Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Eggplant Wrapped Tofu


Who doesn't love Thanksgiving? We all know that you should be thankful no matter what time of the year it is, but during this special holiday, you suddenly feel extra THANKFUL and just a little bit more BLESSED. You also get that ONE day to stuff your face without anyone really judging you. Which reminds me...I wonder if I can locate my old maternity pants? Stretchy pants are an absolute MUST on Thanksgiving Day!

This recipe is an easy one and the great thing about it is IT'S HEALTHY. Grilled eggplant and fried tofu make a beautiful pair and I promise you, that for just a few moments…you will have forgotten that you are a meat eating carnivore.


3-4 Indian eggplants(may use any purple egg plants)
2 packages of fried tofu(small or large)
sesame oil
salt and pepper


1 ounce of ginger  peeled then sliced julienne
1 small carrot sliced julienne
2 cloves of chopped garlic
2 Tbsp of finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup of water
1 Tbsp of soy sauce
1 Tbsp of hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp of salt
2 Tbsp of brown sugar
1/8 tsp of black pepper
peanut oil
some corn starch mixed with a little bit of water


cilantro or parsely


1. Start by making your dipping sauce. In a small mixing bowl, combine your water, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, salt, brown sugar, and black pepper. Mix well.

2. In a saucepan, add in some peanut oil. Add in your chopped shallots and cook until softened. Add in your garlic, cook for a couple of seconds and then toss in your ginger and carrots. Cook until fragrant or until softened to your liking.

3. Add in your soy sauce mixture and cook on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. It should be slightly boiling. Take some cornstarch and mix it with some water. Add that mixture into your saucepan and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Mixture will thicken more upon standing.

4. Remove your tofu from the packaging and rinse them in some really hot water to remove any excess oil. Drain and then pat them dry. Cut them in half if you are using the larger ones.

5. Wash your eggplants and then pat them dry. Cut off the ends first, and then begin to slice your eggplants into thin pieces, about an 1/8th of inch wide(or thinner). Coat both sides of your eggplant with some sesame oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Grill your eggplants until done and allow them to cool down slightly before wrapping them over your tofu.

6. Wrap your grilled eggplant over your tofu by inserting a toothpick right into the center. Place them on a serving platter along with your dipping sauce and serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Vietnamese Ham(Cha Lua)

yes new ham

Vietnamese ham may seem intimidating at first, but let me reassure you that it is SUPER easy to make. I've been making them for the past 2 years and honestly speaking, they don't really last that long in my home.

Vietnamese Ham, also known as Cha Lua, is commonly used in Vietnamese Sandwiches aka Banh Mi and many noodle soup recipes. When I am really lazy and don't feel like cooking, I like to add pieces of ham into my instant noodles. It's even good served with rice, a little bit of soy sauce, and lots of Sriracha hot sauce! YUM!

The possibilities are endless with this one, and I hope you guys really enjoy it just as much as I do!



2 1/2 pounds of pork tenderloin
3 tsp of fish sauce
1/2 tsp of salt
1 Tbsp of sugar
1 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of onion powder
1/2 tsp of white pepper
WHOLE black peppercorns(optional)

For the wet ingredients:

1 bag of Alsa baking powder(or 1 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp of tapioca starch
2/3 cup of warm water
*Don't make this mixture until the very last minute. It will start to bubble and that's normal.

You will also need:

good quality saran wrap
kitchen twine/string
a steamer


Take your pork tenderloin, rinse it, and then pat it dry. Remove any excess fat or silver skin. Chop into small pieces and add it into your food processor.

Pulse meat until it is fully grounded. Stop the motor and then season your pork. IF USING PEPPERCORNS, DO NOT ADD THOSE IN YET.

Continue to pulse for about 30 more seconds. Stop the motor, mix your wet ingredients, and then immediately pour it into your pork. Continue to pulse for 30 more seconds or until smooth.

Pour your pork mixture into a bowl and if you are using peppercorns, go ahead and add them now. Mix well with a spatula, cover with saran wrap, and store in the fridge OVERNIGHT.

The following day, wrap your pork tightly in saran wrap. Follow with two more layers of saran wrap, and then with some kitchen twine.

Steam until no longer pink. If your pork weighs 1 pound, you should steam them for ABOUT 30 minutes. Anything more or less, please adjust cooking time as needed.

NOTES: After steaming, you may freeze your leftover ham for future use. Just thaw and serve. I've always used the French baking powder so I do not know if it will yield the same results, using regular baking powder. You can purchase Asla baking powder in most Asian markets. They come in little pink packages and can be found next to the corn starch.

Fresh Spring Rolls

spring rolls


rice paper
very warm water

For the filling:

rice vermicelli noodles(cooked accordingly to the package)
1 pound of shrimp(deveined with the shell on)
fried tofu
Vietnamese ham(click here for my homemade recipe)
bean sprouts
green leaf lettuce
saw tooth coriander(optional)

For the peanut sauce:

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp of hoisen sauce
1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter
1 Tbsp of sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup of very warm water
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
chopped peanuts for garnish
*you may double the recipe

For the sweet and sour fish sauce:

1/2 cup of sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp of very hot water
1/3 cup of fish sauce
1-2 limes
3 cloves of chopped garlic
1 Tbsp of ground chili paste
some sliced Thai chili peppers
some carrots sliced julienne(optional)


Start off by making your dipping sauces.

To make the peanut sauce:

Add all of the above ingredients(except for the chopped peanuts)into a food processor and puree until smooth. Taste check and adjust seasoning as needed. Sauce will slightly thicken upon standing. Store any leftovers in an air tight container in the fridge.

To make the sweet and sour dipping sauce:

Add all of the above ingredients into a small mixing bowl EXCEPT for the ground chili paste and chili peppers. You want to taste check for seasoning first, and then add the chili last after it's to your liking. Start off with the juice of 1 lime and add more as needed. Store leftover sauce in an air tight container in the fridge, as well.

Add your shrimp in some boiling water until cooked through. Drain and then slice them in half. Remove the shell and then set aside.

Take your tofu and rinse them in some hot water to remove the excess oil. Drain and then pat dry. Cut them in half and then again into thirds. Set them aside.

Cut your Vietnamese ham into the same size as your tofu. You want thin strips to make it easier to roll.

Wash all of your herbs and veggies VERY WELL, and then dry them in a salad spinner.

*Make sure you have all of your fillings, herbs, and veggies in front of you before you begin to assemble.

How to assemble your spring rolls:

Dip your rice paper into some very warm water for about 5 seconds. Place the rice paper on a wooden board. Use your hands to smooth out the rice paper a bit. It will also help soften the rice paper. Take a small piece of lettuce and place it in the middle(make sure you leave at least a 1/2 inch border on the sides to roll up the seams). Add your bean sprout first, and then follow with your choice of herbs and veggies. Top with a small portion of noodles(less is more). On the next row, add two slices of tofu then top that with two slices of ham. For the third row, add 3 pieces of shrimp(the cut side of the shrimp should be visible to you).

Start rolling the rice paper over the veggies and noodles(getting a tight grip), then over your tofu and ham, and right before you roll over the shrimp, fold in the sides of the rice paper, and finally, tightly roll over the shrimp.

Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce.

NOTES: Fresh spring rolls do not refrigerate well. The rice paper will become tough and hard, when cold. Make sure you always use very warm water for best results. You do not have to use a wooden board to roll your spring rolls. Personally, it just works better for me because I feel that the wooden boards soak up the water from the rice paper better, so it makes for easier rolling.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wonton Soup

wonton soup

It's cold here in Washington and this wonton soup is EXACTLY what I needed to warm up today. It's light and filling at the same time, and you know what??? You won't feel like a complete COW after you've devoured and slurped each and every tiny drop of that delicious broth. Give this soup a won't be sorry. :)

For the broth you will need:

(3) 32 oz boxes of low sodium chicken broth plus 2 more cups of water(3.5 quarts total)
2 T of sugar
1/2 tsp of freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 tsp of salt
3 packets of wonton soup base mix( I use the brand dynasty)
1/8 tsp of white pepper(or more if you like spicy)
1 tsp of sesame oil

For the filling you will need:

1/2 pound of finely chopped shrimp(peeled and deveined)
1/4 of a pound(or 4 oz) of ground pork(give your pork a few quick chops on cutting board before mixing w/ shrimp)
3 T of finely chopped green bartlett pear(or water chestnut/celery if you wish)
1 green onion finely chopped
1 tsp of sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of white pepper
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
some freshly grated ginger

You will also need:

chopped green onion for garnish
1 to 2 pkg's of wonton wrappers
1 egg lightly beaten

To make the broth:

Bring your chicken broth and water to a boil. Grate in your ginger. Add your salt and sugar. Add in your wonton soup mix. Stir to combine. Turn heat down(or off) and add in your white pepper and sesame oil last. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Don't make the broth too salty. You don't want it to overpower the taste of the wonton.

