Sunday, January 15, 2023: Sustainability Sunday!
Jan 20th, 2023 by Alex Koster

Even though I love to try new foods and search grocery stores for new ingredients, it’s also really important for me to think about food sustainability (and reducing my family’s food waste). That’s why at least once a week I try to make a dinner that uses up anything fresh that’s about to go bad, as well as using non-perishables that we have around. This is more than just reheating leftovers, and it’s fun to use your imagination.

Typically I do this on Sundays when I have more free time to check out the fridge, the produce drawer, the freezer, and the cupboards, and this Sunday, everything came together to make Easy Fried Rice. The ingredients I used are listed below but this meal definitely depends on what you find in your fridge. Try to make this a weekly habit: you’ll save food and money.

As a reminder, feel free to substitute whatever you have in your fridge or freezer (frozen carrots? green onions? shrimp? red pepper). The point is to use up what you already have but also make it tasty.

  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked, cooled rice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (but olive oil ok, if no sesame)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn (thawed)
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 egg
  • Leftover chicken from a rotisserie chicken (about 3/4 cup) (optional)
  • 1 to 1-1/s tablespoons soy sauce

Veggies: Chop the onion and thaw your vegetables (and drain excess water from the vegetables). Heat a non-stick pan to medium heat and add your cooking oil. Add the onions and cook for 3-5 minutes until translucent and then add your thawed veggies (peas and corn for me) and cook for 1-2 minutes until tender. If you are using fresh vegetables — like broccoli — you may need to pre-cook.

Egg: slide the onion and vegetables to the side of the pan and break the egg into the pan. Quickly scramble it with your spatula and once cooked, mix into the vegetables.

Rice and chicken: Add the rice to the pan (and chicken or other protein, if using). Pour the soy sauce on top and stir until everything is heated through and nicely mixed. You made need to break up clumps of rice with the spatula.

Serve with more sauce sauce, hot sauce or whatever else you like.

January 7, 2023: Pastina + Turtles
Jan 15th, 2023 by Alex Koster

For a while now I have been seeing the cutest star-shaped pasta called Pastina all over social media and after grocery store hunting I finally found a box! I decided to make it in the traditional manner and used Alex Santos’s recipe from (this recipe) which was super easy and really fast.

The ingredients you will need are:

  • 3 cups chicken broth, total
  • 1 cup Pastina pasts
  • 1/ 3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt & pepper

Reserve 1 cup of the chicken broth. Then boil the remaining 2 cups of your chicken broth with the Pastina pasta for about 6 minutes, stirring from time to time. Remove the pasta from the heat and add in the cheese, egg, and pepper. If it’s too thick add more of the broth. Serve with more cheese, salt, and pepper and enjoy!

Healthy Chocolate Turtles

For dessert, I made healthy (or at least healthier) chocolate turtles. The recipe is quick and easy and only you can probably make it with the ingredients you have on hand.

Melt the dark chocolate and let cool slightly. Pit and flatten the dates, then layer on your nut butter and pecans. Coat in melted chocolate and salt then place in the freezer to harden and enjoy! These were a perfect quick dessert and disappeared fast!

  • Medjool dates
  • Any type of nut butter (I used peanut)
  • Pecans
  • Dark chocolate
  • Salt

Sunday, December 17, 2022: World Cup Xmas Cookies
Jan 1st, 2023 by Alex Koster

Today two important events coincided: our family’s annual Xmas Cookie Decorating tradition occurred on the same day as the World Cup finals. Since we are big Lionel Messi supporters and were rooting for Argentina, we decided to combine the two events. Also, since the final was so good (and so nerve-wracking), it was good to have something else to focus on. Pre-game was devoted to making the batter (which then had to chill). During the game, we cut out the sugar cookies, and post-game we decorated the cookies. (There was always the chance we would have had to decorate the soccer jersey shapes with French colors, but luckily Argentina prevailed in PKs.)

For the sugar cookie recipe, we use Nigella Lawson’s classic (and very simple) sugar cookie recipe.

  • 12 tablespoons soft, unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

The first step is to cream the soft butter with the sugar. Once combined and pale yellow in color, add the eggs and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl (mix with a whisk or fork) and then add to the butter-egg mixture. Form into two balls and then two disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

When you are ready to cut out the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Leave one dough disc in the refrigerator while you roll out the other to 1/4 inch thickness and cut out into your desired shapes. (We cut out traditional holiday shapes as well as soccer jersey shapes). I like to let the cut-out cookies rest again in the fridge for 10 minutes before baking. You should also gather up the leftover scraps of dough, shape them into a ball and then a disk, and place in the fridge to rest while you roll out the other disk of dough.

Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes (until the edges are just turning golden brown) and then let them cool completely before frosting. While we have made frosting from scratch in the past, due to our other occupation today (watching the World Cup), we used store-bought white frosting which we colored with food coloring paste. (Paste is better than liquid coloring, which changes the consistency too much).

Add sprinkles and other (edible) decorations as you like. And enjoy! Especially if you are a Messi fan.

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