Friday, December 23, 2011

Yellow Cake Mix Mac Nuts White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Because the chocolate cake mix cookies were so delicious, I've decided to do one with the yellow cake mix and pack them up for Christmas!

Please refer the my recipe here and replace the chocolate cake mix with yellow cake mix and add in white chocolate chips and chopped macadamia nuts.

Then I packed them in these Martha Stewart cupcake boxes I got from Macy's. Aren't they cute?! I planned on making cupcakes with the rest of the boxes...but we'll see if I can manage to squeeze in more time during this crazy holiday season. Otherwise the rest of the boxes will have to be saved for next year!

Happy Holidays once again!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Graham Cracker Gingerbread House

Happy Holidays Everyone!

I know...I have been slacking on updating this. I haven't cooked anything new worth mentioning. and I also haven't made bentos for lunch in awhile.

But since Christmas is coming around the corner. I'd like to share with you our Gingerbread House making experience!

Graham Cracker Gingerbread House (to make one, double or multiply ingredients if making more)

Royal Icing (makes 3/4 cups of icing)
3/4 tbsp meringue powder
1 cups confectioners' sugar
1.5 tbs warm water

OR any white store-bought frosting

1 Paper Plate
1 foil (to wrap the plate)
1 10oz empty milk carton (staple the mouth)
4 graham unbroken crackers (should have 8 squares total)
colorful candies/cereal (such as skittles, m&ms, fruit loops, jelly beans, candy cane, lucky charms, marshmellow, etc.)

1) If using royal icing: Beat royal icing ingredient together until icing forms peaks (best if using electrical mixer)
2) Place royal icing (or store-bought frosting) in ziplog bag or pastry bag for piping
3) Take one square of cracker and saw two triangles using plastic knife (see picture below), this will be place on the top triangle sides of the milk carton
4) wrap plate with foil
5) Pipe some icing on the bottom of the milk carton as a "glue" and place it on the plate
6) "Glue" a square of cracker on each of the milk carton (the dotted lines on the cracker should be VERTICAL)
7) "Glue" a square of cracker on each side of the roof (the dotted lines on the cracker should be HORIZONTAL)
8) "Glue" the triangles on the sides to cover the remainer of the carton
9) It's okay to have gaps in between each crackers, they don't always touch. You may now pipe in the icing to cover up all the gaps and spaces of the carton
10) Use the rest of the icing as glue to place candies and cereal on and decorate it the way you want it!

Below is Lil P's masterpiece. He wanted to have a nice landscape!

Have a wonderful merry christmas and a joyous happy new year!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Turkey Jook with Crockpot

OMG I think I will FOREVER be making jook in the crockpot! It can't get ANY EASIER than this! I turned the crockpot on at 10pm and when I got up, the thing stay ready already!

1/2 Cooked Turkey Carcass with meat still on (ie: leftover Turkey from Thanksgiving or you can use leftover rotisserie chicken from costco)

1.5 c raw rice, washed
12 c water
2 tsp crushed ginger
4 dried scallops, break them into smaller pieces
dash of salt (optional)

1) Wash rice, place in crockpot, pour in water.
2) Add in turkey carcass (you can break them up so they are in the water).
3) Turn on crockpot to low for 6-8 hours.
4) Use a tong to pull out the bone, use a fork to pull the meat off the bones and back in the crockpot, discard bone. (this took me less than 10 minutes, they just fall right off!)
5) Ready to be served! Add green onions or chinese parsley after pouring the jook in a bowl, if desire.

I turned it on around 10pm, I woke up at 5:45am, gave it a stir, took the bones out and it was ready for breakfast!

Of course, if you don't have a crockpot, feel free to us this recipe.

Keep in mind for all jook...make sure ratio is 1 cup of rice to 8 cups of water, you won't fail! The tastier the bird was, the tastier the jook will be, without adding salt. Like the way i marinated my turkey, or rotisserie chicken from supermarkets, definitely pour in the juice if you've got them. Otherwise, you will need to add some salt to flavor it.

Good stuff, very good stuff!

And today I finally ate the remainder of the turkey meat by making it into a sandwich, with thin bread, pesto sauce, roma tomatoes, and spinach! Sorry, no pic...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Crockpot Beef Stew #2

I have been trying to make a good Beef Stew recipe that Lil P will like. I have done several before, but decided to use my crockpot again and see if he will like it.

2-3 lbs Stew Meat (cubed)
1/2 c flour (I used 1 part wheat, 1 part white, and 1 part wheat germs)
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tbs olive oil
1 onion (chopped)
4 small carrots (cubed)
3 red potatoes (cubed)
1 tbs dried parsley
1 package dry onion soup mix
2 cups hot water (or beef broth)
2 tbs butter
1/2 c red wine
1 tbs worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup corn starch

1) Coat meat completely with flour and pan fry with olive oil, add salt and pepper and cook until meat are brown (again this seals the moisture of the meat)
2) Coat your crockpot with Pam, then lay carrots and potatoes in your crockpot.
3) Pour in browned meat, add in dry onion soup mix with hot water (or beef broth), then add in worchestershire sauce.
4) In the same frying pan, toss in butter and onions and sautee until soften, then placed cooked onions on top of meat in crockpot.
5) In the same frying pan, pour in red wine and turn off the heat, stirring to get all the leftover bits of onions or meat.
6) Pour that into the crock pot.
7) Cook on high for 4 - 5 hours, add salt to taste if needed.
8) Combine cornstarch with water (or red wine), and drizzle over the beef stew, stir it up, leave cover off and let it thickens, about 1/2 hour.
9) Serve over rice.

