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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mom's Ginger Chicken Soup with Tofu Noodles

Whenever we start to feel sick or actually come down with some sickness, my mom would always make her chicken soup for us. It is very basic and doesn't involve alot of ingredients at all. In fact, just your simple chicken pieces or a whole chicken cut up, and LOTS of sliced ginger to cook with it.

Ginger has many benefits like anti-inflammatory and cold and flu prevention. There is usually a pot each week and we would just drink this instead of water. This time I decided to try adding Shirataki Noodles (basically tofu noodles).

20 calories? No cholesterol? No sugar? YES PLEASE!
Recipe for chicken broth:
1 whole chicken cut into pieces
Stock pot full of water
1 whole ginger- cut into chunks
Kosher salt
Japanese Hon-Dashi (flavoring agent)
1 stem of green onions- minced
Shirataki tofu noodles

We usually boil the chicken with the bones and ginger until the chicken is close to falling apart. Then we will season it with salt and hon-dashi (Japanese fish bonito flavoring agent). Follow the direction to prepare the Shirataki Noodles. Add in the noodles at the end and top with minced green onions. End result is a very light chicken soup with strong hint of ginger. The ginger compliments the chicken and Joseph absolutely loves this dish. He will have it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and eat bowls and bowls of it.

Here is Joseph enjoying the tofu noodles with his all time favorite chicken soup. Slurping it up and trying the tofu noodles for the first time. He was totally amazed of tofu being squeezed into noodles.
He loves his Pororo training chopsticks

Slurp, slurp, slurp!

Until then, Enjoy!

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Baby Snacking Time!

Ava is now at the age where she is starting to feed herself snacks. Browsing through the Target baby snack aisle, I knew I wanted to get the puffs for Ava. Those were life saving snacks when Joseph was a baby and was so convenient and tasty as well. I thought I try out couple new ones that wasn't there 6 years ago.

Now which of these does my 6 year old like as well???
I picked up couple flavors of the Gerber yogurt melts. They are so cute and look like mini chocolate morsels (except they are yogurt). Once they melt, they taste exactly what the packaging states...YOGURT! My 6 year old son loves these and pretty much ate half of the first bag, so I went back and stocked up on 3 more bags. Gerber's Puffs are great too, they have great flavors, but just too bad they don't sell mini containers or packages of them. So packing that in a diaper bag takes up room. Last but not least, Ella's Kitchen's baby cookies. They actually look like mini cookie bars. The texture is more coarse and does not melt/dissolve like the Gerber products. I personally do not like this product cause when Ava starts eating it, it basically turns into a big, mushy, muddy mess. Complete with the mud color as well. This product is pretty tasteless as well.

Aside from the American brand baby snacks, I also carry my little arsenal of Japanese made baby snacks. First of all, they have the cutest packaging! The products are very easy to dissolve and easy for babies to hold.

Japanese always get it right when it comes to cute branding..^_^

Top left: Rice bars Top Right: Rice puff balls Bottom Right: Little balls
I love the rice bars! They are the perfect size for baby to grab. Not thin enough for them to shove the whole thing in their mouth. They come in original and vegetable flavored. The rice puff balls are basically like KIX cereal but made of rice and dissolved easily. The bottom are little balls processed with egg and flour and very dissolveable. I decided to buy the pumpkin flavored ones.

All of these snacks are not only Ava Approved, but Joseph as well with the exception of Ella's Kitchen baby cookies. I find these snacks are the best items to keep in the diaper bag because it keeps them busy at restaurants but also helps put something delicious in their tummies!

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Ava's 6 months shoot (But taken at 8 months!)

I can't believe my baby girl is already 8 months old!!  I love her static looking hair, her silly teething grin, and most of all her adorable self in all these cute outfits!  Here is a couple teasers and I can't wait to see the rest!

Swim Romper: Janie and Jack (Out of season)

Sailor swim cover jacket: Janie and Jack (Out of season)

All I think about is eating my boots! Nom Nom Nom!! Whole outfit is from Old Navy with the exception of the floral on the straw hat. That was added separately.

Look at those two little teeth...Silly Ava!!

Pretty in her lace rufflies
Will post the rest when I get them!

