Good morning eggs and spinach and cheese,

with my Stonewave I'll assemble you in a breeze.

No more non stick metal over fire that's frenetic.

Now I'm ceramic and electromagnetic


Authordavid koch
By Source, Fair use,

I saw Chip Heath speak during his book tour for Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work which illustrates how people make decisions, and how to make better ones. Chip is not only a Stanford professor and a great speaker, but he and his brother Dan are the authors of other great books such as Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die,  and Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

They have some very insightful tips in the book and they detail how many poor decisions are the result of 4 "villains." Then they distill how we can overcome these villains with the simple acronym WRAP. The villains are as follows:

  1. Too narrow of focus. We too often think of binary decisions - should I do this, or that?
  2. Confirmation bias. We make a quick decision and then seek out information that backs it up.
  3. Short-term emotions. We are too concerned with how we're going to feel in the short-term.
  4. Overconfidence. We jump to conclusions, and it is OK to do so, because we're so smart.

Enter WRAP. 

W - Widen your options. What is the third option? Is there a good fourth option?

R - Reality-test your assumptions. Actively look for information that goes against your first reaction.

A - Attain distance before deciding. Ask yourself, what would I tell my best friend to do in this situation?

P - Prepare to be wrong. In fact, you should be used to it by now.

So I've been trying my best to apply these heuristics to my everyday decision making and, at times, I am amazed at how just a little introspection into how my brain is making decisions, allows me to truly make better decisions. I find that I am more focused on the long term ramifications, I find evidence contrary to my gut reaction that makes me shift course. And, I go into more situations knowing that I make need to modify because I'm already aware that I could be wrong in the first place.

But when it comes to the kids... this all seems to go out the window.

We try our best to get them to follow all the same decision trees with WRAP. In fact, the simple act of asking them, "Is that a good decision?" elicits a response that is sometimes profound for a toddler. Sometimes, sure, they continue with their actions that they've already themselves deemed to be a bad decision. But sometimes, just having them stop and survey the situation allows them the chance to see the folly around the corner. Just asking them - wow, it is amazing.

Unfortunately in the heat of the Battle Against The Toddlers (BATT, it's real!), I'm the problem. It is my narrow focus and my inability to widen my options why we end up in sub-optimal situations. And it wasn't until a recent conversation with an old friend of mine that I figured out the core issue. It is the result of hundreds of hours spend in my prime formative years watching Nickelodeon and Marc Summers host the wonderful game show... Double Dare.

Now, when pressed in to a corner by one of my cunning, yet devilish little minions, my third option for them nearly always resembles a Physical Challenge. If you are unfamiliar with the Physical Challenge, do yourself a favor and click the link. In our house, it often goes something like this: 

Me: "Eat your broccoli"

Child: "No"

Me: "Eat your broccoli, or go to your room"

Child: "No"

Me: "Eat your broccoli, or go to your room, or... do 100 jumping jacks while I pour maple syrup on your head and shoot your with your Nerf gun"

Child: "Whaaaaaaat?"

Me: "You heard me"

Child thinking about it...

Me: "Eat your broccoli."

Authordavid koch
Paleo Prep

A new year, a new list.

There is something refreshing about a clean slate, a rebirth; like a Phoenix emerging from the ashes, each January brings a jubilee to reinvent ourselves. This is the time where we give ourselves carte blanche to sign up for a gym, a yoga class, Blue Apron - we spend money in order to force our own-hand to make changes in our own-lives. And for better or worse, the financial commitment works, even if it is only temporary, writing that check gets us off our asses and doing something out of our comfort zone.

It is important to have skin in the game.

Me? I bought a Groupon for 10 Bikram yoga classes. It was great. I sweat out most of the holiday ham, and the fruit-and-nut chews out of me. My knee felt better. My balance was better. I felt more centered. 

I went to 4. 

I told myself, "I'm an early riser, and they only had 6am classes 2 days a week." "I couldn't go after work, I would miss out on time with my family." "The weekends are especially precious." "I worked a long day today, I'm going to sleep in tomorrow."

