Greenwich Free Press

Romantic Valentine’s Day Date Ideas For Busy Parents

February 12, 2015

Romantic Valentine’s Day Date Ideas For Busy Parents

Ohhhh the pressure of Valentine’s Day. Romance doesn’t die when you become a parent. You just have to be creative by using what you have and, above all, appreciating each other. Romance for parents today is a bit different. Make the most out of what really matters and show your love as loving parents do.

Use Technology
In the day of the smartphone, webcams and computers, there is no reason why you can’t text, video message or email your spouse with messages of love. Don’t just do it on Valentine’s Day. Do it when it’s least expected.

Get A Sitter
Parents appreciate the neighborhood teenagers who can drop by every now and then to give them some uninterrupted conversation.

Rent A Video And Order In
The time spent together enjoying each other in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere makes it easy to reserve the extravagant nights for extra-special occasions.

Think Beyond Dinner
Dinner is always great, but so is an afternoon or daytime adventure and this year the holiday falls on a Saturday. Are you and your sweetie the outdoor types? Try a hike and bring a picnic (complete with wine, of course). Or, book a couples massage at your favorite local day spa. Your honey might claim that he (or she) is not the massage type, but I don’t know anyone who can resist 50 minutes of bliss.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Perplexing Foodstuffs

Perplexing Foodstuffs

February 10, 2015

Perplexing Foodstuffs

There are those foods that can be rather difficult to figure out how to eat without looking like you were born in a cave. Here are some useful tips for properly eating perplexing foodstuffs.

Artichokes
Pluck off artichoke leaves and scrape the tender part (not the prickly point) between your teeth (preferably after dipping in melted butter). Work your way to the delicate inner leaves, and then use a knife to cut off the remaining small leaves and feathery innards. Cut the artichoke “heart” into bite-sized pieces and eat with a fork.

Asparagus
Eat asparagus with your fingers if served raw as crudités. Eat with a fork and knife if served with dinner.

Bread
Break bread into bite-sized pieces, and butter it or dip it into olive oil just one piece at a time.

Crab (Soft-Shelled)
Eat entire crab, including shell, either in sandwich form or using a fork and knife. Remove inedible pieces from your mouth with a fork.

Fajitas
Place meats, vegetables, and other fillings on a flat tortilla. Roll up and use your fingers to eat fajitas from one end.

Fondue
Spear bread, vegetables, or fruit with a fondue spear and dip into cheese or sauce. Remove food from spear using a dinner fork, and eat from a plate. DO NOT double dip. Spear uncooked meat cubes and place spear into fondue broth or sauce. When cooked, transfer meat to a plate using a dinner fork and cut into smaller pieces to eat.

Lobster
Wear a lobster bib to avoid fishy splatters, Crack shells with shellfish crackers and extract meat with a small fork or pick. Cut larger pieces with a knife, and eat with a fork after dipping in melted butter. Clean your hands by dipping fingers into finger bowls, and use lemon (if provided) to cut extra grease. Dry your hands with your napkin.

Peas
Use a knife to push peas onto a fork. Do not mash peas before eating, or eat peas from a knife.

Raw Shellfish
Use a small fork to extract mussels, clams, or oysters from the half-shell. Season with fresh lemon or cocktail sauce. In informal settings, you may quietly slurp shellfish from shells.

Soup
Using a soup spoon, spoon soup away from your body and then quietly sip from side of spoon. Tilt bowl away from you to spoon up remaining drops.

Spaghetti
Twirl pasta with fork tines into bite-sized portions, and allow any dangling pieces to fall back onto your fork. You may also rest fork tines against the bowl of a spoon while you twirl pasta.

Steamers
Extract clam from shell using a small fork, and use a fork and knife to remove inedible neck. In informal settings, it is permissible to use fingers.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Table Manners Dos and Don’ts

February 9, 2015

Table Manners Dos and Don’ts

I believe it’s always best to start with the positive so let’s start with the “Dos.”

Table Dos

Do place your napkin in your lap, and use it to blot your lips and wipe your hands.

Do wait for your hostess to be seated before you start eating, unless requested to do so earlier.

