Thursday, December 21, 2006
As you can see, in the above photo, the cookies were pretty dull and boring to look at. But then voila!
I though that these cookies were adorable... so did my sisters. Cute eh? You would have thought that we were gingerbread cookie professionals. But no... we did make a couple "mistakes" :P some were on purpose and the other were natural. Can you tell which ones?
Whatever the case, we ended up making some really cute ones and all of the cookies (whether pretty or deformed) were equally delicious. I love Christmas don't you... Merry Christmas :)
Friday, December 08, 2006
My little sisters are really getting into baking, I'm glad. Now I won't have to do all the baking on my own, and I'll have my own little sous-chefs to aid me around the kitchen. They actually did a very good job in decorating the cookies... check out our cookies!
Aren't my sister's cookies just adorable (bottom pictures)? I didn't want to eat them... they were so cute. Don't you just love the effects of the 2 colors used for the stained glass ones (top picture)? Hehehe, I was going to make buttons for the gingerbread boy, but there wasn't enough room. It just looks like he was shot through the stomache... same with the bear, so sad :(
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Okay, so being a KFC employee and all I have the heads up on some cool new promos that are coming up. And just to prove it I'll show you a picture... that's right. If I were not an employee of KFC how would I have gotten this awesomely spiffy picture of all the sauces (including the new ones)? I suppose I could just be an obsessive who is addicted to dipping sauce... but seriously I'm not. Anyways, the next promo coming out... since chicken fries have come and gone, is going to be cranberry stuffing! Ah... I know, I can't wait to try it. I think it will be addicting and once I start eating it I'll never need any other food again. But I may be jumping to conclusions... this stuffing may very well be the nastiest thing ever; I'll never know until I try it for myself. I can't wait :)
Oh, and KFC is also coming out with boxes of Christmas (or should I say Holiday, to be more P.C.) cookies... these look like so much fun.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
What I don't love so much is all the homework that comes along with university freedom. Truly we are prisoners to a paradoxical life. Actually, now that you mention it I haven't been given a butt-load of homework yet it seems like a lot because of all the reading we have to do. Again irony plays the true evil in my life. The class that I have the most reading and studying for is my 8 o'clock class. This means that I'm up late the night before class and I have to wake up early in order to get to that class on time. *FRUSTRATION*
I'm suppose to be starting my readings for tomorrow's Nursing class and I haven't even read the stuff I was suppose to read for Monday's class! I don't think I'll ever catch up, am I a horrible person? Oh yeah, I'm going into the Nursing profession SUPRISE and it really is a blast doing all the cool labs. I can't wait until I start clinical in January. I just love working with people, and I'm sure it'll be different performing techniques on client rather than our classmates.
I've heard from one of my professors that November is the month that people usually quit or drop out of something... I'm thinking to myself, "WHAT... November?!!? We've only just started October and I've got November to worry about... stink!"
Anyways I should get back to reading since I'm so far behind. I can't believe that November is almost here... and after that December (I can't wait until CHRISTMAS<-- it's my favourite holiday).
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Man, university has been really tiresome. It takes so much effort and time (but I guess I would have expected that, considering that nothing comes easy in life eh?). Well, after finishing my nursing lab exam I had a bit of extra time to prepare a batch of tasty cookies. I saw this cool festive cookie idea in one of my Betty Crocker emails. Anyways I didn't use any cookie mix, I made it from scratch (my first choice always) and my sisters loved it. I also made some to bring to a friends Halloween party and they were just nibbled up so quickly. The last cookie even had 2 people fighting over it! How exciting... don't you just love it when people fight over something you've made? Maybe it's just me.
So anyways, here's a beautiful close-up picture of my awesome Candy Corn Cookies. Enjoy looking... and imagine tasting :P
What have I been up to? Glad you asked. So far it's been mostly university stuff: writing papers, preparing for midterms, reading up on labs and so on.
Marbeled Chocolate Banana Bread... delicious :P
I made this a while back and just haven't gotten around to posting it. I know, I know I'm an aweful person. Anyways, the recipe I used was from http://www.aspoonfulofsugar.net/ and it's really simple. I just love the marbeling effect that was created in this recipe. I could have marbeled mine a bit more, but it still looks pretty good eh? Looks like the marbeling would take a long time, but really it's one of the simplest techniques and gives off an elegant look. Try it, and impress someone!
