Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Easy Mixed Berries-Kiwi Sorbet with Meyer Lemon and Basil (no ice cream machine needed)


I love living in California.  Mainly because of the sunny weather, and not so much on the traffic.  Sunny days make me smile and happy most of the time.  Unfortunately, three digit temperature is also something we need to deal with sometimes, especially during the summer months.  What’s the best way to cool down?  To me, indulging in some frozen treats and iced drinks are the solutions.


This Easy Berries, Kiwi, Meyer Lemon and Basil Sorbet is perfect to enjoy in hot summer days.  It’s sweet from the simple syrup, balances by the tanginess from the berries, kiwi and lemon juice.  Thanks to the wonderful blueberries that gives this sorbet the vibrant purple color.  The fresh basil leaves add a wonderful fragrant and aroma to this sorbet; Bringing this dessert to a whole new level and add flavors to the overall taste.  If you haven’t try any dessert with basil in it, this would be THE recipe to start and I guaranteed you’ll love it. Even though my hubby hates dislikes berries, he loves this sorbet.


Another bonus to this dessert?  It’s super easy to make and doesn’t require an ice cream machine (because I don’t have one yet!  LOL)  I’ve been wanting to invest in one because my family loves frozen treats.  However, with so many frozen treat recipes out there without using an ice cream machine, I’m still debating if I really need one.  What do you think?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fairy Hobmother visited me and the Fairy granted my wish!

I have a wonderful news to share.  Have you heard of the Appliances Online Fairy Hobmother?  The Fairy, who comes from this Site, goes around to different blogs granting wishes to those who have left a comment.

Not long ago, I left a comment on Lisa’s blog, Sweet as Sugar Cookies, who just got a visit from the Fairy Hobmother!  Now, the Fairy just visited me and gifted me an Amazon gift card.  It was such a pleasant surprise visit!  I spent my gift card on a lovely pink cake stand that I will use it for my Baby Girl’s upcoming birthday party.  I will show you the picture in a future post.

If you want a chance to be visited by the Fairy Hobmother, simply leave a comment and make a wish on this post and you will never know... the Fairy Hobmother could visit YOU next!!!  Good Luck!

Thank you Fairy Hobmother for granting my wish!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nutella Macarons—And a confession…


I have something to confess.  A love affair, to be exact.  I guess it’ll be easier to admit it, than try to hide my true feelings.  My husband probably should know by now, after he caught me a few times sneaking out of the bedroom in the middle of the night.


Yes, that is bad. I know, really really bad.  He also noticed I daydream throughout the day, all day long, just to think of this affair.  Of course, the affair is with something sweet.  Don’t you know me by now that I daydream about food all the time?  Well, now you know.


No, my love affair is not with the macarons!   That’s more of a love-hate relationship.  My love is all sweet, soft and gentle.  No fuzziness or attitude like how I described them here

Making 1


Yes, my love affair is with Nutella.  My husband should know when he saw me picked up the extra large, double packed tubs of Nutella from Costco.  Nutella and I go way back to my childhood.  It’s truly my childhood sweetheart.  Back then, I usually get Nutella in a sandwich, a crepe, or by the spoonful (and I still do)!  Now, I love to enjoy it most with salty pretzels!  If you haven’t try that, you just simply don’t know what you’re missing out on.


These Nutella Macarons are heavenly.  I used some hazelnuts along with almonds for the shells to tie back the nutting flavor of the Nutella fillings.  The macaron shells are slightly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, just how a perfect macaron should be.  I made some Nutella buttercream for the fillings, but I preferred it straight out of the tub.  The hazelnut flavor is more intense.  My hubby love the hazelnut buttercream fillings, which is more fluffy and creamy.  Either way, I’m a happy girl with these Nutella macarons. 


Note: I also used some vanilla powder to add more flavors on the shells.  It works much better than liquid ones since macaron doesn’t like moisture.

For more tips on making French Macarons, please refer to this post.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"On A Stick" cookbook Giveaway--Winner Announcement

We have a winner….

On A Stick

….to this wonderful cookbook. 

