Tuesday, January 18, 2011


No it's not Gwyneth Paltrow's website, but a homemade concoction for the kids to play with. We've been talking about alien stuff and watching alien movies (kid ones) all week so we made some gross stuff. Goop is cool because it is pliable, cool to the touch, but it is not wet, it's like play dough, but after you've squished it into shape, it flattens again back to its original form. It is NOT edible. The other thing I made after giving into the kids' begging, was green jello. I put a cup of green grapes in it to give it some extra funk and when I pulled it out to serve, the kids pretended to be excited about it, but really they were horrified. It was hilarious. The kids would not eat that jello for anything. When I jabbed it with a spoon and it jiggled, they ran screaming. I guess I haven't exposed them to jello much. Or maybe it was the grapes making their imaginations run wild.

You will need two bowls.

Bowl 1:
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 cups white glue
food coloring

Mix together and set aside.

Bowl 2:
2 cups Borax
1 1/3 cups warm water

Pour the glue mixture into the Borax mixture. Mix with your hands and try to get rid of all the clumps. Store in airtight container or plastic bag. If the mixture starts to get clumpy and dry you just squish it around until pliable again. Eventually it dries out and gets flaky and that's when you know it's time to throw it out.

It does remind me however, of one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies, Better Off Dead:

Monday, January 17, 2011

mpm: week of January 17th

to see more menus or to submit your own go here

B:   cold cereal :: milk
L:   parfaits :: toast
D:  Southwestern Grilled Chicken with Lime Butter (this is a family fave we've been making for years) :: couscous :: asparagus

snacks & desserts: apple slices and celery sticks with almond butter :: marshmallow popcorn

B:  almond & cranberry oatmeal :: almond milk
L:  yogurt with strawberries and blackberries mixed in :: cornbread muffins
D:  Cool Taco Salad (Eating For Life Recipe)

snacks & desserts:  carrots (Bugs Bunny style) :: popcorn :: homemade baked donuts

B:   cold cereal :: milk
L:   pb & j sandwiches :: apple slices
D:  Vietnamese Lettuce Rolls (recipe to come) :: chow mein

snacks & desserts:  popcorn :: smoothies

L:  crackers & cheese :: celery sticks w/ almond butter :: berries
D:  BBQ Chicken salad (recipe still to come)

snacks & desserts:  toast with jam :: pani popo

B:  grapefruit :: avocado on toast
L:  pb & j sandwiches :: apples :: almond milk
D:  pizza night :: salad with tomatoes

snacks & desserts:  popcorn :: banana ice cream (frozen bananas-recipe to come)

B:   oatmeal (maple & brown sugar)
L:   leftovers
D:  weekly leftovers

snacks & desserts:  no bake no bakes (recipe to come) Carrot-Orange Ice Cream (recipe to come)

B:   cream of wheat :: orange juice
L:   twin sun toast :: strawberries
D:  breakfast for dinner (brinner) :: Sour Cream Pancakes :: sausage

snacks & desserts:  vegies & ranch dip :: creme brulee

Saturday, January 15, 2011

lemon cake balls

There is an amazing sweet shop where I live. The owner makes these amazing little cake bites, much like Bakerella's Cake Balls, but they are very small, and amazingly perfectly balanced in moistness, texture, taste, smoothness, and richness. However, they are expensive. So I tried to make my own.

We try to make sweets just once a week, and I was craving something lemony and cakey, so I thought I would make these. I used Bakerella's Red Velvet cake balls recipe as a guide.

Lemon Cake Balls
1 box lemon cake (cooked as directed on box for 9x13 cake)
1 can cream cheese frosting (I made lemon cream cheese frosting minus the food coloring)
1 package white chocolate bark

1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl or into a gallon ziploc bag.

2. Mix thoroughly with frosting. (If you use the ziploc bag you can just squish the mixture without getting your hands messy)
3. Roll mixture into small balls and lay on cookie sheet.
4. Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)
5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.
6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm.

I found it difficult to coat the cake balls. It got very clumpy for me and thick. When it hardened, it was very hard, unlike my bakery's smooth and soft coating. Also, I don't like the taste very much of the almond bark. So if I do this again I would want a different sort of coating for the outside. I'll have to figure that out. It also seemed like the lemon cake needed additional flavor. I was thinking maybe a drop or two of coconut extract? All in all, it was a fun thing to make and fun for the fam to eat. I could only eat a couple before I had my fill. They are incredibly sweet and rich.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I still make bentos . . .

It's been forever since I posted anything about bento! Yes I still make them, but I have not been good about photographing them. And when I do photograph them, I don't post them. So there you have it. I've been incredible lazy in the blogging department for, a while.

