100 Subscribers on Youtube!

Yay! I know this isn’t a huge number at all compared to other Youtube accounts on the platform or most platforms for that matter. But the fact that I wasn’t expecting to get 50, let alone 100 makes me feel surprised and happy. I really enjoy making, editing videos, and blogging! It’s an outlet for me to not only focus on my cooking and recipes but also express myself. I just want to say THANK YOU to those that like my videos and subscribe to my channel and even read my blog posts. Although I started making videos (as well as blogging) as a hobby and creative outlet for myself, knowing there’s someone out there that likes what I create really motivates me to create more! I hope to continue to make content that I can be proud of and is also enjoyable and informative for those watching or reading 🙏😊💕 Yippee and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

2021 *a recipe for happiness*

My family and I watched a movie this past weekend (actually it was really just my husband and me, while our kids ran around and distracted us). The movie was a Disney movie, Soul. My brother recommended it, and I was intrigued. Without hopefully giving anything away, the movie had an important lesson about life that spoke to me, Life isn’t necessarily finding your purpose. If you find it, that’s great (and you can be in the “zone” 😂), but life really is just about living it, and enjoying it. Just live in the moment and make each day as positive and meaningful as you can for yourself and the people in it.

That’s something I’ve already realized as I continue to raise my kids and focus on my family and quality of life. I want to try to cherish each day with them while they’re young and impressionable. I remember how stressed I was when I first had my daughter and now in hindsight, the stress was overwhelming and interfering with the moments and memories I should have remembered with her in her baby years. Not to say that stress is always bad and should never be a part of your life, stress is inevitable. But learning to control the stress, resolve it, and not let it take away from the quality of your life and happiness should be the goal.

This is all what I’m learning and applying to my life as I head into 2021. I don’t want to overthink anything, I just want to enjoy each day and make it beautiful and meaningful for myself and my family. That is what I enjoy in my life and that is what I will focus on.

Anyhow~ don’t worry, I won’t stray away from my food posts! Cooking and learning about food and recipes is what I love to do. I asked my 19 month son a few days back “Where is your heart? Can you point to your heart?” and without hesitation he confidently pointed to his stomach. I think he was telling me the truth. The way to his heart is through his stomach (just like his dad) 😆 so that is why I love cooking and will continue to do so, for the health and happiness of my family and myself!

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts

I made a youtube video! Since I’m done being a milk machine for my son, I’ve been gifted the gift of time again. I made a youtube video for chocolate chip cookies and it was really fun. I hope to make more videos in the future! If you decide to give this recipe a try or just even just pop in to check out my video, let me know what you thought!

Mediterranean Inspired Salmon (and turning a negative into a positive)

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I’m always looking for new ways to cook salmon (that and chicken breasts). My usual go-to recipes are Salmon Teriyaki or Basil Lemon Salmon with Spaghetti. But since I have to watch my sugar and carb intake I’m challenged to find new recipes. It’s always uplifting when something that seemed like such a negative event (like finding out I had gestational diabetes) actually became a somewhat positive event in my life. I always thought I knew a fair amount about healthy eating and nutrition, but after attending a program on diabetes and having to monitor my glucose levels during pregnancy, I realized how much I didn’t know and how important it was to actually apply what I learned.  And since my unborn baby’s health is dependent on me and my diet, I have to be even more proactive and discipline with my nutrition and sugar/carb intake (I just hope that I haven’t learned too late into my pregnancy).

So in search of healthier ways to prepare salmon, I came upon this recipe on allrecipes.com.  I made a few changes to what I had at home, instead of basil and cilantro, I used fresh thyme and rosemary. I left out garlic salt and used regular kosher salt. Since I had to bake some vegetables also, I baked my salmon at 450 Fahrenheit instead of broiling. I squeezed some lemon before serving and just like that, I have a new husband-approved recipe to add to my salmon repertoire! And best of all, this recipe does not use any sugar and is still so flavorful and delicious.

So although I was not exactly thrilled when I found out I had gestational diabetes (there may or may not have been some tears 😅), it has made me learn to eat better and healthier, not only for myself, but for my daughter, husband, and this little baby growing in me.

Mediterranean Inspired Salmon (serves 3)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 fillets salmon
2 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary (3-4 inches)
Salt and pepper

  1. Mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, thyme and rosemary in a baking dish. 
  2. Arrange the salmon fillets in the shallow baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, turning once to coat and sprinkle salt and pepper on other side.
  3. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes. Using a spoon to pour marinade on top of fish every so often.
  4. Preheat oven 450 degree
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes.
  6. Gently turn salmon over. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  7. Squeeze some lemon on top.

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Enjoy!

Baking a Little Something in the Oven

Hi guys! Sorry for a 9 month lapse but I’ve been so very busy. Busy with what you may wonder? Well….what usually happens during a 9 month span? Hmm, I’m sure you’ve guessed it. Yes, I’ve been baking, baking a baby in the oven.  My oven that is.  I’m due next month and we’re expecting a baby boy! I’m so excited since my husband and I agree that we will be a family of 4, two kids and done. 

