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MY KIDS’ COMFORT FOOD – 3 WAYS

I’m warning you, it’s gonna get messy. These recipes were created or re-created from my mind. (WTF: Wait – three flavors?!) All  recipes were adapted by and from many cultures. Now that my delicious disclaimers are done, let’s get cooking!

MY KID’S CRAB PASTA


Their dad first made this for my college roommate and me (first and last time he cooked for me). I modified the recipe and wing it every time but my kids want it weekly.

Need:
1 box pasta
1 packet artificial crab (or real)
Garlic, chopped or powdered
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)/Butter
Optional:
Seafood seasoning
Wine

Instructions:
Put pasta in salted water at a rolling boil. Lower heat.

Put enough Olive Oil/Butter to keep crab from sticking (I use both to keep either from burning). Over low heat add crab and garlic (and optional seafood seasoning). Warm it up. If it’s sticking, pour in a swig of wine (whatever is open) and cover it.

Cool, Kids, the crab turns purplish when red whine is used


Drain pasta and pour into pan with crab. If needed, drizzle more EVOO so pasta won’t stick (though I rarely do). Serve!
Variations: Use shrimp. Add red bell pepper.

BETTER WITH BACON PASTA


I ate this a lot when training for long-distance races because it’s loaded with carbs, some Lo-fat protein, and some higher-fat protein. This is the only dish I don’t add garlic to but feel free to. This was adapted from my Nana’s Hungarian cooking.

Need:
1 box pasta
1 small container cottage cheese
As much chopped bacon as you want without feeling guilty
Optional:
Fresh parsley

Instructions:
If you need to cook the bacon, follow packages instructions and set aside. Consider oven-cooking it – requires less attention

Put pasta in salted water at a rolling boil. Lower heat.

Drain pasta, add all cottage cheese and bacon.

This time I used up a bag of bacon bits left over from another recipe.


Stir! Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley before serving.
Variations: Use non-fat cottage cheese and really crispy turkey bacon for healthier version. Add chopped poultry or replace bacon with cubed leftover ham.

KREATIVE KAPOSZTA PASTA

Love the flavor the next afternoon, reheated at work!


This one I made with my Hungarian grandmother though I was confused because it used American ingredients. This one can be vegetarian, or not, and is great for slipping veggies to your kids. Sometimes, presenting veggies in a different shape than they’ll see in the wild confuses kids into eating them.

Need:
One box pasta
1 container broccoli or cole slaw (no dressing)
Either red pepper oil or Sriracha
Garlic, chopped or powdered
EVOO


Instructions:
Swirl a few circles of oil in fry pan on medium high heat.
Add garlic and slaw. Swirl another circle or two of EVOO.
I add coarse pepper and Sriracha (not necessary if you used spicy pepper oil).
Sauté slaw, stirring frequently.


Between stirs, put pasta in yadda yadda rolling boil, yadda yadda, lower heat.
Drain pasta and pour into pan with slaw. Serve!
Variations: Add sausage (not breakfast links). If cooking cole slaw consider using egg noodles, they’re softer.

Let’s eat!

What are your quick and easy comfort foods?
With pasta or something better?
Have any ideas to make a fancier version of these recipes “for when company comes over”
Have any ideas of a main entree to go with these if you want to downsize it to a side dish?

#Sriracha #Pasta #Seafood #Bacon #Coleslaw #Recipes #EasyRecipes #WeeknightRecipes #ComfortFood #MarathonTraining #CarboLoad

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Best Dinner in the Universe

If you put your desires out into the universe, sometimes the universe answers.  Turns out, I put out a beacon into the Yelp Universe – just a simple truth, “Honestly, I’d love a gift card from [Bristol Farms] sometime because there are so many fun distracting foods and things I would try.” Their amazing webmaster Nicole heard, made my year and sent me a gift card!!  

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Feeling like a kid in a candy store, I jumped onto their website. Immediately, “New! Blue Bottle Coffee…” [Click!] grabbed my attention. Scooping 5-day old news about the “best iced-coffee drinks in America” now being sold at Bristol Farms revved up the mommy blogger wanna-be in me!

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Something for them for dinner, something for me for cooking!

Until my disastrous kids’ lunch offering brought me back to reality and guilt drove me to do dinner better.  

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Mommy got distracted by Facebook.

Frantically, I reviewed their online recipes!  While I love the idea of cooking complex meals on weekends, I decided on dinner that would taste elaborate, but was simple: Grilled Teriyaki Albacore with Wasabi Butter. Facing my fears directly, the butcher de-skinned the fish fillets (the gal before me did the same, not just me).

Their home brand teriyaki marinade streamlined preparations.

