Friday, December 21, 2012

Homemade Sushi

It has been awhile since I made sushi. We had sushi last weekend and had the leftover ginger, that I really like, so I made some sushi, and decided to take some pictures and post it. I think I did post it before, but it has been a long time ago, I almost forgot how to make it. First, slice all the ingredients as in picture.

I used calrose rice, or you can get sushi rice. Cook 1 cup of rice with 2 cup of water, I used 2 cups of rice with 4 cups of water. After the rice is cooked, I added a little bit of salt and vinegar. I packed it and flattened it as in picture, and sprinkled black sesame on it.

Flipped it over, cut the seaweed into half, and put it on top of the rice. Then put the cucumber, cream cheese and imitation crab meat. The crab meat is already cooked, so you won't need to cook it anymore. You can also use other ingredients such as avocado, or smoked salmon

This is how it looked like after it's rolled. Press it tight so the rice is packed tightly.

Cut it up with a warm knife. When the rice gets cold, it gets sticky. I use a bowl of hot water and soak the knife in the hot water everytime it gets sticky. Sushi is best with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce. It's very easy to make isn't it?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sugar Cookies

Guess who made these cookies? Hard to tell huh? Well, my big boy really wanted to make cookies and decorate them, so here's the result!

I've got the recipe from All Recipe. I like their recipe, they always have good recipes there. Anyway, everybody is getting cookies for Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Noah's school (Montessori) is having a party tomorrow and I told them I was going to bring a cake. This is the 6th cake I made so far. I decided to go with simple, and use the skills I learned from my class. I used the fondant for the snowmen, and buttercream icing for the rest, inside has another layer of cream cheese icing, with banana cake recipe, Noah's teacher's favourite cake so far.

I used tip 47 for the lines and 21 for the weaving basket at the sides of the cake. Tip 21 too for the rosette and 1M for the flowers at the bottom, with tip 3 for the middle part of the flowers and the words. Only took me about an hour to decorate this, compared to the other cakes this is so much easier.

Hope theyèll like my cake, and you have a wonderful Christmas too!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Noah's Birthday Party

 It was Noah's 3rd birthday. I wasn't going to throw a party but few days before his birthday, he told me he wanted a birthday party. He wanted to invite his friends over, and have a firetruck carrot cake! He wasn't even 3 yet. So mommy had to throw everything together, the very last minute.

 I saw this very cool Christmas tree from facebook, my friend shared the picture and I tried, I am glad I did. I received many compliments from everybody. It is very easy to make, and look fantastic. I used an apple as a base, cut a hole in the middle, stick a couple toothpicks (angled) and stick the carrot in it. A lot of people asked me how I did it, so here's the tips. I soaked the carrot overnight so it will be not as hard. My friend bought me some fruits/cookies cutter all the way from Japan, and I got a chance to use them. They are perfect to cut the fruits into shapes. Noah helped but I had to finish this as soon as I can because while he was helping, he was also eating. If it doesn't go into the tree, it will end up in his mouth!

I spent less than $10 for his lovely tree, would probably cost more if you buy one from Edible arrangement.

 Here's Noah's firetruck. I've gotten lazy so I just made it as simple as possible. So far I've made 5 cakes this month, and 3 more to go! It's a lot of trouble, but when you see how happy they are, it's all worth it.

I made this cake for my very good neighbour, her birthday's today. She likes purple colour (me too) and I dad make a bunch of purple flowers not long ago, I am so glad she likes it. She loves the vanilla cake recipe that I used, well everything works well in the end. There'll be many busy days ahead, I'll try to keep up...and post more pictures!

Friday, December 14, 2012

The ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

This is actually my mother in law's favourite recipe, one that she never forgets to mention, almost all the time, how her oldest grandson really likes them. So I've decided to give it a try, hubby thinks it's just okay,he still prefers the nutty ones that I always make for him, but hubby's never a big fan of chocolate chip cookies. I think this is still the best chocolate chip cookies that I've had, so far.

Here's the recipe ( from Chatelaine Food),

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temparature
1 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups dark chocolate chip ( I just used the 1 packet of 250 g)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray baking sheet with oil ( I used the butter wrapper instead, works well, save money). Beat butter with sugar until creamy, beat in egg and vanilla, gradually add in flour and dry ingredients until just combined. Mix in chocolate chip.

2. Scoop 1 tbp of dough , placing at least 2 inches apart.

3. Bake in the centre of oven until  cookies are golden around the edges about 8-10 minutes. Remove to a heat proof surface for 2 mins then to wire rack to cool completely,

4. If making ahead, form dough into a thick disc and wrap well. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks  or freeze up to a month. Cookies keeps well in a covered container for 2 days.

