wait to see what homegrown goodies we’ll have to share with you! Provided that, the bunny we keep seeing hopping through the yard does not thwart our best efforts… More to come!


CookBook Review American Heart Association's Kids' Cookbook May 27, 2008

I picked up this interesting-looking cookbook at a local thrift shop, the American Heart Association Kids’ Cookbook. In the words of American Idol’s Randy Jackson, “This one was just alright for me, dawg!” Since I’m an avid reader & so many books pass through my house, even if I don’t particularly love a book, I always manage to find some take away from it! This one is no exception. This would be a good read to check out at the library, rather than to purchase. I almost downgraded it even more, because considering it is an AHA cookbook, I did not see any nutritional information with the recipes. But in finally skimming to the end, I found an entire section that just listed that info all the way in the back.

Overall, the book has some mostly common, nutritionally-packed, easy recipes that would be perfect for your school-age child to plan a meal, help with the shopping, and preparation. It has clear illustrations and kid friendly cook’s notes.

My one take-away recipe would be the Top Hat Pizza and its’ ingenious use of a whole wheat pita pocket carefully cutting a wide circle out of the top layer of the pita.

1-7″ round whole wheat pita
3 TBL prepared pizza sauce (I prefer Dei Fratelli brand!)
Toppings of your choice (my modification, here)
1/8 tsp dried Italian Herb or Pizza Seasoning
1/2 ounce shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using kitchen scissors, cut out a circle from top layer of the pita bread only, leaving 1 inch of top all around to form an edge or border. Save cut-out circle. Place bottom of pita on cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven & cool slightly. Spread pizza sauce on evenly on top of and under the edge. Sprinkle toppings on followed by mozzarella cheese. Top with reserved circle of pita bread to form a “hat”. Return pizza to cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 8-9 minutes. Remove from pan. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and let stand a few minutes. Cut and serve.

I think this one has alot of potential for what you could possible “hide” under the pita!!


Pearls' Garden Adventure Continues – Getting Ready for Planting May 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 9:20 pm

The great Garden Adventure continues. What began as a small run of garden along our fence (you know me, less is more) became Father of Pearls’ “More is More” kind of project… Really, it’s looking lovely and I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong to be so skeptical and ornery at the outset. (I can admit this here, because he doesn’t check in here as often as he should…) So again, the garden progress in photos:
From this:

to this:
to this:
Yes, we’ll be getting rid of all the rest of our toys now. This is a built in balance beam, construction dig site & wormery all rolled into one! What more could a kid ask for?

We’ll be planting our tender, sweet ‘lil plants this weekend. More on what we’ll actually be tending then. Stay tuned for more Garden Adventures!


Kids in the Kitchen – Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 8:48 am

Had some computer & connection issues, hopefully they are resolved! We recently subscribed to WonderTime magazine, which I’ve come to love, and test drove this recipe:

Golden Cauliflower from April 2008 issue of Wondertime
“When it comes to vegetables’ natural sweetness, roasting giveth what boiling taketh away… But acquaint them with a hot oven, and those florets transform into carmelized, crunchy-tender finger food. “

1 head cauliflower
2 TBL olive oil or Watkins Grapeseed Oil
1 tsp kosher salt

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Moms, break apart the cauliflower with a knife and then let the kids break the larger pieces into bite sized florets. (Don’t faint here when your child nibbles on a raw floret & declares it delicious!) Put all in a large bowl and drizzle with oil. Have kids rub the oil all over the cauliflower with their clean hands! Pour cauliflower on a baking sheet covered in tinfoil. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in middle of oven for about half an hour, using a spatula to move it around once in awhile until it’s tender and browned. Try this with other veggies & seasonings too! Delicious!


Weight Watchers Hawaiian Pineapple Angel Food Cake May 17, 2008

Filed under: Recipes — motherofpearls @ 9:55 pm
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Oh, we tried a delicious new recipe yesterday! Father of Pearls & his family love Angel Food Cake, so I tried the following recipe:

one boxed angel food cake (don’t prepare per box)
20 oz can of crushed pineapple in juice
1 tsp. Watkins Vanilla.
I also tossed in some shredded coconut for extra island flair!

Bake at 350 in an ungreased angel food or 9×13 pan for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown & knife comes out clean. Invert pan over a colander to cool completely.

Wow, it was wonderfully moist, sweet & flavorful, everything a boxed angel food mix usually isn’t! It was 12 servings at 3 WW Points for a huge slice!


Happy Birthday, Father of Pearls! May 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 12:34 pm

Happy Birthday to our Daddy! The best Daddy ever! We’ve got a few more surprises that your oldest Pearl didn’t give away yet!

Me to Daughter: “Take the bag of cake mix & sprinkles and hide it in the pantry.”
Daughter to Daddy: “Daddy, we have sprinkles, but it’s a secret!”

Me to Pearls: “Go hide Daddy’s presents downstairs.”
Daughter leads Daddy to exact present hiding spot…

We love you, Daddy. And I, for one, can’t wait to get out of the house tonight, sans the Pearls! Won’t it be wonderful? and quiet? and peaceful? (Hey, does this count as your birthday card?)