meals

Julia’s Child by Sarah Pinneo – An Easy Bread Recipe and A Good Read

When I am really into a book I take it everywhere with me – confession – I even bring it into the car (sometimes I have time to read while waiting for children – don’t worry – no reading while driving!), I also take it to the kitchen while I am making dinner (sometimes that doesn’t work out very well). When I couldn’t put down Julia’s Child, it was okay because the great recipes meant it was in the kitchen for practical reasons, too.

The title character, Julia Bailey, is a mom on a mission. She can’t find healthy store-bought food that she wants to feed her children and starts making her own healthy recipes like Apple & Cheddar Muffets (which are delicious by the way). She starts making them for friends, too, and before she knows it, she is running a small organic toddler food business.

I loved Julia and completely related, below is an excerpt from the book, written by Julia as recipe notes:

“…The first time I wrote this, I put ‘organic’ in front of every ingredient. But it looked overzealous and uptight. (Don’t say it – kind of like me). What do you think?…

Author Sarah Pinneo clearly gets it and writes an funny, engaging book about trying to have her organic toddler bites and eat them, too. Don’t believe me – Check out the review on Kirkus Reviews.

Okay, I admit that I had a food mill, bought organic milk and produce and was maybe occasionally uptight and overzealous. I am in recovery now and only carry first aid kits and car blankets and a life hammer and…never mind, I’ll stop now.

Sarah was nice enough to include a recipe which is lovely, easy and delicious (I made it on Super Bowl Sunday – a great bread for soups, sandwiches and chili!)

Baking Bread for Busy Moms

By Sarah Pinneo

Writing Julia’s Child, and then working with Penguin USA on publishing it, was a lot of fun. But it was also a lot of work. When things got intense, I didn’t fail to notice the irony—some weeks I spent more hours writing about cooking for children than I did cooking for my real children.

The conventional wisdom is: write what you know. As a result, Julia’s Child is about mother guilt. And also toddlers, organic food, and green-washing. (And, to a lesser extent, goat manure and boobs. Julia’s Child is a comedy.)

Even while juggling all these topics, I’ve found that it’s still possible to bake bread. Nothing else makes the house smell more like home. My desk is in the kitchen, allowing me to sit mere feet from where the dough is rising. One feels more virtuous about scanning twitter while sitting in the same room with a bread dough you’ve made yourself. Trust me.

Due to the profusion of no-knead dough recipes in the past few years, you can bake bread without spending hours on it. But you do have to time it correctly—because it must rise for many hours. This is how I manage it, even during the busy weeks:

No Knead Bread, Adapted from a New York Times recipe by Jim Lahey

Ingredients

3 cups of all-purpose flour, or 2 cups all-purpose plus 1 cup of whole wheat

1/4 teaspoon fast acting (or instant) yeast

1 teaspoon salt

On Friday night, add all the ingredients to a big mixing bowl. Pour in 1 5/8 cups of tepid water, and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. (My six-year old loves this job.) The dough will be shaggy and sticky.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set on the countertop until morning.

First thing Saturday morning, put out a silicone mat or another not-sticky surface on the countertop. Sprinkle flour liberally on the mat. Turn out your risen dough onto the flour, and sprinkle even more flour on top. Then, gently fold the blob of dough in on itself a few times. Invert your mixing bowl, allowing it to act as a domed lid over the dough, and let it rise again.

Around 10 in the morning, preheat the oven to 425. Put a large pot with a lid in the oven to preheat as well. Set the timer for a half hour, so you won’t forget to put the bread in the oven.

At 10:30, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven. Set the lid aside.

Take the top off of your dough, and turn it out, into the pot. (It will still look like a big wet mess. Don’t panic.)

Carefully replace the hot pot lid, and put the pot in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake 20-30 more minutes, until the bread has a deep brown crust.

Cool thoroughly. Right around 12:30, you will be able to enjoy fresh bread with lunch!

Any busy mother will relate to this book – it is a great read and even has tried and true recipes. (I made the bread and the muffets). The book also has great tips for cooking with toddlers like this one: Give a toddler a chopstick when it is their turn to stir the flour. Trust me, you’ll thank her for this.

Win a copy of the lovely and Julia’s Child by commenting below – I’ll add the comments from last week’s post to this one and a winner will be posted here.

Winner will be chosen by the plug-in I use so no one calls foul – And The Winner Is

This contest will run through February 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm. Winner will be contacted by email and listed here.

For good measure, follow Sarah Pinneo on Twitter and like her on Facebook.

Before I Forget Tip: I used to take along a whole avocado for a day out (put it in a bag with a baby spoon and a butter knife) as a quick portable meal or a snack for older children. Whew, it has been a while since I had to pack that way!

 

And The Winner is Sarah C! Sarah will get an email and a copy of Julia’s Child!

Shopping for the Holidays with blogger extraordinaire, Pragmatic Mom

Last year, Pragmatic Mom and I shared a wildly popular (said modestly, eyes downcast) series of 12 posts for the 12 Days of – not Christmas – but Shopping. This year we are a little more on top of things and are starting earlier.  We covered those challenging people to buy for (Gifts for Father-in-law was by far the most searched) including in-laws, tutors, and teachers. How can you be your best centered self (not self-centered self) if you are distracted and driving around searching for gifts? We’ve got you covered. This was such fun and worked so well last year that we are formatting it the same way this year. We’ll be joint posting for the twelve days and Pragmatic Mom will do half of each post, and I’ll do the other. We even have a giveaway thrown in the mix this year, too, from Botanical Paperworks – Check out their Green Gifts Guide and enter to win Eco Coil Calendar and Pop Garden Pocket Notebooks at Pragmatic Mom on December 4th and Poppy Notebook Pad and Mittens Card Set here on December 5th!

