Thursday, December 27, 2012

Angel Hair Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce

Angel Hair Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce

Tastes just like creamy Alfredo sauce without all that butter and cream! I love avocados. They are indeed nature's butter. True, as they may be fatty, but instead of being hard to break down like most saturated fats, these wonderful fatty acids are essential to our health (omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids!) and can be easily broken down by our body. Alas, not all fats are created equal, how unfair. Lets not forget that avocados are also pack full of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and plenty more OR you can just trust me, it's good for you!


This recipe was born out of the marriage of two other recipes (Two Peas & Their Pod and Yum Sugar) I had pined on Pinterest. Call me greedy but I wanted both recipes together and so what did I do...? Combine them. Of course not everything in both recipes went well together so some adjustments had to be made. I decided to cut out the chili pepper flakes from one recipe and skip the butter in the other, I think the cheese will do enough damage for now. Warm pepper jack cheese sauce with creamy avocados all embellished together encasing the angel hair pasta is a dish made in heaven! Think I'm crazy? Try it for yourself and see if I'm crazy or not! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays 2012!

May your holidays be surrounded by family and friends! 
May it be filled with wonderful memories and enjoyed with hot cocoa, warm cookies, and much much more!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rich & Creamy Sweet Potato Penne Pasta

One of the things I enjoy the most about winter is being able to cook hearty dishes that are nice and heavy, perfect for the cold weather, not to mention warming up the house while I'm cooking.

 Rich & Creamy Sweet Potato Penne Pasta

My newest (old) dish to share is something I whipped up last year when I had a horrid craving for sweet potatoes... I don't even know why. When people say your taste preferences change as you get older, they weren't kidding! I was never a fan of sweet potatoes and yet now I was craving them. So like all cravings there is only one way to get rid of it, eat it (and lots of it)! Good thing I wasn't craving cookies, though I'm usually pretty good with that unhealthy stuff. Since sweet potatoes are loaded with nutritional goodies (beta-carotene, vitamin A, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, etc, etc) I went all out and ate until my heart's content!

Sweet potatoes by themselves are a little bland for my taste. My family just bakes them and devour with a dash of salt. I wanted more, so I decided it was time to spice things up and literally! At the time when I came up with this I was bumming at a friend's apartment while I hunted for a place to live. Naturally I didn't want to invade in any more space than I had to... so I wanted to come up with meals that were quick (because I'm lazy), healthy, and wouldn't take up fridge space.
Well at that time, I was also craving pasta, so I thought "hmm it wouldn't be a terrible idea to marinate the 2 cravings together... since sweet potatoes give off a creamy texture, might actually be really delicious!" Luckily it was and so this recipe was born!

One year later and though I'm not craving sweet potatoes, it is a nice recipe to fall back to when you're in a crunch for time and need something quick, easy, delicious, and nutritious (use whole wheat pasta!).


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mozzarella Prosciutto Galette

"It's raining, it's pouring! The old man is snoring..."
which would be great.... if I was sitting at home with nothing better to do but be a couch potato curled up with a blanket and a hot cup of joe/chocolate/tea at hand watching a movie. This weekend, however, was not the case. It was laundry day and it was time to dig out my winter clothes and misc errands weekend...and so rain just made it miserable.

This probably serves me right for procrastinating and I would procrastinate just a little longer if I hadn't already used up that card...


however with my given skills when it comes to procrastination, I managed to squeeze in just a tad more.... say hello to Mozzarella Prosciutto Galettes (recipe here)!


A glorified biscuit if you will, or at least that's what I made it out of. Topped with delicious mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, sun dried tomatoes, and a bit of basil and you've got a dangerous thing going! Simple and fast, just like how I like my recipes! Enjoy!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pumpkin Pie 2012!

What's Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie right?
Therefore I present:
Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pecan Graham Cracker Crust!


Okay so I just wanted another excuse to make my pumpkin pie. After making some tweaks to a couple of different pie recipes last year, I ended up with a magnificent new recipe and I'm not just saying that because I made it, but seriously this pie is GOOD. Just how good? It passed my family's criticism good.


