Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Wedding Affair

CONGRATULATIONS to the newly weds; Ayu & Kyle! I had an awesome experience being part of your wedding party; THANK YOU!! This was my first time attending a church wedding, being a bridesmaid and also getting so involved in a wedding (other than my own). Although, walking down the aisle (alone) was more nerve wreaking compared to when I walked down the aisle at my own wedding! I had gigantic butterflies in my tummy the whole time!

On the morning of the wedding, we were greeted by a blanket of snow; about 1-2 inches of wintery white snow… It was gorgeous! Not enough to stay white the whole day though!! ChicagoThe wedding was very intimate with close family and friends present, and went very well. Kyle (The groom) shed tears a few times when he saw his lovely Ayu walked down the aisle and at the altar. How sweet! =) Everything came together perfect even with all those short notices and with the wedding couple planning the event from abroad!

Chicago-4 Chicago-3

The flowers and decorations were all handmade and turned out beautifully even though all of us do not have any professional experience doing flowers. Thanks to googling, you tubing, teamwork and creative juices, we somehow managed to put together the bouquets, corsages and kissing balls the night before the wedding! =) Pictures below are the bridal bouquet (left) and bridesmaid bouquet (right). It was so much fun doing the flowers, I would do it over and over again! Anyone getting married and need flowers done??? Email me! Haha!!

                Chicago-1 Chicago-5

Once the ceremony ended, we took tons of group pictures with the newly weds before headed to Weber Grill for the wedding luncheon. I will blog on the food @ Weber Grill separately! The weather by now was sunny, and was getting slightly warmer. It was totally the opposite from the weather in the morning! Chicago-2Chocolate eggs packed in pastel colored Chinese takeout boxes were the wedding favors! The eggs represented Easter as well as the Malay tradition of giving out “Bunga Telur” (Flower Eggs) at Malay weddings. I thought it was very appropriate to combine both East meets West culture in the wedding!WeddingCupcake-11 And here’s my little masterpiece wedding gift to the bride and groom! The handmade cupcake stand had already made it to Chicago earlier and survived the trip by mail. The cupcakes and figurines survived the flight from Boston to Chicago. Unfortunately, I did not stay long enough for the cake ceremony as I was running late for my other appointment that I squeezed in before my flight back to Boston. I think and hope Ayu and Kyle (and the guests??) loved the wedding cupcakes! Well, I know they adore the creation and I’m hoping they enjoyed the eating the cupcakes as much as they enjoyed looking at it. Thanks for putting the trust and faith in me to make your wedding cupcakes!! **Hugs**WeddingCupcake-12

Mon Ami Gabi….YUM-O!!


I met up with some of my friends in Chicago over brunch at Mon Ami Gabi French Bistro. My friend Caroline suggested to meet there and I have to say it was a marvelous decision! Brunch was so good and not overly expensive. I would have thought it would be much more pricey to dine at this restaurant!

Here’s the Brunch Menu which is only available on the weekend. I ordered a Classic Quiche Lorraine which came with a small Frisee Salad. The quiche was so good, hearty, creamy and the smokiness of the bacon was simply delectable. My friends ordered Crepes, Waffles, Burgers and also Eggs Benedict which also look equally yummy. If only they had a brunch buffet for me to sample everything on the menu!!Hehe. Oh...the way the served soup was simply unique…..They brought a cast iron kettle like pot out and pour the soup you ordered table side. This ensures that you get a bowl of steamy soup!

No picture of my Brunch dining experience. Sorry! But I can surely vouch that the food is yummy, the ambience is wonderful, and the service was pretty decent (Too bad we had a waiter who seem like it was his first day on the job!)

They do not have that many locations… only 5 locations in the US…. Bummer!!…Please..please open one in Bean Town, Boston!! =)..

Monday, March 30, 2009

Woof!! Brady Says Thanks!

Caroline… Brady thank YOU for the thoughtful gift!! He obviously love his new squeaky loofah dog!!Woof!Woof! 

Brady-15 Brady-14

PS: If was great to meet up with you (and the family) over the weekend! Come visit us in the summer!

Back In Town…….I Heart Southwest Airlines

My trip to Chicago was super fun… super short….super tiring….which left me super duper exhausted today! I will blog more over the next few days on the various restaurants we pigged out at in the Windy City as well as the wedding!SouthwestThis entry, I would love to share my experience flying with Southwest….MY FAVORITE AIRLINE! Seriously…no sarcasm here. I really enjoy flying Southwest Airlines and will always check out their website for flights first, before searching on other sites. You can purchase tickets at great deal if you download their Ding! program or purchase tickets 21 days in advance!