The beef falls apart while you eat, it's super tender. Even Mr. P had seconds! Lil P on the other hand, is still not enjoying this as much as us. I wonder if he wants a tomato based beef stew?! And he doesn't even like tomatoes...but yet he eats pizza!

I've got enough for leftovers, so I made myself a bento for lunch! YES, I haven't made bentos in a long long time!

Top tier contains pea salad (consist of Peas, chopped bacon, chopped water chestnuts, and mayo...YUM-O), tangerines, and grapes. Bottom tier contains beef stew over brown rice.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Juicy Turkey with Gravy

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving this year.

We have decided to host a Thanksgiving dinner this year and I have decided to make my very first Turkey. It's actually quite a lot of work and I underestimated the time it takes to bake.

I followed this recipe exactly according to this, except I used a 13 lb turkey and I used parsley instead of sage.

I also rubbed the turkey and pour and half of chicken stock and half of champagne in a turkey oven bag and put in the fridge that morning.

Then at 2pm I took it out and stuffed the turkey with the stuffing, pour the remainder chicken stock and more champagne then placed it on the roasting pan and into a preheated oven at 2:30pm. I think my oven temperature is lower than what it really is so by the time 5:45pm rolls around, the turkey's inside temperature was still not there! My dad (a cook) helped me speed up the process by turning up the heat to 525 degrees and let it brown. We took it out around 6:25pm and he helped me sliced the bird. The turkey turned out tasty, moist, and it was fully cooked yet not dried out. Funny thing is, the stuffing is still HARD! That's how I know my oven temperature is lower than indicated. Thanks to the help of my dad, what would I do without him!!!

He also showed me how to make the gravy:

approx 4 tbs Flour
approx 3 tbs Vegetable Oil
3-4 cups Turkey Drippings

1) In a bowl, slowly whisk (with a wired whisk) together the flour and oil, a tablespoon at a time until it thickens.
2) In a sauce pan, pour in hot turkey dripping (you can leave a bone or two in there if needed.
3) Slowly whisk in the flour and oil mixture and continue to whisk until it turns into gravy consistency.

I am so thankful for my dad being there on Thanksgiving!! Everyone, including my dad said "It's pretty good for a first turkey" I'm going to take that as a compliment...whether it is or not. =)

In addition to the turkey, I also made Furikake Salmon, Season Soy Beans, Costco's Pork Tenderloin, and walnut brownie bites. My parents brought a platter of sushi and my in-laws brought Ahi Poke, Pea Salad, Baked Candied Yams with Bananas, Almond Tofu Float. It turned out to be a great Thanksgiving dinner.

I think I'm going to do Imu Turkey next year....

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Crockpot Beef Stew (using Cream of Mushrooms)

Continue on with the leftover celery and in an attempt to use my can of family-sized Cream of Mushrooms as a non-soup or non-alfredo sauce. Here is my version of Cream of Mushroom Beef Stew:

1 can of cream of mushroom (family size)
2 lbs of stew meat
1/2 cup of flour
1 pkg onion soup mix
1/2 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs black pepper
4 red potatoes (cubed)
2 carrots (peeled and cubed)
4 stalks of celery (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)

1) Place carrots, potatoes, celery, and onion on the bottom of the crock pot. (You may layer it in that order if you wish)
2) In a bowl, place stew meat and coat with flour
3) Lightly brown all of the flour-coated stew meat in an oiled skillet
4) Place the browned stew meat into the crockpot, on top of the cubed veggies
5) Pour in onion soup mix
6) Top with the cream of mushroom
7) Turn crockpot on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours
8) Serve over rice

I wasn't sure if Mr. P is going to like it, so I gave him a small bowl. When he went back for a 2nd bowl, I asked if it tasted okay and asked if I make it again would he eat it, he said "I wouldn't go for seconds if I don't like it. I would order pizza otherwise." YAY!! I can make this again!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chicken Stew & Kalua Pork Manapua


Had a get together yesterday and someone left us with a bunch of celery...EWWW. I hate to waste food but that isn't something my family goes gaga for so I decided to make stew--Chicken stew

4 sticks of celery (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
2 small red potatoes (peeled and chopped)
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 can Italian Stewed Tomatoes (chopped)
1/4 cup of barley
1/2 tbs of basil
1/2 tbs of thyme
dash of salt and pepper

1) Filled a medium size pot with half pot of water, turn heat to medium high.
2) Add in celery, carrots, onions, let simmer for 20 minutes.
3) Add in chicken, red potatoes, and stewed tomatoes and its liquid content
4) Add in barly, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper
5) Reduce heat to low, let simmer until barly and chicken are cooked through
6) Pull chicken out, dice or shred
7) Spoon about 2/3 cups of veggies into a food processor and pulse it a few times (this will help thicken the sauce)
8) Place chicken and puree veggies back in pot, simmer on low until ready to eat

Of course, if you want your stew to be even thicker, add in about 3 tbs of cornstarch mix with 1/4 cup water, allow the pot to boil, then reduce heat, and wait until sauce thickens.