It may not seem much but my family are the pickiest eaters when it come to anything outside of Asian cuisine. What most people find good and delicious, I've have always only gotten an "eh, it's okay" but this time around, they actually LIKE it. That's like getting the gold seal of approval (yay personal victory!)! 

Since I've made this last year, I wanted to play with it a little bit more. We should always strive to improve right!? Plus even though last year's pie was good, it wasn't all that eye pleasing.... in saying that, making this was also an added excuse to play with taking pictures... 2 birds with one stone!


 What's new? The candied pecan graham cracker crust!

I'm going to be honest though, the crust did not turn out as I had envisioned but it was still very tasty, just more moist than preferred probably because the pumpkin pie mixture is more liquified than what I'd usually use the graham cracker crust for (cheesecakes).

Candied Pecans recipe here
Pumpkin Pie recipe here or here for the original blog post

Candied Pecan Graham Cracker Crust recipe:
Ingredients:
  • candied pecan recipe
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 package of crushed graham crackers
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  1. Use a blender to crush the graham crackers and pecans (separately) and then combine all the dry ingredients.
  2. Melt butter in microwave (approx 30 secs) and mix will with dry mix
  3. Line and press the crust onto a pie tin. 
  4. Bake the crust at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.
Notes: 
  • Using a springfoam pan will allow for easy release but it does leak a little with the pumpkin pie mixture so beware. Make sure there's a sheet pan or something under the springfoam pan for good measure.
  • Using a little more butter will give you a stronger and probably crispier crust. 
  • Sprinkle some pieces of "chopped" candied pecan as topping for added crunch, you won't regret! 
Whipped Cream Topping:
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 pint container of whipping cream
Combine and whip until strong peaks form. Then transfer into a pipping bag with tip (optional) and decorate pie. 



Thursday, November 22, 2012

HAPPY THANKSGIVING (plus Candied Pecans)

Happy Thanksgiving and certainly there is much to be thankful for this year.


Here is just a few pictures to express my thanks for health, family and friends! Being able to enjoy this wonderful weather during late fall is just an added bonus which led to my photo inspiration. This series of pictures I took outside around my parents' house/garden area.


Just a concept I wanted to play around with while playing with my camera. I call it Garden Series (more on my Pinterest // GardenSeries // board). It's amazing how many beautiful simple things are around us.


Once in a while we just need to stop and smell the "roses." Modern day life is demanding and we've all been there but once a year when the holidays roll around, there is no better time to stop and enjoy what we have around us. Be grateful, be happy, and enjoy life!


Oh and don't forget to BE SWEET!
Candied Pecans!! I never knew how crazy easy these are to make! Here I was dreading the whole process this morning... and it took oh all of 15 minutes! I know, shocking!


Here's what needs to be done:

**Recipe from Better Homes cookbook

  • 3 cups of pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  1. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the pecan halve onto the sheet. Bake in oven @ 325 degrees for 10 minutes (stirring once)
  2. Meanwhile, in a sauce pan or 8in skillet over medium heat melt about 1/4 cup of the sugar, shaking pan to evenly melt the sugar (syrup-like), only stir to keep from over browning. Stir in remaining sugar as it melts.
  3. Reduce heat to low and continue melting until a light golden brown
  4. Add butter and vanilla to melted sugar, stirring until everything is well mixed
  5. Turn off heat, add warm nuts, stirring to coat.
  6. Pour and spread nut mixture onto a baking sheet and cool completely.
  7. Try not to eat all of it in one sitting (optional)
There you have it, some eye candy and some...well actual candy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Quick & Easy (cheater) Chicken Ravioli w/ Meatballs

Who says great meals can't come from a busy body!? Sure I didn't get the great pleasure of feeling truly accomplished that I made everything from scratch but sometimes in life when things get busy... preparing every last ingredient from scratch is just not possible... sometimes we have to cheat a little.

This, however, does not mean we can't be creative about it! In a recent trip to Costco, I picked up a few "ingredients" and made this incredible looking dish (quite tasty too).

Why settle for plain chicken ravioli when it can be great!? Just like dressing up, that's exactly what it needed. Some spinach for added nutritional value (yes that's always going to be the case), sauce for flavor, and meatballs for a bit more protein.

