Tag Archives: food

Summer Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

This recipe came with our CSA Newsletter a few weeks ago. Bun bowls are one of our favorite dishes at Vietnamese restaurants, but we had never tried making one ourselves. The recipe was easy and delicious (especially with a squirt of sriracha). You can easily substitute or add other vegetables (ours included some shredded kale).


  • 8 ounces thin rice noodles (roughly the width of linguine)
  • 1 ½ cups cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2–3 medium carrots, shredded or cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large or 2–3 medium cucumbers, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs, preferably a combination of basil, cilantro, and mint
  • 16 ounces cooked tofu, chicken, or shrimp, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts or toasted almonds, coarsely chopped


  • ⅓ cup fish sauce
  • ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, plus more to taste
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ to 1 fresh jalapeño, minced
  1. To prepare the dressing, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, and the jalapeño. Whisk well. Set aside. (Note: The dressing will store in the refrigerator for 3 days to a week.)
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes (or according to package instructions), until tender but not mushy. Immediately drain the noodles into a colander, and rinse them well with cold water to cool them. Shake the colander to drain away excess water.
  3. When the noodles are well-drained, put them in a large bowl along with the vegetables, herbs and tofu or meat. Spoon dressing over the entire mixture and toss well to combine.
  4. Serve with chopped peanuts or almonds on top.

Recipe adapted from Food52.com.

Water Resistor

During dinner last night, we were discussing how messy babies are when they eat. In my customarily ridiculous fashion, I proposed that high chairs should be built inside large tubs. All the food detritus would fall into the tub. Then at the end of the meal, you pull a lever and a huge bucket of water dumps on baby, high chair, and tub, washing all the sticky, gooey, crumblies away. We laughed about this, agreeing that one of many problems with my proposal, was that the sudden deluge would be scary for the hapless filth monger in the midst of it.

I tried proposing heated dryers, but Griffin didn’t think that this would be enough. He suggested putting an umbrella over the baby. But this, I countered, would only clean the area around the high chair, without cleaning the baby himself (we were imagining Oliver as our first beneficiary). Griffin considered this, and responded, “What if we put some sort of water resistor over him?” I shook my head, misunderstanding, and pointed out that we need the baby to get wet. Griffin, in turn, shook his head, saying, “No, a water resistor.” I still didn’t get it, thinking he meant some sort of anti-water-force-field. He elaborated, “You know … an electrical resister doesn’t stop the electricity, it just kind of slows it down. So a water resistor would be like that, making it less strong.”

My jaw dropped. My nine-year-old just schooled me on electrical engineering, using the idea of a electrical resistance as a metaphor.

Patent pending.

Two Plates, Revisited

Back in February of 2014, I posted Two Plates, a scientific investigation into the culinary cleanliness of Griffin and Maggie. CliffsNotes: Griffin made a gargantuan mess, but Maggie didn’t.

One of the hypotheses of this experiment wasn’t testable until today:

1. Developmental stages. When Maggie is four, she will be just as messy. Was Griffin more fastidious when he was one? Memories are fuzzy and unreliable, but I don’t think so. We can test this in a few years with another set of pictures. (Strawberry shortcake for breakfast, February 15, 2017!)

Admittedly, I technically blew the experiment by serving strawberry shortcake a day early this year (I’m not sure why we had our Valentine’s Day breakfast on the 15th in 2014.) But in the spirit of our anti-science (post-science?) times, I present our results anyway.

Exhibit One

February 14, 2017 photo of Maggie’s place setting after her breakfast. Maggie is four years, nine months old.

Maggie’s plate. Maggie is nearly five years old (four and nine months).

Exhibit Two

February 14, 2017 photo of Griffin’s place setting after his breakfast. Griffin is seven years, ten months old.

Griffin’s plate. Griffin is nearly eight years old (seven years, ten months).


The developmental hypothesis does not appear to hold. Maggie still has the cleaner area, though Griffin’s kept most of his detritus on his plate. (He also ate more, and with more enthusiasm, than she did.) But, clearly, mega-messes are not hardwired into four-year-olds.

I should add, too, that while Griffin still tends to be the messier eater, he is far better at keeping other areas of the house clean. At cleanup time, Maggie suffers from chronic debilitating attacks of exhaustion. Griffin, by contrast, will often tackle cleanup without being asked, rarely complains when we request a cleaning, and is developing a good sense of judgment about what will pass parental inspection.

State Fair 2015

Our annual pilgrimage to the Minnesota State Fair. This year we were all a bit crankier than usual, but that didn’t stop us from staying for nearly 12 hours (and 17,000 steps, according to my trusty fitbit).

Fair food included (basically covering all of our meals today):

  • hot waffle ice cream sandwiches (just as good as last year!)
  • chicken in waffle cones (another favorite from last year)
  • mini-donuts
  • strawberry rhubarb milkshake from the dairy barn
  • hot dogs and pronto pups (verifying that regular corn dogs beat pronto pups)
  • samosas from the midtown global market
  • gyros from holy land
  • cotton candy

Favorite discovery this year was the play area outside the Eco Experience. Sand + water + building supplies = infinite fun.

As a postscript, in the interest of keeping things real, I should mention that shortly after putting this post together, Griffin puked all over his bed. Besides being gross, it was a good reminder that fair food, though fun, isn’t really what a growing body wants.

(But man, those waffle sandwiches were awesome.)


Two nights and lots of fun in Asheville, North Carolina, while visiting our friends, Sue and Chris, and their three dogs, one cat, and six chickens. (Sadly, two chickens were nabbed by a raccoon on our second night, so now there are four, in a newly reinforced coop.)

Asheville has a lot to recommend it and we enjoyed a great tour with Chris while Sue was at work. Naturally, some of my best memories are dominated by food. Had some spectacular barbecue at 12 Bones, which is apparently President Obama’s top choice in town. Then, on our way out, we stopped for breakfast  at Biscuit Head, which is in the running for my favorite breakfast restaurant in the world.

Below are an assortment of phone shots from our Asheville stint.

Carrier Park with an awesome play structure reminiscent of one of our favorites in Saint Paul
Griffin throwing a ball with Streak and Ruff
Beautiful optical effect on the shadow of a leaf floating in a brook. (What causes this?)
Maggie on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate
Posed group at Biltmore
The Stocco Roys (and Quaker) at Biltmore
Awesome breakfast at Biscuit Head (Maggie had the biscuit with sausage patty)
Brisket biscuit at Biscuit Head
Another happy customer


Chicago and Icees

We survived the night, dry and free of unwanted atmospheric voltage. Not a great night’s rest, alas, but we’re thankful for our new, more spacious tent.

Two quotes from our journey thus far:

Monday, 4:30 PM:

Maggie: “Griffin, laugh when I say ‘Chicago.'”
Griffin: “Why do I have to laugh?!”
M: “Chi–Ca–GO!!”
G: <no laughing>
M: “Laugh Griffin!!”
G: “I don’t want to laugh. Chicago!”
M <yelling>: “NO! I want to talk about ME!!!”
G: “Chicago. Chicago. Chicago.”
M <yelling>: “NOOOOOOO!”

Tuesday, 8:30 AM:

Sarah: “Ok guys we’re going to stop here because I need some coffee and Daddy needs to go to the bathroom–”
Griffin: “–and I need an Icee!”

Maggie car seat
“I want to talk about me.”
Griffin carseat
“I’ll have an Icee for breakfast please.”