Kid-friendly Superbly Tasty Sweet ‘n Sour Thai Noodle Salad in a Mug + Perky Pineapple Cooler for One Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Superbly Tasty Sweet ‘n Sour Thai Noodle Salad in a Mug + Perky Pineapple Cooler for One

Family Meal Plan: Superbly Tasty Sweet ‘n Sour Thai Noodle Salad in a Mug + Perky Pineapple Cooler for One

Superbly Tasty Sweet ‘n Sour Thai Noodle Salad in a Mug + Perky Pineapple Cooler for One

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Natasha McCone and Kate Bezak
prep time
20 minutes
cook time
1 minutes
1-1 servings

Fun Food Story

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Superbly Tasty Sweet ‘n Sour Thai Noodle Salad in a Mug

We’re taking a trip to the Land of Smiles today, all the way across the world, to Thailand! Thailand has a hot, wet climate with abundant fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Thai food explodes with sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. Crunchy, fresh vegetables are paired with hot, deeply satisfying broths and fresh, hand-pulled noodles. Let’s give kids a taste of this vibrant, exciting, colorful country with an easy cold noodle salad and a refreshing pineapple drink they can reproduce as an after-school snack. Enjoy the journey: we may not be able to jump on a plane, but we can travel to fun places through food, and that’s pretty amazing!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • 1 small bag shredded coleslaw mix with carrots (for 1/2 C)
  • 1 small cucumber (for 2" piece)
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 lime
  • 1 C frozen pineapple chunks (or 1/2 C drained, canned pineapple + 1/2 C ice) **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 oz dried angel hair noodles **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 T smooth sunflower seed butter, like SunButter brand **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 2 1/4 C water

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • microwave :

    to heat or cook food or liquid quickly in a microwave oven, which uses high-frequency electromagnetic waves to generate heat in the food's water molecules.

  • pour :

    to cause liquid, granules, or powder to stream from one container into another.

  • slice :

    to cut into thin pieces using a sawing motion with your knife.

  • soak :

    to immerse a hard food for a certain amount of time in a liquid to soften it.

  • squeeze :

    to firmly press or twist a food with fingers, hands, or a device to remove its liquid, like shredded potatoes, frozen and thawed spinach, or tofu.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Citrus squeezer (optional)
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Drinking glass
  • Microwave
  • Microwave-safe mug
  • Potholder
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Tongs or sieve (small enough holes so noodles don’t fall through!)
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Clean pair of kid-safe scissors
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife (a butter knife works great)
  • Fork
  • Whisk
  • Soap for cleaning hands


Superbly Tasty Sweet ‘n Sour Thai Noodle Salad in a Mug

  • 1 oz dried angel hair noodles—about the circumference of a dime **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub vermicelli rice noodles—more info below)**
  • 1/2 C shredded coleslaw mix with carrots
  • 2" piece of cucumber
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce **(for SOY ALLERGY sub coconut aminos)**
  • 1 T smooth sunflower seed butter, like SunButter **(for SUNFLOWER SEED ALLERGY sub full-fat yogurt, or dairy-free/nut-free yogurt if dairy allergy present)**
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 C water (in a liquid measuring cup for soaking rice noodles)

Perky Pineapple Cooler for One

  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 C frozen pineapple chunks, or 1/2 C drained, canned pineapple + 1/2 C ice **(for PINEAPPLE ALLERGY sub frozen mango or strawberry)**
  • 1 C water
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor—check label)**

Food Allergen Substitutions

Superbly Tasty Sweet ‘n Sour Thai Noodle Salad in a Mug

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute vermicelli rice noodles for angel hair pasta. Don't microwave the rice noodles; just soak them in hot water for 3 minutes.
  • Soy: Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce.
  • Sunflower Seeds: Substitute full-fat yogurt, or dairy-free/nut-free yogurt if dairy allergy present, for sunbutter.

Perky Pineapple Cooler for One

  • Pineapple: Substitute frozen mango or strawberry for frozen or canned pineapple.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor.


Superbly Tasty Sweet ‘n Sour Thai Noodle Salad in a Mug

snap + fill

Snap 1 ounce of angel hair pasta noodles in half over a large mixing bowl (when you hold 1 ounce in your hand, the amount will be about the circumference of a dime). Snap the halves in half again (ending with about 2" long sections of noodles). Add the noodles to a microwavable mug. Fill the mug halfway with up to 1 cup water (you may not use the whole cup of water).

microwave + soak

Microwave on high for 1 minute. Set a timer for 3 minutes, let cool slightly before carefully removing from the microwave with a potholder, and let the noodles soak in the hot water until the timer goes off.

allergy sub note

If you are using the vermicelli rice noodles instead, don't microwave them; just soak them in the hot water for 3 minutes.