I know there are travelers who does not like the Southwest no seat assignment (and no first class) arrangement; but I don’t care! I love that all I need to do is check in 24 hours prior to departure to sort of “secure my seat”! Passengers (once checked in) are assigned a placement of where to line up at the departure gate. There are generally 3 main groups; A , B & C and each group is numbered to 60. The first passenger to check it at exactly 24 hours before departure will most likely secure #A1 which gives you the first priority to board the plane and choose your own seating (after the pre-boarding passengers) while if you secure #C60; good luck…as you will be the last to be on board and fill remaining spot.

There are usually no cancellation fee to change/cancel your flight, except paying for the difference if a new flight is booked. If you do cancel, you are either given a refund or a credit. You can check in up to two luggage for free unlike some other airlines who charges you $15 and up for first luggage. Snacks (Cracker & peanuts) and drinks are also given on every flight, free.

Over the 3-4 years I’ve flew with Southwest airlines, I’ve gotten about 3-4 roundtrip tickets for free. it’s faster to receive free roundtrips with Southwest as all you need to do is fly 8 roundtrips with and you’ll receive one free round trip(It doesn’t matter where you fly to). With other airlines; i.e you will need 25,000 – 40,000 miles to get a roundtrip ticket. Even with that, there’s so much restrictions to claim a free trip with other airlines. On top of that you will also receive drink coupons for 4-5 glasses of wine or beer with Southwest Airlines. That’s about a $20 value for free drinks! =) And speaking of free drinks, check this out….how cool is that???Southwest-1Flying at least 24 round trips with Southwest, I have only experienced delayed once or twice and NEVER A CANCELLATION/CHANGE IN SCHEDULE with my reservations compared to American Airlines and United Airlines. The flight attendants are usually very outgoing, extremely friendly and chirpy. If you’re lucky, you might encounter with one of their many ‘singing staff’ who will happily serenade the passengers on board. Oh, did I mention pillows and blankets are also available…again for FREE!

I HEART Southwest! Keep up the good work and don’t follow the foot steps of the other airlines who love to charge just every penny for everything!! .=P

PS: Not affiliated with Southwest Airlines. Opinions are my own as a loyal customer who absolutely love the great service provided by Southwest!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wedding “Cupcaker”

WeddingCupcakeWith my sleeves rolled up and armed with my humble collection of Wilton cake supplies, my sturdy Kitchen Aid stand mixer, my faithful Frigidaire Oven, my 10 scrawny little fingers, my somewhat creative mind? and my determination to make the cupcakes to what I had in mind…..I got to work and started baking! The baking part was quite easy..the decoration part was a tad tiring.

WeddingCupcake-1 WeddingCupcake-4

It has been quite a while since I last played with fondant, let alone roll out a pack of fondant. I forgot how much strength I needed to flatten that piece of fondant. It took me quite a while to roll out the fondant to the thickness I need for the cupcakes. I could almost feel sweat tickling down my forehead and my biceps (and triceps) crying in vain!!! At the end of this ‘rolling session’, I think I’ve worked enough muscles to avoid the gym… Oh wait,I don’t go to the gym..Maybe I should just start baking and selling cakes! That way, I get to do the things I like and work those biceps at the same time?? =P

 WeddingCupcake-3 WeddingCupcake-6

I nearly broke my back baking about 72 cupcakes and decorating about 60 cupcakes. After about 7 hours of standing and non-stop bending my back over the kitchen counter top, I’ve finished another part of my wedding cupcake mission! I guess I shouldn’t be complaining how tiring it was as I’m only making 60-70 cupcakes, nothing compared to my friend Ween @ www.love-a-cupcake.blogspot.com who bakes cupcakes day in and out!

 WeddingCupcake-7 WeddingCupcake-9

As of now, the cupcakes are holding up very well….Phewh! It’s all packed in my homemade carrier box and will await their maiden flight to Chicago!! Lets pray and hope that everything will go as planned! =) Now I need to make sure I pack my bridesmaid dress (and matching shoes) and some clothing for my Windy City trip! I foresee lots of eating for 2 days…. I better pack in some loose clothing and baggy pants!!! Haha! Yours truly will be flying off tomorrow morning and returning Sunday night! Stay tuned for the post wedding update!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Porky Pork Chop Dinner!

Dinner-26I made pork chops for dinner using my Honey Mustard Chicken recipe marinade and changed the cooking method. For these “Honey Mustard Pork Chops, I marinated the 3 pieces of pork (center-cut)overnight (about 18 hours) before cooking them for the dinner the next day. I melted about 2 tbsp of butter and seared the pork chops over medium heat until they are brown on each side. I left mine to slightly char a little, but be careful since the marinade contains sugar(honey) the pan/pork will burn easily. Once both sides of pork has been browned, I removed them and set it aside.

