Home cooking..

What did I learn this holiday season!

Always have brownie ingredients in the kitchen.  Have a few different bottles of alcohol.  Cook easy dishes.  Make dishes you like and one or two to accommodate the different eaters and the rest s whatever makes


Thanksgiving is about to become rather interesting. My grandmother said that her cooking time had passed basically. It was a somber moment when I realized that she was a little less vibrant than she used to be.  Life goes on is all I could think.

So moving onto the nerve building moment – I was in slight agony realizing that I might have to contribute to next year’s cooking.  It’s not that I lack cooking skills.  Its that I would have to cook familiar dishes but not ones I cook at home. My cousin made the joke that I had a year to learn.


Hmm the holidays.


Food and Big Companies

So this interested me and also even though I like products from these companies I was a little upset that they are hooking the world on our (US) junk food. It was great with the growth of multinationals and globalization but there has been a marked trend and change in diets, weight and labor/jobs/livelihood.

So lets start at the very beginning (Julie Andrews-sound of music reference). I was reading the NY Times and the piece was about companies hooking Brazil (more countries as well). So in the past according to the article, these companies helped in a positive way combating the lack of food. Certain foods were developed to provide fast calories. Others claimed to be packed with nutrition. Some things were unsustainable as in the Nestle scandal a while back. (hooked on baby formula and could not afford it in the long run).

Now that we are beyond feeding for lack of food we are feeding now just for the profit of it-new customers and customers excited to experience what food rich countries experience.  In that these customers are getting all the cheap non nutritious foods.  I call it bodega food, all the while they are embedding it into the fabric of these places: franchising so the people have own small businesses.  I had a long hard think about this and thought that with the crazy obesity problems etc, these large multinationals should offer healthy snacks.  Responsibility…..

So feel free to chime in.

Here is the article.

Brazil Junk

Its just one of those things that make you think.

Until then! May the food be with you!!

Triple T 2 (Toddler Trials and Tribulations)

so to this weeks toddler trials and tribulations
So what do you say to innocence, except laugh hard on the inside. So I was watchin a program discussing the Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladesh. The clip was of women and kids just hanging out. My daughter says–Halloween, we get the candy right? What can you say to that?

Next busy exercise was when I asked my toddler to finish the last 2 spoons of sweet potato and meat. So she was taking a while and I turned off the TV so she knew I meant business. Well she splashed the wall with sweet potato, not sure how and then she had it gathered in her mouth. She kept threatening to spit it out. Also she had her two hands in her mouth. (such fun)

Another busy exercise that made me just beyond surprised. So my toddler, bypassed the stool for the toilet and climbed into the tub. She pooped in her kiddie potty and then added some toys for good measure. She was in the nude and when I opened the curtain she was attempting to soap herself with a soap piece and no water. At least she was already in the tub, right.


On to the happy news–happy exercises

We took a trip to the Museum of Natural History recently.  A friend of ours was kind enough to secure tickets that included one free show or special exhibition.  We were lucky and they gave us two (maybe one was just normal) but it was the butterfly exhibit and the dark universe.  Both required a certain amount of restraint and offered big action.  Wowing the young brain is great.  The rest of the visit was like an obstacle course.  Everyone was tall and there were smatterings of crowds.  My daughter was part of the sea.

This last entry is like the crowning moment.  So I was so tired this morning and after doing my exercises (academic)  with toddler, I was wiped out.  I had my toddler sit next to me and attempt to read me a book.  I made her take about 9 of them so I would be guaranteed at least 5 minutes of silence.  Next, I awoke to a splash of water on my face.  What the hec!! So I look over and my toddler is sitting about 6 inches away and clapping her hand on the floor right in the what appears to be water.  But I quickly wised up and was like–OMG pee.  She is sitting in her pee on top of a book and splashing the water around.  Then she reaches out to wipe her hands on my pants. The nerve of this child.  Well you know the rest, a date with the cleaning police, an appointment with the bathroom and now I am completely awake, where has the tiredness gone.

Until next time,

Blissful Toddler Minder!!  Is it time for the brownies yet!


Joloff restaurant – Senegalese Mealing

Restaurant Review

So we had a family gathering at a place my dad had been speaking of since last year.  It took a little lighting of the fire under everyone’s a… to get all together.  (I do not believe in choices.  Just give a few dates, pick a place and challenge everyone to be there.)

So the place was deep in Brooklyn.  I am rarely in Brooklyn but this was deep in there and GPS was the only guide we needed.  Upon parking we found a long skinny, African-ized place that had maybe one other customer that evening. 

How would I describe Joloff. It is not at all fancy, but it has this return to the roots look in side. It is not pretentious. It is a long room with a nook towards the back left and to the right is a raised portion used for poetry reading and performances. I guess it is cozy.

