Almond Coconut Dark Cocao Chip Muffins

I was inspired by another teen I  know whose alias is Sweet Shop Paleo on YouTube to concoct something healthier than the sort of muffins I would normally make. 


Again, I wouldn’t call this a recipe, just fuzzy directions if you like playing with your ingredients.

Mix a stick of room temp salted butter with half a cup of sugar. Add in 2 eggs, almond extract, a cup of almond milk. Add a cup of almond flour, half a cup of coconut flour, a handful of flaxseed meal, and enough all purpose flour to make muffin consistency batter. Add dark cocao chips. Stir and pour into muffin pan (already lined with 12 paper muffin cups). Bake at 375 for 30 min.

Thai Curry Drumsticks to Curb the Cold

It actually snowed a little bit in Dallas last night, and we woke up to 23 degree temp this morning. It might not seem like a big deal to folks up north, but it’s a major news event down here. To combat the cold, I made Thai Curry Drumsticks to put over brown rice. Here are my fuzzy directions, absolutely meant to inspire, but not to be followed strictly because I believe the fun in cooking is in fudging it a little bit, giving yourself some wiggle room, and come up with something different but equally delicious.

Sautée some chopped onions and diced potatoes and carrots in refined coconut oil. Brown 8 chicken drumsticks. Pour in a can of red curry paste.  Stir until curry paste becomes fragrant. Add a cup of water or more as needed. Cook over medium heat for 40 min until chicken is almost falling off  the bone. Add cream (or unsweetened coconut milk). Serve over brown rice. Garnish with cilantro.


Hot Cocoa — Another thing I’m conflicted about


The only time we ever stayed at The Four Seasons was when my son was in second grade. The whole notion of a Bedtime Butler was foreign to him and me. Along with the beautiful, charming bedtime butler (whose purpose was to read bedtime stories to young children) came a tray of hot cocoa and cookies. If that didn’t send the child over the moon, I don’t know what can. My child opened the door to welcome the bedtime butler and told her that he would be reading Curious George to himself since he hadn’t read that book in a couple of years, and that she is free to chat with mom if she wants to. So we chatted a good while and then said goodbye. He didn’t dig into the food until the bedtime butler left because he thought he would have to share with her if she were still in the room.

All this to say that I never had such fond memories of hot cocoa because I grew up on an island with few cows so we only had dry milk powder imported from New Zealand.  And dry milk powder is essentially what hot cocoa is made of. To me, the undissolved powdery bits remind me of the milk I disliked as a child. I tried fresh milk after coming to the States, and quickly found out I was lactose intolerant. Even now i would have to say hot cocoa remains one of those food items I feel conflicted about — I don’t personally love it, but I realize children who grew up here have very positive emotional values associated with it, bedtime butler or not. So you see why I feel like a phony when my child gets all excited about hot cocoa because it means sweet comfort on a cold day….. And then there’s me… trying not to gag on the powdery milk solids floating in my mug and trying to re-create sweet memories for myself.

Food History — Screwed-up Thanksgivings and Misgivings


Food History — Screwed-up Thanksgiving Memories and Misgivings

Never had turkey until i was a teenager in the U.S. My teenage self considered it strange, ugly, big, and tough.

Don’t find turkey particularly tasty. I think it smells. I’m not into smelly meat. Not that crazy about meat in general.

Turkey makes people lethargic. Sleepy people are not fun to be around.

I was also made to work on Thanksgiving. Paint doors, deep clean our family restaurant, etc..  Eating together with the whole clan was not particularly interesting. Thanksgiving felt like another chore.

Don’t understand why some canned green beans made into a mooshy casserole deserve to be put on good china. That’s what Chinese people consider really bad food. And you most certainly do not serve that at a formal holiday dinner.

Never did figure out how cranberries fit in with the rest of the Thanksgiving meal. Why would anyone just plop a spoonful of sour/sweet berries on their plate? What do cranberries actually go with?

