Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wacky Worldly Waffle Wednesday: Thailand

The Boy requested a Wacky Worldly Waffle Wednesday dinner tonight, and we decided upon Thailand for inspiration.

I had some Satay Peanut Sauce from Trader Joe's, and some chicken drumsticks, so I started there.

The kids and I adored this!  We all gobbled it up, and I can't wait to have leftovers in my lunch tomorrow.

Thai Curry Waffles with Satay Chicken Drumsticks and Coconut Milk Zucchini

Satay Chicken Drumsticks

1 jar satay peanut sauce (I used Trader Joe's brand)
5-6 chicken drumsticks

Thai Curry Waffles

2 c pancake/waffle mix
2 egg whites
1 c coconut milk
1/4 c Thai Yellow Curry Sauce (from Trader Joe's - use slightly less if using a more concentrated curry paste)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp lemongrass paste (I have this awesome paste in a tube) - could subsitute lime juice

Coconut Milk Zucchini

1 small zucchini
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp Penzey's Bangkok Blend
1/4 c coconut milk

To make the chicken, marinate the drumsticks for 8 hours or more in the satay sauce.  I started this in the morning before going to work.  Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate.  When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 450 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put a baking rack on top.  Place the chicken on the rack and bake ~40 minutes, or until internal temperature is 165 F.
My lemon grass herb blend paste
Meanwhile, mix the batter for the waffles.  Preheat waffle iron and cook according to your waffle maker's instructions.
Cooking down the coconut milk
While you are making the waffles, slice the zucchini into thin slices (about 1/8" thick).  Preheat a saute pan and melt the coconut oil.  Sprinkle the zucchini with the Bangkok blend and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with coconut milk and allow the coconut milk to cook down until thickened and nearly absorbed into the zucchini.

To serve, place some of the zucchini on top of a waffle and top with a drumstick.  Enjoy.

Disclaimer: I love Trader Joe's and Penzey's, but they do not sponsor this post or this blog. All opinions are my own (or that of the kids)

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Recipe: Naan Pizza with Brinjal Eggplant

I was inspired to make the Branjal eggplant dish that (originally made for my Sri Lankan inspired waffles) when I found this beautiful graffiti eggplant at the store.

I also found some black garlic and wanted to give that a try - I've never used it before, but I've seen it on Food Network.

I decided to make naan pizzas, using frozen garlic naan, and it was amazing!

This was an incredibly quick dinner, because the naan was already cooked.  All I had to do was make the eggplant, then spread some mango ginger chutney on the naan, put some of the eggplant on top, and add a little cheese.  I used a shaved cheese blend from Trader Joe's - a little cheddar or asiago would work as well.

Naan Pizza with Brinjal Eggplant

1 small eggplant, sliced into about 1/2" slices
1 Tbsp tumeric
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 c vinegar
1/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp dried ginger
3 cloves black garlic (could use regular garlic)

4 frozen naan (or use pre-cooked pizza dough)
1/4 c mango ginger chutney (I used Trader Joe's brand)
1/4 c shaved cheese mix (I used Trader Joe's blend, use your favorite mild cheese)

Toss eggplant slices with tumeric.  Heat 1 Tbsp coconut oil at a time in a saute pan and cook eggplant in batches until browned on both sides.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Pour vinegar into pan and deglaze.  Stir in the sugar and ginger.  Once the sugar is dissolved, add the eggplant back to the pan and add the garlic.  If you are using fresh garlic instead of black garlic, add the garlic with the vinegar to cook briefly.  Cook until the eggplant has soaked up the liquid.

Preheat the oven according to your naan (or crust) directions.  For my naan, I preheated the oven to 400 F.  I let the naan cook (basically to thaw) for 1 1/2 minutes, then removed from the oven and spread each naan with some chutney, topped with brinjal eggplant, and sprinkled just a little cheese on each one.  After topping, return the naan pizzas to the oven nad bake for 2-3 minutes.  Serve and enjoy.

Disclaimer: I love Trader Joe's, but they do not sponsor this post or this blog. All opinions are my own (or that of the kids)

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Lunches for an Outing: Camp Drop-off and another Trip to the Montshire Museum - 7.13.14

The Girl is off to her first ever sleep-away camp!  She worked very hard to sell a ton of girl scout cookies to earn some of the camp tuition, and she carefully chose the camp she wanted to attend.  She ended up choosing a swimming and water based camp, and she couldn't have been more excited.

It turned out that the camp was only about 15 minutes away from the Montshire Museum, which we visited on Friday.  I asked a friend to join us on the trip, because I know that he adores fossils.

Basically all of the pictures I got at the museum are of him playing with the exhibits.  It was wonderful.

For lunches, I packed a caramelized onion cheddar sandwich on a sandwich thin, a couple Saturn peaches, ginger cat cookies, and cherries.  We also had some cheese puffs on the side.  It was a happy lunch.

Happily, the Montshire is also around the corner from King Arthur Flour, so my friend and I got some fuel for the drive home.

The Girl said that she was worried about going to camp for only one reason - she would miss my cooking.

... then, she saw that they were planning on serving pizza for dinner, and she didn't seem so worried anymore.
Her brother is going to miss her this week..
I hope that she has an amazing week at camp, and I think we might stop by the museum again when we pick her up on Saturday!