I threw in half a thinly sliced large onion into the same pan and cook it. Then I added about 2 tbsp of cooking wine, 1/4 cup of water and the remaining marinade into the pan to deglaze it. Lowered the heat, then added the pork chops back into the pan and let sauce coat both side of the pork. Covered the pan for a couple minutes before serving it. Serve the pork with some of the onions and sauce!

My Honey Mustard Pork Chops were served on a bed of homemade mushroom rice pilaf and topped with garlic butter green beans. Yums!!! And YES, Brady was salivating; table side!! Will make this again! I’m getting hungry just blogging about it….

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Wedding Cupcake Mission

Yours truly is getting very very nervous over her wedding cupcake mission! I offered my dear friend Ayu my “ cupcake service” to make her wedding cupcakes for her wedding! To my delight, she said yes and this is truly an honor for her to put faith in me to make cupcakes for a special event; her wedding!!!. The wedding cupcakes will be my gift to her…. hehe! I thought it would be more special and meaningful than giving money or gifts… Although, now I’ve regretted for not shutting my big mouth as I’m getting worried thinking about all the negative what-ifs!!!! 
Anyway, too late to back up now…….I’ll be the biggest jerk ever taking back my offer… Haha! I’ll just have to plan out everything so ever carefully and have 1001..wait make that 1,000,001 back up plans for the wedding cupcake mission…you know just in case! Yes, I know I’m a Nervous Nellie!
I’ve made the cupcake stand which will be used to display the wedding cupcakes at the wedding. I’ve Googled around and saw a few different cupcake stands.I finally saw what I like and showed Ayu the idea! Ayu and her hubby loved what I proposed and I went shopping around for fabric and matching ribbons to compliment their wedding theme!
We finally settled with a black and white floral print with red ribbon and this is the end result of it! Duck tape saved the day as I used it to wrap the fabric onto the boxes! It’s 99.8% finished as I have yet to trim the ribbons. I shipped the boxes yesterday as is and will trim the ribbons in Chicago after final adjustments are made. I’m crossing all my fingers and toes that the boxes will arrive safely in one piece and not crushed up or destroyed! Cupcake Stand With the cupcake stand out of the way, I still have cupcakes to bake and decorate on Friday! About 60 cupcakes will need to be decorated with fondant and a rosebud on each cupcake, per the request of the bride to be. Cupcakes will be flavored Lemon Earl Grey and Coffee! I hope the cupcakes will travel well on the flight! **Crossing fingers and toes again!**

Click here for the finished product; cupcakes and all set up for the reception

Brady Eyeing Our Dinner!

Brady-13With Brady around, we continued our habit of eating our dinner at the coffee table in front of the telly. The difference is, hubby now has to guard the food as I bring them out and serve it at the coffee table. A wondering eye away from the food on the table will most likely allow Brady chance to lick or to take a bite at what is served that night!

Brady is quite a good boy during our dinner time even though he may occasionally try to sniff and hover around the table. He will eventually sit and change sitting locations; beside the table, beside hubby or myself or between us patiently and probably sympathetically till we give in! Haha.. But, we’ve decided that he will not be fed off the table and will not be fed human food. Sorry Brady! He does get a treat once we finished dinner though! =)

So for Monday and Tuesday’s dinner….he’s been salivating as we enjoyed these:

1) Monday’s Dinner: Pork Patties with Potatoes, Stir Fry Celery and Radish Soup. The Pork Patties I made were sort of similar to making a meat ball, minus the cheese and breadcrumbs and instead  oriental seasoning were used.Dinner-24

2) Tuesday’s Dinner: Nyonya Chicken Curry, Fried Omellette with Egg & Pickled Radish and Cabbage Soup. Dinner-25 The Nyonya Chicken Curry was from a store bought paste and all I did was add chicken, tomatoes, cilantro, coconut milk and some salt. I unfortunately did not enjoy this brand of chicken curry mix: “Chan Hong Instant Nyonya Curry Chicken Mix”. I find it way too spicy (compared to other brands I’ve tried before) that I can hardly taste the other spice/other ingredients anymore. I added a little more liquid than suggested and some palm sugar to try to tone down the heat, and it just helped a little! However, the curry became a little diluted and even less flavorful. Sigh……..I will skip this brand in the future! =P

Tonight, Brady boy will surely be eyeing to sink his teeth in our pork chops that I’ll be making for dinner! Hehe! Sit, Brady, Sit!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bubur Cha Cha

Bubur Cha Cha (Bobo Chacha) is a popular Nyonya dessert in Malaysia. Nyonya refers to the descendents from early Chinese-Malay marriage. Extracted from www.knowledgerush.com;