The japanese play a big role in influencing Hawaiin cuisine... I was walking through the Ala Moana shopping center with my sister when we spotted a japanese rice treat stand. They were selling sakura mochi! I had to buy that too (oh, and let me give you a heads up... if you ask them "Do you have mall discount?" you'll get 10% off, even if you don't work there. Try it!) Anyways here's the pic. Along with a picture of Hawaiin Andugi, kinda like the malay deep fried sweet potato ball... and just as tasty. Sad to say I did not eat the Mcdonald spam breakfast platter, but I did end up
going to a great sushi restaurant, Genki Sushi. It was the first time I had been to one of those sushi places where you could pick your sushi dish from the conveyer belt... and I must say that it was pretty cool. I expected more flavor from the sushi, but I guess I was more impressed with the conveyer belt than the food itself... and while we sat down to lunch you could see the machines making the sushi. Yup, sushi's no longer made by hand my friends...
well, that's all the photos of food I took guys. But there's tons more variety there in Waikiki... to really get the feel for Hawaiin cuisine, you'd have to take a trip down to the island yourself. Happy Travels!
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Sidebar: I haven't been on an airplane in some time and I was really looking forward to flying down to Hawaii. I was so glad to hear that we would be served a hot meal on the flight. I remember the last time I flew, I think it was on west jet or something and the meal sucked. All the passengers were suppose to grab a bag lunch (which was a sandwich and chips), a drink and a cookie... quite sad. But our flight to the Big Island was far from cold-cuts and greasy potatoes.
Our first meal was hashbrown, scrambeled eggs, yogurt and OJ with a whole wheat roll (much better than Tim Horton's too... I know, crazy!) The meal even came with an adorable airplane shaped salt/pepper shaker. After a couple more hours we arrived in the Hawaiin airport.
The heat was actually bearable as opposed to the weather here in Canada. It was a dry heat, so you don't end up sweating all over yourself... not that I do anyways but the humid weather here is just disgusting. I enjoyed walking along the beach, Kuhio and Kalakalua Rd. The atmosphere there is just so inviting. My family and I also ventured to some really interesting market places. We visited the flea market... where everything was so much cheaper than the ABC stores (which are infesting Hawaii). Shopping was a blast, I bought so many outfits while I was down there... I often wondered what it's like to go on a shopping spree (being asian I never spend more than about $50 at a time when going to the mall... I know shocking).
We found some great deals on tons of cool stuff while searching through the market place. I just love the culture there and the surroundings are amazing. The palm trees make you feel like your in some tropical getaway... but then you spot a car and realize that you're still in touch with the busy western world.
Oh... and today is my first day of University, I can't believe that summer is finally over. After returning from Hawaii I only feel like lounging about all day and/or baking :) I hope I don't loose my orientation group and end up wandering around aimlessly trying to find my way out... what a nightmare. I will continue to post on Hawaii... but it may take a while because of work and school. For now I shall say toodles to my blog... but not forever.
Here's a picture of the filling, sitting next to it's glutinous rice flour covered sibling. Look at the size difference! I probably dipped the filling in the water and glutinous rice about 10 times to get to become doubled in size... exhaustive work I tell you.
The almost finished product... 7 beautifully round tangyuan balls that are ready to be boiled and eaten. Oh, I can hardly wait!
Next I made ready the ginger syrup, it's basically just water, sugar and ginger... simple eh? Drop in a few longan and add the boiled tangyuan and you are ready to settle down and enjoy this deliciously warm and spicy dessert. My parents really enjoyed it... sadly my sister couldn't eat it as she is allergic to nuts... but she was appreciative of the dishes beauty. And enjoyed chowing down on the mochi that I had made (mainly just for her).
As you recall me saying, I had ended up with 7 tangyuan balls, and to be fair in serving the dessert I gave each of the three bowls 2 longan and 2 tangyuan balls... meaning that I had one left over. I decided to not let it go to waste; so I boiled it and rolled it in dessicated coconut. I left it on the table for the rest of the family to fight over... but they were all so nice that they decided since I went to the trouble of preparing dessert, I would be the one to enjoy the special coconut ball... they're so sweet :P
Anywho... I completely went overboard the other day, I made the mochi which you can see to your left. And since my sister doesn't particularly enjoy "anko" I had to replace the filling with a sweet, sugary coconut mixture... turned out nice. I did make myself a special one though... filled with peanuts and coconut :P
I had a whole half a bag of glutinous rice flour left to play around with, so I decided to make some tangyuan in ginger syrup. I found an awesome recipe on chowtimes.com (a site I highly recommend you view if you enjoy oriental baking/cooking). I'll post pictures in my next blog.
