We all know that we're supposed to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, especially in hot weather. Here are some summery drinks that are keeping us all happy, not over-sugared and appropriate for the under-21 set.Sun teaClick here
for our favorites from last summer. Tazo Passion what is used in the Passion Tea Lemonade. Except the home version costs about 50-cents for a quart. Which, leads toLychee Lemonade Arnold Palmer
Thank you to my dear Big Island-born friend for giving me fresh-frozen lychee juice so I didn't have to buy the ones I was ogling last week. And there is no added sugar because all the sweet comes from the lychee.
And for a no-sugar yet tasty and refreshing alternate, try Summer Water
This is a great thirst quencher on hot days, or after exercise. It takes less 5 minutes of prep. Wash, slice and dump into the water.
Lastly, Pellegrino + a splash of your favorite juice
. Half the sugar content of a full glass of juice plus the fizzy sensation of pop.
These variations on beverages have kept the teenagers away from the heavy drinking of pop and creamy-caffeinated sugar-bombs. So far, so good.Cool Down. Drink Up.
4 pounds of inherited pasta
When we picked up the teenagers from their weekend camping trip, we also inherited about 4 pounds of pasta and lots of red spaghetti sauce. Thank goodness this is not a carb-free household, especially this week.
While we could be easily be vegetarian for week, vegan and carb-free are too austere for us. It would be aloha, as in 'goodbye' and 'I love you' to grilled cheese sandwiches, Spam musubi and breakfast cereal with yogurt.
That doesn't mean we're doomed to bad health. Feeding My Ohana aims for balanced meals and lots of get-out-and-go. With that in mind, here's what's cooking this week.
MondayInherited Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and Vegetables
. Adding 4-5 cloves of garlic, basil, an onion, a tray of mushrooms, 1 1/2 red peppers and three zucchinis to inherited meat sauce to punch up the vegetable count. I'm feeding 5 teenagers so that should put a dent in the pasta count. Did I mention I inherited some kids too?TuesdaySmoked Salmon Pasta
using the inherited spiral pasta, see photo above. By request of one of the teenagers. By this time, I should have only my own two teenagers and half the amount of pasta.WednesdayAdrienne's Soba Salad
. Changing up the pasta to soba, buckwheat Japanese noodles. I haven't made this in quite awhile and it needs a picture.ThursdaySpaghetti Sauce Pizza
with more of the inherited-and-subsequently-doctored-spaghetti sauce, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil.FridayLemony Bacon Farfalle
with the rest of the inherited pasta.
Peach/Blueberry morphs into 'Cots/Blackberry
Extras for Breakfast and Beyond
A variation on Peach Blueberry Cobbler
with fresh peak-season apricots from a friend and fresh blackberries from Safeway. Variations on this cobbler will be made a few times as the stone fruit come in season.Homemade Pork Sausage
. We ate our last frozen patties awhile ago, and the sage plant is full of leaves.
And maybe some Scones
to go with the fresh apricot and pineapple jam
I got from carpool. Hello summer!Eat Well. Be Well.
By request for a few Feeding My Ohana families who are headed to vacation in Vancouver, here are two more places that we enjoyed when we were there. They were also featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
Be 'wiched Cafe--Surrey
While not in VanCity, I adore this place and hope that everyone eats there if they have the chance. Not only is the food is Feeding-My-Ohana-worthy, the two women who run treat you like family, in the best possible way. I even like that it's unpretentiously tucked away in the corner of a generic office complex in the 'burbs. They just know what to do and they do it well.
Visit them. Eat there. You will be glad you did.
The Cubano, both with and without banana peppers, eggplant, and roast turkey sandwiches are fab. Plus the Nanaimo bar, a regional dessert of graham cracker-coconut, custard and chocolate was the last lovely thing we ate from Canada. More importantly, the two women that run the place are the kind of incredibly 'up' positive people that you just want to be around.
They know their customers by first name, sandwich and usually coffee preference. And anyone they don't know is "Handsome" or "Beautiful" I would almost pay money for the validation and genuine human kindness.
The whole experience sustained us on an exasperating 2.5+ hour ordeal to cross the border. Please note that you should NOT take oranges from Canada across the border into the US. While it is not an explosive, it is still most definitely banned.