The trick?
  • 1 bag of precooked/pre-prepared chicken ravioli (or any pre-prepared pasta
  • 1 container of prepared soup of choice, usually in 16oz clear containers (Not the canned stuff, and depending on the pasta and what flavors I want to have, I usually use tomato based soups). 
  • precooked spicy mango chicken meatballs (or meatballs of choice)
  • fresh baby spinach chopped 
  • handful of cheese
  • about 1 tbsp of olive oil (optional)
Prepare everything via instructions on package.

Then I gave the pasta and meatballs a quick saute with some olive oil, add in about 1/2 container of soup ( I'd say about 8oz or less, I just use enough to coat the pasta well. Soup is meant to be sauce here, NOT soup) plus the cooked spinach. Let it all cook together for about 5 minutes then add in the cheese and you have a great meal ahead of you!


It might not be the greatest thing in the world nutritiously speaking but its better than a frozen dinner or something you'd pick up at the fast food place.

Note: I haven't used jar/canned pasta sauce in years...frankly I don't even bother. High in sodium and not even a good trade off for flavor/ingredients so I use soups ("fresh" soups in clear containers, not the canned stuff) as sauces for pastas instead. Many of them are meant for as meals so they tend to have all the usual ingredients you might want to add onto your pastas anyways. I don't know about other people, but those soups are usually not that satisfying...they lack volume and depth for me... so what better way to make things better than to dress that up too!

P.S. you do NOT need to add salt to anything, thanks to the high sodium content in everything else there is no need


....and lastly was this an excuse for taking pictures? You betcha!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Roasted Bell Pepper Soup!!


It's time for FALL! Cool air coming in as the long hot summer days fade away, what better way to celebrate than with a big bowl of heart warming soup!?



I love the season of fall, not only do you have every major sport going (FOOTBALL, basketball, and baseball), you have the beautiful changes in nature occurring in every corner no matter where you are. It's time to put away those summer sandals and tanks and replace them with rain boots and warm sweaters. With the holidays quickly approaching and harvest finally being over its time to spend some quality time back in the kitchen and sprawl out my craft supplies!

Hopefully this recipe is just a beginning of a long series of delicious recipes to come!


Roasted bell pepper soup made with chicken sausage and a variety of grains to give it a good boost of whole grains and fiber. Technically I didn't roast the bell peppers...they were lightly saute due to laziness but it was just as good!

Recipe here

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spinach Feta-Mozzarella Cheese Crescent Rolls!

Apparently spinach seems to one of my favorite ingredients when it comes to making anything! This has got to be like the 100th recipe that started with "Spinach"! Oh well, to all the spinach lovers out there, here's another one!

Spinach Feta-Mozzarella Crescent Rolls! (recipe here)

This recipe I adapted from a similar one I found while I was on one of my countless trips to Pinterest (clairebidwellsmith.com) and decided to take parts of it while adding my own flare to other parts.


These little buggers are quick and easy, a perfect appetizer to any meal or ...pot luck which is what I used them for. I love pot lucks but when its right smack in the middle of a very busy season and in the middle of the week... time nor energy isn't going to allow me to make anything fancy. Lucky for me, these just look fancy but I didn't have to slave to get them made. Of course, cheating with pre-made crescent roll dough also helps.


That said, enjoy!



Friday, October 12, 2012

Jalapeno and Spinach Gluten-Free Cheese Bread!!

Jalapeno and Spinach  Gluten-Free Cheese Bread!



Technically... this is not a completely new recipe, just another old one I'm playing around with and can't seem to get away from: the Brazilian Cheese Bread!

I love how easy it is and how quick it is to whip up a batch of minis (24) with such simple ingredients. It literally takes longer to wash my blender than it does to make the batter... too bad dishes don't wash themselves... ok so maybe a dish washer fills that criteria BUT since I don't own one and you cannot put everything in a dish washer, my wish at this point is for dishes to self clean.

SO what's new with this version?
  1. A bunch of spinach
  2. A nice kick from fresh chopped jalapeno peppers (I used 2 but the quantity is up to the creator)
Follow the Brazilian Cheese Bread recipe (link above) and toss in a handful of spinach while blending the batter. Then once the batter is well blended, remove batter from the blender, and  add the chopped jalapenos. Bake @ 375 for approx 25 minutes. Be careful not to add too much spinach... too much moisture from the spinach in the batter prevents it from reaching its bread-like features (learned that from experience!) and it becomes a little too chewy, still tastes great though!

