Archive of ‘appetite’ category

Cambridge Fall Classic 5K with Fit Flock

By Kristina

Last Sunday, I ran the Cambridge Fall Classic 5K with the Fit Flock team of chefs and bloggers.The Fit Flock is a joint effort between the American Lamb Board and BostonChefs.com to celebrate lamb as a nutritional and flavorful protein option. Fit Flock provided us with race bibs, shirts, a team tent, and an after-party at the Smoke Shop.

The Cambridge Fall Classic is part of a seasonal 5K series along with the Winter Classic, Spring Classic, and Summer Classic. It follows the same course as the An Ras Mor 5K and is easy to get to by T (Red Line to Central Square) or by car (because Cambridge parking permits aren’t needed on Sundays). The course is also easy for spectators to navigate. My husband and toddler cheered for me on Mass Ave at the start of the race and again near the end of the race.

Bib and shirt pickup went smoothly. I appreciated that the race staff allowed separate day-of pickup with teams. We spotted a Fit Flock member dressed in a full lamb suit on Main Street as we were looking for parking, and he was right next to the pickup table. Parker was a bit befuddled by the lamb though!

fitflock

withthelambI headed over to the start, where I spotted Nicco, Ellie, and Lexi from Commonwealth sporting their Fit Flock shirts. It was Nicco and Ellie’s first ever race! We chatted for a bit, and then we were off!

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The weather was surprisingly humid for mid-September, so the gradual uphill for the first 1.5 miles felt difficult. Seeing Ethan and Parker gave me a much-needed energy boost there!

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Finishing felt great! I ran this race over a minute faster than I did the An Ras Mor 5K, so I was happy to see that improvement.

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Post-race, we headed back home so Parker could eat and nap. Parker loves the lamb tagine from the Baby Led Weaning cookbook (pictured below from meals earlier this month), and we look forward to making more lamb dishes for him (starting with the LEON Naturally Fast Food lamb and apricot balls!).

lambtagine

Thank ewe, Fit Flock!

Parents’ Night Out at Trade

By Kristina

In the past 13 months of motherhood, nights out have become a scarce commodity. When Leah invited me to a Parents’ Night Out at Trade, I jumped at the chance to enjoy delicious food and drinks with Dave, Debbie, Leah (and her daughter), Kim, Kimberly, Nancy, Phyllis, and Sharon. Bonus: no one threw their food on the floor, shrieked at the top of their lungs, or played peekaboo–though a toy fish did appear in one of the beverages!

Being out so late (7:30) on a school night made me feel like I did in the days before teaching and motherhood! So did the lively conversation, which was as full of sassiness as it was full of useful parent advice. My biggest takeaway: blogs, Twitter, and Instagram aren’t awesome just because of the information and pictures–they’re awesome because they help enable interpersonal connections to people with common interests (when you finally get to meet them!).

trade

We toasted to our night out with the Beets by Trade, then sampled the following from the dinner menu:

Raw Bar and Small Plates
Salmon Poke with serrano, red onion, avocado and plantain chips
Buttermilk Fried Quail with harissa aioli and pickled root vegetables
Falafel Pancakes with tzatziki, serrano and scallion
Chicken Meatballs with tomato vinaigrette, garlic cream and pine nuts
Fried Sweet Potatoes with salsa verde and orange

Flatbreads
Tasso Ham and Smoked Gouda Flatbread with roasted corn, pickled pepper and onion
Mushroom and Fig Flatbread with gorgonzola, sage pesto and walnuts
Lamb Sausage Flatbread with eggplant, Manchego, peppers and garlic yogurt

Entrees
Seared Salmon with shredded kale salad, lemon-tahini vinaigrette and pistachio
Oven Roasted Half Chicken with fried potatoes, lemon aioli and charred romaine
Painted Hills Bavette Steak with arugula, french fries and 540 steak sauce
Baked Rigatoni with spicy lamb ragu and provolone

Just when we thought we couldn’t eat any more, out came a Not a Cloud in the Sky cocktail and dessert:
Milk and Cookies: chocolate shortbread, buttercream and crema spressa
Ginger Ice Cream and TRADE Brownie with chili-chocolate sauce, candied ginger, and dukkah

#momsnightout at TRADE. Babysitters across the board…bartender, keep ’em comin!!

A photo posted by tradeboston (@tradeboston) on

Thank you, Trade for the amazing parents’ night out! Looking forward to visiting again on a girls’ night out or a date night!

