Good Eats · Healthy eating

Good Eats – Avocado toast

Not all of us have time to sit down at your dining table and have a lovely breakfast everyday along with a cup of hot coffee. I do wish I was one of them that could have my morning breakfast while enjoying an awesome scenery of a green back yard or a beach, Unfortunately I have neither of those, so when I get up, I head to the kitchen brew my coffee and make myself some no-brainer breakfast.

Avocado toast is probably one of the easiest breakfast aside from oatmeal. Before I started writing this post we have had the same exact breakfast for almost two weeks. We are writing this post differently as I am going to write down all the ingredients along the way but this post will not have any instructions at all. I thought it would be nice to change it up, also it helps that this is a no-brainer breakfast.

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Toast up some bread of your choice, one my favorites currently is whole grain honey wheat from Trader Joe’s. Mash up some avocado in a bowl, I like to season mine with a little salt, pepper, lemon/ lime juice and some chili flakes. You can  leave out the chili flakes if you don’t do spicy. We like a little kick in our breakfast to start off our day. Smear the avocado on the toast, top it up with some tomato slices, and a fried egg. Victor likes his egg yolk runny and I like mine fully cooked. If you are like him, just make a sunny side up fried egg. Aside from all the ingredients listed above, you could also add some baby spinach, I didn’t have any on hands, so I left them out. There you have the quick and easy – Avocado toast.

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If you think mushing up the avocado is too much work for you, just sliced them up and place them on the toast. I hope this you guys enjoy this as much as we do.

Until next time!

Good Eats

Good Eats – Claypot Chicken Rice

Clay pot chicken rice is a very popular dish in Malaysia. The beauty of the dish is you can serve this dish in one pot, most families called this the “one pot dinner”. Traditionally, this dish was cooked in a clay pot over a charcoal stove which provides a very distinct flavor as compare to a regular stove top.

I used to make this dish with the rice cooker, but one day Victor came home with a clay pot from the Korean market in Chicago. I was overjoyed when I first saw the clay pot, this might not be the typical Chinese clay pot that you would find at the Hawker Stalls back in Malaysia but we made it work. We do use the pot for different type of soups and porridge on a daily basis.

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If you do not own a pot like this I suggest you head to the store and grab yourself one of this. They do come in handy.
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Leave the lid on and let the pot rest for 5 minutes, then use a fork to fluff up the rice. Our kitchen smells heavenly every time we cook this dish.

Ingredient:

  • 2 cups of rice ( I like to mix one cup of white rice with one cup of brown rice)
  • 1 chicken breast (diced up)
  • Ginger (based your own liking, make sure you sliced them thinly.)
  • 1 cup of Chinese dried mushroom (Shiitaki) (Soak it overnight to re-hydrate them)
  • 2 chinese sausage (*optional, I didn’t include in this dish)
  • Green onion (*optional, chopped finely for garnish)

Seasoning for chicken

  • 3 tbsp of oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp of white pepper
  • 1 tbsp of cooking wine

Seasoning for rice

  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of water

Instructions:

  1. Soak the dried mushroom overnight so that they have time to re-hydrate.
  2. Marinate the diced up chicken breast with all the ingredients listed in the seasoning for chicken portion. Set in the fridge overnight.
  3. Slice up your re-hydrated mushroom for later use.
  4. Rinse the rice and add 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 cup of water into the pot, bring the rice to a boil. Add in the rest of the seasoning for the rice and turn the heat down to medium low for the rice to simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  5. In a medium pan, heat up some vegetable oil and add in the marinated chicken, sliced mushroom and thinly sliced ginger. Pan fry all the ingredient until the chicken is slightly under-cooked.
  6. Add the under-cook chicken on top of the rice when you see the rice is starting to dry up. Put the lid back on and continue cooking the dish until the rice and the chicken are completely cooked. This process might take about 10 to 12 minutes depending on your stove.
  7. Turn off the heat after 10 minutes but leave the lid on and let the pot rest for another 5 minutes before serving.
  8. Top the dish with the finely chopped green onions before serving.

