Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year, New Home, New Start…

First of all, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year!  For those of you who’s been following my blog, you know I’ve just moved.  Some of you might be curious to know how my new home/kitchen looks like.  Well, I guess the kitchen is pretty much the center of the house.  So, if you take a good look at the kitchen, you pretty much can tell how the rest of the house is, relatively.  I just want to show you two pictures of my old kitchen as a comparison.

Kitchen of the previous condo

I like my old kitchen.  There are many counter top space.   Decent appliances, although nothing fancy, and for sure not top of the line products.  To me, as long as everything functions well and works fine, I’m satisfied.  You can say, I’m not a picky person.  The lower left hand corner from the picture above shows the corner of our dinning table.  That’s the dining area where we have every meal.  Although there’s a formal dining area adjacent to the kitchen, we used that space as a play area for the kids.   

Kitchen of the previous condo

Are you ready to take a look at the new kitchen?  Just scroll down a bit after the drum roll please….

Kitchen of the new home

This is my new kitchen right before we moved in.  Of course, I have filled up the counter top space with my junks by now!  :P   Is it lovely?  You can imagine how much I love my new kitchen!!!  The lower right hand corner from the above picture is our new dining area, with a pretty awesome view!  You can take a closer look of the kitchen area from the picture below.  I really love my new spacious and beautiful kitchen.  I feel so blessed everyday when I prepared each meal for my family in this gorgeous kitchen. 

Kitchen of the new home

Originally, I planned not to shared a not so good news with you on my post.  Especially, on the New Year post.  However, my heart is telling me otherwise.  More so, when I talk about food and kitchen.  Recently, my Grandmother (living overseas) has not been feeling so well because of a minor incident.  She was in the ICU for a while and now she’s back home with my aunt.  However, she couldn’t eat solid food and couldn’t even keep her food down.  There’s a constant pain in her stomach that keeps her from getting a good rest.  When I prepare delicious food for my family, it breaks my heart and makes me feel sad that my Grandmother couldn’t even keep water or soup down in her stomach.  Come to think of it, I’ve never prepared a meal or cook anything for my Grandmother!  When I was young, she’s always the one who cook and took care of us. After my family (parents and siblings) immigrated to the States, I don’t even see my Grandmother often.  I just hope my Grandmother will get better soon, real soon.  If I get the chance, I really want to prepare a nice meal for her to enjoy.  If you don’t mind, please keep her in your prayers and wish her a speedy recovery. 

On the brighter side, my Grandmother just became a Christian recently.  My family has been praying for that for many years.  That really is the best Christmas gift to us.  Hopefully, her faith will give her new hopes.  May she finds comfort and supports during this tough time. 
Thank you for your precious time and prayers.  Happy New Year again to you and your loved ones.  Wishing you all a joyful, healthy, and prosperous 2011!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Orange-Chocolate Meringue Kisses…and Merry Christmas

Orange-Chocolate Meringue Kisses

I couldn’t help but smile after I typed and read the title of this post.  It just happened to rhyme.  While most of you must be busy in the kitchen preparing a feast for tonight’s party, opening presents, having some wonderful time with your friends and family, or too busy checking emails with Christmas greetings, I just wanted to stop by with a quick post to wish all of you a blessed and Merry Christmas.  Most importantly, I want to wish all of you good health.

Orange-Chocolate Meringue Kisses

After the feast you have for Christmas dinner, these Orange-Chocolate Meringue Kisses are refreshing and delightful to have for a sweet ending.  They are airy and crunchy.  The flavor will explode in your mouth as they melt away.  I made 2 versions, one with mini chocolate chips and one without.  I definitely recommend you to try the one with the chocolate chips.  Chocolate and orange is one of my favorite flavor combination.  These Meringue Kisses are easy to make, too.  If you like any other flavor, go ahead and change up the Jell-O and extracts flavors in the recipe.  I may try lime, or raspberry next, what do you think?

Orange-Chocolate Meringue Kisses

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Marbled Japanese Cheesecake

Marbled Japanese Cheesecake

The unpacking at the new place is progressing really well.  After opening more than 80 cartons, I’m a professional in opening boxes and can even do it with my eyes closed!  **Do not attempt at home though**  :P  I say the organizing part is 90% done around the house.  I’m so thrilled there are no more boxes lying around the living room, and so do my kids.  I have just arranged their little play area in the living room over the weekend and they are so happy with their new play area!  When I took out their toys from the cartons, they were so excited and treated the toys as if they were new.  Isn't that wonderful?

