Cooking with Kids {Basic Pizza Dough}

I love cooking with kids, my mom cooked with me, I cooked in my classroom and my two girls have been in the kitchen with me from early on. Now I am not going to say it’s easy, cooking with children. What’s easy is taking a picture of your child cracking an egg and then once the picture is taken it’s like “okay, you’re getting it all over, get out!” Am I right? The key is to go in knowing it is going to be messy and if you have multiple kiddos then there is always going to be a fight. BUT, it’s good for them, good for their brain and if you have your wine glass full, a little easier on you!

Kaili picked a pizza dough recipe out of her cookbook and read me the ingredients.

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup water

1 package yeast

2 tbs olive oil plus 1 more for the bowl

2 tbs sugar

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

Combine sugar, water and yeast in a measuring cup or small bowl.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.

Pour yeast mixture and oil in well and stir into dry ingredients until you have a soft dough.

If dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.

Knead until smooth on a lightly floured surface.

Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled.

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How simple is that? Now the hardest part is a toss up between the clean up or the refereeing.—> Take a big sip of wine!

Once I put the dough on a hot baking sheet, they slathered on store bought pizza sauce {it was a weeknight meal y’all} and cheese. Anything else in their mind is “gross”. Side eye.

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And voila! A cheese pizza that they both ate and didn’t kill each other over!

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Mother’s Day

I hope all you wonderful moms had a great Mother’s day. We earned this holiday! I grew two  human beings inside of me and went through hell to get them to exit my body in a safe and timely manner. Then there is the aftermath of the birth, the NICU, the bleeding, the pain!  Being a mom is hard and it definitely takes a village. But we do it, everyday. We, you and me, we are badass!

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Kaili made me the sweetest Mother’s day gift at school. She knows me pretty well.

Saturday I was taken out to brunch at my favorite of the Brian Malarkey restaurants, Herringbone, where “fish meats field.”

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The atmosphere in the place is just amazing.

We decided to graze through a bunch of dishes that we normally wouldn’t order for brunch. Settling in with the endless Rosé, we started with oysters.

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I am a huge seafood cheerleader. I have had oysters before and eh, they are fine. I don’t get all the hype, especially when someone says they love them. Wait, do you like the taste of a fresh plain oyster or do you like to dump all the fixings on it? Because I feel like you’re not really tasting the oyster when its dripping with horseradish and lemon juice. Anyways….Here is Shane’s first time trying a raw oyster.

Pretty underwhelming reaction huh? Thats pretty much how I feel about them too.

Next we tore into a perfectly piping hot basket of beignets. We kept having to swat the kids hands away. Back up ladies, eat your eggs, these are ours!

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For our third course we decided on the whole fish ceviche. Basically a raw crudo of Branzino. It was amazing. So fresh and clean, like eating the ocean with bits of chili and micro cilantro for a proper punch and crunch.

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The girls were being so very good. I think this is a first time in a long time that they were this good at a restaurant. We decided to go with it and try one more dish while they were on this best behavior kick.

The lobster roll. I have yet to have a really good one in my 40 years so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

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But this, this was delicious. The lobster wasn’t hidden under globs of mayo, it was left to shine. The brioche bun was pillowy soft, buttery and melted in your mouth. I was so surprised with how much I liked it.

There was some live music in the front of the restaurant, we took our wine and went to listen for a bit. The girls played around patiently waiting for us while simultaneously asking for ice cream every two minutes.

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This entire meal from the kids, to the food was perfect. By far the best dining experience I have had in a long time. Since we know I am picky when it comes to dining out, you should all stop by Herringbone if you are in La jolla. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

 

Hawaiian Poke

We took the kids to the beach park in La Jolla last week. It was sunny but cold and the wind had a mind of it’s own, so did the damm seagulls. But it was beautiful out.

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There was a flock of thieves stealing snacks from our hands, so brazen they probably would have landed on our heads for just a nibble of whatever we were eating. They even took sunscreen and wipes out of our bags, but quickly dropped them when they realized it wasn’t the goods they wanted. Kaili wasn’t having any of it, she would run after them, screaming and arms flailing but they were unfazed. Tucking our stuff away and making sure all was zipped up, we headed down to the water.

fullsizerender-1img_1338The younger one decided she was done and wanted to head back up to dry land. Probably one of the hardest parts of parenting multiple children, keeping track of children wanting to go separate ways. We dredged back up to the boardwalk  where we stopped and attempted a few pictures, this was the best.

There is nothing like getting home from the beach, your skin is sun-kissed, your hair has that sea salt texture and your skin has a hint of saltiness. I love the coast and I love seafood and that night I wanted fish, raw fish, good raw fish….like a delicious Poké.

Saturday morning we headed to our local wholesale seafood market. We bought some A. Apples, B. Bananas….just kidding. Does anyone else remember that car game? No, great, moving on.

