Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Garden Grows

The seeds are in and the fence is up and now the seedling are coming and my flowers are blooming. Wanted to give an update on the progress. I'm excited and hopefully I'll get some veggies this year. The next step is thinning and I think I'm going to try this thinning method I found at Here's the link to the article:

Radish seedlings
Here's a some pictures. Radish seedlings first to come up and the biggest

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lace Ribbon Scarf

I'm done! Just in time, right before my parents packed their last suitcase. Not sure if mom will use it or give it to a younger friend that does so much for them. Either way, whoever it goes to I hope they enjoy it and look great in it. I love how it came out. 

Picked a great yarn for this pattern--cotton bamboo from Lion brands. It had a perfect drape for this scarf. And it is soft and light perfect cool Hawaiian day or night.

The pattern, Lace Ribbon Scarf from was easy to remember but I got a little bored at end but it is a long scarf. Would like to make one for myself but I promised myself that I would knit myself a sweater next. Let's see how long that take. I hope the sweater is still in style by the time I'm finish it.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

How does my garden grow?

Not very well at the moment. Remember that nice little garden my family help me put in last year. Well, it's currently grow a beautiful lush patch of weeds that the critters brought with them.

I even have a giant weed tree that refuse to die right next to my front door.

But now that I have the skilled gardening experts back at my house, I'm hoping to take advantage of their skill for a trade of jam and cake and maybe even some sweet potato doughnuts. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mixed Berry Chia Jam

What do you get with strawberry [1.5lb], blackberry [.5lb], and raspberry [.5lb] plus chia seeds, juice from one lemon and coconut palm sugar? Eight 4oz and one half pint jars of mixed berry chia jam for family and friends.

Here's the link for the recipe I started from:

Look @ the sun!

It has a halo around it. Like the lady @ the garden center, is the world coming to  a end? Or is a round rainbow?

Monday, May 13, 2013

What to make during my vacation?

UPDATE: What I made on my vacation. Had a bit of technical difficulty with my oven. I spilled over some water that I was boiling for my blackberry jam and it shorted out my control panel so I couldn't set my oven temperature for several days, right before Sunday's get together with my cousin's family. 

I'm doing a stay-cation the rest of my days off. Keeping my parents busy. I thought I'd use the time to make what I've been itching to try.

First thing up was last night's dinner braised lamb shanks. Perfect for a cool day--to warm up my parents. Braised in chicken broth, whole tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery and mushroom. Did a little asian spin, I used mirin instead white wine. It adds a little bit of sweetness. Cooked for 4 hours till meat falls off the bone. Mmmmmmm-I miss cooking and eating like this.

Here's the rest of my list mostly sweets but that's because my mom has a sweet tooth.
-macarons for this coming Sunday's Lunch-broken oven
-blackberry jam for the . . .
-blackberry jam birthday cake-broken oven
-sweet potato doughnuts
-pumpkin pie with roasted kabocha
-apricot jam
-lemon curd-broken oven or these were for the macarons and just didn't want to make it since I didn't have a working oven
-molten chocolate cake-we had this at the graduation dinner-everyone thought it would be good idea have this on the menu-broken oven

And if I have the time . . . I always think I can accomplish more than I have time or energy for. I didn't get to any of these. But will try to get to all of these this summer. Since all of them seems to fit into my new eating ways. Will keep you posted.
-kale quiche
-smitten kitchen's carrot soup

Here's picture of my braised lamb shanks.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Up in Almost Canada for one last time

My niece is graduating this weekend and I'm up in Almost Canada with the family for her graduation. Only WG isn't here--someone had to run the restaurant. Took us [me and the parental units] 7 hours from NJ--including lunch and getting lost once. Phew!

Meet up with the rest of the family at the hotel--packed with graduates' families. There's at least 3 other colleges/university that I know of nearby and it looks like all them has the graduation on the same day. 

Pre-Graduation dinner @ Maxwell's. Packed and noisy with tons of families. Here's a picture of the kids at dinner, niece, nephew's girlfriend and nephew. Notice the appletinis in front of the youngsters.

Now we are resting up for the big event today. I'm trying to knit up something easy that I can donate. It was a hat that I didn't like it, so I took it apart and trying a seed stitch pattern for a man's scarf. I'm also playing the crochet interpreter to my mom. She's making up a scarf for my sister. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Three Generations of Crafty Ladies

I wanted to share where my craftiness comes from. Theres a whole lot of crafty ladies and handy men on both of my sides of my family. I think that's where I draw my skills and the love of making stuff from. 

I just took a couple of pictures of blankets and throws that I have at my house to show off the the talents of three generations.

Grandma O's Satin Patchwork Blanket  Grandma O's Satin Patchwork blanket

I never met Grandma O but damn she was an incredible sewer. I will never be as good as her. Every corner matches and on top of that, it's satin! So hard to sew. The colors are silver, gold, green, blue and brown with red center squares not a color combination I would have come up with but it is so beautiful [a little bias--she was my grandma].

Breads and Jam

Don't know what has happen but been posting like crazy. Been feeling bit better, spirit-wise. Huh, guess my new eating adventure if helping a bit. And I guess it helps that I'm not totally crazy with work. But who knows when that will pick up again. But I'm rambling, let's get back to breads and jam.

