Monday, April 05, 2010 7:22 AM

illustration friday: Dip

My son loves food, my daughters love amigurumi, and we all love to eat. What started out as a doodle turned into a coloring page. I can honestly say that not all kids eat all of these foods, but I would say they eat all but 3 (different for each kid... Peter's not fond of beets, Sophie doesn't do tomatoes, Angela won't touch mushrooms). And of course, all of them work well with (or in) dip in one form or another!

There is a precedent for faces on fruit at our house.... remember this?

That pear still cracks me up.

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french toast girl #

Tuesday, March 09, 2010 1:05 PM

now with a side order of cute

Allow me to present Sophie's lunch! This proved to be such a hit at school yesterday that she has requested the same lunch for the next two days as well. Some of the girls at her table didn't want her to eat it because it was too cute! I forgot to show her little bottle of water... My goal is for her to have healthy lunches, but if we can get in an extra helping of cute then so much the better. It's amazing what a few strokes of pencil or a fun shape of food can do to make lunches more appealing. :)

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Monday, March 01, 2010 9:32 AM

green eggs and cookies

Tomorrow is Dr. Seuss's birthday and also Read Across America day. These are the cookies I made for Peter's class - unfortunately, they looked much more egg-like before they went into the oven than when they came out.

What's your favorite Dr. Seuss poem or book? I have a soft spot for "Too Many Daves."

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009 7:48 PM

does a body good

Check out this awesomeness. This is going on my fridge.

Then check out the newest from Mark Bittman, who is just so great. Very quick ones that caught my eye:
44. Autumn Rolls: Shred sweet potatoes or carrots and brussels sprouts or cabbage. Roll them up with fresh sage or mint and some sprouts in rice paper. (Add sliced shrimp if you like.) Make a dipping sauce of soy, garlic, grated or minced ginger and honey.

also 47.... has eggplant in it. :)

61. Cook a lot of chopped fennel in a skillet with butter until pretty much tender. Transfer to a baking pan and add milk, half-and-half or cream to about halfway up the fennel. Sprinkle with thyme and shaved pecorino, then bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, until bubbly and thickened.

81. Tomato Pinwheels: Soak 1 cup dried tomatoes in hot water, drain and pulse in a food processor with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (add water or oil if necessary). Combine 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon baking soda with 4 tablespoons cold butter (use food processor or fingers). Stir in 3/4 cup yogurt or buttermilk and gather the dough into a ball. Roll into a large rectangle on a floured surface, spread the tomatoes all over the dough and roll it up lengthwise. Cut the log crosswise into 1-inch slices, put them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until puffed and golden, 7 to 10 minutes.

89. Vegetable Crackers: Slice beets, sweet potatoes, plantains or parsnips or all of the above into 1/8-inch disks (a mandoline is helpful) and toss lightly in olive oil. Spread the slices on baking sheets, sprinkle with salt, pepper and, if you like, other seasonings and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. When browned, flip the chips over and bake for another 10 minutes or so.
Now I'm hungry...

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009 7:26 AM

We go bento

Sophie's very excited about having LUNCH at school now that she's in the first grade. We are going bento to have as little waste as possible. No plastic baggies, no paper, and apart from this special lunch, she'll be eating leftovers from (planned ahead of time) dinner. The cuteness factor is a big plus too, of course.

I'm excited too - it's a chance to get creative in the kitchen and make sure they're eating healthy at school. Besides, it's fun!

Sophie's lunch, clockwise:
Watermelon balls
Purple cabbage salad
Little container of soy sauce
Veggie sushi rolls with carrots, cabbage, cucumber, and avocado
Annie's bunny grahams
Not pictured: Her water bottle and chopsticks (she wants to bring them!)

Angela is bringing her own container of sushi rolls for a snack (again, she wants chopsticks too, but she's actually pretty expert with them)

Peter wants pretzels and goldfish crackers today. Tomorrow they've all requested roasted chickpeas for snacks and Sophie's having an apple and cheese sandwich.

