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Pinned It. Did It. Handmade Maxi Skirt

Handmade Maxi Skirt - Pinned It. Did It. :: www.nurturedmama.net

For my next project in the Pinned It. Did It. series, I tackled a maxi skirt.

This was supposed to be an easy project but I made a mess of it. It all came out well in the end (I love the skirt, which you can see in the photo above), but I share my lessons learned over on Liz’s blog.

I hope you avoid these problems in your next sewing project!

Read the full post here.

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Project Cookbook: Lemon Curd Goat Milk Ice Cream

This lemon curd goat milk ice cream is slightly subtle and elegant, but also lick-your-spoon delicious. :: www.nurturedmama.net

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase a product after clicking through a link I will earn a few cents from the sale at no additional cost to you. This income helps to support this blog. Thank you!

A few weeks ago I posted this photo on Facebook and begged for recipes:

This lemon curd goat milk ice cream is slightly subtle and elegant, but also lick-your-spoon delicious. :: www.nurturedmama.net

Our hens had been very productive during the warm months of May and June and while my health was poor I wasn’t keeping up with their output. I needed egg recipes, stat!

Two suggestions I heard several times were ice cream and lemon curd. Both use 3-4 (or more) eggs each. I did make lemon curd, and we had egg salad for dinner a couple of times (yum, and easy, by the way!) but man, those chickens just keep laying!

Last week I had dinner with a couple of friends, one of whom runs a farm in Northern California. She always brings goodies when she comes to town and had offered to trade me a jar of lemon curd for a jar of her fresh goat milk.

When I was a kid and we lived off the land, we also raised goats. I don’t have particularly wonderful memories of their milk. I remember it tasting really strong and well, goat-y. I was going to just give her the lemon curd and pass on the milk, but she insisted her goats gave really mild milk and I should really try it again. She suggested ice cream.

This lemon curd goat milk ice cream is slightly subtle and elegant, but also lick-your-spoon delicious. :: www.nurturedmama.net

I had seen a recipe for ice cream in Apples for Jam that looked interesting, so I took her suggestion.

Now I know. Trust Bonnie on all things ice cream.

I can’t say if the milk was mild enough for me to drink straight, because I used it all in this ice cream. And it was wonderful.

I started with the Lemon Curd Ice Cream recipe in Apples for Jam (p140), but I used whole goat milk instead of milk plus heavy cream. My ice cream might be a little less rich than the original recipe intends, but it is wonderful. This is no low-fat ice cream. Because the whole goat milk had plenty of cream already, it still has that thick, rich mouth-feel of cream-based ice creams.

I have this Cuisinart automatic ice cream maker, which makes quick work of the actual freezing part, and churns to just the perfect texture. The only problem with this machine is that the bowl has to be pre-frozen, ideally for a full 24 hours. Here’s another ice cream tip from Bonnie: Buy a second bowl so you always have a cold one in the freezer. She’s so smart!

And here’s a tip from me. Get yourself one of these amazing ice cream scoops. My aunt gave me one a number of years ago and my ex and I fought over it when we split. I don’t remember now which of us kept the one we had, but the other of us definitely bought a replacement. It is that good. No ice cream is too frozen to scoop with it, and it is shaped perfectly to get the very last tiny bits out of the bottom of a round container of any size. I didn’t know an ice cream scoop could change my life until I tried this one.

Here’s my modified recipe:

Lemon Curd Goat Milk Ice Cream

4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar (the original recipe recommends superfine sugar, but I used regular organic evaporated cane juice)
3 Tblsp butter, cut into small pieces
grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon, or more for a stronger lemon flavor
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice (which was 3 lemons in my case)
2 1/2 cups raw, cream-on-top goat or cow milk, warmed slightly.

Bring a pan of water to a boil and then lower to a slight simmer. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a wide glass or stainless steel bowl until thick and creamy. Set the bowl on top of the pan of water, creating a double boulder,  add the butter and let it melt, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon zest and juice and whisk continuously until it thickens. It should lightly coat the back of a spoon.

Remove the bowl from heat and whisk in the milk. Keep whisking for another minute to help the mixture cool slightly so the milk doesn’t curdle. Set it aside and let it cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally. Put the bowl in the fridge until it is completely cold before pouring it into the ice cream maker. Follow your machine’s directions for churning and finishing the ice cream.

