Wednesday, November 26, 2014
During Summer, our family visited Orlando, Florida for vacation. One of the restaurants that we dined at was called Whispering Canyon Cafe, which is located inside one of the Disney World Resort. Don’t let the restaurant name fool you, there’s nothing quiet about that restaurant! But the Kiddos and I had the most fun dining there. Imagine having over 15 bottles of Ketchup on your table all at once upon request. The whole restaurant, including the guests who dined there, would scream Ketchup for you and you’ll simply get a “special delivery” of ketchups! My Kids still talk about that until now!
Also, how fun is it to run with 20 other kids around the restaurant tables with a Stick Pony in your hand right before dinner? I’m sure your parents won’t think that’s a good idea anywhere else! But it’s highly encouraged at the Whispering Canyon Cafe! There are many more other fun activities and things happening when you dine there. But you've got to be there to experience them yourselves! So, if you happen to be in Florida for vacation or any other reason, be sure to reserve your table early. They get booked up fast!
One of the most delicious item we've tried in that fun restaurant was the cornbread that comes with every meal. It was slightly sweet, soft, moist and tender. The corn flavor was wonderful and we always finish the whole mini loaf before the main course arrived. Of course, I can’t help it but to recreate it at home. My version used a combination of yellow corn meal, for the wonderful texture and corn flavor; along with some cake flour, for that soft and tender touch. I also added some cream of corn, to keep it moist. Plus, you also get the corn kernels throughout each piece because of the cream of corn in it.
The batter is super simple to put together and it’s then baked in the cast iron pan, which you can bring up to the table and serve, how easy and smart, right? Plus, the cast iron pan really give you a nice crispy crust that you can’t get from other baking pans. If you take care of the cast iron pan, it simply last you for a life time. Not to mention, it’s super affordable as well. This cornbread is simple, yet scrumptious and satisfying. You will definitely go for a second, or third! Make one for your Thanksgiving gathering and share it with your loved ones. It’ll make the perfect side dish!
Last but not least, I would like to wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving! There are many many things in my life that I am thankful for, my health, my family, and my friends. I'm also very grateful that we had the chance to go on a wonderful vacation last summer and created all those fun and warm memories together. I'm also grateful for a loving and supportive Husband, who didn't complain about the dirty dishes and pans in the kitchen after I've tested recipes for the blog (okay, maybe just a dirty look! j/k) But most of all, I am truly grateful to have each of you, my readers, who follow and visit my blog, and give me supports all the time. So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Props and Tools used in this post:
10-inch Seasoned Lodge Cast Iron Skillet (Click here for more information)
Wood Print Photography Backdrop (Click here to see similar product)
Cake/Pie Server (Click here for more information)
Core Bamboo Cutlery Set (Click here for more information)
Olive Wood Coaster Set (Click here for more information)
Red and White Checkers Cloth Napkins (Click here for more information)
Kel-Toy Jute Burlap Natural Table Topper (Click here for more information)
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Finally, the temperature is cooling down in Southern California. Phew….I thought the summer would never end! It’s time to bring out the light sweaters and Autumn ingredients. Some of my all time favorite Fall ingredients are on this plate, Gold Acorn Squash, Arugula and Pomegranate! Nice and simple. This dish is not just only a gorgeous to look at, but also delightful to the palates.
I love to keep the flavors nice and clean in this recipe so that you can taste each ingredient. When the fruit and vegetable you use are in season, they taste the best! In my opinion, the best way to prepare them is to keep it simple. Therefore, I roasted these gold acorn squashes with just a little brown sugar, salt, pepper and oil to bring out it’s natural sweetness and slightly nutty flavor. After roasting, it is tender, creamy and oh so satisfying! The soft and tender squash is resting in a bed of crisp and peppery arugula, sprinkle with the crunchy, sweet and tart pomegranate seeds on top. Each bite is heavenly.
Here’s how I prepare this dish, follow me to the kitchen!
1) & 2) Preheat oven to 400F degree. Wash and pad dry the gold acorn. Cut them into 1/2-inch thick slices and remove seeds.
3) Place on two large sheet pan and drizzle with grapeseed oil.
4) In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, salt and pepper together. Sprinkle over the acorn squash slices. Gently toss with your hands to evenly distribute the seasonings.
5) Roast the acorn squash for 10 minutes, then flip the squash and rotate the baking pans. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until squash is golden brown on the edges and tendered. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
6) In a large bowl, toss all the salad ingredients together. Taste and adjust flavor to your own preference. To assemble: On a large serving platter, place the arugula salad on the bottom and top with roasted gold acorn squash. Enjoy!
Nice and simple, isn't it? This dish is perfect for your upcoming Thanksgiving gathering. You can serve it as an appetizer, or as a side dish. It’s elegant enough to impressed your guests and super easy to prepare, in other words, a very host friendly dish! I hope you’ll give this recipe a try. I’m sure your friends and family will fall in love with it just after trying a bite. Stay warm and wish you all a happy gathering.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Yay, I made my very first diaper cake for a very special Baby Shower. I think I could be just as exciting as the expecting parents, almost. The theme for the Baby Shower was hot pink and leopard prints, so I made the diaper cake decorated to match the theme. I hope the Mommy and Daddy-to-be are happy with this cake.
