Nothin’ Fancy Quesadillas

I haven’t wanted to cook much, and I’d like to blame my cooking “slump” on our recent heat wave, but the fact that we have the A/C blasting practically all day long, doesn’t really give me an excuse not to cook in our ice-box-home. :)

Last week, when I was putting Bebe E to sleep, we were lying down after I read her a few stories, and she said to me, “Mommy, will you make me tomato soup.” I said, “Sure sweetie, I will make you tomato soup one of these days.” She then replied, “Because I really like Nordstroms tomato soup.”

Yes, if you’re thinking what I’m thinking, we’ve probably ordered one too many bowls of tomato basil soup at Nordie’s cafe. BUT I must admit, it’s pretty amazing and by far, one of my absolute favorite soups!

Aside from my Bebe’s request for tomato soup, which I haven’t gotten around to making (recall cooking slump), any other given day, if I ask Bebe E what she would like to eat for lunch, four out of seven days, she will say, “quesadilla”. (We don’t eat quesadillas four times a week but definitely at least once or twice a week.)

So today I’m sharing with you Bebe E’s favorite lunch: quesadilla. Nothing fancy, right? Well, my daughter is a whole ‘nother level of diva at times. This is how our conversation about lunch goes:

Bebe E: “Mommy can you please make “heart” quesadilla.”

Me: “What do you mean sweetie?”

Bebe E: Using both hands, with her index and thumbs she tries to make a heart shape to show me what she means. “I don’t want “triangle” quesadilla anymore.” Note, when I cut the semi-circle quesadilla into pieces they become triangles. “I want heart quesadilla.”

Me: “Ok, so you want me to make you heart-shaped quesadilla.”

Bebe E: “Yes.”

Me: Thinking to myself, where in the world does she get this stuff? “Sure sweetie, I can make you heart-shaped quesadilla.”

So there you have it. Heart shaped quesadilla. Other days she will tell me she wants “diamond” quesadilla or “circle” quesadilla. Her favorite, however, seems to be “heart” quesadilla.

Are you wondering what happens to the scraps after I cut quesadilla shapes? I usually eat them as I’m trimming the quesadilla pieces with my kitchen shears. :) Don’t want to waste food, you know. Sometimes I will end up making a quesadilla for myself too! There’s something comforting about warm gooey cheese all wrapped up in a nice flour tortilla.

Nothin’ Fancy Quesadillas

  • Low-fat finely shredded cheese blend (monterey, jack, cheddar, etc.)
  • Uncooked flour tortillas (available at Costco)
  • Large pan
  • Kitchen shears
  • Shredded chicken, optional
  • Guacamole for Bebe, optional (recipe here)

1. Heat pan to medium heat. Gently cook the tortilla on both sides.

2. Before the tortilla gets crunchy, spread some cheese on half the tortilla, fold over and cook for another minute until the cheese melts.

3. Allow the quesadilla to cool just a bit. Using kitchen shears, cut quesadilla into desired shapes: diamonds, hearts, circles, squares. :)

4. Serve with Guacamole for Bebe.

Note: If I have leftover shredded chicken (Costco rotisserie chicken) I will put some chicken in the quesadilla.

Natto (Fermented Soybeans) with Somen Noodles

Great news! Bebe E graduated from “Tadpole” to “Guppy” at her swim school! (In other words, from beginner to intermediate.) Hurray for Bebe E! OK… I admit that I am an overly proud parent who is using this blog to boast about her child’s accomplishment, but seriously, can you blame this first-time parent?!? :)

Rather than continue to gloat about Bebe E’s achievement, I will share with you the school that we attend and why we chose this school over other swim classes available in our area.

We attend Waterworks Aquatics. They have locations in three cities across Los Angeles and Orange County. Their focus is on water safety versus water play. This means that our class is very focused. Fortunately, we are given “free play” time before and after class so that we can spend some time in the pool playing with toys and hanging-out.  So our goals for the beginner class were to get comfortable going under the water for a slow three second count (with adult assistance) and also being comfortable floating on the back (with adult assistance).  The school’s goal is to get kids comfortable with being under water (if they happen to accidentally fall in the pool) and roll over and float on their back to breath (and not drown). I think it’s a great goal. Continue reading

Hourenso Tamagoyaki | Japanese Spinach & Egg Roulade

Surprise! I’m alive! OK, I’m just being obnoxious. Two weeks, going on three, is probably the longest I have EVER gone without updating my blog. I’m not sure why, but time has REALLY been flying by the last few weeks and on Friday, I realized that a few weeks had passed without a new post! Horribly shocking, I know!

