Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy "Patty-Cake" Day

Love celebrating St. Patrick's Day? Before tipping up your cups, or even during this celebratory act, have a "Patty-Cake". Need a recipe for some great Patty-Cakes? If you like your cupcakes fluffy and flavorful (and you love chocolate), try this recipe - I guarantee it'll be a hit: Love From The Oven - St. Patty's Day Baking

I used this recipe without the green dye, and instead of the cream cheese frosting, this vanilla frosting recipe was a nice alternative:

Here's the result:

The batter after mixing the wet with the dry ingredients

The Patty-Cakes after baking in the oven

The finishing touch

Using some orange and green sprinkles can give the frosting a bit of color while making a nice Irish-flag feel to the Patty-Cakes. Next time, I plan to use more of the white-colored frosting to get a truer Irish-flag feel. Though they look more like little strawberry shortcakes, nonetheless, all the non-lactose intolerant, dairy-loving cupcake lovers at Bayer CropScience appreciated this treat while toasting to St. Patrick's Day. So much that it won the Bayer CropScience St. Patrick's Day cupcake competition!

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Bayer CropScience St. Patrick's Day Cupcake Competition Prize

Some beautifully decorated Patty-Cakes, great for trying to emulate in years to come, can be seen at: Family Holiday - St. Patrick's Day Treats: Decorating Ideas

With my cup of Guinness tipped up, Happy Patty-Cake Day to you all!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

It Smells Like Holiday Spirit

It's that time of the year again when the holiday spirit is among us. I admit it's been hard to get into since my brother revealed to me during the age of 7 that Santa Claus is just one of our family members dressed all old, jolly, and plump. But since then, I've definitely learned that the holiday spirit isn't just about the idea of Santa Claus spreading the holiday cheer. It's just whether or not you have the desire and motivation to maintain this energy and keep the holiday spirit about you. 

Also, we often reflect about occurrences that impacted us during the past year around this time, and by New Year's, most people try making resolutions for improvement. Aside from thinking of things you want to change though, I hope you all have at least one thing you can reflect upon when you look back on the past year where you can say to yourself, "Hey, that was pretty awesome." And by doing that, you may just be taking a microstep towards having a bit of holiday spirit in you. 

The Ginger Bread House

Ever baked and built a ginger bread house? I never had, but the holiday spirit around me brought one my way, and hey, that's pretty awesome.


New house and new perspectives, but still all in all maintaining a true sense of the self... The Ginger Bread House tastes as sweet as ever. Though I know it won't last forever, like most if not all things, at least it can be embraced now, in this moment, and that must count for something.

The Holiday Tree

Among the new perspectives I've gained over the past year is the idea of having a Holiday Tree. 

I grew up in a family and household that only invested in a fake holiday tree. Over time, I became the only family member with enough holiday spirit to place effort and time into setting up and decorating the tree. After this and the fact that my brother revealed the truth of Santa Claus to me, I thought, "Okay then, why bother?" #scrooge

It's been many years since then, each holiday season lacking a physical holiday spirit, but I've since then focused on the psychosocial aspect of the holiday spirit, stemming from enjoying good food and company of friends and family. Not a bad thing, in my opinion. But then a fresh (not fake) Douglas Fir tree appeared in my house, and all of a sudden, it smells like holiday spirit.


I found myself enjoying the effort of decorating the tree once more. I certainly wouldn't have felt this from doing it alone, though I'm quite happy being lazy with regards to this recreational effort, but it was a nice refreshing feeling. And hey, that's pretty awesome.

Happy holidays to you all, and may you find at least one thing in the past year that you thought was pretty awesome.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Taste of Romanesco Broccoli

If you were to look at Romanesco broccoli, what thoughts come to mind?


This exquisite vegetable provides a slightly sweeter palate versus the common broccoli and by far is much tastier than the common cauliflower.

As an example healthy recipe, you can cut it into smaller pieces and stir-fry it in olive oil, add some sweet carrots and fresh cranberries (though I advise adding a bit if sugar; I used one pack of Sweet & Low for a sugar substitute to reduce the bitterness of the cranberries), and see if you like it with your turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving.

Available at a local Northern California (United States) Farmer's Market (advertised recently for $2/lb). 

Give it a try and enjoy the taste of the Romanesco - รจ deliziosa!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The whole wheat avocado "McMuffin"

How many healthy variations of a "McMuffin" have you tried?

This morning, I was surprised with a whole wheat avocado "McMuffin" - if you like avocados and aren't allergic or disgusted with whole wheat, I suggest trying this recipe:
- take a whole wheat English muffin, 
- toast it, and 
- stuff it with sliced avocado with some salt and pepper added for extra flavor.

Have it with your favorite latte or tea, and I guarantee your morning hunger will be satisfied without the greasy and unhealthy feeling of a MacDonald's Egg McMuffin.

Happy healthy eating!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Omelet Art - a cheerful breakfast experience

If you like omelets, art, and positivity, check out how my personal omelet-chef collaborates them all into one excellently cheerful breakfast session!





Creative vitamins and minerals now live inside my belly, and the positivity is systemic. 

How would you make your omelet?




Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Easter bunny surprise

I'm not religious, but I grew up learning about Catholicism and Christianity in private schools I attended during my youth. The idea of the Easter bunny during Spring used to be fun, just as the thought of Santa Claus during Christmas, as my friends and I would be taken on Easter egg hunts and decorate eggs. My cousins and I would make Easter egg hunt games all year long (unintentionally, but hey, it's important to enjoy your youth!)

On Easter Sunday this year, my family and I honored a Chinese tradition of visiting the cemetery, where we paid our respects to our deceased family members. One of them was my recently late grandfather from my father's side of the family who passed away last year in August 2012. Though the Easter bunny was far from my thoughts on Easter Sunday, he suddenly arrived to greet me with cheer. I couldn't be more surprised and thankful for all that my life has to offer and has offered to get me to this point. I only hope you all can feel the same. If not now, keep looking up as there will be at least one moment when you can smile about something.

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The soy cheesecake experience

Upon returning from a week-long business trip, I was pleasantly surprised with a dairy-free cheesecake, homemade specially for me. Using tofu/soy, lemon, and dairy-free dough, with a thin later of 100% cacao / dark chocolate between the crust and the filling, I couldn't ask for a more problem-free cheesecake to satisfy my craving for sweets without activating my lactose-intolerance and without feeling too guilty with regards to eating cake. When served cold, the filling has a nice and lightly whipped texture. The crust and dark chocolate layer along with a hint of lemon in the filling make a delectable taste. It doesn't taste like the cheesecakes from the Cheesecake Factory, but it sure is a tasty cheesecake alternative for the lactose-intolerant population.

I couldn't feel happier to be home.