Archive for November, 2011

November 30, 2011

What The Picky Eater Has to Say…

This is what my daughter posted on her Facebook tonight about dinner (no editing done on my part!).  I try, but I don’t always succeed….Sigh.

ok so my moms like “if u dont want to eat what we make for dinner u make ur own!” so i dnt want the soup they made so i had to make my own, u c, i suck at making most foods so i cudnt think of anything easy tht i wanted to eat to make a long story i got my dad to make me grilled ham and cheese 😉 ily daddy

More on the dinner we made tomorrow, but sometimes all I can say is “Really?”
November 20, 2011

What I Eat: A Read Around The World

Over the past few weeks, I have dipped my mind into a lovely table top book called What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets. This visual feast takes you into the lives of 80 individuals across the planet whose daily intake ranges from starvation to unbelievable amounts. Each featured person has a typical day’s diet, with accompanying calories, and pictures! I found myself wondering where the calories all came from because there was not a direct correlation between the number of items in a picture and the calories consumed. Flour-based products, and sugar appear to add much to the calories consumed. And, of course, the more meat and more processed food in a daily diet, the higher the calorie consumption. I was struck by how variable the amount of fruit and vegetables consumed was – as well as the degree to which those fruits and vegetables were eaten in raw or cooked form. 

I know that my diet would look similar to some, and very different from others represented in the book.  It does make you wonder though… 

And as I read more about the authors, I realized that they have also published an earlier book about what families eat in a week — that is now on my “to-read” list — Hungry Planet: What The World Eats. What would your family’s diet for a week look like?

Maybe I’ll give that a whirl — but AFTER Thanksgiving!

November 16, 2011

Sweet Potato Pie – Better than Pumpkin Pie?

So we are a family who loves pie, and are blessed with an in house expert pie maker. But in the great pumpkin pie – sweet potato pie debate, we have always come down on the pumpkin pie side.

Until now.

Let me tell you a little story about how we came to make our first sweet potato pies.

My husband and I accompanied our daughter and other members of her Girl Scout troop to a gleaning activity. Gleaning, for those of you not in the know, is when farmers allow others to harvest produce that isn’t going to be sold.  Historically, farmers would save produce for the needy to glean, and in recent years, food banks have coordinated with farmers in order to glean produce at the end of the growing season. So our troop had been discussing doing this for a while, but the weekend weather in Northern Virginia had been a bit unpredictable, and the Arlington Food Assistance Center assigned us to help out at a warehouse location in Maryland about a month ago.

So, when we arrived at the MAGNET warehouse , we found that a truckload of sweet potatoes had been delivered and was in need of being sorted into “good” and “bad” (e.g., rotten) potatoes, and then bagged into smaller bags to be distributed to food distribution centers like AFAC so that they can be delivered to the hungry.  After about an hour and a half, the sweet potatoes had been sorted, and bagged, and we were offered a bag to take home with us.  So, take it home we did, sharing it amongst all the girls.

Now, we love sweet potato fries, and they are really good in Masaman curry, but we had a large number of sweet potatoes to cook, including some really little ones and some behemoths.

So, what to do?

The man of the house suggested that we make sweet potato pie.

I looked at him with a degree of puzzlement, given that he has always been quite adamant about the virtues of pumpkin over sweet potato pie.  He nodded, and I found a basic sweet potato pie recipe in my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  He turned his attention to making his melt-in-your-mouth delicious crust, and I started to make the filling.

I really enjoyed the first step:

1. Bake the sweet potatoes, pricked with a fork to let out steam, in a 450 degree oven for 40-50 minutes, until soft.

That is my kind of prep work…

2. Then, we had to peel and then mash the sweet potatoes, once they were cool enough to handle.

Check, that was fun too.

3. To the mashed sweet potatoes I added 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon cloves (I was out of nutmeg), and a pinch of salt.

4. Once those were all mixed in, I added in the 3 eggs that I had lightly beaten in a small bowl.

Excellent – it was already starting to look like pumpkin pie!

5. And to complete the filling, I stirred in a full cup of sour cream (not what I would have guessed to add).

At that point, the  crust was done , prebaked partially, and ready to fill.

So fill it up we did,

and then baked it at 375 degrees for 50 minutes (removing a foil covering of the crust edges half way through).

And then we waited for it to cool down.

Once it was cool, we ate it.

And you know what, everyone thought it was really good, at least as good as pumpkin pie.  I, for one, was impressed that it was so easy to make, and didn’t require the use of a can opener…. Next time, I can even use farmer’s market sour cream and eggs..

And on the second day, after 24 hours in the fridge, it was even better.

So now, we might have to make an apple, pumpkin, and sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving.  I’m really glad that we’ve moved our celebration of Thanksgiving desserts to Friday – more room for all the pie that absolutely must be consumed!

What pies are you looking forward to on Thanksgiving? And tell me, are you a pumpkin pie or a sweet potato pie family?

November 12, 2011

Fall Favorites at the Farmer’s Market

The seasons have changed here in Northern Virginia, and what is at the market has been changing over the past few months. We are fortunate that our market’s are year round, but the “big” market will be ending in the next couple of weeks. So,  I thought I would put up a few pictures to celebrate the fall market.

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