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31 October 2012

Halloweeen Pumpcakes



Happy Halloween! I know I am a big fan of holidays in general but Halloween is an especially cute holiday. The decorations, the attempt at being scary, adorable costumes- whether they be pet costumes or kiddie costumes, and well- a holiday based on candy and chocolate- you just can't go wrong? Sadly, I did not get a costume this year- but last year I was Elmo (wanted to be cookie monster or a crayon this year). I figure stocking up on potential Halloween costumes that could be re-used when working in a children's hospital, is a good idea :)

Angie, a friend from school- hosted a Halloween Party. Sadly- I did not end up going! Remember that sinus headache I've been experiencing? Well- the Halloween party fell smack dab in the middle of my horrible headache exprience. So I chose to sleep, which is rare- because I never turn down a baking opportunity. Luckily the hubby had a Halloween party for his work. I knew I wanted to make cupcakes, because I have not made them in awhile and I stumbled upon these adorable ones on, well of course, on Pinterest.

Plus- I came up with this pretty niffty idea for buttercream. Buttercream can be difficult to make, especially vanilla- and can taste-- not so vanilla, so I though of a great idea to make a tasty and creamy vanilla buttercream. However, as original as I thought- I realized that others have been doing this for a while and I was just late to the party ;) I just had to make these- though the hubby failed to tell me that his work was having a contest for the ghouliest dessert-- too late-- instead he brought a cute dessert, kinda the same thing right ;)







HALLOWEEN PUMPCAKES
SOUR CREAM VANILLA CUPCAKES WITH VANILLA PUDDING BUTTERCREAM
Cupcakes adapted from Your Cup of Cake
Frosting For the Love of Dessert Recipe

INGREDIENTS

Preheat Oven to 350F degrees

FOR THE CUPCAKES
1 box yellow cake mix (sifted)
3 eggs (room temperature)
1 stick of butter, softened
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract

BUTTERCREAM
2 sticks of butter softened
1 (3.4 oz) packed of vanilla pudding
1 1/2-2 c. powdered sugar (depending on consistency preferred)
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream or milk
1 tsp. vanilla

DIRECTIONS

For the cupcakes- sift the cake mix and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, cream together eggs, butter, milk, sour cream, and vanilla. Once creamed add in yellow cake mix. The batter should have a thicker consistency. Fill cupcake liners, 3/4 of the way full and bake for 17-20 minutes. Allow to completely cool.

For buttercream- in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, vanilla pudding, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla for 8 minutes until light and fluffy. If the consistency is too soft- add more powdered sugar, if the consistency is to thick, add milk to make creamy.

Enjoy,
Chika


28 October 2012

Lazy Tacos



I have this incredible lazy week! I got to stay home a few days, absolutely refused to do work on those days and the hubby took over responsibility for cooking (he makes some yummy spagheti :). It was wonderful, but sadly for a reason- with the weather changing (ie. becoming distatefully colder, as I enjoy warm weather)- I have been experiencing gosh awful sinus headaches. The kind where they do not go away for days and as the day progresses keeps getting worse and worse until you just give up and just try to sleep it away. So, although I enjoyed the "relaxing" weekend, I did not appreciate how I got it and I missed out on some great Halloween fun as I stayed home to sleep :/

Aywhoo...today was a better day. I realized I need to take: Claritin, Sudafed (2), and my nasal steroid right when I wake up, to slightly deter the horrible headache that will manifest. Well- even though I felt better- have you ever had those days where you just want to be lazy, so so so utterly lazy. And just not cook at all?! Even me- loving my food blog, loving to experiment with new recipes and enjoy yummy food- has days where I just do not want to make dinner. Today marks one of those days- though I did have some energy to make dessert but Im trying to cut back on eating sweets plus I plan to make some for Halloween (Im quite excited about this- I love making holiday treats!). Well- lazy days equal crockpot dinners, more specifically, lazy tacos :) Not the prettiest, but definitely delicious and easy!





LAZY TACOS
Adapted from Genaw

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cans of enchilada sauce
1/2 packet of taco seasoning
3/4 c. green onions (plus 1/4 for garnish)
Cilantro, Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2 c. of shredded cheese (Mexican Blend)

DIRECTIONS

Combine chicken breasts, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, taco seasoning, green onions, salt, pepper and cilantro in crockpot and cook on low heat for 8 hours. Once cooked, shred chicken using two forks and let sit for one hour for chicken to soak up the sauce. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and let melt. Sprinkle some green onions for garnish. Maybe eat with some rice or (what we did)- refried beans.

