Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Creating Our Own Family Recipes

Welcome to the April 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Recipes
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing their recipes, their stories, their pictures, and their memories.
A few of my favorite recipe resources...
I have a habit of attaching recipes to people in my family.

I have specific memories of watching my mother make enchiladas. And huge green salads in the silver mixing bowl. My dad always made spaghetti and red sauce with ground turkey when it was his turn to cook. They always grill salmon when I'm home for a visit. My grandmother makes peanut butter fudge for every potluck and my grandfather makes amazing caramel brownies. My husband makes gumbo.

My best friend would probably tell you I make cheesecake.
Most recently I made this Easter cheesecake.
I often wonder what my girls will remember me cooking. What specific dish will they make with their children while telling them about how I used to cook it?

Will it be a specific recipe? Will it be just that we always sat down to dinner together and took a moment to connect as a family? Will they remember that our yogurt was in a jar in the fridge and not in a plastic container from the store? Will they remember the importance of deciding what toppings we would put on our homemade pizza? Or maybe just the memories of pressing out the dough on the pizza tray? Will they remember eating oatmeal on cloudy mornings or that NPR was always on the radio while we ate breakfast?

I think about these things each afternoon when I make dinner. I wonder if the meal with be good enough to be memorable--good enough to want to pass the recipe on to their own children. I try to incorporate new recipes and keep things interesting but I try to make sure we have staple meals that we rely on. Routine, predictable, comforting, healthy, recipes.

And I wonder if it's really the recipes themselves that are memorable or the memories that go along with those meals. The smells, the light coming through the kitchen window, the security of family all together. Either way, these thoughts motivate me. When I'm exhausted and don't want to cook I think of how food brings people together in my family. We get together and eat. Food is a central part of our family life.*

In case you're envisioning me slaving away in the kitchen every day trying to create the perfect meal, I feel like I need to say that there are definitely days when we eat take out and I know those days will continue to happen occasionally. Sometimes we just need to swing by the taqueria on the way home and pick up dinner. It happens. It's life. I'm trying to be better about having a stocked freezer to fall back on.

When I cook, I never regret cooking. It's always worth it.  If it's a simple meal or even just a salad it brings us together for a few minutes each day. I hope our family meals, if not specific recipes, will have an impact on our girls and that they will carry on the traditions with their own families some day.

