bok choy art

bok-choy-art

The other day, while making our Kung Fu Panda soup, I found that when I cut off the baby bok choy leaves, the end looked like a rose.  How could I turn down a perfectly opportune time to let my children express themselves artistically?  (Actually, I usually pass on craft projects.  They make such a mess, and I’m usually behind on my housework, and any extra mess just puts me one step closer to the loony bin.)

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I imagine you can do this with a large bok choy as well.  You can also make stamps like this with the ends of celery, and probably endives.  (In the past, I’ve tried to save the ends of celery for this very purpose, but alas, could not find the energy to encourage my children to be creative, and I tossed them out — not the kids, the celery stumps.)

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kung fu panda soup

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We’ve been watching a lot of Kung Fu Panda lately.  The movie stirred up strong craving for noodles in my nine-year-old.  This is what I came up with.  He insisted on eating the soup with chopsticks.

I now present to you: Kung Fu Panda Soup.

someone’s been sleeping in my bed

sleeping

When I went up to bed last night, this is what I found.  I ran and grabbed my camera, so thankful I had a tripod and a large aperture.  

You know when you watch your children sleep, and you are just suddenly overwhelmed with joy?  Seeing my youngest two together was so poignant last night, I almost cried.  (My friend Brittany has a wonderful little post on this very subject that I printed off, I liked it so much. Click here to read it.) 

There was a perfect spot in this photo to add text, but how could I?

Now I have a little poll for you.  I usually prefer black and white photographs, but the light was so low in this, and the contrast so low, that I decided to go color, but now I’m not so sure.

Which one do you like better?  Post your answer in the comments, and the winning picture will get to go on top.

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a family recipe: spaghetti sauce with chicken and sausage

spaghetti

My grandmother on my mother’s side married the son of Italian immigrants. I am not sure how well she cooked before before she married, but for a woman who came from a long line of English-Americans, she adapted well and made the most wonderful spaghetti sauce.  She made it often when we came to visit, and the whole house would smell amazing.

Because she cooked it so long, the chicken would fall off the bone, and so would the ribs.  Oh, I didn’t mention the ribs?  Or the meatballs either, I suppose.  Yes, her sauce actually had about 4 types of meat.  It was out of this world.  But probably not as healthy as we’re trying to be these days.  If you want to add them in, simply cut out some of the chicken and sausage, and then brown up some ribs and meatballs when you’re cooking the rest of the meat.  Then just add it back in at the end like you do with the chicken and sausage.

lillian-connie

My mom always says the secret to her recipe is to cook it on VERY low heat for a very long time — all day if you possibly can (Don’t cut corners and make it in a slow cooker. I tried it like that once and it tasted terrible. I don’t know the science behind why it happened, but it was very acidic, like it had been cooked with rust and aluminum.)

Though we all know the secret, none of us can ever get it quite like she made it.  I don’t even think she had an ingredient she wouldn’t tell people about (though I wouldn’t put it past her — I can totally picture her tossing in that one ingredient when no one was looking and having a good laugh all by herself).

Could the secret be love? Maybe?

This is a major tangent, but I have to tell you this one story. Once, when I lived in Canada, some women from Trinidad made me and my friend the most amazing beans and rice. I couldn’t get over how good they were. We kept asking what was in them, and they listed the ingredients. They were like, “Oh, onions, a little garlic, some peppers, and love.” Hm. Love. I wonder now if the “love” was marijuana. Could I have have been that naive?

Anyway, here is my grandmother’s sauce. Best of luck, and I hope you can get it as good as my Mom-mom made hers.