Half Baked in Seattle

A blog about dining in, dining out and everything food.

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Food News: McDonalds told to remove toys!

Ronald McDonald
Creative Commons License photo credit: usuallyjusta
When I first heard that the Center for Science in the Public Interest was threatening to sue McDonald’s over toys, my first thought was that there was some lead or chemical substance that made the toys harmful if children had them, then I read on further and started shaking my head and wondering who’s responsibility is really is in this case.

The letter states :

By advertising that Happy Meals include toys, McDonald’s unfairly and deceptively markets directly to children. When McDonald’s bombards children with advertisements or other marketing for Happy Meals with toys, many children will pester their parents to take them to McDonald’s. Once there they are more than likely to receive a meal that is too high in calories, saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium and devoid of whole grains.”

My first thought is HOW is this deceptively marketing to children? Deception, deceit, lies, misleading? I think not, they are very clearly marketing to children. They aren’t hiding this fact. The meals are child size and for children.  They market them to adults though the children, yes, but also they have options for milk and apples  that are healthier than soda and fries and I have never heard a Happy Meal toy tell you to eat the fries instead!

Children pester adults? REALLY? If the child throws a temper tantrum, deal with it as a parent!

If they feel that McDonald’s must stop with Happy Meal Toys, then there should be no cartoon characters on cereal boxes, no toys in Cracker Jacks, and Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network might as well shut down because there can be no marketing to children at all.

Who is ultimately responsible for the health of the children? If there were no happy meals, would parents stop taking their kids? If I put a toy in a bag of carrots would the kids pick them over  cheeseburger? I think not most of the time. If McDonald’s must get rid of toys, they should get rid of Ronald McDonald and the Play Place as well, where kids at least get to run off some of the calories they just ingested.

Who else can we target? Disney? I doubt you find many healthy food options in their parks. Why just McDonald’s?  Burger King had toys last I checked.

Jack in the Box?

Well, I think they have changed their target market from children to 20 something stoners, so there are no issues there right? Who will protect them from eating unhealthy food?

Children are children and they will pester adults, but since it is the adults who are in charge, it seems the adults need to learn to take control of the situation.  I used to take my daughter to McDonald’s when she was happy meal age, but it was usually as a treat or special event, not a daily occurrence.  She  is now an athletic, healthy teenager who still goes to McDonald’s with her friends and knows that a salad is a better option than a burger but sometimes will order the burger anyways and knows it means an extra lap around the track at the end of the day.

I think that Michelle Obama is on the right track with educating kids about growing food and helping the schools provide healthier options, but the key is education, not in taking away a businesses ability to operate in a manner it has been doing for many years.

I am in no way endorsing that we feed our children McDonald’s on a regular basis or that the meals are healthy and I have a child so I know that nagging and tantrums are not fun, but they are part of being a child.

Happy Father’s Day: Vanilla Spice French Toast w/ Kahlua-Maple Butter


My hubby took on the responsibility of my teenage daughter in December. Not only did he make a commitment to me, but they also said vows to each other, so this year marks the first Father’s Day for him as a new step dad.  She is not at home with us this weekend, however I wanted to show my appreciation for him by serving him a special breakfast in bed.

He loves French toast, maple syrup and Kahlua? Not usually at the same time, but I figured I would do a little experimentation. It turned out wonderful and I want to share!  This is not a dish for the children as it has a small amount of alcohol in it, but you could leave the topping off for the kids!

Vanilla Spice French Toast


6 slices of egg bread or french bread

3 eggs

1/2 cup Vanilla Flavored Non Dairy Creamer

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Kahlua Maple Butter

2 TBS Hazelnut Flavored Kahlua

3 TBS Maple Syrup

1/4 cup softened butter

Mix Egg, creamer and spices in a bowl and dip bread in batter until drenched. Place in a pre-heated non stick skillet or griddle over medium high until browned, turn and brown on other side.

In a small bowl, mix Kahlua, Maple Syrup and Butter with an electric mixer until smooth. It may separate a little, but that is ok.

Place 3 slices of french toast on a plate and spread with butter.

Restaurant Review: Hard Rock Cafe Seattle

The sun was shining on Saturday and we decided to take a family trip down to Pike Place Market to see what was available for fresh produce and I had been wanting to check out Papperdelle’s Pasta for some dark chocolate linguini and I also bought some Garlic Chive Papperdelle because the recipe for Garlic Chive Pappardelle al Limone sounds so wonderful. I can’t wait to make this.

I didn’t get to spend as much time at the market as I had hoped because I was out voted for lunch. I wanted to nibble my way through the shops at the market, Deejster and my daughter wanted to eat at Hard Rock Cafe.  I didn’t object to this choice since we had visiting the ones in Miami (my favorite so far) and Las Vegas.

Seattle’s Hard Rock seems much smaller than I would have expected, but as I expected there was some awesome local music memorabilia adorning the walls, such as a well used looking set of drums from Alice in Chains.

and a guitar from Pearl Jam.

I reached for the drink menu first and figured it is never a good sign when there are no prices on the menu!  But alas, they had a Waborita and my daughter chose a smoothie that came with the souvenier glass. They were great about giving us a boxed one rather than having to take the sticky one home.Waborita and a smoothie

I must say that this was one of the best margaritas ever! Kudos to the bartender for this beautiful concoction that was perfect for a sunny day on the waterfront.