Do you have any ice cream tips to share? Add them to the comments!

Next week I’m going to try another recipe that uses eggs (because those hens!). This one is spaghetti with soft-boiled egg and toasted parsley bread crumbs. Tune in next week to see how it went!

This post is part of the Project Cookbook series, throughout which I cook through all the recipe books in my kitchen to decide which to keep and which to let go. I’m searching for simple, heathy ways to feed my family. You can find the rest of the series here

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Are You A Good Mother?

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase a product after clicking through a link I will make a small income from the sale at no additional cost to you. The income helps to support this blog. Thank you!

Are you a good mother? What do you believe makes a good mother? What if we all let go of the mythical Good Mother? :: www.nurturedmama.net
Recently, I read a really excellent book of essays called The Good Mother Myth.

In the introduction, the author tackles the idea of what we, as a culture, consider a Good Mother. These are the standards we have built up, based on our cultural expectations and media influences, on how a mother should behave with her children and in the world. It is behind the divide over working moms and stay at home moms. Single mothers and non-custodial mothers and mothers in same-sex relationships. How we judge helicopter parenting, Tiger Moms and that mom on her iPhone at the park – our outrage is based in these deep-rooted Good Mother standards.

That Good Mother is mythical.

Further, she suggested that we each hold our own ideal vision it might be similar to the cultural standard or not. We use that vision to measure ourselves as well as other moms around us. And it is just as likely to be impossible and unfair.

And yet those visions are often wholly inaccurate, impossible, or unfair. We judge others for failing to meet the criteria, and we judge ourselves just as harshly.

I woke up in the middle of the night after reading that section thinking about what my personal Good Mother Myth was. What standards was I holding myself to? Where did I feel like I was failing? And then I got up and wrote it all down.

Just having it out of my head and on paper has been powerful.

Self judgement in my head is insidious and subtle. Written down on paper I can see how outlandish and unfair some of my own judgements are.

Here is the Good Mother list I was carrying around:

  • My child must always be well-behaved and tidy in public or it is a negative reflection on my mothering skills.
  • I should love floor play, pretend play and reading picture books and should jump to participate whenever my child asks me to.
  • I am solely responsible for the running of the household – shopping for and cooking food, cleaning, decorating, gardening, and all budgeting and saving.
  • I should always feed by family fresh, organic, wholesome and balanced meals cooked from scratch.
  • I should always have the energy and desire to maintain an emotionally intimate and sexually active relationship with my man.
  • I should know – or know where to quickly find – the answers to all my parenting questions. This includes health, behavior, and mental and emotional development questions.
  • I should have a close and active tribe of mother-friends who I see often. We should be close enough to share child care and secrets about our lives. We should never drift apart – having busy lives is not an excuse.
  • I should be slim, fit, and look put together at all times.
  • I should never make my child cry by withholding my attention from her.
  • My child should be enrolled in a variety of enriching activities – music, art, dance, yoga and playgroups.
  • It is my personal duty to build my child’s self-esteem, confidence, manners and emotional and creative resilience.
  • I should commit myself to these duties full time (24 hours/7 days). I left my career for this!
  • I should not need help with any of this, and I should feel, at all times, fulfilled and happy.

It was watching that last item on the list flow from my pen that was the sock in the gut.

Because as much as I talk and write about how mothers deserve support and help, that motherhood may not be entirely fulfilling for all women and that mothers need to feed their souls lots of different ways, there it was. Somewhere deep in my heart I still believe that just being a mother should be enough for me. I should be happy with just that. And that when I need other activities, when I need help, when I need time off, that I am failing. That I’m not Good Enough.

deserve love and affection

Writing it down and looking at it isn’t the same as letting it go. But getting a clearer view of my own struggle between what I feel and what I believe is helping me pay attention when I hear that self-judging voice whispering in my ear. It is helping me say, “Yes, thank you for trying to help me be a Good Mother, but I’m still working out that definition, and it is also important to me to be a Good And Joyful Human.” Over and over I can set down my judgement of myself.

What impossible or surprising things are on your personal Good Mother list? Which do you want most to set down?

