Monday, October 27, 2008

Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat


This is a wonderful book/cookbook. I have this book and it totally makes sense. See, my mother is Japanese and she has aged beautifully and of course, she can eat whatever she wants and will not gain any weight. Why, then, was I not blessed with these wonderful genes? Because, according to the book, it isn't about having fantastic genes or amazing metabolisms. . . it is all about WHAT you eat and HOW you eat it. Naomi Moriyama, the author, says that when she came to the states as an exchange student during her high school years, she gained a lot of weight. This was because of the American diet, full of fat and much bigger portions than in Japan. When she returned to Japan and went back to eating the Japanese way, the pounds immediately started to melt away.

The book suggests having many small dishes on the table to choose from and having more vegetables than anything else. I remember back to my time living in Japan and this is so true -- Japanese tables are filled with many small dishes and there is always a bowl of rice served as well as a bowl of miso soup. Instead of the American sized dinner plate, the Japanese eat off of a smaller plate, much like our salad plate. And one more thing: they use chopsticks. Try this sometime. You will be amazed at how much less food you eat and still feel satisfied.

My husband and I did this the other night. I made a smaller amount of the main protein dish. In addition, I made miso soup; rice; sauteed zucchini, carrots and shallots; and we had sashimi salmon. We ate on salad plates and just took little bits of each dish onto our plates and got more as we wanted. We had a big bowl of miso soup with tofu bits and a small bowl of rice. We also ate with chopsticks. I was amazed that we didn't even finish the protein dish (Bulgogi -- Korean 'barbecued' beef -- I will post the recipe for the marinade below), which if I would've dished it onto a normal sized dinner plate, we would have finished it all. I'm sure if we ate like this every day for a while, we would get used to it and eat less and perhaps lose some weight!


Bulgogi
4 servings

1 pound beef (we used rib-eye that was very thinly sliced)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or less if you don't want it spicy)
3 green onions, sliced thinly (including whites)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp canola oil
Mix all ingredients except beef and canola oil. Put into ziplog bag and add beef. Make sure all beef is coated well. Refrigerate for 30+ minutes. Heat canola oil in frypan or wok over medium high heat. Add beef and cook until browned. Serve with rice.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Naunie's Rolls



I got the recipe for these fabulous yeast rolls off of my very dear friend's mom's blog. Check out her website -- she has lots going on. They were so quick and easy and the smell of the yeast baking permeated the entire house. I hope she doesn't mind that I put a link to her blog on my here?? They were just so luscious that I wanted to share!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

PUNKINS!!!




Woohooooo!! Punkins! Punkins! More Punkins!!! Max was so excited he could hardly control himself. Yesterday we drove waaaaay out into the country to a big pumpkin patch to pick out some pumpkins. When we got out of the truck and started walking up to the patch, we ran into a lady carrying three pumpkins in her arms. Max ran straight up to her and screamed, "PUNKINS!" He tried to take one from her, but we assured him that there would be more for him where we were going. The closer we got to the festivities, the stronger the smell of pumpkin something baking. mmmmmm. We could not have asked for a more perfect day and setting -- cool, crisp, sunny fall day with the leaves just starting to turn; pumpkins everywhere; the smell of pumpkin pie (or pumpkin bread?) baking somewhere nearby; and lots and lots of kids running around picking out the perfect pumpkins for their homes.

The smell of the pumpkin spices baking motivated me to once again get my mini pumpkin loaves baking, so as I type this, I am waiting for another batch to finish in the oven. Rod was so sad because he was out of town the last time I baked them and he didn't get any. . . I had ended up giving away three of the four loaves and Max and I inhaled the one that was left before Rod came home. Lucky for him, he is home this time around! And I just thought of another thing I should make for this pumpkin bread -- a yummy spiced cream cheese spread! ooh. Doesn't that sound delicious?

Happy Fall y'all.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Super Yummy Hummus



Dear Megan,

Hey! Have you tried this hummus? Sabra?
It's super yummy -- even my 2 year old loves it. I know you asked for recipes, but I don't think I have any recipes with hummus; or any that I can whip out at the moment. All I know is that this is the best hummus I have ever had; we buy it in bulk at my house. If you haven't already, you must try it. And I'll keep my eyes open for a kick-a hummus recipe for you.

