Happy Holidays!

There is nothing more special than this time of the year, when kids can play in the snow (at least here in WI), families can get together and Santa comes to visit. It was with great anticipation that we met Santa last week at a brunch and listened as our kids told him of their present wishes.

While our oldest (7 years) had no fear of hopping up on Santa’s lap, our four year old was a little weary of the man in the big red suit and dangling beard. Nonetheless, he gathered his courage and crawled up on Santa’s lap and explained that he had been ‘good’ (to be debated) and which toys he was wishing for, specifically a tiger and bunny stuffed animals.

The Holidays are meant for families to come from near and far to get together.  It is a time to recount the year, the ups and downs and to look forward to all that awaits us in the coming year. It is also a time for families to share in the time honored traditions of cooking together and sharing a family meal. There are many great recipes on Sharecipe for you to choose from to inspire you to make something new and this year we decided to do a ‘Holiday Treats and Sweets’ exchange. Simply add your favorite cookie or treat recipe to Sharecipe so that your friends and family can see what you will be sampling this Holiday season. We can never have too many cookies to sample or treats to try!

Much like the Holidays, Sharecipe allows you to connect with the people that are special in your life. We take this opportunity to thank you for your using Sharecipe and hope that you have a safe and happy holiday season.

Katie

I often find myself with a few minutes on my hands, either somewhere between meetings, carpool or other various trips around town.  I wish I could say I always plan out my days perfectly, writing down the days events and leaving no time unproductive.  But in my life as much as I try to prepare in advance,  inevitably I find myself off schedule and trying to adjust on the fly.

One feature on Sharecipe I use all the time is accessing recipes using my Blackberry (it works for iPhones too!).  I do this in one of two ways:

1.  Access the internet through my phone, go to www.sharecipe.com, use the search function to find the recipe I need.

2.  In the morning or night before when I am on Sharecipe, I use the “Share This” function, choose “email”, plug in my email address and voila.  Once I am in the grocery store I whip out my phone, open the email, click the link and in two seconds I have the recipe ingredient list.

Sharecipe Recipes on the go - Share This!

It has for been a game changer for me.  I can on the fly jump to the grocery store and pull up the recipe and ingredients for dinner.  Also, if I find that there is a sale on pork tenderloin, I can pull up my friends’ famous recipe right there in the store.

Of course some of the other items on my grocery list may be missed, but hey, we’ve got dinner!

I am excited to annouce a new column that I am writing for Madison Magazine on-line.   The column will focus on my life raising a family, starting a business and everything in-between.   The first column was a background on me, Sharecipe and how we got here.

Check it out here at Madison Magazine!

In the column I featured a recipe from my mom, Pumpkin Wild Rice Soup, the perfect soup for Fall!

Pumpkin Wild Rice Soup

Pumpkin Wild Rice Soup

Enjoy!

I have an internal debate about Halloween.  On one side there are fond memories of being young and excited to find that perfect costume – like the year I was a can of Coke, complete with a tinfoil hat.  Also on the love side is when I first put Owen into a panda bear costume when he was  3 months old.  So adorable. And the pumpkin patch, fall decorations, spicy scented candles and watching It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown under a cozy blanket .  Love.

Halloween 2005, my two bears

Halloween 2005, my two bears

But then there is the other side….The 5 downsides of Halloween with kids

  1. Finding the perfect costume:  This means one that both you and your child are happy with.  Becomes more difficult as your kids get older and change their minds ten times.  And you want it to be perfect because they will only be 5 once…and it should show that you are a good, attentive mom but not overly crazy.
  2. Getting the children ready: In my 7 previous years of having children during Halloween, there hasn’t been ONE where there weren’t tears, tantrums, and complete craziness prior to leaving for trick or treating.  We actually have video of me trying to put our 2 year old in his fireman costume while he was screaming.  I did everything in the book to get him into it.  In the end I won but it almost ruined our night.  Lesson learned.
  3. The trick or treat dilemma: Who goes and who stays?  We live in an area where we could easily go through 10 enormous bowls of candy.  Very different from living in San Francisco atop a huge hill where we got three visits at most.   I am happy to do this and love to see all the costumes on the children…especially those that we know.  But let’s face it, it gets old after the 20th Darth Vader.  So which spouse goes with your own adorable kids to watch their reactions and who stays?
  4. Post Halloween meltdown:  Inevitably your kids will have too much sugar, stay up too late and be exhausted.  The next day always is a drain.

My Top 5 Suggestions to keep Halloween fun!

  1. Set reasonable expectations! If Jake doesn’t want to get into his bear costume, try a few times and then just head out.  Put the costume in a backpack and try again later.  I have found the younger children are often scared of costumes at your house but once they see all the fun the other kids are having they will give it a try.
  2. Don’t worry too much about the costumes. In the end, it is just for an hour or two.  Also, they forget about their costumes the second they hit that first doorbell and see the bowl full of Milky Ways, Smarties and Double bubbles.
  3. Make a good home cooked meal early. Something that could be made ahead of time is ideal.  I like my children to go trick or treat after a good healthy meal, candy is less alluring if you are full!
  4. Take away the candy asap. I sneakily take the candy away from my kids after a few days.  Granted, my oldest is now 7 so I am anticipating this to be an issue at some point, but up to now it has worked like a charm.  Let them see their halloween buckets for a few days, then take out a big ziploc and store the rest for “treats” down the road.
  5. Relax, Enjoy and have a glass of wine!

