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Family recipes from the Romneys

2013-10-09T00:30:00Z 2013-10-10T09:04:54Z Family recipes from the RomneysKaren Hoag - Daily Herald Daily Herald
October 09, 2013 12:30 am  • 
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  • What do you know about the Romneys? They were on the U.S. presidential campaign trail for more than a year but what do you really know about Mitt and Ann and their family?

    Just like many a family, they waited with their boys to catch the school bus in the mornings. They went blueberry-picking together. Mitt took over the making of the mashed potatoes for dinner. Josh's rolls were nearly better than Mom's.

    Ann Romney shares these tender glimpses into the life of her family in "The Romney Family Table" cookbook, newly released this month. But it's more than the 125 recipes, it's a book of memories and traditions that Ann wants preserved.

    "A lot of people know us but a lot of people don't know us," says Ann. "I wanted to show how important our family is, our children and grandchildren."

    When one of her five sons, Josh, suggested in January that Ann put together a cookbook, she thought it would be easy "because I have all these recipes." But then as the project progressed she said, "It was a lot more work than I thought! It became a family project with the help of my daughters-in-law -- a lot of us worked together."

    The first time Ann compiled a cookbook it was given as a wedding gift to her daughter-in-law when the Romneys' first son married. "I wanted to pass on traditions," says Ann. "Sharing traditions is so important to make a happy life. This is how great happiness came in our family -- these events that seemed to center around cooking. Anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas always centered around food -- it enriched the celebrations." Ann included some of the same memories and traditions from that family cookbook in her new cookbook for all to peruse.

    Ann and Mitt are proud of their sons, who are all fathers now. But as most parents, they worried about raising them so they asked a well-known psychologist what to do. He told them, "The best thing you as a parent can do for your children is to love your spouse. And then love your children."

    Ann adds a third: "Love God." Attendance at church is important as is the family dinner that follows with much conversation. One family night memory Ann includes in the cookbook involves son Matt. She and Mitt sit on the sofa with the boys on the floor listening to the lesson.

    "The moral of the story was about procrastination," remembers Ann. "The lesson told of a little boy who was asked by his mother to do some chore -- close the gate for the dog, pick up his clothes and so forth. Each time the boy responded, 'In a minute, Mommy.' "

    Of course each time his procrastination led to a bad thing, she says. "Delaying to close the gate for the dog meant the dog got lost; delaying to put away his clothes meant he couldn't find what he needed the next day for school."

    After the lesson, Matt, age 5, asked his parents to sit on the floor while he sat on the sofa. He began, "Once there was a little boy who asked his Mommy for a cookie, and she said, 'In a minute, Matt.' "

    "We howled!" Ann says. Matt had understood the moral of the story! "His little mind was working." She adds that she remembers that incident like it was yesterday.

    The Romneys are a close-knit family. "If we're not with them, we're talking to them," she says. "The grandchildren have Instagram. I laugh, it's fun. We're always making plans to get together."

    Twice a year -- in the summer and at Thanksgiving or Christmas all five sons, five daughters-in-law and 22 grandchildren gather around.

    Mitt and Ann have more time together than, say, a year ago. "Much more time," she says. "During the campaign I was on one path and he was on another. Then we'd have two days here and there together. I was able to campaign on my own and do media on my own." So her book tour seems easy.

    During the interview for this article, Ann was on the train traveling from New York City to Boston. "I've been busy putting together the book tour. I did 'Good Morning America' and Fox today. Then I'm doing a lot of TV in Boston, then on to Phoenix. I'll do Jay Leno. ... "

    After 44 years of marriage, Mitt and Ann remain sweethearts -- their relationship began in high school. "We just enjoy being together, we enjoy the same things: music and movies," she points out. "We're together as much as we can. We email, text, call one another."

    Ann has had quite a few church callings but her favorite was teaching early morning seminary at 6:15 a.m. for three to four years. She taught about 18 youth who were juniors and seniors. "I just ran into a 'student' on the train with me right now," she says. "He's age 32!"

    Volunteering and becoming involved in the community ranks high on Ann's priority list. "I was on the PTA, a town meeting member and when the kids were in elementary school I volunteered at my children's schools," she says., "Just get out and start doing things, be involved. You get to know people and feel a part of your community."

