Monday, October 25, 2010

Eat Green...Tomatoes, That Is
If you planted a garden this year, then, like me, you’re probably left with an overabundance of green tomatoes now that the weather has cooled. In the past, the only benefit I saw to these late bloomers was their potential to become compost surprise. (You know, those random veggies tossed in your compost bin that sprout mysteriously in the spring.) The idea of actually consuming under-ripe tomatoes left me feeling a bit, well... green.

This fall I’ve had a change of heart. For one, I’ve redoubled my efforts to eat locally. With over 200 green tomatoes clinging to my withering vines, it seemed a shame to throw away such a bountiful and local source of produce. (As my son once said, “The only way it could be more local is if we grew it inside our house!”) For another, I’ve learned that the Whistlestop CafĂ© did not corner the market on green tomatoes recipes. The other day my mother-in-law brought over a delicious Halloween cake called “Boogers and Slugs.” Raisins served as the slugs, and the slimy boogers? You guessed it: green tomatoes. Nose pickings your mom actually wants you to eat? My kids gobbled them up.

Here are some other dishes that cleverly disguise green tomatoes in tasty ways:

Paula Deen's Green Tomato Pie:

Mario Batali's Green Tomato Spaghetti:

Not only do green tomatoes taste good in recipes, they're also good for you. Although they don't have the lycopene benefits of their red-blooded relatives, green tomatoes are high in Vitamins A and C and potassium. So go ahead, gather up those lonely tomatoes left on your vines. While you're at it, pick up a copy of Fannie Flag's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe and enjoy a "green" read along with your green feast.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ripe and Ready Apple Picking Picture Books…

After you’ve visited that orchard and picked a peck or two, sink your teeth into these fresh titles celebrating the apple harvest…

Applesauce Season, by Eden Ross Lipson. “My grandmother says there’s no reason to start eating apples when peaches are perfect. Applesauce season starts just about the time school opens.” Take a step by step journey through the joys of making applesauce. You’ll almost taste the simmering, cinnamon-kissed, applesauce and feel the warmth of family in this book that celebrates seasonal eating, farmer’s markets, and family traditions.

Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll make you a Pie, a Story about Edna Lewis, by Robbin Gourley. “ Time to get up! I hear the whippoorwill. That means it's gathering time." Thus begins the celebration of one family’s year of harvesting and enjoying local produce. Wild strawberries in springtime, garden-warmed tomatoes midsummer, crisp apples when school bells ring, these are the childhood memories that inspired famous New York chef Edna Lewis and her field-to-table cooking philosophy.

One Red Apple, by Harriet Ziefert. With folk-art style paintings and simple, but lyrical text, this book follows an apple on its journey from tree to market to mouth, exploring the amazing way that nature produces food.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wednesday, October 6th is International Walk Your Kids to School Day!
Wake up a few minutes early tomorrow morning, grab your sneakers, and take a nice stroll with your kids in the fresh autumn air. You'll be joining millions of parents, students and community members around the world who are trying to promote more walkable communities.

The concept of an official "Walk to School Day" was started in 1997 by the Partnership for a Walkable America. By 2002 over 3 million participants from all 50 states joined in the effort. Today, parents, kids, and communities members from over 40 countries stretch their walking legs on this special day.

When you walk to school, good things happen:

1.) Air quality improves. A four-mile trip by car adds 15 pounds of pollution to the air. That same trip by sneaker: no fumes.

2.) Hearts start pumping. Walking helps promote a healthy lifestyle, especially important with the growing concerns over childhood obesity.

3.) Conversations spark. The walk to or from school can be a great time to catch up with your kids.

4.) Awareness increases. Your actions may inspire others to dig out their sneakers and walk as well.

Reading this after October 6th? Don't worry. The entire month of October has been designated as International Walk to School Month. You have plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs, join the effort, and reap the benefits of walking to school.

For more information, or to get your school involved in an official walk, visit: