Val Curtis

Once upon a time I was a very dedicated middle school science teacher and then I had my two children. The cliche is true. Motherhood is the toughest job, but the rewards are breathtaking. I live on an island in the PNW and I thank my lucky stars that I get to wake up in this corner of the world each and every day. 

I am a wife, a mom, a gardener, an islander, a sailor, a teacher, a recipe follower, a beer and wine snob, a blogger and I am trying to make it through the day with a smile. Also, my hot food and cold food cannot touch on a plate. Weird. I know. My food is made with real ingredients, nothing processed in this kitchen, including the desserts. Keep it real.  

Mental Chew - Best of 2011

This was my first complete year of blogging. I started in 2007, but this year I really committed to it and posted regularly....more

Miss Representation - Women and Media

This showed up on my wall on Facebook today. I don't know if you have seen it. If you haven't and you are a woman or have a mother, sister, daughter, niece, or partner, you should see this. If we don't take charge of how we are portrayed by the media, who will? Let's start the dialogue.Miss Representation Trailer Val Curtis of Mental Chew   ...more

Meal Planning and Cutting Costs, Not Quality

This is the time of year when I know I can save money on groceries because it is time for soups, stews and casseroles. My goal is to do this using seasonal, fresh produce, local meats and food preserved throughout the summer months. My grocery list will supplement what I have at home and purchase through the Farmers Market. My goal is to spend a maximum of $150 a week....more

Browned Butter Apple Bread

A couple of week's ago I made Sprinkle Bake's Pumpkin Browned Butter Cupcakes. I tried them out for dessert and then on my son's preschool class and both times they were gobbled up and seconds were requested....more

Pinterest Tutorial: Getting Started

You know how you always see something somewhere and then you try to find it and you can't. Story of my life and since the Momnesia has set in, it isn't any easier. The Internet is filled with ideas, tricks-of-the-trade, shortcuts, recipes, learning possibilities, Do-It-Yourself projects and oh so much more. Gone are the days of bookmarks that are comprised of long lists of website names that mean nothing to us. And for those who lean toward the OCD side of organization, we tried to create folders for those streaming lists of text to compartmentalize a little. Now there is Pinterest....more
@ljbarton Thank you x x xmore

OXO Eggbeater or Transformer that Makes Pancakes?

In this day and age of power tools for the kitchen, cooking with your kids can be a little dangerous. Recently. in our kitchen, mixers, blenders and food processors have given way to wooden spoons and whisks so the Little Man can take part. It is getting harder to say, "Move ahead and Mom will do this part". Independent little minds and hands leave the room when pushed aside one too many times. Over the Christmas holiday, LM wanted to get involved in the baking and I was forgetting to include him in the process....more

Gardening with Kids: Seed Selection

On Christmas Eve, I pulled the van up to our mailbox, grabbed the contents and hopped into my seat. I started shuffling through and our favorite seed catalog arrived amongst a pile of holiday cards. Merry Christmas. The Little Man was so excited, he grabbed it right out of my hand from his car seat. I caught myself because I almost snatched it right back. It is difficult to over come the power of those instincts at times. ...more