Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thai Summer Rolls

My husband is in love with Thai summer rolls and I have to admit that the more I make them the easier they are, and I think this time I nailed, NAILED, the peanut dipping sauce! The first time we had Molly eat these with us she maybe took a bite. Tonight she ate two whole rolls (well one full one since I cut them in half) she isn't too on board with the dipping sauce which is a surprise since she is into a "dipping" phase. She was taking huge bites, and the texture of these rolls are a little chewy and awkward so she was so cute when she was biting down and tearing off a piece and on top of that she kept saying, "Yummy, yummy." This just reiterates the fact that you shouldn't just assume that a child won't eat something. Who would think a two year old would eat a summer roll full of nothing but veggies, tofu, and a fairly strong hint of cilantro? I would think most people would think she wouldn't eat it, but on only the second try she ate them up. You have to be able to just keep trying.

Easy Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce

Juice of one lime

2 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp Rice wine vinegar

3 tbsp chunky peanut butter

(water to loosen it up to a nice texture)

**Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl add a teaspoon of water at a time until the sauce is loosened to your own desired texture.

Scary Movies

I know this is a slight departure from food, but it does reflect my life and/or my married life. When I was a teenager I was able to watch all the scary movies, you have a sleep over with the girls and you would rent scary movies and stay up all hours of the night until you finally fell asleep from exhaustion (This inevitably took a very long time because you had scary images running through your head, and every tiny sound you heard in a strange new environment aka Ashley's house for example kept you up terrified). I remember watching all the popular scary movies at the time; Nightmare on Elm Street, Candyman – this one was particularly horrifying for me, Friday the 13th. Well times they are a changin' not only can I no longer handle any of the "scary" movies, but many other genres also don't work for me at all. The scary movies, I think in large part to the Asian scary movie market- and their subsequent American remakes, have gotten a hell of a lot scarier. This is slightly an issue with my husband and me because he LOVES these movies, I can't stand them. There is also a new breed of movie that I can't stand; those movies that have anything to do with a woman being raped and/or something bad happening to a child or teenager.

Last night my husband and I curled up on a couch and decided to watch a movie, we had both heard that Law Abiding Citizen was a good movie so why not give that one a try. The movie starts and I swear to you no more than a minute in and I jumped off the couch in a hurry, tears in my eyes, practically yelling at my husband for not warning me. I then proceeded to tell him that that opening scene is like my worst nightmare come to life, and that those images were going to be stuck in my head for awhile. I am sure that is a small portion of the movie, but to hear the "bad guy" say, "Don't worry little kids like me." was my undoing.

You know what kind of "crap" I do like? Transformers, Iron Man, Avatar, Percy Jackson, Harry Potters, Twilight Saga Movies, any and all chick flicks! There is possibly a reason that the same kind of chick flick gets made over and over again, is it possible that most women if not all, feel exactly the same way that I do? I find that it is impossible for me to watch certain kinds of movies without putting myself in their shoes or being incredibly horrified by what is happening no matter how unrealistic it can be. Take the movie my husband watched a week ago called The Human Centipede I think, HORRIFIC! Why do people like to watch those types of shows? I want to laugh, cry- in a good way, and see love unfold, or at the very least a fantastic highly choreographed possibly CGI'd mega million blockbuster. Is this too much to ask? Leave the crazy scary "realistic" stuff for the news, which I am thinking about boycotting for exactly the same reasons as listed above, why do we always have to focus on the negative scary news? Why can't it be more positive? My favorite piece of the Nightly News the Making a Difference section. Does this make me abnormal? Nope, I think it makes me an optimist. Unfortunately it also means that my husband and I hardly ever watch movies together.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Egg Mold

Second Bento lunch for Molly, remember she only gets her lunch on Friday's for daycare, so I wanted to try a couple of new things as I have been Bento buying happy twice since I have found my new obsession. I am using bamboo picks for the blue berries, and strawberry kabobs. The great thing about using the bamboo picks is that the bottoms of the picks are not super pointy and I am not worried about her hurting her mouth with them. I am also using the little grass separators, those came in a fun box from japan, and wasn't at all what I was expecting when I ordered them but fun all the same. I also tried the egg molds for the first time, and gave Molly the better egg of the two, daddy gets the other one, which I am still excited about regardless. I think the next time I need to put the pointier end of the egg towards the tail instead of towards the lips of the fish. I also made PB&J pocket sandwiches for Molly. She still isn't great with actual sandwiches because she peels them apart and then they just are left forgotten on the side of the plate. So I thought these would be a good thing to try, I will try the infamous pizza pockets next time, and probably do enough for mom and dad as well (I think Brian and myself would like these little calazones/empinadas in our lunches too). And then for good measure because she eats all throughout the day according to her daycare provider, I gave her one of her favorites aka cucumbers and pretzels.

