Tuesday, January 20, 2015

a #52tries SURPRISE!

i love when an idea takes flight.

#52tries was a hashtag dreamt up by tiffany, for a meal planning quest sparked up by me.

together, we decided it was so much bigger than us. 

so we created something for all of us.

welcome to 52tries.com (we explain how it all went down)

read tiffany's week 3 post here and my week 3 post here

tuesday will continue to be our joint posting day!

it's the new home of our 2015 meal planning adventures and many others. read about our team of contributors here (and watch for it to grow!) #52tries can be about all sorts of things challenging, meal planning and otherwise!

my girlfriend tiffany and i have been busy, manic little beavers, collaborating away this past week. she built the website, started the twitter account and crafted our pinterest page + boards

i tell you what, this girl is good.

welcome to our #52tries party.

“are we all lost stars, trying to light up the dark?” 
let’s begin again, each week. 
light me up with #52tries.

x+o=L


ps

the mullies will continue to be a cozy, personal home of my growing food rev adventures, the place where i post whatever i want you lovelies to all know about, and most especially "the mullies sister kitchen" adventures coming soon this week or next! katie and i are on a mission to link & grow our family tables together this year.

to the mullies we go...


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

to the mullies with #52tries - meal planning in 2015


2015 is the year of my family table.

these lovely cookbooks are going to be my best friends for a while and i'm sure they'll get some new friends along the way.

i am striving to sit down with my family 3 days a week at our kitchen table for a shared, made-from-scratch meal. 

if i make more meals per week, great, if i make less, boo hoo... try better next time. 

no matter what i'm sharing it. unless my computer breaks.

i hope you'll join me - or at least be inspired to try you're own genius plan.

tuesdays = my #52tries weekly recap 
(if you're itching to see what's happening in real time, ride along with me on instagram, facebook & twitter)
each week, i'll compile and share my chalkboard scribble of a meal plan + the best pictures and notes of how it all went down the hatches. 
the good. 
the bad. 
the ugly. 
the gorgeous. 
the "i don't like it-ness" 
the love of food. 

oh gawd help me.
hold on to your butts, cuz i'm trying to get even more organized around three theme nights:

vegetarian/vegan (meatless... nuff said)

comfort food (cozy up and sigh as you stuff your face full of goodness)

food legacies (famous dishes from around the globe or stateside; let's travel back in time; cooking with famous chefs; food trends... i want to broaden my family's appreciation and understanding of FOOD (and my own of course!) and all the glorious culture that surrounds it... hello world).

here's how this meal planning ball got rolling and i want to introduce you to my team of besties that may try & make appearances over the next 52 weeks!

my sister katie 
we decided to begin connecting our kitchens over break. to cook the same recipe, take pics, perhaps make a video or two and see how it all shakes down in our mullies kitchens. i love her to death and as the co-inventor of our childhood fantasy land dubbed "the mullies," this is exactly where i want her to be with me since she lives in denver! she has two kids and i have three spanning 2 years to 10 years old. her husband loves to cook and eats everything; mine does not cook and is extremely picky like my kids. i am hoping her kids' thumbs up will inspire my kids to try a few more bites along the way when i push their culinary taste buds. i cannot wait to begin connecting our family tables and the evolution should be a hoot! 
my girlfriend tiffany, aka "bunny"
she was the genius who suggested i commit to a meal plan blog every week. it's our new year's resolution and this is how we're gonna keep it! meal planning is one of those things that is NOT hard, i simply have NO routine that i stick to and i'm trying to change that. she'll be cooking -vegan.all.day.all.night - along with me and we'll be sharing notes like mad hatters. she is one of my very best friends, my kindred life's sounding board who also lives in across town from my lovely sis. i tell you what, i would not be where.i.am.today without this fancy southern lady. she puts the chic in whatever she looks at (her camp1899 pinterest boards kill me) and i can't wait to cook & bake more vegetarian/vegan meals with her. link up with her on twitter for some bunny good inspiration. 