Anyone want to swap recipes? :)

Ultra-inspiring links to get you started:
Vegan Lunchbox: You don't have to be vegan or a have a fancy lunchbox, but this mom shows some excellent twists on old favorites. Sophie's first-day-of-school lunch was inspired from this site.

Lunch In A Box: Great site with lots of recipes and tips for making lunches fun and to get you up and out of the kitchen fast.

Bento accessories and supplies: This link's on Amazon, or go on eBay and drool over all the fun stuff they have. I think we might get a set of teeny sauce containers. You do not need any of these things, by the way. They're just, again, cute.

Cooking with Dog: We love love LOVE Cooking with Dog. It's a Japanese cooking show you can subscribe to on YouTube, that is hosted and narrated by Francis, the poodle. This link is for bento - look, an apple rabbit! Just awesome. We are fascinated by the dishes they make, though I have not attempted any of the recipes... although I did try to make veggie sausages into octopi and they just didn't work (maybe not enough fat?) Anyway, these are just so fun to watch.

Bento Boxes Win Lunch Fans: How timely that this was in the NYT this morning. :)

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french toast girl #

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 8:08 PM

how to make ice cream cake

Note: if you want a crumbly base, use just cookies. If you want it to stick together, mix the cookies with some melted butter and then place in the bottom of the pan. Enjoy! And if you make one, let me know!

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Monday, April 20, 2009 9:19 AM

grinning fruit and other surprises

(Happy fruit, on my toaster oven, between cookies and art projects.)

I can't believe it's been a MONTH since I last posted. Life has been very, very full. Exciting, emotional, ecstatic, exhausting. I have lots of things I want to write about, and lots of things I promised to write about. There will be paintings up soon, though, lots of them. Because....

I'm doing Every Day In May this year. And so are you. Details to come.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009 9:01 PM


Thank you so much, everybody who's written to check on me. I have several posts, not to mention paintings, in me that no doubt you'll be seeing something one of these days. I have so many things going on right now, but I'm truly doing okay, and in fact have felt pure love surrounding me. I swear God is holding my hand. It feels really good.

In the meantime, there's a luscious new cake to try out with new illustrations by me in Craft Magazine! (And I'm working on the next new illo right now.) Click here to view it and try it out for yourself.

UPDATE: Sadly, this issue of Craft will be the last one in print. WAH! I loved illustrating for them! But the good news is that the website will still be going strong. Go show them some love.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008 7:13 AM

Don't forget the pumpkin pie

Words of wisdom (and warning) from Sophie.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008 7:18 AM


For the third year in a row... This one's for sharing: print this out and bring it to your table Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Saturday, November 22, 2008 8:25 AM


Guess what's on newsstands now? :) See the full recipe here.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008 7:52 PM

nice tomatoes

We are so totally loving the produce from our garden, scanty though it is. I'm rejoicing in every ripe tomato. (This one fell off when we were painting the side of the house.) I refuse to eat tomatoes in winter, because that's NOT a tomato.

The other morning I took a work break to grab a bowl of granola while the kids were eating breakfast, and I was singing the song that had been playing on the Beatles station, "Three Cool Cats*." As I was adding the strawberries, I sang,

Well up popped that first cool cat,
He said: "Man look at that.
Man, do you see what I see?
Well I want that middle chick."
"I want that little chick."
"Hey man, save once chick for me!"

And so on, about the three cool cats and the three cool chicks. So of course, the kids want to know why cats and chickens are eating potato chips.

"No," Paul explains, "It's slang. The cool cats are three guys and they're calling the three girls chicks, but you shouldn't do that, it's not that nice."

"I don't know," I said. "There are worse things to be called, like a tomato. Unless someone calls you and a friend a pair of gorgeous tomatoes, that would probably be okay. And in England back in the day if someone liked a girl, they would say they fancied that bird."

The kids by this time are completely confused, because honestly, they could picture actual cats and chicks walking down the street eating potato chips, that would be just fine with them, but now we've muddied it all up with people being called animal and vegetable names. They shrug it off and go back to their granola, because Mama dancing into the room singing, getting something, and dancing out is a regular occurrence and really not a reason to stop chewing. I'm just waiting to see the pictures they're going to draw based on this.