Vegetarian Dinner/ Open-faced Fried Egg Sausage Melts

So we tried a few new things tonight in our vegetarian dinner; soy crumbles for sausage, homemade bread from our neighbor, onion/parsley oil, avocado as a side dish, and pink grapefruit for Molly. The bread was fantastic, and really perfect for the dish, thank you Rockelle! As I was making the spinach and grapefruit salad Molly thought I had an orange and wanted a piece and wouldn't take no for an answer. She actually kept coming back for more, it is crazy sometimes what the kids will eat! I have never had the veggie sausage before, it was quite good. Overall I was pleased with the meal, and it was very filling!

Open-faced Fried Egg Sausage Melt

Sliced Wheat Bread (hopefully homemade)

1 cup Soy sausage crumbles

Sliced Cheddar Cheese


1 large green onion

2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley

Olive Oil (4 tbsp give or take)

1. Toast bread, chop onion and parsley and mix with oil, preheat oven 400 degrees.

2. Warm sausage, top toasted bread with a little bit of olive oil, then the sausage and a slice of cheese. Place on a cookie sheet and put into the oven until the cheese is melted.

3. Fry eggs (don't forget salt and pepper for taste), once cheese is melted top with egg and a drizzle of onion oil.

P.S. I was told by a lady at the grocery store that the Morning Star soy crumbles (well really just that brand of soy products period) were cheaper at Target than even my cheap grocery store.

Bistro Dinner

So I was able to use a ton of fun equipment for this dinner. This dinner contained bistro fries (salt, pepper, garlic, fresh parsley) I was able to use my French mandolin; which I have been using a lot lately for carrot "coins" which is what I call them for Molly's Bento lunches, sweet potato fries, or for regular fries like we had this evening. We also had a nicely flavored steak, and to go with the steak I was supposed to have a blue cheese dipping sauce (We all know how Molly LOVES to dip!) I went to the grocery store on Sunday and thought I had a tub of blue cheese in the fridge so I didn't buy a new one. Well when I went to make the sauce, I opened the tub and I could tell it was slightly off. Really how do you tell when blue cheese goes bad? I mean it is mold, right? The white part of the cheese in this instance was off color and it smelled different. Being the freak that I am about spoiled food I tossed it immediately and then stood in front of my fridge for awhile to try and figure out what the heck I was going to do instead. I knew I had some crumbled feta, so I said what the hey, and I used that instead. Brian said it tasted very similar to a creamy ranch style dressing, I disagree it tasted like feta. I also felt like we needed some veggies so my recent stand by is roasted carrots and onions. It was a very tasty meal, Molly ate everything, which really was that a surprise? She dipped her fries in some ketchup, and she dipped her steak in the cheese sauce (which she really liked and asked for several more helpings of both steak and sauce) and she ate a few carrots to round it all out. She is really testing us right now with her table manners, overall though she understands we eat at the table and we eat as a family. For a two year old she really only leaves the table a few times, and might occasionally play with her food or fork. But she is sitting in her own chair, using really silverware, etc. She is really growing up before our eyes!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

All Sorts of Different Eats and Finds

So last night I didn't feel like making much of a dinner, so my stand by at this point is homemade pizza. And since I tried the dough setting on the bread maker to make the cinnamon rolls I have been dying to try pizza on the dough setting as well. I think that the reason I love the bread maker is because you literally dump everything in and then it does all the work for you. When I have made bread by hand or dough for that matter and the recipes always ask you to put it in a warm environment to proof or rise I have always questioned that step, where are they expecting you to put it? It is not like I have a special machine that is at the perfect warm temperature that they specify, oh wait I do the bread machine! I think the dough setting on the bread maker if an hour and a half which is way too long for a small amount of pizza dough so I only had it in there for maybe 15 minutes max. It came out wonderful though I must admit. And Brian was super happy because even though I used a fork to perforate it it still had some puffy air pockets. This is, according to Brian his favorite part because it reminds him of his favorite pizza place Walleries, I never knew he liked the air pockets. Go figure? It was just a simple peperoni pie, made with Turkey peperoni. Molly had three slices! She kept asking for more pizza, it was amazing. It is surely one of her favorite things. Good thing I don't feel too bad when I make it all at home, and I know what is going in it.