 

This is one of the dish that reminds me of the time when I was still back home and the entire family will head to the Hawker Stalls to grab a quick bite. The recipe looks a little intimidating, it seems to have a lot of steps, trust me on this, as long as you have the ingredients all prepped the night before, the dish takes about 20 minuted from start to finish. I hope you guys enjoyed the dish as mush as we do.

Until next time.

A day in our life

Sunday Fun-day

What does your typical Sunday looks like? Do you spend time with friends and family? Are you just a couch potato Netflix and chill all day? Do you just head out and shop till you drop? Different people spent their Sundays differently, and I would love to know what’s yours.

In this family, we have done all the above. What’s so special about this Sunday? A good friend of mine has decided to move away from Michigan. She decided to head south to start a brand new journey by herself. I am very happy for her but at the same time I am sad as well. I am sad because she is moving to a state where I can no longer just drive an hour to meet her up for coffee. From the reasons above, we have been through a lot, and I value our friendship a lot. She is a very special friend that has a very special spot in my heart, she would do everything necessary for a friend that she values, on a flip side she is the one person I would do the same for too.

Long story short,this Sunday we have decided to do a little wine and paint, called Paint with a Twist. I have been here for nine years and I haven’t heard of a place where you can actually have wine while you paint. Of course when Rachel suggested we should check out Painting with a twist, I jumped on that and said yes, we totally should. Lo and behold, Painting with a Twist is actually pretty fantastic, Victor would have told you he never knew he could paint until today.

There is a first time for everything. We got there and realized ” Oh wow, this is a huge class with only one instructor, I am sure I wouldn’t be able to paint  the painting that she had in the front of the class.” Anyhow, all I have in mind was, I just wanted to spend some great time with Rachel. For that two hours, it made me realize there is no such thing as I can’t do anything if I have my heart set on something. I was also reminded how important these people are in my life. I came to the States for school nine years ago, all I had in mind was I just want to graduate and go back to where I came from, why would I need friends? I have plenty of them back in Malaysia, but somehow things changed without me knowing it.

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I would 100% recommend you guys to check out a place like that if you just want to spend time quality time with friends and family relaxing and be productive at the same time.
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Never in a million years I would think I can paint this. Sometimes we surprise ourselves, and this is mine.

I am not sure if it’s because of the holidays season, I do get a little emotional this time of the year. It’s not a bad thing when you have these moments when you come to realize how important friends and family are. Do something with those feelings and not have regrets later in life.

As for me, family and friends definitely come first. Victor was the one that told me, work will still be there without your presence, but once you missed the chance to spend time with the people that you love, you might never get them back again.

Until next time!

Good Eats

A man and his dog – Grand Mere State Park

The weather has definitely gotten colder here in Michigan, this is usually the time for me to pull out all the photos of us spending time in the summer under the sun together.

Grand Mere State Park located in Stevensville, Michigan is a beautiful, natural woods and sand dunes.This is one of the park that we have checked out in the summer when it’s nice out.  Victor and I are very outdoorsy people, we spent a lot of our time outdoor in the summer. We love to walk around the beach, hiking, spend time at the park, etc. The one thing we do not love about the summer are the BUGS. Just thinking about all the bugs makes my skin crawl. Some of you might be able to relate to that, we do not do good with bugs, they are attracted to us for whatever reason.

Another reason why we like outdoorsy stuff is because as I mentioned before, we have a puppy that needs a tons of exercise. We are a family of three, we would spend a lot of time together in the weekends outdoor. The reason being we do not get to spend a lot time with him during the weekdays because of work. The easiest thing to incorporate him into our daily activities would be outdoor.

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There is something about green that I really do enjoy. I feel like green is a peaceful color.
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Little Mylo seemed pretty stoked to walk the trail. At that time he doesn’t know we are heading to the beach just yet.
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The man and his dog are enjoying the trail.

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This is the moment little Mylo found out we headed to the water. He seems pretty happy to cool himself off.

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It was a very very long walk for the three of us. The uphills were definitely challenging, especially when you have a puppy with you. Having a puppy is like having a little baby with you. You are constantly worrying that the weather might be to hot for them, are they thirsty and overheated, etc. As soon as we hit the beach, everything was pretty nice, except when we realized we forgot the sunscreen.

