panzanella caprese

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The other day, my friend Shannon and I were sitting at her table in her lovely home eating a panzanella salad made mostly of things from her garden. Her tomatoes were perfect, in all different colors and varieties, and I started to wish the whole salad were just the croutons and tomatoes and basil.

She said she liked the croutons the best too, and I thought it would be good to make my next panzanella with mostly those ingredients, like a caprese salad. All I did was take away the peppers and cucumbers, and added in some fresh mozzarella. It’s the best two salads all in one. I hope you enjoy it, too.

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pinkalicious cupcakes

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These cupcakes are to continue our review of the book Pinkalicious.
Be careful not to eat too many—you may just turn pink, too.

So if you haven’t already figured out, I’m pretty big into things being all natural. I suppose I don’t have enough money or enough time to fuss over whether things are organic usually, but I do put my foot down with things like flavoring, butter, unbleached flour, etc.

I put off making these cupcakes, actually, because I knew they had to be pink, and I didn’t want to use fake coloring. Furthermore, I knew the all natural coloring is really expensive, and I had this big debate over whether or not I should buy it.

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As I prepared my ingredients, I thought, Oh whatever! I’ll just buy it already (it was $12.00 for just one little bottle of red!). I took it home, started making my cupcakes, added the all natural fancy coloring, and . . . it was brown. But not even a dark brown, and it didn’t even really color the batter (Thank goodness!). I even noticed later as I cleaned up, that it had turned green! It reminded me of an awful henna hair dye fiasco I had with my son when he wanted to be Harry Potter for Halloween, but that’s another story.

Needless to say, I broke down and used the artificial stuff. And I think we’ll all be okay.

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a pinkalicious book review

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pinkaliciousPinkalicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann, has been a big hit at our house since we bought it at a Scholastic book fair last year. My daughter likes to read it over and over, so we did a little interview about it together.

And click here to make your own pinkalicious cupcakes!

me: What happens in the book?

ser: A girl turns pink.

me: How does she turn pink?

ser: She ate too much cupcakes.

me: What color were the cupcakes, were they green?

ser (smiling): Pink!

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me: Is it a bad thing that she turns pink?

ser: Yes.

me: Why?

ser: Because Dr. Wink said.

me: Who is Dr. Wink?

how to cut an onion

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At a family reunion, my sister-in-law told me I was cutting onions wrong and told me how her chef friend had told her a much better way.

Her way creates uniform pieces. You can use this method to dice or mince, simply by changing the width of the cuts (I usually make 1/2 inch cuts for a dice, and 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch cuts for a mince).

Here is that method, and the best way to explain it is to use pictures (Actually, video would work better, but I’m not quite ready to be on camera yet). If it doesn’t make sense, let me know, and I’ll fix it as I come up with better ideas.