So it was 7 of us and we sat in the nook…..For appetizers we had some pastry puffs-some with fish and others with meat. There were some dips for each. Then we moved onto the main meal. We had fish (National Dish of Senegal-Baked fish with vegetables and Joloff rice), Lamb (Lamb Stew in peanut butter) and Chicken (Chicken Briased in onion and lemon sauce.)  The lamb was great. The chicken was familiar and that was lovely. The fish was good as well. I guess my favorite was the lamb. The sauce was good enough to be put on rice, without the meat. Dessert could have been left out. There was nothing special-just some fried donus (a.k.a Beignets, ) and ice cream. They did not offer the tradition dessert of couscous with yogurt, sour cream and raisins–what a small shame.) We did have some funky drinks–We had lemon ginger drinks and ginger tea. It was definitely interesting. But for my dad offering to take us there, I would probably have never visited. It is deep in the heart of Brooklyn. Now was it memorable enough for me to visit again, not sure. The people were nice however.


Until our next dark continent food adventure!

 Capri Pizza Pasta, Tarrytown NY

Restaurant review

So one night after meeting some friends for a free jazz concert, we (my family and I) found the only food game in town-Capri Pizza.  It was well lit, had a huge staff and some added character, considering it was in a strip mall with a small grocery and CVS.

The place had two sections, one for fast eating and the other for maybe the knife and fork set and lingering.  They had a very healthy business.  People were in and out and the delivery guys were working up a sweat.  I was taken aback how lit the place was.  It was like an examination room in an older hospital where mood lighting had not been invented. It was not off putting however.

The tables were exposed wood and there was a barn door separating the two sections.     (Can we say borrow that idea for future DIY home)).) I was hungry so I hoped that the pizza was good.  (you know when you are hungry and shovel the food, and you cannot even remember what you ate)  It came out quick and hot.  We knife and forked it as well, because we are civilized.  So I can safely say that I will return when in that area.  It is about one block away from the entrance to 287 and across from a hotel.  Great placement!!

Famous words–I shall return.  I give it a 7.  Next time we will explore the menu.

Capri Pizza Pasta


 Ginger & Lemon Grass Restaurant (Queens ny)

So our day started out with music class for my toddler and then we were supposed to go to the Japanese Festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.  Well we got through the music class, then my husband decided to do some detours.  After that and an hour plus time passage, we decided to head to Brooklyn.  Yeah, because we can and well right before we crossed the bridge, we started to examine our plan.  There was already traffic, it was warm outside (oh late April weather), we were starting to get hungry and also, we knew that it would be at least an hours drive from that point.

What to do, what to do!!  So we racked our brains and decided that going to the festival at that late time would not be that great as all the cool stuff always happens early on as well as we would only get to enjoy a few hours.  Also, it was 30 dollars per person.  That would be 90 dollars just to enter and then if we wanted to buy food, who knows, plus parking if we could not immediately find a spot.  It was looking like an expensive day.

So because of the traffic, we had a few moments to think. We turned to Yelp and Trip Advisor.  We found ourselves in Whitestone, NY.  It is in Queens, off the Whitestone Bridge.

When we arrived we were excited, as there were people waiting outside, which was a good sign.

We sat close to the corner and just smelled all the wonderful odors. We wasted no time in ordering. The taste of the curry dish we ordered reminded me of the ones I had while travelling. The chicken curry included bamboo shoots as well as sweet potato–that was great on day 2. I had a stuffy nose so only randomly did I taste the food but the following day, post stuffy head, the food was better. We also had one of the spicy short rib sandwiches, which was large and had a strong 5 spice taste. That we liked. Lastly, we had the seafood and chicken pancake as well as spring rolls.

I noticed the cool herb garden on the wall. It actually inspired my husband. The restaurant also makes this refreshing drink that includes water, cucumber, ginger and possibly one other ingredient I forgot. (nice differentiating feature)

What everyone seemed to be eating was the broth with a large bone in it. Not my thing but I am sure it was great as that many people cannot be wrong.

The service was decent and the place was nice in terms of decoration. It is a small place, so not much wiggle room and large groups need not apply. Parking can be a challenge but that just means a longer walk from your transportation. The bus does pass by it though. It is in a partly residential area so only if you search (internet) for it or drive by it accidentally, will you see it. Its not on a main street.

The small menu works well. When I am hungry I am easily frustrated if I have to turn through a book.

I would return.  I give it a 7.  Small place, good food.