This park is definitely worth the hike, the walk was great, and it’s pet friendly. If you are around that area I would definitely recommend this park for a one day outing with your family. We enjoyed the entire hiking process a lot, the struggles are definitely real but in the end, we spent a day together. That’s all that matters.

Good Eats · Healthy eating

Good Eats – Quinoa Salad

It’s that time of the year where the temperature outside drops tremendously at night. It’s colder than I would like it to but sometimes I still crave for a fresh and refreshing salad. I remembered the time when I was living in California, when family had to go to work and I am alone at home sitting in front of the TV in the summer time, Those were great times, I always stock up the refreshing quinoa salad from Costco. Yes! You heard me right, they weren’t homemade. When I came back to Michigan and I was told that Costco was coming to Michigan and I was like, “Woot woot!”. That’s it, my beloved quinoa salad is on the way.

When Costco showed up here, I did go to the store and stocked up the salad and had it for lunch for a week. When my boyfriend realized that I did that, he told me “Babe, I can make this!!”. I just looked at him like are you kidding me? You can make the salad as good as this? Don’t care, still stuffing my face at that point. He came home the next day with all the ingredient needed for the recipe.

He went into the kitchen and he spent an hour making that salad. Boom! He made it, it tasted delicious, if not, it’s better. He spent a little longer than in the kitchen because we don’t usually have cooked quinoa in the fridge and that was his first time making that salad. I would suggest any of you guys that wanted to try this recipe, that should definitely have some cooked quinoa on hands, that way you do not need to wait for the quinoa to cook and then chill it for the salad. Trust me, keeping cooked quinoa in the  fridge makes your life a lot easier. Anyhow, long story short, let’s jump into the recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa (follow the instructions on the quinoa bag on how long you need to cook the quinoa)
  • 1 large cucumber (diced)
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • a bunch of parsley (roughly chopped)
  • 4 stalks of celery (diced)
  • Kale (*optional, roughly chopped)
  • Hard boiled egg (*optional)
  • Lemon juice from half a lemon
  • 1/3 cup of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook your quinoa following the instructions on the bags, let it cool to room temperature and set it in the fridge for later use.
  2. Boil your hard boiled egg in another smaller pot. (I prefer my hard boiled eggs fresh and warm, if you like you could make them in a big batch and keep them in the fridge just like the quinoa.)
  3. In a large bowl combined all your vegetables that have been diced or chopped.
  4. Combined the balsamic vinegar,lemon juice and the extra virgin olive oil to make the vinaigrette dressing in a separate container.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste

 

*Notice that we separate our dressing and the salad, we like to make this salad in a big batch so that we can have it for a couple days. We do not like to drench my salad with dressing and make the entire salad all soggy. We add in our own dressing when we are ready to eat.

I hope you guys like the recipe as much as we do, I understand this is a refreshing salad that is fantastic for summer, we don’t usually have salad in the winter, but I love my greens. What can I say?

Enjoy the recipe, until next time!

 

 

Good Eats · Healthy eating

Good Eats – Tuna salad with a twist

It had been hectic for the past three months, we have been super busy with work, immigration stuff, and of course having surgery and medical appointments are not fun at all. Everything just had been super crazy for the three of us. Today, I finally have time to sit down and realize that I have not been good about posting. It’s exactly like it sounds, when you have so many things going on at the same time, the last thing you will want to do is to sit down at the dining table, pull out your laptop, having a cup of nice tea and start writing again. To be honest, all those things probably sounded pretty good at that time, and they probably crossed my mind, I just told them to wait a little while longer every time they pay me a visit.

After the surgery, I took a couple days off, and since I wasn’t at work, I had some time to myself. While I was scrolling through my photo album, I saw this photo of a bowl of tuna salad. This is one of the easiest tuna salad I have ever made. Of course I can’t take all the credit for this tuna salad, the first time I had this tuna salad was made by a friend of mine that actually doesn’t cook at all (forgive me if I am wrong).

When I first came back to the Midwest after spending sometime at the West Coast my friend and I both would spent time at the coffee shop, followed by movies, and this would always be our dinner. I could definitely eat this dish couple days in a row, it’s super refreshing, especially after a busy day when you do not actually have time to make dinner. This also serves as a great snack, something to tie you over until your morning coffee and breakfast.