Meat and Bread--Gastown
This is a bustling downtown sandwich store. Food is simple and simply good. There are daily sandwich options. One is always their signature porchetta sandwich. Get that. The second is a meat-variation. Get that too. The day we visited is was lamb shoulder with shaved fennel and artichoke hummus. The third is a grilled cheese variation.There is also one salad and one soup variation daily. My daughter will vouch for the ratatouille soup that she had that day.
Porchetta. The bits of crispy are ONO.
Save room for the Bacon Maple Ice Cream Sandwich. I am not a big fan of the current bacon-in-everything-is-better movement, and especially not in ice cream or dessert. But this one won me over. The bacon stays crunchy but isn't so salty as to fight with the vanilla ice cream and waffle cone. It sounds weird, but it is delicious.
Sandwiches are served on little cutting boards with a dollop of mustard, and you eat on long picnic-style tables, rubbing elbows with your new friends. It is a full meal for a teenager or grown man.
The line runs out the door consistently but moves very quickly so don't despair.
Safe travels to all. Eat Well. Be Well.
Kim chee Spam musubi
Last week was one of those "Times of Your Life" days--full of middle school, high school and even a college graduation. With all those "Collect the dreams you dream today..." moments, the weekly rotation got taken out, literally.
It was also an odd week where the kids were eating with friends a lot, either here with takeout to feed an army or out getting fed by someone else's parents (Thank you!). So what's cooking this week is a mish-mash of last-week's intentions and lazy summer dinners.Monday
Homemade Kim Chee Spam Musubi
with L&L plate lunches. I draw the line at paying $3-$5 for a Spam musubi, but every now and then, we need a decent plate lunch. We had mixed plate
, chicken katsu
, seafood mixed plate
and loco moco
, but with chicken katsu instead of the hamburger.Kim chee Spam musubi
is an excellent modification that is best eaten fresh. Like most rice dishes, it get's hard and not-so-sticky-and-just-plain-icky in the fridge.
Evolved. The problem the first time was that the pistachio crumbs don't stick very well to tofu. This time, we grilled and added some home-grown cucumber and fresh tomatoes for a kind of stacked salad. This is much improved in prep time and visually. Click here
for the update, soon to be a Greenhouse graduate.
Pistachi-zu Tofu, Before
Pistachi-zu Tofu, Reconstructed
From-scratch Pork Loin #1,
salad and toasted bread. An easy sandwich for dinner. We again made two pork loins so that my children and their assorted friends will have something to eat during the day.Thursday
Mauna Lani Leftover Chicken Pasta Salad.
Because I have two more cucumbers that should be ripe by Thursday. Will likely make a lot of this because it keeps well and it popular with the teenagers.Friday
BLT sandwiches with Fluffy White Bread.
Summer tomatoes are finally coming in, and my husband is craving bacon.
Passion Lychee Arnold Palmer
Extras--measurements posting this week.
Passion Lychee Arnold Palmer
A friend of mine gave me fresh lychee as well as frozen lychee juice. and another friend gave me a bunch of lemons. All I had to do was make sun tea, add water and mix. Life is good!
Lychee Whipped Cream
Another variation on whipped cream. Just add lychee juice and let the mixer do its thing.
The common theme through all the graduations and requisite graduation speeches was this: it's important to live your life and not just get through it. What a perfect thought to begin the summer.
Eat Well. Be Well.
Avocado poke stacks are wondrous combination of flavors and textures. I first had these from Alan Wong at a Taste of Hawaii
. It is a piece of ahi heaven.
Poke, avocado and wonton crispies sound so simple in concept. So I set out to make a home version, using the construction guidance from Alan Wong.
Source: Chef's Table, ABC News
Avocado poke stacks--Home Version
The original Alan Wong's recipe is in The Blue Tomato Cookbook.
In the interest of full disclosure, I bought the book with my own hard-earned cash, and do not receive any compensation for mentioning it here. Generally, Alan Wong recipes can be hard to do family-style because they tend toward individual portion dishes that require fine construction and finish work. This one is unusually simple but know that it does use a raw egg.
I attempted a home version to use up leftover guacamole
. Instead of a circular mold, I used my trusty Spam musubi frame.
I started with my own poke
recipe, but cut down the shoyu. I did switch to the sambal oelek, as per the Alan Wong's recipe instead of pepper flakes. This is a good switch and I've edited the poke
I also used Hawaii Candy brand pepper flavored wuntun strips
instead of making them from raw squares of wonton wrappers.