Tuna, sushi grade tuna, Big Eye tuna to be exact.I haven’t worked with fresh raw tuna before. It’s been only the past few years that I have had some really good Poké, trying it at random but appropriate restaurants if you catch my drift. As time went on I really wanted to try and make it myself but the Mr. isn’t a fan, so I needed the right timing to make it for someone other than myself. After our beach day this was the time.

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I wanted it to sit for at least 3 hours before it was served. I based my recipe off what I love most in a Poké, soy, sesame and onion in the leading cast. After a little recipe hunting I had decided on a final ingredient list.

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Now, if you don’t cook often a lot of these ingredients might seem daunting  or maybe they are items you don’t normally have in your pantry. For me,  they are staples, I just needed to pick up a sweet onion and macadamia nuts, this was an easy shopping list for me. Simple to throw together, no recipe, just my thoughts. The final product made me proud, really proud. This was probably the best I have had and I never say that lightly, especially when I’m the one in the kitchen.

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Ingredients

1 lb. sushi grade tuna

1/4 cups small slices of sweet onion

1 green onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. black sesame seeds, toasted

1 Tbs. macadamia nuts, roasted and salted, chopped

1 Tbs dark soy sauce

2 Tbs light soy sauce

1/2 Tbs. Mirin

1 tsp. chili garlic sauce

2 Tbs sesame oil

Kosher salt to taste

* I made a Wasabi drizzle with a little mayo, wasabi powder and lemon juice. All to taste. I put the mixture into a sandwich bag, snipped the end off and piped it on top. If you like it spicy and the flavor of wasabi I recommend you give it a go!

Directions

Slice the tuna into 1 inch cubes and place into a non reactive bowl aka glass.

Add all the other ingredients and mix. Cover tightly and let hang out for a couple of hours. Serve over rice, wonton crisps or just dig in with your hands.

 

 

 

On the Road Again

I pulled Kaili out of school a tad early so we could hit the road, destination Walla Walla.  The girls did good, better than I expected to be honest. After a pretty decent dinner in Stockton, we finished up the days drive in Dixon, a town outside of Sacramento. It was 8:30 p.m by the time we were all ready for bed and the girls crashed without a peep.

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Dinner at Harvest Moon, Stockton, Ca.

After a quick hotel breakfast we were back on the road again by 8:00 a.m. It was a long day in the car and the weather wasn’t great. We saw Mount Shasta and a few beautiful rainbows but besides that our sights were set on Newport, Oregon.

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We hoped to get there while there was still daylight but by the time we checked in to our hotel and made it down to the bay front for dinner, it was pitch dark outside. Dinner was good, we have been wanting to try Mo’s for a long time, it was fun to check that box.

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Too cold and dark to walk around, so we went back to the room to get the girls and myself in bed. I fell asleep before 8:00 p.m.

Kaili woke up around 6:00 a.m so we had an early start to the day. With cheese and ice cream on the mind, we made our way to the Tillamook factory. Kaili seemed to enjoy watching the cheese packaging process and pretending to milk the fake cow. Averi was just enjoying being out of the car and neither of them seemed to care about the cheese. We were disappointed to find out the cafe was only serving breakfast since we had our minds set on grilled cheese, so we settled for ice cream instead.

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The only other stop we planned on before arriving in Walla Walla was Multnomah falls.  It was a perfect spot for a bathroom break and a stretch of the legs.

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On the third day and the final stretch  of the trip, Averi decided to give into a nap. It was bliss.

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We made our arrival into the town and conveniently drove by one of the wineries we are members of, so of course we had to stop.

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It’s good to be here and it’s good not having to get back into the car for another day of driving tomorrow. Maybe wine tasting downtown instead.

 

“Uh Oh”

Averi has left fear in the dust and decided to start walking. Granted, she isn’t in any hurry when she is on her feet. She knows her speed lies in her crawl, but she will get there soon. Yesterday she just popped up on her own and went for it. I don’t know if this is why her nights have been a wreck, or if it’s the teeth coming in, or both, but it sucks and I hope it ends soon. On with it, here is a little video of  Miss twinkle toes.

She is also saying “uh oh” throughout the day and even in the middle of the night. I went in to her room at some ungodly hour the other night and she was sitting in her crib, “uh oh, uh oh” she says. Her pacifier was on the ground. Luckily, I didn’t hear from her again until the sun was up. She will purposely drop things so she can say her favorite words, I must admit, it’s cute.

It’s been a week without bottles, well almost all bottles. I didn’t rid the nighttime bottle for two reasons. One; I didn’t want to just cut them all out cold turkey. She was still taking about 4 or 5 bottles a day, I thought it would be plain mean to stop them altogether. Two; the bedtime bottle was more for comfort and since she is my last baby forever, I selfishly didn’t want to give up that 10 minutes of cuddle time with her…not yet. How did it go? Fine. She was a lot more hungry after that so she eats and eats, the girl can put away food. Her schedule looks somewhat like this:

6-6:30 Wake up

7:00 Breakfast

9/10:00-naps for an hour to an hour and a half

Snack

11:30/12 lunch

2:00 nap…sometimes 😦

3:00 snack

5:15 dinner

Bath

6:15/6:30 bottle and bed

This is during the week, when we are busy on weekends naps are pushed later or the afternoon nap is skipped altogether. She is pretty go with the flow, luckily.

