Archive for the 'FOOD!' Category

More green tea Kit Kat deliciousness

I’m such a lucky girl! My dear friend Karen was traveling in Japan, and she was determined to bring me back my favorite thing: Green tea kit kats! And for any of those who have been following my blog for quite some time, you’ll know I have a slight obsession with kit kats. And throughout my different tastings – by far, green tea flavor is THE BEST! (They are hard to find here in the States – usually online – and are expensive!)

She had a hard time finding them in Japan, but alas – at the airport, she struck gold green!

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She gave us the big size version too. Yummy!!!!

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Wouldn’t you just like to have a bite?!

Soy nog

One of the best things about the holiday season…the return of one of my favorite drinks…egg nog! Now, egg nog is a hate or love it kind of thing. For me, it’s a bit of both. I love the creamy sweet taste, but I hate how ridiculously fattening it is.
This year, i stumbled upon the perfect thing….soy milk egg nog. It’s delicious! It doesn’t have the same creaminess as regular egg nog, but what you save in calories and fat is totally worth the tradeoff. In fact, soy nog is dairy-free, cholestrol-free, and lactose-free. Thus, you still can get your calcium.

They also make a pretty good chocolate mint flavor soy milk and a pumpkin spice (which I haven’t tried yet). Give it a whirl this holiday season!

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Chia–not just a catchy jingle

Remember Chia pets?  (“Cha-cha-chia!”) 

chia pet

They’ve somehow managed to stay in business over the years – perhaps because they make great white elephant gifts.  I mean, how could I pass this one up?

chia troll

It’s the Fremont Troll!!!!  I totally bought this for a holiday party.

Well, there’s another purpose of chia seeds that Micah and I learned about from our friends.  You can eat them.  Sure, it’s a seed, so it must be edible.  But I honestly never thought about eating them, nor possessed a desire to do so.

But we learned that chia seeds have been around for A LOOOONG time, and are incredibly healthy.  You just need to sprinkle a spoonful onto your food, or stir it up in some juice – and there you go.  They  are an excellent source of Omega-3 (apparently more so than salmon), as well as a slew of other benefits.  And they can be eaten in seed form rather than ground up like flax seed.

chia

When the chia seeds come in contact with a liquid, they start to form a funny “gel” like texture.  I’m not a huge fan of that, and they tend to get stuck in your teeth – but despite those drawbacks…I have been adding chia to my oatmeal in the mornings.  I figure, a little extra health punch will do me some good.  Cha-cha-chia!  Happy healthy eatings!

Snowman cake pops

We went to a holiday party last weekend.  And I saw a basket of these:

Look how adorable they are!!!

They are cake pops – made famous (in my opinion by the fabulous Bakerella blog).  

They are super easy to make – and this snowman twist is ridiculously cute.

My tasty change-up would be to make the snowman head out of Oreo Truffles instead of cake.  I’ve blogged about them before – and they are FABULOUS!  They’ve been my “go to” treat for holiday parties this year!

Winner winner chicken dinner

For no particular reason at all, I decided to roast a chicken and make creamy polenta.  These are two things I’ve never made before – as they are daunting and a bit intimidating to make.  But, I made an AMAZING dinner….Micah was happy.

For the chicken, I turned to my favorite food site Tastespotting to find the perfect recipe.  I landed on a Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken recipe – easy to prep, easy to cook, and an oh so delicious result.

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In addition to the delicious roast vegetables that cooked in tandem with the chicken, I also made some polenta.  Mainly because I just watched an episode of America’s Test Kitchen and they had made creamy polenta – and what do you know, I had polenta in my cupboard.  It too is easy to make.  But, if you want that recipe, go to their site and sign up (it’s free).  They only share for free the recipes from the current season of episodes airing.  Boooo.

Crock Pot-Luck

I am always down for a good potluck, and how could I refuse this ultimate of potlucks…Crock Pot style?!

The premise is simple – whatever you bring has to have been made in a crock pot. 

jodie and JK

YUMMY!  The one on the top is a Taiwanese pork soup with bok choy and tea eggs (hard-boiled) made by Jodie.

