Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year !!! - from my Family to Yours

 
 
 
 
In life,
Loving & Living 
with these LETTERS in this order,
made us better children of God,
 and
 better Individuals.
 
May your Life be filled with so much
 
JOY,
LOVE,
&
CONTENTMENT
 
this coming
NEW YEAR.
 
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
A Note to my darling Daughter:
 
Sorry Honey but Mommy can't blur your beautiful face this time.
The picture just won't look right. Hehehe! I Love you Baby! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
EASY PHOTO TIP
 
 
  • I had my love ones hold a piece of colored blank paper shot it as that, and added text with a photo editor. 
 
 
PIN ME!



Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cucumber Cups with Bacon & Caramelized Onion

 
 
 
 
My loving husband requested
'JUST APPETIZERS'
for our Christmas Eve Celebration.
Yay! Good for me!
Not a lot of work in the kitchen
 and I can actually enjoyed my evening with everyone.
So days before the Christmas I was in a MISSION.
I searched my cookbooks, looked at my own recipe notebook,
and of course the ever reliable web.
 
Here's one that caught my eye
while browsing through Pinterest.
It's a recipe by
a beautiful site/blog about stylish entertaining
by  party stylist
 
 
 
 
 
I changed this recipe a bit to suit my taste.
First,
I cut the cucumbers into 1 inch crosswise instead of 1 1/2 inch size,
it was just quite large for a normal bite.
I didn't add garlic on mine,
I added cream cheese,
why?
because it works and It just taste better.
 
 
 
 
Ingredients:
 
 
2 English Cucumbers, washed and cut into 1 inch crosswise
1 large Spanish Onion, chopped & caramelized
A pinch of Salt & Pepper
3-4 pcs of Bacon, finely chopped
2 tbsp Sour Cream
2 tbsp Cream Cheese
2 tsps chives, chopped
 
Bacon pieces, garnish
Chopped Chives, garnish
 
 
 
Directions:
 
 
With a melon baller, scoop out the center of the cucumber.
In a bowl, mix all ingredients, and season to taste.
Spoon the filling to your cucumber cups.
Garnish with remaining chopped chives and bacon pieces.
Chill for about 1-2 hrs. prior to serving,
 
 
 
 
 
Note:
 
 
  • Be careful when scooping the meat out, make sure you leave a base for your cucumber so filling won't leak from the bottom.
  • Don't make the night ahead, the cucumbers will soften overnight and will no longer be crunchy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Spiced Mexican Hot Chocolate



Woke up to a gloomy gray sky today.
Our city is bracing for it's first significant snowfall.
At noon with my daughter in tow,
drove to the mall to join the hustle and bustle of the After-Christmas shoppers.
I must be out of my mind driving in this weather
just to save a few dollars.
Hundreds of snow covered cars filled the entire parking lot,
snow was starting to blow hard.
Thank goodness for Valet parking.
 
My head was starting to ache,
I was starting to feel clausthrophobic inside the mall with hundreds of shoppers entering every store I go to.
It's time to go home I told to my daughter, and she willingly left with me.
As we approached the Valet desk,
 a view of fresh crisp white snow was blanketing everything outside.
I tipped the valet a little extra today,
the poor man was cold and wet.
 
As I was driving back to our house,
30mph slower than normal,
suddenly the white car in front of me slid off the road,
turning in circles in the middle of the intersection.
I was lucky that no car was on the right lane,
I quickly steered  my SUV to the right and turned right on the corner.
Luckily managed to avoid hitting the white car in front of me,
 I slowly put pressure on the brakes and manage to stop my car
from hitting other cars. 
Whoever thought of the 4WD and the brakes ... thank you!
You save my life and my daughter's.
 
Back home,
from my living room window,  
I was watching the large flakes of snow falling faster and faster,
paranoid me kicked in.
To quiet my fear, 
I found myself checking the pantry and garage for supplies
just in case this turns into a blizzard,
and we find ourselves imprisoned in our own homes for days
without electricity and heat.
 
Crazy right?
 