Lets moved on to the recipe. I promise you these ingredients will probably already be in your refrigerator. Notice that I do not have the ingredient measured out for this recipe because this is probably the one and only recipe you do not need to measure, you literally just eye-ball everything , place them in a bowl and mix it up.

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It might not look like much, it is very refreshing. Of course it reminds me of what a lovely time we had.
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Mayonnaise and Sriracha are the perfect match for this salad. It’s creamy but not overly, it’s perfect on crackers or pita chips.

Ingredient:

  • 1 can of Starkist Chunck Light Tuna
  • 1 can of Bumble Bee Fancy White Crab Meat
  • Bell peppers (any color of your choice)
  • Celery Hearts (Diced)
  • Carrots (Diced)
  • Cucumber (Diced)
  • Serrano pepper
  • Chili flakes
  • Sriracha
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Drained excessive water from the tuna and crab meat, placed them in a large bowl.
  2. Diced all the vegetables, mixed in with the tuna, crab meat and chili flakes. Mix well before you add in the condiments.
  3. Add in Mayonnaise and Sriracha (the amount of Sriracha depends on how spicy you would like it to be, I would start with a two tablespoons.)
  4. Season it with salt and pepper to taste.

Depending on the amount of mayonnaise you use in this recipe, this dish can be pretty healthy if you do not drench the salad with mayonnaise. I hope you guys enjoy this recipe, it is definitely one of the recipes that could bring me back to my happy time.

-Enjoy!-

Good Eats

Good Eats – Quick and Easy Granola

It had been a crazy two weeks for the both of us. We had appointment after appointment almost everyday. Now it’s finally over, we figured we could make something quick and simple for you guys. How many of us are guilty of buying granola from the store and eating it all in one day? I know I am guilty of that, every time after we do grocery shopping, I devour the entire bag in less than an hour. I put granola into my oatmeal and yogurt, and of course I snack on granola rather than candies. I searched high and low looking for a homemade granola recipe that’s quick and easy. I found a couple and I decided to combine a few of them, tweak it a little, and here is my quick and easy version.

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It smells heavenly in the kitchen I kid you not.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of raw almonds
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1 cup of mixed dried fruits (raisins, craisins, raisins, apricot, prunes, figs)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup of raw honey
  • 1/3 cup of sweet almond oil (you could substitute this with coconut oil as well)
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200F
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together sweet almond oil, honey, and vanilla extract before stirring in the oats, almonds, and pecans.
  3. Pour the mixture onto a baking tray and pat it down, so that they are evenly spread.
  4. Bake the mixture for 15 minutes, and remove from the oven and mix in the dried fruits and coconut flakes.
  5. Bake the mixture for another 5 minutes after mixing in the dried fruits and coconut flakes. (you want to make sure the mixture is golden brown.)
  6. Allow the granola to cool before transferring them into an airtight container.

I love to serve my granola with my oatmeal, topped it up with frozen berries or mango chunks for a delicious and healthy breakfast. I sometimes serve it with plain Greek yogurt too. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Good Eats

Good Eats – Chinese Dumplings ( Jiao Zi)

Chinese dumpling (Jiao Zi) is a very common dumpling dish in Asia. Dumpling is typically made with ground meat, shrimp and some vegetables wrapped in a very thinly rolled piece of dough. In a typical Chinese home, dumplings are a must eat around Chinese New Year, especially New Year’s Eve. If I remember correctly, dumplings symbolize longevity and wealth. A typical dumpling looks like a gold ingot currency used in imperial China from its founding under the Qin Dynasty. Dumplings are also an excellent activity to do with friends over, they are easy to teach and make a good evening activity filled with good food and good friends.

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To make this recipe more friendlier for busy people, we decided to go with the store bought dumpling wraps. You can usually find them in the Asian store’s frozen aisle.
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A typical dumpling should look like a gold ingot currency if folded correctly. I would give all the credit to Victor, he wrapped and folded all the dumplings while watching TV.

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Ingredients:

1 pack dumpling wrappers – you can typically get these at your local Asian supermarket.

