Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I'm starting off the new year with some visiting family--niece arrives today. Then my sister and bil arrive in 4 days. They are all coming into some cold weather but then are off to drive up to almost Canada [upstate NY] where it looks like it will be a winter wonderland for them. 

Hope I can get my niece to help me out and make some macarons and maybe even try out the giant bread maker to make up some mochi. Speaking of mochi, I better soak that rice.

Hope the New Year brings more pictures of things I've been making and doing. Or at least non blurry pictures from my new camera. 

Have a great New Year's Eve and a great year to come!

Knitting away

this fall into winter, just been in the mood. I guess I picked patterns that have kept my interest and can withstand my constant stopping and starting due to my crazy schedule. I wanted to show off what I've gotten done. Still need finishing and block [blah!] but I'm still pretty happy of my accomplishments.

Romney Wool Hat
Got this wool from the NJ sheep and fiber festival this fall. It was from a local farm-Black Walnut Farms, that hand spun and naturally dyed yarn and it passed the itchy test. I figure it would make a great winter hat to keep WG head warm. This is the Big Rib Thank You hat from purlbee. 
rommney wool hat

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My last vacation day of the year

that was Friday wasI spent most of it baking, prepping and cleaning. I started off baking for the restaurant; cheesecake and coffee creme brulee. Our staples at the restaurant. 

Once that was done I started on prepping for today, a day of baking and jamming. 

First up swiss buttercream for my second attempt at macarons. A little of a disaster as it just wasn't coming together. My butter was too cold. looked like it crudled. After a little bit a reasearch [thank you  Confections of a Foodie Bride], I got it to work. I'm thinking vanilla macarons with vanilla buttercream and raspberry jam [another thing I worked on].

Next up was to slice up the meyer lemons for my marmalade. Needed to sit over night in water. That's on my stove at moment. This is for holiday gifts. I made this last year for the restaurant. I'm working off this recipe from One Green Generation, made a few adjustments, let's see how it comes out. Here's a pic of it cooking away.
Meyer Lemon Marmalade

Then raspberries for jam. I do my jam in 2 parts. I boil up my jam and melt the sugar then let the fruit sit overnight in the sugary syrup. Then next morning I cook it up. I don't know I think I get better result from this method. As a mention before, I'm think of using the jam for my 2nd attempt at macarons. I got 3 8oz bottles from 1 1/2lb. of raspberries. I even ran it through a food mill to get most of the seeds out. Maybe one of the jars will be a holiday gift.
3 bottles of raspberry jam
While the raspberries were on the stove, I mixed up a batch of cream cheese frosting, for some cupcakes I'll bake today or tomorrow. Need to be prepared.

And last but not least, I roasted my last batch of sweet potatoes I got from the farmers market. I'm still deciding what to make with these potatoes, pie or doughnuts?

Mixed in with kitchen madness is constantly wiping and washing. My hands are so chapped and dry even with my new re-moisturizing method--coconut oil. I got a big bottle of it from Costco. Been reading about for a while. Mainly about how get it was for dry scalp which I suffer from during the winter. I figure I try and and see how it works out. I'm giving it time so I'll give you my review in a couple of months.

Oh--I forgot to mention I made some persimmon jam last week. I wanted to try it as my mom really loves persimmons [kaki in japanese]. I over cooked it and it looks very dark [sad though I love the bright orange color of the persimmon] but has an intense flavor and so sweet. I made 3 lbs of kaki with 5 1/2 cups of sugar. I think next time, I'll minus 1/2 cup of sugar and wait slightly longer so the kaki is a little more soft, so I don't over cook. Got 4 1/2 8oz bottles. I think it's okay on a great piece of bread toasted with butter. I know a couple of people who love persimmons so I get their review.
4 bottles of Kaki jam

I'll better go. My marmalade is cooking on the stove now. My house smells of meyer lemons. I think I should get tons at least 6 bottles. Thinking of bring out of retirement, my chai cupcakes with marmalade filling and cardamon spice cream cheese frosting for the restaurant. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

After the flood . . .

from my clogged drain, I left for NYC with Miss C, for our two audition adventure. 

Here's a little back story on Miss C. From Hawaii, senior in high school, daughter of good friend since middle school. Here for two audition to get into college dance programs. Volunteered my time since vacation time available, had nothing planned and on top of that her Mom and Dad had taken multiple trips up to the Mainland this year. As long as she [Miss C] was okay with it, I was in.

Audition 1: in NYC @ one of the prestigious modern dance company with BFA program with very good university in NYC.

My job was to get her to the audition, wish her luck and pick her up after she was done. Didn't need to wait around as it was all day.  Talk about tough. 