I added red and green sugar sprinkles on it so it is more festive~

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chocolate Pinwheel

I've made this cookies before, but usually I do not add colour to it, I thought it is a good idea to put some colour for this festive season. 

For the dough ingredients;
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
dash of salt.

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs until it's flight and fluffy, add vanilla, followed by flour and baking powder. 
Roll it out in rectangular shape as in picture below, on a wax paper. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

In the mean time prepare the chocolate batter.
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chip
2 tbs butter
1/4 vanilla
Melt them in a sauce pan under low heat.

Pour the chocolate onto the chilled dough, spread them evenly. I tried to make it red and green but somehow I did not add enough red, or maybe I should add some yellow to it, anyway I think this colour is pretty. I rolled out the dough and tried to do something different to make it more attractive for little kids.

 This is how it looked like after I rolled them up and cut it into 1.5- 2 cm slices. 

After baking it in the oven at 350 about 13-15 minutes, the house smells like chocolate.. and cookies!

Cashewnut cookies

Cashewnut cookies

Christmas time is almost here. I'm starting to get busy with my cookies. I don't buy gifts, I bake cookies, and give them as gifts, and people usually loves them. I really don't know to get my in laws who has everything already, so this is something that I can do for them, and they like. Of all my cookies, this is one of them that they like, so I'm sharing it here with everybody.

1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk
1 3/4 cup flour

Mix butter and sugar, until soft and fluffy. Add in vanilla and then egg yolk. Put the flour in last. Do not put all at once, add more if it's still too wet, or less if it's already to dry...
Roll it out, and use cookie cutter to cut the shape that you like.
Glaze the top of the cookie with the remaining egg white with a brush.
Add split cashewnuts. Grease the baking tray before putting the cookies on it.
Bake in the oven at 350 for 13-15 minutes.
Cool at wire rack, get it out before it gets too cold otherwise it will stick to the tray, but not too hot too because the cookies will be too soft to be moved.

Enjoy the cookies!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mermaid Theme Birthday Cake

Mermaid on the rock

My friend's daughter had a birthday party last weekend, I asked what she'd like for her cake, I was hoping that she'll like roses so I can make a simple one, but her mom said she'll like mermaid. She was here last Friday when I was baking the banana cakes, when she said " I hate banana cake" . I was thinking, 'oh no'. Luckily she changed her mind because she helped bake the cake, and before she left, she said it's gonna be the best cake in the whole wide world!

This is how I put the bananas in between the cake, it actually gives more banana flavor, it's just too good!

The cake is iced, ready to be decorated.

I am actually quite proud that I made this cake, I don't even know how to bake a cake 4 months ago, and I've come so far along. My beloved brother used to tell me my cupcake is hard as rock, and I've never baked ever since. I then learned about the secret of not baking hard rock cake, is not to stir too much after you put the flour in.

                 I bought the mermaid body from Bulk Barn store, but the rest is edible. I used the marshmallow fondant recipe for the sea creatures, buttercream icing (from Wilton) for the rest of the cake and brown sugar for the sand. The scale part I used tip 80, the waves was tip 21 and the water on the rock was a mistake, tried to do like the wave but it didn't look nice... so I removed it, and part of it left on the rock, it looked nicer that way. The shell on the mermaid body was tip 21. Hope you like the cake, this cake is not only for my friend's daughter's birthday but to all who loves mermaid. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My First time making Indian meal!

My friend taught me how to make this butter chicken, roti and yellow rice. It was so good, I kept bugging her to teach me. So she finally showed me her secret, and now I'm sharing her secret (with her permission).

I never know it was so easy to make roti. It's also very healthy. You just need to buy the right kind of flour, one that says it's for roti, pratha, puri and so on. My friend did not measure the ingredient as she's an expert already. I tried to measure it, so I can put it here in my blog.

For the roti, I used 3 1/2 cup special roti flour, and 2 cups of water. I just use the Kitchen aid, or you can use the breadmaker too. After it becomes a ball, I rolled it up into a ball, then flattened it by rolling pin. You can also put cheese inside and fried it, or just eat it plain, they are good either way. If you stuffed it with grated cheese, you'll have to put some olive oil so it won't stick to the pan.

For the rice, my friend stir fried some chopped garlic and onion in some olive oil, then added bay leaves, cloves, and 1 cup of brasmati rice with 3 cups of water, and a tablespoon of chicken stock. You can add yellow coloring, or if you have tumeric powder, it's even better. I hope I did not forget everything she said. I told her to make a blog and put all her recipes in because she cooks a lot of good food that I want to learn, but unfortunately she is too busy.

