What? She's talking about meat you say? Yep . . . every once in a while I do eat a little chicken or beef . . . . but only if I know where it comes from!

And the ground beef I use in these amazingly awesome and simple and kid friendly and freezer friendly and . . . you get the picture . . . recipe is Wagyu beef from Sweetwater Plantation in Georgia.

wagyuWagyu beef is American style Kobe beef, which is a special type of cattle that was raised in Japan for maximum marbling and, therefore, flavor. And Wagyu beef has more "good" fat than any other breed of cattle. So naturally this beef makes the absolute best meatballs. And did I mention they are happy cows?

Now I get mine from Georgia because my dad knows the family who owns the herd  — and he brings me beef whenever he flys down to visit. . . BUT, you can also get Wagyu beef from Rare Cuts on Magazine Street in New Orleans.

So, on to the meatballs. With all the fresh herbs of summer just around the corner, these are awesome when you're overrun in the garden. And these also freeze really well. I always make a full batch that makes between 30 and 60 meatballs . . . way too many meatballs for just the four of us . . . and freeze the rest to pull out on a busy night. And my husband and kids absolutely love these. . . which makes anything way more fun to cook.

I used Barefeet In The Kitchen's recipe, but just made sure to use local Louisiana ingredients when I could.

 

Baked Italian Herb and Parmesan Meatballs
Yields 30
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs ground beef (I say Wagyu)
  2. 1 cup Panko or regular breadcrumbs
  3. 1/4 cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
  4. slightly heaped 1/4 cup of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  5. 3 tablespoons very thinly sliced green onions
  6. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  7. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  8. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  9. 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic chives or additional garlic clove, minced
  10. 1 large garlic clove, minced
  11. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  12. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpat mats. Set aside.
  2. Place the ground beef in a large mixing bowl and use a wooden spoon to break up. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir gently with a wooden spoon and then mix lightly with your hands to combine well without overmixing.
  3. Using a 1" scoop place the meatballs on the baking sheet. Round with yoru hands to smooth out each meatball.
  4. Bake for 15-16 minutes. Remove from over and place into spaghetti sauce to simmer until ready to eat.
Adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian
Adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian
Finding Fresh http://finding-fresh.com/wordpress/
thib_la_heartTHIBODAUX

flourish

coffeeI gave up caffeine for Lent . . . not coffee . . . just caffeine. I actually just love the taste of coffee. And, up until I had my second child and was teaching full time and . . . you get the picture. . . . I never drank caffeine. Ever. My 8 a.m. students were always in awe when I told them I was that energetic just naturally.

Anyway, I decided my measly one cup of caffeinated coffee a day was making my heart race and making it hard for me to sleep. But caffeine is one of those sneaky things that you can't always tell if someone actually made you decaf or not. And a few buzzed Starbucks visits later, I decided a few things: 1. I'm done supporting a non-Louisiana chain. 2. I'm tired of spending $4 on a coffee. 3. I'm tired of pretending I don't see the cheap, low quality milk they use and 4. I'm tired of getting caffeine when I asked for decaf.

All of that led me to finally try Cool Brew . . . a nifty concentrated coffee made in New Orleans. The Rouses in Thibodaux has a huge selection of it in the refrigerated section by milk. And while they have a lot of flavors, clearly I was drawn to the decaf. Now I brew my own hot decaf at home. Easy. But I've just never liked what I could do with iced coffee at home. 

Then a couple weekends ago I went to the Louisiana Derby and found a little PJ's Coffee . . . and they made an iced coffee with an iced coffee concentrate, milk and flavored syrup. Bam. Easy. Good. No big frothing machines or voodoo skills needed.

So for under $10, a container of Cool Brew will make 32 coffees. I add my own local, organic milk and then a little hazelnut syrup. So a little math later. . . . . and at most that's about $1 an iced coffee. And it isn't just about it being cheaper . . . it's really better. Cool Brew has a great bold flavor that keeps a nice coffee taste even when blended with other things. And good quality milk makes everything taste better.