The winner will surely enjoy all 80 Party-Perfect recipes….and the winner is Melissa from Melissa’s Cuisine who said...

“I love food on a stick...I would love to have a copy of this book!”
June 14, 2011 11:06 AM

Congratulations, Melissa! 

Thank you everyone for entering the giveaway.  Thanks to Quirk Books and Matt again for sponsoring such a wonderful giveaway.  Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kiwi-Strawberry Bellini--Perfect for Celebrations

Kiwi-Strawberry Bellini

A few years ago, I discovered Prosecco and felt in love right after the first sip.  Prosecco is an Italian sparkling dry white wine.  Taste-wise and mouth feel are very similar to Champagne, but it’s a lot less expensive.  Isn’t that already a good reason to open a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate?  Seriously, with Prosecco’s price tag, you don’t need a special occasion or reason to enjoy one.

Kiwi-Strawberry Bellini

Here, I share with you a refreshing Kiwi-Strawberry Bellini that’s perfect to cool down in the summer.  Bellini is a cocktail with mixture of Prosecco and fruit purée (peach purée is the most traditional fruit of choice).  However, I couldn’t resist using Kiwis and strawberries as they are both in season right now.  They are such a perfect match for each other, too. 

Kiwi-Strawberry Bellini

If you want to turn this drink into a kids friendly version, just substitute the Prosecco with sparkling white grape juice.  Just make sure to use a different shape of glass, decoration, or plastic champagne glasses to distinguish the kid's version.  That way, they won’t “accidentally” drink the REAL Bellini.

Now, we all can celebrate.  Happy Father’s Day to all the awesome fathers out there.  Cheers!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

“On A Stick”—Book Review and a Giveaway

On A Stick

Ever since I discovered Matt Armendariz’s blog, Matt Bittes, I became his blog’s loyal reader.  I really admired Matt’s talents in food photography and enjoyed his sense of humor and creativity that shown throughout his blog.  When I found out the opportunity to review his first book, “On A Stick”, I jumped right in and signed up.  You wouldn’t believe how excited I was when I received the book in the mail.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  

Deep Fried Ravioli

Flipping through this book was truly a treat!  There were 80 mouth watering and party-perfect recipes all calling my name.  The photography was simply amazing.  Don’t we all eat with our eyes first?  I loved the fact that each recipe, including the sauces, came with a beautiful picture on the finished product.  So you know exactly how they should look like when they’re done.

Deep Fried Ravioli

The recipes instructed in this book were clear and easy to follow.  Many recipes came with extra tips on the side.  There are many varieties of recipes; I’m sure that there’s something for everyone… “from health-conscious vegetarians to carnivores of the he-man grilling club.”  (Just like how he said it.)  You’ll find some traditional State-fair food, and some others that you’ve never imagined to serve on a stick, such as Spaghetti and Meatballs and Strawberry Shortcake.  Matt was truly creative. 
My husband picked out this Deep-Fried Ravioli (the two pictures above) recipe to try first.  It was fun to make and fun to eat. If it’s not that we have desserts (see below) waiting, we would have made a second batch!  They were that good!

Frozen Bananas

The Frozen Bananas recipe was my choice to prepare.  Since my son has been asking for ice cream and frozen treats lately, these Frozen Bananas were definitely a healthier alternative, yet just as indulging.  Best of all, they were super simple to prepare. 

On A Stick

These are just a few recipes that I’ve named and prepared from the “On a Stick” book.  You’ve got to get a copy of the book and try some of these treats yourself.  And I confirmed, everything does tastes better and more fun to serve…On A Stick!  

On A Stick

Here’s your chance to win a copy of “On A Stick”, courtesy of Quirk Books and Matt.  Simply leave a comment on this post to let me know that you want to win a copy of this book.  (No clicking numerous buttons or jumping through hoops to qualify this time!)  Deadline to enter is June 21st by midnight PST.  One lucky uTry.it reader (U.S.A. only, sorry international readers) will be selected through random.org.  Good luck!

