I’m hosting a Halloween potluck for a few friends. They must bring a themed food/dessert/drink. It’s time to get creative! I’m excited to see what people come up with.
I’m making ribs, guts jam (my strawberry chia jam), mac & cheese with sausage fingers, monster balls (brussels sprouts), mashed potatoes shaped like a brain, and eyeball cake pops! I’ll update with pictures after tonight.
Cold weather means snuggling with your special someone, in my case my cat. Cold weather also means lazy weekends and a cup of hot chocolate while wrapped in a blanket. It also means hot soup to warm your body!
What’s one of the best soups around? Cioppino. SF is famous for this because of the abundance of fresh seafood. But going to a restaurant for a bowl of cioppino can sometimes mean a lunch or dinner of $25+. Ouch.
Instead, here’s a recipe so that you can make a HUGE pot of cioppino and eat it for a week for around $40. It’s a great meal by itself, and since you’re making such a large pot of soup, it’s great for dinner parties too (if you’re selfless and want to give up some of your soup!).
If you love seafood, this recipe will make you drool! It seems like a long list of ingredients, but I promise this recipe is so easy to do and so worth your time.
1 cup of butter
2 medium onions (chopped)
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley (minced)
2 cans (14.5 ounce) plum tomatoes (chopped and undrained)
2 bottles (8 ounce) of clam juice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons of fresh basil
1 1/2 cup white or red wine
12 clams (when picking fresh clams, make sure they are closed)
12 mussels when (picking fresh mussels, make sure they are closed)
1 pound of shrimp, head on and unpeeled
1 pound of bay scallops
1 pound of salmon – can substitute halibut or cod
3 packs of chorizo (10 ounce packages)
Salt and pepper for tasting
1. Melt the butter in a stock pot. Add the chopped onions, minced garlic, and minced parsley. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent (about 10 minutes).
2. Add both cans of chopped plum tomatoes, clam juice, basil, thyme, oregano, and wine.
3. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
4. While the stock is simmering, wash the seafood. If there are any mussels or clams that are not tightly close, dispose of them. Also, discard clams and mussels with cracked shells.
5. To clean seafood, soak clams with pepper to get out sand and grit, then let them soak in salt water for 10 minutes. Clean mussels by running through cold water and debeard (pull out the little fuzzies/stringy bits that are stuck on the shell). Rinse the scallops and shrimp in cold running water. I also like to cut off spikes and whiskers from the shrimp. For the salmon, debone and cut into bite sized chunks (easy to understand image below).
6. When your 45 minutes are up. Add chorizo and boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. I find that the chorizo adds a nice spicy and salty kick to the soup, so salt and pepper is not necessary.
7. After 60 minutes have rolled on by, add the seafood into the broth. Boil and reduce heat to low to a simmer for 8 minutes or until clams and mussels are open and shrimp curls up. DO NOT OVERCOOK your seafood or it has a rubbery texture. Remember that seafood continues to cook in the broth after stove is turned off.
8. Ladle the cioppino into soup bowls, grab a big spoon, and feast! Don’t forget the toasted bread!
The color of the broth is so pretty when cooking
The bones are located in a horizontal line where my finger is placed. If you lightly push against the meat, you will feel all the bones lined up
Simply take some tweezers and pull the bones out one by one along the horizontal line
All my seafood rinsed, cleaned, and prepped
A mouth-watering meal for the cold days!
If you’re nice enough, you’ll let some friends have a taste of your concoction!
Have you ever had cioppino? What soups are among your favorites?
I love the Fall/Winter season. For one thing, the weather gets colder so warm and comfy sweaters and boots. Secondly, the holidays – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.
It’s Halloween this Thursday! Halloween has always been one of those holidays where my parents decorate the house so the Fall/Winter fun kicks off on 10/31. Now that I’m married, MG and I get to start our own annual traditions. The pumpkin carving party started last year, and I really hope to continue this event year after year. We go to the pumpkin patch in the morning with friends, pick out our pumpkins, head home to rest a bit and snack on treats, then start the carving!
This year I decked out the decorations for the carving party. Our closest friends joined us, and we had a great time!
Holly, David, and I went to the patch together to pick out our pumpkins at Pastorino Farm and Lemos Farm in Half Moon Bay. MG wasn’t able to go since he had a bachelor’s party this year. It was the perfect day – some wind and lots of sun! We got there early too to avoid traffic. It’s always a joy to watch little toddlers running around while parents are trying to get pictures of them in the patch. Guess that will be me one day!
Here are some fun pictures from my iPhone. Sadly my camera died right before we got to the patch (newbie mistake)!
