The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “autumn”

Souper Easy

souper

This Week’s Recipe

A couple weeks ago, a few girlfriends and I got away for the weekend. Our spouses and kids stayed at home. We took off for a lake cottage. It was quiet and we had the opportunity to reconnect with each other. In order to accomplish this, we took several steps to prepare. None of them were hard, and at least one was souper easy!

  1. We turned off our cell phones and left the other electronic devices that guide (demand) our time. I admit, I did check it each night before turning in, and when I got up. But, I did not check it each time it dinged because with it off, it doesn’t ding!
  2. We potlucked, leaving little food preparation that had to be done while we were away. Do you remember that soup can be an entire meal (or two!)? We dined on two different soups, and with crackers we had plenty. I had forgotten how easy soup can be, especially when using a crock-pot.
  3. We listened to each other. In this fast-paced, get-it-done-yesterday world, we stopped talking over one another and actually had the time and energy to hear what the others were saying.
  4. We looked out the window and were reminded why Indiana is the place to be in the fall with the beautifully changing leaves (or winter with the snow, or spring with the new leaves). Then, either alone, or with a couple of friends we went for a walk and the bright sunshine and fresh air were rejuvenating.
  5. We laughed, and laughed, and laughed. It was like we were in college again. No cares, no clocks, just friends who made the time to reconnect.

Once it came time to pack and head home, I really was ready to get back to the kids and hubby. The slower pace we had just practiced reminded me to see them, to look at their eyes and watch their smiles. By reconnecting with my friends, I was able to breathe a bit. That is too often missing from my normal M-F routine.

Frances_Brooks-2012

Frances Brooks

Director of Operations & Business Development and Mother of Two

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S.O.S. – Selecting an Orange Squash!

pumpkin_v_pumpkin

Recipe of the Week

The days are getting shorter. The leaves are falling. And, there is a crisp chill in the air. All this can mean only one thing…

Time to pick the perfect pumpkin!

Whether your family is getting yours at the grocery, heading to a local farmers market, or you have found the “most sincere pumpkin patch”, here are a few tips on selecting a supreme orange squash for your fall festivities.

For Carving the Perfect Jack-o-lantern:

  1. Pick a pumpkin with a firm skin. Tap it with your knuckle and listen for a hollow sound.
  2. The heavier the pumpkin, the thicker the wall, and the more you have to carve through.
  3. The taller your pumpkin the stringier the flesh. This can also make it harder to carve.
  4. Make sure it has a flat solid base. Nothing is worse than a rolly-polly pumpkin with a candle inside!
  5. Smaller pumpkins are great for younger kids. They can even paint their pumpkin instead of carving.

For Your Culinary Delights:

  1. Smaller varieties, about 2 to 6 pounds, are preferred for cooking.
  2. Unlike above you want a dense, fleshy, thick walled pumpkin to cook with.
  3. Look for a smooth surface with a dense flesh indicating higher sugar content.
  4. Like with any fruit or vegetable, watch out for bruises and blemishes on the surface.
  5. Figure on getting about one cup of puree for each pound of pumpkin.

After you have carved your jack-o-lanterns and baked your pies, don’t forget about the seeds! Roasted pumpkins seeds make a great fall snack for everyone in your family!

Scott Nitza

Scott Nitza
Graphic Designer & Marketing Associate and Father of Three

Trying New Foods this Fall

Quite little graphic of an apple tree in fall

Recipe of the Week

As fall approaches, my husband and I have discovered that this is a great time of year to visit our local farmers markets or stop by a roadside stand selling produce. At this time of year you will find many root vegetables such as potatoes, yams, turnips and parsnips. You may also find bags of onions, cabbage, pumpkins or beautiful mums.

I find the meals I am cooking start to change this time of year, too. I start looking for recipes that use more of the vegetables listed above, things that are hearty but still easy to cook, and I try using our crockpot more often. This week’s Apple Kielbasa recipe is one of our favorites and is easy and versatile. Enjoy trying this mix of fall flavors!

Twila Smith
Administrative Assistant and Mother of Two

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