Maybe next time when I am getting better with this recipe I'll show more pictures and better instructions. Hubby enjoys them, and so are the kids. I think Noah might find an Indian girlfriend when he grows up because he really likes Indian food.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Party

It was Kiana's first time meeting Santa. We were wondering how she was going to react but she was fine. I saw many kids crying and won't want to go near Santa. I wonder what made them so scared. Is it the fake beard?

Santa asked Noah what he wants for Christmas, he said hockey net (as suggested by daddy). Later grandma asked what does he wants for Christmas, he said, ball.

Well, I guess he'll be getting them is he is a good boy. Maybe he should said.. all I want for Christmas is to stop having nightmares! And Kiana got her 2 front bottom teeth for Christmas.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Royal Icing Flowers

 For my final course 2 cake decorating class, I made this cake. It look pretty good, for only 8 lessons altogether, I feel good about it. There's still room for improvements.

 Lily made from royal icing, it looked nice but it cracked when I tried to remove them. I have to let it dry first next time.

 My roses are not what I want them to be, but I guess I just need to keep trying. Daffodils turned out pretty good though. I love those little pansies.

 My failed caked. It doesn't look nice but taste great. Noah's teacher asked for the recipe, she said it's the best one by far.

I took the flowers out and replaced it with other I can give it to my friend's son. I'm sick of eating cakes, so I have to find a reason to give it away..haha. Hope they don't mind.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pork Ball

I used to have something similar when I was younger, and today I thought I should make it since I have so much ground pork in my freezer that need to be used. I love it then, and still love it now, although I never know how to make it before. Now my kids love this simple dish, it's fun and simple, and has almost every nutrient in it.

The ingredient;

1 lbs ground pork
a dash of pepper, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar
1 small onion, chopped.
1 green onion, chopped
thyme, oregano, mint, chopped, just a little bit of each from my garden
oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon
soy sauce, 1 tablespoon

Simply mix everything together in a large bowl. Heat the pot/ wok with vegetable oil. Make sure it's really hot before you put the rolled pork balls in. Reduce it to medium, and wait for it to turn golden brown, turning it once awhile.

When it's almost done, put it on high again, because my mom told me that wait the oil won't stick to the food, otherwise it will be all oily.

You can eat it just like that, or dip it with sweet sour sauce, ketchup or even chili sauce.

Gangnam Style

My kids somehow love this music. Noah just asked me to play it for him again this morning. My neighbour's kids who doesn't speak Korean can memorize the whole songs, and the oldest is only 10! It's a craze among all the kids from 0- ??

I wonder when it will end? Here, enjoy watching the video of my little ones dancing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Banana Nut Bread

Banana Bread is my favourite, it's so moist, not too sweet and good with a cup of tea. 

Noah's getting all the ingredients ready;

3 medium bananas
6 tbs melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/3 c all purpose flour
2/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c chocolate chip (optional)
1/4 c chopped walnuts

Mashed the banana with fork. Mix in all the ingredients. Bake it for 52-55 minutes at 350 F or 180 C. I normally put less sugar and skip the salt.

This is one of the simplest recipe and doesn't take much time to prepare.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Trip to the ER

I know this blog is meant for nice things, but I have to share some not so nice experiences with you. We went away for our little vacation, and everything went well, until Kiana started throwing up when she woke up from her nap. I did not know what was wrong with her. It was normal to have a couple spit outs but after awhile, it seems not normal. So I called the tele-health.

He told me to go to the ER right away, not knowing what was wrong with her. I did as told, went to the ER ( got lost on the way because I am not good at directions around here), luckily they let us in right away. Seems like baby is the first priority, normally you'll have to wait for a couple hours! Anyway all that took about 1 hour, imagine how bad if you have to wait for a longer period.

The doctor checked and said she is fine. Told him she is not fine, she was vomiting and she is not as active. He said she is fine, because her eyes are opened and she is smiling. She smiles all the time! She was looking very tired before, and I really didn't know what to do. The lady that was waiting with her sick daughter was admitted right away, the daughter had 103 temperature. I guess I m a bit luckier than her.

Anyway, we got sent home. I asked the doctor what went wrong, he said it must be just a stomach viral. It might be in the air, might be in the water, we went to the water park for our little vacation. Was planning to go back but seeing how sick she was, hubby didn't take Noah back there. It was a nice little vacation, well not this part, but she seems to be back to normal now. It could have been worse. It's a new experience for me, as they have not been so sick before, and I've learned that the tele-health person will always ask you to go to ER all the time, if you call.. so maybe next time I won't call anymore, they are not much of a help anyway.

