Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Curried Tuna with Apples & Raisins Wrap


We’re very much a BYOL (Bring Your Own Lunch) family. There are many reasons for making and bringing your lunch (healthier and affordable being on the top of my list usually). But it’s also easy to get into a lunch-making rut. Maybe it’s the brutal winter we’ve endured, but lunches here have been uninspired lately.

Cut to last week when I had the opportunity to try Flatout Flatbreads and Starkist Tuna. Flatout Flatbreads come in a variety of flavors from traditional to healthy grains to Thin Crust Flatbreads for making artisan pizzas. It’s easy to see why I was eager to try out some new recipes with so much variety. Bye-bye sliced bread!

Here’s a recipe for Curried Tuna with Raisins and Apples in Flatout Soft 100% Whole Wheat Flatbread. It’s easy to whip up and has a ton a flavor. I even got a thumbs up from my oldest who claims he’s “not a fan of tuna.” 

 

Curried Tuna with Raisins & Apples Wraps

INGREDIENTS
  • Two 2.6 oz Pouches Starkist Chunk Light Tuna in Water
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 small apple (we like Fuji), peeled, halved, cored and diced
  • 1-2 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp scallions, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Flatout Soft 100% Whole Wheat Flatbread

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the tuna, yogurt, apple, raisins, scallions, carrots, curry powder, lime juice, salt and pepper. 
  2. Layout a Flatout Flatbread on a clean counter or cutting board. Scoop out half of mixture at one end of the wrap. 
  3. Roll the wrap tightly. 
  4. Repeat and enjoy!
Disclosure: I was compensated and provided Flatout Flatbreads and Starkist Pouches to try this product. As always, all opinions are my own.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Signs of Spring

It's March 10th and we are all desperately seeking signs of spring here in New England. I think you could hear a collective sigh from everyone here this morning when we looked out the window to find a coating of snow on cars and very bare trees.

So when things are looking grim, I like to surround myself with eternal signs of spring and summer whenever I walk into the Marimekko store in Huron Village. I recently had the opportunity to preview the newly launched Kids' Spring line thanks to Christine Koh of Boston Mamas. The vibrant colors found in the elegant dresses, bolts of fabrics and home accessories will have you thinking spring instantly.


Marimekko trademark cheerful textiles 

Working the runway in a fun polkadot Spring dress and fun monkey t-shirt and red and white-striped button down shirt (credit: Zac Wolf Photography)

Always great catching up with these fab bloggers In Real Life (IRL)
It was a fun event as I got to "walk the runway" with my little one, meet up with some of my favorite bloggers IRL (hostess with the mostess Christine of Boston Mamas, Audrey of Mom Generations, Casey of Life with Roozle, and Sharon of Viola Cay) while the kids got to mug it up for the photobooth, enjoy sweet little cupcakes and get their face painted. And afterward, we got to explore the Magic Beans toy store across the street and I got to lose myself in the epicurean world of Formaggio Kitchen.

Snow is forecasted for Thursday and early next week. If you're looking for me, good chance I'll be hanging out in Huron Village getting my dose of spring.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Just Add Cooking


So if you couldn’t tell, meal planning and trying different recipes is kinda my thing. But sometimes it can be a chore. What I wouldn’t do for someone to meal plan and grocery shop for me, leaving the cooking (the fun part) for me. Well, there happens to be someone to do just that.

Just Add Cooking is part of a new crop of meal kit delivery services in the area and I had the chance to give it a try. You get to choose a three-, four- or five-meal box delivered to you on Sunday. Meals are designed to serve a family of 4 and range from $107-$139 per kit. The meal plan and menu options were preselected for me for my trial subscription.

Our kit arrived as promised, even during a snow storm.



I was skeptical about the quality of the produce, but everything was in perfect condition. Just Add Cooking selects seasonal, locally produced, organic ingredients. Everything is portioned and measured out (including the spices).

Someone was excited to check out the contents of our kit.

Protein and other refrigerated items were packed separately in a freezer bag.



