Mixed Berry Smoothie


Most mornings I can’t stomach breakfast. I tend to be drawn to sugar for that first meal. I’m guessing my sleepy tummy prefers something easy to digest. Unfortunately, I’m also overweight and often trying to avoid processed sugar. A while back I discovered a recipe for a homemade smoothie. I modified it according to my tastes and nutritional preferences and for months had it for breakfast every day. Continue reading


How to Make Tasty Bacteria That Grows in a Cooler


I’ve been having a smoothie for breakfast almost every morning for the past few months. It gives me that sugary kick start I need in the morning, I crave sugar less (ok, just slightly less) during the day because I know I get to have a sweet snack in the morning, it’s easy to eat when my stomach is not quite ready for solid food and I look forward to the morning because I get to have something super yummy.

The problem with having a smoothie for breakfast every morning is that I go through the ingredients rather quickly. It’s not much of a problem since Costco has huge bags of frozen berries and mega jugs of juice, but I do wish their gynormous container of yogurt came in a non-fat variety. I had been switching between their large cheaper fatty version and Trader Joe’s smaller pricier non-fat plain yogurt, but it gets expensive and it’s a pain to go to the store regularly for yogurt or stock the fridge. Plus, what does one do with all those re-useable plastic containers?

I’ll tell you what one does, one makes their own yogurt at home and fills all those spare plastic containers right back up! As always, I followed the advice of a couple different recipes and incorporated the parts I preferred to create my own way of incubating bacteria. Here’s what I did: Continue reading

Hot Cocoa


I, like many people, love a tasty rich cup of hot cocoa on a cool winter’s day. Although, it doesn’t get nearly as cold here as it did in MN, it’s still a nice pick-me-up in the middle of the full month of chilly rain. Well, and we also don’t turn on the heat in the winter here since hardy Minnesotans would never admit to using heat in California when the high rarely drops below 50 (at least in the sunny South Bay).

I used to use crappy packaged hot chocolate that contained trans fats and ingredients I couldn’t pronounce, but then one day I stumbled upon a recipe on the box of unsweetened cocoa I use for baking. I modified it a bit and it has since been the best hot chocolate that I’ve had the pleasure of consuming.
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Chicken Pad Thai


Our favorite Thai restaurant in the area so far is Krung Thai and although my favorite dishes are the special noodles of the house and pad see ew, I noticed that they had their recipe for pad thai up on their site so I decided to take a stab at it.

I changed it quite a bit based on my preferences and what I had access to, but overall it’s still pad thai and still quite delicious. I did overcook the noodles the first time because I just wasn’t vigilant enough and had forgotten how easy it is to overcook rice noodles, or any noodles for that matter. Next time I think it will turn out better if I go through the steps quicker instead of letting it cook so much in between (I have a tendency to run into the other room to check the recipe on my computer in between steps) and I plan to add some spicy hotness with crushed red peppers or powdered cayenne. You can find the original recipe on the Krung Thai site. Here is my modified version:

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Garlic Mashed Potatoes


I’ve gotten close to perfecting my garlic mashed potato recipe. It occurred to me the other day that when I simply add minced garlic the flavor tends to come in short bursts. Instead, this time I incorporated the butter, cream, and garlic before mixing them into the potatoes. I’ve followed a few recipes recently that called for steeping things in warm cream to bring out the flavor so I thought, “why not do that with garlic?”. Here’s what I did:
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Murghi Korma (Chicken in Saffron-Almond Sauce)


At our wedding almost two years ago I was overjoyed to have Raghavan Iyer in charge of the dinner for our reception. I still hear from friends about how much they loved the food in the buffet so I was excited, when going through my recipes, to find instructions for each of the dishes we had at the tasting with Raghavan.

So far I’ve only made one of these dishes, but it was one of my favorites. It was surprisingly easy and turned out well both times I’ve made it. I accidentally bought sliced almonds instead of blanched almond slivers, but it turned out great nevertheless. The following recipe is from Raghavan’s book The Turmeric Trail: Continue reading

Warming up to Trader Joe’s

The first couple times I went to Trader Joe’s I really didn’t get what all the fuss was about. I found it crowded, difficult to find things, and didn’t really see much I wanted that I couldn’t get somewhere else, in some cases for the same price or cheaper.

Sarah pointed out that it’s a good place if you’re looking for something very particular that is hard to find elsewhere. Also, that those particular items, which would normally be terribly expensive because they are hard to find, are actually reasonably priced. This coupled with the glowing recommendation from Chef Nanci Wokas who presented the cooking class I took Monday night (and who also apparently drove her RV to NOLA to cook for people after Katrina) convinced me to give it another shot.
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