Naptime Everyday: Recipes for Everyday Cooking and Baking
It took a few tries for carrot cake to become one of our favorites. I initially served my family the classic version and after the very first bite my children insisted I omit the raisins and nuts the next time. The second time around was better, but was deemed “boring.” Then, after they developed a sudden, and unexpected, obsession with blueberry pancakes I was asked to add berries to their cake to liven it up a little. Finally, with a few adjustments made to the frosting technique, we were set.
It is well-known in grade school land that October is the month of teacher conferences and half-day dismissals which is means that carefully laid routine of September is basically thrown out the window for a couple of weeks. It is an incredible pain in the a** for busy parents and the best way to deal with the food aspect of it, at least in my opinion, is with the slow-cooker. Prep food early in the day, let it cook while you scurry around to early pick-ups and coordinate playdates, and then serve dinner once everyone is finally able to wind down.
Cool fall days call for warm, chewy cookies. As the temperatures dip I find it easier to turn on the oven and let the kitchen warm up with it. These chewy cranberry oatmeal almond cookies are a new recipe I found in a terrific new cookbook, Scandinavian Gatherings: From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast: 70 Simple Recipes & Crafts for Everyday Celebrations. I am going to showcase the book next week but this recipe simply can’t wait.
Last spring we skipped making our own maple syrup because we had such crazy weather. It warmed up early and the sap started running. But then it suddenly stopped when we had a late spring frost, and never really had a chance to start again since the weather transitioned from winter straight to blistering hot summer. Instead, I invested in a big jug of real maple syrup in Cooperstown and have been doling it out ever since. Last week I used some syrup to make this Maple Yogurt Loaf for some friends. Though we use maple year round, it feels like such a fall flavor to me and with a little added pumpkin it was the perfect cake to kick-off the fall season.
We are back in the weeknight swing and I’m working on some new dinner recipes to add to my current repertoire. Over the summer we got into two dishes: zoodles, and shakshuka. Both are simple to make and taste delicious. Up until now I’ve been serving them separately, but this week I decided to combine them into one easy dish. My plan was to bake the eggs in the tomatoes and serve them over zoodles for an easy, healthy dinner.
We are big fans of all things pumpkin in our house. Nothing in my kitchen is safe from a swirl of pumpkin and maybe a touch of browned butter. Nothing! I know I am not the only one with this tendency and it was no surprise to find a whole selection of pumpkin recipes in the recent Martha Stewart Living magazine. (Martha and her editors totally get me!) The first to the dozen recipes I clipped was this Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake. It was screaming my name and when we invited friends over for dinner I knew it would be the perfect thing to serve for dessert.
This week I am participating in 5 Affordable Weeknight Dinners from Whole Foods Market with my friends at Whole Foods Market. We were asked to come up with five delicious family meals that we can make with one bag of groceries using Whole Foods’ super fresh ingredients .
Curry has never been my strong suit. I have a recipe for Curry Chicken Salad in my first cookbook, and am devoted to Aimée’s slow-cooker chicken curry. Other than that, I didn’t have much else in my repertoire until I stumbled upon this Coconut Shrimp Curry recipe on Sophie Dahl’s cookbook. We’ve been eating more shrimp lately and this recipe looked accessible for a non-curry expert and simple enough for a weeknight.
I am so thrilled to announce that this year I’ll be working with Cascadian Farm to produce exciting content on The Naptime Chef and for their website featuring their amazing selection of frozen fruit and vegetables. I’ve been a longtime fan of their frozen produce and frequently use it in my cooking working together is a natural fit. There is so much wonderful family-friendly fare that can be made with frozen produce, let’s dive in together!
We are finally in back-to-school mode with both kids. It was a great summer but my little guy wore me right out and I am very happy to be back into the regular routine. This routine, of course, includes weeknight cooking. Depending on our daily schedule I will sometimes prep food while they are at school. If I don’t have time to do that I’ll review some of my oldies but goodies, or the ingredients in our fridge, to come up with a quick and easy dinner recipe. Recently I made this easy skillet chicken cacciatore because I had the last couple of peppers from our garden in the crisper and a fresh packet of chicken to be eaten.
Last weekend we were supposed to endure the rains of Hurricane Hermine and they never came. It has been a long, hot summer in Connecticut and our garden so desperately needed the rain and cooler temperatures so I was excited. I am glad we did not have to endure any crazy hurricane weather like our neighbors to the south, but I honestly didn’t mind the idea of part of our long weekend being rained in. Naturally we had some party plans and I was all for preparing food to take to friend’s homes, including this peach caprese salad which is just fine, rain or shine.
Let’s talk whole grains. Last month I spent 48 hours in Winnipeg, Canada with General Mills Cereal learning all about oats. I learned about everything from how grain is grown and harvested, what makes it “whole”, and why it is so important for your diet. I was shocked (shocked!) to learn that 95% of Americans don’t get enough whole grains in their diet. How did I miss such a statistic? Consuming whole grains isn’t too hard, they are found in cereals, breads, and more. Yet, it seems that we never get enough.