Special thanks to David for the next three pictures! Glad someone’s camera was working!
Do you go to the pumpkin patch every year? What do you like to look at?
Look at our carved pumpkins!
Which one do you like best? What did you carve this year?
So pretty when lit up! I sprinkled some cinnamon on the lids before lighting the candle. My house smells awesome!
We collected all the ooey-gooey-ness and cleaned off the seeds and made….
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!
Wash and dry your seeds. Add two tablespoons of melted butter, sprinkle garlic seasoning, pepper, and salt. Then roast them for 45 minutes at 300°, turning the seeds over every 15 minutes for an even roast. So crunchy and delicious!
To make things more fun, I adorned the house with some low cost, easy to do decorations!
Done over and over again, but definitely adds to the setting!
I found some cute mice wall decals at Target for $5 a pack (10-15 mice decals)
I’m really proud of this zombie blockade! I found a cardboard box and cut it into strips, then used a Sharpie and drew wood grain. I cut out hand silhouettes from poster and spray painted them black for the zombie hands. Looks really cool over a window or a fire place! What do you think?
I cut out and spray painted some extra hands and taped them against the banister so that it looks like zombies are reaching out to you as you walk up the stairs. It actually took 2 days to adjust to this because looking from the bottom of the staircase, it’s a bit terrifying.
Here’s an up-close shot
As I was spray painting the hands against a cardboard, the outlines turned out to be a pretty cool backdrop.
I placed this against a wall for some extra effect
Lastly, Halloween themed food is one of my favorite parts of this holiday!
Chocolate covered Chex with Candy Corn and Reece’s Pieces. This is such an easy to make snack! Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix into Chex evenly. Then add 3/4th cup of powdered sugar and evenly coat (I like to shake them in a Ziploc).
Blood shot eyeball deviled eggs. Use a toothpick and red dye to draw veins, use green coloring in the mashed up yolk, and olives for the pupils.
Spider deviled eggs with olives
Owl and brain cupcakes! The owl’s eyes are Oreos with Reece’s Pieces. Aren’t they so cute?
Brain cupcakes! Red velvet cake with strawberry filling/guts. Yum
Do you celebrate Halloween? What is your annual Halloween tradition? Anything you want to try from this post?
Are you a savory or sweet type of person? At night what do you crave the most?
I’m always craving salty foods. My favorite snacks include Cheeto’s, fries, and chips. My all time favorite snack? Beef jerky. It’s what I want all the time! Obviously there are days where I crave sweets. But if I’m craving sweets, it needs to be SUPER sweet. I’m talking chocolate cake with chocolate chips topped with chocolate fudge and caramel. Why so specific? Cause I just ate that… No joke. I’ll probably have jerky after the sweets though.
For you savory people, I came across the best beef jerky ever, and I want to let you know about it too!
It’s Jack Link’s Prime Rib Seasoning Tender Cuts. I could eat these all day. For some reason they are really hard to find at the stores. You always see the regular, pepper, or teriyaki flavors, but you need to do some searching for the prime rib one. Because of this, I actually buy these in bulk, 5 packages every time. I feel crazy when I go and check out. The cashier always looks at each of the bags to see what’s the big deal.
Do I look a bit crazy here?
The two places that I’ve seen this specific jerky is Walmart and Target. Promise they are good. Go buy a bag and let me know what you think about these tasty little treats!
Before we get into the revamp, I want to announce the winner of the Minion Hat costume giveaway. Congratulations Winnie Cheung! Cheetor will make a great Minion for Halloween. I will send you an email with shipment details.
Stay tuned for more giveaways coming up soon!
Now! I’m so excited to reveal my newest revamp – my updated storage unit.
It’s not the most intriguing piece of furniture, but I saw potential! With a bit of sanding and painting, the unit looks totally different now. Here I’ll provide detailed instructions on what I did. Maybe then you’ll be motivated to go purchase a storage unit for yourself and revamp it!
First off, bring your unit into a well-ventilated place because that spray paint is strong! I brought mine into the garage. Bring music because this is a 3-day process!
I then unscrewed the cabinet doors and took off the glass shelves. Keep the hardware in a brown bag so you don’t lose anything.
It’s so naked ^^^
Now start sanding! This will help paint stick to the furniture. Get every inch and all crevices. The shiny layer should be gone by the time you’re done.
Before you start painting, dust and wipe down the storage unit with a wet rag. Then take a a black spray paint or dark, dark brown and spray the edges. I did this so that there would be a more rustic look at the end. This part is optional, but I think it gives the unit more character.
The most important thing here is to get all the edges. I sprayed some middle parts too so that some black can show through later. Go crazy and have fun! Now let the spray paint dry for 24 hours. You’ll get to actually painting the unit once the spray paint is completely dry.
