Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkey Day

I hate when people call Thanksgiving "Turkey Day". It isn't all about the turkey, it is about family. I also have this thing where I can't stand it when people give things new names (like turkey day.) Why can't we just call it what it is? Anyway, I already used "Thanksgiving" as a post title so I went with the popular term for Thanksgiving. Random rant over and done with!

Thanksgiving is only THREE days away! I am looking forward to the meal and the baking and cooking and hopefully this holiday will help it feel like the Christmas season in our house. We don't have any Scrooges in my family but no one seems to care and I can't care enough for the whole house! Here's hoping.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Name?

I'm thinking of renaming by blog. When I started I couldn't think of a name and came up with the one I have now. I don't really like it so I thought I might change it. While at dinner tonight we were both full but still wanted dessert. Brandon said, "There is always room for dessert." I thought that would be a great name for this blog since when I blog about food it is mostly dessert. Does anyone have any thoughts on this new name? Any other ideas? Please help, my current name is lame!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I freaked out a little bit yesterday when I realized Thanksgiving was a mere two weeks away! How did this happen? Somehow it is almost Christmas! I am really looking forward to the holidays this year because last year my dad was sick and in the hospital and our holidays kind of sucked. I told my mom we should go all out this year (at least with the decorations around the house) and she agreed! I am anticipating some fun days of decorating ahead.

For Thanksgiving this year we are most likely celebrating with some of my parents' friends and some of their family. This means that we will be making more food and my mom and I are going to be perfectionists in the kitchen. We are also having some non-traditional foods this year.

We are making a goose instead of a turkey and I am really excited to try goose as I have never had it before. Along with that we may be making some sort of fish as a second main course. We plan to roast vegetables and make traditional stuffing. Since the Cinnamon Pear Bruschetta was such a hit I am making that again for dinner. I knew when I made the Brownie Cheesecake that I wanted to make a pumpkin version for Thanksgiving and I found the exact recipe that I needed. Now that we are having dinner with others I have to get candy melts and decorate the cheesecake, but that is OK by me! For a second dessert I want to make these Apple Tarts. They are from Alton Brown so you know they will be good and easy to make.

I think we are going to end up with way too much food but I also think it is going to be a lot of fun. I only know these friends of my parents' in passing but they sound like good people. You can bet that I am going to be taking photos galore so there will be plenty to see in a few weeks.

On a slightly related note: this upcoming week KOST 103.5 should start their 'Month Long of Christmas Song'. I am of course more than ready to start listening to more Christmas music. Brandon is less than enthused. He knows that whenever we are in the car, whether in our car or in my mom's car, that station will be on and we will be singing along with Bing and Nat and everyone else. I <3 Christmas!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Week of New Things

This past week my parents went on a cruise to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. This left me and the boys (my husband and my brother) alone and me responsible for dinners. Feeling a little ambitious, I chose a menu comprised entirely of dishes I had never made before (except for pizza but that ended up not working so we had pasta.)

Some of these dishes came out better than others. Here are the dishes and my thoughts on each:

Stuffed Potato Pancakes-Great idea in theory but I must have done something wrong because they weren't that great. Aside from the fact that shredded potato oxidizes really quickly and turns kinda pink and then black after a while, this dish didn't really have any flavor. Also, the potato cakes soaked up all the oil used to fry them so they turned grey. I plan to try this again in the future, maybe asking some questions of the person who posted this dish first. No photos because they were too ugly.

Chocolate Chip Dream Bars-These were amazing! I accidentally over-baked them a little and they were still delicious. These have great flavor because, unlike a standard cookie bar, they have a crust and this crust was basically brown sugar and butter (and of course, my ever-present Pumpkin Pie Spice.) All in all, very delicious and a recipe I will keep and most certainly make again. Here are some photos:

You can see how crispy the top got; do not over-bake!
I actually made these twice within one week, they were so good I had to make them again! The second time I used less chocolate because it was all I had left and I was careful not to over bake them. This resulted in a much chewier texture that was similar to pecan pie filling. I thought this was very interesting and delicious!

Marinated Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry-I wasn't too impressed with this when I first made it, but after I was done eating I decided it was really good. The vegetables I used were bell peppers (red and yellow), broccoli, bok choy (yum!) and white onion. The only problem I really had with this dish is it needed something to go with it, probably rice. A nice bowl of sticky rice with the stir fry on top would have been awesome. No photos, I forgot. I made this twice as well. When my parents came home I made them dinner for their anniversary and this was part of their dinner. They both enjoyed it.

Crab and Cream Cheese Stuffed Wontons-This is possibly my favorite dish this week! This recipe is very easy although extremely time consuming, an assembly line would have been nice. The original recipe called for imitation lobster but I though crab would be good since I had eaten Crab Ragoon (basically the same thing only fried) before. I also left out the green onion because I don't like it. The original recipe called for 1/2 a teaspoon of sriracha in the filling, you can see in the original step-by-step photos that her cream cheese is still white. I added at least 1 whole teaspoon, if not more and my cream cheese was pink! We like spicy food though so it was good. We ate this for lunch because we were running out of days on our own and I really wanted to make it. Supposedly this should have made about 32 wontons but I ended up using the whole package of wrappers (42!) and still had filling left! I could have easily served my whole family this dish (with some rice and veggies) and my parents would have enjoyed it. Photos:

Serve with some soy and sriracha sauce. Mmmmm.

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables-Yours truly has never roasted a chicken before. I know that sounds ridiculous since roast chicken is incredibly easy and very popular but somehow I have always ended up using my slow cooker instead. This week I was determined to roast a chicken like everyone else has. It came out very tasty! For my veggies I used leftover bok choy, leftover red and yellow bell peppers, new potatoes and zucchini. For my spices I chopped some rosemary and thyme, added some salt, black pepper, white pepper and garlic powder. After sprinkling the veggies with the spices I added the remainder to some soft butter and spread it over the chicken. The result was super crispy skin and slightly too oily veggies, but the chicken was very tender. The bok choy was my favorite veggie. Hooray for first tries!

To go along with the tofu stir fry I made for my parents I also made these Pork and Ginger Pot Stickers. I changed the recipe a bit. I did not want cabbage and other veggies inside so I made them with ground pork and ground beef. I did not have any sesame oil on hand and omitted the bouillon. They were superb! The recipe says to cook them for seven minutes but I found they did not need that long. I would say four minutes was plenty of time, all of the meat was thoroughly cooked by then. I had a bit of the filling left over and I cooked it up and added it to the left over stir fry for lunch the next day. It was yummy! Again, no photos but they looked pretty much the same as the other ones. I am now not afraid of making won tons and can't wait to make more!

Please check out these links and consider making some of them for your dinner.