My well-thumbed copy of “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School” by Kathleen Flinn is my recommended reading to you for 2019. (Photo by Laura Groch)
If you’re one of the millions who are resolving to change your eating/cooking/food-buying habits in the new year, have I got a recommendation for you. I have meant to write about this book forever, but I just keep rereading it and re-enjoying it for myself. (And procrastinating too, yes.)
But no more. My 2019 resolution is to share this book with you, so: “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices Into Fearless Home Cooks,” by Kathleen Flinn (Penguin Books, 2011).
Here’s the premise. Flinn was in the supermarket one day when she saw a woman whose Continue reading
Pumpkin is a warm, welcome addition to your morning bowl of oatmeal. Photo by Laura Groch
Halloween is over, but pumpkin is still with us. And will be with us through year end. And really beyond, because pumpkin is just too good not to eat more often than just in chilly weather.
It’s nutritious, full of beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber, and you can use it in myriad cakes, pies, muffins and cookies — none of which I’m going to discuss here.
Instead, I’m going to suggest a few simple ways to use the rest of that can of pumpkin you Continue reading
Quaker’s new Overnight Oats are the same thing as muesli. I’m sure Quaker’s tastes good, but I’d rather pocket the $1.99 and mix up the oatmeal myself. Photo by Laura Groch
My grocery store gives customers free samples of new products weekly. Two of them prompted me to write today.
They come from two companies whose other products I have used for years and know and love. One is Quaker Oats — which produces a most wholesome and economical breakfast food and baking ingredient. The other is Kraft, well known for its tasty cheeses and other foods.
Yet I can’t vote for either of their two new products.
“Best by” dates aren’t absolutes. Most canned foods are perfectly fine for up to five years. (Photo by Laura Groch)
For the past three months, I’ve been feeding myself poison.
That is, if you count “Use by,” “Best by” and “Sell by” dates as absolutes when it comes to wholesome food.
Obviously, I don’t.
We’ve recently seen stories about how wasteful Americans are with their food, and how Continue reading
Free cowboy cookie from Black Angus. (Sorry, we had blown out the candle by the time we rememberd to take a photo.) This was in addition to a free birthday dinner, available by signing up on the restaurant website. (Sorry, the dinner was already eaten, too.) Photo by Laura Groch
Who doesn’t like free stuff on your birthday? This family sure does. Let’s see — on or around my birthday recently, I got a free steak dinner from Black Angus, a free seafood meal from Rubio’s, a free chicken dinner from El Pollo Loco — are you starting to see a pattern here?
If you sign up for the birthday gig — sometimes it’s called “the birthday club” — at your Continue reading
Mom and me and the struffoli: Sometimes traditions are better remembered than observed. (Photo by Laura Groch)
With most of the holiday fun and fuss behind us, it’s a good time to look back on tradition: what family rituals still work, which ones should be adjusted, which ones need replacing.
I offer you the story of the struffoli.
One December afternoon after school, my little brother and I returned to my paternal grandmother’s house, where we would do homework and watch TV until our parents came home from work to pick us up.
Throwing my book bag on the floor and shedding my winter gear, I was suddenly aware of something out of the ordinary. It sat proudly on Continue reading
Besides bagels, cream cheese and salmon, we served Impossible Ham ‘N’ Swiss Pie (left) and Impossible Green Chile-Cheese pie at our Pre-Thanksgiving. Photo by Laura Groch
We just finished a casual but fun family gathering. What? When Thanksgiving is just around the corner?
Well, yes, because family and friends are often heading to other in-laws’ or other friends’ homes to share this holiday and/or Christmas. So our branch comes together sometimes before Christmas, or in this case, before Thanksgiving, for a get-together.
I’ve heard other folks have christened this idea as “Faux-” or “Fake- Continue reading
Coleslaw might not be your first thought when it comes to hot dog toppings, but I find it very refreshing. Photo by Laura Groch
July 4 is a holiday full of patriotic observance, parades and flags, and rightly so. We also celebrate in that all-American of ways, by cooking and/or eating outdoors in a burger-hot-dog-ribs-chicken-picnic-barbecue fest. Also rightly so.
We’ll probably grill a few sausages and maybe a turkey hot dog or two. DH is strictly a mustard-and-onion topping guy, but I like to change things up. My latest favorite for hot dogs (and I might try this on a bratwurst, too) is a simple slaw. It’s Continue reading
Just a reminder: Don’t forget to enter the contest for a free copy of Murrieta author Linda J. Amendt’s new book, “Gluten-Free Breakfast, Brunch & Beyond.” Contest open through Nov. 30, 2013. Leave a comment please on the blogpage (link below) for a chance to win a copy of the book: https://beyondbites.com/2013/09/16/gluten-free-at-breakfast-cookbook-author-can-tell-you-how/
With Thanksgiving around the corner, food is (even more than usual) on our minds. For some, the food shopping is a chore; for others, it’s a pleasure.
But for many in our communities, it’s a daily struggle. So while stores are running all those specials on canned and other nonperishable items, I invite you to join me in buying a few extra items to donate to your local food bank or homeless shelter. Those “buy one, get one” deals so many markets are advertising right now make it easy to give — just donate the “get one.” Or use a coupon to buy an extra item. Make some room in your pantry by donating from your stash — the kids can help you choose items. You can fill up a grocery bag in no time. (Some stores are even providing pre-filled grocery bags that you can buy and donate.)
We may not always be aware of those who are hungry in our midst, but they are there. For the past few months, I’ve been volunteering at our local social services agency one morning a week, and I see how bare their pantry shelves are getting. As we prepare to celebrate abundance (and even excess) at Thanksgiving, I hope you’ll agree that sharing with those less fortunate can make our holiday observance even more satisfying — and blessed. The need is great. (And thanks for reading.)
(c) copyright Laura Groch 2013