10 delicious asian foods!

we enjoy asian foods at our house. the kids will devour sushi, udon soup, fried rices and various forms of cooked tofu. stir fries are so easy to throw together; vegetables, herbs and a protein and you’re good to go. some people like to add rice noodles, soba noodles (japanese buckwheat noodles), quinoa or rice as a side. 

: : SOURCES: :

1. tofu stir fry from bear & lion
2. hot n’ sweet sesame tofu from OMG! i love to cook
3. smoked stir fry from veggie wedgie
4. vegan veggie stir fry from motivated mama’s
5. vietnamese summer rolls from tartine & apron strings
6. teriyaki shrimp stir-fry from social cafe magazine
8. chinese fried rice from katherine martinelli
9. make your won sushi from bear & lion
10. udon noodle soup from cherry bomb kitchen

asian foods are often great for people with all sorts of allergies, or who are vegetarian, like us (well we do enjoy some seafood now and then!) there are so many countries to draw inspiration from and adjust flavours and spices according to your taste.

let me know which one is your fave!

xo, mama lola

butternut squash soup recipe!

i have shared several soup recipes already, but we really are a soup kinda family! my kids adore soup and it’s such an easy dinner to make. here’s another family favourite of ours, butternut squash soup and this time i added some kale to it for an extra kick of health!

INGREDIENTS:

1 butternut squash
1 medium yellow onion
4-6 kale leaves
2-3 cloves garlic
1-3 tsp fresh ginger
4 tblsp olive oil
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 generous sprinkling of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
4 cups water

* i’m pretty relaxed about measurements and tend to just throw however much in. during cold season i tend to be more generous with the garlic and ginger.
INSTRUCTIONS:

1. preheat your oven to 400F. then take your squash and stab it a few times with a fork, randomly. place the squash in an oven safe dish with about an inch of water. bake until soft.

2. once the squash is thoroughly baked (it will be soft to a fork poke) cut the squash in half and spoon out the seeds and guts. then cut or peel the squash out of it’s skin.

3. in a soup pot heat olive oil and add chopped onion. once onion is slightly browned add the squash. stir regularly, adding the rest of the ingredients and the water last. keep stirring until everything has heated through well and the flavours are wafting a mouth watering smell.

4. once the soup is cooked, take your immersion blender and blend the soup until it is nice and smooth. serve with sour cream or feta cheese on top! yum!

we made some yummy brie cheese and avocado sami’s to go with the soup! yum!

let me know if you try the recipe!
maybe you have your own version, would love to hear what you like to put in!

xo, mama lola

make your own sushi!

many people are very surprised when i tell them that sushi is my families favourite food. bear, in fact, hates cooked fish and refuses to eat it, but will happily gobble up raw salmon in a flash. strange? perhaps, but i don’t mind. it’s healthy and the benefits of salmon on his wee body are so amazing. i’m always encouraging the boys to eat more as i list the parts of their bodies that will reap the rewards… their brain, skin, muscles, hair and eyes. 


we’ve fed the kids sushi since they started solids. it’s healthy, served in perfect bite sized portions and has all the foods kids generally enjoy like, avocado, fish, and mango.  these are all super soft, flavourful and great foods for early eaters.
anyhow so, here’s how we did it and what we made. we kept it pretty simple.

INGREDIENTS:
1 avocado
1 carrot
1 mango
1/2 english cucumber
1 package dried seaweed sheets 
2-3 cups sticky rice
2 cups 

* as desired
pickled ginger
wasabi paste
soy sauce or tamari sauce
edamame

** you will also need a sushi rolling mat or something like it to roll up the ingredients in.


INSTRUCTIONS:
1. cut and slice all ingredients first.
2. take your rolling mat, place one sheet of seaweed, then a layer of rice and finally choose which flavours you want inside. the guys chose salmon and avocado, carrot and mango, shrimp and carrot, and so on. it really doesn’t matter, just make what you like!
3. carefully roll up the ingredients. it may be useful to push down a little as you are rolling. use a little water to make the seaweed sticky and once the roll is ready, cut up into bite sized pieces.
4. serve with edamame, pickled ginger, wasabi and a sauce for dipping. we prefer tamari sauce to soy sauce.


the danger with sushi is eating too much, and we made way too much for dinner. but, these bites sized delights are perfect for school lunches or for afternoon snack. 

xo, mama lola

holy moly, guacamole!

is there such a thing as too much guacamole? i don’t think so. today for a family dinner, we were asked to contribute some guacamole, which i was happy to make.

is this not the most perfect avocado you have ever seen?


INGREDIENTS:

2 ripe avocado’s
1 tomato
1/4 of a lemon’s juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
generous sprinkling of black pepper

this serves 4-6 people

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. dice up tomato and cut up avocado. place into a mixing bowl. 
2. mash avocado and tomato with a fork. add salt, paprika, lemon juice and black pepper. mix ingredients well.
3. chill before serving.



my kids love guacamole. we eat it not just with tortilla chips, but often on crackers, toast or we dip various veggies into it. so healthy, so good for you skin, hair and your brain!

after dinner there was some serious trouble gaming going on! remember that silly board game from the 80’s? well, bear received it as a gift at christmas time and he is what some may call, addicted! 



xo, mama lola

cod chowder soup recipe

i’ve always loved a good fish soup. i grew up in finland where fish is a huge staple in the diet and is cooked in a large variety of ways.


