Name Game

Our (not so) secret stash of sweets. Name as many candies as you can!


Easy French Toast

Just add fruit!

We love French Toast for breakfast, especially since it is very easy to make, and we always have leftover bread around the house. Add fruit and a hot cup of joe... perfect!

What you need:
  • 2 to 3 slices of bread
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • butter or non-stick spray
  • syrup

What to do:

Lightly whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon and sugar in a shallow baking pan. Make sure the cinnamon is distributed evenly.

Place a flat-bottomed pan or skillet over medium heat. Grease it with a thin coat of butter or non-stick spray. Dip the bread on the egg-milk mixture for a few seconds to let the bread to absorb the liquid. Flip to coat the other side.

Transfer bread slices to the pan and wait a minute or two before turning. Remove from heat and serve with butter and syrup.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Any kind of sliced bread will do, but Texas Toast is recommended as it could absorb more liquid (more yumminess).
2. Substitute sugar with honey for a deeper sweet taste.


Fruit Bowl

Look for the crushed raspberry!

There's really no recipe for this fruit bowl. I just gathered some fruits and tossed them in an empty half of a cantaloupe skin. It's delicious and refreshing. And so healthy for you, too.

What you need:
  • red grapes
  • green grapes
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • pineapple
  • mandarin oranges (in syrup, canned)

What to do:

Wash the grapes and strawberries. Remove the top part of the strawberries and cut the them in quarters. Set aside. Slice the cantaloupe in half and save the skin for use as a bowl later. Cut the cantaloupe, watermelon, and pineapple in bite-size pieces.

Toss all of the fruits in the empty cantaloupe skin and add a tablespoon or two of the syrup from the mandarin orange can. Refrigerate fo
r at least 30 minutes and enjoy.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Add any fruit you want. It is a free for all.
2. Instead of the syrup from the oranges, try using orange juice or raspberry syrup. The raspberry syrup worked well for me when I
tried it. ;-)
3. Raspberries will stain your counters (and clothes)! Eat like a princess. (Hahaha)

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Lomi Soup

I cooked this Lomi Soup on a hot summer day (which I think was weird) but we enjoyed it nonetheless. Despite the lack of traditional ingredients, it still tasted so yummy. I used tapioca vermicelli (the fat kind) because I couldn't find lomi noodles in our local Asian store.

What you need:
  • 1 pound chicken breasts
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced in matchsticks
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • dash of ground pepper
  • patis or salt, to taste
  • 3 stalks of green onion (for garnish)

What to do:

Boil the chicken breasts for about 20 minutes, then let cool. Set aside the broth. Once the boiled chicken is cool enough to touch, shred or pull it.

In a pot over medium-high heat, saute the garlic and onion in 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the carrots and chicken, and once it boils again, add the noodles. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the noodles are al dente.

Season with patis (or salt) and pepper according to your taste. Remove from heat and pour in the beaten eggs in a thin stream while stirring. Add the sesame oil. Serve in bowls and garnish with green onions. Enjoy!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Traditional lomi has cabbage, que-kiam, and pork livers.
2. Add other veggies like snow peas or celery.
3. Next time I make this, I will add hard boiled eggs and fried garlic as garnish. Mmmm.


Creation Critters with Mr. Ron Yeater

Mr. Ron Yeater

I had the chance to meet and talk to Mr. Ron Yeater up close and personal today during his visit to our church activity . He is a regular speaker in our weekly Chapel in school, and he is also an animal lover. He brought some of his "exotic" animals to our summer program in Church, and the kids just loved it.

What I liked most about it is how Mr. Yeater told the kids that all animals, even the weirdest-looking or the most exotic ones are created by God and each and every one of them is special.

Mr. Yeater and his 2-year old gator (notice the gator's taped mouth)

He brought a milk snake which scared me at first because I thought it was a coral snake, but he quickly let us know the difference - the non-venomous milk snake has black alternating bands, while the deadly coral snake has yellow alternating ones. After getting home and reading more about it, I found this rhyme that would help me remember which snakes to avoid - "Red next to yellow will kill a fellow, red next to black venom lack."