#TradeParentsNightOut Bloggers

Trade
540 Atlantic Ave, Boston MA 02110
(617) 451-1234
T: South Station
Parking: Atlantic Wharf Garage at 280 Congress Street or valet
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The Perfect Portion Cookbook

By Kristina

I recently received a copy of The Perfect Portion Cookbook to review. The Perfect Portion Cookbook includes 150 healthy, easy-to-prepare recipes with a 100-calorie portion system for counting calories and managing portion sizes. The website also offers helpful tips and videos. 

cookbook

As a new mom, I’m not into the “must immediately get pre-baby body back” attitude, but I really appreciate the simple, healthy takes on comfort food in this cookbook. It’s so refreshing to see mostly real, unprocessed food versus something like “three-ingredient protein pancakes” or a healthified version of rich food that uses non-fat, sugar-free “diet” ingredients. The familiar comfort food nature of the recipes offers a good base for making small tweaks or customization. The recipes don’t involve a ton of prep work or active cooking time either, which is great for getting back into cooking as a new mom. I made four of the recipes: blackened cod, 100 calorie biscuits, tuna melts, and cheese crackers.

Blackened Cod
codI’ve been finding great cod at Market Basket lately, so I was excited to try this out. My usual go-to cod recipes involve mayonnaise + sriracha + panko bread crumbs or butter + panko bread crumbs, so the blackening spice in this recipe was a much lighter alternative. On the first attempt at this, I served it with some pasta on the side and topped it with a squeeze of lemon and some chives. Overall, the flavor was good (though my husband found it a bit spicy). I wish I’d adjusted the spice amounts more better because the filets were pretty large. The second time I made it, I added some paprika and decreased the cayenne. I also tried to get a better sear on the fish and served it alongside jasmine rice with kale, garlic, and shallots. I will definitely keep this in my repertoire.

100 Calorie Biscuits
2016-02-28 08.18.32I’ve had yogurt biscuits on my to-make list for a while, so I was glad that The Perfect Portion Cookbook included them. I used a mix of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour and Fage 0% yogurt, and served them with butter and strawberry jam. They didn’t turn out as well as the biscuits I have made with grated frozen butter and buttermilk lately, but I’ll give them at least another try to see if I can improve my dough-making or biscuit shaping or tweak the baking time.

Tuna Melts
2016-02-27 11.48.41I really liked these. I used Cabot 3 year aged cheddar, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, whole grain bread, and Bumble Bee light tuna in olive oil. I subbed celery for tomato. The bread I bought was small, so there ended up being enough to make one more tuna melt each the next day. If only I had a toaster oven at work…I’d be making these every day!

Cheese Crackers
fishI’ve been intrigued by Smitten Kitchen’s goldfish recipe, so I used a goldfish cutter on The Perfect Portion Cookbook’s recipe. I used a screwdriver for the eyes and a 1/4 tsp spoon for the smiles. I also added some Old Bay seasoning to the crackers. I took them to school with me and gave some to my students. Some said they were too salty (too much Old Bay?) but one commented that they tasted “just like pizza goldfish.”

Looking forward to making more recipes from this cookbook!

Atlas Coffee Club and Math Projects

By Kristina

Disclaimer: I was sent a complimentary sample of Atlas Coffee in exchange for my thoughts on the product. I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are my own. There are no affiliate links in this post.

I’ve written about coffee math before and recently got inspired again after learning about Atlas Coffee Club. After my beginning of semester poll on “what would help you do better in math?” some of the students in my math enrichment class said “real-world projects!” I love doing those anyway, so I got to thinking about topics that are relevant to them. My first period 9th grade class doesn’t seem to have the same coffee addiction as my past 11th and 12th grade classes, but that may change for them in the future. In past years, my early morning 11th or 12th grade classes often looked like a Starbucks (minus the hipster clothing and MacBooks) because of the sheer number of Frappuccinos, iced passion teas, and coffees. The teachers, however, still come in with various types of coffee (homemade in a travel mug, Dunkin iced, Starbucks, or local cafe) and often go out for a mid-day coffee break or use the Keurig machine in the teachers’ lounge.

Thus is born my new project idea: Have students do “market research” and create a “make coffee at home” plan for teachers who spend way too much on buying coffee out. Atlas Coffee Club offers a wide variety of coffees from around the world along with subscription options that suit different frequencies of coffee drinking.