“Peranakan, Baba-Nyonya (娘惹) and Straits Chinese (after the Straits of Malacca) (土生華人) are terms used for the culture of the early Chinese immigrants to Malacca on the Malay Peninsula, who intermarried with the Malay population, and later spread throughout the British Straits Settlements to Singapore and Penang. The Peranakan have taken elements from both cultures, for instance from their Malay origin a unique (and very tasty) cuisine has developed making use of the abundant spices found in Malaysia (examples are Chicken Kapitan, a dry chicken curry, and Inchi Kabin, a Nyonya version of fried chicken). The women (Nyonyas) have taken to wearing the baju kebaya (a Malay dress, seen most notably as the uniform of Malaysia Airlines' female flight attendants). However, the Peranakan eschewed Islam, preferring the ancestral worship of the Chinese, although some have now converted to Christianity. The wedding ceremony of the Peranakan is mostly Chinese, and is one of the most fascinating wedding ceremonies in Malaysia. Their language, Baba Malay, is a dialect of the Malay language, which contains many Hokkien words. However, only members of the older generation still use it in daily life.”

Now back to Bubur ChaCha….this dessert can be eaten warm or cold and is enjoyed by many Malaysians and Singaporeans. If you are watching your waist line or your calorie intake, this is not the dessert for you! This dessert is super duper rich with thick coconut cream as base and contain pieces of sweet potatoes, yam, tapioca, banana and sometimes black eye pea bean. There is a slight variation from one Bubur Chacha to another, but the key ingredients are usually the same; sweet potatoes, yam and tapioca!

I made some last week using sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, yam, and large tapioca pearls (colored pink) cooked those in a thick rich coconut cream flavored with pandaneus leaves. Sugar and a pinch of salt were added to the dessert right before serving.   Mmm… I wish I had some bananas to add in the dessert; that would have been perfect! The large tapioca pearls (dry) took a while to cook, so next time I might resort to either making my own tapioca pieces or just use the small tapioca pearls.BoboChaChaRemember, my posting about how Malaysian and Filipino desserts are similar? Well, this is another similar dessert that we share! It is known as “Ginataang Halo Halo” in the Filipino community. Again, I found this out last year at Chris’s nephew’s birthday party. His family member made some of this dessert and boy was I pleased to see it coz I love Bubur Chacha! The taste and ingredients were almost spot on like how we have it in Malaysia except they added Jackfruit pieces which was equally yummy! 

I did not follow any specific recipe to make this dessert and just eyeballed everything myself. So if you’re interested to make a batch of this dessert, I suggest for you to refer to Lily’s Wai Sek Hong for the Bubur Chacha recipe. I have not tried this recipe of hers, but am sure it’s as wonderful as other recipes that I’ve tried from her! 

Monday, March 23, 2009


This Coffee Cake recipe is another trial run for my friend’s wedding cupcakes! A success! Yay! I made this cupcake on Wednesday and 1- 2 days later it’s still moist. Plus, these are mini cupcakes and they usually dry out quicker than bigger cupcakes! I am gonna reattempt the Lemon Early Grey cupcakes and make some adjustments to it and see how it held up 2 days later! I am gonna pour some hot syrup on the hot cakes to make sure the moisture is still there after 2 days!

You must be wondering why do I want to keep the cupcakes till 2 days later….Well, I’m planning to bake 50-60 mini cupcakes and decorate them with fondant on Friday. Saturday morning, fly off to Chicago with them and Sunday afternoon, present them during the wedding luncheon as wedding cupcakes!! Did I mention that the wedding is March 29? =). I’ve somewhat made the cupcake stand which I will use to stack the cupcakes and hopefully make a wonderful presentation out of it. I still need to neatly wrap up the stands and ship it to Chicago in advance! I am truly excited about the whole project, especially the chance of making wedding cupcakes for a dear friend! =)

Here’s the recipe!

Coffee Cupcake



  • 1/4 Cup Butter (Softened at room temperature)
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour (Sifted)
  • 3/4 Tsp + 1/8 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Instant Coffee Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Coffee Yogurt (**Look for Dannon)


Preheat oven at 350F. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Then add vanilla extract and coffee powder into mixture. Combine flour and baking powder into mixture and stir well. Finally mix in milk and yogurt. Combine batter. Pour batter into baking pan (lined with parchment paper) or cupcake pan lined with cupcake liners. For cupcakes, pour batter till about 3/4 cup full. Bake @ 350F for 20-25 minutes till testing skewer comes out clean or cupcakes are slightly brown! This gave me about 28 mini cupcakes! Coffee Cupcake-1

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Liking Sichuan Food…

I’ve never been fond of Sichuan food as the signature dishes are often too spicy for me to handle. My previous dining experiences with my Chinese national friends leave me either eating just rice, or hosing my burning mouth with glasses after glasses of ice water! Don’t get me wrong, I do like spicy food, but I think Sichuan food has a different kind of spice than what I’m able to handle. Husband knows how much I abhor Sichuan food and that I would never look forward to dining at Sichuan restaurants. However, my recent dining experience at a Sichuan Restaurant changed my perception on dishes from the Sichuan Province of China that not all Sichuan food are spicy crazy!

