Friday, August 31, 2012

Spaghettini with Sausage, Pesto & Sundried Tomatoes




School is here,
 and most busy Mom's like me are ready
to pull their hair out when dinner time comes.

After school pick up, activities, sports, drop off from one point to another,
 and errands in between.
And then there's dinner to worry about.

So in the next few weeks,
 I hope to be able to share with you some easy,
delicious, nutritious kid friendly recipes.

The big warehouse store, I'm calling "C" is a big help for me at this time of the year.
I have a few staples I get from there to make my life easier.
Just like the 2 ingredients on this dish.
The "C's" Pesto, and Sun-dried tomatoes.
A big help in cutting prep and cooking time.


If you have a good recipe for pesto sauce, you can always make it ahead of time.
You can freeze Pesto for up to 3 months.


Ingredients:
1 box thin spaghetti, cooked al dente
5 spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp oil from sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, cut in strips
6 tbsp pesto
1 tsp crushed pepper (optional)
Freshly ground pepper
Parmesan Cheese



Directions:
  • In a large pan, sautee garlic, and sausage in both olive oil and the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, brown in medium high heat. Crumble sausage well. 
  • Add white wine, simmer until reduce by half.
  • Add sun-dried tomatoes. Cooked for another minute.
  • Season with freshly ground pepper.
  • Remove from heat, add cooked thin spaghetti, Pesto sauce and crushed pepper . 
  • Toss to coat.
  • Top with parmesan cheese.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Peach Crumble





Been so crazy busy this week.
Registrations for both kids, sports try-outs, physical examinations,
dental appointments, shopping for school supplies
and school clothes,
and of course, the never ending errands.
 
 
Mileage on my car is up,
and the timely gas price hike.
Ahhhhh, the perks of living in America!


I'm exhausted,
                     I need a treat!!!
 




 
Peaches are in season.
The ones I bought are now perfectly ripened
and I can smell that sweetness as I walk in the kitchen.
 
 
We never had the luxury of eating fresh peaches in my country.
We always had the canned peaches swimming in heavy sweet syrup.
My Mom would open a can and transfer it in a bowl and add ice.
That was our treat from America.
Anything with a bar code always seems to taste better.
 
 
So, when I first got to America,
that was one of the fruits I bought at the market.
 
 
Now, I get excited when August comes,
it's the best time of the year to have peaches.
It's in season!
 
 
Tonight, I made myself and my family this easy delicious treat.
Peach crumble with french vanilla ice cream.
A perfect pair.
Ummm,
I'll have the leftovers tomorrow  for an after lunch treat.


 
 
 
 
 
 
Ingredients:


 
 
For the fruit
 
6-8 peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
2 tbsp flour
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup light brown sugar 
 
 
For the crumble
 
1 cup flour or whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 lb (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
 
 
 
 
 
Directions:
 
 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the fruit
  • In a large bowl, whisk lemon juice and flour until smooth.
  • Mix in nutmeg, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
  • Add the sliced peaches, gently toss until fruit is well coated with the spice and sugar mixture.
  • Pour fruit in ramekins or pie pan.
For the crumble
  • In a food processor, add flour, oats, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  • Pulse until mixed.
  • Add butter and pulse until butter is the size of peas.
  • Generously sprinkle crumble over the fruit mixture.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.
 


Note:

  • Serve with vanilla ice cream.
  • For easy clean-up, put ramekins on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Serves 4-5


 
 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gorgeous Mackinac Island & The Grand Hotel







Do you remember the movie "SOMEWHERE IN TIME" ?
This year,
it's Richard and Elise's 100th Anniversary
since they first met in 1912.

If you were not born when they first released the movie in 1980,
I suggest you rent it.
The most Romantic Movie ever filmed.
Boy do I feel old!

Somewhere in Time was shot at the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island.
A perfect setting!



The Grand Hotel is at the gorgeous Mackinac Island.
This hotel has plenty of rich history.
Presidents such as
Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy,
Gerald Ford , George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton,
other dignitary visitors such as Dmitri Medvedev
and Vladimir Putin.
Historical figures like Thomas Edison,
authors Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain.
Imagine yourself staying at the suites they slept in.
Just like what they say,
"If Only Walls could Talk."