***Disclaimer:  I received a copy of “On A Stick” for the purpose of this review and I am not compensated in any way to write this post.  All comments and opinions are 100% my own.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Baking Molds and Hong Kong Trip Goodies Giveaway--Winner Announcement

Hong Kong Trip Giveaway

This Giveaway includes:

  • 10 "Paper Wrapped Cakes" Cake Molds (aluminum)
  • 20 Paper Cups that fit perfectly into these molds
  • 2 Pairs of Wooden Chopsticks with Cloth Covers
  • Some of my favorite candies from Hong Kong (Coke Cola flavor mentos—tempting? Frutips—black currant fruit drops, mango flavor hard candies with fructose filling)

Sorry, table cloth not included!    :P
And the winner is….Vseward from V’s Daily Indulgence who said

“I also "liked" uTry.it ... showing on my FB Wall. I'm suddenly craving cola mentos? Those have to be bomb, I Love mentos!”

Crave no more, Vseward.  You’ll be getting your cola mentos really soon.  Smile

Thank you everyone who participated.  Please stay tuned for the next post and a new giveaway!  Yup, you’ve heard me right.  Another giveaway coming up soon!  Happy Monday everyone.

Friday, June 10, 2011

$50 Thrive Product Giveaway Winner Announcement

Thrive Products

Thank you everyone who participated on the $50 Thrive Products giveaway.  The winner of this giveaway is…Mikaela, aka mama mouse who said...

“i subscribe to mistys blog”
May 29, 2011 9:59 PM

Thank you again, Misty for this wonderful giveaway.  We will contact Mikaela directly to claim her prize.  If you did not win the giveaway but interested to purchase Thrive products, simply go to Misty’s site, Shelf Reliance, or contact Misty directly for more information and discount rates on the retail prices.
Misty Marsh:  misty [at] yourownhomestore [dot] com

The baking molds and goodies from Hong Kong giveaway is still up for grabs, simply click here for the details.  Stay tuned for more giveaways on my future posts.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tips on How to Make Perfect French Macarons--With Raspberry Macaron Recipe

Raspberries Macarons with Dark Chocolate Buttercream and Vanilla Bean Buttercream

I know I said it before that the French Macarons are too temperamental!  After all, I did had some bad experiences with them in the past.  But, everybody deserves a second chance, don’t you agree?  Especially with something as irresistible as Macarons.  Honestly, they are really not that hard to master... as long as you follow a few tips.
 Raspberries Macarons with Dark Chocolate Buttercream and Vanilla Bean Buttercream

I have a few inquiries on tips and techniques in making these Macarons.  Of course, I’m not going to leave you empty-handed.  From my many successful and some not so successful macaron baking experiences, here are my few tips in summary.

Tip #1:  Get a kitchen scale.  It’s important to follow the exact recipe down to the gram (or ounces.) Take the time to measure and weight out each ingredient.  You’ll be rewarded.  This is the digital kitchen scale that I’ve been using.  It’s not expensive at all and it’s one of my best friends in the kitchen.

Raspberries Macarons with Dark Chocolate Buttercream

Tip #2: Aged the egg whites.  I usually separate the egg whites (save those yolks for crème brûlée!) and leave the egg whites covered with plastic wrap in the fridge for 3-5 days before using.  The aging process dehydrates the egg whites, resulting in a tighter and more stabilize meringue. 

Tip #3: Pay attention during Macaronage—mixing the dry ingredients into the meringues!  If the batter is over mixed, the macarons will turned out flat and cracked.  If the batter is not mixed enough, there will be a peak on top and the feet won’t form.  Just make sure to use a spatula to fold the ingredients together between 40 to 50 strokes.  Testing a small amount of batter on a plate before piping is a smart move.  If the peak falls back on its own in 10 seconds, you’re good to go.
 Raspberries Macarons with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Tip #4: After piping the macaron shells, let them sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes to and hour to harden the shells before baking.  That would prevent the tops from cracking. 

Tip #5: Double stacking the baking sheets.  That would help the macaron shells bake up more evenly.  When using double baking sheets, the bottoms of the maracons do not heat up too quickly, resulting nicer and taller feet.

I hope these tips would help you in making some beautiful French Macarons.  

