Archive for Yummy Things

Easter fun

With Valentine’s Day behind us, we have moved on to Easter fun! I saw this idea for an Easter Bunny craft project on Facebook and knew I had to try it with Connor as he’s become very interested in any projects involving glue and pom poms lately. The project is actually made with cotton balls, but he doesn’t need to know that…

I strategically planned for us to make Connor’s foot prints last night right before bath time (and I used Pixlr to get the image to the right shade of pink since we didn’t have pink paint on hand) and then we worked on the rest this morning after breakfast as we chatted away about the Easter Bunny’s visit last year.

I was pleasantly surprised by how carefully Connor placed the cotton balls around the perimeter of the face and the pink of the ears. Unfortunately he lost interest after a while (this thing takes a lot of cotton balls!) so I ended up helping him fill out the tummy.

Easter Bunny craft project for kids

Also check out these little Easter egg cupcakes (carrot cake) I made a while back. Super quick and easy to make and fun to assemble! Will be making these with the little man this weekend, too.

Easter egg cupcakes

7 Ways to Celebrate the Lunar New Year with Kids

Check out my latest post on Boston Mamas: 7 Ways to Celebrate the Lunar New Year with Kids.

Growing up in the suburbs of Boston, I was often the only Asian student in my class, and I looked forward to the Lunar New Year as an opportunity to share our cultural traditions (and my mom’s yummy cooking) with my classmates. Although I can’t share my mom’s dumplings with all of you (sorry!), in my post I offer some ideas for celebrating the upcoming Lunar New Year (January 31), the Year of the Horse, with your kids!

Read the rest of my post on Boston Mamas.

Sick Day Chowdah

I’m home from work with a sick baby today and feeling under the weather myself. There’s a few inches of snow on the ground here in the ‘burbs of Boston and still more sleet coming down. Perfect day to dig out the slow cooker and make some Sick Day “Chowdah” for tonight. I modified a few recipes that I found on Pinterest (of course), and here’s how mine came out.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ pound maple bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 lb. fresh haddock, skinned and cut into      small pieces
  • 5 potatoes, peeled and cubed (I used Russet)
  • 2 lb. frozen corn kernels
  • 1yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Season All or other seasoned salt
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 16 ounces half & half
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except for the half & half in the slow cooker.
  2. Cook in the slow cooker on high for 6 hours.
  3. Add half & half and continue cooking, uncovered, for another 15 minutes, until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.

Baby-friendly Boston: Turner Fisheries Restaurant & Bar

Now that we’re parents of a very active and vocal toddler, we find that we rarely go out to dinner anymore and we very rarely head into Boston. But a few weekends ago, we decided to venture out of the ‘burbs on a Saturday night for a family dinner in the Back Bay. After learning about their Kids Eat Free program, we ended up at Turner Fisheries Restaurant & Bar at the Westin Copley Place. Most locals would probably not consider Turners to be family-friendly, but we were pleasantly surprised by our experience there.

Immediately upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by a friendly bartender and were seated promptly by the hostess. We were particularly impressed with the courtesy and attentiveness of the restaurant manager, who brought over to our table a box of colored pencils and a little fish-themed toy for baby C and even showed him how to wear it on his finger. Later, after noticing that C had tired of those toys, she returned with a shiny toy truck, much to his delight!

Our waiter was a mild-mannered gentleman who occasionally entertained C with his smiles and waves from afar. Without us asking, he knew to move tall glasses, hot dishes, and flatware away from the baby’s reach. Since we didn’t have to bother with rearranging things on the table as we got settled in, we were able to focus on keeping the baby happy and maybe even relax a little ourselves (a rarity when dining out with a wee one).

As mentioned previously, kids (up to 12 years of age) eat free between 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Monday – Saturday, with the purchase of an adult entrée. We ordered C the Baked Haddock with rice and green beans.  It was C’s first time having fish EVER and he’s become a rather finicky eater lately so we weren’t too optimistic that he’d actually eat it. But we ordered it anyway, and were frankly shocked when he DEVOURED it. Both Jack and I tried it and agreed that the haddock was subtly flavored, moist, and delicious. We also appreciated that without even requesting it, the baby’s food arrived very soon after we ordered (thank goodness because he was hungry and, like most toddlers, is still working on his patience!) and well before our own entrees arrived.

The adult food was also quite exceptional. In a nutshell: Fresh seafood, well-sized portions, and pleasing presentation.

One of the unexpected highlights of the evening was the delightful bread basket assortment which included a delicious walnut raisin bread. We tend to order calamari as an appetizer everywhere we go, and we were very pleased with their unique version of fried calamari. Quite different from the standard calamari served with marinara on the side, Turner’s Crispy Calamari, topped with peppadew peppers, capers, and roasted garlic aioli, was nicely flavored and not too oily or dry (as is often a problem with calamari).

