Sweet Pea Chef

A foodie mommy shares tips, tricks and stories from her kitchen as she seeks out more healthful and interesting meals.

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February 28, 2012
Cooking is fun.  From a young age, my mom instilled this idea in my head.  From keeping me on the counter with her while cooking, to allowing me to explore the kitchen as I grew, I was raised with a love of cooking.  I thank my mom for helping me learn how to cook and for countless other family members, friends and teachers who formed my love of creating in the kitchen. I often wonder why so many people view cooking as a chore.  We all have to eat, why not enjoy the process of creating your meal?  Then I saw this quote from Chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse restaurant...
February 23, 2012
I know Tuesday is usually the day of the week that I reserve for kitchen tips and tricks, but a friend recently shared this awesome tip with me and I just couldn't wait to share it with you! Recently I found myself with a way-too-messy kitchen with way-too-little motivation to clean it.  It was a night I made an involved meal, one with many dirty, caked-on pans.  I also had whipped up some homemade bread, and so there was flour everywhere...I mean everywhere.  Add to this that the boys hadn't done a very good job of cleaning up from their afternoon snack and their...
Tips
February 21, 2012
Someone once asked me what was my favorite food of summer.  After some thought, I replied that fresh herbs, plentiful and only a few steps away in my own garden, were my favorite "food" of summer. I love fresh herbs and once the fall comes, I find myself trying all sorts of tricks and manners to save the freshness of my herbs.  As I type, I still have mint and wee bit of parsley growing in a pot, right near my sunniest window.  But basil and other herbs have long gone by the wayside. Want a way to preserve the fresh herb taste well into the winter?  Use this tip...
February 20, 2012
Last week I shared two books, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and the Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester.  The first was one I borrowed on loan from a friend to learn about the link between animal protein and health.  The second was a gift I have sitting in a special place on my kitchen desk, ready to use each week.  While one book is a research book and the other a cookbook, they really came together to help lead me to this year's Lenten Challenge: I'm going vegan for Lent. I need to write that again, so it will help keep me accountable: I'm eating no animal...
February 16, 2012
It all started with my friend M, who I visited one day last summer and saw a Vegan Cookbook on her counter.  I asked her: "Do you follow a vegan diet?" "Yes," she sheepishly replied. I thought it was great, impressive, really.  It turns out, some of her friends and family did not.  Whether misinformation or misunderstanding, lots of people in M's life had a really negative reaction to her Veganism. Not long after the brief discussion in her kitchen, she offered for me to borrow a copy of the book:   The China Study is an in-depth description of Dr...
February 14, 2012
Perhaps you woke up this morning to discover (gasp!) that today is Valentine’s Day and you don’t have anything special for your sweetie.  How about a quick tip to make someone smile? All you need to do is to go to the grocery and pick up a pack of strawberries.  Bring them home and wash them up.  Now you are ready! First, slice off the top and slice in half lengthwise. Next, place on a cutting board and using a sharp, cut an inverted triangle on top like this:
February 13, 2012
Love is in the air and it is T minus 1 day and counting until Valentine’s Day.  Do you have something special cooked up for your loved one? SPH and I aren’t big fans of going out on Valentine’s Day.  Many restaurants have only set menus with limited offerings, and quite frankly, they inflate the prices since the demand for special Valentine’s Day meals is huge. Why not make something at home that will “wow!” your special person?  Here are my top 5 Romantic Dishes, all of which are fairly simple to make: 1.  Slow Cooker Orange Chicken:...
Holidays, Recipes
February 8, 2012
There are a lot of veritable cookie artists out there; I am not one of them.  I was on pinterest.com the other day exploring food ideas, and there were a ton of beautiful, gorgeous Valentine’s Day desserts and cookies.  Trouble is, I just don’t have the time or the talent to recreate them!  But I love Valentine’s Day, so I just had to come up with a fun cookie idea to share with you! I happened to have some fresh baked sugar cookies: So I simply iced them:
February 7, 2012
Last week I shared how much I have been enjoying creating homemade, all-natural cleaners and household items.  Whether it is making homemade laundry detergent, linen spray or potpourri, it feels good to create homemade solutions to store-bought home goods. That’s why I just had to share this tip to help rehab your wood furniture, or in the case below, wood kitchen cabinets that needed some TLC.   Our kitchen cabinets get a lot of abuse.  Whether it is in the form of small sticky fingers, pots being banged into them or spills, our kitchen cabinets are under constant attack...
February 6, 2012
Before I was a mom, my career was rooted on top of a hill.  Capitol Hill was the destination of my daily work commute (and what a commute it was--I do *not* miss the DC traffic!).  Never a political animal, instead I loved being in the middle of so much history and history-in-the-making. One of the most famous recipes from my old office place is Senate Bean Soup.  No one really knows for certain how the recipe developed, but it is served daily on Capitol Hill.  It is the Soup du Jour, every day. My version can be made with or without bacon, but I do prefer the smokiness of...
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