Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jane Dyer.
Credit for discovering this scrumptious morsel of a book goes to my pal Lisa, who read it, loved it, and knew my kids and I would eat it up. And right she was. This charming picture book is an exploration of virtues (and a few vices) as demonstrated by one’s relationship to cookies.
“TRUSTWORTHY means, If you ask me to hold your cookie until you come back, when you come back, I will still be holding your cookie.”
“COMPASSIONATE means, Don’t worry, it’s okay, you can have part of my cookie.”
“ENVY means, I can’t stop looking at your cookie out of the corner of my eye—it looks so much better than my cookie. Boy, I wish it were mine and not yours.”
“LOYAL means that even though the new person has a much bigger cookie, I’m sticking by you and your little cookies because you’re my very best friend.”
Sweet, simple, and nourishing: this is the perfect recipe for a picture book. There is much food for discussion here. Really it’s quite an ingenious concept: Beanie, my resident six-year-old, was captivated by this illustration of qualities worth cultivating. We have often talked about ‘cultivating the virtues,’ and I think Cookies made the abstract concepts crystal clear. It also made us hungry. If you’ve given up sweets for Lent, you might want to save this one for the Easter basket.
It’s been almost two years since I had the brainstorm that dramatically improved my eating habits…for a while. A long while, a year at least. But somewhere along the line, I let the habit slip, and then I forgot all about it.
Time to start over. Here’s the idea: I keep a plastic bin full of yummy salad fixings in my refrigerator.
Boom, one-stop shopping. It’s right there at eye level on the
fridge shelf, where I can’t avoid seeing it. Big bag of prewashed
spinach sitting on top. In the bin are all the little baggies and
plastic containers that I was finding it such a burden to collect from
various points in the pantry and refrigerator. Pine nuts, sunflower
seeds, almonds, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, real bleu
cheese…mmm, just cutting-and-pasting this list from above makes me
hungry. (They don’t all make it into every salad, of course, just a
random selection. Otherwise there’d be no room for the veggies, which
are, of course, the whole point.)
Also in the bin: sliced mushrooms, diced bell peppers, chopped
carrots. OK, so it’s not a perfect system: I still have to prep the
veggies. But (another duh moment) I’m doing it once or twice a week, at
night after the kids are in bed. Then in the middle of my busy day, I
can scoop a handful of diced peppers out of a baggie and throw it on my
beeyootiful salad. I know, lots of people have thought of this before
me. I don’t claim to be innovative. Except possibly in the matter of
sticking it all in a bin together so all I have to do is pull the bin
out of the fridge and mix-and-match until I’ve got a bowlful.
You can read more about the idea in my original post, but the gist is pretty simple. During the year I was sticking with it, I really did eat a nice big salad pretty much every day because that darn bin was staring me in the face every time I opened the fridge, with the blue cheese crumbles and toasted almonds right on top. Yum.
Rachael Ray makes a quick and easy vinaigrette out of orange marmalade, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Delish, as she says. Or try raspberry preserves in place of the marmalade: oh my goodness is that tasty. I know what I’m having for lunch.
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