What do oatmeal and Jamie Oliver have in common?

I‘m not so good at beginning new things in life. I worry about failing and not meeting standards; I tend to circle projects for a while, observing, and yes, dragging my feet.

Because I know this about myself, I was eager to get my first post for Jamie Oliver published and behind me. I have plenty to say on the subject of kids in the kitchen and, once started, should have no trouble making myself at home in my new digs.

It would have been far too easy to obsess over a topic for that first blog post, so I enlisted Noah to help me come to a quick decision together: Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal. It’s a hot breakfast that we love, and he can prepare it nearly all by himself, so it was perfect for kicking off a series on cooking with family.

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Cranberry Orange Scones

With the Christmas holiday just around the corner, I’ve been dreaming up different ways for my little family of three to celebrate.

One thing I’m looking forward to is a leisurely Christmas morning, complete with homemade breakfast. With nowhere to rush off to that day, we have the opportunity to spend time together in the kitchen, and I can’t think of a better way to start the day than by making breakfast with the people I love most.

Scones are a breakfast staple around here. Before Clara was born, I filled my freezer with both chocolate chip and bacon, pepper jack, and jalapeño scones. I wanted to have my sweet and savory bases covered, and those two recipes are still favorites around here. When I was thinking of what I wanted to make for Christmas morning, though, I knew something more seasonally appropriate was in order.

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How to make soft whole wheat hot dog buns

June is the month when we air out our camping gear and study the calendar for the perfect weekend to pack up and spend a few days in nature.

Whether you are pitching a tent in the backyard or camping on a pebbly lake shore, cooking over an open fire is such a fun family experience. We generally stick to real food camping meals, but once in a while it’s fun to roast a sausage on a stick and wrap it in a soft bun. For our (mostly) whole foods family, this takes a bit of planning, but here’s how I prep for a cook-out.

We’ll go to a nearby farm we know of that sells lamb sausage, or we’ll pick up organic, all-beef hot dogs at our local market for the excursion, so finding whole-food sausage is fairly easily done. But then there is the problem of the buns, as I refuse to buy pasty, all-white buns that are filled with sugar and who knows what else. I’ll consume these at the occasional hockey game, but I sure am not stocking up on them for a camping trip.

Homemade Whole Wheat Hotdog Buns on Simple Bites | www.simplebites.net

Our local health food store sells some decent unprocessed hot dog buns, but they cost a pretty penny, and around here we’re all about eating well and spending less. In fact, it’s my theme for this post, along with summer food to go.

So, for the past two summers I’ve been making my hot-dog buns and they are so, so great. A bit of butter and an egg in the dough keeps them soft, buttermilk gives the buns a nice tangy flavor,  and the whole wheat flour makes for a substantial roll that can hold up to the heftiest sausage.

Read on for the recipe and more suggestions for fireside meals.

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Whole Grain Strawberry Banana Bread

The one thing I’ve always been able to count on is Grandma Dorothy’s homemade bread. I don’t think I have ever crossed the threshold of her cozy kitchen, in all my thirty-one years, without a slice of bread finding its way into my hands.

The most incredible thing about Grandma Dorothy’s everlasting bread trick is that she is mother to eleven kids. Eleven! And she has enough grandchildren and great-grandchildren to populate a not so small town with only her own kin.

I can’t compete with Eleven kids, but I just doubled my brood overnight. Six kids!

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Breakfast in minutes: One-Pan Crispy Bacon and Roasted Asparagus with Baked Eggs

Our weekend farmer’s market outing was a soggy affair, the kind where you dash through the droplets, a child in each hand, and make a beeline for the tarps. It was not the time nor the place to leisurely stroll from stall to stall admiring the butter tarts and the goose eggs; instead I headed straight for the asparagus.

I picked up two fat bundles, thinking I would -finally- get a batch of pickles put up, but the asparagus didn’t last more than a few hours in my kitchen. On Sunday, as the water dripped down off the porch roof and I faced yet another chilly, wet day, I wrenched open the fridge and pulled out bacon, eggs – and the local asparagus.

We needed something substantial and beautiful to beat the weather blahs. Strong coffee is good and all, but it only does so much. This quick breakfast of crispy bacon, eggs, and roasted asparagus hit the spot and I’m a little shy to admit that Danny and I polished off the entire pan between the two of us.

Later on the sun came out, but at that point, the weather didn’t matter anymore.

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