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  • There is nothing like community. Nothing like it. Family and friends all coming together to celebrate and enjoy the life we live here. That is exactly what the Backyard Restaurant celebrates.

    Over the past three years we have opened and closed a restaurant in our backyard in one day. With our limited knowledge of the restaurant business, we organize the best we can over the summer and let the community jump in and fill in the gaps for the one-day debut. The kids do something they don’t get to do very often, wait tables and make tips. And I watch people laugh and stress all at the same time in only the way restaurant life can; the pancakes aren’t coming out right, we need three tacos on the fly to get Scarlett out of the weeds, 3 grilled paninis are dying in the window; we need a runner! Not to mention with 150 people arriving this year, we needed to learn to turn tables.

    The mission of our new not-for-profit, Souper Heroes, is to have fun with food and community while providing for those who don’t have enough of either. The Keels Backyard Restaurant embodies this at its core. We did have fun and we provided a bit too. Over $900 raised for Neighborhood Services Inc. so they could provide school supplies to those in need.

    Enjoy this video that gives you a complete look at what these kids accomplished. And we can’t wait to open up next year. We should have the place cleaned up just in time.

     

  • Green Goddess Dressing

    This recipe comes to us from our second Food Swap. It was a hot trade item. Your salad will thank you for it.

    Green Goddess Dressing

    Ingredients

    • 2 Avocados
    • 3/4 cups greek yogurt
    • 3/4 tbsp honey
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 3/4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 1 green onion
    • 1 cup cilantro
    • 1 cup parsley
    • 1/4 cup basil
    • pinch of smoked paprika
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

    1. Coarsely chop all ingredients.
    2. Pulse in food processor until creamy.
    3. Add a small amount of water if needed to thin the dressing.
    4. Enjoy the green goodness!
  • June’s Columbus Food Swap!

    Our second Columbus Food Swap was nothing short of delightful. Maybe because of Sylvia’s homemade mead and infused spirits. Or maybe because of bringing together like-minded people to exchange goods made with love (I know … I’m cheesy … but no one brought cheese so I thought I’d fill in here ;) . We did have Kimchi, Berry Jam, Japanese Style cookies, blueberry muffins, pickled radishes and many new faces.

    Looking forward to planning another one for the end of July so sign up to stay tuned for news on that. Plus, if you missed it, you can sample some of what you can expect to find from swappers with this Green Goddess dressing from Natalie and Moishe Appelbaum.

    Happy Summer!

  • A Dash of Reality

    Life is never dull here raising 3 kids, having a part-time job and running charity events just for the love of it. I’m not complaining, but it can get super hectic at times with just little pockets of sanity.

    I experienced one of those pockets for 12 seconds on Wednesday. I had the entire family organized, Adam was at art camp, Atticus was with his Dad getting ready for his swim meet and the snacks were packed ahead of time for Margot.

    I pulled up to Adam’s art class a little early (that’s right … I said early), was going to pick him up and meet the rest of the family at the swim meet. I took a deep breath and thought to myself, “Wow, I feel like we have it all together.” Literally 12 seconds later my cell phone rang. It was Chris, “We’re at the pool you sent us to, but there’s no swim meet here.”

    Oops … wrong pool. HAHAHAHA. Life is funny. It makes me laugh out loud daily.

    The moral of my story: Relish the 12 second pockets and laugh at the rest. Or to reference this sweet photo above … when life sends you a rainstorm in summer, just go put your bathing suit on.

    Did you get a 12 second pocket this week?

  • Meet our peeps!

    Our trip to Meyer Hatchery went off without a hitch. The bins of extra super cute chicks without homes almost had me impulsing buying extras. But in the end, we came home with our three Colombian Wyandottes ready to raise.

    The kids have each all picked one out and we can tell the difference now. As they start to grow and change I wonder if it will get harder or easier to tell. We put them in their new ‘temporary’ home and watched them go through their pecking order ritual. They are named, Gloria, Scooter and Teddy (formally known as Water Fairy. The boys were having none of that and convinced Margot to continue to brainstorm.) They are already growing feathers and we are learning a lot.

    So far so good. Now on to buying a coop.

    Scooter

     

     

     

  • Meet our Mr. Miyagi


    Meet our Mr. Miyagi, our Chicken Guru, a No Chef named John Bannon. We met John at Trader Joes and discovered he raised city chickens. He graciously took us under his wing … that’s right I said it … and has been guiding us through this process.

    Our chicks are hatching May 19th and it was time to take all of John’s sage advice over texts, phone and our weekly run-ins at Trader Joes to the next level.Yesterday, the kids and I got to visit John and ‘his girls’ to get a hands-on view of city chicken life. All three kids took to it. John suited us up, took us in the coop, showed us the equipment we needed, taught us how to clean the coop, let us collect eggs and more.  The kids were completely engaged, asking John questions even I hadn’t thought of like, “Do we need to bathe them?” The answer is no, we don’t. Turns out chickens take a dirt bath where they basically roll in dry dirt. A technique my two younger kids are sure to try themselves this summer. It was the after-school field trip from heaven. Everyone is really excited.

    Now, I’m no fool. I know there will be times when the kids just want to play the iPad when it’s time to feed the chickens or clean the coop. I’ll try a “Dave Janusz Special” and say something like, “With that kind of attitude I don’t even want your help now.” Hoping they feel like I did that I just lost the privilege of helping. But that’s another day. Yesterday it was chicken coop utopia and I just let myself love it.