I also decided on making some kushi-dango... my youngest sister, the one who usually refuses to eat anything that I bake (goodness knows why?) actually really enjoyed this recipe. She also enjoyed my recipe for Hanami-dango... go figure. For some reason the Hanami-dango turned out a little ovalish, rather than perfectly round... but whatever, they tasted awesome.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I forgot to blog this a while back. I actually cooked up this recipe 1 week before I left for Hawaii. Anyways here goes:
Lemony Cumin Salmon
1 Whole Fresh Salmon
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp plain yogurt (I used sour cream)
2 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of cayenne
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill (more or less to taste)
1/4 large onion, diced
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Scale the salmon and remove any unwanted entrails. Split salmon in half down the spine. Place fish on a large foil covered cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, make sure you lay the salmon skin down.
2. Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard seeds, cayenne, cumin, dill, salt and lemon juice in a large bowl. (Can be made several hours in advance, covered and reserved in refrigerator.) Just before spreading mixture onto fish add the diced onion.
3. Spread the mayonnaise mixture onto the pink flesh of the salmon, making sure to cover all the fish evenly.
4. Bake fish for 40 minutes or until flesh is flaky and tender.
Monday, August 07, 2006
... As I was saying, I had to find a way to finish up the last 8 oz. of pumpkin puré and what better way than by making some lovely spiced pumpkin bars (with a special frosting to go with them. YUMMY!)
This recipe was adapted from the Pillsbury Ultimate Baking Cookbook (I really love that book... maybe I should just go out and buy instead of continually borrowing it from the library. It practically lives in my house anyways). I modified some ingredients and also halved the recipe because I only had 1 cup of pumpkin puré left over (again I am lacking ingredients... how sad). But the recipe turned out well and when halving it, you should use a 12x9x1- inch pan.
Light and Spicy Pumpkin Bars: 1/2 Recipe (Yields 24 bars- Original recipe yields 48)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup applesauce (original recipe calls for oil)
1/4 cup apple juice
1 cup pure pumpkin
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp pumpkin butter (original recip calls for butter/margarine)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 to 1.5 tbsp sour cream (original recipe calls for plain yogurt)
1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 12x9x1- inch rectangular baking pan. (Originally 15x10x1- inch)
2. In large bowl, beat all bar ingredients at low speed until moistened. Then continue to beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Spread in greased and floured pan.
3. Bake at 350ºF for 20 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
4. In medium bowl, combine the vanilla, pumpkin butter and sour cream, adding enough powdered sugar to reach the desired spreading consistency; beat until smooth.
5. Frost cooled bars; sprinkle with nutmeg, if desired. Refrigerate to set frosting. Cut into bars.
Nutrition Per Serving:
Calories 90; Protein 1g; Carbohydrate 15g; Fat 3g; Sodium 60mg.
The bars I made may look a little more moist than a cake but that's only because while I was making the bars I halved all the ingredients except for the apple juice. So they turned out very moist and didn't rise as much as I would have liked. The taste was still great but the texture left much to be desired... it kind of resulted in a kueh-like texture once again. But remember my sister who hates all things kueh? Surprisingly the taste of these bars was so impressive that her distaste for kueh was over-riden... that sure says something.
I know that it's still summer and that Autumn has yet to arrive but I still can't get enough of the wonderful orange vegetable (or is it a fruit... oh well, whatever it is it's delicious and versatile).
After making that big family dinner which consisted of a great pumpkin soup, I still had 16 oz. of pumpkin that needed to be used up. I find that I always either have an excess amount or am lacking the ingredients I need... why can't I ever have just the right amount :( So I decided that that since my jam making skills were proven when I helped the family make cherry jam that I would make my own pumpkin butter. But wary of how this recipe would turn out I decided to half it, just in case no one else in my family shared the same love for pumpkins that I do.
Pumpkin Butter (1/2 recipe) (Yields 1 cup)
1 cup(8 oz.) Pure Pumpkin
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 cup honey
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine pumpkin, sugar, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon and cloves in medium heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, for 20 to 25 minutes or until thickened. Serve with biscuits, breads and corn muffins. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Nutritional Information (For 1 tablespoon): 30 calories; Total Fat 0g; Cholesterol 0g; Carbs 8g; Sugars 7g; Sodium 0mg; Protein og.
This Pumpkin Butter recipe worked out really well and I had no choice but to try it out right away after making it. Store it for 2 months... yeah right! I think it'll be eaten up by the end of its 2nd week. I spread some on a piece of nutritious 100% whole wheat toast and it transformed into a delicious slice of pumpkin pie tasting toast. Now to use up the last remaining 8 oz. of pumpkin…
This time she wanted me to make the pumpkin soup that I had prepared once before. I was glad that she made a request; at least I now had a dish to base the rest of my meal around. This pumpkin soup recipe can be found at hungry-girl.com and it really is simple, healthy and delicious. This soup turns out to be more like a chili and with the cumin and salsa added it has a really great kick.