I desperately need to go to the store, I am thinking tomorrow morning at around 7 am sounds about right. But until then it feels like we are scrounging for food around here. When we came home from playing at the park earlier today we were hungry for some lunch. Side note; for Brian's birthday I made cinnamon rolls, the recipe I used called for WAY too many cinnamon rolls so I froze some. Ingenious! This morning I pulled just a few of them out, popped them in the microwave to defrost (they had already risen before I froze them) and put them into the oven. I whipped up some frosting to go on top and the next thing you know we are eating second helpings of fresh cinnamon rolls from Brian's birthday. Brilliant! I must remember to do this next time. You can seriously only eat like one maybe two max at a time and after that the rest of them just go stale and you have to throw them out. So that was our Saturday morning breakfast it was fantastic with two cups of coffee. Anyway back to the lunch idea I had after the park. Well I mentioned, since we had a fresh loaf of bread that a chicken salad or egg salad sandwich sounded good. Brian was hungry so we decided to go with an egg salad because it could be done in less time. I can't remember the last time I had an egg salad sandwich, if ever, so it was new to me and definitely new to Molly. She didn't eat it at all! She seemed delighted when she found a pickle chunk in it, she ate one of those but then after that she hopped down from the table and ski-daddled (sp?) outside to continue playing. She had previously snacked on some trail mix of sorts so she wasn't too hungry anyway and she went down for a LONG nap thereafter as well so she was fine. The egg salad sandwich was pretty good I have to say the fresh bread lightly toasted is what made it for me, and the pickles, are you supposed to put pickles in egg salad? I have no idea but they sounded good to me.

After Molly was awake from her nap we decided to head out to Uwajimaya, a quality Asian grocery store in our area, to see if they had any Bento stuff. Shocker they totally did! HA! I got an egg mold, some sauce containers, some mini-sandwich cutters, and rice shapers. SUPER FUN! After I left I was mad that I didn't buy a true Bento box for Miss Molly, they had a frog one that I have been eyeing online for the last week, among a couple of really awesome other ones too. I can't wait to try out the egg mold! Anywho, whoa my nerd was showing there for a bit. Well a couple of weeks ago I had a recipe to make Thai style summer rolls and I couldn't find the right rice paper at our local super market. So I remembered since we were there at Uwajimaya to find the rice paper, as well as the rice noodles, cilantro, and tofu needed for the dish. We took Molly to look at the fish section, true Asian style the fish are alive and swimming in tanks for you so she liked that of course. Brian was bummed because he wanted to get some of his favorite candies, we don't know what they are really called the product is written all in Japanese but we have always called them the White Rabbit candies, they are vanilla flavored chewy candies that are wrapped in a bit of rice paper. He loves them, and we couldn't find them anywhere. Bummer, but I did get some cool Bento stuff! Upside! Below is my own version of
Thai Summer Rolls (I try to recreate them to the best of my abilities from what we get at the Thai restaurants)
Thai Summer Rolls
4 Sheets of Rice paper
1 Carrot
2 leaves of romaine lettuce
1 Green Onion
1/2 block of firm tofu
1/2 cup cooked rice sticks noodles
Fresh cilantro leaves

1. IMPORTANT: assemble all ingredients before beginning. Peel the carrot, once you have the outside skin removed continue peeling the entire carrot, you will use these shavings in the roll. julienne the lettuce leaves (shredded lettuce, could substitute cabbage here too) slice the green onion, cut tofu into 1/2 inch chunks, clean cilantro and have it ready to go.

2. Boil some water and put the noodles in the water for 1 to 2 minutes and then remove them into a bowl, allow them to cool so you can handle them with your fingers. I put all the ingredients in prep bowls surrounding my cutting board so when the rice paper gets wet I am ready to go. Also get out a shallow round dish to dip your rice paper in.

