Food

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Lunchbox Cookies.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Lunchbox CookiesSchool starts here this week so we are trying to soak in the days of summer before schedules and homework take over.  I have been avoiding baking this summer.  It’s been a hot one.  Turning on the oven is like the worst idea ever on the hottest days.  Today it was cooler in the early part of the day so we took advantage and made one of our favorite cookie recipes.Summer Baking

Oatmeal cookies are awesome for school lunches and my tots love them.  Even more than eating them they have fun making them with me.  I put the bowl on a low table so they can sit safely and add ingredients together.  These cookies can easily be stored for the work week and added to school lunches each day.

Summer Baking 5

Summer Baking 3

Summer Baking 4

Summer Baking 9

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Lunchbox Cookies
Print Recipe
The perfect chocolate chip cookie that packs a punch with a hearty dose of oatmeal.
Servings Prep Time
36 cookies 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
36 cookies 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Lunchbox Cookies
Print Recipe
The perfect chocolate chip cookie that packs a punch with a hearty dose of oatmeal.
Servings Prep Time
36 cookies 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
36 cookies 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Recipe Notes
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C)
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla
  4. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended
  5. Mix in the quick oats, oat bran and chocolate chips
  6. Use small ice cream scoop to drop dough onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper
  7. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven.
  8. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completelyChocolate Chip Oatmeal Lunchbox Cookies
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March Food Holidays.

Yogurt Ranch Dip

Have you noticed all the weird and wacky food holidays people seem to be celebrating these days? Maybe it’s the popularity of Instagram and Pinterest that have brought some of the more obscure food holidays to the forefront as food bloggers and moms scramble for content and meal ideas. I’m all for reasons to celebrate only some of the food holidays being celebrated across the Internet are just plain. Bad. For. You.

Around here we try to keep processed foods to a minimum and we definitely aren’t going to buy and eat a certain brand or food product just because it’s that food’s “special day.” What we do try to do is keep our weekly menus interesting, seasonal and fun. You can do that without falling victim to cheezy marketing ploys by food companies trying to sell you something you don’t need.

So this month as we celebrate all the awesome seasonal foods we can buy locally in California we definitely won’t be celebrating National Oreo Day or National Cake Pop Day. We are definitely going to get in on the fun for National Crunchy Taco Day, National Waffle Day and more. Stay with us as we share some of our favorite recipes this month for local, seasonal fruit and vegetables that are at their peak during early spring.

Pictured is our homemade Yogurt Ranch Dip we shared on our Instagram last summer. It’s one of our favorite after school snack recipes and works for tomorrow’s celebration of National Ranch Day.

March Food Celebrations

National Fresh Celery Month
National Noodle Month
National Flour Month
National Frozen Food Month
National Peanut Month
National Hot Cross Bun Day (Good Friday)
National Sauce Month

Daily Holidays

March 1
National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day

March 2
National Banana Cream Pie Day

March 3
National Cold Cuts Day

March 4
National Poundcake Day

March 5
National Cheese Doodle Day

March 6
National Oreo Day

March 7
National Cereal Day

March 8
National Peanut Cluster Day

March 9
National Crab Day

March 10
National Ranch Dressing Day

March 11
National “Eat Your Noodles” Day

March 12
National Milky Way Day

March 13
National Chicken Noodle Soup Day

March 14
National Potato Chip Day

March 15
National Peanut Lovers’ Day

March 16
National Artichoke Heart Day

March 17
National “Eat Like an Irishman” Day

March 18
National Sloppy Joe Day

March 19
National Oatmeal Cookie Day

March 20
National Ravioli Day

March 21
National Crunchy Taco Day

March 22
National Water Day

March 23
National Chips and Dip Day

March 24
National Cake Pop Day

March 25
National International Waffle Day

March 26
National Nougat Day

March 27
National World Whisky Day

March 28
National Black Forest Cake Day

March 29
National Chiffon Cake Day

March 30
National Turkey Neck Soup Day

March 31
National Oysters on the Half Shell Day
National Clam Day

What to Eat During a Kitchen Remodel.

As we enter week two of our kitchen remodel (our before kitchen is pictured here) I realize how unprepared my meal planning really was before demo. Similar to when we had our first child and I completely ignored everyone’s advice to cook-ahead, freeze meals and stock up. We were so desperate for food those first weeks. This time around I should have listened to that same advice. I didn’t.

Making meals ahead of time and freezing them would have been awesome planning ahead. Really I’m not sure I could have done it. With everything families have going on every day it seems unrealistic to plan ahead two weeks of dinners. Not to mention where do you put them all?

Be realistic about how long you are going to be without a kitchen.

Demo- 1-2 days
Cabinet Install- 2-3 days depending on size of kitchen
Countertop Fabrication and Install- 7-10 days depending on size of kitchen
Appliance Install-1 day

Here is how we are surviving our kitchen remodel on a budget without eating out every day. (more…)

Eat Local. November.

