Posts Tagged ‘kid friendly’

Pasta and Naan

Naan is one of my favorite breads and it’s best fresh out of a tandoori oven at a good Indian restaurant.  I bought this garlic naan at HEB.  I grated some sharp Asiago cheese on top and stuck it under the broiler until the cheese melted and the naan was heated through, this only takes a minute or two.  The naan accompanied kid-friendly turkey vermicelli, dinner was ready in a snap!


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One of my worst fears has come to pass for local families, and at the worst time of the year.  Early today an apartment complex caught fire, several families with children lost everything.  Can you join me in making a donation or spreading the word to those who can make a donation to help save Christmas for these families?  One of the schools affected, Forest North Elementary PTA is taking donations of any kind but for those not in the area who want to help can do so on their website.  Alternatively, contact the Austin Disaster  Relief Network – 512-331-2600 or donate online.  News story is here.

I realize you probably have every charity in the world contacting you for help.  My dear readers, if you can spare anything for these kids I would be very grateful for any assistance you can give to our neighbors.  Thank you and have a blessed holiday season!

Now a recipe for you and your family on this chilly Austin day…


The fall back plan in my kitchen is pasta.  I can make fresh or dried pasta and any little stragglers of food in the fridge can be used to dress it up.  Even if there’s no tomato sauce, like today, I use some canned diced tomato and tomato paste instead.  Look for tomato paste infused with roasted garlic, whatever you make from the pantry with it will be pleased.

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 15oz can petite diced tomato
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste (with roasted garlic)
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Greek Seasoning (Victorian Epicure)
  • 1 lb 90% lean ground beef
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dry rubbed sage

Start with the pasta.  Brown the meat in a large skillet and break apart as it cooks.  Season the meat well with salt and pepper.  Add the onion and carrot, garlic and herbs.  Stir to distribute and pick up brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomato, paste and about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water to dissolve the paste.  Cover and simmer gently until ready to serve and the pasta is al denté.

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.   Remove from heat.

Serve with Pizza Toasts and a side salad for a comforting meal with your family.

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This was a hearty lasagna sans meat.  I used layers of fresh baby spinach and finely diced yellow bell pepper between an italian cheese blend and ricotta mixed with egg and marinara sauce.  The noodles were whole wheat and uncooked.  Seriously easy to assemble.  Just wait for it to bake, first covered with foil (about 40 minutes) and then topless to brown the final layer of cheese (15 minutes).   Use plenty of sauce since the pasta will use the moisture to cook in the oven.

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A relatively new addition to downtown Round Rock just a few blocks north of 620 on Mays is a food trailer park.   The food trailer fever blazing in Austin has spread north to my town.  There are a baker’s dozen of trailers including Hey Cupcake!, Curly Pig, and The Beef Cake Shop where I ate lunch.

Fridays and Saturdays the park hosts live music in the evenings and movie night on Thursdays.  Check their Facebook page for details.

This weekend there was an inflated slide for the kids to play on while parents could nosh in peace.  It’s not a regular feature, the trailers pitched in to rent it this Saturday.  And since this is outdoor eating, bring your friendly dogs to hang out with, they might even get a biscuit.

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I ordered a trio of sliders from The Beef Cake Shop.  The Day After Thanksgiving flavor was awesome, ground turkey with cranberries, stuffing and gravy.  The meatloaf was fluffy, actually all the patties were not compacted too tightly, just enough to hold together.  The pepperoni pizza was different, supposedly a kid favorite but not for mine.  There was also an Italian meatball slider that I did not try but the owner Jimmy says it’s a family recipe.  The other family recipe on the menu now is pumpkin pie, this was delicious and cured my craving for pumpkin.

The kids wanted ice cream and they each had a chocolate soft serve cone from Sylvester’s.

I sat with another couple as we watched the kids on the slide and the woman noted there were no coffee trailers, maybe there is an opportunity waiting?

If you’re in the neighborhood stop in and grab some grub!

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Start Halloween with a toasted scary cat or spooky ghost to dip into runny yolks.

Use cookie cutters to cut out the shapes from the middle of sliced bread (any kind you would eat with eggs).

Put butter in the pan over medium-low heat.  Once it melts put the cut bread in the pan.  Let the first side toast for about 30 seconds then carefully pour an egg in the “hole” in the toast.

