Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from BDCKristiP. Show BDCKristiP's posts

    Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    Our #FeaturedParentBlogger this week is Leah from Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters.

    On Monday, she introduced herself. On Tuesday, she shared 20 facts about herself. On Wednesday, she shared her favorite post.

    Today, the mom of two is TAKING QUESTIONS FROM YOU! So please don't be shy. Ask away!

    Want to know more about this series? Check out each's day's theme and nominate a blogger you enjoy (or yourself!). And feel free to check out our past Featured Parent Bloggers.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from OhBabyBoston. Show OhBabyBoston's posts

    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    Bring it on folks...I'm ready.  I think.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from ViolaCay. Show ViolaCay's posts

    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    Hi Leah!

    Thanks for the vinaigrette recipe! I would love to know what kind of food a foodie sends her kids to school with!

    We're in a rut here and I'd love some ideas.

    Thanks,

    Sharon

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from Not Like a Cat. Show Not Like a Cat's posts

    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    Ooh, good one, ViolaCay!

     

    1. What will it take to get you dancing again? Is it a goal for this year? How much do you miss it?

    2. Do the Mennonites of Canada make excellent chicken-corn soup, or is that a Pennsylvania Dutch thing?


    3. What's your dream job?

     

    :)

     

     

     
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    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    So this is my big question since I know you stay on top of the restaurant scene. I don't get a chance to eat out terribly often, so what do you recommend I do to choose a new restaurant to try? I don't know if I should try the hot new thing, go to an old (but new to me) standard, or try to discover a diamond in the rough.

     
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    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    I would love to know what kind of food a foodie sends her kids to school with!
    We're in a rut here and I'd love some ideas.

    As you probably know feeding children is a bit like taking all the worst yelp reviewers and offering to feed them three meals a day.  With my kids I have had a few successes here and there though.

    One thing that I found really helpful for my husband and I is to sit with the kids and write a list of all the things they like to eat.  I made a few categories: fruit, veggies, proteins, snack foods/carbs.  Having that list makes shopping and packing lunches so much easier.  I update the list throughout the year as the seasons change and the kids' tastes change too.


    My son is my picky eater, but he is okay with having the same food over and over again. 
    Henry's lunch box:

    Cervelat (which is a beef salami we buy at Formaggio Kitchen) is one of the few proteins he will eat.  I roll them because presentation counts.  Sliced red peppers or carrots.  A Z Bar (more protein and other random stuff).  Some berries, but packaging counts because f they get to mushy or juicy they don't get eaten.  Spelt pretzels (Newman's Own) or some other similar salty treat like popcorn, rice crackers, reduced fat potato chips or tortilla chips.

    Isabelle will not eat the same thing over and over again so I have to keep mixing it up.

    Pasta and peas, with a little container of Parmesan that she likes to sprinkle on.  Some cut veggies (usually cherry tomatoes in the summer, peppers or carrots in the winter.) She likes little French cornichons too.

    Isabelle will also take leftover Hot Pot from Little Q Hot Pot.  With fried tofu in the soup, some vermicelli noodles, and corn. 

    Sometimes I send a mini salad bar for her:  lettuce, croutons, some shredded cheese, strips of ham or turkey.

    Hummus and pita chips work sometimes too. 

    I think the most important thing is to mix it up every once in a while, and try to send things that keep a good consistency even though it is sitting in a lunch box all morning.

    Sometimes I browse blogs to search for inspiration:

    My lunches will never be this beautiful but it is always fun to browse: Happy Little Bento .

    Wendolonia is a great site and our friend Emily over at Random Recycling has a great Pinterest board Lunch Love that will take care of your lunch and the kids'.

    I also love Anabel Karmel for inspiration.  I make some of her children's recipes for the adults too.

    Hope this helps!  I also find if I can get the kids involved at the grocery store that helps a lot.  Last but not least I almost never pack anything sweet (except fruit).  I save a sweet treat for after school.

     

    In response to ViolaCay's comment:

    Hi Leah!

    Thanks for the vinaigrette recipe! I would love to know what kind of food a foodie sends her kids to school with!

    We're in a rut here and I'd love some ideas.

    Thanks,

    Sharon




     
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    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    Good ones Julia and Sharon!

    What will it take to get you dancing again? Is it a goal for this year? How much do you miss it?

    1) You have been keeping up Julia.  I have my new ballet shoes, tights and black leotard in my closet.  I have started doing the NYC Ballet workout dvd this week. My goal was to get back to class this month, but I'm not sure that will happen.  I have gone back to dance several times and injured myself or worked so hard I cannot move for the next week so I'm trying to avoid that this time.  I hope by doing the dvd at home and building up to an hour or so of practice each day that I will be able to get to class end of the month or early February.  Hold me to it!

