Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

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.

IMAG0113 (2)

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.

Singapore, no passport required

It’s no secret…I love Singapore.  It was Micah and my favorite place we traveled to during our year abroad.  A main driver of that love for this country/state/republic was the absolutely AMAZING food!  And as you well know, one thing we love…is AMAZING food!  Ah…a match made in Southeast Asian heaven.

A couple of weeks ago we hosted a Singapore food night.  The premise was quite easy.  Make or buy food that you’d find in Singapore – and we eat it!  Our friends Jodie and Kai (who we stayed with when we visited Singapore but also now live in Seattle), had the knowledge since they had lived there for a year.  But while there are some distinct Singapore dishes, anything Thai, Chinese, Indian, Malay, Indonesian (sorry if I left someone out), qualifies as Singaporean. 

I decided to tackle what might be considered the dish of Singapore.  Chicken rice.  In Singapore, this seemingly blah-looking dish was the epitome of unpretentious awesomeness.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to reach that same level of flavor – but I certainly tried.

Meet my organic chicken.  The first organic meat I’ve ever bought.  Apparently it’s CRITICAL for the dish to get a very good, fresh-tasting chicken.

I took this pricey little chicken and followed this recipe as closely as I could.

The end result:


The cooked chicken with homemade chili dipping sauce.

And the aromatic flavorful jasmine rice.  And there you go…chicken rice.

Micah made pork and chicken satay.  You can’t go to SE Asia and not eat satay, as well as not get constantly asked “satay, boss?” 


Micah grilling it up.  The satay was super tasty!

Jodie and Kai made chili prawns – which were awesome.  In Singapore we ate chili crab…and it was such an incredible dish…and messy too.


Eat the prawns, and then use the steamed buns to wipe up the spicy sauce. Yum!

Our other friends opted for the less mess version of cooking…that is, buying from a restaurant. But we weren’t complaining.  Our kitchen counters were overflowing with thai basil salad, noodles, fried pork – all delicious!

Lastly, can’t have a Singapore food night without a dessert! We opted for a classic dessert found in street carts all over Singapore.

ice cream sand

An ice cream sandwich…literally.  In Singapore they use a rainbow-colored sweet bread, but we looked all over and couldn’t find anything like it.  But white bread worked just fine. 

group pic

Kai, Rory, Jessica, Mike, me, Micah, Jodie (L to R)

We had such a fun time eating and reliving/sharing some Singapore memories.  We even got Tiger and Chang beer!


And no group outing to our house is complete without some Catan action!

Now…which country should we do next?

Bridal time baking

My dear friend Karen is getting married in June – and we just had her bridal shower yesterday.  As being one of the bridesmaids, I of course, offered up my help in hosting the shower…in the form of providing all the desserts! 

Now, I struggled with identifying the right mix and amount of desserts to bring.  I could have just ordered some cupcakes from one of the many awesome cupcake places around Seattle – but what fun is that?!  Instead, I mixed it up a little – literally.  I made each of the four desserts – some old favorites, some new.  Here’s what I ended up bringing – and I must say (fine, fine, LOUDLY brag) they were all HITS!

1. Oreo Truffles.  These things are so easy to make, yet is always a major crowd pleaser.  It was a happy day when I discovered these delectable bites on Bakerella a few years ago. 


I’ve raved about these before on my blog.

2. Coconut cake.  You gotta love Paula Deen.  I was tempted to make the ridiculously time-consuming Martha Stewart coconut cake version – but realized, that’s crazy Lisa, and opted for the more time-friendly Paula Deen version – but even implemented more shortcuts. 

I had never made this cake before – which is a little stressful since this was going to be the “showcase” dessert for the shower.  You know, the ones that bring the “oohs” and “aahs.”  But I was a determined bridal shower baker.

Some of the changes I made: I used a vanilla-flavored boxed cake mix (gasp!!!  Oh hush!).  My plan was to add a teaspoon of coconut extract to the boxed mix, but oops…forgot that step.  But instead, I added the extract to the filling part – and it was delish!  I also toasted up a bunch of the coconut and completely covered every last part of the frosted cake.  That made a huge difference in adding to the coconutty flavor.  Oh – and I didn’t do three layers, just two – and that was just fine especially considering I only own two round cake pans, not three. 

