Nostalgia Conquers Stress: How reliving joys from childhood helped cure our corporate blues

R&R PB&J

R&R PB&J

Mickey Mouse Pancakes with a Blueberry Honey Compote
Mickey Mouse Pancakes with a Blueberry Honey CompoteDSC_0693 DSC_0663 DSC00481 DSC00447 DSC_0636

It feels good to be back on this little old food blog. I’ve missed you all, and I’ve missed myself.

Some weeks are just harder than the rest.

If life was always happy and perfect, you’d never know it? How could you? You have to take the bad with the good, everyday cant be the best day, and that’s okay. In our day to day lives stress and planning for a successful future can wear down even the most strong willed among us.

It makes life’s little victories that much sweeter. It lends new perspective to things you take for granted. It helps one become more reflective and appreciative.

In the case of this past weekend, and many others like it, I just wanted a break. A brief moment to delude myself into thinking I was somewhere else, more specifically, sometime else. I wanted my careless childhood back.

I don’t think I’m alone in this occasional desire to capture, if ever so briefly that feeling that the future is bright, and things will eventually take care of themselves. To know in your heart that a Disney movie and the simple childhood foods we all grew up on are truly are a perfect combo.

This post is hardly an exercise in recipe writing. I think I can safely say that each and every one of you reading this is capable of making the super-complicated PB&J sandwich! I just wanted everyone to know, including myself, that guilty childhood pleasures should never be forgotten. The power is not in their flavor or ease of preparation, but in their unique ability to comfort us like few things can. I know that food and movies isn’t everyone’s stress-break-weekend-cure-all, and for those people, I am truly sorry about that🙂

For the rest of us, take some time to revisit your childhood favorites (PB&J + Aladdin+ Dino Nuggets for me!). When you come out of the other side, maybe, just maybe, you will be ready to tackle those obstacles life has thrown at you. Now let me go back to my Kraft mac and cheese, I have some stress relief to attend to!

For shit’s and giggles, I am still going to post the recipes to my favorite kid foods, with minor adult twists!

The Food Menu:

  • Dino Nuggets with Sweet Chili Greek Yogurt dipping sauce!
  • PB&J with Bacon!
  • Brussels Sprouts with Bacon!
  • Mickey Mouse Pancakes with Blueberry Honey Compote!
  • Kraft Mac and Cheese with Bacon Salt and Goat Cheese!

The Movie Menu:

  • White Disney VHS tapes if available.
  • You can settle for DVD/Blu-ray/Internet Piracy (jk).
  • Seek movies from age range -5 to 12. I think we all remember when we were 5 years from being born.
  • John Hughes movies are an acceptable alternative for the age up crowd.

Directions:

Breakfast: Mickey Mouse Pancakes with Blueberry Honey Compote

Every kid and parent should know how to make Mickey Mouse (or Minnie for the little princesses in your life) pancakes. Most of us have been familiar with these for a long time, that there is a good chance I will be informing not one single person on to how this elaborate trick is performed. For the sake of time and effort, I just used a classic Bisquick pancake mix for these bad boys, so I trust that many of you have your own favorite pancake recipe and could follow it as instructed. To make mouse ear pancakes you simply need to…forget it, I know you already know the damn thing. So lets move onto the grown up portion of this recipe, the blueberry honey compote. I love making berry compote’s for the simplicity of them, just 3 ingredients: Berries, sugar (in this case honey) and water. Combine 1 1/2 cups blueberries ( I prefer frozen), 1/3 cup of honey and 1/3 cup water in heavy small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until berries burst, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add an additional 1 cup of blueberries. Cook until compote coats spoon, stirring often, about 8 minutes. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.) Serve warm with your fresh Mickey Mouse ear pancakes and a touch of maple syrup.

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Lunch: PB&J with Bacon

This one couldn’t be any easier. The most crucial aspect of this grown up version of a classic childhood favorite, is the quality of ingredients. I’m talking good, thick cut bacon, basic white bread (to remind you of innocent times before simple sugars and carbs became the devil), high quality preserves (I prefer jam to jelly, and specifically Bonne Maman Rasberry), and real simple peanut butter. We love Adams Creamy Peanut Butter, its just peanuts and a dash of salt! All of those horrible hydrogenated oils and sugars have been eliminated which leads to a very different texture, but really great flavor to counterbalance the sweet jam. To ensure that your bacon is crispy and flat, a.k.a. sandwich ready/perfect, it is best to bake your bacon in the oven. It takes longer that the traditional frying pan approach, but the results will totally be worth it. I usually bake mine at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes on a baking sheet. But bacon texture is all personal preference, i prefer to skirt the line between crispy and chewy. Crunchy over cooked bacon is something I would never turn away, but it will make for a messier sandwich experience. Lining your baking sheet with aluminum foil prior to baking the bacon will help with cleanup, but isn’t necessary for great restaurant style bacon. Lastly, this is your chance to once again decide crust or no crust. Let your inner child decide, the wont steer your wrong…and if they do just make another one cause your a goddamn grown up now so you can do whatever the f%$# you want.

PB&J with Bacon!

PB&J with Bacon!

Dinner part 1: Kraft Mac and Cheese with Bacon Salt and Goat Cheese

This one is pretty straightforward, so I am not going to print out the directions for Kraft Mac and Cheese, when we all know every 10-30 year old knows it by heart (even if they hate the stuff now). The grown up additions can be added after the mac and cheese is finished and still quite warm. The bacon salt adds a smokey element and the goat cheese make the mac a little creamy and savory.DSC_0694

Dinner part 2: Dino Nuggets with Sweet Chili Greek Yogurt dipping sauce

Dino nuggets aren’t the star of this dinner. They are consistent and taste the same as they did a decade ago, you know what your getting there. Just make sure you bake them in the oven and not the microwave. We don’t need to go there, if you’ve ever microwaved a deep fried coated nugget or similar food item, you know how the steam wrecks the texture and becomes less than tempting. You will eat all of those microwaved nuggets and love them, you just may feel a bit ashamed of yourself. Moving forward to the grown up aspect of this dish, the upgraded dipping sauce. As a kid (at least in america) you know there were only two dipping sauces that existed in the world: Ketchup and Ranch. Time moved on, you got older, life’s bounty of food and ingredients exploded at you leaving a delicious aftermath. While both are dips you may never grow tired of, my palate has led me to fun new options to keep my nugget game fresh. We tried a few different sauces (Mikes Hot Honey, Hoisin, and Ketchup), and while all of them were tasty, the one that stood out for me was an equal part combination of Chobani plain Greek yogurt, and Thai sweet chili sauce. Sweet and tangy with a little bit of heat on the finish. Simply delicious!
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Dinner part 3: Brussels Sprouts with bacon

This if the final piece of the nostalgia pick me up puzzle. The dreaded veggie dish, the bane of every kid everywhere. I just adore vegetable, and for this occasion I was craving a recipe my mom used to make occasionally. So this dish is for her!

Ingredients

4 strips thick-cut bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
1/2 large white/yellow onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate, then roughly chop. In same pan with bacon fat, melt butter over high heat. Add onions and Brussels Sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, until sprouts are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and toss bacon back into pan. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson

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Bon Appétit!

 

 

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