The pot on the bottom holds a spicy meatball filling – that went with yummy soft bread buns and cheese.  Jessica made this one.

mikes

Mike made a coca-cola chicken dish.  A few simple ingredients…and a really delish dish.

mine

And I opted for a Chicken Tikka Masala dish.  It’s incredibly easy to make (as long as you have all the ingredients) and was super tasty.  It let me use some of my still massive bag of garam masala!

A cooking competition of hot dog proportions

For reasons long forgotten, I decided to plan a hot dog challenge – cooking, not eating. 

joey chestnut

Ew.  Joey Chestnut is the current hot dog eating record holder at 68 entire hot dogs.

My contest was about creativity.  Who could make the most tasty, creative, and unique hot dog?  The rules were simple: anything goes, so long as the essence of a hot dog was preserved.  Specifically, it needed to have something in a “bun.”  But interpretation of that was entirely up to the maker.

Tarah, me, and Micah holding up our awesome entries.

The contestants and their entries:

Tarah and her “Jumba fiyah” hot dog.  It was a vegetarian spicy jumbalaya, put into a wheat bun.

Micah and his chili and rice hot dog.  It was a hotdog topped with his homemade chili, all in a bun made out of rice.

Anthony and his pigs in a blanket hot dog.  It was a hotdog (complete with ketchup, mustard, and relish) in a bun, and then wrapped in bacon and cooked in the oven.

Vann and his bulgogi bratwurst hot dog.  It was bratwurst cooked in some beer and topped with his homemade bulgogi (Korean thin-sliced marinated beef)

And my entries.  Yep, I had two.

One was my vegetarian cobb salad, hold the salad, hot dog.  It was a spicy veggie dog inside a toasted garlic bread bun (Vietnamese banh mi bun), topped with lettuce, tomato, and deep fried breaded avocado pieces – topped with ranch dressing.

My other entry was a chicken jalapeno cheddar hot dog.  It was a jalapeno chicken dog wrapped in smoky bacon and deep fried.  (That’s right).  I made my own cheddar jalapeno hot dog bun.  I also topped it with a homemade smoky ketchup and cream cheese (to counterbalance all the heat and spice). 

 

The lineup.

 

The judges:

Our friends Charissa and Gabe. 

They even created a rubric in which to judge the dogs.  The main categories of scoring: taste, presentation, and creativity.  There were also bonus points for most creative name. 

The results:

It was a difficult competition to judge, as well as a lot of hotdogs to eat.  At one point, the security guy in their apartment building was brought into break a 3rd place tie.

Part of the judging included time where contestants could plea their case hot dog.

plea the case

“Let me explain why my dog is top dog!!”  (In case you are wondering, Micah’s odd hand gesture is him demonstrating the multi-step process in making a rice-bun)

 

3RD PLACE:

Micah and his chili rice dog!  His prize was some chocolate milk.  Given that I was on my no sweets challenge…I didn’t get to enjoy any of it.

Mmm…chocolate milk.  It does a hot dog body good.

2ND PLACE:

Tarah and her Jumba fiyah dog!  The security guard felt this one was best overall taste.  Her awesome prize…a half used gift card for The Cheesecake Factory.  Hilarious!

Tarah loved it!!

And…1ST PLACE:

My veggie cobb salad dog!!  Woo hoo!! It had best overall presentation.  My awesome first place prize…a new pack of gum, and a free drink at the bar (where we headed later that night).  LOVED the creative prizes!

Plus, I inherited this awesome beer necklace – it even lights up!!

We had so much fun – and it’s spurred other competition ideas…hamburgers, vegetarian. 

A onesie baby cake

A friend of mine is having a baby…girl!  So I opted to bake some desserts for her baby shower over the weekend.  In addition to some delicious cream cheese coffee bread, and some rich, decadent chocolate toffee bars, I decided to make something unique and fun that really screamed….IT’S A GIRL!!

Taking some inspiration from the internet, I finally landed on this onesie-shaped cake.

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CUTE!  Well, Micah’s initial response was, “It’s furry.”

Despite my “furry” onesie cake – it was well-appreciated by the momma-to-be. 