I have to say brag again – this cake was damn good.  Super moist and a great coconut flavor and texture.  Make it, love it, and workout extra hard the next day. Smile

I should have used my pretty cake platter, but was worried about what it would do during transport.  It was nerve-wracking enough making sure the top layer didn’t slide right off while in the car. 

3. Brown butter toffee blondie bites.  Now, I couldn’t NOT channel my inner Martha Stewart (it IS a bridal shower after all).  So, I set about to make this recipe (which again, was new to me)

The hardest part of this recipe is getting the butter to brown, not BURN.  It takes patience and never taking your eye off the butter!  I highly recommend researching how to brown butter BEFORE you attempt to do it – as opposed to what I did: brown the butter, think it’s ruined, start looking for a new recipe to make, get curious and Google “how to brown butter,” realize my brown butter is in fact correctly browned, and then resume making these blondies.

To make them a little prettier than my typical hand cut way (which results in not very evenly-sized squares), I took a small round biscuit cutter (or use whatever small cutter you have) and made them into little circle bites.  Very cute!  Oh – and I substituted chopped pecans for the chopped walnuts. 

4. Lastly, I felt some fruit was in order.  So, I went with a platter of strawberries and pineapple – and made this delicious whipped fruit dip.

Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of the dip.  But, it’s dip.  Not much to it.

The recipe I used was easy to follow, but the end result was a little too runny.  So I added about a half cup of cream cheese to the mix, a few more sprinkles of sugar – and it was perfect!  Good enough to just eat with a spoon – but don’t do that…it’s not yogurt people!

In the end – I felt these four desserts made for perfect palette pleasers.  Sweet, fruity, light, chocolatey – everything you crave for with desserts was covered.

The hard part – making it all!  I did all of this after work on Friday evening – with the shower being the next day.  Oh…and the even harder part, the resulting cleanup – there was a hurricane of flour, sugar, bowls, beaters, and pans that was not met with open arms.  But that’s where happy husband comes in to rescue me!

Further evidence of my baking obsession – I made my gift for Karen baking-themed!  A super cute mixing bowl, measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a very delicious red velvet Barefoot Contessa cupcake mix.

America’s favorite cookie mashup + hittin’ the road

So there’s a bit of confusion in the cookie world around what is America’s favorite cookie.  In terms of total sales $ – Oreo is the #1 selling cookie.  But in terms of actual cookie preference – well, of course it’s chocolate chip!!!

But as is the goal for many disputes – mediate and compromise.  So, I bring you…

The Oreo Cookie Cookie.  A perfect smooshing of two of America’s “favorites.”

I can’t claim invention of this idea – the credit belongs to this blog.  But I can claim that I did just make these last night – in preparation for a road trip we’ll be taking this weekend.

Back to the cookie.  It really is just a chocolate chip cookie with crushed up Oreo bits.  Easy.  Anyone can do that.  Ah-ha…but you didn’t!!!  But now you can.


The dough itself is quite yummy to eat (yes, raw eggs – but they were super super fresh).  And the resulting baked cookie is just as delicious too!


Can you see the yummy Oreo bits!!?

Back to the roadtrip.  Micah and I – along with a bunch of other friends are heading up to Vancouver – as in Canada Vancouver.  We are just going for fun to hang out and eat lots of delicious food.  Vancouver is considered the “Hong Kong” of the North. 

We haven’t been to Canada in years…so this will be a quick, but fun trip…fueled by these delicious identity-crisis cookies!

An egg you can’t crack, but you’ll want to eat

Seriously, look how cute and awesome these “eggs” are!!!

I actually saw this in the Sunday ad circular – and it totally caught my attention.  image

If you are wondering if I plan to make these…ha!  Like you even need to wonder. SmileBut I’ll probably switch it up a little – endless possibilities for “fillings.” 

Make some yourself – here’s the link!

Ooey and gooey = delicious and UNnutritious

Micah’s big 31st birthday was last week.  Unfortunately, I’ve been so busy with work and wedding stuff that I didn’t really do much to celebrate on the actual day of.  Instead, we celebrated with a big gathering of our friends over the weekend. 

We did exactly what Micah wanted to do: BBQ, eat, drink, chill, and play games. 

Of course, as part of typical Lisa protocol – I made a dessert!  And this one was seriously AWESOME!  (And so easy to make). 

