Archive | dailies

Everyday Should Be Love Day

I’ve been making cupcakes like there’s no tomorrow. I set myself to the task of creating cupcakes that make me groan in goodness. I’m almost there. So the past few days feels like a red letter day where I stuff myself in cupcakes. Ha! Hope you’re enjoying yourself silly, too — with or without someone.

Posted in dailies3 Comments

Happy New Year!

Have a wonderful 2011 everyone! We hope the new year will bring us all some good surprises and lots of reasons to smile.

And for us here at, we’ve got more recipes in store for you. The holidays have been busy, but we can’t wait to get back to our regular posting.

Posted in dailies2 Comments

Reading: Savor

Raise your hand if you’re a multi-tasker.

I am, too. I think of food, recipes, page design, books to read, to-do list, grocery list, shopping list, or places to travel to during my afternoon runs, or when I’m in the train or bus. I think of what to do next when I’m experimenting in the kitchen, sometimes not watching the stove. At work, my multi-tasking skills have been lauded over and over by bosses, peers, and clients. I can make something good out of whatever chaos they throw at me. Give me 10 completely different things to do and I’ll finish it before the deadline. Because I’m “Super Efficient”. You’d think I was the ideal hybrid car if I were an automobile. Yes, it could be fulfilling. Sometimes. Other times, it takes a toll on my body and psyche. I like being on my toes, on the go. “Go, go, go! I tell my nephews when they’re complaining of walking. Because I just go. Sometimes I forget, if I pause for a moment, where I am, or what I’m doing. I’m completely lost!

It seems that over the last decade, multi-tasking has been placed on a pedestal for everyone to look up to and live by. The past few years, however, things have taken a different turn. Now there is the movement urging people to “be in the present moment”. Be here now. Because we’ve all been moving on the fast lane. Mind in another continent. No quality social time. No quality Me time.

In fact, even this multi-tasking has crept and settled comfortably into something fundamental in our lives and families: Our Meals. Eating has now been put to the side while we chat, work, watch TV or drive. Who has time to thinking about eating or what we are eating?

But in fact, that’s exactly what Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung is trying to get you to do in their new book, “Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful life.”

Savor every bite. Eat mindfully.

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life

"We drink a cup of tea and focus more on the worries and anxieties of the day than on living the moment of enjoying the tea." - Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheun

It is not a diet book. It’s a way of living. Living mindfully. Scattered throughout the book it talks about weight problems and losing the extra weight, but make no mistake, this book is much more than that. It’s about taking control not only of your eating, but of your body. Your life. From a spiritual and conscious level.

The second chapter of the book there is an apple meditation. It teaches you to eat and truly savor an apple.

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life

How many of us have eaten an apple in just a few bites and not realizing that we finished it and didn't feel like we ate at all?

I’m on fourth chapter and already I’m learning and applying a lot of what it says. I try to be conscious about each bite I take. I try not to do anything else while eating. And best of all, because I’m savoring the food, I tend to eat less. As a result, I’m actually shedding pounds.

This book couldn’t have come at a better time, especially with the growing problem of obesity worldwide that really can’t be ignored anymore. And if there is one more thing to add to Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, it would be this. Mindful revolution.

I’ll talk more about it after I read and digest the entire book.

In the meantime, I’d love to know– What are you reading? Do you like it? No? Why?
It doesn’t matter whether it’s related to food or not. If you’re into magazines, like I am, I’d love to know, too!

Here are my current reads: Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life and Waitrose Food illustrated.

You know I love Twitter…so I polled people who were up late last night here are the current reads:

Posted in dailies2 Comments

There Is No Grater Love

[Hah…that’s my lame attempt for a title.]

This, my friends, is the epitome of my ability to convince myself to purchase things that are even more expensive that their non-miniaturized versions:

Grater Bookmark

It costs more than a Microplane zester, and more than a Microplane grater. The hilarious fact is, it took me ages to get myself the (real) zester because I can be so cheap. Sometimes.

Guess how long it took for me to decide to buy this grater bookmark? Hmm?

A second.

I’m not the kind of friend who can protect you from shopping frivolously. It’s just not happening from my camp if I think something is cute or worth it. And how can this not be worth it, I tell you?

Grater Bookmark

I just about died from cuteness. Look at its sisters. There were only the grater and whisk bookmarks at the Vancouver Art Gallery, but the grater won. I’m proud to have enough self-control to buy only one. For now.

The company that designs/makes these irresistible bookmarks (and other fiiine stuff) is RAS in Madrid, Spain. The kitchen bookmarks are part of the pdl design collection. [PS – is not affiliated with them, but heck I’d love to if only for these bookmarks –haha. This could be the beginning of another obsession.]