I then decided on a quick and easy chicken recipe from kraftcanada.com (pictured above) and a recipe for twice-baked potatoes from kraftfoods.com another one of my favorite recipe websites. I got one of my sisters to give me a hand with this big meal. She enjoyed mashing the potatoes and spooning the filling back into the potato skin shells. With the topping of melted cheese, the potatoes turned out nicely... in fact both dishes turned out really well and my family was all asking for seconds.
I also chose to accompany the meal with a wonderful cornbread recipe that I spotted while on my routine search for interesting recipes from allrecipes.com Although the cornbread was good, I still preferred the carrot and herb (cornmeal) biscuits that I had made in my previously prepared dinner.
This is a great recipe for no fat, low calorie muffins. They taste great and you can feel great eating them one or two at a time.
Low Fat Applesauce Carrot Muffins (Yields 8 muffins)
1 1/2 all-purpose flour (I use half all-purpose and half whole wheat)
1 1/2 tablespoons SugarTwin
100 mL egg beaters
1 teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda
1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon and salt
1 cup grated carrots
2/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix all ingredients together in order of appearance.
3. Line a muffin tin with cupcake cups.
4. Fill cups two-thirds full with muffin batter.
5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
The recipe is really quite simple and the muffins turn out great, especially without those extra calories.
It's been a while since I made something using pandan, and I wasn't quite sure how long you can keep pandan leaves for before they go bad so I decided to use up the last of them and make some steamed pandan cupcakes. I got the recipe from youngnutrition.net and although geared towards mothers and their growing youngsters I have found many a great recipe on their website. It calls for very few ingredients and no fattening butter/margarine or shortening Hooray!
I couldn't find any self rising flour in the house (well at least not until after I had made the batter for the cakes... and by then it was too late) so I tried to make so by adding some baking powder and baking soda. I do not recommend this. When a recipe calls for self-rising flour you are best off using self-rising flour. Otherwise you will end up with what I got... a cake that's more kueh-like than you would have hoped for. While I was steaming the cakes they looked beautiful, but once the steaming was complete and I lifted the lid... they just collapsed into little green kueh-like lumps :(
They still tasted delicious, but one of my sisters cannot stand kueh (not sure why, maybe it's the texture) so she didn't touch them. My other sister loved them though and it was pretty much just her and I finishing up all of the pandan treats.
So I decided to make some parfaits that my family could enjoy, at least it would help them cool down in the summer swelter. I used some of the cherries that my family picked from out new found cherry tree, honeydew, grapes, cantaloupe, oranges, pineapples and the ever-loved apple; topping it off with the perfect accompaniment of yogurt and crunchy granola clusters. Simple and delicious... my favorite combination :)
My sisters, like most young kids, love the creaminess of good old fashioned grilled cheese sandwiches as well as mexican quesadillas. So I decided that since we were out of bread loaves and had no tortillas to play around with that I would grill up some cheesy chicken paninis and use up 3 more hot dog buns!!! hooray!
My dad bought a george foreman grill, and if you don't have one... man you're missing out. It saves so much time and you don't have to be constantly watching your burgers/chicken fillets/veggies or paninis to make sure they don't burn. I love it and everyone should be forced to own one (although it is kind of a pain to clean up). Anyways... to make the paninis, I just set the grill to low (level 1 or 2) sliced some marble cheese, shredded some KFC chicken (oh yeah... did I mention that I work at KFC... hehehe) you can use any type of chicken here. I then layered my cheese and chicken onto the hot dog buns, which I spread with Hellman's mayonnaise and grilled them for around 1 1/2 minutes or until the cheese was goey and melty.
They flattened out really well and my sisters loved them.
My sisters and I also love the novelty of ICE CREAM SANDWICHES... being that it's been a scorching summer and the heat is simply unbearable I decided to use up the next 3 buns to make some wonderful I.C.S.s and my sister had no complaints. The heat was so intense that they started melting right away so we had to scarf them down as quickly as possible before we were left with a disasterous mess to clean up. But here's a pick of what it would have looked like (I got it from Appon's Thai Food Recipes website). Of course our sandwiches looked a little less majestic... but you get the picture.
Now if you're a math genius... or at least have completed math at a grade 2 level you will have noticed that 7 buns minus 3 minus 3 equals 1... Bravo. I still have one lowly bun that is all alone... what to do?