I was debating whether i should put some chopped sausages in there as well but I decided to keep it simple for now. I still got sticks of celery leftover so i might do another stew again!


I've done quite a few manapuas previously, and I have stressed that what you put inside is totally up to you! I have made kalua pork manapua recently. Just wanted to share the same recipe with you as the pizza one, except of course you replace all the pizza stuff with kalua pork!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chocolate Cake Mix Pecan & Walnut Cookies

I have been trying to bake chewy cookies for awhile now but it is either chewy and flat, or thick and crunchy. I wouldn't figure out what I am missing. But the other day I decided to try something different--using boxed cake mix to bake cookies. I was AMAZED at how easy it is to make chewy cookies!! Semi-homemade is all good with me!

1 box of chocolate cake mix (any kind)
2 eggs
1/2 cup of oil
Chopped Pecans*
Chopped Walnuts*

2) In a bowl, put in cake mix, eggs, and oil and mix until blended (it will be pretty thick)
3) Mix in chopped pecans and walnuts
4) Place them on an UNGREASED cookie sheet (if you accidentally greased it, it is okay. I did that with half of the batch), about an inch apart
5) Bake for about 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees
6) Let it cool on sheet and it will be ready to be devoured!!

*You can add almost anything in your "cookie dough" such as mac nuts, chocolate chips, white chocoate chips, etc. Possibilities are endless!!

I am going to try the white or the yellow cake mix next, just to see if the results would be the same! I am so happy I can finally bake chewy cookies!!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Brownie Haupia Pie

Happy Labor Day everyone! I'm having a potluck gathering at my house today, with some water fun in the backyard to cool off the day: baby pool, slip n slide, water guns. I also have some bacon wrapped shrimp & asparagus kabobs as well as steaks in steak marinade ready to pop on the grill. For dessert, I have made Brownie Haupia Pie.

For those not familiar with Haupia, it's considered a coconut pudding but in a gelatin form. If you're ever in Oahu, I would recommend you to visit Yama's Fish Market. Not only do they offer ono hawaiian food and locol sweet and salty snacks, they also have dessert!! They're popular for their Sweet Potatoe Haupia Dessert but I also noticed they had many other haupia desserts such as Brownie-licious Haupia topped Brownie.

I have recently purchased a pouch of Betty Crocker's Fudge Brownie Pouch for 99cents and on another separate occasion purchased Noh's Coconut Pudding Haupia Mix also for 99cents. In addition, I've got a whole bunch of leftover graham crackers from our many 'smores-making in the backyard. Everything just clicked! For 2 dollars and 2.5 hours later...I've got it!

1 Package of graham crackers (or about 6-8 crackers)
1/4 cup Butter
1 Package of Betty Crocker's Fudge Brownie (10.2 oz pouch)..and its ingredients
1 Package of Noh's Coconut Pudding Haupia Mix (2 oz pack)

1) Melt butter in a small sauce pan
2) Place graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until fine
3) Place a foil on the bottom of a 9x9 square pan, leaving extra hanging over the pan for easy pulling up of the pie
4) Mix finely crushed crackers with melted butter in a 9x9 square pan then tightly presses down evenly as the crust
5) Bake crust at 300 degrees for about 5-7 minutes
6) While crust is baking, prepare brownie mixture according to package
7) Take pan out of oven, pour brownie mixture on top of crust, spread (carefully) covering the entire crust and bake according to package specifications
8) Take pan out of oven, let cool completely
9) Prepare Haupia mix according to package
10) Allow haupia to cool but continue to stir so mixture stays smooth and not clumpy (like mine haha)
11) Pour mixture on top of brownie layer, immediately place in fridge for an hour
12) Lift the foil (and using a spatula to prevent it from falling apart) to pull out the pie, flatten the foil.
13) Cut pie in equal sizes and place them in pretty containers and serve immediately or put back in fridge until serving time!

Optional: if it looks clumpy like mine, you can add shredded coconut on top to make it look more professional (but it is really to cover your flaws) ...maybe I should do that now before the guests arrive! hehehe....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oatmeal Pancake Muffins

Lil P used to LOVE when i make him oatmeal in the morning using those Quaker Instant Oatmeal packets, especially when I add syrup, cinnamon, raisins, and chocolate chips. But earlier this year he has told me he doesn't want to eat it anymore, that he doesn't like it. I only make it once a week! I used to fight with him and tell him "Eat it, or else". I was tired of fighting with him, and didn't want to put these packets to waste. So I got creative by adding Coach's Oats Multigrain Pancake Mix...