Perhaps the weeks have been flying by because school and soccer season started. Practice is three times per week and there are two games on the weekend. We also started a new Mommy & Me music class two weeks ago. Between chauffeuring and mommy-baby stuff, time is just flying! However, this isn’t the reason why I haven’t had time to update my blog and I’m still behind on about 20 different food posts!

The truth is, it’s officially Fall (although it was 100 degrees yesterday in So. Cal.) and I love September because of my TV shows. Lately, nothing is better than spending my mommy down time, i.e. after Bebe E goes to bed, on the couch, watching TV. You know, ‘veg-out, and lay like broccoli’. (That’s from Pretty Woman.) Does this make me a couch potato?!? So be it!

September is all about season premiers and pilots. Some of my favorite TV shows include Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, and Private Practice. Other shows I’m evaluating right now are Undercovers (my Mom says she likes this), Nikita (not a fan), Hawaii Five-O (this was surprisingly good), and Desperate Housewives (after missing a full season, I’m wondering if I’ll be interested again). It’s a lot of shows, I know, but thanks to our free DVR service (ask me if you’re interested in finding out how we got this for free!), I can watch my shows leisurely on my own time.

So TV is my latest obsession. Well, that, and ‘Words with Friends’. Shame on my brother’s wife for getting me hooked on this! :) I say this lovingly of course. Several family members, all with iPhones play this free game against each other and it is SO addicting. If I’m not watching TV, I’m checking my iPhone to see whether it’s my turn to make a move. If you’re not familiar with Words with Friends, it’s a scrabble game that you can play with other friends that also use the application. I’m so addicted, however, that I’ve resorted to playing randomly selected gamers that the application chooses for me so that I can play even more matches. At any one time I have up to 10 games in play. You play at your own pace, so when you’re ready to make a move, you create a word and the application notifies you when it’s your turn again. Check it out for yourself on iTunes if you’ve got an iPhone. Words with Friends. Interested in a match?!? I’m still a newbie and I lose most games against my word demon family members and even though I have a better win record against my random opponents, this doesn’t make me feel any better. :P

What about cooking? Continue reading

Ohitashi | Japanese Boiled Spinach Salad

As a kid, eating spinach at our house meant that my mom made ohitashi. Although she used spinach in dishes such as chawan mushi or shabu-shabu, we never ate sautéed spinach the way Bebe Dada likes to make it (yet another post for the future).

Ohitashi is a simple, healthy and refreshing dish.  It’s perfect for a hot summer day, and believe me, it has been HOT over the past two weeks in So. Cal, but it definitely seems like it has cooled off. I might even go so far as to say it’s been a little cold!

I often enjoy making ohitashi as a side dish when I cook Japanese food for dinner – – – with grilled fish, miso shiru, a small green salad and gohan.  This is exactly the type of simplistic dinner menu that my mom made when I was growing up. Ohitashi also goes well with soboro don and other Japanese donburi (see category on right for additional donburi ideas).

I’m going to keep this post short today (shocking, I know) but I’d like to share a picture from a recent visit to the merry-go-round at South Coast Plaza.

Bebe E was afraid of the horses (they actually have unfriendly facial features) so we sat on a bench together but she refused to sit on my lap or sit next to me. She would only stop fussing if I hugged her close to me. I’m not sure if it was the motion of the merry-go-round or the lights, plastic horses, music, or combination thereof, but she certainly didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I thought she would. She was mesmerized by the merry-go-round as we watched other children ride it, and she even reached out to it, before AND after we rode it as if she wanted to ride it (again). I imagine the merry-go-round is a ‘thrill-seeking’ ride for children, much in the same way that roller coasters are scary, yet fun, for adults. :)

In case any of you were wondering what the “Top Mom” reference meant in the title of today’s ohitashi post, I am very proud to announce that Priscilla from She’s Cookin’ selected me as her guest blogger and Top Mom of the Month for September! Continue reading

Guacamole for Bebe

In my Dr. Sears’ “The Baby Book”, avocado is listed as a favorite first food, but it was my friend and RN (nurse G) that I recall telling me, “avocados are a superfood”.  We had lunch over a year ago when she brought out half an avocado and started scooping out the flesh of a ripe avocado into a little bowl for mashing – baby guacamole!

I almost forgot about baby guacamole until I saw it in “The Baby & Toddler Cookbook“.  Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats (heart-healthy) and it also contains vitamin K (needed for blood clotting).

Baby guacamole is the second to last baby food in the section for 6 month olds… (I’m a little behind) and that’s a good thing since Bebe E will be 9 months old tomorrow!  Time sure flies when you’re having fun.  :)

This cookbook is full of great baby food ideas although the process for baby food is quite simple – steam or boil or bake, then purée or mash.  One of the joys of this journey has been shopping for quality produce and watching Bebe E enjoy her fresh, healthy food…  until she met mr. avocado. Continue reading