Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Real Food Challenge 2012

Today is the first day of our month-long “real food” challenge. As a family, we are cutting out processed food completely - no fast food, refined grains, preservatives, artificial ingredients, etc. No more factory food! After a long day of the work and commute shuffle, it is so tempting to open a box, push a button and BING: dinner’s ready.

I want to know (and be able to pronounce) every ingredient that my family eats. Heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer – four of the top ten chronic diseases that kill most of us can be traced directly to the industrialization of our food.

"but i removed the pink slime! where are you going?"

I hope to prove to myself that the extra effort and time is worth it – not just to our health but the quality of life overall. Healthy food can taste delicious! No shortcuts this month.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ring the Butter Bell

Thanks to my mom, we now have soft, spreadable butter all the time!  The butter is protected by a layer of water that forms an airtight seal at the base of the crock - we just have to change the water out twice a week.  Because of the high fat content, butter is safe to store at room temperature for 30 days.  Now all we need is a salt pig!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


We tested out the new Paella pan tonight and although it took longer than expected, the end result was out of this world! Nothing better than a big pan of seared seafood, meat, veggies and "over-the-top" flavorful Spanish rice. Wake up kids, its time for dinner!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mushroom Out of Control

Our Back to the Roots oyster mushroom kit decided not to wait for us!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lillie's Homemade Asiago Meatballs

Lillie's favorite meal in the world is spaghetti with meatballs - whatever you do, don't give her those frozen, spongy ones out of the bag. She decided this week she was going to create her own (with a little help from me) so we set out to make them from scratch. While we were there, we crafted some homemade sauce too. The meatballs were loaded with grated asiago, garlic and smoked paprika. I intended to document the new recipe and process but sometimes you just have to put the camera down and have fun.

Lillie carefully caramelizes the onions. Sadie is ready to press the garlic. The Kitchen Kids unite!

Al dente angel hair pasta was the perfect carrier for Lillie's delicious meatballs and sauce. It was like a flavor bomb went off! Sadie was so ready to eat this bite! "take the picture already, daddy!!!"

In the end, my little chef Lillie was proud of her flavorful creation and excited about cooking again. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Bushel of Cukes

We ordered a bushel of #1 Kirby cucumbers from Zellwood - they are between 3 - 4 inches long and are the perfect pickling cukes. Time to attempt jarring our pickles for the first time instead of the usual cold pack. We are making a big batch of Kosher dills and some sweet and smokey bread and butter slices with some smoked paprika (Lillie's favorite spice!)

The girls were a great help sorting and washing the cukes as well as adding the spices and herbs to the jars. A few leftover sugar snap peas were thrown in for good luck. I submerged each jar into boiling water for 10 minutes and initially didn't think they sealed correctly. Once they sat on the counter and started to cool, the lid sucked down to the jar and a perfect seal was in place. I don't think we can wait two weeks to try them - we might have to crack a jar early!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween was once again filled with many treats and only a few tricks. We roasted pumpkin seeds again (salt and vinegar, smokey garlic) and spent part of the day trick or treating at Sea World.

Sadie let us all try her "boogers!" Thanks Sadie!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy Little Bento

We are fascinated with all of the creative bento ideas out there. Lillie asked if we could fill her bento box with edible art so we downloaded a bunch from the internet for inspiration. Here are few of our favorites. Check out blogs like Happy Little Bento and Adventures in Bentomaking for more creative designs and delicious recipes. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Banh Mi

We tried our first Banh Mi and it was as delicious as we had hoped! Smokey pork, savory aioli, pickled radish, soy, cucumbers and herbs all came together in perfect harmony. We left off the hot peppers to keep this sandwich kid friendly. This famous Vietnamese street food was found at the Alligator Pear food stand at the Lake Eola Farmer's Market. I think it is time we tried to make it ourselves...

After a walk around the lake, we grabbed a huge bunch of fresh lemongrass and some preserves from Sunchowder's Emporia. Pumpkin butter, vanilla fig jam and their ginger apricot plum jam were the right choices this time. Where's my toast?!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Japanese branding at it's finest! You can see Lillie in the back getting excited about Pocky.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bacon Toothpaste?!