1 packet of Quaker Instant Oatmeal
2 tbs beaten egg (probably about half an egg)
2 tbs Coach's Oats Multigrain Pancake Mix
4 tbs water
chocolate chips

1) Mix all ingredients together
2) Divide them in two silicon muffin cups
3) Place in toaster oven (because it's only 2 muffins, but if you make more, you can use the oven) at 375 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes.

When Lil P first saw the muffins he immediately said he won't eat it. But after he tried it, he said "this taste nothing like oatmeal!" and devoured both of them. Now I don't have to fight with him eating his oatmeal!

ps. the muffins came out really dense, but Lil P actually likes it like this. I didn't want to change my recipe because that. But if you know how to make my muffin less dense, please share!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Slowcook Oxtail Soup

I'm BACK!!!

It's been two months since the last I blogged. I had to concentrate on studying for a certification exam during these two months. It was really tough to come home from work, cook dinner, and go straight into my room and hit the books. When exam came near, I even gave up cooking and cleaning all together. In addition to giving up my cooking time and my free time to studying during these two months, I also got the luck of getting my car broken into. The thieves took my laptop AND my Canon 7D camera. I was sad, heart broken, and...lonely. I love my camera to death and I wish and hoped that my camera and I can reunite once again....but alas, I'll have to accept it.

With all the bad news, comes the good news, I got my certification, and I am finally back with spending time with my family! That is the part I miss the most. You don't know how much your family means to you until it's taken away. This past weekend we got to spend the weekend out camping. It was such a great way to celebrate having a family life again!

And...back to cooking, and blogging!! My first time making oxtail soup was for Memorial Day weekend, when I invited family over for a get together. I only had a small bowl before everyone devoured it!! Here is my recipe, a modification from a friend's:

4 lbs oxtail (about 16 oxtails)
2 cups beef broth
2 cups chicken stock
5 star anise
4 silvers of gingers
1 cup shelled raw peanuts
2 tbs Hawaiian salt (or sea salt)
Chinese parsely
minced ginger

1) Parboil oxtails in a big pot, rinse, then trim fat
2) Place oxtails in a crockpot, add the beef and chicken stock, star anise, and ginger
3) Turn crockpot on low for 8 hours.
4) Add peanuts, and turn on high for another 2 hours.
5) Add Hawaiian salt, add more to taste.
6) Serve hot with parsley on top
7) Dip oxtail in minced ginger with shoyu

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Honey Glazed Mahi Mahi

I don't have a picture of this one, I made this on a last minute noticed and that's all the ingredients I had but to my surprise, this actually came out really REALLY good! I will definitely make this again and will definitely take a pic!

2 Mahi Mahi Filets, cut into bite size
2 tbs Honey
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs balsamic vinaigrette (I used Wishbone Light Balsamic and Basil Vinaigrette *thumbs up*)
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper

1) Place all ingredients in a ziplog bag, let marinate 20-30 minutes.
2) Pan fry the filet (reserve the marinade) in a skillet until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, remove filets and place on serving plate.
3) Pour in reserved marinade in skillet and let it cook about 5 minutes, brush glaze over filets and serve immediately.

This is definitely an East Meets West dish but the flavor of the vinaigrette and the ginger really brings out the taste of the fish. I'm sure this will go just as well with salmon filets!

I have been really busy lately. Still studying for my certification but I realized what I love doing the most--organizing events, no matter how tiring it could be! This past weekend I coordinated my sister-in-law's beautiful wedding. That was my 6th and I've got 2 more lined up in Oct and next March. I wonder how much it costs to coordinate a wedding? maybe I should do this as a side business!

Anyway, attached is one of my favorites pictures I took from the wedding day...I called this "Timeless".

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Peanut Butter Popcorn

Several Christmases ago a friend got us a popcorn popper with a jar of kernels. I have only used it a few times. So yesterday after talking with my coworker who went to watch a movie by himself, that he was happy with his soda and popcorn, I started thinking about making popcorn. So last night after I making dinner (Honey Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi, recipe to come in a later post), I went on working on my peanut butter popcorn, it was soooo delicious, I couldn't even stop eating it! Good thing I only made a small batch to test...

1/8 cup of kernels
1/4 cup of Honey
1/8 cup of Sugar
1/4 cup of Peanut Butter (crunchy or creamy)
1 tsp vanilla

1) In a sauce pan, heat honey, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla together until well mix.
2) Pop the popcorn, let cool, then place in ziplog bag, picking out the unpopped kernels.
3) Pour in peanut butter mixture into the bag and shake and move the bag until the popcorns are evenly coated with the peanut butter mixture.
4) Optional: Drop the coated popcorn in a single layer on a cookie sheet until cool, OR place in preheated 250 degrees oven for an hour (take out every 15 min to stir the content) then let it cool completely.

The last step is to make your popcorn crunchy, but trust me, it doesn't need to because it was still good soggy!!

I haven't had bento pictures lately because I have been lazy. But summer is coming around the corner and that means I have to make bentos for lil P for his summer fun!! Won't be as cute this year though because he's already 10 and might not like the cute stuff anymore.....