my "far and away" girlfriend terri + global food rev ambassador teammate
we facetime almost every week and email like we've known each other forever. she is my real life cookbook i conspire with! we brainstormed the other day and the meal planning really took shape into a more exciting, thematic structure. she is my mary poppins meets julia child from the netherlands, my heart's closest inspiration and mentor in the kitchen. it's like we share the same brain of energy and we soak each other up. i'm so lucky to be friends with this ridiculously talented executive & private chef and mother of 2. we are "cooking across continents" with each other and working to spread the food rev far and wide. link up with her on instagram, facebook and twitter for food inspiration that will blow your mind.
my girlfriend laura aka "chimmie" 
she is my hilarious, nutrition trained, beautiful soulmate who will be joining in on the meal planning fun. she's got two kids, i talk to her almost everyday and well, she's crazy awesome and real and i don't know what i would do without her in my life. she's just under and next to me in indiana and i can't wait for you to get to know her better. when we're not talking about food, we're talking about something crafty... watch out, us 2 chimmie-chonga-choo-choo's = nutballs. you can link up with her on instagram and get inspired.

my girlfriend christina + mundelein food rev teammate
not sure what i would do without this local lovely lady cake friend. check out her 2015 plan: she will use one cookbook per week to meal plan out of = so simple. i cannot WAIT to see what she and her husband will cook up each week with her two beautiful girls. you can find this talented stevenson high school family and consumer science teacher (gourmet foods and clothing design) on instagram. oh christina lets cook + cocktail this week!
ok ok, enough chatty kathy... let's get to it. 

week 1
salmon burgers + kale chips + glazed carrots = 5 thumbs up
via j. oliver's "comfort food" crab cakes + g. paltrow's "it's all good" salmon burgers



i combined oliver and paltrow's recipe like this:

1 lb salmon (my four patties were still a little frozen = good for processing according to paltrow)
3/4 c fresh cilantro
1/2 small red onion
zest of one lemon
2 T worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

combine above ingredients in a food processor.  pulse until well combined, but not a paste. place salmon combo into a bowl. and mix in:

a heaping 1/2 tsp of dry mustard powder
1 c gluten free panko breadcrumbs
1 T 21 spice blend (find at trader joes or costco)
1 egg

form into patties. size em to your liking.

fry in organic virgin coconut oil, 4 min's to a side (or until crispy and gorgeously brown).

acorn squash stuffed with baked ziti = 5 thumbs up



my family adores this simple "the pollan family table" baked ziti. i thought i was so clever in putting the ziti in the acorn squashes!!! well come to find out, mr emeril lagasse already thought of that, so hit this link and i won't have to type it all out for you. i pretty much did exactly what he did. so just do it. 



i love making my homemade tomato sauce (no fruit plums in this sauce. instead, this one had chopped kale ribs in the soffrito instead of celery, two red peppers, a yellow squash zucchini and baked acorn squash pulp. i anticipated i'd be the only one eating the squash with my pasta so i snuck a bunch in the sauce. i also pureed it until is was silky smooth with my handheld immersion blender. my family likes it better that way and it's extremely versatile with leftovers!



doesn't it make the most beautiful leftover lunch! my raw salad is simply sliced brussel sprouts + avocado + tomatoes + kale + homemade ranch.

hit and run tray baked chicken + side salad = 5 thumbs up
via jamie oliver's amazing iphone/ipad app and part of his #10healthymeals roundup. i just added some fingerling potatoes to the mix = easy peasy.




vegetarian chili = 1 thumbs up (only because i made it too hot darnit!)



those cute little round white things are called "bunapi" mushrooms... and i forgot to put them in... oops.



my family has the most ridiculously sensitive tastebuds ever to the "spicy". i'm not sure what i was thinking when i went to town on the cayenne pepper flakes. oops. 

we added plain sheep's milk yogurt (whole foods) to the bowls of chili to tame the heat. that's how i got the kids to eat it... poor chris took about four bites and was done. wouldn't even try the yogurt trick. to the moon alice...

lesson learned. i'll add just a pinch of cayenne next time. someday, someday they'll be able to handle a little heat. it's such AMAZING chili and i definitely will be making it again!



my vegetarian chili lasagna + ina garten's winter slaw = 4 thumbs up
slaw via ina's "make it ahead"


i tamed down the heat with this dish.  layered gluten free brown rice lasagna noodles + my leftover tomato sauce + aged manchego cheese (sheep's milk cheese). i like to use sharper, high quality manchego because then i don't have to add as much cheese to get the flavor i want. abbie was the only one who didn't like it.