    She has many favorite charities. Proceeds from her book sales will go to research for cancer, MS (of which she is in remission), Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease.

    Her philosophy of life: "Have fun. Enjoy!" 

    Click through the slideshow for featured recipes from Ann Romney's cookbook.


    • 2 clementines, peeled, sectioned
    • 1 regular grapefruit, peeled, sectioned
    • 1 naval orange, peeled, sectioned
    • 1 pink grapefruit, peeled, sectioned
    • 1 mango, diced (adds good kick!)
    • Seeds from 1 pomegranate
    • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped

    Combine fruit in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with chopped mint leaves and stir gently.

    Note: To peel grapefruit, cut off the skin. Slit in half. With a sharp knife, remove the membrane. Insert knife under inner edge and cut from inside out.

    • 2 boneless pork chops, 3/4-inch thick
    • 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper (garlic pepper, lemon pepper or pepper blend)
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
    • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, or to taste, seeded, minced
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
    • 1/4 cup peach jam
    • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • fresh cilantro, chopped

    Rub chops on both sides with seasoned pepper. Heat olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook chops to brown on one side; turn chops and add onion and jalapeño to pan.

    Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 1 minute. Add broth, jam and vinegar to pan; cover, reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes. Serve chops with pan sauce. Garnish with cilantro.

  • Practically every Sunday dinner I make includes roasted vegetables. They are so easy and so delicious. I heat the oven to 400 degrees, chop up vegetables, sprinkle with olive oil and Himalayan salt and pop in the oven. I often roast squash, Brussels sprouts and onions together. There are endless possibilities. These are some of our favorites. -- Ann Romney

    Brussels Sprouts: Cut off the end and discard any nasty outer leaves. Toss with olive oil and salt, place them in a single layer on a pan, and cook about 40 minutes.

    Root Vegetables: Carrots, turnips, butternut squash, yams. Peel and chop into similar sizes, about 1-inch cubes. Toss with olive oil and place on pan. It is important to not overcrowd. Keep in a single layer. Roast 45 minutes.

    Sweet Potato Fries: Peel sweet potatoes, slice up like French fries and roast 45 minutes. Season with salt after roasting. The grandkids gobble these up.

    • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, uniform in size
    • 3/4 cup flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • 4 tablespoons salted butter
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil

    Using sharp knife, carefully slice chicken breasts in half, cutting parallel to cutting board. Cover top and bottom of chicken with plastic wrap and flatten with meat mallet or rolling pin to 1/4-inch thickness.

    In shallow bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper. Beat eggs in separate shallow bowl. In a third bowl, stir together bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

    Dip chicken in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saute pan over medium-low heat. Add 2-3 chicken breasts to pan and brown nicely on both sides (5-6 minutes total time). Continue to brown remaining chicken in batches of 2-3 pieces at a time, adding 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil for each new batch.

    Place browned chicken in 9-by-13-inch glass dish and finish cooking 15-20 minutes or until juice runs clear.

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
    • raw shrimp, deveined, peeled (enough to serve 4)
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
    • black pepper
    • 1/2 pound linguine, cooked according to package directions
    • Parmesan cheese, finely grated

    Heat olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until tender, watching carefully to prevent burning. Add shrimp and saute 2-3 minutes. Add basil and crushed tomatoes. Simmer uncovered until tomatoes are heated through, about 5 minutes.

    Pour over hot cooked linguine. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

    • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 3 cups flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup butter, softened
    • 2 1/8 cups sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

    Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Grease two 8-inch round baking pans and line with parchment. In small bowl, mix mashed bananas and lemon juice. Set aside. In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

    In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Beat in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk. Stir in banana mixture.

    Evenly pour batter into baking pans. Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Since cake is baked at low temperature, the oven times may vary. It is important to keep an eye on the cake and check it often. When cake is done, place baking pans directly into freezer for 45 minutes to cool before frosting.

    • 1 cup butter, softened
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar
    • 1-2 tablespoons milk

    To make frosting, cream together all ingredients, adding milk gradually as needed for desired consistency. Whip until light and fluffy.

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