Both my daughter and my husband would eat cheeseburgers everyday if they could. They are not terribly picky about this either, though Deejster usually prefers Red Robin and the child likes …well an AM/PM gut bomb will do the trick there, but it agreed that certain burgers do stand above the rest. Places like Five Guys with the simplest menu on earth to Red Mill ( a hole in the wall once featured on Diners, Drive ins, and dives)are among the favorites.

First I saw the price! A $16.00 burger? I asked if we wanted to share an appetizer plate, but again, I was outvoted so we dove in wholeheartedly.

They both ordered the Hicory Bacon BBQ Cheeseburger. I am pretty sure the child inhaled hers because before I even got through my first onion ring, she had it half gone.

I believe the term she used to describe it was “napkinny” as it took at least 3 to keep up with the juices flowing out of this beast. Deej struggled to finish his though he was determined, I think he lost the battle in the end. When our waiter, flamboyant and fun Sean, returned and asked if we wanted desert, he got a “Hell no!” from him.

I tend to be more adventuours when it comes to flavors and I like hot and spicy, so the Red, White and Blue buger appealed to my senses. The menu says ” Laced and grilled with our spicy Buffalo sauce and Cajun Seasoning then topped with crumbled blue cheese and a crisp fried onion ring.”

Not only did it smell amazing, it was a beauty on the plate. I started on the onion rings and of course while I was in awe of the hot , crunchy , yet tender and sweet rings, I had to share bites reluctanty so the other two could get a taste. The buger was a blissful combo of a generous amount of blue cheese crumbles (not overpowering ) and cajun spice combined with a milder/not to vinegary buffalo sauce that came on the side. I told our waiter the worste part of the meal was that I actually ate the whole thing and wasn’t sure I could move.

I would not recommend Hard Rock Seattle for daily lunch, but take a group and get the large table/booth with the Microsoft Surface that you can play with interactivly. It set us back over $85 for three drinks and three bugers, so it is not someplace to go on a budget, but for a special occasion, I would surely recommend it.  The burgers were worth the price. We were full and the plates were clean!

Food: [Rating:5.0]
Price: [rating:3.5]
Atmosphere: [rating:4.5]

Lets Move! Michelle Obama Addressed Hundreds of Chefs at White House

Executive Garden
Creative Commons License photo credit: Robert Goodwin

Michelle Obama Addressed Hundreds of Chefs at White House.

Yesterday, Michelle Obama stood on the White House lawn and addressed nearly 1000 chefs regarding the childhood obesity and teaching children the importance of nutrition and healthy eating habits.

Her “Let’s Move” initiative aims to end childhood obesity within a generation.

I recently watched a season of Jamie Olivers Food Revolution, and in a way this is the same message he has been trying to get across.

I was raised in a family that due to our financial situation had to garden and grow much of our own food, as well as raise chickens and cows and pigs to put food on the table.  Unfortunately I also learned that it was also OK to fry the eggs our chickens produced in the grease from the bacon we trimmed off our homegrown pork !

We don’t all have room to grow our own veggies these days, and some people will try to use the excuse that it is too expensive to buy fresh , rather than processed food.  Yes, you can feed your kids Top Ramen for lunch for less than $.25 but the heath benefits they get from an all fruit smoothie are worth much more in the long run.  What you spend today on fresh produce, you will save tomorrow in health care costs.

Michelle’s  Let’s Move initiative has 4 components:

  1. Getting more information to parents so they can make good choices;
  2. Providing access to quality and affordable food for all; addressing the issue of food deserts;
  3. Incorporating physical movement and activity into every day;
  4. Providing healthy meals at school.

I remember one of my best friends years ago in high school. We graduated and while I was cooking full 3 course dinners in my first apartment, she was a young mother strugging with how to heat up a can of Ravioli.  I couldn’t help thinking even then that there was something wrong with a generation that was not taught to cook..and now that generation has produced a new generation of unhealthy, obese children, some who know nothing at all about the kitchen.  My own daughter, now in high school herself, is in a cooking class at school and sees the same issue. Students eating fast food 1-3 times a day and not having a clue how to cook something as simple as a chicken taco and most of them probably don’t even know where the ingredients for that taco come from .  My favorite quote from my daughter was from when she was little and I started to make homemade waffles from scratch and she said she said she “wanted the real ones that come frozen in the box”.

My goal from that day forward to was to get her in the kitchen. We not only need to teach young children about nutrition, but we also need to teach them how to prepare their own food. A beautiful garden of fresh veggies is worthless if you don’t know how to make it taste great! Michelle pointed this out with her example of her mothers mushy broccoli.  Cooking with your kids is also great bonding time and most find it fun.

2010 Xtreme Eating Awards-You May or May not want to be on this list!

Do you pay attention to the new mandatory calorie counts posted at your favorite fast food joint? I take a quick glance but for the most part, I know that if I  walk in the door of the place, I am not going to eat a healty meal.  If the Baconator calls, it calls loud!

Some of my favorite diet busters have shown up on the list of 2010 Xtreme eating awards.

What do you mean a “A Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger has 920 calories and 30 grams of saturated fat (1½ days’ worth) without toppings. Think two Quarter Pounders“?  It also tastes way better than two quarter pounders! In fact, everytime I drive past The Landing in Renton, I now think of it as the “Five guys landing“!

Would you expect anything from Cheesecake factory to be low in calories? The name alone implies that you will have to have an additional work out to even come close to making up for the indulgence!

They are not good for you and if you are like me, you like your sinful mouthful of pure bliss a little too often, but I don’t believe that ignoring these culinary wonders completely is necessary! What is life if you can’t have a little fun! You can alway go back on your diet tomorrow right?  

Ok, I think it is time for my avacado and cucumber salad now!


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