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…]

Bwaaakk! Our Journey to Backyard Chickens

Written by Danny Bourque.

This summer we will have eggs. This winter we will have soup. Mission Accomplished: we now have backyard chickens.

As with most home renovations I tackle, it seems it took a lot longer than anticipated – almost 5 months longer – but the coop is finally complete, and we got the chickens on Monday. I know I tend to be somewhat overly analytical, over prepare and plan before embarking on a venture, and this was no exception. Nevertheless, it’s done.

Diana recently wrote about the benefits of farm fresh eggs, and we are looking forward to our own eggs and being a step closer to a sustainable lifestyle. This is the story, and some tips on what to consider if you want to get your own backyard chickens.

The experience and adventure has just begun…

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11 Children’s Books That Help Build a Healthy Food Culture

This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to winners Stacia J and Shanna! You both have been emailed. A big thank you to all who entered.

In March I wrote about the importance of creating a healthy food culture for your family. You, in turn, embraced the post, gave me some incredible feedback, and confirmed that I wasn’t the only parent who wanted to shape that culture around my table.

From the post:

“By creating a healthy food culture in the home, you are giving your children the very best attitude toward food, instead of letting society’s food culture influence – and perhaps misguide – them.
We want our children to grow up to be healthy eaters, aware of the way their food choices affect the planet, and how it is produced. Most importantly, we want them to connect the dots between healthy, whole food and happiness.”

I listed six ways we can take to help build a healthy food culture, but it wasn’t until a few weeks later that I realized I had left out another essential action: READING.

Books: Another Way to Nurture Food Culture

In our home, reading ranks right up there with bathing, eating and resting. So, yes, pretty important. Our children don’t watch television or play video games, so aside from the interactions with their friends and family, books are probably one of the largest influences on them.

We’ve managed to gather a respectable collection of books that I feel nurture healthy food culture. As food has been my career and passion for so long, it is no surprise that many of our books have food as a subject. Our books relay important messages such as sustainability, preserving the harvest, trying new foods, hospitality, local eating, and growing your own food.

Today I wanted to share some of our favorite titles with you. I realize there are probably hundreds more out there that also have a great message, but these are a few that are special to my boys.

At the end of the post, several publishers have generously offered a few titles for giveaway!  So be sure to leave a comment for a chance to expand your own ‘library of healthy food culture’.

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