Lotus Root Chips Recipe

I just attended a macrobiotic cooking class today taught by Mami Ogata. The Japanese native who is a florist in Dallas -- you may have seen her creations at Yutaka Bistro in Uptown -- also teaches flower meditation and macrobiotic cooking lessons. I first learned of her macrobiotic cooking when she brought over an bento box for me after I had my tumor removed. Like so many of my tribe, she lovingly prepared a healthy, vegan meal that fed me and my spirits. Her interest for macrobiotic cooking was piqued when her husband got leukemia and she wanted to cook more healthfully for the family. The Japanese macrobiotic diet consists mainly of whole cereal grains (like brown rice), vegetables, miso soup, sea vegetables, beans and legumes. It is a clean diet and recommends fish and seafood, other animal proteins sweeteners, fruits, seasonings and sweets occasionally. Our menu today consisted of lotus root chips with guacamole, home-made beet dashi soup (made with dried shiitakes and kelp), vegetarian sushi made with brown rice, beans, carrots and cucumbers, sauteed burdock root with carrots and a chocolate avocado mousse. It encompassed all the elements of a macrobiotic meal. But the lotus root chips were so delicious! Mami made them with a Texas twist and paired the chips with guacamole. I just had to post a quick recipe as it will change your guacamole for Cinco de Mayo or any gathering. Click for the recipe.

The Strawberry Shortcake I never knew

Summer is here and it's time to celebrate America's favorite summertime dessert -- the strawberry shortcake. June 14th is National Strawberry Shortcake Day. But for a girl who grew up in Australia without this iconic American dessert, I don't have a point of reference for strawberry shortcake, except maybe images of a doll my sister used to play with. Our IttyBittyFoodies boys are Americans so we're adding strawberry shortcake to our list of American traditions (see Macy's Culinary Council's Strawberry Shortcake with Slow Roasted Strawberries and Chantilly Cream below). To kick off our summer plans, we'll be zipping off to Union Square in San Francisco this June 14th for Macy's American Icons event to celebrate National Strawberry Shortcake Day!

Meatball recipe by Kenny’s Italian Kitchen

Today is National Meatball Day and to celebrate, Chef Kenny Bowers of Kenny's Italian Kitchen is sharing his Kenny's Midnight Meatballs recipe with Itty Bitty Foodies. The recipe aptly named after he spent many a night making meatballs till midnight after work as a way to relax. And to show his meatball love to customers, every Sunday as well as National Meatball Day, Kenny's Italian Kitchen offers $1 for an order of Kenny's 1/4 lb meatballs. A deal like that makes Sunday family suppers at the Italian-American eatery doubly delicious. Read on for the secrets to his meatball recipe.

Plant-Powered Families

A couple of weeks ago I had braces put in and I've inadvertently become a vegetarian. My teeth hurt so much, it has put a clamp on meat eating for a while. After days of being on a smoothie/soup diet, things got serious as I needed more calorie dense (but healthy) diet that was soft enough for me to chew. That where "Plant-Powered Families"* by Dreena Burton came in. "Plant-Powered Families" has over 100 kid-friendly, whole-foods vegan recipes and I found it useful to rally the troops to get them on board with eating more fruits and vegetables. Whether you're thinking of dabbling in veganism or just want to add more plant-based dishes to your daily diet, "Plant-Powered Families" is a healthy resource.

Easy Baked Frittata Recipe

Weekends should be leisurely and relaxed. Our Itty Bitty Foodies are crazy about eggs and we love this easy baked frittata recipe. "Frittata" meaning "fried" in Italian is usually done in a skillet and then finished off in the oven. We had such a positive response with our Oven "Fried" Chicken Wings, we decided give this recipe a healthy tweak and do more baking than frying. Frittatas are a great way to add more vegetables in our diet as well as help clear out the fridge of odds and ends. Have a few leftover rashes of bacon or a few handfuls of spinach? Toss it in. Found a lone zucchini you didn't know what to do with? No problem. The recipe is flexible, so get your kids to add in what they like and get them cooking with you in the kitchen. This 'everything but the kitchen sink' recipe is excellent for beginner cooks. Here's what we added in our frittata recipe.

English peas pasta with lemon and mint

As the weather heats up, our suppers are becoming lighter. This English peas pasta recipe is brightened with hints of mint and lemon. For summer we want refreshing so we buy fresh on the herbs, pasta and peas. However, we often call on this ’emergency’ recipe and substitute with frozen peas and dried pasta as we have these ingredients in our pantry, most times. If we don’t have fresh mint, we just omit it from the recipe as the dried version pales in comparison. Fresh English peas give an extra bouncy pop than frozen. English peas come in big pods that are easy for the Itty Bitty Foodies to shell. Even 2 year old Googie gets into the prep work. Aside from a quick an great tasting meal, it’s also fun for the whole family to make this English peas pasta with lemon and mint.

How to make the perfect boiled egg

When it comes to boiled eggs, my Itty Bitty Foodies are like Goldilocks. Half boiled, runny eggs are a "no go" at our home as are hard, over-boiled, eggs with the yellow powdery, dry yolk. They like their eggs just cooked so that the yolk is firm but still orange and moist. Hitting that sweet spot is not easy so Beefcake and I use this method on how to make the perfect boiled egg with consistent results

Beef and potato wrapped in puff pastry

It seems that every culture has some version of a beef and potato wrapped in pastry food item. Australians have a steak and potato pie, Russians do it in a piroshki, Indians with samosas and Latin Americans have empanadas. Over the weekend, I made the Malaysian version for friends: curried beef and potato wrapped in puff pastry. I used a mild curry powder and the kids loved it. It's always rewarding to see your own kids appreciate your food but a little extra special when other people's children enjoy it so much, they ask to eat the last one. This is an easy recipe and I cheat a little by using puff pastry instead of making my own.

Simple grilled lamb chops recipe

It's cook out weather and we're enjoying every minute of it. This year, Dallas is actually having real spring weather which means the only thing sizzling is on our barbecue grill. We like to entertain friends with this grilled lamb chop recipes. The key is to marinate them for at least 2 hours in advance to infuse all your flavors before popping them on the grill so all your hard work is done by the time your friends arrive.