Head of the Class: Eco-Friendly Lunch Containers for a Smarter Planet

I know that Simple Bites readers will be interested in Mariah’s post on Simple Kids yesterday. Even if you don’t have children of your own, you can take advantage of these excellent eco-friendly lunch container ideas anytime you need to pack your own lunch. Mariah also give tips on what to pack!

From her post:

We decided to shed our plastic baggies and set out to investigate eco-friendly lunch containers. As a family, we learned a lot along the way and feel great about the choices we made for both the planet and our bodies. [Read more…]

How to Make the Best Muffins Ever

“A bad muffin is as memorable as a good muffin is unforgettable.” Br. Peter Reinhart

The true sign of a good muffin is that it elicits a reaction.

It can be a sigh, a pause, or maybe a closer inspection followed by a question or comment–usually made with a full mouth. Every time I serve these Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Muffins, still warm from the oven, I watch out of the corner of my eye for the reaction.

No matter how chatty a group of girlfriends get over their coffees, one bite into these muffins and the conversation slows to a crawl; for the moment, attention is diverted from boy talk and baby names to a perfectly moist, flavorful muffin.

Occasionally, I’ll get a “I usually hate muffins, but…”

And oh, I have been there. I don’t think I ate a decent muffin for the first twenty years of my life, and I had resigned myself to a reality where muffins were dry, tasteless (or overly sweet), and no match for a good scone or sticky bun.

The summer I was twenty, I worked a job in a kitchen where muffin-making was mandatory, and I faced a challenge: the dry muffin. Many hockey pucks, exploding volcanoes, and moon craters later, I had a few recipes worked out that actually brightened up my mornings.

Here are a few things I learned along the way… [Read more…]

Weekend Links

As the sun poured through our kitchen window this morning and I lazily cracked eggs for breakfast, my husband Danny blurted out a statement that he obviously needed to get off his chest:

“You know, if I were in charge of the kitchen, there would be more coffee cake.”

His comment both amused and surprised me. For starters, he has no misconceptions about the kitchen’s domain and second, he almost never complains, so his vocalizing a desire for coffee cake was not one to ignore.

Anyway, it made me think of a coffee cake I saw this week on Shaina’s blog, and so of course that recipe is included in my weekend links, along with plenty more ‘Good Things’… [Read more…]

“Fun-due” for the Whole Family

The term ‘One-Pot Meal’ usually congers up images of hearty Irish lamb stew or spicy chicken curry, but perhaps not as often, the idea of a cheese fondue. That is unfortunate, because a fondue is a perfect dish to linger over with your family during cold winter evenings and dirties only one lonesome pot in the making.

We ate traditional Swiss fondue regularly before we had children, but when my son’s palate turned out to be not favorable to strong cheese (and nearly everything else, but that’s beside the point), I gave up on attempting a happy family meal of fondue. Fortunately, Lynn, a wise mother of five, worked the kinks out of this recipe and developed it to be practically irresistible to small hands. Talk about a winner! [Read more…]

Simplify Dinner with a One-Pot Meal

One-pot meals are like the footie pajamas of the family table; cozy, familiar, and easy to throw on. They offer the pleasure of home cooking assembled with little fuss and minimal clean-up, and nearly always contain a starch, protein and vegetable all rolled into one happy dish.

One-pot meal defined

Most cultures have their version of the one-pot meal. The Italians stir up creamy risotto, the Spanish steam fragrant paella and the French serve a perfect cassoulet, to name but just a few. Versions of this dish span the globe from nearly every ethnicity, the defining factor is in its name: it requires only one pot. That pot may be a wok, a Dutch Oven, a skillet or tagine, but everything is prepared in that one vessel and the melded flavors combine to produce something extraordinary. [Read more…]