Tag Archives: cooking

How Do I Step Up Dinner?

One of my favorite things to eat for dinner is cereal.  A nice bowl of one of my hippy dippy cereals (currently I am loving Barbara’s Puffins) makes me happy.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy going out to eat but when I’m home, I’m happy with cereal.

But now we have a kid.  And Jeremy has visions of all of us eating dinner together as a family (because he grew up doing this whereas I did not so it seems strange to me).  Since AM is impressionable, it seems that now is the opportunity to instill good habits and routines.

I’ve read a few things on the web about parents trying their darndest to not become their kids’ personal chef.  They try to enforce the “everyone is eating the same meal” thing.  And I realized we totally don’t do this.

So now is the time to step up our dinner game.  Currently, I feed AM dinner right when we get home (because she starts FLIPPING OUT for some food as soon as we walk in the door).  Her dinner is usually pasta (with tofu and cheese).  I try to vary this but have only had success giving her the sweet potato/cannelini bean burgers.  She seems to hate every other dinner option I’ve tried.

I don’t want to become her “personal chef” and I’d like to give her more variety.  But this means that I should probably start eating a more substantial dinner.

So is this the norm?  Do most people cook dinner on most nights and eat together (as a couple or family)?  This seems so foreign to me.  My family only ate together on occasions (like holidays).  Otherwise, I’d usually eat something that my mom prepared for me while she watched me eat (she usually grazed all day on Korean food so she never really ate dinner).  Sometimes my dad ate with me.

The idea of cooking dinner nearly every night sounds exhausting!  How do you do this?  How do you make this work and not end up with a boat load of leftovers OR without spending a ton of money on food?  We already spend an obscene amount of money at the grocery store.

HELP ME!  I won’t be turning to Pinterest for this because I know I’ll just get lost in the world of recipes and then feel so overwhelmed and then so poor after I purchase everything to make these amazing meals.

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Pinteractive: Baked Avocado Fries

I was eager to try this recipe when I saw it on Pinterest the other week.

I love avocados.  I love fries.  This seemed like a great idea!

This didn’t call for a ton of ingredients (another selling point for this recipe):

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And now here is where things went downhill.  I guess I didn’t compute that I’d be breading slices of avocado (something that isn’t very solid).

My very messy station:
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Can you see the buildup on my fingertips?  Panko flakes really stick to egg.
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The recipe directed you to place the slices on a cooling rack that had been sprayed with cooking spray.  I skipped this step because this was already way messier than I anticipated and I didn’t want to dirty up more space.  These went straight onto the pan.
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And here they are fresh out of the oven (I didn’t bother to style the fries so that they looked amazingly delicious):
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The verdict?  Meh.  I really liked the crunchy texture but wasn’t blown away by the taste.  Jeremy didn’t like it at all.  He said he didn’t like the combination of egg with avocado.

I have 3 more avocados right now (I’m glad I didn’t make fries out of all of the avocados!) so I’m trying to think up what I could do with them.

Nannersp

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Cooking Up a Storm

I refuse to call the crazy snow storm in Baltimore “snowmageddon” or “snowpocalypse”.  Why?  I’m a party pooper.

So – being stuck in the house has forced me to cook more than usual.  Lately – I’ve relegated cooking to Sundays only but being trapped in my house has forced my hand to be a little more creative.

Lucky for us – we had a surprisingly amount of good things in our house.

First up, Chickpea Blondies.  I was surprised that we had all of the ingredients but I’m happy that we did.  I don’t remember where I originally saw the link to this recipe, but here is the recipe.

Ingredients

I was excited that I finally got to use my 6-cup food processor.  It has been in the box for almost a year.  We have a mini food processor that has been sufficient but for this recipe, I needed something bigger.

I was also excited to use this little guy:
Great Kitchen Gadget

It is a Pampered Chef measuring cup thingamabob.  I was sold on it because it was great for peanut butter.  I bought it almost a year ago and never used it!  Apparently this snow storm has gotten me to use some of my impulse purchases.

Now I guess I should use that stupid cookie press I got from Crate & Barrel…

Finished product:
Chickpea Blondies

They were surprisingly good.  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about chickpeas as a dessert-type treat.  The peanut butter and fruit spread are what made this delightful.