As I was making the diaper cake, I attempted to take pictures every single step of the way so that I can post a pictorial to share with you. So, the key word here was “attempted”! Somehow, I don’t know where some of my pictures went. I’m such a terrible tutor! I guess I must had been too excited and forgot to take some pictures! Anyway, you’ll get most of the basic steps and techniques that you need to know to make this cake. And I know you’re such smart learners that you’ll figure the “missing” steps out! So, here we go…
1) Attach the paper tower roll, with a hot glue gun, onto the center of a cake board. (The detail material list and sizes are at the end of the post.)
2) Roll the diaper up tightly.
3) Secured the rolled up diaper with a mini rubber band (place on the upper one third of the diaper, you’ll know why in just a minute). I used my Daughter’s Rainbow loom rubber bands, shhhhh….don’t let her know. I promise I’ll return them in just a moment!
4) Repeat step 3 for 59 times, because you’ll need 60 diapers all together!
5) Place 6 rolled up diapers in the center, with rubber bands towards the top.
6) Tie the diapers with a thin ribbon with a double knot.
7) Remove the rubber bands! Now, you see why you want to place the rubber bands towards the top, right? See, I promised I’ll return the rubber bands, safe and sound!
8) The picture above is the first layer or the bottom tier. The second layer required 12 diapers to go around the first 6. Repeat the steps in tiding up the diaper and removing the rubber bands.
9) Then, the outer layer of the bottom tier needs 18 diapers, to wrap around the second layer. Again, tie with thin ribbon and remove rubber bands.
10) if you’re still with me, we’re moving onto the 2nd tier. Similar with step 5, just that we’re one tier up. Tie those 6 rolled up diapers and secure them with a thin ribbon. Then remove the rubber bands.
11) The 2nd tier only gets 2 layers of diapers only, and the outer layer consisted 12 diapers.
12) Finally, the top tier got the remaining 6 diapers. Same steps, secured with a thin ribbon and remove rubber bands.
13) Last but not least, I wrap around the middle of the 3 tiers with decorative ribbons. They are secured with double sided tapes.
14) Finally, you can add a paper flower, baby shoes, baby bottle, and pacifier, etc. to decorate the cake. I hope I didn't confuse you too much with my missing pictures pictorial. I promise, I’ll make it up to you, somehow, in my future posts! Wish the parents-to-be all the best with their new bundle of joy!
Monday, November 10, 2014
Thank you everyone who participated in the Madeleine Recipe Book giveaway. Special thanks to Quirk Book for providing the prize. We have selected a winner through Random.org!
The winner is Dice who said,
“I prefer to enjoy Madeleine as breakfast, afternoon tea, and dessert.”
Congratulations, Dice! I’ll be in contact with you soon.
If you didn’t win the giveaway, you can still purchase a copy of the Madeleine here. It’s now on sale at Amazon, 50% off from the original price. I say, Madeleine is the perfect treat to bake and share this holiday season. And the book itself would make a great gift for any baker.
Thank you all for reading. Stay tuned for more fun recipes and giveaway soon.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Have you ever created something by "accident"? That seems to happen in my kitchen all the time! This Minced Beef Lettuce Boats (免治牛肉生菜船) is one of them and I just have to share the recipe with you. It's now my Little Boy's favorite dish to have for dinner! This dish was transformed from the Minced beef over rice dish!
Minced beef over rice (免治牛肉飯) is a very popular dish in Hong Kong (my home country). It's one of my favorite childhood dish to cook and enjoy. Not only it's quick and easy, but super duper yummy as well. I love to top mine with a sunny side egg with the yolk still runny! Oh my! I know my Hubby couldn't agree more!
When I'm in a hurry to put dinner on the table, the minced beef over rice dish is one of my go-to favorites. On one of the nights when I was cooking this dish, I was also looking for veggies that I can prepare quickly along with my minced beef. Unfortunately (or should I say, fortunately!?), the only veggie found in the fridge was romaine lettuce, which was intended for salads. So, I simply washed the lettuce, and serve them on the side. Boy, as soon as I put the cooked minced beef and a plate of raw lettuce on the table, the kids were getting excited. That's definitely something they don't see everyday! The fun part about this dish was that the kids get to "play with" their food, sort of. So, I usually let the kiddos pick up a lettuce leaf, spoon the minced beef on top to create the "boat" and let them go to town! Can you imagine the fun?
Without further ado, here's how I made the minced beef.
1) In a large skillet, heat oil over high heat until hot. Add the ground beef into the skillet.
2) With a rubber/wooden spatula, break the ground beef into small pieces while cooking. Brown the ground beef until cooked through.
3) Meanwhile, add Montreal Steak Seasoning, garlic powder and sugar, stir to combine.
4) Remove cooked beef to a large bowl, set aside.
5) In the same skillet, add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
6) Then, add the beef base, soy sauce, and sesame oil, stir to combine.
7) In a small bowl, mix the corn starch and cold water together. Stir until no lumps.
8) Return the cooked ground beef into the skillet. Add the corn starch mixture into the skillet, stir to combine. Cook until the sauces returns to a boil. Remove from heat. To serve, spoon minced beef into each lettuce leave and serve. Or, you can serve the minced beef over steam rice.
My Hubby still prefer his Minced Beef spooned generously over steam rice and top with a sunny side up egg. For me, I love both serving styles just as much, depending on the mood of the day. But for the kiddos, they're definitely voting on the boats! Give this recipe a try, I'm sure the kiddos (and grown ups) in your house would love it just as much. It's a great way to get them to eat more veggies, too.