Although our entrees were a bit saltier than we would have liked, both were excellent. I ordered the Seafood Risotta which included Maine lobster, bay scallops, Caribbean shrimp, littleneck clams, and mussels, and the hubby ordered the Orange Crusted Tuna with edamame succotash and ponzu glaze.

A few words about logistics. Street parking in the area can be hard to find. If you plan to visit, I’d recommend valet parking at the Westin Hotel. The restaurant will validate parking and it ends up only being $15. Also, just a heads up to those of you who bring your enormous strollers everywhere– we had to walk down two flights of stairs to get from the hotel lobby to the restaurant. Perhaps there is another entrance, but I thought that was worth mentioning to you mamas out there.

On our ride home, we realized that we both forgot to try their award-winning, gluten-free clam chowder! Guess this just means we’ll have to return to Turner Fisheries again soon!

 

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post; however, we did receive complimentary meals from Turner Fisheries/451 Marketing for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and I only feature products and services on Talking Thirty about which I am genuinely enthused.

Annie Chun’s Prize Pack Giveaway

The Annie Chun’s Prize Pack contest on Talking Thirty is now closed. Thanks to all those who entered and congratulations to our lucky winner, TIM L.! We’ll be doing another fun giveaway on Talking Thirty this week so check back soon!

Teriyaki Sesame Noodle Salad & A Giveaway

Not completely satisfied with my last attempt (Asian Cold Soba Noodle Salad),  I continued my search for the perfect Asian cold noodle salad recipe. I tried a recipe that was favorably reviewed on Allrecipes.com, but it turned out to be horrendous. Let’s just say it involved Ramen and tasted like feet.  This was shocking to me because I’ve come to trust reviews written by the Allrecipes community and they rarely let me down. 

After that experience, I was afraid that I may have caused my guinea-pig husband to develop some sort of taste aversion to cold noodle salads so I was about to give up, but I decided to try just one more recipe. And I’m so glad I did because it turned out to be the best one by far!  
 
This recipe was one I found on the Annie Chun’s website, although I modified it a little based on what I happened to have on hand. Since I’m breastfeeding, I particularly appreciated the fact that Annie Chun’s products are all natural with no MSG or preservatives. The final product was super delicious and even received my Chinese mother’s nod of approval (which, trust me, is not easy to get!). Here’s how it turned out:   
 

Annie Chun's Asian Teriyaki Sesame Noodle Salad
Teriyaki Sesame Noodle Salad

Ingredients

1 package of Annie Chun’s Chow Mein Noodles or Soba Noodles
1/4 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/4 cup grated carrots (I used a vegetable peeler because I don’t have the patience for graters)
1 cup cucumber, cut into matchstick slices
1/4 cup chopped scallion
roasted almond slivers or sesame seeds (for garnish)

Dressing Ingredients 
5 TBSP Annie Chun’s Teriyaki Sauce
2 TBSP rice vinegar
2 TBSP sesame oil

Directions

Combine the three ingredients for dressing and mix well. Set aside.

Cook noodles as directed on package. Drain and cool.

Mix noodles with remaining ingredients (except nuts) in a bowl and toss with dressing (add to taste).

Garnish with roasted almond slivers or sesame seeds (I skipped this part because I didn’t have any on hand, but I will definitely add these next time).

Interested in trying this recipe out yourself? The nice folks over at Formula PR have offered to give away one Annie Chun’s Prize Pack (which includes the ingredients called for in the recipe above) to one lucky Talking Thirty reader!

Here’s how to enter: 

For your first entry (mandatory), “like” Talking Thirty on Facebook and leave a comment on this post after you’ve done so. If you already “like” Talking Thirty on FB, just leave a comment on this post explaining that.

For additional entries (optional):

  • Follow @TalkingThirty on Twitter and leave a separate comment on this post that you’ve done so.
  • Tweet about this giveaway and provide the URL to the tweet as a separate comment on this post.
  • Share a link to this giveaway on Facebook and provide the URL to your profile via email to judy@talkingthirty.com.

US and Canadian entrants ages 18+ are welcome to enter.

Entry period closes at noon EST, June 10, 2012.

One lucky winner drawn randomly will receive an Annie Chun’s Prize Pack which includes the items you use in the Teriyaki Sesame Noodle Salad recipe. The winner will be notified directly via e-mail and listed on this blog using first name only.
 
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post; however, I did receive complimentary products to sample from Annie Chun’s/Formula PR. I only feature products on Talking Thirty about which I am genuinely enthused. All images, thoughts, and opinions in this post are my own.

It’s Lobstah Roll Season!

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for me for reasons I don’t particularly feel like putting into words right now (although I’m sure I’ll get around to it eventually). Looking for a little pick-me-up, the hubby and I took a random afternoon off and decided to treat ourselves to lobster rolls for lunch followed by a relaxing stroll on the beach with the baby.