Been testing out some quick breads these past few weeks for my parent's visit in May. Since I have a bunch a bananas in my freezer, I decided to make some banana bread, I used my tried and true recipe. But this time I decided to fiddle with the recipe. I wanted to make it a little healthier for my new eating adventure. So I swapped out the sour cream for non-fat greek yogurt, added 3 tbsp of grounded golden flax seeds and a handful of golden raisins [I think about a 1/3 of a cup].

Banana bread
I've never baked with flax seed before so I wasn't exactly sure how it would have turn out. I thought it may be a little too dense or too dry. To my surprise, it came out great, a different texture than my usually banana bread. My original banana bread is more cake-like and pretty moist. The ground flax seeds and non-fat yogurt made it more bread-like. This bread would probably toast up great with a little bit of butter on top. Took a long time to bake through needed to tent the top so it wouldn't burn.

coconut pineapple bread

I guess I've been on a roll with these quick breads and I've had this coconut bread from smitten kitchen in the back of my mind for a while. It looked so delicious.  So when I was trying to find recipe for a pineapple cake and thought why not add it the coconut bread recipe. Yes, of course if read the post, she thought of that too but kept to the recipe. I had some pineapple that needed to be used and as you see that's how my bread became coconut pineapple bread.

It was a hit at the office. I paired it with a new jam recipe I got from friend, strawberry chia jam made with coconut palm sugar. I added blueberries because I had some. The bread is a little more dense than the banana bread [not in dry way], has great flavor and the pineapple bits were a great addition.

A little note about the jam. Got the link from a friend [actually a birthday link], I've been adding chia seeds to my yogurt [another one of eating adventure change]. I've also been reading about it in the book that's been taking me forever to finish about ultra-marathon runners. So I decide to try the recipe out, I had most of the ingredients. Well, it came out great, it took a shorter time to cook because of the chia seeds. It made it thicken up quicker. The coconut palm sugar isn't as sweet as white sugar and has slight caramel taste to it. 

What to try next? Any suggestions? Here's my healthier Banana Bread Recipe.

Princess Hot Flash Healthier Banana Bread

Bake 350ยบ
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes or tester comes out clean
Pan: 9x5x3 Loaf pan

3/4 c butter, soften
1 1/2c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c non-fat greek yogurt, plain
2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp grounded golden flax seeds
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed [I throw my ripe bananas in my freezer, I used 2 medium size ones]
1/3 cup golden raisins.

Grease pan with oil and flour, set on the side. Shift together in a separate bowl dry ingredients and set on the side. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at time, mix in well then add vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients alternating with yogurt in 3 addition. Don't overmix. Fold in bananas and raisins. 

You need to watch your bread as it got really dark at the end. I tent it with foil for the last 1/2 hour so it wouldn't burn. I tested it with a bamboo skewer to see if it was done. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Mom told me to post . . .

pictures of my cherry blossom tree. Like a good daughter, I forgot to take some pictures. Most of the blossoms are gone now. So instead I took a picture of my patch of grape hyacinths with a little bit of dandelions mixed in.

grape hyacinth
Of course, there would be some kind of weed in there. That's what grows best at my house. At least the yellow is a great accent color for my beautiful patch of purple and green.

I'm such a foodie

I don't know why It comes to my surprise but every once in a while I realize what a foodie I am. I read and listen to way too much food-base stories. I'm always thinking about when I can make the things I just read or heard about, not that my schedule will allow it [all girl can do, is hope].

Here's an example, I heard this story on Last Chance Food on my way home from work in November about Kabocha pumpkins and how they make the best pumpkin pie. I've been roasting pumpkins and sweet potatoes for pies for a while now and thought I'd try it out. Well, November, December, . . . and almost April have gone by and I've finally got around to roasting my Kabocha [I bought it at the beginning of April]. Still haven't made my pie this weekend [I threw the roasted pumpkin in the freezer], but I did roast up the seeds. If you love roasted pumpkin seeds, then the Kabocha pumpkin is your source. It has a lot of big plump seeds, great for roasting.

roasted kabocha pumpkin seeds
I roasted them up with a little bit of melted butter, a seasoning salt from Hawaii and pepper till they were golden brown. Great for my afternoon snack or a little topping for my endless amounts of salads I've been eating.

Can't I'm going to try out the pie next week with my parents. It's my mom's recipe and she I wanted to see what she thought about the kabocha. Here's the link to the story from Last Chance Food:

I posted on the wrong blog . . .

See my Trader Joe Bounty on my Cafe Bua Blog. Here's the link. Hope the restaurant readers enjoyed the random post--14 views. Maybe I better step it up with more random posting for the restaurant. Haha! I don't even have time to post here. I know I live in a dream. :)

Read a couple of reviews about the dried kim chi [is it kim chi or kim chee], couple of comment of it being bland with the suggestions it would be better as a condiment or topping. Will have our review in about 2 weeks time. The parental unit will be arriving next Thursday. Then we are off to almost Canada for the weekend. 

Maybe some gardening picture coming soon as gardeners are coming to visit. I'm hoping my dad can help me rig up some kind of fencing thing to keep the critters out.