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A domestic goddess took over my body making chive and wasabi butter, briefly wishing for a butter mold.

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Then the wasabi burnt a hole through to my senses returning me to my kitchen.

While the flavors set for an hour, I fed my inner goddess enjoying the (strange) pairing of poke and Blue Bottle Coffee.  

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Half Salmon, Half Spicy Tuna –         All delicious!

George Foreman relieved the outdoor grill (El Niño warning). It felt devilishly rebellious scooping the flavored butter onto the fillets.

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Keeping it simple, I served the fish with rice from last night’s Chinese Dinner and frozen organic kid-friendly peas.  

Dinner’s served! 

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“WTF: Wait THAT fish…I thought you said fish sticks.”

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“I don’t like albacore!”

Turns out, my son loved it.  He even got seconds of the fish (usually he fills up on carbs).  My daughter completely surprised herself by surviving eating that much “chicken.”  (Auntie P, next time we’re down if she asks about albacore chickens – play along.) Best part?!  Inhale… No stinky fish smell!

To cap off the evening – fun hazelnut-filled mini beignets! Too fun to pass up!

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Mini beignets! Dangerously easy to pop in your mouth!

Thank you Nicole! What a deliciously fun close to our holiday season!

Tell me when the universe responded to you!

 

SERVER DETECTED SPAM MUSUBI

I’m half-Korean. People don’t quite know where to place me. My skin is too dark to be white (You can’t spell Caucasian without Asian…), my green-ish eyes aren’t Asian, my Hungarian cooking scrambles their brains. Honestly, not being brought up Asian, and turned off by some stereotypes for Asian women, I identified with American Indians, because I used to fantasize about riding my horse all day in the sun over the open plains, or got a kick out of people who ask if I’m Hawaiian. Sure, I can go for that!

Today, I’m embracing my Hawaiian roots and in the effort of finding PB&J substitutes for the kids’ lunches, I’m attempting Spam Musubi!

ExSPAMple A: less messy, easier to eat in cut rolls
NOTE: I prefer thicker Spam – 8 slices/can.
The right one is 10 slices/can.

Simple as it sounds, it terrified me some. Most of the terror came from shopping for the ingredients.

Proof that I am way too Americanized and have passed that along to my kids.

To me, reading this stuff is about as easy as reading QR barcodes

Tough to decipher, simple to assemble.

I brainlessly cooked 2 cups of rice in the cooker – push one button!

One button – done!

I sliced the spam experimenting with width of the meat in the finished product.

Heated some Sesame Oil in the cast iron skillet,

Sesame Oil – LOVE IT to season anything.

added some teriyaki and browned it.

Spam became popular in WWII as a meat ration and became popular in Hawaii.

How brown you want it is up to you. Most of the color is from the cooking teriyaki sauce, not from burning.

The most complicated part is assembly, but thanks to my great friend, I have a sushi/musubi mold! Sometimes it’s all about the gear and then you feel like a pro musubi maker!

Acrylic box open on both ends with a press. May be called sushi or musubi maker. What’s your gadget fave?

It’s all a matter of layering:

Rice – fill the maker near ½ full

Press Hard – don’t want it to fall apart

Rice Seasoning – seaweed and sesame seeds (no fish flakes) – your preference how much you want to use. Doesn’t dominate flavor, it’s an accent flavor.

Try it on plain rice too!

Spam

Perfect fit! No additional cutting at all!

Rice Seasoning – next time, I’m going to try wasabi on this 2nd layer instead of double rice seasoning

WTF: Way to flavor!  It’s like glitter on food, seriously!

Rice – fill in the blanks and press hard!

Very Simple, Very Easy — Chef Tell

Wrapped up in a pretty seaweed wrapper. This brand was the perfect size for my musubi maker. Wet fingers with some water to “glue” the sheets together if the steam from the rice doesn’t seal it.

This Nori (dried seaweed) was so easy to work with!

It was so easy and turned out so beautiful thanks to the press that I almost felt like I cheated!

Almost like I try to cheat and get a local discount when visiting Hawaii, but the locals can see right through me and know I’m not Hawaiian. Maybe next time I’ll come armed with my Spam musubi and they’ll reconsider.

ExSPAMpleB – Less rice and seaweed, harder to eat.
Green Lightsaber chopsticks ensured I’d get 2 thumbs up from my kids who were too busy with friends to rate me.

WHEN THE KIDS ARE AWAY, MAMA’S GONNA PLAY!