I'm just delighted my husband is off from work until the 2nd day of the New year.
Anxiously, I jotted down the must haves checklist.
  1. Batteries
  2. Bbq grill's propane tank still full
  3. Butane for my single stove
  4. Blankets & coats (dry & clean)
  5. Dry socks
  6. Food in the freezer
  7. Pantry has enough groceries to feed us for weeks
  8. Bottled Water
Yes!
We won't die from hunger and cold.
 
Slowly darkness overtakes,
you can hear the whirling drifts of snow outside,
everything on the ground concealed by the white cold wet frozen powder.
It's beautiful to look at.
But yet the fear that a blizzard will actually hit our city
and leave us in cold darkness is still at the back of my paranoid mind.
 
Ahhhh ... enough of this crazy paranoia!
It surely shows that I have never lived in the snow long enough.
Hey, there's no snow in Los Angeles.
So you have to understand my paranoia.
Hehehe!
 
I need to start supper.
Spaghetti the children yelled.
Off to the ice box, took out the container filled with red sauce.
Then boil pasta.
Easy!
Found some lettuce for the salad,
dinner's almost complete.
But wait,
what would we have for dessert?
Hmmmm...
Hot chocolate would be perfect for this oh so snowy night.
Off to the pantry again,
found some Mexican chocolate,
 the reason for reposting this recipe.


 









Cold days or nights ... calls for a warm drink.
A decadent steamy spiced chocolate drink, will do.



Not a cup of chocolate drink made from Hershey cocoa, but a hot chocolate drink from a good mexican chocolate made from roasted and ground cacao nibs,
 with cinnamon and sugar.
This drink will surely brighten any cloudy day!!!
 

 



 
 

 




 
Like any chocolate lover, I love a rich and creamy steamy cup of hot chocolate drink, so in this recipe I added a good quality unsweetened cocoa powder and heavy cream. And added whipped topping for extra, extra creaminess.
 

 

 
 
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
 
 
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp - 1/4 tsp of chili powder or cayenne (adjust to your liking)
pinch of salt

1 disk of Mexican sweet chocolate, chopped
 
 

Pin Me!
 

 

Directions:
 
  • Pour milk in a medium saucepan, add the cocoa powder and salt, whisk constantly until it comes to a full boil.
  • Add the heavy cream and the chopped Mexican chocolate, whisk gently until chocolate is completely melted.
  • Add cayenne or chili powder, whisk until blended.
  • Remove from heat and transfer to a cup. Add whipped topping before serving. And garnish with chocolate shavings.




Notes:
  • I like my hot chocolate creamy so I made this with heavy cream and milk, you can omit the heavy cream if so desired.
  • For a smoother consistency, you can use an immersion blender or simply place the strainer over a large bowl, line with cheese cloth and pour hot chocolate, strain the lumps out through cheese cloth to ensure a smooth hot chocolate drink.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!!!


 
 
 
To Our Dear Friends,

For the anticipation of Christ's birth prepare a room in your hearts for him,
let us all prepare our homes to celebrate his birth.

We wish Everyone
LOVE, PEACE & JOY
this Christmas and the Coming New Year!!!
 
 
My Little "Taz" waiting for Santa to bring his presents.
 
 
Santa did come after "Taz" and "Sissy" went to bed.
Left some presents
and
Chocolate Gold Coins he collected from around the world.
 
 
Recipes for our Christmas Eve Bites
will be posted as soon as we have
opened all Santa's presents.
 

 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cranberry & Pistachio Biscotti , BLOGHER & Liebster Award



The past few weeks have been crazy busy,
and I'm sure if you have children in school, you know what exactly I am talking about.
For days,
 I have been baking like crazy in my kitchen.
flour was the foundation on my face,
hair looking like a bird's nest,
and fashionably rockin' my pajamas, in running shoes, and my Red Apron.
Today,
I have started baking for my children school teachers,
favorite school staff, the school bus driver.
The handymen, mailman, and babysitter's baked goods are all delivered.
 I'd be crazy if I don't admit to being tired,
but there's 2 things that have boost my energy back this week.
 
