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Dark Side Salsa

January 31, 2010

Today we tried our first recipe from the snacks/sides section of the cookbook — Dark Side Salsa.  This one required a lot of involvement from me, as the only real preparation involved here was cutting up the veggies.

Our ingredients:

Jacob took one look at the ingredients and suddenly developed a stomachache that prevented him from participating.  But I did manage to tear Peter away from Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire long enough to help out.

I let Peter do some of the easy cutting, like slicing the tomatoes in half, but then I had to do the dicing.  He also helped me peel the onion and the avocado.

After everything was cut up and placed in the bowl, we added some salt and pepper and stirred it up.  Our end result looked like this:

Jacob, still “ailing” from his stomachache, wouldn’t try it.  But Peter was brave enough to take a bite.  The recipe calls for it to be served with blue corn tortilla chips.  Oddly, I wasn’t able to find any at the grocery store, so we went with Tostitos Scoops.

Peter’s reaction pretty much sums it all up:

Skill level:  Easy for an adult — 95% of what is involved is dicing vegetables.  But not very kid-friendly since knife work is required in every step.

The outcome:  Blech.  Perhaps we are biased because we are Texan.  This recipe is called “salsa,” but it is actually a recipe for something more akin to pico de gallo.  The flavor wasn’t actually that bad to me, but I am not a pico de gallo fan because I don’t care for the texture.  We have had enough good salsa in our lives that I can safely say we’ll never make this again.

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Yoda Soda

January 26, 2010

The last beverage recipe was Yoda Soda.  As with the Jedi Master himself, this soda is green.  My boys are among what seems to be a minority of children that are not allowed to drink soda.  They have actually tried it once or twice and didn’t care for the bubbles.  Fine by me.  But I was willing to make an exception for purposes of the exercise of cooking every recipe in this cookbook!

Just a few ingredients were needed:

First we squeezed lime juice into a pitcher:

Then we added the sparkling water and sugar:

Jacob scooped the lime sherbet into glasses:

And Peter carefully poured in the soda:

The final step, not pictured here, is the most important — insertion of the bendy straw!  The boys sat down to enjoy their creation.

Skill level:  Easy.  So long as they measured correctly, the boys could have made this one on their own since no knives or heat are involved.

The outcome:  They didn’t care for it at all!  I’m not surprised since they’re not soda drinkers.  But I had to laugh when Peter exclaimed that even Sprite tasted better than this.  I took a sip and, to me, it tasted exactly like a Sprite!

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Jawa Jive Milkshakes

November 8, 2009

Apparently, Jawas secretly get together and drink milkshakes.  This recipe can be made in one of four flavors:  Chocolate Banana, Vanilla Peanut Butter, Super Strawberry or Double Chocolate.  The boys enthusiastically agreed on Double Chocolate.

Just a few ingredients:

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Peter started crushing up the Oreos in a plastic bag:

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Jacob measured the milk, while I scooped the ice cream into the blender.

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Peter added the chocolate syrup, and Jacob put in the crushed up Oreos.

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We blended it all up for 2 minutes and poured out the shakes.  Because Oreos rarely make an appearance in our house, the boys asked if they could have a couple of cookies with their shakes. 

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Everyone was happy, though they had different ways of showing it!

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Skill level:  Easy!

The outcome:  The children loved these milkshakes!  The shakes were quite rich and very filling, and so the boys drank only about 1/3 glass each.  Hubby and I took a taste and thought they were too chocolatey.  I love chocolate and never thought that there could be too much of a good thing, but this proved me wrong.  Maybe it was the crushed up Oreos that put it over the edge.  We thought maybe the chocolate-banana would have been a tastier choice.

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Skywalker Smoothies

October 25, 2009

There is a saying in Houston:  “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes.”  The nice cool fall weather that prompted us to make Hoth Chocolate has disappeared and it was warm again today.  What better cure than a refreshing Skywalker Smoothie?

It was a simple recipe with just a few ingredients:  strawberries (you could also use frozen), banana, ice and orange juice (you could also use pineapple or grape).

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The boys took turns adding the ingredients to the blender.  The recipe called for 4 ice cubes, but we used 6 to make it a bit thicker.  If you used frozen strawberries, you could probably make do with 4 ice cubes.

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Jacob watched the blender do its thing:

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Because it was close to bedtime and I didn’t want the kids having TOO much sugar so close to bed, I decided to control portion sizes by pouring the smoothies into martini glasses.  The kids thought it was fancy.

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Drink up!

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Skill level:  As easy as it gets.

Outcome:  This one got a mixed reaction.  It was a bit too orangey for Peter’s taste.  He decided that next time, he would decrease the amount of orange juice and perhaps add a second banana because he prefers the banana taste to the orange.  Jacob, on the other hand, loved it (he also loves OJ) and slurped up quite a bit of his smoothie.  This will certainly make a refreshing drink when the warm weather is upon us again in a few months.

