Soft Cookie, Warm Cookie, Cookie On A Shirt

After my "Soft Cookie" post the other day, I thought I was done what that parody song.  However, I began thinking of other images I could base off of it.  Eventually, I came up with this:


I liked how it came out so much that I thought "That would look good on a t-shirt."  You know what?  It does!  Here’s the link in case you want to buy a t-shirt.

On a related note: Did you know I had a Zazzle store?  I didn’t.  I opened it awhile back intending to sell products with some photos I took but never did anything with it. I’m resurrecting it to offer my "Soft Cookie" products. Does this make it a Zombie Zazzle store?  (The things you think of when you’re writing your post at 12:40am.)

The only bad part about this graphic? It’s making me hungry for cookies! I think I need to run to the store tomorrow.

Note: The cookie graphic I used is by sonoftroll and is available via

The Mac and Cheese Holy Grail

Mac And CheeseI guess I should have known better.

A couple of days ago, I was pondering a big brick of cheddar cheese that I had bought.  You see, the kids love macaroni and cheese, but they only seem to like the boxed variety.  While I’m not averse to ripping open a package of powdered "cheese" and adding milk, I’d rather that they eat something a bit healthier.

For years, I’ve been on a quest to figure out the perfect way to cook macaroni and cheese from scratch.  I’ve tried recipes that involve pureed sweet potatoes (to give the dish that distinctive orange color) and recipes that just call for cheese.  I’ve tried baked and stove top varieties.  My one major complication is that many recipes that approach the boxed variety call for Velveeta which I can’t use since it isn’t kosher.

No matter what I try, though, it always seems to end in failure.  My latest batch was rejected by both boys upon their first taste.  Even B said she didn’t like it though she choked down a bowl.  The culprit seems to have been the cheddar cheese – too sharp for everyone’s palate – and possibly the ground mustard.

You might think that I"d give up.  I probably should.  However, my disappointment at the failed recipe is countered by my stubbornness.  I’m determined to get this right no matter how many tries it takes.  That "holy grail" will be mine and it will be filled with delicious, homemade macaroni and cheese.

What is your favorite, homemade macaroni and cheese recipe?  (Ideally without Velveeta.)

Last Days of Summer

Summer is ending.  There’s no getting around it.  There are only a few more days of August and then September is here.  That month brings with it colder weather, school, and all of the other things that mean that summer is over.  Eventually, we’ll need to get the big coats out again and we’ll be watching the weather for snow.  So for now, we’re enjoying the remaining moments of summer with the most quintessential of summertime activities.





(Once summer ends and school begins, our Doctor Who time will become much more limited so we’ve got to cram as much in as we can!)

What activities do you engage in as the summer winds down?

Cooking With TechyDad: Quick Faux Pho

A few weeks ago, I got to try pho for the first time.  The first thing I thought about it was: I love this!  The second thing I thought was: I’m going to have to try to replicate this.  Unfortunately, all the pho recipes I found online were highly complex.  They required too much time and effort for me.  In addition, they required ingredients that would be difficult for me to find.  (Especially since I keep a kosher kitchen.)

Luckily, while browsing the supermarket shelves, I stumbled upon Pacific Foods’ mushroom broth.  Now pho isn’t usually made with a mushroom broth, but the vegetarian pho recipes I read mentioned cooking the broth with mushrooms before straining them (and some of the other ingredients) out.

I decided to come up with a quick and easy pho recipe.  Now, I know this isn’t traditional pho.  That’s why I like calling it Faux Pho.  (That and I’m a big fan of alliteration thanks to years of watching Good Eats with Alton Brown.)

First, we start with our ingredients:


For the record, that’s 1 package of broccoli florets (around 12 oz), 2 packages of mushroom broth (64 fluid oz total), rice noodles (16oz), snow peas (about a big handful), and onions.  (In my case, I selected 2 small Vidalia onions thinking they’re sweeter and my kids might be more likely to eat them.)

First, I cooked the rice noodles according to the package directions (boil water, toss in noodles, cook for 4-5 minutes, drain and rinse),


Next, I trimmed the snow peas, sliced the onions into rings, and then sliced those rings in half.  Quick tip: to avoid the "onion cry", freeze your onions for a bit before slicing.  Not so much that you’re trying to cut into a frozen-solid onion, mind you, but just enough that the enzymes that make you cry don’t get released as much.


After that, I sautéed the onions in a little olive oil.  (I remade this yesterday and added some garlic too just because everything tastes better when cooked with garlic.)


When the onions began to caramelize, I tossed in the broth and increased the heat.


After the broth began to boil, I turned the heat down and tossed in the broccoli.


Two minutes later, I tossed in the snow peas.


A minute later, I removed the soup from the heat entirely and pho was ready to be served.


To assemble the pho, first put some rice noodles in a bowl.


Next, add some veggies from the soup pot.


Finally, top off with broth.


Serve with hoisin sauce and/or Sriracha sauce or neither if you prefer.  You could also toss some bean sprouts and/or jalapenos in just before serving depending on how you like your pho.

So how does it taste?  Well, it won’t ever replace real pho, that’s for sure.  Don’t make this and expect that you’re going to get the same pho that you’d get in a good Vietnamese restaurant.  (If they made pho this way, they wouldn’t be a good Vietnamese restaurant.)  Still, it’s a decent facsimile especially if you only have a short time to prepare dinner, are craving some pho, and can’t go to a Vietnamese restaurant to get some.

My First Pho

pho-yumFor awhile now, B has been exclaiming how wonderful a Vietnamese dish called pho is.  Unfortunately, since it is usually made with a beef broth, it looked like I wouldn’t be able to partake.  Then, we found a local place that had vegetarian pho!  Yes, this pho contains a vegetable broth.

B went with her mother one day and raved about how good their food was.  She wanted to go back to eat more pho and I wanted to go try it out as well.  Recently, we got the chance to do just that.

We started with some My Linh summer rolls.  These have rice paper wrapped around noodles, lettuce, cucumber, bean sprouts, mint and basil.  We added in shredded tofu and a vegetarian sauce.


These were delicious.  Very light and refreshing.  There’s a lot in an order, so this could be either a meal in itself or an appetizer for two.

Next, came the pho.  Pho is basically rice noodles and onions in a broth.  Bean sprouts, basil, jalapeno, lime, hoisin sauce, and Sriracha sauce are served on the side so you can add as much or as little as you like.


Pho can also have various add-ins.  B had her pho with beef broth and added in beef brisket.


I added tofu, snow peas, and broccoli to my veggie broth pho.


The pho was amazingly good.  You definitely need both a spoon AND fork to eat this soup.  I added all of the sides to my pho, but went easy on the Sriacha.  Still, it had a good kick to it.  I’ll definitely need to get some rice noodles from the store so I can try making my own pho one day.

Have you ever tried pho?  Have you ever tried making it at home?

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