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Eat + Drink

Foodie Friday: Raising a Picky Eater


Pancakes with maple syrup, hold the blueberries

My 3 year old son is a very picky eater, with an emphasis on “very.”

It’s obviously a common problem amongst kids his age, but I feel like it’s getting increasingly worse. He refuses to try new foods and often pushes his plate away, complete with a look a disgust and “blech” sound effects.

The Monkey was great with food until he was about 2 years old. At 2, he stopped drinking from a bottle, which was primarily used for milk. Since he associated milk with a bottle, he stopped drinking milk altogether. He started to push meals away, especially if vegetables were seen on his plate, and started to ask for specific foods. My child, who once devoured my roasted Brussels sprouts, scrambled eggs with veggies, and beet salads, now wants to live on chicken fingers, pizza, and pancakes.

We established a rewards system that is very hit or miss.  We would reward him with a small soy ice cream sandwich or a few organic chocolate covered pretzels as a treat after he ate his dinner. However, as for trying new foods, the reward system doesn’t even work. He would rather skip a treat than try something new. He has been known to throw a tantrum when he doesn’t get what he wants or simply refuses to eat. (continues…)

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Foodie Friday: A Date with Cooking Class

The opportunity to combine my love for food and cooking with spending quality time with the Dude is my kinda date. The Dude and I love to cook together at home but we also enjoy the occasional outing to a cooking class. It had been a while since we’ve been to a cooking class together, so we recently headed to a local SoCal culinary school called Epicurean.

With about a dozen other couples, we picked out a recipe to create for the family style meal we would all share later in the evening.  We had a variety of menu items to choose from: crostini with fresh mozzarella, butternut squash soup, Caesar salad with homemade croutons, chicken piccata, grilled skirt steak with garlic mashed potatoes, homemade pasta with fresh tomato basil sauce, and chocolate souffle for dessert.

I think the point of cooking class is to challenge yourself with something new and to create a dish you have never made before. However, we were slow to sign up and the most challenging menu items were already taken (read: souffle). We signed up for the pasta dish even though one of our own specialties is homemade pasta. So, we weren’t going to be challenged much but, with our bottle of red wine handy, we knew that we would at least have a lot of fun.

(click on pics to open and expand)

We had a great time cooking, taking silly pictures, and meeting other cooks in the kitchen. The couple that made the crostini appetizers passed them around while the rest of us finished our entrees.  When our meals were ready, we placed our dishes on a long buffet table. With the hard work complete, we were all able to sit down, relax, and enjoy our wine and everyone’s dishes.

Cooking classes can be as challenging or easy as you want them to be, but you will likely have an enjoyable time nonetheless. Whether you’ve been formally trained or don’t even know how to boil water, cooking class is a fun date night with your significant other or with a group of friends. Plus, you’ll hopefully learn something new!

Homemade Pasta and Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce
Epicurean School of Culinary Arts (continues…)
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Foodie Friday: This Ain’t Yo Mama’s Turkey


Brined and cooked to perfection!

Around this time last year, I posted a guest feature from one of my favorite professional chefs, Chef Ryan, on how to cook the perfect turkey. I have now used this recipe several times and, without fail, each turkey turns out amazing. If you’re looking for the perfect turkey recipe, don’t look any further! Please note, this recipe takes some prep time, so be prepared to get started a few days before T-Day. It’s worth it, though. Your guests will most definitely be thankful.

See below for the original post!



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Foodie Friday: A Q&A with Jason Quinn of The Lime Truck


My favorite green machine

Gone are the days of the “roach coach” stigma when it comes to food trucks. From LA to NY, the gourmet food truck craze is in full swing and, from the look of things, they’re here to stay.

The popular food trucks driving around Southern California are serving up fresh, healthy, and down-right delicious gourmet fare. One of my favorite food trucks is Orange County’s The Lime Truck…and I’m apparently not the only one. With stellar reviews on yelp, a loyal fan-base, and a recent award for Best Food Truck in OC, The Lime Truck has quickly become an OC foodie favorite.

Jason Quinn and Daniel Shemtob are the co-founders and owners of the Lime Truck.  Executive Chef Jason recently chatted with me about about life in the food truck and, as our Q&A can attest, the food truck biz is both fun and very challenging.

Aimee: How many cooks are in the Lime Truck kitchen and who comes up with the recipes?

Jason: In all honesty, we all help out. The Lime Truck team consists of me, Daniel, and Alex. Daniel helps to prep when necessary and so does Alex. When we are actually mid-service Alex works the grill and I expedite and assemble. As far as the recipes, id say they’re about 95% me.

A: Who (or what) inspires you the most when it comes to the type of food you cook?

J: I like to think that my food is very ingredient driven, when we find something really cool to work with we like to let it shine on its own.

A: What is the one ingredient you can’t live without?

J: BACON!!! (continues…)

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Foodie Friday: The New OC Whole Foods Preview and Gift Card Giveaway!

Whole Foods Market(A note to my readers – this is a review of an Orange County, CA based Whole Foods and the give-away included is only open to residents of Southern California, Hawaii, Arizona, and Nevada. My apologies in advance if you are not eligible for this give-away.)

I’ve been a fan of Whole Foods grocery stores for many years so, needless to say, I was thrilled when I was invited to preview the 300th Whole Foods store that just opened in Huntington Beach, CA. Two days before the grand opening on Wednesday, October 13th, I joined up with other bloggers and media outlets for a fun tour that showcased everything the new Whole Foods has to offer its new community.

In addition to many of the natural and organic items that you find in Whole Foods stores across the country, the new Huntington Beach location will offer unique regional products and cuisine from more than 50 local vendors, including Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce, Mary’s Free Range Organic Chickens, Honey Pacifica, Carlsbad Aquafarm, Yasutomi Farms, California Baby, and Xan Chocolates, to name a few. Many of the local vendors were at the preview and I happily sampled their goods. I was introduced to quite a few products I’ve never tried before and saw even more that I know and love. I’ve been a fan of Mary’s Chickens for years (my delicious Thanksgiving turkey last year was from Mary’s farm!), and it was a pleasure to actually meet her in person. It was also a treat to discover other local vendors. I especially loved the Xan chocolates, the sage and eucalyptus honey from Honey Pacifica, the shrimp from Carlsbad Aquafarm, and the hot sauce from Gringo Bandito (a Tapatio loyalist for years, I have to admit that this incredible hot sauce won me over). (continues…)

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