The inner negotiations are real, and they're kind of hilarious once you step back from your own inner voice and realize what you're doing, "I'm tired. Instead of working out tonight, I'll set my alarm and work out in the morning." "It is just a fun size Snickers, I won't have any carbs for the rest of the day." "I've had a long day, I don't have time to cook so I'll just get Taco Bell and start my diet tomorrow."

Me? I started swimming, again, for the first time in about 6 months. It was amazing how quickly my body embraced the water. The odd aches went away before the end of the first 1000 meters. My breath noticeably improved in the first 30 minutes. I felt energized all day thereafter. 

I've gone 4 times. 

"It is cold outside, and I'm going to an outdoor pool. That's going to suck" "It's like, really cold, I don't want to get sick." "It is raining, all my stuff will get wet." "I'll go tomorrow to make up for it."

The next time you bail out of a workout, the next time you hit snooze, the next time you eat a half-pint of Ben and Jerry's - listen to your inner monologue, or dialog, or whatever it is, and think to yourself, "who am I negotiating with?" It is always there, and it has always been there. No one ever hits snooze without talking themselves out of getting up at that moment. "I have time, that's why I set it early." "I'll only go to the gym for 30 minutes, but I'll make it really count this morning."

Me? I told myself I'm going to start writing for fun again. I can do this. I'll set an easy task - two posts per month. Due by the 15th and the 1st of each month. I'll drag a friend into the challenge and we'll hold each other accountable. It'll be fun. I can write about whatever I want.

Hello February 1st - First post (I'm 2 behind)

"I write enough stuff for work." "I don't have any time." "I haven't done any good research" "I don't want to just throw some word vomit down, I want it to be meaningful." 

Who is that inner person that is constantly talking you out of becoming the person you strive to be? What is the evolutionary purpose of that naysayer? Is there a divine purpose behind us all being average? Is the key to success as simple as putting a muzzle on that voice that talks you out of doing the right thing?

Me? I started Paleo. I got a ton of veggies from the store. I started using more veggies from the garden. I got organic, grass-fed beef. I meal-prepped food to take to work. I knew I was doing well for my body, and I felt like I had more energy. 

I lasted 4 days.

I told myself, "I don't want to be that guy ordering something weird - with a bunch of questions - with a client at lunch." "I'm not that hungry, I'll just eat what I made for the kids tonight, Mac and Cheese." "Everyone's ordering breakfast burritos? I'm in!"

So here we go Paleo (Here we go) - and meet Taco Bell's Naked Chicken Chalulpa. At work: "We're making a 'Run for the Border', and everyone's getting one." "That's kind of Paleo, right? There's no tortilla!" "It's a novelty, it's not like I'm going to get them all the time."



Well, I'm only a little ashemed to admit - it was delicious.

Authordavid koch

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

4 bell peppers (red or yellow)
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups chicken broth or water
¾ lb ground turkey
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1-2 carrots, fine dice
1 14oz can of tomato sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
⅓ cup chopped parsley
1 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus extra for topping
½ tsp salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise, removing seeds and ribs. Place in a large backing pan, drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place into the oven until slightly tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Place quinoa in a sauce pan with 2 cups liquid (broth or water) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all the liquid is absorbed (10-15 minutes). Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in a large saute pan and add onions and carrots. Cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes then add in turkey meat breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Once turkey is cooked through stir in tomato sauce, spices, cooked quinoa, parsley and 1 cup feta.

Place stuffing into slightly cooked peppers (removing any liquid that has accumulated in the pepper beforehand), then sprinkle tops with the extra feta.

Place back in the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until cooked through and slightly brown on top.


Serves 6

Authordavid koch

"Tired of serving the same donuts your guests they've had before, now your guests think you're such a bore. And it's never any fun when you try and share just one. No Problem.

Step into the Big Top Donut Shop. The fast, fresh, and easy way to make delicious donuts that are as big as you head... Sure everyone loves donuts, especially when they are 25 times bigger!"

It is not a joke. There is also Big Top Cupcake and Big Top Cookie too.


