Wednesday, November 29, 2006

John's Birthday!

There's another birthday in our family this week (well another 2 actually).
Today, the 29th, is John's birthday and yesterday the 28th was my grandmother's birthday.

Just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to them :)

John at a fountain in Italy.

Grandma at Thanksgiving opening presents

See you later


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Birthday Part Deux

Can't have all those spices without a spice grinder! (and a microplane as well)

A creme brulee set with ramicans and a torch. Silicone muffin liners

Be prepared for cupcake posts!!

Cara made me cupcakes- aren't theses the coolest holders you've ever seen?

AND ... this new knife. I now have a quality knife in my kitchen :)

Unpictured items include:
An atomic clock that also telling the temperature (it's pretty neat!)
A corningware bake set
Colapsable tupperware
Air tight tupperware.

What a bountiful birthday. Thank you for all your well wishing!


Monday, November 27, 2006

Spicy Bday (part 1)

For my birthday this year I requested kitchen/food related wares- including spices. Boy did my parents go all out, here's a photo list of what I received:

Bark? Yes mam, Cinnamon bark

More rolled Cinnamon than you can imagine

Whole Cloves


Allspice berries

Whole Nutmeg

Below are my two favorite (which I've never actually used before because of their hefty price tag).

REAL Vanilla beans!

Saffron- the world's most expensive spice! How exciting!

Needless to say I'm thrilled with all of these. The real kicker is this, my parents pointed me in the direction of a spice store where I could get most all the spices I ever wanted for incredibly cheap! The store is in little India in Artesia. It's called House of Spices, I'm going to visit there soon and pick up some savory spices to cook with.

Have a great day!


PS. there's more kitchen presents to post about- just wait 'till tomorrow!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving Food Porn

Homemade cranberry sauce (I added fresh squeezed pomegranate juice so it's a darker color)

Grilled summer squash and zucchini.

My main dish: Stuffed acorn squash

The stuffing contains brown rice, several kinds of mushrooms, garlic, onion and toasted pine nuts.

My grandmother brought some wonderful Moroccan bread. It was an olive bread with bits of orange zest throughout it. A very interesting and enjoyable addition, if I do say so.

I didn't take pictures of all our dishes. Here's what I left out though: mashed potatoes, yams, green bean casserole, stuffing, olives and more.

As I'm typing this I'm munching on some leftovers. MmMMmMM

Welp tomorrow I'll be turning the big 2-4. Wish me luck!


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Pictures comming soon :) Teddy

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Stuffed tomato

Thanksgiving is just a day away now and my cooking is in full swing. I started early this year because Richard is going out of town without me and we thought it would be fun if I packed part of his Thanksgiving meal.

The stuffed tomato is just one of three things I'm sending him off with. This stuffing is my absolute favorite and I rarely take the time to prepare it. It's brown rice, shitake mushrooms (some dried and some fresh), portabella mushrooms, onion and garlic.

I've been thinking I should add some wine to the recipe to give the flavor more depth. However, I'm a complete novice when it comes to cooking with wine.

Would it work here? Any advice?


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Vegan Apple Crisp

Apples are dirt cheap at the markets right now. I picked myself up a nice bag of them last week. I've been aching to make some sort of apple pie, tart, crisp or cobbler. This was my first attempt and I've already made a mental note to add a pinch of cinnamon and perhaps some other spices next time around.

I found this recipe on and just vegan-ized it (it was pretty easy because the only non vegan ingredient was butter).
This recipe basically uses rolled oats, brown sugar, a little flour and a lot of butter
I wasn't going for healthy here at all. Sometimes desserts are just meant to be bad.

Hope everyone had a great weekend
It's almost Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and I'm starting to prepare my menu. First on my list, fresh cranberry sauce- I will not eat from a CAN hehe.


