We Love Puddin'

A few months back Heidi from 101Cookbooks interviewed me for her Taste Maker Series 

and one of the favorite cookbooks I chose was, Happy In the Kitchen by Michel Richard.
He just reminds me of a Happy Kid!  Cooking for me is about sharing and experimenting and I think Mr. Richard probably feels the same.  His book is beautiful and uses ingredients that are not out of the ordinary and easy techniques like using the microwave.  
I usually don't post other people's recipes but this one is a favorite of mine and I just wanted to share.
Sometimes in the midst of a eating, discussing and writing about healthy recipes I just feel like making a treat.  We love puddin' but boxed pudding tastes so fake to me, this recipe is just as fast and easy as opening a box of instant pudding.  It is rich so you only need to eat a small amount in fact I think it can make eight small servings.  The flavor is very homemade tasting the honey gives it a nice flavor too.  If your kids are used to the boxed kind this may take some getting used to but it may turn in to a family favorite!

Happy Kid Pudding

Toddler Café tip: Use a serrated knife to chop chocolate, start on a corner and "shave" downward. Always start on a corner it makes chopping the chocolate easy and gives you the smallest pieces.
I like to use 6 oz of chocolate in this recipe (nothing personal Michel)

2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
2 tbs cornstarch
1/2 cup honey
4 oz milk chocolate, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

Combine the milk, yolks, cornstarch, and honey in a large microwave-safe bowl. Whisk until the cornstarch and honey have dissolved. Stir in the chocolate. Put the bowl in the microwave and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove and whisk well, then return and microwave another 2 minutes. Remove and whisk again. The chocolate should be melted. Return to the microwave and cook another 2 minutes. Whisk again. If the pudding has not come to a boil, or isn’t thick enough, return for 1 more minute. 
To test lift the whisk and let the pudding fall in to the bowl; the pudding should hold it's shape as it falls. 
The pudding will still firm up somewhat in the fridge, but make sure that it is thick enough now. Let the pudding cool at room temperature for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Press the plastic wrap onto the surface of the pudding to prevent skin from forming. and then cover the top with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until cold. Can be refrigerated for 3 days.

Makes 3 cups. Serves 4.

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Freaky Friday

Welcome to Freaky Friday. I happen to be the lucky owner of a set of recipe cards from 1973, a lot of recipe cards, and most of them are a bit freaky! I thought I'd share some of my thoughts and possible ways to update these recipes. Some cards are just too far gone and can't be fixed but hopefully, at least I can get you laughing. Now don't be afraid because some of these recipe cards have a good foundation for creative recipe ideas. We have come a long way baby...

Oh, card # 20 you are so ugly. I am failing to see anything perfect or Rosy about this "salad," actually I give it a big YUCK!!
Really people, Jello and cabbage how is that going to feel in your mouth?  Again Yuck!
I was going to post this on Halloween because I thought it looked like a brain!  I do love cabbage and was determined to get my daughter (and husband) to love it.  This would not be my recipe of choice to introduce a strong  flavored veggie to my loved ones.

Rosy Perfection Salad
Old School
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 1/4 c cold water
Artificial sweetener to equal 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c vinegar
1 tbs lemon juice
2 c finely shredded red cabbage
1 c chopped celery
1 tbs chopped pimiento
Parsley to garnish

Update Suggestions...

If you want Jello just put some fruit in it and forget the veggies.


Hide cabbage in egg rolls
Add to lo mein or fried rice
Mix into pot stickers
Make coleslaw
Top brothy soup with some raw cabbage
Sauté shredded cabbage in olive oil until just wilted. Season with extra virgin olive oil and salt.
Mix with lettuce and top tacos

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Good Things Come in Small Tightly Packed Lunches

I don't know why but I have become slightly obsessed with making cute Bento lunches for my daughter. Maybe it is my fascination with "cute" food, maybe my love for Asian cuisine? Maybe it gives me a reason to go to Japan Town and buy the cutest little lunch time items. Or maybe I think if I make cute food, she will eat it? Either way now that we are in Kindergarten my lunch making had gotten a bit out of hand!  I mean not totally out of hand but I do try to get creative with the same old ingredients.  A peanut butter and jelly is so 7o's, I mean really a sandwich can be so much more. A flower shape or cut into tiny little blocks all stacked up in Bento box. 

There a are cutters for Nori that are fun to use, and cute little silicone cups to put food into.
If we make rice then she gets a tiny soy sauce dispenser to season the rice with. There are countless ways to decorate Bento lunches, like thin egg omelets, as a base and sliced veggies as eyes and whiskers.  You can write a cute rhyme to go with your bento too, like; carrots are orange, kitties are fuzzy, hope lunch time is great and you are real cozy! (OK, maybe poetry is not my strong point but you get the idea, right?) 
I like Bento boxes because you can put an array of foods. We waste so much food in our culture, so I have been trying to use up small amounts that otherwise would go in the trash.  Bento is designed to control portion size, It is a great way to use up small amounts of food, and are designed to pack tightly so the food stays put. I know that there are amazing Bento lunch makers out there and I hold you in great esteem. I don't aspire to ever be a Bento wiz but I sure do try.  
I thought I'd  put all my lunch time goodies out for you to see in these photos.
Here are many ways to spice up lunch with a some of the gadgets shown. 
  • Nori cut outs, crispy healthy seaweed cut using a paper punch style cutter.
  • Rice molded into cute shapes using rice molds.
  • Hard boiled eggs molded into shapes like squares, bunnies, cars. 
  • Rice rolls (sushi want to be) using sushi molds.
  • Veggies cut in shapes, slice veggies in wide strips, use tiny cookie cutters to make shapes.
  • Sandwiches cut in shapes.
  • Use silicone cupcake cups to pack bits of snack food in.
  • Use wood or biodegradable spoons.
  • Use small containers for sprinkles, seeds or seasonings, soy sauce or ketchup
  • Use reusable food separators, like the fake grass you get at a Sushi bar.
  • Send fabric napkins with cute patterns.
  • Themed lunches, like round, or one color only are fun too.
  • Add a note from home.
  • Pack it all in a great Bento box!!

Other foods that fit in a Bento box:
Stuffed Pasta
Dried fruit
Sliced fruit
Thin no cheese omelet, rolled up and sliced
Cubed cheese 
Romaine leaves
Plain water chestnuts
French toast
Mini drumsticks
Rolled cold cuts 
Mini pickles
Tiny tuna sandwiches
Cheese and crackers

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