Corn Bread

This past weekend (sadly) felt like Winter….so time to hibernate and cook. And that is exactly what we did. On Saturday night, we made chili, veggies and CORN BREAD. Years ago at our annual Sonoma trip, one of our friends made the most delicious and moist corn bread you have ever tasted. So that was the recipe I used — and it was just as good as I remember. Thank you, Katie Daly! Mind you — it is NOT healthy, but it is #WorthIt.

 

Ingredients:

 

 

* 1 can Cream Corn (14 oz can)

* 1 can Sweet Corn, drained (14 oz can)

* ½ cup butter, melted

* 2 small boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix

* ¾ of a 16 oz. container of light sour cream

 

Directions:

* Preheat oven to 350°.

* Mix melted butter with remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

 

Corn and sour cream — you CANNOT go wrong.

Oh so creamy.

In the dish.

Watching it bake.

 

* Spray 9×13 glass baking dish with cooking spray or oil.  Pour mixture into baking dish.

 

* Bake 45-60 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

 

It is so creamy, rich, moist, and delicious. I ate it the next morning with (more) butter and jam. It tasted like Fall and Winter — sweet but savory and SO GOOD. SO GOOD.

 

 

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Eataly Rooftop – Serra on the Roof

While running family errands this past weekend, we stopped in at Eataly’s rooftop for lunch. Ken and I had been there during early summer years ago and loved the ambiance, decor, and food so much. Newly decorated for Autumn, it was the perfect place to grab a bite to eat in a beautiful setting. The rooftop restaurant, Serra on the roof, serves Italian cuisine and drinks. The food is simple and great, but the DECOR, my god, it is so beautiful! My daughter (who didn’t love her lunch) was so in awe of the space that she kept saying she wanted to have her birthday party there.

 

Magical.

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Ume Onigiri House

The local community pool in Eugene, Oregon (Amazon Pool) is unlike any other public pool. Sure, there is a random mixture of people (Olympic athletes, White Trash, professors, and a mish mash of kids),  incredible views and greenery, and endless options of fun (high dive, platform dive, loopty-loop slide, tunnel slide, obstacle course, water sprays, sandbox, you name it). But it is the snack grill that is my ultimate favorite. It is not your typical pool snacks — no corn dogs or french fries — but rather hippy dippy Asian cuisine served at Ume Onigiri House. Kombucha, of course, and even better their dumplings and onigiri. Even though Ken is half-Japanese, I had never tried an onigiri until this summer. AND MAN, how I love it. Seriously, if you ever go to a restaurant and see it on the menu, get it. It is essentially a rice ball filled with various fillings — teriyaki chicken is my kids go to, but I have had the kimchi and teriyaki tofu and they are DELICIOUS.

 

Placing the order. Each onigiri costs $2.50 — A STEAL OF A DEAL! That alone makes it amazing.

The kids love it so much that they can barely wait to eat it.

It comes with homemade pickles, spinach, and the rice balls.

Tusia loves to mix hers up…making it a mixture of rice and chicken.

Cruzzie loves the dumplings.

Dumpling dude.

A portrait of feet and onigiri.

Another day, another onigiri dinner.

Basically, twice a week at swim lessons, the kids would eat onigiri for their dinner.

Perfection.

 

So yes, I understand that Ume Grill is unique to Eugene, but wherever you are, go find ONIGIRI. So good and so healthy, too. The perfect little meal.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Cilantro Jalapeno Vegan Pesto

The other day, my mom made the most incredible pesto — the typical basil, pine nut, parmesan combination. It was so delicious, I found excuses to eat it (chip, carrot, spoon, you name it). But because everyone KNOWS how to make pesto, I decided to find a more creative (and cost effective) vegan pesto. Instead of pine nuts and parmesan, hellloooo cashews. Instead of basil, welcome cilantro and jalapeno. It is green, healthy, and has just a minor kick to it (next time, I want to add more jalapeno). Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

 

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Brooklyn Crab

Back in the early 2010’s, we used to spend our weekends driving out to Red Hook (in Brooklyn) to grocery shop at Fairway, gaze at the Statue of Liberty, eat cookies at Baked, and pretend like we lived in the outer boroughs/suburbs. We were religious about this weekend ritual and tried to keep it up as long as we could. But then Fresh Direct (and a second child) came along, which made it impossible to drive 30 minutes just to grocery shop. This past weekend, we decided to go back. And now I can’t wait to go back and make it a monthly ritual — Red Hook is a special and unique neighborhood and I just love it so much. The highlight was our brunch at Brooklyn Crab. I want to have a big blow out party there. The food is delicious, the views are great, and it just screams FUN PARTY.