Would love to hear any of your fool proof Halloween ideas.

Enjoy,

Katie

Madison is excited to welcome Michael Pollan from University of California, Berkeley, to our city for three days this weekend!   This visit is sponsored by the University of Wisconsin’s Center for the Humanities and also comes as a part of the Food for Thought festival.  I am continuously intrigued and educated by reading Michael’s opinions on food, the affect of higher fructose in our diets (i.e. diabetes!) and what nutritional information to trust (and not trust).  We will be attending Michael’s session tomorrow night at the Kohl Center, 7pm on September 24th.

“Thirty years of nutritional advice have left us fatter, sicker, and more poorly nourished. Which is why we find ourselves in the predicament we do: in need of a whole new way to think about eating.”  Michael Pollan

InDefenseFood_cover_thumb

Then on Friday morning I am off to San Francisco to attend the BlogHer Conference in San Francisco.  It will be exciting to meet all of the talented food bloggers whom I have been reading for quite some time, such as The Pioneer Woman, White on Rice, Steamy Kitchen, and more!  In addition to a day full of sessions and work, I am looking forward to having a bit of wine and fun…and will hope to return with pictures and stories too.

BHFood09MastheadPost

Happy cooking to all!  Come back soon to see what’s new with me (and Sharecipe!).

Katie

What a busy few weeks we have had as we acclimate to the new school routine with the boys.  Thankfully they are still at the age where they were as happy to begin as I was to have them start!  It helps that they both love their schools and enjoy learning.

We are finally set with our schedule, which includes carpooling with three families, after school activities (soccer and flag football), and work.  It is understated to say it is complex so even I, a reluctant planner, have resorted to documenting it all on calendar hanging in my kitchen.  Heaven forbid I forget to pick up one of my sons, but I would literally die of embarrassment if I had other children stranded as well.  Since I am determined to never have that happen, lists and calendars here we come.

Back to school also brings the need to pack lunches and snacks each day.  I am always looking for new ideas for healthy foods that my kids will enjoy.

On Sharecipe there are many recipes in the “kid-friendly” category that have been hits in our house.   Here is a great one that my kids enjoy from Chef Ann Cooper, the renegade lunch lady.

Check out Apple Date Bars on sharecipe.com

Hope everyone is off to a great school year!

Katie

Brady at Countryside Montessori Preschool

Brady at Countryside Montessori Preschool

Owen's first day of 2nd Grade!

Owen's first day of 2nd Grade!

I just returned from a wonderful trip to San Francisco where I visited with friends and family, ate fabulous meals and celebrated my birthday.  Everyone needs a break and time to get away, get inspired and take a deep breath!  I have included some wonderful food pictures that my friend took (my camera unfortunately stayed in Madison).

To begin my journey, after a long trip I went from SFO to the Marina where I spent the night with my dear friend Hilary and ate at Terzo.

Fig Goat Cheese Bruchetta

Fig Goat Cheese Bruchetta

Terzo Meatballs over Polenta

Terzo Meatballs over Polenta

More Terzo...Cilantro Grilled Chicken Skewers

More Terzo...Cilantro Grilled Chicken Skewers

Then off to Marin to see all my friends and their adorable children, having fabulous wine and take and bake pizzas from Picco in Larkspur (unbelievable)!  Unfortunately no camera, but it was a perfect night ending by drinking Artezin Zinfandel wine with Mary on her porch at Spa Harrington.

Friday night was the girls night out dinner at A 16 on Chestnut in the Marina.  What a treat.  We had the Mozzarella burrata, moved onto the Maccaronara with tomato ragu and house-made ricotta salata, Gnocchi and  the special of the night, short ribs!  We were all full, happy and hot (did I mention it was 100 degrees in SF?)!

Maccaronara

Maccaronara

Short Ribs

Short Ribs

Then off to Oakland for my last night with my in-laws, adorable nieces and nephew and reuniting with Owen.  It was one of those nights with kids splashing in the kiddie pool, pretending to “drive” my rental car with their newly made drivers licenses in hand, and Papa ending the dinner with adorable quotes from the grandchildren that week.  And of course, another fabulous dinner made by Nancy and Laura of ribs, chop salad (on Sharecipe!) and cupcakes.

Needless to say on Sunday morning, at 3:30am when my alarm went off, I was exhausted, happy and full.  Owen and I made it without a hitch back to SFO to make our 6:00 am departure to Denver and narrowly make our connection to Madison.  Alex, Brady and Lily were there to greet us and welcome us home.  And now I am back at work, full of wonderful memories of an unforgettable trip.   I am inspired to continue my quest to make Sharecipe the best recipe site to connect with your friends and family over food.  As my trip reaffirmed to me, food brings people together.   And life is about connecting with the people you love.

Katie

p.s.  I will be contacting Terzo and A 16 to see if they will share their recipes!  If they agree, I will add them to Sharecipe!

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