dinner

So many meals to celebrate 30 years

My friends have long teased me about “Ruth’s birthday month.” Honestly, the ribbing is well-deserved because over the years I have managed to celebrate my birthday which falls in the first week of November over the remaining weeks of the month; a couple of lunches one week, dinner and shopping the next week, brunch with family and cocktails with friends, sometimes a long weekend trip to a food destination too. The streak continued for quite a number of years and I basked in all the attention. Until finally my three adult children decided to sabotage my birthday month by each finding mates whose birthdays also fell in November! Can you believe the audacity? That they would dare to horn in on my birthday month so that we now must celebrate their spouses in the midst of my once-dominant four weeks of celebration?! LOL, I am so completely kidding. It was a very nice trade-off to gain three wonderful family members and give up my 30 days of celebrations.

But I rocked it for 2018, in commemorating our 30th anniversary with meal, after glorious meal. For this grand milestone, we managed to stretch the celebration for six months! Beginning in May, at a lovely Michelin starred restaurant in Barcelona, and ending last week in a long weekend trip in southern California, we’ve celebrated over some memorable meals along the way. The following are a couple of the highlights enjoyed most recently.

Anniversary Party at Venue Forty⎜50, Addison, Texas

Yes, we threw ourselves a party and my only culinary contributions were apple pie and a chocolate cake. It was such a fun evening with all of our children, parents, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews. The food was excellent and the venue staff could not have been more professional, helpful, or pleasant. We will definitely host another party here and I cannot more highly recommend the venue, owned and operated by Macklin’s Catering to all of you.

Uchi, Dallas, Texas

October 18 was our actual anniversary and after a long day of cooking a special menu for my customers, I was thrilled to be taken out to dine for the first time at the much-talked about sushi restaurant. Our server began the evening on a perfect tone when learning our newbie status, by asking if we would allow him to construct a meal for us of his favorite menu items. As he had served there since their opening in 2015, and because he thoughtfully inquired about allergies and budget, we appreciated his offer and accepted. The evening was perfect and his selections flawless; we highly anticipate returning for another fabulous meal.

Fig + Olive, Newport Beach, California

Although this restaurant is owned and operated by a corporation, we quite enjoyed a delicious dinner beginning with 6 different crostini and ending with an anniversary flourless chocolate cake. The Fashion Island location boasts beautiful decor, impeccable staff and tasty meals. Added bonus: it was within walking distance from our hotel on a beautiful California evening, the perfect setting in which to end six months of celebrations.

Of course, the most remarkable thing about all of these parties, dinners and experiences is that I’ve been walking this life with my very best friend for over thirty years. I am so blessed. So very blessed and in awe that God could be so good. The travel is fun, the meals are pleasurable but it’s the relationship with this amazing man for which I am most grateful. I love you, JB; you’re my one and only forever. ❤️

Thursday Night Pasta

It was 4pm and I hadn't planned dinner...
My DH had asked for pasta this week and somehow the days got away from me and it was Thursday and I had yet to plate up his request. He called me when I was finishing up at the shop and made a suggestion. "How about if I grill salmon and you make some kind of light pasta to go with? Forget about the red sauce--just use what we have on hand." Being exhausted and given a free pass to avoid a stop at the grocery store, I jumped at his menu plan with both tired feet!

When I arrived home, I immediately raided the refrigerator for any and all available ingredients. This was the resulting dish and it was perfect with his smoky-lemon-butter salmon. 

Everything But The Fridge Pasta

Note: I am obsessed with this goat cheese, now available at my Costco! I eat it straight from the package and also with baguette toasts. 

All of this to say that I am grateful for my JB, who knows my heart...that my intentions are good but I don't always have the energy to pull my plans together without his assistance. 

Thursday night dinner: smoky-lemon salmon filet + everything but the fridge pasta

Thursday night dinner: smoky-lemon salmon filet + everything but the fridge pasta

Croutons 101

Why are we here today, ladies & gentleman? Because we love Bread in all of it’s delicious, crusty, chewy glory. But many of us are avoiding this marvel of yeast and wheat due to food allergies or fear of increased weight. For those that truly have an intolerance or even a life-threatening relationship with gluten, perhaps you should not read on. (Please consider transferring to another class, as Croutons 101 is not a good course for you.)

To my remaining students, I must confess that I too, have avoided pizza, crackers, hamburger buns, waffles, sandwiches, pretzels, and all other distant relatives to my very first addiction, Bread. I have blamed my slowed metabolism and increased pounds on bread, because I am not addicted to sweets. (I love a good piece of chocolate like every other red-blooded american girl but I don’t crave dessert.)

But in this course, we are going to learn to throw down our pre-conceived notions on the evils of bread. Instead, we will embrace the method by which I have learned to enjoy my favorite food in the world one nugget at a time.

