Happy to be back

I am officially back from hiatus and more ready than ever to dish.

A lot of changes have happened in my life recently and I can honestly say I have never been happier, which I figured would curb my creativity but it has done the opposite.  I am thrilled to share that I recently left my corporate job of almost ten years, which I despised and was sucking the heat out my veins with every passing day, in pursuit of a dream, which for now, is top secret.

I frequently have trouble falling asleep thinking about the possibilities.  I have never before felt such optimism, though I am still a fan of rain.

I am increasingly thankful every single day for this opportunity and I know that the one soul in the world who believes in me 100%, my hubby, has high expectations so I am making good use of my time toward making it happen.  

In the meantime, though, I am going to be posting more recipes and dining experiences and I am gonna share some of my attempts at being housewifey and maybe some crafts too.  I say attempts because I have never been super productive in crafting, despite having lots of ideas.  But now that I have a little more time on my hands, I will bring you along on my misadventures in that aspect of my life as well. I have changed the title, layout and categorizations within my blog to better reflect that.

This song is on heavy rotation in my head.

Biryani with Pineapple & Bacon Chicken Sausage

Every time my hubby and I go to Trader Joe’s, we pick up something new to try. Our latest product testing session led us to Briyani, which has rice, onions, peas, red pepper, apples, raisins, and spices.biryaniricedish

It is slightly spicy, curry-y and fat free. The delightful little peas retain their bite when the Biryani is cooked on a stovetop. I decided to pair the rice dish with slices of smoked chicken sausage and added an onion, garlic, Sri Racha, and a steamer package of broccoli and cauliflower florets for more flavor and texture.  Some cilantro sprinkled on just before serving adds some extra freshness.  Grab a mint when you’re done, though!

I made this as a quick weeknight meal in one pan. It is so simple to make, I can lay it all out in one paragraph:

In a large pan, place cauliflower and broccoli florets and add 1/4 c water, then cover to steam for a few minutes until fork-tender. Add half of a chopped onion and cook until almost transluscent. Add a teaspoon of minced garlic, 2 tbsp Sri Racha and toss in the sliced sausage, stirring occasionally until heated through. Add the bag of Biryani. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro.  Serves 4.

biryanidone

Mariscos al fresco

My hubby recently got promoted and we decided to dine out to celebrate.  Where did he decide to go?  A mariscos truck. 

Mariscos El Kiki has some of the best fish tacos and coctel de camaron I have ever had!  

We had a nice time dining al fresco in the parking lot of an industrial warehouse, using my car’s trunk as a table.  Food tastes better to me outside.

mariscos 1

Presenting the $1 fish taco

mariscos 2

Foreign Candy Friday: Strawberry Marshmallows

I came across these little marshmallows one day while browsing my local Japanese grocery store and had to try them. 

kitty 1

They are fluffy little pillows filled with strawberry jelly and are as tasty as they are adorable.  I highly recommend!

kitty 2

Spring rolls!

Everyone in my office is watching their weight, so when we planned out latest potluck, I had a hard time thinking of something portable, healthy and delicious.  I came across this recipe on thekitchn.com for Vietnamese Spring Rolls and decided to make some for my coworkers to indulge in without feeling guilty.  They were instantly a hit among my fellow office peeps.  Check out the link for the recipe.  Below are some of the photos I took of the process and some tips on getting those sticky wrappers to roll up pretty easily. 

I love all the colorful veggies that go into these.  As for my prep, I cut the cucumber and carrot into little sticks.  Slice thinly the radish.  I like to separate the various greens.  The recipe linked above includes red bell pepper, but I opted not to use it.  I added Thai basil leaves and Romaine leaves with the ribs removed.

spring 1

To marinate/season the veggies, you will use 1 part rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and 2 parts fish sauce to make up the seasoning for the carrots, radish and cucumber. 

spring 2

There was a pretty big selection of noodles at my local shop.  I picked these noodles based on their cool packaging.  Noodles will be placed into hot water for several minutes to soften. 

spring 4

I got too excited and forgot to take a photo of the rice paper wrappers.  They are hard, translucent, thin discs, which soften in hot water after a few seconds.  Only place the wrappers in the water one at a time, otherwise they will stick together and are difficult to separate.

Once the wrappers are softened, lay the wrapper gently onto a cutting board.  If the wrapper sticks to itself, dip into the warm water for a moment and it will unstick.  Start piling your fillings as close to the bottom edge as possible.  Begin with the lettuce leaf, then the veggies, noodles and finally the herbs. 

spring 8

Start rolling the wrapper around the filling, tucking with your fingers as you go, to get it as tight as possible.  Roll twice over the filling, then fold the two ends over and you will have something that looks like this:

spring 10

Keep rolling and one is done.  Place the finished rolls on a moist towel to keep them from drying out.  I made these vegetarian, but you can add cooked shrimp, shredded pork or chicken.  Accompany with spicy peanut sauce.

Foreign Candy Friday: Yorkie

I was inspired by an experience I had at work the other day in which a coworker stopped me on my way out, pulled me over to the hallway and quietly (in a drug dealer kinda way) offered me 5 different Mexican candies, which he said he was nervous to try and was therefore going to either give them away or put them in the trash.  I didn’t want to stay, and frankly, wasn’t in the mood to change his view, so I took them, told him they were delish and left the office annoyed but trying really hard not to judge my coworker as an ignoramus.  I had the idea as I was driving home, to feature a different candy from around the world on my blog every week because I’m not afraid to try something new even if I can’t read the label.

This sexist candy bar was made available in my local Fresh and Easy market so I decided it would be an interesting first entry to this new weekly feature, Foreign Candy Friday.  Yorkie is a chunky milk chocolate bar, which was marketed as being “not for girls”, and even had an image of a female in a crossed out letter “O” on the wrapper, spelling out the name of the bar.

yorkie

The chocolate is creamy and has a nice chocolate flavor, although nothing special.  The sexist slogan was done away with a few years ago.

yorkie2

Below is a Yorkie commercial:

Lox bagel

I love waking up lazily on a Sunday morning and making my way to the kitchen to toast a bagel and layer goodies on it. I recently made my own gravlax and got to enjoy this amazing treat.

Lox Bagel

  • You favorite savory bagel – I used sundried tomato
  • Spreadable cream cheese
  • Capers
  • One red onion, sliced thinly
  • One tomato, sliced
  • Gravlax

Toast the bagel to your liking.  Spread cream cheese, sprinkle capers, layer red onion slices, tomato slices and finally gravlax.  Enjoy.

lox6