On Christmas Eve, a young girl dreams her beloved toy comes to life. He becomes her Nutcracker Prince and dances his Clara through the land of sweets and defeats the wicked Mouse King. Perhaps you've seen the ballet-- it's so popular that many ballet schools make it their featured holiday production year after year. The music is amazing-- from the wild Russian dance to the slow and mysterious Arabian dance. It all flows together to create a magical night of exhilarating performances.
Summer's here at last. The pool's open. The weather's scorching hot. What could be better for an afternoon treat than a big bowl of ice cream? A big bowl of ice cream and lots of friends—that's what! Read on for frosty facts and tasty treats.
Imagine a plate piled high with warm chocolate chip cookies, ooey and gooey with melted chips and crunchy with nuts. Your grownup might have helped a little bit, but these beauties are all yours, to share with friends (or eat yourself!) because YOU made them!
All it takes is one picky toddler to make parents pull their hair out at the dinner table. If there is one topic that worries us the most, it’s our children’s health and what they’re eating (or not!). As a result, there are countless books on the market touting the best way to get your kids to eat more foods. From The Sneaky Chef, which advocates putting veggie purees in brownies, to 201 Healthy Smoothies and Juices for Kids, to What Chefs Feed Their Kids where chefs share their gourmet secrets, there are more than 60 titles to choose from just in our library system. Parents who are at a loss as to how to get their littlest ones (and often, their big ones!) interested in a plate of carrots can easily become overwhelmed with the advice. With the additional goals of trying to feed families with increasingly less time and high grocery bills, it’s enough to make many of us revert to pasta every night of the week.
The newest addition to the collection, however, might just change not only how you feed your kids, but also yourself. French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon is the story of one Canadian mother who moved her young family back to her husband’s native Brittany, on the coast of France. As you can surmise by the title, she discovered why French kids associate chocolate cake with pleasure, not guilt, and why they have astonishing lower rates of childhood obesity (20% in America, just 3% in France (p. 140)). She discovered why nearly half of French children eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day, while barely ten percent of their American counterparts struggle to eat the same amount (p. 117). Even their daycare menus resemble gourmet menus. One day’s lunch at her daughter’s preschool was listed as: beet salad bolognaise, roast turkey with fine flageolet beans, goat cheese buchette, and organic pear compote (p. 36). “By the time they are two years old,” Le Billon discovered, “most French kids have tried (and eaten) more foods than many American adults” (p. 120).
This recipe for a beautiful, savory veggie tartlet comes courtesy of La Petite Auberge in downtown Fredericksburg.
Owned and operated by the Renault family, La Petite has been a Fredericksburg favorite sine 1981. La Petite's menu often features local seafood and produce:
"We take full advantage of the wonderful local delicacies such as Shad Roe in mid to late winter, Soft Shell Crab in the summer and Rockfish year round. We buy our produce from the local farmers during the growing season. Our menus are composed daily and change according to the market and seasons."
Find out more about the menu and chefs at La Petite Auberge.
La Petite Auberge
Seventh generation farmer, Tom Weaver, is the man behind Papa Weaver's Pork Products. From their family farm in Orange County, Virginia, situated on land originally owned by President James Madison, Tom and his family bring you fine pork products free of preservatives, additives, chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics.
This easy and delicious breakfast casserole recipe from Papa Weaver's Pork would be great for a Mother's Day or Father's Day brunch.
Papa Weaver's Breakfast Casserole
- 2 c. cooked Papa Weaver’s ground sausage, drained
- 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- 5 eggs
- 1 c. Bisquick mix
- 2 c. milk
Place meat and cheese in bottom of greased pan.
Mix remaining ingredients and pour on top of meat and cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
Check out Papa Weaver's web site for more recipes: www.papaweaver.com/recipes.htm
If you are like me, you probably enjoy exploring different cultures through food. I am a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain's show, No Reservations
I would love to be able to go to all these countries and taste their cuisines one day. But for now, I do it through reading. It is truly amazing to learn that many famous cooks and food writers were ordinary people and had to endure many struggles on their quests to find a niche for themselves. In these books, we will travel and experience cuisines both in the USA and around the world.
They're cool, tangy, and sweet—all at the same time. Best of all, when you go blueberry picking you can just reach out and pluck them. They are so much easier to pick than strawberries. There's no kneeling in the straw and mud only to find that critters have eaten the underside of your berries. Besides being fun and easy to pick, blueberries are splendid for you, too. They are rich in vitamin C and other important nutrients. Blueberries are in season for Virginia from mid-June to mid-July, so grab a bucket to fill with sweet berries.
This interview airs beginning July 20.
In 1981 Christian Renault brought to Fredericksburg his culinary passion and his love of music to create a comfortable and friendly restaurant that would welcome patrons and please their palates. Debby Klein comes to the La Petite Auberge lounge to talk to Christian about his journey from France to Fredericksburg on CRRL Presents, a Central Rappahannock Regional Library production.
Kids have a big advantage when it comes to picking strawberries because they grow close to the ground. With just a little know-how, you can be a berry good berry picker.
Tips for picking terrific berries:
- Break the stem about a half an inch from the top of the berry.
- Don't pick berries that are mushy-soft, nibbled on by insects or birds, green or pink
- Don't pile your berries in a big bucket. Strawberries are heavy and have delicate skins. They can get bruised if they are piled thick, one on top of another.
- Keep your berries cool, either in the shade or the refrigerator.
- Don't wash them until you are ready to use them.
- If you are going to eat your strawberries right away, you can go picking any time.
- If you need your berries to last for longer, try to pick in the morning or in the early evening when it's cooler.
- Wear a hat and sunscreen so you don't become red as a berry yourself.
Strawberries taste wonderfully good and are high in vitamin C, which helps your body heal, resist infections, and keeps your bones, gums, and teeth healthy. There are lots of ways to enjoy strawberries: in muffins, jam, salad, salsa, and simply by themselves.