Halloween 2016

Happy Halloween!

I am taking a break on baby/newborn postings for a bit to showcase some Halloween fun! If you know me, you know that I’m a Halloween fan. What’s not to love about creative foods, crafting costumes, and using your noggin for fun ideas! When I first met my husband, he said it was weird for people to decorate for Halloween. Clearly he didn’t know me at all, because THAT’S WHAT I DO! Now that we’ve been married for 4.5 years, he appreciates this “holiday” a bit more. Goal complete.

We hosted a Halloween party last night on Hallow’s Eve for friends. A baby doesn’t change the fact that this holiday must call for a gathering. Crafted Halloween decor. Themed pot luck foods. Mandatory costumes. Success!

Just take a look at these amazing pictures. And of course, I have some new food ideas to share with you.

First the family costumes:

Snow White themed

Snow White themed

 

Stranger Things

Stranger Things

 

My barbie

My barbie

Right above my TV, I added floating candles this year! Here’s a great tutorial from Consumer Crafts. Instead of toilet paper rolls, I rolled up craft paper.

DIY floating candles

DIY floating candles

Now for the food ideas!

Back and front end!

Back and front end!

 

Ribs and Intestines

Rib of dead man and pot pie intestines

And how about these delicious mummy potatoes!

Twice Baked Mummies

Twice Baked Mummies

The dessert table

The dessert table

And you cannot forget:

Sangria - duh

Sangria – duh

My favorite new item that I made this year was the jar of eyeballs. So much fun and easy to do. Here’s the tutorial:

What you need: Jar, Can of Lychee, and Boba

What you need:

You can purchase a can of lychee at any Asian grocery store. With the Boba, you can buy a milk tea and just use the starch balls. Huge bonus, you get to drink the milk tea!

Directions:

  1. Drain the can of lychee into the glass jar
  2. Take out each lychee and stuff with boba
  3. Place the “eyeball” into the glass jar
  4. Fill the remaining jar up with water
  5. Create a label, display, and eat!
Delicious Eyeballs

Delicious Eyeballs

 

Jar of eyebals

Jar of eyebals

Easy and fun right? Now tell me, what are you doing this Halloween?

Sending haunts your way,
Jay

Battery powered flickering tea lights on Amazon here

  

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

  

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
—–
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

  

Progressive Dinner Activity

Remember that Progressive Dinner Activity I mentioned in my previous post (if not, here it is)? It’s a fun activity for a group of people 10+.

I’m in a fellowship group for my church. There are at least 5 groups in the East Bay, some with catered to families with kids. Occasionally, we’ll meet with other groups to get to know them a bit better, but it’s always hard to find an activity that we all enjoy (usually our activity will consist of food). This past Friday, we hosted something called a Progressive Dinner.

Progressive Dinner

Here is how it works – You have homes host an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. The host will cook the meals (preferably prior so they can join in on the fun), and the other groups will travel from home to home for each course. 3 Locations for 3 different courses, and everyone gets to travel to visit homes and enjoy food.

Our dinner was a bit more complicated since we had over 30+ people. Our variation was the 3 homes hosted all three courses, while the travelers would go from home to home. Different groups of people so that we could get to know everyone a bit better.

My group got fancy – we made menus for the table so that people could see what courses we were making. We also gave little goodie bags to everyone who came over (yup, overachievers!).

Our appetizer – Fresh crab cakes on a toasted Hawaiian bun with a dressed arugula salad

Crab cakes
^^^ Mounds and mounds of crab cakes!

Appetizer

Main course – Miso salmon on a bed of wasabi infused mashed potatoes and a side of seasoned green beans

Miso
^^^ Look at that glaze!

Main Course

Dessert – Cast iron s’mores (so easy and so fun)

Dessert

Smores

Smores Done
^^^ Mmm… Mmm… Mmm… Those crispy tops!

Then we gave out these cutie little goodie bags

Take Home

Goodie Bag

These treats were simple to put together – 1 graham cracker broken in half, half a Hershey’s bar, and 2 marshmallows, put together in a sandwich bag, and tied with twine and a tag. Want to recreate this? Just download and print my tag here!

What do you think about this activity? Is this something you can do? What are some other fun activities that big groups can partake in? Please give me some ideas because we need some fresh thinking!

With Love,
Jay
—–
Find my crab cake recipe here

  

My New Faves

Perhaps you’ve been to my house. So then perhaps you know I love snacks. That perhaps leads to you knowing what I do on my free time, hoard snacks. I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. There’s sooooo many snacks lying around my house, but I promise you I don’t snack often. I have more of a mentality of trying a snack, maybe eating a few pieces, and then it just sits in my house until visitors eat them.

In college I did the same thing. I even had an intervention. Once a roommate ask me why I don’t finish my snacks before purchasing more. What a strange habit right? I had to promise my husband that I wouldn’t hoard snacks when we got married. I was doing so well up until recently. I discovered the chip aisle again (muahaha!).

I’m sharing two of my most recent finds with you. Snacks that I like so much, I’m actually eating the entire thing!