This is a very simple bento, but one of my favorites, aesthetically. I found the world's tiniest apples that fit perfectly inside a bento box. For the main part of the meal, I made wagon wheel shaped pasta with peas and parmesan cheese. For a special little treat, I filled a little cup full of Hello Panda cookies from the local Asian market.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

eating salad: strawberry spinach salad

This is from a family cookbook. My lovely sister-in-law makes it often and has perfected the dressing that accompanies this salad. This is great on its own or as an addition to any meal.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
1 bag spinach
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 kiwi or 1-2 cans mandarin oranges (I never use the oranges)

1/2 cup sugar (you can use another sweetener such as honey)
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds (optional-i never use this either)
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp. minced onion
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar

Mix and serve over salad. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

mpm: week of January 10th

for more menu ideas or to submit your own go to orgjunkie.com

Our menu is an interesting one this week. We are making lots of Star Wars Cookbook recipes much to the obsessed 4 year old's begging. We are also trying out a few recipes from another children's cookbook, Around the World Cookbook. These experiements are on days Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. We eat a lot of the same things for breakfast and lunch each day, but I included all the meals and snacks for each day this time.

b:  bran cereal :: milk :: orange juice 
l:   crackers :: cheese :: apples :: carrot sticks
d:  sweet and sour chicken :: brown rice :: broccoli

snacks & desserts:  popcorn :: yogurt

b:  toast with jam :: orange juice or almond milk
l:   pb & j sandwiches :: popeye smoothies
d:  pizza (amazing deal on local gourmet pizzas) :: cucumber coins :: baby carrots :: ranch dressing dip

snacks & desserts:  raisins :: mini marshmallows :: Anzac Biscuits

b:  steel-cut oats with apples and pecans :: almond milk or orange juice
l:   leftover pizza :: celery sticks :: ice water
d:  BBQ chicken salad (recipe to come)

snacks & desserts:  frozen blueberries :: La Panzanella crackers :: laughing cow cheese

b:  steel-cut oats with apples and pecans :: almond milk or orange juice
l:   Twin Sun Toast :: Skywalker Smoothies
d:  Boba-Fett-uccine

snacks & desserts:  popcorn :: The Force Fruit Fun -drizzled honey in place of sugar

b:  cream of wheat with milk and honey
l:   strawberry salad (recipe to come) :: toast :: ice water
d:  C-3PO Pancakes :: sausage :: orange juice

snacks & desserts:  raw vegies and dip :: Mos Eisley Morsels -It's like banana bread without sugar.

b:  hot cracked wheat cereal :: grapefruit
l:   leftovers day
d:  leftovers day

snacks & desserts: leftovers or whatever we can scrounge up in the cupboards/pantry

b:  Awful Waffles (recipe to come) :: fresh fruit :: almond milk
l:   Vietnamese Lettuce Rolls :: vegetable fried rice
d:  Tandoori Chicken :: Cauliflower and Pea Curry (I don't think anyone will like it, but we are going to try it!) :: naan

snacks & desserts:  raisins :: marshmallows :: popcorn :: creme brulee for the grownups after bedtime!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

eating salad: apple walnut salad

Okay. The truth. I hate salad! I love eating healthy, but the only way I can choke down a salad if it's full of tasty things and an excellent dressing. By the time you add all that, it's usually no longer healthy. I am forcing myself to eat salad everyday this week and make it healthy and tasty. Here's my first attempt.

Apple Walnut Salad on Spring Greens with Sweet Poppy Seed Dressing
Spring mix lettuce
2 Fuji apples, chopped (leave skins on)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped*
1/2 cup craisins
1 small cucumber, chopped

These are just my estimates, but really you can add more or less ingredients to taste. I usually purchase my lettuces at Costco. This is the Organic Spring Mix or something like that. Any poppy seed dressing or other fruity viniagrette will do. See the recipe for the dressing I used below.

1.  Prepare dressing and set aside or refrigerate while making salad.
2.  Rinse and spin or pat dry the desired amount of lettuce. Place prepared lettuce in salad bowl.
3.  Add prepared apples, walnuts, craisins, and cucumbers. Toss.
4.  Serve in individual bowls and drizzle with dressing.

Sweet Poppy Seed Dressing
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
3/4 cup sugar (you can also use honey to taste)
1 teaspoon ground mustard
3/4 cup teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Blend the first five ingredients in blender until smooth. Then add oil and pulse. Stir in poppy seeds by hand.

This salad was very refreshing to me and I ate a lot of it. Let me know if you have a good dressing for salad that you like to use.

*I like to toast the walnuts also. To do this, set your oven at 350 degrees. Spread the chopped nuts evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Another delicious dressing with this salad:
Cranberry Vinaigrette (from my aunt)
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. chopped red onion
2 Tbsp. honey
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Blend cranberries in blender until smooth. Add vinegar, sugar, onion, and honey; process until blended. With blender running, gradually add oil. Makes 1 1/4 cups.