Nunzio’s Croutons

 

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At this point, you may use the finished product to add crunch to any green salad or to float on top of a cup of soup. But feel free to do as I do and save some in a plastic bag to enjoy as a mid-afternoon snack when I am craving the bread that I denied myself at the restaurant we went to for lunch because I wanted to be good and not eat a sandwich. Deep breath. Repeat after me. Bread is not my enemy!

There are several other crouton recipes that I employ throughout the year. I make a bruschetta-type crisp for caesar salad, a buttery version for BLT salad and a cheese & cornbread beauty for tomato soup. The possibilities are endless. Croutons are also a good use of that beautiful whole-grain loaf that you purchased at the Farmers Market but forgot to eat and now the outside of the bread is kinda hard. (Or, throw chunks of it in the food processor and pulse until you have homemade breadcrumbs. Store in the freezer until you need them!)

In all seriousness, there is nothing like a great piece of warm bread, spread with salted butter or dipped in extra-virgin olive oil. So even though I will pop a few croutons to satisfy a craving in a week when I am cutting down on carbs, I also will ask for another basket of bread at Lucia because it is so soul-satisfying. <3

In Pursuit of Patience

For the month of June, I’m finally getting around to calling out my problem with impatience. As evidenced by the pained look that appears on my face when I’m standing in the express line behind a woman writing a check. Even worse than the fact that I am utterly impatient is the fact that you can read it on my face. So I’m going to try to take calming breaths and assume a look of peace and tranquility.

But beyond my impatience with every day tasks, driving conditions and snail mail, I really need to learn to wait on life. On God to answer prayers. On solutions to dilemmas that will only be solved with time. I must acquire peace through stillness and inactivity. And. This. Is. So. Hard.

Sometimes we think we can make things happen quicker. That if we line up all the chickens, we will be flush in eggs. That if I pray the same prayer every morning, I must get the answer I am desiring. Unfortunately, we are NOT always in control and God may have a different plan. In June, I will try to let go of my expectations about timeframe, and even more difficult to do, let go of my demands for the outcome. I know I will find peace in this act of faith.

This doesn’t mean I will discontinue my prayers and hopes. As long as I’m not impatient and demanding and can remain peaceful. And that’s where I hope to be.

I hope that many of you are around this week to enjoy our fabulous menu. We will be cooking all of June and will be sporadic for most of July, then close completely for two weeks at the end of July and first part of August.

White Wine Romance

Summer has arrived in all of it’s hot, steamy glory. Everything changes for this season. If you have school-aged children, they will transition to camps, activities, summer jobs, or just sleeping in late. Schedules relax a bit with meals at odd times. The patterns of what we eat may change also; some of you may grill every other meal, never turn on the oven, or eat mainly cold food straight from the refrigerator. And beverages! Summer means lemonade, iced tea, frosty beer, sangria, mojitos, and frozen margaritas.
If you’re like me, on a summer evening after work or play, there’s nothing like a beautiful chilled glass of crisp white wine.

{The chilled glass is essential—JB fills mine with ice and adds water to get the melt going. When the glass is chilled just right, he often offers the water to me to drink before dumping the ice to replace it with wine. Gotta hydrate, am I right?}

I have enjoyed many a robust red in my time. Cabernet Sauvignon with my steaks, and Pinot Noir with my Thanksgiving turkey. I like Chianti with my Italian meals and a nice Malbec with brisket. But I always considered white wine as a warm weather beverage that must only accompany chicken, seafood, and meatless dishes.

However, as of late I find that white wine doesn’t give me a headache or make me sleepy. I can consume several glasses without getting tipsy and let’s all agree, it can be sooooooooo refreshing. So I must confess that I have transitioned to a year-round white wine drinker. Sometimes I go against all conventional thought and enjoy a Sauvignon Blanc with WHATEVER I’m eating!

Turns out I’m not the only woman trending this direction in wine consumption. I recently read a Wall Street Journal article titled “Why More Women Are Siding with White Wine“ and found I am not alone in choosing the lighter version of the grape’s bounty. Many females cite health issues as their reason but a lot of women just prefer the refreshment quality of the whites. Click here to read the article and see the author’s picks for 5 good bottles to feed a white-wine addiction.

And armed with this justification (hey! it’s the Journal!) I will continue down my white wine path into these hot summer days and beyond! :)

Blowing kisses in May

By golly, I’m going to get my act together. If my resolution in May doesn’t shape me up, it’ll kill me for sure. So, first my confession: I’m a bit of an aggressive driver. Impatient to a fault. Lead-foot. Not a tail-gater, but have been known to talk to the driver in front of me, gesturing with uplifted hands, smacking my head, hoping they are looking in their rear view mirror to register my annoyance, disgust or anger.

