Archive for the ‘Food & Recipes’ Category

Multigenerational vacation – the family reunion

Here is a recommendation for your next family reunion – make it about the food – the food from your youth, the stuff that brings back memories. 

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I just got home from the mother of all multigenerational experiences – my family reunion.  We stayed in 2 locations: the families with little kids shared a massive house in Scottsdale (8 adults and 8 kids between 2 and 11) and the others were at the Boulders Resort. 

At any point in the day, we were in the pool, eating, reading, eating, playing games, eating, watching movies, cooking, and eating and oh yeah, drinking.  The initial jaunt to the grocery store resulted in three large carts and a $428 bill – and we made 2 more trips during the course of our 4-day stay.

As the five cousins cooked and prepared food through out the holiday, we talked about the fact that our grandfather never met a meal nor a snack that he did not like.  The man stood 6’4” tall while my grandmother was 5’4”.  She ate like a bird most of the time and as a result, I think my grandfather munched his way through a day…  popcorn, peanuts, pretzels, cheese and crackers, chex mix…  Resisting the inclination to grab a handful of whatever snack lies on a counter goes against our family DNA.

I think we did him proud…  During our vacation, the kids were caught sneaking my mom’s brownies, we made no less than 4 servings of the sour cream/onion mix dip, went through 5 bags of Ruffles (2 were low fat – like that mattered…), mowed through untold numbers of Frescas and diet cokes, devoured 7 pounds of salmon, 10 pounds of pasta, 10 racks of ribs, and drank mojitos, margaritas, beer and wine.  Really, does anyone need anything else?  (Maybe a cabana boy to deliver drinks to the pool?)   Thank goodness we are all back in the real world the other 361 days a year…

The last evening we were together, we savored baby back ribs from Michael Chiarello and fresh coleslaw.  Chas was the first to finish a rib and with a clank of the cleaned bone hitting a bowl, the eating commenced.  We ate and ate… and with 14 adults sitting around the dinner table, we celebrated one birthday, told and re-told old family stories and toasted my grandparents and our heritage.  And only 3 of us got weepy… a minor miracle.

Planning for summer 2011 is already underway… and I am sure the first thing on our grocery list next summer will be sour cream and onion mix – taking us right back to that familiar place of our past.  Thankfully, some things do not change.

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Tantalizing fare for the month of June

by Kanesha

I mentioned on some previous posts how this multigenerational family loves to eat and try out new recipes. We also have to make some adjustments to many recipes to support my son’s allergy avoidance diet.  Some readers asked me to post the recipes we tried out in the month of June.

I’m posting the top seven…

Click on the pdf link for the recipes: June Recipes 2010

Grilled salmon on cedar plank with wild rice. (Spinach salad with strawberries – not pictured)

Hubby made this dinner for the two of us when we had our mini-honeymoon. Divine!

Red Pepper Chicken with Noodles

It was a super hot day and my mother-in-law made this dish for the four of us (hubby was on travel). It was quick and easy and did not heat up the house too much. On this particular night, we sat in the living room and watched Jeopardy while we ate. I think I even managed to get final Jeopardy that night. Dinnertime fun!

Grilled Chicken Cobb Burgers

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Cilantro

My daughter and I had fun making this meal together. Hubby was getting ready to leave for a two-week work trip and we wanted to do something special for  him. We often watch the Food Network and we keep track of the recipes we want to try out (yes, we make recipe lists!). We all stuffed ourselves that night because the food was so good!

Three-Grain Salad with White Beans, Tomatoes and Parmesan

I decided to make this salad after I read yet another article (this time in Fitness Magazine) that said I needed more fiber in my diet. It was delicious and tasted like REAL food (not cardboard). The fresh basil was aromatic and added the perfect flavor to this salad. The family was pleased.

Blueberry Pie

Because my son is allergic to eggs, dairy and most nuts, we try to make dishes that are “allergy-friendly” and still taste good to rest of us. My mother-in-law decided to make this pie with my son after the characters on Word World made a pie. He wore his little apron and everything.

What are you cooking this summer?

You dirty bird!

by Kanesha

I love Real Simple magazine and their website. The tips are great, practical, and I don’t feel badly about myself when I learn something new (something that I probably should have known already).

The other day, while I was procrastinating and surfing the web, I came across  a post entitled To Rinse Chicken or Not to Rinse Chicken?

