Thai One On Salad


I remember watching Oprah during one of the episodes she was debriefing with her audience about the recent diet she was on. Those who watched her faithfully know that Oprah being on a diet is about as frequent as Sarah Palin having a stream of consciousness rant/verbal diarrhea, which by the way, is frequent and AWESOME! I digress. Anyway, Oprah said once after a brief stint with a low carb diet that she was ready to slap someone for an apple. I bring all this up because I have restarted the one and only diet that has ever worked for me and has resulted in a 60-pound weight loss about 10 years ago, 45 of which I’ve managed to keep off.  I am officially ready to slap someone for a bag of Fritos.  Fortunately, recipes like this help make this more bearable.



1 bag Trader Joe’s shredded lettuce
12 oz 1 bag trader Joe’s julienned brocolli slaw
12 oz 2 lbs shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, julienned
3 oz Trader Joe’s Thai chili lime cashews, chopped

Ginger Soy Dressing

4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 T grated cinger
4 tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
4 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons honey or agave
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

To make the vinaigrette, place all ingredients in a jar, close tightly and shake vigorously to combine and emulsify.

Basil Chicken

2 tablespoons oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 oz grated ginger
10 oz ground chicken
1 1/4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar to taste
1 tablespoon kecap manis or sweet soy sauce
1 big bunch Thai basil leaves
pepper to taste

Add oil into heated saute pan, followed by garlic, onions and ginger until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.  Mix in remaining ingredients and cook chicken until crumbly and all seasonings are well incorporated.  Ground chicken when raw has a soft, paste like consistency and looks like wet, overcooked white rice.  Stir it constantly to break it up into crumbly bits.

To assemble the salad:

Toss salad ingredients with vinaigrette and cooked chicken.



Carrot Cake


The state of denial should be our 51st state.  It is our most populous state and one frequented by nearly all of us, some daring to never leave.  Because once you do, you will be sure to return.  You see, denial is the thing that allows us to get out of bed in the morning and to proceed with our day thinking that we will be productive, make a difference and have a profound effect on the world around us.  It is the thing that allows us to act within the confines of the law, and allows government and societies to function. Without it, our lives would come to a grinding halt as we all come to the collective realization that the world and most of its inhabitants are really a bunch of amoral craptards and we are all hurtling towards certain doom.

I’ve just finished an hour of exercise, so forgive the stream of consciousness rant.  I didn’t take a breath while composing this witty prose (denial, again).

Carrot cake is one such example of denial.  It’s got eggs and nuts (protein), carrots for beta carotene and better vision, raisins have fiber.  What could possibly be wrong with carrot cake?   Ignore the 2 cups of sugar and 1+ cup of oil and extend your stay in the state of denial.  All are welcome.


2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 extra-large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 c grated carrots, approx 1 pound
1 c sweet flaked coconut
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease and flour your bundt pan.  Set aside
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, oil, and eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, until light yellow and thickened. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. In another bowl, sift together the 2 cups of flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.
  4. In a medium bowl, toss the carrots, raisins, walnuts, and the 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir into the batter with a rubber spatula.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, lower the heat to 350 degrees, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely.


Carrot cake, pre-icing

carrot cakeNot as pretty as Nothing Bundt Cake, but close enough

The Christmas Table


You’ll notice that I haven’t blogged in awhile and I am the one most  stymied by this.  How could I have not blogged when I’ve cooked so much in the last 4-6 weeks and had 1 week of vacation during the week of Thanksgiving and then another during Christmas week? Then I realized that it was because we hosted Thanksgiving, had houseguests and hosted two Christmas parties.

I am no longer stymied.

I’ll skip the details on Thanksgiving, except to say that this happened.



For the first Christmas party our friends had this brilliant idea of making each other gifts instead of buying ones.  I was down with that–very Amish, very Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I mean, after making 6 jars of apple butter, 4 jars of pumpkin butter, 2 jars of dulce de leche, 2 pans each of croissant and panettone bread puddings I was all set to raise a barn right alongside the Lapps of Lancaster.  I warned Pru that if I started to talk about making cheese (found a recipe for it, not that hard!) and churning butter that it was time for an intervention.  It was loads of fun and work but truth be told, for next year I’m strongly considering hitting Banana Republic for a couple of scarves for these aforementioned friends.


imageOur bounty for the first Christmas party consisted of homemade biscuits, pumpkin butters, sausage, blueberry french toast casserole, breakfast strata and other carbs enough to feed a small African country.

The second Christmas party was for my family and as it is every year, was held at our house.  This year, I got smart and decided to put everyone to work.  Under Pru’s expert tutelage, my cousin Oliver carved the prime rib, other cousins plated the food and another was the mixologist for the evening.  Everyone liked helping out and feeling useful and Pru and I definitely felt less stressed at trying to coordinate everything by ourselves.

imageWe set up earlier in the day.  Tried to keep it simple with white linen and plates, red runner

imageI like to use these little ball ornaments to label the food being served.  As if it would stop people from eating food they didn’t recognize. 

imagePru came up with this great idea to display our Christmas cards.  He didn’t even consult Pinterest

imageThis is my favorite tree topper of all time.  My Dad and I bought it at Walgreens for like $5.  I’ve had it for about 30 years. 

I did not take pictures of the food because despite all the help, I was still running around.  But these two are arguably my favorite of the night as they embody what Christmas is all about for me…


10603583_10152504438336401_4459921577187632794_nCigars and stogies by the fire pit.

Have a great 2015!

New Year, New You


I don’t really make new year’s resolutions. Well, not anymore. Sure, it used to be the standard ‘lose weight,’ ‘read more,’ ‘volunteer more.’ But there’s too much pressure in living up to these promises that I’m sure to fail by the end of the month. And as hyper self-critical as I can be–which is a resolution all by itself–I resolve to not make any this year.

But it is a time for new beginnings. So today, I was motivated to do 1/2 hour on the elliptical while watching Friends which is now on Netflix–yay! And I followed it with a matcha green tea smoothie made in my Ninja (Sorry R, couldn’t stomach the $500 price tag on the Vitamix).

On another note, I heard this thing on NPR last year on the key to setting realistic goals and resolutions: start with something simple and attainable like “I will exercise for 5 minutes today.” That’s it. Don’t get ambitious. Start with something so amazingly modest, you’ll kick yourself for not meeting the goal. That way, if you do more than 5 minutes, you’ll applaud yourself and if you just do 5 minutes then you will have met your goal. The idea, of course, is to incrementally increase your goal to 10 minutes, 15, 20, etc. My goal today was to make it through one episode of Friends, which without commercials is 23 minutes. I did that plus another 7. Day 1 of New Year, New You was a hit! Don’t worry, I won’t keep calling it that. Just today.

Super Easy Matcha Green Tea Smoothie

1 T matcha green tea powder, TJ’s version is fine
1 banana
2 T Greek Yogurt
1 c ice
1/2 c almond milk, soy or regular will do

Blend and enjoy!