Did you know that Ovaltine was developed in Switzerland and its original name was Ovomaltine? Nope, neither did I! In my youth I drank Ovaltine daily. As I grew older, the pull of caffeine got stronger and coffee and tea took its place. After a recent panic attack where I lamented my aging body and worried that my bones were fast disintegrating, I embarked on a mission to get more calcium into my daily diet.
I have never found much joy in drinking a glass of plain milk, and there are only so many yogurts one person can eat in a day. So I trawled the supermarket shelves to find something that would entice me to drink more milk and then I saw it: Ovaltine. I had completely forgotten that it existed! And not only did I remember that Ovaltine delicious, but one glance at the nutrition label reminded me that it is pretty nutritious too: lots of vitamins and importantly, lots of calcium.
Then my mind started whirring, what else could I do with the GIANT container of Ovaltine I had just bought? Well, it turns out that with a little bit of imagination and a few google searches, you can do much more than just add this to milk. First of all, Ovaltine chocolate chip cookies. Possibly the best cookies I have made in a while and gobbled up in record speed. As well as serving my family members a glass of milk with a scoop of Ovaltine at any given moment, I also added a scoop to my daily oatmeal (ovalmeal), and sprinkled it on top of ice cream. Other places where Ovaltine can, and should, be added: brownies, pudding, frosting, milkshakes. The list goes on.
In conclusion, Ovaltine is delicious, add it to everything. Also, re-discover something you used to love as a child. And this post was not sponsored by Ovaltine. Sadly.
The problem with being a mother and trying to write a blog at the same time is that mom life too often gets in the way of blog life. Between making lunches, “helping” with homework, and schlepping the little darlings from one after-school activity to another, not much time is left to sit/write/breathe/insert anything that is just for me, *here*. However, my 2017 “intention” (because we are supposed to say “intention” now instead of “resolution”, lest we “fail” and feel “bad”) is to spend more time on me. And more time on me means more time doing what I love: running, writing, and cooking. Not necessarily in that order.
I recently acquired a copy of the cookbook “Run Fast. Eat Slow” by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. I am so used to athlete-focused cookbooks being filled with protein powders and other strange items that I refuse to buy, let alone feed to my kids, that this was a welcome change. From the “Superhero Muffins” packed full of carrots and zucchini (and in my case, chocolate chips), to the amazing bison meatball recipe, there’s something for everyone, runners and non-runners alike.
I am similarly obsessed with Mark Bittman’s latest tome, “How to Bake Everything“. I have always been a big Bittman fan, and this book does not disappoint. By far, the best feature of HTBE are the notes beneath almost every recipe containing customization tips. Want to make the recipe vegan? gluten free? vegetarian? You can do that. Out of apples and need to use pears, instead? You can do that too.
And finally, I am beyond excited to treat myself to a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s delectable new book, Dorie’s Cookies. Thrifty me considered taking pictures of the recipes I wanted to make when I was perusing this in my local bookstore, but there were so many I didn’t have space on my phone! Stay tuned.
Recently I have been forced, excuse me, chosen to spend a couple of hours every day alone with my 8 year old son. My daughter has had plans every morning and has left me to entertain my second born alone. They are really close in age, so usually my kids play together and leave me to get on with the important things in life (cooking (relaxing), cleaning (icky), running (yippee!), reading (not as much as I’d like)). Since I am a creature of habit and with a little bit of selfishness thrown in for good measure, I decided that I would go about my usual business and just include my son in my plans wherever possible, with surprising results.
Every day I try to prepare some part of dinner in the morning hours, so there’s not a mad rush in the kitchen come 5pm. This past week I still did this, but this time with an 8 year old helper who proved himself to be very useful. Shockingly, we both had a lot of fun and the arguing/nagging was at a minimum. I discovered that he is at a good age to (carefully) chop vegetables and any other item that needs to be cut, and he discovered how much fun it is to use a cherry pitter (a task I personally abhor). We made carrot gnocchi together, which proved itself to be a very child friendly task, and since this is a project that requires a big time commitment, having an extra set of hands around was really useful.
My son learned to crack eggs so he could help prepare our dinner strata. Such was my skepticism at his ability to do this without including a million tiny pieces of shell, I told him to crack the eggs one by one into a separate bowl and then pour each one into the master bowl. Not one piece of shell made it into either of the bowls. I was impressed. We made summer rolls together, which is another child-friendly, fun and relatively simple task. Rolling these things is always a challenge, but we had a good laugh at our first attempts and marveled and how well our last few turned out.
Aside from cooking, my son and I biked and ran together this week and talked about many things, from how much we enjoyed our lunch to what we would like to do on the weekend. We threw around the baseball and talked some more. I realized that I don’t talk to my son as much as I do my daughter because talking doesn’t come as naturally to him. I read somewhere once that a person is more likely to open up and talk about things if they don’t have make eye contact. Cooking, biking, running and ball throwing have allowed my son and I to have interesting conversations, with a little necessary distraction on the side.