When I was a kid, what was the first thing I did when I heard my parents would be out of town? Mom, if you’re reading this, the answer is Picked up my room, Asked for extra credit homework assignments, Rested, Told my friends no parties when my parents were gone, Missed You! I’ve heard of an unspoken rule that you wait 15 years until you tell your parents the truth about things you’ve done.  I personally enjoy my position as the eldest that means, for the most part, my siblings don’t have much dirt on me because they were too young to be tattle-tales when I was a teenager having fun.  I relish in my “shining example” role so in most cases, I’ll never admit to anything.  (I guess we’ll see if my parents read the blog!).

Just in case me, all alone, nobody else here, really mom!

Perhaps this next statement will be more telling as to what I truthfully did back then, because I still do it now!  My kids will be out of town next week so with evenings all to myself, I am planning ways to have fun:

GET CAUGHT UP! Life has been so crazy lately that I need to get caught up with paperwork, housework, friends, blogging, etc.  I will dedicate 1 evening to do what I have to do before doing what I want to do – catch up with friends!  See kids, I lead by example!

Just a fun idea to make me want to go through paperwork and turn it into something new and exciting! What pile of paper drives you the most crazy?

SEE A MOVIE! Whether it’s at home or at the movie theatre, it’s a great excuse to not cook, just eat popcorn for dinner like I did in college and be entertained!

What are the hottest flicks in theatres/rental right now?

READ A BOOK AT THE BEACH!  This is my new favorite to take a book to the beach and not leave til I’ve damn well finished it!  Next time I’ll be sure of more accurate coverage with sunscreen.

What book shall I read next?

BE CRAFTY! Pinterest is my new favorite toy!  I’m going to make 1 meal completely from pinterest recipes and do 1 craft project inspired by something I saw on there.  Give me a link to propose your favorite ideas in the comments below and don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest!  (Button to the right!)

Such a fun and simple idea – wait, don’t have a sewing machine. What’s a fun and simple one you recommend?

Well, tell me what you would do!

COME IN, I’LL THROW SOMETHING TOGETHER

When you’re working on an idea that you’re not ready to share with everyone, does it put up walls preventing other creativity?  Maybe that’s just me.  So sorry I’ve been absent and thank you for still being here!  To make it up to you, I made you a cake!

I’ve been praying for a potluck to bake this for, but promptly forgot to when I received an invite!  Fortunately, someone else shared my wavelength and brought this yummy cake! It’s super appropriate this week paired with loads of laundry and wall-to-wall paperwork from two school desks covering my floor.  This dessert is called DUMP CAKE!  I’ll give you the easy steps while explaining what makes it the best!

BUY: Yellow or White cake mix, 2 cans of fruit (or mix in frozen/fresh) and 1 1/2 sticks of butter – you heard me…

I first heard about Dump Cake from a friend that I’d lost touch with 16 years ago!  Every time I saw her style car, I longed for her personalized penguin plates. Facebook successfully reunited us and while we occupy opposite ends of the country, we can still share recipes!

Mmm, love the red! Tonight, the role of peaches will be played by crushed pineapple. Mix them together in the baking dish.

The first recipe she shared with me was healthy veggie soup over a cup of pasta for lunch! This would go really well with Dump Cake because it is far from healthy.

Sprinkle whole bag of cake on top of your fruit mixture. Use a fork to smooth – if you are OCD like me.

I first tasted this cake from a new friend found this Spring!  What made this year’s baseball and softball season’s awesome were the amount that my kids’ ability and love for the game flourished and the amazing families!

For fun, Lauren dumped chocolate chips on her side and I dumped pecans and some cinnamon on mine.

This crew was so much fun we had several get-togethers!  The most recent found us at the beach complete with an epic water balloon fight – remember, the coaches taught these kids to throw hard and accurately!

Take stick and a half of butter and cut into thinner pats and distribute evenly on top of cake powdered mix.

When researching Dump Cake recipes, I chuckled and thought “Well, if that don’t take the rag off the bush!” it’s The Pioneer Woman’s recipe!

Cook for 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees. See the cherries and pineapple under the cake layer? My new friend’s had peaches!

I love this woman!  She traded in corporate success for cowboys!  I’m so excited to finally try one of her recipes.

Remove from the oven when the top is light brown and crispy. The left side is browner on mine because of the nuts.

When I’m wandering and find common threads along the way, it’s heartwarming on so many levels. The synergy of celebrating the old and new, baking a recipe from a creative cowgirl – with  my daughter – lassoed it all up with a pretty little bow!

We chose Vanilla ice cream over home made whipped cream. The fruit wasn’t overly sweet – perfect for hot summer nights!

Greatest gift ever!  Enjoy!

Lauren: Loved 1st bite, Carson: Eh, it’s ok! I liked it, but it’s rich!  Overall A+ factoring in the simplicity! My kids: Please leave us alone, it’s movie night!