 Marbled Japanese Cheesecake

Not sure if any of you have tried the famous Japanese Cheesecake before.  They are crust-less, light as feather, fluffy and creamy, not too sweet and melt in your mouth kind of cake.  They are more similar to French Cheesecake with the light and fluffy texture, if you must compare.  Unlike the New York Cheesecake, which is dense and rich.  So, you won’t feel as guilty after having a huge piece of this Japanese Cheesecake.  Trust me, you’re going to want a huge piece of this cake!  Better yet, I made it marbled (with chocolate) this time because my 3 year old son requested it.  *Smile*  Sure he has some sophisticated palates, just like his mother.  hahaha… More than half of this cake was gone in less than a day!   You know how delicious it was.

Marbled Japanese Cheesecake

So, I baked another one over the weekend to bring to my parents’ place for a gathering with my brothers, brother's in-laws and my niece.  This year, we celebrated Christmas early at their house.  Seems like everyone loves this marbled version as much as the plain one.  Below is an old picture with the plain one I made for my son’s 2nd birthday last year.  I’ll include both recipes and let you decided whichever one you want to try first.  I love both of them!

Japanese Cheesecake

Looking at these pictures really makes me hungry and want a piece of this cake now!  Too bad they’re all gone by now.  Oh well, maybe I’ll make another one tomorrow when I get up!  If you do try this recipe, please kindly leave a comment and let me know how they turn out.  Also, please tell me if you like this Japanese Cheesecake over the traditional version.  I would love to hear from you.

Marbled Japanese Cheesecake

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Triple Chocolate Almond Cookies

Triple Chocolate Almond Cookies 
Christmas is just around the corner and there are parties and celebrations everywhere.  Of course, it’s also the time of the year we love to indulge in some wonderful cookies, lots of cookies, that is.  My mother-in-law signed up to attend a cookie exchange party and she asked me to help her bake up 7 dozens cookies!  Oh yes, 7 dozens, it was already a cut down from 10 dozens since some people couldn’t attend after all.  I’m happy and honored that my mother-in-law thought of me as soon as she knows she have to bake up some cookies to bring to the party.  :)

Triple Chocolate Almond Cookies

It was fun to make these cookies, packaged them, and taste tested them along the way!  The whole house smelled wonderful and it felt much more like home with the sweet smell of chocolate and cookies coming out of the oven!  The best part is, I got to enjoy some extra ones.  The picture below is the raw cookie dough waiting to be baked from the “assembly line" of my kitchen!

Triple Chocolate Almond Cookies

Ta-dah..…now they’re cooling off on the rack.  They’ll all jump into the beautiful holiday take-out boxes (or my tummy) soon!

Triple Chocolate Almond Cookies

These Triple Chocolate Almond Cookies are really wonderful.  They are crunchy outside and a little bit chewy inside.  They have great chocolate and almond flavor in every bite.  The almonds give it a nice nutty flavor and extra crunch.  Everyone loves them.  I’ve brought them to many different parties before and people always asked me for the recipe after they’ve tried them.  It’s really impossible to have just one!  Luckily, each batch makes 48 cookies so there are plenty to share and to indulge together.  Hope you all will make some and share with your family this holiday season. 

Triple Chocolate Almond Cookies

Sorry, just can’t help but bite into one when I was shooting these pictures.  They are too delicious!  :P  Guess I’ll be (happily) gaining weight this holiday season.

Triple Chocolate Almond Cookies

Happy Holidays everyone.  Hope you’ll all have a wonderful time with your family and love ones.

Triple Chocolate Almond Cookies

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Zojirushi Rice Cooker--Product Review

Zojirushi Rice Cooker

We’ve been using this “new” rice cooker, almost every day, for more than 12 months now.  Before we purchased this new baby, we used an older model of Zojirushi rice cooker for more than a decade!  Yes, they do last that long!  That’s why I love Zojirushi’s products.  Luckily Unfortunately, the non-stick coating of the inner cooking pan of the old cooker started to come off.  That’s why we have to consider getting a new cooker.  Another option was to replace the inner cooking pan of the old one, which would only costs $35 to $40.  Why did we spend that extra $250 or so?  There are a few reasons, and I’m telling you, it’s worth every single penny! 