 

Looks like you are on the coast of Maine, but NOPE, in Brooklyn!

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Haven’s Kitchen Sauces

Now that I am back to NYC, I am all about fast, easy dinners. I like simple, delicious, and healthy meals that do not require much thought but are still tasty and good for you. So when I came across Haven’s Kitchen Sauces on Fresh Direct, I jumped especially because my friend Katie Carey, happens to be the brains and beauty behind these delicious sauces! Can you believe how small this world is? TINY! And can you believe how amazing these sauces are? INCREDIBLE.

 

So good. So good. So good. Worth repeating and eating more and more and more of them.

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Sweet Noodle Kugel

Today is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year (Shana Tova!) Since I have the tendency to be bad at holidays (across all of our religions), this year, I decided I want to be more festive, and threw together a last minute holiday dinner with friends (4 Jewish-Catholic/Christian families… go figure!). One of the main traditional Jewish dishes is Noodle Kugel, something that is very Jewish but not something I ever grew up eating. I was looking for recipes on the internet when I decided to contact one of my old-time friends who I met when we were on a Teen Tour of Israel together. And sure enough, Heidi-ho got in contact with her mother (who just happens to be a chef!) and immediately sent over her go-to Sweet Noodle Kugel. Although it has been decades since I last saw Patty Padawer (can we talk about the awesomeness of her name), I remember her delicious food fondly. Talk about helpful — she saved the day — thank you SO much, Patty!

 

Not just any kugel, special and easy sweet kugel.

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Grizzlies Aunt Maple’s Crunchy Granola

My favorite food in the world for any meal or snack is granola. And not any granola, but granola from Grizzlies who just happens to be from my hometown of Eugene, Oregon. This granola is THE MOST AMAZING GRANOLA IN THE WORLD. It has the perfect amount of sweetness, chunks, flavor, and nuts. The granola, Aunt Maple’s Crunchy Granola, is a staple at all the grocery stores in Oregon. But guess what — they ship! In the past, I have always requested (demanded) that my parents ship it to me (along with my favorite Oregon coffee). But now, I go straight to the source and order a 5 pound bag from Grizzlies website. I am apparently a grown up now.

 

One of the many canisters that are filled with my beloved granola. It is like precious gold to me. Only true granola snobs can eat it — which in my family is me and my daughter.

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Go-To-Kale Salad

One of my biffles is an amazing cook — even though she claims she hates cooking. She can easily throw together a five course meal for her family where *everything* tastes divine. Although she likes to experiment and try new recipes, she also has a set of ‘go-to’ recipes that she makes throughout the week. This is her go-to-kale salad. It is so good that this past week, I made it THREE times. So easy, and so delicious!

 

Ingredients:

 

 

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Mexican Corn Quinoa Salad

Last week, I had a Mexican themed dinner and made the most delicious corn quinoa salad! It was cheese-less, oil-less, but full of flavor, spunk, color, and taste. You must make it — even if you don’t like quinoa or corn, make it! (I served it along with a green salad, kale-chicken enchiladas, and salsa….yum!)

 

When I cook, I am a mess. But then I clean up. And hello tequila in the background. You must serve tequila when eating Mexican food.

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Wine in a Can – Union Wine / Underwood

My love of Oregon runs deep; as I am a sucker for anything that comes from Oregon or looks like it is FROM Oregon. So I am giddy that Union Wine (an Oregon company) is now sold all over the country. Union Wine (Underwood) has been selling wine in a can for quite some time and has always been my go-to-dinner-party-gift, but now they sell SPARKLING WINE and RIESLING in a can, and I can’t control my happiness. Last week when visiting my sister in Portland, I visited a grocery store (truly, my favorite hobby) and I came across these new cans and I am sold. Pretty! And you can order them online, here.

 

I think these are the prettiest cans I have ever seen. SO SO pretty and feminine and fun.

I think these are the prettiest cans I have ever seen. SO SO pretty and feminine and fun.

