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Sundae in the Park

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Everything posted by Sundae in the Park

  1. It has taken my Big exactly 5 days of preschool to come to the same conclusion. His school includes hot lunch, so he is seeing and (sometimes) trying new/differently prepared things - yay! However, yesterday's lunch had green beans, which he found acceptable for the first time. I offered to make them at home and, "no thanks, the green beans at school are better than yours." (And yes, I can see how probably canned green beans are more palatable to a small person than the sauteed or stir-fried versions we have at home, but, conceptually? I just die a little. Also, I can pretty much guarantee that canned vegetables I open at home would be refused, but I am willing to test this.)
  2. I found Vox's recent treatise on the importance of various dietary fibers to be interesting and informative, particularly in light of certain approaches to low-carb diets, which they reference but mostly refrain from bashing generally. The newer (less woo-woo) research on gut health has been eye-opening and seems to be leading us back to a more old-fashioned, common sense approach to nutrition, where moderation and lots of whole foods, with emphasis on fiber-filled plant foods, promote overall health and wellness. It's really tempting and easy (and often very tasty) to concentrate on meats and fats to maintain blood sugar control, but alas, we are not simply blood-sugar machines. So this article was a great reminder that avocados, beans, nuts, seeds, yogurt, pickles, BROWN rice, mushrooms, and All of the Cruciferous and Leafy Veg, not just eggs, cheese, and bacon (duh but 😂) need to be the building blocks of my (YMMV!!!) healthier, lower-carb diet. One spot of good news on the fiber front - dark chocolate has some. Yay!
  3. Over the weekend, we made gochujang rice cakes with kale and ground turkey and "paratha burritos," which are curried ground beef, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, and garlic yogurt sauce wrapped in parathas (bought frozen from Ranch 99). We'll probably make the paratha burritos again later this week since we still have all the ingredients. We also roasted up a tri-tip and a bunch of zucchinis and made a loaf of soda bread. Monday night I stir-fried some peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms with fajita-ish spices, made a pot of rice, and a big bowl of guacamole. Together with the leftover tri-tip and chopped tomatoes we've been having some rather excellent Mexican-style bowls for dinner/lunch. Yesterday we made a batch of cheesy tuna mac, roasted up a couple pans of asparagus, made a meaty tomato sauce to eat with spaghetti, and prepped a fruit salad of cantaloupe, honey mango, and blackberries.
  4. Thanks guys! Hopefully things will only get better now that we have a diagnosis and some help. I was genuinely and somewhat pleasantly surprised that he qualified for feeding OT since I'd convinced myself that we were dealing with a normal picky kid. Actually, ktmoomau, green sauce tastes pretty decent (ooooh, and it's best when you have bacon fat to add in, yum) and I eat it sometimes as well (and not just when I'm finishing up my kids' trashed leftovers). I started making baby food for my 1st because commercial baby food generally tastes bland/awful (and then the joke was on me when my 2nd refused to eat any mushy food). I didn't add much or any salt at first but I didn't see why the kids couldn't have otherwise flavorful foods, so I mostly cooked low-sodium versions of the foods we were eating or wouldn't mind eating. Now, despite their other forms of pickiness, spiciness and strong flavors are not usually the problem - they both LOVE gochujang-flavored everything and pretty much all curries. This is our fundamental Costco dilemma so I hear / tear out my hair with you...
  5. Hahahaha well I'm just glad y'all are enjoying the pics I posted for y'all. And I do think y'all should go and see/feel it all for yourselves if y'all can 😋
  6. I couldn't agree more and would have visited already if it weren't for my two car-averse kids who would lose their ever-loving minds if I made them sit in a car for 9 hours (best case scenario) over the weekend. So until they are more car-amenable (i.e., when they have the attention span to watch movies while we drive), road tripping is out for us and I'll have to "smell the wildflowers" via video.
  7. Oooooh, good reminder (and pic!), as we love Singapore noodles and have often thought we could try it at home. Not much cooking yesterday, as we went out to celebrate a birthday, but I did put up a few pans of roasted vegetables (zucchini and asparagus), made a skillet of sauteed zucchini with the extras that didn't fit on the sheet pans, and cut up carrot sticks and cantaloupe to have healthy stuff readily available in the fridge. Over the weekend we made a bazillion meatballs in sauce to eat with spaghetti, and have subsequently been eating meatball subs on bakery bread with gusto and glee. I also made what is probably the last batch of chicken/corn/egg soup for the season, as it is finally looking like the sun is here to stay. I've been eating down the kalua pork we've had for too long in the freezer for lunches, microwaved over rice, mashed with a hard-boiled egg, with some of my zucchini. It's actually a pretty good combination.