Our three-meal plan (in recommended cooking order): Poached Salmon with Avocado Sauce, Coq au Vin, and Tex-Mex Mac and Cheese. Three dishes I would never have thought of trying. So how did it go?

Poached Salmon pre-measured ingredients and recipe

Large portion sizes. Nice heat to avocado sauce. Veggies were a hit.

Coq au Vin ingredients included pre measured red wine. 


Ta-da - Coq au Vin. Rich and complex flavors. A tad too salty tho.

Tex-Mex Mac & Cheese (before)

The boys loved this. I didn't think I would like it, but it was really tasty.

Everyone loved how everything tasted and the portion sizes were more than satisfactory. Everything took less than 40 minutes to prepare. My only word of caution is that the cooking directions can be a little confusing, so this might not be for the novice home cook. Now if only each kit also included someone to come and clean-up J

**Just Add Cooking recently announced a fun recipe contest. Submit your own recipe and for a chance to be featured in an upcoming Just Add Cooking box and to win a free Just Add Cooking delivery. Enter between now and February 28, 2014. Winner will be chosen and announced on March 17, 2014. For more information on the contest, visit the Just Add Cooking blog.**

Disclosure: I was given a trial meal kit to try Just Add Cooking. As always, all opinions are my own.





Friday, January 31, 2014

Year of the Horse


Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year. So what does that mean? Well, according to Chinese astrologists, it could mean a whole lot depending on what animal you are in the Chinese zodiac. I guess if your business has anything to do with wood or fire, it will be a good year for you! Oh, and beware of volcanoes this year according to a recent article in The Independent.

Well, in our house it means giving the boys red envelopes with money, setting out a pair of mandarin oranges with red envelopes in each room, visiting family and friends and making a New Year's feast. The Chinese believe it is important to serve food symbolizing prosperity and good fortune. So on this year's menu, I plan on making:


  • Scallion Pancakes: roundness = togetherness, gold = wealth
  • Pork Dumplings: the shape of the dumplings resembles old ingot-shaped coins = wealth
  • Chinese Broccoli: blossoming flowers = life
  • Longevity Noodles: long noodles = long life
  • Tea Eggs: Gold-colored eggs resemble gold nuggets = prosperity

Happy New Year and Gong Hay Fat Choy!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Family Meals: Meal Plan Week of 1/27


Busy week ahead along with some cold nights (what else is new) so this week's meal plan includes lots of easy and fast meals, soups and one-pot dinners. As I often try to do, I asked the boys to each pick one dish to be included in the week's menu. So it comes to no surprise pasta and meatballs and fish tacos made it on the meal plan. Recipe links below:

Monday: Pasta & Meatballs picked by the little one. For a picky eater, he hasn't found a meatball he doesn't like. For me, I'm especially found of Great Grandma Turano's Meatballs from Dinner: A Love Story.

Tuesday: Portuguese Kale + Potato Soup can be made quickly with very just a few humble ingredients. Plus it tastes that much better the next day.

Wednesday: Barefoot Contessa Jambalaya because I will have leftover sausage from Tuesday plus I love one-pot dinners.

Thursday: Fish Tacos, Rice & Beans plus Avocado and Mango Salsa from ChopChop. My oldest requested this knowing it is our "vacation" dish, but hopes it will make him think of summer!

Friday: Beef & Broccoli was a unanimous request from both my boys. I often have to double the recipe because they can not get enough of this stuff.

Have a great week!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Family Meals: Meal Plan Week of 1/20


The weather forecast for the week looks like there will be many cold nights, so looking to make some warm and hearty meals. This week's meal plan includes a bunch of recipes from Flour, Too: Indispensable Recipes from the Cafe's Most Loved Sweets and Savories as I cook my way through it (loving it so far). The week ends with International Night at school, so I'm looking forward to making scallion pancakes for the first time (!), and sampling some ethnic dishes from the diverse school community. Recipe links below.

Monday: Chicken and Orzo Soup with Veggies from Flour, Too. I was going to make this last week but an impromptu dinner at a friend's house has us trying it this week instead.