Didn't have anything planned for the day. I figured I'd go to a museum then just walk around. The first thing I wanted to get over to Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center. Been want to try it out for a while. Only problem, not hungry, so I got an ice coffee [in the corner of my eye, I see macarons-hmmm, breakfast] and planned out my day. 

Bouchon Bakery must have a good write up somewhere in international guide book as there were tons of European tourist around me, I could hear French, Spanish and Germay being spoken around me. 

My plan for the day was a walk through Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum. Here's a shot from my walk.

On my way to the MET

Lunch at the MET then the special exhibits, [the George Bellows exhibit was great]

Afternoon Sky
On my way back to pick up Miss C., the sky was so beautiful and dramatic. I'm sure this doesn't do it justice.

Knitting in Central Park

I did have some time to kill so I stop to have a drink at a cafe in park and to do a little knitting. It was pretty warm out and great to sit and knit.

Bouchon Bakery Macarons
Then I made a quick stop at Bouchon Bakery for some macarons [chocolate, caramel, pistachio, lemon/cassis, pistachio my favorite as it is missing from the shot]. A little treat for Miss C for her long audition day.

We decided to stay in the NYC for one night to be near to Penn Station so it would be easier to get LIRR very early on Tuesday. 

Audition 2: in Long Island @ small university in a beautiful community 45 minutes by LIRR

This audition was a half a day. Campus nice and manageable. I sat around knitting as the audition was going on. Chatted with a Dad waiting for his son and some of the staff. Got a lot of knitted done in the time. 

Miss C and Tabata Noodles
Once we got back to the city, I suggested we go to get some ramen @ Tabata Noodles. This is her mom family name and I thought it would be fun to send of pic of her in front of the restaurant. 

So this is how I found this place OR this is what happen when you google too much. I some how found my way to a review and it said it was pretty good and on our way to the bus terminal. So why not. We both got a big bowl of Miso Ramen. It was perfect for end to our two audition adventure. Good luck Miss C. I hope you get into the one you want. 
Miso Ramen

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My week off from work

Continued with drainage problems. Been trying to deal with the blockage for a few days and final talked WG into calling someone. So I decide to call this big company that deal with clogged drains. It says it right in their advertisement. Simple, right. Well, they came and gave me an estimate of eight hundred and some odd dollars and need to 2 men.  WG was beside himself--told me to cancel the appointment. I called a friend who is a plumber [but doesn't do clogged drains] and asked if that sounded right. Of course it isn't right but how am I suppose to know I'm. I don't do plumbing and I just wanted a clear drain.

In the meantime, WG wants to try out one more thing. Oh, by the way, did I mention we have a house guest at our house. So while she was catching up on her sleep, we try out his other method--doesn't work and POINT 1: add more water to the blockage. It didn't seem to work. Need to call someone else. Then POINT 2: my house guest wakes up and goes into the shower, I wasn't exactly sure what would happen, but I thought I would be able to handle after she was done. A little bit of cleaning up. Wrong. It was total floodage in downstairs bathroom. Picture this, me shoveling buckets of water into two trash cans like a wild lady. Not a pretty site as I've been cleaning that stupid downstairs bathroom for the past several days. There was a lot of cursing involved.

So to make this long story shorter, finally got a plumber to fix clog. It cost us a 1/4 of what the big company wanted and took only an hour.  At the end of this story and my POINT 3: never add more water to clog and think it won't be worst that it is and don't call that big company they only want to suck you dry in your wallet not you drain.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

More recipe testing

Testing out Martha's recipe for Creme Brulee. Need to pass WG's taste test. Comparing to what we had in Lausanne this August.


Just out of the oven and cooling. Then into the refrig for more cold rest. Looks okay, smell good. Hope it passes. 

Trying out a new chocolate pudding recipe from Cook's Country. Let you know how that turns out.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What I did on my Thanksgiving break

My thanksgiving consisted of working on my holiday gifts while watching Castle marathon all day. Then a little cooking for dinner, steak and some steam broccoli [so sweet and tender] from the farmers market. Wanted to try out a new chocolate pudding recipe, but I was just too lazy start something new after our early dinner.

Holiday Gifts
The gifts that I was working are for the family. Started two things at the same to keep my interest going. Knitted gifts are a bit tough when you have 3 knitters and a crocheter in the family [on top of that a sister who is a great knitter]. But I've been in the mood to knit lately and I thought I better take advantage of it. I made a second bandana cowl for WG with some left over yarn [he found a crochet knight's helmet, that he wants me to make for him. Yes, I said knight's helmet. Need to get the pattern will try and start after making my gifts.] 