layer:
sauce
noodles
chili
sauce
noodles
chili 
sauce
cheese
noodles
sauce
cheese
done


today starts a new week. 

i'll post my new chalkboard on instagram later today taters tots.

and i'll be seeing you mundelein/lake county locals at dakotah's farmer's market on saturday 9am-3pm. i'll be cooking and talking with you about your meal planning ideas around 10am-2pmish or until my food sampling runs out!


mark your calendars and start dreaming of the warm sunshine.

food revolution day is friday, may 15, 2015.

i can't hardly wait!!!

x+o=L


ps

begin again. 
every week. 
have you heard this song
"are we all just lost stars, trying to light up the dark?"
it's a little tuesday tune for you 
love.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

the pollen family table + the mullies family table


"this is the dish of awesomeness mom."
- mac

"i kind of like it. i really like the sausages. now can i get 3 chocolates?"
- tommy

"i really like it, it's the best thing ever."
- abbie

= my kids reaction over the pollan family table's inspired baked ziti (how i've never made this dish before... i don't know...)
12/19/2014




let's get to it.

i have been given the pleasure to review a new cookbook:

the pollan family table 

"My Grandmother Mary taught us, "Cooking is not a science, but an art, mistakes are ok, messes are fine - The pleasure is in the creating and the sharing of the result."
- Lori Pollan @PollanFamilyTable.


about two and a half years ago, i gave away/donated most of my cookbooks. i was in the early throws of our family food change and i reasoned if the cookbook didn't fit my new standards of clean food or if it wasn't gluten free, it just couldn't stay.

my perspective is evolving quite a bit. nowadays, i am drawn towards cookbooks that have something more to offer than just a required list of amazing recipes. i want a story. i want to go into an author(s) mind and go on a journey. is there a common thread to connect our kitchens and pantries? why do they love food? what made them write a cookbook? can this book help me & my family get more "cooked"?

the pollan ladies (corky, lori, dana & tracy) are the masterminds behind this new cookbook. lori, dana and tracy's brother, michael pollan, joined the family cookbook party and wrote its poignant forward.

from the get go, this book tapped into my earliest of food memories, the family tables that shaped my life. about a paragraph in, i looked up and closed two dampish eyes (i am a major weeper). first, it brought me back to sitting at my childhood family table with my mom, dad, sister and brother. our meals, our laughter, our ups and downs... growing up with mom's famous lasagna, waffles.every.weekend, steak dinners, tuna casserole (oh i need to make that again!). my dad unequivocally teaching me the art of food experimentation (close your eyes lindsey and taste this!)

secondly, it took me back to my "grandma.on.the.farm's" family table. my grandma dorothy canning everything from her huge garden; i can still taste her peaches on my tongue; her rolls were made by hand with local lard (cinnamon rolls were the very best); my favorite job was picking fresh beans from her garden for dinner (and eating them raw of course); she was the first person i had ever known to make homemade salad dressing (because my grandpa tom hated "that crap in the bottle").

thirdly, i traveled back to my aunt valerie's family table and my "grandma.on.the.lake's" family table where emil and millie inspired us to make and eat kolachki, potica, cream sausage, beet salad, cucumber salad, and crab dip with endless fruit-veggie-cracker spreads - the mullies kitchen sits in the footprint of their quaint cottage i miss almost everyday.

ooooohhhh the memories of these family tables and all who dined together with us!

this cookbook successfully wove together my past, present and future kitchens: memories of cooking and eating as a child, teenager, adult, wife and mom well into 14 years of marriage and a family food change. all of it swirling together with my current daydreams of my children (all grown up) cooking in their own kitchens and coming back home to me.

what kind of food memories will i leave in my children as my mother and grandmothers have given to me? will mac, abbie and tommy wax poetic about dishes from their childhood and request recipes to make over and over again?

so i just asked them: "what are your favorite dishes that i make?

mac: "the dish you made last night and homemade pizza"

tommy: "taco nachos with cheese"

abbie: "homemade pizza, taco nachos, ribs, the cheesy pasta we had last night and smoothies."