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Project Cookbook: Fruit Sauces from Apples For Jam

Project Cookbook: Fruit sauces from Apples For Jam :: nurturedmama.net

This post is part of the Project Cookbook series, throughout which I cook through all the recipe books in my kitchen to decide which to keep and which to let go. I’m searching for simple, heathy ways to feed my family. You can find the rest of the series here

This week got busy and I only made two of the four test syrups I had planned. My apricot tree came ripe, so I made apricot sauce (as well as many pints of jam) and I also tried a cherry version. I’ll have to try the ollalabery and strawberry sauces another time!

Project Cookbook: Fruit sauces from Apples For Jam :: nurturedmama.net

I tried two difference recipes. The cherry sauce is a recommended variation on a raspberry sauce in the Red chapter, and the apricot sauce I found in the Orange chapter. There is also a thinner cranberry syrup in the Red chapter, which would work well with less pulpy fruits.

All three of the recipes are very simple – water, sugar, and fruit. The apricot sauce included vanilla extract and the raspberry sauce included a bit of lemon juice.

Project Cookbook: Fruit sauces from Apples For Jam :: nurturedmama.net

These are quick and easy and a great way to dress up a simple dessert or incorporate excess summer fruit in a new way. I ran both sauces through my blender for a nice smooth texture. With the cherry sauce I strained out the pulp, so one jar is more like syrup and the other is a thick and pulpy sauce. I wanted to use the thinner version to flavor carbonated water.

The recipes recommend using the fruit sauce over ice cream, which I haven’t tried yet. But I did really enjoy the apricot sauce mixed with bubbly water over ice! The thicker batch of cherry sauce would be really good with pound cake or shortcake. Yum!

Project Cookbook: Fruit sauces from Apples For Jam :: nurturedmama.net

The apricot recipe mentions that this makes a lot and it really does! It could easily be halved, or just freeze half the sauce for later.

Next week I’m going to write about a batch of ice cream I’m making with fresh goat milk a friend traded me for a jar of that lemon curd I made recently. I love having friends who make and produce good stuff and who love to trade!

What’s your favorite way to use or preserve summer fruit?

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5 Essential Things To Take On Vacation

What's in your suitcase? Make sure you save room for these five essentials for your next vacation. :: www.nurturedmama.net

photo credit: Gabriel White via photopin cc

Welcome to the July 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Vacation

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month participants shared their family-travel tips, challenges, and delights. 

My post was chosen to be featured on the Natural Parents Network blog for the Carnival. The first couple of paragraphs are below but you can find the whole post over there.

Please scroll to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

I just cleared my inbox of two weeks of old emails that contained a lot of links I thought I wanted to read. After the third vacation-related article that truly didn’t apply to my life, I deleted the rest of them. Then I made a list of the things a Nurtured Mama would take on vacation with her, which I realized was the article I was actually looking for and not finding.

So here you go. Five things you should put in your suitcase this summer:

A Flexible Attitude

A friend asked me recently if my partner and I travel well together. Because we were a few days away from leaving on a trip, I had to pause and think a bit.

We do travel well together. Excellently, in fact. What we don’t do well together is prepare for a trip. I need to have lists and plans and be prepared in advance. He’s happy to pack a bag the day we leave and find a place to sleep when we arrive.

Because we have traveled quite a bit together, I’ve learned to accept this discrepancy in style. If he forgets to put something in his suitcase, he’ll deal. I can make our first night’s reservations so I’m not a basket case on the plane and then let him manage the ongoing planning once we are out the door.

In fact, because I decided to be flexible about that particular issue of making reservations on one trip, we found ourselves spending the night in an Irish castle. That was one of the best experiences of the trip, and it wouldn’t have happened if I’d insisted on making all the reservations from our dining room table in advance!

The best parts of travel, in my experience, are the things you were not expecting. But you have to be open to them or they won’t happen!