Use acrylic paint for this project because latex will not stick. Acrylic!
I love the wood grain look, so I painted in long strokes with the grain. You can see how the paint looks up close in this picture and how some of the black shows through.
I wanted my unit to look very antiqued. I took some fine grit sandpaper (220-grit), and carefully rubbed off some paint on the edges. Don’t be too rough or the black underneath will rub off too. The trick is, high grit and light pressure.
Do you like the edges like this?
Finally, once the unit feels dry to the touch, you can coat the storage unit with a finishing spray.
I used a matte finish from Rust-Oleum. This stuff stinks! Seriously, make sure you’re in a well ventilated area.
Time to wait for another 24 hours for the paint to dry. My patience is low, so this is the hardest part, especially since you’re so close to finishing!
Storage always seems to be a problem when you own a place! I put this unit in my living room, near my kitchen so that I could store appliances. Once I organize everything, I’ll have so much more counter space.
Drumroll, please! Here’s my final product:
What do you think?
Up close of the right side of the unit – I put in some cookbooks, wine, and kitty toys
You don’t get to see the inside because there’s a bunch of random things – like my rice cooker, crock pot, and tools. Ew, that’s why it’s hidden!
For your viewing pleasure, I’ve added a few decor items on the top – my beloved Jambox, a succulent plant displayed in a glass vase, my fruit bowl, and my cup holder that I purchased for 99 cents at the thrift store. I’m displaying my “J” cup!
Do you have a problem with storage and counter space at your house too? What do you think about this $20 unit revamp? Is this something you could do and will you be hunting for a piece of furniture to revamp now?
I’m back! After a weeklong vacation in Vancouver, I’m home. Ming-Gih and I decided to visit my grandma, my aunts, and my cousins in Vancouver. My Aunt Kathy from Ireland and my parents from Texas all flew up the same week, so it was a mini family reunion.
Look how cute my Grammy is!!!
The reunion – thanks everyone for making us feel so welcomed!
I captured a bunch of things we did while vacationing. Maybe you can take note if you are planning a trip up to Vancouver too. Loads and loads of pictures, so here we go!
We flew on Allegiant Air to Bellingham, Washington for about $140 round-trip, per person (this airlines has some great deals!). We rented a car and drove across the border into Vancouver. But before we went into Canada, MG and I looked for something to do in Bellingham, and lo and behold! We found a waterfall near the airport so decided to check it out. Really pretty scenery, and you know it’s good when there are three brides all taking wedding pictures in the area!
We are on the edge of glory here^^^! It was pretty terrifying looking down.
This shroom looks SO cool, doesn’t it?
The first night we got into Vancouver, we went to the Night Market. Thankfully, it was still open. During the winter time the market is closed. We got some delicious foods, and I bought some cute socks!
We needed a buddy system – the place was packed!
Here’s my buddy in front of the night market icon
Now for the food!
The cutest pork buns you will ever see!
Ramen ends the night perfectly, hot soup and noodles on a cold night
Vancouver is a seaport, so we were surrounded by lots of water. We went to their version of Fisherman’s Wharf.
How gorgeous is this?
You can buy lots of fresh seafood on the wharf. This man sells shrimp. This puppy sells fish!
We also went to Horseshoe Bay to look at all the Fall colors. I’m in adoration of all the Fall colors that are in Vancouver. Being from the Bay Area, it’s rare to come across yellowing and red leaves. It’s breathtaking.
Watching the kids play in the leaves made me really want to jump in too! Look at the little one sitting in the pile – cute!
Another shot of the scenic Bay
My handsome man on the pier ^^^
MG and I ventured to Whistler for a romantic getaway (as romantic as you can possibly get since I was stricken with food poisoning). Imagine taking bathroom stops every 20 minutes on a 2-hour drive… But the views of Whistler definitely made up for the unfortunate sickness. We went during off-season, so we got some extra attention from staff members. Dining at nearby restaurants was also affordable since it was off-season. A 5-course meal at Aura was only $30, and a 4-course at Rimrock Cafe was only $45 (our favorite dinner thus far).
We stayed at Nita Lake Lodge, and I highly, highly recommend this hotel. The hotel is clean, the staff is friendly, and the complimentary accommodations include bike, canoe, and kayak rentals. Our bathroom floor was heated stone, so every morning my toes were toasty. We also had a fireplace in the room and a kitchenette. If you’re ever in town, stay here!
Back view of the hotel
We took full advantage of the free canoe! Because it was off-season, MG and I were the only ones on the lake. It’s better than something from The Notebook!
