Tag Archives: ice cream

Weekly Menus, Al Fresco Edition: Week of 6/2/2013

Gentle Readers, summer is a great time to establish some goals. The Practical Cooks Junior have established theirs already, and they are as follows: eat outside as often as possible, take night walks no less than 2 times a week, swim daily, travel often. The Youngest is still convinced she can sell the team on Australia as the big vacation, but alas, that will have to wait.

Outdoor dining for the win!

Outdoor dining for the win!

The last week of school is a Herculean push of activities, many of them popsicle-based. Please note, I checked, and the “fruit-based” had more grams of sugar than the store-brand red/purple/orange pack. Read the labels, and when you can, make your own.

Al fresco requires gear: hat, sunglasses, bug spray, SPF.

Al fresco requires gear: hat, sunglasses, bug spray, SPF.

In the spirit of al fresco dining, with a side of last week of school, here are this week’s menus:

Weekly menus: 6/2/2013

Weekly menus: 6/2/2013

And the Four Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/2/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/2/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Italian!
Crostini and a light lemon sauce on pasta for the win! Carbs can be warm weather friendly, don’t fear them. It’s a great one-pot dish, ideal for transporting outside. If some falls on the ground, toss it to the birds. Goat cheese on crisps is the simplest appetizer in the world, and wow is it good. Damn you Whole Foods Cheesemongers–I’m a sucker for a sample.

Linguine with slightly creamy lemon sauce and asparagus. I wanted to swim in it.

Linguine with slightly creamy lemon sauce and asparagus. I wanted to swim in it.

Monday: Dine Out!
Lots of obligations this week. I’ll be doing some field research though, so stay tuned.

Tuesday: Salad
It’s hot, and I crave lettuce and watermelon. Sometimes at the same time. Tie it together with feta and a white balsamic, some basil in chiffonade form, and you’re in business.

Summer happiness = watermelon

Summer happiness = watermelon

Wednesday: Pasta with broccoli
A request from TPCs Jr, the key here is to put more broccoli than pasta.

Cheese Rainbow Pasta Toss, Unicorns Not Included

Cheese Rainbow Pasta Toss, Unicorns Not Included

Thursday: Burritos
Another request from my offspring. To dine outside, simply assemble inside, wrap in foil, and transport. Spicy food in hot weather is your friend.

Friday: Frozen Pizza
School is out, time to party! Oh wait, was that my out loud voice?

My other weakness, padron peppers. They are not spicy, just salty and delicious.

My other weakness, padron peppers. They are not spicy, just salty and delicious.

Saturday: Dine Out!
We’ll be visiting a new country, I don’t know which one yet. If you have ideas, let us know! Summer is a great time to try new things–without the time pressure, life gets simpler. And dining culturally is an easy way to keep the learning going without being so obvious. When your child names the food she’s eating in French, run with it.

I will admit, I’ve fallen off the CSA and Farmer’s Market bandwagon, strictly because of time. However, outdoor dining is inspiring me to rejoin the flock. Our meals are simple and portable, so fresh ingredients are a must. Help us out with our field research, challenge us to try your favorite ice cream. Post it in the comments box below! There’s plenty of room.

Clusterfluff is shorthand for ice cream peanut butter crack.

Clusterfluff is shorthand for ice cream peanut butter crack.

Send patio furniture, insect repellant, and actual feedback to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Up next on Wednesday, Obika Mozzarella Bar Reviewed!

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Taking Kids to the Fair: A Deep-Fried Survival Guide

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is happy to announce that she managed to go for a run yesterday, and is keeping the fried in stride. Which is most necessary, because today’s chat is about going to the fair with Fried’s biggest fans, kids. Of course, we’ll also cover the latest in fried consumption because, well, because I heart food, as do The Practical Cooks Junior, who will be providing commentary through the day.

Deep-Fried Banana Pudding, Just Because

Deep-Fried Banana Pudding, Just Because

Roll the lastest Deep-Fried footage, this time it’s Fruit:

The Practical Cook’s Top 5 Tips for Taking Kids to the Fair

1. Plan Ahead. Food, rides, activities should be mapped out at a high-level, with room for improvisation as you go. Depending on the age of the children, you may want to make the plan, and immediately remove 1 or 2 items from the list. It takes time to get around, there’s lots to see, and no one wants to be dragged through the midway in an effort to get to the next thing.

Bling Chicken in the Children's Barnyard

Bling Chicken in the Children's Barnyard

2. Budget in Advance. For Team Practical Cook, this means busting open the cow and the pig (we’re a farming people, and our allowance containers reflect this) and removing some hard-earned cash. The Eldest has asked for a cool $20. She is not playing around. Decide what you’ll want to spend money on: food, rides, experiences, and stick with it.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Moment: Cornhusk Dolls in Village of Yesteryear

Laura Ingalls Wilder Moment: Cornhusk Dolls in Village of Yesteryear

Squee! The Pottery Critters are really that cute.

