Yummy things

Yummy things
Random musings on happenings in my kitchen and my life, in Durham, NC

About me
Hi! I'm Lindsey.

I'm a health educator, like to run at a slow, but steady pace, teach group fitness classes, and do my best to keep up with my family that's spread across the country. In the midst all of that, playing in the kitchen is one of my favorite stress relievers and creative outlets, so this blog chronicles some of my favorite cooking and baking adventures, but in the process it also tells the story of the rest of my life.

Like many people in the Triangle area, I'm a transplant. After spending the first 21 years of my life in the midwest, I've been settled in North Carolina for seven years. One of the things I love most about the area is the diversity of local farms, farmers' markets, and great food, so I follow lots of local food happenings, but I also keep up with my fair share of Midwestern favorites.

If you like what you find here, feel free to drop me a note and email Yummy things. I'd love to hear from all of you out there!
Sun Feb 2

What a wacky winter

When we ended up in Cambridge at New Year’s with a foot of snow and sub-zero temperatures, I thought it was actually kind of fun. 

Grandma Henrietta tracked down some coats and boots to keep everyone warm, and Hazel got to enjoy her first snow angels. 

I figured it’d be the one real dose of winter we’d get.  Little did I know.

Two days after we returned home, the country learned the phrase “polar vortex,” and it got down to 6 degrees in Durham.  I know lots of people would be happy with 6 degrees this winter, but given that the all time record low here is 4 degrees, it was a bit crazy.  The weather validated my post-Christmas sale shopping for new coats, hats and mittens, and I was pleased that the stuff that I had reserved for  next season was able to get a bonus use. 

Then a week later, the news started talking about the possibility of some evening snow (everyone panic!) and ice (seriously bad).  I dressed Hazel up in her “Let it Snow” shirt, my book club got canceled, every school in the Triangle was delayed, and in the end, our deck looked like it got dusted with powdered sugar.  It seemed like we all spent a whole lot of time worrying about nothing.

Then just as I was getting ready for our rescheduled book club last Tuesday, the news started to suggest that the winter storm that brought single digit temps in Georgia and Alabama was going to bring us several inches of snow mid-afternoon.  This being the south, everyone went crazy.  They closed the girls’ school before the kids even got mid-day naps in.  And then we waited…

Seven hours later, flakes finally started to fall.  The daycare declared they were going to operate on a two-hour delay, which seemed entirely reasonable for a place that doesn’t really own plows.  But come morning, when we had just 1 or 2 inches of snow on the ground, they, along with essentially every of school in the state, closed for the day.  We tried to connect up with neighborhood friends, who declared they were “hunkering down.”  So we had no choice but to try and embrace the snow day, despite the fact that there wasn’t really enough to play in, Ada didn’t like the cold, Hazel didn’t like her improvised boots, and Dan and I were supposed to be working remotely while also caring for two girls who didn’t really enjoy being cooped up inside.  

When our school decided to open on a three-hour delay the following morning, instead of closing for a third day, like many other area schools, we were more than thankful.  I know we don’t get winter weather here much, so I get it that people get nervous driving in the stuff and that it’s not cost-effective to have appropriate snow gear (note our lack of boots), but really, I think we’d all be better off if we turned the worry level down a few notches. 

When the temps returned to 65 degrees today and we got to spend a couple hours at the playgound, it seemed like February was off to a much better start.  I’m hoping we’ve now had more than our fair share of winter weather. 

Wed Jan 22

Back to this beat

No apologies for the lack of postings.  Life is busy and full of lovely things.  But with the new year, I’ve taken to a new strategy of a goal or two for the week and not worrying about accomplishing everything else on the eternal to do list all at once.  The last three weeks weren’t about getting caught up here.  But in the process, I’ve discovered some fun things that I thought I’d share, and I figure that soon enough there will be other updates to come. 

  • Playground date: kids play, parents exercise! We admittedly didn’t solve all the kinks on this one the first time around, but I loved the idea when a friend suggested we join them and another family at a park near a local trail.  While the kids played, I was able to trade off and go for a run and another parent went and took their dogs for a walk.  Now that I’ve thought about it, there are multiple parks adjacent to other running and come summer, swimming, opportunities.  I think we’ll have to try this one out more.
  • Prep once, cook twice: I’m pretty sure there are whole cookbooks out there focused on this idea, but Martha Stewart recently converted me to the value of this approach with a couple of excellent recipes.  I loved the way her vinaigrette worked on salmon and green beans and then again as a chicken marinade.  And even though I was skeptical about a quick meat sauce for gnocchi, I was impressed with how well it worked in the beef and rice casserole the next night.  Doesn’t hurt that Martha apparently provides much larger portions of meat than we actually eat, so each meal was able to play for two nights, even before the reincarnated dishes evolved!  If you have favorite recipes that work this way, send ‘em to me! 
  • Make your own salad night: Several people may know me as the health educator who doesn’t like salad.  But the truth is I don’t like plain iceburg lettuce or ranch dressing.  This year, I’ve decided to try one entree salad each week.  And it’s been awesome!  I find that it gets us all closer to eating 5-9 servings of produce each day, and it’s worked great for the girls.  They get to pick the components they like and go to town.  I’ve been impressed with both of them actually being willing to eat salad greens (a little bit), but the other pieces have been such good yummy whole foods, that they’ve been great too.  So far: chicken & roasted vegetable salad (roasted potatoes are yummy on salad, even cold!), a salad with blueberries, bacon, peppers, almonds and balsamic, (all fab ingredients, with directions on packing salads in advance to boot!) and wild rice salad with roasted squash (I never thought about sprouts as my salad green, but it works!  And a lovely balance of colors and flavors!).  With salads like these, it’s a trend that could stick.  Again, your favorite substantial salad fixings are welcomed!

I hope you enjoy one or two of those things like we have!  Photos next time.  Happy 2014!