Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

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!

What’s brown and pink and delish all over?

This Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcake!!!


My friend Charissa claimed “it was the best cupcake I’ve ever had.”  I didn’t even pay her to say that! 🙂

I made these bad boys for a friend’s potluck the other day – and they were good – really really really good.  And let’s all remember that 1) I don’t have a real oven and 2) I don’t have an electric mixer.  So trust me when I say these beauties are handmade from scratch.

The other interesting tidbit about these cupcakes is that I made the frosting without using any powdered sugar.  It’s a recipe I saw online that uses flour, milk, butter, and regular white sugar.  A definite keeper.

Step 1: Make the batter.  Click here for the recipe for the cake part.  Use this recipe and guaranteed – no dry cupcake.



Step 2: Fill cupcake tin and bake.  I only have one 6-cup tin, and a small toaster oven…so I had to fill, bake, wait.  Fill, bake, wait.  I repeated this step four times. 



Step 3: Hmm…a little charred at the top.  Need to adjust cooking temperature and baking time (a toaster oven doesn’t bake the same as a regular oven.  Even after four tries, I never really did get the “right” combo).



Step 4: While cupcakes cool – make the frosting!!  Click here for the recipe for this fantastic stuff.  It’s SO good.  I gave it a hint of red food color to make it pink.



Step 5: Time to frost these bad boys!



Step 6: Add sprinkles and voila’ – you’ve got an instant party pleaser!


So, in case you missed it.  Here are the links again:

Cupcake recipe

Frosting recipe

Easter treats and bunny bars

Yay! A package.  A package filled with yummy Easter treats!  Thank you Easter bunny (aka my awesome sister!) 

Note: There’s not a lick of Easter paraphernalia to be found here.  I think in Korea, Easter is a religious-only holiday.  No bunnies, no colored eggs, no Peeps 😦

SAM_1074Sorry, the chocolate Easter egg wasn’t able to make an appearance. 🙂


The Godiva chocolate truffles are were amazing! 🙂

I happened to have done a bit of baking earlier this week.  I tried this recipe I saw online for Bugs Bunny Bars.  I really have no idea why they are named that – but I’m sure the name alone is a little enticing – right?  The bars were really delicious!  They are basically like a chocolate chip cookie, but super moist and in bar form.  I gave a bunch of these bars to one of my students to give to her parents – as a thank you for the bottomless tupperware of kimchi they have given us. 


Super thick batter.

bugs bunny bars

As my 6th grade student told me the next day, “Lisa, my mom and dad delicious thank the Lisa.” 

Happy early Easter everyone! Gulp…I’m attempting to dye Easter eggs with some of my English Club students on Friday.  I’ll update you on how it goes.

This %!#@ is bananas…B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

I know…I’m blogging about bananas again.  But, seriously – this is my new FAVORITE thing!!! 

Last week, I made the frozen banana-peanut butter-chocolate chip milkshake.  I did not deter from the recipe.  And it was DELICIOUS!!

But why stop there?  Tonight’s creation: Frozen banana-peanut butter-OREO milkshake.  Did you catch the difference?  It’s slight…but oh so yummy! 

While unbelievable to those who know me, I have somehow managed to not devour save one sleeve of Oreo cookies from the massive Costco-size box that I purchased…way back in September!!  Self-control at its finest!

Simply, substitute four-ish Oreo cookies for the chocolate chips…blend, blend, blend…and delicious awesomeness in a glass awaits you.  Now, what are you waiting for?!!

oreo banana milkshake2

Who says I don’t share? oreo banana milkshake Lick me. Love me. 🙂

Who needs ice cream…when you’ve got bananas!?

I just made a milkshake – an absolutely delicious and creamy milkshake – and I didn’t use any ice cream.  Instead, I used frozen bananas.  Crazy right?  (Or perhaps you are thinking, “she is crazy for blogging about frozen bananas.”  Well sure…it is a little weird. But let me continue). 


Crazy about frozen bananas

I saw this recipe last week and knew I HAD to try it out.  The ingredient list is short and simple.  And I believe it to be semi-healthyish.  You can click here for the original recipe posting.  But, it’s such a simple recipe, that I’m including it below.  I was amazed at how well this turned out – so try for yourself!

Frozen Banana-Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Milkshake (courtesy of The Kitchn)

Makes one LARGE shake or two small ones

2 frozen bananas (peel them before you freeze them!), cut into chunks
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 cup milk (skim works fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Blend frozen bananas, peanut butter, milk, and vanilla in a blender until smooth.

Add the chocolate chips at the end and pulse or blend briefly until they are chopped and incorporated.


Ready to blend!!  (Notice, I threw it all in at once)


Piece of cake!  Easy as pie!  Simple as a…milkshake? 🙂


Delicious!  Even Micah enjoyed it.

Where in the world…

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