Posted in dailies, shoppes6 Comments

A note on Notes on Cooking

FoodBuzz is over and done, great experiences happened and greater memories retained.  Another great thing about FoodBuzz was the gift bags everyone was given at the show. One of the items we got, Notes on Cooking (Even cooler, it has it’s own website :p), and being a novice chef as far as industry is concerned, I wanted to read this cover to cover.

Notes on Cooking

Everything in this book is gold. Yes, there are sections that are pure common sense (Don’t double-dip tasting, don’t grab a hot pot with a wet towel, etc) and then there’s the more ‘HMMM…’ nuggets (Eat your local honey if you have floral allergies, cook with a little bit of sugar just as you would salt…). Of course, there were tips that you need to know to get your Food Handler’s Card (At least here in AZ): Cook food to proper internal temperatures, always be clean, little things like that. The best part as well, this is an entertaining fast read!

My next post will be about beef bourguignon and the trials I experienced with it. As I’m flipping through the book looking for inspiration of what to put into THIS post, I came across this little statement in the beginning of the book…“Making beef bourguignon? Study at least 3 alternatives….” Oops…I just sort of jumped right into the fire and prepared this.  I will let you know how it turned out in that post.

In short, “Notes on Cooking” is a must read for anyone wanting to become a better cook. Even after all the sections are done, there’s even more information that’s invaluable, such as a listing of traditional pairing of tastes and a recommended further reading.  Enjoy and happy reading!


Posted in dailies3 Comments

Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

I love biscotti. For the longest time, I sat back in awe, envious of friends (on- and offline) who make it look like it’s a walk in the park to prepare. For me it was intimidating, especially the fact that it has to be baked twice. I don’t know why, but just the thought of that thwart any attempt at it! Enter Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox’s book, “The Craft of Baking: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets with Ideas for Inventing Your Own“. I pored through the pages, checking the ingredients and processes, and unapologetically drooled over the sweet delights. Then, like cowlick on a well-manicured lawn of a hair, 3 recipes stood out: those of the twice baked cookie variety called the Biscotti. Hello, self-imposed yoke.

It’s crazy to think that some of us have mountains to move when it comes to baking:

  • Mt. Cake
  • Mt. Macarons
  • Mt. Pie
  • Mt. Jelly Rolls…I’m still talking about baking here…
  • Mt. Cinnamon Rolls
  • Mt.Homemade Bread

What else? What’s your baking nemesis?

My friend is leaving to go back to her new home across the border, and I wanted to give her something for their long flight. Biscotti would make a perfect travel snack: light, TSA-friendly, and will survive the journey. And there it was, my work cut out for me and I was ready to face another fear in the kitchen. Luckily, my first try worked like a charm. DeMasco’s recipe is a winner.

Of course I had to try making the chocolate first. Priorities dears.

Biscotti with coffee

Chocolate Walnut Biscotti with Coffee. The coffee was just there for props. I haven't had coffee in 13 days. THIRTEEN! Days! And I'm ok. Really. Did I tell you I'm okay?

The dough was sticky and fragile to work with, but incredibly good to eat. I’m a dough/batter-eater. I cannot resist tasting it, unless it is yeasty. It pretty much goes that if the dough tastes good, the baked product will be good, too. So I do intensive testing. With my mouth. Do you? If not, you’re missing out. Well, unless you’re pregnant, then don’t do it if it has raw eggs like this one.

The trick to transferring this dough from the floured counter to the baking sheet is the speedy lift-and-support-entire-length action. It does have the risk of sagging and breaking apart.


Making biscotti and proof that I may have taken Karen DeMasco's"generously floured work surface" too far. It really didn't stick. At all. I mean, how could it?

The hardest part in making these is the baking time. Your kitchen and its surrounding open spaces will be filled with the come-hitherto aroma of brownies baking in the oven, and a hint of something that tickles your nose, trying to let you in on a little secret. You know what it is? Espresso. The book says the cookies will fall flat in taste without it, and I’ll have to agree. No, I don’t even want to try it without!

Biscotti Council

The Biscotti Council

These biscotti are not too sweet, and would make a perfect companion to coffee or plain milk. Thinking of tea? This is your mate. It’s not too overpowering, even for a light tea.

There are only a few left of this batch, and the generous bag of biscotti I gave my friend for the trip is on the verge of missing the flight, I was told. If that isn’t the best compliment for it, I don’t know what is.

