30 January 2013

Inspired in the Kitchen

Lately I have been cooking up a storm. I think our new cafe at work has inspired me. The global cuisine - (which usually means Indian, Thai, or some Asian derivative)

Last week I made Tom Kha soup (my favorite) and baked coconut shrimp with a zesty dipping sauce I made up once I realized the directions called for apricot preserves, and who has those lying around? Certainly not me! Sloan had fun helping me cut the lemongrass for the soup... She is a great kitchen helper and loves to watch me in the kitchen. Often she goes back to her kitchen and mimics my actions. Stirring, tasting, putting it in the oven. Speaking of kitchen helper,
 I would really LOVE THIS

for the kitchen to keep her from falling off her step stool! Sloan has been trying to ask her grandparents for it, but she is a jumbled mess when it comes to complete sentences. She does have a handful of sentences that are as clear as day, but usually I can translate based on the few key words that i do understand and after falling the other day off her step stool, she insists that this is the one she needs! the girls across the street have it and she is green with envy!
I have cooked up multiple variations of rice, rice noodles and stir fry vegetables. My husband is a self proclaimed "disliker of Asian food" (when i get to pick a restaurant, my go-to is Sushi Thai much to his dismay). I think in his mind, it consists of vegetables and rice, but it is so much more!  I can't count how many times in the last two weeks he remarked, "This is REALLY good!"...  And these were healthy, cheese free, vegetable laden meals! So what if he uses 1/4 cup of soy sauce on his food, he is eating vegetables, and LIKING them! And he likes Asian food too despite his preconceived notion that he doesn't!. I even went as far as to have a Meatless Monday this week, and he remarked, "I really like this " he then proceeded to ask if there was meat in it, to which i replied, "it has protein". His reply was something along the lines of  "i already said i liked it, so you can tell me"  The answer, of course, was no. There is no meat in your spaghetti! And he ate it anyway and he liked it!

I think Rick is evolving quite nicely! He is amazed at how well our daughter eats  compared to other children he has known, but I constantly remind him that children aren't born liking only chicken nuggets and french fries, they have to be conditioned to eat that way. Sloan is a good eater because  I  WE do not allow her to eat junk, nor do we make special meals just for her.. If a child doesn't know it exists, how can they ask for it. Children are not bosses of the family, nor am i a short order cook! I do however, provide multiple options for her to choose from on her plate. For example yesterday I made tacos in baked corn tortillas. I offered her meat, a corn shell, halved cherry tomatoes, avocado wedges, and corn.  She ate the tomatoes, some avocado,  and a bite of her tortilla and a bite of meat.  Usually she eats more, but yesterday was not her day (in her defense we did eat a late afternoon snack of hummus and peas). I did allow her to eat a banana half after she refused her meat (i don't think she likes Cumin which i often forget before seasoning the taco meat)  I also cut my taco meat in half and mix the beef with "something else" (ask me privately if you are interested, but I don't let Rick know since his eating issues are all in his head...)  I season them together, the "something else" takes the flavor of the meat and since I break the beef up real good when i cook it, and puree the "something else" into a paste, it mixes nicely together. Rick knows there is something "different" but he eats it and usually likes it. This allows me to use organic, hormone free, grass fed beef rather than hormone laden corn fed beef often treated with chemicals and coloring to keep a longer shelf life.. yuck! The beef is more expensive, which is why i prefer to use half of it and cut it with "something else".

In other news we have been quite busy sewing. I am working on a new project for the house for a special room, but until then you will just have to wait ...

Look at me, Little suzy homemaker, cooking and sewing! Yup. That's pretty much what I do when i'm not working, sleeping, or playing with Sloan, might as well enjoy it!

I learned how to sew a ruffle (self taught of course) using a good website that gave a nice written description... Now I am a ruffling machine! Never mind the mess behind Sloan - we are in the playroom / craft room/ home office. It is our third floor, and we will get to it when we get to it :) I am itching to organize and decorate this room, paint a cute mural, add storage bins, etc etc... but patience is a virtue and i have other rooms to tackle first!!! We prefer to start from the ground up, so for now, this is our dumping ground. It really is nice to have one of these in the house!

Here is the apron i posted on Facebook last week. I did a practice ruffle and then sewed it onto another scrap fabric. I started looking at it and realized that it was the perfect size for a mini-apron, so i found the flower fabric scrap I had lying around, hemmed, and voila! An apron for Sloan... I can't wait to make her a ruffle skirt, but first things first, i am working on a time consuming project right now. My other ruffles are a bit more ruffly, but this got stretched out when i tied it around here. Nonetheless, it is adorable  if i do say so myself! I should have probably selected a longer piece of fabric as the sash since it ties, but not long enough for an actual bow.

my model was reluctant to show me the tie in the back but more than happy to share her belly button. The mess is much more visable in these views. You're welcome! Can you see her toes? We also painted our toenails this weekend since we had some extra time off due to snow .

Sloan has taken interest in sewing and will sit on my lap and sew with me. She LOVES to hold my magnetic pin cushion and take the pins off. fortunately when she drops them i can just suck them up with the magnet! The only real danger when i'm working on a project is that i like to iron my fabric before sewing hems, and if she pulls the hot iron on her, it would scar her for life, literally.  So i have to keep her away and unplug and move the iron between each hem... I is fortunate that she naps for 2-2.5 hours on the weekends and goes to bed early at night, allowing me to save ironing for those times ! As i mentioned I am working on a project, which I estimate to take about 2 weeks, depending on progress on  weekends.. I started on Saturday and I think I am about 20% finished. Work really does interfere with my hobbies/crafting!

 I can't wait to share a finished project with you, stay tuned!


  1. That kitchen helper is so neat! I bet Jade would love that too.

    I would love to know some of your Asian recipes, because Dave and I love Asian food. Yum! I am in complete agreement with you on kid eating habits too - Jade has not had any kind of processed meat/chicken nuggets and we keep her away from junk food too. I think you're absolutely right - if they don't know it's out there or what it tastes like, they won't ask for it!

    1. sure i can send you some recipes. do you eat meat/fish??
      My favorite go-to is rice noodles, stir fry vegetables (i buy a bag from Costco and add my own mushrooms, green beans and tomatoes) and of course, red peppers for spice! lots of garlic. I use Sriracha and i'm not sure it has the best ingredients, but i haven't found a good substitute yet!
      My Tom Kha soup is pinned in Food and Recipes (easy Tom Kha)! it was awesome!
      I think everything in moderation is ok (long term), but if we can instill good habits while she is still developing a palate, then she will benefit long term!