honest food sophistication.

gulp. i'm in the process RIGHT NOW of forging their food memories. i've made plenty of mouth watering dishes for the kids (+ plenty of thumbs down meals) but perhaps i haven't made any dishes often enough (other than pizza, tacos and nachos apparently) for my kids to be remembering them enough to request them.

this list must blossom in 2015.

what perfect timing for the pollan family table to enter into my kitchen. i clearly need some help in forging a shifley family table full of favorite meals. lori, dana and tracy all have kids, they all lead busy busy lives and these recipes work at their family tables. and that's exactly what i am looking for:

time tested
thumbs up
belly filling
simple
clean
dishes of awesomeness

to get my kids waxing poetic and coming back for more at our family table = a 2015 new year's resolution.

michael pollan explains it perfectly in his forward:

"My mother and sisters are not professional cooks, and this, oddly enough (or maybe not so oddly), probably explains why this eminently practical cookbook really works. Because most of us aren't professional cooks either. They never lose sight of the few core principles that set this cookbook apart: All the dishes can be made with ingredients available at any American supermarket; most can be put on the table in less than an hour (some in half that time); the recipes take nothing for granted and never assume lots of prior experience in the kitchen; and they all appeal equally to kids and adults."

this book is not a special diet book. anyone can cook from it no matter where one is on the food continuum. they don't overly proselytize about eating "healthy" or tell you to cut this or that out of your diet. the focus stays on cooking, sharing and togetherness around the table. they discuss the importance of using fresh, organic, local and sustainably sourced ingredients when you can & when budgets allow. if you are on a special diet or if you have an allergy, substituting for it should be a snap (many recipes are naturally gluten free!). i like to cook plant based as much as possible so i'm itching to try out the"vegetarian and meatless monday" section on my family. most importantly, their pantry item list is no fuss, simple and solid. i super love the "culinary ABC" section and "sage advice" - it is so helpful to have these vital tips & practical (best friend) explanations of cooking terms all in ONE PLACE.

the pollan family got me thinking about what kind of family table i want to create, about what really happens when we all get a chance to sit down and share a family meal. our table captures the full range of human emotions... a 5, 8, 10, 37 and 41 year old's happiness, sadness, frustration and excitement... you name it and we've been there. it's a pendulum swinging back and forth, teaching and breathing life into our hectic, hungry souls. thank you pollan family for helping me to embrace everything that happens when we sit down together.

so our pollan family table adventure begins with baked ziti.

this ridiculously simple recipe sent mac back for three helpings and sent us all to.the.mullies with my best cooking compliment yet. i subbed in some breakfast leftovers - farmer nick's bacon and sausage (a local lake county farm that produces antibiotic free, pasture raised livestock) that i buy now from our new mundelein gem: dakotah's indoor farmer's market. you better betcha the kids and i will be back to make those luscious turkey meatballs soon!!

baked ziti with bacon and sausage
inspired by the pollan family table's "golden baked ziti with bite-size turkey meatballs" pg 158

sea salt
1 pound gluten free ziti
4 strips of antibiotic free/nitrate free bacon
6 links of antibiotic free/nitrate free pork sausage
1 c of homemade tomato sauce (i had leftovers i needed to use!)
1.5-2 c grated manchego cheese
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

preheat oven to 375 degrees. salt boiling water and add pasta. cook pasta until "al dente, about three minutes less than directions on the package. meanwhile, chop up the bacon and sausage. drain the pasta and transfer it all back into the still hot cooking pot. dump in about a cup of pasta sauce (mine was leftover, thick tomato soup) plus the meat and mix thoroughly. dump it all into a baking dish and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

"it has some sort of cheese layer over it and the cheese layer makes me die of awesomeness because it is so good. it has bacon, i mean, who doesn't like bacon. i don't know how you did it mom, but you put all my favorite foods in one dish. i love it."  - mac

a worm hole has opened to my past, present and future. i am quilting my kitchen & cooking adventures into fabric made from food and family. for good food is the one thing we can never walk away from nor stop from doing. eating and cooking well is the one thing i hope my kids will do with or without me.

it's time to eat and cook more together for good food is for-ever. thank you pollan family for inspiring me and my evolving family table.

now i need to go call my sister - cuz i have a book i really need to talk to her about...


we have some recipes to tackle together katie!!!

i'm so excited your family will be joining my family in our new sister series:
to the mullies with the pollans - coming soon in 2015.