Great question! Reading that post took me back to an exchange I had with my MIL when she was cooking dinner (or supper as she calls it). She was in the kitchen chopping, measuring and creating an amazing weekday meal. I was watching her, learning some new cooking techniques, catching up on what happened with the kids that day…and I then I stopped her.

“Aren’t you gonna wash that chicken before you cook it?”

Dead silence.

akaRaff’s Guide to Making Boursin Roasted Chicken

akaRaff’s Guide to Making Boursin Roasted Chicken

I don’t remember her exact response, but no, she was not going to wash the chicken.

I wondered if this was a cultural or regional thing.

My own mother always washes any meat before she cooks it and so did my aunts. I called my mother and asked her about this meat washing etiquette and she said,

“If it’s not ground meat, then I always wash it. But now that I think about it, I guess growing up on a farm and killing our own meat is the catalyst for washing it. You’re grandmother always washed it, so I guess I’m still doing it just because.”

Well, okie dokie then.

On those rare occasions when I’m cooking, I’ll most likely wash the meat – very carefully. Does my MIL wash the meat? I don’t know and I’m not asking! I like those tasty meals every night, so I’m keeping my trap shut!

OK fellow carnivores, how do you handle your meat?  (Keep this clean people!)

Feel free to chime in about dinner vs. supper  – if you’re so inclined.

Coffee WARS – love the smell, right?

Uhmm, yeah, ok.

Margot:

Ahhhh, the delicious smell of coffee in the morning.  I like a dark roast, percolating gently, aromatically wafting through the house as I finish getting dressed – Peet’s coffee specifically, with a splash of Coffee Mate, Italian Sweet Cream.  My husband uses a nifty Nespresso machine that uses espresso pods – and he warms milk, whips it to a froth and adds a spoonful of sugar.

My husband and I used to get our coffee on the way to work every morning – but that changed when we had kids.  (And the savings, honestly, is impressive!)  I never drank coffee until after college – and now – it is THE thing that I look forward most to when the day starts.

In my multigenerational house, the smell of coffee coming from my parents’ part of the house means my dad is up and reading the Denver Post – usually between 6-6:30 am.  I have to admit, their coffee does not have the same effect on me. I have caught a whiff of it here and there over the last 4 years– not so good.

So yesterday, I decided to look in their kitchen cabinet – Target brand.  Nothing wrong with the red dot boutique – in fact, I love Target – but not for my coffee.  When did I become a coffee snob?  Are most Americans becoming coffee snobs?  Do we blame Starbucks?  How did this happen?  And snobbery can go the other way, too – I have seen my dad looking at all the coffee stuff we have – and he just chuckles.

Kanesha:

And the coffee snob saga continues…

I was running downstairs the other morning, so I could dig through the dryer to find some pants for the 3-year-old (just looking for the pants – the rest of the clothes stayed in the dryer). As I turned the corner to head into the kitchen, I smelled coffee brewing, but what KIND of coffee?

My MIL makes it to the main floor between 6-6:30am, grabs the Daily Camera and Denver Post from the driveway, starts the coffee, and then tackles sudoku. If I’m having a “snooze-a-holic” morning, the smell of brewing coffee is my wake up call to get a move on. BUT, on this particular day, the coffee smell was…  off.

Back in the kitchen, I said to my MIL, “Good morning.  What kind of coffee are you making this morning?”

MIL, “Folgers.  It was on sale, a good deal.”

Big sigh!! The coffee snob in me just kept it moving and went downstairs.

I LOVE it that my MIL is a conscious shopper, uses coupons that I clip, and likes to take advantage of a great deal when she sees one, but Folgers?  I mean we have a bean grinder, a programmable coffee maker, several accoutrements, and access to the best fair trade coffee around. We can do better!  Ok ok , the coffee snob in me says we can do better.

I didn’t make a big fuss about the coffee that morning because in the reality of  multigenerational living, coffee ain’t no deal breaker!  I just ended up buying a florentine (my fav!) at Celestial Seasonings.

(Think about Zeek and the hazelnut coffee on Parenthood!)

Here’s the reality: I love having a cup coffee with my MIL. We grab our favorite coffee containers, doctor up the coffee to taste, sit down and just shoot the breeze.  If I have to smell Folgers on some mornings (or afternoons), so be it.  BTW…later that day, I did find a bag of “designer” coffee beans in the cabinet. Coffee unites us!

Tell us – what’s your favorite coffee/coffee drink?