Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Feeling CRABBY?

Found these the other day in the frozen section of the store, and only required steaming and a mean cocktail sauce! I just love the simplicity of summertime!

I am traveling (on the road again), and will not be posting for a while. But I'll be surfing around looking at all the lovely eats whenever I can!

Happy Summer to all!

Friday, June 06, 2008

National Doughnut Day for Dunking and Dipping

I'm EMWK and I'm a dunker/dipper. There, I admitted it! And there's nothing better than dipping/dunking donuts into a cuppa strong, black coffee. Or warm, crusty french bread into a hot bowl of curry chicken. So many things to dunk and so little time. Fondues are great for me as I get to dunk everything. But please, NO second dunking/dipping like so many with their veggie dip at parties. That's a NO-NO in this household. That is why everyone gets their own little bowl for dunking or dipping. So, are you a dunker?

Incidentally, don't tell Homer Simpson this, but did you know that National Doughnut (or Donut) Day is celebrated on the first Friday of June (which is today), and there's also a National Doughnut week in UK? According to the explanation on Lamar's Donuts site, National Donut Day is celebrated on the first Friday in June? In 1917, Salvation Army female volunteers known as “lassies” prepared thousands of fresh donuts to the homesick soldiers that served in France during World War I. National Donut Day was officially established in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army to raise much-needed funds during the Great Depression.

I should have gone out to get a free donut at the local Lamars or Krispy Kreme stores today. But it was raining again this morning and I didn't get over the to the nearest doughnut store, so I made a batch of doughnuts to pacify my kids' sweet cravings.Used a simple recipe from Joy of Cooking and made a bunch of donut holes which was perfect for dipping into individual bowls of chocolate glaze, raspberry jam, and creamy peanut butter. Dunk, Dunk, Dunk! What a Dipping Delight it was!I also made some doughnuts without glaze so that the kids can dip it into their choice of flavors.

There is another doughnut recipe from Gourmet that I tried sometime ago here.

And here's some names that doughnuts/donuts go by around the world...

Italy = fritole
Montenegro = ustipci
Mexico = churrro
Turkey = lokma
France = beignet
Germany = krapfen
Hungary = langos
India = balushai
Netherlands = oliebollen

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Monkey Math, Monkey Bread, Monkey Brain?

Since Hubs bought me that cool ceramic monkey bread mold from Williams Sonoma for Mother's Day recently, I have been using it as an excuse to make more monkey bread. It was for the kids, you know... but who am I kidding?

And it has been lots of fun making it plus a counting lesson for the kids as they roll the cut-up dough into little balls and counted up to 50 while coating and dropping them into the greased mold. Monkey math is what I call it.

The last time Hubs asked me where did the name Monkey Bread came from, I looked it up and here was wikipedia's take on the name monkey bread.

In addition, this was the explanation that came with the mold. Some stories claim the bread is named for its appearance, which resembles monkey puzzle tree or a playful group of monkeys jumbled together. Another theory speculates that the name describes how bakes have to monkey around with the dough.

Or if you live next door to me, you probably heard Hubs and the kids calling it MONKEY BRAINS!

After leaving my trusty bread machine to make the dough for about an hour, I took it out and flattened into a square-ish shape on the greased granite counter. Using a large pizza cutter, I divided it into sections as instructed on the recipe.
With the kids' help, we rolled the dough into round balls, dipped them in melted butter (Mmmm..) and into another bowl of sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and my own special added ingredient...oats. Okay, so I was trying to justify this carb intake, and oats are good for us, right?
Then we added more butter, the rest of the sugar and cinnamon mixture (plus oats), stirred it over the stove til the sugar is melted and everything turns to a gooey, sweet-smelling mixture. Pour it over the dough, cover it and let it rise for about 40 mins. Then into the oven for 40 mins and serve it warm or at room temperature.

After the kids' woke up from their naps, it was monkey bread time. They counted and had 3 pieces each. With milk of course. And you really don't need to know how many I had, do you?

