Sweet Potato Chronicles - THE NEVER ENDING STORY OF THE WELL-FED FAMILY…

Pumpkin Week: Pumpkin in Every Meal

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We heard from a reader today who said they can't wait to make pump­kin frit­ters this week­end. Thanks so much for writ­ing in response to our corn­bread post. It's funny. When I was at FASHION mag­a­zine as the beauty direc­tor, I always won­dered if any one read our pages. In fact, I used to ran­domly stand up, pop my head out of my cubi­cle and, with a laugh, yell to my co-workers, "Does any one read this stuff?!" Obvi­ously, as the most read fash­ion mag­a­zine in Canada, lots of peo­ple read our pages. How­ever, when it's your fifth late night at the office and the 600 word story for a new mas­cara that you wrote, re-wrote, edited, cut and then cut two more times for space has bro­ken your spirit down to a nub you can't help but won­der if any one actu­ally stops to read a story. Your mind plays tricks on you. You won­der crazy things like, "Is all this labo­ri­ous activ­ity just for one bored soul in a doctor's office who actu­ally hates mas­cara? Or will peo­ple love the fact we've bro­ken down the tech­nol­ogy behind this prod­uct to give them a snap­shot of all the sci­ence that goes into the sim­ple tool."

I some­times have sim­i­lar moments with the blog. You write a post, pub­lish it and then pray it will help make a dif­fer­ence to someone's meal-time dilem­mas. What we learned at the mag­a­zine is most only bother to write when they're either really mad or really happy. Oth­er­wise, who has the time to say, "Hey, fyi, I'm going to do that!" As for­mer mag­a­zine edi­tors, Ceri and I com­pletely under­stand it's usu­ally an extreme emo­tion that moti­vates a response and, because we're busy par­ents, we do the same. I can't remem­ber the last time I wrote a com­ment just for the heck of it. So, to any one who is moved to write us, thank you so very much. We'll take the good and the bad because we know it mat­ters to you. And to the lovely reader who is mak­ing pump­ing frit­ters, I've been think­ing a lot about cre­at­ing a pump­kin frit­ter recipe so let me know how it goes with the one you're using.

Since we're guess­ing you all have a deficit of time but are lov­ing pump­kin right now, here are some more recipes from our archives. How­ever, don't let this list fool you, we've got way more. Just search pump­kin. In the mean­time, I highly rec­om­mend the pan­cakes. And please don't bother writ­ing to tell me you liked them too. You've got bet­ter things to do and I get that. Read more

Pumpkin Week: Spiced Pumpkin Skillet Cornbread

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You can't ignore the health ben­e­fits of pump­kin. It's why you may not want to just leave this fruit on your doorstep. Aside from the fact the vibrant orange orb is packed with beta carotene which is con­verted to vit­a­min A in your body and is respon­si­ble for boost­ing immu­nity and sup­port­ing eye health, your friendly neigh­bour­hood pump­kin also has a super­sonic dose of vit­a­min C. It is also stocked with fiber. If you want to hear more about its weight loss ben­e­fits and how it may help lower your risk of cer­tain can­cers you can check out this CNN article.

I have to admit that I'd rather visit the den­tist (um, sorry, to my beau­ti­ful den­tist, Nisha) then carve one of those sugar pump­kins. They're always so hard to cut and get­ting the guts out makes such a mess. I don't even like to do it on Hal­loween. Although, when it comes to soup and pasta dishes, you kind of can't repli­cate the flavour that comes from roast­ing. When I'm short on time (which is always) I use canned puree. Like here, for this recipe (and most of my bak­ing), I like to use canned but if you have some time and a sharp knife, carve a pump­kin and roast it with some olive oil then puree it in a food proces­sor. You won't be disappointed.

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Lunch Week: Broccoli Cheese Patties

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Laura and I have been think­ing a lot lately about the school year and the par­tic­u­lar chal­lenges it presents to par­ents. Because, let's be hon­est, it's not just our kids who have to tackle school, it's the whole fam­ily. There are so many mov­ing parts: the school run, or in our case, the school bus, get­ting kids, lunches, home­work, gym shoes and that freak­ing sci­ence project, all to school along with the child, the after school period of classes, team prac­tices, home work super­vi­sion and, yep, din­ner and lunch mak­ing so you can do it all again tomor­row. Frankly, it's bonkers. And even though we all signed up for bonkers we can still use some help, right?

This recipe is some help. I think this may be my new quiche. Long time read­ers of SPC know that I had a good, long run with mak­ing quiche for my kids' lunches but their affec­tions are wan­ing. Never mind, now we've got broc­coli cheese pat­ties to take their place. These are a great vit­a­min, carb, pro­tein combo that you make ahead, freeze and pull out as you need them. One or two pat­ties, along with some fruits and veg­gies and you've got a really great school lunch.

Oh, and here's that video we made about lunches again! More com­ing soon, I promise.

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Lunch Week: Turkey, Apple and Cheddar Quesadilla

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Ceri makes me laugh all the time. It's prob­a­bly why we work so well together. When you col­lab­o­rate for a small busi­ness, you often find your­self in the weeds, and if you can't laugh while you're in the weeds then you're just, you know, in the damn weeds. Recently, while work­ing on a doc­u­ment we were pass­ing back and forth by e-mail, Ceri wrote the line "Remem­ber that aver­sion you had to left­overs when you were sin­gle? Wasn't that cute?" in a sec­tion about din­ners that dou­ble as lunches. It wasn't just a funny line, it was so me! I used to be blasé about left­overs. (Oh, that stuff in the take-out con­tainer, sure I'll bring it with me. Maybe I'll eat it, maybe not.) I grew up in a fam­ily who believed in the impor­tance of good food and def­i­nitely didn't believe in waste. In fact, we have this inside joke with my par­ents that they'll eat any­thing, even if it's long (and I mean looooong) past its expi­ra­tion date, because they can't bear to throw any­thing out. There's also the fact they have stom­aches of steel. So it's pretty incon­gru­ent that I used to turn my nose up to left­overs as if they were a box full of bile.

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Apple Week: Apple, Cheese & Bacon Frittata

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What do you hear about your kid's day at school? Does the din­ner table Q & A about everyone's day get you very far? I used to feel like I knew every­thing about Esme's day as she was such a detailed reporter on the daily events at kinder­garten. In fact, I would let other par­ents know the scoop based on her accounts. But until recently, I never heard a lot about what other kids got in their lunches (even though I asked ALL THE TIME — have I men­tioned I'm competitive?).

**We inter­rupt this post to ask if you've seen our lat­est video? It's all about adding fruits and veg­eta­bles to school lunch recipes!**

With Julian it's a whole other story. Right out of the gate I was hear­ing every­thing about every other lunch at his lit­tle senior kinder­garten lunch table. Along with a healthy does of incredulity, I might add. "Pud­ding!" he yelled at me, the other day, "Sam gets pud­ding!" I hear about the big pieces of bread, the juice boxes, the candy (not sure I quite believe that one), the cook­ies, etc. What can I do? I've got to play my own game, that's all I can do. I'm try­ing to add some new recipes to my ros­ter, like this amaz­ing, sweet and salty frit­tata. It makes a great, light din­ner and then it packs really well into a lunch the next day. Who knows, maybe one of Julian's class­mates will yell over din­ner, "Frit­tata! Julian had frit­tata!" Read more