Well, this month my goal is to gesture in a completely different way when I’m cut off or delayed by the very cautious motorist in front of me. For May, I will try to blow a kiss to the subject of my irritation and utter this saying “I hope you arrive safely and on time to your destination.” I will attempt to murmur this blessing every time I feel the need to scream silently or when I feel my blood boil in righteous indignation.

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This may be my most difficult change to date. Please send help.

But seriously, if I can accomplish this goal, how much better will the roads be?! If we could all send out blessings instead of curses, the energy around us would completely change to a positive force of synchronized oneness from which all love would abound…yeah, right. Sorry, that’s just silly talk. Life is well, life. It’s messy and dirty and can be negative and ugly. For now, I’ll just be happy to change the 6’x6’ atmosphere inside my ride to a place of peace. Most of my commutes to the kitchen or the big box store are short and SURELY, I can blow kisses and whisper blessings for the 15 minutes I’m in the car each way.  I hope. I’ll try. Pray for me. :)

At the end of this week, we honor our mothers, whether honorary, adoptive, by birth, or by action. I am so blessed by my mom, Sadako, who brought me into the world and continues to be a Godly inspiration of sacrifice and service, and by Jeanette. my mother-in-law, a woman of limitless patience and discretion. I wish I could hug them both on Sunday and tell them in person what they mean to me, but a phone call will have to do. Be sure to tell your mother figures how important they are to you this week and as often as possible.

I have a special menu for those of you who want to make Mom’s day easy and tasty—you can find it here. If you are a mother on my list, know that I admire and respect you in your tireless devotion to your families.

Blessings and car kisses,

Ruth

Planting Seeds in March

The Greenhouse of the Heart

If thoughts are seeds, what will you plant? As intelligent beings, we are most decidedly in control of the thoughts that cross our minds. Sure, a random thought can pop into the consciousness but where it goes from there…down a negative turn or an optimistic scenario is completely up to us. For example, my son was interviewing for a position in a new company and he had a very encouraging meeting. However, when he received the phone call informing him the company was choosing another candidate, he could have been filled with self doubt. Instead, he chose to be optimistic stating that the process had been a good learning experience. “Moving on!” he told us.

So let’s think of our hearts, which are swayed by our minds, as a greenhouse to be filled with lovely, growing things. And maybe one morning you spend a few moments recalling blessings and those thoughts produce roses. Whereas time spent dwelling on past disappointments create weeds that attack healthy plants.

For March, I’m going to work on filling my greenhouse with flowers, fruits and tender green grass. “Sow seeds of hope, enjoy optimism. Sow seeds of doubt and expect insecurity.” Max Lucado

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sow-seeds-704x396

How to plan a perfect date night

Step 1.Choose your date. Whom should you take? Well, obviously- your best friend or soul mate, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, daughter, son, any of these will do. And sometimes if you’re very fortunate, the person qualifies for 3 of these descriptions.

Step 2.Choose a day. Now that we are empty nesters, we like Thursday. It starts the weekend, without the crowds and we are always relaxed near the end of the work week. But Saturday is good too. Or Sunday. Or Monday. Finding a day that will work for both of you is key!

Our date night this past week

Our date night this past week

Step 3. Choose your venue. It can be the pizza parlor around the corner or the swanky steak place on Oak Lawn (this was our date this week thanks to a most generous patron). You can take a picnic to the Arboretum or White Rock Lake. Pick a place you’ve never been or one of your old favorites.

Step 4.Commit to putting your phones away while you’re out together. Be present in the moment.

Step 5. Eat a little or eat a lot. Drink a little or drink a lot (Uber required). Laugh. Talk. Whisper. Conspire.

Step 6. (optional)Dance, with or without music. In the parking lot or in the car—yes, you can chair dance in the car—it’s fun! On your front porch, in the bedroom, in the foyer with the kids watching. Dancing is an added bonus to the date experience.

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We all have busy lives but take time to plan a date night this week; you won’t regret it. And for the other nights of the week, I have some delightful menu options for you…see the menu tab above.

Red wine + Chocolate

Could there be a better match made in heaven? I mean seriously. Forget about coffee with dessert—I adore dark chocolate with a glass of red wine or port. So why not combine the two? Have you tried Red Wine Hot Chocolate?!

I made a batch for Boxing Day and it was a straight-up treat. So rich and creamy and can I say it? Sexy. This is the perfect beverage to serve your sweetheart after dinner this week. And according to our Dallas forecast, Tuesday (Valentine’s Day) has 100% chance of rain so this lovely, warm drink will make your toes all cozy too.

