Ice Pops

It has been hot in early part of July.  In our neighborhood, there were days when the daily temperature went well above 80 degrees.  I had Ravi and Maxie both relentlessly requesting ice creams and popsicles.  Though we went out to ice cream shops during the weekends, such frequency did not satisfy Ravi and Maxie’s demands.  So I began to look for ways to satisfy their hunger by making some cold delicious myself.

I found a couple of ice pop books resting on my mom’s bookshelf gathering dust, so I borrowed them for myself.  After flipping through them, I was impressed with how easy it was to make popsicles.  In fact, I had most ingredients available even in my poorly stocked pantry.   It looked so easy and cheap to make that buying them from stores seemed to be ridiculous.  Of the bat, I made some and they were an instant hit!  I have to admit that a part of that success comes from the mini pop molds that are just so cute and inviting.  Ravi can usually eat anywhere from four to six in a single sitting, while Maxie will just hold one till it melts.  So one batch (makes 9 ice pops) satisfies their demands for one round, which gives me time to re-freeze more for later.



Maxie and his ice pops

Here are the two recipes I have tried so far.  Both turned out really well.

Mint Lemonade Pops


2/3 cup of sugar

1 1/3 cups of water

2 tablespoons packed, fresh mint leaves, rinsed

2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice


1.  Combine the sugar, 2/3 cup of water and mint in a small saucepan.  Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a simmer.  Let stand until cool.  Pour the mixture through a strainer into a large bowl. Discard the solids.  Whisk in the lemon juice and remaining 2/3 cup water.

2.  Pour the mixture into ice pop molds of your choice and insert sticks.  Freeze until firm, at least 5 hours or up to 1 week.


Blueberry Ice Pops


4 cup of good quality frozen or fresh blueberries

1 2/3 cups of water

2/3 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


1.  Combine the blueberries, water, sugar, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.  Stir in the lemon juice.

2.  Pour the mixture into ice pop molds of your choice and insert sticks.  Freeze until firm, at least 5 hours or up to 1 week.


To unmold, run hot water over the outside of the molds for a few seconds, then gently pull the sticks.  As for my mini mold, I only had to pull them out and the flexible silicon mold allow the ice pops out without damage.  Also, I went with half of the ingredients since the mini mold is way smaller than the regular size and was still had enough mixture for 2 re-freezes.



Chicken with Rice [Recipe]

Being a mother of two active toddlers with a full-time job makes cooking dinner a very difficult task to do.  Even though my mom cooks for us several nights a week, we still have to fend for ourselves the rest of the time.  Cooking dinner on a week night is especially challenging because I get home late.  So I am making it my mission to find simple and healthy recipes that require minimum prep and cooking time.

Here’s something I tried on Monday which I was able to finish in 50 minutes.


 Chicken with Rice (adapted from Mark Bittman‘s recipe)

Time: About 50 minutes;  Makes: 4 servings



2 tablespoons olive oil

5 organic chicken drum sticks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium onions, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1.25 cups short-grain white rice

2 cups organic chicken stock

2 cups chopped fresh vegetables

2 tablespoon miso paste (optional)


1. Wash chicken pieces under running water and pat dry with paper towel

2. Put the oil in a medium size skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the chicken, skin side down.  Turn and rotate to another side after 5 to 7 minutes, make sure the heat is low enough so the chicken doesn’t burn. Remove them from the pan.

3.  Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until they soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, vegetables, and rice; cook, stirring, until the rice is glossy and coated with oil.

4. Return the chicken to the pan, add chicken broth and miso, and stir gently and thoroughly to dissolve miso and combine everything. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat so it bubbles gently but steadily. Cover the skillet and cook, undisturbed, for 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let skillet sit undisturbed for another 5 minutes, then season and serve.


The dish came out looking great and Mario enjoyed his plate very much.  It was my first attempt so I did spend some time on indecision.  Nevertheless, I was able to prepare it in 25 minutes, plus 20 minutes of cooking time and 5 minute waiting time, I was able to bring dinner onto my dinning table in 50 minutes.

Some notes about this recipe:

1. I took the chicken out earlier that day so it didn’t have to spend any time on defrosting when I arrived home.

2. I put the chicken in the skillet first, then used the time between checking on the chicken to washing and chopping onions and vegetables.