Used the recipe that came with the mold.
2 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
For the Dough
3/4 cup (180ml) WARM MILK (about 110F/43C)
1/2 cup (125ml) WARM WATER (about 110F/43C)
2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup (60g) granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 package rapid-rise yeast
3 1/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour plus more for dusting
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons salt

Sugar Coating
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tbs ground cinnamon
8 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup oats (my addition)

4 Tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 Tbs water

Have the ingredients at room temperature. Combine the dough ingredients, and mix and knead them until you have a soft, sticky dough. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 2 1/2 to 4 hours, or until it's puffy. I used the bread machine to mix the dough.

Cut the dough into 1" to 2" pieces, and roll into balls. Roll the balls in the melted butter and then into the topping. Place in the greased mold.

To make the glaze: After coating all the balls, pour the remaining topping mixture into a small pot with the melted butter. Wisk till the sugar is melted. Pour over the dough balls, covering them well. Cover the pan, and let the bread rise until it's quite puffy, about 30-45 mins.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 20 minutes. Cover the mold loosely with foil (to prevent over browning) and bake for another 25-35 mins. Let the bread cool in the mold for 10 minutes. Invert the mold onto a serving platter, and let it rest for 10 minutes to allow the glaze to drizzle down over the bread. Remove the mold and serve warm. Serves 8.

My gf LCOM also made monkey bread, and this is another version. Enjoy the monkey bread/pull-apart bread/monkey brains/or whatever!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Memorial Weekend

When I asked Hubs what he wanted for dinner today, he said beer brats, buffalo franks, and the kids wanted corn dogs. So, I had to have all three and a soft hoagie bun, of course!

And this turned out to be a beautiful weekend we are having compared to the six funnel clouds that were spotted and the tornado that came through the northern part of our state. We had hail, strong winds and thunderstorm all day, and I'm surprised that my tomato plants survived through that day.That tornado that came through caused many to loose homes and property. Our community is reaching out to those in need, and many church members are lending a helping hand as well...

We spend part of our Memorial weekend up in Estes Park, and enjoyed the lake up there with many who had the same idea in mind. This little mountain town was packed to the rim with cars and people came from everywhere for the annual art and antique show. We stopped by the lake where many were fishing and camping, and were treated with several elks who wandered into the lake for a refreshing cold drink.

We stopped for our caramel apple treat and browsed through some shops before heading down the mountain. That's when we spotted another herd of elk in between the trees. These were big and they ran away seconds after I took this picture. I really ought to use a zoom lens next time.I wish our veterans and everyone a happy memorial day!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Humor Me

My MIL send me this and made me laugh. I did change the title so as not to offend some of my friends.

Silly Cookbook

It's fun to cook for Tom. Today I made angel food cake. The recipe said
beat 12 eggs separately. The neighbors were nice enough to loan me some
extra bowls.

Tom wanted fruit salad for supper. The recipe said serve without
So I didn't dress. What a surprise when Tom brought a friend home for

A good day for rice. The recipe said wash thoroughly before steaming the
rice. It seemed kind of silly but I took a bath anyway. I can't say it
improved the rice any.

Today Tom asked for salad again I tried a new recipe. It said prepare
ingredients; lay on a bed of lettuce one hour before serving. Tom asked me
why I was rolling around in the garden.

I found an easy recipe for cookies. It said put the ingredients in a
bowl and beat it. There must have been something wrong with this recipe. When I
got back, everything was the same as when I left.

Tom did the shopping today and brought home a chicken. He asked me to
dress it for Sunday. I don't have any clothes that fit it, and for some
reason Tom keeps counting to ten.

Tom's folks came to dinner. I wanted to serve roast but all I had was
hamburger Suddenly I had a flash of genius. I put the hamburger in the
oven and set the controls for roast. It still came out hamburger, much to my

GOOD NIGHT DEAR DIARY. This has been a very exciting week! I am eager for
tomorrow to come so I can try out a new recipe on Tom. If I can talk Tom
into buying a bigger oven, I would like to surprise him with a chocolate

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Going, Going, Going

It's coming to the last week of school before this school year ends, and for the summer holidays to begin. Although we didn't start the kids til late October because they were wait-listed and the school finally had openings after a couple of kids were transferred when their parents moved to another part of the country, and the fact that I took them out of school for several weeks and flew 10,000 miles to the other side of planet earth, I am very grateful to their teacher and teacher's aid for all the work they've done to provide my kids a safe and happy learning environment for their first exposure to a school set-up. My kids love school, and they wait up everyday asking if there will be school that day. They made many friends and had a blast everytime they attended class. And I really enjoyed volunteering these past months, and have learned a lot of valuable skills about managing chaos in a preschool environment filled with youthful energetic 3-year-olds.