3. Dip rice paper in the water (use cold water, no need to have it be hot) dip for no more than 5 seconds, the paper will still be some what hard in your hands. Using a clean dish towel put the rice paper between the towel to get off any excess water. While the rice paper is on the towel, working quickly build a burrito of sorts of all your ingredients. I usually start with the lettuce, then carrot, green onion, rice noodles, tofu, then I put three whole cilantro leaves the length of all the other ingredients.

4. Again like a burrito fold in the sides and the fold the top over the ingredients and proceed to roll it up. The rice paper at this point has magically transformed into this soft pliable opaque material and you do need to use some caution here because it can rip, so don't pull too hard to get it off the towel.
*I usually at this point cut them in half on an angle and set aside on your serving platter. Continue with step 3 and 4 until you are through all of the ingredients.

I also made a peanut dipping sauce to go with it, it was trial by error so I wouldn't even know how to write up this recipe, it was a dollop of creamy peanut butter, some brown sugar, grated fresh ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, a LOT of lime juice and a little bit of veggie oil to help the consistency. Let me know if you need measurements on this one and I can try and be more precise but honestly I just dumped stuff in a bowl until it worked!

Friday, May 14, 2010

First attempts at bento

Here is mine and my husbands' first bento inspired lunch, I had an apple and I just had to try the checkered apple. When I first saw a demonstration of this online I literally said out loud, "I don't have time for that, I will never do that, I will never be that extreme." And then what do I do? I make the apple. I just had to try it.

This was a snack for Miss Molly last night before dinner (I think the snack was a little too big though because she didn't eat much of her dinner).
This was her first bento lunch for daycare. I had to tell her daycare provider about the silicone cupcake holders, I don't want them just thrown away! I have a hard time just yet packing picks, but maybe I can work on it at home this summer and feel better about it next year. She also had a PB & J sandwich cut into the shape of hearts, her daycare provider said that she ate at it all day long. I thought I had packed way too much but she came home with very little left. She runs around and plays all day which apparently works up an appetite.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oven Baked Curry Chicken and Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

I have not tried this method before, which I know to most must be odd, but I honestly haven't done the tossing in a bit of flavored flour and pop in the oven to bake. This has paprika, curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste. I did drumsticks for Molly and Brian, but I hate to eat chicken off the bone and I also don't like dark meat, so I made myself a chicken breast. Now I dredged the drumsticks first and then I did the chicken breast. I thought my chicken was extremely flavorful but Brian didn't think so. So the only thought I had was that my chicken was last to dredge and that maybe I had more spices left over to dip in? What are your thoughts?

Anyway Molly loves to eat meat on the bone. Check out this picture from Brian's birthday gathering at McMenimens Cornelius Roadhouse Pub!

This is a rib from Grandpa's plate, she loved it! Way to go Molly, Papa is proud of you!

This is a picture of Molly enjoying last nights dinner. Notice that her whole drumstick is gone. And she is munching on her green beans by "dipping" them into her mashed potatoes. She is really into dipping things right now. I would also like to point out that I find this bib is ironic, because Molly LOVES her veggies, and this is not a bib that I bought it was passed down from someone. I wouldn't knowingly buy this bib, however it works so why toss it just because I don't believe in it morally. :-)

Then this is last night dinner, I think the curry powder gave the coating a nice color, and aroma. I thought it was de-lish.

Corn on the cob

These are old pictures (well old meaning a month ago) when Molly had her first corn on the cob. Obviously she has had some corn before but never on the cob. I think in the end her total count was a full cob and a half. For some reason in this picture she looks very young, baby-like, could be the high chair in the background I am not sure but she just looks much younger than I see her today. But how cute are these pics! Makes me super excited for the summer crop of corn around here to come into season. YUM! Baby blues! (her eyes I mean)

Gigantic bite!

