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Food Porn

I realize that you may or may not know how much I love to cook. I do take pictures sometimes of what I make but I even more seldomly am posting them. I don’t know why. Well maybe it’s because there’s a lot that goes into being a food blogger. Except who doesn’t like oggling the pictures. And we all need some inspiration to be in the mood for food to make. So I’ve decided to give you a food porn picture-athon for today only. Enjoy!

gardentomatoes on Food Porn on Shalavee.comHomegrown garden tomatoes went into gazpacho (recipe here) and homemade tomatoes sauce and got roasted by the cookies sheet full. Roasted sungold and grape tomatoes became my ketchup with my breakfast eggs.

gazpacho on Food Porn on Shalavee.com

Fresh tomatoes and garlic on Food Porn on Shalavee.com

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cooking-peppers-and-onions-and-freezing-the-pablanos on Food Porn on Shalavee.com

Cooking peppers and onions and freezing the garden poblanos that grew like gangbusters.

gluten free pizza on Food Porn on Shalavee.com

Gluten free pizza has the best texture but sadly tastes like nothing.

crabs-an-eastern-shore-maryland-delacacy gluten free pizza on Food Porn on Shalavee.com

Two years in a row I’ve celebrated my birthday with crabs. This years bushel did not disappoint. Sweet and fat and too many were left over. Accompanied by Maryland Silver Queen sweet corn and more slices of homegrown tomatoes with mozzarella and basil and our meal is complete.

 

eastern-shore-corn-porn Food Porn on Shalavee.com

sausages-and-biscuits on Food Porn on Shalavee.com

I was raised on Midwestern breakfasts. Biscuits, sausage, and gravy. And poached eggs not pictured.

I thought for a moment these were my killer crabcakes sizzling in the cast iron pan, the recipe for which you can find here on this post.

But the biscuit recipe can be found here. And I’ve taken to using frozen salted butter chopped into the flour mixture in a cuisinart.

The resulting biscuits are to die for.

 

biscuits in-the-pan on Food Porn on Shalavee.com

chicken-wild-rice-and-mushroom-soup

And a chicken, Portobello mushroom, and wild rice soup I whipped up recently because it’s become soup season now. Fair-the-well sweet Summer garden food. Hello heavier more caloric winter feasting food. We’ve missed you.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Let Them Be Picky Eaters

There’s a boy at my son’s school. He represents every young man who’s grown up without. Without the constants of unconditional love. Without food enough to not be hungry. He has regular outbursts at school and threatens teachers and other students. He just wants to know that he matters.

He’s enrolled in an after-school program and, although this boy was suspended for a day or two, my husband saw him there as he was setting up lights for the talent show our son was to be in. He noticed the kid because again he threatened a teacher. They were serving spaghetti dinner to the after school participants as some kids won’t have a meal when they get home. I didn’t know about the program.Pickky eaters at dinner at Steve's on Shalavee.com

Over dinner, my husband was describing the wall of teachers that formed after the kid threatened one of them. And then he mentioned the spaghetti dinner. And I looked up and it hit me. And tears formed in my eyes. As they are now. Hungry isn’t ever a comfortable place to be. Basic needs being unmet would make you angry too. Every town has hungry people you just don’t see.

So when someone asked me recently if my kids were picky eaters, I said yes. And then I said that was OK by me. That they are persnickety and turn their noses up at their homemade waffle breakfast is fine with me to a degree. Because that means that they have no idea what it’s like to go without, to be hungry and frightened about finding their next meal. I’m just fine with my kids being picky.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Eating From Our Cupboard

There is definitely something satisfying about having my cupboard stocked. As much as I wanted to complain about grocery shopping in this post, I have a sense of bounty when it’s full. Our cupboard is an old metal cabinet inherited from Grandmom that is more like a pantry. I removed my upper cabinets in the kitchen and this is what we use now instead. And to have it stocked means that I can throw together quick-breads or a pasta dish or a soup based on what’s in there and the fridge. I can be lazy or I can make effort but it’s there for the cooking. Some of the meals I have given recipes for that I think of as cupboard meals are my Cannellini bean and Tuna salad and the Warm Salad.