The GRAND Hotel

The Grand Hotel has preserved
it's original architecture,
the romantic and relaxed atmosphere, and charm.



Like the hotel,

Mackinac Island (mah-kee-nah) has also preserved it's charm and old world beauty.
The only means of transportation here are horses, bicycles, and carriages.
Well except for one
motorized vehicle used by the emergency medical crew
The homes here span three centuries.
From Native American, French rustic, Colonial, Victorian to Arts & Craft and more.
All preserved and must comply to the guidlines set by
National Trust for Historic Preservation.


 
As we approach the island,
colorful sails from hundreds of sailboats greeted us.
It was the week of the Chicago Yacht Club Race.
You hear lots of laughter, water splashing from people diving off their sailboats.






When planning to visit Mackinac Island,
I suggest that you take the ferry from St. Ignace,
so you'll be able to experience crossing the bridge,
and it takes less time to get to the island.


As we got off the boat,
we were in search for the bicycles that we brought along.
My husband on the other hand,
had to rent one with a child's seat at the back of the bike.
It is an 8.3 mile bike ride around the island.















Downtown



My cousins at beautiful flower lined Downtown


Stopped at the Arch Rock
 



Picturesque bike ride along the shore back to town for lunch


 
 
After our bike ride to The Arch Rock,
we went back to town and stopped for Lunch
They have been cooking delicious breakfast and lunches
for locals and visitorsfor over 60 years.
Their Bleu Cheese burgers with pretzel buns
are to die for.
Thanks to my cousin Pam's friend recommending this place.
We had a filling and delicious lunch.
Perfect to fuel up for another bike ride around the island.




While waiting for our seats at Chuckwagon's
we peeked next door at the Famous Murdick's Fudge


 
Famous Pretzel Buns at Chuckwagon Restaurant



After lunch we all decided to continue our bike ride around the island,
Which I opted out after biking about 2 miles,
I was huffing and puffing because my heart condition, my body can't take it.
It was too much for me with the heat.
If you have any medical conditions like me,
check with your doctor before doing any strenous activity such as this.


There are different trails you can take to see all the great historic spots.
My daughter, my cousin Pam, and her family,
did the 8.3 mile around the island.
It will take about 1 hour if you don't stop.
But there are so many beautiful spots,
that you are most likely to stop and take pictures.
If I remember it correctly,
Pam told me they stopped on one spot with a great beach area.


My husband and I,
decided to go to The Grand Hotel.


The bike up the hill
to the Grand Hotel on the other hand was quite a workout,
so my husband and I walked our bikes up.
But the bike down the hill was scary fun!


Stopped at Ryba's Fudge Shop to cool off
with some rainbow ice cream cones.
The Grand Hotel as our backdrop.


While the boys are busy with their ice cream,
I parked my bike next to the beautiful Little Stone Church.


Sitting at the hotel's front porch with my eyes closed,
was so relaxing.
The hotel's porch is the longest ever made in the world.

I sat on one of the rocking chairs lining the porch,
breeze blowing on my face, 
beautiful music coming from the harp echoing down the corridors of the hotel.
I can also hear the sound of trotting horses dragging carriages
full of hotel guests that just got off the ferry.
Despite of all the tourists walking around the grounds of the hotel,
there is a certain peace you feel when you are at the Grand Hotel.
I felt so serene.
There's a certain air of romance in this place.
It felt like I was transported in time.
So this is how Elise felt!

One can compare it to Hotel Coronado in California
 but the latter is far from comparison.
Nothing can compare to the romantic,
 peaceful, and the quite relaxed feel of The Grand Hotel.





Tea Time

















Carriage for the Grand Hotel Guests

 
When you're at The Grand Hotel,
you will have a full view of Lake Huron and the Mackinac Bridge.
The Mackinac Bridge is the third longest suspension bridge in the world.
No, it's not the Golden Bridge.
Sorry California but we got this title now. 
The bridge connects Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas.
The southend of the bridge is in Mackinaw City, and the north end is in St. Ignace.