On another note regarding summer, I find this DIY Address Book very useful. What a way for your child to keep in touch with his/her friends over the summer right?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tofu Poke & Lemon Pork Tenderloin Bento

It's been awhile...I have been busy but didn't stop cooking! Today's feature recipe is Tofu Poke.

1 block of Deep Fried Tofu (Atsuage), 1.5 oz cubed
half small onion, thinly sliced with length about 1" to 1.5"
1 tbs shoyu
1 tbs sesame oil
2 tsp hawaiian salt
dash of chili pepper
dash of Furikake (optional)

Toss all ingredients in a bowl and mix well, refrigerate for half an hour before serving. I like to keep this simple but you can also add limu (a type of seaweed often found in fish poke), cubes of kamaboko, and tobbiko if you wish.

For today's lunch, I have packed myself lemon pork tenderloin over rice, along with another container of grapes and orange slices. Placing this on "What's for Lunch Wednesday"!

Hawaii has been hitting with flash flood last week and this week. I haven't seen the sun until today! I snapped a picture of the water falls coming down mountain while we were driving home last night...there are 3 in this picture, it's too bad I couldn't get a better picture but they are just beautiful to see in person!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner and Shoyu Hot Dogs

Congratulations jay*elle!! You have won my prize pack from my 100th Post Giveaway!! Please contact me for details!!

There is really no Chicken Dinner recipe today. Instead, it will be

Shoyu Hot Dogs

20 hot dogs

drizzle of oil
1 1/2 cup of shoyu
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
1 tbsp ginger (minced)

1) Cut hot dogs into bite size (1 hot dog can be cut into 4-6 pieces).
2) In a pot on medium high heat, cook hot dogs with oil for 5 minutes.
3) Pour in shoyu, sugar, and water and let it boil, about 3-5 minutes.
4) Reduce heat, add in minced ginger, and let simmer for another 3-5 minutes.
5) Place hotdogs and its sauce in a bowl, serve it with a spoon, family style!

So easy but yet so delicious! This is perfect for a kids potluck! I made it this past weekend for an after sports snack dish, along with a pan of fried rice. I didn't get to take a picture of my work...And they vanished before my eyes!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kalua Pork and Shrimp Truck Bento

Kalua Pork is a must in a typical Hawaiian dish. I always buy them at the store or at fundraising events but never did make them thinking it would be too consuming. But I finally got to attempt it for Easter Sunday and it turned out GREAT!

The ingredients are simple, Pork Shoulder, Hawaiian Salt, Liquid Smoke, and Ti Leaves. Pork shoulders are also called pork butt and NO, pork butt is NOT at all the meat at the butt...I got that confused a long time ago and I'm always wondering why the heck they use that term...argh.

Traditionally they would put the entire pig in an Imu (underground oven), but they still exists today! My neighbor has an Imu in his backyard and Christmas morning he brings us fresh hot lau laus!! I'm doing it crock pot style...

Here are the measurements of the ingredients and direction:
4-5 lbs of pork shoulder** (aka pork butt *sigh*)
2 tbs Hawaiian Salt
1 1/2 tbs Liquid Smoke
3-4 Ti Leaves

1) Wash the pork shoulder and pat dry.
2) Brush liquid smoke all over pork.
3) Rub Hawaiian Salt all over pork.
4) Wrap it up in ti leaves.
5) Place in crockpot on low for 12 hours, or high for 6-8 hours.
6) Remove pork from crockpot and place in a bowl, discard ti leaves but keep drippings in crockpot.
7) Use two forks and shred the pork completely (you can remove fat as desire).
8) Place shreded pork back inside the crockpot and mix with dripping.
9) Taste and add more salt if desire.
10) Serve hot!

*Note: If your pork shoulder is frozen, you will need to defrost it COMPLETELY before cooking, otherwise you won't have the fall off the bone affect and you will be very frustrated trying to pull the pork apart. I've done that with my pull pork. :(

Leftovers can be made into kalua pork sliders, kalua pork with cabbage, and kalua pork quesadillas. Or you can freeze them to save them for another day!

Another MUST when visiting Oahu is to get shrimp scampi at a shrimp truck. I LOVE Giovanni's Shrimp Truck! They're located in North Shore and Kahuku, about $12/dozen with rice topped with garlic sauce. I have attempted to make it several times but haven't mastered it yet. A friend brought it for me when he visited out there so I was able to place it in a bento and brought it to work. The garlic infused my entire cubical and boy I could hear people sniffing the aroma. It was delicious even if it wasn't fresh. Mr. P used to take me there every Mother's Day. What a sweetie because he is allergic to shrimp so he was still willing to take me there and he orders...a hot dog for himself. But we stopped doing this for the last 2 years due to Lil P's sports. Who on Earth have games on Mother's Day?! This year will be no different. Anyway here is my delicious bento below with some apples and strawberries. D-licious!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pizza)

Have you tried this before? I've tried it once at a restaurant in Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in Wakiki. I saw the package on the shelf at Marukai Store several years ago so I thought I should try make some. But now I don't have membership there so I haven't been getting them. I recently saw them at Don Quixote so I picked up 2 packages, make one and give the other one on my giveaway!

