Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Egg Sausage Casserole

Last Christmas, I had just given birth to Cooper and the nights and days blurred and I was a mombie through the holidays.  My friend Emily brought us TWO casseroles on Christmas Eve and a new tradition was born.  The casseroles were SO good and my kids LOVED them and ate em up, and I'm more of a savory breakfast person, so this was absolutely perfect.  What an angel, she also helped me drive Dagny to and from pre-school while I dealt with a newborn at home.  I hope I remember to do those little things for others with newborns too, because that was absolutely the best gift anyone could give me.

Saving this recipe since a new Christmas tradition has been born!

4 cups dried herbed stuffing cubes
3 cups shredded cheese
1 pound cooked sausage
8 large eggs
4 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried mustard

Grease a 13x9 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Sprinkle stuffing cubes; cover with 1 1/2 cups of cheese, crumble cooked sausage; cover with remaining 1 1/2 cups of cheese.  In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt, and dry mustard until well blended.  Pour into the pan, cover and refrigerate overnight.  Bake at 350 F for 1 hour uncovered, until knife inserted comes out clean.  Makes 10-12 servings.

I am adding chopped red bell peppers or a small can of diced green chilies next year.

Delicious!  When the kids say it's good, you know it's a repeat recipe.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Taiwanese Meat Sauce (Lu Rou) in the Instant Pot

My husband is obsessed with Kenji Alt Lopez and Serious Eats.  He mostly only cooks on weekends when we host our extended family at our house, but that means a lot of serious cooking on Sundays and normally for 12+ people.

For New Year's Eve, we did a noodle potluck and while I was imagining an easy rice noodle stir fry, he was already browsing the Serious Eats website for something good.  He came across this recipe for Danzai noodles, but it also required two cups of lu rou or Taiwanese meat sauce.

We had most of the stuff, so we went about our normal Sunday routine, and go ready to get the veggies and spices all ready by 3 PM... and that's when we realized, our Taiwanese meat sauce recipe calls for 3-4 hours of cooking!

Shoot!  What were we to do?

I had this brilliant idea to use our Instant Pot, my favorite new kitchen gadget, but without any internet help, we knew it was going to be a bit of a gamble.  Turns out it was a worthwhile investment, but we probably don't need to double our recipe again (meat sauce for daysssss guys).  Hubs said we need to jot down the recipe asap so we don't forget.  What a lifesaver the Instant Pot was today!

2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sliced shallots (6 medium)
2 pounds of ground pork
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon five spice powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1 cup Chinese rice cooking wine

Turn Instant Pot to saute mode.  Line a plate with triple layer of paper towels.

Heat oil to 325 F over medium high heat and add shallots, stir and cook until pale golden for 1-2 minutes.  Transfer to plate with triple layer of towels.  Reserve 1 tablespoon oil for Instant Pot. When shallots are cool, lightly crush and set aside.

Use reserved tablespoon of shallot oil to cook ground pork in the Instant Pot until cooked through and beginning to brown.  Add the 2 teaspoons of minced garlic and crushed shallots, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.  Add 1 teaspoon of five spice powder, 2 teaspoons of sugar, and stir.  Add 1/2 cup dark and 1/2 cup of light soy sauce, 1 cup of Chinese rice cooking wine, and mix it all up.

Manually cook for 13 minutes and natural release for 10 minutes.  Then release all the way, and meat is ready!!


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Chinese Cake... Yes!!!!

Ever since I moved away from southern California, I have been craving the soft, fluffy, and not too sweet taste of traditional Chinese cake, the kind you get from their bakeries.  Growing up, it wasn't anything too special, we had it all the time for every single birthday or other important celebration, in fact I wanted that super sweet frosting from American store cake more, but now that I'm older, I am LONGING for that cake, add to it that I can't get it anywhere for the same cheap price and convenience as in So Cal, and I am constantly craving it.

I've definitely tried cooking a lot more Chinese food since moving to Salt Lake, so now that I've found the perfect Chinese cake recipe, I am copying it right here so I don't forget it and have it always!  I got this from Nancy's blog here  and the whipping cream from here but for my own ease of use, I am retyping it below for myself.

I tried making a Chinese cake for Cooper's first birthday and it was SO good, I am not exaggerating, it was light and fluffy and all my kids wanted more.  I gave 1/4 to a neighbor and her daughters and her both loved it so much, they asked me for the recipe so they could make more to gobble!

6 eggs, separated at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of cake flour (for chocolate cake, use 1 cup of cake flour and 1/2 cup of cocoa powder)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup of sugar, separated into 1/3 and 2/3 cups
1/3 cup of water
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line two 9" cake rounds with parchment paper on the bottom
Separate the 6 eggs.