Can someone tell me the difference between cobbler and crisp?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

North African

Family Veg Night
This week John cooked for us. When I phoned to ask what we were having he said "I'm feeling something .... North African".
We had a 3 dish meal (take a peek):

Cous cous with dried apricots, golden raisins, pistachios and fresh pomegrante

Summer squash, zucchini, Chinese eggplant, mushrooms in a tomato lentil sauce

Dried figs, dates and apricots

This was my favorite meal thus far. What made it stand head over heals above the rest was that it is something new for me. I rarely eat couscous and this sweet yet savory combination was extremely satisfying. I think the whole family will be suggesting this one again.


Since I've just discovered this North African cuisine, does anyone have any recipes I could try out?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rambutan Fun Facts

Well you guys ALL guessed it :) Yesterday's fruit was Rambutan.

Fun Facts:

Rambutan is native to Malaysia

Rambutan is adapted to warm tropical climates and is sensitive to temperatures below 10 °C, and is grown commercially within 15° of the equator.

Rambutan is one of the best known fruits of southeast Asia, it is also widely cultivated elsewhere the tropics including Africa, Cambodia, the Caribbean islands, Central America, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

Thailand is the largest producer of Rambutan

In 1997 Hawaii's top 3 tropical fruits included Rambutan.

It takes about 5 to 6 years for a tree planted from seed to start to bear any fruit.

Rambutan trees bear twice annually, once in late fall and early winter.

The fruit must ripen on the tree, then they are harvested over a four to seven week period.

The most important part here:
How to peal and eat Rambutan



Monday, November 13, 2006

Alien Fruit?

Richard went to Trader Joes last night to surprise me with dinner and look at what he found!

I like to call them Alien fruit because they're so odd looking.

Do you know the real name of this fruit?


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Noodle Update

A little while back I posted a MwM letting everyone know about this new product from Trader Joes that we were going to try.

Welp, last week Richard brought this for lunch. The results- unimpressive. He reported that the sauce was bland and spice-less. In his opinion, whom ever created this dish, has not eaten much Thai food. So much for our quick new lunch.

In other news, Richard and I are just returning from a short trip to Fresno. More on that later


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pumpkin Cookies

Not just Pumpkin cookies- VEGAN Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies :)

I have pumpkin puree still (I froze it for later use).
I think I'll just leave you with some food porn today. To me, the picture pretty much says it all.

Have a delicious night!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mango and Avocado Salad

Last night I voted with my parents and Richard. My parents then treated me to dinner. I enjoy this salad because it is surprisingly filling. That was our family night :).
I LOVE to vote and I enjoyed the evening.

The next week will be crazy busy. Sorry if I don't get to post as much. Have a great week!!


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Vanilla Facts

Green vanilla pods

  • There are two main species of vanilla - Tahitian and Burbon (aka Mexican)
  • Native to Mexico
  • Vanilla is the world's most labor-intensive agricultural crop, which is why it's so expensive.
  • It takes up to three years after the vines are planted before the first flowers appear.

Vanilla Flower

  • Because vanilla has always been so valuable, it has a long history of robbery and intrigue. In Madagascar, vanilla rustling was a major problem for many years. Growers branded the individual beans when they were green and the markings remained after they were dried.

Dried whole vanilla beans

  • Since vanilla is in demand, and because it's so expensive, synthetics are often used instead of natural vanilla. In fact, 97% of vanilla used as a flavor and fragrance is synthetic.

What is your favorite recipe using Vanilla?


Pad See-Iw

Royal Thai Cuisine for the second time to ever tonight.
I enjoyed it but after I ordered I realized that something spicy was what I was in the mood for. Either way it didn't stop me and Richard from putting it all away in 1/2 an hour (I guess I was more hungry than I felt).

Tomorrow the family is going to visit my grandad and I'll be researching a post on Vanilla. Hope the weekend is treating you well


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Macaroon Cat

Last night Richard surprised me with a dessert from a local cafe.

I'm not sure if it's vegan but it's ADORABLE. I'm calling it a coconut kitty :)
Aren't small acts of kindness wonderful? This made my day.


PS I officially changed positions at my job!! I got a raise AND I'm moving in the direction of my career goal as well. All without having to change companies. I can't wait to start the new position next week :) Wish me luck!