Milk Snake and Coral Snake

Should you wonder why I am keen on learning about snakes, it is because I know for a fact that we have a black racer snake lurking in our garden, which is fine by me since these snakes are non-venomous and helps control the rodent/frog/insect population in that area. Once I was walking in our garden and noticed a black hose on the ground (which made me wonder since most of our hoses are green), but the "hose" slithered away before I had the chance to grab it (thank goodness!). Son also saw some snake skin shedding by our barn so I am hoping that it belongs to our snake friend and not from some other venomous type.

I spy a snake skin by the barn

Going back to Creation Critters, here are some of the animals that he brought (all of them are non-venomous, though):

Bearded Dragon

Albino Hedgehog

Hairless Rat

Spotted Gecko

At the end of the day, everything happens for a reason. Go
d knew what he was doing when he gave the turtle a hard shell, or the hedgehog its prickly spines. Weird as they might seem, these critters are all loved by God, so we should take care of them.

Mr. Yeater and his python

Visit Mr. Yeater's site at

And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. -Genesis 1:31

Photo credits:


The Lebanese Taverna

In search of a good meal, we tried this restaurant called "Lebanese Taverna." The menu looked good, the place seemed authentic, and it wasn't that crowded (at least when we got there) so we decided to give it a go.

Hubby loves Lebanese food, and we have a regular place that we go to, so I was excited to see how this taverna would match up to our favorite Lebanese place.

Traditional Mezza

The menu looked impressive, and we wanted to have a bit of everything, so hubby ordered Traditional Mezza which is a sampling of hommous, tabouleh, grape leaves, falafel, m'saka, baba ghanouge, lubieh bel zeit, sambousik, and kibbeh. In case you are wondering, "mezza" is appetizer in Arabic.

This Shawarma dish blew me off!

I ordered my favorite - a dinner portion of Shawarma, which is marinated lamb and beef roasted slowly on a rotisserie, served with tahini sauce, lettuce, tomato, and rice.

Modern Baklawa

For dessert, hubby ordered Baklawa and I ordered a traditional Arabic dessert called Um Ali.

Warm and yummy um ali!

What I liked:

- Very authentic. Even the servers were Lebanese. And they were very knowledgeable about the menu (I asked how they cooked the rice and she told me all about it).
- The food looked good. They didn't seem to be trying to be fancy or anything, they just prepared the food in a very simple yet appetizing manner.
- The sambousik (meat pie) and falafel were exceptionally delicious. In fact, they were my favorites of the meal.
- The rice was cooked perfectly, with a distinct taste that I really loved.
- The desserts were scrumptious! They were traditional, and yet prepared with a modern twist. The baklawa was rolled like a cannoli, and was served with a drizzle of raspberry sauce and a scoop of ice cream.
- The um ali was warm with decadent topping, and was served with pistacchio ice cream, crushed pine nuts and pistacchio nuts.
- Prices were a bit on the expensive side, but not unreasonable. Remember, you get what you pay for.
- All in all, the food was great!

What I didn't like:

- There was only 1 grape leaf on the platter.
- The baba ganouge is a little bit tangy for my taste.
- I ordered small rack of lamb from the menu, but they were out. :-(

The verdict:

If you are looking for authentic Lebanese cuisine, The Lebanese Taverna is a must. The service is good, the place is neat, and the food is excellent. Would I recommend it to friends? Yes. Oui. Si. Absolutely! Would I come back and eat there again? In a heartbeat.


No Diving Please!

Oh man!!! I really wanted to show off my diving skills on that 0 inch part of the pool!

Hubby said that this is the most well-placed diving sign ever.