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Lunches for an Outing: Montshire Museum - July 11, 2014

When we heard that Sue the Tyrannasaurus Rex was going to be visiting one of our favorite museums, the Montshire Museum of Science, we immediately knew we had to go.  So, though yesterday would have been an astounding day for a hike, we drove across the state with my mother instead, to spend some time with a very old girl.

For those that don't know, Sue is the most complete T. Rex ever found.  She is 90% complete - whereas the next best T. Rex is only ~60% complete.  She is fully amazing.  Her full time home is in Chicago, so it was wonderful to see her in our little museum.
The Girl with her hands in Sue's nostrils.  Because... of course she did
The Montshire included some really cool exhibits, including a replica of Sue's skull that you can touch.


There are so many other things that we adore about the Montshire, it was absolutely worth the trip.

And of course, I brough us lunches.

We had sandwiches on sandwich thins with hummus, caramelized onion cheddar, leftover pollo asado (thinly sliced), and lettuce, along with veggie tortilla chips, Saturn peaches (they fit in the lunchbox without smooshing!  Amazing!), mini mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, and some cheddar puffs.

We will be back to the Montshire soon, as we have a membership now... in fact, The Girl is going to Girl Scout Camp for a week starting tomorrow, and The Montshire is on the way - so we'll be stopping in to see Sue again, and this time, we are bringing a friend!  Look for camp drop-off lunches coming soon.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Recipe: Prosciutto Perline Pasta Salad

It is hot and muggy here in Vermont today, and I had absolutely no desire to cook or eat anything hot.  Pasta salad to the rescue!

I picked up some prosciutto perline at Trader Joe's, and they are delicious little bundles of pasta.  You could, of course, use any pasta you like - a small, fresh, filled pasta will be better, in my opinion.

In order to make the pasta salad, I cooked up the pasta (and then quickly turned the stove off!) and rinsed it in cold water.  I then added some quartered mini heirloom tomatoes (again, you could use cherry tomatoes if you like - I like these tomatoes because they are delicious AND beautiful!) and some sliced and quartered mini cucumbers.  I tossed in halved mini mozzarella balls.

To finish it off, I made a light vinaigrette.  In a small canning jar, I combined about 3 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar and 3 Tbsp olive oil, with some Italian spices.  I shook the jar up very well, and then poured over the salad, stirring to coat.

The salad was then refrigerated for about an hour to chill, and to allow the flavors to meld.

Yum.  And cool.  Now I might go have some ice cream.

Disclaimer: I love Trader Joe's, but they do not sponsor this post or this blog. All opinions are my own (or that of the kids)

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dinners for an Outing: Picnic on the Beach - 6.29.14

It was a really hot day and I was very tired, and so we didn't do much of anything all day.  I napped.  The kids played on the computer.  I was feeling a bit guilty about being inside for most of the day, and after my nap, I had a little energy, so I decided to pack dinners for us and go to the beach.

I packed us some tuna salad made with hummus instead of mayonnaise, with croutons and on a bed of lettuce, with apple slices and ginger cookies.  It was a pretty yummy, no-cook dinner for this hot evening.

I need to add that I don't love the beach.  I love swimming, but don't really like sand.  I grew up on a rocky shore, and I like that much better... I know, I am strange.  The Girl loves the beach, and is actually going to a swimming-based sleep-away Girl Scout camp in a couple of weeks.  I know that she will have a blast.
The best picture I could get of The Girl in the water...
At least he likes the water... 
The Boy is reticent to learn how to swim (and staunchly refuses my offer of getting him lessons).  Thus, I want to spend some time at the beach this summer to get him to be more comfortable with swimming.  He made some progress tonight,   The Girl turned out to be a patient teacher.  He learned some from me, but more from her.  I think it might be a couple more trips to the beach, and some determination to succeed.. he does love playing in the water, but it's just the swimming he is trepidatious about.

And there were minnows!
Overall, it was a nice picnic, and fun in the water.  I am glad that we decided to go, and hope that we can make it a more regular thing.

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Lunches for an Outing: Mount Abraham (Long Trail) - 6.27.14

For our second hike of the summer, the kids and I decided to hike Mount Abraham, which is the shortest of the five over 4000' mountains in Vermont.  We would love to do all five of them at some point.  This one was a good start, for sure.  It was a rather strenuous hike, with some really fun scrambles.  The path was muddy in parts, due to a little brook that ran through the area, crossing the path at times.
A panorama of the top

The peak was at 4006', and the hike was a 2200' gain in elevation, and 5.7 miles, round trip.  There were times when the kids and I thought we should rename the mountain Mount Muddy Stumbles... there were a few tree roots and rocks that tripped us up.

We made it to the top, though, and the view was totally outstanding.  There is another trail that leads up from the other side, and we would love to try that some time.

A couple of friends joined us for part of the hike, so I made five lunches for the day, in our Easylunchboxes.

The Boy had a sandwich with hummus, lettuce, smoked turkey, and cheese, some trail mix, candy coated sunflower seeds, strawberries, grapes, and apple slices.

The Girl had a sandwich with hummus, lettuce, smoked turkey, and cheese, trail mix, candy coated sunflower seeds, a white apricot, grapes, and apple slices.

For the grown ups, I packed sandwiches with leftover curry chicken, hummus, lettuce, and cheese, a white apricot, trail mix, candy coated sunflower seeds, grapes, and apple slices.

I can't wait to get to our next hike - after the Fourth!  Happy Summer to everyone!

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