Feeling Blue – A Tribute

I had intended to post our first Hawaiian recipe today, but it will have to wait a bit. You see the past few weeks I have thought about how much I miss my Grandma’s kitchen. Not her actual kitchen, but the warmth, the aromas, the laughter, the sound of the dishwasher running and the little toys that sat for me on  a shelf. My Grandma passed several years ago, but those memories have been incredibly vivid to me recently, so much so that when Mr. N and I went out to breakfast last Sunday morning, the smell of bacon sent us on an impromptu visit to see my Grandpa.

You see one of the strongest memories I have is how my Grandma would often make bacon and eggs for my Grandpa. It’s a smell I still associate with their kitchen. So Mr. N and I wrapped up breakfast and decided to bring “Pops” his Sunday paper. We had a nice visit talking about life, the kids, Hawaii and of course, politics. He always talked politics and whether I agreed with him or not, I always enjoyed those conversations. But above all he reveled in watching Mr. N bounce around his room. We left after an hour or so, joking that the next time we’d see him would be when we sprung him from rehab (He’s been in rehab building up his strength to return home after a recent illness.).

However, as is the way with life, things never quite seem to go as planned. Pops passed away yesterday afternoon. It was unexpected, but it was quick and painless, likely having happened as he dozed off after his lunch. In my opinion, if you’re going to go, it’s the best way to go. And what’s even better he saw all of his children and many of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren within the past few days. He was a man surrounded by love.  Continue reading

Hold the Cheese Please

On Sunday afternoon last week, Mike and Miss A went on a little father-daughter excursion. Miss A wore her favorite “fancy” dress and Mike put on a button down shirt, and the two headed out to see a dance recital version of the Wizard of Oz. Miss A was absolutely in her glory. (I think Mike was too. ;) )

So while Mike and Miss A were off for an afternoon on the town, Mr. N and I took on our next Armenian recipe, an Armenian Lahmajoun. The lahmajoun is similar to a pizza, but without the cheese. We started the recipe with an onion, butter and garlic. Continue reading

Back to Business

The business of food of course! Now that we’ve settled back into our daily routines and rolled through the mountains of laundry (Well, it’s almost all folded anyway!),  we’re back in the kitchen working our way around the world. For the next few weeks we’ll be sampling various recipes from the country of Armenia.

A former republic of the Soviet Union, Armenia is a mountainous country and lies in both Western Asia and Eastern Europe. The cuisine in Armenia is really rather varied, but almost always includes an extensive amount of fresh ingredients. For our first recipe we went with an Armenian side dish that we thought had a chance of winning over Mr. N and Miss A, an Armenian Chickpea Salad. Continue reading

French Toast Madness

By Mike
Thanks to all of you who tuned in for our Banana Bread quest that wrapped up this week, and congratulations to Doree, Sally, Sweet Caroline, Dawn, and all the other fantastic recipes we tried last year. With every end comes a new beginning, and we’re embarking on our next quest with our final recipe from Hong Kong, a Hong Kong-Style French Toast.

That’s right, this year we’ll be breaking down the world’s best French Toast recipes, culminating in an NCAA Basketball Tournament-style Final Four. See, with French toast, it’s not exactly simple to just make it, freeze a slice, then break it out when it’s time to pick a champion. So in the great spirit of college basketball, we’re going to test recipes throughout the year, then when March Madness rolls around next year, the selection committee is going to hole up in some secret location, armed with spreadsheets, data, stats, photos, and years of expertise. We’ll choose our Final Four entries, seed them into our tournament bracket, and square them off in a winner-take-all series of head-to-head matchups in a quest for that One Shining MomentContinue reading

Quest for the Best Banana Bread: Final Showdown

It’s finally time! Thirteen recipes and nearly a year later, here we are at our final banana bread showdown. As many of you know we began our quest for the best banana bread last spring. It all started with the Big Bird banana bread years ago that I would make with my dad. Then for years without any banana bread at all, we were introduced to Doree’s banana bread and became convinced it was the best. And so the quest was born…

We certainly didn’t come close to touching the millions of banana bread recipes out there, but we did try a variety of often vastly different loaves on this journey. Starting with our Peanut Butter banana bread, we baked 13 loaves and saved several slices of each wrapped up carefully in our freezer. Just before leaving for our trip, we pulled out the slices to thaw, and you should have seen the kids bursting with excitement at the site of all the bags strewn across the table.

Miss A, who was crowned my sous chef when it came to banana breads, was eager to get the taste test underway.  Continue reading

Mahalo…A Hui Hou

We returned from Kauai on Sunday evening well-rested, sun-kissed and happy. It was a much-needed, relaxing, utterly beautiful and fabulous vacation. We’ve been fortunate enough to have taken many vacations over the course of our marriage, and even quite a few since the kids have been born, but I honestly don’t remember another time I came home this peaceful and relaxed. I didn’t even have my post-vacation “it’s over” sadness, just utter contentment. I suppose someplace as beautiful and magical as Kauai can do that to you.

Dawn of a new day.

Mr. N and Miss A even fully immersed themselves in the relaxation of this trip. With the exception of a few minor meltdowns from Miss A (which frankly were nothing in the grand-scheme of things – pretty remarkable for a three-year old) and a few initial protests about an activity from Mr. N, both of the kids were absolutely in-tune with each other, us and the vacation.  Continue reading