Sunday, April 24, 2016

Awesome Salad Wraps for a Lazy Day

A sit by fire kind of weekend is upon us. 
Our gorgeous summery weather was not meant to last. It's Spring in Alberta, so we all knew it was too good to be true. That's ok. I'm hopeful that the cold might kill of some of the mosquitos that have already been making their presence known.
I thought I'd share a recipe for a quick but delicious meal - something you might make for lunch on a lazy weekend like this. Making it ahead of time means you can just pull out the salad mixture and toppings, and let people assemble their meal when they're ready.
You can make this as either a chicken or tuna salad, depending on what you have handy and what you'e feeling like. I got this recipe from the Parsley Sage Sweet blog (click here for the original!), and below is my take on it. 

Super Loaded Tuna (or Chicken) and Avocado Salad Wraps

...with garlic yogurt dressing

Salad Wraps for the win!
Ingredients:
  • 4 cans of tuna, drained (or 3 cups shredded chicken)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 roasted and peeled sweet bell pepper (and colour(s), diced
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • quarter to half a large red onion, finely diced
Toppings options:
  • avocado
  • lettuce 
  • tomato slices
  • flour tortillas (or gluten free tortillas, or bread, or large lettuce leaves for wrapping)
Garlic Yogurt Dressing 
  • ⅔ cup thick Greek yogurt (drain excess liquid if necessary)
  • 2 T mayonnaise
  • 2 T buttermilk
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 T chives, chopped
  • 1 T fresh dill weed, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions:
  1. Mix the dressing ingredients and set aside. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl (except the avocado, lettuce and wrap), and add dressing to taste. 
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight, allowing the flavours to meld.
  3. Heat your tortillas - I liked to toast mine right over the open flame of my gas range. You can microwave them for a few seconds or heat them in a pan, but whatever you do, you want pliable wraps!
  4. Layer your toppings into a prepared wrap and dollop on a generous helping of salad. Roll up and serve!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Preventing Picky Eaters, Fostering Foodies

I need to share something brought on by a conversation I had with a fellow mother the other day. She was chatting with me about about how to cure a fussy eater, knowing that my kids are quite adventuresome little foodies.... but that they weren't always that way.

When I first started my family, I caught myself feeding my son the foods he "liked". While I did introduce new foods, if he seemed to not like them, I didn't push. He became the child of the limited palate, who only wanted cheese and bread and bananas, and the dreaded hot dogs. I had created a monster. 

Shocking, I know, but I believe that fussy eaters are created. They're not born that way. 

Yes, we each have personal preferences. But if we don't need to reach beyond our own preferences, we become (or stay) selfish. Yes, we may like one thing and dislike something else. But what happens if we only do the things that we like? Or eat the things that we like? 

We live in a first world country where we can spend our lives avoiding anything that is distasteful to us. We can become as insular and self-centred as we like, and go forth to disdain anyone or anything that we 'don't like.' That attitude extends beyond mere palate.
The sense of entitlement surrounds us; we've all seen the youth without work ethic who steer clear of things that personally challenge them.

I believe that starts at home. And I believe a right attitude of selflessness can start at the dining room table.

The way that we show respect to ourselves and to others from a very young age is something that needs to be reinforced in all areas of our lives. When a parent doesn't request that a child respect them for the meal they have made, it creates a small shift in the perspective of that tiny person. Collectively, those little attitude shifts that we learn in childhood are what shape us into an adult one day.

We won the life lottery, living in a first world where we can have such choice. As a parent, I believe it is my job to teach my children to extend beyond their own likes and dislikes. It is my hope that they might become thankful people. They might even learn to like something new. They might change! And one day, they might change the world. 


How to Cure a Fussy Eater

Around the time that Bean turned 2, we started changing the way we did things. I very politely, cheerfully and respectfully told my son that I was going to feed him just like a grownup, because I wanted him to be a very good and thankful grownup one day. 

He didn't appreciate my sudden shift. His peanut butter and jelly was replaced with oatmeal.... and he seemed to say, "I thought we established that I don't like oatmeal."