Now, onward to summer activities and hopefully more time for my other hobby in my kitchen...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fun weekend at a Foodie's House Party

We had a memorable ending to a fun weekend at J&M's place on a beautiful, warm Sunday afternoon where we sampled a new (to us) bottle of white wine, and learned a wee bit about bee-keeping (J's new hobby), new organic markets in the area, kids' summer activities and made some new friends while our kids squealed with delight as they played with two 12-year-olds and a 7-year-old who were all around the 5-acre backyard. My kids also played with their gentle 10-year old retriever, chased their poor cat around the front yard, waved at a fox that went trotting across the field a short distance away and ride around on their friends' old barbie jeep.

We also had the pleasure of tasting a superb dinner of BBQ pork ribs and pork shoulder that J started on his impressive Weber Ranch Kettle grill (he said that size doesn't matter, but that was a great looking charcoal grill!) May even convince me to give up the convenience of my gas grill for charcoal. But maybe not. He started bbq-ing since 7 am that morning, and had to replace the coals about every hour til for about ten hours. And the results were impressive. The meat was beautifully seasoned with a dry rub and was fell off the bone. J also had a tangy, spicy homemade sauce that was perfect with it. Not forgetting the wonderful honey cornbread baked in an cast-iron skillet, home-made BBQ beans (I saw the chunk of pork knuckle that was cooking in it and gave it such depth and flavor), and the wonderful coleslaw that had just enough ingredients in it to let the cabbage shine through.

While we were enjoying our lovely meal, J&M had a call from a friend that there were a swamp of bees on the ground about 2 blocks away from their house. A very excited J jumped into his car and went to check it out. Within minutes he was back and was suited up in his bee-keeper outfit along with T while Hubs took my camera and followed them to the site. Free bees for bee-keepers are apparently a very exciting event! Before we headed home, I drove over to the site and the bees were getting into the box as the temperature was dropping in the evening.

And what did I do? After spending the whole Saturday moping around with a gnawing sinus headache from the high pressure blowing into the state, and running the kids around town for a long-promised MacDonald's breakfast and play area trip, driving across four towns to Hub's favorite dry-cleaner, taking the kids to their favorite merry-go-round ride (4 times), shopping for summer clothes for Hub's, making a Costco run, and stopping for lunch at Chick Fillet where the kids dump out more energy at that play area too... I decided that I was going to bring to this party a simple, rich, decadent 7-layer chocolate cake filled with creamy Bavarian icing, covered with a thin layer of chocolate and topped with a chocolate covered strawberry. That was a perfect ending to the meal, and totally bakery-made from a wonderful baker that was 3 towns away on the other direction from the party. Of course we couldn't show up without some Cold Stone Creamery Vanilla Ice Cream to go with it!

Monday, May 12, 2008

All is Well...

What a weekend! Called mom long-distance, had my in-laws over for the weekend, and celebrated Mother's Day last Saturday with some great motherly friends. Or was it friendly mothers? It was a fun group with Pam and Paul, Pat, Roberto, Rob, Kelsey, Nathan and MIL helped me prepared a simple meal of BBQ burgers and brats with lots of side salads to go with them. I was busy with the kids, and Pam helped entertain them on the swings for awhile too. Thanks Pam! Wished I had more friends over, but some couldn't make this time.As for Hubs previous comment, he did make it up with flowers, gifts and cards. Thank heaven! I had flowers from Hubs, Rob and Roberto (thanks guys!) and some fun baking stuff and a heart shaped waffle maker from Hubs. There is one other gift which I will not elaborate upon at this point. Also received a very sweet card from MIL. All's well that end's well...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Award

Thank you Janice Ng for your lovely award. I have been tardy with my post lately, and have finally got around to receive this one.Am passing this out to all my mommy bloggers out there (you know who you are!)