That view ^^^ That reflection ^^^
I find this picture to be so amazing – it’s the reflection of the nearby trees along the lake.
On our drive back from Whistler to Vancouver, we made stops along the way to look at the views. That’s part of the fun during a roadtrip right?
This was during a weekday, near closing time so it wasn’t packed with tourists. I was able to get a picture of me on the bridge by myself! The bridge is 450ft across and 230ft above the river.
These totem poles look so cool! Can you find MG?
This walkway was called Treetop Adventures, and the bridge allows you to walk around the canopy of the forest.
The best part of the park was the Cliffwalk. You basically walk around the edge of, well, a cliff. MG has a height phobia, so this was the most intense part of the trip. He’s such a thrill seeker, that one!
For you foodies out there, here are some of the crazy things that we ate during the trip. It’s all Asian foods! When in Vancouver…
MG’s favorite – the buttered pineapple bun. Is that a stick of butter in the bread? Why, yes it is.
Hot pot at home and squab
HK toast and a big bowl of rice noodles!
Japanese style hot dogs – Nori, Japanese mayo, and teriyaki sauce
It was such a fun vacation, but I’m glad to be back! If you’ve ever been to Vancouver, did you do any of the above? What other things are recommended for my next trip?
Sushiland is one of my favorite places to go to in the East Bay. It’s cheap and the food is good. Weird right? Who would have thought there was good sushi in Hayward?
This is the perfect restaurant for a Friday date night. It’s a small, little shack on Mission, definitely something you would pass by if you weren’t looking for it. When you walk in, there are 8 tables and 6 bar spots. When it’s prime dinner time, expect there to be a line. Sushi rolls range from $6-10, bento boxes are less than $10, and the udon is so flavorful for a colder day and less than $10 too.
I almost don’t want to tell people about this place so that it doesn’t get so packed! It’s such a gem in the middle of Hayward. If you’re ever visiting me, this is probably where we’ll eat.
Crunchy roll for $6
This is my favorite dish – Salmon Kama for $5. It’s is the collar of a Salmon, flame-grilled, and the meat is so succulent! If you’re ever at a Sushi restaurant and they have salmon or hamachi kama on the menu, do yourself a favor and order it.
We come here at least once every two weeks. In the past month, we’ve gone every week. You could say we’re obsessed with this place.
What are you some of your favorite sushi spots? Who wants to dinner date with me at Sushiland?
UPDATE: Congratulations Winnie Cheung! You’re the winner of this costume giveaway! Thanks to all those who participated in this contest. Your pet can still be a Minion with this easy DIY. Happy Halloween!
It’s almost Halloween (only two weeks away)! I know you’re thinking only one thing – what costume should my pet wear? I got you covered with this DIY! Plus, enter a comment below and you can win one of these costumes for your pet!
After watching Despicable Me 2 and going around a few McDonald’s to pick up those Minion Happy Meal toys, I knew I had to make a Minion costume. Meet my little Minion, Chubs.
What do you think? This costume takes a little bit of sewing, cutting, and some hot gluing. Super easy, and I promise you’ll get a lot of “OMG, SO CUTE” reactions.
What you’ll need:
Felt (yellow, black, grey, and white).
Sewing machine (you can definitely hand-sew if you don’t have a machine)
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Black pipe cleaners
Let’s start out with the yellow felt. My cat is a small animal (10lbs), so I measured his head and cut a piece of yellow felt 9×7 inches. Then sew the edges together on both sides (follow the pattern below). I used a sewing machine, but this is easy to do by hand too.
Next cut black pipe cleaners into 2 inch pieces. Stick them through the top of the hat (you may need to snip a little hole at the top for the pipe cleaners to go through). I then bent the end of the pipe cleaners inside the hat, and hot glued them into place.
Now it’s time to sew the elastic onto one side of the hat. Then sew the velcro onto the loose end of the elastic, and sew the velcro onto the other side of the hat. Make sure your band is flat when it is velcro-ed together.
Finally, we can move on to the details. Let’s cut the other pieces of felt. Again, my hat is for a 10lb animal so my circle diameters are as follows:
I simply hot glued all the pieces together. First the eyeball, then the pupil, then the black bands, and lastly the grey glass.
Put it on your little minion, and take lots of pictures!
Is this something you can easily recreate? Are you thinking about making your little pet child a minion now?
As I mentioned earlier, enter a comment for this blog post, and you could win one of these small hats for your little pet. You’ll get it before Halloween! Enter now!
Only one entry per email. Email must be valid. Shipping address must be in the United States. This costume giveaway ends at 11:30pm PST on 10/22/13. Winner will drawn and announced on Wednesday, 10/23/13 at 12:00am PST via blog and email provided.