If you’re looking for a biscotti recipe to start you baking, look no further. This newbie approves. And for the seasoned biscotti bakers, this is a worthy addition to consider for your repertoire of old favorites.

For me, honestly, I can’t wait to make more that will last long enough to make it past the front door without being eaten, so I can mail them to friends! I love sending care packages of food, and it almost sounds selfish because I get such sheer pleasure in doing so. :-)

The full recipe can be found online (it’s the 3rd recipe down), and that’s the exact one in the book. I thought I’d just link to it because it’s a long one, plus I didn’t change anything in the recipe.

Happy baking this weekend!

Posted in baking, books and publications, chocolate, coffee buddy, cookies, dailies, dessert, snacks, sweets18 Comments

Secret Santa Reveal

A day late and a few gifts short, I heard! Hehe. ;-) All in jest, dears. I’ve just received a gift shipped from the US before December 15. So, to my fellow Canadian participants, if you haven’t received your gifts, it just might be the postal system.

So are you ready to find out who’s your Secret Santa (SS)? Just look for your name in bold, and to the right of your name is your Secret Santa’s name, website and Twitter ID. To the Secret Santas — check your “baby’s” name and if it has an asterisk (*), it means they’ve emailed me to confirm receipt of their gifts.

Mardi already posted about the gift her Secret Santa sent her! Yay! Great choice, Ms. Secret Santa! If you’d like to share your post about your own, just leave it in the comments and I’ll link to it. :-)

Adrienne M.* : SS Benedetta J.G. of (bennybip)

Amy I.* : SS Dana W. of (danatreat)

Amy J.* : SS Megan P. of (meganpires)

April K.* : SS Adrienne M. of (CelebrationsInt)

Benedetta J.G. : SS Gaby D. of (whatsgabycookin)

Casey B.* : SS Meaghan B. of (iluselu)

Chris P. : SS Thomas A. of (ahnt)

Danielle T. : SS Chris P. of (BlogWellDone)

Dana W. : SS Maris C. of (mariscalla)

Deseree K.* : SS Wendy B. of (pinkstripes)

Dottie A. : SS Mardi M. of (eatlivtravwrite)

Elise K.* : SS Nastassia J. of (LetMeEatCake)

Emily D. : SS Megan M. of (stetted)

Esi I.* : SS Danielle T. of (istelleinad)

Gaby D.* : SS Elise K. of (foodieforkful)

Grace Y. : SS Dottie A. of (foodcents)

Jackie G.* : SS Susan C. of (makebakebehappy)

Josie T. : SS Kristen L. of (klink84)

Kate W. : SS Nikki M-K of (NikSnacks)

Kathy S.* : SS Deseree K. of (DesereeK)

Katie G.* : SS Emily D. of (bitesizecakes)

Kristen L. : SS Maybells M. of (feedingmaybelle)

Lindsay C.* : SS Renee J. of (RJFlamingo)

Lys C. : SS Casey B. of (tastestopping)

Mardi M.* : SS Katie G. of (goodlifeeats)

Maris C. : SS Sonja P. of (ActiveFoodie)

Maybelles M. : SS April K. of http://http//

Meaghan B. : SS Jackie G. of (divathatatenewyork)

Megan M.* : SS Josie T. of (Daydreamerdsrts)

Megan P.* : SS Lindsay C. of (ScoopAdventurer)

Nastassia J. : SS Shelley S. of (artsyshell)

Nikki M-K. : SS Amy I. of (amy_i)

Renee J.* : SS Richard K. of (Niteweng)

Richard K.* : SS Amy J. of (wearsmanyhats)

Shelley S. : SS Kate W. of (Savour)

Sonja P. : SS Esi Impraim of (dishingdelights)

Susan C.* : SS Kathy S. of (paninikathy)

Thomas A.* : SS Lys C. of (JustAnothaGal)

Wendy B.* : SS Grace Y. of (gracenotesnyc)

Posted in announcements, dailies5 Comments

Happy New Year!

Here’s wishing you all a Happy New Year! I hope 2010 will be a very good year for all of us.

To greet 2010, my brother, sister-in-law, and I decided to cook up a traditional Filipino meal for New Year’s: pansit (noodles, for long life), lumpiang shanghai (meat spring roll), lumpiang gulay (vegetable spring roll), roast chicken, and fruit salad with buko (coconut meat). Served with bubblies.

Happy New Year!

We had our 12 round fruits for “good luck”, too.

Happy new year!