I find that by giving up caffeine, all I really gave up was expensive cheap coffee. Ask my students, I'm still far too perky first thing in the morning . . . but that may be genetics.

nola_la_heartNEW ORLEANS

flourish

cakeMy mom came to visit last week. Actually she flew in from Chattanooga to save the day at the last minute.

My husband's grandmother died and my husband and mother-in-law had to go to Arkansas to take care of things. She was an amazing woman who lived almost 95 years. She was the one who grounded our family's roots in this area . . . her ancestors lived in Thibodaux in the 1800s, then moved to Port Allen and then she married and lived and worked in New Orleans. She was really cool. Really kind. And a great vegetarian cook . . . . my mother-in-law is getting me her favorite recipe of her mom's for me to post. So check back.

Anyway, Mimi came. And she played with the boys, made play-dough messes, rode motorcycles, let the boys fight over her iPad and . . . . most fun for me . . . she and the boys baked a homemade Italian Cream Cake . . . . 

Yea, it was really good. . . . matter of fact, we still have some if you'd like to come over.

But this week made me think. As we lost one mother, and I got to spend the week with my own mom, it just came more into focus how very important our moms are. Really just how important the generations are. That World-War-II generation is going. My grandfathers died last year. And others went too soon. But right now. Right here. I am so lucky to have all of my kids' grandparents. Grandparents who love my boys and love rescuing us from impending chaos.

Oh, and here is a link to the recipe for that cake. . . . and, it was her mother's recipe.

thib_la_heartTHIBODAUX

flourish

pancake1In honor of National Pancake Day. . . or maybe we really just like pancakes . . . we made pancakes for breakfast today!

Gotta love a mid-week special breakfast. And while pancakes may seem extra special, they are actually really easy from scratch. So here's my great-great-grandfather-the-baker's recipe for buttermilk pancakes. And you can totally make them into Mickey Mouse . . . if that's an incentive to try scratch pancakes ;)~

And this recipe only takes one bowl — so cleanup is easy!

Buttermilk Pancakes
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 eggs (Mossy Ridge Farm has beautiful ones)
  2. 2 cups buttermilk (I like whole fat, cultured buttermilk)
  3. 4 tablespoons oil (I use light olive oil)
  4. 2 cups flour
  5. 2 tablespoons sugar
  6. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Whisk in order in a bowl. If using a griddle, set to 325 degrees.
Finding Fresh http://finding-fresh.com/wordpress/
thib_la_heartTHIBODAUX

flourish

almonds
OK, OK, I don't actually have nuts to trade. But I do have some design skills. And this awesome farm outside of Dallas, Texas, has some amazing nuts. So there you go, nuts for design.

Actually they really do have amazing nuts. Barking Cat Farm is two women who left corporate America to start an organic farm. A really cool farm that grows specialty flowers, herbs and produce and, now, is working on some amazing cottage foods. Foods like raw sprouted dehydrated almonds and crispy dark chocolate almonds.

And I'm using my design nuts to help them with some packaging for their cool new products.

So a little about raw sprouted dehydrated almonds. Germinated, or sprouted, raw nuts are super awesome for you. The raw nuts contain all sorts of good stuff like digestive enzymes and then the sprouting process makes it easier for the body to absorb vitamins as well as digest the nuts. (It's a bit more complicated then this, but that's the gist).

And these living (raw) foods also help with heart health, weight control and diabetes. And then nuts themselves are full of Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids, Vitamin E, protein and antioxidants.

Then dehydrating rather than roasting the nuts makes them crispy while maintaining the enzyme and nutritional benefits of the sprouted nuts.

Whew . . . the process is kind of labor intensive (AKA, kind of a pain in the butt) . . . . though doable . . . but I much prefer designing (something I ❤) and then getting handed a big bag of nuts. :)

Hopefully this farm will sell online at some point, but until then, you can get raw sprouted dehydrated almonds and other nuts and seeds from a variety of places online . . .I like Blue Mountain Organics.

*thanks to my friend Kimber who reminded me that I have a blog and should probably write about good nuts

tx_heartWEST TAWAKONI

flourish

broccoli2So I've always liked broccoli in a, I-like-you-but-never-noticed-you kind of way. But can I say a big "HELLO" to fresh, I-just-got-plucked-from-the-ground broccoli??