Happy Mother's Day! :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Just so you know.....

Wanted to write this down while it's still on my mind...

I asked Hubs what he's getting me for Mother's Day....

and he replied "You're not my mother."



Life have caught up with me recently, and I am guilty of neglecting my little blog here. But I hope to catch up with some yummy post when school gets out and the summer holiday begins (crossing fingers!)

I thank you all for popping over here regularly to check on me, and I promise to be more proactive on blogging soon. Meantime, here's wishing everyone a very HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! :)

Found some beautiful artichokes recently at the farmer's market, and this is what I made.....Steamed artichokes with salsa verde
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
1 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2/3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
1 tsp asian fish sauce or 1/2 anchovy
Pinch of dried crushed red pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons whipping cream (omitted)
1 teaspoons Sherry wine vinegar

2 medium globe artichokes
1/4 lemon sliced in 2

Heat small skillet over medium heat. Add fennel seeds and toast until aromatic and beginning to darken, about 2 minutes. Transfer seeds to processor. Add parsley, capers, shallot, garlic, tarragon, fish sauce or anchovy, and crushed red pepper to processor. In a small food processor, puree until coarse paste forms, scraping down sides occasionally. Transfer to medium bowl. Whisk in oil, cream, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

DO AHEAD Salsa verde can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Lay 1 artichoke on its side and cut off top third; cut off stem at base of artichoke. Using scissors, cut top 1/2 inch off each remaining leaf. Rub all cut surfaces with lemon, squeezing slightly to release juice. Repeat with remaining artichoke.

Place rack on bottom of large pot. Add enough water just to touch rack. Bring to boil. Place artichokes on rack in pot. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and steam artichokes until tender, adding more water if necessary, about 30 minutes.

Transfer each artichoke to plate. Cool for about 10 minutes. Divide salsa verde among 2 small bowls and serve alongside artichokes.

Recipe adapted from Molly Stevens in Bon Appetit magazine.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sesame Noodles with Chicken

Saw this recipe in the Fine Cooking Magazine, and wanted to try it out. It's pretty good for a quick lunch, and the kids liked it. I used fresh organic green pasta from the produce section of the grocery store, and increased the peanut butter amount to recipe to suit my taste.

Here's the recipe:
1 lb fresh pasta, cooked
6 tbs Asian roasted sesame oil
4 med cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup cream peanut butter
1/2 cup lite soy sauce
6 tbs rice vinegar
1/4 c light brown sugar
2 lbs grilled chicken breasts
2 tsp peanut oil
Dash of ground white pepper
6 scallions, sliced

Transfer cooked pasta to large bowl and toss with 1 tbs sesame oil while it's still hot. In food processor, pulse garlic til chopped. Add the rest of the 5 tbs sesame oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Process til smooth, stopping as necessary to scrape down the bowl, about 30 secs.

Pour about 1 1/4 cups of dressing over pasta and chicken to toss. I did it with half the chicken and placed a few pieces of grilled chicken on top for presentation, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and chopped red peppers, and served it with the rest of the peanut sauce on the side.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


This is Hub's favorite snack or dinner while watching college basketball. I used ground turkey instead of ground beef and added corn kennels and red peppers to the recipe.

1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup water
1 packages taco seasoning mix
1 small can chopped green chilies
1 can 16 oz fat-free refried beans
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped red peppers
1/2 cup corn kennels
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 can sliced ripe olives, drained
Tortilla chips
Sour Cream and

Heat oven to 350F

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. In a nonstick skillet, cook ground meat over medium heat. Drain away the fat and stir in corn, red peppers, water and taco seasoning mix. Heat to boiling, cook 2-4 mins. Stir in chilies.

Spread refried beans in baking dish, top with ground meat mixture. Cover tightly with foil. Bake 30-40 mins until bubbly around edges.