X+0=L


IT'S A FIRST MULLIES GIVEAWAY DAY!
comment below with your favorite childhood food memory (who do you remember first cooking with?) and i'll enter you into my.very.first.mullies.drawing for your very own copy of the pollan family table cookbook. on behalf of the pollan clan and myself, we can't WAIT to give it to you!

**the contest starts today and ends on 12/31/2014 so that you can join me in revolutionizing your family table in 2015**

here's mine:

my 1st "cooking" memory: in 8th grade, my mom called from work and asked me to get the blueberry muffins started. it was my first solo job. i thought to myself, "i'm making bread!" therefore, "mix by hand" = stick my fingers in the eggs, oil and powder and go to kneading town.  "wait... where is my ball of dough?" i'll never forget my mom calling me to see how it went and her laughing and laughing... when i questioned why it stuck so horribly to my fingers. she explained, "mix by hand" meant mix with a spoon/whisk you silly willy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

a lucky #3 for the 52 new foods favorites campaign


i can't believe it!

three of my lovely gumption recipes have been chosen in the 52 new foods "favorites campaign"!

click on the link below and it will take you to the voting page where you can select 4 of your favorites and be entered for a chance to win a free 52 new foods cookbook!

vote here for your favorites: crab salad with avocado + breakfast cookies + homemade ranch

i'd be tickled pink and thank you if you end up voting for ME or any other of the food ambassadors who have been chosen in this talented group of bloggers:  terri salminen (netherlands), susan ng (canada), julie kimball cockburn (oregon), mardi michaels (canada), amy baker wambold (arizona).  i linked you to all of their wonderful cooking blogs... these girls blow my mind.

and just in case you missed it, click the picture below to link back to the full #52newfoods inspired post with my first 10 recipes (my lucky 3 included).  


no go vote and win yourself a sweet new cookbook... i'm sending you lots of good luck.

x+o=L



ps

it makes me crazy when i run out of egg mix for my french toast:






Thursday, December 4, 2014

santa's got a sweet spot for mamacita's holiday G-hoppers





watch me now - to the mullies with holiday G-hoppers on youtube

the kids and i cooked (or should i say mixed?) this craziness up together this past sunday, november 30. i finished editing the video on tuesday, december 2nd, our lovely 14 year wedding anniversary. 

it's a special video because of the sweet timing + it truly captures the energy, the fun and the unpredictable adventures we're having cooking together in the kitchen. this recipe was developed with gumption (no recipe to lead the way, just concepts i have learned over the last 2+ years of clean food experimenting). i'm so very proud of it.