So here is a preview: The 12 Days of Shopping

Thursday, December 1:  Make Your Own Gifts

Friday, December 2:  Kids Make Gifts Craft

Saturday, December 3: Personalized Gifts

Sunday, December 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

Monday, December 5:  Tutors/Teacherscapability mom scrounges sales racks for tea towels from Sur la table and anthropologie

Tuesday, December 6:  High Tech/Low Tech

Wednesday, December 7:  Hostess/Doing Good and Getting Something

Thursday, December 8:  Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer

Friday, December 9:  Husband, Me (Our Own  List)

Saturday, December 10:  Pets

Sunday, December 11:  Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

Monday, December 12:  ‘Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts

 

I really like this website – Gwyneth has a good sense of balance – Go to Goop

Before you say, “Hey, Capability Mom is all over the place this week.” I know I am. Sometimes I like to write and….sometimes I think cut and paste is the way to go.  While I do like to write and, this is not inversely proportional, to talk, sometimes I have brain shut down. I find (although I don’t always catch it in time) that it is best to shut up when that happens (okay, I never catch this in time).

So before I say or write anything that I will regret – I might mention I have seen this happen in a blog that I like and still read but now with a more jaundiced eye – the writer was freaking out and complaining about her server being down …blah blah blah – blog content missing…and then in a really offhand and coldish way mentioned that the guy who handled the server had committed suicide and then she continued to complain.  I was actually breathless with indignation and my fingers hovered over the keys to send a nasty retort but I couldn’t do it.  When I went to the site later – the post was gone, leaving me feeling as if I imagined it.  I know I didn’t and that someone else read it and told her she ought to take it down.  I still read the blog but not as often.

Anyway, here is a site that I really like and if you think I am a celebrity follower, I am not. I just think some people have a great deal to share and that this is a well-written and great site.

Goop is Gwenyth Paltrow’s blog and before you denounce it as a celebrity blog, check it out. Categories are Make, Go, Get, Be, Do, See and the recommendations are lovely, not overly spendy (well, some of the shopping, maybe) but restaurants, activities, exercise tips, healthy recipes and acts of kindness to yourself and others. Great lunchbox tips – I can always use those – here

goop do lunch box

My sister (from the West) will periodically send me the link and I recently subscribed to the newsletter. Yesterday we both read it at the same time and loved it and it happens to be timely for us. This post features a
book by Marcy Silverman Do Good:201 Ways to Lend a Hand. Lovely.

Peace out.

Mother’s Day is almost upon us…personally I just want a nice homemade card, some hand-picked flowers and some Mommy Prayers.

But if your family needs to do more, here are some ideas…BTW, Mother’s Day is not until Sunday, May 9, 2010.

capability mom loves upstairs at the squareMother’s Day Brunch at UpStairs at the Square – great food in a jewel box of a space.  This menu looks amazing.

I like to have breakfast at home – especially if someone wants to drive to Sofra. I hear the Turkish Breakfast is great but the chocolate orange croissant sounds pretty good, too.

For older children who love to make their own cards – a great resource is Paper Source PaperSource's I love my mom stamp – they have great card and craft ideas and gift ideas that are sweet but not spendy…just right.

You can never go wrong with chocolate…really, you can’t.  Here is a great site – delicious chocolate, adorable and made by a really sweet person, too.

Fancy Nancy’s Candy

fancy nancy candy from capability momThe fact that these made it through the “photo shoot” was a testimony to their adorableness not my willpower.

 

 

Ideas that cost pennies or nothing at all:

  • Take a hike…or a bike ride together as a family. Take the dog, too. 
  • Let Mom read the Sunday paper.
  • Send her out with a friend for a manicure and pedicure (commonly called mani-pedi in Mom Slang).
  • Another sweet idea is to put seeds in the card (inexpensive but lovely) and the children can plant them with Mom on Mother’s Day. Good activity and as complicated or easy as you want to make it.

Paper flower garden:

Construction paper, popsicle sticks, playdoh and a cup or small pot.

Cut out flowers of construction paper, tape or glue to popsicle sticks. Put playdoh in cup or pot and you have made a really cute flower for Mom.  We have done this and added photos of the children’s faces (and the family pet?) on the paper flower. Very cute.

  • You could always for the traditional route and bring Mom breakfast in bed. Everyone can help. It can be as basic as a cup of juice and a card to a full out gourmet experience. (For very little ones who want to help, Mom loves juice in a covered sippy cup, really, considering all of the possiblities of a toddler and a glass of juice, she really, really does).

Buy her a book. This book.  It is a really funny and sweet book called Mommy Prayers by Tracy Mayor (she is an editor at Brain Child : The Magazine for Thinking Mothers which I have read and loved forever – well, okay, the past ten years – maybe it just feels like forever).  This book is a series of classic Mom moments in prayer form.  I am not sure if my favorite is Prayer for My Five Minute Nap (Owl Babies…I read that constantly!) or Prayer for the Sunday Paper, Unread.  This book is lovely, funny, witty and on the mark – it will make Mom smile and even laugh out loud.  Okay, Prayer for the Clueless Mom at the Playground is my favorite.  The author, Tracy Mayor, will be at the Peabody (MA) Barnes and Noble on Saturday, May 1 at 2 pm. She will be signing books and there will be gifts! Gifts! If only I didn’t have a volunteer opportunity and two soccer games that day! You go for me – have fun, get gifts and buy books. She has a great blog, too. Mommy Prayers blog

mommy prayersWhatever you decide to do – Mom will appreciate it…that’s why she’s Mom.

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