Notice the vice like grip of the corn holders!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

I have mother's radar like no other, if my child is up I know it. If she is crying, I can hear her no matter how hard I try not to. Like this morning my husband got up at 6:20 am, of course after I prodded him awake because he could sleep through a tordnado (when my water broke for instance he went back to sleep three times! THREE TIMES! Before he realized that yes indeed the baby was coming and he needed to get up). He was doing this to allow me to sleep in obviously, which was very difficult for me to do, Molly was a bear this morning. I thought I was getting breakfast in bed, in fact I kept having all these totally weird dreams one of which was that my husband brought me breakfast and I just left it on the side table and fell back asleep. I eventually got up close to 8:00am which for me is SLEEPING IN! My husband made me French Toast, fresh strawberries with honey on them (his own little touch) and some sausage. Now when you see this plate of food I would like to point out that I only ate half of it, it was monstrous, he cut our homemade bread into Texas toast siced slices.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Birthday Breakfast

I try to make birthdays a big deal, but my husband really does a fantastic job of kind of ruining them. He always knows his presents ahead of time because he doesn't want anything that isn't TOTALLY specific; I usually have to get his help in order to get the present for him. This year he has a new obsession which is a dual sport motorcycle, essentially a dirt bike that can also be ridden on the road. I am not that much of a fan of motorcycles, they are dangerous after all. But with his long commute you can't argue with $3 a week in gas. Plus when he drives the motorcycle I get the Prius and Stella (our beautiful '87 Volvo station wagon) gets to take a break. For his new obsession he wanted a new jacket, one with armor in it, which considering how motorcycles are death traps anything to make him safer is a good idea.

I also try to do/make anything that the birthday boy would like. At first for breakfast he said he just wanted eggs on toast (he isn't a big breakfast guy) and then I brought up cinnamon rolls. He thought that sounded great. I found a knock off recipe for cinnabon cinnamon rolls using the dough setting on my bread maker. I looked into the possibility of doing the delay setting so that I could do all the ingredients at night before going to bed, set the timer, and it would start on its own and be ready by the time we woke up –the dough that is. This was not possible because it called for warm milk, melted butter, eggs etc. All things that you can't have sitting out overnight. So my timer was set like always for school wake up time, 6:00 am (let's face it my daughter wakes up at 6:30 give or take a few minutes every day regardless so it isn't a big stretch to get up at 6:00am but humor me a bit) and moseyed on downstairs to make it while I was barely awake. Then Molly woke up shortly after I gave her pancakes with strawberries, she wolfed them down I think she ended up having three! Then the next thing I know Brian is awake and downstairs way before I expected him, we are just not a family of late sleepers apparently. He wanted to get an early jump on his day of riding his bike, so I had to speed the process of the cinnamon rolls up a bit, but they were still very good. I think I have the cinnamon rolls down, they were excellent.

Cinamon rools after they baked before the icing.

Brian enjoying a bit with coffee.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Spring Time Salad

So since today was so lovely in the end I decided we need something to go along with it. We had a mixed green salad with yellow peppers, tomatoes, feta, and an apricot horseradish dressing. On top were baguette crouton/crustini and our grilled flank steak. I am really not that huge of a fan of beef and/or steak but one of my families favorite is flank steak, seasoned, and sliced thin against the grain it is lean and flavorful. It is also good warm or cold, so it is brilliant in salads. My husband was incredibly trepidatious when sitting down to eat this dinner but he commented several times throughout that it was very good. Molly did a pretty good job with dinner, she is getting better with salads she ate the meat well, tried the yellow pepper and at first seemed into it and then spit it all back out. She always loves tomatoes, and I made a fresh fruit salad to go with it that she ate a TON of. She loves blueberries, I like to call them brain food, she can eat as much of them as she wants as far as I am concerned.