Cannellini bean and tuna salad on Shalavee.com

On the random day that I inventoried my cupboard just to see what I had, it contained the following ingredients:

Oats, grits,olive oil, vegetable oil, bulk fake yellow sugar , sugar free syrup, peanuts, almonds, cashews, craisins, prunes, raisins, popcorn, goldfish, graham crackers, animal crackers, rice cakes, saltines ,triscuits, oreos, Nillas, rice crackers, peanut butter, natural peanut butter, taco shells, breakfast bars,squeezy applesauces,peach cups, whole grain spaghetti, penne, angel hair, rotini, quinoa, mac and cheese, chicken stock, black beans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, cannalini beans, re-fried beans, taco shells, salsa, tomatoes and green chilies, evaporated milk, coconut milk, tuna, petite diced tomatoes, olives, green chilies, artichokes, brown sugar, cornmeal, Masa Harina (corn flour), wheat flour, mayonnaise, juice bottles, freezer bags, and brown rice. Not to mention the various vinegars and sauces that we use and all the baking powder, soda, and salt. The sugar, flour, and rice live in tins on the counter top. Architecture with butter on Shalavee.com

The fridge and freezer are stocked by mood and sale items. Currently there’s shrimp, pork butt, pork chops, chicken breasts, ribs, flat-iron steak, and various frozen veggies as well as chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and ice cream in the freezer.

The “rotter’ as my husband likes to call the fresh veggie drawer, is filled with lettuce, cabbage, spinach, carrots, celery, thyme, ginger, cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, and a lemon or two. Dairy includes butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, sour cream, cheese, and buttermilk. And breakfast sausages and bacon as well. The onions, potatoes, and hand fruit sit on my counter behind my sink.kitchen window and sink on Shalavee.com

I do find that too much choice can be a bad thing so I feel much much better when I write out suggestive menu plans for the week. That way I can get “in the mood” for some meals. And I can switch around meals depending on the amount of effort I feel like making . Although it almost seems hard to make that meal plan out sometimes, I’m always happy when I do.

I also didn’t realize that I cook breakfast 5 days out of 7. I don’t often just let everyone eat cereal or yogurt. So we eat eggs or leftover pancakes or oatmeal more often than not. And leftovers can be bundled into a burrito later. I try to be frugal and mindful of making what I have bought. My kids hopefully will eventually appreciate this. Or not.salad nicoise on shalavee.com

Tip number 7 of the 10 Smart tips for eating healthier on a budget from the Kitchen.com is to keep a well-organized fridge and pantry. Shopping for fresh produce at the end of the farmer’s market, sale meats, whole grains, planning and eating outside your box/comfort zone are all on the list. Wonder how well you’re doing ? Read the article and find out.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Are You a Mourning Cook Too?

There was once a time when I cooked for the joy of it. I dared to try different techniques, different regional tastes, or daring feats of culinary craziness. I deboned a turkey for Thanksgiving just to say I did it. I make a mean tiramisu when I take the time to. That went with my Italian Christmas feast I made one year with homemade pasta and reinforcement salad. And now I am in mourning for the cook I used to be.

I soooooo miss those days when the pursuit of culinary loveliness was just for self-gratification. And for the gratification of the ones I love of course. What wine pairs with my culinary feat du jour and who am I inviting over to impress? Do we have enough wine? Who cares the time.

Those days are gone Daddy gone. I became a Mom and Eamon and Fiona are happy to be eating some boxed mac and cheese and a microwaved hot dog. Don’t forget the ketchup. And the ice cream.Thanksgiving dinner 2015 on Shalavee.com

When I indulged these thoughts, I felt suddenly as if I were mourning this memory. I love cooking to cook. And I resent cooking plebeian meals for temperamental palettes. But my wise and dear husband pointed out, after I shared my depressing revelation of cooking sentence, that he thinks eventually those same children will develop their taste buds and sense of adventure and they’ll be cooking with me and eventually for me.