Mayo, mustard, sambal and lemon juice
The biggest change was in the aioli that drizzles on top of the dish. I substituted mayonnaise both canola oil and the raw egg because using raw eggs just freaks me out. I also left out garlic because I like the brighter flavor of lemon and shiso leaves. As well, the guacamole had a hefty dash of garlic in it already.
I definitely recommend the Haute version at least once, especially if you can go to the restaurant. The portion size is just right, and it really is quite beautiful. And I'll take it on faith that the chefs know how to handle raw eggs properly.
Home version tasted great, but doesn't come close to the plating perfection from the professionals. The Spam musubi mold works as a construction device. However, the stacks are pretty substantial for an appetizer, but not big enough for an entree. And it's hard to grab and go or share.
For round 3 of the Home version
, I'm thinking it might be better to crisp up full wonton sheets to make single-serving versions. The serving size will be more appropriate, construction will be a lot faster, and people can just pick 'em up and eat 'em. Time to have a potluck to try this out. Click here
for the work-in-progress recipe. The flavor is all there, but the construction needs refining.Eat Well. Be Well.
Teenagers are in the pool, school will be out this week, and we've started to eat outside. It will be an unusually full week of cooking with graduation, Father's Day and various teenagers converging on the house. Here's what cooking this week.SundayYakisoba.
This is one of my son's favorite meals and a long-overdue addition. The 'original' flavor is our favorite, and we add lots of carrots, green beans and pickled red ginger. Kamaboko is also a good optional mix-in, but not this week.
on the fly version. 90 degrees and barely any cooking required. Plus fruit salad. Eaten outside.TuesdaySloppy Joes
and perhaps sweet potato fries.
Plus a lunchtime pizza, watermelon and cake shindig for the second set of teenagers.WednesdayTuna Melts
. I found a good recipe from Gina's Skinny Recipes
via Pinterest that sounds very promising.
. Another item that has been languishing in the Greenhouse. The flavors are all there, but I think the construction might be the thing to get this graduated.FridaySalmon and Grape Sauce
. This did not get made last week, so I've tagged it once again.
| || |ExtrasPassion Sun Tea
, which is brewing right now. If all goes well, it will make a tropical Arnold Palmer, playing well with...Lychee Lemonade Slush.
I received frozen lychee from a friend of mine, whose parents have a lychee farm on the Big Island.Furikake Chex Mix
. Teenagers staying at home at a lot. Teenager and husband are making a batch with Honeycombs, Crispix and pretzels.
This is not a food-related post. But since graduation, aka lei season, is in full swing, it may come in handy.
I made 5 leis over the weekend for various graduations. With three simple materials, you can make a beautiful, forever-lasting lei while watching an episode of "The Big Bang Theory."
What You NeedPlastic straws from McDonald's.
And yes, McDonald's specifically. These straws are wide enough for the ribbon to thread through, sturdier than other straws and free. Be advised that the eyeball/pearl tea straws are too wide.Skeins of fun fur
Available at craft stores like JoAnn Fabric or Michael's. I used a variegated fun fur to make the blue lei above. Red and orange will mimic ilima
or ohai alii
. If you are in Hawaii, it is well-worth the trip to Ben Franklin
for their huge selection of fun fur and other yarn that can be used to make flowers.3/8 inch grosgrain ribbon
Any color is fine because it won't show. Grosgrain is important because the ridges help the lei stick together.Making a Simple 1-Straw Lei
Thank you to Acornbud's Yarns
, which has the clearest directions that I've found. Here's a quick summary.
1) Measure the grosgrain ribbon to the length of lei you want and then add 8-10 inches to that.
2) Cut a small (1/2") slit on one side of the straw. This is to anchor the ribbon
3) Thread the ribbon through the straw and run it through the slit. Tape it down to secure it.
4)Tie the fun fur around the straw.
5) Start winding the yarn around the straw. Just make sure that it's not too tight and fairly consistently spaced. But these leis are very forgiving.
6) When you are done with the whole skein, tie the end in a knot. Know the grosgrain ribbon to keep the length of lei you want.
7) Tie the lei together and use the extra grosgrain ribbon to make a bow, or trim it off.
NOTE: If you do this while watching TV, it's best not to watch anything too exciting. Stanley Cup and NBA playoff games are not conducive to good lei-making. Stick to sitcoms, Glee, Law and Order, Golf Channel or baseball.
