Slurping Noodles in the Sun

Cup Noodles with tofu, peas, crispy prosciutto, and hoisin sauce

Behold the humble, yet strangely satisfying, Cup Noodles. I don’t buy too many convenience foods, but I admit to a weakness for Cup Noodles. I know Cup Noodles are basically an engineered, sodium-filled, ultra-processed, non-real food and I wouldn’t recommend eating them regularly. However, I do ocassionally indulge in Cup Noodles with fun add-ins, like: peas, tofu, crispy prosciutto, and hoisin sauce. If you’re going to eat something as inexpensive as Cup Noodles, you might as well fancy them up with some delicious add-ins.

Cup Noodles with tofu, peas, crispy prosciutto, and hoisin sauce
Cup Noodles with tofu, peas, crispy prosciutto, and hoisin sauce

Naturally, the kids love slurping Cup Noodles in the sun.

Iain slurping noodles
Iain slurping noodles
Lily slurping noodles
Lily slurping noodles

Lunches with Variety

lunch on 7 Nov 2016: quesadilla with carrots, sweet peppers, and watermelon

Here is a roundup of last week’s lunches. You can see certain recurring motifs: watermelon, big green grapes, and colorful carrots (we all love little dark purple carrots). And, cheese, lots of cheese.

lunch on 7 Nov 2016: quesadilla with carrots, sweet peppers, and watermelon
lunch on 7 Nov 2016: quesadilla with kale, lettuce, carrots, sweet peppers, and watermelon
lunch on 8 Nov 2016: cheese and crackers, trail mix, grapes, banana, and persimmon slices
lunch on 8 Nov 2016: cheese and crackers, trail mix, grapes, banana, and persimmon slices
lunch on 9 Nov 2016: peanut butter and Nutella sandwich with Goldfish, watermelon and grapes
lunch on 9 Nov 2016: peanut butter and Nutella sandwich with Goldfish, watermelon and grapes
lunch on 10 Nov 2016: cheese and butter on whole wheat pitas, salami sticks, sliced radish, carrots, and grapes
lunch on 10 Nov 2016: cheese and butter on whole wheat pitas, kale, salami sticks, sliced radish, carrots, and grapes

Mind Blowing Kale Salad

mind blowing kale salad

Do you ever feel like you’re in a salad rut? You want to eat more salad, but you can’t motivate yourself to do all that washing and chopping. Today, I decided it was time to make some sort of new and exciting salad to go with dinner. I was super excited when I saw this gorgeous salad on Smitten Kitchen’s Instagram. I used Deb’s recipe as an inspiration for this completely different kale salad, because I had no green beans on hand and I don’t like onions.

mind blowing kale salad
mind blowing kale salad

Here’s how I made it:

Mind Blowing Kale Salad

a big bunch of kale
handful of chopped cabbage
handful of shredded carrots
1/3 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup raisins
bulb of fennel
1 or 2 stalks of celery
handful of sugar snap peas
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. sugar
olive oil
salt and pepper

Make the Pickles

Thinly slice the celery and fennel (this goes quickly if you have a mandolin). Wash and trim the sugar snap peas. In a glass jar, combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Add the sliced celery, fennel and sugar snap peas to the brine. Let it sit in the fridge for a least an hour—or better, yet, all day.

quick pickled celery, fennel and sugar snaps
quick pickled celery, fennel and sugar snaps
The Salad

Begin by roasting the almonds on the stove top. I used a dry cast iron pan and it only took a few minutes to cook the almonds until lightly brown and fragrant. Let these guys cool.

Remove any thick stems from the kale and slice it into thin strips. In a large bowl, toss the kale with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Roughly chop the cabbage. I used white cabbage, but purple would be really pretty. Add the cabbage, shredded carrots, and raisins to the kale. Roughly chop the almonds and throw these in the salad.

Now, get some of those pickled veggies out of the jar with a fork and add them to the mix (you might not use them all; it depends how much you like that tart pickle taste). Spoon out some of that pickling juice and add it a little at a time to the salad. Mix everything up, season generously with salt and pepper, and taste it before adding more of the brine.

Dig into this crunchy sweet sour bowl of deliciousness.

Sweet Bread for Day of the Dead

pan de muerto with a sweet orange glaze

As requested by the kids, our Halloween/All Saints’/All Souls’ Day celebration continues with this lunch of pan de muerto marmalade ghost sandwiches.

lunch on 2 Nov 2016: pan de muerto with orange marmalade, Babybel Gouda, sweet pepper, baby carrots, and kiwi
lunch on 2 Nov 2016: pan de muerto with orange marmalade, Babybel Gouda, sweet pepper, baby carrots, and kiwi

Yesterday, I made a made two gorgeous loaves of pan de muerto for Dia de los Muertos. The kids go crazy for this soft, golden bread. It’s basically brioche with a sweet orange glaze. I’ve tried various recipes, but I really like this one from King Arthur flour. I used the pizza setting on my bread machine to mix the dough and it worked like a charm: no kneading, no fuss, no mess. I also didn’t bother with the King Arthur egg wash and topping. Instead, I made a quick glaze with 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice (let it boil for only two minutes or you might end up with hard candy) which I spread on the warm bread and sprinkled with sugar. Crazy yummy and a beautiful offering for the dear departed—especially the bread loving dear departed.

pan de muerto with a sweet orange glaze
pan de muerto with a sweet orange glaze

Fun Halloween Food

lunch on Halloween 2016: little mummy pizzas on King's Hawaiian sweet rolls, persimmon slices and veggies

The only problem with Halloween: the kids never want it to end. They have requested Halloween-themed lunches for the rest of the week. Yesterday it was mini mummy pizza breads made with marinara, mozzarella and black olives on King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls.

lunch on Halloween 2016: little mummy pizzas on King's Hawaiian sweet rolls, persimmon slices and veggies
lunch on Halloween 2016: little mummy pizzas on King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls, persimmon slices and veggies

Today, I really should have made some skeletons, but these little pumpkin bagel ghouls and banana goblins were the best I could do after a wild night of trick or treating and candy consumption.

lunch on 1 Nov 2016: pumpkin bagel ghoul and banana goblin, Halloween Apple Jacks (with skeleton marshmallows!) and veggies
lunch on 1 Nov 2016: pumpkin bagel ghoul and banana goblin, Halloween Apple Jacks (with skeleton marshmallows!) and veggies

We also made assorted Halloween-themed treats for a little party we had last weekend. I did a woefully poor job of documenting the food, because I was too busy making and arranging it. Here are a few highlights:

hot dog spiders
hot dog spiders
owl hummus and veggie platter
owl hummus and veggie platter
revolting hot dog finger
revolting hot dog finger
individual mini mummy piñatas
individual mini mummy piñatas