Bye for now,

A

Panang Chicken Curry











So Thai food has to be one of my all time favorite things to cook. I love all the ingredients involved in Thai cooking. . . coconut milk, lemongrass, cilantro, thai basil, garlic, chili paste, fish sauce, etc, etc. Such yummy stuff!


Rod has been out of town but came home last night and so I decided to whip together his favorite -- some Panang Chicken Curry. We usually make this with duck thighs, but we can't really find that up here in here in Cumming, far away from our favorite farmer's market in Decatur.


I'll try to remember what I threw together for this last night:

4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces (or breasts if you prefer)
3 cloves garlic, minced (we LOVE garlic!)
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 can of panang curry paste (can pictured above)
1 can coconut milk
3 tbsp brown sugar (or more or less depending on how sweet you want it)
1 tsp fish sauce (or less or none at all, if you don't like the taste of this)
juice of 1/2 lime
big bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tsp canola oil


Heat oil in medium-sized pan on medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger and chicken and cook until chicken is browned. Add curry paste, coconut milk, brown sugar and fish sauce. Stir until paste is mixed through. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Turn heat off. Squeeze lime juice in. Serve with rice. (We like Japanese sticky rice cooked in the rice cooker.) Sprinkle cilantro on top. We usually serve this with a big bag of baby spinach sauteed in olive oil with minced fresh garlic. Beware if you don't like spicy -- this has quite the kick to it. If you want to tone it done, try using less curry paste.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

'Ghetti & Meatballs










Last night it was just Max and I again for dinner, since Rod is still out of town. After Fin goes down for the night (which is very very early), I usually get our dinner together. We had Pasta with Marinara Sauce and Meatballs. The pasta noodles I used were the Gemelli noodles, which are now one of my favorites because of their texture -- I like a bite to my pasta. Max calls all pasta, "'Ghetti!"


The other day I tried to bribe Max to eat his dinner with cookies. Not even a nibble, therefore, there were no cookies. He did not like that idea and kept insisting on cookies, but I stayed strong. Last night was a different story. . . he ate his entire bowl of pasta! So, we baked chocolate chip cookies together. I just so happened to have dough already made in the fridge. I love this because you can just bake as many as you want (and don't eat the entire batch) and put the rest back in the fridge. That way, you always have HOT cookies from the oven! One of Max's favorite things to do is watch things cook in the oven. So he says, "I see it." This means, "Mom, turn the light on NOW!"

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mini Pumpkin Loaves with Spiced Glaze



It has been a while since I have baked, and with autumn in the air, I'd thought these pumpkin loaves were most appropriate. They are so easy, so as soon as I put Fin down for his morning nap, I went to work. I love using these aluminum mini loaf tins with lids (which can be found in any supermarket) because they package up so cute for a great gift idea. In fact, I am making a trip into the city tomorrow to see my good friend who just had a baby; she loves all things pumpkin, so she will be getting one of these treats!

Here is the super easy recipe. Let me know how you like it!


For Pumpkin Loaves:

2 cups sugar
1 (16 oz) can pumpkin
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp allspice
½ tsp salt

Combine sugar, pumpkin and eggs until blended. Add oil and beat. Blend in flour, soda, and spices. Pour into 4 greased mini loaf pans. Fill pans ¾ full. Bake in pre-heated 350°F oven for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted at center of loaf comes out clean. Cool completely before glazing.

For Spiced Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar (plus or minus a few tablespoons)
2 tbsp whole milk
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

Combine ingredients -- it should be a thicker paste -- and drizzle over cooled loaves. A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can simple use a spoon. If you have some left over, keep it in an air tight container in the fridge and use for your next batch of pumpkin loaves!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Welcome to my BLOG!

Hi y'all! I hope you enjoy my blog about cooking and my life. Please come back often and try out my recipes and let me know what you think. Also, please share with me your favorites. Cooking is my passion and has been for as long as I can remember. Food brings people together. Good food makes everyone happy. What's a better way to spend time than cooking a meal together and sitting down with your family and/or friends and sharing it along with some good wine and good conversation? Bon app├ętit!