important note

After 3 minutes, drain the noodles and add them back to the mug (discard water.) The noodles will get gummy and stick together if they’re left in hot water for longer. Kids can use tongs to grab their noodles or a sieve (make sure holes are small so they don’t lose their noodles!) Drain over a mixing bowl, not down the sink.

slice + squeeze

Slice 1 lime in half. Squeeze juice from 1/2 lime into a small mixing bowl (save the other half for the drink, if making).

whisk + taste

To the same bowl, measure and whisk together 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter, 1 teaspoon water, and 1 pinch of sugar. Taste! What does your sauce need? If it needs a touch more sugar, add another pinch.

slice + add

Slice a 2 inch piece of cucumber into small pieces. Snip 1 green onion into thin pieces with your clean scissors. Add 1/2 cup of shredded coleslaw mix to the mug with your noodles. Add the cucumber and green onion.

add + mix

Add the soy sauce mixture, and mix to coat your salad in the dressing. A fork works well to mix! Eat right away, or chill for 5 minutes in the fridge while you blend the Perky Pineapple Cooler (see recipe)!

Perky Pineapple Cooler for One

squeeze + add

Squeeze juice from 1/2 lime into your blender (or pitcher for use with an immersion blender). Add 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks (or 1/2 cup drained, canned pineapple and 1/2 cup ice), 1 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract to the blender.

blend + pour

Blend until smooth and thick. Pour into a glass, and "Cheers!"

Surprise Ingredient: Carrots!

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Photo by Kindel Media

Hi! I'm Carrot!

“I'm at the root of this recipe! Get it? Root? Carrots are root vegetables! We grow up in dark and cozy soil. Our leaves get plenty of sunshine, though. If you grow us, it's so satisfying to pull us out of our underground home and know you'll be tasting our crunchy sweetness very soon. But you may want to wash us first! You can eat carrots raw or cook them first. Either way, you'll enjoy our flavor, texture, and color in salads, savory dishes, and desserts, like carrot cake!"


  • Before carrots were orange, they were purple, red, white, and yellow. In the 16th century (after the Middle Ages), Dutch carrot growers invented the orange carrot in honor of the House of Orange, the Dutch Royal Family (for Kings and Queens). They did this by crossbreeding pale yellow carrots with red carrots. 
  • Carrots soon caught on in England as both a food and a fashion accessory. For example, it's said that ladies in the 1600s would decorate their hats with carrot tops instead of feathers! 
  • The carrots we eat today were domesticated from a wild carrot native to Europe and southwestern Asia.
  • No one knows exactly how old carrots are, but history traces them back about 5,000 years. They were mistaken for parsnips before the carrot was identified as a distinct vegetable. Carrots and parsnips are related but from different families. Parsnips are white and look a lot like carrots. They're also root vegetables!
  • When carrots were first grown many hundreds of years ago, farmers prized them for their aromatic leaves and seeds—not just the roots! 
  • According to some sources, carrots are the second most popular vegetable in the world, behind just one other. Can you guess what's number one? Potatoes!
  • The longest carrot ever recorded was over 20 feet long! (The measurement included the taproot's long, skinny end.) The heaviest carrot recorded weighed over 22 pounds!
  • You may think rabbits love carrots naturally, and this is largely because of the popularity of the wise-cracking and charming cartoon rabbit character named Bugs Bunny. We see Bugs Bunny munching on a carrot in most scenes. In reality, if a rabbit ate a whole carrot, it would be like you or me eating 20 carrots in one sitting! Way too much! Here's another fun fact: The voice of Bugs Bunny, Mel Blanc, reportedly did not like carrots at all.

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Carrots belong to the Umbelliferae family, named for their resemblance to an umbrella when their leafy green stems are attached. This family includes celery, parsnip, fennel, dill, and coriander.
  • Carrots are root vegetables, meaning they grow underneath the ground. Their feathery leaves grow above the ground. Can you think of other root vegetables? A few of them are beets, onions, turnips, potatoes, radishes, parsnips, fennel, garlic, and jicama.
  • You can eat every part of the carrot. Typically we eat the root part of the plant, but the stems and leaves are edible, too! A carrot's root can grow anywhere from 2 to 20 inches long before it's picked!
  • Carrots like to grow in cooler climates, not tropical, hot places. For this reason, they are usually grown in the autumn, winter, and spring months.
  • Baby carrots sold in grocery stores started as long carrots that were sliced and tumbled into smaller pieces to make them "baby-sized."
  • Carrot seeds are tiny. Find a teaspoon. How many carrot seeds do you think will fit inside? About 2,000!
  • A carrot plant will live for two years, meaning new crops need to be planted from seed every two years.
  • There are two main classes of carrots: Western and Eastern. The Western class includes four types, classified by their root shape: Chantenay, Danvers, Imperator, and Nantes. Several cultivars (varieties created by selective breeding) exist under each type. Many varieties have different colors than the typical orange. How many colors have you seen? The next time you're in the grocery store, look for these diverse carrots.
  • The English word "carrot" comes from the Greek word "karoton."

