Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich


Today was one of those days that was bad when it started and got worse as it progressed. I dropped off J at school so it was a good beginning.

“J, can I hold your hand?” I asked as we were walking from the car to the drop off point where the kids meet up with the teachers. “Or do you just want me to let go because you’re a big boy now?”

“No, I’m not that big yet Mommy. You can still hold my hand.”

My heart melted.

The day turned to pot after that with one setback after another–stuck in traffic, unproductive meetings, poorly hatched decisions, etc, etc. But when I take life and work too seriously, as I sometimes tend to do, I take a step back and write. I write about what I felt, I write about why that feeling and what created it. This is a good exercise because as my friend Jim likes to say, “Feel the feeling, don’t be the feeling.” This is not always an easy distinction for me especially when my instinct is to eat through my feelings as I imagine coming home, sitting in front of the TV and devouring a juicy bacon cheeseburger and salty chili fries. But I remember when I weighed 60 pounds heavier and all the feelings were stuck underneath all that food so I exercise restraint.

Today, however, was a day for ice cream sandwiches. Homemade ones with oatmeal and dried cranberry cookies and vanilla bean ice cream. There are days when being decadent is not only completely warranted, it’s necessary. And it’s OK so long as it’s one ice cream sandwich and not one per hour.

1 generous scoop vanilla bean ice cream
2 oatmeal dried cranberry cookies
1 T chopped peanuts

Scoop ice cream between the bottoms of 2 cookies. Roll sides on a plate of chopped peanuts. Freeze for about 30 minutes or until firm. Enjoy after aforementioned horrible day.




B is for Balance


It’s the first week of a new school year. But this one’s special. This week is the first week of kindergarten. J started kindergarten and it was more eventful for me than for him. He wasn’t into the uniform–“Moooommmm, my neck’s too tight!”–referring to the collared shirt he now has to wear. “Mooooommm, I don’t like the snaps!”–gone are the days of elastic sweats (hello, snaps and buttons). But apart from the struggle of his now tighter and daily attire, kindergarten is a blast. The kindergarten teacher, who heretofore will be referred to as Mrs. R, is a little frightening, not horribly so, just enough to remind me of my own Catholic school days with structure, discipline and with about as much flexibility as a freshly starched and newly ironed pleated polyester skirt. So it goes without saying that we already have homework; she was actually very clear about this. “Kids Club (the school’s after school program) is for doing homework. EXCEPT for kindergarten. We will save the homework for you so you can work on it together with your child!”

Our homework this week is to come up with words that start with the letters A and B, as well as to memorize our address. We got to B and after the obligatory “book, “bug” and “boobs” (he is a boy after all), I threw in the word ‘balance’. It started a rather eye-opening discussion for both of us as I started to try and create a definition that would be somewhat meaningful for my little 5-year old so that he doesn’t go back school and to Mrs. R and spit out gems like ‘boobs’ and ‘bunghole’ (please blame Pru for that one). “Balance is when we try and do a little bit of everything. Like when you go to school, have fun, play with your friends, play with your cars and your iPad and practice your letters–you have balance. But when you do too much of one thing, you don’t have balance.” The discussion trailed off and into thoughts of my own ongoing struggle with balance. I tend to, as I always do, get consumed by work. I intended to take the day off on J’s first day of kindergarten, but I had an afternoon meeting that I couldn’t miss. Of course, no one at work told me that I had to go to that meeting. I inexplicably decided that on my own. I also haven’t blogged in awhile.

So I am trying to reclaim my balance this morning with roasted tomato soup. San Marzano and cherry tomatoes grown in my and my neighbor’s backyard and roasted in a 325 degree oven for one hour were the flavorful base for this creamy and surprisingly easy and comforting soup.

2 pounds of roasted tomatoes, any variety
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups water or chicken broth
1 tsp of bouillon if using water, otherwise omit if using broth
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a pot and puree using an immersion blender. Cook over medium heat until all ingredients are warmed through. Best served with grilled cheese sandwiches or parmesan crisps. Croutons are optional but should really be mandatory because it just makes you feel better.


The “Smart Stick” sounds a little profane, but really is a handy tool. Insert inappropriate joke here.


B is for balance indeed.



I had some leftover kalua pork for a luau themed party–a lot of kalua pork, actually–and I’m looking for and/or making recipes that have kalua pork in them without necessitating the use of barbecue sauce.

Day 1: Kalua Pork Ramen

We procured some Sun Ramen noodles, allegedly the same kind used by David Chang of Momofuku fame. Found this at nearby Nijiya Market for about $5 per pack with 2 servings of sauce packets and noodles. The recipe calls for 1 cup of water to be used with each serving of packet and noodle. But I found the ramen too salty and the noodles absorbed all the water so the whole concoction was a little dry. Today, I used 3 cups of water and the flavor was perfect and there was just the right amount of broth to noodle ratio.

I can’t wait for winter. This is the perfect comfort food.


Sun Ramen is available at Nijiya Market (various locations) and Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley.