Saturday, May 31, 2014

Chocolate graham crackers


I love chocolate goldfish. So does my tot. I think the actual name is brownie goldfish or something. They're often requested for my tea loving tot's tea party. So time to time I just bake them with excuse of my tot's request and take bites here and there, with ice cream or with tea. 

It's surprisingly very simple to make too. I love no chill cut out cookie recipes. I am not a very patient person so I like doing everything at one go. 

This is the dough coming together. Then you roll it out, cut and bake. It will be more authentic to cut them into goldfish shapes but I was not in the mood for that labor intense shape, so I decided to go with large ones. 

Mmm...fragrant vanilla rooibos and chocolate graham...I was so tempted to get a scoop of ice cream but as I didn't want my tot to ask for it, I could control my temptation. Looking at the picture, I just realized they're a lot of cookies for a tea party for two. I swear, I did not finish all these cookies at one seating! =P

Recipe from onesweetappetite.

Kale mushroom quinoa

A few days ago for lunch, my tot said he wanted Chilean seabass at sushi's house. What kind of two year old is this boy? How about some grilled cheese? But nope. It still had to be in that seafood category and after convincing him, I managed to "downgrade" it to a quick sushi lunch. He started to ask for more and more fancy stuff he can think of nowadays. So, for dinner that night, I wanted something simple and doesn't require anything fancy that we have all the ingredients at home.

Quinoa it is. Quinoa is such a great side dish but with a little extra touch, it can surely be a fabulous light meal on its own.

I love meat and fish but vegetables just as much, if not more. I actually have to have some kind of vegetable every meal otherwise I don't feel satisfied. Like when I'm having pizza, I have to have anti pasta salad to feel like it's a meal. So I had no problem eating a bowl of this as my main course for dinner.

 My tot called this a very yummy dinner and said he liked eating it because it would give him lots of energy. He's right. This protein packed grain has great texture and it would give you lots of energy. Haha

I halved the recipe and it made a hearty portion for me and my tot for main. As a side dish, full recipe will make about 4 servings. Recipe adapted from damndelicious.

Kale mushroom quinoa

Ingredients : 

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 bag of kale leaves(12oz), torn into pieces
1 lbs cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese 

Direction :

1. Cook the quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups of water, set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add garlic and kale.

3. When kale start to be wilted, add mushrooms and thyme.

4. Season with salt and pepper and stir in quinoa.

5. Top it with parmesan cheese(if desired) and serve.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Buttermilk cornbread

More of Memorial day post. As I mentioned before, along with smoked meat and sweet tea, I baked some cornbread to go with the 'don't mess with Texas' theme.

In Dubai, I used to bake cornbread time to time for my good friend who's from Kenya, who loves her cornbread but somehow I never baked it for my party. Texas theme reminded me of this recipe I always loved and I am glad I baked it again!

Soft, moist bread with such nutty and sweet taste. So simple and delicious! What I love about this recipe is that, it is so simple that you only need one pot for the batter. Oh, one time I actually thought the batter looked different but since I was in a hurry I just baked it and after all the bread was gone, I realized I forgot eggs! Buttermilk makes it so moist, I didn't even notice I forgot eggs. Try this goodness, you won't have to look for another cornbread recipe.

Recipe from by Bethanyweathersby


Buttermilk cornbread

Printable recipe

Ingredients :

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

Direction :

1. Grease an 8 inch square pan and preheat the oven to 375F.

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet, remove from the heat and stir in sugar.

3. Add eggs and whisk until well blended.

4. Combine buttermilk and baking soda and mix it in the mixture.

5. Stir in cornmeal, flour and salt and whisk.

6. Batter will be a little lumpy. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Sparkling very berry tea

As Memorial day weekend BBQ had a theme 'Don't mess with Texas', we wanted little hints of south here and there. And our version of sweet tea was served. 

 This can be a refreshing drink for kids who want something different than water as very berry tea is no caffeine tea, and for adults, it tastes fabulous with dry prosecco in it. Great cocktail. Color goes perfectly with Memorial day too! =)


Sparkling very berry tea

Ingredients : 

6 teabags of very berry tea
5 cups water
2 Tbsp agave syrup
1/4 cup mint leaves
1 large bottle of sparkling water(750ml) or sparkling wine
Mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Direction :

1. Place all the teabags and mint leaves in a large pot and pour 5 cups of boiling water.

2. Add agave syrup, carefully stir and let it sit for 30minutes.

3. Chill in the fridge and add sparkling water or wine.

4. Garnish with mint if desired and serve over ice.

Apple pancetta crisps with goat cheese & honey

Did everyone have a fun Memorial day weekend?
We had a great one with friends and family, lots of fun and lots of food. This week will be a leftover food week. 

In order to enjoy the party ourselves too, we decided to smoke the meat so we don't have to work in front of the grill. Gigantic smoked brisket and ribs. Mmm..yum. While they're getting smoked in the smoker, we were able to sit down with our guests the whole time and enjoyed delicious appetizers and a nice conversation.