1 pound ground meat ( I typically use chicken or pork)

2 cups of Napa cabbage finely chopped

1 cup mushrooms (Button or Portobello)  finely chopped

1/4 cup ginger finely chopped

1 egg

4 teaspoons 5 spice powder or equivalent (can be found at your local international section of the grocery store)

4 teaspoons soy sauce

4 teaspoons Chinese vinegar

optional:

2 carrots finely chopped

2 stalks green onions finely chopped

Instructions:

  1.  Take a large mixing bowl, mix all of your fillings together, and stir well to homogenize all of the ingredients
  2.  Take a bowl or cup with a small bit of water, take a dumpling wrapper and wet the edges by dipping your finger in the water and brushing the edges of the wrapper
  3. Pinch the center of the wrapper, working from the center, pinch one side of the wrapper and fold it over the other edge with the edge facing the center, when done, take the other side of the center pinch and fold together.
  4. Repeat the process until you run out of wrappers or dumpling filling. Alternatively, if you don’t want to fold and pinch you can fold both edges over the center and seal the dumplings.
  5. Once you are done with all of the dumplings, fill a pot with a quarter amount of cold water and bring it to a boil before you place the dumplings in the pot. After the water is boiling, put in the dumplings into the pot of boiling water. Make sure you do not overfilled the pot so that they can cook evenly.
  6. When the dumplings are boiling add in a 2 cups of cold water and bring the water to a boil again. Repeat step 5 and 6 twice to make sure the dumplings are fully cooked.
  7. For the dipping sauce, mix some Chinese vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  You can also add some chili flakes or hot sauce if you want some kick in your dumplings.

The best part of these dumplings is that once your learn the process, you can customize the ingredients and dipping sauces to however you like. Folding these dumplings is the most difficult part of the process and I know its a bit confusing, but once you get a few going they will get easier. I hope you enjoyed making and eating these dumplings as much as we do.

 

 

Good Eats · Healthy eating

Good Eats – Glutinous Rice Balls (Tang Yuan)

Winter Solstice is one of my favorite festivals. In fact, I love winter solstice more than I love Chinese New Year, which is very odd for an Asian. Winter solstice is also known as Dong Zhi festival, it is usually around December 22nd.

Traditionally, winter solstice is when all the family members will get together to make food, eating and spending time with each other. It had been a while since I last celebrated winter solstice with my family (more than 8 years to be exact). Glutinous rice balls – Tang Yuan symbolized reunion.

This dish symbolized reunion but I make this dish when I am homesick too. It reminds me of the time of my childhood. We were all so young but whenever my mom decided to make this, we would all drag ourselves out of bed no matter how early it is, we would help my mom roll the glutinous rice dough into these small little balls. Mom will then cook them up and served them as breakfast. Those were some great times.

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Ingredients:

Ginger syrup

  • 2 cups of water
  • 6-10 slices of ginger slice (about  inch thick)
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar

Glutinous rice balls

  • 2 1/2 cups of Glutinous rice flour
  • 1 cup of water

Peanut coating

  • 2 cups of toasted peanut with skin removed
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar

Instructions:

  1. Add in ginger slices and 2 cups of water in a medium pot and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off the stove after 20 minutes and let it cool before serving.
  2. Combine the toasted peanut and brown sugar in a food processor or a blender and pulse them. I just pulsed it a couple times to make sure they are well combined, if you over pulsed them it will become a paste. Set the ground peanut aside for later use.
  3. Place the rice flour in a large bowl, slowly add in warm water while stirring to form the dough. Knead the dough by hand after the dough has formed, you are all done when the dough doesn’t stick your hands. Make sure your dough is not too wet, or else it would not hold its shape. The consistency of the dough should be similar to play dough. You could also make the dough ahead of time, place the dough in a zip-lock bag and refrigerate it overnight.
  4. Bring a pot of water to boil for boiling the glutinous rice balls.
  5. Roll the dough into little spherical shape ball in between your palm. The size of the glutinous rice doesn’t really matter as long as they are consistent they will cook evenly.
  6. Drop the rice balls into the pot of boiling water to cook them. Make sure you do not over crowded the pot so that all the rice balls can cook evenly.
  7. As soon as the rice balls are floating in the pot of boiling water, transfer them into a bowl of cold water for about 2 minutes. The purpose of this step is to make sure they stop cooking so that they can maintain the springy texture.
  8. Transfer the cooked rice balls into the cool ginger syrup, and it’s ready to serve

I like to serve the glutinous rice balls with syrup, and the ground peanut in another bowl. Sometimes I do like to add in the ground peanuts into the syrup too. This dish is pretty versatile, you can eat it however you want to. I hope you guys enjoy the dish that I love from my childhood as much as I love making this for you guys.