Since work has been a bit time consuming lately I haven't had time to try any new recipes but have been itching to bake/cook something. I decided the best way to approach this is playing with an old recipe, so enjoy!



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Spinich, Kale, and Pepper Jack Stuffed Chicken!

It was delicious! It is also definitely gone, as I had made this dish over a month ago! With the moving and settling in at home plus new job and settling in there ... things have been crazy and my hobbies and blogging are getting neglected so the next few posts will be reflecting past dishes/events.


Fear not (words of comfort for myself) as I am a little more settled in now, I can concentrate a little bit more on what I do best, food and craft experiments!






Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tomato Bisque!

Oh Yum! Creamy, tangy, tomato bisque!

Before I get to my recipe, some exciting news, in a few days I will be starting my new job as a production chemist for a winery! Yes, I am leaving the spirits world and moving onto classier drinks now, wines. However new job also means relocation... I hate moving... I loathe it. I have to admit I have not procrastinated this much since my college days when I know I eventually needed to study but don't and just stare at the books hoping the information will just download into my brain... no luck. Well just like then, I know I'd eventually need to pack but every bone in my body wishes that my stuff can just pack themselves... THEN after the pain of packing comes the pain of MOVING. My current apartment is upstairs... *sigh* which only means one thing: what goes up must come down. Just thinking about lugging all my belongings downstairs makes me sad.


Therefore, I will now choose to ignore the situation some more. Procrastination will continue.
 
SO instead of packing, I choose to update my blog. In my efforts of cleaning out my fridge before I move, I came up with this wonderful recipe to make tomato bisque soup using a potato instead of flour to make the nice thick creamy luscious soup.
 It made a fantastic dinner! Throw in some bread and I think I've just got heaven in a bowl!



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SF Street Food Festival 2012 and Zucchini Soup with Prawns!


By now it should be no surprise that where there is food, there is me. The San Francisco Street Food Festival 2012! The festivities I drooled over this past weekend was actually an accidental discovery my friends and I found last year when we were wondering the streets of SF (okay so we were nerding it at the Science Academy in Golden Gate Park) but the previous year we arrived so late that they were already getting ready to shut down... we didn't get a thorough run.

This year, we made it a point to focus just on street foods and clearly we succeeded! 


A weekend well spent in my eyes! I even ran into a booth that sold Brazilian Cheese Breads! Now I finally know what it tastes like and to my greatest satisfaction, they taste almost identical to the ones I've made (recipe here)! Nothing more exciting than making something that matches spot on with the professionals.

Now to the random part of the post:

Creamy Zucchini Soup with Giant Prawns!


I suppose it's not that random as I feel obligated to include a recipe/creation with every blog entry...

I must say this is one of the best dinners I've made in a while. Craving shrimp for some time now, I finally decided to break into the bag of shrimps I've bought a while ago (unfortunately not fresh shrimp but served its purpose) and make something of it!

Playing with my Creamy Summer Squash Soup as a base for the shrimp, I decided to cut the yellow squash out of the recipe and used 3 zucchinis instead. For the shrimp I decided to keep things simple and threw them onto a saute pan with a little bit of garlic olive oil and salt and pepper for taste. Threw in a jalapeno pepper for an extra kick. 

Finishing details for the soup:
(makes 1 serving)
ingredients:
  • 16/20 shrimps (6-7 shrimps per serving) 
  • salt (to taste)
  • ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Creamy Summer Squash Soup Recipe. Follow the recipe exactly except replace the yellow squash with another zucchini
Procedures:
  1. Heat a medium saute pan with olive oil and once the pan is hot place the shrimps onto the pan, season, and cook until about 80%cooked
  2. With the shrimp still in the saute pan, pour about 1-2 cups of the zucchini soup into the saute pan and finish cooking the shrimp in the soup. 
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Peach Tarts Revisited!

An easy no bake fresh peach tart with mascarpone cream filling. Unfortunately I don't remember where I obtained this recipe for the mascarpone cream filling... sorry to the original composer for taking it and not giving credit...

