Monday, December 6, 2010

Let's Be Kids Again! - Childhood TV, Songs, and Food...

I don't change my Facebook profile picture often, but in support of childhood violence awareness, I followed FB post instructions, & changed my picture to my fav childhood cartoon character - Lark from "Beverly Hills Teens." 

Unlike "Dora the Explorer" or "Sesame Street, this 1987 show about rich BH kids named Lark, Bianca, and Blaze did not involve teaching kids anything educational.  No sirree, Beverly Hills Teens was equivalent to high fructose corn syrup cereal - no nutritional value, just sweet and good.  I embarrassingly loved it, and I know ladies out there of Generation Z loved it too - admit it - it's ok.  And little did we know at the time, this little animated fruit-tart of a show was a pre-cursor to a larger cultural phenomenon - watching the rich and spoiled parade about town - enter "Beverly Hills 90210" & now "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."

In case you need me to jog your memory of Lark et. al. - see below. It's so bad, its good.

Moving from TV to music, I think we can all agree that the songs from youth stay with us always.  When you hear a favorite tune from 6th grade, the memories rush back so vividly, you can even SMELL the era -for me, Sunflowers perfume, Teen Spirit deodorant, and Hot Dog on a Stick corn dogs. 

As a kid, it was all about Paula Abdul (was a fan club member), Debbie Gibson (read her book even), Tiffany (specifically "I Think We're Alone Now"), the Bangles (my first record), NKOTB (had the poster from the Scholastic book order), Boyz II Men (First introduction to R&B), Vanilla Ice (early influence of rap), and I could go on...

I polled various guys and gals and the winners for best pre-teen songs for Z's generation are:

For the ladies, Paula Abdul's "OPPOSITES ATTRACT" (how could you not love the cat?).

For the fellas, Boyz II Men "END OF THE ROAD" (the best proverbial "slow song" of the jr. high dances).

See Ms. Paula and the cat below - Go Paula!

I even emulated the Paula style as well by wearing my dad's ties to school!  I was cool.

Now let's slow it down with soulful R&B.  Do you know that Boyz II Men sold more than 60 Million albums??? This is an INSANE amount for 2010 standards. WOW! 

And now the food - Kid food tastes good. 

At weddings and parties, I often see adults in evening wear pushing their stuffed chicken breast aside and sneaking food from the 'kids table' because fries, chicken nuggets, pizza, spaghetti, mac and cheese, hamburgers, and apple juice are yummy. 

After polling various folks, the favorite kid foods seem to be pasta varieties which is nice to hear since carbs have become Satan in the adult world (so sad).  Many people said that their favorite food as a kid was Mac and Cheese.  I love all things cheese so of course I approve, but truth be told, I never actually ate Mac and Cheese as a kid, but I love it now. In fact, I featured Mac and Cheese in the October 7 Rockin' Foodie posting (check it out if you are interested!). Spaghetti with meat sauce or meat balls was a close second amongst those I consulted  and was my favorite dish as well from my favorite childhood family restaurant - The Ol' Spaghetti Factory - such good Hamzeh family memories :).

As such, my two picks for the best childhood and adult spaghetti dishes (in fact I ate one of these dishes today) are good ol' Spaghetti and Meatballs and Yogurt Spaghetti (an Arabic style yogurt spaghetti sauce).

Let's recreate some childhood moments with these two tasty kid-friendly dishes.


I love making meatballs because they are fun and easy to prepare, great to make with kids, and versatile for spaghetti or an appetizer with dipping sauce.

Here is what you need:

1 2 lb. package dry spaghetti
1 jar spaghetti sauce

For the Meatballs:

1 pound lean ground beef
½ cup dry bread crumbs (Italian seasoned variety works well)
¼ cup milk
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 small onion chopped
1 large egg

Here is what you do:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees, mix all the ingredients, and then shape into balls. Place on an ungreased pan 1 ½ inches apart and bake uncovered for 20 to 25 min or until no longer pink in the center. Makes about 20 meat balls.

Cook the pasta per package directions.

For the sauce, you can of course make this from scratch or you can just go with the very famous Paul Newman sauces (there are many excellent choices) which is my preference.  However, to make from scratch, click here 

Once the meatballs are done, simmer them for a few minutes with the sauce and then simply serve over spaghetti. Add fresh Basel and Parmesan cheese on top if you like.

And now for the debut Arabic dish!  My mom used to make us spaghetti cooked in yogurt when we were kids and still makes it as a treat up until now. Although it may sound a little weird, it is SOOOOOOOOOOO good and super easy and cheap to make.


Here is what you need

1 2 lb. package of dry spaghetti
3 cups low-fat plain yogurt (not Greek-style)
4 cloves garlic minced very fine (if you have one, use a mortar and pestle and pour a little salt over the garlic and mash them up very finely)
salt and pepper
pine nuts
ground beef (optional)

Here is what you do:

Combine the yogurt and garlic. Cook the pasta until well done (not al dente) - about 10 minutes. After draining the pasta, don't rinse it because the natural starches on the noodles will help the noodles absorb the yogurt.  Pour the yogurt and garlic mixture of the warm pasta noodles.  The sauce should have a wet consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste.   Fry pine nuts in a oil and pour on top with the oil.  Add cooked ground beef on top if you like.  This dish is the quintessential taste of my childhood.

Hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. I am now going to grab some fruit snacks and goldfish crackers before I head to bed.

Hugs and Kisses.


  1. The Yogurt Spaghetti looks so good. Drain but don't rinse....interesting= I think I can actually pull this one off!!

  2. Hey Ron - Thx for the comment! It's easy and yummy - if you try it, let me know how it goes! Hope you are well :)

  3. Thanks for the memories Zeina. Can't believe you put my artwork in your blog! lol! I loved the m3carona woo laban this weekend! great blog and great songs too!

  4. Those meatballs look awesome! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Beverly Hills Teens was the girl cartoon on before MASK or Robotech so when I was 7, I hated it. But I did love me some 90210.

  5. Hi Reed - I loved your melmac plate and thought the RF readers would as well :)

    Hi Ian - Thx! You might actually remember those meatballs... I hated Robotech - we are even.