Do cut food into manageable, bite-sized pieces, and swallow before you speak.

Do say, “Please pass the…” instead of reaching across the table and igniting yourself on an open flame.

Do place fork and knife diagonally across the upper right hand corner of your plate when you are finished eating.

Do remove hot or inedible substances from your mouth with your fork, not your fingers or napkin.

Do eat drink garnishes after draining your glass, not before.

Do use a fork when sopping up gravy or sauces with chunks of bread.

Do use finger bowls to clean fingers, and hot towels to clean hands and mouths.

Do refrain from making or receiving phone calls at the table.

Table Don’ts

Don’t grasp eating utensils as you would a garden trowel or hammer, or place used utensils directly on the table.

Don’t tuck your napkin into your shirt collar.

Don’t primp or clean your teeth at the table.

Don’t fidget or make loud noises while you eat (slurping, burping, lip-smacking).

Don’t slouch or otherwise lean on the table.

Don’t scoop ice from your water glass to cool hot soups or beverages.

Don’t season your food before you taste it.

Don’t push your plate away from you when you are finished eating.

Don’t leave your spoon in your mug while drinking from it, or wring tea bags with your fingers.

Don’t dunk donuts or scones into beverages.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Table Your Manners

February 8, 2015

Table Your Manners

Teaching manners to your children is difficult and sometimes following proper table manners yourself is even more difficult. The dinner table has become a free-for-all these days, and did you just see the “Lord of the Napkin Rings” just stuck his chewing gum on his plate? But before you double-dip your roast orc in the fondue, take a look around you. This is NOT Middle-Earth, and that is NOT your water glass! Oy Vay!

The first step to deciphering the individual place setting involves locating your drinking glass. While you should always, “drink right,” as in not gulping or slurping beverages, you should remember that your drink is on the right side of your plate. If you need a status symbol to boost your confidence, think of your BMW while you dine. Bread plate to the left; Meal plate in the center; Water glass to the right.

Use silverware from the outside in, and in the order it is presented (soup spoon on the outer right, small fork on the far left).

You have two choices when it comes to handling your fork and knife, which are American-style and European-style. When cutting meat, for example, both Americans and Europeans hold the fork in the left hand, tines down, and the knife in the right hand, blade down. After slicing meat into bite-sized pieces, however, Americans place the knife on the plate (preferably at a diagonal across the upper right side), and switch the fork to the right hand before eating. Europeans hold their fork, tines down, in the left hand while cutting and eating. Either style is correct.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

How To Eat More Protein On A Meat-Free Diet

February 3, 2015

How To Eat More Protein On A Meat-Free Diet

If you’re new to a meat-free diet or you struggle with ways to get the protein you need here are some important tips that may help you. It really isn’t as hard as you might think.

Snack on protein rich munchies and skip the carbs. Eat roasted chickpeas, edamame, roasted peanuts, or raw nuts. Keep away from heavily salted nuts.

If you’re looking for a frozen treat then purée coconut milk, almond butter, cashew butter, honey, and cocoa powder. Freeze in an ice cream maker for a protein rich frozen treat.

Make an easy cream sauce by whisking cashew butter with vegetable stock, garlic, and minced parsley. Toss with cooked pasta.

Crumble tempeh (fermented soybean protein) into pasta sauce or soups, or wherever you might use hamburger meat.

Purée cooked black beans and add to brownies. For blondies or light colored muffins or cakes, use cooked, puréed chickpeas.

Sprout sunflower seeds and add them to salads. Just soak raw seeds overnight in water to cover. Drain and let sprout for 24 to 48 hours.

Add ground flaxseeds to muffins, waffles, breads, or cookies for a protein boast and added omega 3 fats.

Make a protein packed pudding. Purée silken tofu with cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla extract.

Use hemp or rice protein powder instead of flour to make waffles, pancakes, and baked goods. Instead of eggs, use flax as a binder.

Lentils are awesome! Eat lentils more often. They are fast cooking and easy to use. Add to soups, toss in salads, and stir in cooked rice.