Enjoy,
Chika



21 October 2012

Thai: Pad See Ew



I must make one thing very clear. I am not a fan of Sunday nights. I mean I have nothing against Sundays- in fact its one of my most favorite days because its, well of course, a weekend. But the looming- its almost monday feeling is not something I enjoy. I could live without Mondays too, come to think of it- or maybe just a total overhaul of the week- in that lets work Monday thru Wednesday and have off Thursday to Sunday. Though not sure that would solve my dislike of Sunday nights, but I do think with the additional rest- people would be much more productive. I guess, overall, I get so annoyed at the fact that my weekend seems to fly by, my week only crawls by and I inevitably seem to be in school forever! Ill get back to you all when I know what "real life" is really like.

Ahh...so lets all sit back and enjoy the few hours of freedom before we have to prepare for the week and lets hope its a week that flies by with nothing too eventful. And hope that Thanksgiving and Christmas roll around quickly so I can dampen my burnout, just a tad. What did burnout Sunday ;) bring? Well I decided to attempt to make some Thai, specifically Pad See Ew. The hubby enjoyed it, though I think he's more of a Pad Thai kinda guy- but I cannot stand it when peanuts are in my food. Nothing against peanuts- just not in my food :)






THAI: PAD SEE EW
Adapted from Rachel Cooks Thai

INGREDIENTS

8oz wide rice noodles (I could not find wide)
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. of minced garlic
1/2 c. of chopped green onion
2 chicken breasts, chopped
7 eggs, whisked
2 c. chinese broccoli (I only found regular broccoli)

SAUCE

3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tsp. white vinegar

DIRECTIONS

Cook wide rice noodles according to package instruction. I boiled for about 5 minutes and then rinsed with cold water to prevent from sticking. The original recipe called for the noodles to be blanched, but I do not like crispe noodles. While noodles are cooking, heat olive oil and sautee garlic and green onion. Then add in chicken breasts and cook. When chicken is almost cooked- combine wiht broccoli. Push broccoli and chiken to the side of wok. Drop in a little bit of olive oil and scramble eggs on the empty side of wok. Bring together chicken and eggs and stir fry noodles for a few minutes. Toss with sauce and serve.

Enjoy,
Chika

20 October 2012

Chocolate Peanut-Butter Pudding Cookies



The hubster loves trying new food/new recipes- so learning to cook meals for two was really something for the hubby. For me- I love dessert and I woke up craving cookies. I am not sure what it is about cookies- but they really satisfy my sweet tooth. So after preparing dinner- I decided to make these cookies that have been enticing me since I saw them on Pinterest. They looked, hands down delicious and I have never made a peanut butter cookie- so a first is always fun.

Of course the the jar of peanut butter opening and the smell of peanut butter- just beyond excited Ninja. Ninja knows very well now- which things we open in the kitchen that are meant for him and which are for "us." Well, he was sad to find out that today I did not open the peanut butter for him. But I am glad that it was for me. I made these cookies less than an hour ago and I've already eaten five. This blog is not helping me keep up with my wedding weight loss. I really hope there is something called newlywed 15 (kinda like freshman 15 when you start college- but for newlyweds). I know the hubby eats more because he was used to the bachelor diet and I definitely eat more without "Im getting married" looming over me :) Im going to have to motivate myself to start giving my baked good away (and right away) and start running again. But man, oh man...are they hard to resist ;)






CHOCOLATE PEANUT-BUTTER PUDDING COOKIES

INGREDIENTS

Preheat oven to 350F degrees

2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 box (3.4- 3.56 oz) vanilla pudding
1 1/2 stick of butter, softened
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. honey
1 c. milk chocolate chips
1 c. peanut butter chips
1 c. Reese's Pieces

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, and vanilla pudding- set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together (on medium speed) butter, peanut butter, and both sugars until fluffy (about 5 minutes). Then add eggs-- one at a time--, vanilla and honey. Scrape down sides. Reduce to low speed and add flour mixtures. Combine until just incorporated. Add chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and reeses pieces.

Line two cookie sheets with either aluminum foil, parchment, or wax paper- and scoop 1 1/2 inch cookie dough balls onto sheet (I used a cookie dough scoop and then rolled between my palms for a nice round shape). Space cookies 2 inches apart and bake for 8-10 minutes . Let cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Enjoy,
Chika

Cajun Couscous



I do not think I have ever shared this but the hubster was born and raised in Lousiana, specifically Breaux Bridge, Lousiana. After meeting him and spending a few holidays with his family- I can say I am a little familiar with Cajun food or at least a bit more familiar with southern food. And I love it! I think my favorite food that hubster introduced me to was boudain. OMG! Delicious! I also love crawfish and oysters. I think I am already starting to drool.