    Do the Mennonites of Canada make excellent chicken-corn soup, or is that a Pennsylvania Dutch thing?

    2) I have no recollection of chicken-corn soup...but maybe that's because I was too busy eating my mom's Matzoh ball soup.  What I do remember were the summer sausages, the bretzels, the amazing pumpernickel breads, and the rosettes.

    What's your dream job?

    3) My dream job?  I'm pretty content with my job of raising my kids and being able to write on the side.  I think in my next life I might ask to come back as a ballerina, but I'm going to need a thicker skin and maybe a bigger ego to succeed (not in a bad way).  In this life though, I think I'd make a fabulous Philanthropist and I'd love that job. All I'm missing is the bank account to match it.  Oh and just to make my dad happy...I'm going to say: Mathematician.

    As a side note: When I was a child I thought I would want to be a city planner, an architect or in advertising.

    In response to Not Like a Cat's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Ooh, good one, ViolaCay!

     

    1. What will it take to get you dancing again? Is it a goal for this year? How much do you miss it?

    2. Do the Mennonites of Canada make excellent chicken-corn soup, or is that a Pennsylvania Dutch thing?


    3. What's your dream job?

     

    :)

     

     

    [/QUOTE]


     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from ViolaCay. Show ViolaCay's posts

    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    Leah - you are a rock star!

    Giong to check out some of this now. And your kids sound like pretty good eaters to me ;-)

     
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    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    I don't get a chance to eat out terribly often, so what do you recommend I do to choose a new restaurant to try? I don't know if I should try the hot new thing, go to an old (but new to me) standard, or try to discover a diamond in the rough.

    This is a tough one, but a good one too.  There are so many hot new things in town, I have a list that will probably take me more than this year to try.  As parents it can be expensive to get out to restaurant because you add in the cost of a babysitter.  The last thing you want is to be disappointed with the experience.

    Sometimes a new spot is a great place to go for one particular dish.  I think it is good to have one or two places that you can always go back to and have a great time.  If you have a favourite restaurant try to support them by not ditching them to try something new each time.  As for discovering a diamond in the rough, that's when you go somewhere to try a specific dish.  For example, Richard Chudy of Boston Burger Blog was just on Chronicle singing the praises of The Avenue's burger.  I'm probably going to try to get there and I'll order the burger because that's why I'm there, but then I might find something on the menu that intrigues me and I'll try it. 

    When I'm choosing where to go out to eat I do a few things.  I go to Yelp to see if I can see any photos of the space and food (atmosphere is important- from hole in the wall, to velvet curtains, you want to know what to expect). A picture is worth a thousand words. Then cross check with Urbanspoon or Chowhound for a bunch of different perspectives. 

    I will look at the menu to see what draws me in.  I actually care moRst about the sides being served with the main dishes because that tells me a lot more about the food overall.  I always pick up the Improper Bostonian to see what's new and exciting, but it is important to cross check everything.  I personally have a great group of local food folks who make sure my pipeline of restaurants to try is never empty.  Check out Hidden Boston Chats they will keep you well fed! Here is one about Best Dining Experiences of 2013 and Road Trip Worthy Experiences of 2013.  One of my most trusted critics/writers is MCSlimJB.

    Eater is great for round ups and novelty, off the radar special events and Bostonchefs.com is also a great resource. Last but certainly not least, Boston.com 's Devra First, Kara Baskin, and everyone else I'm forgetting to mention.  I always pick up every newspaper I can just to see who is doing what.  I think the most important thing is to explore the range.  Don't just go to hot spots, go to hole in the walls with fabulous food, go off the beaten path for a ricotta pie, or down a Cambridge residential street for a lobster roll.  That is what matters most.

    In response to jessthemess' comment:
    [QUOTE]

    So this is my big question since I know you stay on top of the restaurant scene. I don't get a chance to eat out terribly often, so what do you recommend I do to choose a new restaurant to try? I don't know if I should try the hot new thing, go to an old (but new to me) standard, or try to discover a diamond in the rough.

    [/QUOTE]


     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from OhBabyBoston. Show OhBabyBoston's posts

    A few replies to questions left on Wednesday's post

    I'm a big fan of your blog, and wondered where do you find inspiration?

    People and places.

    What I mean by this is that 1/2 the joy of cooking and eating is sharing it with those you love.  As for places, I have memories of food from my childhood, I have a favourite oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe that has to be cooked to almost burnt that my Bubbie always made, I have memories of fresh daily baguettes from the years we lived in France.  The sense of place and time intertwined with the seasons inspire me to cook certain dishes and certain ways.  I also like to explore new cuisines.  I love going to Arax in Watertown and choosing a random ingredient I've never worked with, then going home to browse the blogs for recipes to try.