3.  As an alternate to miso paste, you can use various sauces or even curry paste.  I used bell pepper and celery for my vegetables but whatever you find in your refrigerator will work too.  Keep it flexible and fun.



Alone with the Kids… Bake Banana Bread [Recipe]

A couple of Saturdays ago, I made a banana bread.

Early that morning, Mario left for work and I was left taking care of the kids alone.  I wasn’t thrilled about it because we had plans and now they were broken.  Take care of the kids all by myself wasn’t going to be a walk in the park either.  I decided to distracted myself by making a banana bread.

As I was making it, I was surprised at how simple the recipe was.  It was definitely easier than making cupcakes.  I lined my baking pan with parchment paper by folded it to fit pan.  I left the extra length on the either side and called them “wings.”

This one is ready for the oven.


It took an hour and fifteen minutes to bake, and it came out looking gorgeous.


The wings came in handy.  I pulled the whole thing right out without any damage to the bread or pan.


I was slightly concerned with the couple of char spots on the top side of the bread, but the bread turned out incredibly moist once I cut it open.  Though next time I will begin to check the bread at 1 hour into baking.  You can see where the mashed banana bits and nuts are from the cut section.  Yum!


I am not going to lie, I ate the first piece within 5 minutes.  I didn’t even wait for it to cool.  Even though I loved it, Ravi only ate one (thick!) piece and Maxie turned his nose up and walked away.  It was really good, but I wasn’t interested in eating the whole thing all by myself.  A light bulb went off in my head, I should deliver this to Mario and his team!  That would be such a wifely thing to do.  The best part?  That’s at least half an hour with the kids securely buckled in their car seat, unable to cause anymore mayhem at home.

Mario came home that night and thanked me.  He told me it was still warm when they opened it and ate the whole thing in minutes.  Then he told me he had to go back to work on Sunday…


Maxie vs. Cupcakes [Recipe]

I am beginning to love baking.  Earlier this year I got the Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes book with the goal of becoming proficient at baking cupcakes for my kids’ birthdays and other special events.  I have tried a few recipes, and recently I baked the Marble Cupcake.  These were tasty cupcakes.  It was the first time I did marbling and I could use some practice to make the colors mix better.



I had hoped that Ravi and Max would eat them.  Ravi did but Maxie enjoyed playing with the cupcake rather than eating them.  More specifically, Maxie enjoyed taking the cupcake liners off and then dissecting the content.  I watched him and he took off the liner off every single cupcake while not taking a single bite.  I had to intervene and save the fruit of my labor, and try a few for myself.  It was really fluffy and moist, I don’t know why Maxie didn’t want to try.




Martha Steward Marble Cupcakes

Makes 16 cupcakes

1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk, room temperature
1/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Stir together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine milk and cream.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk mixture, and beating until combined.

3. To make chocolate batter, measure out 1 cup batter, and transfer to another bowl. Combine cocoa and the boiling water in a bowl. Stir into reserved 1 cup batter.

4. Fill prepared cups with alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate batter, filling each three-quarters full. Run the tip of a paring knife or wooden skewer through batter in a figure-eight motion to make swirls. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until tops are golden and a cake tester (i.e. toothpick) inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

5. To finish dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.



Mass Cooking Event 2013 [Party Recipes]

Since Maxie became more (eh, a little tiny more) independent this year, Mario and I have decided to throw some parties to reconnect with our old friends that we longer have time to hang out with.  We pretend these parties are for Ravi and Maxie’s birthday, but we invite none of their friends but our own.  We hope this tactic will work for another few year before they begin to demand real birthday parties with their own friends.

So the party we had last Saturday was for Maxie’s birthday.  This time around, our invite list had 90% acceptance rate and that translates into over 30 guests.  Once I got over the initial shock, I went to work to find the easiest recipe that cover all bases (courses, meat type, special preferences…etc.)  My strategy in tackling these large meals is to bake, and choose recipes that requires  minimum cutting and can be at least partly prepared in advance. Here’s our menu.

Meal Menu

Balsamic Strawberries with Whipped Mascarpone Cheese

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Mediterranean Salad

Portuguese Chicken

Meat Loaf

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail


Once the menu was finalized, I began to generate a shopping list and broke it down into two categories: grocery store buys (Ralphs) and bulk buys (Costco).  I had planned to take Friday (the day before) off to prepare for the food.