How to make the filling:

Place all of your ingredients into a mixing bowl and thoroughly mix it with clean hands. Once mixed, cover and let refrigerate for 1 hr to overnight.

How to assemble wontons:

Place 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of filling onto the middle of wonton wrapper. Using a pastry brush, lightly dab on some egg wash on all four sides of wonton wrapper. Fold over to create a triangle. Press the sides down gently and fold using technique shown in my video. Remember to have a damp cloth over filled wontons and wonton wrappers at all times to prevent drying out.

Place filled wontons in boiling water and cook for 5 minutes or until they all float to the surface. I recommend cooking ONE WONTON FIRST to taste for seasoning. Sometimes, I end up adding a touch more salt, sometimes more sugar. Once all cooked, using a slotted spoon, place in colander to drain excess water. Place wontons in pretty serving bowl, ladle on some warm broth, and garnish with chopped green onion.

You may freeze any leftover filling that you don't use. You may also cut the broth recipe in half. If using baby bok choy and mushrooms, I recommend boiling them separately(not with the broth), drain them, and add them into individual bowls as needed. Pouring broth over some noodles is also optional.

Watch the video here on how to fold the wontons. Don't laugh at the video guys, it's old and was probably my 3rd video that I posted on my channel! LOL.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

These carrot cake cupcakes are to die for! They are super moist and not too sweet. The addition of apple sauce in the batter make this cupcake slightly healthier than most. Because Halloween is approaching, I've colored some cream cheese frosting and piped some creepy spiders on top of the cupcakes. :)

Ingredients for the batter(makes about 2 dozen):

2 cups of all purpose flour(I recommend King Arthur Flour)
1 1/2 cup of sugar(use 1 1/4 cup if using sweetened apple sauce)
8 ounces of unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup of vegetable oil(no substitutions)
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of salt
4 large eggs
3 cups of grated carrots
1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts(optional)

Ingredients for the cream cheese frosting:

2 (8 ounce) packages of softened cream cheese
1 stick of softened SALTED butter
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup of powdered sugar(or more if you like it sweeter)
tip #829 by Ateco to pipe the frosting(optional)
*You may want to double the frosting if you plan on piping spiders onto the tops.

For the spiders:

Black gel food coloring(I recommend Americolor)
2 piping bags
Tip #3 by Wilton
*You can also omit the tip altogether and just snip a tiny hole in the bag and then proceed to pipe out your spiders that way.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs, apple sauce and vegetable oil. Using a hand mixer, blend until combined. Scrape the sides as needed but be careful not to over mix. Add in shredded carrots and pecans/walnuts, if using.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill your cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove cupcakes from the pan and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

While your cupcakes are cooling, make your cream cheese frosting. Add all of the above ingredients into a large mixing bowl, and beat until fluffy. Add more powdered sugar as needed. Reserve some frosting for the spiders. Add in your black food coloring and mix well.

Frost your cupcakes(I use tip #829 by Ateco in the tutorial). Then, using tip #3 by Wilton, pipe your spiders. Practice piping your spiders out on a flat surface first before piping them out onto your cupcakes.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Acai Bowls

Acai Bowls

My husband and I were recently in San Diego and we absolutely fell in love with acai bowls. If you love yogurt parfaits topped with fresh fruit and granola, well then...this recipe is right up your alley!

The acai berry is a Brazilian berry packed with tons of antioxidants, amino acids, and omega fatty acids. You cannot get it fresh here, so your best bet is to locate the frozen smoothie version(by Sambazon)in your healthy frozen foods aisle.

Ingredients for 1 serving:

1 packet of frozen acai berries
1/2 of a banana
1-2 Tbsp. of apple juice(add more as needed)
6 frozen grapes(optional)
1/4 cup of frozen blueberries(optional)

For the toppings:

fresh fruit
honey or agave nectar
coconut flakes
crushed peanuts/walnuts

Instructions: Throw all of the ingredients into your blender and puree until smooth. Only add enough apple juice to get your motor running. Pour it into a small bowl and top with granola, fresh fruit, honey and coconut flakes.

NOTES: For the full health benefits of the acai berry, I would recommend only adding a little bit of apple juice and then omitting everything else. Also, don't use granola with dried fruit in it. The texture doesn't fit in well with the acai bowls.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lemongrass and Chili Oil Infused Edamame Beans

edamame beans2

These edamame beans are the perfect game day snack. They are also the perfect thing to snack on while watching Korean dramas...just sayin'.

So easy to make but even more, they are DELICIOUS! My husband and I can eat a whole 1 pound bag of it, in one sitting. These beans will also have you licking your fingers dry, so please remember to wash your hands before consuming.


1 pound of cooked edamame beans
3 cloves of chopped garlic
2 Tbsp of finely minced lemongrass
1/2 tsp of chili flakes
1 Tbsp of soy sauce(or more)
2 pinches of salt
1/2 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of sesame oil
1 tsp of chili oil
roasted sesame seeds

*You will also need some olive oil.


1. In a small bowl, combine your soy sauce, salt, sugar, and then set aside.
2. On medium heat, pour in some olive oil. Add in your minced lemongrass and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened.
3. Add in your garlic and chili flakes. Continue to cook until fragrant.
4.Stir your reserved soy sauce mixture and then add it into the skillet. Mix well with the lemongrass and garlic.
5. Toss in your cooked edamame beans. Turn up the heat a little bit and continue to cook until all of the beans are evenly coated with the sauce, or until heated through.

Notes: Feel free to add a little bit more soy sauce or salt if you want it saltier. If you have some ginger, grate some of that in too for another kick of flavor! YUM!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stir Fried Pork Spare Ribs

Stir fried pork spare ribs

If you are low on cash and need to whip up something quick and delicious for dinner, then look no further! My kids have requested this EVERY WEEK for the past month! This dish is served best alongside some rice. It also tastes great with anything pickled. Sometimes, I serve it with a side of kimchee or even papaya salad.


2 pounds of pork spare ribs

For the marinade:

1 Tbsp. of oyster sauce
1 Tbsp. of fish sauce
2 Tbsp. of water
1 Tbsp. of palm sugar(or white granulated sugar)
1/4 tsp of onion powder
2 cloves of chopped garlic
sesame seeds and black pepper to taste

You will also need:

Peanut oil or vegetable oil

1. Take your spare ribs, wash them, and then pat them dry with a paper towel. Cut them into 1 inch pieces and place them into a bowl.
2. Make your marinade and then pour it over your ribs. Allow them to marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes.
3. Into a hot skillet(on medium high heat), add in your ribs and stir fry for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and let it simmer for 5 more minutes.
4. Remove lid, stir, and then turn up to medium high heat. Continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated and sugar has caramelized. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Taste check for seasoning. Serve alongside some rice and your favorite side dishes.

NOTES: Some Asian markets sell pre-cut spare ribs for you, but I would advise against buying them. They usually are all bones and they don't trim off the fat or membrane, so you're left with a ton of fat on them as well. You may also use boneless pork instead. For a spicy variation, stir fry with some sliced jalapenos! :)

Some recommended side dishes:
Recipe for pickled mustard greens can be found here.
Recipe for papaya salad can be found here.
Recipe for mango salad can be found here.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rosette cake

[caption id="attachment_1048" align="alignnone" width="640"]lilac rosette cake Piped using tip #1M by Wilton.[/caption]

This cake was a highly requested tutorial by my Facebook fans. I'm sure you've seen it before because there are TONS of different variations of it on the internet. But since my Facebook buddies asked for it...I gotta give them what they want, right?

[caption id="attachment_1051" align="alignnone" width="640"]pink rose cake Piped using tip #21 by Wilton.[/caption]

In my pink rosette cake(pictured above), I hand inserted dragees(pearls)into the cake after I was done. Keep in mind if you plan on doing this, you need to be more meticulous about your rosettes, making sure that they are evenly spaced out. If you insert your dragees into the cake and your piping is messy, then all you're doing is bringing more attention to the sloppy areas. Trust me, I've been that piper before! :)

You have to use a medium consistency frosting for this cake. That means: No whipped cream frosting, no non dairy whipping cream, and no cream cheese frosting. You might be able to use cream cheese frosting if you place it into the fridge to firm up before piping. Otherwise, it would be too creamy and your rosettes will not hold it's shape.

Best frostings to use for the cake: Italian meringue buttercream, Swiss meringue buttercream, or good ol' American buttercream.

I have a good recipe for IMB that can be found here.

Keep in mind that different tips yield a slightly different result. Other tips that you may use by Wilton besides #1M and #21 are: #2D, #16, and #18.

Place your finished cake into the fridge to set your rosettes for at least 30 minutes.

Inspired by Amanda Rettke from

Watch the video below to see the proper technique!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cafe Sua Da(Vietnamese Iced Coffee)

Cafe Sua Da

Most of you will have already known about this very popular Vietnamese coffee drink called Cafe Sua Da. Personally, I think it tastes 10 times better than other coffee drinks AND it's more affordable. This coffee drink is all I need to get me through a day filled with cooking, cleaning, and chauffeuring my children back and forth between their extracurricular activities.