With that being said, I cannot say that the title is accurate, but I wanted to keep ode to the original recipe. Let's hope that when the hubby comes home from a quick trip to work, that he will enjoy it. This recipe was something different for me in that I do not think I have ever made couscous or if I have- its been a really long time. The original recipe called for pasta- but I thought I would try something different since I had some free time on my hands. I have been greatly enjoying this very lazy saturday. And Ninja, well he enjoys sniffing the yummy food and whining becuase he cannot have any ;)





CAJUN COUSCOUS
Adapted from Budget Bytes

INGREDIENTS

Preheat Oven to 350F degrees

3 bell peppers
1 red onion
5.7 oz of couscous
1 lb. smoked, turkey sausage

FOR VINEGRETTE
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. garlic
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. red pepper

Cilantro for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Slice peppers into small strips and chop onions. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 20-30 minutes. While peppers and onions are cooking- cook couscous according to package instruction. Also, slice sausage into small rounds, about 1/2 inch thick. Cook sausage in large skillet, over medium heat until browned. Once peppers, onions, couscous and sausage is ready, prepare vinegrette by combining all ingredients and whisking well. In a large bowl combine couscous, peppers, onions, and sausage and toss with vinegrette.

Enjoy,
Chika

19 October 2012

Homemade Puppy Frozen Yogurt



Today was...lets say...an interesting day. Texas A&M had a bomb threat and so campus was evacuated and classes cancelled. My morning started off with a client re-scheduling so my morning was free :) And then since campus was shut down. I did not have class and I could not get exams scored. I hope my class will be patient- becuase now they will have to wait till Monday to get their grades. I feel bad- I definitely know that as a student I would be so antsy waiting for my grade. Unfortunately- because of the bomb threat there was nothing I can do. The bomb threat, I think, ended up being a hoax-- thank goodness.

Since I had some unexpected time on my hands- I, of course- decided to make something. I wanted to make something for Ninja--something that he would really like. Well, though Ninja loves all treats. He LOVES frozen yogurt especially on hot days. Well, Ninja has had a rough week with the torn ACL, luxating patella and no dog park. He definitely deserved some fro-yo to cheer him up. This time I made a lot more and remembered to take pictures :) As you can see, I make the fro-yo in bulk and then freeze them in small containers for single servings. I move them into big cups, because well...lets be honest...Ninja has a big face :D







HOMEMADE PUPPY FROZEN YOGURT
Adapted from Bunny Roo Beagle

INGREDIENTS

1 (32oz) container of plain, non-fat, yogurt
3 bananas, sliced
1/3 c. honey
1/2 c. peanut butter
Small containers (can use child dixie cups)

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree. Once mixed well- pour into 9-10 small containers. Freeze for about 8 hours and serve when needed!

Enjoy,
Chika


18 October 2012

Sushi: Philadelphia Roll



Happy- it is almost Friday :) Today was one of those few and far between days- where I got to spend my morning with Ninja, go to school for only a few hours and come back home! And since I came back home- I decided to make some sushi! I've been craving it-- actually I pretty much crave it constantly ;) So i made some sushi and had a great phone date with a friend. Ahhh....what I would not give to have more of these relaxing days!

I really want to enhance my sushi skills- so I can stop going to sushi restaurants as mush as I do. I've only made some basics, but I think in the future I would like to try to make a shrimp tempura roll and then maybe some more complicated rolls- like a dragon roll or a hurricane roll....mmmmm...::drool:: ;) Who knew, I would get so much use out of my Sushi Magic kit- awesome birthday present! And I would also like to make some shrimp and vegetable tempura. So stay tuned- becuase it will happen! Maybe I can do a sushi making night when my sister comes to visit (hopefully--that'll be one day soon).






PHILADELPHIA ROLL
For the Love of Dessert Recipe

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE RICE
2 c. uncooked sushi rice
3 c. of water
1/2 c. of rice vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt

FILLING
Nori Sheets
1 cucumber, cut into thin 5 inch strips
Smoked salmon cut into strips
Cream Cheese cut into strips (cut block lengthwise)
Sesame seeds for garnish
DIRECTIONS

Using a rice cooker, cook the rice with the specified amount of water. Once cooked, do not open the rice cooker right away, allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Then open the rice cooker and let rice cool completely (set aside). On the stovetop- combine rice vinegar, olive oil, sugar and salt- until completely dissolve, allow to cool completely. Once cooled, mix in with rice. Cut cucumber, salmon and cream cheese into strips.