Continue reading the rest of the essentials at Natural Parents Network ››

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Favorite Family Vacation Recipe: Staying at Home — The best family vacation Laurie Hollman at Parental Intelligence could ever recommend requires minimal packing, no hotels, unrushed travel, easy meals to everyone’s taste without a bill, no schedules, everyone’s favorite interests, and three generations playing together.
  • Scared of toilets and other travel stories — Tat at Mum in search is an expert at flying with kids. She shares some of her tips and travel stories.
  • Staycation Retreat for Busy MamasLydia’s Handmade Life gives Budget-friendly, eco-friendly staycation ideas for busy work-at-home moms.
  • How We Leave It All Behind — At Life Breath Present, they don’t take traditional vacations — they go on forest adventures. Here are some tips in planning for an adventure, if you don’t just go spontaneously, as they have before. Plus, many pictures of their latest adventure!
  • Traveling while pregnant: When to go & how to manage — Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the pros and cons of traveling during the different trimesters of pregnancy, and how to make it as comfortable as possible.
  • Our Week in Rome: Inspiration and Craft Ideas for Parents, Teachers, and Caregivers — If anyone in your family is interested in learning about Ancient Rome, if you enjoy crafts, of if you’re a parent looking for a fun staycation idea, check out Erin Yuki’s post for a Roman-themed week of crafts, food, and fun at And Now, for Something Completely Different.
  • The Real Deal: A behind the scenes look at our “Western Adventure” — Often Facebook and blog posts make vacations look “picture perfect” to outsiders. If you only looked at the pictures, Susan’s recent family vacation was no exception. In this post at Together Walking, she takes readers “behind the scenes” so they can see the normal challenges they faced and how they managed to enjoy their vacation in spite of them.
  • Welcome to the Beach House! — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is in love with her family’s new “beach house”!
  • Road Trip to Niagara Falls — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about her first trip out of the country with just her and the kids.
  • 5 Essential Things to Take on Vacation — Five things Nurtured Mamas should be packing in their suitcase for their next trip, in a guest post at Natural Parents Network.
  • The Many Benefits of Camping with Friends — Do you want to go camping, but the very thought of it seems daunting? Make your life easier – and your kids happier – and go camping with friends! Dionna at Code Name: Mama discusses how much better camping can be when you join forces with others.
  • My Natural First Aid Kit for Camping, Travel, and Everyday Use — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives us an insiders looks at her natural first aid kit for camping, travel, and everyday use. These natural remedies have saved her hide and those of others many times! You might be surprised what made her list of must-haves!
  • Traveling Solo and Outnumbered — Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras shares lessons learned from a recent trip with two toddlers and no co-parent.
  • Compromise and conviction on the road — Jessica of Crunchy-Chewy Mama shares the reality vs. the dream of travel and dishes on the compromises she makes or won’t make while traveling.
  • Camping Trauma — Jorje of Momma Jorje offers why she loves camping and why she and her family are a little gun shy about it, too.
  • First in our Books — Writing fresh from her first family vacation, Laura from Pug in the Kitchen has realized that helping pack her parents’ station wagon made for a smooth and pleasant trip that was more than she hoped for!

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Spicy Grapefruit Margaritas: Pinned it. Did it.

Pinned It. Did It. Spicy Grapefruit Margaritas recipe review :: nurtured mama.net

 

My dad has a very particular way of eating a grapefruit. First he rolls the fruit around on the counter “to loosen the juices”. Then he slices it in half, crossways, to reveal shiny little triangles of grapefruit flesh. Next, with a paring knife, he carefully goes around each segment, cutting it away from the skin and from the membrane on each side. Then he scoops out and eats the pieces with a spoon (when I was a kid, we used the tiny sugar spoon that came with the cutlery set my parents got for their wedding for this part. Dad scoffs at those specialized toothed grapefruit spoons.). Finally, he uses one hand to squeeze any remaining juice from the now-empty grapefruit hull into a spoon held into the other hand. You don’t want to waste anything when you are eating a grapefruit.

I always think of my dad when I eat a grapefruit and my whole life I have eaten grapefruits exactly this way, also.

Only in this case I’m not eating grapefruits by our particular family method. I’m making margaritas out of them. Margaritas also make me think of my dad, as they are his favorite cocktail. He makes a mean one. By which I mean it is almost all alcohol with just a wave of lime, and will floor you if you aren’t prepared for that.

So it feels appropriate that I’m sharing this (not so strong) spicy grapefruit margarita cocktail experiment on Liz’s blog so soon after Father’s day, which fell this year on Dad’s birthday. Talk about a celebration!

Happy birthday, Dad!

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Apples For Jam: The Second Month of Project Cookbook

For month two of Project Cookbook I take on Tessa Kiros' book Apples For Jam. :: nurturedmama.net

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase a product after clicking through a link I will make a small income from the sale at no additional cost to you. The income helps to support this blog. Thank you!

