So you may or may not know that I am a HUGE fan of the Food Nanny on BYU-TV. I first read about her on a blog last spring and then I saw the book in Costco (where else?) and had to pick it up. I was instantly hooked. She is a huge advocate of family mealtime, which is something that I had been struggling with for a while. My husband works most evenings and is only home for dinner once or twice a week. This leaves me with four small kids and a great excuse to scrounge up some lame food most nights and not make anything special. I had a nagging feeling that I should be doing more, because I do love to cook, but was I being wasteful by making nice food for little kids who didn't appreciate it? And should I be eating well/gaining weight if I didn't have to? Cereal seemed to be the answer most of the time. I'd cook up something that sounded good once in a while and overindulge, then feel guilty and swear to eat cereal for a few days. My kids seemed to be happy with whatever I put in front of them, so I didn't have the motivation to make any changes. Then I found the Food Nanny, Liz Edmunds. She has raised seven children and attributes her success as a mother to consistent family meal times. What I can most relate to about her is that her husband was gone most of the time (he was a pilot), and she still brought her family together every single night for a home-cooked meal at the dinner table. She says she just needed something for her and her family to look forward to every single day. It was like a light bulb went off in my head after learning that. (What, her husband was gone all the time, too, and she STILL did all this? Well, why can't I?) I also love her philosophy about eating real and not dieting. She says you should eat what your body craves, but only until you are satisfied. Then you just push your plate back. And she obviously practices what she preaches because she is tiny! (So you mean I can make good food for my family AND eat it? And not spend my life counting calories? Sign me up!) Her cookbook is nothing short of amazing. Her recipes are simple but gourmet at the same time. Everything I have tried has been great. Everything. I absolutely love her philosophy about Family Dinner. "It's the most important time of the day!" she says repeatedly on her show. You can watch every episode on byutv.org and I highly, highly recommend it. I have tried so many new recipes and methods of cooking that I never thought I would even attempt. Most importantly, my family has come to expect Family Dinner every night (or most nights!) whether Dad is home or not. It's not always fantastically planned out with the table set and wonderful food, but the kids don't seem to care. I just do my best that day, whatever it is. My kids love sitting at the dinner table together and discussing their days. We each tell the best part and worst part of our day and it leads to some pretty interesting conversations! Abby can't seem to distinguish the present day from the past, so we all have some great laughs over what she thinks happened that day, which probably happened several weeks ago, if at all. The other night Jason was with us and he was telling me all about what happened at work that day when I noticed Dallin was pouting. I asked him what was wrong and he said, "Why don't we just call this Mom and Dad Dinner instead of Family Dinner, since you two are the only ones talking?" I had to laugh. I asked him what he wanted to talk about and he was just busting to tell everyone about how his CapriSun had sprung a leak in his lunchbox that day and ruined his lunch. I love that he was saving something that was important to him to share with the family at dinner.
You can imagine my excitement a few weeks ago when I saw on the Food Nanny's Facebook page that she was going to be hosting a cooking class AT HER HOME for a very reasonable price, and it would include one of her cookbooks (Happy Birthday, Mom!)!! I immediately signed up and trusted that it would work out, and it did. I told Jason that it was my present for him going to Texas to hunt whitetails this week, which he had to agree with. It was SUCH a fun day. The thing I love most about Liz (I can call her Liz now, we are kind of tight like that) is her energy. She is a TINY little thing, but she is so excited about life and so full of passion about what she teaches. I always thought she was adorable, but wondered if maybe she was just a rich lady that loved to cook and had a lot of breaks in life. Not so. She is a humble, kind and hard-working lady who has made the best out of everything she has had to deal with in life. Her house is amazing, but it is not fancy. Just simple and beautiful and functional. Mostly, it is welcoming and comfortable. Very down to earth. I loved it. There were about fifteen people in the class and she made all of us feel so at home. I wanted to just stay afterward and hang out and help her do the dishes, but I had a babysitter at home and an hour drive ahead of me so I was sad to have to leave. The class was GREAT. She made so much food and ALL of it was fantastic. Apple Pie, Apple Crisp, French Baquettes, Bruschetta, Arugula Pizza, Chicken Marsala With Mushrooms, Spaghetti Carbonara... am I missing anything? She impressed me so much with her passion about cooking for her family. It's not like she just had her kids grow up and leave the house and got bored so she decided to write a book. She really lives it. She has lived this philosophy for 40 years and made a rich, wonderful life in the process. That is what I want! I want my kids to know what HOME feels like, and I think family meals around the dinner table on a consistent basis are the foundation for what I have been looking for. Even if it's just the kids and me most of the time. When Jason is home it is just all the more special.
|Baquettes fresh out of the oven! So easy, and how cute is that little pan?|
|Liz made a special bruschetta that will be featured in her next cookbook (can't wait!!). It was amazing. I am still thinking about it.|