I dearly hope his prediction is correct. I won’t hold my breath. But my love of cooking came from my parents, yes, although I also was an adventurous eater. I find it very hard to put so many parts of my soul on hold for the sake of the children. And yet, my complaints are rare because I do understand that this is one of many sacrifices one makes for your children. Like the reading of a book or peeing in private. And that to wish the hurrying through of this phase is to wish to hurry their childhood. And I’m not about to do that.Saturday morning breakfast in the living room that we dine in on Shalavee.com

Sandra Lee had a pretty keen idea of mixing the downtown and the uptown cooking and I commend her for her efforts to create fancier meals with less prep and throw in a decorative element to make the dining experience an event. Children can learn to revere the meal times and eventually the food that is there on their plates. And it’s time I revisit the review I did of French Kids Eat Everything by Karen La Billon. It was really good.

So here’s me dreaming of truffles and oysters and sabayon. And planning a dinner party sometime soon so that I can get some culinary yaya’s out.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

The School Cafeteria

(A treat for you from two years ago. A piece I’d hoped to have published and never got around to submitting so here it is for your reading pleasure instead.)

Twice this year, I have taken the “opportunity” to have lunch with my kid. I twitch at this memory and the thought of  the incredible quantities of food that are being tossed into the trashcans. I experienced an overwhelming sense of loss. Needless to say, my visit was both a jarring and eye opening experience both times.

Last year, my son was in the first grade and lunched with the fifth graders. So when the megaphone got pulled out, I figured it was the older kids that were to blame. Near enough to middle school, I knew there was trouble a-brewing with this demographic.

But this year, the attempt to quell the “chaos” with a prison-like loudspeaker system commanding quiet from a room half-full of seven year-olds was employed multiple times in the limited lunch time period.  My husband and I recalled that our grade school lunchroom was just as loud. But as long as food wasn’t flying and children weren’t running, that’s a school lunchroom’s MO.

As for the food, thanks to people I actually know, there has been a true effort to make the cafeteria offerings a little more nutritious. They admit they can’t go all Jamie Oliver’s Food Nation on the system but I did see hummus on the menu. And if the children are hungry, they will eat the food that is in front of them. But on the occasion I was visiting the school last, it was holiday time. Despite the teachers attempt to not spoil their lunch, the kids hunger was quelled prior to lunch by those class parties.

Now sitting in the school cafeteria, I looked at the kid across from me and queried him on his indifference to his food. He said, even though he wasn’t hungry, if he was in the daily bought lunch program, the lunch women were required to put the complete lunch on his tray.  So a main, a snack side, a fruit or veg, and a drink would all be piled onto his plate. Even if he was just going to stare at it. In Union terms, an opportunity to eat was being provided.

As I watched all these loud children ignoring the majority of the food in front of them, I asked one of the lunchroom patrollers/teachers about the state of waste that I saw occurring. He said that they’d at least instituted a policy were pre-wrapped food could be brought up and trades could be made. The kid next to me took advantage of this and had at least two portions of pineapple. But I watched tray after tray of packaged and uneaten food go into the trash.

I then commented to the janitor at the amazing amount of wasted food I now saw actually physically being dumped into the trash cans. And this was only the second grade. There were many more lunchtimes yet to happen. Daily. Statewide. I then asked if he had any idea whether people were dumpster diving behind the school. He probably thought it an odd question but  I assume they are. He said surely the trash services picked them up quickly enough. Were the bins locked?

When I had asked the grocery store produce guy this question as he filled a huge trash can full of wilty vegetables, he said that he knew people not only dumpster dove for the produce, but sold it as well. Just because you can’t see it, hunger is still everywhere. And he added, they used to give the damaged pet food bags to the pet charities until they found out that people were purposefully sabotaging the food bags. And that was the end of that. Idiots.

The system is more than flawed. Mandatory feeding rules and regulations dictate what big brother thinks our children need in their bellies while feeding them within the scant hurried half hour of lunch when they’re not hungry, denies real bodily desires and needs to be met. And the waste factor is really disturbing and health regulations shut any other possibilities down.

I nod and smile when my kid asked me if I’ll come back to school again. I didn’t even mention the part where he completely ignored me during his lunch to show off to his buddies. I ended up making small talk with the kids around me. They are entertaining but I think I’ll skip the lunch visit and enjoy the academic classes before or afterwards instead. Or make my husband visit instead.

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