Monday, August 25, 2014

I Hate Wrappers

I know I'm not the only one who hates wrappers and packaging. It's not just the irritation of trying to figure out which end to open or where the flap starts. I hate the waste and the smell, and if it's food wrapped in too much packaging, I wonder about the preservatives.

It also bothers me when the thing I want requires a 6-inch knife and a whole lot of patience to open--like this:

Or when way too much packaging is used for one little item--like this:

Or when it's not even necessary to put something in a wrapper--like this:

I also dislike the taste of commercially packaged baked goods--like this:

I much prefer my baked goods made at home with no preservatives, no packaging or wrappers, and healthy ingredients. Like these Healthy Carrot-Zucchini Mini Muffins. Who's with me?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Catch Some Summer Before It's Gone

When I was young, summer was when my mother and aunt would take outings just to buy fresh produce. Sometimes it was a trip for tomatoes or sweet corn from a local farm. Other times, it was a "pick-your-own" adventure for raspberries or strawberries. I didn't always tag along, but I remember the evening meals after such an outing. I especially remember the strawberry shortcake.
With the exception of birthday cakes, we rarely had dessert as the final course of the meal. Don't get me wrong. We had our share of sweet treats, but it was usually ice cream or cookies and not a formal dessert, per se. However, when fresh strawberries were available, we had shortcake.
Shortcake at our house could be Angel Food cake with smashed strawberries on top, or it could be a store-bought sponge cake. Either way, the shortcake was topped with a small dab of whipped cream and the strawberry juice oozed throughout the cake. I loved it.
As we wind down the days of summer and the kids head back to school, why not treat yourself to some strawberry shortcake? It just might remind you of days gone by, and you might be making new memories that others will share.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Set Another Place at the Table

Since our youngest moved out in May, special meals at our house have become infrequent. It seems like dinner for Barry and me has been leftovers, "make-something-out-of-nothing," carry-out, or "let's just skip it." So it's a pleasant relief when either of us really plans a meal ahead of time. We find ourselves talking about the preparation and the food, and our conversation switches from the day-to-day recap of running a small business to the joy of cooking and sharing a good meal.
We've recently added a third place at our dinner table. My dad has moved here from Florida and has instilled us with new energy to apply to meals. We're excited to share recipes he may have missed since he last visited ten years ago. Since his diet is switching from frozen dinners to "real cooking," he's an easy customer to please. Among other food favorites, we enjoy sharing the fresh produce from Daisy Mae's and find our food becomes a launching pad for further conversation.
When you sense that meals are become more of a chore than a pleasure, why not add another mouth or two to feed at your table? I remember even when the kids were younger, we kicked it up a notch when a neighborhood friend joined us for dinner. Invite a relative. Encourage an old friend to come for dinner. Just by adding another face at the table, you'll find that your meals take on a new dimension and food can become fun again.