*Seriously, ask anyone in my family how their weekend was or how they liked their vacation and they'll give you a rundown of everything they ate. And more often than not they'll have pictures too.
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • German Red Cabbage: A Family Tradition — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy shares her favorite dish and a part of her family's history.
  • Rotisserie Chicken Recipes for Meal Planning — Becky at Crafty Garden Mama shares a new recipe that is in her family's meal-planning rotation. Check out how she uses a rotisserie chicken to get through the week.
  • Grandma Wicken's Sugar Cookies — Jana Falls at Jananas talks about how special her Grandma's sugar cookies made her feel.
  • Recipe: Seed and Bean Burgers — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings shares one of her favourite frugal recipes that is also super-healthy and totally delicious.
  • PULLING Dinner Together For the Kids – Crockpot Pulled Pork — Lisa at The Squishable Baby PULLS dinner together for the kids.
  • The Best Banana Muffin Recipe (Gluten Free & Vegan) — Dionna of Code Name: Mama's adventures in gluten free baking have not been 100% successful. But today she is guest posting at Fine and Fair to share a banana muffin recipe that will knock your socks off!
  • The Pierogie Mama Whips Up Strawberry Pierogies! — Bianca at The Pierogie Mama shares her family's recipe for strawberry pierogies…a sweet, summery version of the Polish dumplings that she affectionately named her daughter after.
  • Mom's Cookbook — Tree at Mom Grooves digs into the big book her mom created for her six daughters and shares a favorite family recipe.
  • Crispy Duck Confit — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes the liberty of starting a family recipe tradition with this super simple, totally delicious crispy duck confit.
  • Stovetop BBQ Chicken — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares a yummy BBQ chicken recipe that you can make on the stovetop in less than 25 minutes, fridge to table!
  • Twice-Baked Sweet Potato Casserole w/Bacon — Martine at Whey Beyond the Naked Truth shares a naked food twist on an old family favorite!
  • Strawberry Panna Cotta — KerryAnn at CookingTF.com shows you her favorite dessert, a quick and easy Strawberry Panna Cotta that she enjoys so much, she had it instead of a birthday cake this year.
  • Special crepes for a special day — Mikko at Hobo Mama is learning to cook his grandma's signature holiday meal alongside his dad.
  • Three Favorite Family Recipes: To Eat, To Wash, To Play — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings is back with three family favorites: gluten-free vanilla orange sugar cookies, DIY powdered laundry detergent, and something fun for the kids: homemade "Flubber"!
  • Black Bean Soup Forever — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot shares a soup recipe that's been around forever.
  • Do you want to know a secret? — SRB at Little Chicken Nuggets lets go of her mac and cheese recipe, a comfort food favourite for friends and family for years.
  • Creating Our Own Family Recipes — Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM shares how she's trying to create meals that her girls will want to pass down to their own children some day.
  • Vranameer Chicken: A Family Recipe — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares a recipe that reminds her of childhood and more specifically, of her mother. It's a South African take on sweet and sour chicken and what it lacks in healthy it makes up for in tantalising to the taste buds.
  • One Recipe, Three Uses: Dishwasher Liquid Detergent, Dish Soap, and Hand Soap — If you love saving money and time, you'll love this green recipe from Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama, guest posting at Natural Parents Network.
  • Our Family's Favorite Pies — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares recipes and tutorials for the quintessential American dessert.
  • Deliciously Easy Crock Pot ChiliLactating Girl shares her crock pot chili that is not only quick and easy, but awesome.
  • All-Purpose Crock Pot PorkCrunchy Con Mommy's simple "recipe" for cooking perfect pork in the crock pot is for whatever mood her family is in!
  • Family Rules: A Recipe for Harmony — Cooped-up kids + winter weather + frazzled parents can all blend together into a recipe for disaster. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares what brought back the peace in her house.
  • Favorite Healthy Family Recipes — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her family’s healthy eating experiences along with links to free printable vegetarian recipes that her family has created with love.
  • Grandma's Banana Bread — Megan at The Boho Mama has early and fond memories of her grandma's banana bread. It's love in a loaf!
  • Family Comfort Food — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares a recipe handed down that moms have made for their kids, for regular meals as well as to comfort.


  1. Yes, yes, yes! Food plays such an important role in my memories of home. I've been scrambling to get dad's recipes (and then wondering what to do with them, since none are particularly "healthy"). I love that you're envisioning how your kids will associate home with food - it makes me want to be more mindful in my own food prep!

  2. This is beautiful! I totally agree — it's the memories of the food and the love that went into them that matters so much. I have so many fond memories of eating and making things with loved ones, even if I can't quite remember how the items actually tasted!

  3. Wow, I love this! I like the idea of exploring new recipes and having old standbys. I definitely equate certain people in my family and past with certain foods and recipes. We've been dealing with some major diet changes due to food sensitivities and I am really struggling with the lack of old standbys that I can just whip up with what I have, with little prep or planning. I know I'll find new "old favorites" and learn to adapt others, though!

  4. Food brings back lots of memories for me as well. I remember my Dad making us Mac and Cheese in the kitchen one afternoon. I remember my Mother preparing big elaborate meals. It makes me smile.

    Sadly, food as also consumed our lives. My Mother would constantly think about it, and I don't think that's a good thing. She would be planning for dinner at breakfast - 3 days prior. It's not good to be consumed by anything.

  5. this is such a beautiful post. I love the way your start with everyone's "memorable" recipe's... and I really appreciate the reminder (for use on those days when I am grumping inwardly at having to cook again) that this time together as a family is special. I do love cooking for them and feeding them.
    this was just lovely.

  6. This is such an interesting take on the theme. It really has me thinking about what my boys will remember me cooking and what they will cook themselves from my "cookbook". I tend to make enchiladas frequently too :)

  7. Yeah, love this interpretation of the carnival theme, rather than a straight recipe. One of my all time favorite smells is just garlic frying in some olive oil....yummmmm....smells like home. I agree with you, I (almost) never regret taking the time to cook. I really enjoy it. Aren't our families lucky! ;) Now I am going to daydream about what my kids will remember me cooking...

  8. I have some of the same memories and I never regret cooking either. Time spent in the kitchen is always productive.



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