Monthly Archives: March 2010

Who Needs Playmobil?

This post really has no business being on this blog — except for the fact that Paper Doll Command Central happens to be at the kitchen table, especially during long stretches of unscheduled spring breaks. You are looking at Alexandra and Claire, two paper dolls in my daughters’ collection of about three hundred (each with her own name). It works… Read more »

Monogrammed Pot Pies

The girls flipped when I made these mini chicken pot pies for them a few weeks ago. The lettering was purely by accident — I had leftover scraps of dough, so I rolled the trimmings into a little worm, then scripted initials and words out of it. It just so happened I was making chicken pot pies from leftover roast… Read more »

Money in the Bank

finished pie daylight

Yesterday, I spent about 10 minutes making this free-form cherry pie. The cherries are jarred Morellos from Trader Joe’s but the homemade crust is Martha Stewart’s pate brisee, which had been sitting in the freezer and which, in my opinion elevates just about anything it wraps itself around to levels of unparalleled pastry brilliance. For the past few weeks every… Read more »

Fish Presents

presents wrapped

It didn’t take us long to figure out that, when it comes to rolling out a new product at the family table, so much depends upon the marketing campaign. I doubt our kids would have gone within a mile of cauliflower had we not first introduced it to them as “white broccoli.” They wouldn’t have sniffed brussels sprouts had we… Read more »

Spring Salads: Thinking in Threes

Last year during a routine physical check-up I told my doctor I was worried about my brain — I couldn’t remember anything anymore. I was telling the same stories to the same people. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t pull up the name of that Terence Stamp movie I talked about throughout the year 1999. I forgot it… Read more »

In-N-Out Burgers & Baked Potatoes

“Now this is the kind of dinner I can get into.” That’s what my husband said when he sat down to the table with four plates that looked exactly the same (a rarity). The menu: California-style turkey burgers and baked potatoes topped with sour cream and caramelized onions. I usually mix in a little barbecue sauce to the ground turkey (dark… Read more »

Halfway Homemade: Chicken Curry with Spinach

It’s a good week when there’s a Maya Kaimal simmer sauce in the refrigerator — it means that one family dinner in the next five nights is going to be a complete no-brainer. I’ve tried lots of these prepared sauces over the years (my kids have always liked, or in the case of my youngest, tolerated curry) but Kaimal’s taste fresher and… Read more »

Time for Dinner: The Cookbook

When I worked at Cookie, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by moms who (collectively) knew the answers to everything. Really everything! From Should I send my late-birthday kid to kindergarten or not? to What should I wear to a summer afternoon wedding? to Is Coraline too old for my six-year-old? But the real bonus was that two of them,… Read more »

Trader Joe’s Evangelism

bananas

TJoes, as it is known in my house, is not so much a grocery store as it is a fringe church with its own congregation of lunatic cult members. Everyone I know who patronizes it for their weekly shop has incredibly strong, incredibly diverse ideas of what to buy and what to skip. Last week, sitting in my friend Todd’s… Read more »

Spread the Word, Nicely

You know what drives me crazy? The way the conversation about Family Dinner can insidiously slip in the Family Values direction. The scaremongery tone of all those studies telling parents that our kids are headed down paths of drugs and destruction if we don’t eat together, does nothing to help the cause. (And sounds remarkably similar to Rick Santorum telling… Read more »

Weaning Them Off the Nugget

chicken cutlet opener

In some ways I feel like I could tell my life’s story through the breaded chicken cutlet. It started with my mother: Mom could make a chicken cutlet. Crispy, golden, never overcooked. When I was growing up, she’d serve them with sautéed garlicky zucchini wedges. I’d slap the cold leftovers on a baguette with a slather of mayo. No one… Read more »

The “OK Shelf”

My position on letting the kids help with dinner is this: No. For me it’s one of those things that fall under the Sounds-Fun-But-Actually-Sucks category of kids activities. (Others on the list: parades, ice skating, any kind of music class that mom has to be present at.) That does not mean I’m categorically against my kids cooking with me. In… Read more »

Roast Chicken with Vegetables

People ask me all the time if I’m interested in having a third kid. The answer (for now, at least) is: Why would I when a cake mixer has two beaters to lick and a chicken has two drumsticks to serve? (Shouldn’t I take it as some sort of sign that the girls are both crazy about the legs while… Read more »

The Chalkboard

chalkboard

I bought this chalkboard decal from wallcandyarts.com and stuck it up in my kitchen because I just thought it was so pretty, but now, two years later, I’m not sure anyone in my house can live without it. At first I used it as a way to remind my babysitter of playdates and activities, but now it’s more like my… Read more »

Rosa’s Mud Cake

It’s hard to even count how many different shapes and sizes Rosa’s Mud Cake has taken over the past three decades. That’s it up there, in a heart shape underneath frosting and an army of m&ms for Phoebe’s Valentine-themed birthday party a few years back. It was also the cake I used for Phoebe’s birthday “beach cake” and the dessert… Read more »

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