Strawberry Brown Bettys

A Brown Betty is a pastry dessert that is usually made of apples and sweetened bread crumbs. It is also traditionally served with whipped cream. But since I am trying to watch my diet, I decided to have it without whipped cream. I also substituted apples with strawberries because I find cooking apples a bit too tart.

It was delicious, and I loved having it for breakfast everyday. And lunch. And dessert. You get the drift.

What you need:
  • 3/4 stick salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 slices wheat bread, crusts removed
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup Panko
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, rinsed and quartered

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium-heat. Once melted, reduce heat to medium low. Keep an eye on the pan until the butter starts to change its color to golden brown. Stir frequently, scraping the bits on the bottom. If the aroma starts smelling nutty, remove the pan from the heat.

Grease your muffin cups with butter or non-stick spray. Roll bread slices with a rolling pin to flatten. Brush both sides of the bread with the brown butter, sprinkle some sugar, then gently fit into muffin cups, like so:

In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the brown sugar, lemon zest and Panko. Add the strawberries and toss to coat. Stir in the remaining brown butter. Using a spoon, fill the cups with the strawberry-breadcrumbs mixture.

Best lemon zester I have ever tried. From Williams-Sonoma, around $20.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Then remove the foil and continue baking for about 10 more minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Place on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Roll your bread slices as thin as you can so it gets a bit crunchy when baked.
2. Use white instead of wheat bread.
3. When zesting the lemon, scratch lightly. Else, you will get the pith (the white part) and it doesn't really go well with pastry (or anything else, for that matter).
4. 1/2 teaspoon of zest is approximately 1/2 medium-sized lemon.
5. Don't throw away your squeezed-out lemon. Cut it in smaller pieces, put it into the disposal, and let it run. The lemon will disinfect your sink (makes it smell better, too!).
6. Use coarse bread crumbs if you don't have Panko.

Recipe adapted from: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook


Plush Gang Funnies: Father's Day

Cat is looking for a Father's Day present for her dad from the catalog.

Happy Father's Day to all dads! Praise and glory to our Heavenly Father, who created all wonderful things on Earth.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. - Ephesians 6:4


Corn Salsa

We had leftover grilled corn on the cob, and a friend challenged me to make something out of it, so I decided to make this corn salsa. It's delicious and fresh, and I didn't really feel the need for tortilla chips because of the corn.

What you need:
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 1/2 of a large red onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 5 - 8 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

What to do:

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for an hour, or at least 15 minutes to give time for the ingredients to soak up the different flavors. Enjoy!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Before buying a lime (or lemon), give it a little squeeze. The softer it is, the more juice it has. Avoid buying hard ones.
2. To get the most out of your lime, place it between your palm and the counter and give it a few rolls. Or stick it in the microwave on high for 20 seconds before cutting it.
3. Need a little heat? Add red pepper flakes to your salsa.
4. If you feel that your salsa is a bit dry, add more lime juice.


Chorizo Fried Rice

Sifting through my pantry is one of my favorite activities because I am always surprised at the "treasures" that I find in the nooks and crannies. Case in point - this unopened chorizo package that I found a few days ago. I love having it in stock because you never know when you need some meat in your meal.

So after trying to guess how long the chorizo has been there think of a good way to cook it, I decided to just use it in plain ole' fried rice.

Don't worry, though. Spanish chorizo contains pimenton - a Spanish smoked paprika that is responsible for its color and seasoning, and also makes the sausage last longer without refrigeration.

What you need:

  • 2 to 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 pieces chorizo, sliced
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Five-Spice powder
  • salt, to taste

What to do:

Heat olive oil in a large wok over medium high. Put in the garlic and chorizo, saute for about a minute. Add the cooked rice, corn kernels, scrambled eggs and peas. Continue cooking until the rice is heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir frequently so the rice won't stick on the bottom of your wok. Season with the five-spice powder and salt. Cook for another minute, then remove from heat. Serve and enjoy!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. No need to add more oil - chorizo is naturally oily.
2. The yellow tinge of the chorizo might stain your counters. Be sure to wash dishes immediately, especially if using plastic.
3. It would be better to cut the scrambled eggs in little pieces before adding it to the wok.
4. Five-Spice powder has a distinct oriental taste. Try with just a small amount at first, and if you like it, then feel free to add more to your fried rice.