I have some crazy, super awesome, fricken fantastic, so excited, supercalifragilistic (get it yet?) news to tell you!
SOREL is currently hosting a Instagram contest, where users can submit photos of SOREL’s theme of the week. All you do is follow SOREL on Instagram, find out what the theme is on Monday, submit a picture of that particular theme, and add the hashtag #GetYourBootsDirty. If your photo gets chosen as the winner of the week, you win a pair of SORELs! I bet you want a free pair of boots to get you excited for the Fall/Winter.
So the LEGEND-wait for it-ARY news is that I was chosen as the winner for the week of accessories (2 weeks ago). I showcased my DIY Midi Rings and found out I won a pair of boots! SOREL was nice enough to let me choose which boots I wanted, and in one week, they shipped it to me. See how excited I am?
Before this contest, I had one pair of SORELs. They make great quality boots, and the best of all, they are waterproof, perfect for the winter in the Bay Area! Even better is that their style has improved season after season, and I love the new Fall looks. So when I got to choose my own pair, I couldn’t decide between the feminine but rugged style of the Joan Of Arctic Wedge Mid Boot or the military styled Scotia Lace Boot. It seriously took me all day to finally decide on which pair I wanted! The Scotia is definitely a good option for everyday wear, but how HOT am I going to look in those wedge boots? I love the grey tone and the low wedge will elongate my legs! Eep, I can’t wait to show them off once the weather cools down!
How gorgeous are these against the Fall background?
Look at the detail of these boots – swooooon!
These can be a bit daunting to wear, I get it. For some, it might be a bit too rugged, but I think that’s the beauty of the shoe. There are endless ways to create a look that’s more feminine so get creative! Plus the wedge definitely adds to the girly look! Here are three outfits that I put together for these boots. I put clothing details under each picture so it’s more convenient to buy (I’m a bad influence, wink). If you want to take breath-taking OOTD pictures like this, you can employ affordable services of photographers, like the Amazing family photography.
This is a great option for a casual, weekend look. A baggy shirt, chunky scarf, skinny jeans, socks, and a messy bun make for a very comfortable outfit.
What do you think about the boots? Which outfit is your favorite and which one would you wear? What other things would you wear to pair with these fabulous boots?
Now go enter into SOREL’s Instagram contest for a chance to win some boots!
Special thanks to SOREL for the Joan Of Arctic Wedge Mid Boot. I love them, and you’ve truly created a SOREL-for-life fan. All my love!
It’s time to unveil my recipe for brussels sprouts! It’s the season for these little veggie balls. Trader Joe’s is finally starting to sell the sprouts on stalks again!
I never understood why people don’t like brussels sprouts. If you buy an old batch, they can be a bit bitter, but with a bit of seasoning, the little cabbage balls can be so scrumptious. My mom never made me brussels sprouts growing up, so that could be another reason why I love them so much.
I call this recipe my Fat Girl Brussels Sprouts because there’s bacon in it. And who doesn’t love bacon? Bacon makes everything good. Duh!
Ingredients (only 3!):
Brussels sprouts (a little more than 2 dozen sprouts)
6 slices of bacon
3 cloves of garlic
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
2. Cut up the sprouts into bite size pieces. For the smaller ones, I halve. For the bigger sprouts, I cut into quarters. Try to fluff up the leaves a bit with your fingers. Place them into a big mixing bowl.
3. Cook the bacon in a pan until crispy.
4. As the bacon is cooking, mince the garlic onto the brussels sprouts.
5. Once the bacon is cooked, cool them until you can break the bacon into small pieces into your mixing bowl. Should be easy to do with your hands since the bacon is crispy. Then pour the bacon oil into the mixing bowl (that’s why it’s my fat girl brussels sprouts!).
6. Mix all the ingredients in your bowl until the sprouts are thoroughly coated with the oil. The oil may still be hot so be careful when mixing!
7. Now place parchment paper on a baking pan, and place all ingredients onto the pan evenly. Then put the pan into the oven for 40 minutes (time may vary as oven are all made differently). Basically, bake until brussels sprouts are soft on the inside.
8. Now broil the brussels sprouts in the oven for 2-3 minutes, until the leaves are golden brown and crispy.
9. Serve and eat!
Mince the garlic into the mixing bowl.
Pour in the bacon oil and mix all the ingredients together!
Into the oven they go!
How delicious does this look?
Yes, they are cooked with bacon oil, but this is a veggie so it’s healthy right? I promise that you’ll like brussels sprouts if you make this recipe.
How do you feel about brussels sprouts? Is this something you’re going to try? Are you hungry yet?