*George sings lead, and Pete Best, who got canned on my birthday, drums. I have a cassette from high school fished out of the discount bin at Sears that honest to God, says "The Silver Beatles" on it, and until the Anthology stuff came out, nobody else I met had any idea what I was talking about. As best I can figure out, it's a selection of songs from the New Year's Decca recordings. I like it better than the versions on the Anthology set which seem too subdued. My other fave would have to be their cheeky yet delightfully smarmy rendition of "Bésame Mucho" (cha-cha-boom!)

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french toast girl #

Monday, July 07, 2008 3:44 PM

Illustration Friday: Sour

This painting is an exercise I did a while ago, messing around with the watercolour colored pencils. I think it's interesting that I tend to go through waves with my painting - at least once a year I get really loose, and then a few months later, get almost crazily detail-heavy. I guess it's the times in between where I hit a balance. I like the loose, I like the tight, and I really, really, really like citrus fruit.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008 3:51 PM

Loving: 101 20-Minute Dishes for Inspired Picnics

I this guy, Mark Bittman. I'm going to see if I can try at least one of these recipes this weekend.

The beet salad especially looks easy and colorful (check out the interactive graphic in the article for a closeup), and now that I've been reading more about beets, I want to learn ways to make them that don't involve a can. Anyone have a favorite recipe?

On the subject of red foods, we'll be picking the first of our backyard raspberries this afternoon, and then we're off to the park to hear the community band's weekly Thursday night concert. We bring a blanket and trail mix, and the kids are always in their pj's for hustling off to bed as soon as we get home. (And yes, there is almost always some sort of spontaneous dancing.)

Enjoy your weekend, everybody!

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Thursday, June 12, 2008 8:51 PM

stripey goodness

Guess what we had for lunch? :)

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008 7:30 AM

For a sunny day

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008 8:23 AM

How to save the world, 20% at a time

We interrupt this glitter-and-coffee-fest to bring you the following:

I was all set to post another new painting this morning, when I saw this and needed to share it instead. I've written before about how I feel about how the choices you make at the grocery store can change the world; how I think everyone should pick up a copy of John Robbins' amazing book Food Revolution, because you will never eat the same way again ... but please read on, die-hard meat-eaters, and tell me this doesn't change your thinking a little bit:

From Mark Bittman's article in the New York Times:
Growing meat (it’s hard to use the word “raising” when applied to animals in factory farms) uses so many resources that it’s a challenge to enumerate them all. But consider: an estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than transportation.

To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.
20 percent - suppose you ate one more pasta dinner a week, hold the meatballs. Or had a pizza with just veggies instead of pepperoni. Or at breakfast, skip the bacon and sausage. If you knew that making a simple choice like what you were having for dinner could make that much of a difference, wouldn't you do it today?

Read the entire article here (it's free).

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french toast girl #

Monday, November 26, 2007 9:20 PM

On chicken

I've spoken before about the book "Food Revolution", and how it was life-changing for me. Seriously, I can't recommend it enough. While my family doesn't eat completely vegetarian, we're not too far off - we do still eat chicken, once a week. (And the boy can't kick the weekly bacon habit, but we're working on it.)

And that's why I thought it was really interesting when I saw the commercials for Tyson chicken where the kids thanked their mother for giving them chicken that's antibiotic and hormone-free. Because here's something many people don't know: chicken by federal law has to be hormone free. So I was interested that Tyson was pushing this as a marketing tool. And yeah! Great! Educate people! If you're going to promote antibiotic chicken as well, that's even better.

(I'll get back to Tyson in a minute: but here's something else interesting most people don't know: that lots of the feed chickens eat has animal byproducts in it. That's right! The chicken you eat might have eaten other animals! I'm not even getting into the way many chickens are treated, I'm talking about them purely from a consumer point of view. I do not want to eat chicken pumped full of junk, being fed goodness knows what, and I don't want to give it to my family either. And do not get me started on beef: there's a reason we don't eat it. Go read the book.)

