Yum Hey What's for Dinner Mom?: Wow cooking is so cool+My Green White Elephant Gift Exchange


Wow cooking is so cool+My Green White Elephant Gift Exchange

I can cook! When did that happen? I mean it's been weeks of sickness, travel and recovery. I came home to everyone twittering about finalizing that Tday menu. Honestly I felt like a slacker. Today I called the usual suspects to make sure they were on for turkey. I took our sweet little home grown turkey out of the freezer to thaw. I shopped. I made a menu that is flexible to allow me to ditch things if it gets to be to much. I want to be thankful and relaxed. Which of course means Wednesday I will suffer a massive wave of guilt and try to make up for all my low key plans and totally flip out. Happens every year. Thankfully I'm used to it and I can probably live through it yet again. See there I go finding something to be thankful for.

For a while I have been perusing a Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. I love all the simple ways to prepare vegetables. We are trying to eat more vegetarian meals to get away from CAFO (concentrated animal feed operations) raised meat and this cookbook has lots of great ideas. I needed a kick in the pants jump start to get me cooking again and so I dove right into to this book and it's many bookmarked recipes. Today I chose to make a very simple borscht. I had a meeting at 4:30 so I actually prepared it ahead of time and when I came home I simply finished it with one last 15 minute simmer.

This soup is packed full of vegetables, enough so that I was afraid my kids might object. I solved that dilemma by serving dinner in candlelight. Its one of my old tricks of getting kids to eat something they might object to. I don't advocate tricking kids into eating vegetable or trying to hide them but sometimes a mom needs a trick up her sleeve and this one works every time. The candle light is so magical that they don't really worry about what's for dinner. Plus it's dark in the dining room so things that might be objectionable slip right by. Then the next time I serve the same meal I can remind them that they loved it last time. Works like a charm.

Borscht-From Mollie Katzen
1 1/2 cups potatoes, sliced
1 cup sliced beets, I used canned and skipped the initial cooking
4 cups water
2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon of dried dill
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 carrot chopped
4 cups of shredded cabbage
1 Tablespoon of brown sugar
1 Tablespoon of vinegar
1 cup tomato puree
dash of pepper

in a medium sauce pan bring the 4 cups of water to a boil, reduce heat add potatoes and sliced beets cook for 20 minutes or so
meanwhile in a dutch oven melt the butter over medium heat add the onions, salt and caraway seeds, cook for 8-10 minutes until the onions are translucent
when the the potatoes are done add 2 cups of the cooking water to the onions, add the dill, celery and the carrot, cook for 10 minutes
add the rest of the ingredients including potato and beet water
simmer for 15 minutes
top with sour cream and extra dill

I used canned beets in my version. I simply cooked the potatoes alone, then poured the beet juice in to the soup with the beets and the addition of the rest of the ingredients. I think it turned out fine. I do think though that it would be easier to eat if you pureed a third of the soup or so with an immersion blender.

What no fantastic borscht photos? Nope my crap camera finally died. If anyone has a good suggestion for a decent hardworking SLR camera that won't break the bank let me know, I'm in the market.

You are reading it here first: I am hosting a Green White Elephant Gift Exchange! With the economy the way it is who can afford one more present for a blogger gift exchange? I can't, but I sure do have some nice things that have been given to me that 'aren't quite me' and that I'd love to give to someone else. And what's more green than recycling a 'not quite me' present? Call it re-gifting. Call it recycling. Call it white elephant. Call it fun! Please join us as we celebrate a green earth friendly holiday season, re-gifters UNITE! To play along simply email me at jinxyjune@gmail.com and answer these questions:



mailing address


favorite color

5 things you love

5 things you despise

the best present you ever received

what are you most thankful for?

You have until December 1st to respond, then I'll mix 'em up and send everybody someone else. Please plan on shipping by December 10th so that they will arrive in time for Christmas. Also I need one or 2 little elves to help me spread the word and don't tell anyone but elves get extra entries into my 1 year blogoversary chocolate extravaganza giveaway on December 5th, contact me for information. So what are you waiting for, send me info for the exchange and start looking around for something really cool in your house that just isn't you.

Peace and Love,


  1. Love the meal... I will be back later to check out the elephant...

  2. Sometimes we all need a bit of inspiration to get us excited about cooking again - especially after being away from the kitchen for so long. This soup looks like just the ticket! And, I'm loving your candlelight trick. Wonder if that would work for my husband?! LOL

    I'm trying to simplify my Thanksgiving menu too ... but you know how families are ... they all want all of their favorite dishes ... every. single.year.!

    What a cool idea for a gift exchange, Laura! I'm going to look around and see if I have anything appropriate to send. :)

    Happy cooking this week!

  3. Once in awhile when we were little, we'd eat by candlelight too! I think the entire meal my brother and I were too concerned over who'd get to use the brass snuffer to put out the candles at the end of the meal. Gasp! Do you think my mom had the same trick as you!?!

    Awesome gift idea! Let me finish the pile of laundry from our trip, and then I'll dig around and see if I have any re-gift items worthy of entering the exchange. Awesome idea!!!! One question - are you limiting it to US only, or pair up foreign gifters?

  4. I love the candlelight idea. That's brilliant. Of course my wee ones still sadly wouldn't eat borscht (ok, I wouldn't either to be honest), but I'll have to remember that one. Soon.

  5. Dinner by candlelight- so romantic, even if it is beets :-)

    I'll email you. sounds like fun!

  6. You know what is funny -- I'm actually from Ithaca where the Moosewood restaurant is, and I've never been to it! I keep telling myself next time I go home...


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