Slum Tourism

Yes it sounds sounds a little off right.  I heard it on the radio this past week (last week of July 2017).  My husband and I did a double take and we immediately turned to youtube and google to investigate.  We watched one documentary where the people were in Brazil touring one of the “slums/favelas.”  I have mixed feelings on this.  People smiling and gawking might be weird.  On the other side, people are venturing into the unseen/unpopular/untouched which means , as the program we watched put it, there is the recognition that these places and problems exist.  There is so much to say about this.   There is one concern and real at that, that with these tours, people do not give any money to the community.  So essentially they visit, take some selfies, peer into some doorways (not even sure if they shop) and then they bounce.

My husband, who always presents the other view said that it is the same as driving/touring in beverly hills, etc and taking pictures.  I pointed out that, we are gawking but no one is dealing with starvation, malnutrition, disease or being disadvantaged with no/lack of education or opportunity.  Also they do not need our patronage.

So this is happening all over the globe.  For me, I think this is the backpackers way.  I mean they mesh into the area and stay where they can, slum, or not and usually see the real deal. I jumped around here a bit while writing but you get the gist.

If you have any thoughts or comments,  please feel free to share.  
Till then, safe travels!

Macadamia Nuts

I am about to hit you with some macadamia knowledge and fun facts.

So I just made a batch of macadamia white chocolate cranberry cookies.  I used one of the first recipes I found (a little cake-ish) .  Note to self, try another recipe. Its great when toasted though.

So why are macadamia nuts so expensive and it is like the other nut that no one uses.

Well here are some things to know about the nut–

Not native to Hawaii. It is really from Australia.

where are macadamia nuts from


Health Benefits

health benefits



cookies white chocolate  

oatmeal white chocolate

white chocolate 2

hummus hummus

savory dishes

 2 savory recipes

Helpful website with more savory dishes.



If you habe a favorite nut, let others know and also your favorite dish.

June(Tri)Borough Tripping with Toddler

what did we see this past month (June 2017)

  1. Coptic Christian Church in Queens- (Whitestone area)-cool building
  2. Jefferson Market Library- ( lower Manhattan) formerly a courthouse
  3. Fort Totten-(right by Throggsneck Bridge)-Old Buildings

What we did recently

Museum of the City of NY (July 2017)  They have special craft days–on this particular day, they gave us a free pass for next visit.  Yippie.  Also the exhibits are loud and eye catching so 3 year olds can enjoy it for a little.

My toddler likes trains and buses.  She almost cried because we were not taking the bus a few times. It was pure madness.  I guess it is exciting–seeing all the people, the movement, listening to the bell, waiting, whatever it is, she really digs it.  I call it, life’s simple pleasures.

In August, we hit Guilford CT beach.  Different kind of beach–no public facilities and not really soft sand (shells and rocks) but when tide goes out, its nice).  Its not a real day trippers beach as there are no amenities. (bath house, public toilets, places to by food and beach paraphernalia- but its FREE)

We also had a picnic, according to my toddler. We ate on the park benches and watched the day go by.

We recently did a portion of the OCA–Old Croton Aqueduct.  That was fun.  If I had running gear, I would have jogged alongside my toddler. Its a runner’s, walker’s, and biker’s paradise.

Our most recent was taking the bus to Lyndhurst  Mansion in Tarrytown NY for free jazz concert. The bus drops you right at the gates.

We have not done any  real NJ, unless you count the birthday parties we have been to.  We also did a guest visit at a friend’s home only to have him not be home.   (NJ is great if you know what you are looking for, AKA-go with a plan. I wonder if the malls are still closed on Sundays! Google where are you?)

Local travel is great for discovery and culture!!  More to come–lets use the phrase “Winter is Coming!!”

More adventures to come in late September and October.  


Tales of Triple T

Toddler tantrums and travel (Spring 2017)

So my toddler is into this tantrum phrase: laying down on the floor and self-flagellation by way of tapping head on anything she can find-ankles, knees, doors, floors, toys.  For a germaphobe mommy this is the anathema of all behaviors.  Case in point laying on floor in the plane isles, laying on the floor in the mall and laying on the floor in the restaurant crossroads.   Sometimes it is sidewalks.   We were in the museum and well that place saw several lay downs.  People were even concerned.  Of course I am embarrassed but cannot show it.  I just kept encouraging her to get up.

So we were in several countries a few weeks ago for about 2 plus weeks.  My toddler would cry at all hours of the night and the morning.  I chased my toddler in bus depots, malls, down streets, in parks–all to avoid diaper and bathroom breaks.  What saved me sometimes was having her harness.  Yes 24.5 lb toddler still fits in the harness which has a weight limit of 32lbs.

There is another wild behavior that makes me crazy. Its the quick swipe. See something, grab it and run fast, or grab a glass and try to pour out the liquid before one of us (hubby or I) can get there. Or throw something into a glass of water, milk, juice or what have you.

Oh the best in our travels is my toddler pressing all the buttons she can reach in the elevator.  That is always fun when the building has 27 floors.

More to come.