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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Value Meals

There are lots of benefits to hiring me as a personal chef. 

There's all the time you save since I do the meal planning, shopping and cooking.  Clean-up is a breeze. 

There's the ability to eat healthy, delicious meals with the effort of popping a frozen dinner from the grocery store in the microwave (without all those ingredients that you can't pronounce).

But my favorite benefit that I can give to families is the ability to eat a good meal together.  It's the way dinner is supposed to be eaten.

A great shirt from Life is Good.
Growing up, it was rare if our family didn't eat dinner together.  I know times have changed, but my family still tries to eat together as much as we can--actually sitting down at the dinner table and sharing a meal together.  We talk about our days, listen to music and talk about food (you can teach kids a lot about food and cooking at dinnertime).  We go through Jake's folder from school to see what he did that day. 

Some people feel that they just don't have the time to prepare a family dinner so they go out to eat.  But as someone in an article I once read said:
If you think about it, if you count packing the family into the car, driving to the Applebee's, standing in line for 20 minutes, getting to your table, waiting for your food, checking out, paying the bill of 40-50 dollars, and then driving back home, have you saved any time at all?  No, definitely not.  And you've probably spent four times the money you would have at home.
I have no problem with going out to eat--I enjoy it.  But when families make it the norm, it just doesn't make sense.  It not only can be more expensive, but less nutritious. 

But families are constantly on the move--running kids to rehearsal, running to meetings, running home from work.  A recent study shows that 19% of American meals are eaten in the car.  I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is, that's freakin' scary.  There's just something wrong with that.

So eating meals at home saves money, is more nutritious and allows us to just settle down--even for a short time.  There are even more important reasons, however, for families to eat meals together.

Check out these statistics (from a few years ago):
  • 75% of teens say that they talk to their parents about what's going on in their lives at the dinner table.  79% of parents say that's where they find out what's going on in their kids' lives.
  • Of those kids who eat less than 5 family dinners a week, 60% say they wish they did more often (Not what you'd expect, huh?).
  • Teens who eat 5-7 family meals per week are almost 3 times more likely to say they have an excellent relationship with their parents when compared to those who eat less than 3 family meals per week.
  • Compared to teens who eat 5-7 family meals a week, those who eat less than 3 per week are nearly 2 times as likely to get mostly C's or lower in school; 2 times as likely to have used tobacco; nearly 2 times as likely to use alcohol; and 1.5 times more likely to smoke pot.
Clearly, the social aspects of eating as a family are major.  Meals have always been central to who we are and who we become. 

Sit down.  Enjoy your food and each other.  Build relationships.  When Dinner's Done can do that for a family, I feel great.  And so do they. 

Monday, February 4, 2013


MB & Jake enjoying their yummy burgers and soup.
There's a new burger place in Ottsville that we tried out for dinner on Saturday night.  It's called MOO.

It's not just your typical burger joint, however.  They use organic and locally produced ingredients in all their offerings.  The place is decorated with big portraits of some of the farmers that produce their ingredients. 

MOO started as a food truck in Wrightstown and has branched out with the restaurant that opened on January 23.  You can read more about how MOO came about in this article from Bucks County Taste.

They offer a somewhat limited, but tasty-sounding menu--burgers, hot dogs, fries, salads, grilled cheese sandwiches, chili, soups, birch beer floats, locally-made (NJ) sodas, etc.  The prices aren't the cheapest, but considering what you pay in a McDonald's or Burger King, it's well worth it.

Mary Beth ordered the Moo Burger--a cheese burger that comes with lettuce, onion, pickles and "moo-goo" (their version of special sauce).  Jake ordered just a plain burger.  I went with the Moink--the same as a Moo Burger, but with bacon.  (Get it?  Moink?)  MB also got some homemade butternut-apple soup.  Jake and I got fries, too.

I wish I could report that everything was wonderful.  Nothing was bad, but, for example, the fries were a little limp and could have (should have) been more crispy.  They made a mistake on our order--brought Jake's burger with cheese when it was supposed to be plain.  I chalked these problems up to simply being new.  I look forward to tyring it again in a month or so once they get their "restaurant-legs" under them.

As for the burgers, they were delicious.  The meat is ground on-site and you can tell.  The patties are hand-formed and have a nice crust on the outside.  They are incredibly tender and flavorful.  Mine was a little on the rare side, but I didn't mind since it was freshly ground.  So if burgers are what they're known for, then they're on the right track. 

When we got there, we were the only ones in the place.  But soon, it filled up--good to see for another local business promoting good, local food.

MOO is located at 4010 Durham Rd, Ottsville (right where 412 and 611 intersect).  Hours are 11AM-7PM, Monday-Saturday (closed Sundays at least during the winter).  You can find them on Facebook or call 215-317-3317.  Cash only (although there is an ATM on the premises).