Breakfast Makeover: Spanish Tortilla

Spanish Tortilla_A Little Yumminess

We are big fans of Spanish food these days and tapas dinners are becoming more and more frequent at our homes.  We made this Spanish tortilla at one of summer camps and the kiddos loved making and eating it.  :)

This Spanish tortilla is a fantastic dish to make ahead (on the weekend, perhaps?) and have ready for breakfasts during the week.  It’s a simple dish in which the sum of it’s parts is far tastier than the individual components.  It is non-traditional to pre-boil the potatoes, but it makes the cooking process even easier.  Reheat in the morning and serve with some crusty bread rubbed with a tomato and garlic for a true taste of Spain.  I have also been known to stuff a wedge of this tortilla between two slices of bread and call it “school lunch”.

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Going Going Gone! Preserving the Last Bit of Summer with Classic Pesto Genovese

Pesto Genovese_A Little Yumminess


Fall is in the air and basil is on its way out of our farmer’s markets in a blink of an eye, so now’s the time to make that last batch of pesto before it’s going, going, gone!

Most recipes you will find for pesto genovese are no more than a few sentences long. They basically boil down to “throw stuff in a blender and blitz away” (or a mortar and pestle if you want to be traditional) and toss with pasta. There’s also not much difference of opinion when it comes to the ingredients  — almost all agree on basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, salt and parmegiano reggiano. While making an average pesto is a fairly simple thing to do, making a sublime pesto — one with perfectly balanced flavors, that keeps it’s amazing color and coats pasta just right — is like some kind of Jedi magic trick (if you’ve had the handkerchief pasta with pesto at Farina in San Francisco, you know what I’m talking about. Watch the video at the bottom of this post and be prepared to drool!)

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Upcoming Family Event: Barn Dance

Barn Dance

We attended 18 Reasons’ first Barn Dance a few years ago and had the best time ever – dancing and eating possibly the best burger we had ever eaten.  Our little one was asking for months to go back to a barn dance.  We did attend the fun but albeit over-crowded Pie Ranch Barn dance, but it was not quite as much fun as the 18 Reasons Barn Dance.

The afternoon will start with games and activities for adults and kids, including farm tours, lasso lessons, face painting, and a lively game of horseshoes.  Fatted Calf, Bi Rite, and Primavera Tamales have generously donated dinner, which will be served picnic style and accompanied by fresh lemonade, beer, and wine from Casey Flat Vineyards. Hang out on a hay bale and enjoy a beautiful late summer evening. Continue reading

Dinnertime Journaling: “I Would Totally Eat that for Breakfast”

We’ve been posting some breakfast makeover ideas this week in honor of the return of rushed school day mornings (here’s a link to the article we wrote for the San Jose Mercury News on this topic). As they kids get older, I realize more and more how important it is to start the day off with a nourishing meal and a full tummy (especially given the shrinking lunch periods at school).

With breakfast on our minds, we even found ourselves talking about it at the dinner table recently. We were eating Chinese jook which is a simple, thick rice soup that you dress up with lots of yummy condiments (I will post a recipe next time we make it).  The kids were intrigued and surprised when I told them that jook is actually considered a breakfast food across Asia since we always eat it for lunch or dinner. It’s not unlike a savory variation of oatmeal, but I guess jook is enough of a departure that the kids found the idea quite intriguing. Our conversation about jook got us thinking about other things we would like to eat for breakfast that are not on our typical morning menu of cereal, toast or eggs here in the US. Without hesitation they shouted out things like “quesadillas”, “fish”, “crackers”.

I Would Totally Eat this for breakfast_Catnip Infused wine.jpg

We cracked up at this non alcoholic cat-nip infused wine for cats, so that of course made it into our journal as well.

Again and again my kids demonstrate that they’re often more creative thinkers than us adults when it comes to food (and this proves itself over and over again in our kids’ cooking classes too)… it also reminds me that I should remember to get their input more often!!

I’m curious to know how other kids and families would answer the question “what would you eat for breakfast?”

[My family has been doing this simple dinnertime journaling project for the last 3(!) years. Whenever we sit down at the table for dinner we pull out an index card and draw and write together. We capture a few highlights from the day, ideas, funny thoughts, or just some crazy drawings. It’s been a lot of fun an]

Breakfast Makeover: Smoothie Collection

Everyone loves smoothies! They’re super quick to make when you keep basics on hand, and they’re wonderfully portable for when you’re in a rush to get out the door (we’re always in rush on school mornings). Lately we’ve been making a big batch for breakfast and refrigerating the leftovers for an after school snack. I’ve also started adding smoothies to the lunch box this year (cleaned up, recycled small Odwalla containers work perfectly). As school lunch periods get shorter and shorter (don’t get me started!), this seems to be something my kids can successfully eat (along with a few other tidbits) in the teensy amount of time allotted for lunch.

If you start searching around for smoothies on the internet you’ll find tons of info– recipes, special containers, little tips and tricks. So…. to the collective oeuvre of smoothies out there I add our list of favorites with an international twist.

Mango Lassi_India Playdate

Mango lassis are by far the most requested smoothies in my house. We all love the creamy, sweet mango flavor, but that pinch of cardamom is what makes it special. For kids who insist they don’t like spices — this is a good place to start. Here’s our previous post with the recipe.

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Breakfast Makeover: Roasted Fruit

Roasted Fruit for Breakfast

The kids are finally back at school and parents all over the country are rejoicing – the summer was long (too long in many cases) and needed to end :).  Though we are all now back to the routine of rushed breakfasts and the speedy packing of school lunches every morning.

Breakfast is the easiest meal to get stuck in a rut with – milk and toast or cereal everyday?  Plus, having grown up outside the US, I do not even really consider “cereal” to be real food. :)

For the sake of a good breakfast and hence a healthy start to each day, it is almost worth waking up 10-15 minutes earlier. You can also use the additional time to talk about the upcoming day and everyone’s hopes and aspirations for it. Everyone seems to emphasize the dinner table conversation, but the breakfast table conversation may be just as important.

A hearty and tasty breakfast does not just have to be weekend treat – with some planning and advance preparation, you can make it happen almost everyday. In this post and the upcoming posts, we are going to share some breakfast recipes with some new/different ideas with an international twist.  We recently shared some of these ideas in an article in the San Jose Mercury.
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Thai Curried Noodles


This dish looks way more complicated than it actually is.  And it is probably as beautiful as it is tasty.  We developed this recipe recently for the San Jose Mercury and our editor made it once for her family and then made it again a few days later.  Nothing makes us smile more than a successful recipe and positive feedback, especially from our editor (since she knows food!).

It also is far easier than it probably looks.  We use store bought red curry paste (which I always “gussy up”) and a grocery rotisserie chicken.  Technically cheating, but who cares?  When you can get something this tasty on the table for dinner, no one will ask about the short-cuts you took.  My little one’s face lights up when this is on the menu and I am thinking we need to make it again soon.

You can use “light coconut milk”, but I am not a fan at all.  I have tried it and hated it, low-fat coconut milk in my book, just doesn’t cut it.  But don’t let my snobbery stop you. :)  You can also use Asian noodles, but thin or regular spaghetti works just fine.  Not the the real thing, but definitely good enough and somewhat reminds me of the laksa I grew up eating. Continue reading