“Tell me again? Can that really be right?
How many diapers does a baby use during the first year?”
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3650 – 4380 (!)
“Oh my .. “
If there's anything I've discovered .. it's that we as parents all want the same thing. To simply do the best we can. We want our kids to grow up happy and blessed. We want them to step into futures that look brighter than the shadows of our collective pasts
If there's anything else I've discovered .. the line between a leg up and a hand out can be a tricky one to navigate. After the birth of our youngest grandchild .. it was pretty clear that another shipping address should indeed be added to our Amazon account
I have a tender spot in my heart for young families finding their sea legs .. because I so vividly remember the season of raising little ones .. finishing college degrees .. and building a career. The days when the only things in my shopping cart were necessities .. and the never-ending worry of how we were going to buy diapers and formula.
Admittedly .. the softie in me appears to have triumphed. In and amongst the orders of diapers and wipes .. it's been fun to add a little surprise or two to brighten their day. A chocolate bar .. their favorite soap .. a cookbook .. and an
herbal tea (or maybe two)
So I couldn't help but be intrigued the other day by a group of women talking after exercise class .. about the joys (and pitfalls) of grocery delivery. I didn't realize it was even a choice .. granted the only one in our smaller town .. but the chain providing the service has stores throughout the midwest.
Could this be another option for gifting staples to the kids? After listening a while longer .. could this be an option
My notebook filled with scribbles as I tried to capture some of the pros and cons:
“It keeps me out of the grocery after work (when I'm hungry .. tired .. and sometimes mopey)” A quick stop just for milk .. but the cheese and crackers look good .. hummm .. maybe some bubbly to wash them down?
“No more parking hassles and standing in line” Or splurging on cooking magazines and gum
“I love keeping my running grocery list online” I'm forever going to the grocery only to realize once I get home that I forgot something. Instead of asking The Chef to make another trip .. we can add items to our online grocery order instead (up until the day of delivery)
“I don't have to stop at Target for staples like toilet paper and paper towels” If I go to Target for toilet paper .. guaranteed I'll come home with kitty treats .. a face mask .. and a couple of t-shirts. Not to mention another prop for the food blog .. because you can never have too many (except you can .. alas)
“There are some great online specials” One woman stopped driving all over town to take advantage of sales at various stores .. and clicks instead. Some online stores even make it easy to clip coupons while we're shopping
“Finding items online is surprisingly easy” We've all been there .. walking up and down the aisles .. looking for that special something which proves every elusive. Shopping online .. we simply type the name. Not to mention it's far easier to comparison shop .. and we get to do it all from the comfort of home
“It's weird to have so much time back in my days” Every head nodded
Of course, everything's always good .. that is .. until it's not. A few of the cons:
“Some things I like to pick out myself” Like your avocados with this level of squish? Bananas with a hint of green? Do you sift through all of the cottage cheese containers to find those with the furthest expiration date?
“Deliveries can be a challenge” Depending on the service .. you may have to wait a while for delivery. Also .. someone will want to be at home if there are perishables
“I can't pay with cash or a check”
They've convinced me to give it a try. I'll let you know how it goes
How about you? Do you have your groceries delivered? Any tips for making the most of it?
Gnocchi recipes aren't for the faint of heart .. everything about them is a process .. with many things that can go awry along the way. It takes practice .. patience .. and persistence.
The results are well worth the effort.
At their best gnocchi will be light and delicate. At their worst .. dense .. rubbery .. and/or soggy. You'll know things aren't going to end well if they fall apart in the boiling water
This recipe isn't the best choice for a busy weeknight .. although it would be fantastic for a dinner party serving guests you'd like to impress. The dough could be made well in advance and frozen.
A few notes & tips:
Don't fear the amount of butter here .. the next time I make them I'll cut it at least in half .. and will still have more than enough for sautéing the gnocchi.
The recipe makes quite a bit. For the two of us .. next time I'd make half
Allow the sweet potatoes to cool completely before combining them with the other ingredients .. they'll absorb much less flour
To create light .. pillowy gnocchi .. make sure your dough is neither too wet .. or overworked.
Sweet potatoes will vary in how much moisture they contain .. so you may need to gauge the flour. The goal is to add the least amount of flour .. while still making a cohesive .. pliable dough. If too much flour is added .. the gnocchi will be dense.
While it's certainly optional to roll each gnocchi on the back of a fork to create the characteristic indents .. if you have the time and patience .. it's worth it. The little ridges will help soak up the sauce.
Another option for creating indents? A box grater (a tip from Cooking with Italian Grandmothers by Jessica Theroux)
“Once you’ve formed your gnocchi into small balls, take your box grater and, pressing your thumb into the dough, roll it down the grater roughly for about an inch. Then, roll the dough in reverse, releasing your thumb and the dough from the grater. In doing so, a concave pillow-shaped gnocchi will have formed” ~ Jessica Theroux
~ Adapted from Bon Appetit | December 2005
- 2 1-pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
- 1 12-ounce container fresh ricotta cheese, drained in a sieve for 2 hours
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
- 2 tsp salt + more for salting the boiling water
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 2¾ cups spelt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 6 Tbsp chopped fresh sage + whole leaves for garnish
- Roast the Sweet Potatoes
- Pre-heat oven to 375 F
- Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Prepare squares of aluminum foil for as many sweet potatoes as you are roasting.
- Rinse, pat dry, and pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a fork
- Place each potato on a foil square and drizzle with a small amount of olive or coconut oil.
- Using your hands, rub the oil in a thin, even layer all over the potatoes.
- Wrap each potato loosely in the foil, making sure the foil is well-sealed.
- Place on a baking sheet and put them into the oven to roast.
- Depending on the size of your potatoes, it may take 30 minutes to an hour for them to be done. (Check at 30 minutes by squeezing one of the potatoes in an oven mitt protected hand and inserting a sharp knife or fork into the center)
- They should feel quite soft and the knife should easily glide all the way through.
- If not return to the oven and check again in 10 minutes.
- When they're finished roasting, cut them in half and let them cool
- Scrape the sweet potato flesh into medium bowl and mash. Transfer 3 cups of the mash to the bowl of your mixer
- Add the ricotta cheese and blend well.
- Add Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, 2 tsp salt, and nutmeg. Blend until well combined
- Mix in flour, about ½ cup at a time, until a soft dough has formed
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide it into 6 equal balls
- Roll each ball between your palms and a floured work surface, until each piece has formed a long rope. One that's about 20 inches long and 1 inch in diameter
- Sprinkle with additional flour, as needed, if the dough is too sticky.
- Cut each rope into ~ 20 pieces.
- Indent each piece by rolling it over tines of a fork
- Transfer the pieces to a baking sheet
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
- Working in batches, boil the gnocchi until tender (~ 6-8 minutes)
- With a slotted spoon, remove them from the water and transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet. Allow to cool completely. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
- Pre-heat oven to 300°F.
- Melt the butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Cook until the butter solids are brown and have a toasty aroma, swirling the pan occasionally (~ 5 minutes)
- Add the chopped sage (the mix will bubble up quite a bit).
- Turn off the heat.
- Season the sage butter generously with salt and pepper.
- Transfer half of the sage butter to large skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Add a third to half of the gnocchi and sauté until they're heated through (~ 7-8 minutes)
- With a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi from the skillet and onto a rimmed baking sheet. Place them in the oven to stay warm.
- Repeat with remaining sage butter and gnocchi.
- Divide the sauce and gnocchi among shallow bowls.
- Garnish with sage leaves and serve
% Protein: 9
% Carbs: 36
% Fat: 12