But when you wake up hungry in the morning, and oatmeal is what's for breakfast, you very quickly learn that you should probably eat the oatmeal. And maybe the next day breakfast will be something you like better. (Variety is key to making this not just seem to be punishment.)

We kindly but firmly began a no-argument policy about meals. We dished him up a plate of whatever it was that we were eating, and he could eat it, or not. If he ate it, well and good! If he didn't, well.... then that was what was for snack. (The magic of Tupperware is that you can save things for later.)

We were cheerful, we weren't mean and pushy, we just outlined our expectations and then lived by them. No more would we cater to the whims of a toddler. I wasn't trying to be a tyrant. I was trying to be a parent.  My child shouldn't be the one calling the shots. At the same time, I was careful to respect his dignity in the way I treated him while outlining what I expected of him.

Shortly after this, a catch phrase began, one that even now gets parroted around our table: "You don't have to like it, you just have to eat it." I can say this with a smile, not taking it personally that someone initially turned up their nose at my Moussaka. I will also often elabourate to them: "You sometimes have to try things a whole bunch of times before your taste buds send the right message to your brain. I didn't love avocado when I was a kid, but I kept eating it, and now it's one of my favourite foods! I would be so sad to know I missed out on loving something awesome just because I didn't eat it when I was younger."

Eating a variety of foods we don't like teaches us a few things.

1. It may teach us to appreciate a food we thought we didn't like or wouldn't like.

2. Importantly, it teaches us not to have a sense of entitlement. 

I knew my mother wasn't my personal caterer, growing up. There were foods I didn't like, but being the people pleaser I am, I ate them anyway. And I really do think that was good for me. I'm an adult who doesn't demand to be catered to. I appreciate when someone does something for me, even when it isn't the way I would have done it. I think that training my children to be open-minded diners can help them learn those character traits. 


From Fussy to Foodie

Too Many Cooks by Emily Franklin - I read this book and just loved it. I would say that this book was the catalyst for not only wanting un-fussy children, but wanting to cultivate little foodies!

Emily is a mom of four who doesn't want to lead her kids down the path of just eating off the "kids" menu in restaurants. The picky, unimaginative kind of eaters. So she cooks! She involves the kids. She dialogues with them and gets them excited. 

I read this book 6 years ago, when I had three kids and my eldest was 6.  have found myself not only really relating to this book, but looking for new ways to happily introduce all manners of healthy food into the life of my family.

The best part of Emily's book? The end of every chapter includes the recipes for whatever she made and mentioned in that chapter. So if you want to TRY the roasted broccoli, you CAN. The recipes are pretty much all family-friendly (as in, don't take ALL DAY to cook!), and healthy. Whole wheat flour and minimal sugar in her baking, and lean meat, good cheese, good olive oil, and lots of veggies in the cooking.

My kids definitely are more willing to try new things if they get to be a part of the process of procuring it, growing it, buying it, or preparing it. Or some combination of the above. 


Here's a journal entry from 6 years ago:

Bean decided that we should buy a turnip when we were in the grocery store the other day. Had he tried turnip before? No. Is he an adventuresome eater? Absolutely not. But he thought that turnip looked cool. I decided not to decide FOR him whether he would eat it or not.

We bought it (a HUGE one, I might add). He helped me peel it, and he also peeled some carrots for me. Then I cut it up, cut up carrots, and boiled it until tender. We mashed it all together with some butter and salt and pepper.

Now, normally? A pale orange mystery veg on the table would be suspect. To Bean. And by default, to the other two, who follow what their big brother says and does like monks read the saints.

So, when Bean dolloped a big pile of the glop onto his plate, and proceeded to not only taste it, but devour it? I got myself a house full of mashed-turnip-and-carrot-eating-children. I watched Bean's face as he took that first bite. I can tell you right now, that if he had not been involved in every step of the process of getting it onto that plate, he would not have liked it. He would have turned up his nose, turned on that gag reflex, and that would be that. But as it went, we've bought several since, on his suggestion.

I'm pretty happy with the way things turned out in the Case Of The Turnip, and plan to get my kids more involved in the goings on of my little kitchen.


