Thursday, July 29, 2010

bentos 77 & 78

These photos turned when I uploaded them. Oh well. These bentos are definitely similar as you can see.
Bento 77 on top:  cucumber coins, a plain mini chocoloate cupcake, mozzarella cheese chunks, 1/2 of a banana, and rice and bean chips.

Bento 78: cucumber slices, monterey jack cheese chunks, a mini pb and chocolate cupcake for dessert, 1/2 of a banana, rice and bean chips, and a almond granola bar.

In other food news this week: I have been baking batch after batch after batch of chocolate cupcakes and peanut butter frosting. I'm trying to come up with the perfect recipe. So far I've found the perfect cake. It's a dark chocolate fudge. The pb frosting I am not happy with yet. Last night's version came out more like a fondant. It was basically a peanut butter cup in cupcake form. So far the peanut butter frosting recipe I posted is the best so far. My reason for so much baking is I want to own my own bakery someday and I need "perfect" recipes, you know? HF takes them to work so other officers and dispatchers can taste test them. They aren't much help. Each batch gets a "these are the best cupcakes ever!" result. I enjoy making their tastebuds happy however.

Also, I've been spring cleaning my kitchen. Reorganizing cupboards, getting rid of things I no longer use, organizing recipe binders, and menu planning.

We are beginning to harvest our garden and do lots of weeding. I will take pics soon so you can see our humble garden.

And lastly, my almost 2 year old son has been wreaking havoc around the house. I found dark brown food handprints going down the stairs to the basement one day, and the next it was Tapatio handprints, including nice thick smears on the carpet steps. In an effort to exert his independence, he refuses to be uncivilized any longer and demands a fork or a spoon when he eats. I would say he gets about 10% of the food in his mouth. He has also excelled in climbing. His newest discovery is the bathroom cabinet above the toilet. He can climb up there and explore inside the cabinets. He discovered that he does not like the taste of deodorant, but he does enjoy exchanging toys for toiletries. This morning I found a zhu zhu pet inside in exchange for q-tips. While this is the stuff memories are made of, my days are filled with very messy cleanups and laundry as you can imagine. But he does get an A for effort.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

agua de pepino or cucumber cooler

You might have noticed that I like to make drinks. This is something that HF loves drinking during the hot summer months. I grew up in Southern California and was able to eat/drink lots of amazing Mexican food and as I raise my own family, I am finding that a lot of this food has made its way into our traditions and habits. I love it. Reminds me of good times and good friends. HF lived in Tucson, Texas, and New Mexico for a time and developed a taste for Mexican food as well. Our four year old son, Luke, loves this drink as well as you can see above.

If you look online, you will see that this drink can be made a number of ways. Some people put lime or lemon juice in theirs, some leave it out. This is simple to make and really does feel refreshing in the summer.

Agua de Pepino

3 cucumbers, peeled and chopped (I happened to use English cucumbers)
3 qts. cold water
1/4 cup sugar, or more to taste
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

Puree the cucumbers with 1/2 cup of water using immersion blender or food processor. Strain, using cheesecloth or a sieve to reserve just the cucumber "juice" and discard the pulp. Pour into large pitcher. Add lime juice and sugar. Adjust lime juice and sugar to desired preference. Chill and serve over ice.

Monday, July 19, 2010

menu plan: week of July 19th

for menu plans and submitting your own, go to orgjunkie

MONDAY  leftover tamales (these were a hit!) :: Rice and Bean chips :: agua de pepino

TUESDAY  spanish tortilla :: sausage :: fruit

THURSDAY  White-Cheddar Corn Chowder :: watermelon

FRIDAY  Pesto Pizza :: salad with cherry tomatoes from our garden

SATURDAY  chicken teriyaki burger with grilled pineapple (also from last week- yum!)

SUNDAY  Steamed Kalbi (Korean recipe from a friend-recipe to come)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

bentos 74, 75, and 76

All of these bentos were for HF to take to work this week. Taquitos cut in half to fit, little container of salsa, a grapefruit, segmented, and put in a heart-shaped silicone baking cup, and a coconut cream pie slice for dessert.
Chicken salad sandwich on a French hamburger bun, 2 nectarines, cherries, carrots, and a cup of sweet and salty nut mixture. It has yogurt covered raisins, cashews, peanuts, and pretzel pieces.
Tuna on whole wheat (it's a local made bread. just 5 ingredients- stoneground wheat, honey, yeast, salt, and water), cantaloupe, cucumber slices. What's not pictures is that I included a chocolate peanut butter cupcake, a yogurt cup, and a string cheese. I don't remember what this container was called. Maybe snapware? But it stacks on top of each other and snaps on the sides so they stay in place. The lid on top also snaps in place on the side. It's a very handy dandy size for grownups.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I've been bad. . .

There is a well known gourmet bakery in our city that has amazing cupcakes. I get them whenever I have an excuse. Well, my absolute favorite is the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup cupcakes. The combo is to die for. I am not a frosting person, but somehow this lady has managed to create a delightful peanut butter frosting that in large amounts does not make you sick. It perfectly compliments the chocolate cake. Instead of me going in to the shop, I wondered if I could make my own that would taste just as good. The verdict? Just as good, maybe even better. I wasn't very hopeful that this would happen, and so when it did, I looked at the remaining cupcakes and knew that I had to act fast. I sorted them onto plates and delieverd them to friends and neighbors because I knew that I could eat the whole lot easily in one day. I really only had six one, okay?

The only thing I will do differently next time, if there is a next time, is change the cake recipe. I have yet to find the perfect chocolate cake recipe. There's always something not quite right. This one was still good, but I will just say to use your favorite chocolate cake recipe. When I figure out a good one I will post it. If you have one, I would love to know what it is!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcakes

make your favorite chocolate cupcakes, using cupcake liners. Let cool. While cooling make the fluffy peanut butter frosting:

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup smooth peanut butter (we used Adams all natural)
2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. milk or heavy cream
tiny splash of vanilla (1/4 tsp.)

Beat butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add milk 1 Tbsp. at a time and then vanilla. Beat for 2-3 minutes, occasionally scraping the sides of bowl. Spread a generous amount on cooled cupcakes. Top with chopped Peanut Butter Cups. I didn't have a frosting bag to make the frosting look pretty and professional piled on top, so I just plopped it on there and spread it a little with a knife.

If you love peanut butter and chooclate, then these will make your eyes roll to the back of your head in ecstasy. Or maybe that's just me.  This was also a very easy recipe for the kids to help with.

Monday, July 12, 2010

mpm: week of July 12th

for more menu ideas go to MPM at orgjunkie

MONDAY  Beef with Broccoli :: rice :: cantaloupe

TUESDAY  brinner:  whole wheat pancakes :: sausage :: eggs :: orange juice

WEDNESDAY  chicken teriyaki burgers with grilled pineapple :: sweet potato fries

THURSDAY  attending a potluck BBQ

FRIDAY  pita pizzas :: salad people (I got this book from the library and they have great ideas for making people out of fruits and veggies for the kids to eat)

SATURDAY  leftovers day

SUNDAY  crockpot tamales

Thursday, July 1, 2010

bento 73

pirate's booty snack, Lorna Doone shortbread cookies, watermelon wedges, and Apple and Gouda Chicken sausage. This is in the Laptop Lunch box.