First thing’s first. Lay’s is hosting their “Do Us A Flavor” campaign again. Users submit flavors and the top voted ones get put into the stores. Then you vote on which one will stay.

OMG the wasabi ginger chips are amazing!!! Honestly, it’s sushi on a chip. Once you get over the texture, basically it’s a crispy piece of sushi in your mouth, the flavor is fricken awesome. Obviously you need to like sushi in order to enjoy this flavor. It’s a good combination of wasabi and ginger, not one overpowering the other. I literally have to put my chips on a plate in order to control my portions!

Chips

Chips portion

I haven’t tried the other flavors yet (Mango Salsa, Cappuccino, and Bacon Mac n Cheese). Have you? If so, which ones do you recommend? I’m kinda interesting in trying cappuccino!

And now drumroll please! I’ve discovered Cookie Butter Ice Cream from Trader Joe’s. Have you ever had cookie butter before? It’s a brand of speculoos, which is basically a creamy spread of gingerbread cookies. Think peanut butter but with gingerbread. OMG – I die! So good to the point I can’t even describe it. I typically buy speculoos for crepes or just eating a spoonful for dessert. But Cookie Butter ice cream? That’s beyond me! Who’s the genius that came up with this… I want to shake his/her hand.

Cookie Butter

Ice Cream

Look at those amazing specks of cookie butter!

Speculoos

Seriously, these snacks are probably not helping with my training for my half marathon. But that’s okay! Running means I’m losing calories, which means I can have a higher calorie intake now. That’s my motivation for running… tehehe!

What are some of your favorite snacks? This is a bad question because I’ll probably try your recos and then I’m back at snack hoarding!

Munch away,
Jay

  

Happy One Year!

Birthday
Tassel garland DIY here

It’s been one year since my very first post. I can’t believe I kept up with posting on this blog for a full year, posting 3 times a week, scheduling posts to go live at midnight. I first started this blog when I was still a housewife, beginning to find new hobbies. This was one of them, and this one actually stuck. Sometimes posting was a pain. I would remember that I needed to write a new post around 11:45pm with only 25 minutes to go live. Those were some of the nights I had to stay up late in order have posts for readers the following day. It was more about my own self-discipline and trying to keep myself on a tight schedule. I knew if I was too lenient, I would continue to let myself slip. But I stuck with it! I’m really proud.

Today deserves a celebration. Happy one year to my little blog!

In lieu of today, I’m featuring some of my proudest posts. I love to look back and see what kinds of projects I’ve completed, recipes I’ve created, and reminisce at trips that I took. I hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane!

My favorite DIY projects:

1. The $10 Dresser Revamp (By far my favorite project so far)

Complete

2. The Ultimate Wire Holder (so useful)

Displayed

3. The Reupholstered Bench (seriously, talk about drab to fab!)

DSC01785

Here are my favorite recipes. These are staples at home!

1. The Legendary Steak (people rave about MG’s famous steak. I kid you not!)

Baking

2. Yummy Fruit Tart Recipe (This recipe has been pinned over 500+ times!)

Glazed

3. Light & Creamy Pasta Recipe (I just made this dish the other day; it never gets old)

Light and Creamy Pasta

And then there’s the many, many different trips I took this past year. Each and every one of them were so memorable. If you’re going to any of these places, check out my posts for ideas of what to do and eat!

After our trip to Europe, the travel bug bit me! MG and I just booked a trip to Japan and Hong Kong in October. We can’t wait to travel abroad again!

Thank you to all of you who read my blog. The support and love you’ve given me continues to spur my creativity. Keep coming back for more!!!

With all my heart,
Jay

  

Jay’s Baked Ribs Recipe

I’m a Texas girl at heart. I love meat, and I love BBQs. That’s how you can win me over. Easy!

Now that I’m in the Bay Area, I reminisce those days I ate at Rudy’s, and Salt Lick, and Franklin’s. I definitely took it for granted when I lived in Austin because BBQ was so easy to come by. It’s just not the same here.

But when I crave those things, I usually make something at home to satisfy. For instance, this week, I’m having a dinner party for friends, and I know the perfect thing to cook. Ribs! Who doesn’t love lip-smacking, juicy, fall off the bone, BBQ ribs?

Close up of ribs

At Costco, you can purchase 3 racks of ribs for about $25 dollars. Perfect for a dinner part of 6-8 people! With a few sides, like a salad, cornbread, potatoes, and corn, that’s the perfect Southern meal.

Here’s my easy peasy rib recipe. I’m not lying when I say simple.