Red Wine Hot Chocolate

Serves 4

2.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups whole milk

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup fruity red wine, such as Merlot, Shiraz, or Zinfandel

Whisk the chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium saucepan. Add the milk and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until hot and smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salt.

Remove from the heat and add the wine. Divide among 4 small glasses or mugs, (or 2 large!) garnish with a cinnamon stick and a dusting of cocoa powder, if desired, and serve. (recipe adapted from thekitchn.com)

Speaking of romantic meals, my husband and I don’t really go out to dinner for Valentine’s Day. The crowds are crazy, service is often sub-par and the food is predictable. We like to cook dinner together on nights when all the other couples are struggling to get out on the streets . One year we made lobster risotto and some seared sea scallops with champagne-butter sauce. Another time it was Barolo braised short ribs with pimento cheese polenta. This year I’m feeling Italian—because I think it’s romantic. I want to open a nice bottle of chianti and share a big plate of spaghetti & meatballs a la Lady & the Tramp! I’ll snap a picture for y’all… Hope you too have a fun, safe and delicious week!

lady and the tramp

lady and the tramp

Love, hate, crave - the intensity of food relationships

Broccoli, broccoli, wherefore art thou broccoli?
Ah, chocolate, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Pork chop loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not…

So I am on about day 20 for Whole30. I decided to try this health reset plan for January because 1) I way-over indulged during the holidays and desired not to drink wine/spirits for 30 days; 2) my daughter & son-in-law were also participating…you know, strength in numbers; 3) I wanted to see if the change in diet would affect my rheumatoid arthritis; and 4) let’s be honest: although it is not truly a “diet” I was hoping to shed a few pounds.

Surprisingly, the shift in my food choices has not been as difficult as I’d anticipated. It was not easy to eliminate the cream from my coffee (and I use half & half because what’s the point if you use that weak milk stuff?) but that suffering only lasted for 2 days and now I’m okay with black. We had already been trying to incorporate more vegetables into our daily meals so that was cool. I think the hardest thing has been to make sauces and dressings that didn’t use any soy, sugar or unacceptable fats but once I stocked my pantry with the funky staples that are utilized in so many of the W30 work-arounds, it’s been easy to whip up what I need to make a salad or recipe delicious.

I’m not sure if I’ve lost much weight. Probably a few pounds but one benefit that I had not anticipated and is a huge plus: my blood pressure has come down. Although throughout my adult life my bp has been almost vampire low, in the last year, it has spiked dangerously. My doctor had prescribed meds but I found they made me put on even more weight so I was avoiding the pills. But in two weeks time, my readings have ticked down to an acceptable level!

So now I’m a little afraid. Of wine. Of cheese. Of sugar. Of grains. Of soy. Will I learn to love my waffles again? Have I said goodbye forever to sushi rolls and chocolate chip cookies? Nah. Because just as in real-life relationships, the key to a satisfying, healthy relationship with food is moderation. So I will be back enjoying a cheese plate and a glass of wine with my husband on Friday nights. But I’m going to continue making extra veggies to fill our plates. I may even try to maintain Whole30 compliant meals during the week with a return to a “regular“ menu on the weekends. And honestly, I’ve been so impressed with the recipes that my daughter and I have found and creatively put into our weekly menus that I’ll make them again. The Whole30 Cookbook is filled with many delicious (albeit labor-intensive in many cases) meals so I will continue to cook from it.

I love food. Period. Though it’s not the center of my life, it should be the vehicle by which I add nutrition to my being and if I derive pleasure as well, then that’s a bonus. So what am I craving most after the end of these 30 days? Stay tuned…

 

Real Life Kitchen Adventures

Our college sophomore is just now heading back to school this weekend. His break was nice and long—four weeks to hang with friends, eat a lot of home cooking, chill out and even squeeze in a ski trip. He made the most of the time and is headed back to TCU ready for the semester, albeit not quite as excited as he was in August.

Snowboarding &amp; GoPro, such a multi-tasker

Snowboarding & GoPro, such a multi-tasker

His fraternity brother has a home in Park City, Utah, and my son joined his buddy and 3 other friends for the coldest, powder-filled week he has ever had. What an adventure! Snow-boarding through pristine powder and filming it on a camera is an experience I can only imagine. I jokingly told my friends that I wish I had his life. And I have heard that same sentiment from many other parents. Our children have access to amazing experiences and adventures that we did not have in our youth.

Tres amigos

Tres amigos

However, I don’t really want his life. I kind of like mine. After all, his ski trip was just one week but every week I get to have Kitchen Adventures! Like refilling my gigantic rolling flour bin with a 50 pound sack of flour and spilling about 5 pounds on the floor. Or, locking myself out of the kitchen and having to run around the building to get in. Or, pouring the wrong kind of broth into a pot pie gravy and scrapping it to start over. These are real life adventures, people!