Uncover, sprinkle with cheese, tomato, onions, and olives. Arrange about 20 tortilla chips around the edges. Bake uncovered for 10 mins. Serve with sour cream and guacamole on the side.

Recipe adapted from Pillsbury.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Cherry Almond Coffee Cake

The week of spring break is coming to an end soon, and I'm going to miss having my kids with me 24/7. So far, we had braved the crazy crowd at the zoo, the ski slopes and the play park when the weather was good. And on snowing/rainy days, they played with the slides, jumped on the bouncers (both were in the basement), did straw painting and finger painting (thank goodness for washable paint, but what a fun mess we had!) and made cupcakes. We also did puzzles and played with our fluff on fb alot! It is getting to be so much fun as they grow older and we can do more crafts and stuff together. :)

So today Hubs wanted a coffee cake for dessert, and I thought of this recipe. Had made it once in the pass, and remembered that he like it as it was not too sweet, and I increased the amount of almond extract this time around. The kids helped me measure the flour into the bowl and onto me, but they did a great job ploping the little cherries into the batter before it went into the oven.

Tried this recipe from Bon Appetit and I used self-raising flour and increased the almond extract.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup light sour cream

1 21-ounce can cherry pie fillingHeat oven to 350F.

Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan. Beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light. Add eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract and beat well. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Mix half of dry ingredients into butter mixture. Mix in sour cream, then remaining dry ingredients.
Pour 2/3 of batter (about 2 cups) into prepared pan. Drop pie filling by tablespoons evenly over batter. Drop remaining batter by spoonfuls over pie filling. Using back of spoon, carefully spread batter over filling. Bake until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover with foil and store at room temperature.) Cut around sides of pan. Remove pan.

Note: It's becoming a favorite of Hubs, and it's not bad, but I'm not happy with the cherries, and am still searching for a better almond coffee cake recipe.

Oxtail Soup

We had bright sunshine all day yesterday, and a combination of snow and rain for most of the night. Looking out my window now, there's fog everywhere as the sun is fighting its way to get out from behind the thick clouds. That's what I love about spring time! You never know what weather you get from one day to the next!

I finally got my hands on some fresh, not frozen (as indicated in bold letters on the packaging) beef oxtail yesterday, and couldn't wait to try out this special recipe.

These are the ingredients that went into a milky, somewhat brothy, and rich oxtail soup I tried using a recipe found at Ioyces site. I followed her method of soaking and blanching the oxtails, added a couple of carrots to her recipe, and increased the onions and garlic (can't help myself!), covered everything in water, boiled and simmered for about 3 hours. Thanks Ioyces for this soup idea!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Five Bananas Sitting on the Counter

I have been reading too many nursery rhymes and I have this one going in my head this evening....

Five spotted bananas sitting on the counter

One fell off and bumped her head

Mommy called the doctor and

the Doctor said

NO MORE old Bananas

jumping off the counter!

So, off with their old yellow jackets, and those bananas went on the pie plate with a little cinnamon, brown sugar, key lime juice and butter (no rum as this is rated P-G only)
Into the oven it goes at 375F for 15-20 mins.
This is the result of the P-G rated one.

But not this other one with coconut flakes and rum added to the bananas... it's rated R! Added some butter and brown sugar to a skillet, dropped a portion of the bananas to it, and did a flambé with a splash of rum and it. Served with some toasted coconut flakes and a sprig of mint.

In the end, more old yellow bananas sitting on this counter. I adapted this recipe from this website and used key lime juice instead of lemon juice. If you like to try the adult version with alcohol, try Alton Brown of Food Network's recipe below:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 bananas, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cup dark rum
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over low heat. Add brown sugar, allspice and nutmeg and stir until sugar dissolves. Add banana liqueur and bring sauce to simmer. Add bananas and cook for 1 minute on each side, carefully spooning sauce over bananas as they are cooking. Remove bananas from pan to a serving dish. Bring sauce to a simmer and carefully add the rum. If the sauce is very hot, the alcohol will flame on its own. If not, using stick flame, carefully ignite and continue cooking until flame dies out, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. If sauce is too thin, cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it is syrupy in consistency. Add orange zest and stir to combine. Immediately spoon the sauce over bananas and serve. Serve with waffles, crepes, or ice cream.