Everything on the outside package is in Japanese, but the good news is that the inside has picture instructions in Japanese, English, and Korean!

Unfortunately it isn't colored so it took me awhile to figure out which package to use for what. This is what I have.

1) Cut up cabbage.
2) In a bowl, add 160cc of water, which is equivelent to 2/3 cups of water, add the pink packet and the clear and orange packet, mix well.
3) Add in the cut cabbage, two eggs, and the yellow packet, mix but don't over mix.4) Drop it in a greased pan like a pancake and cook for 3 minutes.
5) Place 3 pieces of bacon on top, then use a spatula or two, flip the content with the bacon now on the bottom, cook for 5 minutes.
6) Flip over once more and cook for 3 more minutes.
7) Plate with bacon on top, sprinkle the green packet on top.
8) Drizzle okonomiyaki sauce all over (not provided), and you can also sprinkle some salmon skin on top too (also not provided).

The package makes 2 pizzas. Mr. P doesn't like the fact that it tastes nothing like a real pizza, so I was able to pack the 2nd one up for lunch tomorrow! I omitted the bacon for my lunch.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Baked Lasagna Pie

I wanted to make lasagna with wheat lasagna noodles but I was unable to find them. So I used Whole Wheat Egg Noodles instead and baked it into a pie form.

1 pound of ground beef
half an onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
dash of black pepper
spaghetti sauce
1 container of cottage cheese (16oz)
1 container of ricotta cheese (16oz)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 package of mozzerella cheese
1 package of whole wheat wide egg noodles

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown ground beef with onions, garlic, and black pepper, drain the fat.
2) Pour in spaghetti sauce to your liking (if you like it dryer or saucier)
3) In a separate bowl, combine the cottage, ricotta, and parmesan cheeeses with eggs.
4) In a greased round baking dish, thinly layer the meat sauce, then a layer of dry noodles, then the cheese/egg mixture, then mozzerella cheese, then meat sauce.
5) Continue the layer ending with the meat sauce.
6) sprinkle the last of mozzerella cheese covering the meat, cover pan with foil.
7) Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, uncover and bake for another 15 minutes.
8) Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

I didn't have any mozzerella cheese, so I replaced it with mexican blend, but it still turned out delicious! You can also add carrot and/or sweet potatoe puree into the meat sauce for some extra veggies! I have also mashed up some falafel chickpea balls from Veggie Patch into the meat sauce to add more nutrients in my pie. It was still delicious!!!

If you want to try the falafel chickpea balls and other products from Veggie patch, I am giving them out on my giveaway here!

Since today is Wednesday, I will be posting my lasagna lunch on "What's for Lunch Wednesday"

I have 3 2-cup Fit N Fresh containers worth of food! Fruit container has tangerine slices with grapes and slices of an apple. Lasagna container has a broccoli, with stir fry carrots, mushrooms, and asparagus. The top container has 2 slices of garlic bread (I know, and some bacon wrapped asparagus! They're all stacked up and ready for a lunch feast!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Five-Spiced Pork Chops

Lil P loves the pork chops served at Vietnamnese restaurants. Recently I picked up some five spice powder so I made some for Lil P to test and he approved!

3 pieces of pork chops
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs honey
1 tbs shoyu
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 slices of onion, diced
1/2 tsp black pepper

1) Place all ingredients in a ziplog bag along with the pork chops and let marinade for at least 30 minutes (the longer the better).
2) Drizzle oil on a large pan over medium heat and pan fry pork chops until center is no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes each side. (if your pork chops are thicker, you will need to cook it longer. But it's best to use thinner pork chops.)
3) Remove from heat and cut them up to serve.

It was juicy and delicious! I'll definitely make this again!

Here is another bento that I haven't had a chance to post.

Top tier contains soybeans, a small tangerine, and pineapples. Bottom tier contains Meatless Meatballs from Veggie Patch and spaghetti. Don't forget about the GIVEAWAY in support for the Japan Relief Efforts! It ends April 30th! You can try their Veggie Patch products yourself for FREE with the coupons! So far, I like the Meatless Meatballs and the Broccoli Bites, Lil P likes them too!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins by The Sneaky Chef

I have raved about The Sneaky Chef for quite some time now. Missy Chase Lapine (the auther) is really awesome giving ideas on how to hide veggies in everyday food. I absolutely loved her book. Yes she even hides them in desserts too!! I have recently made this Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins and I wanted to share this with you.

1 c Flour Blend(1/3 cup whole grain flour, 1/3 cup white flour, 1/3 cup wheat germ)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c canola oil
3/4 c orange puree (or use baby food! I use this sometimes: 1/2 cup carrots and 1/4 cup sweet potatoes)
3/4 c smooth peanut butter
8 heaping tsp favorite Jam (not jelly)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line muffin tin with paper liners.
2) In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Flour Blend, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
3) In another large bowl, whish together the eggs and sugar until well combined, then whisk in oil, orange puree, and peanut butter.
4) Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until flour is just moistened (don't over mix).
5) Scoop about two tbsp of batter into the large muffin cups until half full.
6) Place a heaping tsp of jam in the center of each muffin, then cover the jame with another 2 tbsp of batter, filling the cups just over the top. (scale back if using mini-muffin cups)
7) Bake for 25-30 min until the tops are golden brown.

