Tag Archives: valentine’s day

3 Things I Love (in the Kitchen)

Gentle Readers, Valentine’s Day has never been a favorite occasion. There’s a narrow selection of foods that are highlighted, and I am over the roses thing. However, The Practical Cooks Junior are huge fans, from the ritual dipping of strawberries in chocolate to the crafting of homemade cards. There are hearts and glitter on every surface in my home. And not all of it is mine.

Glitteriffic X and O Valentine's Cupcakes!

Glitteriffic X and O Valentine's Cupcakes!

If you can’t beat them, join them. I am celebrating their joy of the day this year. I may not have a school mailbox in which I’ll receive a card from every classmate, but I can share some love.

Sliced Strawberries on Almond Buckwheat Pancakes

Sliced Strawberries on Almond Buckwheat Pancakes

Here are 3 Things I Love in the Kitchen:

1. Help. The Eldest Practical Cook Junior can set herself up for breakfast now, and does so without complaining. Both of them clear their dishes, and The Youngest presents herself repeatedly with a “Mama, what can I do?” This is truly a gift.

The Youngest Practical Cook Junior Hard at Work: Because Green Beans Don't String Themselves

The Youngest Practical Cook Junior Hard at Work: Because Green Beans Don't String Themselves

2. Fearlessness. What is better than the joy of discovery? I know not everyone likes to cook without some guidelines, but I love the freedom of pairing things and seeing what happens. Yes, there have been some colossal failures. But there are wins, too. This same drive led me to try Beet Root Halwah this past weekend. And the Juniors and I are pondering Pancake Croutons for a salad we’re testing. Why not?

Beet Root Halwah from Udipi Cafe in Cary, NC

Beet Root Halwah from Udipi Cafe in Cary, NC

3. Generosity. Food is better when you share it. Cook for someone you love. Never do I feel more proud than when the Juniors ask before finishing something, even if it’s an irresistible treat. And, of course, thinking of people who don’t have as much. If you’re not much of a Valentine’s fan, perhaps you could redirect the energy to a worth cause, like fighting hunger. I’m an advocate and ambassador for The Food Bank of Eastern and Central North Carolina. Show your food love this season: volunteer or donate to them or to your local food pantry.

Strawberry Taking a Chocolate Dip

Strawberry Taking a Chocolate Dip

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? If you’re at home without a reservation, that gives you extra time to post a comment below!

Challenges, thoughts, good ideas? Email me at 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!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Tomorrow, Can this chocolate be saved? How not to have a seizure when your chocolate does.

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Weekly Menus: Week of 2/12/2012

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook has finally gotten wise in her old age. When a week calls for multiple “cook and take” moments, make the same thing. Why stress out if you can batch-cook (or at least batch-shop)? This week I’ll be making cornbread twice for special occasions, once in a tractor pan and once as corn muffins. Chocolate-dipped strawberries, same thing. I almost made four different dishes (for four different events), but decided it would be better to actually attend the events as opposed to nap through them.

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

But I digress. Here’s how the Weekly Menus shaped up:

Weekly Menus: 2/12/2012

Weekly Menus: 2/12/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery List:

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/12/2012

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/12/2012

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Cornbread and veggie chili
Two for one here. I’m making Tractor Cornbread by special request, and I am going to test another bean recipe from the Bean by Bean Cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon. Winning.

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner
It is cold, windy, and miserable here (I mean hello, get over yourself winter). That says “grits” to me. I’m Southern, what can I say.

Tuesday: Sammies and Soup
One of my favorite ways to repurpose leftovers and clean out the freezer, as you know!

Wednesday: Potluck!
Though my friends in the U.K. are surely shivering at the word and the notion, it’s a school potluck, and we’re taking corn muffins. The students are providing dessert, and rest assured, I’ll report on it.

Thursday: Taco Night!
Simple, festive, is there anything more fun?

Friday: Leftover Surprise
We are continuing our quest to eat down our reserves. I want to go into the weekends (when we often do field research) with a cleaner fridge.

Saturday: Dine Out!
This should be an adventure. More on that upcoming.

What do you take to potlucks, cookouts, etc? Do have a go-to dish?¬† Post a comment below. It’s fun. I promise.

Food challenges, thoughts, recommendations? Email me at 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!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up, just in time for Valentine’s Day: M & M’s Smackdown, Peanut vs Peanut Butter.

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