With that being said...



1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp of hot water

2 1/2 Tbsp of ground coffee(You need to use Cafe Du Monde or Trung Nguyen for authentic Cafe Sua Da flavor)

2 Tbsp of condensed milk(I prefer the Longevity Condensed Milk)

You will also need:

A Vietnamese Coffee Filter

a glass filled with ice(all the way up to the rim)


1. Place your condensed milk into a clear short glass. I like to use a clear glass so that I can see just how fast my coffee is dripping. If it's dripping too fast, then I know that I need to tighten the filter.
2. Add your coffee into your filter, push down firmly, and slightly twist. Shake off any excess and wipe the bottom of the filter. This will help ensure that not too many specks of ground coffee get into your drink.
3. Place your coffee filter on your short glass that's filled with the condensed milk.
4. Pour in 2 Tbsp of hot water(place the lid on)and wait for it to drip. This will soak into the ground coffee and give you a stronger coffee flavor.
5. Add in the remainder of your hot water into the filter and place the lid on again.
6.Remove coffee filter and stir.
7. Pour into a glass filled with ice. Stir and drink immediately!

NOTES: You may adjust the overall sweetness by adding more or less condensed milk. The tighter the filter, the slower the drip so if you want REALLY strong coffee, let it drip slowly. Personally, I just don't have the patience to wait longer than a few minutes. :)

Oven Baked Spare Ribs

Oven Baked Spare Ribs

Are you salivating, yet??? This picture pretty much speaks for itself. I'm no BBQ expert but all I know is that these ribs are tender and they just fall off the bone! I finally figured out that slow roasting it at a low temperature, is what really does the trick! I like to start my ribs off on the outside gas grill. I've realized that doing so, gives the ribs a nice crust...almost like giving them a good sear on the outside, before preparing them for slow roasting. This recipe is a must try for your next BBQ or family gathering!!


3 pound rack of baby back ribs, cleaned with membrane removed
black pepper
garlic powder
my homemade BBQ sauce
olive oil

You will also need:

2-3 onions, sliced into thick onion rings
Baking sheet lined with foil

Line some foil on a baking sheet to make clean up easy. Then, take some thick slices of onion and place them in the middle of the baking sheet. It will act like a "bed" for your ribs, plus you'll end up with some caramelized onions too.

Wash and pat dry your baby back ribs. Remove the membrane(watch the video below on how to do this). Coat both sides of your ribs with some olive oil. Add some salt, black pepper, garlic powder and paprika to both sides. Be generous with the paprika.

Cook your ribs on an outside burner, using indirect heat at 350 degrees, for 1 hour. This will give your ribs a nice looking crust and prepare them for their slow roast. Remove and place on baking sheet.

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees.

Put some BBQ sauce on the bone side of your ribs and then transfer them to your foil lined baking sheet. Next, with the meat side up, sauce them HEAVY with some BBQ sauce. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 4 1/2 hours. After 4 1/2 hours, REMOVE THE FOIL, drain the liquid from the baking sheet, and place it into a small saucepan on medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, just until the sauce thickens. Put the thickened sauce back on top of the ribs and continue to cook UNCOVERED for 1 more hour. Wait for it to cool down slightly before slicing.

Notes: If you use a bigger rack of baby back ribs(or St. Louis style), they will take longer to cook. You can try baking your ribs at a higher temp to reduce oven time as well. Use good judgement and allow yourself some extra time! :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Salsa Fresca(Pico de Gallo)

Pico and Chips

My husband loooooves Mexican food. I make Salsa Fresca often and we enjoy it with blue corn chips and especially in steak fajitas!

Steak Fajitas


12 diced roma tomatoes(cut them in half and discard pulp before dicing)
1 lime and a half(reserve the half lime for later if needed)
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 onion finely chopped(soak in cold water first to mellow them out)
1 de-seeded jalapeno minced(do not de-seed if you like it spicy)
1 or 2 finely chopped green onion
6 T. of chopped cilantro(more for garnish)
1/4 tsp plus a small pinch of cumin powder
1 tsp plus 1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp pepper(optional)
1/2 T. to 1 T. of sugar


Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and place into the fridge for at least 1 hour. I prefer overnight.


Even though I've offered measurements to you, you really don't need it. Taste as you go along, adding more or less of whatever you'd like. You must let all ingredients sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour. I like it better the next day. The amount of liquid in the pico will triple in volume the longer it sits cause tomatoes give out so much liquid. Serve and garnish with some cilantro.

In the tutorial, I cut the recipe in HALF and used 6 roma tomatoes.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Homemade Fondant

Homemade Fondant

Whether or not you are an avid cake baker or just starting out, I'm sure you either LOVE fondant or HATE it. Some store bought fondants are plain DISGUSTING, so trust me when I say that I understand where you're coming from!

This homemade fondant is not only easy to make but equally DELICIOUS!! It tastes kind of like a cross between cotton candy, marshmallows, and candied unicorns.


Have you not tasted candied unicorns before??


1/2 cup whole milk
3 Tbsp of unflavored gelatin(or 4 envelops of Knox's Gelatin)
1 cup of light corn syrup
3 Tbsp of SALTED butter
2 1/2 Tbsp of glycerin
2 tsp of vanilla extract(you may use clear vanilla)
1 tsp of butter flavoring
1 tsp of lemon juice powder(optional)
3 1/2 to 4 pounds of powdered sugar
2 pinches of salt

Additional items needed:

Vegetable shortening
Extra glycerin(for kneading in, if necessary)
some corn starch
A stand mixer


Place your milk in a 2 cup measuring cup. Sprinkle in your gelatin and allow it to firm up or bloom(should take 3-4 minutes).

Place mixture in the microwave and heat on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir. If your gelatin does not become liquid, then continue to microwave using 15 second intervals until melted. Make sure to stir between heating cycles.

Put corn syrup, butter, glycerin, vanilla extract, butter flavoring, and salt into a large measuring cup. Add this into your milk and gelatin mixture. Stir.

Microwave on high for 2 minutes(or until butter has melted). Stir. Set this aside and allow it to cool to LUKE WARM.

Place 2 pounds of powdered sugar into your stand mixer. Add in your lemon juice powder if using.

Strain LUKE WARM mixture into your powdered sugar. Mix it by hand with a spatula until blended.

Fit your mixer with the dough hook and turn the mixer on to "stir." Slowly start to incorporate the rest of the powdered sugar, adding a cup at a time.

Your fondant is ready when it starts to pull away from the sides and starts to clump around the dough hook.

On a clean surface, add some vegetable shortening and then corn starch onto the counter to prevent sticking.

With some crisco on your hands, dump the fondant onto the counter and begin to work it into a smooth round ball. It will be slightly soft and you may use additional powdered sugar(or corn starch)AS NEEDED to form your ball.

Divide the dough in half and wrap them up tightly in some crisco coated saran wrap. Do not use a spray because that will form a crust. Repeat with a second wrapping, then repeat the same process with the other half of fondant.

Place in an air tight container and allow it to sit overnight on the counter.

The next day, knead only the amount required to cover your cake.

On a non stick surface, knead out some fondant. Interchange between a little glycerin and some shortening, just until soft and supple.


If you are positive that you are not going to color your fondant, then you can add 3 Tbsp of glycerin instead of 2 1/2 to start with. I like to control how much goes into my fondant and if you put too much then it will be too soft, not to mention that food coloring also contains glycerin. If you are unfamiliar with the texture of fondant, go out and purchase some store bought fondant to note the texture.

Do not use butter flavoring shortening. It does not taste good in this.

And no, you cannot taste the crisco in this recipe. :)

This recipe yields about 4 1/2 pounds of fondant.

Work your fondant in batches until nice and smooth.

If at anytime it appears too soft, just knead in more powdered sugar. If it appears too stiff, add in more glycerin.

The sugar and cooking process preserves the dairy ingredients, so there is no worry of spoilage.

Good tasting brands of commercial fondant: Fondx and Fondarific. I hear Satin Ice is good too.

Adapted from Michele Foster's Fondant recipe.

Watch the tutorial below!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pomegranate Lemonade

pomegranate lemonade

My pomegranate lemonade is the perfect drink to have on a hot, summer day. Well, here in the Pacific Northwest it feels like summer has already come and gone. And even though the sunshine has left me, that sure as hell won't stop me from enjoying my ICE COLD pomegranate lemonade with a side of EXTRA ice. Word.


1 1/2 cups of fresh lemonade(about 6-7 lemons)
3 cups of cold water
2 cups(16 ounces) of pomegranate juice

For the simple syrup:

2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
1/4 tsp of salt

Make your simple syrup by placing your sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring it to a quick rolling boil(or until sugar dissolves). Turn off the heat, add in your salt, and remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly.

Using a juicer, extract your lemon juice from your lemons. Set aside.

