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.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Beary Cute Bread

Whole wheat bear bread
 I wanted to make this after I've got an inspiration from a friend who made raisin bread that incidentally looked like a smiley face. I thought, maybe I can use raisin and chocolate chips instead for the eyes, I prefer to use all natural ingredients to make it look fun, than the food coloring.

The recipe is almost the same as the other bun recipe that I used, except this time I used whole wheat bread flour instead. It actually taste pretty good. As you can see in the picture, I arranged the raisins and chocolate chip, almost the same method as in my Panda Bread method. I put the extra layer of dough on top of the eyes and nose, and then put some cherries in the middle, as the mouth of the bear, sorry did not take a picture of it because I got distracted by the baby.

 After putting everything in, I rolled it up, added water and pinch them together.

I turned the bread dough upside down and then I rolled up the ears for the bear, I used cocoa powder for the ears. Rubbed it with water to make it stick better and then put them on the upside down bread in the bread pan.

 This is what I did with my extra dough. I used some ready made bean paste, and tried a mini bear bun, and another one is the leftover from the cocoa dough, I mix it with chocolate chip and raisin.

 I put a cling wrap over the baking pan and put it in the oven with a hot bowl of water underneath for an hour.

 After an hour, I baked them at 350 F for 15 minutes, for the buns and 20 minutes for the bread.

This is how it looked like for the mini bun that I made. Noah really loves it. It actually tasted very good with the chocolate chip and raisin. You can see the melted chocolate chip (the nose) as it was still warm, and Noah was too impatient to wait. It was all gone in a second!

Homemade whole wheat Pizza Pie

I give credit to my hubby because he's the pizza pie maker, not me, although I was the one who first found the recipe (from the breadmaker recipe book)

Ingredients for the dough;
1 cup Water 27 C
2 tbs  oil
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup bread flour
1 tsp active dry yeast

1.If you have a breadmaker, select dough course, if not you can probably use kitchen aid with the dough hook attachment.
2.Place finished dough on lightly floured surface. Divide in half and press onto 12 inches pizza pan. Prick dough with fork. For thick crust do not divide.
3.Bake at 425 F/ 218 C for 10-12 mins or until edges of crust turn light brown. Remove, add toppings and return to oven to bake additional 15-20 mins.

For the toppings, you can put strained tomatoes or pizza sauce, and then add mozzarella cheese and top it up with your personal choice of toppings, it can be pepperoni, pepper and mushrooms, ham and pineapple, or just plain with basil leaves.

Once you've tried this you'll never want to go back to your favourite old pizza place anymore, because by making your own pizza, you can put whatever you want, and also eat healthier.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pineapple Fried Rice with Fish cake

Pineapple Fried Rice
 Some of my non-Chinese friends were asking me how to make fried rice. I can't believe there's so many people out there who doesn't know how to make this simple fried rice. It's so easy, it's my leftover dish. Normally we'll have leftover rice that I'll use it the next day for fried rice, and I throw in whatever vegetables that I have in the fridge.

 This is what I normally put in my fried rice. Carrots, frozen green peas (and corn sometimes), green onion, I added celery this time because I have it, some meat (can be ground pork, chicken or even shrimp), chopped garlic, eggs, and most important is the overnight rice. Noah loves pineapple in the rice, so I added the pineapple too, lots of pineapple.

 What I do is, I usually fried the bottom of the green onion ( the white part) with garlic in a tablespoon of oil. After you can smell the aroma, you can start frying the eggs, and then scramble it after it turn golden brown. Then I add the carrots, because it take a longer time to cook, or meat first if it's raw meat, but this time I used the leftover pork I had the other day. It goes well in fried rice too, followed by the other vegetables. Stir fry with a little bit of water and oyster sauce for a couple minutes until the veges are half cooked.

 Add in the rice, stir fry it for a couple more minutes. Add water if it's too dry, or soy sauce if you like it salty. Sometimes I push the rice and make a hole in the middle of the pan and crack an egg in the middle, so the rice will get the flavor of the egg, and not too dry. I did not add the extra egg this time  because I was making the fish cake with rolled egg. Too much egg is not good for you. Add the green part of the green onion last and just stir it a little.

 I had this ground pork mixed with chopped basa fish and chopped green onion in the freezer, and decided to cook it today. You can use ground chicken too. I buy the frozen basa fish from Walmart, chopped it up and mix it with the meat, add salt and pepper to marinade.

 After frying the egg, I put the mixture of the meat for the fishcake on top of the egg and then roll it up, cut it into smaller pieces.

I just pan fried them in a pan on medium heat with a lid on for about 10-15 minutes as in picture. You can probably deep fried them too. I used to love this when I was little, and now my son loves them too. If you do not want to roll it in the egg you can just fry the fish cake, it's just as good, but it just look nicer with the eggs, little kids love them.

This is the finished product, my fishcake and fishcake rolled in fried egg. I took the bigger piece and cut it into half to check for doneness. Please be aware that I am not a chef, I learn most of the dishes online from other people's blog, or some I remembered how my mom used to make them and try it by myself, it's mostly self learn, self taught by experience. I never used to cook much before I move here, now that we have a family I have to learn more and create fun dishes for the family. We love this dish, it's fun and easy to make. I hope you do too.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pork Ribs

Pork side ribs from the crockpot

Here's a quick recipe for busy moms.

A rack of pork side ribs/ back ribs
2 tbs black bean sauce
5-8 shitake (chinese) mushroom
1 small squash

Chop the ribs into smaller pieces.
Heat the wok/ large pan, put the black bean sauce, stir it with some water.
Add the ribs, cook it for 10-15 minutes or until the meat is half cooked.
In a different pot, boil some water, add the mushroom when the water is boiling for about 10 minutes or until mushroom is well cooked.
Pour the ribs and the mushrooms into the slow-cooker(crockpot) for about 4-5 hours on high, stirring it a couple times.

This is a great recipe, you can prepare it in the morning on low heat before going out, and when you come home, the food will be waiting for you!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day after Halloween.

My little tigers
 Happy Halloween, well yesterday. We were too busy that I haven't got a chance to share it out. Noah loves go trick or treating, so does Kiana. They were both tigers. We got lots of candies but Noah was so generous, that he gave away everything from our candy bowl. Mommy went out to buy more chocolate, but they did not have very good after Halloween sales this year. However, I did ended up with bags of costumes! Walmart had them for 75% off, it's really cheap, they will have enough costumes for the next couple years.

White Chanel Tote Cake
 I almost forgot that I was going to my friend's restaurant tomorrow to surprise her with a cake. There's too much going on lately. I had to make this cake last minute. I had extra fondant so I made another one, but then my baby was crying so I can't continue anymore. I think she is teething. I can see it will come out anytime, she has been so cranky for the past couple days, I hope she feels better soon.

As you can see in the picture, my 2nd cake wasn't as nice, because I just can't do it anymore, with my crying baby, I had to just stop doing it. At least the tote doesn't look too bad huh? My friend really likes a Chanel bag, I hope she likes this too.

Noah trying out mommy's with hat, only $2.50!