This has really paid off. My kids eat what is prepared for them, and are genuinely excited to try new things.


'Fostering Foodies' Rulebook In Short

  • Offer a variety of foods. Change things up, often!
  • Eat together. Family meals reinforce that we all eat the same meal, together.
  • Cook together. Kids get very interested in foods that they are invested in. Being proud of making it 'themselves', or being Mama or Daddy's helper, will make them want to try their creation.
  • Offer healthy snacks and avoid the processed sugary ones. Snacking between meals isn't strictly necessary. If they're hungry, they will eat the cucumbers and carrots you cut up. If they pass on that, they'll actually be hungry at lunch time when you present a healthy lunch. Conversely, if they've filled up on 'fruit' snacks, they can afford to be extra picky during lunch (and maybe hope for the next snack).
  • They're not going to starve. Even if they push back and skip a meal, they're not going to waste away. You don't need to make them sit at the table til it's gone - they can come back to it when they're hungry.
  • Set ground rules, and stick with them. Ours is that you don't have to eat everything on your plate. However, you can't have seconds until you've finished your firsts. When you have rules, you're not the bad guy - the rule is the rule, and you can shrug and smile and say, that's how it is
  • Don't take it personally. Keep your attitude positive. Don't make the family table a battleground, or it will have negative repercussions instead of positive ones. 
  • Model foodie behaviour. Being a creative cook and adventuresome eater yourself will let your kids know that we are happy when we eat a variety of good foods!
The kids help make parchment paper packages for super. To make, place raw shrimp, green beans, garlic and chillies, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, in parchment paper. Fold up and bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes. Open packets, and sprinkle with flat-leaf parsley to serve.

I hope this helps your family make little changes on the journey to the love of food, or at least gives you the encouragement you need to keep doing what you're doing! Here's to many happy family meals!


PS

I must add a caveat: if your child has food allergies or genuine sensory processing difficulties, you might need to try some different tactics. 

If a food makes your child feel ill, they may seem to be 'turning up their nose' at something when they really are just listening to their bodies. Stomach aches, attitude anomalies, difficulty sleeping, skin irritation, and unhealthy bowel movements are all indications that there's more going on than just a fussy eater.  

Sensory processing difficulties can mean that a new texture takes a really long time to get used to. We've come a long way with one of our kiddos - she can eat just about any texture now, even if she still can't stand to touch it at any other time. 

You know your child best! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

New York & Carnegie Hall

First, I have to say that New York was.... positively amazing. The entire experience inspired my life. I want to go back! I want to do it all again! The only thing I would change would probably be to sleep less so I could do more....

My dear sister-of-the-heart Amanda joined me there, and we saw the sights, ate all kinds of amazing food, and enjoyed every memorable moment together. Having her fly all the way from California to join me in NYC was so special. Having her be a part of the whole experience made it that much more of a cherished memory for me. I was honoured to have my lovely filmmaker friend from Brooklyn attend the concert, too. It was great to get the chance to catch up with Heather, and be part of her fun Daily Ukulele YouTube series, too.

Singing at Carnegie Hall was surreal, and definitely something I will never forget. I could feel the music in my feet. The gorgeous sound coming from the combined voices washed out and back again over the full house, and made every cell of my person feel alive. 

I'm not going to go on and on (I could, but I won't). I've shared a ton of photos on Facebook, too, so I'll just leave my favourite one here....
Performance of Bevan's "Nou Goth Sonne Under Wode", conducted by Dr. Richard Sparks. Actor: Timothy J. Anderson  Soloist: Jolaine Kerley  Organist: Composer Allan Bevan.  Photo courtesy of DCINY.

Monday, February 29, 2016

How Can I Keep from Singing?


Music moves me.

A year ago, my classical women's choir performed a concert entitled "Lullabies, Love & Light". We performed a few pieces that moved me so much I could barely sing them. I was so happy to have my husband and children in the audience, but when we began the opening strains of "Seal Lullaby" and I looked out at my children, my throat constricted and I was filled to the brim with emotion. I saw the sweet faces of my babies, all four of them, and remembered holding and rocking each one as an infant. They grow so quickly. The room was electric. I got past my tears and then sang with radiant joy. I guess you could say I was filled with lullabies, love and light...