Product Review: Hershey's Special Dark Pieces

Hershey's recently launched a new line call
ed Pieces. They are described as "candy in a crunchy shell." The brands they included in the Pieces line are Reese's, Almond Joy, York and Special Dark.

Photo credit:

I wasn't really interested in it, but I had a $2 off coupon, and the candy was just $2.99 so I decided to try it to see if it was worth my buck.

What I am really curious about is the fact that Hershey's discontinued the Kissables line which was very similar to the Pieces products, and yet created this "new" line. The only difference was the shape - Kissables w
ere shaped like the traditional Hershey's Kisses chocolate, but was candy coated. I actually liked it. Oh well. Some good things never last.

Photo Credit:

After trying the Hershey's Special Dark Variety,
here are my two cents worth.

What I liked:

- The Dark variety. We all know that dark chocolate contains more cocoa, flavonoids, and other supposedly healthy stuff. Yeah! The perfect excuse to stuff my mouth with more chocolate!
- Reasonably priced. The 297g pack costs $2.99 which is ok compared to M&Ms.
- The chocolate center is smooth. It's not silky like Dove or Godiva, but regular Hershey's standards.
- Just 180 calories for 50 pieces. Wow.

What I didn't like:

- The colors are bleak and ominous. Red, brown and maroon. Come on. They're not even shiny and pretty like M&M's shells. They probably couldn't have it in rainbow colors cause the M&M's lawyers would be at their tails in no time.
- The shells are thicker than M&Ms. And these shells are made of sugar so it made the candy sweeter than I would have preferred.

The verdict:

The Hershey's Special Dark Pieces are excellent, especially if you like the Hershey's line of chocolate. It adds crunch to the same old flavor we love. But I would still stick with M&M's cause I prefer their thin candy coating. Hershey's tried (and failed?) the crunchy shell avenue before, just a proof that the M&M's brand is still top dog at the candy coating division.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Sure, if I know that they like Hershey's. Would I buy it again? I would consider it if they make a Milk Chocolate version. And only if I have a $2 off coupon.


Piggies in a Blanket

This must be the easiest and fastest recipe ever. So easy, that it just seems so wrong that a no-brainer recipe like this could taste oh so good! Once you start popping them in your mouth, it would take all your willpower to stop.

What you need:
  • 1 can (8oz) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 6 pieces Nathan's hotdogs

What to do:

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut hotdogs in half crosswise. Set aside. Separate dough in triangles. Wrap the dough triangle around each hotdog. Repeat this process until you have used all your wieners/dough. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Put half a slice of American cheese on top of the hotdog before wrapping with dough. Yum.
2. Dip in mustard with a bit of mayo.
3. If using Pillsbury Big & Flaky large refrigerated crescent dinner rolls, use large hot dogs and bake at 350°F. for 16 to 20 minutes.
4. Feel free to use any brand of hotdog you want. But I strongly suggest Nathan's. They are the best!


Strawberry Salad

A friend of mine shared with us a recipe of Spinach and Strawberry Salad. It was delicious, and the hit at lunch. The tartness of the strawberries blended well with the sweetness of the dressing, add to it the crunch and flavor that the almonds brought.

This is my version of the salad, but inste
ad of using just spinach, I used my favorite salad blends, then tweaked it according to our preference.

What you need:
  • 10 ounce package salad blends, washed and dried
  • 1/4 cup sliced honey-roasted almonds
  • 1 pint strawberries, quartered

For the dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons strawberry jelly

What to do:

Toss together the salad blends, almonds and strawberries in a large salad bowl. Set aside.

