I haven't done much cooking from start to finish this week. We were out of town over the weekend and I've been making Dream Dinners since. Do you know about Dream Dinners? You go prepare meals to bring home and freeze then you can eat them when you want to. Typically, I made about 12 in an hour and it lasts me two months. On the days that I work or that we're busy, it's so great to not eat cold cereal or take out.
Despite not cooking too much, I have been doing a few food-related activities, like reading to my daughter. We got some new books a few weeks ago and I already know that they're going to be favorites. The first is "The Seven Silly Eaters" by Mary Ann Hoberman which is illustrated by one of my favorite children's book artists, Marla Frazee. It's about a harried mom who makes all of her seven children's favorite foods from scratch (homemade pink lemonade, applesauce, fresh baked bread) and in the end, the kids have a cooking adventure resulting in a gift for the mom's birthday.
The other book (Summer by Alice Low) doesn't have as much to do with cooking but we're sure excited about summer and one line from this book is great: "We like the things that summer brings. It brings the sun. It brings the heat. It brings the things we like to eat."
The other reading I've been doing (on my own, not reading to my daughter) has been magazines and cookbooks to plan our next family dinner. In my family, we take turns planning a menu and distributing recipes. Everyone brings the ingredients for their assigned recipe and we get together to cook the whole meal together and eat it. My brother has described it best by saying "It's where we use all the dishes in my mom's kitchen." There are a pile of dishes at the end of each evening (which, I'm ashamed to say, I usually miss out on because of baby girl) but it's a wonderful experience. We've done it almost monthly for a few years trying new foods and new techniques.
May is my turn to plan. I wanted a menu that incorporated fresh, spring ingredients and from and here's the menu:
Grilled asparagus and carmelized onion pizza (Cooking Light)
Strawberry Avocado salsa with pita chips (Cooking Light)
Roast chicken and vegetable salad with pesto (Julienne cookbook)
Cream of Artichoke Soup (Russ Parsons - How to Pick a Peach)
Lemon Yogurt Cake (Ina Garten) with berries
I'll let you know how it all turns out!