I made this appetizer for last Christmas for the family and it was a huge hit. I somehow never tried goat cheese with honey but man, this opened up a whole new world! I've always loved sweet and savory together and this really hit the spot! Original recipe from homeiswheretheboatis soaked the apple in pineapple juice and drizzled honey instead of mixing it in but I found this easier and less messy to eat. Fresh, crunchy apples with crispy and savory pancetta topped with goat cheese with a hint of honey. Enjoy! 


Apple pancetta crisps 

with goat cheese & honey

Ingredients :

1/2 lemon
10-12 thinly sliced pancetta
1 log goat cheese (4oz package)
2 Tbsp honey
fresh cracked black pepper

Direction :

1. In 450F oven, place a foil-lined pan with pancetta and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate and cool until crisp.

2. Slice the apples into 10-12 slices. and using a small cookie cutter, core the slices.

3. Squeeze lemon juice on the apple slices and coat to keep them from oxidizing.

4. in a small bowl, mix goat cheese and honey.

5. Arrange apples on a serving platter, top each apple slice with pancetta and a dollop of goat cheese and honey mixture and sprinkle with pepper.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Breaded tilapia with honey balsamic glaze

At our house, seafood is usually served for lunch when it's just me and my tot, as Steve doesn't eat seafood. Dude, you're totally missing out! Well..more seafood for the rest of us!
It was such a nice day to sit outside and enjoy lunch, I decided to make something quick and simple that doesn't require more than one plate. I love eating in the backyard but when I'm alone with my tot, bringing out more than one plate and a glass each requires too much work especially because we have a hyper dog who gets in the way jumping around once she finds out there's food going outside. My little helper helps me with the door and napkins while I get the food out, and that one trip is just enough. 

Pictures look a little gloomy as the sun suddenly went behind the clouds just as I was getting the camera out. And I am not a professional blogger who can afford to take photographs till she gets the perfect one as my tot would come on top of it already.

Like so. No fork, no knife. The fastest way to get to the food he wants. He makes fun of me now. I gave him my old blackberry to play with and he aims at his cereal and says he's taking pictures of food and laughs. 

Back to the Fish, I like that it doesn't require traditional messy breading process. It's quicker and a little healthier. Crumbs straight on the fish then just bake! I love arugula salad so I simply tossed arugula and sundried tomatoes with white balsamic vinaigrette and served the breaded tilapia on top with the glaze. Glaze is very flavorful so you will enjoy it better if you use subtle flavor to your bed of salad. Adapted from ohsweetbasil.


Breaded tilapia with 

honey balsamic glaze

Printable recipe

Ingredients :

2-3 fillet of tilapia, quartered
1 cup cornflake crumbs(you can substitute with breadcrumbs)
olive oil to drizzle 

Honey balsamic glaze
1/2 cup mayonaise
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar  

Direction :

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Spray a baking pan with oil spray.

2. Add cornflake crumbs to a shallow dish and coat the fillet, pressing down.

3. Place the fillet on the pan and drizzle with olive oil.

4. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, make the glaze - mix all the glaze ingredients and whisk.

6. Serve it with salad and drizzle the glaze on top.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Boxless clothing gift wrap

Today is a very special day for Steve and I. Our anniversary!! We had two weddings, one in Korea and one in NYC. Since Korean wedding was first, that is the anniversary we celebrate. Although I think why not celebrate both and get two presents? =P 
But then again, it's always hard to buy gifts for Steve and vice versa as we are both type of people who just get what we want on our own without waiting. So after a long thought process, I decided to get him some shirts I'd like him to wear. He gets new shirts, I get to see what I like. Win-win.

After bringing these shirts home without thinking about gift-wrapping, I realized I have no gift box left. Sigh..what was I thinking when I can just get them wrapped nicely right there? I guess I was meant to wrap the gift with extra love myself. I can't stand it when I have to wrap clothing gifts without a box. It's not so easy to do and I don't like the look of it. So I googled and found a way. Hooray!

Cereal box! Well the elegant lady in the tutorial used a perfect piece of cardboard paper but since I didn't have any, cheerios box was enough to get me all excited.(That I didn't have to go back out to a store.) Split the box carefully separating the glued part and cut the top and bottom so you get two equal size pieces like above picture. I guess you can paint the cereal box and make it look less obvious but I just put the printed side down. If this gift goes outside of our house, I would definitely do something about it. 

As 'the elegant lady from tutorial' suggested, I wrapped the shirts with tissue papers.

 Place the wrapping paper of your choice and sandwich the tissue wrapped shirts between two boards.

Wrap the gift as you would wrap any box. As I used Kraft paper, I chose jute twine for rustic look. 

Then I stamped it. And Tada~ Boxless gift wrap with the look of a box. Hope he likes the shirts. Happy anniversary my love!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Beef with broccoli


We love Chinese food. Back in NYC, we used to have so many choices for any kind of food delivery, especially Chinese. Over here, we found one good place and one second choice kind of place. But neither of them deliver!!! Devastating. But it actually turned out to be a good thing. I just make them at home a lot. Probably a lot healthier if you make it to be. 