Into a glass pitcher, add in your fresh lemonade along with your pomegranate juice and cold water. Add in a little more than HALF of the sugar syrup first and then stir. Taste check. If it's still too tart for you, add in more of your sugar syrup. Add ice and lemon wedges and serve immediately.

NOTES: This drink is to taste. Feel free to add more cold water or more/less lemonade. To make it a watermelon and pomegranate lemonade, add watermelon into a blender to make "watermelon ice cubes", freeze in ice tray, and then add ice cubes into your glass pitcher.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pickled Mangos

pickled mangos watermarked

When I was younger, one of the reasons that I looked forward to going to Cambodian New Year was for the pickled mangos. I didn't mind waiting in a long line, paying for a couple of salty spicy mangos packed tightly in a clear zip lock baggie. I remember asking friends out of politeness if they wanted any and then that they'd say "no." But of course they'd ALWAYS say, "yes." And then, my mind would be flooded with thoughts like, "man, I should've spit in it." Hindsight sure is a bitch.

pickled mangos2

The following is my take on how to make pickled mangos. It's not too salty, not too sweet, but HELLA SPICY and HELLA GOOD. Man, reminiscing about pickled mangos has definitely brought back the Tacoma girl in me because I've never written the word "hella" that many times, EVER.


6 Green mangos, peeled and sliced(do NOT use ripened mangos)
1/4 cup of salt

For the sugar water:

6 cups of water
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tsp of red chili flakes(optional)

For the chili paste(dip):

1 Tbsp of salt
1 Tbsp of sugar
5 Thai fresh chili peppers
1/2 tsp of chili flakes
1 tsp of garlic powder

To make the chili paste: Combine all of the ingredients above into a mortar and pestle. Pound it until it becomes a paste. Set aside.

Take your sliced mangos and place them in a large, shallow bowl. Try not to stack too much on top of each other. Sprinkle your salt over the mangos and toss to coat. Let them sit for a MINIMUM of 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

While you're waiting for the liquid to draw out of your mangos, make your sugar water. Add your water, along with your sugar, into a saucepan. Bring it to a quick rolling boil. Remove the pan from the heat(add in your chili flakes if using), and allow it to come to room temperature.

Boil a large pot of water and place the pot in the sink. After your 1 hour is up, CAREFULLY add your mangos into the hot/boiling water, and wash/rinse them off for about 1 minute. Drain well.

Allow your mangos to dry(for at least an hour)on two wire racks fitted over two baking sheets. You may use paper towels instead.

PACK your dried mangos(snuggly), into a container. Pour in your cooled sugar water. Cover tightly with a lid, and allow it to sit at room temperature for 2 full days. After 2 days, place your mangos into the fridge and wait 2 more days. It should take ABOUT 4 days total. Eat within 2 weeks.

Note: You may cut the recipe in half.

Watch the tutorial here to see how I cut and slice my mangos!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

My husband took this banana bread into work a few weeks ago and a little birdy told me that someone said, "man, this is better than my wife's banana bread!"


I'm sure my husband has said that before, and well...if he has, he better make damn sure that I don't find out about it because let's face it men, as the saying goes: "don't bite the hand that feeds you, because if you do, the mama lion will shred you into pieces before feeding you to a pack of angry, laughing hyenas."

Or, something along the lines of that...


2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
5 overripe bananas
3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 sticks of SALTED butter, melted and slightly cooled(I use Darigold's CHEF'S CHOICE European style butter)
2 extra large eggs
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips or pecans(optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Melt your butter in the microwave. Set aside to cool, slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, add in your bananas and fork mash them first, to make them easier to work with. Add in your sugar, and using a hand mixer, whip them for about 2 more minutes. Add in the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat well. Don't forget to scrape the sides. Mix in your dry ingredients well, using a spatula to prevent over mixing. Seeing some lumps is okay, cause that's mostly tiny banana chunks. Fold in your nuts, or chocolate chips(my kids' fav), if using.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a few good taps on the counter to help get rid of any air bubbles.

Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes(or until toothpick inserted through center comes out clean). Rotate the pan every 20 minutes for even browning. Once done, allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, remove from pan, and place on wire rack until cooled COMPLETELY before slicing.

NOTES: If a crack develops down the center during baking, that is very normal. Or if the tops begin to look too brown for your liking, just tent the bread lightly with some foil for the last 15 minutes. Allowing the bread to cool completely is very important. It needs to finish cooking, and if you slice into it too soon, it will appear raw and undone. Also the tops of the bread may seem hard but after it finishes cooling, it softens. Banana bread also tastes better the next day! :)

Adapted from Tyler Florence's Banana Bread with Pecans Recipe.

Watch how to make it here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mini Nutella and Banana Crepes

These are my kids' absolute favorite breakfast food, EVER!! They could literally eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I let them! They are so sneaky too...anytime my nieces or nephews stay over, they always start off by saying,"Oh mommy, it's a special occasion..can you make crepes??" Lol.


These are super easy to make and taste a million times better than store bought ones! I still can't believe they sell previously made crepes! They don't even taste like crepes, more like...tortillas.

Make these for your next breakfast...or brunch! You won't be sorry! :)

You will need:
1 1/3 cup of flour
3 T of ricotta
3 eggs
3/4 cup of milk
3/4 cup of cold water
4 T of melted butter(plus more for frying crepes)
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 T of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt

Optional garnishes and filling:
strawberry or raspberry jam
whipped cream
powdered sugar
*you will also need a two inch biscuit cutter(optional)

Put all of the ingredients listed above into a blender. Blend it for 30 seconds. Stop motor, scrape the sides down to make sure you have no flour sticking to the sides. Put the lid back on and puree for 30 more seconds.

Place a stainless steel skillet on your stovetop and turn heat on to medium. When it's nice and hot, add in some butter and swirl it around the skillet. Lift your skillet up OFF of the stove and quickly pour in some batter and swirl that around to evenly distribute the batter as well. Place skillet back on stove top and allow to cook until slightly browned on bottom. Once browned, flip over and cook for 15 more seconds or so.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

French Cut Green Beans

This so called "side dish" is sooo good...that I can probably eat it as a "main dish", instead! Everything that is good in this world can be found in this recipe. First, I cook some shallots and garlic in some bacon grease, then...add the green beans in, along with some sliced mushrooms, and FINALLY, top it all off with some crunchy bacon! Did I say ANYTHING wrong, here?? :)


18 ounces of French cut green beans
8 ounces of sliced mushrooms
1 shallot finely chopped
1 pkg of bacon, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp of red pepper flakes
fish sauce, salt, sugar, black pepper to taste
lemon juice(optional)

Cook your bacon in a cast iron skillet until crispy. Place the bacon on a paper towel lined plate and reserve the bacon grease for later use.

Get an ice water bath ready.

Boil some water. Add in some salt. Cook your green beans for about 1-2 minutes. If you're using regular green beans, cook them for about 5 minutes. Drain them well and then place them in your ice water bath. Drain them well again, and then pat completely dry.

With a skillet on medium high heat, add in 2 Tbsp of bacon grease. Add in your chopped shallots and cook until tender. Add in your garlic plus 1 tsp of chili flakes, and cook until fragrant. Add in your mushrooms, along with a pinch of salt, pinch of sugar, and some black pepper. Cook until mushrooms are almost tender. If your pan seems dry, add in some more bacon grease as needed.

Next, add in your green beans along with some fish sauce and a pinch of sugar. Lastly, add in your crispy bacon and continue to cook for about a minute. Adjust seasoning as needed. If using, squeeze in some lemon juice and toss to coat before removing from heat.

Watch the video here.

Vanilla and Peanut Butter Protein Shake

Protein Shake

Anytime, anyone would mention protein shakes to me, I would automatically think, "gross." I mean...anything with powdered protein in it, can't taste delicious, right?? WRONG.

My husband is training for his first big jui jitsu competition and he recently asked me to start making them for him. He used to purchase his shakes after his classes at Emerald City Smoothies, but of course THAT started getting pricy, as well. WELL, NOT ANYMORE! Now, he just comes homes and actually makes them himself. It's that easy!!


1 cup of LIGHT vanilla soy milk
1 ripened banana(frozen is optional)
1 1/2 Tbsp. of creamy all natural peanut butter
2 Tbsp. of protein powder
1 packet of splenda
6 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth. Serve immediately.

Note: If you double this recipe, use 1 plus 3/4 cup of LIGHT vanilla soy milk. :)

Watch the video here.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Beef Loc Lac(Beef Stir Fry over Salad)

I've been getting a lot of requests to do more Cambodian food...and I'm listening! :) I have a few yummy ones to share with you guys this summer, so definitely stay tuned for those! :)

This dish is very popular in the Khmer community. There is a Vietnamese variation of this dish as well--the only difference, is that they top their stir fried beef with slices of hard boiled eggs and then top it off with some roasted peanuts.