Tuesday: Pork Tenderloin and Asian Celery, Fennel and Edamame Salad with Candied Lemon from Flour, Too

Wednesday: Spicy Turkey Burgers with Tomato-Onion Jam from Flour, Too too!

Thursday: Weeknight Bolognese and salad from Ina Garten

Friday: Scallion Pancakes with Soy Dipping Sauce from Flour, Too!

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Family Meals: Menu Planning Week of 1/13

Menu pad by 1-canoe-2.myshopify.com

2014 is in full swing, which means keeping to my resolution to cook more healthy foods. Here's this week's menu plan at our house and some links to recipes I'll be making/testing/tweaking: 

Monday: Warm Quinoa Salad with Roasted Autumn Vegetables and Ginger-Scallion Dressing from Flour, Too: Indispensable Recipes for the Cafe's Most Loved Sweets & Savories by Joanne Chang. My attempt to get back to Meatless Mondays.

Tuesday: Pesto Pasta with Green Veggies from ChopChop Magazine. Later karate classes calls for quick and healthy dish I can whip up as soon as we get home.

Wednesday: Old-Fashioned Chicken and Orzo Soup with Vegetables from the Flour, Too Cookbook. Just got the book, so couldn't help but test several recipes!

Thursday: Pasta with Sausage, Rosemary and Tomatoes and salad. A busy school and work day calls for my go-to weeknight dish.

Friday: Dinner out! Picking up umdaddy at the airport plus a chance to check out a new restaurant to review for KidNosh

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Getting My Picky-Eater to Finally Eat Veggies

Winter Minestrone Soup

I have one amazingly adventurous eater (8 year old) and one extremely stubborn one (5 year old). My oldest will gladly try tripe or a raw oyster (but probably will never again). My youngest will avoid any protein (except for nut butter, eggs, or bacon) or most veggies (except for carrots, celery, or tomatoes in tomato sauce). He is the epitome of a picky eater. Or as he puts it, "just scared."

Maybe veggies and other non-carb foods are truly scary to him. Or maybe it's his sneaky way of getting out of something. But I've found a way to get him to try - and even like - veggies. I get him to help me make Ina Garten's Winter Minestrone Soup.

Experts suggest (and my own experience has proven) when you get your kids involved in cooking a meal, they will most likely taste it, then proclaim they are the greatest chef the world has ever seen (as my kids have done). Another way to get kids to try something new is to mix new ingredients with something tried and true. In my case, pasta + bacon + cheese. The kid was scarfing up the stuff so fast, he forgot he's throwing down spinach, carrots, celery, tomatoes and other veggies he proclaimed to be so scary in the past.

Plus this soup is so good. Especially during a polar vortex. Make this. You won't be sorry.

Click here for the recipe.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Great Eight Last-Minute Gift Guide for Foodies

For those that know me well, I can be counted on for last-minute gift ideas. That's because I can be found desperately looking for something that is NOT an obvious last-minute gift (travel mugs, hat & gloves, gift cards, etc.) with all the other procrastinators on Christmas Eve. So I present to you my top last-last-minute gift ideas for the food-obsessed in your life.


credit: 90+ cellars

90+ Cellars Wine Club
90+ Cellars is a limited collection of wine sourced from elite vineyards from all over the world with a history of producing wines with 90-point ratings, gold medals, and best buy awards. A bottle would be a pretty nice gift. A membership to the 90+ Cellars Wine Club is even better. Members receive a box of 6 or 12 different bottles four times a year. Click here to learn more.



BabbaCo Activity Box
Parents all over the world will be asking themselves this holiday break (and every break until the end of time), “what are we going to do with the kids today?” That’s why Jessica Kim created BabbaBox – an activity box for kids 3-7 delivered to your door once a month. It comes will ALL materials, easy-to-follow instructions and a book to go with that month’s theme. My boys were especially enamored with the Kitchen Science box. Check BabbaCo out here.


credit: fast company

Modernist Cuisine App
Most foodies know and bow to the Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet. Dubbed the “cookbook to end all cookbooks,” this 6-volume tome has created a revolution in kitchens all over the world. But for $500 (eek!), most home cooks would be very happy with the more approachable and shorter version – Modernist Cuisine at Home. And now, food geeks are putting down their immersion circulators for the newly released app. Described as your personal sous chef, word is the app is even better than the book. And for $80 on iTunes, it seems like a better deal too. Click here to download a free sample.