For the next month of Project Cookbook I’m going to tackle the Tessa Kiros books. You can see them in the photo above – I have four and they are all thick! They take up half a shelf. I have copies of Apples For Jam, Falling Cloudberries, Twelve, and Venezia. And Kiros has written five others!

Right away I can see why I have four – they are beautiful. The inside cover of Apples for Jam describes it as a “keepsake cookbook.” The photos are luscious and often full page. The text layout is graceful.

However, not every recipe has a photo, and the way the recipes are laid out makes them actually a little hard to cook from. The text is printed in grey in Apples For Jam, and the ingredients are listed right justified above the recipe title. Especially after cooking from Alice Waters’ book all of last month, these subtle things stand out as making it harder than it needs to be.

I’d like to just keep one of these books, but I’m not sure which one. Venezia is already headed out the door because I’m just not that interested in cooking much seafood, and a book about the cuisine of Venice is largely seafood. Falling Cloudberries may go for the same reason, though there is more variation in it. Twelve is about the food of Tuscany, which I’m very fond of, so this is the volume most likely to stay. By process of elimination, then, I’m going to focus on Apples For Jam in July.

Apples For Jam has an intriguing format – it is organized by color. Bean will be disappointed to hear there is  no chapter on purple (nor blue) but there are chapters curiously titled “monochrome,” “stripes,” and “multicolor.” The introduction describe this volume as a book of recipes handed down from family members and friends, and “swapped over garden fences.” There is a focus on comfort food, simple (though not as simple as Waters), and rustic. These are family-friendly, homestyle meals.

Many recipes are paired with a short childhood memory from the author and some pages are charmingly illustrated with children’s line drawings. Clocking in at 417 pages, this book would take me more than a month to do a thorough review, but I’ll give it a shot.

I’ll start next week with a few fruit sauces. I found these in several chapters, with minor variations between them. Because of what’s in season now, I think I’ll try four: Apricot, cherry, strawberry and either ollalaberry or blackberry.

Check back next week to see and read how that went!

Are you familiar with any of the Kiros books? Which is your favorite?

This post is part of the Project Cookbook series, throughout which I cook through all the recipe books in my kitchen to decide which to keep and which to let go. I’m searching for simple, heathy ways to feed my family. You can find the rest of the series here

 

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Pro Parenting Moves

Five skills  to practice to be a pro parent :: www.nurturedmama.net

This month, listening to all the talk about the World Cup games, I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between a pro soccer player and someone who just plays soccer.

A professional, by definition, gets paid, but let’s set that definition aside for the moment.

Pros have focus. They spend time improving their skills through practice, being coached, and getting mentoring. They also have certain things they do differently than players. Let’s call them pro moves. These are the skills that set them apart from someone who plays in their local community league. It might be a particular style or strength of kick. It might be a honed sense for knowing where the open shot is. It might be a kick that almost always tricks the goalie.

It occurred to me that some parents have these kinds of pro moves. These parents are the ones who tend to look less harried, less frustrated, more relaxed and happy. I started wondering what could be considered a pro parenting move and why more of us should practice them.

 

Here are five that I came up with:

Listen Hard

I live with a child who talks. A lot. She’s entertaining and astute, but when she’s been talking for an hour, it becomes easy to tune her out for a while. “Uh huh,” and, “Really?” become my filler for actually listening to her.

But I’ve discovered that when I do that, I miss important stuff. She tells me about her day, and in that patter I can discover what she’s learning, what other people are telling her, what she’s worried about, and what she’s needing to process. If I listen and ask good questions, I learn a lot about who she is becoming and what she thinks about the world. Those are things I really don’t want to miss.

I also learn a lot by noticing what she’s not saying. I was in the hospital twice recently, and although she wasn’t talking much about me being gone or being sick, I noticed that she was asking me to read this one particular book over and over. It is about a cat who alerts its owner to a gas leak outside their house, which has been making the humans sick. Bean kept wanting me to go back to the page where the people were looking sick, slumped and lethargic in their living room. Finally, I asked, “Are you worried about getting sick? Are you worried about me and Dada being sick?” We were able to have a more intimate conversation about her anxiety from me being sick as a result.

