Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Who is Tom Ka Gai?

Turns out Tom isn't a he; he's an it! A delicious Thai soup!

I first tried Tom at a friend's house. She called and wanted to know if I wanted to have lunch with her and Tom Cockeyed. I said sure, not knowing that Tom was lunch and not an oddly-named third wheel. Since our first meeting, Tom and I have spend many a meal in each other's company.

Think coconut and spices... Think chicken soup... and then combine those two thought together (it's a little weird the first time, but go with it!) and you have one of my all time favorite soups.

Start by chopping up a couple chicken breasts. I like them pretty small so I can have some chicken in every bite.

Toss it in a soup pot with a few tbsp of oil or butter and saute til it turns white.

Add the rest of the magic and cook it for a very short time (it will seem longer when the scents begin to tantalize).

Don't my girls look so happy to skip their processed lunch meat today??

In case you're wondering, they love it; they're just reluctant to accept any deviation from our normal lunch routine.

Once the coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice, and spices are added, it looks like this:

Don't be alarmed when the turmeric turns the pearly white coconut milk yellow. It may not as pretty, but it's definitely more tasty.

Next chop some green onions for garnish. It's good to have something to do with your hands so you don't try to taste it a few hundred times while it simmers.

I also had some wheat Italian bread that I had baked the day before and it went beautifully with the soup.


It. Is. So. Good.

Tom Ka Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 Tbsp oil or butter
2 (14 oz) cans coconut milk
2 c water
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger or 2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 c Fish sauce
1/4 c lime juice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 thinly sliced green onions

Cut chicken into thin strips and saute in oil or butter for 2 to 3 min or until chicken turns white.

Add coconut milk and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Add ginger, fish sauce, lime juice, cayenne pepper,  and turmeric. Simmer until the chicken is done, 10 to 15 min.

Sprinkle with green onions and serve steaming hot.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Homemade Nutella Pop Tarts

A few days ago I saw a post on Pinterest that caught my eye from Bake Me More

Even though I personally don't care for pop tarts, the idea of creating a healthy version of something so highly attractive to children captivated me.

So, this morning, using Nutella and a basic pie crust recipe altered to add nutrition, I created something that received a thumbs-up from all three of my girls.


I wanted them to look as much like the cardboard sugar overload as possible and hide some healthy stuff like whole wheat flour and flax, too.


I also added a simple icing and colorful sprinkles (since I couldn't find my chocolate ones.)


Intrigued? They're pretty simple, too!

For the pastry dough

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp ground flax seed + wheat flour to equal 1 cup
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp ice water

Stir together dry ingredients. Add butter and shortening; cut in with pastry blender til the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add ice water 2 Tbsp at a time til dough will roll into a ball. Wrap tightly and refrigerate 20 minutes or longer.

Roll out dough on floured surface. Cut into desired size; two per tart. Spread desired filling on dough, leaving 1/2" border all the way around.


Top each tart with a second pastry and crimp the edges using water to seal.


Bake at 400F for 8 minutes


Optional: Icing

1 cup confectioners sugar
2-3 Tbsp milk

Stir milk into sugar until it forms a thick paste. Spread on cooled tarts and top with sprinkles, if desired.


I was going to try a few with almond butter and top with sliced almonds but my girls were so excited about the Nutella that I forgot. You could also try sugar free jam or peanut butter! I would love to see more creative variations of these.

My 7-year-old likes it.


My 6-yr-old agrees.


Even my ultra-picky 3-year-old who rarely eats anything likes it!

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