Good Eats · Healthy eating

Good Eats – Watermelon Smoothie

Summer time, watermelon time, am I right? When it comes to summer, watermelon is a must have for this household. While Victor was doing the grocery shopping this week, he came home with a gigantic watermelon. There is only so much the two of us can eat, so what about the leftover watermelon?

With Fourth of July  coming up in the next few days, we all know we can’t have a Fourth of July party without a refreshing pitcher of watermelon smoothie. All of a sudden I have an idea, we can totally have some watermelon smoothie on a warm day like today. The best part about this recipe, it takes two ingredients and a blender with just two minutes to make. Of course, this is not a recipe specifically for the Fourth, but also any hot summer day.

I sliced up some watermelon and frozen kiwi that I have in my freezer, put them in my Ninja Professional Blender (BL610) and hit the power button. Do keep in mind that the slush tastes a lot better with chilled watermelon.

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Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of sliced seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup of ice cubes
  • mint leaves – optional

Instructions:

  1. Combine sliced watermelon and ice cubes in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Top it off with some mint leaves if you like the minty fresh taste.

Viola, the whole process takes less than two minutes. You could also add some vodka if you fancy liquor in your smoothie. Let me know if you like the smoothie for a hot summer day.

Hope you guys enjoy the smoothie as mush as we did.

 

A day in our life

What do we do on a Sunday?

This is another post following a day in Mylo’s life. I am sure you guys are pretty familiar with our lives right now, we are both working adults and we do have a funny and beautiful puppy named Mylo. He just stayed home while we are at work on a day to day basis. We do try to do things that involve Mylo during the weekends since on the weekdays we have to get to work we walk him but not as much as we would like to.

Today we have both decided to sign Mylo up for the dog park right down the street from where we live. The name of the dog park is Meadow Run Dog Park, it is a privately owned dog park. The membership is a little pricey but we went with for it because we thought it would be good for Mylo. Mylo has always been a house dog, we don’t really have a lot friends that have dogs, so he pretty much just plays with humans. We felt that Mylo was a little short on his socialization skills which is one of the main factor why we decided to get the membership.

Let’s take a peek into Mylo’s afternoon on a Sunday.

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Mylo: “I love running so much, but my parents do not have a giant size back yard just yet, so they brought me here for a good run. Obviously I am enjoying the park because it is huge. Also I met some really cool friends.
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Mylo: “Alright, I need a breather, this is too much for me to handle! We shall continue after a 5 minutes break. Now let my mom show you some of my friends.”
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Mylo: “These two Keeshonds are my new friends that I made during my first visit to the dog park. They are friendly and my mom said they look like a miniature lions.”
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Mylo: “Oh! I almost forgot my two Australian Shepard friends. They showed me around the pond where they took a swim.”
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Mylo: “I spent an hour at the dog park, I felt great but I think I am going to take a nap at the dog park. Maybe just 10 minutes?”
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Mylo: “And then Daddy decided to give me a nice belly rub, there goes my nap time.”
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Mylo: “I think it’s safe to say that I love this dog park. Hopefully my parents will make the effort to come to the park with me every morning before they head to work.”

Honestly, I haven’t seen Mylo being this happy except heading back to grandma’s house once in a while. It was nice seeing Mylo enjoying his afternoon, as you can guess he passed out as soon as we step into the condo. I hope you guys enjoyed reading about Mylo’s life as much as us jotting all these memories down. We will definitely make these trips to the park a routine on weekends and as much as we can on the weekdays.

 

Good Eats · Healthy eating

Good Eats – Chinese Style Stuffed Peppers

This Chinese style stuffed pepper is a Chinese dish that is primarily tofu, sometimes we would use vegetable such as eggplant, bitter melon or bell peppers. We would cut them up and filled them with ground meat and fish paste. This is a very common dish that you can find in Malaysia, it’s also a dish that you could whip up in less than 30 minute.

