Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Five Spice Pork and Papaya

This meal is so simple and yummy, I had to share.

Five Spice Pork and Papaya over couscous
adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 TB. fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic grated
1/2 lb. pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/2-inch to 2-inch strips
1 TB Chinese Five Spice
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 c. minced cilantro

1 large papaya, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch –save the seeds they are edible and add an interesting flavor to the meal.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium for 1 minutes. Add ginger and garlic, sauté for 2 minutes.

Then add pork and soy sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes, occasionally turning pork until meat is almost cooked through.

Add the five spice powder and cook for another minute or so until pork is done.

Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and cilantro.

Serve over couscous with papaya and seeds if using.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Adventures in Molasses

I am always looking for a good substitue for sugar in cooking. I was making some zucchini bread one afternoon and realized I was out of brown sugar, so I substituted molasses instead with great results. I don't think it would work well in every recipe requiring a sweetner, but for this one it is golden. It actually accentuates the texture and flavor. Not only that but there are definite nutritional benefits vs. sugar.

Adding tangy yogurt is nice on the side and my family gobbles it up!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

2/3 cup organic blackstrap molasses
3 tablespoons oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup apple sauce
1 ripe banana mushed up
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
½ cup (heaping) chocolate chunks

Directions:Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place first 4 ingredients in a large bowl and mix at low speed until well blended. Then mix in the applesauce and banana.
Next, combine flour and following 3 ingredients and mix together with a whisk. Add flour mixture to the wet mix, beating until moist.
Lastly, stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for about 55 minutes. Check by inserting a wooden toothpick in the center.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Heirloom Carrot Sandwich & The Oakhurst Market

Okay. First off, I am so darn excited about the Oakhurst Market opening right around the corner! I have visions of walking (WALKING!) to the market every few days to pick up FRESH local produce and meat for our meals. I even go so far to envision myself in a big straw hat with a floppy straw bag at my side.

The market is really a quality mini grocery with wine, beer, fresh bread, fresh baked goods (peanut butter cookies stuffed with peanut butter cream), ice cream, a candy shop, and will eventually have growlers and sandwiches available. I keep pinching myself to make certain I am not dreaming,

Anyway, today I picked up some wonderful local heirloom carrots which were used in this sandwich, a family favorite on a hot day. The heirlooms definitely added a more flavorful twist. Yum.

Heirloom Carrot Sandwich
· Shredded carrot
· Sliced pickles (I had some cucumbers that I quick pickled)
· Swiss cheese
· Mayo
Put it all together on some good bread and eat. Works best if you apply the carrot directly to the mayo.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Time & Space Camp Bento Day 4

left: baby lettuce leaves with golden raisins, shredded carrot, croutons, and goat gouda (balsamic dressing not shown).

right: red grapes, uncured ham wraps with peach chutney, cheddar bunnies, and chocolate zucchini bread.
Egg had much the same, sans the salad.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Coconut Carrot Ginger Soup with Cashew Bento

The kids are both in camp this week. The Monkey is saving the world from an evil villain and traveling into time and space, EGG is cooking and painting! They are both really enjoying their camps, and I am feeling some renewed energy.
left: pretzel crisps, goat gouda cheese, uncured ham
right: chocolate zucchini bread (recipe on this site), strawberry, blueberries

This soup is one of the Monkey's absolute favorite soups ever. He asks for it all the time and is learning to make it on his own now. I use the less fat coconut milk and make it creamier with rice.
Coconut Carrot Ginger Soup with Cashew:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
4 cloves minced garlic
3 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
7 med carrots, peeled, chopped
1 tomato chopped
salt to taste
1/4 cup toasted and chopped cashews
1/2 cup low fat coconut milk
1 cup cooked brown rice
Saute onion in olive oil and butter mixture until slightly brown,  add paprika and turmeric for 30 seconds.  Then add ginger and garlic for another minute.  Add stock along with carrots and tomato.  Add salt to taste.  Bring to boil, then let simmer until carrots are tender.  Add coconut milk, cashews, and rice-stir.  Puree and enjoy! 
Note: You can play with the rice/coconut/or add water ratio to make it as thick or thin as you like.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Chef Monkey's Fish Burittos

Okay, so I have been hesitant to post this entry because it uses (egad) frozen fish and pre-bagged coleslaw. It is one of those meals that I have on hand if I need to throw something together in minutes. This meal is one of the Monkey's favorites (along with Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi's and Pesto Salmon Salad Nicoise) and he can make the recipe on his own with very little supervision. The recipe is simple and yummy.

Crunchy Fish Burritos with Citrus Slaw served with spiced black beans and sliced avocado on the side

  • breaded frozen fish (I get mine at Whole Foods, $7.99 for a 12 oz box that feeds our family of 4)
  • pre-chopped cabbage or coleslaw mix
  • 2 oranges or some pineapple or both
  • 1/4 cup of orange/mango juice
  • 1TB lowfat mayo (if desired- adds a touch of creaminess)
  • tartar sauce
  • multigrain tortillas
getting fish ready for oven
Making the Citrus Slaw:

slice the oranges
add orange to cabbage mixture
add 1/4 cup of orange/mango juice and mayo if using
mix everything together
put cabbage mixture in center of tortilla (we toast ours)
add fish
2 fish per taco
add a little tartar sauce
fold tortilla and cut down the middle
eat it up!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Whole Fish

Monkey received this and this in his stocking on Christmas morning and since then he has become a cooking machine!  The first meal he made was a Creamy Carrot and Coconut Milk Soup similar to one he tried at a local restaurant.  The recipe was super easy for him to follow and the soup turned out great.  He was so excited that he brought some to his friends to try.  We agreed that he would cook one meal a week for the family.

