Miso happy!

Picky eating triumph tonight for our family dinner!  Marcus helped me make miso salmon, and he gobbled it up.  He also ate some zucchini that we broiled along with the salmon (without gagging!) and a plain brown rice onigiri.  Easy and fun to cook, and healthy to boot.  Booyah!

Cutting up some “zucchini moons.”

Painting the miso glaze on salmon and zucchini.

“Me so love miso salmon! And zucchini! And onigiri!”
(“And me so needs a haircut!”)

Sadly, Gavin was not as impressed.
(“Me so needs a haircut too…”)

Recipe below, with kid-friendly steps, based on a Cooking Light recipe that we’ve made for years now.

Miso Salmon


1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons white miso paste
1 pound salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick, skin-on is fine)
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch thick rounds or half-moons
Aluminum foil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives


1. Preheat broiler. Cover a shallow pan with aluminum foil.

2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl and have child stir well with a whisk.

3. Arrange salmon skin-side down in center of pan, then allow child to arrange zucchini around it. Have child “paint” the salmon and zucchini moons with the miso glaze.

4. Broil the salmon and zucchini for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting the fish and veggies twice more with the miso glaze.

5. Because you don’t use cooking spray, the salmon skin will stick to the aluminum. I use a thin spatula to slide the salmon right off of its skin and onto a platter. Sprinkle with chives and serve!


Chao Bo (Vietnamese Beef Porridge)

The hubs wasn’t home for dinner today so I made myself a pot of chao bo (Vietnamese beef porridge).  I usually go chicken, but decided to do beef this time.  I love chao.  Simple ingredients, easy to make, such comfort food.  I like the contrast in textures of the silky rice and chewy beef.  Bonus is that Gavin loved it, which is great since he’s been rejecting other meat dishes that I’ve tried on him.  Marcus didn’t want to try it.  Surprise, surprise.  That boy.

How I cooked it below (a few modifications to a Steamy Kitchen recipe).

Chao Bo (Vietnamese Beef Porridge)


1 cup uncooked Jasmine rice
½ pound ground beef (marinated in 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and ½ teaspoon Chinese rice wine)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch chunk ginger, peeled and sliced, slices pounded lightly with knife butt to release flavor
10 cups beef or chicken broth (water also would work)
1-½ tablespoons soy sauce
ground white pepper, to taste
minced scallions
chopped cilantro


1. Wash rice, drain and repeat until the water runs clear. Marinate the beef in the soy sauce, cornstarch, and rice wine for 10 minutes.

2. Heat large stockpot over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons cooking oil. When the oil is hot, add the ground beef and garlic. Fry until the beef is browned. Add the stock or water, ginger, soy sauce and rice. Turn the heat to high.  Once the liquid starts to boil, immediately turn the heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes.  Taste and adjust with more soy and pepper if needed.  Serve topped with scallions and cilantro.  Sriracha sauce is good too!

Crispity crunchity delicious!

Ok, so I apparently missed the bandwagon on crispy roasted chickpeas.  Everyone was doing it ages ago.  This isn’t surprising given that I often am behind the 8 ball.  I missed the kale chip bandwagon too, which was just as well since no one in our family ended up liking them.  Marcus ate some, but I think he only did it for the salt.  But I digress.

I somehow stumbled across crispy chickpeas on Steamy Kitchen and immediately decided to try them out on Marcus.  Marcus is a picky little fella, but he does love crunchy food.  Chips, croutons, nuts, pretzels, etc.  So long as the crunchy item is not a fruit or a vegetable, Marcus will eat it.  It’s too bad that most crunchy foods that fit that description (aside from nuts) just aren’t that good for you.  Then along come crispy chickpeas.  They’re crunchy, brown (why do kids love brown foods?), tasty, healthy, and easy to make!  The ingredients are ultra-simple: chickpeas, olive oil, salt, and spices.  You can get as creative as you want with the flavorings (see links above for suggestions), and you can go savory or sweet.  I decided to go simple savory for this first go-round.

Knowing that Marcus is more likely to eat things that he’s had a hand in making, I enlisted his help to make his after-school snack.  I have to say that it was a resounding success.  I thought the chickpeas were great.  More importantly, Marcus loved them.  I asked him how much he liked the “gobble gobble garbanzo beans,” and he said: “As big as a humongous truck because they’re so yummy and because I like them so much, Mama!”  He proceeded to eat three quarters of the batch, murmuring happily to himself as he crunched along.  After he finished the last one and licked his fingers clean, he announced, “I need to tell you one more thing about these.  I like spices.  I like salt.  And I like garbanzo beans.”  Hooray!

Mixing in the spices.

Cooling off the first chickpea to be eaten.  (Someone needs a haircut!)

Finishing up the last few bites.  (Can I please have those lashes?!)

So here’s the basic recipe, with kid-friendly steps noted.

Crispity Crunchity Chickpeas

One can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
Olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Set up baking sheet in front of child and let him line it with paper towels.
  2. Pour chickpeas into a strainer and rinse them thoroughly.  Remove any of the thin skins that fall off.  Tap the strainer to get rid of as much water as you can.  Then let child pour the chickpeas onto the paper towel and spread them out with his hands.  Get another paper towel and let him use it to roll the beans around to thoroughly dry them.  Remove and discard any additional skins that fall off of the beans.
  3. Measure out a small amount of olive oil (we only needed about a teaspoon or so) and let the child pour it onto the chickpeas.  Let him roll the chickpeas around in the oil with his hands until they are thoroughly coated.  Then it’s hand-washing time after you pop the baking sheet into the oven.
  4. Roast the chickpeas for 30-40 minutes until they are golden brown and crunchy all the way through.  We had to roast ours for a good 45 minutes to get them all crunchy (but be careful not to burn them!).
  5. Pour the chickpeas into a big bowl (to help avoid burns) and let the child put in the spices.  We used salt, pepper, and Magic salt free seasoning.  Let the child mix the spices in, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.  Enjoy!