Salute Spring! Artichokes 101 {Recipe: Quinoa-Stuffed Artichokes}

Join us as we Salute Spring with a week-long series featuring the finest fruits and vegetables of the season. Written by Shaina of Food for my Family.

A few years ago I got a bee in my bonnet and decided that the jars of artichokes I was purchasing at the store just weren’t fulfilling my true love and desire for them. I loaded up our cart with the round globes and headed home, completely unsure of what to do and with my husband doubting every step I took towards my artichoke creation.

The man who grew up on a meat-and-potatoes diet in a small Midwestern town had unpleasant experiences with so-called “odd” foods in his childhood and was not opposed to eating them, but wholly opposed to having someone unskilled preparing them for fear of ruining the meal.

However, I did not let his nay-saying stop me. I pressed forward, blanching and then grilling my precious green flowers and serving them up alongside a homemade aioli. I showed the kids how to peel off the petals and scrape them with your teeth and then waited, saying nothing more.
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Salute Spring! Peas (Recipe: Pea-camole)

Join us as we Salute Spring with a week-long series featuring the finest fruits and vegetables of the season. Written by Megan of Stetted.

Peas make me optimistic. After a cold winter, they’re the first of the spring plants to push through the dirt and begin reaching toward the sun. Once the tendrils start their grab, they’ll climb as high as you let them, only stopped by the limit of your trellis. They are harbingers of things to come, with lovely white blossoms leading the way for plump green pods.

If I had known how sweet and crunchy fresh peas could be when I was a child, I probably would have not shunned them as I did, choking down only what was necessary to be able to leave the table.

My son has no such qualms about peas. He gobbles them up as soon as they’re shelled, leaving the possibility for even attempting a recipe almost impossible. I can’t fault the kid.

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Salute Spring! Ten Ways to Enjoy Rhubarb Compote

Join us as we Salute Spring with a week-long series featuring the finest fruits and vegetables of the season.

Rhubarb is my favorite early summer vegetable. As a child I dipped the pale pink stalks in sugar and munched them raw. As a teen I paired rhubarb with strawberries, baked the pair into pies and sold them at my local farmers market for 5 dollars.

Now, I usually run out of rhubarb long before I finish experimenting with new recipes and the stalks are baked into cakes, juiced for drinks, and jarred for jam all summer long.

However, with all of my recipe testing, I’ve learned to appreciate rhubarb in perhaps it’s simplest form: cooked stove-top into a compote. If that sounds boring, I can assure you it is not, as the compote is a springboard to many delightful desserts.

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Weekend Links and Salute Spring Produce Series Begins

It is safe to say that spring has arrived in my northern region. Rhubarb is sprouting in my backyard, fiddleheads are available at the market, and I know sweet strawberries are on their way.

Spring produce has to be the most divine of ingredients and easy to gush over. After months of awkward root vegetables, clumsy squash and pasty bulbs, arrives delicate pea shoots, blush-colored rhubarb and poised asparagus. It’s another class of fruits and vegetables entirely, and merits our full attention and appreciation.

Salute Spring!

This week launches our Salute Spring produce series, and I have assembled a team of experts to bring you their take on these ingredients. Here’s what coming up every day this week: [Read more…]

Honey Whole-Wheat Strawberry Shortcakes for Mother’s Day

Last year I confessed that my Mother’s Day indulgence of breakfast in bed was rigged – and then I gave all my readers who are also mothers instructions on how to have peace, serenity and breakfast in bed on that second Sunday in May. Based on my own plan of action, the post demonstrated simple steps for mom to do in advance, a to-do list for dad, and pointers to putting little helpers to work.

Goodness. I had hoped to enable a few husbands to step it up and encourage a few mums to relinquish their kitchen without fear of fire, flood or other natural disasters, but I didn’t quite expect the enthusiastic response from moms eager for a little pampering…

“This is the only way I’d let breakfast in bed happen.” ~ Shaina

“My husband once sprinkled sanding sugar on cheddar dill scones, so he definitely needs a list!” ~ Melissa

“I had never even considered breakfast in bed as a relaxing treat until I read this post! Thanks for this, am forwarding now to husband.” ~ Theresa

Even better was when moms emailed back reports of their special Mother’s Day. It was touching. A few emails rolled in that made me smile from ear to ear, (one mom even emailed me from her bed on the morning of Mother’s Day to say thanks) and the comments were amazing.

“My breakfast this morning was warm, delicious, and created entirely by my husband and kiddos – I didn’t have to do anything but print out this post. THANK YOU!” ~ Kara

“I made the scones and put them in the freezer with the instructions for baking. Hubby and The Kid bustled around making them Sunday morning …and brought it all in on a tray. Best Mother’s Day breakfast ever!” ~ Paula

“I love this post. It worked beautifully for me. My five year old was asking me the whole week about Mother’s day. So I made gluten free waffle mix, set out the waffle maker and set the coffee maker to just be turned on. Told my husband lovingly that the kids wanted to do something for me and that I had prepped everything so that he did not have to worry. I know he works so hard all week so I wanted to make it easy for him too. He took the kids and made cards for me and got breakfast ready. Thanks for the ideas!” ~ Keilah

Mums, it’s not that we’re control freaks, but by simply planning ahead and offering a few instructions for the well-wishers, we increase our chances of getting a speedy and tasty breakfast in bed, minimize kitchen disasters, and ensure a relaxed start to the day for all. Sound good?

Today, I’ve got a new recipe, an improved scone, dressed up with berries and cream. It’s a classic Strawberry Shortcake, but with a healthy twist, and perfect for breakfast on Mother’s Day. [Read more…]