Mascarpone Cream Filling:
 Ingredients:
  • 4oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup powder sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 4oz fresh mascarpone cream
Procedures:
  1. Beat cream cheese, heavy cream, powder sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Fold in mascarpone
  2. Spread on the bottom of pastry shell (recipe for shell found here)

I had left over pastry shell dough from my last run of peach tartlets so I thought I'd venture into another recipe of peach tarts and here we are! So much easier when I only have to make the filling!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

SU Holiday Catalog 2012 Post #2

Here's another batch of cards made with another stamp set from the new 2012 SU Holiday Catalog:

Featuring: GOOGLY GHOULS stamp set
(*note: card projects may contain some retired items)
Halloween also came a little early this year!

Card 1
(pumpkin pie, wisteria wonder, perfect plum, basic black, wicked cool stamp set, spider web embossing folder) 

Card 2
(pumpkin pie, peach parfait, basic grey, basic black, whisper white craft ink, spider web embossing folder, got treats stamp set) 

Card 3
(pumpkin pie, peach parfait, lucky limeade, concord crush, basic black, more mustard, houndstooth embossing folder, teeny tiny wishes stamp set, wicked cool stamp set)

Card 4
(pumpkin pie, peach parfait, lucky limeade, basic black, hand penned stamp set, wicked cool stamp set) 

P.S. $0.99 on Retired Stampin' Up Designers Fabric!! Click here to check them out!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Garlic Cheese Knots Round 2!

What will make garlic cheese knots even better.... hmm... how about a little bit of prosciutto!?! Yes please!
 
Made exactly as before but this time around, I decided to use pepper jack cheese, garlic seasoning I bought from the garlic festival, and of course the main player prosciutto!

For recipe, click here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Lazy Friday Night: Cheesy Garlicy Mash Potatoes!

What a week! With the Olympics my sleep schedule is definitely taking a toll. Why does the swimming events always get broadcast last!!? Rhetorical question... but still sucks since I have to wake up at 4 am for work and sleeping at 12am doesn't help. Definitely going to load up on coffee for the next few weeks...

So technically where I'm getting at is after 5 days of that, now I'm just too lazy to cook and clean  so why not some mash potatoes...at least the way I make it is lazy enough. 1 pan, 1 wooden spoon, 1 potato, and some spices + cheese = Cheesy Garlicy Mash Potatoes (recipe here)!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Peach Tartlets with Peach Mascarpone Cream!


The result of being too excited and purchasing a case of peaches... not too shabby. One more experiment to come later but for now we have peach tartlets with peach mascarpone cream! Originally it was just suppose to be peach tartlets but after trying one, it seemed like it was missing something so I added the mascarpone cream.


Definitely better with the cream. I wish I had the cognac the recipe called for too but unfortunately since I didn't I decided to just skip it. Seems like it turned out okay.




Sunday, July 29, 2012

Garlic, Garlic, and more Garlic! Garlic Festival 2012!

Where there’s food, I am there! I admit it, I’m a food addict. What can I say, food is just so goooood! I wish I had a bottomless pit for a stomach sometimes then on days when I feel lazy I wouldn’t have to force myself to go to the gym… anyways enough about that, gym is for future me to worry about later.

Today’s glorious finds @ The Garlic Festival 2012:


I’ve been to the festival 2 years ago but the genius in me decided to eat before going so I wasn’t able to eat much of anything at the festival. This time, I made sure I ate my way through! Garlic sweet potato fries, chicken veggie wrap, gator tail, berry garlic chipotle wings, and to top it all off: garlic pistachio ice cream served in a cantaloupe bowl! Gym is definitely going to happen tomorrow after all this food. When my lungs are collapsing and legs feel like falling off, I’ll make sure to remember this list, in the meantime, yum!

Now how can I go to the festival and talk all this without making some kind of garlic contribution of my own!? Garlic Cheese Knots!


… Actually it was just coincidence I made this the same weekend I was going to the festival…

While daydreaming at work, my mind wondered off and suddenly: Garlic Cheese Knots were formulated! 

They turned out so good, but now the wheels are turning again and I think I can make them even better. Next kitchen venture! 


Trying something new: Garlic Cheese Knots Recipe Video! (Printable version here)