I'm very happy that my choir recorded a CD last year, one which will feature my favourite lullabies and love songs from the season. I'll tell you more about that this summer when we are all done with recording and producing. Great music is meant to be shared. 

So, while I'm sharing, I'm going to share a HUGE excitement that has me giddy!

I'm feeling so incredibly lucky - privileged to no end. 

A little while ago, the director of my women's choir, Jolaine Kerley, mentioned that she had been invited to solo Bevan's Passion Oratorio, Nou Goth Sonne Under Wode, with Dr. Richard Sparks conducting. Jolaine was the soloist for the world premiere of the piece some 11 years ago. This lady is an incredibly talented soprano and a sought-after soloist, so we were all very thrilled for her, but not too surprised.

Where is this prestigious concert?

None other than Carnegie Hall, New York.

So then, the part that took me by surprise - Jolaine invited some of us to consider auditioning or getting involved with another attending choir. Our choir didn't audition, but I jumped at the opportunity. 

I am so thankful that a ripple effect of knowing someone as talented as Jolaine means that I am able to sing in the mixed chorus that will be supporting her solo. 

My friend Amanda is flying from San Francisco to meet me, we're going to take NYC by storm, and then I get to sing in Carnegie Hall! Life is good!

Here's information on the concert, which is next Monday, March 7.

Celebrating over a bottle of Prosecco with my husband.

Monday, February 22, 2016

How to Poach the Perfect Egg

The other day, my darling curly-mopped little 5 year old crawled into my lap and said, "Today, I would like to learn how to poach an egg."

How could I say no to so sweet and simple a request? I swear, this kid melts me into a puddle. They all do, but this one loves cooking so much that she and I frequently find ourselves bonding over a hot and happy stove, or flipping through cookbooks or even peeling the copious amounts of garlic that go into a typical meal here at Wildhaven Hills. 

How to Poach the Perfect Egg

For starters, you really do need fresh eggs. I have a lot to say on this subject. Where do you get your eggs? The ones on the shelf at your average grocery store are nowhere near fresh. Egg farmers have a fairly large window of time to get their eggs to the store, and the store can have them for sale for 3-4 weeks. Some reports I've read state that average eggs in the store are 6 weeks old. USDA considers eggs 'fresh' until they are 45 days old. 

No matter how old they are, they're certainly not as fresh as the eggs at your local farmer's market.

I'm very privileged to be able to use just-laid eggs every day, but if you don't have that luxury, try to support a local farm, or get yourself to a farmer's market. Can't make that happen? Then don't take your carton from the front of the selection at your local grocery store.  The freshest eggs will be in the just-added carton in the back. 

So, you can either ask a staff member to give you the just-brought-in eggs in their cooler, or you can risk looking a little silly, and dig allllll the way to the back to get that freshest carton. Trust me though, it's worth it! 

Fresh eggs are really nothing like old eggs. The whites hold together with a lovely, soft and almost custardy consistency, making a poached egg something elevated beyond your usual over-easy.

But I digress. Here's the nitty gritty on how to poach an egg.
  • Fill a saucepan with water and add a pinch of salt. If you're using older eggs, a quick splash of vinegar helps keep the white together. But just plain water is great with fresh eggs.
  • Bring the water to a simmer. Not a boil - you don't want bubbles that will tear the egg apart. 
  • Crack your egg into a small bowl.
  • Holding the bowl close to the surface, slip it gently into the simmering water. (Again, if you're using older eggs, one trick to keep them together is to swirl the water into a whirlpool, and drop the egg directly into the centre.) If fresh, you can drop multiple eggs into one pot, one at a time.
  • Simmer until the egg is the done-ness you prefer. I like mine right at a super-soft 3 minutes. 
  • To test the egg, lift it out of the water with a slotted spoon and push lightly on the yolk with the back of a spoon (or, if you're me, a clean finger). You'll get the hang of it in no time.
When your egg is done the way you like it, lift it all the way out the water with the slotted spoon and let any excess water drain before serving. Some like to dry them on a paper-towelled surface.

