This garden tart might be the recipe I have made most often from my class recipe files with several changes. It is commonly on the menu that I deliver to friends who have just had a baby. It is easy to double the recipe so that we also have dinner for ourselves, and it can be made the night before and be easily reheated or served at room temperature. It pairs nicely with a kale or arugula salad. This past weekend, we brought it along to our friends' Easter Brunch.
I occasionally add spinach, swiss chard, or arugula to the filling but left it out this time. As is the case with most of my recipes, it can easily be adapted to your own family's tastes.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
My husband and I took several series of cooking classes through what used to be called Adult Ed at Santa Barbara City College. It was a lot of fun, and we both picked up some new tricks and many great recipes. We also met a lot of wonderful people and still keep in touch with our teacher, Jane. She is such an amazing person and a wonderful chef.
This was the first year we dyed eggs at our house, so I decided we should try our hand at natural dyes and see what resulted. Luckily, it is more about the process with Ewan than the results, and he didn't mind that our eggs didn't come out really bright. I think they're lovely, but the colors are a bit subdued and don't fit into the bright color palette that many expect around Easter time.
We just chose ingredients that we already had to make our dyes. We used (shown above from left to right) kale, turmeric, smoked paprika, and beets. The turmeric and smoked paprika were both in powder form from our spice cabinet. The kale came from our garden, and we actually just used the fiber that remained after juicing, hence the pink rather than green color. The beets were in our refrigerator. Some other ideas I've seen include red cabbage, red or yellow onion skins, wine, coffee, red tea, and cooked spinach. Part of the fun was looking through our spice cabinet and garden for ideas.
From what I've read, one of the better methods for making dyes is to boil the ingredients for 15-20 minutes. I was going for an outdoor activity during Isla's nap times, so I just poured boiling water over our ingredients and let them steep for about four hours. After four hours, we poured the beet and kale dyes through a strainer. We left the turmeric and smoked paprika alone since I didn't think it was worth the mess of straining powders. We also made a few purple eggs using blueberries, but we didn't make a dye for those.
A bit of beet dye landed in the kale and turmeric dyes, but I don't think it was enough to affect our colors by much. We also ended up with a naturally dyed tea towel as a bonus from the days activities...
Please continue to see our methods for making the dyes and coloring the eggs...
I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Mr. Taste Buds has been really busy lately, so I spent Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday with the kids. We had a nice family lunchtime outing on Saturday while he took a break from working.
I had been contemplating taking both kids swimming by myself and finally went for it this weekend on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Isla watched from her stroller for awhile each time while I spent some one-on-one time with Ewan. Then Ewan spent a lot of time diving down to pick up toys from the bottom while I worked with Isla. It worked out better than I could have hoped.
We also met friends for a picnic and saw many more at a kite festival in town on Sunday. Trying to fly a kite while wearing a 20-pound baby in a front pack with a three-year-old as your assistant actually isn't too difficult until you have to worry about the kite crashing into the hundreds of people around you or crossing lines with the other hundred kites in the air. Needless to say, we only spent about ten minutes actually trying to fly our own kite. And I didn't remember to take my camera, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have gotten much, if any, use in the chaos.
I had hoped to make this dish again when I wasn't so rushed at dinnertime, just for a second photo opportunity. My poached egg was a bit overcooked for my taste. But I couldn't miss my Monday deadline on week two of my new feature (my photo editing software is not accessible to me at the moment). I figure it's good to admit that things don't always turn out perfectly, although I really loved this dish, even without a runny egg yolk. I'm a big fan of healthy, one bowl meals lately. Our toddler really liked this meal too, however I just placed each ingredient in its own spot on his plate rather than stacked together in a bowl.
I love the way I feel when I regularly drink green juice. Unfortunately, I hadn't been doing a great job of regularly drinking it for awhile but recently started up again and am trying to stick with it for awhile. It is a bit of a commitment, one that I come and go with. But even if I only take the time to make my green juice once a week, I still enjoy the benefits and really feel great for a few hours after drinking it.
I have been juicing for almost a year and a half and have my sister to thank for turning me onto it and suggesting I get the same juicer that she had already tried out for awhile. I have been very happy with it thus far.
I realize I haven't been posting enough meals to my site. Things get pretty crazy here in the late afternoons with two small kids, one who is newly crawling, and another who doesn't want to allow her the space to do so. Although I do manage to make dinner most nights, the thought of trying to nicely photograph the steps and finished product has just seemed a bit overwhelming. Usually the kitchen looks like a dishwasher full of dirty dishes exploded into the room since it is so hard to wash dishes while I cook. These conditions do not make for lovely food photos.