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1) Interview a teacher about their favorite type of coffee and their coffee habits. For example, if they like Ethiopian reserve coffees at Starbucks, they might like the Ethiopian Sidamo. For coffee habits, find how often they drink it, how much it costs per day, and their habits (e.g., are they always rushing in the morning? do they have to make coffee for a husband/wife/signficant other? do they have patience for using a Chemex? do they even know what a Chemex is?).
2) Find a coffee that matches their flavor preferences and coffee-making style (clearly explained by the Atlas coffee brewing guide)
3) Price out how much related equipment will cost if the teacher does not already own it (travel mug for taking to school, French press, Chemex).
4) Price out their subscription (including if they use the 5% lifetime discount).
5) Figure out when the teacher will break even given the cost of the equipment and subscription versus the daily purchase.
6) IB bonus: research the coffee industry in the country of origin of the chosen coffee.
7) Extension: find a k-cup brand and price out how much it would cost for the teacher to bring those to school to brew in the teachers’ lounge machine. Assess the environmental impact and time savings of this option.

I’m interested to see how this plays out with the kiddos. I like that this problem is open-ended and that they’ll have to apply the skill of “reaching out to an adult and actually speaking to them” as well as using linear equations and systems of equations in a context that’s not just a math problem that comes out to nice integer answers.

Super Bowl Recipe Exchange

By Kristina

Though the Pats won’t be playing in Super Bowl 50 and we’ll have to be home by 6:00 p.m. for baby’s bedtime, I’m still excited for Super Bowl food! I’m participating in a Super Bowl Recipe Exchange with fellow food bloggers, who’ve created the following delicious recipes:

  1. Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ from Eat.Live.Blog
  2. White Bean & Chorizo Stew from LivinLemon
  3. Buffalo Chicken Empanadas from yours truly
  4. DIY Snack Stadium from Wife in Progress
  5. Homemade Pimento Cheese Stuffed Sliders from Aimee Broussard
  6. Taco Dip from Anchors and Bows
  7. Corn “Tamale” with Black Beans and more from Good Cook Doris

Not only am I sharing with you these great recipes, but I am also excited to offer an opportunity to win a $100 gift card courtesy of Wayfair! You could choose from one of their MANY slow cookers, or any one of a million other things that will make your Super Bowl Party the biggest winner of the night!

The giveaway is open until the winner of the Super Bowl is crowned.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

buffalo chicken empanadas

By Kristina

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I enjoy putting a twist on Filipino recipes such as my mom’s empanadas and pancit. Now that I’m a new mom, I’ve started to streamline my cooking by minimizing chopping and using my slow cooker more. Pulled chicken has become quite a staple in our household. For the Super Bowl, I’ve always loved eating buffalo wings or buffalo dip, so my Filipino mom adaptation will be…slow cooker buffalo chicken empanadas! This makes ~20 depending on how big you roll them.

Dough (2 batches of my mom’s recipe)
6 cups all-purpose flour
0.5 cup sugar
1.5 cups water
1 cup butter (cut into small cubes)

Chicken
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cup buffalo sauce, divided into two 1/2 cup portions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Penzeys roasted garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Other Ingredients
2 cups blue cheese crumbles
1 bunch scallions, chopped
3 carrots, diced
1 beaten egg (for egg wash)
Blue cheese dressing and more buffalo sauce for dipping

These pre-chopped onions from Whole Foods worked great, and I might try the mirepoix in filling next time I make it!

prechopped

1. Put buffalo chicken ingredients (one of the half cups of sauce) into slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low. Shred with forks. Add the other 1/2 cup of sauce. I realized that this makes a lot of extra filling–it turns out great in lettuce wraps, tacos, salads, and egg scrambles though!

chicken

2. Mix dough ingredients in food processor (I do two batches to make sure it fits and mixes evenly) and form into a large ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for about 30 minutes.
3. Roll out dough circles about 6 inches in diameter (from small handfuls of dough).
4. Place 1 or 2 heaping tablespoons of chicken onto the rolled-out dough. Top with blue cheese, scallions, and carrots.
5. Fold the dough circle over to start forming the empanada. Press fork along the curved edge to create a border.

making

6. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes on pans lined with parchment paper. After 15 minutes, brush empanadas with beaten egg for coloring, then put them back in the oven to finish baking.

empanadas

Beta Burger

By Kristina

Some pregnant women crave odd combinations like pickles and ice cream. Because my regular food choices already included combinations like peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, I expected that I’d either be eating completely wacky foods or completely bland foods. My biggest pregnancy craving fell somewhere in the middle: for burgers. During my second trimester, I took a special education licensure course at Madison Park High School. That burger pregnancy craving got triggered by Beta Burger’s “opening summer 2015” sign every time I went to the neighboring Dunkin Donuts before class, so I was psyched to get invited to try out Beta Burger this past weekend!