We were eager to try some place other than the usual Legal Seafoods and ended up at Captain Marden’s Seafood in Wellesley. Packed with octogenarians, the restaurant is really more of a no-frills, diner-type environment attached to a fish market. Definitely not fancy, but that’s perfectly okay with us, especially since we were taking our food to-go. We each got the clam chowder (reeeally good) and a lobster salad roll served with a side of fries and corn bread. Although the portion size was nothing notable (probably a good thing for our “diets”), the seafood was fresh and delicious and I’m glad we happened upon this place.  If you ever find yourself searching for a lobster roll in the ‘burbs of Boston , definitely check this place out.

Lobster Roll - Captain Mardens Seafood Wellesley

Asian Cold Soba Noodle Salad

With the summer months quickly approaching, I decided that I needed to learn how to make a really good Asian-inspired cold noodle salad to bring to BBQs. I remember back when I was a kid, a family friend used to make the most amazing one that I looked forward to having every July 4th. I scoured the internet for a similar recipe, but haven’t quite found it yet. Over the past few weeks, I’ve tried out about 4 ACNS recipes and this one, a modified version of something I found on Allrecipes, has been the best, but it’s still not anywhere near as delicious as “Auntie” Amy’s. Maybe some things just aren’t as good as you remember they were when you were a child.     

Anyway, here’s how mine turned out:

And here’s the recipe for anyone who might be interested in giving it a go:

Asian Cold Soba Noodle Salad

Ingredients:

10.5 oz Japanese Soba Noodles

1.5 teaspoons of sesame oil

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup light soy sauce

Juice from one lime

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

2 carrots, grated

1.5 teaspoons of red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t like spicy)

1/3 cup salted cocktail peanuts, chopped

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Sesame seeds

 Directions:

1) Break dry soba noodles into short pieces and cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and immediately rinse in cold water. 

2) In a large mixing bowl, combine sesame oil, rice vinegar, light soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes, and whisk together. Add in carrots, peanuts, cilantro, and cold noodles and toss. Top with sesame seeds.

3) Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Toss again before serving. Serve cold.

I had to make this with Japanese Buckwheat Yamaimo Soba Noodles because that’s the only kind my local supermarket had, but next time I’ll definitely try to find non-buckwheat soba noodles.

Anyone have a good Asian cold noodle salad recipe to share?

 

Fried Seafood Heaven (aka Diet Suicide)

There are three things I love about Kelly’s Roast Beef and not one of these things is in any way related to roast beef.

1)      Front parking spaces reserved for customers with infants. Moms, how awesome is that? Don’t get me wrong, I usually have nothing against walking a few extra paces from the regular parking spots, but it’s not so fun now that I’m lugging around a 23 pound baby in a ridiculously heavy car seat (NB: The Graco Snugride 35 is not for weaklings). I wish more restaurants had these. Made us feel all special and what not.

 

2)      Impressive “aquarium”. This picture doesn’t do it justice, but trust me, for a semi- fast food restaurant, their fish tank is surprisingly impressive. Baby C, who ignored all the animals when we went to the zoo, was simply mesmerized by all the beautiful, colorful fish. And the glass on the tank was so clean that he kept reaching out his hand to touch them.

In the future, I’m considering just telling him we’re going to the aquarium and then taking him here instead. Don’t judge – admission to the New England Aquarium has gotten outrageously expensive these days! He probably won’t even catch on until he’s about 4 and think of all the money we’ll have saved by then!  


3) Their scallop and clams plate. OMG. Fried seafood heaven! Yes, I know. Shame on me. This was complete and total diet suicide, but worth every extra mile that I’m going to have to run on the treadmill this weekend. Makes you want to visit Boston, doesn’t it?!

Happy Friday and have a great weekend, everyone!

 

Attention all spinach dip lovers!

I decided to try an interesting recipe that I found circulating on Pinterest the other day (by the way, if you still haven’t joined yet, that is just unacceptable and I seriously don’t think we can be friends). It’s called Spinach and Artichoke Baked Pasta and it was a big hit with the hubby and some house guests we had over!

If you like hot spinach and artichoke dip, then you’ll LOVE this. It’s super easy to make (obviously) and the ingredients are fairly basic and inexpensive which is always a bonus. I’m thinking this might be my go-to dish to bring to my kids’ potluck-style sports banquets in the years to come. Do you guys remember those?

Anyway, here’s how mine came out. Trust me, it tastes a lot better than it looks. I’m thinking I might try to add chicken next time.

 

Check out the recipe at the Budget Savvy Diva.

Found any other easy-peasy, budget-friendly recipes via Pinterest lately? If so, feel free to share the link in the comment section below.