OCC Packing Day

It’s that time of year again! OCC packing time!

My church (Living Stones Christian Church) hosts an annual Operation Christmas Child packing day. The church provides the sanitary/school items, and we supply the toys.

So what’s OCC? It’s a program by Samaritan’s Purse that encourages people to pack shoeboxes filled with items for children. These boxes are sent all over the world during the holiday season to provide a way to share the Good News of Jesus. It’s a simple thing we can do as follows for the greater purpose of God.

To personalize the box, we write little postcards to our kids that are receiving the box. We also added a group picture of the church. But the most important part of packing these boxes, praying for the kids receiving this gift. Though this is a physical gift, pray that the kids receive an eternal gift from God.

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My boxes were for little gifts 5-7. MG made boxes for boys.

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We made three boxes each among me and MG.

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^^^ oh, hai!

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A total count of 222 boxes from our church!

My heart fills with joy when I look around the room and find that so many people are packing boxes, together as a congregation. It’s just so cool that such a small gesture from us can be part of a bigger story.

Have you participated in OCC before? If so, what kinds of things do you pack? And isn’t toy shopping so fun even as an adult?

In Him,
Jay

  

Oh Yeah, Perfect Prime Rib

Guys, this is THE post to get you excited for the day of sweat pants and food. You know, Thanksgiving! Let’s be honest. Pulling on your comfy pants to eat a magnitude of 5 meals in one evening is one of the best holidays of the year.

Being Asian means it’s also a blend of cultures, mixing Chinese food with American food to overfill your belly with yumminess. Next to the large turkey is roasted duck. Next to the green bean casserole, there’s the bok choy. Rice goes along with everything. And Chinese people, you know that fruit/veggie salad mixed in Mayo. Am I the only one that loves to eat it but also finds the ingredients strangely disgusting? It really is good though!

Okay, I do have something to admit. Sometimes we don’t even eat turkey. When I celebrate with my family or MG’s family, it’s too much food to cook an entire bird. Instead we cook a huge slab of prime rib and call it Thanksgiving! It may not be the traditional American meal, but it satisfies everyone and we leave with happy bellies. Isn’t that what the holiday is really about anyway – being grateful and enjoying the day with your family?

So today’s post features my infamous prime rib roast. Oh yeahhh!

Prime cover

Ribeye steak is one of the most flavorful, if not the most flavorful, cut of meat. It’s marbled (in other words fatty, yum), and juicy. If you love bone-in ribeye, then you’ll love the standing rib roast. Standing rib roast is the same cut as a ribeye, but not cut into sections, with the bone still intact. A rib roast is without the bone; still the same cut of meat. All delicious.

Prime Rib Roast Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Rib roast (~14 pounds)
  • 12 cloves of garlic
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 large onion
  • Emeril’s Creole Seasoning Essence (see below)

Emeril’s Creole Seasoning Essence – mix all the ingredients together

  • 2.5 tablespoons of paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Blend the garlic, thyme, and onion together (I usually use a Magic Bullet).
  3. Pull the fat cap back and rub the roast with the essence seasoning. Now rub the blended mix onto the roast, and slather it onto the roast generously.
  4. Lay the fat cap back on and secure the cap by tying the two together with twine.
  5. Place the roast with the rib side down on a wire rack, into the center of the oven. Place a drip pan to collect drippings.
  6. Roast for 15 minutes at 450°F. Then lower the temperature to 325°F. Estimate 17-20 minutes per pound. A meat thermometer is recommended as you’ll get the best results. Make sure you push the thermometer into the middle of the roast, making sure the tip is not touching fat or bone. You want the internal temperature at 130°F for medium rare or 140°F for medium.
  7. When finished roasting, take the roast out and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. This is important so that the juices gets absorbed back into the meat.
  8. Cut off the twine, carve, and serve with drippings and horseradish on the side.

We’ve made this recipe multiple times now, and it never fails. As I type up this post, my stomach is rumbling with hunger.

Seasonings

This essence is great with all cuts of beef! I store it in an air-tight container and place it into my spice cabinet.

Cap

Mmmm fat cap!

Seasoned

Season generously!

Ready

Ready for roasting!

Roast

Hardest part – let the meat sit after roasting.