NEW NEIGHBORS, OLD FAVORITE RECIPE

Remember that old Sesame Street segment with the catchy tune “One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong”? When our awesome upstairs neighbors moved out, the campaign to find a fourth tenant that did go with the others began.

I’ve gushed before over how much I love the combination of folks living in our four-plex. We enjoyed each others company as barbeque buddies, playmates, Twilight groupies, Diznoids, busy parents, Johnny Depp lovers, and sports chauffers. Our differences added flavor to the mix: our ages, histories, marital status, careers, and hobbies. We truly looked forward to hanging out, so the bar was high for prospects.

With a constant parade of lookie-loos, we put on our best manners whenever someone we wanted dropped in. Yesterday’s rainstorm resulted in a higher than expected flow of people and repairs being done. When I saw a car parked in back that night and low lights on upstairs, my initial thoughts pondered the presence of squatters. Then it hit me, someone moved in! I didn’t meet her until this morning and first impressions – we got fortunate again, she’ll fit in great.

To give my children an excuse to meet her themselves, I pulled out our oldest and simplest but favorite recipes! We call it “Cinnamon Cake” although, it’s hardly a prominent flavor.

Buy Yellow Cake mix, any brand – we choose the ones with the most school Box Tops. Follow the directions on the box to bake a sheet cake.

So easy a child can make it!

While the cake bakes, prepare the cinnamon topping. Purchase cinnamon sugar premixed, or mix a teaspoon or so (maybe more) with ½ cup sugar and shake-a shake-a shake-a YAH!

Doing his best Ricky Martin - Shake your cinnamon!

Do the dishes.

Lick them clean!

Immediately after the cake comes from the oven, melt a stick of butter by spreading it on top. Nothing says “Welcome to the neighborhood!” like butter. Relax… you’ll cut this cake into so many pieces that you’ll barely get a pat of butter per slice.

Secret ingredient!

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on the cake evenly.

Shake it lightly for even coverage, don't dump it on.

Cover the cake thoroughly.

As if magic, the sugar crystals change color!

Notice how it turns a nice golden caramel brown!

More please!

Two thumbs up! Why does that only happen for desserts?!

We left treats for every neighbor!

KITCHEN SCIENCE EXPERIMENT – MAKE AHEAD SCRAMBLED EGG CUPS

Minimizing morning melees through routines and planning works for most parts of the morning. Trying to prepare sporting things, sign 3-ring binders, and prepping parts of lunch positions us to get out the door on time. Breakfast, however, has yet to hit its stride.

My kids rotate favorite foods they “have to” get, but the love only lasts through three-quarters of the box. I’ve surveyed other moms on their child’s favorite morning menu and introduced some at our house to a chilly reception. Occasionally, to guarantee an early arrival, bribery becomes the meal ticket to a smoothie on the way. Often, they could be serving themselves but they’re still trying to remember their names. The only day they jump out of bed on time to eat more comes with Saturdays and “Saturday [Sugar] Cereal.”

Wanting to mix it up, I finally tried a recipe for Scrambled Egg Muffins. What sold me was the make them in advance and nuke them quickly during the morning rush.

Considering the number of cookbooks I own, I always turn first to online recipes.

There, I tell the computer chef: I have some:

Can you tell what these are? Eggs!

And some:

Don't cry, take a guess! Onion!

Instantly, it whips up recipe options! If the recipe sounds like a complicated science experiment, I search again for the simpler recipes.

I chopped veggies

Red Peppers and onions, honestly - I eyeball it.

Browned sausage

Cast Iron Skillet a must!

Cracked open a dozen eggs

Don't crack up - it's 1 egg per serving!

I’m a sucker for symmetry

Is it an octopus? Yolk's on me!

Whipped eggs into a frenzy

The chicken beats the eggs!

I split the ingredients evenly into the muffin tin cups then spooned the egg over it

Wound up with extras for whipping up an omelette!

After baking, they easily popped out of the muffin tin – Thanks, Pam!

Shredded cheese binds this comfort food!

The next morning I ruined my daughter’s day by serving my new breakfast.

She knew she couldn't win against the 1-bite rule!

My son subconsciously smelled the scent of sausage while sleeping so welcomed the taste-test more openly – despite not liking “mixed” foods.

The reviews do not surprise me! In normal fashion, the kids disagree.

If veggies were omitted, it may win raving reviews.

But, when I went to go brush my teeth, my son took another bite without me saying anything – this speaks volumes!

I will try other similar recipes, but perhaps ones a little more muffin-y. Personally, I loved them – especially smothered with sriracha!

CLICK HERE For the full recipe!

If you have other favorite breakfast foods, please share in the comments!

ENJOY!