KHA_0913_2My friend Anna (of Lunch Box London fame) has worked in a lot of professional kitchens and has shared many time and effort-saving tricks with me since I have known her. Cooking with her is a pleasure — she cooks intuitively and creatively, has great taste and zero fear. Anna is also really efficient. If she can do something in two steps, no way she is going to take five. Or a burner on the stove. Or dirty an extra pan.

I am a complete convert to Anna’s low-effort method of prepping kale and other hardy greens:  Read More →

KHA_0776I make popcorn all the time.  Several times per week. It is a delicious snack that takes less than 5 minutes to make from start to finish. It is inexpensive, healthy and the ingredients are in my pantry whenever I need them. I know I am biased, but stovetop popcorn is so easy and delicious, why why why would anyone choose microwave popcorn?  Maybe it seems hard? Or bland?  Or maybe the “lite” popcorn has us convinced that regular popcorn is naughty? Well, stovetop popcorn is none of those things and it is dead easy.  Here are our go to tips for making stove top popcorn that will turn you forever from the chemical-scented imposter.

Read More →

oatmeal3

Everyone in our home headed back to work or school today.  The weather here has been grim, so we’re getting off to the right start with the most traditional of English breakfasts: porridge.  Except that I am American, and I call it oatmeal.  Sorry, porridge just sounds so dreary.  Either way, it’s so good for you with its whole grains and protein.  But all of that warming nourishment is wasted if it is gluey, gloppy and boring.

Here are some of my tricks for keeping it easy and manageable. Read More →

November always brings cornbread.  Not only is it delicious, but the early colonists actually learned to cultivate and mill corn (or maize) from the Native Americans.  This is seriously historical Thanksgiving food.  But making it here in the UK led me to unexpected ex-pat confusion: even though cornbread is a simple quick bread made with cornmeal, eggs and milk, it is hard to find traditional cornmeal most of the year.  At Thanksgiving a few shops that cater to ex-pats stock up on Jiffy and Quaker Oats, but the rest of the time the recommendation is to substitute polenta.  After a little trial and error, I’ve been fully converted and don’t plan to ever go back to the commercial brands of cornmeal.
Skillet Cornbread

Sweet conkers

Sweet conkers

Every September and October, the Fives come home with pockets full of chestnuts that have fallen from the trees in London. For weeks, I find them everywhere — school bags, shoes, buckets, drawers… In the face of my exasperation, and dodging the actual point I was making about hoarding, they informed me that these weren’t chestnuts at all. They are CONKERS. Silly mum. They even taught me the conker song:

Read More →

Five years ago, I was stuck in the hospital with preeclampsia, a magnesium drip and two preemies in the NICU.  My life has changed so much since then — homes, countries, employers, careers, hobbies — but these two little kidlets have been a constant grounding force for me.  Which is not to say they have been constant.  They seem to grow before my very eyes.  And they are always revealing details of their hysterical little personalities that we hadn’t seen before.

Read More →

DSC00097When I was growing up, we traveled to New Orleans a couple of times to visit family during Mardi Gras. We got all dressed up and staked out a prime spot along the parade routes. To help us little ones, my uncle attached a box to the top of two 5” ladders and my cousin and I relished our prized elevated perch. We could see right over the heads of the adults and yell “throw me sumthin’ mister” as the floats cruised slowly by. We came home exhausted and sorted through in our huge haul of beads and doubloons and trinkets. Read More →