Adventures in Drool:  Is that you, Karma?

Enjoy some butternut squash pancakes this week. BY RACHEL SWICK MAVITY
February 18, 2013

Having children and having a family is hard enough; having an extended family can make it even more difficult.

Several of my friends count family stress as one of the top stressors in their lives. I might be on that list.

Having a family is always difficult, even though it also brings a lot of joy. How do you reduce family stress?

As the parent of one child, I am concerned about the problems I have with my own siblings. If I choose to have another child, how will I make sure the two children get along both today and in the future?

Sibling rivalry dates back to the early ages of humans, so of course, it still exists today. And, all family dynamics are different.

In my family, snide comments reign supreme. It can be hard to tone down the attitude that arises when talking about a particular family member. But, I try to remember that if I am being mean behind someone else's back, it likely means there is someone or several someones out there talking about me behind my back. And, that's never fun to think about.

After all, if you believe in Karma, your actions always come back to bite you.

In the end, I plan to make a bigger effort to contain my snarky remarks and perhaps bring a little more levity and sunshine into the extended family.

Any helpful suggestions for me?


Washing your food, the remix

Last week, I wrote about washing your food before serving it. I wrote that washing non-organic produce with dish soap was the best way to remove pesticide residue.

That is what I found then. This week, I see the national Partnership for Food Safety Education recommends not using soap, bleach or detergent to cleanse food.

This is just a reminder to us all - there is so much misinformation out there!

Here is what I found out about washing produce. It is better not to use soap because the chemicals could be absorbed into the vegetables and fruit. Also wait to wash the produce until right before you are going to use it. Discard any produce that is bruised or has cuts where bacteria could have entered.


Washing Fresh Produce

No washing method completely removes or kills all microbes which may be present on produce but studies have shown that thoroughly rinsing fresh produce under running water is an effective way to reduce the number of microorganisms. Washing fruits and vegetables not only helps remove dirt, bacteria, and stubborn garden pests, but it also helps remove residual pesticides.


Under running water, rub fruits and vegetables briskly with your hands to remove dirt and surface microorganisms. If immersing in water, a clean bowl is a better choice than the sink because the drain area often harbors microorganisms. Produce with a hard rind or firm skin may be scrubbed with a vegetable brush. Wash water should be no more than 10 degrees colder than produce to prevent the entrance of microorganisms into the stem or blossom end of the produce.


Do not wash fruits and vegetables with detergent or bleach solutions. Many types of fresh produce are porous and could absorb these chemicals, changing their safety and taste.


Chemical rinses and other treatments for washing raw produce, usually called fruit and vegetable washes, are often advertised as the best way to keep fresh fruits and vegetables safe in the home. But are these washes effective? The FDA advises against using commercial produce washes because the safety of their residues has not been evaluated and their effectiveness has not been tested or standardized.

Source: Colorado State University


Clean: Wash Hands and Surfaces Often

Bacteria can be spread throughout the kitchen and get onto hands, cutting boards, utensils, counter tops and food. To Fight BAC!® always:

• Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers and handling pets.

• Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.

• Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

• Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten.

• Rub firm-skin fruits and vegetables under running tap water or scrub with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing wtih running tap water.

You can find out more at


Butternut Squash Pancakes

Two of my favorite foods - butternut squash and pancakes - come together in this simple and delicious recipe!

This weekend, I wanted to clean out some freezer items and found two frozen butternut squash soufflés made by GardenLites.

I decided to use on of the soufflés in pancakes.

All I did was use the traditional Bisquick pancake recipe, add a little extra milk and add the microwaved squash. I also added some ground cinnamon, which made the pancakes even more mouth-watering.

Here is the recipe:

2 cups Bisquick

1.5 cups milk

1 egg

Healthy amount of ground cinnamon

1 GardenLites butternut squash souffle


1. Microwave souffle according to package directions - perhaps a bit less if you are in a hurry. Set it aside to cool. I opened the plastic after microwaving so it would cool faster.

2. Mix all the other ingredients - the mix should be a bit dry.

3. Add squash and mix well. It could be a bit lumpy, just keep mixing until you are happy with it. Add a bit more Bisquick or milk depending on the thickness.

4. Heat a griddle or frying pan with butter or cooking spray. Cook pancakes - about 3 minutes per side on a low setting.

Serve with a bit of butter and syrup; or try topping with some honey and extra cinnamon. Enjoy!

  • Real Parents. Real Food. Real Fun.

    Welcome to Adventures in Drool! Talking about green living, getting rid of plastics and toxic chemicals in our homes and raising happy kids on a budget. Join the conversation ( and don't forget to Like us on Facebook!

    Rachel Swick Mavity, author of the blog, lives with a reformed drooler (Droolface), who at age 3 loves to get muddy, drink homemade smoothies, giggle and flirt with old ladies. Her current drooler (Birdy) enjoys spitting up on work clothes and leaving drool trails as a way of showing her love.

    Mavity previously worked as a journalist for seven years at newspapers from Pennsylvania to Maryland and Delaware. In Sussex County she worked for several newspapers, including the Cape Gazette. She lives in Lewes with her husband, Ryan Mavity, their son, "Droolface," and daughter, "Birdy."