Yolk Mixture: In the first bowl, beat the 6 egg yolks with 2/3 cups of sugar until pale yellow (~1 minute). Over the egg yolks, sift together 1 1/2 cups of cake flour with 1/2 tsp of baking power on low until it all come together, then stop and add 1/3 cup of water, 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.  Mix until no lumps, paste like consistency.

Meringue Mix: In a second bowl, whip the room temperature egg whites until slightly foamy, add in the 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar.  Mix on high for about 3 minutes, decrease the speed to low and gradually add in 1/3 cup of sugar while mixing.  Increase speed to high for another 30 seconds until sugar is in stiff peaks appear.

Gently add the meringue mixture into the yolk mixture in thirds with a wooden spatula until it's all one color.  I use the french macaron J method of making a J in the mixture and then circling a few times to gently mix it.

Bake for 19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a bit of crumb or clean and tops are golden.

Cool for 10 minutes before using a knife to cute the sides and turn upside down onto a cooling rack lined with parchment paper.

The magic to Chinese cakes is that the frosting is never too sweet, this is because most of the time it's more of a whipped cream consistency.  My oldest son who dislikes any type of buttercream (it's gross mom, can I have French macarons without the middle frosting please?) loves this frosting because it's sweet, but not too sweet.  I'm just happy there's a cake I can make for him to enjoy now too!

4 cups of heavy whipping cream
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Freeze a bowl and metal whisk attachment for about 30 minutes.  This is a trick Nancy put on her blog because it whips up better with super cold equipment.  I don't own a Kitchen Aid or a Bosch so I just use my handheld mixer.   Pour the heavy whipping cream into the frozen bowl and mix on low, gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla extract, whisk until soft peaks form, it will look like whipped cream!  To get even smoother cream, press into a colander using plastic wrap (I did not do this).

Friday, March 25, 2016

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Put eggs in muffin tin.
Bake at 325 for 30 minutes.
Remove and put into bowl of ice water.
Remove shell and enjoy.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week ONE of Fast Metabolism Diet

This is the final day of my week one on the fast metabolism diet and to say I am stoked is an understatement. 

Finally... A diet I can hang with and not starve and one that works with my desire to plan ahead and stay organized. The only few downsides are: it's a rich man's (or woman's) diet! Going to the fancy super markets section or whole foods (kill me now) is really expensive, but you are encouraged to eat organic, and aren't allowed to eat soy, dairy or wheat so the alternatives are all quite pricey.  I've had to buy stuff I wouldn't normally and have gone ahead and bought a lot more organic than not.  Haylie Pomroy recommends you eat organic for: eggs, dairy, chicken and beef.  That's a lot more than I do now so it's been tough.  

The other thing that's been hard is I can just mindlessly eat... Most of the time that's great, I'm realizing how much I take a bite here or there from cleaning up my kids' plates or giving them a snack or two. But the saddest part so far has been no random hot cocoa or samples at Costco. Devastating I tell you. 

The cooking part has been fun. I've tried to keep it simple, and have even learned a few new recipes.   There are some recipes like the turkey chili in a crockpot and the coconut curry chicken that I definitely will be repeating even after the diet.  Others like tuna with mustard and lemon for lunch - ick, kill me now.  
The other thing is realizing how much protein I actually should be adding to my diet.  Or wanting to eat whenever you want instead of according to the schedule.  Also, I really want a cheesecake for some reason.  Not really much of the other stuff, but I really want a cheesecake.  

The good news is, I was looking through my meal planning for the next week and I actually put 5 weeks on my menu list instead of 4, so I'll be done with the diet a lot faster!  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Fast Metabolism Diet: Day 1

I forgot to weigh myself when I woke up but I just did and I'm at....drumroll...

Pounds: 141 (my ideal goal weight is 125-128, that's about what I weighed all through my 20's, but if we're going for HS skinny, it'd be back to 120... lol jk jk)
Waist: 35"
Upper Arm: 11"
Upper Thigh: 21"

So... thus far, three meals in, I am loving this diet.  I am not hungry, or if I am - it's not for long, not more than the normal hunger pains from not having time to eat or waiting until you're home.

For breakfast, I had 1/2 cup of oatmeal with blueberries and some natural sugar sprinkled on top, then I had an apple (but I found out later it was too small, should be about one cup worth of an apple so perhaps that's why I got hungry sooner than later).

For lunch, I had 4 oz of nitrate free turkey meat, one sprouted piece of bread, a cup of cantaloupe, and topped the open faced sandwich with some tomatoes and red onions.

For dinner, I had 1 1/2 cups of turkey chili (with beans, ground turkey, and zucchini).

