Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Preserving Autumn: A Canning Series

It's back! Our Canning 101 series on Simple Bites returns to feature the gorgeous produce of autumn.

With posts every day and a star-studded line-up of contributors, this series is sure to inspire you to put up some of the seasons flavors for year-round enjoyment.

Jennifer kicks things off today with not one, not two, but three amazing recipes for homemade pizza sauce. Her method for pizza sauce with oven-roasted tomatoes is my new favorite recipe - smokey, sultry and oh-so-simple.

Curious as to why we're spotlighting canning so often around here? Here are 9 Good Reasons to Can Your Own Food, an article I posted earlier this month highlighting the various motivations home canners have for what they do. It's a list nearly anyone can relate to - including Time.com, who quoted from the post in a recent article on simple advice for saving money.

In our canning series on Simple Bites, we'll be featuring apples and tomatoes, two favorites of the season, preserved in simple ways. The series will run all week, so be sure to stop by every day and be inspired!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Getting organized, seriously organized.

It's something I've wanted to do for ages.

I love lists, after all. I make them every day. And I love baking, especially holiday baking

So I finally swapped precious sleep for a few extra hours* on my laptop and am absolutely tickled to bring you...

The Ultimate Holiday Baking Pantry Checklist!

It's an A-Z shopping checklist of everything you need to stock your pantry for holiday baking. The PDF can be downloaded and printed to help you organize your baking ingredients - and be sure nothing is forgotten.

From my post on Simple Bites:

"I designed this list with efficiency and thoroughness in mind. Here's how I'm going to keep track of ingredients I need for my holiday baking this fall:

• Print the free checklist.
• Sit down with cookbooks, magazines and bookmarked online recipes AND the list.
• Go through recipes that I know I will be making and check the boxes on the printable.
• Keep the checklist on the fridge or somewhere visible for a few days, and add items as they come to mind (or remove items as ideas change)
• Go through my pantry and take note of anything that is running low or has gone stale. Check those ingredients off on the list.
• Head out shopping WITH the Ultimate Holiday Baking Pantry Checklist in hand.
• Highlight any items I am unable to locate or are temporarily out of stock, so I know I need to keep looking for them."

Trust me, you'll want to print this up. With Canadian Thanksgiving less than three weeks away, it is not to early to start planning for holiday baking.

Head to Simple Bites and download the tidy Holiday Baking Pantry Checklist pdf today. You're welcome!

*I have to say, Danny gave up sleep as well, as he made the pdf pretty for me. Thanks honey!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Fall List

This autumn, in no particular order, I want to...

  • Pick apples, eating no less than three in the process and climbing the tallest ladder to get above the branches and gaze across the entire orchard with the sun on my face.
  • Plant garlic for spring, which will require having garden plot ready to receive them. And so...
  • Build at least three raised beds by the fence, under the weeping willow. Oh, and give that thing a haircut.
  • Source an organic turkey and roast it for a group of friends. Serve with homemade applesauce. Which reminds me...
  • Make gallons of blush pink applesauce and can it. Use Cortland apples.
  • Watch my son turn 5 and burst with pride while simultaneously holding back sobs.
  • Visualize and execute a 'rocket cake' for said birthday. (Help me!)
  • Shoot a family holiday photo -- with no attempt to top last year's masterpiece.
  • Visit the open air market as often as possible just to gape at the seasons bounty.
  • Roast many sugar pumpkins, turn them into puree and bake up a storm.
  • Purchase way more produce than we can possibly eat at that market, then invent ways to fit 8-10 vegetables into a meal.
  • Watch our back forest turn all sorts of mapletastic colors and collect leaves with the boys.
  • Wear a wool sweater and a pretty scarf.
  • Buy two pear trees and plant them in the back yard. Name them Adam and Eve.
  • Read a book, a good book. Maybe even one about dragons.
  • Serve a harvest dinner outdoors, highlighting local seasonal food.
  • Finish dinner with toasted cinnamon marshmallows around the campfire.
  • Built this chicken coop and research for chicks next spring.
  • Air out my down douvet and then replace my cotton quilt with it.
  • Make lacto-fermented salsa.

What's on your fall list?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Sunday, September 05, 2010

An Anniversary and A Request

Four crazy, long, wonderful and hectic years ago I began Under the High Chair without a clue of what I was getting into. A pastime I assumed would probably fizzle and die by Christmas, turned into a hobby, then a passion, and finally, food blogging became a profession when I launched Simple Bites in February under the umbrella of Simple Living Media.

I could never have imagined the wild & wonderful ride blogging has been: the Twitter obsession, the acknowledgments, the opportunities, and most importantly, getting to interact daily with a community of incredible food bloggers.

Food bloggers are truly my extended family. I don't know how else to explain it.