    My inspiration almost always comes from the season and the ingredient.  If I could I would shop for my groceries each day.  I crave blood oranges in the winter.  I count down the days to be able to pick delicate sweet raspberries in Winchester in the early Fall.  I also get tons of inspiration from my CSA.  Lindentree CSA in Lincoln is a beautiful place and going there weekly with the kids to pick up our food, really inspires all of us to savour the food we bring home (especially the foods we worked so hard to harvest) and to try new things.

    It can be true that simple is always better a la roasting or the grill with a little EVOO, but could you share three of your favorite side dishes for vegetables that aren't the standard to perk up my winter spring menu?  Thanks!


    A winter favourite of mine is a simple sautéed sliced Brussels Sprout and shallots

    I love a nice local micro-green salad with a vinagrette it perks up just about any dish any time of day. 

    This is more than a side, but sometimes a cup of soup is a nice side instead of a salad.  Pistou is the perfect spring soup. 

     
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    from MetroWest Mama

    MetroWest Mama asked:

    You have lived in very interesting places over the years. How does that influence what you write about or your viewpoints?


    At this point, I think Cambridge is the place that I have lived the longest in my life, but I still feel Canadian.  Having lived in different countries, definitely have an affect my viewpoints.  I think having lived and gone to public school in France definitely influences how I see day to day life.  Also the fact that I was pulled out of everyday life, a school curriculum, a dance curriculum and then plopped back in a year later, really taught me that life goes on.  You can pick up where you left off. 

    There is really nothing more valuable than living in another culture for a while.  The American culture is so different from the Canadian culture as is the French culture.  Travelling is one thing. Living an integrated lifestyle in a different country is something else.  You don't even have to leave the country to experience some of it.  Get to know people with different backgrounds from you.  Break bread with them.  Get in their kitchens to learn a recipe or two.

    What I love about the Boston area (vs. New York) is that there are many more people I meet who have Canadian roots.  We share traditions even if some are Newfoundlanders or Maritimers others are Quebecois or West Coasters. 

    Okay so I still have not really answered the question.  I think being an outsider somewhere gives you a new perspective not only on that other culture but a greater understanding of your own.  It's this awareness that enriches my experience of food, perspective on life, and the fuels the desire to share as much as possible of it with others.  It is what I love about reading blogs and books, or eating foods that others share of their experiences of cultures and countries that I have never been to.  In a way, we can tag along on one another's journeys.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from OhBabyBoston. Show OhBabyBoston's posts

    Question from Facebook via @KimWorld

    "What are your favorite local foodie stores?" - @kimworld


    Here is my list:

    For grocery store basics Market Basket (Somerville or Burlington)

    For produce: Wilson Farms (Lexington) and Russo's (Watertown) but most of my produce comes from my CSA at Lindentree Farms in Lincoln and via Vermont delivered by Farmers To You. (I also really want to check out Volante Farms but have not had the chance.)

    For cheeses and charcuterie:  Formaggio Kitchen

    For Seafood: Brighton Fish Company  or Fresh Pond Seafood (Arlington).  Now, I actually get my fish from Farmers To You via Red's Best. I have done the Cape Ann Fresh Catch fish share which I also like. The Fish Monger is my favourite spot to pick up something fishy that is ready made.  I had amazing mussels in a basil shal lot [sic because apparently its a banned word and the site would not let me post that word] vinaigrette the other day. 

    Meat:  I get most of my meat from Farmer's To You delivered, but for a special recipe I will head to M.F. Dulock (Somerville).  I am not a big game person, but if I were I would go to Savenor's.  I also love John Crow Farm and I buy his meat at the Harvard Square farmer's market in the spring and summer. 

    Bread:  I buy my bread at Hi Rise and Iggy's but my baguette has to be the classic baguette from Clear Flour Bread and I get that at Formaggio Kitchen.

    Prepared Foods:  The Modern Rotisserie, I miss Bakers' Best but recently tried Heirloom Kitchen and was impressed, Formaggio Kitchen, Hi Rise, Sofra, Savenor's The Fish Monger and Capone's are favourites.

    For one stop shopping and feeding the kids dinner all in one go:  Whole Foods Market Fresh Pond

    For spices and my olive oil:  Arax Market (Watertown) and Soluna Garden Farms

    Nuts: Arax Market and Fastachi

    Beer: Craft Beer Cellar (Belmont)

    Coffee: Karma Coffee (Sudbury) or Barismo (Arlington/Cambridge).  Formaggio Kitchen always has a great selection as well.