My snacks were: an apple and two clementines.

Observations:  I normally mindlessly eat small things here and there.  When I'm cleaning up my boys plates from breakfast or lunch, if there's anything leftover small or big, I find myself taking a few bites.  It's a natural reaction from years of enduring my Chinese mother's demands that I eat everything off of my plate.  Did I want to marry a crater face by leaving specks of rice in my bowl?  Growing up, we didn't have the luxury of leaving anything on our plate.  We were conditioned to eat it all.  I also found myself grabbing for things before I had to stop myself and think, oh wait - why am I even trying to eat this?  I had some leftover dark chocolate in the car, and I almost MINDLESSLY ate a bite, was not even hungry!  I wasn't really hungry until right before meal time.  I am so excited about the diet that I'm finding it hard to sleep but still got pretty good rest earlier than normal.  Also, I eat a lot more fruit than the diet permits on a regular basis... which means I'm probably taking in a lot more sugar albeit natural.  I found myself thinking, what... this is all the fruit I get?  I mean, I can literally sit there and eat an entire cantaloupe myself.  So I did have to hold back from eating more fruit.

Overall, day 1 was a success and I'm looking forward to day 2.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fast Metabolism Diet: Here I Come!!

After failing with dieting for the past four years, three babies later... I am finally trying something new with a reinvigorated zeal!  It is called.... the Fast Metabolism Diet.

For 28 days, I will no longer be allowed to eat soy, dairy, sugar, gluten, corn, peanuts, bananas, or grapes.  On the flipside, I will be able to eat veggies, protein, brown grains, and fruit.

I'm pretty excited about meal planning for the first week.. and preparing, but I'll update with results.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cardio Sucks

So again, we've inevitably met again.  The time when the weight has stopped coming off because I'm nursing, four months after giving birth prematurely (again), I am still 25 pounds overweight and even though I feel great, my muffin top is screaming for some attention.

So tomorrow, I am going to attempt to start cardio again.  20 minutes 6 days a week... just using random exercises I find on Pinterest.

Wish me luck.

i'm going to need it. ....

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Day 5 - Skinny Cow Challenge

Breakfast - yogurt, toast with butter
Lunch - veggie sandwich, lobster bisque, chocolate covered strawberry
Dinner - dumplings, tofu with preserved egg, dried pork, dried fried onions, oyster sauce
Dessert - ice cream sandwich with cool whip and oreos sprinkled on

Weight - 133
Waist - 33

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Day Four of Skinny Cow Challenge

Breakfast - boiled egg and two boiled egg whites
Lunch - part of my son's pizza from Costco, some Gouda cheese slices, and an assortment of random free samples at Costco
Snacks - half a Rhodes roll
Dinner - taco salad with beef, tomatoes, sour cream, pace salsa, black beans, and tons of lettuce with a skinny ice cream sandwich after

Weight - 132.5
Measurements - Forgot again

Exercise - lame ab work and arm work again, I really need to get to the gym and do some cardio

and yes, I forgot to post daily so I did all four days today.  I'll try to be more consistent going forward.  I hate working out at 11:43 but oh well, it is what it is.  DRATS!

Day Three of Skinny Cow Challenge

Breakfast - piece of toast with I can't believe it's not butter slathered on
Lunch - salad with tomatoes, craisins, sliced almonds, apples, leftover pork
Snacks - whole grain chips with jalapeno yogurt dip and some cucumbers, banana with peanut butter, chewy bar
Dinner - salmon patty with leftover butternut squash and a skinny cow ice cream sandwich

Measurements - Forgot to take
Weight - 133.5

Exercise - some lame ab work and arm work

Day Two of Skinny Cow Challenge

Breakfast - ate late, had a boiled egg with ketchup, toast with I can't believe it's not butter, pork, some fries, some chips and cucumber with jalapeno dip, chilli for dinner, an apple, and an ice cream sandwich!
Lunch - see above
Dinner - snacked on pirate's booty, a banana with peanut butter, an apple.... chili with some rice (lots of beans eh?) and a skinny cow ice cream sandwich
Weight - forgot to weigh in...
Waist - 32"

Exercise - Ran on and off for 15 minutes, did some basic ab work.

Day One - Skinny Cow Challenge

Today's meals:

Breakfast: egg scramble with tomatoes, garlic, onions, sausage, spinach with loads of ketchup and tabasco
Lunch: 4-5 pork dumplings, 1 potato dumpling
Snacks: Half a cheese stick
Dinner: mustard greens, Chinese broccoli, tofu and shrimp with chicken and curry chicken over rice, jello with whip cream

Today I weighed in at 133, measurements- too lazy to do 'em

No exercising.