November started with decent rain and cooler days. This means summer favorites like tomatoes are going to be disappearing soon. The wet weather forces farmers to pick tomatoes before the rain to prevent disease. Look for fall crops in local markets like apples, winter squash, persimmons and more.

Market availability varies by region. This is a general guide for Northern California based on Bay Area and Sacramento growers. (more…)

Food at Home. Featured Writer Judith Kester.

Since Thanksgiving is approaching I have been thinking about food and it’s place at the dinner table, both in our house and in the homes of friends around the world. I am so inspired each day to read the writing of friends that talk about food and the role it plays in their home. Why they make the food choices they do. How they approach food. How they teach their children about food.

I decided to embark on a writing series that features the work of some of the most introspective writers I know. The women who are actively raising families, working, cooking and on the front lines of food education for the next generation. There is something so innately simplistic and perfect about dinner around the table with children. I wanted to hear from the women who shop, prepare and celebrate food in their homes each day. (more…)

Farm Lessons. What is Dry Farming.

Dry Farmed Apples from 24 Carrot Farm

What is Dry Farming

I have been hearing more about dry-farming lately. It’s not the first I have heard of the practice. Back when I worked in the wine industry I worked for some of the most famous ultra-premium wineries in Napa and Sonoma and many of our vineyards were dry-farmed. At that time wineries with dry-farmed grapes were getting rewarded with top reviews and bringing in the highest dollar value with wine conoisseurs. Now, with the California drought continuing it seems like more farmers and consumers are becoming aware of the practice and supporting it. Interestingly enough, California utilized dry-farming during the 1800’s and even through part of the 20th century until modern agricultural practices shifted to less use of the practice. (more…)

Recipe. Sweet Potato Harvest Hummus.

Harvest Hummus Dip

Summer vegetable platters served with cool creamy yogurt dips were our after school snack staple for months so now that the seasons are changing I have had to reinvent what to make for my hungry tots.  I revamped our basic hummus recipe to incorporate some of the flavors of fall.  This hummus is best served with fresh toasted pitas sliced into wedges, pretzels or pita chips with seasonal vegetables.  We like to buy whole wheat pitas, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic.  Place on a cookie sheet under the broiler for 2-4 minutes until toasty and golden brown.

This recipe makes enough for two days worth of dipping or two small glass containers, so I divide the hummus into two batches and refrigerate one for another day.

Sweet Potato Harvest Hummus.
Print Recipe
A harvest inspired hummus perfect for after school snacking or seasonal entertaining.
Servings Prep Time
2 glass containers 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 glass containers 10 minutes
Sweet Potato Harvest Hummus.
Print Recipe
A harvest inspired hummus perfect for after school snacking or seasonal entertaining.
Servings Prep Time
2 glass containers 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 glass containers 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: glass containers
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in Cuisinart blender until desired consistency is reached. Add additional olive oil for a more luxurious dip. Season as desired. Top with roasted pumpkin seeds or candied pecans. Serve with grilled or toasted pita wedges and seasonal vegetables.
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What’s at Market. October.

Melon from 24Carrot Farm

This week’s shopping was a quick trip to Apple Hill where our current favorite organic farm, 24 Carrot Farm is located. We picked up everything we could to keep us going through the week. It seems like we are clinging to the last of the tomatoes, peppers and summer squash and starting to incorporate some winter squash into our dinners too. Since it’s 90 degrees this week here in Northern California it’s hard to get into too much fall baking just yet. What’s in season October. (more…)

Eat Local. October.

Pumpkins at Davis RanchOctober in California means summer crops are starting to dwindle and cooler weather offerings are starting to come to local markets. Here is our list of what we have been seeing around.

Market availability varies by region. This is a general guide for Northern California based on Bay Area and Sacramento growers.

Summer Crops Making Their Exit

These selections are entering the last phase of their season so grab them while you can or wait until next year.

Basil
Eggplant
Melons
Peppers
Plums
Summer squash
Tomatoes

Fall Favorites

These selections are right at the peak or middle of their season so find them and try out some new recipes while availability is widespread.

Almonds
Apples
Beans
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Celery
Chard
Lettuce
Onions
Oranges
Pears
Persimmons
Potatoes
Pumpkins
Winter squash

Eat Local. July.

It’s July and farmer’s markets and farms are open all over Northern California. Get out and find what is growing in your neighborhood.

Market availability varies by region. This is a general guide for Northern California based on Bay Area and Sacramento growers.

Summer Favorites Available Now
These summer favorites are in the peak of their growing season now.

Basil
Beans
Blackberries
Corn
Cucumbers
Nectarines
Peaches
Peppers
Plums
Snow Peas
Squash
Tomatoes

Late Spring Selections
These favorites are almost gone so get them while you can.

Apricots
Blueberries
Carrots

New Additions
These selections are making their July appearance.

Corn
Nectarines
Peaches