Hubby’s friend treated us to some Sichuan food for lunch, a bribe advance thank you gesture for helping him and his girlfriend move. Lunch was at Sichuan Palace located in Chelmsford, MA. We let the friend order the dishes for us since he’s a little more familiar with the food.Sichuan PalaceThe food was overall tasty. This is my first time actually enjoying eating Sichuan food, though some of you might say what I had are not signature Sichuan dishes such as Boiled Sliced Fish Fillet in Hot Chili Sauce (“Sui Zhu Yu Pian”.., my best Mandarin translation!). Did not take picture of the food we ate as I did not want to scare hubby’s friend…just yet! Let me share with you what was ordered at the restaurant :

1) Herb Spiced Pork Tongue (Wu Xiang Zhu Se) @ $6.95 : I did not try this… It looked interesting, thinly sliced and if you don’t know any better, it looked just like meat.

2) Beef & Tomato Soup (Fan Qie Niu Rou Tang) @ $8.95 / 2pp : This was quite tasty,not that spicy. The beef was surprisingly delicious and I don’t usually take beef. It looked and tasted like pork to me…. The soup tasted like it had some Chinese pickled cabbage in it.

3) Fish Fillet in Spicy Bean Sauce (Dou Pan Yu Pian) @ $13.95 : Not too spicy, well at least I can take it. This is pretty yummy.

4) Rice Vermicelli With Spicy Ground Pork (Ma Yi Sang Su) @ $8.95 : Although it said rice vermicelli on the menu, I think they actually serve bean thread vermicelli. I don’t mind ask I love both kinds of vermicelli. This dish was fairly simply yet yummy. Not too spicy for me either.

5) Stewed Duck In Beer (Pi Jiu Ya) @ $15.95 : The duck meat was a little gamey. The sauce wasn’t that bad and it also had some mushroom and tofu. I might not order this again! I prefer my duck, roasted……mmm crispy roasted duck!..Yums!

6) Chef Shao’s Tofu with Shrimp & Vegetables (Sichuan Kou Tai Tou Fu) @ $12.95 : MUST ORDER!!!!! MUST ORDER!!!! Have I stressed it enough?? This was the highlight dish of the day and the best Sichuan dish I had ever tasted!! It was so yummiliious. The tofu was mixed with shrimp and vege, then fried…it was so soft and fragrant. The special tofu was stir fried with some other vegetables. 2 thumbs up for this dish!!! I’ll definitely be back for more!

After a satisfying meal at Sichuan Palace (and before we started helping our friend move), we stopped by a pet store a few shops down from the restaurant to hunt for premium dog food for Brady. Isn’t he a lucky pooch? =P. We’re trying to feed him better quality food than what is offered at our local Petco/Petsmart. My friend Caroline who has done extensive research on premium dog food recommended for me to feed Brady Evo brand dry dog food. Evo dog food has one of the highest protein content among all other dog food. We got a small bag @ $15/6.6 lb for Brady to try and this should be able to last him about 15 days or so.  If he likes it and is able to handle the high protein diet, his mom and pop will continue feeding him Evo brand dog food. Evo

Saturday, March 21, 2009

We Dreamt Of Brady……

….long before we had him in our lives! We bought the framed picture of a Brady look a like from Ikea 3-4 yrs ago. The picture has been placed on a shelf above our tv at our home for 2 years now and we never realized the resemblance to Brady until Kelvin’s friend, Chen brought it up today! The patch patterns on his head are almost identical like in the picture. Though the dog in the picture has black patches, we could just assume it’s a black and white portrait of Brady.. Hehe!Brady-11No wonder we unconsciously fell in love with Brady at the shelter. I guess we have longed for Brady years before we met! Is this destiny? A dream come true? Coincidence?

Celebration For Brady?

I invited Seyda, Rob and Chris over for dinner yesterday to “celebrate” Brady’s first week in his FOREVER home. The truth is, it was just a reason for me to cook up some food to serve my close friends….. Chris was thoughtful to get Brady some gift; another squeaky toy and some Scooby Snacks! And Brady loved his new toy!!!

