Tuesday, January 15, 2013


We're back on the Clean Diet for our yearly detoxing.  I think that we probably eat fairly well in general.  I limit our sugar, at least to half, in every recipe, and often use honey, dates, or maple syrup instead.  I buy only organic meat, and lots of organic fruits and veg, but we do love butter.  And cream.  And bread, and my extra dark fair trade chocolate that I have a taste of occasionally. (sigh)  I have a cup of tea nearly every day, and sometimes a cup of coffee as well.  For at least a week, we are doing a mini cleanse and eliminating a lot of things that we love (like chocolate, dairy, gluten, caffeine...) as well as adding two liquid meals a day.  Chris grudgingly agreed to go along with me.  And really, this is mostly for his benefit, because with all of his travel this year, his dietary regime got kicked to the wayside.  (When you are in the boondocks of Texas working at least 12 hour days and the only restaurants have wilted iceberg lettuce as their veggie choice, who could blame you really.)

No whining allowed. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Food Critic in My Kitchen

*Pictures by Aidan Cummings*

I cook for two food critics every night.  They are budding chefs and their favorite shows to watch on YouTube (no cable here) are invariably cooking shows (with an occasional foray into Shaun the Sheep).  So the nightly routine goes a little something like this...You could have added a bit more spice, I think...Hmm, I'm tasting a bit of lemon, I like how that complements the dish...Maybe next time some pancetta for a salty flavor might kick things up a notch...You should have smoked the gouda first.  Sometimes I'm advised to never make the dish again, but still applauded for my effort.  Sometimes I get high marks from the whole table.  And sometimes I still have to threaten something horrible to get them to finish their food.  The darling husband is getting into the game now as well.  It used to be that he happily ate whatever I made, just because he was so grateful to have someone cook for him.  Now, however, he has decided to start having an opinion as well.  I'm not certain that I like this new discerning palate. 

Taste everything! -Chef Anne on America's Worst Cooks
I was recently chastised from a small person for *gasp* using a premade pie crust and once nearly set the table on strike for cooking Indian food from a mix.  Fortunately, the wee ones like to cook almost as much as they like to critique and "let's play Iron Chef" will send them into the kitchen every time. I've taken to having them taste test, and add seasonings if needed,  because making them a part of the process means they are much more likely to gobble something down.  Some perfect Saturday mornings I'm greeted in bed with a cup of tea, and the smell of pancakes sizzling or breakfast burritos being created. 

How many times do I have to tell you?  Use more seasoning! -Chef Anne
Most times, it's so fun to have little foodies in the house who like to try interesting things, but I confess there are certainly days I wish I could open a box of mac and cheese and not be greeted with open revolt.  

Not that!! -Chef Anne
And for the record, I think our pasta maker hates me.

I've never met a stick of butter I didn't like. -Paula Deen
Happy cooking.  And happier eating.  One final quote from Paula Deen on cooking competitions-We're gonna spank their bottoms until their nose bleeds.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ski Lessons

I taught my kids to ski this weekend.  I'm not an amazing skier.  In fact, my entire history consists of one terrifying trip from the top of a mountain pleading-Dear Jesus, please let me live-and last year, two lessons from a friend. 

Aidan was a little frustrated after two (!) trips down the bunny hill that he wasn't picking it up faster. And then Chloe was a bit frustrated that it wasn't clicking quicker for her. Cue inspirational speech and a break for poppyseed rolls. This is the part where I told them that they were going to be amazing, but nobody starts something new and is the very best from the beginning.  But that they would be amazing because they would not give up and would learn to believe in themselves.  I think it's so good to try new things and be stretched out of our comfort zones. Persevering past the "too hard" point to the place where you start to get it, and to believe in yourself is empowering.

After lunch, Chloe and Aidan wanted to ride the lift together, by themselves.  At that point, Chloe was still wanting to hold onto me past the first steeper slope as her security blanket.  Best choice of the day was to let her go with her brother. Aidan took off in a snow plowing fury and I watched from the bottom as Chloe fell.  I wondered what she would do, and I saw the spark clear as day that she decided she'd be darned if she let her brother beat her. In a moment she hoisted herself up, and was tearing off after him.  And from that moment on they were an inseparable team.  They came down beaming at their newfound skills.  But bigger than that, my littlest bird gained something special as she learned to fly, and this momma learned that sometimes a little push from the nest might be the most loving security blanket of all.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Back to Life

Okay, because I know you've been waiting for this.  Here is Esther Sparks new music video and Happy New Year!