Jay’s Baked Rib Recipe (3 ingredients only)

Ingredients:

  • Dry pork rub (Find one at the grocery store. It need not be expensive)
  • Pork ribs
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 300° F.
2. Peel off the membrane that covers the boney side of the ribs. The hardest part is finding an edge to start peeling, but once you do that, it should come off fairly easily. Look at corners for a piece to grip and peel. Otherwise, I like to cut the membrane with a knife between two bones and start to peel from the middle.
3. Now apply the rub on the front and back of the ribs. Be generous with the rub and coat evenly.
4. Lay the ribs on foil, meaty side down, and shiny foil out. Add another layer of foil on top and bottom and crimp the edges together.
5. Place the ribs onto a baking sheet and bake for 2-2.5 hours.
6. Remove from the oven, and put oven on broiler on high.
7. Cut ribs into serving sizes and brush on the BBQ sauce on every side of the ribs. Be super generous!
8. Place the ribs into the broiler, meaty side up and broil for 5 minutes, or until the ribs are charred to your liking.
9. Enjoy! And lick those fingers clean!

Membrane

Broiled

Done

Seriously so delicious! It really falls right off the bone.

Another option for this recipe is to grill the ribs instead of broiling. Gives it that yummy grilled taste. To keep things simple, because after smelling cooking ribs for 2.5 hours, I just use the broiler so it can get into my mouth quicker!

Craving ribs now? What are some of your favorite BBQ places to eat? Any recommendations for BBQ in the Bay Area?

I want my baby back, baby back…
Jay

  

Hearty Spezzatino

You can’t go wrong with a hearty bowl of soup. A warm and full belly after a perfect bowl of soup is one of my happy places!

I always keep raw chicken breast in my freezer. It’s such a universal meat that you can eat with just about anything, sandwiches, pasta, soup, grilled, stuffed, stir-fry; choices are endless!

This is one of those recipes that calls for chicken. It’s also one of those recipes that’s perfect for when you need to clean out the fridge. Lots of veggies leftover that are going back, just throw them into the soup.

By the way, this recipe gets better. It’s a one pot dinner, made in prepared and cooked in under 30 minutes. Best. Decision. Ever.

Pot

When I’m making this recipe for dinner, it gives me motivation to get through the day, something to look forward to when I get home. No judgement. You know you do the same thing. When there’s a tasty meal at home, you’re ready to finish work and get on home! Food is my motivation!

I dedicate this dear recipe to my friend, Judy Lu. She made this yummy dish for dinner, and I emailed her the day after for the recipe. Honestly, so delicious!

Serve

Hearty Spezzatino

Ingredients:

  • 4 pieces of bacon
  • 2 pieces of skinless chicken breast, cubed into bit size pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 12 oz. frozen artichoke
  • 2 cans of chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1/2 packed cup of fresh, chopped basil leaves (or 2 tablespoons of dried basil)
  • 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1.5 cup of elbow macaroni
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Salt & pepper for seasoning

Directions:

1. Cook the bacon until crispy. Set bacon aside to cool and then break into small pieces. This will be used to garnish.
2. Add some olive oil to the bacon grease, and then add the veggies (onions, garlic, carrots and celery) and 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. This is where you can add your extra, leftover veggies while you’re at it. Cook until the onions are translucent.
3. Add the chicken stock, basil, thyme, bay leaves, and tomato paste. Stir until combined.
4. Add the cubed chicken pieces and make sure it’s submerged into the stock. Let it boil, and then reduce to medium heat.
5. Add the frozen artichokes and the elbow macaroni. Simmer for 20 minutes until pasta is the way you like it. Be sure to check that the chicken stock does not completely evaporate. Add more stock if needed.
6. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the spezzatino into bowls and garnish with pieces of bacon.

Done


Yumm
^^^ I threw in some zucchini too! 

I love that dinner can be this easy. Getting home at 6:30 and dinner on the table by 7:30pm. It doesn’t get easier unless you buy Panda, right?

What do you think? What are some of your favorite on pot recipes?

Enjoy dinner!
Jay

  

One of my faves, Panda!

Don’t laugh. I love Panda Express!

Cookies

Okay, but let me first start out by saying, Americanized Chinese food is categorized differently than Chinese food. I don’t expect them to be the same. At Panda Express, I don’t expect to find hearty porridge, dim sum and/or Chinese bbq meats. I expect greasy chow mein, flavorful stir-frys, and fried foods. And who doesn’t crave that every once in a while?

When MG and I feel lazy (like this week), and all we want to do is sit in front of the TV all night, we get Panda! We always get too much Panda. Yes, it’s possible to get the meals (2 entrees with a side) for each person, but we love leftovers. We can eat leftovers for weeks after (no judgement). When we walked through to doors, we’re both on the same wavelength that we’re going to purchase more than enough food.

Looking at the a la carte menu, each large entree is $9.50 (dang). We saw that there was a family meal for only $30, which includes 3 entrees and two sides. It’s suppose to feed 5-6 people so that’s what we opted-in for!!!

Dinner

What we always order: Eggplant Tofu, Madarin Chicken, and Shanghai Angus Steak, and chow mein. I also love the hot & sour soup. This stuff never disappoints! 

Dinner

Obviously we eat on real plates and not paper. We’re not savages! We sat in front of the TV from 7-11pm and ate Panda – one of the best nights this week so far. I’m easy to please!

What do you think about Panda Express? Love it or hate it? What do you order?

Have a great weekend,
Jay