Raspberries Macarons with Dark Chocolate Buttercream and Vanilla Bean Buttercream

In these Raspberries Macarons, I used some freeze dried raspberries for the shells.   The freeze dried raspberries really gives the macaron shells a beautiful vibrant color and slightly tart raspberries flavor.  I really couldn’t decide what flavor to fill these shells with, so I made a dual buttercream:  Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Bean.  Both buttercreams match perfectly with the raspberry shells, in a different way. 
I hope you’re inspired and encouraged to make your own batch in the kitchen, soon.  You’ll be happy that you did. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Braised Stuffed Cabbage—Using Thrive Products

Braised Stuffed Cabbage

As you know from my previous post that I’ve received some Thrive products to try.  I really enjoyed using them to create new recipes.  This was one of my favorites to share with you.  Many stuffed cabbage recipes required hours of baking/braising because of the stuffed raw meat and rice.  Thanks for Thrive products, this dish was simplified and energy friendly.  I say, it truly was a green recipe (no pun intended).

Stuffed Cabbage Ingredients

With a few simple ingredients, dinner was ready in no time.  I really love Thrive’s freeze dried products.  The flavors of each ingredient was really concentrated.  Just wanted to show you how the products looked before I add them into my recipe.

Thrive Products
Freeze Dried Shredded Cheddar Cheese and Freeze Dried Instant White Rice

I love onions, but not so much in chopping them.  These freeze dried chopped onions (picture below) came in handy!  I used them in both the sauce and the stuffing for these Braised Stuffed Cabbage.
 Thrive Products
Tomato Powder, Freeze Dried Chopped Onions and Freeze Dried Cooked Ground Beef

Picture below shown the inside of the Braised Stuffed Cabbage.  My family loved this dish.  The tartness from the tomato powder really balanced well with the savory beef and cheese stuffing.  This is such a perfect dish to enjoy in the summer.  Not only it was elegant, it was also easy to make but looked as if you put hours of work into it.

Braised Stuffed Cabbage

I included pictures of each steps on how to prepare the cabbage leaves and to stuff them. 
1) Remove and discard the tough bottom ribs of each cabbage leave.
2) Add the cabbage to the boiling water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
3) Immediately plunge them into the bowl of iced water, then, remove leaves from water and pat dry.
4) Spoon a generous 1/4 cup of filling into each leaf.

5) Fold the bottom part of the leaf to the center.
6) Then fold the outside edges in and roll the leaf around the stuffing
7) Arrange each roll with the seam side down so that the roll will hold itself shut.
8) Add the cabbage rolls to the sauce. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer until the sauce has reduced to a thick, sauce-like consistency, about15 to 20 minutes.


Sounded easy enough?  It really was.  My kids loved the cheesy, beefy, rice stuffing!  The cabbage leaves were soft and tender and absorbed the lovely tomato sauce.  They both ate 2 stuffed rolls each all by themselves (they are only 2 and 4 years old).  I’ll definitely make these Braised Stuffed Cabbage more often from now on.  How about you?  Would you like to try? 
  Braised Stuffed Cabbage

It's still not too late to enter your name for a giveaway, courtesy of Misty from Shelf Reliance.  Please refer back to my previous post here for details.  Good Luck!

If you have any questions regarding Thrive products, Misty will be available to chat with you live at her blog on June, 6th (Monday) between 1:00pm to 1:30pm PST. Please click here to access the chat room.

A Friendly Reminder from Misty: I notice some of you shown interest in purchasing Thrive products.  Please make sure you place the order through Misty's site here (http://yourownhomestore.shelfreliance.com/yourownhomestore) and you'll save 5%-45% off retail price, courtesy of Misty.  Isn't it cool?  If you go straight to http://shelfreliance.com you will end up paying full retail price.  Thank you for the great tip and savings, Misty!

Just linked up this recipe with “Get Grillin’ with Family Fresh Cooking and Cookin’ Canuck, sponsored by Ile de France CheeseRösleEmile HenryRouxbe and ManPans.”

*Disclaimer: I received the free samples for the purpose of this review and I am not compensated in any way to write this post.  All comments and opinions are 100% my own.