    We are so thankful we’ve made another No Chef friend to help us along. John Bannon gave us all of his Mr. Miyagi’s chicken wisdom and he didn’t make us paint the fence!

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  • Season 2 Finale of Columbus Soup and Bread!

    I had an interesting conversation with a guy last week. As we were catching up he said, “So what have you been up to?” (Obviously he is not friends with me on Facebook.) I immediately invited him to Columbus Soup and Bread. I went through how the event operates, bringing a group of random soup makers together to offer up complimentary soup and bread to anyone who comes. When I got to the part of our humble donation crock pot available should diners choose to contribute to help organizations in the hunger relief system, he said to me, “That’s all fine and good buuuuuuut ….”

    I’d tell you what he said next, but I’ve learned to stop listening when someone approaches life this way. Those words are a segue into how we can’t solve the hunger issue with just a small donation crock pot once a month. How we aren’t putting a dent into the problem. I don’t listen to this kind of talk anymore. Because if we didn’t do what we can, despite of not being able to solve the entire problem, well then no one would do anything. And that’s just not a world I want to live in.

    Fortunately for me, there are more people like me out there. And they showed up last night to the Season 2 finale at Two Caterers. Dare I say the words epic and soup in the same sentence. There I did it. Seventeen soup makers and over 100 people to share them with. One mobile bread hearth and awesome Jim Budros making fresh bread for everyone. Pistacia Vera and their three awesome desserts to help us cap off the evening. Plus, two of the first Silver Ladle Souper Hero awards were given to Barb Moros and Blair Bickel for their tremendous support of the cause.  Topped off by 4000 meals through the Mid-Ohio Foodbank raised in our one donation crock pot last night alone.

    Thanks to everyone who participated this season, the sponsors, the soup makers, the people who came to enjoy and share and donate. There are too many of you to mention. Just know that because you did what you could in spite of tremendous need … well I find that All Fine and All Good! 

    I can’t wait until Season 3 launches in October. If you want to be a part of this awesome event, sign up for the mailing list here and we’ll keep you posted.

    Two CaterersRandy Dupler Rocks!Bexley Crew!Serve it up!Souper Hero Award - BarbDiana Tucker Rocks it again!Pistacia Vera is the best!Mmmm!

     

  • I admit I thought chicken as our Monthly Ingredient Challenge felt a little, well…chicken.  But when put to the test to do something I have never done before with chicken, I headed to Chicago Live Poultry.  That’s right.  I ordered two hens, slaughtered.

     

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    They handed me the bag, still warm with my two dead hens, and home I went to butcher them, cook them and serve them.  I  was unsure what I was actually getting.  How much like grocery store chickens would they be when I got home?

    Well, they looked like grocery store chickens, but I was happy to find out that while the guts were gone the organs were still intact.  So to YouTube I went, to figure out how in the world I was supposed to find and dispense of a heart, lungs and liver.

    I kind of cheated I think, because I was planning to cut the chicken into pieces, so in opening the hens up I could see what I was doing.  Not so sure about doing that blind, with my hand stuck inside the bird… stay tuned for that.  Here the result.

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    Here’s the thing though…there is something I still don’t know about how and when to cook the chickens after slaughter.  The first one I cooked 24 hours after bringing her home and it was like trying to eat a rubber hose.  The second one I seasoned with a garlic-y paste and put in the fridge for two days.  The meat tenderized and was delicious.

    Oh, and here is the guy at the store who told me I wasn’t allowed to take pictures.  I’m not chicken of him either!photo (10)

     

     

     

  • Swap Success!

    The launch of Columbus Food Swap was a success. The Kitchen was the perfect venue. The crock pot benefitted Freedom a la cart and the ideas were abundant.

    Now, I wasn’t sure how to approach this post. On one hand I want to tell you about the amazing creations that showed up to the Swap. That blog post goes like this:

    Seriously, this group was impressive! Not only were the food items spectacular, but the packaging and the conversation as well. There were homemade raw truffles, the best brownies in the world (that’s what they were labeled … I didn’t secure this item in time so don’t tell my kids), beef rub, salsa verde, homemade compound butter, kettle corn with pecans and more! Oh vegan cheese made out of cashews … who knew?!?!? And two little girls with their gluten-free cookies! The swapping was cordial … I’m sure it will always be … I just like to add a little drama.  And everyone left with a smile and their arms full of new goodies.

    Read more

  • We’re Going Farm to Table Baby!

    My Birthday was yesterday. I have developed a love/hate relationship with it, like the shelf stable heavy cream at Trader Joe’s. But yesterday I had all love because not only did my husband make a wonderful cake (and wreck the kitchen in the process thus walking a mile in my shoes and hopefully developing some compassion along the way), he gifted me with permission to get three backyard chickens.

    So Adam and I are on the hunt for a coop (I sure wish IKEA made one), made plans to get our permit and brainstorming what we can serve at our Backyard restaurant this year that requires eggs.

    Stay tuned as this girl … who is actually a little fearful of chickens … embarks on this new adventure with family in tow.

    Now, what do we name them? Leave us some suggestions below. (Except Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner … Atticus already suggested that.)

     

     

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