Recently I've gotten several heads of fresh broccoli from the new farmer I'm trying to keep secret until he tells me I can talk about him (hint, hint . . . ready when you are!). And I've discovered that I not only like this cruciferous veggie, I LOVE it. I've found myself wanting to toss in some raw broccoli into our regular green salads. And that's a first. Normally I find raw broccoli has a strong sulfur-y flavor and smell. But the flavor of fresh is so much more subtle than after it's been picked in a faraway place, trucked in for days and then left to sit in a grocery store produce section.

The drawback to only eating this super healthy vegetable when you can get it locally is that it's not a year-round crop like grocery stores would lead you to believe. The growing season isn't long . . .basically the cooler months in the fall and spring. But that's OK. Now that I've tasted the difference, I'll eat it in season and relish this former old standby.

And in honor of this amazing vegetable that helps with everything from arthritis to cancer, here's one of my favorite cooked broccoli recipes — though when you get it fresh, it's a shame not to eat it raw.

Broccoli Quiche
Serves 8
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pie crust (so easy to make . . . )
  2. 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  3. 2 cups broccoli, chopped
  4. 1 cup grated Swiss cheese (like the awesome wheel my grandfather sends every year)
  5. 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  6. 3 eggs
  7. 2/3 cup vegetable broth
  8. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  9. 1/2 tsp salt
  10. 1/4 tsp Tabasco
Instructions
  1. Place pastry in pie dish. Prick bottom and corners and bake at 425F for 5 min.
  2. Remove and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of Parmesan cheese. Layer 1/2 broccoli, 1/2 Swiss cheese and 1/2 scallions. Repeat layering.
  3. Beat together eggs, broth, cream, salt and Tabasco. Mix well. Pour over broccoli mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp of Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake 10 minutes at 425F. Reduce heat to 325F and continue baking until knife comes out clean (20-25 minutes).
  5. Let stand 5-10 minutes.
Finding Fresh http://finding-fresh.com/wordpress/
houma_la_heartHOUMA

flourish

king_cakeI'm guilty. Guilty of not writing for more than a month, guilty of forgetting most everyone's name, and guilty of letting my kids eat King Cake for breakfast. . . like every morning this past week. . . .

I'm only kind of ashamed. I mean, my 9 year old gets himself up and can fix that kind of breakfast while I listen from bed for a few extra minutes. . . . I keep saying it's just in the spirit of the Mardi Gras season and Ash Wednesday will mark the return to fruit, grain and protein. . . 

Anyway, I do love King Cake . . not so much to eat all the time, but just how pretty they all are. And I've been on the hunt for the great ones. That one over there is from Rouses and is good and convenient. But I do love Weeping Willow's version. So while I'm still taste testing, check out this list of best places to get King Cake from New Orleans Eater. . . and I totally agree with their No. 1 — the beautiful, almost iridescent cake from Sucré. I just sent one to a friend in Tennessee and am waiting to hear if they ship well too.

tomatoesSo yes, I'm guilty and half-heartedly sorry about the King-Cake-for-breakfast thing. BUT, I also feed my kids things like these beautiful tomatoes from Skinner Farm in Bayou Blue that just started delivering to the St. Francis Vegetable Garden on Thursdays from 5-6 p.m. So I'm thinking that's a draw, right?

houma_la_heartTHIBODAUX

flourish

2 Comments

csaI'm so excited I just have to give a little tease about a new, organic CSA in the works nearby . . . I mean, for those of us in the Thibodaux area, local organic produce is hard to come by. We've either had to drive to Baton Rouge or New Orleans or grow our own — kind of a pain when you have jobs and children and . . . 

Anyway, I'm not allowed to say much right now, but that picture over there is the beautiful organic radishes, broccoli, oranges, spinach and lettuce in a box I picked up today from this local farmer. 

Right now he is just selling boxes of the extra produce that is more than his family can eat. He says, "I just hate seeing it go to waste." Um, ME TOO! And I most certainly will keep it from going to waste — I'm eating raw broccoli right now, actually. And he says he should be big enough to start offering regular CSA boxes in the spring.