First of all, we’ve been eating brown rice for a few years now.  However, the texture of the brown rice varies quite a bit with different brands.  Some could be quite rough and chewy (especially true for the cheap brands).  This new rice cooker features 2 options for brown rice, a regular brown and GABA Brown (aka germinated brown rice).  It cooks the rice to a perfect consistency and texture every single time.  For the GABA Brown option, it takes a lot longer to cook though and here’s the explanation why.  If you’re interested to learn more about GABA rice’s health benefits, simply click here.
 Baby Porridge Ingredients


Another reason that convinced me to get this new cooker was because my daughter started to eat solid food, and this cooker has the porridge option!  Cooking porridge on the stove top is time consuming and needs a lots of attentions to prevent the rice from 'burning,' or to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  With this rice cooker, making porridge is a breeze.  Simply chop and dump all the ingredient into the cooking pan, press a button, and you're all set!  It’s that simple! 

Baby Porridge Ingredients

Baby Porridge

Baby Porridge

Also, this rice cooker comes with sushi rice, mixed rice and sweet rice cooking options.  There are quite a few recipes that come along with the user menu for reference as well. 

Last but not least, you’ll hear the twinkle twinkle little star melody when you press the “cooking” button!  Of course, I didn’t know about this feature until the first time I cook with it.  My kids just love the melody whenever I cook rice!  hahahaha…. 

Spicy Tuna Over Sushi Rice

Japanese Feast

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Meyer Lemons Macarons with Limoncello Buttercream

Meyer Lemons Macarons with Limoncello Buttercream

Finally, we’ve moved in to the new house!  I still couldn’t believe we’ve more than 80 cartons of stuffs!  Please don’t ask me what is inside these cartons.  I have no idea... even though I was the one who packed 90% of them.  It took the moving company more than 12 hours to move everything from the old house to the new house!  It’ll take me forever a while to unpack and organize everything for sure.  So, I’m going to keep my post short and sweet.  Of course, I’ll still spend time to write up and post my recipes!  ;)  That’s actually the best method to unwind a long “unpacking” day!

Meyer Lemons Macarons with Limoncello Buttercream

After the huge Thanksgiving feast, I craved for something more refreshing.  I thought of these Meyer Lemons Macarons with Limoncello Buttercream!  Not only they are refreshing and delicious, they are also addictive, dangerously addictive!  They are lemony, creamy, crunchy, chewy, rich, silky, and smooth all in one bite.  Did I mention they are addictive?!  Oh my, maybe my body is telling me I need some alcohol in the system!  If you’re not into limoncello, you can totally opt it out from the recipe.  I’ve made both versions and the kids’ friendly one is just as good. 

Meyer Lemons Macarons with Limoncello Buttercream

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Feast

As promised, I took pictures of the Thanksgiving feast and here they are.  If you’re interested in getting the recipe of anything you see below, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to get the recipe for you.

“Self Serve” California Rolls                                    “Self Serve” California Rolls

“Self Serve” California Rolls—These are so much fun to eat, and delicious.  Take a piece of nori (seaweed) and wrap the sushi rice, crab meat, avocado, sesame seed filling to create your own individual roll.  Not to mention, it’s great idea for parties because there’s minimal prep work and the nori stays crispy.

Egg Rolls
Egg Rolls—Filled with vegetables and glass noodles.  Crispy and delicious!

Mixed Salad
Mixed Salad—which is, to mix your own vegetable with the store bought dressings next to it!  Hahaha…

Honey Glazed Ham
Honey Glazed Ham—Nothing represent holiday food better than a leg of honey glazed ham…oh, maybe besides the turkey!  Almost forgot about the turkey :P

Glutinous Rice with Chinese Sausage and Shitake Mushroom
Glutinous Rice with Chinese Sausage and Shitake Mushroom—This is one of my favorites!  Sprinkle with a little bit chopped green onions on top and I can eat just that as my Thanksgiving dinner!  :D

Cheesy Penne Pasta with Broccoli and Cauliflower
Cheesy Penne Pasta with Broccoli and Cauliflower—Cheesy and delicious.

Korean Spicy Stir Fried Pork
Korean Spicy Stir Fried Pork—This dish demonstrates the well balanced of the sweet and spicy!  I want to get the recipe to make it again at home!

Cream Corn
Cream Corn—A holiday staple side-dish.