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Thai Cabbage Slaw

The perfect crunch, taste, and salad. I can't wait to try more of Mark Bittman's concoctions.

My obsession with Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix Cookbook continues. I can’t speak highly enough about it and EVERYONE must get it for their kitchen STAT. It makes meal-planning easy, and spices up our family dinner repertoire. My most recent find (there seems to be a new one every week!) is the thai cabbage slaw — DELISH what what!!!

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Llama Inn – Sunday Brunch

The perfect bite.

After our big celebration this past Saturday night, we went out to cure our hangover / adrenaline / socialization with a big brunch. My brother, Giora, who lives in Seattle and is always up to speed with pop culture and what is cool (way more than any other New Yorker I know) told me about a restaurant that he wanted to go to — Llama Inn, a new Peruvian restaurant in Williamsburg that has a lot of buzz about it.

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Christmas Celebration 2015

Hello from (grey and cold) Florida! We had an early Christmas celebration this past Friday night since we were all headed in different directions (Florida then Oregon for us Natori Juniors, the Philippines for the Natori Seniors, and New Jersey for my sister, Courtney). Take a look. And listen to this because it is amazing!

 

Santa visited us (thankfully, I remembered that he was expected to bring presents to the kids -- so darted out to the closest toy store to get MORE presents for the kids, as we celebrated "Christmas' in the morning as our family of four). This Santa, although wearing latex gloves and a little creepy, was BY FAR the best santa that we have seen compared to years past. No flask, no chain smoker, no creepiness.

Santa visited us (the four of us actually celebrated Christmas that morning…. so I had to run out and get more presents for Santa to deliver to the kids!). This Santa, although wearing latex gloves, was BY FAR the best Santa that we have had compared to years past. No flask, no chain smoker, no creepiness.

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Quince Paste

Quince paste, known as membrillo in Spain, is phenomenal when paired with cheese (especially Manchego cheese). I first discovered this paste (more like a firm jelly) from my mom, who always has it in stock. It is sweet without being overly so, and truly is a great addition to a cheese plate.

 

Who knew? (My mom did).

Who knew? (My mom did).

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Lou Malnati’s Pizza

I am a pizza lover. I might even go out on a limb and say that I am a both a pizza fanatic and snob. I love pizza and could eat it every night for dinner, but it has to be good pizza. Not the type of pizza that they serve at kids’ birthday parties (barf) or the kind that is soggy / too thick / bad sauce / overly cheesey / greasy, etc….  But once I find a pizza I like, I am a devoted fan. My favorite pizza places in NYC are hands down: Marta and Rubirosa. But when I can’t get to those restaurants (my husband isn’t a fan of eating pizza for dinner — he prefers it for lunch or a snack — one of our few conflicts), I love a frozen pizza. NOT JUST ANY FROZEN pizza, but Lou Malnati’s Pizza.

 

Lou.

Lou. We love you Lou.

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Ken’s Homemade Mac and Cheese

Guest blogger alert!  Here’s Ken… When he starts watching too much football on Sundays, I can usually guilt him into cooking/doing a guest blog post during commercials.  And his Jets are terrible so it’s not like he’s missing much.  Enjoy:

 

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If there’s anything in the vicinity of unhealthy on this blog, it’s a safe bet that it’s coming from me.  While I try to make an effort to combine healthy and, um, not-totally-girly, (see: Grilled Artichokes, Grilled Fruit, Grilled Romaine Salad, Lemon-Mint Pasta with Bacon, and a Guy’s Guide to Pregnancy), things like Beer Can Chicken are more up my alley.  Without further ado…. heart stopping mac and cheese.

 

ingredients

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Mushroom Torte

perfection

 

Torte / Quiche / Pie = All the same deliciousness. Especially when made by my Mama. Yep, the best cook in the world gave me a lesson on how to make tortes. Unbelievably tasty, and a home-run for any dinner / lunch / brunch dinner party. (My mom is such a pro in the kitchen that she made 8 of these tortes — all different fillings — in ONE afternoon. IF ONLY I had the charisma, talent, and energy that she has!) This torte was one of my favorites: mushroom. It is not simple, not vegan, gluten-free, or light — but it is full of flavor and a perfect addition to your plate. Center stage. This recipe was found from the Nordic Bakery Cookbook, which is amazing.

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