Working on a cotton bamboo lace-y scarf in a coral. Using the yarn I got in May when my family was here. We went to the Lion Brand Outlet and picked up a few things [few. . .hehe]. The pattern is the Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery from Been want to knit something in bamboo for a while. It has a nice drape to it, looks nice in this pattern.
Ribbon Lace

The other project I started is a cowl in red merino wool. Maryse cowl by Amy Christoffers from Knitscene, Winter 2012 Something warm and cozy. The pattern is pretty easy, have ripped it out totally yet.
red cowl

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Got myself . . .

A big monitor-viewsonic 2450 to use when I work from home. The small laptop will make even blinder [if that is a word] than I am already [and that is very blind]. Need to rearrange furniture to make it work better. Maybe that will be my thanksgiving day fun. 

I've been try to post as much as I can without boring you folks to death. No new recipes as of recent. Will revist the sweet potato doughnuts again. Seeing some friends that i know will enjoy them. Have been aching to try homemade fluff for my nutella rice crispie treats. Just don't have the time to make it up. Found the recipe about a  year ago from Hopefully this long weekend I'll have the time. 

Finally I just made my appointment with my eye doctor for my yearly visit. Need to glasses for sure. I think I've given up on contacts for good. Will use up what I have and that's will be the end of my contact life [I think, I been trying to do this for the past 5 years]. Thinking of getting some prescript sunglasses instead. I'm hoping my eye doctor has some big dark frames that I've been loving recently. Like the Crosby from Warby Parker

I guess if I don't find something I like I can order frames from Warby Parker and get the lens from my doctor. Warby Parker has a free try-on program--5 pairs/5 days. Maybe I'll try this out.

Here's an update to the monitor, it has arrived but now I still need a cable to hook it up. Why does these things have to be so hard. I'll be off to best buy today [need to avoid the crazy black friday crowds]. I hope they have it. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Catching up with things

Wanted to post a few pics that I took recently. Mostly Hurricane Sandy-based as she has become part of our lives.

  Sandy Relief Cowl
This is my finished project for the Hurricane Sandy Craftalong. It's a bandana cowl, pattern from purl bee. I started our making this with some homespun but I didn't like the way it was coming out. So I switched to some gray/brown merino wool I had in my stash. I'm hope this is unisex enough so anyone can use it. 

I made a lime green care label and attached it with a tassel I had. Something bright and happy. Sending it off today. Hope this keeps someone warm. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Craftalong for Hurricane Sandy Relief.

Wanted to pass along this craftalong to all my crafty friends. It's to help the victims from Hurricane Sandy. For me, it's a good way to use up some of my stash that is sitting in my closet and give something handmade to someone in need. 

I'm making the bandana cowl from Purl bee with some Homespun that I have. I hopefully I can make up a stripe-y hat after that. No pictures yet, just started last night.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

We are back up!

Just wanted to let everyone know that we got our power/internet/cable back on Saturday, around 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I was outside talking to the neighbors when she notice that our lights were on. We were all so happy as we were expecting it on Monday. Thank you for all who got our power back quicker than expected. I'm so happy. It was a great ending to a very hard week.

Although we had power/internet/cable at the restaurant, having it back up at home, makes much more of a difference. I think it is just getting back to some kind or normalcy. I can't believe that I was looking forward to washing clothes and cleaning my kitchen.

And for all of you that didn't know our restaurant lost power for less than 12 hours and we were up and running the next morning. It was crazy time as many people didn't have power and were able to get food. Our restaurant serve as power up station, news source (we had cable) and a place to get a hot meal. We are so grateful to all who came. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

And most of all, I want to thank everyone for your concern and support during this time. I greatly appreciated it, especially on Wednesday afternoon when I felt at my lowest. The stress of the restaurant and my other job were colliding and it was just my breaking point. Thanks so much. I'm signing off now to do more laundry, I'd never thought I'd look forward to this.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Sweet Potato Pie

sweet potato pie
Been on a sweet potato kick lately. I have 3 potatoes waiting to get roasted up. I really love the sweetness that roasting them brings out. 

I made this pie a couple weeks ago for the restaurant, it seems like people liked it [got a note from a customer asking me to make more]. 

I used my mom's pumpkin pie recipe and tweaked it a bit. My mom's pumpkin pie is a favorite of our family and friends. It's very creamy and custard-y. I used alway have it as my breakfast the morning after Thanksgiving if there was any leftover. It makes a giant pie--9x13 pan. Lots to share. 