However, some were a little confused by what it was.  Apparently, it also resembles some kind of creature when viewed upside-down.

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Hmm…an earless bunny rabbit perhaps?

This cake was super easy to make. 

  • I chose the semi-homemade way and used two boxed cake mixes (white cake dyed pink with food coloring) and cooked them in a 9×13 pan. 
  • After cooling, I laid one cake on top of the other with a sourcream, sugar, and coconut filling between the layers. 
  • Micah sketched out a onesie for me on paper and helped me cut the cake accordingly. 
  • I then made 7-minute frosting – and dyed it pink too. 
  • Frost the cake, and then put on the shredded coconut (also dyed pink)
  • I added a heart-shaped cookie (a shortbread cookie I cut into a heart) to add a small girly touch.  And I also used some pink Mike and Ike candies to create the buttons.
  • FYI: If I hadn’t gone with the coconut on top – I think it would have been very clear to everyone that it was a onesie.  Smile

Cooking with class

A week ago Micah and I participated in a charity fundraiser event – that involved our favorite thing…FOOD!  The annual event is Cooking with Class presented by Seattle Dining.  With our paid entry, we were able to “cook” with three prominent Seattle-area chefs, participate in an auction, and of course, do tons and tons of eating! 

It was held at Salty’s Restaurant – the Alki location.  And this event was SO much fun!  We already know we’ll do it again next year.  The event was benefiting the Heritage House and Providence ElderPlace (both are organizations that help senior citizens live full and healthy lives).

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Upon our arrival, there were appetizer and wine/beer stations set up all around the room…including these tasty morsels. 

 

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All you can eat raw oysters?!  Micah was in heaven.

  In terms of the cooking part – we chose ahead of time three different dishes we wanted to learn how to cook.  I will say, it was not really hands-on cooking, but more – watch the chef cook the dish and learn different tips and tricks.  Still fun nonetheless!  We got to talk with these fairly distinguished chefs and eat the tasty food.  All of the chefs were so easy-going and cool to talk to.

Our first dish: Black Cod with Brussels Sprouts and Wild Mushrooms

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Yummy!!! I will admit, I ended up just having the fish only, as the vegetables were all cooked in bacon butter.  Given my meat-free month – that meant a few modifications for a couple of the dishes.

Our second dish:  Poutine – cooked two different ways

In case you don’t know what poutine is – it is a Canadian food.  The basic idea behind poutine is: a plate of french fries, topped with brown gravy and cheese curds. 

The way we cooked it was slightly different: one gravy used a pork fat base, and another gravy was corned beef base.  Again, meat bases = no go for me.  But I still enjoyed the amazing french fries topped with cheese (no gravy). 

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The version Micah ate looked much more appetizing than this.  French fries, gravy, cheese…how can you say no?!

 Our third dish: Razor clam fritters

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture. But this was the last dish of the night.  We were SOOOOO full by this time, that we could hardly finish it.  Granted, we spent about an hour watching amazing prizes get auctioned off between dishes two and three…which meant plenty of time to digest, and get full.

Still, the clam fritters were delicious and quite easy to make. 

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See that guy with the microphone?  That’s John Curly!  (A semi-Seattle celebrity).  He was the emcee for the auction, and he was FANTASTIC! We had never participated in an auction before, so it was fun to see the crazy bidding going on and the fervor over these grand prizes.  Seriously, some stuff had winning bids of $4,000.  We had no chance…so we enjoyed sitting back and watching it all go down.

It was seriously such an AMAZING event.  The people (chefs and fellow attendees) were so friendly and fun.  We ate delicious food and at the same time, got to help support a great organization.

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And everyone left with a bag FULL of parting gifts.  It included cookbooks, a 1lb of coffee, cookies, tea, discount coupons, a wine bottle opener – the list goes on.  The swag bag was an added bonus!

Some serious mustard with a kick

This stuff is awesome.  Buy it, try it, and love it.  It’s got a serious kick – nothing too harsh, but super wimps need not apply (super wimps should stick to boring ol’ yellow mustard). 

Beaver-JALAPENO-HOT-MUSTARD

Talk about a HOT dog!!!


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