Two words: Paula Deen

If you knew who she is, then you might be familiar with this dessert already.  If you don’t know who she is – just know she’s a very popular Southern cook, who’s number one ingredient in 99% of every one of her recipes is…butter!

I’ve been wanting to make this dessert for quite some time, and I’m so glad I did.  I thought there’d be leftovers for Micah to bring in to work for his co-workers…but nope, all gone!

ooey gooey

Paula Deen’s Ooey Gooey Butter Cake from her website


  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted


  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (16-ounce) box confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, meltedI accidentally forgot this stick of butter – but it was still tasty…and honestly, probably better w/out all the extra grease.  I wouldn’t include it.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well. Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside.
  3. Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs and vanilla. Dump in confectioners’ sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in butter. Mix well.
  4. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Don’t be afraid to make a judgment call on the cooking time, because oven temperatures can vary. You want the center to be a little gooey, so don’t bake it past that point!
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares. Just remember that these wonderful little cakes are very, very rich, and a little will go a long way.

If you search on the Internet – there are TONS of variations to this cake.  And I’m sure they are all tasty!

Tis the season for candy

Micah and I exchanged stockings last night (remember the oh so cute ones we made for each other?)  Mine was filled with lots of goodies, but mostly…candy.  Despite my attempts pleas to not give me sugary treats this year (ahem…I do need to squeeze myself into a wedding dress in less than 2 months from now), Micah knew I’d still appreciate some sugary Christmasy goodness.  And he was right. It’s been a test of willpower to not hoard my candy stash for breakfast!

Despite my best attempts to curtail my sugar indulgences, I stumbled upon this the other day at the grocery store.

Have you heard of such a thing?  I had to buy…and I did. 

It was quite tasty!  It makes me wonder if M&Ms is going the way of the Kit Kat and trying to break out into more interesting flavor combos.  In addition to their standard flavors: plain, peanut, almond, and peanut butter, I have also seen/tried: coconut, orange, the strawberry one pictured above, and they even have cordial cherry.  But my allegiance remains with Kit Kat. 

With that said, my favorite candy bar is, and will remain: TWIX! So, it was a no-brainer that for a cookie baking party with my friends Jessie and Katie, I was going to bake these:

Chunky Twix Cookies!!!  Click here for the recipe.

It’s basically a choc chip cookie dough, but replace choc chips with chopped up Twix bars.  It’s really easy to make, bake, and EAT!

My stash of Twix bars!  I suggest buying 5 packs…that’s enough for the recipe, with maybe one single stick for yourself.  You know…quality control.  Smile

I didn’t cook a turkey, but I did make a pie

So our original plan was to have our own Thanksgiving dinner at our place.  I’m talking the works: cook own turkey, mash own potatoes, stuff own stuffing…you get the point.  It was starting to become quite the logistical maze – creating shopping lists, searching for delectable recipes, figuring out time to make everything, etc.  We even purchased the necessary Turkey Day supplies. 

But when the opportunity arose to join some friends down in Tacoma for a joint Thanksgiving dinner – we gladly accepted!  They were making not one, but two turkeys.  One of which was of the deep fried variety that I’ve been wanting to try. 

Part of me (a very small part might I add) was a little sad that we weren’t going to be cooking our own turkey (a culinary feat I’ve yet to conquer).  So instead, I took on a different culinary challenge: I made my own pecan pie…from scratch (yes, that means the crust too).  Additionally, I made another pie, plus stuffing, and a strawberry pretzel salad.  It was all soo good!

Making pie crust – I’ve avoided this for years.  Call it fear, lack of skill, laziness – whatever the case – I usually just opt for the store bought variety or just make some other tasty dessert that doesn’t require a crust.  But not this year.  No wussing out!

I searched around and chose this recipe for the perfect pie crust.  And I chose this recipe for the perfect pecan pie(For those cooker/baker types…you MUST check out Pioneer Woman – it’s an awesome blog).

Mixing up the pie crust ingredients with my trusty pastry blender.


Look!  It’s pie crust…sort of.


Separate and freeze for later. 


“Roll, roll, roll your dough.”


Add that nice ‘fancy’ crimp to the edges.  Pay no attention to the lack of dough covering that one edge and the massive extra dough covering the other edge.  I said “pay no attention!!!”