Corn is good, but very low-brow. Again I fail to see why that’s served at a big family gathering — the 2nd biggest holiday to Americans.

I’m obviously missing the emotional attachment to these food items that normal Americans find so dear. Clearly this doesn’t resonate with my own food history. It’s like you’d have to have that American pioneering frontiersmen spirit to appreciate canning, jerky, and biscuits. These things are so not a part of me.

This year my son asked me if we could please have turkey, corn, and potatoes for Thanksgiving. I said I’m willing to have turducken. He said, close enough. So that’s what we’re having. I’m even looking up Paula Deen’s best green bean casserole recipe online to see how I can improve this weird feeling I have about participating in a food culture I don’t quite get.

How to Study (Advice from 13 year-old)


Advice from my 13 year-old on how to study:

1.  Take the time, even if it’s more than you think.
2.  Make sure your feet are in something warm & fuzzy (like blanket or slippers or cats), your mouth is occupied (with gum perhaps), and your hands are holding something (like pen or book or paper).
3.  Be in your den or happy place.
4.  Don’t invite giggly girls to your place.
5.  Run through notes.
6.  Read your textbook.
7.  Answer questions in your textbook.
8.  Ask your teacher or tutor questions if you don’t understand something or got it wrong.
9.  Take breaks often so your mind can refresh.
10.  Eat stuff — fruit for glucose.

On Being Psychologically Savvy — Teen Boys vs. Teen Girls

On Being Psychologically Savvy — Teen Boys vs. Teen Girls

While talking with my 13 year-old son, I made a mental note that boys might need more help in developing emotional and social intelligence than girls. Usually by this age, girls are already master manipulators of social situations and know exactly how to sweet talk adults into what they want if tears don’t work. Boys, on the other hand, don’t care as much to learn these things. Their focus is more on the activities and showing off, etc. And they are content doing that until they have to deal with girls. That’s when things get confusing for boys because they haven’t been taught by each other about how girls can manipulate situations to get what they want. (This reminds me of Mel Gibson’s movie, What Women Want. Remember THAT?!)  I would often ask my son if he understands what people want, what he thinks other people’s motivations are, etc. More often than not, his guesses are not exactly correct. Knowing that this might lead him into trouble, I spend more time on explaining what goes on psychologically in people when he sees certain behaviors exhibited. Sometimes I think the way boys “come out on top” socially is as simple as beating each other in something, whether it’s arm wrestling or chase. Things are settled in this manner. But with girls, things are much much more complicated. They don’t settle the score the same way. They tend to want to make you pay psychologically, down the road, in a passive-aggressive way.

I might be very out of touch with the teenage female mind so I’m relying on what I remember from my middle school days. There was a heck of a lot of immaturity, I can tell you that!  One thing girls would do to get back at someone is to exclude that person from social events. An example of this happened recently when one girl asked my son to her rock-climbing birthday party, but she didn’t like the other girl he was talking to at that moment so she bluntly blurted out to the other girl, “And YOU’RE NOT INVITED!”  My son was a little stunned by this rudeness one girl displayed toward another. All he wanted was to go rock-climbing, but clearly this was much much more involved than being invited to climb rocks. Girl parties are not what he thought they were.


Trick to Learning Anything — Turtle Speed


The Trick to Learning Anything

Tip of the day: Go slow-mo.  Anything hard to learn requires slowing down to what I call Turtle Speed.  Turtle Speed allows time to do things correctly first thus building the right pathways in the brain to ensure the next time the task is repeated, it will more likely be done correctly. Ultimately, going slow saves time (as paradoxical as that might sound) because you will spend less time fixing errors. Having to correct yourself uses up a lot more resources in the brain, and it is not usually a pleasant feeling. It is actually smarter to do things correctly but slowly in the beginning. Obviously mistakes and failures are an inevitable part of learning. That’s why it’s even more important to slow things down to decrease the number of mistakes. Turtle Speed.

Learn something new everyday!