What? Wait? Whoa?! Lillie said she would try it but for the first time, I'm not sure...

Thanks to Ashlyn Butts for sharing!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Found this on the web last night while using Stumbleupon. Too funny not to share...

Friday, July 22, 2011

I Feta not have another, I'm driving.

Let me shred some light on this munster half-wheel of Parmesan Regiano we found in Publix. It tasted pretty Gouda and we considered buying it, but at $417, we were cheddar off without it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Which Potato Would You Rather Eat?

This is worth watching! Its a simple yet powerful demonstration showing why some vegetables you eat should definitely be organic. Rinsing your non-organic supermarket vegetables doesn't get the toxic chemicals out of the inside! Check out this list to see other vegetables and fruits you should seriously consider buying organic:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fresh Pickles

Its time for another batch of fresh pickles! They get better each time I make them as I learn what flavors go better together. This time I doubled the fresh horseradish and toasted the spices before adding them to the mix. I threw in 2 handfuls of sugar snap peas from the garden too. The batch fermented on the counter for 6 days and then went to the fridge, where they are waiting patiently to be eaten. Check out my original "barrel cukes" fresh pickle post here

Friday, July 1, 2011

First Strawberries

We harvested the first cluster of strawberries this morning. Growing your own food is fun!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Lola the wonderdog and her sidekick, Sadie Squirrel!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

St. Augustine Rhythm and Ribs Festival

Shiver me timbers! We packed up the kids and invited our friends Keri and Marlee on another adventure in St. Augustine. The best band in the world, Mofro was playing the Rhythm and Ribs Fest and the girls were psyched to see them play live for the first time!

ARRRRRG! Castillo de San Marcos was a blast!

We stayed at the Pirate Haus Inn right downtown where they make the most amazing pancakes each morning.

After a great day splashing around on the beach, we shook off the sand and headed to the festival. 

The competing BBQ crews were dwarfed by their massive signs promising awards won and much deliciousness. Too many to choose from!

Keri grabbed some corn and loaded hand-made potato chips to snack on. 

This guy seemed to have his ribs figured out! 10 pounds of ribs, please!

Sadie never met a rib she didn't like!

Sadie was thrilled to sing along with J.J. Grey and Mofro. "Homesick, but its all right! Lochloosa is on my mind, its on my mind..."

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ahhhh!!! These egg monsters scared the heck out of me when I opened the fridge the next morning. They made some amazing egg salad, though...

We had a great Easter egg hunt at Oompapa and Grandma Terri's place!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Liquid Nitrogen Instant Ice Cream

"Look! A wizard!" Lillie was the first to spot the newest roadside sign spinner in town. Sporting a purple robe and a giant wizard head, this guy had all the moves down and his sign said the magic words: ICE CREAM!

We didn't realize that the Abracadabra Ice Cream Factory was not your average marble slab ice cream shop until we walked inside. The giant nitrogen canisters were the first clue and then we noticed that there was not one ice cream tub behind the counter. All the ice cream is made to order - frozen right before your eyes! What?!

We carefully selected Nutella, cherries and honey from the list of 36 mixers and then watched her swirl them into the custard cream base. She brought the bowl over to the nitrogen tanks and gave it a loud 10 second blast!

The smoking bowl was returned to the counter and she aggressively whipped the contents together until the frozen cream and all the ingredients combined in perfect harmony.

The girls loved the theatrics and the ice cream was truly delicious. Nutella's savory hazelnut and chocolate blended perfectly with the bright and tart cherries. Can't wait to go back!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Great American Pie Festival

Welcome to the Great American Pie Festival! It was a hot spring day here in Central Florida but that didn't keep us from stopping by with Nana and Papa. We slurped on some fresh lemonade and wandered around downtown Celebration.

We met the Pie Twins and picked up a rhubarb/strawberry pie and a cherry pie too.

When we finally got home we decided to have pie for dinner! Strawberry/Rhubarb is a new favorite!

Now its time to dream up our own pie flavor!