Season or sauce however you wish - your eggs are ready to eat!


Ok, next question - what about a good Hollandaise sauce? I can help you there, too! Eggs Benedict is a family favourite for us. I love my Hollandaise to be super-sunshiney-lemony, but that's not for everyone. If you like a mellower sauce, I can send you in the right direction! Here are two options:

Sunshine Lemon Hollandaise

Like my mother used to make. This makes a small amount, and is very quick to prepare.

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/3 c butter, melted
  • pinch of salt


Use a small pot of simmering water with a bowl on top (make sure the bowl isn't touching the water), or use a double boiler. 

Place the egg yolks, lemon juice and salt in the bowl - off the heat - and whisk until light. Then place the bowl onto your pot of simmering water, and whisk until the eggs thicken and increase in volume. Remove the bowl from the heat, and drizzle the melted butter in slowly, whisking as you go.

If it gets too hot, the butter will separate. Don't despair! Place the bowl into a dish with cold water, and whisk until the butter re-incorporates.


Here's another hollandaise option that is more complex, velvety and delicious:

Chef Michael Smith's Hollandaise Sauce

from his website, here.
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 T white wine
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • the juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 3-4 drops of your favourite hot sauce
Use the same double-boiler method as above.

In the bowl off the heat, whisk together the egg yolks, white wine, mustard, lemon juice, and hot sauce until light and frothy. Place the bowl over the barely simmering water and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and more than doubles in volume, about 4 or 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk for a few more moments to cool.

Since you’ll need both hands for this next part, ask an assistant to hold the bowl steady. If you’re flying solo, you can secure the bowl with a damp tea towel wrapped around the base. With one hand, slowly drizzle in the melted butter in a steady stream while whisking continuously with the other hand. The sauce will thicken as the butter emulsifies with the egg. Once all the butter has been slowly incorporated, slowly whisk in the lemon juice.

Keep the Hollandaise sauce warm for a few minutes by covering the bowl and placing it over the pot of warm water, leaving the heat turned off beneath the water. 


My little lady loved learning how to poach eggs herself for the very first time. We served them on toasted English muffins with the hollandaise, salt and pepper and a little shaved parmesan.  


Eggs Benedict
There's nothing like a beautiful Benedict, along with a bit of shaved parmesan...

Monday, February 1, 2016

Delicious Steak & Egg Salad



We've been eating a lot of salads lately. Maybe that doesn't make much sense, with the inflation rate up 3% right now, and produce up 16%.

Gosh, am I ever eager for the growing months. Our little makeshift greenhouse has been a huge help, but even so, I can't keep it going all year round.

Honestly, we are looking into an indoor greenhouse for the winter months. Even a table of salad greens in the basement would help. And it would be healthier, by far. I just can't wait for my garden....

A few years ago Jim built me a box by the garage, where I could keep some herbs, tomatoes, and some lettuce, along with a few flowers, of course. There was more down at the garden, but it was very handy to be able to just step outside to grab the finishing touches for a meal.


Then three years ago, we were away in September, and the last of the things there either froze or bolted. But the next spring I was so excited when lettuce shot up like a green carpet, filling the box well before anything else had gotten green. I was eating fresh, garden greens

much earlier than I ever had before, and it was all by letting nature take its course.

So in the big garden last fall, we didn't pull the last of the lettuces, kale, spinach, chard, rocket, etc. We let what was left all go to seed, and left it where it stood. I am eagerly anticipating that fresh greenery in a few months.

For now, though, it's the grocery store for us.

I'll share a bunch of my favourite salad recipes when they're in season... but for now, just a few of the ones we've made recently. These ones are supper salads with steak in them - and I know meat prices are up, too, but we just bought half a beef from my parents' organic farm. (Bulk pricing is the way to go!)

Steak n Egg Salad



This salad can be served warmed - just toss the spinach into the pan with the vegetables for a few moments to wilt and warm - or cold. Or, do what I did this time, and serve the warmed vegetable medley, the hot steak and the hot egg on top of the crisp, just-dressed spinach.