The secret ingredient for this dish is fish paste. Back in Malaysia, my grandmother would usually get up early in the morning to go to the wet market to get fresh mackerel from the fishmonger. She would bring an entire mackerel home and slowly fillet them so that she could turn them into a paste. This is actually a very labor intensive dish back home. Fortunately for us, if you lived in the states, you could substitute fresh fish paste with fish paste emulsion. They usually come in frozen form, you can find them in any Asian store. I personally like to thaw my fish paste emulsion in the fridge overnight before I use it the next day. This recipe requires the fish paste to bind the ground meat before stuffing it in the vegetables or tofu.

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This is the brand of fish paste emulsion I like to use for the stuffing.

Other than fish paste emulsion I like to mix in ground chicken breast. My grandmother prefer pork, but I like the taste of chicken much better. In this particular recipe I use ground chicken breast instead of ground pork.

Ingredients:

  • 1 container of fish paste emulsion
  • 1 ground chicken breast ( or ground pork if you prefer)
  • 6 Poblano peppers (We picked this type of pepper because they are milder as compare to Serrano peppers. Of course, another factor is they are bigger than Serrano pepper, you could stuff them easily.
  • 1 stalk of green onion
  • 1 tbsp of ground white pepper
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil

Instructions:

  1. Cleaned the peppers and remove all the seeds before making a slit on the peppers for the stuffing. (I like to cut off the top of the peppers for easy stuffing.)
  2. Mix the ground chicken breast and fish paste emulsion in a large bowl. Add in the ground white pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil and green onion into the fish paste mixture and mix well.
  3. Stuff the mixture into the peppers but make sure you do not over stuffed them.
  4. Place the stuffed pepper on the frying pan and sear the outside of the peppers. ( You do not need to cook the stuffing all the way through)
  5. After a good searing, place all the stuffed peppers in a steam-able dish and steam it for 10 minutes.  (I generally put 1 tbsp of oyster sauce and 1 tbsp of soy sauce on the peppers before I put it in the steamer.)
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Slicing the top off made it a lot easier for stuffing.
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I had two extra bell peppers on hands, so I decided to throw them in with the rest of the Poblano peppers.

 

Enjoy this quick and easy Chinese style stuffed peppers. You can either eat them as they are or serve them with rice. I hope you guys enjoyed the food as much as we enjoyed making them.

Do It Yourself

DIY Glass Jar

I am not sure how many of you out there run into the same problem I do. I used to buy candles from Bath and Body Works, I would stock up on them when they have sales. I use a coffee warmer to warm up my candles so that I don’t go through them as quickly as lighting them, unfortunately, candles don’t last forever. So the better question is, what do you do when you have an empty glass jar like me? I think so far I have collected at least 6 of these empty containers, I asked myself how do I re-purpose these glass containers instead of throwing them in the trash?

After thinking long and hard, I decided to decorate them with twine. Twine is cheap and all you need is a hot glue gun and a roll of twine. I got mine from Michaels, I am pretty sure you could get all these from Hobby Lobby or whatever your favorite craft store is. I started off with some clean glass jars. I wiped down the outside with some lint free cloth, and I start applying hot glue on the outside of the glass jars. After that I just start wrapping the twine around the glass jar and keep going.

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Throwing them away seems like a waste, I decided to clean out the glass container and put them through the dish washer to get rid of the left over oil and wax.
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These are the things you need to make them a little more presentable. Make sure you get the high temp version so that the twines stayed better on the glass, it doesn’t need to be fancy, you just need something that would get the job done. All you have to do is apply hot glue on the clean glass container and lay the twine on top of the hot glue. Make sure you apply a little hot glue at a time, so that they do not solidify before you could get to it.
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It took a while for me to wrap the first one but after a while you will get used to the wrapping and you will be faster at wrapping these babies. The one that I wrapped up with twines actually looked like I got it from some store.
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Here I am showing there of them that I made, there are different designs you can do to these glass jar, you do not have to do what I did here. These are just what’s convenient for me.

For me, this is a really quick and easy project that I could do on a Sunday morning while I wait for my lovely boyfriend to get out of bed and have breakfast. I hope you enjoy making these easy DIY glass jars. I use them to hold my stationary and some small things that are laying around all over the condo.