And so I went back home, got lots again on the way home. I really don't like driving when it's so dark, especially I am not familiar with the places here. Will try not to let them get sick anymore. It's nothing fun, or nice.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Blueberry Sour Cream Pie

This is my first time making a blueberry pie. I got the frozen pie shell from the groceries, and decided to make this pie because I have a bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer. It turned out pretty good, the pie was gone the next day!

Here's the recipe;

1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cup blueberries
1 cup sugar

Mix them together and put it in the pie shell. Bake it at 400 F for 15 mins or until the centre is set (or harden)
For the topping, I used the apple crumb pie recipe.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine
3/4 cup flour

Mix them together, but this time I added 1/2 cup of walnuts and it was great. I would add more the next time.
Remove from oven, put the crumbs in, reduce the oven heat to 350 F, bake for another 35 minutes or until it's cooked.

Blueberry pie
This is now my favourite pie recipe, it's so simple and easy yet so delicious, especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, that I have yet to buy.

Noah's first failed project, Oatmeal Cookie

Noah wanted to bake more cookies so I decided to bake oatmeal cookies, I made it a couple times before and it's usually good, well except this time. I must have got distracted and forgot to put the flour in, or maybe not enough flour.. or maybe it fell on the floor.. well something went wrong anyway. I tried to put the flour in after and it didn't look right. Anyhow Noah thinks the cookies are good because he made them!

My young assistatnt

Chicken Butternut Squash Congee

Chicken congee

My friend gave me a butternut squash from her garden and told me to make congee for my little baby because it's very nutritious. To make the Chinese style congee, put a cup of rice (rinsed) with 6 cups of water, or more. I was told that some people soak it overnight so it will be nice and soft for the baby. I just add more water instead, and cooked it for longer.

I threw a piece of chicken breast in so it will be tastier and have more protein in it, and chicken breast is not as fatty. You can also use pork tenderloin, or even fish fillet to make congee. It is good with some salt and pepper, soy sauce and spring onion, but if it's for the baby you can just serve it plain to them. Sometimes I put some carrots in, as long as it's healthy, it's good for the baby.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Five-Spice Roast Chicken

This is another one of my favourite. My mother in law got me this quick and easy Vietnamese recipe book, and I found this recipe in there, and we love it ever since then. It's very easy to prepare, and taste so good. You just need to marinade it overnight to have the good flavour.

Here's what you need for the marinade;

1/4 C soy sauce
2 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tsp 5 spice powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs finely chopped garlic
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
4 bone-in chicken legs and thighs or 3 1/2 pound chicken wings

Combine all the ingredients in a plastic over a large bowl, turning the chicken over in the bag to make sure it's well coated. Marinade it in the fridge overnight, or 4 hours. Preheat the oven to 375 when you want to cook it, put the chicken on roastin pan, 30 mins for the chicken wings and 45 minutes for the chicken legs.

For the wedges, just cut the potatoes into wedges, put a tablespoon of oil on the baking sheets/pan and then brush the oil over the wedges, bake for 375 for about 35 minutes, turning them once or twice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

As for the rice, I just stir fry my peas with the rice, and leftover salmon we had the day before. It turn out well.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes by Noah

 Noah really wanted to bake something so we decided to bake some cupcakes. My neighbour across the street said he loves vanilla cake, so I used my sifu's favourite recipe, she got from this website --> Vanilla Buttermilk. She also told me that I can substitute the buttermilk with just normal milk plus a tablespoon of vinegar. I found that the taste and texture is a little different but it's still pretty good.

 Noah's really into baking now. Look how serious he is. For the icing, I used the buttercream recipe. I used 1/4 cup of soft butter with 1 1/2 cup of icing sugar and 2 tbs of milk.

 Noah's enjoying his cupcake cone, one that he made by himself, he was so proud.

 Not forgetting the sprinkles. They made the cupcakes more colourful.

Kiana's enjoying watching her big brother making the cupcakes. It's a really good way to keep my kids busy.
Noah kept 2 cupcakes for his teacher, gave away the rest to my neighbour and his friends. He is really helpful and generous.

Blueberry Muffin

My friend told me that her son likes blueberry muffin, so I found a recipe and made this. I had frozen blueberries at home and I thought, maybe it's time to use them up! I did not follow exactly as the recipe, I did not notice it's 400 F, instead of the 350 F that I normally use. So it took me 18 minutes for the small muffin and 23 minutes for the bigger ones. Another thing that I changed in my recipe is, I added a teaspoon of cinnamon. This recipe makes 24 muffins. I made 24 small muffins, and 14 big muffins with this recipe. Hope you like my muffins!