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Hoth Chocolate

October 22, 2009

A cold front blew in over the weekend, bringing cooler evening temperatures to Houston.  On a cool night, I couldn’t think of a better thing to make than the next recipe in the book:  Hoth Chocolate.  Hoth is an ice planet where Luke Skywalker and C3P0 crash landed.

This recipe was nice and easy and the kids did everything pretty much by themselves.  Our ingredients:

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Everyone just HAD to take a whiff of the cocoa before adding it to the milk:

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The boys took turns whisking the ingredients together:

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Once everything was mixed together, we just had to wait for tiny bubbles to form around the edges, telling us that the chocolate was warm and ready to drink.  It is hard for two little boys to wait!

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When it was ready, we poured it into 2 mugs and added marshmallows.  Here is how it looked:

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Jacob thought it was a little too hot at first, but Peter slurped it up.

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Skill level:  Easy!  The boys liked that they were able to do this one with minimal help from me.

Outcome:  Delicious!  Nothing warms your belly like a cup of hot chocolate and this one was somehow much more satisfying than pouring an envelope of powder into a cup a boiling water.

Peter’s comment:  “Mom, the name of this recipe doesn’t make sense.  Hoth is an ice planet.  This chocolate is hot.”

Me:  “And if you were on Hoth, what would you want to drink?”

Pause.  Light bulb goes on in Peter’s head.

Peter:  “Ooooooh, now I get it!”

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Mos Eisley Morsels

October 19, 2009

Today we cooked the last breakfast recipe — Mos Eisley Morsels.  Mos Eisley is a spaceport and is the location of the cantina with all those funky weird aliens.  This recipe looked really yummy, and we were all excited to try it.

We pulled together the ingredients:

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After pre-heating the oven and greasing our baking pan, we first sifted together the dry ingredients.  Peter measured out all the ingredients and Jacob sifted.

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Then we masehd up 3 bananas.  The boys found this part to be particularly unappetizing!

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After blending the mashed bananas with some egg, vanilla extract and oil, we stirred those together and folded in the dry ingredients.  We ended up with this:

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We spread it in the baking pan and popped it into the oven.  It seemed a little dry to me, and I started to worry.  The recipe provided the option of mashing additional bananas to place on top of the finished bread, but the boys had been so disgusted by the initial banana mashing process, that they chose to forego this option. 

Here’s how they came out.  I was pleased with the cakey-looking texture.  Though, as you can see, they were not uniform in thickness.  I tried to spread the batter as evenly as possible, but it was so thick, that proved difficult.

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Skill level:  Moderate.  This recipe was just a shade more complicated for the kids than the other ones we’ve done.  We had to sift dry ingredients together then fold them into wet ingredients.

Outcome:  The kids didn’t like these.  I thought they were ok, but weren’t as sweet as I had hoped.  They seemed to be missing something in the taste, though the combination of spices (cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and cloves) was nice.  Peter’s comment: “They have a taste, but they don’t taste like anything.  I know that doesn’t make sense, but that’s the only way I know how to say it.”

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Twin Sun Toast

October 4, 2009

You may recall that Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine has two suns.  This recipe is two fried eggs inside a piece of sourdough toast, as you can see from the cookbook photo.  Well, that’s what it was supposed to be…

The recipe looked simple enough and called for only a few ingredients:

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First, we cut holes in the bread.  I didn’t have a small, round cookie cutter, so I used a 1/4 c. measuring cup.  You can see that I tried to use something bigger on the first slice, and it didn’t work out.  That’s ok.  The boys, especially Jacob the Carboholic, were more than happy to gobble up the discarded slice of sourdough.

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We melted the butter and put the bread in a pan, then cracked the eggs into the holes.

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Jacob added some salt and pepper.  So far, so good!

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Jacob got a spatula ready.  He actually thought 2 might be more useful than 1.  I told him that was nonsense — we needed only 1.

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We waited until the egg whites had turned white, then I attempted to flip the bread over.  This is when disaster struck.   The egg was stuck to the bottom of the pan and the first spatula I used was too small, so I had to ask Jacob to hand me the second, larger spatula.  So much for me knowing more than my 5 year old son when it comes to cooking!  The flipping process did not go well, and we ended up with this:

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At this point, we all looked at each other and decided that the twin suns would not rise this morning, and we slid them into the trash.

Skill level:  Despite the deceptively short list of ingredients, this one is not for the faint-of-heart!  If you are good at cooking fried eggs, you shouldn’t have a problem, but apparently we’ve got a bunch of egg amateurs in our house.

Outcome:  Twin sun supernova!  This one definitely did not go our way.  I think we tried to flip them too early, despite the fact that we waited much longer than the 2 minutes suggested in the recipe.  Another reason we might have gotten off track was that the recipe called for “small eggs,” and we had your typical, grocery store large eggs.  There was a lot of extra egg white, and perhaps that’s why it turned out to be so difficult to get the eggs to cook properly.  Oh well.  We had fun trying, and the boys got their first taste of sourdough bread, which they enjoyed very much.