Practice Forgiveness

Living with a small child can sometimes feel like everything is personal. Like living with a mini tyrant. They tell what to do, what not to do, and how to do it. They call you names, climb on you, hit you.

Don’t take it personally. It isn’t about you. Little people are still learning about how to interact with other people, how to manage their emotions, and how to communicate with social niceties. Because they feel safe with you, they experiment more. They push boundaries to find out what will happen.

Practice forgiving them for being rude, pushy, temperamental, or otherwise trying. It is exhausting, yes, but recognizing they are doing the best with the skills they have available to them (or reminding how to do better with those skills) is going to feel way better for both of you than if you yell or punish or hold a grudge.

Engage Laughter

This one helps when patience and forgiveness are wearing thin. It is hard to stay angry when you are having a tickle fight. It is hard to stay frustrated when you turn the situation into a game. I admit, this parenting move is a very hard one for me. It is not my natural instinct. But it works. It works so well and so often than I keep trying and it is getting easier.

Engage laughter by being silly. Dance around. Put those PJs they refuse to put on their body on your head. Make funny faces. Say the most improbable things. Tickle.

Laughter relieves tension and it makes us feel closer. It is an essential part of a strong and healthy relationship.

Be Honest

It is so tempting to be the authority on all things, when your child believes you know everything. But I don’t know everything, and I’m doing her a disservice by letting her believe I do. I’d rather teach her to be a master researcher and learn how to analyze what she finds than assume I have the answers. I’d like her to feel confident forming her own opinions.

Bean has started saying, “Let’s ask Siri!” when Mom or Dad don’t know the answer to her questions, which is a lot of fun. Mostly we’ve been researching what different baby animals are called and what sounds they make, but it won’t be long before we are tackling more complex questions!

Honesty is also important when you think about how closely our children watch us. They know when we bend our stated ethics. We say “Apologize when you hurt someone,” and then we get in a fight with their father and don’t say, “I’m sorry.” We say, “Don’t take things that aren’t yours,” and then take something that doesn’t belong to us. We say, “Don’t yell,” and then we yell.

When you realize you’ve done something you regret, talk to your kids about it. We’re human. So are they. It is hard to admit mistakes, but it is so valuable to your kids to see you failing sometimes, when you are willing to make it right again. Practice saying, “I was wrong, and this is what I’m going to do about it.”

Ask For Help

Imagine the CEO of a large company. Is she doing everything herself? Not even close. She has people running departments and reporting their activities to her. She has people scheduling her meetings, even answering her phone. She has outside counsel reviewing contracts and handling legal disputes. She has cleaners who keep the building clean and security personnel to keep it safe.

And yet, as CEO of our families, we often feel like we need to do it all ourselves.

Back when I was a manager in the corporate world, I was rated every year on how well I delegated work. I was considered a better manager when I delegated things well – appropriately and with clear expectations – then when I did everything myself.

Whether you call it delegating or asking for help, do it. Get your kids involved with chores around the house. Ask your partner to step up if the distribution of home-keeping jobs feels unfair. Ask for time off from parenting once in a while, so you can spend time doing things that help you recharge.

Getting the support you need to do your job well is the ultimate pro move.

Your turn: What would you add to this list of pro parenting moves?

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Project Cookbook: Lemon Curd from The Art of Simple Food

Sweet and tangy Meyer Lemon Curd is delicious on scones, in thumbprint cookies, and in tiny tea-party tarts :: www.nurturedmama.net

This post is part of the Project Cookbook series, throughout which I cook through all the recipe books in my kitchen to decide which to keep and which to let go. I’m searching for simple, heathy ways to feed my family. You can find the rest of the series here

It was so hard to choose a dessert recipe to wrap up this month with The Art of Simple Food.

It is currently the season of abundant fruit and so many of the recipes in this particular cookbook are subtle enough to let fantastic ingredients shine. I considered strawberry ice cream, vanilla panne cotta with fresh berries, even an intriguing recipe for apple jellies, or pâte de fruitthat I thought about trying with some beautiful green gage plums I found at the market last week.

In the end I settled on a recipe that would use some ingredients overflowing from my own yard – eggs and Meyer lemons – to make lemon curd.