We had another roast poultry, chicken this time, cooked using Julia Child’s method:

Roast Chicken

Here’s what I started to do for 2010…well, those that I could share in public:

1. I committed to posting a photo a day for Project 365 for Food Bloggers. This is going to be a good exercise for daily photo upload and seeing what everybody else is eating, cooking, or taking photos of.

2. I’m participating in the Ten in 10 Healthy Challenge where I made a 10-week commitment to make these healthy changes in my life: eat more balance meals (including eating breakfast, which I almost always skip), get into a regular running routine, and finish my Couch to 5K program (well, I am on the 12-week plan, but I would like to finish the bulk of it, health permitting).

Posted in dailies10 Comments

Gourmet Loaded Potatoes

I was told a while ago: ‘Every dish tells a story.‘  At the same time, food is meant to be savored with every bite. Since leaving the FoodBuzz event last week, I have had more desire to achieve more than I had since starting this blog.  Joy’s been an incredible inspiration for my cooking and I hope that this is a trend that continues.

Upon my return to the office, there was a flier posted next to the time clock, “Holiday Potluck!’ So I figure, Cool! I’ll make something simple, easy, and enjoyable. My first thought was a simple garlic mashed potato dish. A few days after that posting, the HR manager asked me what I was making for the potluck because she knew about our little journal from previous discussions.

I’m going to keep it simple, garlic mashed, I think.

“What? Don’t be boring! I’ve seen the stuff you guys make! Give us something more gourmet!”

A challenge, huh? I was game. So a few more nights passed, then it hit me. Of all the things of a Thanksgiving meal, there is not much that is not considered ‘comfort food’. Then I started thinking about the various comfort foods of a meal that could not only serve 30 people, but have the flavor and memories that follow with each taste.

I would stick with the potato idea. I browsed various sites for perfect dishes but nothing was out of the ordinary.  Then it hit me. Crème fraîche Loaded Whipped Mashed Potatoes! Yeah, try saying that to your guests at your next dinner party when you make this dish.

So, I decided I would not have a toungue twister and simplify it to “Gourmet Loaded Potatoes“. It is a relatively simple dish, but its attention is needed. If you stick with it, you’ll have an incredibly tasty, rich, and flavorful new spin on the potato.

Gourmet Loaded Potatoes

I took this challenge head-on and I am proud of the results. I got rave reviews at the pot luck and I look forward to serving this dish again soon.


Gourmet Loaded PotatoesDownload PDF recipe for Gourmet Loaded Potatoes

Ingredients [Serves about 30, as a side dish]

  • 10 lbs of Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 lb of thinly sliced pancetta
  • 1 ½ cup of heavy cream, with extra just in case
  • 1 7.5 oz package of crème fraîche
  • 1 3-ounce package of cream cheese
  • 6 tablespoons of butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt (seasoned salt preferred)


  • Large bowl or strainer for holding the cooked potatoes
  • Electric mixer


1. Prepare the potatoes by submerging them in cold water in a large pot on medium-high heat. Add salt to the water and bring the pot to a boil uncovered. When you get to a rolling boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes, covered. At the end of the 10 minutes, try piercing a potato with a fork. If it goes straight through, it’s done. If not, cook another 4-5 minutes and check again.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a pan in medium heat and cook the pancetta. You’re looking for a total crisp, nothing undercooked or limp. This cooking time will change depending on your pan, heat, and if you used any oil to help cook. Remove from the heat and pat dry any excess oil or grease with a paper towel.

3. Drain the potatoes from the pot completely and set them aside. Put the pot back onto the stove.

4. Add ingredients into the pot in this order: butter, crème fraîche, cream cheese, heavy cream. Grab the cooked pancetta and crumble it as much as possible. Then add the potatoes back into the pot. By the time the potatoes get into the pot, the butter should be completely melted and the cream cheese should as well.

5. Add the pepper, chives, cheddar, and the remaining salt.

6. Blend all ingredients together with a hand mixer starting with the lowest speed and progressively working to medium, about 5 minutes. When everything is well mixed, check the consistency. If it’s not whipped and/or enough, add 1/3 cup of heavy cream and continue mixing for another minute. Serve warm and enjoy!

Posted in appetizer, cheese, dailies, dairy, dining, experiments, fun, original Gourmeted recipe, vegetables12 Comments

Quick Apple Crumble with Cranberries

Enjoy the homey flavors and aroma of baked apple pie in less than 30 minutes. You won’t miss the traditional flaky crust too much once you taste the crunchy-gritty toasted cornmeal streusel on warm, spicy apples.