To assemble to the sushi, place the nori sheet on bamboo mat, wet your fingers and push down rice evenly over the nori (the water will prevent the rice from sticking). Place the smoked salmon in the center, making a 1/2 inch strip (no thicker as the sushi will not close). On the end closest to you, place the cucumber strip- placing the cucumber here, will prevent the salmon from shifting. Then on the other side of the smoked salmon strip, place the cream cheese. Roll sushi closed. The garnish with sesame seeds. To cut into pieces, wet the knife (for the same reasons you want to wet your fingers)- this will allow the knife to cut through nicely.

Enjoy,
Chika

17 October 2012

Snickerdoodle Blondie-Cake



All good dinners made out of sadness also need dessert right? ;) I know, I know...perk up...But you see Ninja just happens to be one of my major soft spots. And I think it is always worse with a pet- they look extra sad when they are in pain  :( and you just want to do everything to make it go away! Give me a few more days- and I promise not to be debbie downer, or bitter betty or sad sally ;) I have worked too long with children...

Luckily I had a recipe up my sleeve. I actually made this recipe over the weekend for the hubby so his sweet tooth would not need to rely only on my fluffy, chocolate fudge cookies-- since he's prone to being "chocolated out." I do not think I will ever let him live that down! :) Since I know that the hubby does not have the same love for chocolate that I do- I am constantly in the search for dessert recipes that do not involve chocolate and seem interesting to me. But since I have such a huge bias- this is no easy task!

I stumbled upon these snickerdoodle blondies. However, after making them- because apparently, I just have that weird touch- my "blondies" came out more like cake. I tried to think of a cute name that combines the two (ie. cookies + brownies = brookies) but when you combine brownie or blondie with cake, you either get blake or brake...ummm....fail. So Brownie-cake it was. I have to say, even though I am not a fan of anything that does not have chocolate. I thought these were pretty darn yummy. I think the hubby was a big fan- because I made a whole 9x13 dish of these on sunday...and its now wednesday and they are almost done :)






SNICKERDOODLE BLONDIE-CAKE

INGREDIENTS
 Preheat Oven to 350F degrees

2 2/3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 stick of butter, softened
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. white sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt- set aside. In mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar for 5 minutes- until fluffy. Then add, one egg at a time and vanilla. Add dry mixture, slowly, and mix in until just incorporated. Grease a 9x13 pan (I usually save the butter wrapper and use the remainder to grease the pan). Spread batter in pan. In a small bowl mix together white sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly over batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cut into small squares once cool and serve.

Enjoy,
Chika



Chicken Fried Rice



Check out my updated recipe: Chinese Fried Rice, Take 2

Today was a Chinese food kind of day. Why? Well I am not sure about you all but I eat Chinese Food-- well pretty much anytime--but especially when it has been a rough day. Remember when I shared that Ninja pulled a muscle in his leg and was doing a little resting? Unfortunately, I was very wrong and he did not pull a muscle. The love of my life, furry baby- tore is ACL and has a luxated patella (forgive me, if I did not spell that right). What do you think the odds are of both of those things happening. I luckily, have a aunt who is a vet, who got to explain (ie. vet "translate") to me all the things that were told by the vet, who looked over the x-rays (the miracles of iPhones and skype). But what was the conclusion at the end? Ninja needs some surgery :( A major surgery that takes 6-8 weeks of recovery time. He also cannot go up and down the stairs (and we live on the second floor- so the hubby has to carry him, because at 70 pounds, I cannot carry him), he cannot go to the dog park (which we pretty much have gone every day since he was 4 months old), and we need to minimize his overall movement (which playful Ninja does not understand).

I guess that is the most painful part. To see you little baby in pain and know that they have to have surgery. I promise to hold his little paw- the whole way through and take off any time- so that from the minute he wakes up to when he goes to bed- I will be there. And what is even more sad?! The vet told me that it is not a question of if Ninja gets arthiritis but when :( My poor, poor baby. So let's enjoy some Chinese food and let the sad sink in...shall we? I promise to be optimistic another day....


Check out my updated recipe: Chinese Fried Rice, Take 2






CHINESE FRIED RICE
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

INGREDIENTS

3 c. cooked rice
2 chicken breasts (diced and cooked)
2 tbsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. garlic
1 bunch of green onions diced
1 bag of frozen veggies (peas, carrots. mine also had corn and green beans) (thawed)
7 eggs
3 tbsp. soy sauce

DIRECTIONS

Prepare rice and chicken breasts- set aside. In a wok- heat oil and satuee garlic and onion when oil is heated- about one minute. Then heat frozen veggies- for about 2-3 minutes. Once cooked, add eggs (pour on top of veggies). Cook eggs- constantly breaking apart egg into pieces. Once eggs are cooked- remove from heat. Add in chicken and rice- toss until evenly distributed. Finally mix in soy sauce.

Check out my updated recipe: Chinese Fried Rice, Take 2

Enjoy,
Chika