I cut the crust amount in half to make it thinner but kept the same amount of filling. So thinner crust, thicker filling. Switched out the pumpkin with oven roasted sweet  potatoes, that I mashed with potato masher so not too smooth. If you look at the picture you can see little chunks of potato.

I thought I'd share it with everyone. It's a big pie, should feed 12 to 14 or 10 big slices like we do at the restaurant.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Finish Products

zucchini caramelized onion tart big
I thought I'd post some of the finish products of my weekend of cooking/baking. This is my zucchini caramelized onion tart.

I got called away yesterday when I was about to start my tart and pie [it was pretty good timing, I had just made the crust and put it in the refrig to rest]. Some friends stopped by the restaurant and went over to have a visit. By the time, I got back home too tired to start up again [stayed a bit at the restaurant, it was busy. Yah!] 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cooking up some savory goodies

red, orange and yellow
Got these beautiful carrots [red, orange and yellow, I'm a sucker for these kinds of veggies] from the farmers market, with some red and orange beets,  swiss chard [my favorite)] and a delicata squash and decide to make up some savory goodies for my lunch this week.

carrots and beets

Starting out roasting the some of the carrot and beets with olive oil, Herb de Provence, salt and pepper. 

I used only 1/3 of the bunch of carrots, so I decide to try making a carrot salad asian-style with the rest.

While the carrots and beets are roasting, I'm caramelizing onions for a zucchini and caramelized onion tart. Someone from work gave me a giant zucchini that I need to use and I found this recipe from One Perfect Bite

I found my way to One Perfect Bite while I was looking for instructions to make dried apricot jam in crock pot. I bought a big container of dried apricots a while back and I thought I better use it up soon. And loved the apricot jam made this summer. So that's also cooking away at the moment.

The onions are done now and I'm off to make some crust, making up 2 crust, one for the tart and one for an apple sour cream crumb pie from Martha Stewart. Yes, I got some apples from the farmers market. [my eyes are bigger than my stomach]
apples for pies

My kitchen smell amazing at the moment. I'll post some pics of the finish products later. 

I'm thinking of trying a stuffed delicata squash with swiss chard [and probably the leftovers of the giant zucchini] and cheese. But that's tomorrow's project. I have a ton of baking and cooking on my list for tomorrow. It's perfect weather for all this cooking. I'm taking advantage when I can. 

I know this all sound way too much for one person. But I have all of this great veggies and fruits from the farmers markets and friends that I need to use up. I guess I'll make someone happy when I surprise them with a sampling.

Monday, October 8, 2012

I went to my local library this weekend

To get some books on CDs for my long commute. I can't remember the last time borrowed something from the library. 

Been wanting to get some audiobook for my ride because my commute is getting very old, too long, too much crazy delays, just too much time in the car. And listening to the radio is cutting it these day, with all the political talk on npr and the same roundup on the "new" alternative station [although I'm happy it's back on the air but with my long commute it seems as if their playlist is very limited]

Got two book: Crazy for the Storm by Norman Ollestad [which I started this morning on my ride into work] and The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim

Crazy for the Storm Calligrapher's Daugther

These look like they will keep me busy till they are due back. Crazy for the Storm the author story of surviving a plane crash in the mountains. I do like non-fiction so hope this story keeps my interest for the next 4 days [my prediction on how long it will take to go through the 8 disks. Faster if we get a bunch of rainy/stormy days, brings out the slow drivers]. The Calligrapher's Daughter is a very long, [I think 32 disks]. Been on a roll with Asian historical fiction from the bunch of cd my sister past on to me. Thought I'd give this a try. I'll probably find out a lot about Korea that I didn't know. 

I hope this borrowing from the library works out for me. Next on my list to borrow: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. I know I would never finish reading it [too slow reader/always falling a sleep while I'm reading/would have to re-read too much/my reading list is too long to add another book] but this might just work with my commute. Wish me luck on my new tactic to making my ride a more pleasant.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Sweet Potato Rice Flour Doughnuts to exact. Doughnuts was one of my favorite things until WG said "it's the worst thing you can eat!" These days, I usually just look and wish I could eat one. On a real bad day, if there is a munkin around I'll have that without feeling too guilty of having eaten he worst thing I could eat. But after I saw this recipe I just had to try it. It has so many of my favorite things, doughnuts, sweet potatoes [I had a batch of potatoes in my freezer, a pat on my thrifty self shoulder], the color orange and rice flour [I'm thinking it will have the mochi-chew quality--yummmm].

While doing some research on korean fried chicken, found my way to Beyond Kimchee. I thought I was there to check out her fried chicken recipe but how could I help myself from not stopping to read about sweet potato doughnuts. Here's a link to the recipe:

The recipe is pretty easy, especially if you already have the potatoes ready. And the frying up is pretty easy as you don't have to cook it as hot as regular deep fried item. See the Beyond Kimchee's comments about oil temp. Got some pictures of my recipe test [yes, I remembered this time].