I know, I know…you were expecting all the juicy details of my trip to San Francisco two weeks late and all I can offer you today is pie. Oh, and it’s not even a real pie, it’s a crisp! A crumble! I’ve been a horrible updater of this site, I’m so sorry. Worrisome exhaustion >> Blog, in the grand scheme of things. I will make it up to you…

Quick Dutch Apple Crisp with Cranberries

This will make my super-late SF update worth the wait, I promise you.

After being away for more than a month, I sorely missed the local farmers markets. I’m one of those weird gals who enjoy shopping for fruits and vegetables…must be the old-lady streak kicking. Haha. Last Saturday’s excursion was no exception from my market black book, I filled up the baskets with my hoarding eyes. I picked up six Fall apples, the Okanagan Fuji ones, which are were so sweet and crisp. All of them ended up being cooked and baked. Mmm…

Since I am not 100% physically well these days, I usually choose the path to anything that requires less of my time and energy. I really wanted an apple pie a few nights ago, but with an extra trip to the store to get vodka (Oh, that? I still have to tell you about that crust!) for the crust, that’s not going to happen. I stared lovingly at the Fuji apples and thought of what to do with them besides eating them as is. I didn’t dare search because thinking about the demise of the magazine still brings me physical pain. So I decided to make use of my online membership to dear old Cook’s Illustrated. There was a recipe for Quick Dutch Apple Crisp, which inspired that night of experimentation.

After making Peach Crumble for years and being left with delicious, yet unsatisfying, toppings that become soggy and unappetizing as leftovers, I was hesitant to try another fruit variation. But what can you do? If you have a craving, you must give in to The Craving! I was not disappointed. Cooking the fruit and the streusel separately was a godsend, and the cornmeal in the streusel made it a perfect contrast to the soft apples. Oh…my…god. This is why I always have cornmeal in the pantry: it’s not just for cornbread or coating. Amen.

So here, ladies and gentlemen, is the quickie apple pie that will satisfy your cravings in a jiffy. Go back here and tell me it’s awful if you try it and you’re not satisfied. I just know you’ll thank me once you taste it. :-)

Quick Apple Crumble with Cranberries Download the print-ready PDF recipe for Quick Apple Crumble with Cranberries


Apple Filling

  • 3 medium-sized apples, peeled, quartered, chopped into ¼ x ½  x ½ -inch chunks and fills about 5 cups. Use what you have on hand or your preferred variety. (I used Okanagan Fuji apples.)
  • 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon triple sec liqueur (optional)

Crumble/Streusel topping

  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted


1. Place the rack in the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

2. For the apple filling

  • Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl, and toss the apple chunks in it.
  • Melt butter over high heat on a Dutch oven until it begins to turn amber in color and the milky froth from the butter has almost cleared (don’t allow it to burn).
  • Add the apples into the pot and reduce heat to medium-high. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the cranberries and stir. Cover for another 5 minutes or until the apples begin to soften and break down in the steam. Juice will collect on the bottom of the pan.
  • Remove from the heat and pour over a strainer with a large bowl underneath to catch the juice.
  • Pour the juice back into the Dutch oven over high heat and mix it with heavy cream and triple sec liqueur (if used). Stir until the mixture is reduced and thickened. It’s done when you drag your wooden spoon on the bottom of the pan and it leaves a trailing line. Turn off the heat and toss the apples and cranberries in it.
  • Transfer the fruits and any remaining liquid into an 8-inch square, or circular, baking dish and flatten the top with a spatula. For individual servings, you can pour them into ramekins or other oven-safe bowls.

3. For the crumble/streusel topping:

  • Mix flour, brown sugar and cornmeal in a medium bowl with a fork. Drizzle melted butter while continuing to mix it until it forms pea-sized chunks.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the streusel mixture evenly on top of it.
  • Bake it in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes. Watch closely once you hit the 4-min mark. It might start to burn depending on your baking sheet.
  • Take it out of the oven and set aside to cool on a trivet for 5 minutes. Toss the crumble around with a small spoon to prevent it from burning if it is already getting dark.
  • Sprinkle topping over the dish/ramekins/bowls filled with fruit.

You can skip to #5, as the fruit and toppings should be good to go. Continue with #4 if you prefer the streusel to be deep brown and/or want to warm up the dish.

4. Set the pie plate/ramekins/bowls on the now-empty baking sheet and place in the oven until the streusel is a deep golden brown, about 5 minutes.

5. Cool pie plate/ramekins/bowls on a wire rack for 10 minutes and serve apple crumble warm, preferably with vanilla ice cream on top, paired with a warm cup of coffee or tea.

You might also want to check out other food bloggers’ recipes:

Posted in breakfast, dailies, dessert, quick & easy19 Comments