    I think that covers just about everything, but just because I like to shop at each spot I'm not above hopping on my computer and having it all delivered from one store.  Some weeks you just need to outsource the groceries.

     
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    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    Are you a self-taught cook or did you secretly get a culinary degree? If so, when did you have the time?

     

    Thanks for the list of fave shops!

     

     
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    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    Are you a self-taught cook or did you secretly get a culinary degree? If so, when did you have the time?

    Unlike my mom, whose mother didn't let her children into the kitchen.  I have memories of coming downstairs groggy from my nap, to the most amazing smells coming from my mother's kitchen.  We tapped our maple tree in the back yard and made maple syrup.  I remember thinking my mother was just torturing me taking me to the health food store for some ingredients, Dutch Boy (a Market Basket type store) for other ingredients, some farm way out in the middle of nowhere for other ingredients and we still went to the farmer's market every week.

    My mother didn't know how to cook, but my father has always appreciated really good food and also loved to host his math students for dinners.  I remember Chinese feasts that his students would prepare teaching me and my mom how to make perfectly round pancakes.  I remember Brazilian parties sucking sugary limes from the bottom of my parents Caipirinhas.  Then when we lived in France, I remember going to a community garden with friends and tasting a fresh Sorrel soup.  My aunt and uncle were caterers in London and I remember one summer going to the offices where my uncle prepared lunches and helping him by topping and tailing the green beens. 

    My culinary education comes from all these people.  And now, I continue to learn from local chefs, blogs, food television.  Growing up in a kitchen alive with activity is really such a treasure.  You definitely have a home advantage if you've grown up at the apron strings of a mother, father, grandmother, uncle, neighbour, aunt that knows how to cook.

    In response to newtonmom2's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Are you a self-taught cook or did you secretly get a culinary degree? If so, when did you have the time?

     

    Thanks for the list of fave shops!

     

    [/QUOTE]


     
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    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    I know there are exceptions but why are so many of the food things I love the best very fattening  (eg Cheese, foie gras, carbohydrates etc etc)?

     
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    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    I know there are exceptions but why are so many of the food things I love the best very fattening  (eg Cheese, foie gras, carbohydrates etc etc)?


    They are only fattening if you eat them... If you choose to eat them, they are to be savoured and enjoyed in small quantities.  Easier said than done, but that's my two cents worth.

    In response to LeahsDad's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I know there are exceptions but why are so many of the food things I love the best very fattening  (eg Cheese, foie gras, carbohydrates etc etc)?

    [/QUOTE]


     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from LeahsDad. Show LeahsDad's posts

    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    In response to OhBabyBoston's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I know there are exceptions but why are so many of the food things I love the best very fattening  (eg Cheese, foie gras, carbohydrates etc etc)?


    They are only fattening if you eat them... If you choose to eat them, they are to be savoured and enjoyed in small quantities.  Easier said than done, but that's my two cents worth.

    In response to LeahsDad's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I know there are exceptions but why are so many of the food things I love the best very fattening  (eg Cheese, foie gras, carbohydrates etc etc)?

     



     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from LeahsDad. Show LeahsDad's posts

    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    In response to LeahsDad's comment:

    In response to OhBabyBoston's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I know there are exceptions but why are so many of the food things I love the best very fattening  (eg Cheese, foie gras, carbohydrates etc etc)?


    They are only fattening if you eat them... If you choose to eat them, they are to be savoured and enjoyed in small quantities.  Easier said than done, but that's my two cents worth.

    In response to LeahsDad's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I know there are exceptions but why are so many of the food things I love the best very fattening  (eg Cheese, foie gras, carbohydrates etc etc)?



    And disgusting food is also only disgusting if you eat it!

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from OhBabyBoston. Show OhBabyBoston's posts

    Re: Leah's Life: Pearls & Oysters, Thursday, questions

    Plenty of people get fat off of disgusting food, so I guess just be happy you enjoy the food that isn't so great for your figure.

    In response to LeahsDad's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to LeahsDad's comment:

    [QUOTE]

     

    In response to OhBabyBoston's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I know there are exceptions but why are so many of the food things I love the best very fattening  (eg Cheese, foie gras, carbohydrates etc etc)?


    They are only fattening if you eat them... If you choose to eat them, they are to be savoured and enjoyed in small quantities.  Easier said than done, but that's my two cents worth.

    In response to LeahsDad's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I know there are exceptions but why are so many of the food things I love the best very fattening  (eg Cheese, foie gras, carbohydrates etc etc)?

     

    [/QUOTE]

    And disgusting food is also only disgusting if you eat it!

     

    [/QUOTE]


     

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