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Peace, Love….and Butternut Squash Soup

All around the world, kids are in our hearts this week. And parents. As human beings first, we do our best in an ever-more complicated society of computers, cell phones, internet, video games, Facebook and Twitter, not to mention 24-7 news coverage. I will say it again: we do our best, because my heart grieves for everyone involved in the tragedy in Newtown. Rather than raise a fist in anger, we must find softness in our hearts. Rather than pointing fingers, we must find compassion and empathy. Rather than get political, we must realize that we the people have the power to change our society, not just elected officials. The NRA doesn’t have the power, we have the power and we are the change. I’m not talking daisy chains and love-ins, I’m talking about understanding that we live in a global community and we’re all connected. As brothers and sisters in a world that we share together, we have an incredible responsibility to create a future that’s safe, full of inspiration….and possibilities. As a human being that shares a little patch on planet earth with you, my goal is to create an environment of peace and understanding. My heart is heavy, yet [...]

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Creamy Tomato Alphabet Soup

The wintry weather has finally arrived in Los Angeles! Along with my excitement over wearing sweaters three days a year (bah doomp boomp) I hanker for thick and creamy soups. The sudden drop in temperature also signals flu season at school, so time to ramp up the vitamin-packed soups to keep the doctor visits away! This recipe epitomizes my love for fresh food fast: quick and easy, and best of all nutritious. Enjoy!  Creamy Alphabet Tomato Soup 1 cup alphabet pasta 1 onion diced 3 cloves garlic, mincedx 1 cup carrots, chopped 2 stalks celery, diced 4 cups vegetable broth 2 x 28-ounce cans of diced plum tomatoes 2 teaspoons dried basil 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried parsley tablespoon of parmesan cheese (optional) 1/2 teaspoon of unbleached sugar (optional) sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season 1. Cook the pasta, rinse in cool water, and set aside. 2. Using a soup pot, sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes until soft. Add the carrots and celery and sauté for 4 minutes. 3. Add the vegetable broth, tomatoes, basil, oregano, and parsley and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 [...]

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Vegetables au Gratin

Back to basics! For the last two weeks I’ve pressed the rewind button, going back to the classics that work, albeit with an update of healthy ingredients. We all remember Vegetables au Gratin swimming in “cheese” sauce as kids, but it’s time to reclaim our taste buds (and waistlines) for real flavor without all the funky additives. There’s another reason why I’m turning back the years: kids love vegetables with cheese, and I tell ya, I’ll do almost anything (within reason) to get my kid to eat more vegetables. Oh yes, I’ve heard all those stories of the Bombastic Supa Dupa Magnificent Moms that drop out of the sky, sprinkling fairy dust here and there, getting their kids to do or eat anything they want, but hey, It Ain’t Me Babe, N0-Ho-Ho, it ain’t me babe! Dang, there’s goes my Mommy Medal of Honor. Bummer Dude. So back on track, like that, in a rub a dub stylee…Man, I just lurve being imperfect, don’t you? Life is just so much more interesting. William Blake once said that ” Improvement makes straight roads, but the crooked roads without Improvement are the roads of Genius.” Now I’m not sayin’ I’m a flipping Genius [...]

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Cheese Toasties

No seriously. Cheese Toasties. That’s right. I can’t get my son to eat sandwiches and my faded memories of grilled cheese sandwiches are 2 slices of white bread swimming in butter and Velveeta (shudder shudder). We had a play date this week with Mary and Caleb, and it’s always the way: you revisit old favorites with friends and bring the dishes back to your family menu. Well, maybe you’re a clever bunny and I’m a fluffy bunny, but I forgot about their moreish simplicity of melted cheese on bread. What’s more, you can posh them up with a rub of fresh garlic, a smattering of pesto, or quince chutney (ooh). Ooh, a spoon of Branston pickle in the mix might rock too. For kids, it’s smart to keep it simple, playing with high quality organic ingredients: 12 grain bread, mature cheddar, and unsalted butter (there’s enough sodium in the bread and cheese). For my friends that are asking “where’s the green stuff,” Remember, you can always put a little salad on the side, or if you’re kids are averse to all things green, try the kid’s green smoothie in the previous post. That’ll work a treat.   Cheese Toasties 12 slices of [...]

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The Green Smoothie for Kids

Miracle of miracles: my son just had a 2 cups of raw kale and he’s smiling! Yup, no negotiations, no moaning, no groaning, just requests for “more smoothie please.” My son is most certainly not one of those amazing raw foodist kids we’ve all head about (but never actually met). I’m not saying that he doesn’t like vegetables, but honesty is the best policy: I smooth things out with a little olive oil, garlic, and a bit of sea salt, a tangy stir fry, or a veggies blended into Mama’s zesty tomato sauce. You know the score. Apart from the color, this drink is an easy sell: mangoes, bananas, and pineapple juice blended to hide the nutritious kale. I served this smoothie to Jake’s class this week and 20 kids asked for seconds! The Green Smoothie for Kids 4 cups raw kale, rinsed  and deveined 2 bananas, peeled 2 cups of mango juice (fresh or no sugar added brand) 1 cup pineapple (fresh or no sugar added brand) handful of ice cubes 1. Put all of the ingredients into a blender and whizz until smooth. Serves 2

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