Baked potatoes always remind me of being 13 in the back woods of Vermont. Unlike most of my friends, I opted for a less traditional camp experience. Instead of learning the merits of Color War mascot design or how to flat iron your hair after a day at the lake, my camp had ponies and chores and non-Jewish girls.
At horseback riding camp, we rose every day at 6am to get the ponies from the paddock. We slept in tents and had to sometimes hike ½ a mile to use the bathroom “facilities,” unless you wanted to pop a squat outside in the middle of the night. And care packages were strictly prohibited, which made sense, considering all it took to ravage our living quarters was one precocious raccoon who understood the concept of Velcro.
The food at Camp Catherine Capers was exactly what you’d expect. My most distinct memories are of the chocolate chip pancakes we got on Saturdays, which was the closest thing we ever got to sanctioned dessert. Our candy cravings were so great that the uber Catholic camp directors took to coercing the campers into attending church on Sundays by promising a dollar reward that could be spent at the penny store on black raspberry ice cream or 100 pieces of Sour Patch Kids. Obviously, without hesitation, I embraced Jesus for Jelly Beans. Continue reading
Risotto is one of my favorite dishes to teach in my cooking classes (along with paella and pilaf) because it’s gotten a bad rap over the years for being time intensive and difficult. Patience is definitely one of the key ingredients, and one that I rarely have in Sam’s Club sized supply. So luckily this vegan pumpkin risotto is as easy as risotto gets, using canned pumpkin instead of fresh to throw a bone to my laziest cooking self.
What makes risotto actually a rather great beginner dish is the stirring. For those who have more experience, this can be a meditative thing. But for those with insecurity at the stove, the fact that you can’t stir too much is rather helpful.
You can always sniff out an insecure cook by the number of times they feel compelled to poke, prod, or move the food in the pan. Have you ever seen the macho guy on the grill who moves the burgers every 2 minutes? And/or smushes them down with his spatula after each flip, as if to make sure every ounce of natural juices are leached out over the flames? Yeah. Continue reading
There are many aspects of my autoimmune disease that have made me feel like 29 going on 90. But more so than the inability to function on less than 8 hours of sleep, having to travel with several pill boxes on my person, and getting winded climbing a simple flight of stairs, what’s made me feel the most terrifyingly old is all the times I’ve thrown out my back.
Ironically, one of those times was last week as I was shooting photos of these banana birthday muffins. It’s ironic not just because it was a few days before I turned 29, but because I’ve had a Wellness Wednesday on back health on the schedule for over two months! Needless to say, the timing was eerily perfect. Continue reading