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Adventures in Vegetables: Kohlrabi

Adventures in Vegetables: Kohlrabi

This is kohlrabi.

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I’d seen it in the grocery store before, but frankly had no idea what to do with it, and wasn’t much motivated to learn about it. At Weight Watchers a couple weeks ago, a member shared how she, at the urging of an enthusiastic farmer’s market merchant, had tried kohlrabi and loved it. It became her new afternoon snack, when she isn’t necessarily super hungry, but she needs something to crunch on.  I became intrigued.

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Preparing kohlrabi is incredibly easy.  You peel it.  One end of the kohlrabi I had was slightly woody and stringy so I chopped that part off.  Then I sliced it up.

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Kohlrabi has a light, slightly sweet flavor, It is very similar to celery, without all the annoying strings to get caught in your teeth.  Its consistency is similar to an apple, and it’s a tiny bit starchy, but not nearly as starchy as jicama. It’s a perfectly satisfying snack on its own, but is also a respectable vehicle for your preferred hummus, salad dressing or dip.  Mr. Beez is a tzatziki fiend, and I was easy to try out fage’s new pre-made tzatziki (it’s dill and lemon flavors are not nearly as deliciously potent as homemade, but it does the trick).  2 tablespoons of this dip came to a total of 1 WW points plus, and the kohlrabi itself is a big fat zero.  So that whole nice big snack only set me back by ONE.

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It was kid-approved, too! Happy snacking!


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Five Things I Am Loving Right Now

Good Morning, yinz! I hope your weekend is off to a lovely start! Ours certainly is! We had family movie night last night (I really wanted to go to the WYEP Summer Music Fest, but it had rained all afternoon and the possibility of more rain persisted into the evening, so we opted for the movies instead), and tonight, weather permitting, we’re looking forward to dancing in the street at Summer Jam on Walnut.

So what things have been making your life easier or happier lately? With the weather shifting to blazing hot, all the winter things have been hidden away, and all things summer are out in full force.  These things have been totally making my life for the last several weeks:

spraysunblockHOW parents handled sunblocking their kids before spray on, I will never know  Spray sunblock means that I can get her skin safe, despite her usual non-cooperative nature.

city poolsPittsburgh city pools! I picked up our pool tag, and despite her total lack of swimming skill, Baby Beez LOVES the pool.  There is a pool only a couple blocks from our house, and not only do they have generous weekend hours, they are also open until 7:45 pm on weekdays. That means that we can swim after work! LOVE IT.

Yoplait-Greek-Frozen-Yogurt-Bars-Image-CouponI am an ice cream FIEND. Have you had these yet? They are AWESOME. And don’t destroy my WW points for the day.

monsters-university-poster-1Monsters University totally blasted our expectations out of the water. It was hilarious. I’m talking several times where I was laughing out loud. And Baby Beez was so engaged that she sat still for the WHOLE movie (that says a lot, to keep a 2.5 year old in a chair for nearly 2 hours). It’s appropriate for all ages, and also funny for all ages.

hardboiled eggsAfter 3 weeks of stupid early 5am workouts, I’m still working out the kinks.  One thing I’ve learned is that I need to eat breakfast AS SOON AS I am done with my workout. Or BAD things happen. My go to breakfast has been a toasted english muffin with a couple sprays of margarine and topped with a sliced hard boiled egg and a cup of coffee.  It’s about 5 WW+ points, and is a great balance of protein and carbs to get my day started.  Once I get to work a couple hours later, I follow it up with a mid-morning snack of oatmeal.  I’ve found this combo fuels me perfectly for lasting energy throughout the day.