First,
A special Thanks to Blogher for featuring
Since the feature,
the traffic views on my blog has tripled and more.

Secondly,
A BIG Thank You to the awesome Honey & Lulu for the nomination
for another Liebster Award.
Nothing makes me happier when my work is recognized by very talented bloggers.

 A Liebster Blog Award is given to talented bloggers who have less than 200 followers (through Google Friend Connect). ‘Liebster’ is a German word that means ‘Dearest’, but also means ‘Favourite’.
So, in a way, the award not only recognises these bloggers as amazingly gifted
in their own right, but also as your very own personal favourites.



The rules to keep this award going are as follows:

- Add the award icon to your blog
- Link to your nominator to say thank you
- Answer the questions the nominator has set for you, and create 11 questions for your own nominees to answer
- Choose 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers, go to their blog and tell them about the award
 



My Answers to Questions from Honey & Lulu:
1. Summer or winter? Summer
2. What’s your all-time favourite movie? An Affair to Remember
3. Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
4. New York, Paris or London? Paris
5. What's your favourite Christmas carol? White Christmas
6. Which iPhone app do you use most often? Pinterest
7. Breakfast, lunch or dinner? Dinner
9. Online shopping or offline shopping?  Offline shopping

8. What’s your favourite holiday destination? Panglao Beach, Bohol, Philippines

10. What’s your favourite lifestyle brand? No particular brand
11. Black & white, or colour photography? Black & White
 
Questions for the Nominees:
 
1.   House on the Beach Living or House on the Hill?
2.   California or NY?
3.   Flats or Stilettos?
4.   SUV or Minivan?
5.   National Geographic, Architectural Digest or Times Magazine?
6.   A. Bourdain or A. Zimmern?
7.   Who is you favorite Famous Chef?
8.   Sweet wine or Dry Wine?
9.   What's your favorite dish?
10. What ingredient can you not live without?
11. What made you decide to blog?
 

 
The Nominees:

1. Skinny Simple Recipes
2. Slice of Southern
3. The Boo, The Bear and The Goji Berries
4. This and That
5. Spring Chick
6. 40 something Undomesticated Devil
7. Al Dente Gourmet
8. Crostini and Chianti
9. Life on Food
10. Mess makes Food
11. A Baker's House

Congratulations Everyone! You all deserve the Nomination.



Now let's get back to baking.
 
Got my Nike's on,
need that extra support on my feet,
standing in the kitchen for hours is strenuous.
The next few days I will be posting a few more recipes
for the bake goods I have made.
 
I love Biscotti,
and I have been looking for a delicious recipe for Biscotti
and this Biscotti is IT! 



 
Thanks to my Favorite Italian Chef Giada de Laurentiis,
of whom I can always count on her delicious recipes without fail.
 
Though I have not met her yet,
Funny, how true the saying "Six Degrees of Separation".
Mine was 2 degrees of separation. LOL!
I had a very close connection to Giada, 
 her late grandfather Movie Producer Dino & stepgrandmother Martha.
My former employers were friends with them,
 shared the same office building, and have done business with their Production company.
With the courtesy of my former employers Strath and Marcy Hamilton 
I vacationed with the Hamilton's and the de Laurentiis' at Park City, Utah
during the Sundance Film Festival in the early 90's.
Well ... it was more like a work vacation.
We all stayed at the same vacation home.
I learned a few dishes from Dino's personal chef named Gigi too.
Well ... Gigi is a man.
 

Back to Giada's Biscotti, this recipe is perfect as it is.
It has both the crunch and chewy combination with just the perfect sweetness of the white chocolate coating the end of the cookie.
I love the festive look of the red cranberry and the green pistachio,
fitting for the holidays.
Unlike Giada's Biscotti,
 I coated the entire bottom of my biscotti with white chocolate,
so I get that sweet savory flavor in every bite.
And I love having the kids help with the dipping,
messy but fun.
 
