Tag Archives: family

Bountiful Baskets

Bountiful Baskets

I have discovered (with the help of my Baby Sis) an amazing resource for affordable fresh produce, and I’m wondering what took me so long to participate in the Bountiful Baskets Food Co-Op. I picked up my second basket this morning, and am so excited about all the fresh foods my kids and I will be having this week! Plenty of fruits and veggies to last us all week.

When I say affordable, by the way, I mean that I got all the produce you see in the picture for just $15! That’s right. I got 6 sweet potatoes, 3 small zucchini, a bunch of asparagus, a large head of lettuce, 2 heads of broccoli, 2 bags of brussels sprouts, a pineapple, a bunch of bananas, 3 grapefruit, 5 apples, and 7 oranges! Thatsalottafreshfood! Will we eat it all? You bet! Possibly not all this week, but when stored properly, most of this will be good for 2+ weeks.

I bet you’re wondering how we’ll use all that produce… well, we started out tonight by roasting some in the oven and topping off big bowls of pasta with the vegetables and some fresh grated parmesan cheese. And for dessert? How about some pudding and sliced fresh fruits? Yes, please! And Thank You. 🙂 And of course there will be plenty of snacks with all those fresh foods! (Hint: If you put out a bowl of cut up fresh vegetables and/or fruits while you’re cooking dinner, the kids will have something to snack on when they say “I’m HUNGRY!” Hummus or Ranch Dressing may make those veggies more appealing to the pickier eater.)

(I bet you thought I was going to be talking about a different kind of Bountiful Baskets, huh? Silly… the Easter Bunny hasn’t visited yet… that’s not til tomorrow!)

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Fabulous Friday

Today is not just Good Friday, it is Fabulous Friday! The perfect ending to a perfect week. It was like shipment central around my place all week, with packages arriving from all kinds of places, including one I have been waiting on for many years. Ok, so not the package itself, but the item. I finally purchased something I have been wanting for many, many years. It’s a French Butter Dish (you may have heard it called a Butter Bell). The husband of one of my friends makes handmade pottery and he does an amazing job. I was so happy to get my much-anticipated new piece of pottery for my kitchen, and getting to support a friend’s business just sweetened the deal!

So, what else makes this a Fabulous Friday? Well, it’s FRIDAY! Need I say more? And I got to run the bar at work today, steaming milk to a perfectly creamy, frothy texture with all it’s sweetness, pouring it over caramelly shots of espresso, chatting with customers and wishing them a Fabulous Friday…what’s not amazing about bringing a smile to everyone’s face?

And in case I hadn’t been given enough reasons to smile throughout the week, I did get some good news via email several times this week. Some relating to my kids and school, an email from an old friend I hadn’t heard from in awhile, and then an email from someone who is planning to make my Garlicky Buttery Shrimp Pasta for some family. I am excited to hear how everyone enjoyed it!

Now I get to enjoy the day tomorrow with my favorite kiddos… picking up our produce basket from Bountiful Baskets, dying Easter Eggs, eating candy, and probably planning more menus!

Excitement abounds. New beginnings emerge. What kind of amazingness are you up to this weekend?

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Filed under Cooking With Love

Finding Dinner Menu Planning

Your menu planning and grocery shopping worries are about to come to an end! Introducing That Cook Girl’s Finding Dinner Menu Planning! Each week, you will be greeted in your email inbox with a new menu plan and grocery list. Stop wasting time and money wandering the aisles at the grocery, deciding what to make for dinner. I’ve got it all planned out for you.

The details are HERE and you can get started with your kitchen basics list HERE to get an idea of how simple your meal time can become.

So, are you ready? Subscribe now and don’t miss a thing!

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Fruity Tastes

Cherimoya, Kumquats, Star Fruit

Last week I asked if you could name these fruits. I posed the question here at ThatCookGirl.com and again on facebook. Everyone seemed to know what the kumquats and star fruit were, but most seemed stumped by the 3rd fruit I had pictured. An odd looking greenish-brown fruit that my kiddos and I chose because we had never seen or heard of the cherimoya before.

 
It’s fun to try new foods, and I found it even more enjoyable to share it with my kiddos and talk about what we liked and didn’t like. We all agreed that the smooth texture and sweet flavor of the cherimoya was our favorite of the three. It would make a great addition to a smoothie, or alongside a cup of fresh yogurt. Both of the kiddos said they did not enjoy the kumquats. They were a little bitter, maybe they weren’t quite ripe? I was the only one who said “eh, I could take it or leave it” to the star fruit. It was good, but not something that made me think “where have you been all my life?” But again, I think it was not fully ripe, so I will have to try it again at some point. Maybe alongside the dragon fruit that was suggested by my sister. It is, afterall, the Year of the Dragon, which is MY year!
 
Speaking of MY year! It is still my Birthday Month, too! And I’m still trying new foods. Tonight: Veal!