I love the color from the potatoes.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I wanted to show off my beautiful quiche

Swiss Chard Quiche
Made with rainbow swiss chard and comte cheese. I was so impressed at how it looked and smelled right out of the oven. I used smittenkitchen's leek and mushroom quiche recipe. I sauteed some 1/2 onion, sliced in olive oil and butter. Added the stems first to soften up [the onions turned pink from the red stems], then the leaves, covered to wilt down the leaves. Seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of fish sauce [the crazy thai influence]. Continued to cook evaporate the some of liquid. 

Followed the quiche part recipe pretty close, my dairy was half milk and half heavy cream, use grated comte cheese, about a 1/4 cup and I didn't add the additional butter. 

I just had it for my lunch, not too heavy but creamy and just the right amount of saltiness and chard gives a great texture to the quiche. And the crust is flaky and light [I'm glad because I'm still working on my crust]. Maybe if I can find the time [haha], I can make a quiche for the weekend brunch specials.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

So I tried a new look

And I just didn't like it and I have gone back to the simple template minus all the orange. I guess I have to come up with my own design.  I've thinking about for a while. And since I've trying to get better at html and css, I guess this is my chance. Stay tune for more rounds of changes [ha ha, just like work].

Since I have your attention I wanted share what I've up to. Nothing earth-shattering, just my normal stuff I've been fitting in between work and the restaurant. The hardest part is to remember to take the pictures [and figuring out the new camera. not liking how the images look].

I've trying to make a few things for me [haven't finished anything yet this summer]. Love colors of Koigu PPPM and bought some this earlier this summer in green/orange/pink combination, kind of neon. Making a shawlette, in a kind of simple lace pattern. Thought it was complicated enough to keep my interest and easier enough that I would be lost if [always] put down for a while. I already ripped the whole thing apart once. Second try, I'm using stitch marker to keep track better [yes, I'm using paper clips as markers--at least they're the color ones]. I hope it works.

Jam! Been making it all summer for the restaurant, family, friends and a little bit for me. I've been using it in my breakfast yogurt. Luckily I still enjoy doing it. Although this last batch of peach jam, was a bit labor intensive [no more non-freestone peaches for me]. Got 5 half pints and 3 minis. It was really good. I think the combination of the slight tartness of the non-freestone peaches from my friend's tree and the super sweetness of the yellow peaches from the farmers market is what made it so delicious. Just finished a batch of strawberry--customers favorite. And will make another batch of plum this weekend. The last batch of plum I made was so sweet and good. The plums were at the perfect moment to make the jam. I just got some italian plums, I hope this batch turns our just a good or better.

Orange "GuriGuri"

This is a picture of the special dessert we been serving at the restaurant. Strawberry sorbet and Orange "Guri Guri" with fresh fruit. One of the many things that I've been using my ice cream maker for this summer: Ice cream, sorbets and "Guri Guri"  [hawaiian-style sherbet]. I think this hot and humid summer had a lot of influence for that. Most of it has been for the restaurant, but I made raspberry ice cream for home with some farmers market raspberries. Been trying to find the time again to make some ice cream for home. Yummmm!

Not to much baking since my family left in the beginning of the summer. Just the staples for the restaurant. I been dying to try out some recipes. Since the weather is getting cooler, it probably a good time to try it. On my list, a chocolate chip cookie that's been calling me, a cinnamon cake with gooey chocolate frosting [which I made this weekend and is sooo delicious] and blueberry cake that I hope taste as good as it looks [I know off season but just found the recipe and it looks so good]

With all this food making there is a lot of time spent waiting for thing to be done and I've been using that time knitting and catching up on movies and TV that I've missed out on [late joiners to netflix--streaming]. Currently watching Breaking Bad. Once I catch up with that, I'm going to start Downton Abbey. 

Monday is a early night, no dinner [yah!] and that's movie night for us. Don't remember what was the last thing we saw in a theater [I think it was Avatar]. So far we've seen: Drive, Mao's Last Ballet Dancer, Captain America, and Super 8. I know they're so old movies but remember what I last movie we saw.