Season with salt and pepper then gently flip the egg and toast together.  Season the second side and cook until the white is set but the yolk is soft or runny. (Note:  cook until the egg yolk is set if serving small children)

Alternatively, before adding the egg flip the toast while empty.  Add the egg then cover the pan with a lid.

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Adapted from several muffin recipes in Babycakes (Erin McKenna)

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp guar gum
  • 1/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 325ºF.  Prepare two muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.

Mix the banana, milk, oil, sugar and vanilla in a bowl.  Set aside.

Sift (or whisk) together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, guar gum in a separate bowl.  Set aside.

In a small bowl or cup, combine the hot water and cocoa powder until the cocoa is disolved.  Pour the cocoa into the banana mixture and mix well.  Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix well.

Pour a little less than 1/3 cup of the muffin batter in each muffin tin.  The batter will rise slightly so don’t over fill the tins.  Bake for 20-24 minutes, just until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle of one of the muffins.  If your oven is notorious for uneven baking, rotate the pans half way through.  Gluten-free flour tends to dry out in the oven very easily so check the muffins as they get close to the 20 minute mark.

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  • natural beef patties (hand made)
  • sharp cheddar cheese
  • cooked red bell pepper slices
  • cooked sweet onion slices
  • fresh tomato slices
  • homemade roll (used multigrain instead of rye)

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When time is short, pick up a frozen ready-to-bake pizza and add your own touches.  I used a Freshetta Hawaiian thin crust pizza here.  Left over chicken, red bell pepper, tomato, and jalapeno pepper gave the pizza a lift.  I should have added more cheese to help keep the toppings from falling off the slice as I stuffed myself silly.  Use extra toppings sparingly or you might bog down the pie.  Bake according to the directions for the frozen pizza.

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I was wandering through Sam’s Club when a perky woman stopped me to offer a sample of juice.  She gave the short sales pitch as I tasted, mmmed and ahhed at her words.  What really sold me was the flavor and weight of the juice.  I know you wouldn’t normally think of weight and viscosity of juices, just follow along on this one.  The more water you add to freshly squished juice, the lighter and less viscous it is.  And the more water added to the good stuff means higher profit margins to the producer.  I like to make smoothies out of real fruit (banana, papaya, berries, mango, pineapple, you name it!) so when a juice really tastes like fruit I get excited.  I bought a bottle of Acai Berry Juice right then.

Cloudiness is a good thing.

I drink about 4 ounces in the morning, and if I need a pick me up in the afternoon.  I’ve noticed a little extra pep in my step when I take it a few days in a row.  If you have kids, I’ll advise you to cut this with water as you might have jumping jackrabbits on your hands.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Maybe my kids are just nuts anyways.

I bought a different brand of Acai juice (Zola) and it doesn’t taste as good, not even close.

Here is the guy behind Genesis Today on The View


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We all love a freshly made doughnut, no matter how unhealthy they may be. However, it can be a pain making that trek to the grocery store or bakery every morning. Fortunately, doughnuts can be easily made at home. Then, you can sit down with your hot doughnuts and coffee as you study for your online courses.

Here is a simple, easy-to-follow recipe for basic doughnuts:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Oil for frying
  • Powdered sugar for topping
  • Granulated sugar for topping

Mix two cups of flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into a bowl.

Combine the butter or margarine and milk into a different, medium-sized bowl

Add eggs, sugar and vanilla extract into a large bowl and beat the ingredients together until they’re thick.

Add the milk mixture to the egg mixture and beat the ingredients together. Combine with the dry mixture. Add the last cup of flour and mix well. Cover and chill the dough for two hours.

Roll the dough out a half-inch thick on a floured surface and cut it with a floured doughnut cutter.

Fry the doughnuts in oil at about 375ºF. Cook until each side turns a golden color. Drain the doughnuts on a paper towel and let them cool on a rack.

You can decorate the doughnuts with either powdered sugar or granulated sugar by placing warm doughnuts in a bag filled with sugar and shaking them. You can also enjoy them plain if you desire.

To learn more about online education, such as online culinary schools, check out www.onlinecollegedegrees.net.


eHow (2012)

HubPages (2012)

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