Well, Brady’s “1 week anniversary” marked a few milestones for Brady and us! We found out that Brady can really really hold his pee and poop! We brought him out the night before, just before midnight for him to pee, which he did. The next morning like every mornings, it was hubby’s routine to take Brady out for Brady to ease himself except he refused to pee this time! I took him out in the afternoon hoping that he will pee, and again he refused too…… I checked the house to make sure no accidents…..NOTHING… When hubby got home, he took Brady out for his evening “session”….Boy, he sure maximized this session as he pooped and peed all over the neighborhood marking his territories! We suspect this little rascal must be holding his bladder the whole day just to make sure other canines know WHO’S DA MAN!!!! BRADY’S DA MAN!!!!

Anyway, when my friends arrived……we heard something we never heard before..BRADY BARKED! he woofed twice, a low deep woof not those high pitch annoying ones at Seyda when she was chasing him around the house wanting to pick him up. Now we know who sure Brady is capable of barking! We’re hoping he won’t make a habit out of it and will only be an occasional barker! Hehe

So, for our little party… I made some New England Clam Chowder to start with. I’m convinced that canned chopped clams are as good as fresh ones but more affordable! =) . I can add a whole lot more clams without breaking the bank! I used red skin potatoes for the chowder which I thought was the best choice of potato compared to the other ones we had used. We have been cooking clam chowder based on this recipe we found online following it roughly and doing slight changes to it; i.e. adding some chopped celery. As we like the clam chowder think and creamy, a tablespoon or two of all purpose flour is always added to the soup! Here’s a lousy picture of the Clam Chowdah!Clam ChowderThe whole dinner was somewhat international with different kind of dishes. First up; Spanakopita. The recipe was from food network and I followed the basic ingredients and mix them up! Instead of the fresh spinach used in the recipe, I just used frozen ones which worked out well. Spanakopita is a savory Greek pastry with Phyllo dough on the outside and the filling is made from spinach and feta cheese. It is sometimes served in a lasagna style or in individual triangle package like what I did and prefer! As I did not measure, I thought my Spinach to Feta ratio was a little off. A little too much Spinach perhaps. And the filling was bursting out from the Phyllo….I either did not use enough Phyllo sheets or somehow overfilled it! =P. None the less, it’s still good!SpanakopitaNext international meal was pan fried polenta topped with sautéed mushroom. I think Polenta is originally from Italy and is basically cooked cornmeal. The polenta was store bought from Trader Joe’s @ $2.99, or was it $1.99? This was inspired by Giada who topped pan fried polenta with something i-forgot-what-it-was. I browsed my vegetarian recipe book and found an idea quite similar to what Giada De Laurentiis of Food Network made a couple weeks ago. Used the recipe I found as a rough guide again and combined a few different ingredients for the mushroom topping. Mushroom PolentaFor my meat eaters, I browned some party meatballs from Trader Joe’s. It’s a good deal for a decent bag of tasty meatballs @ less than $4! I dunked the meatballs in a homemade sauce made from canned tomatoes, onion and green pepper and let the meatballs soak up some of the sauce. My green pepper sauce reminded me of the Italian Sausages with Green pepper and onions I ate over the summer… Mmmm….. I love the meatball and the sauce combo. Hubby on the other hand preferred a crispier meatball. I have half a bag left, so I’ll make him some crispier ones next time! Green Pepper MeatballAnd for some starch in the meal, I made some Gemelli and Fish pasta, baked with some Mozzarella, Cheddar Cheese and Panko crumbs for some crunch! This dish was inspired by one of America’s favorite dish; Mac & Cheese! I thought the pasta could use a little more cream and maybe some Parmesan. Pasta-3 Well, have a wonderful weekend. Yet another busy weekend coming up for the household! I wonder what time will I fall asleep tonight. I’m hearing squeaky squeaks from Brady playing his new toy from Chris!! =D

Friday, March 20, 2009

Egg Cheese Melt & Creamy Mushroom Soup

Soft Rye bread was on sale at the local grocer for $1 (usually $2.99) as it was a new product/brand, so I got a loaf of it. I decided to make it a sandwich and soup night; something simple yesterday since today we’ll be having a little party to celebrate Brady’s one week celebration in our household! A few close buddies will be over and I’ll be making various food.=) Pictures will definitely follow!Dinner-21Anyway, back to my sandwich and soup story…..The soup on the other hand is dedicated to my brother who a few days ago had requested for the creamy mushroom soup recipe I served on X’mas Eve! Instead of telling him estimates of this and that (well I did tell him actually and it sorta overwhelmed him =P), I decided to measure everything out and share it here! =) Mom is definitely proud of her baby boy who now can even make Tiramisu!!!

The Egg Cheese Melt was constructed from 3 pieces of rye toasted with some butter. A cheese melt on one layer and the second layer a spread of egg salad with cucumber slices complete my Egg Cheese Melt! YUMS!




