Weekend Reading

Happy Mother’s Day!

The weather forecast for Mother’s Day in my area calls for rain and cool temperatures, but I’m not bothered by the impending drizzle. I’ll be tucked up in my bed with a plate of warm scones and my copy of In Defense of Food, our Simple Living book club selection for this month.

Thank you all who responded with such feeling to my post How to Have Peace, Serenity AND Breakfast in Bed on Mother’s Day. It was encouraging to know that so many of you appreciated the friendly nudge for your husbands and passed it on. Funnily enough, several of you who emailed said that the post had inspired your life partners and they had gone out and bought waffle irons.  I thought that was fantastic!

I’d love if you re-visited the Mother’s Day post and shared about your breakfast with the rest of us. We’d love to hear what your family cooked up; apparently waffles are a popular choice!

For now, here’s what caught my attention around the web this week. Happy Reading! [Read more…]

Spices 101: Three Options for Grinding Spices (Recipe: Quick Mojo Sauce)

If you’ve got a pepper mill, then you are off to a great start to grinding your own spices. Why grind your own? Well, we’ve already discussed the benefits of buying whole spices, so now you’ve got to break them down. Fortunately it’s easy to do and well worth your time. One sniff of freshly pulverized cinnamon will likely convert you forever.

As with most kitchen equipment, a simple tool is best for grinding spices; here are my recommendations for three different types.

1. Mortar & Pestle

I love pulverizing whole spices by hand in a mortar and pestle, because I feel like I am connecting with women all throughout history who have done the same thing. It’s like kneading bread by hand, it brings a satisfaction that only working ingredients by hand can provoke. [Read more…]

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…]