In a small glass dish, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, oil, poppy seeds, and strawberry jelly. Whisk well, or shake if using a jar with a tight lid.

Dress the salad right before serving.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. I used 2 teaspoons of jelly because the strawberries were a bit tart. If you find your strawberries sweet, feel free to reduce the amount of
jelly to 1 teaspoon.
2. If using spinach instead of salad blends, add 1/2 medium cucumber, diced.
3. You can use white wine vinegar instead of red.


Semi-Homemade Beef Caldereta

This version of Beef Caldereta is semi-homemade due to inavailability of some ingredients. Traditionally, caldereta uses chicken liver or liver pate. Since I can't get those ingredients from our local grocery store (not to mention I don't think hubby will eat it), I decided to use a store-bought mix to get the flavors that I'm missing.

It actually ended up pretty good, however, it is not as spicy as I thought it would be.

What you need:
  • 2 pounds beef brisket, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 pouch (50g) Caldereta Mix
  • 3 red potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 3/4 cup peas
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

What to do:

Heat the vegetable oil in a pot. Over medium-high heat, pan-fry the beef brisket until brown. Add beef broth, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on the size of your beef chunks. Add more broth, if necessary. Halfway through the cooking process, put in the potatoes and carrots.

Add the Caldereta Mix and stir. Simmer for around 10 minutes. Then add the rest of the vegetables. Cook until done, about 10 - 15 minutes more. Serve hot with rice. Yummy!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Use water if beef broth is not available.
2. Don't add more beef broth if you want a thicker sauce.
3. Pitted green olives are a good addition to this recipe.
4. Cut the meat and veggies in uniform sizes for even cooking.


Special Breakfast

Hubby had these waiting for me when I woke up one Saturday morning...

It was really so sweet of him to make pancakes, eggs and grits for me. But then again, guess who cleaned up and did all the dishes?


Lechon Bicol Express

I had some leftover oven lechon and I didn't want to make the usual paksiw, so I made "Bicol Express." Furthermore, a fellow blogger posted his Pork Strips in Spicy Coconut Milk recipe on his blog which also served as my inspiration for this dish.

This is not really the traditional Bicol Express, as the real one would have twice as much chili peppers and other local ingredients. Instead it is a milder Americanized version. It reminds me of the Bicol Express that I used to order at Max's Restaurant, but theirs is just so insanely good because of the crunchy pork skin.

Hubby loved the mild spice and savory taste of the pork with the subtle sweetness of the coconut milk. Oh, and did I mention I made this from leftover lechon?

What you need:
  • 1 lb. oven-cooked lechon
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 finger chilis, sliced diagonally
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks of green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon Canola oil

What to do:

Cut the cooked lechon into bite-size pieces. Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add the oil. When hot, add the garlic, Vidalia onion, ginger, chili peppers and green onion. Saute for about a minute, then add the lechon. Season with salt and continue cooking for about 2 to 3 minutes more. Pour in the coconut cream and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with hot rice. Enjoy!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. If you want more heat, add more chili peppers!
2. For less heat, remove the seeds of the chili pepper and soak the peppers in salted water for about 10 minutes.
3. You can experiment and use other kinds of chili peppers. Just remember - the smaller the pepper, the hotter it is!
4. Add cilantro leaves for a deeper flavor. Just toss it in along with the green onion.


Moqueca de Peixe (Brazilian Fish Stew)

First, I apologize for the picture. The plate I made was kinda' soupy (that's the way hubby likes it), and as a result, the ingredients weren't highlighted when I took the picture. But trust me, it tastes amazing! I kid you not.

Hubby and I had dinner one night at a Brazilian restaurant called Bossa. He ordered Moqueca de Peixe which is Brazilian Fish Stew, and was so impressed with it that he asked me to cook the same dish at home. Of course, I couldn't duplicate the restaurant's recipe, so I just copied Emeril Lagasse's recipe - with some tweakings, as usual!