I had a shopping list a page long!  Friday morning I went shopping immediately after I dropped off the kids.  2 stores and 2 hours later, I finally get what I needed and headed home.  But I was already behind schedule, No time for lunch or breaks!  I scheduled Maxie’s birthday party that same afternoon and I had to bake cupcakes, make frosting, bag party favors, and prepare snacks.   I spring into baking action immediately.  Good thing I treated myself to some latte in the morning, that’s breakfast and lunch right there!  By 3:15PM, I got my act together and raced over to the daycare.  Good thing nobody got mad at me for being late.

At night after sending the kids to bed with Mario, I came back to the kitchen to begin real work.  I checked the time, it was 9PM.  The goal for that night was to do all the cutting, mixing, and any other prep work that can be done ahead.  That means browning all 9 lbs of chicken legs, and cut and pack all its ingredients; mixing up the meat loaf; defrosting the shrimps and put them into marinate.  I store the prep’ed item into large zipped lock bags and then into the refrigerator they go.  By the time I finished it was 12:30PM.

I began cooking Saturday morning at 9AM.  The main dishes were already prep’ed so all I had to do there was to bake them.  The challenge was to do the strawberries, brussel sprouts, and Mediterranean Salad while baking and keeping the kids out of the kitchen.  There are definitely a down side in the open kitchen floor plan.  12:15PM, my first guest arrived to find me in my pajamas needing a shower.  How embarrassing.  12:40PM, Flo has cleaned up her act and ready for prime time.  One last dish, meat load, in the oven.  Success!  It felt like a war and I barely had time to breath.  So I didn’t take any pictures of the food.  But the food did turn out great.  I personally loved the Portuguese Chicken and the strawberries.  Mario loved the Mediterranean Salad.  Even the brussel sprouts had fans.  Supper success!

Okay, we are getting to the recipes.  Some links are already attached to the menu above.  Here are the other ones and some of my comments.

Balsamic Strawberries with Whipped Mascarpone Cheese:  I wanted to keep this one fresh so it was made entirely on Saturday morning.  Very tasty and simple to make.  5 stars!


1/3   cup balsamic vinegar

2       teaspoons, plus 4 teaspoons sugar

1/2   teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2   cup chilled whipping cream

1/2   teaspoons vanilla extra

3      pint baskets strawberries, hulled & halved


1.  Combine vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar, and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Boil until syrup is reduced to scant 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Transfer to small bowl; cool completely.  (Note: this can be made 2 days ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.)

2.  Combine mascarpone cheese, cream, vanilla, and 2 teaspoons sugar in medium bowl. Whisk until thick soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.

3.  Combine berries and remaining 2 teaspoons sugar in large bowl; drizzlewith balsamic syrup and toss to blend. Let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4.  Divide berries and syrup among small clear plastic cups. Top with mascarpone mixture.


Mediterranean Salad. Mario’s favorite.  Made entirely on Saturday morning.


Portuguese Chicken.  This dish took the longest to make and most of that was the night before.  All I had to do the next day was to assemble and bake.  I used 9 lbs of organic chicken drumsticks, so I used 3 times as much ingredients.  I also used foil on sheet pans instead of baking in a pan because I don’t like to clean up.  My favorite dish of the day, well worth the time.  5 stars!

Sorry I cannot give credit to the originator of the recipe, as I got it from my friend Drew who got it from somewhere else.


1   cup all purpose

1   tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika

3   lbs chicken pieces (with skin and bones)

2   tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

14.5  ounce can diced tomatoes in juice

4   ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped

1/2 tablespoon onion powder

2   large roasted red peppers from jar, halved, cut into 3/4″ stripps

6   large garlic cloves, pressed

4   large fresh italian parsley springs

4   large fresh bay leaves, bruised

1/2 cup dry white whine

1/2 cup tawny port

1   tablespoon Dijon mustard

1   tablespoon tomato paste

1   tablespoon butter, room temperature


1.  Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Whisk 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1.5 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in large bowl. Add chicken pieces to seasoned flour, 1 at a time, and turn to coat. Heat oil in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, and saute until brown, 3 – 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate; reserve skillet.