I had two while it was warm and it was delish! Please feel free to check out the website for more free recipes!

Don't forget that you could get your very own, brand new copy of The Sneaky Chef on my GIVEAWAY that is happening right now til the end of the month!! You are qualified if you have contributed to the Tsunami Relief Support for Japan. Go here for the Giveaway details!

I have been taking alot of bentos pictures but have yet to post. I made Chinese Chicken Salad for me and my sister and I brought it to her work (and I got to see my baby nephew)! Here is a pic of that. I used leftover Rotisserie Chicken from Costco.
I also deboned the rest of the chicken, then I threw the carcass in a pot of water and let it simmer until the meat falls off the bone, remove the bones, then added rice and dry scallops in the pot and made myself a bowl of jook too! That's 2 ways for leftover chicken! And don't forget the chicken quesadillas, that's 3 ways with one chicken from Costco!
Here is my lunch for tomorrow, since it's "What's for Lunch Wednesday"!!
This bento consist of Steak (with steak seasoning, olive oil, and mirin), Gen Ji Mai rice, sautee veggies (mushrooms, carrots, asparagus), and grapes. The yellow container is microwavable, so I'm going to microwave the medium rare steak and it would be perfectly cooked for lunch! Looking forward to my lunch!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Brown Rice & Quinoa and Aloha For Japan Bento

For dinner tonight, we had sloppy joes. I am packing some for work tomorrow, but with a twist. I eliminated the bun, added some frozen peas and carrots into the sloppy joes, and I'm eating it with my brown rice & quinoa. Typically I would place the sloppy joes on top, but because I wanted to do a special bento, I placed them on the bottom so I could put the "Aloha for Japan" logo on top. Did I mention that I am doing a giveaway? Well, go and hop over to HERE to find out more about this giveaway! The only requirement I am asking is to support the Japan Relief Efforts, ANY amount is appreciated! Giveaway ends on April 30th, 2011.

The above bento I used Fit N Fresh 2 cup containers, one container contains sloppy joes with brown rice & quinoa, one contains applies, oranges, and grapes, and the last one contains green salad. Adding this to "What's for Lunch Wednesday".

Umeke Market has excellent hot meals and they're very good for you. I've been there several times just to pick up the Turkey Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms over Brown Rice & Quinoa and a side of fresh greens. YUM!

Although I have not attempted to make the stuffed portabello mushrooms (oh I definitely will some day), I have attempted to make brown Rice and Quinoa myself. My first try was a disaster but my second try, isn't too bad. So here it is:

1 cup of brown rice

1/4 cup of Quinoa


Dash of Sea Salt

1) Soak quinoa in water for about 15-20 minutes. I have heard if you don't wash first it will cause indigestion...I didn't soak it on my first attempt but nothing happened to me.

2) While soaking quinoa, pour brown rice in rice cooker with 2 cups of water and leave it for 15-20 minutes. This will allow the brown rice to soak up some water which should speed up the cooking process.

3) Drain quinoa and pour in the rice cooker, then add 1/2 cup of water.

4) Mix brown rice and quinoa in the rice cooker so they're mixed well.

5) Sprinkle sea salt into the rice cooker, then let it cook until done.

Monday, April 4, 2011

100th Post Giveaway, Support Japan's Tsunami Relief, Spring Rolls Recipe

Thanks everyone who's been following me on my blog! This is my 100th post since Sept 2009 with over 8,000 views! Woohoo!!! And as promised, I will be doing a giveaway!!

My requirment for this giveaway is to support/donate to the Japan's Tsunami/Earthquake relief efforts. There are a number of ways to support the relief efforts. You can donate to the American Red Cross, you can purchase some bento goodies from Bento4Japan as mentioned in previous post, you can purchase the "Aloha" Shirt at various vendors (all proceeds will be donated to Aloha For Japan), or you can support at your local fundraiser for the cause (for those who live in Hawaii, please visit Aloha For Japan for other ways to help.) Once you have participated in the relief efforts, simply leave a comment here on this post and tell me that you have done so. (ex: "I donated to the Amerian Red Cross", "I purchased the "Aloha" shirt!", "I attended a benefit concert", etc.)

You can also earn extra entries if you mention this giveaway on your blog (1 entry) and if you become a follower (1 entry) then leave a comment on this post that you have done either one, or both. Maximum 3 entries per person but 1st entry MUST support the Japan Relief Efforts.

This giveaway will end on April 30, 2011. Winner will be randomly selected and will be announced on or around May 2, 2011. Winner has 48 hours to contact me thereafter and MUST provide proof of your donation (so please keep your receipt, ticket stub, etc), otherwise a new winner will be picked. Unfortunately, I am only able to open this giveaway to US Residence Only.