A few days later the conversation went like this:

Monkey: Do people eat fish heads?
Me: Ummm, yeah, some cultures do.
Monkey: The head AND tail?
Me: Sure. In fact, sometimes people cook and eat the whole fish.
Monkey: How come we have never eaten a whole fish?
Me: We could. Do you want to cook one?
Monkey. Yeah. But it has to have teeth.

Thus started our quest for a whole fish recipe.

Finding the right fish.

Making the sauce.

EGG helps stir the soup.


Prepping the fish (Flounder in this case...sorry Ariel).


Whole flounder with Thai 3 flavor sauce.

Sweet Potato Apple Soup with candied walnuts, brown rice, fish, and cucumber.  Bon Appetit!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Rock Climbing

The Wall Crawler Rock Club indoor gym is right up the road from us. I have been considering over the past few months taking Monkey to try a class, but we had him in a dual sports during the Fall and I did not want to overwhelm him.  We finally made it there this week and both kids had a blast.  We are planning to make this part of our weekly schedule.

Setting goals.

EGG had a go as well.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Back to School Bento

top: mango and blueberries, corn on the cob, cookies, goat gouda, rabbit pretzel
bottom: 4 mini chicken apple hotdogs (found at Whole Foods, no nitrates) buns made with toasted bread cut into rounds, ketchup in container, green beans, and mini lemon blueberry scone.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

EGG Birthday

Princess table.  Heart PB & J, Hello Kitty cheese, grapes, and pomegranate.
Princess table.

Knights table.

Adult yummies.  Citrus Marinated beet with smoked salmon and lemon creme fraiche on top of crackers with beet microgreens.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bunnies & Kitties bento


Egg has begun attending preschool a few days a week.  Although she loves her class she does get a bit sad at drop off. 

This morning was no different starting at home with the "I don't want to go to school!"   So, before leaving for class, I told her I had a special lunch packed for her with all of her favorite things.  She peeked in her lunch box and instantly switched gears to "Mama is it time to go yet?". 

left: Sun butter & strawberry jam flower sandwiches with hello kitty cheddar and chocolate bunnies on side
right: strawberry hearts and kiwi with cheddar bunnies and some carrot sticks (for the bunnies to eat---since my daughter refuses!).

Friday, August 27, 2010

Darth Vader bento

top: kiwi- strawberry-champage grapes, cheddar bunnies, cucumber and carrot (balsamic dip on side)
bottom:  Darth Vader sandwich made with nori and cheese.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Feel Good Whole Grain Salad

I tried a yummy looking salad at Whole Foods the other day called "5 Grains, 5 Greens".  It was absolutely addictive to me.  I made my own version at home and this is what I came up with.  Equally good, and you can mix and match grains/greens!  Here is a list of some grains and greens along with the associated benefits.

Feel Good Whole Grain Salad

1 bag cooked  Riz Rouge Camargue Red Rice Blend  (of course you can use any mix of rice or grains, I used a pre-mix for convenience)  *I cooked mine in vegetable stock.
2 cups cooked Pearled Barley
3 TB balsamic vinegar
2 TB of goji berry juice (or something similar to add a mild sweetness)
1 cup cashews
1 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
6 cups of mixed mustard greens, young kale, spinach, and red swiss chard washed well and chopped

Let grains cool and add the juice, vinegar, cashews, and cranberries.  Mix well.  Add some chopped greens to the grain mixture and enjoy.

I keep a container of both the grains and the greens in the fridge and mix individual portions together right before I eat.  I have enjoyed this for breakfast as well as lunch.  It is a very filling and satisfying dish.

Friday, August 13, 2010

BBQ Ribs Bento

left:  cornmeal & blueberry muffin, mammoth cheddar cheese, chocolate pretzel, green beans, corn & tomato & cucumber salad in cup, strawberry & kiwi & blueberry
right: dry rubbed ribs, bbq sauce on side

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Typical Bento Lunch

The sunbutter sandwich is still a lunch favorite. We do branch out from the 'jelly' as in this sunbutter, banana, and honey sandwich.

left: green beans, cherry tomatoes, kiwi, blueberries
right: sunbutter, banana, and honey sandwich & cheddar cheese, with cheese elephant

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Batman Bento

top: ham & cheddar sandwich with cheddar and nori (seaweed) batman accents
bottom: cherry tomato, snow pea picks, blueberries & raspberries, a couple of chocolate covered cherries

Monday, June 21, 2010

Circus Camp Bento

The Monkey tested out Circus Camp today and L-O-V-E-D it!  It did not hurt that it is "Super Hero" week and he came home wearing a painted on Batman mask.  Story time, trapeze, rope climbing, a costume parade...what's not to love!  Hmm, I wonder if they have a spot for me tomorrow.

left: sunbutter & jam sandwich, plantain chips, 2 chocolate covered cherries
right: green beans, cherry tomato, apricot, blueberries & raspberries, cheddar

water in bottle

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cooking for Monkeys on WebMD Video Update

Yay!  The direct link for the WebMD video is up:  I know several folks had trouble viewing the previous link. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Storm Trooper Bento

MOTH (the Man of the House) came home from work with these and these last week.  We surprised the Monkey with Star Wars pancakes the very next morning and today he will open his lunch to this...

top: cheddar bunny mix, snow peas, corn, strawberries and blueberries
bottom: two sunbutter and jam sandwiches with cheese storm troopers