2.  Arrange chicken in single layer in large ovenproof pot. Top with tomatoes and juice, prosciutto, onion powder, peppers, garlic, parsley, and bay leaves; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon paprika. Add wine and Port to reserved skillet. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Remove from heat. Whisk in mustard and tomato paste; Pour mixture over chicken and bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to oven.

3.  Braise chicken until very tender, about 1.5 hours. Discard bay leaves and parsley. Using tongs, transfer chicken and toppings to platter. Return sauce in pot to simmer. If thicker sauce is desired, stir in 1 tablespoon flour and butter in small bowl until smooth paste forms. Add flour paste to sauce and whisk to blend. Simmer until sauce thickens to desired consistency, whisking often. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon over chicken and serve.


Meat Loaf.  Mario and I both much more prefer the old fashion meat loaf. It is so simple that I thought it might be too common so I used a fancier recipe. But the old fashion definitely beat out the fashionable this time.

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail.  I followed the entire recipe 6 weeks ago at Ravi’s party but most people just skipped the sauce.  So this time around I only made shrimps and they are so good.  I got two 2lb bag of large shrimps from Costco, defrosted and marinated with olive oil, salt and pepper the night before.  All I had to do on Saturday was to pour them out onto baking sheet and bake.  But do be careful of the bake time.  It took me 12-15 minutes instead of 8-10 minutes from the recipe.  The simplest and tastiest recipe that day! Love it!


This party was definitely an improvement from previously ones.  Once my last dish was in the oven by 12:30PM, I was free to enjoy myself.  The party lasted till 4:30PM and we all had a great time.  The best part?  It was so easy to clean up.  Since I mostly baked using sheet pans with foil, all I had to do was to toss them into trash and call it done.  I sent most left overs home with friends so no packing away food also.

Total time spent on making this party awesome?  9 hrs, including shopping.  Since I had kids, I don’t cook much anymore so I enjoyed cooking this gigantic meal.  Exploring new recipes and techniques are my new challenges and I love to push myself to become more daring each time.


Chinese Steamed Egg [Recipe]

In my life BC (Before Children), I used to threw parties and serve gigantic 10 course meals that takes the whole day to prepare.  Okay, that might be slightly exaggerated, but the fact is those days are over.  Now I go from my paid full time job to my obligated-by-blood full time job, aka taking care of my kids.  My time allocated to cooking has reduced to virtually nothing.  So it is wonderful that I can go to my steam egg recipe that I grew up with.  It is so simple that it used to be my go-to recipe when I was a student.  Nowadays I make it for my kids for breakfast and they love it.  It only takes 2 minutes to prepare and 12 minutes to cook,

Chinese Steam Egg


2 eggs

1 cup of chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

finely chopped green onion for garnish (optional)


Beat 2 eggs in a bowl.  Add chicken stock, salt, and pepper.  Stir well.  Steam for 12 minutes.  Check to see if the egg is completely done by dipping a spoon into the center.  If no liquid egg mixture comes out, then it is done. If not, steam for an additional 2 minutes.  Remove from the steam pot, let cool slightly, add green onion and serve.

Two Eggs

Step 1: crack two eggs into a bowl

Step 2: Beat two eggs

Step 2: beat the eggs

Step 3: add 1 cup of chicken broth

Step 3: add in 1 cup of chicken broth, salt, pepper. Stir well to combine.

Step 4: steam

Step 4: steam and enjoy

This is such a simple recipe that I can make it all the time.  Even though I generally go the fast route, there are tricks to make this dish restaurant level.  Here are some of my tips:

1.  Use room temperate eggs and soup.

2.  Turn on heat to steamer after the egg mixture is already placed in the steamer.  This is one step that I most likely not to follow.  When I am short on time, I generally sacrifice quality by heating up the steamer while I prepare my egg mixture to cut down cooking time.

3.  Steam under mid to low heat continuously without opening the lid.  This ensures the egg mixture to bind slowly to give that jello-like texture.  Surprisingly the egg mixture is very tolerant of longer cooking time when cooking under mid to low temperature.

One of the reason I don’t cook Chinese dishes anymore is because they generally require lot more preparation and there are always tricks to getting the food taste better.  Steam eggs the right way does take some planning but it is definitely doable on the weekends.


Chocolate Syrup [Recipe]

I just came to the conclusion this morning that Maxie has finally became a chocolate milk addict, just like his brother!