So my obsession with bento has only intensified. I was looking at blogs about bento for kids all day today as well as trying to figure out what to buy to get started with Molly's lunches. I realized today that this isn't just appealing to me. Two years back I saw an advertisement in one of my magazines for a book on lunches called Lunch Lessons. The cover was so appetizing. Now this was before Molly, and I was really looking for some ideas to jazz up my lunch and my husband's lunch. At the time he was still eating lunch downtown everyday and it was costing an arm and a leg, I had had enough and wanted to save money by making him pack a lunch. As a teacher myself with less than thirty minutes for lunch it has never been feasible for me to "go out" for lunch as it were so I always packed a lunch. I just wanted to make it more appeasing to Brian. I love leftovers for lunch, but the only way I can get Brian to eat leftovers is if they are made into something completely different a la Robin Miller on the food network. So I asked for this book Lunch Lessons as a Christmas present and I read it cover to cover in the following day and a half. Even back then the idea of bento looked fabulous to me, but for another reason. Anyway I am guessing that the idea behind this present movement is to make really good for you food look incredibly appetizing for your young child, particularly if they are a picky eater. Also to make every day of opening up their lunch box an adventure to see what cool new thing mom put in your lunch box today. I also think too that if you had a totally awesome lunch (but still very healthy and good for you) and the kid next to you had a Twinkie for instance that at this point your lunch is too good to give up and trade for the heinous Twinkie. At this point Molly is a great eater, she isn't what I would consider picky and she is two and only takes a lunch box to daycare on Fridays for "fun." So you might ask, why then Nickey are you taking the time to cut out flower shapes in your cheese, and making the lunch look so nice for a two year old that could care less? Well, honestly I am thinking of it from Molly's perspective. This whole lunch box thing is totally new to her and she LOVES it! On Friday she is so stoked to take her lunch box to daycare to see her friends, and according to the fabulous Ms. Laurie at daycare they talk about all day Thursday in preparation. She carries it all by herself and refuses help because she is so attached to the "idea" of it. Now granted when we very first started doing this –taking a lunch- Molly was maybe 16 months old and the lunch box was almost as tall as her but even then she refused help and would muscle her little way from the car door to the front door caring her pink Barbie lunch box. See I was told about this lunch box adventure a little late in the game, and at the last minute rushed to Target to see if they had any lunch boxes left after the "back to school" rush only to find this one and only girly lunch box. I didn't really want my little girl's lunch box memories and photos to be of this cute blonde headed little girl dressed all in pink carrying a gigantic Transformers lunch box, that just didn't seem right. So my only choice at the time was Barbie, I went with it.
Honestly what kid wouldn't love opening up their lunch box to see their cheese cut into butterfly shapes, or their sandwich cut into shapes, and cute little toothpick forks to use etc.? It makes eating your lunch fun, why wouldn't you want to do that for your child? So I bought some bento type boxes (fairly easy ones at this point because I don't want to spend too much money on something that might not pan out) and some fun cookie cutters and toothpicks. So expect some bento picks to be coming soon. I also think it will help with my creative juices for lunches for Brian and me as well. See some of my favorite blogs (on the left hand side here) to see some really awesome ideas on what this could look like –another lunch and bentoblogy- are my favorites right now.

Lunch Lessons as a book was not what I was expecting, I wanted lots of great and colorful ideas for lunches which is kind of what the book cover suggests. Instead it is a great read on school lunches today and how some areas are fighting back. There are some recipes and suggestions at the back of the book but no pictures, for all my reading I LOVE cookbooks with full glossy pics! So I would give this probably two and half to three forks. Three forks for the content itself, not necessarily as a "cookbook."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tonight’s Dinner / Tomorrow’s Lunch

So tonight we had southwestern meatloaf, baked potato, and the BEST salad I have had in a long time. I should probably mention that I don't do all of this stuff on my own. In the last eight months I have found the joy that is Relish a wonderful meal planning site. They provide you with options to pick from every week, and then it will create a PDF file with a categorized shopping list and all the recipes you will need for the week. Sometimes I come up with my own stuff for the night, and sometimes I borrow a recipe here or there from them as a side dish, in tonight's case however it was all Relish.

The salad was a spinach, apple, and golden raisin salad; which in and of itself isn't that unique or different but it was the dressing that made it out of this world. Now the original recipe was WAY too much dressing but it was so good we will surely use it all up in the next week. On a side note something that I am curious about recently is the idea of getting away from as much processed food as possible, I am currently reading Real Food by Nina Planck, as well as I notice it keep coming up in lots of different media (Relish, various Food Network shows). I like the idea that there are things that we have all started buying under a misguided idea of "convenience" when in reality it is really just more expensive and sometimes contain ingredients you can't even pronounce. Why do we really have to buy salad dressing? Or pancake mix, or any of the other things that are "preassembled?" Well now I am just getting off on a tangent but you get my point. I have a Nigella Lawson show on my DVR from months ago because she talks about her own personal recipe for a homemade pancake mix that she always keeps in her pantry. I am thinking, yes, totally why not do that it is way cheaper! Anyway I digress. The key to this dressing I think was it called for a tiny amount of celery salt, yes celery salt in a salad dressing. GENIOUS! Even Molly was happily munching away on her spinach!

Tangy Apple Dressing

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ olive oil

¼ teaspoon celery salt

Pour all ingredients into a little jar (I use leftover baby food containers) and shake vigorously. Use enough to lightly coat salad.