Don't forget to have your sweet and sour dipping sauce on the side! I don't have a written recipe for it yet but I will tell you that it consists of: fish sauce, chopped garlic, sugar, water, lime juice(or vinegar), and chili peppers(or black pepper).


1 pound of thinly sliced sirloin(I used 100 % grass fed beef from Paso Prime).
2 cloves of chopped garlic
half of a small shallot
Olive oil

For the beef marinade:

1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1/4 tsp of onion powder
1/2 Tbsp. of sugar
1/2 Tbsp. of fish sauce
1 tsp. of soy sauce
1 Tbsp. of corn starch
1/2 of an extra large egg white
pinch of salt
black pepper

For the sauce:

1/3 cup of water
2 Tbsp. of oyster sauce
1 1/2 tsp of fish sauce
1/2 tsp. of sugar

For the thickener:

1/2 Tbsp of corn starch mixed with 1 1/2 Tbsp. of water.

You will also need:

green onions(for garnish)

In a small mixing bowl, make your sauce and then set it aside.

Take your sliced beef and place it into a mixing bowl. Add in your marinade and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes. If you have overnight...even better! Just remember to bring it back to room temperature before you start frying.

While your beef is marinading, start washing your lettuce(and also pat them dry). Slice up your tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions and plate them before you start cooking.

In a hot skillet or wok, add in some olive oil. Add in your shallots. Cook until soft. Add in your chopped garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add in your beef and cook until most of the pink is gone. Add in your reserved sauce, and cook until done. Taste check. Add in your cornstarch and water mixture. Cook until thickened. Serve immediately!

Watch the tutorial here.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Eat Now, Cry Later Youtube Channel Trailer

Hi, everyone!! If you have the time, please take a moment to check out my Youtube Channel! I really do appreciate it! Leave me a comment on one of my videos...I love reading them all! :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Three Cheese and Spinach Phyllo Rolls


I don't know about you guys, but sometimes I get intense cravings for something crunchy AND buttery! And in those desperate, dark hours...I turn to phyllo dough! So simple and so easy...all you have to do is thaw it out overnight, and voila'! It's ready to be used! I'm pretty sure it's foolproof too, because I've used almost EVERYTHING as a filling, and it always comes out delicious!

In my phyllo rolls, I like to add a touch of saltiness by using thin slices of prosciutto. You can add regular ham, turkey, or even omit the meat in it, altogether!


Half of a small shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves of chopped garlic
8 ounces of baby spinach
1 1/2 cups of chopped mushrooms
3 Tbsp of cream cheese
3 Tbsp of Japanese style Panko bread crumbs
1 cup of freshly grated sharp cheddar
1 cup of freshly grated mozzarella
some chopped chives or green onion
1 and a half slices of prosciutto
olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
10 sheets of phyllo dough(thaw them overnight in the fridge)
some melted butter
Butter flavored baking spray

Start off by adding in some olive oil into a hot skillet. Add in your chopped shallots, along with a small pinch of salt. Cook until soft and tender. Add in your spinach, chopped mushrooms, and your cream cheese. Cover and allow to cook until wilted. Remove lid, stir, and then remove from heat.

Place your spinach mixture into a colander to drain any excess liquid. Then, add in your bread crumbs and mix well. Next, add in your cheeses along with chopped chives, and mix well, again. Set this aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Take one sheet of phyllo dough(with the long side facing you), and place it on a baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, spread a generous layer of melted butter, right on top. Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets 9 MORE TIMES, but instead, use some BUTTER FLAVORED COOKING SPRAY, to cut back on some calories.

Next, take your prosciutto and place them horizontally, at the long end, closest to you. Place your spinach mixture, right on top of the prosciutto. Make sure to leave at least a half inch border on the short sides of the phyllo. This will keep most of your filling from oozing out, while baking. Begin to roll it up(jelly roll style), until nice and tight. Don't forget to brush on some melted butter to the outsides, as you are rolling up. Make sure you end with with the roll, SEAM SIDE DOWN.

Using a sharp and serrated knife, begin to make 1 inch slashes across the dough. Try not to cut all the way don't want too much cheese to ooze out during baking.

Place into oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from baking sheet, place it on cooling rack, and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before cutting into it. Slice, and serve immediately!

Watch my video here to see just how easy it is to make!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Easy Banana Buttercream


Usually, I'm not CRAZY for American buttercream because of how overly sweet it is, but for this recipe...I think I could make the exception. :) The important thing to note is, to always use good butter with at least an 80 percent butterfat content. I like to use Darigold's Chef's Choice Salted Butter. It's affordable and you can find it in most grocery stores. It's a European style churned butter and most European butter runs up to 82 percent butterfat content. That'll ensure that your frosting is nice and creamy!!


2 cups of softened, salted butter

1 fork mashed ripened banana(NOT BROWNED)

5 cups of sifted powdered sugar

1/4 tsp of lemon juice powder(or 1-2 tsp of fresh lemon juice)

2 tsp of banana extract

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1 tsp of room temperature, heavy cream

Take your softened butter and add it into your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium high for 6 minutes, scraping occasionally. Stop the mixer, and add in your mashed bananas, lemon juice powder, banana extract, and vanilla extract. Continue to beat for 1-2 more minutes. It's okay to see small chunks of banana in it. I think that's a good thing! :) Stop to scrape the bowl. Turn speed to "stir", and add in your powdered sugar by the cup. Once fully incorporated, turn the speed up to medium and beat until smooth..about 2 more minutes. Add in your heavy cream if you want it slightly creamier.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

White Sandwhich Bread


Nothing beats coming home to the smell of homemade bread! A good tasting bread recipe is easy to come that is not dense, yet light and fluffy is another story. Just like you, I've scoured the internet and tried countless recipes, searching for a light and airy sandwich bread, yet none prevailed. Over the years, I've read what seems like hundreds of forums, and researched many sites, and this year I think I finally came up with a recipe that I hope will do homemade bread some justice. :)

Baking bread is definitely an art form in itself because a lot of things factor into how your bread will turn out, like humidity. If you've ever come across a recipe that says "about" 5-6 cups or so, it's because flour reacts differently in their ability to absorb moisture. That's why I like to use the food processor(although I'm sure some professional bakers would disagree) because it allows my recipe to stay pretty consistent. When kneading by hand or with a stand mixer, I always feel the need to add more flour because of the "tackiness" of the dough but in my years of bread making, slightly tacky and wetter dough will result in a softer/lighter loaf of bread.

Why don't I use bread flour? Although bread flour is awesome to use because of it's high protein content(which results in a beautiful rise) it will also yield a more chewier loaf so that's why I use all purpose flour. It's very important to add the vital wheat gluten which gives the overall loaf great structure and helps it stay risen.

Oh, and fyi if you were trying to find a homemade bread recipe that stays soft for days, well let me tell you, that YOU AREN'T GOING TO FIND IT! That's the beauty of making it yourself--you know EXACTLY what's going in it! Grocery store bread and such use additives and enzymes to their dough to increase shelf life. I use diastatic malt powder only to add softness to the overall texture of the loaf.

1 cup of warm water(95-110 degrees F)
2 tsp of active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
*3 T of baker's special dry milk powder
1 T of vital wheat gluten
*1 tsp of diastatic malt powder or dough enhancer
1 and 1/4 tsp of salt
2 T of sugar
2 T of softened unsalted butter
* For the dry milk powder, I recommend that you purchase it from King Arthur's website! It's called Baker's Special Dry Milk Powder and it's nothing like the ones sold at your local grocery store. For starters, it's a lot smoother and finer in texture and not gritty. I don't know what's in that stuff but it makes the bread waaay softer and lighter!

* I also purchased the Diastatic Malt Powder and Potato Flour from the King Arthur website. Both of these items are crucial in this recipe because they make the bread lighter/fluffier and not dense like most recipes! Try not to leave these things out! I will post a link below that will take you directly to their website!

Start off by sprinkling your yeast into your warm water. Make sure it isn't too hot-you don't want to kill your yeast. Give it a little stir and then add in your sugar and stir one more time. Allow to sit until mixture becomes creamy or when you can see the yeast kind of "sprouting" on the top of the surface(at least 5 min or so). Now, you know that your yeast is "alive".

While you're waiting for your yeast to wake up, add your all purpose flour, diastatic malt powder, potato flour, and vital wheat gluten into a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine.

When your dough is activated, give it a quick stir to loosen up the sugar that has fallen to the bottom of the bowl, and pour it into your dry mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix until well combined. Add in your salt last(yeast doesn't like salt but adds flavor)give it a another quick mix, and then add your dough into the food processor.

Pulse for 1 minute. Turn off food processor and slightly flatten out the dough and then slather on your softened butter. Take your hand or butter knife and bring some dough over the butter. Pulse for 30 more seconds. It's easy to over knead dough in the food processor so stay close.

Place dough onto a clean work surface and working with very fast hands, form it into a nice smooth ball. Don't overdo it. I recommend NOT adding any additional flour to your work surface unless you absolutely HAVE TO! When you begin to work with the dough, you will notice that the stickiness of the dough will start to smooth itself out.