 
 
Cranberry & Pistachio Biscotti         
Recipe courtesy Food Network Chef Giada de Laurentiis
 
 
Ingredients: 
 
 
 
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp lemon zest
2 large eggs
3/4 cups pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries
12 oz good quality white chocolate, chopped
Red and green sugar crystal, for garnish (optional)
 

 


Directions:


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.
  • Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.
  • Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.
  • Stir the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Dip half of the biscotti into the melted chocolate. Gently shake off the excess chocolate. Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes.



Note:

  • The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.
  • You can substitute Pistachio with Almonds.


 
 
 
 

 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Easy as 1-2-3 Chocolate Mint Brownies

 
 
Who doesn't like Brownies?
Here's an easy, no fuss brownie with mint deliciousness added to it.
 
I have been crazy baking for the past week for everyone close to me,
and to the people that help us a great deal
on our everyday living.
And one thing I made that will help cut down with the prep time
is this delicious semi-homemade brownie.
I know, I know,  brownie from scratch is always better,
but cut me some slack,
I've been slaving in my kitchen for days.
And I promise this will taste just as good as the one made from scratch.
But hey if you feel strongly about using your own brownie recipe
go for it.
 
I had some left over Mint Baking chips from the cookies I made,
 don't want it to sit in my pantry.
While I was racking my brain on what to do with this chips,
I glanced at the back of the package and found a recipe for this delicious easy brownie.
What a great idea!
 
 
 

 
 
 
With this recipe,
you can surely use you favorite brownie recipe or your favorite brownie mix.
since I don't want to fuss anymore,
I used my favorite brownie mix which is Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie
I picked up from my favorite warehouse store,
 Costco.
This always come in handy on busy days with the kids,
and you need a quick snack that they will all love,
 and they can easily help without trouble.
My daughter loves making this for her friends when they come visit.
The reason why I keep a large box in my pantry.
 
Funny thing is,
when I came to my Moms Group meeting yesterday,
our friend Jill made some for everyone.
It was delicious!
 
This brownie is chocolate heaven moist,
Pure Decadence!
 
 
 
 
 
Ingredients:
 
 
 
3 packages of brownie mix (preferably Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate)
3 eggs
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 baking sheet pan
1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans (optional)
 
 
Directions:
 
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • In a large bowl mix eggs, water, and vegetable oil. Add brownie mix, blend well.
 
  • Stir in Creme de Menthe baking chips. Mix well.
  •  
     
 
  • Transfer to a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 40-45 mins. Let cool. And slice.
  •  
 
 
 
Note:
 
  • You can use your own brownie recipe just add 1/2 cup of Creme de menthe Baking chips for a recipe that fits an 8x8 or 9x9 pan.
  • Makes 48 2x2 brownies and 96 bite size brownies.
  • If you can't find the Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix, just add 1/2 cup semi-chocolate chips, 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips to your regular brownie mix.
  •  
 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies






 
My four C's
is very popular at
Christmas Season and all year long.
I know who especially loves it,
our friend Tony.
 
So Tony here's the recipe so you can make it anytime you crave for it.
 
I don't understand why people get scared in making cookies from scratch.
It's the easiest thing in the baking world.
I think anyone can bake cookies.
Plus your house just smells great after baking.
I always keep a cookie dough in my freezer, I keep it handy for days
 that I fry a dish.
Baking cookies is a simple way to get rid of that invasive cooking odors
 from your home.
A trick everyone uses for an open house.
 
 
 
 
Ingredients:                                               

 
PIN ME!
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 bar 60-85% cocoa Lindt Chocolate bar, chopped
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (optional)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Directions:
 
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
  • In a bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Whisk to combine.
  • In a separate large bowl, in a medium speed of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth.
  • Add cocoa, eggs, and vanilla beat until creamy.
  • Gradually stir in the flour mixture until combined.
  • Stir in chocolate chips, chopped chocolate bar, and nuts (optional).
  • Drop a  tablespoonful on your lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 10-12 mins. cool slightly, transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
 
 
 
Note:
 
  • No need to use an electric mixer if you don't have one. A simple sturdy whisk is good enough.
  • Almonds or Pecans can be added in substitute for walnuts.
 
                   
 
 
 
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