Spread sandwiches and wraps with hummus instead of mayonnaise. I do this all the time. Purée hummus with roasted red peppers or chipotle peppers for an added zing.

If you can tolerate gluten, seitan (wheat protein) is a great substitute for sliced deli meat. Use it in wraps or sandwiches for an easy lunch.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Achieving Great Things

February 2, 2015

“If we all did the things we are capable of,we would astound ourselves.”
-Thomas Edison

Super Bowl Sunday

January 30, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday

Take a break from your new year’s resolutions and enjoy the game with great food.

Most Americans love Super Bowl parties and for many, it’s for the football and for most it’s about the commercials. But no doubt about it everyone loves the Super Bowl food.

If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party it really should be casual and low-pressure because all of the guests are supposed to be watching the game during dinner!

Here are some ideas for your Super Bowl menu. Just good old American food. Don’t worry; you can go back on your diet on Monday!

Starters
Pigs In A Blanket
Roasted Potato Skins With Sour Cream, Cheddar & Chives
Garlic Drumettes With Creamy Dill Dip Or Blue Cheese Dip
7 Layer Dip & Chips
Avocado Lime Dip
Chili Pita Chips
Crudité Tray With Onion Dip

Dinner
6 Food Sub Sandwiches
Philadelphia Cheesesteak Sandwiches
Classic Red Beans & Rice
Game Day Chili
Fried Chicken
Roasted Chicken Enchiladas
Coleslaw
Jalapeño Cornbread

Dessert
Chocolate Chip Cookies
7 Layer Bars

Everyone wins betting. Set up a pool and have everyone choose charities to put in the boxes. Make a separate pool for kids with grab bag prizes.

Mix & Match those dishes! Everything doesn’t have to match. Serve food on casual everyday dishes and if you don’t have enough of one set, just mix and match.

Most of all, don’t stress. Have a fun time and may your team win!

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Don’t Just Wish For It

January 27, 2015

Don’t WISH For It, WORK For It.

Deborah Harry & Andy Warhol

January 22, 2015

I love this shot of Deborah Harry & Andy Warhol!

Cut Your Cooking Time In Half

January 21, 2015

Cut Your Cooking Time In Half

Let’s face it. It takes time to cook and many of us are so incredibly busy during the day that there never seems to be enough time to cook delicious and healthy meals. We all know that it’s so much better to eat a home cooked meal nightly, but when families get home after work it might seem so much easier to order out. Here are a few tips to help make cooking at home easier. It’s mostly about planning ahead which takes the guesswork out of cooking nightly meals.

Stock Up Weekly. It’s important to plan ahead. Make a list and purchase enough groceries to get you through the week. A last minute trip to the store is a big headache.

Stock Your Pantry & Fridge. It’s so much easier to cook a meal when you have a fridge and pantry stocked with nourishing foods that are ready to cook. For example having cans of tuna, jars of olives, and dried pasta in your pantry means you can cook up a quick tuna & olive pasta dish. I also make sure to have cans of crushed tomatoes on hand for a quick pasta sauce.

Find Sister Recipes. Dishes that feature similar ingredients make planning, buying, and prep much easier. For example, you could make a big batch of brown rice to serve with a stir-fry one night, and save extras to use in burritos later in the week. 

Prep Ahead. Prep is probably the biggest time consumer in cooking. Do all of your chopping and measuring when you have time. This way later in the week when you’re spread thin you will be able to whip together a meal in minutes. 

Buy Some Time! If you have room in your budget, pick up pre-washed, pre-chopped fruits and vegetables. Use packaged or frozen vegetables. They are already the perfect size and cut for most recipes. 

Make Your Own Frozen Meals. The next time you create a tasty meal, consider doubling the recipe. I do this often. Leftovers can be portioned out into individual containers and placed in the freezer for quick weeknight dinners and easy take to work or school lunches. 

Use the Microwave. Microwaving a potato takes less than half the time of baking in the oven. Just poke a few holes in it with a fork and cook it on high for about 10 minutes. You can also steam vegetables and other dishes in just mere minutes in the microwave too. 

 "Work With What You Got!"

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

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