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Filed under Cooking With Love, Food Trials

Loves of my Life

Heart Day Dinner for the Loves of my Life! xoxo

I celebrated my first Valentine’s Day as a single woman by recognizing the true loves of my life. The two people I spend the majority of my free time with. Who love me unconditionally (even when they “hate” me momentarily), and who I love unconditionally.  They bring me joy every day with their smiles and their laughter. They keep my life interesting and bring a ray of light even on my darkest days.

They are my favorite boy and girl in the whole wide world. They talk back. They forget to do their homework. They drive me crazy. And I love every minute of it, because more importantly, they have smiles and hugs that would melt an ice queen’s heart, they tell stories about their day and about their friends. They tell jokes. They fight and they love and they do it with their entire heart and soul.

I love you, my favorite kiddos! Thank you for sharing Heart Day with your silly mama. xoxo

So… what did I make for these most fabulous kiddos of mine? Nothing super fancy, just some of our favorite foods, shaped into hearts. My easy meatloaf, paired with roasted carrots [drizzled with olive oil and tossed with chopped red onion], julienne beets, and some mashed potatoes [I used up the last of the ranch dressing I made last weekend and that added really great flavor, along with the homemade butter I mixed in.] Comfort food with great conversation and giggles at dinner.

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Reusable Memories

Stacks of Memories!

I use real dishes. Yes, even for parties with many people in attendance, I use glass plates, glasses, and flatware, and I even use cloth napkins. It’s not that I’m a snob about dishes. Not at all. I have a hodge podge mix of plates, bowls, glasses, flatware, and napkins. There are matching sets among the mix, but for a large group, nothing matches, and I rather prefer it that way. It’s casual. It’s fun. It’s me.

When the party is over and all the guests have left, I walk around and pick up stray plates, glasses, and whatever else is sitting on tables, window sills, next to chairs… and this brings a smile to my face, because I know that everyone enjoyed themselves and as I stack up the plates and line up the glasses, it’s like I’m stacking up memories with every clink of dishes hitting against each other. And those memories will get to come out and play again and again as those dishes are used for nightly family dinners, dinner with friends, parties “just because”, impromptu get-togethers, and much more. And those memories are worth more than any possible breakage might cost to replace.

Remember: Use the good stuff. Today is special.

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Filed under Cooking With Love, Entertainment

Food Trials: Beef Jerky

Have you seen Runaway Bride? What about the famous egg scene from that movie? In that scene, our Runaway Bride is standing in the kitchen with eggs prepared several different ways, having a taste test. Why? Well, as she explains, she doesn’t know what kind of eggs she likes. She has always eaten her eggs in the same manner as her current “beau”. This, I believe, is all-too-common.

I find myself in similar situations as I realize I am in my mid-30s and fully, 100% single for the first time in my adult life. And, surprisingly, it’s not too bad (most of the time, anyway…but you don’t want to hear the boring details of my non-dating life).

Early in the fall, my kiddos and I spent a weekend at my baby sis’s house to attend a local festival where we got to make fresh apple cider. Before heading her way for the weekend, I decided we should bring some beef jerky from our hometown. I ran into a problem with this. I don’t know which shop’s beef jerky I like best. So, what’s a girl to do? Well, buy from all of them and have a taste test, of course.

And so, in true Runaway Bride fashion, I gathered up some beef jerky from the shops in our hometown and set up a taste test for everyone. Here’s what I discovered: Of the 3 we tried, I found 1 to be too dry and too salty. The other 2 both had good flavor, with 1 that I had never even tried previously coming out the clear winner in my book. It was the least salty of the 3, and had the most interest with different layers of flavor and smokiness. But the real discovery? I guess I’m just not a beef jerky kinda girl. Yes, that’s right, the results of this taste test for me was: I don’t really care about beef jerky.

Stay tuned for more food trials. There are many foods I have not tried. Some because I’ve just never had the opportunity, and others because someone else said they didn’t like it, so I just never made it. My kiddos are pretty adventurous with food, so they’ll get to try some of these foods with me, as well. But some, well, some I will make for myself on my own date night when I find myself at home by myself watching sappy chick flicks (like Runaway Bride and Eat, Pray, Love). Because I deserve to eat well, even when I’m eating alone.

What are some foods you have always wanted to try but for whatever reason, just haven’t? Will you join me in this food trial and share your new food experiences with everyone?

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Happy New Year 2012

I am finally feeling settled in our new home. Just in time for the New Year! I have spent New Year’s Eve baking and cleaning and preparing for what is going to be an amazing 2012. How do I know it’s going to be amazing? Well, because I said so! Someone once told me that having a great day is a choice, and I think the same is true of the entire year, so I’m making a choice right now to have an amazing 2012. I hope you’ll join me in that choice.