A shot I took from the other end of the Grand Hotel Porch.




We are missing one family member,
she's busy having fun biking around the island.



The grounds of the Grand Hotel



The beautiful interior of  the Grand Hotel


After the Grand Hotel we biked around more,
 and back to town in search for a good fudge.
The term of endearment for tourists in the island
 is "fudgie"
no need for any explanation on that.



Look what I found instead of a fudge.
Who would want to eat these cute shoes?!!!



We had so much fun in this island, that we decided to come back soon.
 We were told that it is best to come at FALL.
Less visitors, and for the beautiful fall foliage colors.
Can't wait!
There's so many beautiful pictures I took of the island
but I am afraid that this will be a very long blog if I post it all here.


To see more pictures go to our Facebook Page.
















Sunday, August 19, 2012

Easy Peasy Fried Rice

 
 
 
Quick blogging while everyone is napping.

It's a lazy Sunday!
Sunday is Family day to my family when I was growing up,
so I'm continuing that tradition to my own family.
Family Day,
that means less time in the kitchen
and more time with the Family.

So here's an easy quick meal that everyone would love.
Perfect for that leftover rice from last night's meal.
With any choice of protein to add.

 Since, I'm seriously lazy today,
my wonderful loving husband made this
delicious dish.
Being it a lazy family day,
he opted out in using meat on this dish,
so the protein source for this dish will be peas and eggs.
And besides,
this will make both our kids happy,
they are not too fond of eating meat.





Ingredients:




1 /2 tsp vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Large Onion, sliced
4 cups Rice, cooked and chilled
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup carrots, diced
2 tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup scallions, sliced






Directions:



  • In a wok or deep frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil  scramble eggs then set aside.
  • In the same wok or pan, scrape out any crusted eggs at the bottom of the pan and discard.
  • In a medium high heat, add the rest of the oil, and sautee onions until tender.
  • Add garlic, sautee until lightly brown.
  • Adjust heat to high, Add rice, crumble out any lumps while frying for about 5 mins.
  • Add peas and carrots. Fry for another 2-3 mins.
  • Add soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste, mix well.
  • Mix in scrambled eggs.
  • Take out from heat, transfer to a bowl and sprinkle sliced scallions on top of rice.
  • Serve hot.






Note:


  • Best Rice to use for Fried Rice is jasmine or long grain rice. Short grain rice are mostly sticky and not suitable for fried rice.
  • I recommend cooking and refrigerating rice a few hours or a day before making fried rice, rice is sticky when warm thus ending up with a mushy fried rice, when rice is cold it gets firm and has less moisture, perfect for stir frying. 
Here's a few of the Protein options you can add and stir fry:
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 1/2 cup pork, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 cups shrimps
  • 1 1/2 cup Spam, cooked and cubed

Yes, just like the Hawaiian's,
Filipinos grew up eating spam for breakfast, lunch and dinner!!!
 
 
 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

White Chocolate Panna Cotta w/ Summer Berries




Remembering my Mom today!




 
6 years ago today, my Mom passed on.
No person is perfect
 but for us she was just perfect ... the Best Mom ever.
I wanted to make her Pineapple Ice Box cake today but she never left me her recipe.
And no one in our family knows how to make it the way she does.

I chose this recipe to honor and remember her
because this is a perfect recipe that best describe her.

A Delicate, sweet, silky smooth, soft,
 and just a simply brightens your day
decadent dessert.

 
My Mom was soft spoken, gentle, sweet,
and always brings a smile in the room as she walks in.
And just like chocolate,
I can't do without her.

 
Miss you Mom!
Love you always.