I also found out that we had a lot of soups in the house.  I busted out the organic red pepper & tomato soup (sorry – no picture).  We didn’t have any bread and I really really wanted some tortilla chips so I made my own chips.

I cut, coated in olive oil and baked some whole wheat tortilla wraps (at 400 degrees for about 10 min):
Homemade Tortilla Chips

These were really good.  They weren’t exactly like chips but they had a nice crisp crunch and were obviously much healthier.  I’ll probably opt to do this more often. 

I was also able to finish off the homemade hummus I made last week (sorry – no picture).

Lastly, I’ve been catching up on reading magazines.  This Bean & Vegetable recipe caught my eye in Runner’s World and so we made that last night with a few tweaks:
Bean and Vegetable Chili

I didn’t take pictures during the prep work and forgot about it until this morning (hence it in a tupperware bowl instead of a pretty bowl).

We nixed the meat, added more carrots, substituted the eggplants with yellow squash (because the grocery store didn’t have any eggplants) and added wine to the sauce.  It was amazing.

And since we had to walk to the grocery store yesterday for “essentials”, we also picked up these:
Survival Essentials

According to my husband, Berger cookies were essential to winter storm survival. 

Sadly – these are almost all gone.  In one day.  Yowza!

Because Baltimore is predicted to get even more snow – we’re making another trip to the grocery store for actual essentials.  Fun fun!

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Vegan Casserole

I haven’t stopped cooking… I just stopped taking pictures.  Anywho – here’s a shot of the dinner I made on Sunday:

Quinoa Chickpea Confetti Casserole from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton.

This is SUPER easy to make.  The main components of the casserole are: quinoa, chickpeas, red bell pepper and zucchini.  The spices include: rosemary, basil and thyme.  YUM!

I’d post the recipe but it seems that nobody posts recipes from cookbooks.  Maybe it is not appropriate since the authors need to make a living? **Due to the large number of people asking me for the recipe – I’m no longer comfortable e-mailing it out. If you really want to try it – I highly recommend purchasing Dreena’s cookbook. There are a ton of fantastic recipes in there!

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Getting in Touch with my Roots

One of my 101 items was to make a Korean dish.  I completely forgot about this item until Jeremy pointed out that I could cross a few things off.

I didn’t really plan this week’s meals very well since none of my CSA items matched up with what I was going to make.  So now I have a lot of random vegetables in my fridge.  And I’m going to Chicago.  And I know Jeremy won’t eat anything but pizza and chips while I’m away.  Would it be weird to pack them all as snacks for my plane ride?

Anywho – for those of you familiar with korean dishes, I made the oh so popular yachae mandoo (vegetarian dumplings).  I remembered helping my mom and aunt make these when I was a kid so I figured it wouldn’t be difficult.

Yeah, about that?

It’s not difficult per se, but it’s kind of labor intensive… and messy.  And when you’re trying to make other things to go along with said dumplings, it can lead to a mini emotional breakdown.  Just saying.


I hate using my bare hands to mix squishy things.  The mixture in yachae mandoo consists of tofu, onions, napa cabbage, bean sprouts, sweet potato noodles garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and love.

Let me take a quick step back and chat about the trip to the asian market… the first trip I’ve ever taken sans mom so it was tough.  I think I looped the store 10 times to locate everything.  The good thing is that items such as napa cabbage (seriously – what the f?), bean sprouts and sweet potato noodles are all readily available at an asian grocery store.

So – mixing everything together was a snap.  Assembling it in the delicate mandoo wrappers was a pain in my ass.  The noodles were not chopped very well so they were to contain.  I was starving.  My hands were messy and the mixture was too watery since I didn’t drain anything before putting it together.

But the end result?  Delicious.

I also made some sauteed veggies with sesame oil and white rice (and by “I made” I really mean, “Jeremy made” because I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown).

Now I just need to expand my korean vocabulary beyond these words:
Hello
I Love You
Mom
Dad
Aunt
uncle
Grandmother
Thank You
Fat
Stupid
Son of a bitch
Let’s get out of here

While I think most of them are useful… it would probably make my mom really happy if I could actually string together a nice sentence or two.

**Update** As I was driving, I realized that there were a few more words that I know and I couldn’t rest without posting them.

Fart
Shit
Vagina

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