INGREDIENTS:

approx. 1 lb fresh cod (frozen is ok, fresh tastes better)
2tbsp butter
4-6 yukon potatoes
1 yellow onion
1 small red pepper
2 stalks of celery
2 carrots
2-3 tbsp fresh dill
3 tbsp flour
4 cups (whole)* milk
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
(1 cup cream)*

* i use whole milk, so i skip the cream. if you’re using skim, you may want to add the cream.



INSTRUCTIONS:
1. bring 4 cups of water to boil in a skillet. cube, cut cod into bite size pieces. place into skillet, cover and simmer for approx. 5-7 minutes or until cod is flaky. remove from water with a slotted spoon or spatula, place on plate and set aside.

2. melt butter in a large pot; add diced potatoes, onion, bell pepper, carrot and celery. stir often. stir in flour and slowly add the milk. add, salt, black pepper and mustard. reduce heat to ensure the milk will not burn, simmer for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are tender. watch the milk carefully!

3. add cod, dill and cream. stir in gently. heat thoroughly.


this soup is well worth all of the chopping and prep work. i get all the dicing done during lion’s nap and then once it’s time to make dinner it’s all ready to go. i try to do prep stuff often before hand, because i never know what kind of a mood bear will be in after school. and, sometimes it’s nice to be able to linger at the playground or park after school.


my kids love soup and cod chowder is not any different. 
on this night we had a side of fresh veggies, swiss cheese or brie cheese, which is bear’s favourite on some finnish rye crackers. delicious!



xo, mama lola

skillet gnocchi with sundried tomatoes

since finding out about bear’s egg allergy almost a year ago, we have had to modify our food intake. my meal planning hasn’t really changed that much, but there are some tings that we really miss. like pasta. normal durham wheat pasta. i don’t buy it, as most of the packages say may contain eggs so i don’t think it’s a risk worth taking, so i buy rice pasta.

but, luckily as the taste of rice pasta is a bit plain and bland, i often substitute with gnocchi, which is basically little potato dumplings. yum!

i found this gnocchi and kale recipe at peace, love organic mommy and i knew had to make something similar, with ingredients that we love. so i did and it was a HUGE hit!



INGREDIENTS:

3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
3/4 tsp basil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 medium yellow onion
1/2 jar sundried tomatoes
1 large handful of spinach
1/2 red bell pepper
1 portabello mushrooms

1 large package of gnocchi

DIRECTIONS:

1. boil a large pot of water. read gnocchi package for water amounts and gnocchi cooking instructions.
2. in a pan heat oil, add diced onions. sautee until lightly browned. add chopped mushrooms, basil, salt and other chopped veggies, except the spinach.
3. add sundried tomatoes.
4. stir gently, ensuring the vegetables are evenly cooking. 
5. once your gnocchi has boiled, drain water from pot and add pasta to your skillet. continue stirring gently. you want the gnocchi to absorb the flavours of the vegetables and be coated in the olive oil.
6. add spinach. keep stirring. remove from heat.
7. serve in a plate or bowl and top with fresh ground pepper. enjoy!

dear hubby and the boys go gaga for gnocchi. it’s super filling and it doesn’t take much to fill up a belly. 

let me know how you like it!

xo, mama lola

oven roasted brussel sprouts & new potatoes!

i love oven roasted veggies for dinner. especially during the winter months, when eating lots of earthy foods feels so right. i also love cranking up the oven, as it warms the house a bit more too!

i often make veggies in the oven for my family, the boys love ’em!

INGREDIENTS:

potatoes
brussel sprouts
carrots

1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup

*it really depends on how many veggies you use for the oil/syrup ratio.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. chop vegetables to desired size.
2. add olive oil, vegetables, salt and maple syrup to oven safe dish. mix ingredients well and bake in preheated oven of 425F for approximately 30-45 minutes. it depends on your oven for the temperature and time. 
3. mix the veggies thoroughly about half way through cooking.



this bowl of veggies was devoured with some baked salmon and a green salad.


here’s what a dinner table may look like at our house. i love to use table cloths, especially in the winter months. on this particular evening the kids set the table using their plastic playdo mats as placemats, so it goes!

what does dinner look like at your house?

xo, mama lola

slow cooker vegetarian chili

i love me a good chili, especially during these cold winter months. 



this is my own version of a veggie chili. there are lots and lots of recipes out there, and sometimes it’s good to try something different with an old favourite. but, here is my tried and tested vegetarian chili recipe.