Ingredients:


1 1/2 cup(s) milk
2 1/2 tsp(s) unflavored gelatin powder
1 1/2 cup(s) heavy cream
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
Mixed berries
mint leaves for garnish


 

Directions:


  • In a medium bowl, pour milk, add the gelatin over, and mix. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
  • Turn stove to medium heat, in a medium saucepan,  add the cream, chocolate chips, sugar, and salt. Stir, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 more minutes.
  • Turn to low heat.
  • Pour sugar and gelatin mixture to saucepan, stir unti gelatin dissolves.
  • Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Pour mixture into ramekins or wine glasses dividing equally.
  • Cover top with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
  • Chill until set, at least 6 hours and up to 2 days.
  • To unmold, carefully run a knife around the panna cotta, put plate on top of mold and carefully invert. 
  • Top with berries and garnish with mint leaves.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Avocado, Coconut and Mango Ice Candy





I always want my children to not only learn
but to experience everything about their Filipino culture
even if they live 8,226 miles away.


So I introduce them to things I love to do and eat growing up.
And one of these things are street food.

Ice Candy
is a filipino fruit Ice Pop.
Made with fruit, evaporated milk, water, and sugar
in an ice candy plastic bag
Just that simple.



 




In the Philippines
there are vendors that go around the neighborhood yelling
 what they are peddling.

One of my dearest memory growing up are our vacations in Manila, 
my siblings and I would always get excited when we hear vendors yell
what they sell.
Early morning you'll hear someone yelling "TAHO!!!!"
Taho is tofu in brown sugar syrup with boba ( large tapiocas).
Always serve warm, it's a breakfast treat for Filipinos.

Around afternoon, you'll hear mostly kids yelling,
"ICE CANDEEEEEE!!!!!"
Carrying a Styrofoam ice chest filled with ice candy on their shoulders.
Walking, and yelling around the neighborhood selling
the frozen treat.
When I was alot younger, about 3 decades ago ;)
 Ice candy was sold for 25 cents a piece.
They don't make much money from it,
but for these poor kids selling it,
it's money to put food on their table.






It's a treat a filipino child loves
whether it's hot or a cool day.
 
 
Some say,
 the one sold on the streets are not sanitary,
but as a child, we really didn't care.
Our Mom or our help would make it at home
but it is never the same as the one we buy from the vendors.

 
The coconut ice candy
 is made out of shredded young coconut with it's coconut juice, milk and sugar.

 
For summer parties,
 it is always great to make the adults an adult version of the ice candy,
by filling your ice candy bags with everyones favorite cocktail drinks.
We can't leave out the adults now, can we???  ;)



This last photo,
 are the ice candies my childhood friend Christine made.
As you can see her avocado ice candy looks much better than the one I made.
You can see the beautiful color of the avocado.
She made hers by just mashing her avocados instead of
blending all the ingredients in a blender. 






Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Black Rice Summer Salad w/ Toasted Sesame Seeds




Another Super Food!

We all know Quinoa and Mung Beans are super foods.
But have you ever heard of Black Rice?

I was hesitant to buy it the first time I saw this in my local Asian store.
But after talking to the owner of the store and enlightening me on the health benefits of Black rice, it intrigued me.
And I did some reading about it.
When I tasted it,
I was expecting not to like it, not only do I like it, but I really do love it.
It is fragrant, and has a nutty taste.

Black rice is Kosher, vegan, gluten free and 100% whole grain.
Unlike in ancient times, black rice is no longer forbidden,
not just for Emperors anymore.
We are all able to benefit from the nutrition it offers.



"Black Rice? I've never heard of it!" the usual reactions I get.
Black rice is also known as the forbidden rice or purple rice.
It is black in color but turns purple when cook.

Why is it a Super Food?
It is high in nutritional value.
From what I've read, Black rice contains anthocyanin antioxidants more than blueberries,
it has more fiber, and also have 18 amino acids, plus iron, copper zinc and other vitamins.
It has less sugar than blueberries, so it has more advantage.








Ingredients:


1 cup black rice
1 1/2 cup water

1/3 cup green pepper, seeded and diced
1/3 cup red pepper, seeded and diced
1/3 cup yellow pepper, seeded and diced
1/3 cup tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup red onions, diced
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp rice vinegar
olive oil
juice or 1/2 a lime
salt and pepper to taste










Directions:


·         On the stove, place 1 cup of rice in a saucepan.
·         Add 1 1/2 cups water.
·         Bring to a boil and stir.
·         Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes.

Serves 6-8










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