  • 2-1/2 Cups Mushroom, sliced
  • 1 Cup Potatoes, diced (I used red skin potato, peeled)
  • 1 Cup Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 3 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Butter,
  • 1 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/2- 3/4 Cup Milk (**adjust accordingly)
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tsp Parsley Flake (about 1-2 Tbsp if using fresh chopped parsley)
  • 1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Onion Powder
  • Salt & Pepper


In a pot, melt butter and sauté onion and garlic till fragrant over medium high heat. Then add in mushroom, potatoes, parsley, onion powder and garlic powder. Continue to sauté for about 2 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, cover pot and let it cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Remove pot from heat and let the soup cool for about 1 hour before putting it in a blender. When soup has cooled down significantly, puree it in the food processor. If you find it hard to puree it, a little milk will help. Then pour it back into the original pot and continue to cook it over medium low heat. Add cream as well as remaining milk till you get the consistency you like. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with some fresh crusty bread!. This serves 2!

If you want a soup with more texture, feel free to chop up about 1/4 cup of mushroom, sauté it in some butter and add it in just before before you add cream and milk.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Brady-10This is a special update per the request of my friend Adeline. With Brady in our lives, my handbag is now filled with 4 essential things; Poopy bag (to pick up after Mr. Brady), doogie treats (to bribe or to reward him), his squeaky toy (to reward or to distract him) and of course hand sanitizer (needed especially after picking up after him!!). Thank goodness for an oversize handbag!

Brady boy passed his wellness check during his recent visit to the vet. HURRAY!! The shelter we adopted him from requires us to send Brady for a checkup within 7 days of the adoption. The first visit to certain vet is free, for adopted dogs; which is wonderful as a visit to the vet cost about $50-60 each, in addition to vaccines and other medicines that your dog might need. We have the option to “return” Brady for a full refund, if he has a medical issue that we do not want to deal with. I was VERY nervous when I brought him to the vet as I do not want to be caught in the scenario of either spending hundreds (or thousands) to make him better or “returning” him and picking up another rescued dog since we’ve already fallen in love with him!

The only thing Brady needs right now is for us to start brushing his teeth as he has some tartar build up in his back teeth! Either that or about $500 ( we better start saving up???) for professional cleaning from the vet which was recommended since he’s got quit a bit of tartar. I need to get some poultry flavored dog toothpaste to clean his teeth. =) Oh yeah, we need to make sure Brady gain a little more weight… he’s right now a skinny little thing! So, we’re feeding him a little more than instructed…at least for now!

Brady loves to sleep and also cuddle up to us for a good scratch which will just hypnotize him and make him fall asleep on our lap! He sometimes demand some attention and affection, give him a hug a cuddle and he will in return will lick your face silly!! I love his excitement and his wag-ly tail when he greets you at the door or stairs. That’s why I prefer to have a dog as a pet (sorry cat owners!) and that’s why I wanted a dog with a long tail!!! Hehe! Brady will always greet us when we come out from the shower/toilet upstairs! It’s like we’ve been gone forever and he’s super pleased to see us again! =) Since we’ve decided to keep Brady out from the bedrooms, it’s heart wrenching to see him wait outside the bedroom door whenever we go in the room, especially when we go to bed. He will wait patiently for minutes (or hours??) before going back down to his own bed. Brady-6It’s been almost a week since we brought Brady home, and we’ve yet hear him bark. It’s truly a blessing as we do not want a yappy dog! Be assured that he’s not deaf (and dumb)…..that we sure know as we’ve heard him yelped (at the vet and when hubby accidentally stepped on his tail, oops), and he loves anything that squeaks! Right now he’s absolute favorite toy is a squeaky loofah dog! He loved it so much, he’ll bring it almost everywhere! And since he loved it so much, I just had to buy him another once….especially since it’s on sale!! Hehe! Here’s a picture of Brady and his favorite toy at the moment, a 12” loofah dog we named “Fido”!Brady-4Mr. Brady enjoys car rides and taking strolls. He doesn’t really pull when he walks but will occasionally try to stray when he sees kids, dogs, and things we don’t see?? Haha! He is extremely friendly to people and dogs. We think he’s a heartbreaker as many ladies think he’s oh-so-cute especially with his prominent Jack Russell Terrier features!! =)

Everyday is a new learning experience with Brady and we are loving his every move, falling deeper and deeper in love with our boy, Brady! He’s an excellent dog as our first dog, somewhat quite housebroken, extremely affectionate and decently behaved! Haha!  Brady also does not have food (or toy?) aggression meaning we can talk away his food/treat/toy without him snapping, growling or biting us! And the way he sleeps is just hilariously funny!!