enjoy and make this recipe stat... cuz eating these g-hoppers will surely hit your sweet spot.

~~~~~~~

it came upon a midnight clear...

when lindsey (santa's mamacita) took on the 52 new foods no-bake holiday cookie challenge, she immediately knew what delicious dessert concept she wanted to tweak.

she loved two types of ice cream: mint chocolate chip and pistachio.

her favorite birthday + college dessert = grasshopper pie (the house dessert at her northwestern KKG fraternity house).

mamacita's first idea was an ice cream xmas tree cookie. she envisioned rolling out the cacao dough, stamping out xmas trees, topping them with the holiday green ice cream and garnishing them with crushed dye-free candy cane... pretty and festive yummies. however, the xmas trees and icing seemed a bit tedious and not so easy peasy.

like a bolt of lighting, a glorious idea came to life: "what about mini grasshopper pies!?" alas, lindsey couldn't find dye-free candy cane, so, with santa's nice 52 new foods list in her head, she thought, "but of course!  i'll yank some gorgeous pomegranate seeds out from their fridgy-bed!" 

away to the kitchen, mamacita flew like a flash, donned her red apron and gathered her reindeer & stash. she sprang to her food processor, to her team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

merry christmas to all (you filthy animals) and to all a good night!

to the mullies with holiday g-hoppers 
inspired by 52 new foods: avocados, pomegranates & raw cacao

raw cacao crust:
2 c raw almonds (soaked overnight, rinsed and drained)
2 c raw cashews (soaked overnight, rinsed and drained)
(click here to find out why i like to soak my nuts)
1.5 c organic raw cacao powder
12 pitted medjool dates (for the 12 days of christmas of course)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c sun dried goji berries (soaked in water for 10 minutes to soften. rinse and drain)
1/2 c almond butter
1 tsp sea salt

raw g-hopper ice cream:
4 organic avocados
2 c organic coconut butter (i found my jar at AWH)
4 tsp pure mint extract
2 tsp vanilla
12 T (3/4 c) pure maple syrup or coconut nectar
large handful of fresh mint leaves (stems discarded)
pinch of sea salt

note #1: the raw cacao crust recipe is enough to fill either 2 full pans of mini g-hoppers or 1 pan of mini's and a pie crust. i made a french silk ice cream pie with it (we haven't taste tested yet, so i'll get back to you on that classic filling!) i have doubled the avocado recipe (the video shows us making a single batch as i.had.no.idea what the final product amount would be!) i figure with the holidays, you need the double batch amount! if not, just cut both of these recipes in half. 

note #2: not a fan of mint? well, i gotcha bunny! omit the mint leaves + extract and process in pistachios. play with your nut amount! i would start with a 1/2-1 cup and taste test from there. no need for salt probably either, as pistachios are salty indeed. also, i would also use a vitamix (or any powerful blender) if you would like it smooth vs chunky.

using a large bowled food processor, process the nuts together until you have a small, uniform mince. add in all ingredients and process until smooth and thick play-dough like consistency.  your kids will have a ball with naming this concoction...

clean the food processor.  add in all of the ice cream ingredients and process until smooth.  

assembly: using a 1 inch ice cream scooper, place balls of pie crust into each cup.  cover your finger with a plastic baggie and press to form a mini pie mould. (super funny stuff to do... i have such potty humor... and let's face it, kids think this is absolutely gross-hilarious!) clean your ice cream scooper (aka pooper scooper) and scoop out your g-hopper ice cream into each cacao cup.  smooth tops with a butter knife or spatula and garnish with crushed pistachios, pomegranates, crushed dye free red/white peppermint candy, mini chocolate chips... so many festive options!!! be creative!!!

FREEZE OVERNIGHT!!!!!!!  




~~~~~~~

i hope this post and the many other #52newfoods simple recipes this holiday season inspire you to get cooking just one day a week with your kids - the lovely & manageable premise of the 52 new foods challenge cookbook

the mullies kitchen = my training room and we're adding more weight every week!

note to self: don't fret or give up when those kitchen performance "plateaus" hit... it takes a bit for that new muscle memory to take hold (believe me, i know).

go food revolution + team 52 new foods = december's blog of the month!!!!!

happy happy no-bake holiday partying with your kids!

to the mullies we go...

xoxoL



ps

special props to my dear friend jenn who lovingly came up with "holiday hopper" and i added in the g (is for grasshopper) spot. silly, creative, foodie friends are the best.  love + thank you jenn!!


pps

a lot of peeps have been asking me who puts together these lovely videos.  i do.  just me and my iphone with just shy of 3 GB's of memory:)  here's the challenging part: i unfortunately only have a 16 GM phone (i can't even get the new apple update at this point) and i have to delete all pics and videos off my phone to have space for a new video undertaking.  so i know i can shoot about 1.5 GM's of photos and video before i begin editing through imovie (or else i don't have enough space to save the finished product to my phone and upload!)  aahhhhhhhhh!  needlesstosay, i have developed quite an easy process:  shoot what i'm doing in the moment = exactly how cooking with kids shakes out = thumbs ups + thumbs downs + endless comedy + love + a family cooking legacy + fun.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 in pictures



i'm feeling lazy... must be all the food still digesting...

a have few words and lots of pics of our wonderful family thanksgiving.  above is the fun flipagram and below are my favorite pics in chronological order from thanksgiving eve morning to the main event.

...tomorrow comes a very special no bake holiday cookie recipe inspired by the 52 new foods cookbook... you're gonna l.o.v.e. it:)


xoxoL