Just this past holiday season the Butterfield Gourmet team and I: rolled out 82 pie crusts in one week; shipped 212 gift boxes around the country; made 106 pounds of savory nuts, 76 pounds of chocolate bark, 852 caramel bars, and 68 pounds of pecan pie bar candy; baked 36 chocolate-pumpkin breads; rolled out and baked to buttered perfection 22 dozen dinner rolls. Mmmm-mmm, those were the best!

Thanksgiving dinner rolls

Thanksgiving dinner rolls

So I want to thank each of you, my loyal and hungry customers, for giving me the joy and pleasure to experience so many kitchen adventures in 2016. I obviously love what I do and I look forward to another year of excitement, peril, and delicious adventures with you via Butterfield Gourmet.

So very thankful for turkey, pie and family

Serious pic

Serious pic

The past two weeks are a blur. I do remember baking a lot of pies. And sides. And buttered rolls. And we entertained a crowd…not unmanageable, but still a crowd.

It was a lovely Thanksgiving at our house, with three of the Butterfield boys and their families gathered to talk food, sports and life. I had a fantastic crew in the kitchen—my daughter, daughter-in-law and a brother-in-law were all huge helps and I could not have managed the meal alone. It was an ambitious menu with so many sides…

2 Roasted Turkeys with Hard Cider Gravy

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with brown sugar crumble

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potato Casserole

Maple Glazed Carrots

Skillet Green Bean Casserole

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cornbread Croutons

Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower Gratin

Traditional Bread Dressing

Mushroom & Parmesan Savory Bread Pudding

Kale Salad with Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Seeds

Cranberry Citrus Relish

Buttered + buttered rolls

Thankfully, the clean-up team did not disappoint either. There were cousins running every which way to clear the table, wash and dry dishes and take out the mounds of recycling. (so many bottles!)

What a blessing to be surrounded by people you love at any time of the year! It was so nice and I hope that each of you had your own version of Thanksgiving joy around the table.

Because Thanksgiving came early this year, I have one last weekly menu before the holiday crush. Once December arrives, my team and I will be madly baking, boxing and mailing gifts across the country for orders. We would love to fulfill your gifting needs as well so be sure to get your orders in as soon as possible. Gifts are online now!

This Saturday, we will have a booth at the Jesuit Christmas Bazaar from 9am – 5pm. Please stop by and say hi! We are working hard to have lots of product to sell on the spot. We’ve come up with some not-to-be-missed specials just for the Bazaar and it’s all live on the ordering site and effective through Saturday only, so check it out here.

Silly pic

Silly pic

Gobble, gobble! Don't be a turkey and miss your chance for Thanksgiving pies and sides

For all of my rambling about being organized, I must confess that I have not yet planned the menu for our family feast. It will take a little time for me to review what I’ve served in years past and which things I want to repeat and the new dishes I want to introduce.

But what are you serving? That’s the real question. If you’d like Butterfield Gourmet’s help with pies or sides, please visit the online store to order, asap. I would love to have your orders by Thursday at 5pm but the absolute deadline is Friday at noon.

If you were not able to stop by one of our tasting events, let’s talk pie! Our all-star options include, but are not limited to:

- Salted Caramel Pie is a decadent dulce de leche in a graham cracker crust and pretty piped whipped cream on top. – Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline takes the tried and true one step further with a sweet topping. (best seller) – Chocolate Custard Pie belongs on every Thanksgiving buffet because someone always needs a bite of chocolate. – New Mexican Apple Pie brings a savory note to piles of apple slices with green chile and pine nuts. Want to bring something different? This is your pie. – Chocolate Pecan Pie with Salted Caramel is almost too beautiful to eat but don’t miss the dark chocolate filling studded with toasted pecans.

pies as far as the eye can see

pies as far as the eye can see

See the rest of our goodies online and place your order today! (Please.)

For this week’s dinner table, I have all favorites planned for you. Making menu items that I know you all love and that I have made many times will ease my team’s transition into preparing Thanksgiving sides and pies for the coming week. Because of the busy days ahead, I’m asking that all menu orders be placed by Tuesday at noon, even if you are not picking up until Thursday. Thank you for your cooperation!

Check out the menu here (pickup times are listed on this document as well). Order online here. Please order Thanksgiving items separately from the week’s menu. Call me with questions at 214-675-1932. I am thankful for each of you! But…I gotta run now, I have a menu to plan!

November is the best...

Today is Honey’s birthday. An honorable day to be sure! 8 people years/ 56 dog years and still holding strong.

