Tag Archives: Strawberries

Strawberries here, strawberries there!

5 Jun


My girls were excited to see that the strawberry plant in our garden had a ruby colored fruit. My older one excitedly showed me the ripe berry.

We carefully brought it into the house, rinsed it, and she and her sister took tiny bites together, savoring the sunny sweetness.

The best part?

The next day was an excursion to Golden Earthworm Organic Farm in Jamesport, NY – a farm locally known for their organic CSA offerings in the metro New York area. What were we doing?

Organic Strawberry Picking of course!





Papa zipped through the patch, while Baba carefully filled her basket with perfectly colored, shaped, and sized berries. The little one quickly became distracted, and picked wands of dandelion fluff – and I inwardly laughed – my three year old, spreading dandelion seeds as she blew the balls of fluff into the air. My older one carefully examined each berry, picking those that were beautifully red, but small in size.

It was a beautiful day in the strawberry patch, despite the clouds that had covered the sky, earlier in the day.

We stopped at our favorite restaurant on our forays to the north shore of Long Island – The Lobster Roll


Papa and the girls enjoyed the clam bake, Baba the fried oyster roll, and I had my once-a-year decadent fried soft shell crab roll.

The strawberries were shared with Nanna, Auntie K, Uncle K and Lala at daycare. We enjoyed them fresh, with a little milk and sugar (Baba’s request) and I took the remaining berries and made a jam, by cooking the berries down with sugar and lemon juice.

What fun we had…


Yummy Beets for a Frisbee

13 May

My daughter told me on Wednesday night, a lunch-mate looked at her lunch, and said, “Iwww. Beets are yucky.”  I panicked inside.  How would this affect my daughter?  Is she going to be the little girl with the “weird” lunches, bullied and tormented over her lunch?  I spent a miserable year in my early teens, picked on and isolated over being “different,” and I certainly don’t want my girls to go through the same experiences. 

I asked her, “So what did you do?”  I held my breath.

She looked at me, and matter-of-factly replied, “I told him that beets are YUUUUUMMMMY!” 

She then added, “Mama.  If I eat all my bento, and all my beets, will I grow up to be tall so I can ride on the big-girl rides at the roller coaster park?”

I exhaled – relieved, and proud of her. 

“Of course you can,” I told her.  I then hugged her tightly. 

“Do you still want beets for lunch?” 

She looked at me seriously and added, “Yes.  In heart shapes.  And I want to go on the round ride that spins around and around and up and down.” 

Beads of sweat formed on my forehead.  Of course.  The “Frisbee” ride that looks like a UFO attached to a pendulum that spins around, while being SWUNG around.  I had jokingly told my husband, “I should go on that!!” on Mother’s Day, not realizing my daughter’s sponge of a memory bank absorbed that juicy tidbit, and held on to it for further discussion.

“OK, we’ll go on that ride when you grow up after you eat ALLLL your beets, eggs, fish, chicken, rice, nori (seaweed), veggies and fruits,” I promised.  She then made me seal the deal with a yubikiri genman (pinky promise) and a hug. 

“Mama TENTOUMUSHI (Ladybug)!! AGAIN!” chimed in the little one.

Thursday’s lunch included:

Vegetable stir-fry with julienned carrots, Napa cabbage, scallions and onion, topped off with blanched broccoli.  A little sea salt and white pepper for seasoning

Blanched sugar snap peas cut into small pieces, and tossed with a soy-sauce and ginger dressing over steamed multi-grain rice, with beaten egg stars

Roasted yummy beets in heart shapes


Whirly Wednesday

11 May

At daycare pick-up last night, my older daughter greeted me with a forlorn look, saying, “Mama.  I didn’t have time to finish my bento.”  “That’s OK,” I told her.  “Did you at least like what I packed?”  Her face broke out into a beaming smile.  “Yeeeees Mama, and I finished ALLLLL my lunch!!”  She then ran over and gave me a huge hug.

The little one came running after her, and screamed, “AAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL finished! ZEEEEEN-BU (all, in Japanese)!”

Wednesday lunch included:

Steamed multi-grain rice, topped with age-kama or fried fish cakes, cut into cat shapes.  The green is the blanched broccoli stems cut into small pieces, and seasoned lightly with a little soy sauce.

Blanched broccoli with a drop of soy sauce

Grape tomatoes

Roasted beets in heart shapes


My girls love to play dress-up, every chance they have.  They have little tulle dresses and skirts in pink and in purple, and they like to spin around, little ballerinas, twirling around the living room. 

They also have a pair of dress up slippers – a little pair of kitten-heel plastic slip-ons with a wisp of pink feathers on the front.  The girls take turns putting on these little shoes, and I hear clip-clop-clip-clop at varying speeds (depending on who’s wearing the shoes) down the hall.  A  pause.  Then, little socked feet running into the kitchen where I’m getting dinner ready, a flash of tulle, and my girls hugging my legs.

Broccoli and Beets, please

10 May

My older daughter loves fruit – blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, apples, watermelon… The little one is a bit pickier, and scrunches her face up at the berries, pokes them, and tells me defiantly in two languages, “Don’t wanit.  II-no!”  The older one swoops in, and says, “OK!  I’ll help you then,” and runs off with the rejected berries.

Yesterday, I received a request from my daughter for broccoli and beets.  She also requested I include natto, or fermented soy beans as her rice topping. 

If you are not familiar with natto, it is a unique Japanese food that is often served for breakfast over rice.  Natto is very pungent, and has a very unique smell, texture and consistency.  In western cultural terms, I liken it to a very strong cheese, with a similar taste – a strong, unique taste – I’ve heard it reminded someone of Guinness! 

Natto is sold in small styrofoam containers, and is prepared by putting it into a bowl, adding chopped scallions, soy sauce or dashi stock, and mixing everything together.  The natto is sticky, and the more you stir (usually with chopsticks), the more stickier and viscous it becomes.  At our house, we add blanched and chopped okra when it’s in season, or mekabu, a type of seaweed that has a similar viscous texture.  Once everything is mixed well, we pour it over bowls of steamed rice and enjoy.  It’s nutty, salty, and delicious – and reminds me of home.

Again – natto is certainly an acquired taste, but I believe there are similar products in other Asian countries.  I feel it smells similar to Korean doenjang, but with a different texture.

Needless to say, I don’t think natto is a good option for my daughter’s lunch, but I’ll be certain to prepare it for her during the week.

Today’s lunch included:

Mini-hot dog (conventional), with a cute pattern – my mom always cut a pattern into them

Blanched broccoli florets

Roasted beets – in star shapes

Steamed multi-grain rice with furikake or dried seaweed seasoning


No natto, but hopefully everything else makes up for it!