Big Top Donut

Authordavid koch

photo by iwantamonkey


Flamin' Hot Cheetos have been one of my favorite snacks ever since they came out.  When they upped the ante with Chile y Limon Hot Cheetos (that's Lime and Chile for you gringos), I didn't think snacks could get any better.  But when I tried Takis for the first time, I knew I was in 7-11 heaven.

The funny thing is, I don't eat snacks.  I don't really eat chips much or pretzels or candy bars.  It's not that I'm above it, I just don't eat snacks much.  I'm not a snacker.

But I've been on the Takis kick for about a year now.  I often find myself eating them for breakfast, with a cup of coffee, with chopsticks at my desk so that I don't get neon red dust on everything.

If you haven't tried Takis yet, you are missing out.  If you haven't tried Chile Y Limon Hot Cheetos, you are missing out.  If you haven't tried eating your Flamin Hot Cheetos or Takis with chopsticks, you are missing out.

And just when I thought Takis couldn't get any more fetch... a friend sent me this!

Authordavid koch

I finally got around to gathering up all the photos from our trip to Garmany and France last year.  The best part?  Dragging an 18 month old around of course!  Thanks to Ned and Mona for hosting, they were most gracious.

Authordavid koch

biergarten in tubingen


Dried seaweed and algae as snacks.  Low in calories, low in carbs, heaps of vitamins and minerals.  And don't forget about iodine, which is going to make its big comeback this year.  Since no one is eating iodized table salt and everyone has gone Kosher salt, goiter is going to rear its ugly head and the only thing that's going to save us is kelp chips. 

Kale is still hot.  Kale chips with truffle salt.  Kale, chopped fine, makes a divine intervention into otherwise plain white rice.  Kale juice is the next logical step because it takes so much masticating to consume it.

Almond butter is coming back.  I just re-upped at the health food store with the "grind-your-own" machine.  Peanuts kill.  Almonds are one of the more civilized nuts.  Throw a tablespoon in your kale smoothie - not kidding.

Chia remains on its warpath.  Like a platoon of Incan warriors marching up the coast, chia continues to work its way into the parlance of the water cooler.  This superfood is not only beginning to dethrone Flaxseed as the big Omega 3 champ, but it is dipping its mitts into baked goods too as a fat substitute.

Hempseed is seeing another renaissance.  Not since Bill Clinton didn't inhale have I seen as many hemp products on the shelves of Main Street.  It is also high in Omega 3, protein, fiber, and tastes great.  Tastes like the '60's as I'm told.


Authordavid koch

Being the cheapskate that I am, I loaded up on dried beans at the health food store the other day.  Pinto, black, fava, and just for kicks I grabbed two kinds that I've never worked with before: mung and adzuki.  I've been making curry with lentils for so long and calling it Dhal that I didn't even realize Dhal could be made with mung beans.

I discovered a recipe over at Lisa's Kitchen for Creamy Mung Dal Curry while Googleing "what do I do with mung beans?" and thank the lard, because her recipe sounds fantastic.  I made a variation and even though this is quite different from Lisa's I used hers as a base.

Once you plan ahead enough to soak the mung beans the night before, this comes together pretty easily.  There is another hour or so of cook time, but there isn't much meddling.  If you don't use butter, like I did, it can be vegan. 


  • 1 pound of cauliflower, washed and chopped into 2 inch sized pieces
  • 1 cup mung beans, soaked in water overnight 
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon powered ginger
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 400.  Toss the cauliflower with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place in the oven and roast until the edges of the florettes brown, about 30 minutes.

The technique is a straight-foward curry.  In a large pot over medium-high heat, bloom the spices in about 2 tablespoons of oil stirring often.  I used 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil but you can use anything you like. Have the tomato paste ready and once things start to smoke, about 4 minutes in, dump the paste in and stir like crazy.  

Cook the paste for a few minutes, stirring continuously and add the can of tomatoes and the coconut milk once the paste starts to stick to the pot.  Add the beans and enough water to cover them, if necessary.  

Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cook until the beans are soft, 40-65 minutes. When the cauliflower is roasted, stir them into the mung beans.