Honey &amp; James, 2010

Honey & James, 2010

November was once my favorite month because of my birthday; in my childhood days, I looked forward to this month because I could not wait to turn another year older. Ha! Stupid, youthful, Ruth—you never dreamed you would begin to hate gaining another year! But these days, I love November for a whole new set of reasons.

Firstly, my married children (3 out of 4) have all wed individuals with November birthdays. I often joke that I hate sharing my birthday month (you know, celebrations all month long—it’s a thing) with them but it just makes these 30 days all the more special.

Second, the weather will definitely turn this month. Cool, almost cold nights and crisp mornings that smell like damp leaves, cozy sweaters, fireplaces burning, warm cider simmering on the stove, pies baking in the oven, all of the senses are involved in the changing of the season.

Third, Thanksgiving is one of my all time favorite holidays. We host a crowd at our house and eat So. Much. Food. Card games are played (Oh Heck is a family tradition) and puzzles are assembled. We’ll take pictures, trying to secure the Christmas card image. Oh, and the Turkey Trot is definitely happening. It’s all family goodness packed into a couple of days. And it’s all about giving thanks because we have so much to be thankful for in this country.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie

Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie

Let’s do this, November! I’m ready.

Thanksgiving items are available to order online. Please order these items separately from your weekly menu items. Also making their debut at the online site are the Holiday goodies. Feel free to add these at any time, but keep in mind that for the gift boxes & platters, we may need more notice than 24 hours.

We have a great soup on the menu this week and breakfast is available to order through Sunday. I am here for your questions – Ruth 214/675-1932.

Picky eaters of the world unite!

True confession: I was you. My pickiness was legendary among our relatives and my mother’s circle of friends. “Ruthie is so picky! She won’t eat pancakes or eggs or ham sandwiches!” My mother, ever intent on getting substantive food down my esophagus, would warn that she would reheat my breakfast at lunchtime if I didn’t finish the morning meal. I perfected the chew-then-spit-in-napkin move to the point it was undetectable even by my brother, who loved to watch me like a hawk. I was a pro.

Obviously, I haven’t been a picky eater for years. All of those “no thank-yous” of the past have become “yes, please” and “more, please!” Much to the detriment of my figure. Do you realize that your metabolism rate decreases 5% every year after the age of 35? How are we supposed to combat nature working against us?!!

But back to the subject at hand: individuals with narrowed taste preferences. There really is no formula to creating adventurous young eaters. In my parents’ house, we were berated to clean our plates because it was a crime to waste food. Conversely, when my children were young, without pressure, I constantly made a variety of foods so that they became accustomed to always eating something different. But the outcome was the same from my upbringing to my brood. We all love food and try almost anything and everything. We associate good meals with family, comfort and communicating. If there is a celebration to be had, it’s going to involve a great dinner.

So be patient with your picky eaters—they’ll come around eventually. And if they decide never to eat coconut, pickled herring or raw onions, cut them some slack. Take it from a reformed picky eater, some things are still worth avoiding!

Cowboy Pot Pie

Cowboy Pot Pie

SAVETHE DATE: Holiday sides, pies & gift tastings will be on November 3-4. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to try our line-up of yummy offerings for your Thanksgiving & Christmas tables as well as gourmet gifts to make your life so easy in December.

I miss you, Mom

My mother’s birthday is September 25.
I’ve talked about Sadako before on my blog and she is one remarkable lady. But I have to share something interesting that I have recently realized about our relationship.

I enjoy spending time with my mom.

There. I said it. Isn’t it funny how our relationships go through phases and evolutions?

As a child, I remember that I worshipped my mother thinking she was the most beautiful woman in the world with shiny black hair, perfectly shaped hands and pretty, delicate feet. As a teenager, my go-to expression was an eye-roll whenever she used an incorrect word or embarrassed me in front of my friends with her famously grumpy demeanor.

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When I became a mother and began cooking for my family, she was a great resource for shopping tips, basic cooking techniques and laundry advice. And no one can wrangle a baby like Sadako. Need your 7-month old to sleep through the night? Don’t know how to wean your 12-month old? She’s the grandma for the job.

Somewhere along the years, I began teaching her recipes. She asked me for advice on menu planning. I shared tips I’d learned about folding sheets or watering her favorite house plants.

And now this year, after visiting with her twice – once in her home in Albuquerque and the next here in Dallas – I find that I want to spend more time with her. Maybe I finally know her. Really know her. I see the sweet way that she cares for my dad and how she still worries about him. I hear her sensitivity in the way she defends her husband’s little quirks or stubbornness. And it makes me want to be with her more. So I miss you, Mom. I hope to see you again soon. Happy 78th birthday!