I'm just so thankful that I can get the benefit of his organic farming and the prospect of not having to drive more than an hour to Baton Rouge to get a box. And, I really like it that he is just a local guy, doing some local farming, and feeding his community.

So stay tuned! I'll let you know when he's up and running.

houma_la_heartNEAR US

flourish

1 Comment

wwiiOK, so the headline may be a bit presumptuous . . . And, it's a little off topic for my blog, but history is something I passionately love. And the National WWII Museum's International Conference on WWII in New Orleans was the absolute best conference I've ever been to.

To kinda start at the beginning, my dad is a huge military history buff. As I've mentioned, I'm an Air Force brat — actually a second generation Air Force brat. My grandfather was a B-52 bomber pilot and helped develop the SR-71 . . . and my dad was a flight surgeon. I'm really not a military history fanatic — for example I'm NOT making my kids walk through modern neighborhoods to see where our Civil War ancestors fought (I'm looking at YOU dad) — but I'll take history any way I can get it.

So last year my dad went to the annual conference and loved it. But he wanted company. So he bought an extra ticket and tried to convince someone to go with him. I needed no convincing! 

The conferences mark the 70th anniversary of each year. So this year's conference, which was December 4-6, focused on 1944. If you know anything about World War II, that year is pretty significant because it was the year of the D-Day invasion. The conference included renowned World War II scholars, authors and participants. . . . participants like a ranger who stormed Omaha Beach during D-Day. Like a woman in the French Resistance (Colette Marin-Catherine is pictured above). Like a British marine who was on a landing craft on D-Day.

Like seriously. It. Was. Awesome.

I met fellow conference goers from all over — California, Oregon, England, Maine, Vermont, Michigan . . . . And so many had never been to New Orleans. It was kinda funny to watch their faces as they tried the Zapp's Voodoo flavored chips in their box lunches . . . "What flavor is this?" 

So why do I mention this little gem of history education on a food blog? Because. Because it's a really important piece of history that New Orleans has decided to honor and tell. And they are doing an amazing job.

The museum is opening the Road to Berlin exhibit tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 13 . . . Go. We got a sneak peak during the conference and I'm bringing my boys. Bring your kids and see the power of history. The power and importance of where we came from and what shaped us. . . . all right here in The Big Easy.

nola_la_heartNEW ORLEANS

flourish

appleMy ultimate sweet weakness is a good caramel apple. I love them. I have a will of iron when it comes to pretty much everything else . . . . but something about the perfect balance of sweet and salty and sour and . . . yummmmmm.

I mean, they were the only culinary highlight of Disney. . . possibly my favorite part of the whole trip. My mom knows how much I love them and sends me some every year from Mrs. Prindable's, a fancy caramel apple place in Illinois.

So last summer when I read about a local gourmet caramel apple company called Le Posh Pomme from Baton Rouge . . . I've naturally been hunting them down ever since.

I finally got my act together this last week and ordered one . . OK, two. And can I just say, they are not only seriously beautiful, but they are seriously amazing. I just asked Christina, the creator of these beauties, to send me her best seller. And usually I'm a purest . . green apple, caramel and peanuts. Not all the extras. But my boys and I just devoured one with caramel and pecans and then drizzled with milk and white chocolates . . . and it was fabulous. I now don't have to eat for a week.

Ours came with super cute bows with an apple charm (I really have no idea what to call that doo-dad on the bow — a button, a charm??), but she does all kinds of decorations for holidays and even personalizes them. How cute for a teacher . . . I think they might actually eat this apple!

So how and where do you get these? You can place an order by emailing leposhpomme@eatel.net or calling (225) 921-2677. She ships and can arrange pickups in Baton Rouge. And you can find her at different events around Baton Rouge . . . check out her Facebook page.

But seriously, this is the best and cutest caramel apple . . . better than Mrs. Prindable's (and I thought those could never be topped). . . and not just because it's local. The local, handmade-by-a-Louisianan just makes it that much sweeter! :)

br_la_heartBATON ROUGE

flourish