Ingredients:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 steak - I used sirloin - brought to room temperature
  • 1 purple onion, sliced 
  • 1 1/2 c sliced mushrooms
  • orange & yellow peppers
  • 8-10 cups spinach
  • an egg per person
  • 2 tsps butter
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder


Dressing:
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T dijon mustard, 
  • 1 T white wine vinegar
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 3T olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Make the dressing and toss desired amount with your spinach. The rest won't take long!

Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Blot the room temperature steak with a paper towel to remove excess moisture, and season liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Drop a tsp of butter in the pan and as soon as it melts, put in the steak. Sear the steak in the hot oil for 3 minutes on one side - DON'T move it or poke it or cut it, or you'll lose the moisture and won't get a nice sear. Then another 2 minutes on the other side for rare, 3 for medium. Remove it to a plate and tent with a piece of tinfoil - this will help the juices redistribute through the meat and make it juicy and tender. Remember, don't cut into it - you'll lose all that juiciness!

Next, add the onion to the pan and sauté until translucent. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until they release their liquid. Then add the peppers and cook until tender-crisp.

Meanwhile, slow-fry the eggs. Melt the butter over LOW heat, gently add the eggs and let them gently fry. You shouldn't hear a pop or sizzle, and you shouldn't get much - if any - browning on the underside of the white. Cook until the white is set, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. This is the proper French way to fry an egg, and you should definitely try it. (The French way includes drizzling hot butter on top of the white at the end, to help it set.)

Slice your steak across the grain, then assemble the salad. You can layer it all as pictured above, or toss it together as below and add your fried eggs to each plate as you serve the salad. 



Variations: Use some fajita seasonings on the steak, like cayenne, cumin and coriander, and add some salsa or hot sauce for serving. 

You can also change the dressing by replacing the olive oil with the slightly cooked-down drippings from the pan after the steak is seared and the vegetables are sautéed. Delicious!   

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016: the year ahead

Resolve.

"...to decide firmly on a course of action."

A couple of wise little owls on our tree.
I don't know about you, but I make resolutions each year, and then have varying degrees of success actually achieving them all. Never mind, I've actually never achieved them all. That's because, in some ways, I'm kind of a pie-in-the-sky person who believes that if I try hard enough, I can do anything. The wisdom of my resolve is debatable, but I keep on trying.

My brand of aiming high is not always a bad thing, except when you beat yourself up for failure. But I digress.

I have a nice long list of resolutions for this year, but my true main goal is to Choose Joy - in the big things, in the small things, in the daily grind and when I don't wanna. So, while my list includes things like growing a big garden, writing something each week, spending one-on-one time with my kids and menu planning, I want each of those things to fall under the guidance of joy. 

Here are a few of the little things that I am going to be reminding myself to do in 2016: 

New Year's Resolutions 2016

  • Become more generous of self - with myself, with J, with kids, with others.
  • Wake up each morning with positive self-talk and prayer.
  • Cook with creative abandon.
  • Write something every week, whether it's journalling, article writing, blogging or working on a novel. 
  • Minimize clutter and distraction in my home, my head, my schedule.
  • Embrace the habit of a consistent schedule; go to bed earlier than 11 and get up at at the same time every day!
Making these sorts of promises to ourselves will only bear fruit if we have a way of implementing them. One of the books I've got ordered is Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. This book was recommended by several of my fave bloggers of late, including GOOP and The Modern Mrs. Darcy. The latter writes, "Rubin’s much anticipated follow-up to her happiness books is all about habits: how we make them, why we break them, and how we can improve them." I'm looking forward to reading it! 

Meanwhile, I'm making good on my resolution to cook with creative abandon! We bought a new freezer last week, and it's a teeny bit smaller than the huge 1950s monster that is sucking electricity keeping my garden offerings frozen. So, what do I have to do? CAN! I froze around 40 cups of raspberries, 30 cups of strawberries, a ton of chicken carcasses, heaps of marrow bones and oxtail, applesauce, pumpkin, etc, etc, etc.... so now I'm working on some fun kitchen projects! 

More to come on that in a few days, because THIS is an uncensored look at my kitchen right now.