And because of the oil spill fiasco, I still don't feel safe eating fresh seafood, so I opted for the next best thing - I bought a frozen one. I used the belly part of a milkfish (safe for consumption - caught in Philippine shores) which is meaty and delicious.

What you need:
  • 1 pound fish, cut into 2-inch squares
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup roughly chopped tomato, plus 1 tomato sliced 1/4 inch rounds, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/8 cup Piri-Piri sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup coconut milk

For the Piri-Piri sauce:
  • 1/2 tbsp + 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes

What to do:

Prepare the Piri-Piri sauce first. Heat a small saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and red pepepr flakes, saute for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add lemon juice to the pan and remove from heat. Place the contents of the saute pan in a blender and add salt. Puree. Drizzle the remaining olive oil. Transfer to a container and set aside.

Put the fish in a shallow container. In a blender, combine the chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, 1 teaspoon salt, and the lime juice. Blend until smooth, then pour on top of the fish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to the pan then add the onions. Saute until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often. Toss in the minced garlic and saute for an additional 30 seconds. Pour the fish (including the marinade) into the pan, add the remaining teaspoon of salt, the Piri-Piri sauce, and the coconut milk. Stir well to combine.

Once the liquid comes to a boil, put the sliced tomatoes on top of the mixture and cover the pan with a lid. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the fish is tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve hot.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Use four pieces finger peppers (seeded) instead of red pepper flakes for the Piri-Piri sauce.
2. Substitute milkfish with red grouper, flounder, escolar, or any white-fleshed fish.
3. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves before serving - adds a kick to the dish!
4. Add or lessen the amount of red pepper flakes according to your heat preference.


Tofu Salad

We wanted to take a break from meat so we decided to go vegetarian for a night. This Tofu Salad is packed with flavor, and very healthy for you too!

What you need:
  • 1 14-oz pack firm tofu, rinsed and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 8 cups salad blend
  • 1/2 cucumber, cubed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

For the dressing:
  • 3 tablespoon Canola oil
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

What to do:

In a small bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients. Over medium-high heat, put 2 tablespoons of the dressing in a non-stick frying pan. Place the tofu in the pan and cook it in the dressing (instead of oil) for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. If you feel that the dressing is drying up, add more to the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a bowl, toss all the veggies with the remaining dressing. Top with the warm tofu and serve immediately.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Keep an eye on the tofu - it burns easily.
2. Firm or extra firm tofu works best in this recipe.
3. Make the dressing a day in advance to give the flavors more time to meld together.
4. Don't forget to dry off the tofu with a paper towel before slicing it to avoid splatters when frying.


Queen of the Night

I saw this beautiful flower in my garden one day, and how ironic that it was growing from an unsightly cactus.

Actually, I have been eyeing those buds since they started sprouting from the cactus. I got excited after seeing a number of them in
varying stages of development. But for some strange reasons, I always see them either in a "just about to bloom" stage or withering stage.

I got lucky one day when I went out to the
garden very early in the morning and saw a flower in full bloom (or so I thought). I took a couple of pictures, put one in a container with some water, and brought it to school. After about 2 hours, the flower has withered and died.

So I did some research and found out that this beautiful and fragrant flower is called "Queen of the Night" or "Nightblooming cereus" (Peniocereus greggii). The Desert USA website has this to say about this mysteriou
s flower, which would explain it all:

"One of the strangest plants of the desert, the Night-blooming Cereus is a member of the Cactus Family that resembles nothing more than a dead bush most of the year. It is rarely seen in the wild because of its inconspicuousness. But for one midsummer's night each year, its exquisitely scented flower opens as night falls, then closes forever with the first rays of the morning sun."

It is just so awe-inspiring that God created this beautiful flower for us to enjoy for a single night. And from a plant known for its prickly thorns, nonetheless. There are a few more buds on the cactus, and when they have all bloomed, I should have to wait for another year before I see them again.

"God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good." ~Genesis 1:31

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