When I handed him his usual bottle of warm milk, he refused vehemently, flipped it onto the floor and gave me his ultra evil stare (reserved for special occasions).  I let him be and went to work in the kitchen.  When I came back with a bottle of chocolate milk for his brother (Ravi always requests for one in the morning), he quickly grabbed it from my hands and began sucking on the bottle immediately.  Suddenly it all made sense to me.  He still hasn’t learn to say chocolate milk yet, but last night he pointed to his brother’s chocolate milk bottle to request for his own, and then drank two whole bottles after a full dinner!  I should have seen it coming from a mile away.  Well, at least I have a good chocolate syrup recipe!

Ravi’s addiction to chocolate milk began when he was two and he drank incredible quantity of it everyday.  It is probably his second favorite thing in life, only slightly below his security blanket.  I used to buy the ready made boxes from Costco, but there were a few times when we ran out and he was mad!  That’s when I decided to make my own.  When I first started I tried out several recipes.  This one that I am using today is the best and also the simplest.  By using good ingredients, it tastes just fantastic.  I always sneak a sip when I make them for Ravi.


Chocolate Syrup (adopted from, 10-15 minutes


1.5 cup of water

1.2 cup of sugar

1 cup of coco powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extra

a dash of sea salt


Combing water and sugar, bring to boil in a small sauce pan.  I keep it boil under low heat without stiring (because I am lazy) for approximately 5 minutes to allow the syrup to thicken.  In the mean time, I measure out a cup of good coco powder.  I use the unsweetened Ghirardelli Chocolate Baking Cocoa powder.  Once the sugar syrup is thickened, mix in the coco powder and sea salt with a wired whisk, and then turn off the heat.  When the syrups is slightly cooled (after 2 minutes), mix in vanilla extra.


Just add a couple of spoons of this chocolate gold to some milk!  Viola, you got yourself some tasty goodness!  And this syrup can be stored in the closed containers for up to 2 weeks.

The original recipe calls for 1.5 cups of sugar which I reduced to 1.2 cups.  Though Mario disagrees with this alternation, I do it to prevent my kids from over dose on sugar since they drink so much of the stuff.  But what the sugar does is to suspend the fine coco powder particles in the syrup.  So with reduced sugar, you will see some coco powder condense to the bottom of the container.  It doesn’t matter to me since I stir it anyway.  A good coco powder makes a huge difference in taste, so get the best one you can.  I also add the vanilla extra after the syrup is slightly cooled, since I don’t like the flavor to evaporate under boiling temperature.  Want to cut down preparation time?  I use boiled water instead of room temperature water.  I now can make a batch of this stuff in 5 minutes.

This simple recipe makes me feel like a good mom.  I can’t believe I can make something so taste with so little time and my kids love me for it!


Valentine’s Day, -2

I am feeling ambitious this year, I want to celebrate each kid’s holiday by doing something special, both to set new traditions for our young family and to introduce new experiences to the boys.  Valentines day is the first important kid’s holiday of the year and I wanted to kick it off right.  That means multi-day planning and fun for the boys.

Valentine’s day for 2013 falls on Thursday February 14th.  My preparation began on Monday, when I planned and cyber shopped all necessary tools and materials. Yesterday, 2 days before the actual Valentine’s day, I kicked off part 1 of the celebration.  I made cookies.  Not any ordinary cookies, but PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP cookies.  The boys have been craving for Reese’s cups for the last 2 weeks and how wonderful it would be to to fill that craving with warm delicious peanut butter cookies with the best ingredients.  The result? Fabulous!  Actually, the words came out of Mario’s mouth as he bite into the first cookie was “THIS IS FABULOUS!”  That made all my hard work (30 minutes ;-)) worth it.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies



I followed the recipe from, added the best peanut butter and chocolate I could find.  One thing I dislike about those Reese’s cup is the quality of their ingredients.  I much rather my boys eat the top grade European chocolates than anything else.

Total success!  Tomorrow night we’ll be packing Valentine’s gifts for Ravi and Max’s classmates.  Another fun project.


Sweet Potato Feast

Last weekend my mom gave me a bag of sweet potatoes she bought from a local market.  She said she got it for only $0.39 a lb and it is a really good diet food.  I am sure she said that to make sure we’ll eat it, but it did strike a cord.  Mario has been trying to loose weight for a while now.  He’s been exercising frequently but has not seen much effect.  He is also trying to cut down food intake recently.  Maybe sweet potato is the thing we should try.

