What’s for dinner Wednesday?

Summertime is just around the corner for us here in California! Something my husband and I love in the summertime? Artichokes – big, green, delicious! Our three year old is just getting into the fun of eating them, pulling the leaves off, dipping in a sauce, dragging the meat off with her teeth and tossing in the bowl. Not the mention how we all love to share our artichoke “hearts” with each other.
Trying an artichoke for the first time? Here is a basic how-to on cooking and eating artichokes:

Prep time: 15 minutes (including dipping sauce)
Cook time: 45 minutes

Prepping the ‘choke:
Some artichokes have little thorns on the end of the leaves to remove. Take kitchen scissors and cut off the tips on all the leaves.

Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke.

 

 

 

 

Rinse the artichokes in running cold water. I like to “open” the artichokes a bit. I do this by holding the base of the artichoke with the leaves facing toward the counter and giving it a couple of smacks until the leaves open some.

Cooking the artichoke:
In a large pot, place a steamer at the bottom. Fill water until it reaches the bottom of the steamer.  Place the artichokes all around the pot with the base on the bottom and the leaves facing up. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off.

Dipping Sauce

Some artichokes really don’t need any sauce at all. However, I included a link to several at the bottom. This one is my gold standard.
For two large artichokes
3 TBS Mayonnaise (we use sunflower oil mayonnaise)
1 ½  TBS Mustard (any kind of Dijon)
couple splash of lemon juice

Now the fun part!

How do I eat one?

Pull off outer petals, one at a time.

Dip white fleshy end in sauce. Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.

Continue until all of the petals are removed.

With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy “hair” covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.

Want to explore more ways to enjoy artichokes? The delicious vegetable has its very own web page:

http://www.artichokes.org/recipes.html

Let us know what your favorites are!

**Photos courtesy of Elise @ Simply Recipes**

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

Traveling Tuesday – Top List of Family Vacation Spots for 2011

Sometimes I think that I might have more fun planning our family vacations than I do when we are actually on them! I don’t really mean that but I do have a (very Type A) personality that loves all the coordination and planning that is involved in taking a family trip. Now, if you ask my husband he will probably tell you a different story.

I was doing some research for family trips suggestions and here is a list of places to visit this year (lists courtesy of Travel Channel & Yahoo travel):

Domestic

1.       Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort – Snowbird, Utah
2.       Tanque Verde Ranch – Tucson, Arizona
3.       Hilton Waikoloa Village – Waikoloa, Hawaii
4.       Kingsmill Resort – Williamsburg, Virginia
5.       Beach & Boardwalk – Wildwood Crest, New Jersey
6.       Out ‘n’ About Treesort – Takilma, Oregon
7.       La Costa Resort and Spa – Carlsbad, California
8.       Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Orlando, Florida
9.       Flight Simulator – Anaheim, California
10.   Bigfoot Zip line – Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

International: Just in case you are feeling a bit more adventurous!

1.       Paradise Island, Bahamas – Atlantis Resort and Casino
2.       Ixtapa, Mexico  – Club Med Ixtapa

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

Mama Monday – Getting back to it!

Losing baby weight….Ugh! In some ways I have had an easier time this go ‘round than with the first baby. To start with I only gained 38 pounds. With the first one I gained, 60! I have almost lost it all except for about 5 more to go but geez, everything is so squishy! Since it takes 9 months to go up, I figure I will be kind to myself and allow 9 months to come down…. So where did the last six months go?

With the thought of “bathing suit weather” and a couple of summer trips,  I am newly inspired to transform squishy to svelte or at least acceptable to frolic in the pool with the girls! Prior to their birth, if I wasn’t feeling my “hottest” I could fake it with wraps, sarongs, and cute cover-ups. I could lay perfectly positioned on the chaise lounge sipping a Mai Tai.. However, now I actually have to get into the pool and play with my girls.

Realistically, I only have three months and am still breastfeeding so no diet yet since personally, I don’t think it’s fair to the babes. So here is my plan:

Step 1: Find a partner in crime – an exercise buddy is essential for making me accountable. (Check!)
Step 2: Find low impact exercises to get things started. I have some residual issues from pregnancy/labor that haven’t allowed me to get back into my regular exercise plans.
Step 3: Do them! (I took a 90 minute yoga class yesterday so check!)
Step 4: Am scheduled to take a Zumba class tomorrow, Tuesday night, with said partner in crime!
Step 5: Continue to eat sensible meals and drink LOTS of H20!

Wish me luck!

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

4.6.11: What you could have for dinner Wednesday!

Each week I have every intention of putting together a meal planner that will help form the shopping list and organize dinners for the whole week….. Didn’t happen this week, again! But I have done it in the past.  Though it does take a bit of time in the beginning, once you have it in place it’s a time-saver.

What I have done recently is organize the recipes I’ve been pulling out of magazines for the past several years. I purchased six 1-inch binders and a packet of sheet protectors and separated recipes by type into each binder. For example: dinners, brunch, kids, and sweets. Honestly, once I had all the materials I needed this took me a couple of hours. But now I can go through each binder and pull the recipes that I will be using for that week. To gather ingredients for the week, in the past I would write out my grocery list. However, I recently discovered an awesome new app good for iPhone and Droid: Grocery IQ, and it’s free! This will let you do just about everything you need when it comes to grocery shopping aside from it doing it for you. Don’t want to type in each item? Included is a bar code scanner so in theory you don’t even need to write out a list of your reoccurring items. Just scan the empty package and it’s stored!

Once I have the week of recipes, I hang them on a hook in the kitchen with a list on the refrigerator of the menu for the week….this way if the husband gets home first and gets inspired he knows what can be made for dinner!

Now, if I could just find an app that would do the shopping, cooking, and cleaning life would be even easier!

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

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