So when I'd first seen these Tyson commercials, where the kid stands up on his chair and thanks his mom for caring enough to give him Tyson chicken, I almost wrote a post about it. But then I realized recently I hadn't seen them for a long time, so I did a little research. The commercials were pulled because there is a medication in the chicken feed that is - guess what? - classified as an antibiotic! I give them credit for trying...

Still want to eat chicken? I can totally recommend Readington Farms (we have it in ShopRites in NJ): the chicken has no antibiotics administered, no artificial growth hormones, no animal byproducts, no artificial ingredients, an all vegetable diet, and is free farmed. Plus it costs almost the same as your average chicken that was fed who-knows-what.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007 10:19 AM

dear pancakes

Tell me you wouldn't love to be me this morning. ♥ (Pretty good for 4.5 years old, huh?)

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Thursday, October 25, 2007 8:25 AM


I've been reading a bunch about how cooking your veggies kills all the nutrients - this was in my inbox this morning (I subscribe to this great newsletter called The Ideal Bite):
Getting your nutrients. One study found that stove-cooked spinach lost 77% of its folate; another study found that broccoli lost up to 97% of its antioxidants when nuked in the microwave.
So I followed some links and found this: it's a guy(who happens to be a model) who eats only raw food now, and these are his before and after pics after ONE MONTH.

All this is making me want to go out, grab a ton of veggies, and throw them in the blender. I'm not saying I would not cook anything again, but I think maybe a smoothie here and there and sneaking the family some extra fruit couldn't hurt. We eat pretty darn healthy over here - my kids ask for tofu and spinach, I kid you not. But maybe we're ready to take things to the next level. Or at least I am.

Checking out:

We like it raw (blog by my coworker's friends)
Gone raw has lots of recipes I'm going to check out.


french toast girl #

Sunday, August 26, 2007 11:13 PM

Real Food

Let me tell you some things Real Food is not.

It isn’t to be eaten with one hand while you’re driving and talking handsfree on your cell phone. It’s not something you gulp out of a styrofoam container while you run to catch the train. You don’t absently take bites out of it while watching TV, only to look down and forget where it all went or how it tasted.

Real Food could be practically anything as long as you love it, and you are aware of what you’re eating and you really, really savor it. Real Food must be made with love and eaten in good company. (Especially if that company is yourself; the next time you’re going to eat alone, put on great music, use the nice dishes, sit down and really taste what you’re eating!)

Now let me take it one step further: I think Real Food has ingredients you can understand. Things you’ve maybe eaten before; definitely things you can pronounce. For instance... what goes into french toast? Eggs, milk, bread; if you’re me, there’s vanilla and cinnamon too. No mono-deoxy-nonpronounceable anything.

I happen to be known online as the French Toast Girl because I really like french toast, but also because I have a philosophy about it, which goes like this: Life (like french toast) is made up of simple ingredients that combine to make up a marvelous concoction we often take for granted. Your life is full of wonderful flavors, and meant to be relished. And if you aren't crazy about the way your life tastes, remember: you're the one who controls how much sweetness goes on top, or if it's soggy and underdone.

Okay - so are you picturing your toast? Is it on a paper plate? Did it come from a box? Or did you make it yourself? Mine is on good dishes, with raspberries from my garden, eaten out on the porch in the early morning, with a pot of tea on the table, listening to the birds sing. You might have your whole family sitting around you, asking to pass the maple syrup. Or you might be sitting by yourself, looking out at the way the morning sunlight hits the trees, with your journal at hand in case you feel like writing something. Maybe you’re in a 5-star restaurant and a dashing young waiter has just lifted the lid off a silver serving tray and presented a platter of french toast to you, and the aroma is so good it’s knocking you off your chair. Are you with me?

If you’re thinking, “That’s lovely, but all I can picture is warmed up microwave french toast,” then my friend, here is your chance to turn things around. Try my current fave french toast recipe for oven-baked french toast. Enjoy it in peace and good company. And if you have a favorite french toast recipe, please share. I'd love to try it!


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