Chinese lychee 036

I bought a 2-lb bag of these Chinese lychee off a fruit vendor on the street. When I’d asked him what they were, he responded that they were lychee nuts. I told him that they look nothing like the lychee that I’ve eaten before, but he said “Chinese lychee!” New York charm at its finest.

After eating a bunch of these, I finally decided to Google them, and they’re tough to find, even online. It’s clear why they’re less popular – they’re not nearly as sweet and juicy as their red counterparts. But the kids enjoyed peeling them and ate a few, so all in all, a reasonable success. But if I’m buying lychee again, it won’t be these ones.

ME: What are these called?

LAUREN: Lychee nuts!

ME: What do they look like?

LAUREN: They kind of look like a tiny basketball.

ME: Sam, what do you think?

SAM: It looks like a stretchy thing.

LAUREN: A stretchy ball?

LAUREN: Oh, my God, is there a nut in it?

ME: Yes, but you’re not allergic.

LAUREN: Can I lick it?


LAUREN: Ew, I don’t like it.

EMMA: I like it!

ME: They’re kind of similar to the guineps.

LAUREN: Yeah, they are.

LAUREN: This tastes like an olive a little.

SAM: Actually when I lick it….

EMMA: (Crying)

ME: What happened? Did you bite it?

EMMA: (crying) Yeaaaaah.

ME: Did you hurt your tooth?

EMMA: (crying) Yeaaaaah.

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Stay in Touch




A nearly Wordless Wednesday. To the little guy with the big heart, goofy smile, and self-titled nickname “bad sister”, happy birthday. I love you. Looking forward to a special day together.

Sam_Rodney Sam_Jackson Sam_jumping Sam_lollipop Sam_park Sam_skateboard


Moosewood cookbook

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about whether to review, or not review. And I made the decision to help support authors, brands, products, and potentially even services that I use, and love.

It seems only fitting to start with a review of The Moosewood Collective’s latest cookbook: Moosewood Restaurant Favorites.

The Moosewood books hold a special place in my heart. When I first started to cook years ago, I collected as many Moosewood books as I could find. To me, the Moosewood Collective always seemed to embody the principles that I was just starting to embrace: healthy, conscious eating from local, organic farms and purveyors.


Although I’ve never been a pure vegetarian, I try to mix plant-based foods into my diet as much as possible. And lately, I’ve been loving the clean eating mindset even more than usual.

The Moosewood books have always been such a great resource – you’re just as likely to find a homegrown American dish as you are to find something inspired by the Middle East, Asia, or Africa. It’s multi-cultural cuisine at its best, healthy, a little off the beaten track, and always delicious.

When the Moosewood publishers reached out about reviewing their new book, I jumped at the chance. How could I not? This book brings me squarely back to my roots, I fondly remember flipping through soup-stained copies of New Classics, and Cooking for a Crowd, searching for inspiration for a dinner party or quiet meal at home.

And like the books that preceded it, this book doesn’t disappoint.

Let’s talk about optics first: the padded book cover trend. I don’t know who first thought of this – it might have been that other vegetarian genius Yotam Ottolenghi, whose book Plenty swept through home kitchens from coast to coast. But there’s nothing more comforting than crawling under the covers with a giant cookbook with a padded cover. It’s the little things, Moosewood, thanks for taking note.

There’s something for everyone in Restaurant Favorites, their attempt to catalog from thousands of recipes the tried-and-true techniques and must-include dishes from their 30-year history as one of America’s most beloved vegetarian restaurants.

Indonesian rice salad

The result from this process is a book that’s suitable for just about everyone. Novice cooks will appreciate easy recipes like the simple smooth guacamole, classic hummus, and pasta with a raw tomato sauce. Yet more advanced cooks with an appetite for adventure will welcome dishes like Rumbledthumps (it’s Scottish, and on my list of things to cook next) the Indonesian Rice salad (which I topped with spicy Thai Baked Tofu).

Yes, it’s vegetarian. And vegan. And my 6’6” husband ate three bowls in quick succession, requesting that I make a triple batch of it next time.

Even recipes that seem like basics have a slightly new spin. Like these Chocolate-Chocolate chip cookies – chewy on the inside with the addition of cream cheese (who would have thought), but crispy on the outside. They were outstanding. My new go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies.

And as a cream of mushroom soup lover – and clearly not the red can variety – I just had to try the Creamy Hungarian Mushroom Soup. More cream cheese (twist my arm why don’t you) and some seemingly incongruent ingredients like soy sauce, dill, and paprika. Yes, Nelly, it worked. Trust me on this one. Rich and hearty, it was so satisfying on a cold Fall evening.

Hungarian mushroom soup

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Another Halloween post? Bear with me, because I couldn’t do the holiday justice without a little post-date wrap-up.

Heading into Halloween is always a bit of a challenge. This year was no different. Starting with the wrong outfit that came in the mail. I had ordered an Ariel crown from some untrustworthy online store that I found in a Google search and they sent me a pair of angel wings instead. Not the worst issue, they could have sent me worse. So I decided that for the first year since my early 20s, I’d dress up for the holiday.

The problem is that the kids fought over those wings for two straight weeks.


Finally, older sister prevailed, convincing her younger sister that she was in fact rocking it like Beyonce in her original bee costume. Problem solved.

Lauren and Emma

Sam was over the moon about his Werewolf costume. Here, we have the many faces of Werewolf. Confused wolf (1), affable wolf (2), helpful wolf (3), and scary pantsless wolf (4).


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blood oranges 038

Boo! It’s Halloween. And we actually get to celebrate Halloween this year, unlike last year. For this week’s challenge, the kids were overjoyed to discover that there is actually a fruit called the blood orange. How creepy, and perfectly fitting for this spookiest of weeks. Sam was the most excited by the blood orange, staying at the table long after the others disappeared, talking about blood and brains and other unmentionables.

It was all pretty nauseating, and not the discussion you want to have when you’re eating. But the good news is that despite the off color conversation, the kids loved the blood orange. As do I, good thing we’re heading into its prime season soon…

JESSICA: What does it look like on the outside?

LAUREN: It looks like a real orange….

JESSICA: Hold on, does it look like a real orange?

LAUREN: Well, it’s a little redder.

JESSICA: What’s it going to look like on the inside?

LAUREN: It’s going to look red. Like real blood. And it would look like a vampire’s whole face who’s bleeding because he’s sucking blood.

JESSICA: That’s an excellent description. Sam what do you think it’s going to look like on the inside?

SAM: It’s going to look like fire and then the police will water it out.

JESSICA: Well, let’s take a look (cutting).

LAUREN: I knew it!

JESSICA: What does it look like Emma?

EMMA: Good. It looks like a cookie!

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