Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 63 - Mama, the Guest Blogger

Howdy Dowdy!

Today is not dinosaurs like I promised. Today we decided to do an informational post on beef, the meat of the wild. My mother attended a Texas Beef Council lunch. She learned a bunch of stuff about beef and cooking and so she is our guest post lady. She will tell you all about it. So give it up for... Melissa Ramirez!!!!


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Wow. That was quite an introduction. Most of it is true, although I'm not sure about beef being the meat of the wild. I'll let it slide, though.

What is true is that I was invited to a blogger event called Appetite for Inspiration by June Cleaver Nirvana and Burb Mom blogger extraordinaire, Texas Holly, along with the Texas Beef Council.


The event was held at Milestone Culinary Arts Center in Dallas, a really, REALLY fabulous facility.

I'm stepping in to write this post today for a couple of reasons. First, I'm so incredibly proud of Jared and Sophie. They've prepared something in the kitchen every single day for 62 days. They've done it with enthusiasm and commitment I didn't know they had in them! Today, day 63, is their first break from this and I think they deserve it.

Second, I had this unique opportunity today to be part of the Appetite for Inspiration. Since it so perfectly fits with Jared and Sophie's challenge and commitment to healthy eating, I wanted to share with them, and whatever readers they have, to broaden all of our knowledge of cooking.

The third reason is that, well, Jared's all talk with the dinosaurs. He needs another 24 hours to figure out just how he's going to relate a post to those extinct creatures.

Now, onto the day.

It began at 10:00 am with an informative talk by Angela Lemond, a local nutritionist and blogger at Mommy Dietician. I came away feeling really confident that we're doing great as a family. We're focused on healthy eating and choices, have exposed and empowered our kids to be part of the cooking process, and this challenge is a big part of that.

Angela gave a lot of great tips, many of which I'll implement, but the very first one will be repurposing my refrigerator crisper. She made a great point about making healthy foods visible. We usually hide these things in the crisper. She suggests putting staples in the crisper (things like eggs, butter, etc) and moving the fruits and veggies up to the shelves where they're visible.

Chef Richard Chamberlain of Addison's Chamberlain's Steak and Chop House, gave a cooking demonstration: Beef and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Balsamic Syrup and Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes and Cider Gravy.

Beef and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Balsamic Syrup

Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes and Cider Gravy
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Things I learned from Chef Chamberlain:

  • There are 29, yes, 29 lean cuts of beef.

  • Heirloom tomatoes (and anything with the heirloom moniker) means that years and years ago (100+) the best of the best fruit or veggie from a crop was selected, the seeds dried and planted the next year, etc.

  • Marbling in beef is actually a great source of monosaturated fat.

  • The marbling is where the moisture is held, as well as the flavor. When cooking with leaner cuts of beef, you need to make sure to add moisture.

  • Slicing onions into perfectly sized pieces is really easy! Jared will demonstrate very soon.

  • "We're only as good as our ingredients," Chef Chamberlain says. You can use a lesser cut of beef, but compliment it with other quality ingredients.

  • Thyme is an evergreen herb that everyone should have in their garden! It's subtle, versatile, and adds depth of flavor to dishes.

  • Use a meat thermometer to gauge whether a piece of meat is cooked. You have to find your own 'done' temperature. Once you do, stick with it no matter the cut of beef.

  • Cut against the grain for maximum tenderness.

The next part of the day was spent in the practice kitchen. All the bloggers were broken into teams. Each team prepared a beef recipe. My group made Mojo Beef Kabobs.

 Mojo Beef Kabobs with my team

Very tasty and one I will definitely teach Jared and Sophie so they can feature it here for you (along with a Jamie Oliver recipe, of course!).

I have so much to teach Jared and Sophie from my day with Chef Chamberlain and the Texas Beef Council. I realized that, while I'm a good cook, there's a lot I don't know. It's interesting and fun to cook in a facility like this and I hope to have Jared and Sophie take some sort of cooking class at some point so they can learn more, too. They're getting a great foundation from their challenge, from Jamie's new Home Cooking Skills site for kids, and from simply DOING.

They'll be back tomorrow, hopefully putting into practice some of what I learned today, and telling you more about how their skills are growing. This is a labor of love for all of us. They (and me) want to know who's out there reading about their challenge, so if you are, let them know with a comment!


  1. I like Angela's idea of moving staples to the crisper. I sometimes forget what I have in there and several foods had to be discarded.

    I'm reading and enjoying the simple recipes the kids are making.

  2. Mom guest posting ... that's so cute! Yes, you should be very proud of Jared and Sophie--they are doing an aweseome job! :-)

    And, kudos for your post, Melissa/Misa, too! 29 cuts of lean beef--I had no idea. So much good info here! And, Mojo Beef Kabobs look and sound really good! :-)


  3. Want you all to know how much I look forward each day to the new recipe. It's been great, and I've tried several things myself. Keep up the good work!


  4. well, as a vegetarian, I like the heirloom tomato bit best, in fact that's one of the dishes I am making for a dinner party monday, a caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil from my yard, and olive oil and balsamic reduction. For the dinosaur bit, you could bake the dinosaur chicken nuggets from the grocery store, but make your own dipping sauce and veggies. from carolyn

  5. Guest blogger, great job! And I might add, Miss Misa, you look mighty frisky in your black apron holdin’ onto your Mojo Beef Kabobs. They look yummy! I’ve gotta know how to make Balsamic Syrup. It sounds like something I’d like to pour over my Mojos. AND I’m moving my staples downstairs to the crisper and my fruit and veggies upstairs to the penthouse. Whatta great idea! Keep ‘em coming

  6. I love it! So glad they let you guest blog. I am glad for the list because there were some things that I forgot.

    Thanks so much for was so fun seeing you.

  7. The beef kabobs were my favorite. I loved the peppery taste.

  8. Don't think processed dinosaur chicken nuggets are healthy fare, Carolyn, but you get an A+ for creativity!

  9. Holly, loved the event!

    Sharon Marie, vavavavoom! Frisky isn't usually a word I use to describe myself, but you make it sound so fun!

    Nicole, I agree! I think I went a little crazy with the pepper, but it was good. Also loved the little sliders. The pineapple added so much!

  10. Shirley, thanks for following these superstar kiddos!

  11. I am so impressed with Jared and Sophie's challenge! I can't wait to read more and how they used your new cookbook. Thanks for sharing!