Here are some of the things in the prize pack:

*1 The Sneaky Chef Book by Missy Chase Lapine
*15 Veggie Patch "one free product" Coupons
*1 two-tier bento box
*1 small two-tier bento box
*1 pack of silicon cups
*1 pack of bento dividers
*1 Oil Spray Bottle

Added items!!!
*1 Bottle of Furikake (for all my Furikake recipes!)
*1 reusable insulated bag
*1 packet of Okonomiyaki Mix

I will be shopping for a few more goodies to place in the prize pack and I will add them to the list as I get them on hand. So come back and check the list!

Thanks in advance for your generous donations (of any amount) to support Japan's Tsunami/Earthquake relief efforts! Your generosity is greatly appreciated!!

My 100th post MUST come with a recipe! Today, I will be sharing one of my favorite dishes I get when I eat pho (vietnamese soup noodles)--Spring Rolls. I adapted this recipe from my friend (it's her mom's recipe) and ironically, my friend is the one who got me started this very blog. What a perfect way to celebrate my 100th post!

Spring Rolls

1.5 lb ground pork

1 lb carrots (julienne)

1 small onion (diced finely)

1/2 bunch of dry long rice, or Cellophane Noodles/bean threads/glass noodles (cut in strips, DO NOT SOAK)

1 dry shiitake mushrooms (soaked and diced)

1 tbs sugar

2 tsp salt

1 tbs cornstarch

2 tsp black pepper

Spring Roll wrappers (I used the All Purpose Menlo wrappers)

1 egg, beaten

oil for frying

1) Mix all ingredients together. (A disposable gloves is very useful)

2) Take a small teaspoon of the meat and cook it in the microwave to taste the flavors and adjust the raw mixture accordingly.

3) Cut the square wrapper in half so it's a triangle.

4) Place raw meat mixture on the base of the triangle, roll once, then fold the sides in, and continue to roll to the end.

5) Brush the top corner with beaten egg to seal.

6) Deep fry until golden brown, drain, and serve!

**If you want the spring rolls to be crunchy, don't overstuff the rolls with too much meat.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oreo Chocolate Fudge

Lil P finally recovered after 5 days but he has been sleeping ALOT. I actually haven't seen him sleep this much in years! It is either he is trying to get the rest he's missed all these years or he is on a growing spurt. So we measured him on Sunday and will check on it in a month...

I had to bring snacks for baseball game this past Sunday, and we did a chili hot dog / nachos theme and I brought chicken nachos, chips, fruits, and dessert. I made white chocolate chip cookies with macadamia nuts. It was ok only. I wanted it to be thick and chewy but it's thin and chewy...only 50% of my goal. boo. But the Oreo Fudge was a HUGE hit!

45 Oreo cookes
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
1/4 tsp salt
1 can condense milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 squares of Baker's semi sweet chocolate
3 packets Nestle's pre-melted unsweeten chocolate
3/4 c semi sweet chocolate chips

1) Finely crush (or put in food processor) 36 oreo cookies, place in a bowl.
2) Melt butter and pour into cookie crumbs, mix well.
3) Press butter crumb mixture into a 9x11 pan with foil that extents further on the side (this will help pull up the content to cut)
4) Place chocolate squares in a microwave safe bowl. Melt chocolate squares in microwave 40% with 30 seconds intervals until melted (mix it with a spatual each 30 seconds)
5) Pour in pre-melted chocolate and condense milk into the melted chocolate. Stir and mix well.
6) Pour chocolate/condense milk mixture on top of the butter crumb mixture, carefully spread them evenly. Recommend to pour them into 8 separate areas and spread them using a butter sprayed spatula. (otherwise the crumbs will pull up and make it hard to spread)
7) Coarsely crush the rest of the oreo cookies and sprinkle the crushed cookies and the chocolate chips on top of the chocolate/condense milk mixture.
8) Bake for 20 minutes in the oven at 325 degrees.
9) Let cool, then place in fridge for one hour.
10) pull out fudge with foil, slice them into squares or bars with a pizza roller.

Here is a pic of the Chicken Nachos I was able to snap before I packed it up. I have mentioned this recipe here.

I haven't posted bentos lately, but I want to let you all know that you can help the traumatic Tsunami in Japan by getting involved. Show some Aloha, please visit American Red Cross to support their disaster relief efforts, or purchase a bento product from Bento4Japan on ebay! Especially if you are thinking about starting a bento collection or adding more items to your bento collection!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tan Tan Pork Udon

No bentos this week. Spring break for Lil P. We had the entire week planned, starting with Whale Watching, Lil P's baseball practice, and camping at a cabin on Monday, then Tuesday would be beach, Lil P's baseball game, and go to watch a basketball game. But everything went sour that afternoon, Lil P wasn't feeling well and end up with a low fever that night. He maintained 99-100 degrees the next day, only today he's back to normal temperature but still not feeling himself. The week is almost over. What a way to spend spring break huh?

Because I was busy taking care of him, and trying to study at the same time. I didn't have much time to post anything. This is what I made last week for me and Mr. P.

Tan Tan Pork