Like my knitting, I have many books and magazine articles going at the same time. This is the reason why it takes me so long to finish reading a book. But this is what been keeping my interest these days. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, to inspire me to get moving. Just started Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace by Kate Summerscale, thought it would be fun summer reading but been slow out the gate. Hope I it gets going soon. And sitting on my night table next to the bed is Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern [End of night reading in bed is bad for me. Always fall asleep and need to re-read the same paragraph over and over]

What I've been really reading is my collection of NYT magazines. Brought a bunch with me on vacation and I'm almost caught up--just 2 more left in the house. Then all them get sent off to my Mom who really enjoys them. The Sunday NYT goes to the restaurant and there must be a fan of the magazine there because for the past several weeks there is no magazine to be found. :(

Well that's it for now. Not bad for a post I started about the design of my blog. One day, I'll tackle that but for now, why fix something that's not broke--sort of.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sheep, Llamas, Alpacas, Bunnies and more

herding sheep demo 1
Last Sunday i was off to spend the day @ the NJ Sheep and Fiber Festival in Ringoes, NJ. It was beautiful Sunday [after and crazy rainy Saturday] looking at sheep, llamas, alpacas, bunnies and lots of fiber. It's much smaller that the one Rhinebeck, NY but it was fun, comfortably crowded and a lot shorter drive . 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I've been a little antsy

and feel like a need a change. For now, it's a just a template change, more of a clean look for the time being. I'm hoping I can find some time to learn more html/css to make this more of me, not some right out of the can. 

Sharing 2 posts that thought you may like:

Frosting colors from a basic box of food coloring
Haven't been making cake too much these days. And most of the frosting has been cream cheese but one day this may come in handy when I need that perfect shade of peach for special cupcake.

No Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal
Been trying to eat more healthy these days and lately my breakfast has been oatmeal with yogurt, dried fruit and a dollop of my homemade jam. It's a gooey messy but delicious and filling. This post is almost exactly what I'm eating but not cooking my oatmeal first. And they mention Chia seeds. Just read about it in "Born to Run". I think I may have to try this. 

And a picture of my tomato jam. Took a long time for these 6 little jars. But I think that what makes a perfect gift--something homemade with a lots of love. Sweet and a little bit of spice. Hope everyone enjoys them.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mind Reading

Since when did this become the most important skill to have. I've never seen it in a job description but apparently it is the most important "skill" to have in my job. And where can I take a class in it [I wonder if they offer it as a telecourse]. Here I thought it was a gift and only special people had it but now it seems to be a requirement. 

Oh yes, bad day at work. All I've done for the past 5 1/2 hours is change, change and more change. [oh I did run out to pee once and once to grab lunch but the rest of the time it has been stuck to my computer. And I wonder why my shoulder hurt so bad] And if I had mind those mind reading skills, my life would be so much less stressful. 

I should have gone out for a walk a 1/2 hour ago to work out some of this stress. Oh, well back to work--what other craziness do I have in store for the next 2 hours. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

More from Switzerland Vacation

I only took pictures with my iphone. But WG took tons of pictures with the camera. But I still have to upload them to my flickr acct. This is what I took with the iphone.

After a long day of train rides, [high point: on the Glacial Express through the mountains, low point: our last train no air condition, sitting on the sunny side of the train], we arrived at Lausanne, Switzerland. Did I mention it was hot like NJ? Thank goodness the hotel was close by, walking distance from the train station, nice size and decent air condition. We cooled off a bit and took a tour of Old Town via Rick Steve's walking tour. 

I've already shared few pictures from Lausanne. These are just random stuff I liked. I guess I had orange and green on my mind.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The flora from my vacation

I'm doing my catch up baking for the restaurant. As I wait for the cupcakes to be done, I thought I'd posted more pics from the vacation. For some reason, I took a lot of pictures of flowers. Hmmm . . . could this stem from my critter-eaten zinnas experience this summer? I wish my flower garden looked half this good. 

Water fountain from Old Town, Lausanne
One of the many water fountains

Here's a little teaser of my Switzerland vacation

Just got back from my whirlwind vacation to Switzerland. I can feel I'm going to be very busy in the coming weeks and wanted to share a couple of pictures before I totally get overwhelm with my life again.

Lausanne--View of old town with Lake Geneva in the background.

Lausanne from old town

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Today I made . . .

4 1/2 pints of apricot jam

My 2nd attempt @ an pan. This time with homemade an.

Raspberry ice cream-raspberry from the farmers market.

And working to finish up a burping blanket before baby Gingersnap arrives.

The things you can accomplish when you have some free time. Only if all my weekends were like this.

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Monday, July 9, 2012


Just heard this story on NPR about an manju shop in seattle that inspired this post.

This is slowly becoming an obsession of mine. Like jam, I'll probably start making batch after batch of manju or mochi till I get it right. That's why I got the bread making machine from a friend of mine to try and make mochi with it. Still have make some up maybe in a week or two. 