Tomorrow I will re-enter civilization with the installation of internet at home. We also have cable being installed, but ssshhhh… that’s a surprise for the kiddos. 😉

Happy New Year! It's going to be amazing! xoxo

A toast to you in this New Year. Happy New Year! My wish for you is to always remember that you deserve to be happy. xoxo

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Homeward Bound: The Incredibl(y Long) Journey

Homeward Bound: The Incredibl(y Long) Journey—Guest Blog by Flik

So, we all know that my aunt, Just Frances, was born a homeless transient. Well, we’ve also known for some time that I ‘want to be just like her’. I want to go to Scotland, live in small towns, etc. Well, I am close to ‘just like her’ at this current moment in time (and space)—Because of the status of our move from our little Redneckville to Tree Hole, I am a semi-homeless transient.
I don’t know where my home is anymore. I’ve never had an actual, full-on, dictionary example of a home. I lived in an old house until I was four or five, then an apartment for about 2 to 4 more years, another apartment for 7 or 8 years, and finally a rental old house for 2 years. Now, I’ve been in the Judge’s house for a couple of months to stay somewhere as I move stuff over to our new apartment every weekend.
So, where do I say my ‘home’ is? I’ve always just called where I lived my home, not that it ever truly was. Now, I’m totally confused. And, due to my recent addiction to ‘Doctor Who’, I am not confused easily(I’ve learned how to follow paradoxes effectively within the past few months.). So, this is my new mission to life-
Find home.

—————————————————————————–

Now a note from That Cook Girl (Flik’s Mom)

“Home”, for me, is what you make it. Flik sent me her guest post late last week. And I waited to post it because I wanted to find the right words to add my thoughts on “home” and let her (and my son also) know that I am always home when I am with them… The right words never came. And today, I stopped by our new apartment and checked the mail before heading off for a lunch meeting. In our new mailbox was a card from Scotland. It made me smile carrying that card with me all day, knowing how much joy it would bring my kids when we sat together to open it. (Yes, I actually waited until we were all together… it was, afterall, addressed to the whole family.) What I read inside that card brought a tear to my eye, because my sister could not have known of Flik’s upcoming blog post when she mailed it to us, and yet, the words were perfect.

Frances writes:

“It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.” -author unknown

Welcome home!!I hope that your hearts find much joy in [Tree Hole]!! I love you all!! <3 Frances xxx

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The Great Pumpkin Hunt

The Great Pumpkin Hunt of 2011

Saturday morning, just 2 days before Halloween, and it occurred to me that we still had not gotten our pumpkins for carving. It was already going to be a busy day, but we were determined to make time for our carving tradition.

We begin our hunt, before heading to the soccer fields, at the Farmers Market where I made my usual first stop to see Bambi at Parke Creek Farm. This stop was not only for getting some great fresh veggies for our weekend food as we continue the move, but to say “good-bye”, since my “home” market will be in our new town next year. She didn’t have a lot of pumpkin choices as far as carving choices go, but I did pick out some great small pumpkins that she said are called “cuties”, but admitted she had yet to actually cook with one. That’s ok. I’ll experiment and report back to her. We said good-bye with promises to keep up via our Facebook pages at Parke Creek Farm and That Cook Girl. You can keep up with us there, too! </end shameless plug. Heehee>

As I mentioned in opening, we had a busy day planned. So, here’s just a quick rundown of the rest of the day before we got to continue our Pumpkin Hunt:

  • Soccer game (we won! Go RED BULLS!)
  • Quick visit with friends before leaving the fields
  • Load car with boxes from storage
  • Stop at house (that was filled with people and food… it would have been rude to
    not have a quick visit with them as well, so we stayed there longer than we had
    planned)
  • Add a few more things to the car, hoping there would still be room for the kids to
    sit (there was)
  • Drive and hour+ to the new place
  • Unload the car (to the 3rd floor apartment)

Now that we’re unloaded and sufficiently exhausted, it was time to head out for some shopping and pumpkin hunting… our first stop had the last-minute costume things we needed, and the food, and the other home necessities we were looking for…but no pumpkins. But what they did have was squash. Butternut and Spaghetti. Both made their way into the cart for the night’s carving activities. When all else fails, we carve squash, because the carving must go on. (Wait… that’s the show that must go on… nevermind. 😉 )

We did make one final stop before ending our hunt. There is a grocery store near our new apartment, so we swung in there, to find they still had plenty of pumpkins sitting out front. We made our choices and headed for our new home.

Enjoy! Our first Fireplace Decoration in our new home!

While I began cooking dinner, the kids set to work on their pumpkins. But they weren’t happy with carving just pumpkins. They wanted to carve the squash, as well. Afterall, that is why we bought them, right? I listened to their talking and giggling while I cooked and
put some more things in order in the apartment and started to feel like we really are at home, wherever we are together. I love you, kiddos!

 

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