Sourcing Food Locally, Even in the Smallest Communities

Sourcing food locally is the new “it” movement for everyone from gourmet chefs to stay at home moms. Everywhere you turn there are slogans and catch phrases for joining this new revolution to better food, such as “100 mile diet”, “Buy Close By”, and “food revolution”, not to mention the farmer’s markets or farm stands everywhere you turn.

But what are the advantages of buying local?

Firstly there is the obvious, such as knowing your grower and how he/she grows their produce/meat/eggs, but there is also the less obvious reason of helping to curb the pollution caused by long haul refrigerated trucking of food stuffs from hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

There is also the advantage of helping to keep jobs in local communities safe as the more a farmer can sell of his/her crop or livestock, the more he/she may need to hire local jobseekers to help out. [Read more…]

How to Have Peace, Serenity AND Breakfast in Bed on Mother’s Day

Most mornings, I make breakfast, but there’s one day of the year I like to have it served to me, in bed preferably.  That would be on Mother’s Day.

This gesture of love is too sweet for words, with adorable little waiters tripping over themselves to help and watching me eat each bite with pride on their faces.

Let’s be honest, though; there IS a downside to this Mother’s Day tradition, and I’m not the only woman to perceive it. In recent lurking on popular women’s forums, I picked up on underlying grievances at having to exchange a short period of relaxing and pampering for cold eggs and a messy kitchen to face after having dressed. (Not to mention hollering instructions down the hall to the kitchen. Raise your hand if you’ve done that.)

How can we make this much-deserved experience more enjoyable? [Read more…]

Ten Ingredients You Absolutely, Positively, Must Have on Your Spice Rack

Today Simple Bites is honored to welcome spice enthusiast extraordinaire Lydia Walshin from The Perfect Pantry. After hearing about our Spices 101 series, she readily agreed to guest post and we are most fortunate to have her share her wealth of knowledge with us.

Welcome, Lydia!

My first kitchen, the one in the third-floor walk-up apartment I moved into post-college, had no pantry. No cupboards, no shelves, just a bit of a ledge behind the stove where I lined up a few essentials (not a great idea, but I didn’t realize back then that I was shortening the life span of my oils and spices by bathing them in stove heat).

I didn’t know much about cooking, so I didn’t need much in the way of herbs and spices. I’m sure I had salt and pepper and cinnamon, and maybe Hungarian paprika because my mother always seemed to sprinkle it on fish. I probably had oregano, which I knew to use in spaghetti sauce, and most likely I had garlic powder, for the same reason.

That was then.

Today, though I have more than 60 spices on my spice rack, I know exactly what I’d want on that little ledge behind the stove in my first kitchen, if that’s all the space I had for my herbs and spices. [Read more…]

Stocking Your Pantry for Success

One of the very first keys to successfully eating as a family and cooking meals on a regular basis is having a good base to start from in your pantry. Having food on hand and available makes this process less stressful and much less work.

Can you imagine if you had to purchase every spice and herb and tablespoon of ingredient in each and every recipe you make every time you make it? The task of shopping just to make one meal could feel a bit overwhelming, much less trying to plan a week’s worth of meals. This is just one reason why having a well-stocked pantry is so important.

Stocking your pantry…

  • helps you steer clear of prepackaged and processed foods.
  • saves you money by allowing you to stock when food items are on sale.
  • keeps food on hand in case of an emergency (remember all those snow days last winter?)
  • helps maintain a healthy diet full of real foods.

[Read more…]

3 Simple Ways to Store Online Recipes

I love poring through cookbooks, especially when they have color photos and richly descriptive text.

But when it comes down to it, about 75 percent of the recipes I use on a regular basis come from the Internet. Betty Crockers of the post-modern world have a plethora of recipes at their disposal, but it’s easily overwhelming.

The Internet is a huge place, so how do you organize all the recipes you want to keep? There are almost as many systems to organizing URLs as there are URLs themselves, so there’s no one right way. But I like using systems I’m using anyway, instead of subscribing to a unique program solely for recipes or menu planning.

Whatever you use, the point is to keep it simple, easy to use, and helpful when you need that exact recipe in that precise moment. It’s such a pain to know you have a recipe somewhere, but aren’t sure where you saved it.

In my opinion, here are some of the most helpful ways to store recipes from the Internet.
[Read more…]