Place dough into a bowl and add a small amount of vegetable oil. Place your dough in the bowl and toss to coat. This will prevent a crust from forming at the top of the dough. Cover with saran wrap and allow to double in size. This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hr depending on your weather conditions. A warm and draft free place is recommended.

Once doubled in size, take two fingers, lightly press them into some flour, and then poke the top of the dough--if your indentations stay, then your dough if ready to be rolled out.

Take dough and place on clean work surface and punch it down the middle. Sometimes I give it a few small punches to release some of the large air pockets that have formed within the dough. Using a rolling pin, gently roll it out and then shape it into a log(if you notice your dough sticking, lightly flour your rolling pin to get the flow going). Pinch the seam together and roll it over itself with the seam side down. Pinch and seal the two ends as well.

Take some vegetable oil and lightly coat your bread pan but don't overdo it. Get in there with your hands and make sure that the sides are well coated as well. Take a piece of saran wrap sprayed w/ some baking spray and cover your dough. Allow to rise one more time until it has risen to at least half an inch to an inch high above the sides of the pan. There is such thing as letting it rise too long. If you over did it, the dough will collapse and you will end up with a brick!

Place a cast iron skillet on the bottom of your oven. Turn your oven to 350 degrees. Once done preheating, remove saran wrap from loaf and gently slide it into the oven. Take about 5 ice cubes and add those into the cast iron skillet and close the oven door. Don't slam it, you don't want to disturb your dough. That steam from the ice cubes will give your bread a nice rounded "dome" like shape and a beautiful brown crust. After about 15 minutes, remove your cast iron skillet cause it won't do any good in there at that point.

Bake for 25-30 minutes(tap the bottom of the pan-if it sounds hollow it's done). If the tops get too brown for your liking, you may tent it with some foil for the last 10 minutes. I like it when the crust is really brown so I never tent it. Remove from oven and immediately place onto wire racks to cool completely. Brush the tops with melted butter and allow to cool for one hour before slicing. If you slice into them too soon the texture of the bread will be sort of "gummy" in texture.

Slice and enjoy!! If you're starting to bake more often I would highly recommend purchasing a electrical knife for nice and even slicing. I have one by Black and Decker that I am in love with! No more sloppy pieces of uneven bread! Also the bread will stay soft for up to two days on the counter. One loaf for my house lasts only for a day so it works out perfectly in my favor. Keep it stored in a tight paper bag and away from sunlight and only cut what you need.

Watermelon and Pomegranate Slushy Drink


For the watermelon ice cubes:

4 cups of chopped watermelon

2 Tbsp of sugar

To make the drink:

7 watermelon ice cubes

1/2 cup to 2/3 cup of pomegranate juice

2 sprigs of fresh mint

A splash of lemon juice

Make your watermelon ice cubes and place them in an ice tray. Put them in the freezer and allow them to set overnight. The following day, place 7 watermelon ice cubes, pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and Stevia powder(if using), into your blender and pulse until smooth. Add more pomegranate juice as needed, to get your motor running. Stop the motor and give it a little stir. Then proceed to add in your mint leaves and give it a few pulses. Don't overdo this, because you want to be able to see specks of green mint throughout your slushy. Repeat steps for another 8 ounce drink!

Watch how to make it here.

[caption id="attachment_340" align="alignnone" width="640"]IMG_4285 Note: This drink will begin to separate the longer it sits, so make sure to pour it into a glass and serve immediately![/caption]

Mini Fruit Tarts


Ingredients for the crust:
1/2 cup of all purpose flour plus 2 Tbsp more
1/4 cup of pecans
2 pinches of salt
1 1/2 Tbsp of sugar(I used brown sugar in the video cause I ran out of regular sugar)
1/2 stick(4 Tbsp) of cold, cubed butter
1-2 tsp of cold, ice water

For the filling:
1 1/4 cup of whole milk(divided)
3 large egg yolks(reserve the egg whites for the royal icing)
7 Tbsp of sugar(divided)
2 Tbsp of cornstarch
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste(or half of a scraped vanilla bean pod or half a tsp of vanilla extract)
4 ounces of softened cream cheese

For the topping:
Fresh fruit of your choice

For the glaze:
1/4 cup of apricot jelly
1 Tbsp of water

For the chocolate hearts:
1/2 bag of cocoa flavored candy melts

For the royal icing:
3 large egg whites
about 5 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
some water

Additional items needed:
2-3 mini tart pans(something with a removable bottom or a springform pan)
dried beans or pie weights
2 disposable piping bags
Wilton tip #1 or #3
Silpat or parchment paper

To make the crust, place your flour, pecans, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse until your pecans are finely ground. Add in your cold butter, and pulse some more until the mixture resembles corn meal. With the motor still running, add in your ice cold water, until the mixture comes together, and start to form a ball. Start off with 1 tsp of water and then add more if you need to. Turn out your dough onto a piece of saran wrap, flatten it out into a disc, and then chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Remove your dough from the fridge and divide it into 3 equal pieces. Place the dough into your mini tart pans and press into an even layer of the pan and also up along the sides. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

Place your pans on a baking sheet and line the crust with foil. Fill them with dried beans or pie weights and bake for 12 minutes. Remove the foil and dried beans and continue to bake until golden brown, about 8 more minutes. Transfer onto a wire rack to let them cool completely.

Next, make the glaze. Place your apricot jelly and water into a small saucepan and cook over medium low heat. Once your jelly has melted down(about 10-15 minutes), strain the mixture and set aside for later use.

To make the filling, whisk together your egg yolks, 3/4 cup of milk, 3 Tbsp of sugar, a pinch of salt, and 2 Tbsp of cornstarch. Set aside. Next in a small saucepan, add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk, 4 Tbsp of sugar, and 1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste. Bring this mixture to a simmer over medium heat. While whisking, take your hot milk and pour a little bit into your egg yolk mixture(this is called tempering). Keep whisking and slowly start adding in small dribbles of the hot milk, until half of it is mixed in. Now, you may start adding in steady streams until everything is mixed in. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture becomes thick(it should resemble the texture of yogurt). Remove pan from heat and whisk in your softened cream cheese. If you did not use vanilla bean paste, this is where you may add some vanilla extract. Place filling into cooled crusts and put them into the fridge while you work on your chocolate hearts. You may also pour the cream cheese/pastry cream into a bowl, place saran wrap directly on the surface, and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the heart shaped chocolate hearts: Follow the directions on the packaging and melt your candy melts in the microwave. Stir and then place it into a disposable piping bag. With a pair of scissors, snip a tiny bit off, and then pipe a heart onto your silpat or parchment paper that has been placed on a baking sheet. Fill the heart with more chocolate and smooth it out using a toothpick. Give the pan a few whacks on the counter to release any air bubbles that may have formed. Refrigerate until set.

How to make the royal icing: Place your egg whites into your stand mixer and beat on medium low until frothy. About 2 minutes. Add in some powdered sugar in batches until all mixed in. Add in your vanilla extract. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowls a few times to remove any large lumps. Continue to beat until smooth. Add in some water if it's too thick or more powdered sugar if it's too thin. You want to be able to pipe some out for writing. Place Wilton tip #1 or #3 into a disposable piping bag and put some royal icing in it. Twist and secure tightly.

Remove your chocolate hearts from the fridge and write a sweet message on them. Place them back into the fridge to set.

Arrange your fruit on the pastry cream, and using a pastry brush, brush on some glaze, then top off with your chocolate heart. Serve immediately! :)

Watch How to make mini fruit tarts here:

Pan Fried Tilapia with Ginger and Soy Sauce Glaze


This recipe is a MUST try for all FISH LOVERS!! And talk about a fancy looking way to dress up an inexpensive fish! Every time I serve this, I get rave reviews before anyone even takes a bite! The presentation alone, is enough to want to make you want to dig in, HEAD FIRST.

The soy sauce glaze that goes on top of this fish is SO FINGER LICKIN' GOOD!! The addition of ginger and carrot slices, cooked in brown sugar, shallots, and garlic, make this sauce OUT OF THIS WORLD!

You will need:

1 whole tilapia(cleaned and patted dry)
salt and pepper
Wondra flour(or you may use corn starch or rice flour)
peanut oil

For the glaze:

1.5 ounce of ginger sliced into thin 2 inch strips(julienne).
1 small carrot cut into 2 inch strips.(I just used a julienne vegetable peeler to make the strips).
2 cloves of chopped garlic
2 T of finely chopped onion or shallot
1/2 cup water
1 T of soy sauce
1 T of hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp of salt
2 T of brown sugar
1/8 tsp of black pepper
some cornstarch mixed with a little bit of water
peanut oil


thinly sliced onion
green onion
cilantro or parsley

Chop up your garlic and onion and set aside. Next, slice your ginger and carrots into thin 2 inch strips. I have an awesome stainless steel julienne peeler that I purchased through Amazon that I used.

