Saturday, July 31, 2010

Risotto Milanese Recipe

Risotto is my favorite way to fix rice, not to mention one of the few rice dishes that my kids enjoy. I think the kids like the creamy, cheesy texture of this delicious dish.

This recipe comes from my Italian grandmother and she learned it from her mother who came to the U.S. from the Milan area of Italy in the early 1920's.

Risotto Milanese

3 tbs. olive oil or butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 c. Arborio rice (or any short-grained rice will work)
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 tsp. saffron or 1/2 tsp. turmeric
4 1/2 c. hot chicken broth
1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
1 c. grated parmesan cheese

Heat oil or butter in a large heavy skillet. Add onion and garlic, saute until soft, add rice, stirring constantly until rice begins to become opaque. Add wine and 2 cups hot broth. Bring to a boil, stir, and then reduce heat enough to keep a gentle boil. Add saffron or turmeric and mushrooms. When liquid is absorbed, add 2 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 cup at a time until rice is tender but still a little firm (al dente). Stir continuously. Add salt and pepper, then stir in cheese.

Serve 4 -5. The rice takes about 30 minutes to cook, do not cover, stir often. Diced cooked chicken, peas, or asparagus are a great additions.

Find more great recipes and ideas about cooking for your family at Pennywise Platter.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Snack cupboard for Kids

Maybe all of you brilliant parents out there have already thought of this but it's a new and exciting addition to our household: a SNACK CUPBOARD!

Are you tired of having to stop in the middle of whatever important activity you're doing (laundry, sleeping, emailing, changing a diaper, etc.) to get a snack for your kiddos? Then jump on the snack cupboard bandwagon.

This was suggested to me by a friend and I decided, why not, let's try it out. We cleared out one shelf in a low cupboard and filled it with mom approved snacks. The kids were so excited to be able to help themselves to a snack easily and I was so excited that they were no longer climbing on the kitchen chairs and counters trying to find something to eat in the high kitchen cupboards.

I still like to monitor how many snacks they have and when they eat them (like not right before dinner which is Mason's favorite snack time), but overall the snack cupboard has been a smashing success in our house.

For other snacking ideas see my article Healthy Snack Ideas or my posts about making a Fruit Rainbow and Fruit Smoothies.   

This post is participating in Alphabe-Thursday (S is for Snack Cupboard). 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Eating Octopus

Who woulda thought my little picky eater would be so brave in a culinary dare?

Emily started out her childhood as a picky eater. Thankfully she has grown to love many new foods, in a large part due to our rule of taking at least one bite of everything on your plate. That has forced her to discover that new food isn't scary and that she could (gasp!) actually like something new.

Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather when at her year-end Kindergarten party she tried a very exotic new food. The theme for the party was "Under the Sea" and her teacher had some seafood to try.

She brought out octopus tentacles and asked if anyone was brave enough to come up and try it. A couple of kids jumped right up and then to my surprise Miss Emily volunteered too. You go girl! I was so proud of her when she took a teeny tiny little bite and smiled. I'll never say she's a picky eater again after that.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Whatcha Reading Book Review - The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Stephenie Meyer, the creator of the Twilight series, has given us another little tidbit about the world of Twilight. She wrote a novella called The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner to give readers another perspective on Bella's story.

I read an article in which Stephenie Meyer suggested reading Bree Tanner's version of events (Bree is a newborn vampire) before going to see the movie Eclipse, so being the dedicated "Twi-hard" that I am I rushed right out and got the book.

It was interesting and a good refresher for Eclipse but it made me realize that the major appeal of the Twilight books, for me, are the characters Bella and Edward. I am rooting for Team Edward. Most of my girlfriends love Jacob but for some reason I'm a sucker for that over-the-top, co-dependent, unrealistic romance represented by Bella and Edward.

You can read the novella at but only through today (July 5th). Of course you can purchase the book, like I did, if you're not interested in reading that much of on the computer screen. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is a quick must-read for Twilight fans but it doesn't compare to the original series.

I'm still hoping that Stephenie Meyer will miss the Twilight characters and decide to right another novel. I've got my fingers crossed!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Busy, busy summertime

Here we are in the middle of summer already. How did that happen?

I had this idea in my head that I'd have more down time once the kids were out of school and we didn't have to rush out of the house every morning. We have a more leisurely morning routine now, but it seems like the days are filling up fast.

Emily had a dance recital at the beginning of the summer, then she went to VBS (Vacation Bible School) and now she goes swimming lessons. Mason is playing T-ball and tennis and he'll start a summer program at his new preschool next week. They will both go to little day camps later in the summer too. Theater and dance camp for Emily and T-ball camp for Mason.

Add in some fun "play dates" with friends, grocery shopping, running errands, taking walks, trips to the playground/zoo/Children's Museum, bike riding, etc. and we're a busy little group over here.

Summer can be so busy and filled with activities that I have to make sure we have some good ol' fashioned relaxing time at home to enjoy ourselves. Especially now that baby Ryan is here I need to force myself to stop over-scheduling and stay home more.

Do any of  you have trouble with over-scheduling in the summer? Let's all enjoy some time at home relaxing and not rushing from one place to the next. Happy summer everyone!