I’m really going to rock your world this week! First, you are receiving this menu a day early – woohoo!! Start planning your week now. Second, I am featuring not one but two breakfast options!! I remember how challenging it was to feed those kiddos before they went out the door in the morning. What goes in their stomachs before a long, crazy day can make all the difference between great moments and disasters. The only rule I will apply here is that if you’d like to order the breakfast item(s), I need the order by Sunday night, regardless of when you’d like to pick up. I will make limited quantities so once they gone, they GONE. (slang)

This week we are bidding farewell to summer heat; fall is here officially, so get on outta here, 90+ temps! The menu is a tribute to summer flavors that were lovely — peaches that highlight simple chicken cutlets, zucchini noodles again, and bright, tart raspberries. I hope you’ll find something to please your families.

As always, I’m here if you have questions, concerns or suggestions. -Ruth 214-675-1932

Here’s the menu. Order online here. I truly appreciate you when you get your order in early! At a minimum, please order by 10am the day prior to your pickup and be sure to provide your cell number. Pickup schedule at 9800 Preston Road is as follows:

Tuesday 2-4pm
Wednesday 12-5pm
Thursday 11-4pm
Friday 11-2pm

There's no place like home

After two weeks on the road, I’m ready to be home for a while, that is, until we head to Ft. Worth for family weekend on Friday! John and I like to play this game when we visit other areas of the country. We get out and see what the city/town has to offer, explore and exercise, try the cuisine and restaurants and then we ask each other- could you live here? Each location has it’s own charms; we had some lovely hikes in the hills of south Denver on crisp, dry mornings. The sunrises in Colorado are just spectacular. Las Vegas’ crazy night life and casino haunts are a freak show that cannot be described. It is impossible to be bored in this city that never sleeps. However, after our journeys, usually we conclude that Dallas is home and we wouldn’t move from where we are now.
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But truthfully, to quote a cliche, home IS where the heart is. So I could relocate anywhere in this wide world as long as we could be together. So I’m glad to be home. In my house. With my husband. And the dog. And a busy fall schedule. Cooking for you all.

There are new items on the menu this week! The pot pies are your favorites but the entree is a new meatloaf which I highly recommend enjoying the first night and later too… there’s a bean salad that would make a great side dish for the meatloaf, a new chilled, silky soup with just a touch of decadence, a main salad that works fantastically for lunch with the bread bonus on the side and a lovely, fruit galette to satisfy your sweet craving.

As always, I’m here for you if you have questions, concerns or suggestions. Have a great week! -Ruth 214-675-1932

Check out the menu at the tab above. Order online here. Please order by 10am the day prior to your pickup and be sure to provide your cell number. Pickup schedule at 9800 Preston Road is as follows:

Tuesday 2-4pm
Wednesday 12-5pm
Thursday 11-4pm
Friday 11-2pm

*****We sadly remember the tragedy of September 11, 2001, when so many American lives were lost in an attack on our nation. Our prayers continue to be with the families of all who lost their loved ones in a senseless moment of violence.*****

Ah, to be a toddler again!

Just a few days with babies and you remember how much work was involved in raising your own! I was so fortunate to steal a few days in Colorado to meet the newest member of our family, Theo Shepherd, born August 16 (12 days late) and at a whopping 9 lb 15 oz. Theo joins Ivy Grace (3yr 8mo) and Penny Ella (1yr 10mo) in demanding the attention of their ever-patient parents, Bryan & Stephanie.
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We Snapped my other kids, watched “bideos” and ate snacks, snacks and more snacks. Ivy also managed to decorate her sister with markers before Mommy & Daddy woke up one morning. Stephanie just laughed, because really, what else can you do? There’s a lot of energy in their house; one minute it’s joyful and the next it appears as though the world might end. And with a newborn thrown in the mix (eating machine), there seems to be no end to Mommy’s duties.

Wanting to be useful, I was lucky to babysit so Bryan & Stephanie could attend a friend’s farewell dinner, though sweet Theo tagged along. I made dinner for the girls, including a completely different meal for me. Then we watched a movie. THEN we ate popcorn. And then it was time for bed. When I staggered downstairs at 8:30pm, I must admit I. was. wiped. out. But it was all good, a lot of fun and for the evening, tear-free! In other words: SUCCESS!

Sometimes I forget how much a toddler CANNOT do for herself. An adult must feed, bathe, change and dress her. She may be able to play, socialize and nap without assistance but that’s even questionable on occasion! I’ve got the feeding thing down but must admit that I am a little rusty in all of the other areas.

