Monthly Archives: January 2013

Super Easy Porcupine Meatballs

Porcupine Meatball

Super Easy Porcupine Meatballs

  • 3 cups COOKED rice
  • 0.5 – 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 – 1.5 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix everything together.
  3. Roll into balls (I used a tablespoon as a scoop). Using the tablespoon as a scoop means that they’re small enough to pick up with your hands if you want without being TOO small. And they’re all the same size.
  4. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray (or use oil) and place meatballs on cookie sheet.
  5. Bake at 350F for about 25 – 30 minutes, until cooked through.
  6. Consider serving with ketchup.

This is not what I normally see as a “porcupine meatball” recipe. But I’m lazy I needed something I knew would be not crunchy, as Kai looks at crunchy foods that are not chips with much suspicion (that’s actually true – but so is the lazy part, although maybe not, because I had to cook the rice first).

MOST people seem to do this with raw rice. And no cheese. And covered in tomato sauce. While I will try that one day, the day I made the poorly photographed meatball above was NOT the day for that kind of adventure. This way is also quicker if you, like me, usually keep leftover rice frozen in your freezer. The other way cooks for an hour.

And, you guys, this is totally NOT in any way an exact science. If you like spicy food, throw in red pepper flakes. You could make “taco” ones with different spices (that sounds good, actually). Or, serve with another sauce.

But there you have it. Gluten-free, MSG-free, super easy, fairly quick porcupine meatballs.

Minecraft Cakes!

For Kai’s birthday, Joe and I wanted to do a Minecraft cake for him, because Kai loves Minecraft. (For those of you who have not yet heard about Minecraft, you can find out about it here.)This proved to be more difficult than we had imagined.

First, we needed supplies. We’re gluten-free, so that is even more challenging than normal. We ended up going to Fred Meyer, to Joann’s, and to a local cake decorating store. Now, this cake decorating store? I love what you can get there, but it’s like walking into a hoarding cache of cake supplies. Everything was so difficult to find. We ended up getting the dye we needed (both black and white), then had to head back to Joann’s (we’d seen some Colorburst Bits that we wanted to get). After the running-around craziness was done, it was time to actually bake.

We made two cakes, one colored grey (stone), the other chocolate (dirt). We also mixed in some color bits to the grey (for diamond or lapis lazuli, redstone, and chocolate sprinkles for coal), to make cupcakes.


Then, Joe got to work cutting.

Joe, making the cake

My husband, by the way, is very meticulous. Very.
Organized cake station


So, he built this cake, glued together with jam.

Cake, before disaster

BUT (dun dun dun)… we forgot the frosting. (Ugh.) So, he tried using the only frosting we had in the house: pecan frosting (a la german chocolate cake frosting).


Actually, this was good, in a way, though. Because we thought we’d try the cake.


It was soooooo sweet we could not eat it. JAM IS TOO SWEET.

Not to be deterred, we pressed forward. More cake making. Different plan: we would make a twice-baked cake so that the stone would be nestled inside the chocolate cake.

Once again, Joe cut the grey cake. I put in the pan, poured chocolate cake batter over it, and baked it.


Attempt two

And this is what it looked like after the twice baking.


After it was cooled, it got frosted with green (grass, you know). And a creeper face.
Kai's Cake (actual day of)

And this is what the inside looked like.Inside cake

So, that was the first cake. It worked well! Kai was happy. YAY!It's a hit

Kai was so happy with it, in fact, that for the (family) party on Saturday, he told me he wanted lots of Minecraft-related things on his cake. We compromised. Creeper face and a skeleton face. And even though I think it looks horrible, Kai loved it. And that’s what matters.

Cake for the party.

Oh, and by the way, for those of you keeping track, that’s NINE boxes of cake mix in all (one chocolate, one vanilla for the first, two chocolate and one vanilla for the other two). (And, yes, we used mixes because, you know, gluten-free cake is a lot of work to do from scratch and we were more concerned about the outside. We’d tried the cake mixes before and knew they worked well.)

If you’re going to double-bake a cake like this, I suggest slightly underbaking the first cake, so it doesn’t dry out. I noticed a difference from the first one to the second one, but neither was particularly bad.

The Minecraft cake was not a lie. But, now, we’re pretty done with cake for a while.

Now, You Are Five


Dear Kai,

Now you are five. Five is such an exciting age, isn’t it? You came to me the other day and said, “FIVE WILL TAKE MY WHOLE HAND, MOMMY!” At least, I think that’s what you said – you were so excited it was all pretty much just a blur.

In the nearly two years I have known you (how can it have been so long already?!?), you have grown by leaps and bounds. When I met you, you were still in diapers. You napped a lot. Often, you’d climb into your dad’s lap and fall asleep, the two of you watching car races together. You spoke somewhat, but were mostly quiet.

Now, you’re potty trained – accidents are few and far between, nearly always while you’re sleeping. You still nap, but not every day and I can see that changing quite soon. When the races are on, you watch, you ask questions, you act them out with your cars and question why you do not have all the cars in the races. You talk. Constantly, all the time, as if you have no internal dialogue.

Language seemed to come to you not in small bits and pieces, but in whole sentences, big words. Reading was the same way. For quite some time, you read a handful of words. Now, seemingly overnight, you can read so many things – and it only takes one or two times for a word to stick in your brain.

Back in July, we moved, into the city. The move meant some changes, but on the whole, they’ve been positive: more park days, more playdates, trips to the zoo and the Pacific Science Center, “field trips” with other kids, clay class, made new friends.

Your interests have changed: last year, it was mummies and Yo Gabba Gabba. I suspect you’ll always be fascinated by mummies, but now, you’re playing with LEGOs, doing computer and phone games and board games, and you’ve just recently acquired an interest in Pokemon. You’ve been focused on space and the solar system. Meals often drop off into an astronomy lesson with your dad. I’m excited to see where all of that leads.

Two years ago, I could not have imagined that my life would be like this. But I would not trade my life with you and your dad for anything. Thank you for being a wonderful, sweet boy. Thank you for lighting up my life.

Happy birthday, Kai. May every day be better than the one before. And may all your dreams come true.

Love always,

Finished The Solar System Map And Videos

We finished the solar system map yesterday. Kai couldn’t be more pleased.

Kai and his solar system.

We also finished up the videos.






The asteroid belt:





Why does Mercury have so many craters?



He had a blast doing this and has learned so much!

As a side note: I think, since he wants to make more videos about other things, that we’ll have to find a way to get a better camera set-up. And a tripod. I’m not sure what we can do right now, but, hopefully, in the future, we’ll be able to do something “better”, video-wise, with less camera shake, at least.

Working On A “Solar System” Project

We’ve been working on a project about the solar system. This has been mostly Kai-led. And he’s pretty happy about it.

First, the Solar System “map”. Still not quite finished.

20130102 Solar System Project (1)

20130102 Solar System Project (22)

20130102 Kai And His Solar System Map - not yet completed (1)

Then, he ALSO wanted to make a set of videos about the solar system. This was his first one, which is basically an intro video.

There should be a link on the side to the playlist. I’ll post all of the videos once he’s done with the project.