Clean your fish thoroughly and pat dry. Make three diagonal slashes on each side of the fish. Season lightly with salt and pepper and then coat your fish in wondra flour. If you don't have any wondra flour you may use cornstarch instead.

Heat a large skillet/wok on medium-medium high heat and put enough oil to submerge half of the fish. Fry until crispy/golden brown about 6-7 minutes depending on how large your fish is. Flip your fish and continue to fry for another 5 minutes or so. Remove and place fish on platter.

In a small bowl mix together your water, soy sauce, salt, brown sugar, hoisin, and black pepper. Mix to combine and set aside.

On medium high heat add some oil into a saucepan and add in your chopped onion. Cook until translucent. Add in your ginger, carrots, and garlic. Cook until fragrant and until everything has softened.

Add in your soy sauce mixture and cook on medium high heat for about 2-3 minutes tops. Take some cornstarch(about 1 tsp)and mix it with a bit of water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and stir to combine. Turn off heat and your glaze is ready!! You may up the cornstarch mixture if you prefer a thicker glaze.

Pour your glaze over your fish while it's still warm and serve immediately!! Garnish with thinly sliced onions, scallions, parsley, or cilantro!

Watch how to make it here.

Croissants and Pain au Chocolat


So, I've been thinking about making my own croissants from scratch, for quite sometime now. The thought alone always frightened me and I was sure that my first attempt at them would be a disaster! But to my surprise, my first attempt didn't turn out too bad! While I was researching recipes and reading COUNTLESS forums, it seemed that the recipe for the dough was pretty much similar to a basic white bread recipe. With that in mind, I decided to try and use my very own homemade bread recipe(which I worked VERY hard on, thank you very much), for the dough. It's the actual process of lamination, that would prove itself to be more difficult! Lamination is the term for the process of alternating layers of dough and butter when making pastry. Things like keeping your work area and butter cold, using butter with a high fat content(i.e. European style), and extreme PATIENCE, would all be major factors in the overall result. Get ready ya'll, cause this is about to be an extremely LONG post, so sit your happy ass DOWN...put your reading glasses ON...and accept this croissant, baking challenge!! :)

Ingredients for the dough:

1 cup of warm water
7 grams of active dry yeast
29 grams of sugar
319 grams of all purpose flour(recommended by King Arthur)
12 grams of potato flour
22 grams of Bakers Special Dry Milk(
11 grams of vital wheat gluten
3 grams of diastatic malt powder(
29 grams of softened, unsalted butter
284 grams of cold, unsalted European style butter(recommended Plugra)for laminating.

For the egg wash(optional):

an egg yolk mixed with some milk
pinch of salt

Start off by sprinkling your yeast into your warm water. Make sure it isn't too hot-you don't want to kill your yeast. Give it a little stir and then add in your sugar and stir one more time. Allow to sit until mixture becomes creamy or when you can see the yeast kind of "sprouting" on the top of the surface(at least 5 min or so). Now, you know that your yeast is "alive".

While you're waiting for your yeast to wake up, add your all purpose flour, diastatic malt powder, potato flour, and vital wheat gluten into a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine.

When your dough is activated, give it a quick stir to loosen up the sugar that has fallen to the bottom of the bowl, and pour it into your dry mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix until well combined. Add in your salt last(yeast doesn't like salt but adds flavor)give it a another quick mix, and then add your dough into the food processor.

Pulse for 1 minute. Turn off food processor and slightly flatten out the dough and then slather on your softened butter. Take your hand or butter knife and bring some dough over the butter. Pulse for 30 more seconds. It's easy to over knead dough in the food processor so stay close.

Place a little bit of flour onto a clean work surface and shape your dough into a smooth ball. Your dough should be slightly tacky. Place dough in the fridge, and allow to chill for about 30 minutes.

Next, take a large piece of parchment paper, and using a ruler, measure out a perfect 8x8 inch square, right smack in the middle of the parchment. Make sure you have enough to fold over all four'll need it to trap in your butter as you're rolling it out flat. Set it aside.

Next, lightly flour your work surface. Remove your chilled butter from the fridge, and with a lightly floured rolling pin, gently pound it until it is relatively flat and slightly squared. Place your butter into middle of your parchment(8x8 inch)square, and fold over all four sides of the parchment paper, to fully encase the butter. Flip it over and begin to use your rolling pin to flatten out the butter into a thin, perfect 8x8 inch block of butter. Once complete, place your butter back into the fridge to chill.

On a lightly floured surface, remove your dough from the fridge and gently roll it out into an 8x16 inch rectangle. Use a pastry brush to brush off any excess flour. Transfer the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, cover completely with another piece of parchment paper, and place it into the freezer for 30 minutes.

Fill two gallon sized freezer bags with ice, and place them on your work surface for 15 minutes. Remove the ice bags and wipe your work surface, making sure that the surface remains dry. Also don't forget to place your rolling pin(and ice bags)back into the freezer when not in use.

Take your chilled dough out of the freezer and place it on a lightly floured surface. Remove your thin sheet of butter from the fridge and using your finger, touch it and then touch the dough to make sure they are of the same consistency. If your butter is harder than your dough, then wait a few minutes before proceeding with the next step. If your butter is a lot colder than your dough, then you risk tearing your dough while rolling and that'll result in less, flakey layers.


When ready, place your butter in the middle of the dough and then fold the bottom half up, toward the middle, and then repeat with the top half, making sure that they perfectly meet in the middle. If you need to, trim off any excess dough to make it even. Take your chilled rolling pin, and give it a few gentle whacks. Then turn your dough, 90 degrees and give it a few whacks again. Measure it...does it come out to 8 inches across? If so, proceed by rolling your dough(starting from the middle), and using long single strokes, roll it out to an 8x20 inch rectangle. Don't forget to turn your dough 180 degrees, and repeat rolling it out.

Next, bring the bottom half 2/3 of the way up and then fold the top 1/3 down. Brush off any excess flour BEFORE you continue folding. Then, fold the whole thing in half, turn the dough 90 degrees again, making sure that the "spine" of the book is to your left. Give it a few gently whacks again to stretch out the dough and then tightly wrap with saran wrap. Place it into the fridge for 1 hour. You've now completed your first, DOUBLE BOOK FOLD.

Remove your chilled dough from the fridge and place it on your lightly floured, well chilled counter. Let it rest for 5 minutes to relax the gluten a little bit. Using a cold rolling pin, repeat the same process and roll out your dough again, into an 8x20 inch rectangle. This time, you're going to fold the dough "letter style", by bringing the bottom third up and then fold your top third down. Turn your dough 90 degrees, give the dough a few good whacks, and then tightly wrap with saran wrap and place into the fridge for another hour. Now, you've just completed your SINGLE BOOK FOLD(or simple turn).

Remove your dough from the fridge and let it rest for 5 minutes before proceeding. Roll out your dough again(is your counter and rolling pin cold?), to make another 8x20 inch rectangle and then repeat the process for another, DOUBLE BOOK FOLD. Place your dough back into the fridge, put something heavy on top of it to prevent it from rising any further, and then let it rest overnight(or for 12-18 hours).

The next day, remove your dough from the fridge and then place it into you freezer for about 15 minutes. Then, cut the dough in half, rewrap it tightly with saran wrap, and place half of it back into the fridge. With the other half, on a lightly floured and chilled counter, roll out your dough into a rectangle about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. I always forget to measure this part but it's about a 14x6 inch rectangle. If your dough is too elastic, place it into the freezer for about 15 minutes(or until firm). Using a ruler cut out even triangles with a 4" base and a 6" height. Your triangle should feel cold and firm. Make a tiny slit at the base of your dough and begin to roll it up. Place your rolled croissant on a good thick baking sheet, lined with Silpat. Also, you'll need to bake these off in two separate batches. Make sure you space them evenly apart because they will rise during baking. If you're using a cheap baking sheet and don't have Silpat, then double pan your baking sheet and just use parchment paper. Doing so, will prevent the bottoms of your croissants from burning. Once you're done rolling them all, cover lightly with saran wrap(I prefer to use a clear waste basket liner), and allow them to proof in a cool area(my ideal temperature is 70 degrees), for about 3 hours. Sometimes it takes longer. You can tell when they're ready because they will look visibly puffier. Once they're done proofing, put your croissants in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes to firm up your butter. This step will make sure your butter doesn't leak out during baking. Give your croissants a good egg yolk wash before baking(if using).