Sweet and tangy Meyer Lemon Curd is delicious on scones, in thumbprint cookies, and in tiny tea-party tarts :: www.nurturedmama.net

Oh, lemon curd. You are so delicious. It is closely related to egg custard, with the addition of the tart bite of lemon juice and zest. It is so good. Serve it as a spread on scones or toast, or a zingy surprise on top of thumbprint cookies, or put it in tiny little tarts (perfect for a tea party).

My mom used to make batches of it when the lemon tree at her last house had an abundant crop. She’d deliver it in these tiny little jars that never lasted very long. One batch of scones and that was that. All gone!

Sweet and tangy Meyer Lemon Curd is delicious on scones, in thumbprint cookies, and in tiny tea-party tarts :: www.nurturedmama.net

The ingredients are very simple – lemon juice and zest, eggs, butter and sugar. A tiny bit of milk. The original recipe is written for tart, acidic Eureka lemons, but I knew I wanted to use the sweeter Meyer lemons that grow in my yard. I’ve included below my Meyer-only modified recipe. Because Meyer lemons are less acidic than Eureka lemons, this recipe is not a good choice for long-term storage. But it also doesn’t make a very large batch. I’m storing mine in the fridge and I know it won’t last long enough to go bad!

Sweet and tangy Meyer Lemon Curd is delicious on scones, in thumbprint cookies, and in tiny tea-party tarts :: www.nurturedmama.net

Meyer Lemon Curd

Makes 2 cups

Wash and dry 3 large or 4 small Meyer lemons

Grate the zest of two of the lemons with a microplaner or the small holes of a grater. Juice all the lemons, or until you have 1/2 cup of juice.

Beat together until just mixed:

2 eggs
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (only if you are using unsalted butter)

Stir in the lemon juice and zest and add:

6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Cook the mixture in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, stirring constantly, over medium heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pay attention, as this will go fast! Do not boil or the eggs will curdle. When thick, remove from heat and pour into glass jars to cool. Cover and refrigerate. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools.

Sweet and tangy Meyer Lemon Curd is delicious on scones, in thumbprint cookies, and in tiny tea-party tarts :: www.nurturedmama.net

Final Review of The Art of Simple Food

After a month cooking with this cookbook I know I will be turning to it again and again. It perfectly fits my food aesthetic – simple, delicious, local and seasonal. The recipes are straightforward and clearly written. The dishes let the ingredients shine.

I also really appreciate the structure of the book, with deeper educational sections at the beginning and a wider array of recipes in the second half.

This cookbook is a great choice for someone who is a reasonably confident cook, but would like to broaden or deepen their skills. In just the five recipes I’ve made during this month (poached eggs, pizza, poached salmon and risotto, and this week’s lemon curd) I feel I have gained a lot of confidence in the kitchen. I’ve made poached eggs several times since that first batch and pizza is now falling into regular rotation in our weekly menus. In addition, my family has been happy to eat what I’ve cooked and even asked for more.

This is also a great book for families who want to eat more real food, simple dishes, and seasonal ingredients. Although the recipes are not arranged by season, it is really easy to find dishes to showcase whatever you might be finding in abundance at the market, all year long.

This is exactly the kind of cookbook I want on my shelf. This one stays!

I’d love to hear from you if you are familiar with this book. What should I make next? 

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase a product after clicking through a link I will make a small income from the sale at no additional cost to you. The income helps to support this blog. Thank you!

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You Are Already Supermom

You Are Already Supermom :: nurturedmama.netOn those days when you are struggling, second-guessing yourself, not being the supermom you want to be, I want you to remember these five things.

1. You grew a baby in your body. Or you opened your heart and arms to one. Either way, you offered up your body and heart to this calling.

You Are Already Supermom :: nurturedmama.net2. You give up sleep, the best bites on your plate, the immediate pursuit of your personal dreams, and (more than) half of your pillow.
You Are Already Supermom :: nurturedmama.net3. When you reach the end of your rope you find more rope.

You Are Already Supermom :: nurturedmama.net4. You kiss boo boos, wipe bottoms and clean up vomit. You pick up toys, wear silly hats, and do all the voices for their favorite books.

You Are Already Supermom :: nurturedmama.net5. You make sure they know they are loved, even when they are throwing tantrums, talking back, being surly teenagers, and otherwise acting unlovable.

You don’t have to try to be a supermom. You already are.

You already are.

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