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Blast from the Past: Cookbooks Every Vegetarian Kitchen Needs

Blast from the Past: Cookbooks Every Vegetarian Kitchen Needs

Originally posted on August 17, 2011

I was a vegetarian for several years, but when I got pregnant with Baby Beez, I wanted to eat Uncle Sam’s Subs ALL DAY EVERY DAY, and vegetarianism went out the window. I would like to go back to vegetarianism, but the one of the keys to being a veggie and not getting bored and not getting fat is to cook at home and make a variety of different things (as opposed to, say baguettes and brie all day every day, which although delicious, isn’t ideal). I haven’t been able to cook nearly as much as I’d like lately, but when I DID have time to do all that cooking, these were the tools in my arsenal:

Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson. Not surprisingly, a lot of the recipes in here are soups and stews, but she does branch out with some entrees, desserts, and appetizers. Robertson includes some easy preparation tips for using the slow cooker that really helps bring out flavors. The recipes are all very diverse– this is not a set of variations on the same bean soup. My favorite recipes are the Maple Baked Beans (ok, so baked beans do not sound exciting, but they are really delicious), and the In a Hurry Vegetable Curry.

The Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. This is a vegan cookbook, but you don’t have to be a vegan to LOVE it. A lot of vegetarian cookbooks are stuck in a pasta and cheese rut, and I sometimes feel like vegan cooking spends too much time trying to impersonate meat and dairy. This cookbook doesn’t waste its time on “fake” recipes. It focuses on beans, grains, and vegetables, and deliciously so. It runs the full dining gamut, an encyclopedia of vegan dining with a recipe for every occasion. It also includes very helpful cooking tips that will equip you with skills for creating your own delicious vegan recipes. Although the authors probably wouldn’t be too keen on this, I often make these recipes “non-vegan” by using regular milk instead of soymilk, butter instead of soy margarine, etc, because those are the ingredients I already have in the house. The recipes turn out just fine with the substitutes. My favorite recipes include the Seitanic Red and White Bean Jambalaya, and the Plaintain and Pinto Stew.

Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook is the vegetarian hippie bible, and not surprisingly it’s in the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame. It contains lots of casseroles and easy bakes that easily feed a full family, and also freeze very well. My favorite recipes are Cauliflower Mushroom Marranca (sooooo good) and Scheherazade Casserole.

Olive Trees and Honey by Gil Marks. This is a Jewish cookbook, but it’s not all blintzes and matzoh balls. We Jews are all over the world, and so is this cookbook. The recipes are from all over Europe, and there are a number of recipes out of Africa and India as well. The variety is impressive. My favorite parts of the book are the descriptions of the background and traditions surrounding each dish, as well as different variations on the recipes based on the flavors of different countries. There are also very informative sections about Jewish history and traditions, Jewish cooking traditions in different countries, and the qualities of different spices. Sephardic Leek and Cheese Casserole and Noodle Kugel are amongst my many, many favorite recipes in this collection.

What are your kitchen cookbook staples?

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Diversity & Children’s Books

Diversity & Children’s Books

NPR ran a though provoking story this morning about the persistent lack of racial/cultural diversity in American children’s books, even though about half of the kids in the US are nonwhite.

I got to thinking about Baby Beez’ library.  Most of her books fall into two categories: books with animals/cartoon characters/muppets as the main character, or books about Judaism (we are PJ Library subscribers and my mom is also absurdly enthusiastic about sending books about Judiasm). Her library isn’t filled with representations of white kids because it just does not have a whole lot of representations of kids to begin with.  I was pleased to realize, though, that one of her favorite bedtime books, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes (which we call “the baby book” in our house), is incredibly diverse.  I think it’s also sweet when she points out kids from her daycare class in the characters of the book, and it’s neat to watch how her match-ups do not always align with race or appearance.

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Do you seek out representations of diversity in your child’s library? What are some of your favorite childrens’ stories with messages of inclusion?

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A day full of Adventures @IdlewildPark : A Photo Essay

A day full of Adventures @IdlewildPark : A Photo Essay

For our family, Idlewild completely lived up to its title of Best Amusement Park for Kids. The weather was clear and hot, the lines were short (often nonexistant), and after Baby Beez had her fill of the rides, we cooled off in the lazy river at Soak Zone. What a perfect Sunday!

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