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees(or the hottest that it will go). Place your croissants on the middle oven rack and turn down the heat to 475 degrees. Bake for 5 minutes and then turn down again to 400 degrees for about 8 minutes. Finally, turn down the heat to 350 degrees and bake until a deep golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Remove and immediately transfer onto a wire rack to cool. Wait 30 minutes to allow the butter in the croissants to finish it's final setting. Croissants should be eaten barely warm.

photoIf any of your layers tear during lamination, then you're pretty much screwed! Haha. You need even layers of butter and dough to create those flaky layers that everyone loves so much. You want to aim for a "honeycomb" texture inside your croissants. I must admit, I would like my croissants to have a much more open crumb but I figured as a home baker...that might be a little bit too ambitious, perhaps?? :)

Croissants HATE warmth! Work in a cool room, preferably 68-72 degrees. If it's too warm where you live, then you might want to rethink making croissants. What will happen is your butter might melt into your dough during lamination and that's a big no-no! Your butter should only melt into the dough during baking! That's what gives your croissants those flaky layers!

When my house is 70 degrees, it takes about 3 hours sometimes 3 1/2 hours to double in size(proofing). They should be visibly puffier, then before. When you brush your egg wash on, your croissant will seem to "jiggle".

Two reasons why you could have a pool of butter coming out of your croissants during baking: 1) you've UNDERPROOFED your croissants(i.e. you baked them too soon). 2) Before shaping into croissants, you didn't roll out your dough thin enough. About 1/8 inch thickness is best to ensure thin layers of dough and fat. If your layers are too thick, the butter will not be able to fully penetrate the dough, your croissants will be tough, and the butter may leak out during the bake.

More often then not, I actually prefer to NOT add an egg wash on top of the croissants. I think w/o it, the croissants puff up better and rise higher. A lot of home bakers tend to undercook their croissants(maybe because the egg wash browns them too quickly?)...that might also be a reason why your croissants end up flat.

If at anytime during lamination, your butter seems too soft or seems like it's going to leak, wrap it up tightly and place it into the fridge or freezer for 15 minutes or so, or until firm.

To make chocolate croissants, you can purchase chocolate batons online or just do what I did...I used some Bakers chocolate that come in 1 ounce squares. Don't used chocolate chips or chopped chocolate cause they will just ooze out and make a complete mess!

Make sure that your dough and butter are the same temperature before lamination.

Use REAL butter with a high fat content. A European style butter is best or something with at least 80% or higher butter content.

Most importantly, work quickly and HAVE FUN!!

Watch how to make it here.

Homemade Pho


I don't know about you guys, but I'm pretty sure that all I need to survive is my hair straightener and pho. I can assure you that even in 90 degree weather, you can catch me in my kitchen hovering over my stove cooking up a big pot of pho. Since I married into a Vietnamese family, I figured that it would probably be a good idea to teach myself how to make it. This recipe feeds my family of 5 for 2-3 days depending on how often we eat it. Remember, that you may cut recipe in half or just use it as a reference. I actually used 3 pounds or so of beef bone in this recipe along w/ one whole foster farm chicken. If you think it's weird to make a broth with that mix, you don't have to do it. You can use all beef bones if you'd like, or all chicken. Whatever your preference, I assure you that it will all come out delicious!

You will need:

1 whole 3-4 pd skinned foster farm chicken(cut up chicken into large manageable pieces)or you may use all beef bone/knuckle for this recipe as well

3 pds of beef bone and/or beef knuckle

3 pound pkg of beef bottom round roast(use only if you want cooked beef slices)or you may sub w/oxtail

2 pkgs of beef meatballs

1 4 inch piece of ginger split in half

2 large onions cut in half(DO NO PEEL SKIN)

1 1/2 T. of coriander

1 tsp. whole cloves

2 cardamom pods split

2 cinnamon sticks

1 handful of star anise

2/3 cup of fish sauce

1 1/2 T. salt

3 oz. of palm sugar or 1/4 cp of sugar

1/2 tsp of msg(optional)

3 pkgs of fresh rice noodle

2 cheese cloths for straining broth

12 qt. stainless steel pot and an extra pot to parboil your bones

26 cups of water(or fill up halfway but remember you may cut recipe in half)

1 Stainless steel tea balls or mesh vegetable bags to hold all the spices for easier clean up


Bean sprout


Lime wedges

Thinly sliced onion(soak onion in ice water for 30 min and drain)

Lime wedges

Chopped green onion

You want to roast your onion and ginger in the oven. Bake @ 400 degrees for 30 minutes. If you have an open burner, then you should preferably char the onion and ginger over an open flame, turning occasionally until slightly blackened.

Take a pot big enough for all your meat,(except for bottom round roast)add enough water to cover and bring them to a boil for about 8-10 minutes or so. This step is for cleaning your bones and it will help you to get a clearer broth. While that pot is coming to a boil, get your other 12 qt pot ready and fill it half way(about 26 cps). Unless, you want to wait FOREVER AND A DAY for a big stock pot of water packed with meat and bones to boil, then you can skip this part. Otherwise having two pots going at a time will save you a butt load of pho'cken time(pun intended).

Once chicken and/or beef bone is done parboiling, dump it into a large colander in sink and lightly rinse off bones under cool water.

Since you should have another pot of water almost coming to boil, carefully add the bones/meat into the pot of water. This is also the time where you would add in the bottom round roast. When making this pot of pho, I didn't quite measure how much water I added, just make sure that after you've added all the meat in, that the pot is pretty much filled with water 3/4 way up. Feel free to take some water out if there is too much. Add in the char broiled ginger and onion. Add in fish sauce, palm sugar,salt(and msg if you're opting to use it), cinnamon sticks, and a big handful of star anise.

Put the other spices listed, into 1 stainless steel tea ball or mesh bags and drop them into the the pot. Make sure you remove that chain that comes along with the tea ball.

Now all that's left is leaving it all to simmer on low heat for 3 hrs. You know you've done it right when the pot looks disgusting and greasy.

Skim off fat as you go along trying to only take out what you need. Sometimes, if I feel like I'm taking out too much water along with the fat, then I will add more water to compensate.

After the broth has been simmering for 2 hrs I then taste the broth to see if I need to add any additional seasonings. Remove your beef bottom roast(if using) and allow to rest on cutting board before slicing against the grain. Keep in mind that this recipe uses chicken instead of all beef bone which means less fat, so if you decide to use more beef bone and/or oxtail, your broth will be very greasy at first, so make sure you use your ladle to skim off any fat that rises to the surface and add more water to pot if necessary. Also note, that you want the broth slightly stronger tasting cause once you add the noodles and garnishes it will bring down the flavor a tad bit. I usually make a small bowl for myself to taste check before serving to guests.

Once it's seasoned to your liking and has been simmering for at least 3 hrs, remove all bones and meat and place into colander over a large bowl.

Place two cheese cloths over a mesh strainer fitted on top of a pot and slowly strain the broth until done.

Now that your broth is pretty again and smells FANTASTIC, you can add in the beef meatballs if you opted for them and bring to a slight boil until the balls are cooked through(they will puff up when they are almost ready).

Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice your bottom round roast against the grain. Also don't forget to shred the meat off of the chicken that you had set aside. This is a very crucial step when using beef bone with tons of meat on it and ESPECIALLY OXTAIL! Right before you pour the broth into your bowl, is when you would toss in a couple of pieces of this delicious and tender meat!

You can also use raw, thinly sliced sirloin steak if you wish. To make slicing easier and to ensure thin cuts of meat, put meat in freezer for 30 min. and then slice.

Assembling the bowls: Place blanched rice noodles(or if using dry noodles, follow directions on package)in individual bowls and top with thinly cooked beef slices. If you are adding raw beef slices, the broth must be boiling to cook it through before you ladle the soup into the bowl. If the broth is not quite boiling but VERY HOT, than you can cook the meat by quickly dipping it into the pho broth using the ladle(it should take seconds). Once you've added the broth into the bowl, top with the garnishes of your choice and....VOILA!!!

Notes: The spices used in pho can get pretty pricey if you purchase them at your local Safeway, Fred Meyers or wherever you shop. If you know of a local Asian market or know someone that can get to one, I would highly recommend you go there cause it is waaaaay more inexpensive BELIEVE ME!
Also the type of fish sauce you use matters!! Don't use the ones that come in the plastic bottles...YUCKY! Use the ones that come in the glass bottles instead. There are various brands and most of them are very similar in taste.
Lastly, if you're using all beef bones and oxtails, the longer you simmer the broth the better! But I wouldn't recommend simmering chicken for longer then 3 to 4 hrs cause it will get VERY GELATINOUS after cooled and it will not look too appetizing when you're trying to reheat it. Feel free to add in any fixings to satisfy your taste buds! You can add all kinds of stuff to pho...tripe,shrimp,flank stank(I mean steak):),or even beef tendon. Whatever your palette, pho is always a real crowd pleaser!

I posted this recipe on my blog MONTHS before I started my Youtube channel so it differs slightly than the video. The spices, and the amount of meat I used DID NOT CHANGE, so feel free to use and follow the recipe listed w/ a few minor adjustments as stated in the video! If you want a healthier alternative than follow the written recipe for pho using chicken as the base but if you want a full bodied and tastier pho experience, than follow my video where I use all beef bones/oxtails and let it simmer for up to 8 hrs! ENJOY AND HAPPY EATING!! :)
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