Done

Posting this picture again, because isn’t it mouth watering? It’s the best when you’re named as carver. You get to snack on the little chunky pieces while cutting!

Okay, I have something else to admit (apparently this post is all about being honest). I’ve never actually roasted a turkey before. One day, I’ll muster up the courage to make one for the family. And perhaps you’ll see the recipe on here. But for now, I’ll have prime rib for Thanksgiving, and I’m perfectly happy with that!

What kinds of foods do you have for Thanksgiving that isn’t based on the “traditional” foods? Will prime rib be a part of that this year?

Noms away!
Jay

Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning Recipe

  

GQ Chubalee

The temperatures are dropping! It’s not quite winter here in the Bay Area yet (I know some of you are getting snow!), but we’re definitely getting some cooler weather. Mid 50’s calls for sweat pants at home and some cozy socks!

My sweet little Chubs is feeling the cold too. He’s been snuggling with me every night, and when the sun goes down he sits under the lamp for warmth.

Bed

Lamp

Auntie Holly, who spoils my little Chubalee, got him a gift! Look at his Christmas shirt! Thanks so much Holly!

Sitting

How GQ cat is this?

Posing

Nope, he doesn’t care when the shirt is on. When I hold it, he comes over and sits nicely to put it on. He wears it during the day, and I help him take it off at night before bed so he’s more comfortable. The only thing that he can’t get used to – he cleans himself with the shirt on, looks weirdly at me, and then realized it’s not his fur.

He still gets cold; snuggling into a blanket is the next best option.

Sleeping

Look at that big boootay!

What are some cute things that your cat does? I would love to know!

Meow,
Jay
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Chubs’ adoption story here

  

Life You Want Weekend Tour in San Jose

What’s the first thing you think of when I say Oprah?

Prior to this weekend, I was indifferent. Duh, she’s a celebrity and you’ve heard her name, but what did you really think about her? After this weekend, I have so many words to describe her – inspiration, positivity, motivator, real, inner beauty, and the list goes on.

Oprah’s been on tour for the past 2.5 months all over the country for the Life You Want Weekend Tour. Oprah, along with her team of Trailblazers, give inspirational speeches to encourage individuals to change their life, grasp what you want, and begin now.

Oprah
In all her glory and splendor!!!

I know your biggest question is “Did you get to meet Oprah?” Well check out the pictures below to see! I’ve also got a lot of words of wisdom below, some stuff that will really help bring some light into your life.

During this 2-day conference, Oprah and her team asked the question “What have you ben called to do?” Her Trailblazers included Deepak Chopra (a pioneer in mind-body medicine), Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love), Rob Bell (pastor), and Iyanla Vanzant (star and diva on OWN). Lots of great people!

Again and again, it was reminded that everyday should be a day for us to be positive. We should make each and every day count. That journey to a greater standard begins now, the moment you decide to change.

“I want us all to fulfill our greatest potential. To find our calling, and to summon the courage to live it” -Oprah

They even brought out the Soulcycle crew to pump us up!

Soulcycle

“The energy you put out is always the energy that’s coming back to you” -Oprah

This conference really helped me to realize that I need to be more uplifting, in my own life and in the lives of people surrounding me. Happy thoughts. Why waste a moment of life to be negative? Wouldn’t you want others to say that you made a positive impact in their lives? What a great compliment.

I know sometimes you feel like there are things that get in the way to chasing your dreams. I don’t know what that might be in your life. Perhaps a relationship going wrong. Drama that creeps in. Bills. Contracts. Rent. Whatever it is, remember that Life requires one thing from you, breathNone of the other things matter in the grand scheme of things. Breath and find your way out. Stay positive, and keep moving forward. Perhaps it’s time to take the leap of faith and take a step in a different direction to see where that leads you.

One question – What do you want from life? Oprah said that most people say happiness. Her second question then is “What does that look like to you?” Most people say, “I don’t know.” So now take a moment to visualize what happiness would look like in your life. Be specific. Does it mean a vegetable garden in your backyard? A 5-bedroom house with 2 cars? 3 kids and a dog? Work towards what you imagined. When you get there, you’ll know happiness.

Another great assignment to help you reflect on your life:

One of the workbook questions asked you to write down someone you love dearly and write what you would want for their life. Do this! I promise it’s worth it. Close your eyes. Picture the person you love the most. What do you wish for them?

