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Head over to the new site

Head on over to the new Cook the Story site to see today’s post: Use Booze: A Port Reduction to Adult-It-Up.

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How to Have Your Mushrooms and Eat Them Too

(Don’t forget that Cook the Story is moving. Change your bookmarks to or go to the bottom of the new site to subscribe by email or to the RSS feed. Thanks you!)

If you’ve ever run into us at the grocery story, I don’t blame you for thinking that my little J loves mushrooms. It would be a totally acceptable belief given the evidence: J sitting in the cart with a blue styro package of pre-washed sliced mushrooms on his lap as he happily chows down on slice after slice of tasteless white shroom.

It’s totally true. Whenever we get to the produce section, he demands that we head to the mushrooms, demands that I pass him a blue pack and demands that I tear a whole in the plastic wrap so his pudgy fingers can get through. Then he eats his way through half the packet and absolutely refuses to share any with me.

But what do you think happens when we get home?

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Cook the Story is Moving

It’s springtime and that means it’s a time for transitions. Many of them! I can’t tell you about all of them right now but I can tell you about one:

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Gremolata: Green stuff the kids might not like, but that’s O.K.

My son will eat anything as long as it doesn’t have flecks of green on it. Broccoli is fine but if it’s tossed into chicken soup such that little green globules attach themselves to the carrots, then neither the carrots, the broccoli, nor anything else in the soup gets eaten.

This goes for all green flecks. For awhile, I avoided herbs entirely because using them meant having to rinse off all his food before he’d eat it.

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When Kid-Friendly Fare Needs Adult-Friendly Flare

Two little blond heads share the pillow next to her. She squints at the clock and is amazed to see 7, 3 and 0 illuminated. “Have they EVER slept this late before? Awesome!” Then the events of 2am come back to her and she wonders if it was worth the extra sleep. At least one of them made it to the toilet. The other, well, a mop for the bathroom floor and some wet towels on the carpet got most of it. Fingers crossed they feel better this morning.

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Wrapping Up the Box: Empty the Fridge Soup and Frozen Fruit Smash

This is the last post in the series What’s in the Box? Tips for Dealing with Your Weekly Produce Box. I’m sad that it has come to an end. It’s been such fun sharing my organic improvisations with you while also reading your fantastic tips for how you get through your boxes of fruit and veg.

To finish off this series, I’m giving you my “recipe” for Empty the Fridge Soup. I make this on the day before my next produce box arrives. It makes the whole house smell like my Baba’s kitchen, it’s hearty and healthy and (the best part) it makes space for all those incoming goodies.

Before getting into the soup, I’m announcing my next series: Kid-Friendly Fare with Adult-Friendly Flare. In its honor, I’ve developed a frozen fruit recipe that is loved by children but can also be adulted-up a notch. It’s adaptable to whatever fruit you have and so is great for using up those last bits and bobs before your next produce box arrives.

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It’s Springtime: How Do You Use Up Lettuce and Herbs?

When asking people about their weekly produce box, I heard from many of you who belong to Community Supported Agriculture Groups (CSAs).

Y’all have reported that springtime is the most difficult because your farm share is flush with lettuce and herbs. So flush that your family starts looking like a bunch of rabbits and you spend all your time clearing every possible surface in preparation for drying out little leaves. (This is not just a problem for those in CSAs but also for all you over-eager gardeners out there.)

I get it. I mean, how much lettuce and herbs can you really eat?

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Vegging It Up

Rotini tossed with stir fried cabbage

I often fall on the uninspired meat, veg, carb pattern for mid-week meals (e.g., chicken breast, green beans, noodles). It can be so so boring. But it can also be satisfyingly simple (and quick too!).

Lately, I’ve been sprucing it up by adding some vegetables to the carbs (e.g., chicken breast, green beans, rotini tossed with stir fried cabbage, ginger and garlic). It’s been an efficient and easy way to get us through our weekly produce box. And, we’re eating more veggies, which was one of the main reasons for getting the box in the first place.

Some Suggestions for Vegging-Up the Carbs: Read the rest of this entry »


Lasagna: Layer on the Veggies

My father-in-law’s favorite meal strategy is to “use up.” He rummages in the fridge and pulls out anything that requires immediate eating. He evaluates the pile of bits and bobs on the counter, grabs a frying pan and starts cooking.

It’s never the same twice but it’s always (surprisingly) delicious.

People I’ve asked about the cons to their weekly produce box say it’s a challenge to use everything. From the advice they’ve given me, emptying the box seems to require a vigilant using-up mindset, like my father-in-law’s.

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