Photo credit: Andi Allison Photography

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Summertime Quesadilla

Summertime splurge. This is that dish. After eating the same ethnic food day after day, it is that feeling of eating something that will put a smile on your face. My Pineapple Shrimp Quesadilla. This dish is on the sweet side which will remind you of a nice tropical place or any happy place you prefer. The touch of the BBQ sauce will remind you of summer time dishes. The shrimp is tasty and yet not too filling. I think this is that perfect summer dish.

Ingredients are your typical go-to items at any grocery store. We will get back in the health routine another day.

I've been wanting to use the case of pineapple chunks I bought from Costco. Throwing it in a quesadilla is just perfect. Adds a nice refreshing taste. I actually slice each shrimp in half (top side down) so the quesadilla wouldn't be too thick for the cheese to hold together. Very simple to assemble, first toss the de-veined, de-shelled shrimp and coat with the fajita seasoning (or taco seasoning is fine). Sauteed on high heat in a pan with oil until pink. Set aside. Now it's time to put it all together:

Flour tortilla ----> Cover with a layer of mexican four cheese ----> Add pineapple chunks (I sliced the chunks in half so it wouldn't be so chunky -----> Add some cooked shrimpy -----> Drizzle some BBQ sauce around ----> Cover with more cheese ----> Cover with the other flour tortilla.

You can also rub some butter on the outside of the tortilla to give it a nicer crisp (which I did).

The oooziness is calling your name...

Butter gave it a nice crisp..too much maybe?
I served it with a side of rice medley so I didn't feel as guilty for eating it. But eating this compared to a regular quesadilla, I didn't feel as stuffed. That's usually a good call!

See the pineapples?!? See the shrimps!?! Ohh yeaa!!
Joseph, who doesn't like pineapples OR shrimp actually ate this up. After coating the shrimp in the fajita seasoning and the BBQ sauce, you can't even tell there's shrimp in that quesadilla!! Until then, enjoy! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cars Land Disney Trip!!!

Over this ridiculous hot and humid weather in southern California, I decided to plan a Disney trip of all other times of the year!! The temperature was about 95 degrees with humidity, something I am just not used it. Not even for my cousin that was visiting from Taiwan that deals with humid asian weather almost everyday. Also had friends from out of town joining us which made it so much more fun for Joseph!

Here's Joseph and I at Cars Land finally!

Joseph had a blast with Kayden :)

Mater's Jamboree Ride
The cute thing is that walking into Radiator Springs is like being in the movie. Everything is an exact replica which is why it is so cool. Only at Disneyland :) We got to ride the Radiator Springs Racers around 5pm but we got the fast pass around 9am that morning since it is so popular. Had such a blast on that ride.

Sally's Cozy Cone Motel!

Too cute haha

The weather matched this backdrop perfectly hahahah
Luigi's Flying Tire Ride. We ended up riding this the next day!

Look at that smile on that kid! Too excited!!
Silly boys

Happiest Place on Earth indeed!!

Joseph with his auntie Lin :)
Mickey waffles from the Storyteller Cafe character breakfast!

Steak Gumbo in bread bowl, so delicious.
It was such a blast going to Disney and Joseph got to actually spend the whole day with someone his age! Disney pictures from iphone coming soon!! Pin It Now!

Spaghetti Squash Casserole- True Food Inspired

This posting is inspired by a dish I've had many times now at True Food Kitchen. Their Spaghetti Squash Casserole. First of all, I've never cooked with a spaghetti squash before. It is a little on the weird side how after it is boiled or roasted, the meat becomes shreds when you go at it with a fork. Just weird. I like this dish for its simplicity and taste. On top of that, minus all the carbs you would get in a regular spaghetti dish.

That tool thingamijiga in the top right was perfect for making long strands

So far three ingredients!
This dish is enough for 4-5 servings and only cost no more than $10 depending on the brand of sauce and cheese. First I cut the spaghetti squash raw in half, scooped out all the seeds and nasty stringy stuff, put it cut side down on a roasting pan and stuck it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. After that was done, I went at it with a fork which produced spaghetti strands. Then I took my tool and sliced strands on a zucchini. Using the skin of the zucchini is okay, but you would just have to cook it longer.

Toss the vegetable strands with tomato sauce of choice, put in a casserole dish, cover with mozzarella cheese and toss in the over for a good 45 minutes at 350degrees. This time I used fresh mozzarella cheese in a roll. Next time, mozzarella pearls or shredded cheese.