Here's a giant pan of chi chi dango that made up for girl's day. Still not just right. Shared it with people from work. Not everyone like the gooey texture. They just don't know what they are missing. Yum!
Girl's Day Chi Chi Dango

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Update on My Superhero Powers

arggggghh! I still have them but not as frequent. I mostly have night sweats that wake me up multiple times at night [at least twice on a good night]. But haven't had that every hour flash for a while [image how cranky I was on those days]. With the help of our in-room air conditioner, I've been surviving this very hot summer. I have set low--but not too low. WG is already all wrapped up in the summer blanket with a long sleeved t-shirt wrapped around his head. It is quite the sight. 

I've been trying to do more walking--at lunch around the office parking lot or after work when the sun is setting--to help with ease them. I've read that this works--hmmmm. If anything, it helps with the anxiety that comes the restaurant. And gets me outside and in fresh air. 

Speaking of getting out for some fresh air, I've been out daily in my back yard to tend to my garden-my critter eaten, mosquito haven garden. Trying to be positive but my daikon tops and zinnas are partically gone. Whoever is eaten my garden keep eating just enough to keep the plants alive to generate new growth, that's probably it. My chili peppers and parsley are doing good but once the daikon and zinnas are gone will they be next. 

And on top of that, I get bitten every time I'm out there no matter what time it is, even when I use repellent--5 bites yesterday. I understand why my Dad wears rubber boots, long pants and long sleeve shirt out in his garden. 

Well that's it for me today. I'm off to check my baking then starting to chopping my fruit for this week's jam. Will make yellow peach jam tomorrow. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Shoyu Bottle

Or Soy Sauce bottle for those on the mainland.

Just another random fact that I thought was interesting to share. My bottle is next to my stove but not filled with Kikkoman. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

My attempt of being frugal and a foodie

This weekend I decided to bring my breakfast and lunch to work to save some money. I also have some time to test out some recipes that have been burning up my to testing list. 

First up Breakfast
Greek yogurt, banana, homemade granola and local honey. Been wanting to try Alton Brown's granola recipe for a while and had the time this weekend. Adjusted it a litte, switch out pecans for almonds [what I had in my freezer] and added a 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon plus I added some craisins. 

homemade granola

At first, I had my doubts. Didn't smell as I thought it would, I nibbled on a litte kind at the beginning, kind of bland. I was hoping I didn't have to toss out the whole thing. That would be such a waste. But an hour and fifteen minutes later [stirring every 15 minutes], it turned out great. Makes a lot, I think enough for 2 weeks of breakfasts. Not too sweet and not bland, just perfect with my yogurt and banana. Nice and filling.

My Lunch
I'm writing it as I'm eating it: Roast Beef [from the restaurant], spring and vidalia onion marmalade [onion from my produce bag from work] on a hard roll with a broccoli parmesan fritter. Broccoli has become my new favorite veggies and I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. I actually at the whole recipe by myself this weekend. I loved it with sweet chili sauce. I'm eating the last one with my sandwich. Wish I had more.

broccoli fritter

Another Recipe Test
I had some very sweet strawberries from Costco this week and wanted to try out this strawberry pie recipe from Sauver. Wanted to make a fruit pie with what was in season. I'm still not sure about it. Very juicy but tasted good. I think the crust need some work. Last time I made this crust it was great. It's probably me. I guess I need to work on my pies. Maybe I'll try a pie a week.

Strawberry Pie

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Animals in My Yard

snapping turtle in my front yard

And this is what I saw yesterday. Thought it was dog poop [was a little annoyed before I realized what it was] and I almost step on it. A tiny snapping turtle. The river is down the hill and really far distance for that little thing to walk up. Maybe a bird dropped it in the yard. 

Don't know what's up with my yard this year but I have tons of birds--cardinals, bluejays, robins, starlings finches, just saw a hummingbird near my impatienceand animals--bunnies, groundhogs, squirrels, foxes, dear, racoons, wild turkeys roaming around in both the front and back. It's not like I live in the woods or the country. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What I did on my early summer vacation--part 4

I know, I know, when will it end.  This should be it. Part 4 is mostly what I did with my parents and the 7 days flew by. Here's picture of my parents @ the rose garden as a tease to keep you reading.
After dropping off the CA family at the airport, we didn't do too much, mainly staying around the house. We planted my garden, [had to get the people with green thumbs to help, more chance of survival]. Mom was very pleased with her color choice.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My NEW Garden Planted

planted garden

I'm taking a break from my vacation post to show you my new planted garden. So far, so good. Flowers are blooming, seedling are growing and no animals have eaten the plants [so far, keeping my fingers cross]. 