storefront

Customization + Technology = Beta Burger

Founder Adrian Wong sought to bring innovation and culture to the food industry via customization and technology. He made a career change from advising startups at Morgan Stanley, adding to his finance experience by working at Chipotle and Grass Fed along the way. Chains like Chipotle can pre-cook proteins such as carnitas or barbacoa, enabling a fast customization assembly line process. However, burgers must be made to order for optimum taste. You can’t maintain the same quality and cut prep time by pre-cooking burgers and storing them before a lunch rush. Inspired by sous vide cooking, he did research to see if bulk sous vide cooking could be possible for burgers and settled on the CVap oven.

cVapovenThe CVap oven cooks burgers with water vapor. The burgers are then finished on the grill for 30 seconds. This searing with high heat creates the Malliard effect on the burgers. The combination of slow cooker and grill consistently yields juicy, non-greasy burgers quicker than a grill-only process. If I take a lengthy class at Madison Park again, I’ll definitely come here for lunch breaks—it’s fast enough to get a burger and fries during a 30-minute break! The process can be made even faster by ordering website or with their app (on the App Store or Google Play).

The Food

menu
I liked the customization process much better than trying to pick from a long list of pre-made burger combos and having to make slight changes like “no tomato.” There were ample choices for bread and toppings, but not enough to be overwhelming. There are low-carb options such as the skinny bun or the “turn a burger into a salad.” There are two seasonal toppings (currently, there are marshmallows and roasted peppers).

burgers

I tried the Beta burger on a potato roll (with cheddar, Beta steak sauce, lettuce, and roasted peppers) and garlic parmesan fries.

betaburger

My husband tried the limited edition Toasted Snowman and buffalo fries. At first I was skeptical of this Frozen-themed burger, but Adrian explained that the marshmallow adds a subtle sweetness that goes well with the salt and fat of the burger. My skepticism was proved wrong because the marshmallow does work well as a topping!

ToastedSnowman

On both of our burgers, the ratio of burger : bun : toppings was appropriate. Adrian and his staff are very receptive to feedback about the burgers—the patties were initially smaller, and were made bigger after customer feedback. As a new mom, I now order food based on its spill potential. I’ve often spilled burger toppings all over my son when the bun couldn’t hold up to the burger or when the toppings slid around. I managed to eat my Beta burger with one hand while holding Parker with the other, and he remained spill-free! We also noted that the burgers were delicious without leading to the “slowies.”

The fries were well-cooked—very thin and crispy. The seasoning got distributed well by the bag-shaking process.

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Other Notes

Beta Burger’s space is simple and clean, with lots of orange and little touches like Bob’s Burgers playing on next to the menu and an Ugly Sweater discount until New Year’s Eve. The bathrooms are large and clean. Though there aren’t any changing tables, I would be okay with changing a diaper on the floor. There is counter space and one table on the main floor, with additional seating downstairs. Street parking is reasonably easy to find.

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Beta Burger 1437 Tremont St, Roxbury MA 02120
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on math, date nights, and yummy food

By Kristina

My husband’s boss gave us the following sage advice for new parenthood: go on a date night once a week.

I didn’t realize how important and effective that advice was until last night’s date night (our first since September 1st). We’d gotten into more of a parenting routine over the past three months, including getting out and about with the baby to events such as a Halloween party or to a sushi restaurant for my birthday. However, we were always “on.” Watching one kid used to seem theoretically easier to me than watching 29 at a time in the classroom. Now, teaching a packed classroom would feel like relief from the days of constantly monitoring the baby and never knowing when a potential break would come. Yesterday we went to Sabur, an awesome Mediterranean restaurant in our neighborhood. A couple of hours of non-baby conversation in a chill atmosphere with delicious food felt just as refreshing as eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

PicFrame Chef’s mezze (hummus, pita, red onions, feta, polenta squares, olives, stuffed grape leaves)
Burek (pie made of ground beef, hand stretched phyllo, spinach, and cheese)
Warm goat cheese with roasted red pepper, garlic confit, and roasted eggplant served with crostini
Cevapcici (grilled Balkan sausages with onion, pita bread, and tzatziki)

Our non-baby conversations often revolve around education (K-12 and college) and STEM. We like sharing lesson plan ideas, talking about new technology, and even solving math problems together. This goes all the way back to our very first date in March 2009, when I gave my husband a few problems from an IB Math Studies training I’d recently attended (such as this one, which he couldn’t solve).

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But, getting the right answer isn’t necessarily as important as the journey, and our prob-versations continued through dating and now regularly happen in our marriage. We had a great time solving this problem at home on the couch one night before I debuted it as a challenge to my 12th graders. challenge We’ve talked about how to use the Law of Cosines when writing code for LEGO robots and ultrasonic sensors in one of his class projects. We talk about how to design rubrics for projects like “create a robot that blows bubbles.” We even share problems like this with his dad, who enjoys solving them too: “The two hands of a clock are 4” and 5”, at some time between 1:45 and 2:00, the distance between the tips of the hands is 8”. What time is it to the nearest second?”