I've decided to challenge myself to post one dinner per week. I may only get a picture of the finished meal sometimes, but the perfectionist in me will just have to try and look the other way on those days.
My plan is to post the weekly meal on Mondays. I even came up with a (hopefully) catchy title, "Monday Meals." I'm down for suggestions though if any readers have a better idea.
Some of our best meals come from last minute ideas using the ingredients we already have on hand. We have a lot of swiss chard in our garden right now, so I have been incorporating it into many meals either as a side dish, part of a stir-fry, or in a quiche. I also had some mushrooms that weren't going to make it much longer.
As I have mentioned in the past, I like to keep some kind of cooked grain on hand for throwing in salads, or as a last minute side dish. This also comes in handy when making a stir-fry; just toss the precooked grain right into the skillet when the stir-fry is nearly finished (or after it has been removed if serving separately) for a quick reheat without dirtying another pan.
After my success with the maple and vanilla yogurts, I decided to try a few of my own variations. So far I have made cinnamon yogurt two different ways, once using ground cinnamon and once using a cinnamon stick, honey yogurt using local raw honey, and peppermint yogurt using peppermint extract. The honey yogurt and both cinnamon yogurts were good, but I didn't care for the peppermint yogurt eaten plain. It was good mixed into green smoothies though. I plan to try making it again using peppermint leaves and hope it will result in a milder taste.
These yogurts will not be extremely sweet like most sold at the grocery store, but if you are used to eating plain yogurt, you may enjoy having a bit of added flavor without all the processed sugar or artificial sweeteners. If you enjoy sweeter yogurt and are trying to quit or cut back on processed sugars, you can always add honey to the cinnamon yogurt and increase the amount of honey in the honey yogurt. Or come up with your own flavor. If you have any successes, please share them with me in the comments.
I hope you all enjoyed the first weekend of Spring. We planted lettuce, spinach, and tomatoes in our garden and enjoyed two more strawberries off our strawberry plants. Ewan was nice enough to share one with me; it was delicious, although it was tiny. We have quite a few green ones on the plants and have been checking the garden everyday to see if any more are ripe.
What kid doesn't love dip? At three and a half years old, Ewan continues to enjoy making his little stacks of food, held together much better with a bit of dip for the "glue". They are like bite-sized, open-faced sandwiches.
Your toddler can help make this recipe by pouring in the olive oil and measuring the cumin and pouring that into the food processor. Ewan also ran the buttons on the food processor. Please remember to always supervise toddlers while they are using any kitchen equipment. Some safety features are not built with little hands and fingers in mind.
Jason bought me a wonderful new cookbook at one of our local bookstores, Chaucer's, when they were holding a fundraiser for our son's preschool. I really love how so many businesses in town are willing to help out the local schools by donating a portion of their sales on certain days back to the school. I imagine they usually get enough increased business during these events to more than make up for the sales they are donating, so it's a win for everyone involved. It also makes me more likely to return and recommend these businesses when they are willing to help their community.
I altered her Pear-Hazelnut Oat Muffin recipe to make this one. We hadn't been to the grocery store in over a week, and a friend I hadn't seen in quite awhile was coming over for coffee. I wanted to at least have something we could nibble on with our coffee but couldn't go to the store since my youngest was napping. I just used the ingredients I had on hand, resulting in quite a few changes to Megan's original recipe. But they turned out really nice. I especially love that they are free of processed sugars.
Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best, especially when it comes to toddlers. This is definitely something I need reminding of more often, especially when we have a week as exhausting as our past week has been. I have so much fun creating and testing new recipes that I forget about some of our easy favorites.
My son could probably live on fruits and nuts. We almost always take a snack of nuts and dried fruit with us wherever we go just in case we are out of the house when a low blood sugar moment hits.
This is not quite as simple as a bag of cashews and raisins, but it doubles as a fun activity if you let your child do the final assembly. Sometimes "playing" with food is encouraged in our house.
Ewan loves burritos, tacos, and sopes, really almost anything fairly simple that contains black or pinto beans. The other day, he asked me if we could have tacos for dinner. We didn't have any tortillas or time to make them, but we did have all of the other ingredients, and we had just made pancakes for our afternoon snack and had some leftover. So I asked him if we could use "tortilla pancakes" instead of tortillas.
Our resulting creation was delicious and much easier for a toddler to eat than actual tacos, especially if you make your pancakes fairly small. Ewan loved these and has requested them since. I also thought they were delicious.