  8. If you can't get there, you can still enjoy the PRETTY!!! Current Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers Update Superbloom pics from the NTY from the 1st week of March USA today article w/ video and lots of pics
  9. Then you'll love this as well - with the prunes I also found a few cubes of old sweet potato and it turns out that both work quite well mixed into fruit smoothies (that is to say, undetectable both in color and taste). I think I'll be including sweet potatoes and possibly carrots in my smoothies from now on. Green vegetables are out for now because the Little usually has a Hatred of Green Things but maybe I'll sneak those in via very small quantities...the idea, of course is to get them to voluntarily eat all sorts of colorful fruits and vegetables eventually, but this will help things along nutritionally in the meantime. If my Big learns the phrase "a bread" I suspect we will never hear the end of it... Other than smoothies they have both been sporadically willing to eat cantaloupe this week (the Big ate some at school and asked for more, which I already had on hand, and then the Little copied his brother). It's a similar case with "green sauce" noodles. The Big has been eating "green sauce" his entire life - first as pureed vegetables when he was a baby and now as a pasta sauce, mixed in with a little pesto. It's usually broccoli, spinach, and peas, cooked in chicken broth with onions and garlic, an added fat (schmaltz or olive oil), soy sauce, a tich of cooking wine, and a bunch of pepper, all whizzed with the immersion blender, and I always have cubes of it ready to go in the freezer. The Little will now occasionally deign to eat some, especially if the noodle shape of the day is small and fun - his favorite is ditalini (tiny tubes). We've recently learned that the Little's food issues (mostly texture avoidance and joy in cheek stuffing and spitting) are officially worthy of occupational therapy (two separate opinions), which is a relief to hear - he is genuinely difficult to feed, it's not just our imaginations, and his size doesn't allow much leeway in letting him starve it out. Hopefully we'll make some progress under the OT's guidance!
  10. Unexpectedly passed by the Arcadia location today so had to stop and grab some beef rolls and dumplings. Since I was by myself I decided to order the fish (described as "sole fish") dumplings and another order of the lamb dumplings (my family doesn't favor either). I was excited to try the fish dumplings, as I have been every time I see fish dumplings on the menu (regardless of whether I actually order them, and this is definitely traceable to an order of pan-fried fish and cilantro dumplings I had @ China Bistro in Rockville back in 2014), but they were merely...fine. The filling was actually quite nice - gently mashed, loose and flavorful, with a scattering of scallions for oomph, and admittedly far from the spongy fish ball texture that I detest - but ultimately paling in comparison to the herby and succulent sliced fish filling of my memories. The lamb dumplings were great as usual, plump and juicy, and the many rolls I ordered to go were excellent and enjoyed by all who partook. Sigh, the hunt for truly excellent fish dumplings continues. I guess I could always fly back to DC... BTW, if you find yourself here and in need of cash, the 7-11 on the same block has the nearest ATM.
  11. Their fish dumplings have haunted me for five years and I live near flippin' LA! Granted I'm 1.5 hours from the San Gabriel Valley, aka both the self-proclaimed and possibly actual center of all Chinese food in this country, and I don't exactly order fish dumplings every time I'm in the area / they are on the menu, but the times I have ordered them it has always been a disappointment by comparison. The reason is very simple - none have them have been filled with sliced fish. While a ground / mashed / fish meatball filling makes a lot of sense and can even be quite good (as long as they aren't packed too tight), it's not even in the same ballpark as tender, mild, flaky fish. I'm not sure why fish dumplings have caught my imagination so - I actually prefer pork / pork and chive / beef / lamb dumplings - but maybe the fact that they are so unusual and I haven't had the like since...that's probably why I can't stop myself from trying them every so often, only to have my hopes dashed time and again. Anyway, this all is to say that y'all are lucky to have China Bistro, I wish them a long and prosperous restaurant life, and I hope to return someday. Eat some Lenten dumplings for me!!!
  12. I adore Chris Hemsworth as Thor (3>1>2) but Rush is an absolute must-see for any of his fans. His character is, ahem, even hotter than Thor (in both looks and attitude), a bit more layered, and allows the actor to show off some genuine chops. Also, the movie's storyline and acting quality is interesting enough to draw interest from racing-haters. I genuinely enjoyed it overall and not just for the scenery 😉
  13. OMG TrelayneNYC, all your food but especially that mushroom ragu!!! #foodgoals in the extreme! On the much simpler end of the cooking spectrum, on Tuesday I made: 4 pans of roasted asparagus, cauliflower, and zucchini chicken congee the Thai eggplant/pepper/basil dish that's super limey, which comes out much better than my black-bean sauce version guacamole white rice Earlier this week we'd made separate cheese, pepperoni (well, salume), and white sauce-mushroom pizzas, KBBQ-marinated sirloin steaks, a double batch of GF, peanut-butter cookies, and pesto chicken salad that we've been eating over greens all week. For eating the steak, my husband has been cooking up a few Costco panko-coated fried shrimp in the toaster oven in order to have surf-n-turf meals and has been very happy.