Now I have been looking at these lunches lately that are so fantastic and colorful and look so tasty, they are the bento style lunches for kids. It is Thursday, on Friday Molly takes a little lunch box to daycare. So I thought I would try my hand at a bento inspired lunch for her. Obviously I don't have all the neat little gadgets that are a "prerequisite" the little bento boxes, the seperaters, the mini-cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes and what not, the fun animal tooth picks etc. However I do believe my first attempt was quite good, and we shall see how Molly liked it tomorrow. She has a sandwich, cut with a sandwich cutter that Nana got us. Some blueberries packed with the sandwich. Cheese cut into a flower shape, with some crackers. Carrot coins (cut with ridges on my mandolin) and some Asian dipping sauce (she likes to dip) so I am hoping she will eat these raw carrots due to the dip. She does well with cooked carrots, raw ones not so much yet, and a juice box. Should be good, not that I have a hard time getting her to really eat anything but if I were a kid I would think it was cool. A little mini-adventure to see what mom packed me today. I don't know, maybe I am just a nerd like that!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayo

I was planning on making steak fajitas at home for Cinco de Mayo before I realized that I forgot to buy chips to have chips and salsa. I conveniently used this as a loophole to go out to dinner for this celebration. I sort of feel bad about not making the food at home but what the hey, we will just have fajitas next week. You can't go wrong with fajitas can you? No I think not. I told Molly all about it before Brian came home and we even practiced how to say salsa. She had it down before we even got to the restaurant. We all know she LOVES chips, they are one of her favorite things, and something to dip it in is just icing on the cake for her.

We at the whole first bowl of chips and were hoping for a second bowl that sadly never came but we did enjoy it while it lasted. I ordered chicken fajitas, and Bri ordered chicken ranchero (which is a spicy - not spicy hot just lots of flavors spicy-chicken dish) both are eaten with tortillas. We both gave her bites of ours on her own plate, and then we decided to give her just a plain tortilla thinking she would eat that, which she did. But then the next thing I know she is putting it on her plate spreading it flat and dumping some of the food on her plate into the middle of this tiny strip of tortilla. She was rolling it up and eating it just like daddy and mommy were, ALL ON HER OWN! I tell you, I know I am slightly biased but Brian and I both thought this was a stroke of genius. She has never ate a tortilla before, let alone made her own little burrito with it.

She is a good eater, just look at how much she loves those chips and salsa!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Being Brave - Razor Clams

So we went camping this weekend, Molly loves it she is a camping girl, and the men all went out in the early morning hours to dig for razor clams. Which if you have never done this activity let me tell you there is a lot of hilarity involved. A lot of stomping, looking, and frantic digging, makes you really look like an idiot for lack of a better word. But there is something about our old hunter/gatherer spirit that makes this very appealing to most.

I was very worried about how Molly would sleep in the camper, she is a real mover and shaker when she is sleeping. Thankfully Nana and Papa bought her a little removeable gate just for the camper and it was perfect, even Winston thought so. Molly would wake up each morning shocked that her "brother" was in her bed. "Buddy in Bed!" she would say in the LOUDEST voice at 6:00am. The big beach is too scary for my little girl just yet, anything too windy and it freaks her right out, so unfortunately she didn't really take part in this activity but I have high hopes in the near future she will be out there with her Papa just like the rest of them hoping to score a big one! She proved this point by really getting into the act of picking up the razor clams from their bucket of water and throwing them back in. She liked touching them, and looking at them.

And then after we returned home we thought what better way to try these razor clams then as fresh as they can be, Nana and Papa stopped by on their way home to do just this. Papa was in charge of the clams, I was in charge of some roasted veggies (the carrots made another appearance, they really were that good!) and Molly helped Papa. She was given her "hammer" a.k.a. a meat mallet and went to town pounding them out. Papa is a very brave man to get his fingers in there to show her just wear to pound. We then proceeded to flour, egg wash, and panko crust them to shallow fry. I did make myself some chicken on the grill just in case, but I did try it! I was very brave, they weren't too fishy or anything. Not really my favorite thing on the planet but I tried them without dry heaving this is a big improvement! Molly tried them as well, and I have determined that she is not allergic to shellfish which is good (yes I had a momentary panic attack after I gave her a bite) but all is well. Yay for camping!
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