OK, before this post starts sounding like one giant cliche, I'm going to share with you why I'm really posting today.

I want to make a point about the close-knit community of food bloggers, and then ask you for a favor. You know, 'cause it's my 'blogaversary'.

A few nights ago, a fellow food blogger lost her home and everything in it in a frightening fire. Erika Ghanny (of The Ivory Hut) barely made it out alive with her husband; her son ran back inside the burning house to save his grandmother trapped upstairs and exited out a window with her.

They lost everything. Everything. Baby photos, wedding rings, Erika's MacBookPro and Cannon 5D, all identification papers, her husband's prosthetic leg ---the loss is immeasurable.

Erika recounted the tragic story in a blog post the next day and it ripped my heart out as I sat reading about it with my morning coffee. News spread quickly on Twitter --and the food blogging community stepped into action, led by Alice and Maggy.

These ladies threw a website up, set up a paypal account, and the fund started rolling in. It was a relief to be able to DO something, and I added my donation as soon as I could see through my tears.

Overnight, $5000 was raised to cover the families immediate expenses (and that gesture made the local paper)...but we'd like to double that.
Here is where my request comes in. I had thought about a giveaway to celebrate this 4 year blogging milestone, but I just didn't feel comfortable about it when a fellow food blogger was in such desperate straights.

Won't you please honor Under the High Chair on her blogaversary by making a donation towards Friends of the Ivory Hut?
Here's how you can:

Head HERE to read a bit about Erika and donate at the bottom of the post.

Even $5 helps. Thank you. Please feel free to leave a comment if you made a donation; I would love to thank you personally!

Here is Erika's account of the fire, (I can't even imagine) plus a detailed description of how the money will be used and give details on Erika and her husbands particular situation.

Will you reach out and bless a stranger today?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Foodie Facebook: Shaina

I'm slowly working my way though interviewing each of my contributors for Simple Bites and featuring them here on Foodie Facebook. There's been Cheryl, and Cheri, also Elizabeth, and more recently, Shannon.

Today I'm honored to introduce (although she hardly needs an introduction, she's like, the hottest thing right now) Shaina from Food for My Family. And by family we means four kids!

How Shaina finds the time to blog (and all that goes with it), write, tweet, fly around the country, run a photography business, AND mother an extremely adorable brood, is beyond me.

There must be something about that iced tea...some secret ingredient. You think she'll ever tell?

Name: Shaina Olmanson
Place: Twin Cities, MN
Occupation: Freelance writer, recipe developer, photographer

UtHC: What is your earliest childhood food memory?

When I was one my mom was making pie crust in my grandma's kitchen. Tornado sirens were going off. My aunt and I sat huddled on the stairs. My aunt kept taunting my mom for not coming downstairs during the tornado, but my mom insisted she finish her pie crust.

I know. Everyone wants to know whether or not the pie crust turned out and what kind of pie the crust was to hold. I have not a clue, but my mom still stresses when she makes pie crust, which is probably why I'm the cook in the family.

UtHC: What did you eat today?

For breakfast I had a latte and Greek-style yogurt with fresh fruit. Lunch was a sushi roll while out finishing up school clothes shopping with my girls, and dinner returned to breakfast. My husband graciously made me a rolled egg filled with tomatoes and peppers and onions from our garden.

UtHC: What will your kids never be allowed to eat?

I try not to set unbending limits for my kids. While there are things I'd rather they didn't eat (HFCS, over-processed food), I know that they will be exposed to them. My goal is to raise my children to make the correct choices and to inform them of the reasons for doing so. I have already seen them pass on bags of potato chips and cheap hot dogs at birthday parties and supposedly kid-friendly fare at the buffet table. It's those moments where I know I'm making a difference and teaching them how to eat in this world.

UtHC: What do you always have on hand in your fridge?

So many things, but I try to keep at least 2-3 types of cheese on hand, eggs, milk, butter, sour cream, mustard and iced tea. Yes. Iced tea. It is my friend. I also like to have cream in my fridge.

UtHC: What is your beverage of choice?

Funny that this question should be next. I live primarily off water, but my grandma introduced me to coffee when I was only two years old. There is also, of course, my love affair with iced tea. Unsweetened with a lemon.

UtHC: If you could have dinner with anyone in the history of man, who would it be?

My grandma. I have learned so much since she passed, and I'd love to pick her brain, ask her for a few more of her recipes and have the chance to be the one to serve her.

UtHC: OK, it’s your last meal ever, what do you have?

Food. Really, I'm terrible at favorites. I would rather not imagine my last meal ever and instead look forward to all the meals I have still left to eat.

Thanks for your time, Shaina! Now I know you have Lemon Frozen Yogurt to eat and an evening of work, so I'll leave you to it.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


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