  14. Pesto chicken salad (just Costco pesto, yogurt, and poached chicken) is a nice change-up from my (only) slightly more complicated curried chicken salad and actually makes a pile of leaves taste decent. It's very easy to make a batch and take to work for several lunches. I'm also back on my avocado-egg salad (just boiled eggs mashed with some avocado, salt, and pepper) for breakfast. Also simple to make in batches and bring to work. Yep, my coworkers just love me 😆
  15. Wow! Reminds me of the oft-told story of my father-in-law's pride and chagrin when my husband, at age 10, was able to put away an adult-portioned Captain's Feast at Red Lobster? after eating his kids meal. Last night both kids chowed down on pizza and cucumber and apple slices (well, 1 cucumber slice each). Tonight the (feverish) Big barely finished a popsicle and the Little had a beer-battered cod fillet (from Costco, we all like them, actually), some "kitchen sink" smoothie (seriously, I threw in the odds and ends of so many different fruits - pear, apple, banana, blueberries, mango, and an old cube of pureed prunes that he refused as a baby that I found hanging out in the back of the freezer - with some yogurt and fresh-squeezed limeade), and an oatmeal cookie.
  16. Agreed that this is reassuring because, um, that's pretty much what my kids would LOVE to eat all the time. Though they both like hand-made (not by me) perogis when we can get them (in OH). My Big (4 yrs) also seems to be going through a growth spurt because he is suddenly snacking a lot (cashews, oddly, which he doesn't ask for at any other time) right before bed. The past few nights they have both been eating some combination of cheese, applesauce, cereal, yogurt, and apple slices for dinner. That is not what the adults are having, but at least it's decent nutrition and minimal work.
  17. Thousand Oaks Although this second location of Moqueca Brazilian Cuisine serves food that tastes the same as the Oxnard location, it's worth going to Oxnard instead!!! At this price point, even if the food is equally tasty, you'd much rather enjoy it in the harbor setting with some magnificent views. The dining room in TO is newer and therefore nicer but it's a large-ish room in a strip mall with only front-facing windows so feels somewhat dark and oppressive. People always enjoy the chance to try a somewhat more unusual cuisine when we take them and we really like that the lunch special is extended to Saturdays. Dong Ting Spring in Ventu Park has several unusual dishes from China's Hunan province that don't usually make it out in the 'burbs. In fact, several dishes that we liked there have been since dropped from the menu from lack of popularity. Of those that remain, the potstickers are decent, the Specialty Fish Filet with Pickle is awesome (a soupy dish with lots of tender white fish, pickled veg, and peppercorns galore), the beef roll is tasty but not always rolled quite tightly enough, and the stir-fried lotus root is cool-looking and crunchy. Grandma’s Braised Pork with Buns have fluffy steamed buns and smoky, salty, tender pork. There are some whole fish dishes that are uniformly good but require a larger group, dishes featuring pig ears feet, and intestines, and several options for authentically stinky tofu. Dishes we find lacking include the wild chili beef (too spicy, unbalanced, with stringy beef), cauliflower (wan, boring), and sweet and sour fish fillet (great fried fish in a terribly sweet sauce), and the XLB. Tasty Shanghai in Newbury Park replaced our beloved Szechuan Place and has some good, snacky food that, while not tempting enough to lure us back to our previous weekly visit, still requires somewhat regular trips. They have Shanghai pan-fried pork buns (Sheng Jian Bao) which, while always under-seasoned, are here in my county and are therefore an automatic order. The fish fillet in wine sauce is simple and comforting (Deceptively simple. I was sure I could make it at home and while my version came out ok, the expense and effort sent me right back to the restaurant), the green beans are equally deeply wrinkled and flavored, and the potstickers and rice cake dishes are always solid. The food is a bit greasy but, since it isn't spicy, is always a hit with both adults and kiddos. Ventura Tasty China is in a weird location in outer Ventura and I really hope it survives because it's currently our favorite Chinese food in the county. The house-made XLB can be excellent (though I did get one tray with a few that broke) with plenty of soup, satin-y dough and thin skins (including the twist top), and actual well-seasoned meat. Honestly, I liked them better than some of my Ding Tai Fung XLB experiences. The beef onion pancake is a great version of a classic beef roll - not too sweet, plenty of fresh herbs, flaky pastry, tender beef, and tight rolling that doesn't fall apart. The potstickers are also house-made, juicy with crispy bottoms and absolutely worth getting. The beef noodle soup is good and the dan dan noodles are perfectly balanced - nutty, spicy, just oily enough, and with a smattering of flavorful pork. If it were closer to our house we'd be there constantly. I've been going to Paradise Pantry regularly for years now, and it never fails to deliver an rustically elegant experience. The serve wines and cheeses that are also available in the adjoining shop, but I usually go for the huge grilled sandwiches, mac-n-cheese, or pate plate. It's the ultimate book club, brunch, or girls-night out spot (olives! charcuterie! wine flights galore!). The salads are always gorgeous, the specials feature local ingredients, and the servers are warm, friendly, and competent. I didn't even know I liked ham sandwiches until I had theirs (currently featuring Holey Cow Cheese & tomato clove conserve) and the chunky, sweet-hot pickles (also available in the store) are To. Die. For. The place is basically an artisanal California cliche in the best way possible and I'm so glad we have it in our county.