INGREDIENTS:

1 can of black beans
1 can chick peas
1 can stewed, diced tomatoes
1/2 jar of tomato pasta sauce

1 large yellow onion
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
1 zucchini
1/2 red bell pepper

3 tblsp olive olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
1-3 tsp chili powder (depends how spicy you like it)
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2-3 bay leafs

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. chop up onion and garlic. stew in pan with heated olive oil.
2. throw in chopped carrots, celery, zucchini and red bell pepper. add to slow cooker.
3. add beans and spices to the slow cooker. mix ingredients well before starting cooking process.
4. i cook mine for about 5 hours, but i have done it in less time when in a time pinch!
5. serve with a dollop of sour cream or shredded cheese on top!

my kids love chili! sometimes if i have pasta sauce or rice left overs in the fridge i will throw those into my chili. and, if i feel like we need a protein kick i will add a block of tofu of any density.

enjoy!

xo, mama lola

recipe for : coconut milk & shrimp stir-fry : caused a fight.

it is so confusing to me how one week the kids will love one food, and despise it the next. it is all so random and probably not even about the food, but about power instead. 

last night, i made a super-duper fabulous coconut milk & shrimp stir-fry, which bear refused to eat. as soon as he got to the table he started his repetitive dialogue of “i hate this”, “i don’t like this”, which is a pretty common mantra around here recently. but, it’s frustrating because last week he gobbled up a similar stir-fry. all week he’s been at his rude, and last night, well, i had had it. i told me very calmly that it was time for him to change his attitude, eat up and be grateful. he didn’t take my suggestion, so he was sent to his room.


i quite enjoyed the stir-fry and am happy to share the recipe with you!

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium yellow onion
2 carrots
1 large handful kale
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 block of firm tofu
3 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 braggs soy sauce
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp oregano
1 sprinkling of fresh ground black pepper
1 package of pre-cooked frozen shrimp* (i took the tails off, as it’s easier for the kids)
1 can coconut milk

brown rice (how ever much you like to eat!)


DIRECTIONS:

1. chop onions, cube tofu and carrots into desired sizes. finely chop garlic and chop up kale.
2. start cooking your rice in a separate pot.
3. heat sesame oil in your wok or pan on a medium heat. do not over heat.
4. add onions and keep stirring until lightly browned.
5. add garlic and salt.
6. add tofu and braggs/ soy sauce. the pan will steam and spatter  if it does this, turn your heat down. keep stirring the tofu so that it doesn’t stick or burn.
6. add carrots, turmeric, oregano and cumin.
7. let the ingredients stew together. if you have lid for your pan, put that on. 
8. once the ingredients look nicely browned, softened and cooked, add coconut milk and shrimp. stir thoroughly.
9. let the sauce stew on a low temperature for a while. 
10. serve the shrimp coconut sauce on rice.


*check the thawing instructions on your shrimp package. i tossed my shrimp in a colander and ran them under cool water.


i personally love me a good stir- fry. look at all of the beautiful colours and textures; makes me hungry just looking at the final product! we eat at least one stir-fry a week. i use whatever veggies i find in the fridge. 


so, eventually bear apologized to me for being rude, but he still refused to eat his dinner, so it was straight to bed. he actually asked to go bed, which i understand. after three days of school he is always tired, super tired.

i hate dinner time battles. i take them personally as i am always thinking of the kids while preparing their meals. i think, “oh, lion loves tofu in this shape so that’s what i’ll do” or “bear was so excited last week when we had shrimp, so i’ll throw lots into this stir-fry tonight.he’ll be so happy”. silly me, i suppose!
what are your kids like at dinner? how do you deal with these kinds of power struggles?

here’s hoping tonight’s dinner goes more smoothly!


xo, mama lola

potato & leek soup.

fall is the perfect season for enjoying a bowl of yummy soup! this particular soup is a family favourite and has been in on our regular dinner rotation for years. it’s fast, delicious and there’s always room for creativity! we started with the original recipe from “the joy of cooking”, but through the years we have modified it to fit our tastes better. the recipe below is ours.



INGREDIENTS:

3 medium leeks
7-10 medium yellow potatoes
4-5 cups water/ broth*
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 sprinkling of ground black pepper
3 cloves of garlic

DIRECTIONS:

1. wash and peel potatoes. cut in to quarters.
2. wash and chop leeks.
3. chop garlic into desired size.
4. heat olive oil in your soup pot on your stove, but do not let it get too hot. 
5. add vegetables and garlic. let them sautee at a medium heat. then add the salt.
6. add broth and let the veggies soften.
7. once the potatoes are soft, take pot off the hot stove top and with an immersion blender puree until smooth. sometimes i add a little water if i think the consistency is too thick. you could also add a little milk.
8. serve with fresh ground pepper and a dollop of sour cream on top. 

* we only use veggie broth as we are vegetarian. some use a chicken broth. i prefer to use a homemade broth, instead of the bouillon cubes, as they often tend to be full unknown additives.

** today, i added a medium bunch of fresh kale to the mix. just before i blended the soup i finely chopped up the kale and added it to the pot. it’s a quick and painless way to add dark leafy greens into the family diet!


enjoy!
happy monday everyone!

. . . . . . . 

lastly, i want to mention that i’ll be participating in a blog carnival soon… can’t wait to let you guys know the exciting details!


xo, mama lola
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