Squee! The Pottery Critters are really that cute.

3. Beware the Sugar Crash. Balance your sweet Fried with savory Fried. Starting the day with Deep-Fried Snickers is bound to lead to heartache and tears, mine. There’s lots of munchables to be had, and they can be useful to keep little hands busy when walking between buildings or exhibits. Consider popcorn, peanuts, or even fries or pickles before going to the sweet side. And hydrate early and often!

Wilbur patiently awaiting Charlotte's return.

Wilbur patiently awaiting Charlotte's return.

For $2, you can milk a cow!

For $2, you can milk a cow!

4. Find a Quiet Spot. Head to the Flower and Garden Show area (#4 on the map). The grounds behind are shady, peaceful, and have seating. There are bands on the bluegrass stage up the way, and the Smitty’s Apple Dumpling would make anyone happy. Second, the area between “Got to be NC Agriculture” and “Cultivate a Career” has seating and is close to Lumpy’s Ice Cream. This is also key.

Flower garden (aka, respite) with supercool butterflies crafted from old CDs.

Flower garden (aka, respite) with supercool butterflies crafted from old CDs.

5. Relax. Be reasonable in your expectations based on the age of the children in question. You may not get to see every craft this year if you’re managing young ones, or it may require a buddy system. Aim for off-peak hours to avoid the crowds and see more (weekday mornings are ideal!). Consider taking the bus and make an adventure out of it!

Carousel at Sunset

Carousel at Sunset

Here are the items on my plan for The Practical Cooks Junior, subject to editorial input by the TPCJs themselves:

Smitty's Apple Dumpling with extra sauce. OMG alert.

Smitty's Apple Dumpling with extra sauce. OMG alert.

  • Village of Yesteryear and Heritage Circle: Period costumes, cute things to buy, educational demos
  • Children’s Barnyard and Rabbit Barn: Hello, animals and bunnies
  • Milking Station at the Expo Center and Livestock Barns
  • Kerr Scott Building: Great artwork exhibit, samples and stickers, close to sit-down eating opportunities and the Kid’s Midway
Lumpy's Drunkberry Ice Cream for the Overtired Parent (Raspberries Soaked in 12-year-old Scotch)

Lumpy's Drunkberry Ice Cream for the Overtired Parent (Raspberries Soaked in 12-year-old Scotch)

Do you have a childhood fair memory? What was your favorite things to see, do, or eat? Post a comment or Tweet to me with #ncstatefair as the hashtag.

Learn more about going to the  N.C. State Fair with kids, including all scheduling info, maps, and educational opportunities.

Questions, comments, and offers of fame and fortune can be emailed to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, the natural follow-up, Low-Cost and No-Cost: Attending the Fair on a Budget! (With more fried on the side!)

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Kitchen Tool Talk: Three (More) of My Favorite Things, Dessert Glasses Edition

Tonight (I blog at night, so bear with me) is one of those gorgeous, slow Southern nights, full of humidity and mosquitoes. The Practical Cook does not enjoy being food for insects, but she does enjoy a reason to eat a cool dessert. And what makes a simple, cold dessert better? The proper presentation.

Three More of My Favorite Things: Dessert Glasses

Heavy, Tall, Fine Glasses

Heavy, Tall, Fine Glasses

Because I adore a numbered list, here are 5 reasons why you should seek out some dessert cups or glasses of your own.

1. Beauty. Dessert should be beautiful, and anything is more special in the right glass.

2. Versatility. There are so many things that taste better in these glasses, including parfaits, pudding, banana splits, ice cream (plain), ice cream sundaes, applesauce, and fruit cocktail.

3. Portion. When I eat ice cream from one of these dishes, I slow down and enjoy it just a bit more. I enjoy the premium stuff, possibly doctored with some add-ins (black walnut ice cream with sliced bananas, yes please).

4. Tradition. Pudding, a very special treat in my childhood, was served in the heavy glass shown on the left. Four portions, evenly divided, which I helped prepare, covered with plastic wrap. I’m a kid again when I use those glasses, connected to both my family and my Southern roots.

5. Variety. Each dessert glass promises a different experience. We use long iced tea spoons with the tall glasses, and usually reserve those for parfaits or layered desserts. Delicate dessert glasses are perfect for making a lunch end on just the right note. And the heavy glass ones can handle a big scoop of Rocky Road.

Do you have or use dessert glasses? Share your story in the comments below. I’ll be busy eating some chocolate pudding, but will respond after I am done.

Send your questions and blog requests to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Up next, change of plans, Night Party Salad. 

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