When was the last time you ate Ramen noodles? I mean the crispy kind in the package where you just add water? For me, I'm thinking college might have been the last time? And I probably chased it down with Bacardi Limon shots. (I might throw up, excuse me). Well, coincidentally, a college friend sent me a recipe that included Ramen noodles, but in the form of a salad. A Bok Choy Salad, with crisp greens and crunchy noodles, almonds, sesame seeds and a sweet and salty dressing (recipe here). It was SO GOOD. If you're going to a party and you're in charge of a side, please make this. Or, as the recipe suggests, make it a dinnertime meal by adding sliced chicken and mandarin oranges! Exclamation mark! This salad excites me! Seriously, the texture and flavor is wonderful. Next time, I'll add some red pepper flakes for a little kick. Make it. Affordable + crowd pleaser + delicious.
*tip: after browning the noodles, nuts and seeds, let cool and then place in a plastic bag - I found it was easier to break apart the noodles once in the bag*
You would think after the debacle I experienced last time I volunteered to bake snacks for Jack's preschool, I'd be over doing it again. But you can fool me once, or twice, and never again, as George W said, I think. What I'm trying to say is... I don't learn from my mistakes! No, I kid, this time it was actually a leisurely, enjoyable experience. And I found a new recipe that I will absolutely try again! Very healthy (I subbed whole wheat flour for all-purpose) and allergy friendly (dairy-free). Great dipped in peanut butter (or soy butter if you have a nut allergy). I doubled the recipe and it made A TON. Plenty to feed a schoolyard of crazy kids. I'm never there when the kids enjoy snack time, but I'd like to imagine the table chatter goes something like this:
Kid: What a delicious and healthy snack for my tummy. Who MADE these?
Jack: MY MOM. The BEST mom in the whole wide world.
Kid: Wow. You should totally bring her home a medal or at least a candy bar or some new shoes.
For very brief, tiny, fleeting moments... I feel put together. The rest of the time...
...my feet look like they should be attached to trolls, my hair is going on 5 days sans shampoo, there are crumbs in my bra and I can't remember if I've put deodorant on. Did that paint you a pretty picture? Where should I sign up to model? That same messy feeling applies to my blog. Occasionally, I snap a great picture. But the rest of the time, I have about -30 seconds to get my camera because if I don't eat 30 seconds after that, I'll have a 4 year-old asking for something and a 9 month-old screaming her head off. Why am I venting to you?? Because that photo above does this chicken burger ZERO justice. It was so good. It looks burnt to a crisp, but it wasn't. It was juicy and full of heavenly flavor and I devoured it. All it needed was Carson's homemade guacamole as a topping, nothing else. The perfect accompaniment to the slightly spicy, cheesy burger. You've got to make these.
If you click here, you'll see a fancy photo with a fancy burger that is put together.
Some of you have been asking when you'll get to see our newly remodeled kitchen. The answer is, in a few days plus three months. You heard me, autumn time!! We're nowhere near done!! So be patient, and when I say that I'm talking to myself. In the meantime, you'll just have to wonder how I'm still managing to bake delightful treats like these cupcakes. Or are they muffins? Do cupcakes technically need frosting? Or does one single (large) chocolate chip qualify as a cupcake topper? I think so. Especially when you take a perfectly sweet recipe, like these mascarpone cupcakes, and add mini chocolate chips. These fluffy bite-size treats do not need a moundful of icing. Instead, when you take them out of the oven, place one large chocolate chip atop each cupcake. They are perfect, just like that. And they would be even more perfect for a Black and White Party. Do those still exist? Or do they just occur if you're me and you're 22?
I have been pretty creative this week when it comes to dinner. You can send my medal via mail. I accept cookies. The other night, I took pasta and olive tapenade and created dinner! Make pasta and then scoop in some olive tapenade. Oh, and then throw in some toasted pine nuts and grated Parmesan cheese. Salty, crunchy, cheesy... again, you can give your mail carrier pigeon my award... he knows where I live. BUT! I'm going to bake next week. More than once. So stay tuned... and have a nice weekend, why don't you?!
Have you guys tried Trader Joe's Balsamic Glaze? It's stupid good, or "sick" as my 4-year-old now likes to describe happy things. Deep in flavor, not overly sweet or vinegar-y, and a perfectly thick consistency. I use it as dressing ALL the time. Just drizzle it over your salad with a splash of good olive oil (yup, I strive to sound like Ina) and that's all you need. Marinate your chicken, or serve it over ice cream and fresh berries (which I have yet to do). The other night, I used it to roast vegetables (with olive oil, salt and pepper). It was so perfect, and much better than using watery balsamic vinegar.
Sorry for all the iPhone photos as of late. I lost my camera card and my to-do list says BUY ANOTHER. My to-do list currently says 347 things. I hate my to-do list and it's stupid face.