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • One large carrot or a handful of baby carrots counts as one vegetable serving. Aim for three servings of veggies a day for kids and five servings for adults.
  • Carrots can be eaten raw, roasted, juiced, boiled, mashed, or steamed. However, they are most nutrient-dense when cooked and eaten with fat like butter or oil.
  • When you eat a carrot, how does it taste? Modern carrots have been bred to be sweet, which is why we often use them in baked goods like carrot cake! On the other hand, ancient carrots were bitter, not sweet.
  • Look for firm, brightly colored carrots with smooth, firm skin. Carrots that are limp or black near the top are not fresh.
  • Thicker carrots may be older and tougher to eat, whereas thinner carrots are typically younger, fresher, and sweeter.
  • Store carrots in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, where they will keep for a few weeks!
  • One of the tastiest, easiest ways to cook carrots is to toss them with melted butter, salt, honey, and garlic, then roast them at 425 F for 20 minutes.
  • You can grate raw carrots and add them to salads or chop them to add to soups or stews. If you boil or steam carrots, you then puree them to add to breads, cookies, cakes, or even tomato sauce to sweeten it. Carrots add natural sweetness to whatever recipe they're in (and a pretty orange color, too!).


  • Eyes! The color of a fruit or vegetable tells us what nutrient it contains (nature is amazing!). Orange vegetables and fruits have a particular nutrient called beta carotene. Beta carotene was named for the carrot itself! This nutrient converts to vitamin A inside the body, which is good for our eyes! Studies have shown that only three percent of beta carotene is released from the raw vegetable when we digest it. But this percentage can be improved when we juice or puree raw carrots or cook them with fat like butter or oil. Carrots have the most beta carotene of any vegetable!
  • Teeth! The crunchiness of carrots helps clean the plaque off your teeth and gums, just like your toothbrush! Of course, this doesn't mean eating a carrot at the end of the day can substitute for brushing your teeth! Carrots also have minerals that protect the teeth. 
  • Purple carrots include anthocyanin, an antioxidant, just like purple eggplants, blueberries, and other colorful fruits. 
  • As with all vegetables, eating carrots helps protect us from getting sick! 


History of Noodles!

Photo by komokvm/
  • Who produced the original noodle? The Chinese, Arabs, and Italians have all made this claim, but the earliest record appears in a book written in China between 25 and 220 CE.
  • Noodles are a dominant food in many countries and have been for at least 2,000 years. In 2005, archaeologists discovered 4,000-year-old noodles inside a bowl buried under ten feet of sediment in northwest China. Scientists determined the 4,000-year-old, long yellow noodles were made from two kinds of millet native to China and demonstrated advanced cooking skills for that time.
  • Wherever noodles have originated, they have remained in demand for hundreds of years. Their long life is due to many things, including their being cheap, filling, nutritious, quick and easy to prepare, good to eat hot or cold, able to be dried and stored a long time, and easily transported.
  • In Chinese culture, the noodle is a symbol of long life. For that reason, noodles are traditionally served on birthdays and the Chinese New Year as an emblem of longevity. 
  • Shanghai-style noodles, thick Chinese noodles made with wheat flour and water, are Shanghai, China's gift to the wondrous world of noodles! A popular dish served at dumpling restaurants, Shanghai Fried Noodles consists of Shanghai-style noodles stir-fried with beef, chicken, pork, or shrimp, cabbage or bok choy, and onions. As in most Shanghainese cuisine, a soy sauce base is mandatory. There is no shortage of this dish, as customers can slurp it up at most restaurants in the city! 
  • The traditional Japanese diet, as in many Asian countries, includes rice at every meal. However, noodles brought from China have also become a vital part of Japanese cuisine as an alternative to rice. Typical noodles are "soba" noodles, thin brown noodles made from buckwheat, and "udon" noodles, thick wheat noodles served cold or hot with a soy and dashi broth. The Japanese also eat "ramen," a soup made with a Chinese-style wheat noodle, fish or meat stock, and soy sauce or miso flavorings. 
  • Noodles were also incorporated into the Japanese tea ceremony, and noodle-making was considered an art form. 
  • After World War II, noodles became even more critical in Japan when food shortages were rampant and dried foods like noodles were often the only available food item.  
  • Rice noodles are an alternative to wheat-based noodles. Also originating in China, they are made with rice flour and water and are common in East and Southeast Asian cuisines. They are available fresh, frozen, or dried in various shapes and thicknesses.
  • In almost every Asian culture that uses them, noodles are associated with well-being and long life and can be considered an Asian comfort food.