Orange Juice and Spices Brined Turkey
Orange Juice and Spices Brined Turkey—Juicy, flavorful and delicious.  I believe it looked beautiful too before it was carved.  :P

Creamy Mashed Potato
Creamy Mashed Potato—Smooth and creamy.

Roasted Beef
Roasted Beef—Great BBQ flavor and beefy.

Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallow
Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallow—Another holiday staple side-dish in our family.

Garlic Knots
Garlic Knots—Check out the recipe from my last post here.

Rice Cake with Red Bean Paste and Walnut
Rice Cake with Red Bean Paste and Walnut—Not too sweet, the edges are crunchy and the center is chewy, very yummy.

I bet you don’t believe we only have one type of dessert for the Thanksgiving feast, right?  I need to confess that I totally forgot to take pictures when we started to eat the desserts!  :P  This particular picture was taken before dinner was served.  The rest of the goodness were all in our tummies and memories.  We had custard tarts, pumpkin pies, smoked almond turtles, taro cakes, flan, etc.  They were all sweet and delicious.  Oh well, I’ll make it up to you by posting something sweet on my next blog post.  ;)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Smoked Almond Turtles and Garlic Knots

Smoked Almond Turtles

There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. I have many to be thankful for this year and I’ll continue to count my blessings every day.

I’m thankful for this lovely place called home, because it’s not just a house. It’s called home because it’s filled with love, and people I love.

I’m thankful for having many good friends in my life. Although we don’t see each other very often, but they’re like stars, I know they are always there. So, I keep them closed to my heart.

Smoked Almond Turtles

We should give without remembering and receive without forgetting. No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. I’m thankful that I have the abilities to give and have great friends and family that help and support me to become who I am today. 

Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.

It isn't what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart. I believe the greatest things in life are free. The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.

Smoked Almond Turtles 
I’m thankful for all of you.  Who read and support my blog, weeks after weeks.  Left me comments and words of encouragement from time to time.  Thank you for all that you have given me. I hope that I can give it back... tenfold and more.  I will work my hardest to keep doing so.

I hope all of you have something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. And let’s not forget those who are less fortunate around us.

This Thanksgiving, my family is going to have a gathering at my cousin’s house. We always have a big family gathering every year. I’m going to bring these Garlic Knots and Smoked Almond Turtles to share with them. Of course, I’m sharing my recipes with you all. For the rest of the feast, I’ll take pictures and post them up later on. Hope you all have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Garlic Knots


Monday, November 22, 2010

Zero Cleaning (Afterwards) Barbequed Baby Back Ribs with Roasted Vegetables

Baby Back Ribs with Roasted Vegetables

We’re in the packing stage of the move, which means chaos in the house!  That also means we’ve got the house we like! Yay….While I'm busy with packing, I don’t have too much time to cook these days.  So, I love this easy recipe that doesn’t dirty any pots and pans.  Yes, you heard me right, ZERO dirty pots and pans!!!   Isn’t it amazing?  Well, I guess all of us love an easy and convenience recipe like this one every now and then.  These baby back ribs and vegetables are roasted in the oven.  They are already delicious!  I couldn’t wait to cook them on a grill (after I get an outdoor grill at my new place, hehehe).  I bet grilling will add some smoky flavors to them, which means more deliciousness!  But until then, I’m happy with these scrumptious ribs as is.


As I started packing, I couldn’t believe the volume of junks we’ve accumulated over the past few years.  I found so many “surprises” in the storage areas that I don’t even remember we had them.  If something stay in the storage for so many years without being used or noticed, I strongly believe they belong to the trash.  Why move them to the new house and use up the storage space?  Well, this is the chance for the major clean up!           
Seasoned Vegetables

Besides all the junks that I have found, there are also some useful things that I’ve forgotten.  I found a few old cookbooks in the kitchen and they’re definitely moving to the new house with me.  :)  Guess I’ll have to cook up a few dishes from these cook books after we settled down at the new place.  Maybe bake up a couple dozen of cookies to make the new place feel more like home.    

Baby Back Ribs with Roasted Vegetables

Meanwhile, I’m afraid we might have to enjoy a few more nights of baby back ribs before the move.  They are juicy and flavorful.  Don’t think anyone would mind having these more often.  And yes, I prefer a home cook meal any day over take outs, even during the packing and moving.  Oh well, maybe until I pack up the very last baking sheet in the kitchen, I guess! 

Baby Back Ribs with Roasted Vegetables