A Millie Favorite

A Millie Favorite

Saturday, September 17, 2011

It was just nice to hear...

I have been writing this little blog for almost a year now as a response to my dismay in the political world. Too much work on campaigns and not enough time dedicated to mind, body and spirit. My daughter has inspired something in me that I never knew was possible, to be creative once again.

This blog was just a way to hold myself accountable to writing and researching recipes, to actually take what was only a passing hobby and make it real and serious. I never thought that I would get a call like I did this morning, one that has really moved me.

There is a woman in my class at culinary school, she has two children and has worked in food for a while. Her husband is in service stationed in Japan right now. I can't even imagine what it must be like to be a military wife, going to school full time and taking care of two children. We do not give enough thanks to the spouses and children who stay behind when our troops are called to serve.

She called me up early this morning with such an enthusiastic tone. "Liz, I took my children to the farmer's market! They loved eating the cucumbers, they told me they tasted so fresh!" The experience of having her children eat the fresh produce awakened her own love of food.

Being woken up like that this morning was a great way to start my day. My goals and ambitions have nothing to do with cooking in a professional kitchen. No, I want to write about food, talk about food and teach young people about food. How it affects all of our lives, even the people that we will never meet across the planet. Food is the only thing in this world that will bring us together over a dispute, an agrument or miscomunication. Food nurishes, food inspires and food restores.

If I inspire even one person to live and eat locally with their children, then I feel like I have contributed something to this planet. I want to leave my daughter with a better earth. Thank you to all of you that read my blog.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Kale Chips

It can just be down right impossible sometimes to get your kids to eat their greens! You want to put the absolute best foods into their systems and yet there are times that they protest with the conviction of an activist on Capital Hill. Goodness, what do we do?

Well, here is a recipe that I just love serving kids. Not only is it tasty, but it is packed with vitamins and all the goodness of greens. Kale chips, yes...KALE chips! 

Simple as can be, with a nice crunch that your kids will eat up and so delicate that even a small toddler can enjoy  this snack. 

  • 1 cup of fresh and washed kale 
  • 3 tablespoons of either grape seed oil or good olive oil (good fats)
  • sea salt to taste
In a bowl toss the greens with oil and salt. Place on baking sheet spread out for even-cooking. Cook at 250F for about 11-15 minutes. Let stand and cool for about 10 minutes and serve or make into snack packs. 


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fall in love with Fall

Fall... what can I say about this special time of year. Leaves turn from green to reds, oranges, yellow and golds. The wind has a crisp smell to it, the smog of the summer has cleared and for just a minute all of the world's evils and problems just slip away.

This is the time of year when we get out our recipe cards and books and start looking up what will be good to make with all the new autumn produce. We want to nestle in our homes with some warm squash soup and read our books, talk to our children about how the new school year is going and most importantly relaxing after the long and very hot summer months.

Summertime is supposed to be the "fun" season. Filled with long lazy days, hanging out by the pool, fresh lemonade and outdoor excitement. However, it can also be very stressful on parents to keep their kids occupied and if you live in the South, it can get so hot that even a pool can't cool you off. Kids tend to get bored, depressed or even gain weight in the summer months.

Autumn is the antidote to the summertime blues. Kids go off to school, parents are cooled down by the crisp fall breeze and there is a sense of family once again.

And in honor of my very favorite season, I wanted to share with you a couple of autumn recipes. One is for babies six months or older, which I have not done in a while. Yet, fall produce is the best for "first" foods. Think about it... apples, pears, squash... that is what we give our babies first.

I hope that everyone enjoys the change in weather, the change in colors and most importantly their friends and family.


Apple, pear and butternut squash baby food:
  • One apple, peeled and large diced
  • One pear, peeled and large diced
  • One (small) butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and large diced
  • (For older babies 9 months and up) pinch of cinnamon and very small pinch of cloves.
Once you have diced your apples, pears and squash, bring a large pot of water to a simmer. Place your produce in the water, cover and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the fruit is soft to the touch. Drain the fruit and then either place back in the pot or in a food processor. If you do not have a food processor the fruit should be soft enough to smash with a good utility fork or "smasher" or even a dinner fork.

If you have a processor, place all the ingredients into the processor till a good baby food consistency is formed.

This combination will yield about two cups of baby food, depending on how large your apple, pear and squash are. Place enough in a container for the week in the refrigerator and the rest can be frozen in 1oz ice cube trays. And will be good for no longer than six months.

This is also considered a puree and can be the base of some soups, sauces and toppings for bigger kids and adults.

Fresh stone ground oatmeal with warm apple and cranberry topping:
  • 1 cup of GOOD stone ground oats
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of maple brown sugar
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 2 apples from your local farmer's market (cheaper and better for this recipe because they tend to sell a lot of baking apples)
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (or currants)
In one pot bring 2 cups of water to a simmer (close to a boil) then add your oats. Let that go for about 6-9 minutes. You can actually smell when oatmeal is done. So trust your nose!

Peel and dice your apples into the size you feel comfortable with for your children. I do a small dice, because my child is only two. Then melt your butter into the pan. Yes, you could go the extra step and do clarified  butter to get rid of the milk solids, but it is not 100% necessary. Place the apples, cinnamon and vanilla into the sautuse (rounded sautee pan) and let the fruit start to break down. At the last minute that the apples are breaking down, then add your dried cranberries (or currents). Let them rehydrate for a bit, but not completely.

Once your oatmeal has cooked and is piping hot and smells amazing, place into your serving bowl, add a little cream or milk alternative you like (we like coconut, but almond is really good for this recipe too). Then top with the lucious apple and cranberry topping.

Place a beautiful pot of warm coffee on the table for the grown-ups, cranberry-orange juice for the kids and have a lovely breakfast together.

Suggestion: After you are done with breakfast, go for a walk in your local park or neighborhood and have your children find leaves on the ground that have turned. Come home, press the leaves between wax paper and create a cool art project.