Credit: Forbes
Tonx Coffee Subscription
Every coffee connoisseur knows that the secret to really great coffee is in the beans (and the grind too from what I’ve been told). Why not get them a membership to Tonx – a subscription service that delivers fresh, high-quality beans to your door about twice a month. Tonx carefully sources the finest coffees and roasts them hours before shipping to you. Your coffee addicts will thank you. Click here to send a subscription.



ChopChop Subscription
I’m a big fan of magazine subscriptions as holiday gifts. Want to get the kid on your list in the kitchen? Give them a subscription to ChopChop Magazine – the cooking magazine for kids 5-12. Full disclosure, I work for ChopChop. That said, I really believe this magazine is truly special. If you don’t believe me, how about from the folks that know a thing or two about great cooking publications - The James Beard Foundation named ChopChop the Publication of the Year. Boom. Click here to subscribe.


credit: Formaggio Kitchen

Formaggio Kitchen Cheese Share
There are farm shares, meat shares and even seafood shares. How about a cheese share? If your giftee lives in the Boston/Cambridge area and is into cheese (who isn’t really?), sign them up for a cheese share from Formaggio Kitchen. From local producers, each installment of a Local Cheese share will contain four varieties of cheese selected at the height of ripeness and flavor. I love that each cheese comes with information about the artisans and farms that produced it. A three-month share is $99. Click here to learn more.

credit: gear hungry

Mantry
Know someone with a Man-cave who would totally dig artisanal foods such as bison jerky from Montana to BBQ sauce from Alabama? Outfit the cave with some goodies from Mantry – the modern man’s pantry. Each themed box comes with 5-6 curated foods in wooden box handmade in Brooklyn. It doesn’t get more hipster (and admittedly) cooler than this. To order a gift card, click here.


credit: Heifer International
Give Different - Give a Goat
Last but not least, give a gift that really, truly keeps on giving. Help those in need by making a donation to Heifer International and help families become self-reliant. For example, you can purchase a full goat or a share of a goat to provide a family in need with a gift of a goat. A goat can provide milk, cheese and butter for nourishment, boosts income through sales of extra milk and encourages better crop yields through fertilization and clearing of land. Give a life-changing gift this season here.

Warmest holiday wishes from our family to yours!

Disclosure: I was provided samples of 90+ wines and a BabbaBox to try their products. I am an employee of ChopChop magazine. As always, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Put the Giving Back in Thanksgiving

(credit: Greater Boston Food Bank)

Thanksgiving is considered the Super bowl for foodies – they have their game face on as they prepare for the biggest feast of the year. Sadly no one is shouting “I’m going to Disney World” when the day is done.

With all the hoopla around Thanksgiving (and this year is particularly auspicious as Hannukah coincides with Turkey day for the first time in over 100 years), it’s regrettably easy to forgot about those that are less fortunate. This year is particularly difficult for many families with cuts to SNAP and the struggling economy.

I admit I’ve been lost as to finding the best way to teach my kids about charity. How can I teach them about selflessness and empathy and explain devastation, loss or life-threatening illness that is all around us? There are a ton of resources on this subject, including the well-known work of Mister Rogers, which I wrote about here.

I recently came to the realization that children are capable of giving of themselves more than I give them credit for. Take for example my good friend and her 9-year-old son. They’ve been volunteering at the Pine Street Inn, New England’s largest resource for homeless men and women. Her son came up with the idea of a starting a cereal drive for the organization at his school two years ago, and they've been volunteering there every weekend since. Or the simple lesson given to my 5 year-old by his PreK teacher on filling a friend’s (emotional) bucket everyday. Lesson learned? Reinforce charitable values everyday. Make it a family activity. In doing so, you’ll no doubt raise good kids.

With that said, here are some great causes to consider giving time or money to during Thanksgiving and all year:

Here’s to giving everyone much to be thankful for.

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