How to Oil a Cutting Board

March 11, 2014   |   1 Comment

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“Is that enough?” Beluga asks.

“I think so.”

“I think it’s not enough,” he decides, then drizzles more mineral oil over top our carving board.

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Mingus clarifies for his little brother, “You only need a thin layer!”

The boys’ hands are covered in oil and they slather it across every wooden board and spoon in the kitchen.  I deliver, from our drawers and cabinets, parched bowls, two reamers, a rice paddle, a rolling pin, chopsticks and other wooden odds and ends.  I tell them, “We’re bringing the wood back to life.”

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“It was white and now it is yellow.  It’s a whole other color!” remarks Mingus.

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As the oil soaks in, they spread more on top and buff all the nooks and crannies with their fingers.  Twenty minutes later, their handiwork is piled up.  Beluga looks at the stack and asks, “Does the oil really keep it alive!?!”

“No…” oh, language is tricky.  But, I do feel good telling him that if we take good care of our wood, it won’t warp or crack and we won’t have to cut down more trees.

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The whole process is messy and clean, all at the same time.   It’s a great family activity.  And there’s really no wrong way to oil a cutting board.  Clean it.  Dry it.  Oil it.  And then let it sit overnight before using again.  If you go and read professional advice, they’ll say to oil a new cutting board every day for a week and then once a month after that.  In our house, when the kids want to get out the mineral oil, we get out the mineral oil:)

Crunch-Munch Maple Pecan Granola

October 30, 2013   |   20 Comments
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Granola – alone or on yogurt – is one of our favorite ways to start the day.  The salty-sweet-crunchy trifecta is a powerful way to lure the boys to the breakfast table.  The only hiccup: the truly best granola is homemade.  And once I got a taste of this stuff, I vowed never to buy it again.

Over the summer, I did a cooking class with Kristen Miglore of Food52′s Genius Recipes.  Among nearly a dozen dishes, this gem of a granola recipe is the one that I make time and again.  After the first few batches, I realized the pecans mysteriously disappear before the oats, so now we add extra.

The trick to making granola with very young children is to measure some or all of the ingredients ahead of time.   A two year old (even my angel, Beluga) is just too young to put his heart into measurement.  Precision is a four year old trait.  I’ve learned over time that small Mason jars hold 1 cup and the larger ones hold 2 cups.  This gives us enough containers for all the ingredients.  Granola isn’t an exact science, so with Mingus helping, I load up the jars with oats, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, brown sugar, pecans… Continue Reading >

The Rat Snack Attack

September 27, 2013   |   26 Comments
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“The playground’s closing!  Time to go home!” the Park Ranger cries.  

“What’s going on?”

“It’s getting dark.   The rats are coming out.”

“Really? Rats?”

“They’ve got sharp teeth and we don’t want any kids trying to pet one.”

“Oh?  They do that?”  (Maybe Mr. Park Ranger just wants to lock up early.)

Then, I spot something scurry in the corner of my eye.  I lean to look under a bench and – should I be surprised? – there’s a rat!  

“They like to eat the leftover snacks.  You know, Cheerios, and that sort of thing,” the park ranger tells me. 

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The Sauciest Remark

August 29, 2013   |   4 Comments
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I’ve heard it said that the main difference between home cooking and restaurant fare is that, in a restaurant, everything has a sauce.  Well, a few weeks ago, the words of my four year old got me thinking.  Looking at a very nice plate of vegetables and steak, he scanned the table and asked, “Mommy, where is your wine reduction sauce?”

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Whomping Good Mint Chip Ice Cream

August 8, 2013   |   27 Comments
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Oh, you like Mint Chip Ice Cream?

We do too.  I like the rough edge of the chips against my tongue as I lick the creamy custard.  You’d think I’d be satisfied.  But, right in the middle of enjoying classic mint chip, I start to miss the toothy sticky crunch of Cookies and Cream.  Which is better?  Hard to say.  So, let me introduce: Whomping Mint Chip.  We double up on the mint chips, and throw in a box of Thin Mints.  When you come to our home and hear, “Mommy, I used to have Caramel Kisses, but I have Mint Chip Hugs instead!” you’ll know why…

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