So I made Monday night the sweet potato night.  It was a great choice because all of us can eat sweet potatoes.  For Ravi, all we have to do is blend up a cooked sweet potato with some water, or add some cinnamon and nutmeg if we want to be fancy.  One thing that bothered me before about sweet potato is the amount of time it takes to bake them.   It will generally take more than an hour for small to medium size sweet potatoes, which will place dinner time way late into the night for a work day.  I can also choose to microwave them, but I will not be able to get the same taste and smell as the baked ones.  Good thing I learned a trick from my sister during my visit to Albany.  She suggested that I microwave the sweet potatoes for a few minutes before I bake them.  That way I can cut down my cook time by half!  Good idea!  I am trying out this method tonight.


Sweet Potatoes, however many you want to eat.  For this meal, I used 8 small to medium sized sweet potatoes



Large cookie sheet

Aluminum foil


Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees C.

Scrub the sweet potatoes under running water till it is clean.  Use a small knife to cut off any part that looks dirty.

Place cleaned sweet potatoes in a microwave safe plate and microwave 5 minutes (turn to the another side), 2 minutes (turn to the other side), 2 minutes.  Since I had 8 sweet potatoes, I did two batches of 4 each.  If you are microwave a large quantity or large size sweet potatoes, do a couple additional 2 minutes and turns.  The resulting sweet potatoes should feel soft to the touch.

Line the cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Place the sweet potatoes on it so they are spaced equally from each other.  Place the cookie sheet into the oven.  Set timer for 30 minutes. Turn the sweet potatoes once 15 minutes into baking.

Take out the cookie sheet from the oven and let cool.

This is the point where the adults can enjoy the wonderful tasting baked sweet potatoes.  For Ravi, I cooled a couple of sweet potatoes and blended up with some water.  He must ate like 8 ounces of that stuff without a pause.  I also blended the left over sweet potatoes and froze them in the freezer for future meals.

My conclusion: simple yet tasty meal.  I think I’ll try this again next week.  There’s also nothing to clean because we simply rolled up the used aluminum foil and tossed into trash.  By the way, this baking process made my whole place smelled great!


Lentil Soup Made Simple

There’s no doubt that lentils, legumes, and dry beams are packed with nutrients and fiber, which makes them great ingredients for baby food.  I have only cooked lentil soup once before and I have been wanting to try out different recipes.  My goal is to try a simple recipe that is easy to make, requires few ingredients, and simple flavor so not to overwhelm the Ravi’s inexperienced taste buds.

I looked through at least a dozen recipes, ranged from authentic Indian, Greek, to hybrid America.  Most of them looked awesomely delicious, but requires lots of ingredients that Ravi has never tasted.  Those will be great for me and Mario, but may not be so for Ravi.  In the end, I decided to go with my self invented simple recipe.

Simple Lentil Soup


1  cup   Red Lentils

1  cup   Yellow Lentils

1  cup  Chopped baby carrots

1  cup   Diced Tomatos

18  oz  Chicken Broth

3  Chopped shallots

3  cloves   Garlic

1  tablespoon  Olive Oil

handful of parsley


1.  Wash the lentils thoroughly till the water is no longer mirky.  Make sure to pick out anything that’s out of place, like little rocks or twigs if there’s any.

2.  Add olive oil to a pot and turn the heat on medium.  Add garlic to the oil and let it brown.  This is where you have to watch the garlic.  I made the mistake of getting distracted and the garlic turn black.  I had to start the process over again.

3.  Once the garlic is browned, add the shallots in.  Stir around to make sure the shallots are well coated with oil.

4.  When the shallots become soft, add in the washed lentils, chopped carrots and tomatos, stir for about 2 minutes on high heat.

5.  Add chicken broth and let boil. Once the soup boils, put on the lid and turn the heat to the lowest setting possible.  Then just wait about an hour, then done!

The preparation took about 25 minutes, including chopping and washing.  I did check back couple of times to make sure.  For the toddler version, I used my magic bullet and blended it up for 2 minutes.  The above picture shows the out of pot version and it was great for adults to eat.  The red of the tomato and yellow of carrots were preserved and looked so beautiful against the yellow lentil soup base.

Thank you for reading.  I hope to explore another recipe next week!