I find this dish extremely dangerous. If you don't have strong willpower and you're on a diet on top of that, avoid making this. I ended up eating so so much. Like I haven't eaten for three days. Beef is so tender, it almost melts in your mouth and the sauce is so silky it dances with rice in your mouth. Hmm..OK, that was way too cheesy. Made my skin crawl. 

The first time I made this, I did not have low sodium soy sauce handy. So I used the same amount of regular soy sauce of suggested amount and oh was so salty!! Do not make that mistake. If you don't have low sodium one, just mix half water and half regular and it turned out just fine in my case. I changed up a couple of things too. Original recipe from Rainydaygal uses flank steak but I used boneless short ribs and it calls for flour in the sauce but I find it not necessary. I actually prefer the consistency of the sauce without it. It would be nice with anything but to me, white rice seemed to be the best 'culinary choice' for this dish. Enjoy the deliciousness!


Beef with broccoli

Printable recipe

Ingredients :

1 1/2 lbs short ribs, sliced into thin bite size
2 heads broccoli, crowns only
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp chopped spring onion
1/2 tsp sesame seeds

1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil 

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce(or mix 1/4 water and 1/4 regular soy sauce)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp sherry or mirin(optional)

Direction :

1. Whisk all the ingredients together for marinade and marinate the beef in the fridge for at least an hour.
2. Mix all the sauce ingredients except the vegetable oil.

3. In a wok or a large pan, heat 2 Tbsp vegetable oil and sate broccoli until it's crunchy for about 3minutes and set aside.

4. reduce the heat to medium-high and add the remaining vegetable oil, saute the marinated beef with half of the sauce until the meat is no longer pink(3-4minutes).

5. stir in broccoli and the remaining sauce, saute for a minute

6. Garnish with chopped spring onion and sesame seeds and serve.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Watermelon mint slush

OK, this should have been posted over a week ago. Disney vacation is still affecting me which is crazy. I need to get fit!
Anyway, Mother's day 2014, we just had a simple BBQ lunch at home with my in laws, followed by dessert with more family members. Nothing fancy. When my nieces and nephew asked if the desserts were homemade, it hurt me to say they're store bought. Haha I am the baker in the family so a lot of times, they expect homemade treats. But guys, it's mother's day after all and I deserve to take it easy too, you know.=P

Oh, look at these beautiful flowers. My husband Steve, after so many years, finally got me peonies(my favorite flower) this year!! Yay! All these years for any occasion, he said he couldn't find them. Are peonies really that hard to find? I guess depending on the season but anyway, these are just so elegant and adorable. Thank you my love!

It was an unusually hot day for this time of the year, I think about 80degrees? Fantastic. We just opened the pool before mother's day, kids could hang out there and adults could actually sit at the table and have a conversation sipping on this delicious and refreshing drink. What a luxury to stay seated for a big chunk of time! But my tot of course wanted what mommy's drinking so I made a batch without rum. Delicious either way but..I think I like a little kick of rum. It's so simple, I can't even call it a recipe but here we go. 
Oh, if you don't have watermelon frozen already, use fresh and add some ice instead. Though, I personally prefer the texture and consistency with frozen fruit rather than with ice. We had frozen watermelon as Steve bought a gigantic watermelon and we could not have possibly finished it fresh. Enjoy the refreshing treat!


Watermelon mint slush

Printable recipe

Ingredients :

1 1/2 cup frozen watermelon
4-6 mint leaves
1 cup water
1 Tbsp agave syrup
shot of rum(optional but totally recommended) 

Direction :

1. Blend frozen watermelon and half a cup of water in the blender.

2. When watermelon is ground into small particles, add rest of the water, agave syrup, mint leaves and rum(if using) and blend away.

3. Drink up! 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Creamy pasta with sundried tomato pesto

Last week about this time, I was dreaming about jumping in the pool sipping a glass of Prosecco, thinking why is summer not here already? But I realized how much I loved spring just a few days later. We just spent 5days at Disney in FL with our tot, and the heat, all that walking made me appreciate beautiful spring weather. Dealing with a tantrum is never easy but when it's 10 degrees hotter, it's that much harder. Anyway, after all the sun, fun, and some episodes of tantrums, we are back home. 

We try to eat healthy most of the times but as we all know, on a vacation especially at a theme park resort, it's not super easy. Limited choices due to irregular schedule and TEMPTATION. So we all missed a home cooked meal badly. 

As we arrived late at night, we were passed out till mid morning with no desire to go grocery shopping. Lunch time comes, nobody seems to want to get some food in the fridge. Time to whip up something with what we have before I get HANGRY. 

Thankfully, I had some chicken in the freezer, and some veggies. And even cream. Yay! Well..that is not the healthiest ingredient but I wanted something a little creamy. Oh creamy yet crunchy veggies and pasta. Satisfaction. This is a very quick meal even a two-minutes-before-hangry person can manage to cook. Makes 2 hearty portions in 15 minutes or so. Here we go.

Creamy pasta with

sundried tomato pesto