And ding! It's done. The spaghetti squash is naturally sweet after roasting which is good because it can counterbalance the acidity in the tomato sauce. I used Lucini Brand again but it is not as salty or tomato-ey like other brands.

Perfect winter meal but in summertime hahahaha
Would I make this dish again? Of course! It is very cost effective and require minimal prep work. This is a dish even Joseph can help me with. I think you can probably even sneak in some strands of carrots or eggplants. :) Until then, enjoy :)

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Butterscotch Chocolate Brownie Cookies

These cookies are simply decadent and amazing to eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! I found these looking through Foodgawker and immediately caught my eyes. I followed the original recipe from Breanna's Recipe Box.

16 ounces Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao), chopped
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
4 eggs
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt chopped chocolate with the butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth.  Mix eggs, vanilla, and sugar in a medium bowl.  Combine thoroughly.  Set aside.
Sift flour, salt and baking powder together in a small bowl.
Add melted chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and slowly add dry ingredients.  When combined, add the chocolate chips and stir.
Scoop 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough onto prepared sheets. Here I added the butterscotch chips on top of the dough mixture right before putting it in the oven. Bake 10-12 minutes or until they are firm on the outside (dough loses its sheen).  Leave to cool completely on baking sheets.
**I didn't add any fleur de salt or sea salt since I forgot to buy it at the grocery store. I found the kosher salt in the original recipe was enough**
Baked some with the butterscotch chips, some without for comparison!

Some prefered without for the rich, dark, bitter taste of the chocolate.

This recipe easily baked a good 2 dozen 4 inch cookies. Joseph ate about 6 before I got to trying one. What I like about this recipe is that you can do variations using the brownie cookie as a base to build on. I think next time I want to swirl in caramel with sea salt for a sweet/salty cookie. For those who likes soft cookies, this is definitely it for you. With a nice tall glass of milk, it's good anytime of the day :) Until then, enjoy!

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Saturday EAT-DAY: Los Angeles Edition!

Spent the weekend up in Los Angeles eating one of my favorite places and also trying new ones. Went to True Food Kitchen and decided to try everything different on the menu, with the exception of the Weekend Warrior Smoothie. Everything came out so tasty and just so well executed. Ava even got to try a little bit of the sweet potato hash! But from the picture, looks like she is diggin the Johnny Quinoa Cake (basically blueberrypancakes with red quinoa in the batter topped with greek yogurt and fresh blueberries).
Kale, apple juice, ginger, and some other healthy stuff.

Juicy burger and the whole wheat flax bun was a bonus!

Refreshing and doesn't taste bitter at all!

Scramble loaded with veggies served on top of a bed of sweet potato hash.

I love the thinness of this johnny cake and the crunch from the red quinoa.

Ava says, "ME WANT, ME WANT!!"
 After True Food Kitchen, we headed out to the Los Angeles Farmer's Market at Third and Fairfax. Lots of small eateries to try and little shops to buy things from. In addition, The Grove shopping plaza is literally right next to the Farmer's Market!! Double shop time!

Famous farmer's market in Los Angeles
Mendocino Farms, you are so awesome!!! I've read about their Kurobuta Banh Mi Sandwich (Kurabota is basically pork belly and banh mi is a Vietnamese French sub usually with pickled carrots and radishes topped with fresh cilantro and jalapeno). So the Kurobuta Banh Mi is Mendocino Farm's take on the real Banh Mi. What makes this one different? Instead of french bread they use a thin ciabatta bread and they press it in some kind of panini press. I'll have to admit, this totally beats out a regular banh mi sandwich. I'd say this is up there with burrata cheese (my other love).
Conveniently next to the Farmer's Market! Eater's paradise!
Yummmmy menu!

Great tasting Po Boy, only wished the french roll was toasted :/

 After being in heaven with the Kurobuta Banh Mi, we headed back to the farmer's market to try something in order to validate our parking. My mom saw this cute little coffee/pastry shop that had nice cute little desserts. The place Short Cake made such a pretty latte.


It was such a great day in Los Angeles, granted it was a little on the hotter side but nonetheless it was fun eating and going to new places. Hopefully next weekend I'll be back for some more fun!

True Food Kitchen
395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 593-8300

Mendocino Farms
175 S. Fairfax Ave Suite B
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 934-4261

Short Cake
6333 W. 3rd St. Stall #316
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 761-7976

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