Note: The original rhymes had monkeys/joeys in place of O and Y bananas, but I think those monkeys or even joeys will enjoy this dish. The old and yellow part only applies to bananas. Restrictions apply on the rum part and please do not drink and drive. Hope you enjoyed these bananas and Good night!

Oar Jien Oyster Omelet Drama

While I was under medication for my cold, I decided to start on a box of DVDs that my dear friend Hazel had graciously left me on her departure back to Singapore back in February. I was pleasantly surprised at this new age, romantic, riches to rags princess fairytale love story with lots of fried oyster omelets in between. A total chick flick with added bonus of watching the makings of a Taiwanese-style oyster omelet that is vaguely familiar with the Singapore/Malaysian version. Cooking and drama. What more could an oyster-loving-girl ask? And of course I couldn't wait til I recovered and could taste food again to try out several oyster omelets myself.

For more information on 'Oar Jien' or oyster omelets that are commonly sold in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, click here.

Here's the fresh tub of fresh oysters from Washington. I called it a tub because that's what it felt to me as I was the only one consuming oysters in my family. Yes, the kids and Hubs are not fans of oysters... so more for me!My first attempt used no oil in a non-stick skillet...

This turned out very well with my addition of browned crunchy bacon bits. Not like the ones sold in Singapore, Penang or Taiwan, I'm sure, but the added smokiness and crispiness of the bacon did add to the whole dish. And a few additional dashes of Tabasco made it heavenly.

Second attempt, tried this without the bacon and with the Asian chili sauce. Much spicier! Also added a little oil while cooking this and it did increase the crispiness of the omelet.

My blogger friend Lee Ping has a nice recipe on her site if you are interested in trying out the authentic version.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Give me some S'mores, please!

I simply can't hide the marshmallows from my kids. Or you guys for that matter! You guessed it! It's marshmallows dipped in that wonderful chocolate and then in some crushed graham crackers. This is a variation from the famous camping dessert that young and old enjoy. The original smores toasted marshmallows on a stick over the campfire, then added to a graham cracker, a small bar of chocolate, and topped with another graham cracker like a sandwich for easy handling.

The ones I made are not toasted (which are safer for toddlers), and I left the bowls of melted chocolate and crashed graham crackers out for the kids to dip it themselves. And they loved the making their own personal smores with the mini-marshmallows which are just their size!

I had the regular size marshmallow. See the difference in size?

After the kids went to bed, I couldn't resist roasting a couple of marshmallows for the adults, and made this over my gas stove. After all, it was snowing and cold outside, and some gooey fun smores seemed perfect!

Laid out the graham crackers and dark chocolate bars (thanks again Ioyces!).

Roasted the marshmallow on a open fire (indoors this time). Be patient with the marshmallows and try not to burn them. They should be warm enough to melt the chocolate. About a minute over the fire. You don't want them to fall off the stick either!

Sandwich the marshmallow and you have yourself a delicious treat! Careful not to burn your mouth as those marshmallows can be hot!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Back with treats from Australia

I have overloaded my schedule once again, and am amazed at how time simply flew by. And I have so many stories to tell that I'd probably talk my friends to sleep. Maybe it's a good thing that some of my girlfriends are long-distance pals (at the moment)! But I should be apologizing for my long absence too. Long story short, it began with head cold, followed by a persistent coughing and sinus infection, the kids caught croup, and then we all had that nasty strand of flu virus that was not covered in last year's flu shot. Thankfully, we are on the mend, and life goes on.

So, I finally went to the mail box after the snow melted on Tuesday, and received a fun surprise! My dear friend Ioyces send these my way and the Korean movie was hilarious! Thanks for making my day, BFF! :) The story about a 'plain Jane' fabulous baker and a handsome wealthy restaurant owner had me wanting to bake again, so there will probably be some baking post next!

Was making these last night...While on the subject of food again, can you guess what are these morsels???