Follow the very easy pecan pie recipe and you’ll wind up with something like this (pre-baked)…


Which will then look something like this out of the oven (or probably a whole lot prettier).  Believe me…it’s tasty as any pecan pie I’ve ever had.


In case you were wondering – the other pie I made was also a Pioneer Woman recipe.  It was as equally awesome.  I highly recommend this Pumpkin Cream Pie.  It was delicious, easy to make, and has a super easy crust. 

Graham cracker crust – super duper easy.  You can even buy the premade ones – although this one is all homemade baby!


Here’s what the pie filling looks like…yummy. 


And voila’!  Super easy Pumpkin Cream Pie!

Pasta and Pocho Sausage

One of the items Micah’s mom brought to Korea for us from Hawaii was Hawaiian Portuguese Sausage!!!  (Aka pocho sausage).  It’s basically like linguica sausage or chorizo.  It’s a little fatty and a little spicy – but oh so delicious!

pocho sausage

So we were pretty stoked when she handed us a package of eight HUGE sausages.  (A special thanks to Micah’s dad for buying them).

Back home, we usually eat this stuff sliced up and grilled on the BBQ, or diced up and put into chili or spaghetti sauce.  We decided to try out something new last night – and it was a major success!

Here’s an attempt at a recipe – although it was mainly just thrown together while we were doing it.  Use whatever fresh veggies you like and if you don’t have Portuguese sausage, then substitute with another type of sausage.

Pasta and Pocho:

  • Olive oil – eh…about 2-3 swirls around the pan
  • Minced garlic – about 2 cloves or so (or a heaping teaspoons worth)
  • Pocho sausage (or other type of sausage) sliced into 1/4” and then halved (we used 1/2 the sausage…so that’s 6 oz)
  • 1/2 an onion – cut into a big dice
  • Fresh veggies (cut into bigger dice) – use as much as you want: Eggplant, zuchinni, broccoli, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes (we prob used about a good cup or more of each)
  • Lemon juice (we used the stuff from the bottle)
  • Parmesan cheese (we used the green grated stuff)
  • Pasta – we only had spaghetti noodles at the time, but it would be best with a bowtie pasta


1. Cook the pasta to al dente, drain, and set aside

2. On medium high heat – do a few swirls of olive oil around a large skillet and add the onions and garlic – cook for a couple minutes

3. Add the pocho sausage slices.  Like I said, it’s a little fatty, but the “juices” that run from it will really flavor the rest of the dish.  Cook for a couple more minutes.

4. Start adding the veggies.  Basically, we threw them all in at the same time except for the tomatoes.  Those go in at the end.

5. Stir around frequently – add a smidge of salt and pepper and a bit more olive oil if needed.

6. Once it looks cooked to your liking, add the cherry tomatoes and stir around for a minute or so.

7. Add the pasta to the skillet and mix everything together over medium low heat.

8. At the end, add a few good splashes of lemon juice and a few good shakes of parmesan.  (With real parmesan and real lemon juice – it would make it even better!)


What it looked like at step 5.  So colorful!



After we added the cherry tomatoes.



Ta-dah! The finished product!  It was SOOOOO good.  You could probably omit the cheese at the end and it would still be good.

Happy birthday Buddha!

After school today, we are off to the port city of Yeosu.  The city is located on a peninsula and includes 317 islands (the majority of them uninhabited).  Apparently it’s famous for its seafood and beaches – in particular Manseongri Black Sand Beach (the only black sand beach in Korea).

  yeosu map

We are headed there with our friends Gabe & Charissa (aka GNC) and Courtney & Sydney.  We’ll get in late Thursday night (4-hour bus ride) and head home on Sunday. 

We have no school on Friday (yay!) because of Buddha’s Birthday – a public holiday here in Korea.  And Micah and my school also have no school MondayA four day weekend here we come!

For our little road trip (er…bus trip) we are all bringing some snacks to share.  I made these – PB&J Strawberry Cookie Bars.  They are super easy to make (the hardest part is figuring out how long to cook them and knowing if the bottom crust is done).


Ready to go into the oven toaster oven.


Ready for the road!

In hindsight, given the holiday – perhaps I should have made cupcakes instead :-)  Happy birthday Buddha!

Where in the world…

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