Let's Learn About Thailand!

Photo by anek.soowannaphoom/ (traditional floating market)
  • Thailand is a country in Southeast Asia and is officially called the Kingdom of Thailand. 
  • The country's previous name was Siam. In 1949 it was changed to Thailand, which means "Land of the Free."  
  • Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with a king, prime minister, and national assembly, its legislative body.
  • Thailand's population is more than 69 million people.
  • Thailand has over 1400 islands and is at the center of the Indochinese Peninsula.
  • Bangkok is the capital and the largest city in Thailand. According to different websites, it's either the first most-visited or second most-visited city in the world, right up there with London and Paris. 
  • Thailand is home to the world's most enormous gold Buddha, the largest crocodile farm, the biggest restaurant, the tallest hotel, and the longest single-span suspension bridge!
  • Thailand is known for its fantastically delicious street food. You can eat pad thai (noodles, vegetables, and meat stir-fried together), green papaya salad, meat skewers, and even grilled scorpions at street carts everywhere in Thailand! 
  • A hundred years ago, there were more than 100,000 elephants in Thailand, and about 20,000 of them were wild. Today, there are about 5,000 elephants, less than half of them untamed. 
  • Thailand is known for its orchids. In fact, over 1,500 different orchid species grow in the wild in Thailand.
  • Kitti's hog-nosed bat—thought to be the world's smallest mammal—is found in Thailand. It weighs just two grams! This is the same weight as a small pebble or a pile of feathers.
  • One of the country's most unique festivals is the annual Monkey Buffet, held in front of the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple in Lopburi province. Thousands of local macaques dine on a buffet of over two tons of grilled sausage, fresh fruit, ice cream, and other treats. Local people view the festival as a thank you to the monkeys, which live in the village and bring in thousands of tourists each year.
  • The Mekong River, along part of the eastern border of Thailand, contains over 1,300 fish species. Giant freshwater fish, including a 10-foot-long, 660-pound catfish, can be found in the river.
  • The mudskipper is one of Thailand's strangest creatures. This fish-out-of-the-water walks on land using its fins, and it can even climb trees. It absorbs oxygen through its skin and mouth. It's a fish that likes to spend most of its time out of the water, eating the algae in tidal pools.
  • The world's longest snake, the reticulated python, makes its home in Thailand. The largest one ever found measured over 33 feet from end to end.
  • Siamese cats are native to Thailand. In Thai, their name is "wichien maat," meaning "moon diamond" or "diamond gold." A 14th-century book of Thai poems describes 23 types of Siamese cats; today, there are only six breeds. The Si Sawat or Korat cat is another breed of Thai cat, similar to the Siamese, and initially thought to be a blue Siamese cat. They are given to newlyweds to bring good luck to the marriage.

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Thailand?

  • The school year goes from May to March, and both public and private schools require students to wear uniforms.
  • Families and children are important in Thailand. Parents expect their kids to help with household chores and farm chores if they live in a rural area.
  • Soccer, tennis, swimming, and badminton are popular sports for kids. "Muay Thai," or Thai boxing, is the national sport of Thailand, and some kids may start learning it as early as five years old. It is a type of martial art accompanied by traditional music called "Sarama."
  • Rice, especially Jasmine rice, is a staple in Thailand, and it's usually served at every meal. For breakfast, Thai kids may eat "Jok" (rice porridge) or "Khao tom" (sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves), "Kai jiew" (an omelet served with rice), or grilled meat or fish, and fruit. For lunch, they may have soup and a rice or noodle dish with meat and vegetables. Family dinners may include "Khao pad" (Thai fried rice), "Pad Thai" (stir-fried rice noodle dish), and various soups. Typical sweets that kids like are mango sticky rice, coconut ice cream, Thai jelly, and "luk chup," which are candies made from mung beans, coconut milk, and sugar.

THYME for a Laugh

What do you get when you cross a brontosaurus with a lime? 

A dino-sour!

Lettuce Joke Around

When is an apple not an apple? 

When it’s a pineapple!

THYME for a Laugh

How do you know carrots are good for your eyes? 

Well, have you ever seen a rabbit wearing glasses?

Lettuce Joke Around

Did you hear about the carrot detective? 

He got to the root of every case.

The Yolk's On You

What is worse than finding a worm in the apple that you are eating? 

A half of a worm in your noodle soup!

That's Berry Funny

What did one soup lover say to another?

"I'm crazy pho noodle soup!"

That's Berry Funny

What do citrus fruits like to eat? 


The Yolk's On You

What do you call a fake noodle? 

An impasta!

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call a pasta that is sick? 

Mac and Sneeze.

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