I will continue to add a couple of posts I missed from St. Patrick's Day, but otherwise will continue blogging for now on, I hope! (fingers' crossed) Here's the picture of the DVD. I liked that it's only a 2 disc DVD, and it's a fun 'chick-flick' for sure!I think the title is My Love Samson.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Green Tea Cupcakes Bake

Made these for St Patrick's day in heart-shaped molds, and assembled it to look like a four-leave clover. Used green tea (matcha) powder in place of vanilla, and added cherries into the batter before baking.

It was a fun combination, and the mild flavor of the matcha did not affect the kid's taste buds. Very easy recipe and a fun addition to the Green theme for St. Patrick's Day!

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp matcha (green tea powder)
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Set rack at the middle level in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Line muffin pan with paper or silicon cups. Spray the cups with some oil. I used Pam baking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir matcha, flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. Combine egg whites, milk and vanilla extract. Alternate 1/3 of the flour mixture and half the milk mixture to the butter mixture til everything is combined. Scape the bowl and beater often.

Scoop batter into prepared pan until half-full and add a cherry onto the top of the batter. It will sink to the middle of the cupcake during baking. Bake cake(s) about 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.

Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack, remove paper and let cool completely.

Note: Since I used the heart-shaped molds, I simply spray the mold and added the batter til half-full and baked for 17 mins.

Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef Crockpot

While the family are recovering from the flu bug, I made this easy recipe for St. Patrick's Day in the crockpot, and it turned out well. The tasters that wasn't sick and actually had working taste buds (not me) confirmed that this recipe works. (Whew!)This is what it looked like in the crockpot after an hour as I forgot to snap a picture earlier.
The final result after 8 hours in the crockpot. And I didn't forget the potatoes. Since the family wanted fries, these replaced the regular boiled potatoes.
And this is the recipe with what memory bank I had while I was under cold and flu medications.

4-5 cups hot water
2-3 tbsp. cider vinegar
2-3 tbsp. sugar
1-2 tbsp. whole black pepper
1 large red onion, sliced
1 cup baby carrots (approx)
2 bay leaves
1 4-lb. corned beef round or brisket, packaged with spices
8 small white or yellow potatoes, scrubbed and cut into quarters
1 head of green cabbage (about 1 1/2 lbs.), cored and cut into 10 wedges


1. In a 6-quart electric slow cooker, add all the ingredient.

2. Cover and cook on the High heat setting 4 hours. Remove the lid and scatter the cabbage wedges over the top. Cover and continue cooking on High 3 to 4 hours longer, or until the beef is tender. To serve, carve the beef into slices and serve with the cabbage and potatoes, with some of the cooking liquid spooned on top of the beef to keep it moist. Makes about 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from the Family Fun.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wordful Wednesday

I was reminded of Ioyces today...can you guess what are these?
and Anne reminded me of this today...

A professor stood before his philosophy class and
had some items in front of him. When the class
began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and
empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with
golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar
was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and
poured them into the jar He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the
golf balls. He then asked the students again if the
jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and
poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled
up everything else. He asked once more if the jar
was full. The students responded with an unanimous

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from
under the table and poured the entire contents into
the jar effectively filling the empty space between
the sand. The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided,
'I want you to recognise that this jar represents
your life. The golf balls are the important
things---your family, your children, your health,
your friends and your favourite passions---and if
everything else was lost and only they remained,
your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like
your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else---the small stuff. 'If
you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued,
'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf
balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all
your time and energy on the small stuff you will
never have room for the things that are important
to you.
'Pay attention to the things that are critical to
your happiness. Spend time with your children.
Spend time with your parents.. Visit with
grandparents. Take time to get medical check-ups.
Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18.
There will always be time to clean the house and
fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls
first---the things that really matter. Set your
priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand and inquired
what the coffee represented. The professor smiled
and said, 'I'm glad you asked.'

The coffee just shows you that no matter how full
your life may seem, there's always room for a
couple of cups of coffee with a friend.'

When things in your life seem almost too much to
handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough,
remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of

Anne spend alot of time with me in December, and even brought these lovely treats to share with me. Thank you for your kindness, for introducing me to your friends and for being a great friend!