Once the mung beans are soft, serve over Coconut Saffron Basmati Rice, wrap in tortillas for Awesome Dhal Burritos, or serve in lettuce wraps.  Top with a dollop of yogurt and curl up to a bad comedy.

Serves 4

Authordavid koch

 Ham Bone and Pinto Bean Soup

My husband ended up with an unusual gift this year from the white elephant Christmas exchange at his work........a HAM!

I guess we were the perfect people to receive such a gift as we cooked it right up and saved the ham bone for further use. I was craving a home cooked comforting soup the other night and got this going on the stove.

I used pinto beans because we had a giant bag of them sitting around but it would also be great with cannellini beans or navy beans. This is the perfect soup on a cold winter evening. Enjoy!

Ham Bone and Pinto Bean Soup
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsly chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 ham bone with some ham left on it
  • 10 cups water or chicken broth (or combination)
  • ½ teaspoon herbs de provence
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups dried pinto beans, sorted and soaked overnight

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium heat and add onion, celery and carrots. Saute until vegetables soften, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and chopped tomatoes. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add ham bone, water/broth, herbs de provence, and bay leaf.
If the ham bone is not covered add some additional water.

Bring liquid up to a boil then lower heat and let simmer for 1 hour. Stir in beans and cook for an additional 2 hours. Remove ham bone and pull off any remaining meat. Chop the meat into desired size and add back into the soup.

Check soup for seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Optional garnishes: Top soup bowls with grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil or pass around some of your favorite hot sauce.

Serves 6




AuthorAmy Koch

The Elena Ruz

Turkey, strawberry jam, and cream cheese? I first heard of the Elena Ruz in the sandwich issue of Saveur Magazine (April 2011).  My gut reaction was, "gross," but my cranium was intrigued.  My thoughts went to Habana, the sand between my toes and the crisp smell of coconut-scented suntan lotion in the air.  It must be good.

I never knew about how many amazing Cuban sandwiches there were until I read this thread on Chow.  Many of their sandiches are also rolled up and called bocaditos.  They seem to have much of the same custom as the British with tea, only the Cubans do it with coffee.

The Elena Ruz itself has it roots in some conflicting and varied histories.  One such story is that was invented by Babe Rush's wife while he was playing baseball in Cuba.  She asked a waiter at the Hotel Nacional in Havana to prepare her a sandwich that her grandmother used to make.

Another origin revolves around a once popular restaurant in Habana called El Carmelo, located in the area of Vedado at Twenty-third and G Streets. Some people it was an American patron who frequented the during the years of 1945 and 1948. The rumor was that Elena's last name was Rush, and was thus pronounced Ruz.

I think the most interesting history revolves around a young Cuban socialite named Elena Ruz Valdez-Faulli, a relative of Fidel and Raul Castro (whose mother's maiden name, they claim, is Ruz).  The real Elena Ruz is 101 year young, alive and well and living in, you guessed it, Miami - or according to this article, Costa Rica. 

In any case, the meaty-sweety combination makes this delicious all day long: it could be a hearty breakfast, a light lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner I suppose, or a late night treat.  What it would would be especially adept at would be soaking up Thanksgiving leftovers.


Here is the recipe from Saveur:

  • 1 Cuban roll or brioche bun
  • 2 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 oz. sliced turkey breast
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

Split roll, spread cream cheese on bottom half, and top with turkey. Spread jam on top half of roll and close sandwich. Heat butter in a 10″ skillet over medium heat; cook sandwich, weighing down with a cast-iron skillet and turning once, until golden brown and heated through, 3–4 minutes. Cut in half, and serve hot.


By all accounts the sandwich is done in a panini-style, and some have the crusts cut off.  Sometimes I don't feel like dragging our panini press out (sometimes, like ever) and so here is my more approachable, everyday adaptation:

Take 1 English Muffin, split and toast it.  Spread your Cream Cheese on thick, like a bagel in NY.  Add a large dollop of Strawberry jam.  Fold 2-3 slices of Turkey on top.  Enjoy!



Authordavid koch