Detail: 3-straw with central band
3-Straw Variations--Fancying It Up
I did two slightly more complex versions using three straws. These Ben Franklin videos are great step-by-step instructions.3-Straw Lei with inner band3-Straw Lei with central band
Because I couldn't find similar 'flower' yarn, I used 3 skeins of fun fur. There are a lot more ways to customize these versions, particularly if you have access to more flower-like yarn.
If you can braid, you can make these lei. The 3-straws are simply variations on twisting around the straws. See school-color versions below.
3-straw, central band
3-straw, inner band
The Real Deal
If you have about 3 hours to make a lei, a fresh haku headband is a fabulous gift, especially for a female graduate.
Interestingly enough, it still involves twisting to create a lei. Buy flowers in bunches--alstromeria and baby roses work well as 'main flowers' baby's breath and assorted greenery work to fill everything in. Use the fern as the backbone and then simply wind the raffia to secure flowers and wind around the fern stems. For haku, it's important to wrap tightly.
Congratulations all graduates!
Haku headband--fresh flowers
After a week of sightseeing in Vancouver, we stopped at a Safeway on our way back to the US border. Bilingual is a given in Canada. I wish I could speak another language. We Yanks are not very bilingually inclined. What is cool about bilingual Canada? All their food labels are in both French and English.
These are Mr. Christie's Maple Leaf Cookies
. They are maple creme-filled taffy cookies. If pancakes and maple syrup were a cookie, this would be it.
The minute you open the package, you take in a warm, almost caramel-like maple scent you can almost taste. They are awesome. They were on sale.
Because we had just picked them up at an ordinary Canadian Safeway, we thought we would be able to waltz into any US grocery store and get as many more packages as we want in this global community.
Looks promising, but...
TJ's, upper left << Mr. Christie's, lower right
Trader Joe's had a promising version They even looked like Mr. Christie's version, at least on the completely-in-English box and the TJ's version was even a little bigger. Could we enjoy Canadian maple goodness stateside?
TJ's, top; Mr. Christie, bottom
Au contraire mon frere.
As you can see, the white Trader Joe's maple filling looks, well, a little vanilla. It even smells like 'generic sweet.' In contrast, Mr. Chrisitie's filling is like maple syrup, a golden amber color, and also a little creamier.
That is exactly how differently they taste. The family did a side-by-side comparison and Mr. Christie was the clear and unanimous winner. It was both less sweet and more maple-y.
Even something as simple as grocery store cookies have regional specialities that just need to be savored when you are there. And they make the perfect miyage (travel gifts) for your friends back home.
Better yet, when your Canadian friends go home, beg them to bring these back for you. Or go to Safeway in Vancouver.
Eat Well. Be Well.
Rainboots in June. SJ Sharks color of course!
It didn't just drizzle today. It poured. For the Bay Area in June, this is just plain weird. This is fitting, considering Monday's meal.
Leftover Group Project Dinner. 3 large pizzas, half a watermelon, a bag of chips, 2 dozen cookies, a gallon of juice and 7 teenagers came over for lunch and a group project.
1 entire pizza was left. How is this even possible? 6 of them were girls, and the boy left early. They are coming back tomorrow, so I'll need to stock up again.
Perfect purple rice
TuesdayKorean Chicken Soup
, kim chee and purple rice. Perfect for a soggy post-rainy day in June. We'll see how the group project kids feel about this meal! Plan B for the teenagers is a full loaf of bread, roasted turkey and Havarti cheese.Wednesday
Even when I go out to dinner, I still like to make sure the teenagers and the husband don't starve. So Grandma Nancy's Braised Beef
is perfect because they can manage the final 15 minutes in the oven. Even better, a Facebook-Feeding-My-Ohana pal does this in a crock pot. And she will send me her cooking instructions for this method soon. Hint, hint.ThursdaySalmon and Grape Sauce
. This has been lounging in the Greenhouse for far too long. Salmon and grapes are in season. I also have a kale salad recipe that sounds too good not to try. It's kale, walnuts, cranberries and feta cheese.FridayChicken Adobo
, salad and rice. Just something simple to finish out a weird week.
I've gotten new recipes from my clients today, so we'll have to queue those up this week sometime too.Eat Well. Be Well.