Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pregnancy Cravings: In-N-Out and Milkshakes

In-N-Out Burger Neapolitan Milkshake from the Secret Menu

Well, you may have noticed that we haven't been posting as much on the blog lately and we have to confess it's because...we're pregnant! And I've been pretty tired, so less baking and posting than I would like. But now, that we're out, this does open up the topic of pregnancy and food. And have I had cravings!

This week, the two cravings that I wanted to talk about were for milkshakes and for burgers. If you haven't been to an In-N-Out, they are a fresher version of fast food- nothing frozen, all made in plain sight. And they have a secret menu. That link tells you a few secret ways to have your burger like the well-known "animal style" but there's more like "well done" french fries (fried longer so they are crispier) and a neapolitan shake (see photo above).

Art meets milkshake

I'd never had a shake at In-N-Out. It wasn't nearly as good as a hand-scooped shake at Val's in Hayward, but the swirls of color were fun.

And my burger, well I always get the same thing: a cheeseburger with mustard, lettuce and pickles only. And it just hit the spot. Note: after fulfilling this craving for the burger and shake, I felt the baby kick for the very first time. Apparently, he likes In-N-Out too!

I've been having other milkshakes and malts judiciously...but we still need to go to Val's again to have the handscooped banana shake.

Have you been to In-N-Out? What's your favorite way to order?

Any milkshake recipes that I should try?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Did You Watch the Food Revolution Finale?

The finale of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution aired this past Friday. Did you see it? We watched and I was really interested in the after-stories of what happened to the school lunches and people once Jamie left. I do wish they had spent more time on the family, who lost quite a bit of weight, and the high school students who cooked with them. I was a bit teary to see the change in the lunch ladies and their willingness to take up the cause of better food in schools. Ultimately, it did feel like Jamie left some lasting changes with the Huntington kitchen, the new church kitchen and gym and the improved school lunches- but also especially in the attitudes of the principles, lunch ladies and teachers at the elementary school.

The Food Revolution also inspired us to think a bit more about our weeknight meals and to be more thoughtful about what can be quick, easy and fresh. Sometimes we've relied a bit too much on take-out or frozen pizza during busy weeks. We're experimenting with some new recipes...coming soon.

What did you think?

Has the Food Revolution inspired you to do anything differently?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hello Spring Cookies!

Remember the scene in Sex and the City where Carrie sees some Manolo Blahniks in a store window and cooes "Hello, Lover" to them? Well that's how I felt when I had a blissful hour of making these spring sugar cookies. It's been awhile since I dusted off my pastry bags and tips and was it lovely!

This time I was smart...I baked the sugar cookies in advance and froze them! Then I let them thaw for a day and did the part I love the most...decorating!!

I wanted to use different amounts of the royal icing frosting because not everyone wants a cookie covered in frosting. Plus this recipe has a great flavor so no need to cover up with frosting.

Cheerful sunflowers

Modern, minimal daisies

Happy Spring!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Jamie's Food Revolution: Kids and Choice

photo credit: ratexla (flickr)

Did you get a chance to see this week's episode? If not, click here for episode 105. This week, Jamie offered some high students a choice for lunch and talked about the choice at a school assembly: his food line of pasta and salad or the pizza, burger and french fry lines. Most of the high school students tried Jamie's line- to his surprise.

He also found that the elementary school had reinstated the choice of chocolate, strawberry or regular milk for the kids. Some officials felt the positives benefits of calcium outweighed the higher level of sugar in the flavored milks. Not to anyone's surprise, most kids chose the flavored milk.

This was pretty provocative for me.

What kinds of choices should kids have when it comes to food?

When do positive benefits outweigh negative ones? How do you decide?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One Word Wednesday . . . Ritual

Last Saturday, I had a terrible allergy attack- actually the worst I've ever had. The day was rendered pretty useless with my sneezing, coughing and watery eyes. Thankfully, I had the most wonderful cup of elderflower tea at a local café that brought a lovely, warm comfort.

But perhaps what I enjoyed more than the tea itself, was the ritual. The tea came to the table on a wooden tray and was steeping in the pot on the right. The server poured the steeped tea into the second pot, which had a strainer in the top to filter the tea leaves. That second pot was designed perfectly to be cradled in my hand with one finger on the lid as I poured the tiniest, proper cup of tea.

What food rituals do you enjoy?

What rituals bring you comfort?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Teaching A Town to Cook: Jamie's Food Revolution- Episode 104

Did you have a chance to watch this week's episode of Jamie's Food Revolution? If not, jump to the full episode link.

This week, the episode focused on teaching people to cook starting with 1000 in a week and winning over some local critics including lunch lady, Alice and radio DJ, Rod. To get some momentum, Jamie organized a pretty clever food flash mob at Marshall University (in link above.) He also talked about the serious health effects of being overweight from the oversized coffins to the emotional effects on overweight people and their loved ones.

What did you think of this week's episode?

Do you cook at home?

How have you learned to cook?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Naturally Colored Easter Eggs

It was the night before Easter and we had plenty of hard-boiled eggs, but no dye. Having been inspired by Lauren's friend Nicola and her natural food dyes blog post at whichname.blogspot.com, and open to improvisation, we decided gather up some misfit foods and start dyeing.

For solid foods we blended them in the vitamix with some hot water and a dash of vinegar. We strained away the pulp and left the residual juice in coffee mugs, added the eggs, and refrigerated them overnight.

Here are a few of our favorites, can you guess the food we used to create the dye?:

Egg number one.

Egg number two.

Egg number three.

Egg number four.

Egg number five.

Egg number six.

Any guesses? Here's one hint...one of these eggs isn't a natural dye. We'll post the answers in a few days. SEE THE COMMENTS FOR THE ANSWERS!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Jamie's Food Revolution- What Do You Think?

photo credit: Flickr (Homard)

There's a new food reality tv show on and it's not another cooking contest. Jamie's Food Revolution is a little of bit Extreme Home Makeover meets the Biggest Loser but for the town of Huntington, West Virginia. Jamieis hoping to start a food revolution by improving the quality of food in schools and reinvigorating the culture of cooking in homes everywhere.

If you aren't familiar with Chef Jamie Oliver aka the Naked Chef, he is a celebrity chef who has been working to improve food through several campaigns in the UK, including School Dinners and the Ministry of Food. He recently won the TED prize which aims to help him fulfill his wish: “I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.” The Ted Prize Site allows people to offer help to his cause and his TED talk is available online.

If you haven't seen Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution television show, it's on Friday nights on ABC. We're watching it and we want to know what you think. If you've missed the first two episodes, they're on the ABC site link above.

So what do you think about tonight's episode? Post a comment and tell us.