Say goodbye to cold kennels at the shelter, foster families, hoarder with 40 dogs in the same house and different faces everyday! I’m proud to say that Brady has found his FOREVER home and is here to stay a long time. We will definitely shower Brady with lots of love, food, treats and toys! Hehe!

Here are more silly and cute pictures of BRADY!! If you’re my Facebook friend, do check out my photo album for more pictures of Brady! =)

Brady-9 Brady-5 Brady-7 Brady-8

Chicken Rice & A Walk By The River

I made Chicken Rice for dinner last night. My method may not be right, but I still loved it! I cooked the chicken legs in a pot of boiling stock with some diluted chicken broth, seasoning, garlic, ginger, and turmeric for some color! For the flavored rice, I used the same broth from cooking the chicken and added pandaneus leaves, ginger slices, fried shallots, sesame oil and salt! With the remaining chicken broth, I added some Daikon and made radish soup of of it! Chicken was served on a bed of sliced cucumber topped with cilantro and a soy sauce mixture! Yums! And Brady sat by us, aiming for a good bite (or a lick) at the juicy chicken legs!! HeheDinner-20Anyway, after our Chicken Rice dinner yesterday…hubby and I took Brady out on a stroll along the Merrimack River. Our routine has changed with Brady in our lives. We now get more exercise as we need to take Brady boy out for a walk and to socialize. At least, it’s true on my part…….as I hate exercising and walking, but with Brady around, he gives me motivation to walk outside! =)..Brady has been pretty good so far, although we can sense that he’s testing out his limits each day…doing different things and hoping he can get away with it! Hubby and I both agreed on some ground rules on Brady and it’s worked out fine so far!

Oh yeah, I’m now looking to change Brady’s food and have been looking and searching for different brands out there. Right now, Brady’s eating IAMS Minichunks and we would like to switch over to something better, higher in protein, more meat and less by products! Share with me your recommendations or suggestions! =) 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Honey Mustard Chicken

MustardThis roast chicken dish is something I threw together inspired by other Honey Mustard Chicken dishes. I started off just simply mixing different ingredients together, adding whatever I had in the pantry and remembered that I have a jar of mustard! One ingredient lead to another and I ended up with what seem like a Honey Mustard marinade! The roast chicken turned out awesome and moist! I served my chicken with a simple garlic butter pasta and some sautéed Cremini Mushroom and Broccoli.




  • 2 Chicken Legs, cleaned
  • 1 tbsp butter


  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar (Sushi Vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp cooking wine


Combine marinade in a bowl and whisk well to combine. Pour marinade in a zip lock bag and add chicken legs. Seal bag and massage chicken legs so that marinade will coat every nook and crannies. Let chicken legs marinade overnight or at least 6-8 hours as this will give you a more flavorful chicken!

Preheat oven @ 375 F. While oven is heating up, melt 1 tbsp of butter in a frying pan over medium high heat. Place chicken skin side down on pan and let skin brown and turn it to let the other side brown. Allow about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Place the browned chicken skin side up on a baking dish, baste skin with excess marinade and cover with foil. Bake chicken for about 40-45 minutes. Baste chicken skin generously with the excess marinade about 15-20 minutes into baking time. Cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken legs! Then remove foil, and change oven to broiling mode (high). Let chicken crisp up a little, and this would take about 2-4 minutes. Keep a close eye when broiling the chicken, as you do not want a burnt chicken! This serves two!

To test if chicken is done : Insert a fork in the chicken and It should go in easily. The juices should also run clear. For more chicken doneness test click here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Trader Joe’s

Traders Joe…….not your average Joe! This store has been around for quite a while. It’s not as large as regular grocery stores, but they certainly have a good selection of basic, organic and international food! I’ve briefly window shopped at Trader Joe’s while I was in school just to see what they offer.I have not been to a Trader Joe’s since and decided to revisit it again a few months ago.

I now have been occasionally going to Trader Joe’s as the prices are actually very reasonable! Certain items in the store are actually cheaper than the local grocer I often shop at! And I just love the international selection that they have. You’ll can also find food in the store that you won’t (or can hardly) find in other stores! They have an awesome selection of fresh food, common and unique dried fruits, delicious quick meals, international cuisine (Indian, Italian, Japanese, etc), healthy snacks, healthy juice and lots more of yummy stuff!

If you’ve not been to a Trader Joe’s, swing by your nearest store and check them out! And if you see this Japanese Rice Cracker Snack (Fat Free!), pick one up. This is one of the yummiest Japanese snack I’ve tasted for less than $3!! By the way, I’m not affiliated with Trader Joe’s…just wanted to share good findings and food!! =)  Traders Joe-1

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