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Kaili, that girl is sumpthin’ else. She is saying things like “turn it up, that song is my jam” The kid just goes and goes, doesn’t nap, doesn’t drop and when everyone else’s kids are  passing out in cars she just keeps chugging along. Even after an early wake up, school, the park, and swimming, she will lay in bed for a good half hour before she drifts away. Please tell me, how do I make her tired?

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Playing Catch Up

This poor blog has been so neglected and I have no excuses. Let’s catch up. Averi is 13 months today. Yes I am serious. She has gotten her own little personality. She loves to dance and, like her sister, jams out to Uptown Funk, will that song ever die? Sheesh. She can clap and give kisses and her pretend sneeze is the cutest. I am trying to phase out the bottles and so far so good, ask me again in a week. Her body isn’t adjusting great to the whole milk and she doesn’t want to drink much out of her sippy cup, she prefers water. I am going to focus on getting her dairy through food, again ask me in a week. Remember how I said she is whiny and clingy? Well it turns out all she wanted was her lovey and pacifier, give her those and she is just fine. So unlike her sister, I am okay with her having them outside of her crib, if I am out of options, AKA making dinner or if I have my hands full and can’t put up with the crying any more. I may be creating a monster but right now it works for me.

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We have been super busy every weekend the past few months so we are taking a month off and laying low. We spent the last weekend taking a lot of walks and checking out open houses around San Diego, Kaili loves it as much as we do.

I’m trying to get back into meal planning for the week. This week I butterflied my first whole chicken and threw it on the grill. I have been cooking chicken wrong because this was so easy and so good. Plus it only took half of the time to cook as it does a whole chicken AND I didn’t have to heat the house up…winning. I also went back to an old favorite, I forgot how good this dish was and how simple, it’s going back on rotation. I made Kale two ways. I prefer my kale in chip form but I can’t get through an entire bunch of kale that way, so I took the rest and threw it a pot with quinoa and water and once it was cooked, turned it into a salad. I dressed it with olive oil, lemon juice, a serrano and some parmesan. The leftovers made a great lunch topped with chicken.

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Kaili and her eating, ugh. It’s a challenge to get her to eat anything new. Lately she doesn’t even want mac n cheese. She is starting to gag on even her favorite foods, the struggle is real. I see all of these great meal ideas for kids but I don’t even want to waste my time making them because I know she will turn her nose up at it. But then on a random day she will gobble down peas and eat an entire avocado…. This is a phase, right?

IMG_5798Kaili has gymnastics again this month and she has some Toys R Us money burning a hole in her pocket, I wonder what she will pick out? Does the Frozen phase fade out or live forever? We shall see. Happy Monday!

Eats and Greets

I am saving up for my next life. I am going to hire a night nanny. She will come at 6:00pm and take care of all the tedious bed time hoopla {we will keep story time} wake up with the kids when they cry, fall out of bed or just plain don’t want to sleep and wake up with them at 5:30 in the morning. Then I will glide in, all bright eyed and bushy tailed and redeem my position.

We spent part of the day in Seaport village last week, I have been there so many times now I can’t keep track, we seriously live in the best place. Averi went on her first carousel ride and we had a very overpriced lunch but the view….

sisters first rodeo
Sisters first rodeo
Lunch with a view
Lunch with a view

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Shane and I were lucky enough to get away for a 21 and over dinner while the folks were here. Averi had been being such a little PITA that I was nervous about leaving her…but she was just fine. We wanted to stay away from downtown due to Comic Con so it was the perfect excuse to try Brian Malarkey’s La Jolla eatery Herringbone. The vibe of this place is sound. I wish I lived walking distance, I would be a regular.

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Herringbone

There is a booze bar and a raw bar and I want to get to know both. I ordered the Branzino and it was by far the best I have ever had. Don’t forget that the cheeks on fish are the best part, just slap that hand away when someone tries to be cheeky. It was paired with an artichoke salad and a minty pea puree that put London’s mushy peas to shame, sorry lads.

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Sun goes down in LJ
Sun goes down in LJ

We also knocked out another restaurant on our to-do list…The OB noodle house. This is a place where you need a group of people and everyone is into sharing. So many great things on their menu. Everything I tried was good, Kaili liked the Pho and you have to try the garlic chili chicken wings…drool.

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Sunset Cliffs, OB
Sunset Cliffs, OB

It was a fun visit with the in-laws as always. Averi is back in her room and her crib and it’s been glorious. Good sleep has her like….Chillen.

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