So back to my quiet life I go, but happy to continue to feed all of you! It’s another short one because I’m off for some adult recreation late in the week. I’ll be back to full schedule September 12 with new & exciting (I hope) menu items. See the Menu for Sep 5, 2016 here. Order online here. Please order by 10am the day prior to your pickup and be sure to provide your cell number. Pickup schedule at 9800 Preston Road is as follows:

Tuesday 3-5pm (order by 10am Monday)
Wednesday 2-5pm (order by 10am Tuesday)

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Good Ole Dr. Knapp

Our children had the best pediatrician for many years, Dr. Roger Knapp. I cannot forget his kind words to me when I was a new mother and was in his office for a well child checkup. He checked the baby over, discussed developmental milestones and then he said to me, “Well, I think she’s just doing amazing. Tell me: do you have any advice I can pass along to other mothers? Because you’re doing a wonderful job with your newborn.” I think I realized even then that his goal was to imbue me with confidence because most new mothers are full of doubt, but it still felt so good to hear these words from him.
Dr. Knapp always had nuggets of wisdom to share and he frequently discussed the emotional stages that the children would pass through at each checkup. When my daughter was a pre-teen we discussed peer pressure and body image. He told her to go to the mall, sit on a bench and people watch. If she could find 5 girls that she would gladly trade bodies with, he wouldn’t believe it. Then he turned to me and said, “You too, Mom.” Because we are all plagued by self-doubt and negative body image.

IMG_6458Dr. Knapp had walls and walls of patient pictures. If you sent him a family Christmas card or a graduation announcement, a school picture, it went up on the wall. Every time we visited his office, we would search for our family’s pictures. The kids would laugh – “you looked like a dork that year!” They really enjoyed seeing themselves in his hall of fame.

One thing my children will never forget: Dr. Knapp’s awful, corny jokes. He told so many Aggie jokes — it was his Alma Mater — and physical puns. We would groan and laugh appreciatively.

And he was a big proponent of family meals. Dr. Knapp insisted that children who sat at a table for dinner and talked with their siblings and parents were more intelligent, had better vocabularies and were most likely to be articulate! He was a wise man and I almost cried when I took my son to see him for his final checkup at 18 and his nurse told me “this is it. Dr. Knapp doesn’t see them after they go to college.” But we were so blessed to have him with us every step of the way while raising these children.

I love to reminisce about special people who have touched my life or that of my family, and sometimes I fear that if I don’t write about a memory that I may forget the impact they’ve had on us. So thanks for indulging my trip down the lane….

The pickup schedule is abbreviated this week as I am headed to Colorado to meet someone very special! And next week will be short as well because I have a mini-vacay with my one-and-only so I plan to post that menu on the online store pretty quick.

Remember that if you have any questions about the menu or how this works, email me. Call me. Text me. 214-675-1932

Check out the Menu for Aug 29, 2016. Order online here. Please order by 10am the day prior to your pickup and be sure to provide your cell number. Pickup schedule at 9800 Preston Road is as follows:

Tuesday 2-5pm (order by 10am Monday)
Wednesday 2-5pm (order by 10am Tuesday)

Sweet Child of Mine

So our boy went back to school this weekend and while the thought made me sad leading up to Saturday, I didn’t cry any tears upon our departure. On the drive to Ft. Worth, my son played appropriate songs for my distraction and enjoyment—the playlist included some George Strait hits and notably Andrea Bocelli’s “Time to Say Goodbye,” “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds and Guns & Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine!” I couldn’t cry for laughing so hard. He’s going to have another great year as a Horned Frog.
But I have to share with you a poignant list from my dear friend’s post on Facebook that absolutely hits a homerun in describing why moms cry when they take their babies off to college. Sniff.

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Below is a brief summary of survey results, specifically the answer that pertained to the menu…

#5 – I think the weekly menu
a. Has too many choices…....................0%
b. Is nicely varied, keep it up…............85%
c. Favorites available all the time….....15%

The comments that were added included requests for

-smaller meals for smaller families
-more salads
-vegetarian options
-low-carb options
-different recipes

I have heard you and I aim to please. You may have noticed the past two weeks’ menus have included two salad options and the response has been good. This week I’m down to one salad because I snuck a yummy summer soup in… there are also notations for gluten-free (GF) and vegetarian (V) menu options. If you are interested in smaller portions, you must follow the link to order online where you have the option in some cases to choose a half-size entree item.

One other item of note for this week’s menu – if you’ve seen the Spiralizer that was trending earlier this year – the pasta salad features Zucchini Noodles AND Pasta Noodles for all of the zoodle-noodle-kit-and-kaboodle fun you can handle!!!

As always, I’m here for you if you have questions, concerns or suggestions. Have a great week! -Ruth 214-675-1932

Check out the menu at the above tab. Order online here. Please order by 10am the day prior to your pickup and be sure to provide your cell number. Pickup schedule at 9800 Preston Road is as follows:

Tuesday 2-4pm
Wednesday 12-5pm
Thursday 11-4pm
Friday 11-2pm