  18. Lao Xi Noodle House is a small, strip-mall joint somewhat off the beaten path in Arcadia that serves wonderful hand-made noodles in a no-frills setting. China's Shanxi province food heavily features noodles, potatoes, and vinegar. The menu is short and mostly features different noodles (fried, cold, soup, buckwheat, jelly, etc.), a few types of boiled dumplings (for there or to take away frozen), an assortment of "cold-plate" appetizers, and a few meat/vegetable entrees. We tried the House Special Fried Noodle with Fried Boiled Pork, Daoxiao-Style, which had plump, pleasantly chewy noodles in a tasty, vinegar-laced sauce, stir-fried with chunks of tender pork and lots of leeks and wood-ear mushrooms. We all loved this dish and almost ordered another plate to go (and only restrained ourselves because we were going back to a hotel, not home). The beef noodle soup had a clear, clean-tasting broth that mostly highlighted the long, thin noodles (kids loved it, adults thought it was bland, but noodles were good). Cold dishes were fine and fresh but otherwise ordinary. We would absolutely go back but mostly be interested in revisiting the fried noodles, trying the odder noodle shapes and lamb dumplings, and then taking away frozen dumplings (GREAT price) if they taste as good as they looked.
  19. Sounds delicious but what a description!!!!! Last night I made: Roasted butternut squash-carrot soup Lentil curry (using the medium Golden Curry mix and including carrots, onions, potatoes, and peas) with rice and frozen parathas Oven-baked chicken wings, tossed in the all-purpose Gochujang sauce we now use for everything (original Dad Cooks Dinner recipe here and now my husband just riffs on it whenever we need a sauce) - never made plain oven-baked wings before, but wanted to try the baking-powder trick (hey, did you know that baking powder can have sodium aluminum sulfate in it? I didn't until now! Even if there aren't proven health effects for avoiding ingested Al, there can be metallic taste implications, so we've now switched to Al-free) to see if they would ever become adequately crispy. They take forever (solid hour+) and don't look like much (never got really browned), but once tossed in sauce they suddenly looked just like deep-fried wings from a restaurant, and tasted pretty darn close. I'll call it a win for when we want to gorge on wings. BTW, I had one rack so I made one pan with the wings up on a rack and one pan with the wings on parchment paper on the pan. The racked wings were definitely crispier, but a little tougher and the rack is kind of a pain to scrub. The unracked wings were oilier because they cooked in their own fat but got a little browner and were a bit juicier. Oh, also I had to flip the unracked wings once midway through cooking. Overall not a huge difference and since we'll always toss them in sauce anyway I'll go with unracked in the future. Over the weekend we made a ton of meatballs, a meaty marinara, pasta, lots of guacamole, and a couple pans of roasted zucchini.
  20. My sympathies - same for us yesterday, except with meat sauce!! It was nice that everyone ate the same thing for dinner. We even got both kiddos to try at least 1 cucumber slice. Both will pick out the pasta on their own but they do allow themselves to be spoon-fed the sauce (including chunky tomatoes) and meat at the end, which is still worth it to us (for now) for nutrition purposes.
  21. Flowergeddon!!!! Hopefully it does not return when the flowers do this season: LA Times reporting Ungated article from Frommer's on the upcoming anticipated superbloom I adore the idea of the wildflower hotline (760-767-4684)
  22. Mushroom soup, eggplant with black bean sauce and basil (I CANNOT get this dish to turn out like I imagine it, no matter what recipe I try. I'm about to give up and just eat it at restaurants. Anyone have tips? I don't expect the eggplant to turn out exactly right since I'm not deep-frying it, but the sauce is always so bland at home and so zippy yet comforting at Thai restaurants), stove-top mac-n-cheese, and banana bread. Tuesday is my home day and I always end up cooking whatever is hanging out in the fridge so they won't go bad. Earlier this week the batch cooking included red beans and rice, orange-cranberry scones, and bourbon chicken.
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