Here's what's in my garden: front to back: 2 rows of daikon seedlings, flat leaf parsley [I know there's a big whole between the parsley, may get some green/scallions from the restaurant] , chili peppers, can't remember the name of the flowers, zinnia seedlings, dahlias. 

And these are my new potted plants: 
2 kinds of mint

2 types of mint and pot of chives[old--just keeps on growing year after year]

daisy, stock, sage
Some kind of daisy, old sage plant and stock

I hope I get a bounty of flowers, chilis, daikon, and herbs this summer. Wish my garden luck that I don't forget to water them.

Friday, June 1, 2012

What I did on my early summer vacation--part 3

Waiting for the other birthday girl
Waiting for the other birthday girl, Mom, sister and niece 

The birthday party was for my mom and my cousin's daughter, Princess A. Planning was started as soon as everyone arrived. Once the menu was made and off we went food shopping. After running to the farmers market and asian food stores, we were ready for the party.

What I did on my early summer vacation--Part 2

I guess I did a lot because I'm having a hard time to remember. Oh well, here it goes. Once everyone arrive, we focus our attention on two things, my garden and the birthday party.

My Garden
waiting for plants
Waiting for plants

Both my parents and brother-in-law have great veggie gardens at home. I thought I'd take advantage of their gardening skills and handiness to get a one in place during their visiting. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

What I did on my early summer vacation--part 1 . . .

Here's a little teaser picture from my early summer vacation. 
ice pops

C and Mom with artisan ice pops from Rutgers Famers Market

It was just a stay-cation that includes visiting family(5) and a birthday party (add 4 more) over a course of 12 days. It's been 3 days since the last visitors left and I'm still exhausted and trying to synced back into my everyday life. I guess it doesn't help that I got a head cold on vacation. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

If I get a chance . . .

I've been itching to test a few items for the restaurant.
  • Just tested edamame falafels with cucumber salad and sweet chili sauce for an appetizers at my office. It's a thumbs up but I still would like to tweek  it a bit. Maybe adding a some cilantro and mint to the falafel. Need to fiddle with it more, kind of to soft to put in the deep fryer. Need to get it a bit firmer but not dried out. I was thinking maybe adding some grain?
  • I have an idea for pan like in an pan, with caramelized apples with or without homemade an. For those who don't know what an pan is is a sweet bun with sweeten red bean in it. 
  • I just saw spring roll with apples tastespotting. Thought I could make it and add some caramel sauce on top? Thais make a banana fritter that way.
  • coconut syrup for the shave ice. I was thinking of combining simple syrup and reduce coconut milk
  • And that leads into almond float--I tried it before and liked it but want to do it again. Instead of almond I made it with vanilla instead. Maybe I can combine it together with shave ice and the coconut syrup.
  • Dango for shave ice. Need to figure out the shelf life of it. If it is too short, not worth it. 
  • 2 different cupcake flavors: hummingbird and tiramisu. Both of these have beautiful presentation-a pineapple flower on the hummingbird and mascarpone frosting dusted with cocoa on the tiramisu.
Don't know when I can do this as I barely can keep up with my current  baking schedule. 

And speaking of having no time, yesterday, when I drop off my baked goods to the restaurant, WG and a friend was having lunch and talking. He springs an idea for afternoon tea at the restaurant during a slow times. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A moment of nothing to do

I started this last night, waiting in my car for gas. I realize it was one of my only moments that didn't have anything to do. But, of course I had to pick up my phone to write something. I just couldn't let that moment of nothing.

But, I started writing this post to late into my moment of nothing, my tank was filled and stopped a couple sentences in. So I decided to finish what I started while I waited for the creme brûlée to be done. And I totally realized I should just appreciate those moments of nothing and don't stop picking up my phone. The greatest lesson learned this weekend.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

My new toys

To help my kitchen crazy, I've got three new toys to my arsenal. [Whoa! I know so many post in such short amount of time. I'm making up for all the dead air.]

My Cuisinart
my Cuisinart
I got a new food processor. The old one went to the restaurant [was not too happy about that]. The frugal me kept looking for sale and finally around Christmas I found a one day sale at Macy's and I had a coupon [I thought I hit the jackpot]. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Winter Moisture

Did I ever share my winter moisture with you?
Winter Moisture 
Although this winter has been mild, I'm become obsessed with my old dry skin and bought on link online a bunch of stuff to try.

So far I love all of it, but Jason's Age Renewal Vitamin E Cream is my favorite.  A little sticky but I have to say my skin is so much looking better. Now I just have to find something fix my bags under my eyes. Oh wait! I heard sleep could help that.