A Man and His Dog

Kalamazoo Art Fair 2017

People in Kalamazoo are kicking off the summer with having an art fair in downtown Kalamazoo in Bronson Park. They invited artists and vendors from all across the country who showed off all different kinds of beautiful crafts and art. Victor and I decided to head to downtown Kalamazoo and have a look at what the hype was about.

Oddly enough we both enjoyed our time at the art fair very much. There were a lot of beautiful pieces from different vendors. It’s amazing how some people are very talented but you would never be able to tell just by looking at them. All the pieces in the art fair are handmade by different artists. You can find some fabulous photography, sculpture, painting, ceramics, glass, and wood furniture or containers in the art fair. Did I mention that spending a day at the art fair make a great art-filled family weekends.

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This piece is probably one of my favorite sculpture out of all the pieces that I have seen. It reminds me of the moon in a cloudless night.
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This piece reminds me of the sun in the summer time. Being at beach watching the sun set is the feeling that I have for this particular piece.
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Every single ceramic pieces on display are made with care from the same artist. The details on each of them are just simply amazing.
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When I first saw this painting I couldn’t believe it was just a painting. My first thought was, it’s a photo that someone took out in the farm. The painting was so real, I just didn’t believe someone could have painted this beautiful scenery to share it with others.

That is it for now, I could go on and on and show you guys all the photos I  have taken during the art fair. With just the few pieces of arts that I have mentioned above, this event is totally worth your time to check out. In the future, even though your local art fair like ours may not seem like a big deal, if you have any interest  at all in art or seeing what amazing pieces humans can produce for fun, they are definitely time well spent with family, friends or significant other.

 

Do It Yourself · Minimalism

DIY Planters

Do any of you guys remember in one of the previous blog post I mentioned about getting some planters for herbs or succulents? Here it is, we made easy do it yourself planters. Of course this DIY planter is probably not as nice as those that you could find in the nurseries, but keep in mind, making these planters probably cost a fraction of what you would pay from the nurseries.

Making these planters takes some time to measure, cut, and assemble, but they make a great activity with others, trust me they weren’t as troublesome as you think. We picked up some treated wood from our local Lowe’s, you could also find them from Home Depot too. Just keep in mind if you use treated wood to build the planters, you can’t plant anything that you would eat. If you would like to plant herbs or any consumable plants, you should use cedar wood, which is pricier than treated wood. Since this was trial run we decided to just go with treated wood and make something much smaller, in case we failed.

We wanted to make our planters with the following dimensions (7′ W x 6.5′ H x 27′ L). I have to give credit to this handy boyfriend, we had Lowe’s cut up the bigger side pieces but he had to cut up the rest of the end pieces with a hand saw. We used 2 pieces of 1×6 wood 90 inches each. The planter is held together with 1.5 inch wood screws.

Putting the planter together is probably the fastest process, just a couple of screws and viola, you have a pretty sturdy planter.

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All we have to do now is add in the small pieces for both ends. Those were the ends that Victor had to hand saw them because they were too small for the guy at Lowe’s to saw using the industrial saw.
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As soon as you screwed both sides of the end piece to the rest of the planter, you are all set. I sanded our down just so that they won’t have any splinters, and they do look a lot nicer after you sand then down.

When you are done sanding them, you are pretty much all set to put in potting soil as well as the plants of your choice. I have to confess we did spend money to buy another planter from the nursery when I was picking up the herbs this morning since we couldn’t wait any longer for the basil plants that we wanted to plant.

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We used the planter that we made out of treated wood for our English Lavender plants.
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As well as some awesome succulents. My sister and I both love the succulent plants that looks like mini roses.
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Last but not least, here are the Thai basil plants that we picked up. We love making basil chicken fried rice as most of you already know.
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Alright, I lied, I also did pick up some sweet basil too. Who doesn’t like some good old Caprese salad?

I guess that’s it for today. We got everything that we wanted to get and we went to the Kalamazoo Art Fair 2017 as well. I will write another post talking about the art fair. I hope you guys have as much fun as we did making these planters and starting our small garden. Have fun planting this summer!

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I had to include this picture. He was actually smiling when I said “Smile.” Look like Mylo is loving his new garden too.