A Millie Favorite

A Millie Favorite

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Day at the Museum


The second half of the summer can bring about a bit of boredom when it comes to your children. The newness of being out of school has worn away, the 4th of July festivities have come and gone and now we are stuck with very long and very hot days until school starts. 

What can we do to spark creativity, keep cool and entertain our little ones during this summertime lull? 

This morning, I decided that I would dress up in a pretty peasant shirt and heals with a dash of make up and put my daughter in her pretty floral blouse and her fancy pink "clippy" and pink pants. We both put on our over-sized sun glasses loaded up in the car and headed off to the Art Gallery for lunch, a tour of the French Impressionist exhibit and then a stroll through their beautiful gardens. 

We did not just go to the museum, we made a day of it. Dressing up and being silly and girly was a fun break from the regular pool dates we have. 

We had a lunch of egg and olive salad and fruit with a poppy seed dressing. Fancy water with lemon and of course croissants. The server was kind to Millie and catering to her two-year-old whims. All the ladies of the Memphis Art Society doted on her and kept saying "oh isn't she such a doll" in old southern tones. 

After lunch we went and looked at all the beautiful work from the current exhibit. Dark French Impressionism is truly my favorite. Millie was enthralled with all the different colors and textures on the walls. She kept asking me to pick her up so she could get a better look. Somewhere in my wanna be artist's soul this made me extremely happy. 

We finished with a stroll in the gardens. Smelling flowers and cooling off by the sprinklers. It was such a perfect day. And for us busy parents that are always looking for different ideas for bonding and entertaining with our little ones, a day at the museum is just perfect! 


Millie running through the gardens

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cooking with kids

"The Art of Cooking" has finally begun. I must say that there were a few things that I did not anticipate, but overall I could not be more thrilled with teaching young people and their parents creative ways to cook in the kitchen. 

Most would agree that cooking with your children is a brilliant way to bond with them and teach them pride and respect for food. However, we are all busy, over-worked and stressed. Sometimes it is really hard to come up with creative, healthy and most of all yummy meal options for your family. 

It was in this frustration that I decided to take control of it and start to really put emphasis on teaching my own daughter about cooking, even when she was a baby. I thought to myself, if she learned about cooking techniques, different foods, culture and cuisine and then combined it with her own curiosity and pride, we would have a solution to to our Tuesday night dinner blues. 

Children are naturally curious and can inspire even the most inexperienced cook. They are also very enthusiastic and creative. It is the adults in the world that suppress their natural appetite for creative foods and cooking, by feeding them awful fast food and processed junk. As we grow, we become more and more complacent, so starting young with our children in the kitchen is one of the best ways to keep a family bonded and our children on a life-long track to health and a love of food. 

The cooking class was messy, loud and most of all fun. We made our own kitchen cleaner that they used to clean their work stations. We learned that different knives serve different purposes and then begun our color theory through food. 

The kids made handmade pizzas with the different veggies that we learned to slice with our new knife skills. There was a moment of panic when my own daughter spilled crushed garlic all over her pizza. We got most of it off, but in the end I had to trade her mine for her vampire-repellent pizza. 

After the class, we all sat down to our creations and had a lovely little dinner. I must say, that I love working on campaigns, lobbying Congress and raising money for candidates. Yet, there is no comparison to the pride a child has after they eat what they just made themselves. 

I am happy I have made a decision to switch my career. I even caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, with my scarf wrapped tight around my head to protect the food from my hair and for the first time really saw myself as a culinary artist. Who knows how far I will go, but for now I am just humbled that anyone would trust me to teach their family cooking ideas. 


One of the great kids learning about mushrooms and different kinds of eggplants as pizza toppings. Yum

Friday, July 1, 2011

Snack Mama-3

This is the third installment of "snack mama" and I am happy to say that these are a couple of my favorite snack ideas. I enjoy making them and I truly hope the little ones enjoy eating them.

In America, the word snack conjures up ideas of potato chips, pop corn, french fries and all sorts of horrible toxic waste we put into our bodies. In other countries, like Italy and Spain, snacks are fruit, cheese and little "bites" of what would normally be considered a mealtime dish in America.

I was inspired by authentic tapas from Spain for the last few snacks I made. These recipes are more nutritionally sustainable and will be a nice break from orange slices and crackers. 

Tandori Tuna Pasta Salad: 
  • One can of tuna in water
  • One bag of vegetable tri-colored pasta
  • One tbsp of tandori rub (you can use curry powder as well)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
After you have cooked the pasta, add tandori spice to your drained tuna fish. In a large bowl combine the ingredients with a touch of olive oil to blend into a perfect pasta salad. 

Pasta Salad 
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Farmer's market cherry tomatoes, Vermont white cheddar, deli pretzel chips. Served with my homemade plum compote.