Blueberry or Raspberry Muffins

4 Eggs
1 cup Oil
2 cups Brown sugar
1½ cups Milk
4 cups Flour
4 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Mix in order, the first four ingredients. Mix flour and baking powder into ingredients.

Add blueberries or raspberries

Bake at 400 F for 18 – 20 minutes

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Apple Crumb Pie

Whenever I bought apples that are not up to my standard, I make apple pies. I am quick picky about the apples I eat. I got these yellow delicious apples, but they were not as crispy as I like them to be, so I put the in my pie instead. 

To make this apple pie, you'll need;
1 frozen pie shell
6 cup peeled apples
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup margarine

Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinammon. Mix together and sprinkle over apples, as in picture.

 Mix flour and 1/2 cup sugar together. Mix in margarine with fork, mix until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of apple mixture.

 This is how it looks like after 50+ minutes in the oven. The recipe said, bake for 45-60 minutes, I like it a little bit more brown. I put a tray underneath the pie because the juice usually overflows, as you can see in the picture. That way my oven won't be too dirty afterwards.

Apple pie is best with a scoop of vanilla ice cream but I didn't have any vanilla ice cream, so this will have to do. What I love most about this recipe, it's so easy to make and the crumbs are so crispy. I've never baked a pie in my life before, until my neighbour brought this pie over and gave me this recipe. This is one to keep.

Egg Fried Rice & Stir Fried Pork with Ginger

 Today I am introducing egg fried rice and a pork dish that I used to like when I was young. I've always like to eat eggs, and so does Noah, so I'm remaking this again, since everyone (including Kiana) loves eggs. I made the fried rice the same as before, as in the Pineapple fried rice recipe, just without the pineapple this time. Then I beat the eggs (gently), about 2-3 of them and then I fried it on a pan, and put the rice on top, and wrapped it afterwards. It's just something fun for my kids, to discover the hidden rice in the fried egg.

As for the pork, I used pork tenderloin, cut it into thin strips. I marinade it for a couple hours with sesame oil, a little bit of brown sugar, soy sauce, dark soy sauce and some ground pepper. I put some oil on the pan, fried some chopped garlic and ginger until golden brown, and then put the pork in, with some of the juice if there's any, until it's dried and then garnish with the chopped green onion. Ginger is suppose to help remove gas in the tummy, so this dish is perfect for those who just had a baby, or bloated. The simplest dish can be as wonderful, in fact I love it best when it's simple.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Fried Tilapia

Sweet & spicy fish and stir fried vegetables

Dinner menu for today was fried fish with sweet and spicy sauce and stir fried vegetables with cashew nuts. My friend's a member at the Sam's Club and she goes there very often, recommended the tilapia fish that they sell there. It's only about $12+, there's about 5-6 in a bag depending on the size, frozen in separate packets that you can just take it out, defrost and cook it whenever you want, how convenient. And the best part is, it's scaled so you don't have to worry about getting your hands dirty.

 I used broccoli, carrots, onions, celery and garlic for my stir fried veges. I found the Heinz Thai chili sauce at the grocery store here, and it's actually pretty good, well good enough to make the sauce for my fried fish. For the sauce of my fish, I fried the onion and garlic first, I put some carrots in too (and the remaining tomatoes from my garden), and then I added 2 tablespoons of chili sauce, and a little bit of ketchup. When it's almost cooked, I put a mixture of tapioca starch with water, you can also use cornstarch, to thicken the sauce.

For the stir fried veges, I fried the cashew nuts first, you don't have to fry it if it's already roasted. Then again, I fried the garlic, onion, followed by carrots and the other veges. I added 2 tablespoon of oyster sauce with water, a little bit of soy sauce and ground pepper. I put the lid on for a couple minutes and let it cook. When it's almost cooked, I added a little bit of chinese cooking wine, and then the tapioca starch mixture again to thicken the sauce.

Fried Tilapia Fish

For the fried fish, after I defrost it, I dried it with paper towel and put some salt on it, rub it on the skin. Make sure that the pan is really hot before you put the fish in, and the fish is dry to prevent it sticking to the pan. Use medium heat, and put the lid on. To know if the fish is cooked, you can see if the eyes turn white and pop out, but in this case, I cut the head out, I'm keeping it for my fish head curry for the next time. To make sure it's cooked easier, I cut 2 lines in the middle part of the fish. Just cook it until it's golden brown, I prefer mine a bit more crispier so I let it cook longer. This is another simple dish, my father in law really like the fried fish we had in Thailand, and the Thai restaurant, similar to this. I am going to cook this for him the next time they come here, I hope they will enjoy it as much as I do.