Weekend Links and Bite This Book Winners!

After the busyness of Easter, this weekend has been delightfully quiet. We’ve been graced with lovely warm weather and are spending as many hours as possible outdoors. The first wildflowers are blooming and I’ve discovered young ramps (wild leeks) in my back forest; sufficient to say, spring has arrived to stay.

A big thank you to all who entered my Bite This Book giveaway! Two of you will be receiving a copy of The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food into Family Life and the winners are Sam and Elena Marshall! Congratulations! You’ve both been contacted via email.

Bite This Book is a monthly series on Simple Bites; stay tuned because I’m got a great selection of brand new books lined-up for the summer!

Weekend Link Love!

And now, here are the recipes and articles that caught my eye around the web this week:

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Bite This Book! The Naptime Chef (giveaway)

Welcome to Bite This Book!, a new 2012 series on Simple Bites. Each month, I’ll feature a cookbook of my choosing that is hot off the press, host a Q & A with the author, and then give you a chance to win a copy or two. It’s Bite This Book! good reads on Simple Bites.

I had the pleasure of meeting Kelsey Banfield, aka The Naptime Chef, at BlogHer Food last May (was that already one year ago?), but I’ve been reading her blog since its conception and connecting with her on social media for some time.

As I know Kelsey to be extremely passionate and hardworking, it was no surprise to hear she was writing a cookbook, and now her project, The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food into Family Life is finally here!

Kelsey’s recipes are home-style with a decidedly upscale twist and will leave you wondering “Now, why didn’t I ever think of that?”. She has a no-nonsense approach to cooking that would instil confidence in the most timid of cooks and bakers.

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve prepared from Kelsey’s cookbook. Her Strawberries & Cream Overnight French Toast (pictured at top) is a new brunch favorite around here, and I’m admittedly hooked on her Sour Cream Almond Cookies. I’ve bookmarked the Crunchy Mac & Cheese with Bacon to try soon, and know it won’t be long before I’m toasting a batch of addicting Cranberry Spice Granola.

Read on for a short interview with Kelsey and a chance to win one of two copies of The Naptime Chef!

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Apple Almond Conserve for Passover

Written by Marisa of Food in Jars.

Of all the Jewish holidays, Passover is my favorite. While it doesn’t have the delicious fried foods you find during Hanukkah, the traditional Seder meal offers both a chance to remember the past and celebrate the current goodness of life. Plus, how can you not love a holiday that requires matzo ball soup?

Though that bowl of soup will always be my primary Passover love, I also have a soft spot in my heart for the charoses. It’s essentially a salad made from apples, walnuts, honey, cinnamon and sweet wine and is meant to represent the bricks and mortar that the Jews laid before their escape from slavery. Sweet and crunchy, it’s traditionally eaten on matzo with a dab of horseradish.

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The Hunger Games: 5 tips for feeding your tweens

Editor’s Note: With the arrival of Clara, I’m taking a short maternity blogging break. I’m excited to welcome several guest writers, among them, my friend and mother of tweens, Jan of Family Bites. Welcome, Jan!

The Hunger Games might be the name of a popular book and movie series, but for me it’s an activity I participate in daily.

I live with three hungry boys: my husband and our two growing sons, who are 10 and 11.  Food makes up a major part of our daily lives, and not just because I spend my working hours as a food writer.  The people in my house eat so much these days that I would still be thinking about food around the clock, if only to devise ways of keeping my ravenous boys fed.

On average my kids eat 6-8 times a day.  There’s breakfast, a morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack, a second afternoon snack, dinner, and yet another snack before bed.  When Ben, my oldest, has a hockey outing (which is five days a week right now) I can be certain there will be another serving of food interjected at some point in the day.

Why are my kids eating so much? Between the ages of 6 and 12, kids can double their body weight and grow up to two feet in height.  Both of my boys are in this stage right now, and between them we’ve seen 13 inches of vertical growth since spring of last year.

When you add in all of the sports and general physical activity, not to mention hormonal changes and a speedy metabolism, there is no doubt that these are hungry times, and they are likely to continue for another four or five years.

So what’s a mom to do?  I don’t have all the answers, but here are my tips for feeding tweens that have worked well for me over the past two years. [Read more…]

7 ways to source your summer produce outside the supermarket

(This post was originally published in March, 2011.)

It is freezing as I write today, but that hasn’t stopped me from gazing out on our future garden spot and visualizing the raised beds full of lettuce, zucchini, herbs and tomatoes. Winter still has a few more weeks to rage and blow before it gives way to spring, however, one can’t help but think about pending arrival of fresh greens and tender fruits.

April is a good time to start making plans for how you will source your summer produce. If you live in the city, now is the time to sign up for a spot in the community gardens. If you are more rural, you should be putting in a seed order right about now. Not into gardening, but want farm fresh vegetables? Then perhaps you should be calling around and getting your name on a list for a CSA basket.

The first crisp asparagus spears and strong rhubarb shoots will be poking up through the ground before you know it. Here are seven ways to source your summer produce that don’t involve a shopping cart and a supermarket.
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