I put down MG. I wanted him to have joy in family and friends. I wanted him to be sitting on the couch with kids running up to give him love and to have a strong community that he could lean on. I also wanted him to dream big, for him to work on a project that holds a greater purpose. And I wanted him to have support, someone to always be an encouragement. In the end, it was revealed that this assignment was actually a reflection of your own life. Those are also things that you want for yourself, things that would make you fulfilled. Work towards that fulfillment.

At the end of this event, I realized that my purpose in life is to glorify God. When I think about how He’s called me live like Jesus, pieces of life fall into place. Living for Him gives me purpose. Living for Him gives me happiness. And if I were to take my faith away, I would feel lost. In the end, He’s given me breath. And for that reason, I live to bring Him praise.

And yes, I got to meet her and take a picture. She’s amazing.

Oprah and Me

Christmas card pic?!?

What are some things that you can change in your life now? How can you stay positive during the rough spots in your life? Remember that and do it when it gets hard.

What did you do this weekend?
Jay

  

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

Today in the Bay Area, it finally feels like Fall. Gloomy weather, a little bit of rain, and colder temperatures. It’s one of those days where it’s hard to get out of bed.

But one thing that does help is heating up the oven to warm up the house and making some freshly baked goods. I purchased buttermilk to make cake last week, but since then, I’ve just had buttermilk sitting in the fridge. I hate when things go to waste, so I decided to make some delicious buttermilk biscuits! To make it even yummier, I added garlic flavoring and freshly grated cheddar.

Biscuits Cover

I’ve been told they taste like the ones from Red Lobster (I have to admit, I’ve only been there once, a long time ago, so I don’t actually know!). But I know people love the biscuits there, so I take it as a compliment! I’ve even been asked from a few people for the recipe so here it is!

Ingredients:
12 biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 6 tablespoons of cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 6 ounces of freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup of buttermilk, cold (can be substituted with whole milk)
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter (for brushing on)
  • Dried parsley (for sprinkling)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, garlic salt. Using your hands, mix the cubed butter the flour mixture until flour is able to form crumbs. Mix in the cheese. Add the buttermilk. Combine thoroughly.
  3. Drop the dough into 1/4 cup portions and bake for 16-18 minutes, until golden brown.
  4. Take the biscuits out of the oven, brush on the melted butter, and sprinkle the parsley. Serve these little delights warm.

Final

These treats take less than 30 minutes to whip up. Your home will smell deliciously of biscuits! Your belly will be filled with warm garlicky goodness! Promise you won’t be able to eat just one. Flakey. Crisp on the outside. Fluffy in on the inside.

If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, put them in the fridge and heat them up for 10 seconds in the microwave. It’s just as tasty!

What do you think? Is this something you can make?

Noms away!
Jay
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Recipe adapted from Handle the Heat

  

Halloween Potluck

How was your Halloween? I’d love to hear some of your costume ideas and what you did on this special occasion!

For my Friday, I hosted a Halloween Potluck at my house. I’m not usually a fan of potlucks, but for Halloween, I make an exception. I love to encourage people to use their noodle to come up with something creative, in this case, imagination with food.

Everyone had to bring a Halloween-themed food to the party. In the end, we had a lot of good food, and some too creepy to eat. Take a look!

First, drinks.

Drinks

Here are the amazing appetizers:

Halloweenies

Deviled eggs

Pumpkin vomit

Meatballs

Mummy Brie

And the delicious main courses:

Chili

Carcass

Pumpkin^^^ Pumpkin fried in salty egg yolk (It’s a Chinese dish)

Bat wings

Minced guts

And no meal is complete without dessert, and we had plenty!

Jello
^^^ Jello ^^^

Red Bean
^^^ It’s red bean paste from Japan

Mummy cakes

Zombie cake pops
^^^ My favorite item of the night because how cute are they!?!

After we filled our bellies, we watched Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (oh, that’s how the Emancipation Proclamation came to be) and Hocus Pocus (classic). As you can tell, we weren’t scary movie people at all, rephrase, just the girls, including me. Best part, I have some leftovers in my fridge that I’m still eating. Yay!

What are some of the potluck items that catch your eye? What are some other food ideas I can use for next year?

Now it’s November, and I’m already thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love this season!
Jay