So when I saw this clock puzzle on Sam Shah’s blog, I thought it’d be a great date night problem. As soon as I finished saying it, my husband replied “oh, the answer’s [censored here to avoid spoiler alert], right?” Turns out he’d gotten it wrong at a high school math meet because of forgetting that the hour hand moves. We reminisced about solving the other clock puzzle (and how one of my students had solved it a completely different way but may have just gotten lucky with his solution) and about how a small group of my students had latched on to that complicated triangle pictured above.

working I did snap a picture at the time with the intention of blogging…but better late than never.

They never solved it, but their perseverance and collaboration was pretty awesome. Two of the kids in that group were the first students from our school to earn IB diplomas. Coincidence? I think not. I hope that my son will exhibit similar behavior in the future, whether he’s doing a jigsaw puzzle with us, learning how to solve a Rubik’s Cube from his uncle Anthony, tackling trig problems, or writing robotics code. I hope he enjoys the journey and knows that even though both his parents are teachers, we’ll always value the journey more than just the right answers.

mom-meals: pulled chicken tacos

By Kristina

Tacos

The first few weeks of parenthood filled our trash can with almost as many takeout containers as dirty diapers. Now that we are getting back into cooking, I’m trying to make more meals that require as little active time (chopping, stirring, assembling) as possible. It’s been a gradual improvement from eating random things out of the fridge with one hand while holding Parker with the other arm to cooking pasta with him in the baby carrier, but I missed my old Sunday meal prep routine and the time it saved during the week. People have recommended Blue Apron as a way to make cooking easier. I think I’d feel more stressed/constrained by their ingredients lists, the 30+ minute prep time for meals, and the amount of packaging that the meals are shipped in. I prefer going to the store or farmer’s market and getting inspired by a few ingredients.

A fellow new mom recommended this pulled chicken recipe to me. She and her husband made it on a Sunday for enchiladas and had plenty for lunches throughout the week. After being limited to dinner-making via “hand baby to husband as soon as he gets home and then scramble to cook”, I was happy to bring out the crockpot, make the pulled chicken, and ponder a non-enchilada meal that didn’t require a knife and fork (since I’m aiming to cook meals that can be eaten while holding a baby in the other arm, if needed). Bonus mom activity: going for a walk to Stop and Shop with Parker.

Ingredients
1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast (used a 2 pound package from Stop and Shop)
1/2 cup salsa, homemade or store-bought (used mild Whole Foods salsa)
1 teaspoon garlic powder (used Penzeys Roasted Garlic and added a few cloves of minced garlic)
1/2 onion, finely chopped (used a whole onion)
2 teaspoons taco seasoning (used chipotle powder, salt, and black pepper)

Cooking
I did the chopping after Parker had gone to sleep, then put the ingredients into the crockpot on low for 8 hours. The crockpot switched to the “keep warm” setting for a couple of hours by the time we had finished Parker’s morning feeding. I pulled the chicken apart with two forks and then stored it in Tupperware until dinner that evening.

Eating
We didn’t actually use it in enchiladas, but in tacos (pictured above) and in salads (with the same filling, just with corn and more lettuce). At the store, I got inspired to make tacos after spotting mango salsa in the pre-chopped vegetables section. For the tacos, I used yellow corn tortillas, chopped avocado, mango salsa, cheddar cheese, green Tabasco sauce, and lettuce.

my favorite smoothie – #ShowUsYourSmoothie

By Kristina

I have always loved peanut butter, banana slices, and honey on toast as a pre-run breakfast. I love the smoothie version pre-run, pre-workout, post-workout, or at school (when lunch breaks are 20 minutes long). Smoothies are so easy to make and portable. They’re also great for supplementing typical protein sources (e.g., meat, eggs, or fish) when using protein powder such as Vega Protein Smoothie, Daily Burn Fuel 6, or Nature’s Best Perfect Zero Carb Isopure (used by Barry’s Bootcamp at their Fuel Bar). It’s also easy to add in spinach or kale to get in extra servings of vegetables.

IMG_8906Ingredients (2 servings)
1 ripe banana
16 ounces Pure Almond Milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Vega Viva Vanilla)
3 shakes of Penzeys Apple Pie Spice
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp Teddie peanut butter
6 large ice cubes

Preparation
Put all ingredients in Vitamix in the order specified. Blend on smoothie setting. To take smoothies to school, I like to use 16 oz mason jars, Cuppow regular mouth lids and metal straws.

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