This pregnancy has been so different than with my daughter. First trimester was the roughest. Nausea, fatigue, and worse of all to me, food adversion. I wanted nothing to do with food, cooking or eating. It was such a terrible feeling that I couldn’t control. I knew I had to eat but it was so not enjoyable. Unfortunately, since I didn’t even want to look at food let alone cook, there wasn’t much to write about. I started to get better in my second trimester and then I found out I had gestational diabetes. Also very tough, since sweets and carbs were the only things I did enjoy. But now I had to really watch what I was eating and cut down on carbs….CARBS!?! As tough as it was, I’m now starting to get use to watching my carbs regularly and walking after every meal, and I feel even healthier than ever. 

With about a month and a half left to go, I’m feeling a bit more empowered to finish my pregnancy strong and welcome my baby into the world. So I just wanted to share this little tad-bit with you about my life. Now that I’ve had my energy and appetite back, I can get back to feeling inspired with my meals and I will post more regularly again. Well as regularly as a mom with a toddler and a newborn can! 😉 My next post, I PROMISE, will be a food post and it will post next week. Come back to see if I keep my promise! =)

Moving Time

I know this is a cooking blog..but after about a 9-10 months hiatus (no, I didn’t have another baby…at least not yet), I think it’s ok diverge a bit from food. It’s going to be an interesting 2-4 weeks coming up. After 3 years of living in sunny San Diego. Our little family of 3 will be packing our belongings and making the trek back up to Northern California. We’ve lived in Southern California for about 10 years, so it’s hard to believe we’re moving back up north and will most likely be putting down roots there and maybe…MAYBE even expand our family of 3 to 4…..🤗 So with moving and settling down in our new place within the next few weeks, cooking will be very interesting as I start to clear out our fridge and refrain from buying any new groceries or pantry items (I’m already low on soy sauce!).

I’m pretty excited about our new place. We’re still renting for now but I’m finally getting a kitchen with stainless steel appliances! I know it sounds so trivial but I’ve wanted them since we’ve began renting 10 years ago and we have lived in 4 places! But… it was never in the cards for me…until now =) I also REALLLY wanted a back yard for my daughter to run around in and I was beginning to have concerns that I wouldn’t get it. But we found a great house with a back yard and it’s the perfect size. What’s even better is the yard comes with citrus trees! yay yay

So let’s get back to cooking, I asked my husband go to Costco on his way home from work yesterday to get some groceries (remember we’re functioning on 1 car at the moment). Once he got home, he commented that I gave him quite a list for only being here another two weeks. I didn’t realize how much groceries I asked for until I saw how full our fridge was. That’s the thing with having a toddler, I can’t risk her not having any fruits or vegetables right? Let’s just say I will be on my very own at-home version of Chopped everyday for the next couple of weeks!

Salt and Pepper Tofu

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When it comes to tofu there are only a few recipes that I can depend on that both my husband and I will enjoy, Salt and Pepper tofu is one of them.  It’s such a simple dish and if you buy your tofu already fried it’s also a very quick dish to make. Despite it’s simplicity, it is so tasty and packed with robust flavor. My sister wanted to try to make this so I’ll share with you the recipe! Like other recipes, after making this a few times, you’ll discover the ratio of spices that suits your taste buds best.

Salt and Pepper Tofu (adapted from Viet World Kitchen)
1 package fried tofu (cut to your preference, I like 1 inch cubes)

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I like buying pre-fried tofu for this recipe

1 Tbs cooking oil
1 Tbs minced garlic
2 stalks of green onions, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeño cut into pieces
1 small bell pepper cut into 1 inch cubes (optional)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp white pepper

1. In a small bowl, mix salt, sugar, and white pepper and set aside
2. In a large skillet on high heat, add oil
3. Once pan is hot, add bell peppers and cook until soft (3-5 minutes)
4. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds – 1 minute
5. Add tofu and stir until brown to your preference. You may have to let the tofu sit on each side for a while to get it to brown.
6. Once the tofu is cooked and browned on each side, add in the salt and pepper mixture and toss.
6. Add in green onion, cilantro, and jalapeños and quickly toss untill herbs are wilted and turn of heat.
Serve and enjoy!IMG_7024 2

 

 

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup and I’m a Year Older 🤷🏻‍♀️

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I wanted to make butternut squash soup this Sunday. Usually I would use milk to make it more creamy but I remembered I had some coconut milk in the fridge. Hmm…intriguing I thought. Honestly, I was hesitant to use it because to me coconut milk doesn’t seem like a natural partner to butternut squash. But something inside me was whispering that it just might work. I did a quick search on the internet and came across this recipe. It looked similar to what I had in mind so I gave it a try.

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Yay for trying new recipes and it actually being delicious!

So, it’s squash time and if you guys are wanting to try a new soup recipe…try this one on NYT Cooking!

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Simple ingredients for a quick and delicious soup,

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If you don’t have an immersion blender, but you love making soups-get one! It’ll change your life.

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Enjoy with a glass of white wine (optional of course)😉

By the way my birthday was last week and my dad sent me this really nice basket.
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I mentioned to him a while back I wanted a shallow basket to harvest herbs in my patio. He sent me this beauty for my birthday. It’s a little too big for harvesting herbs, but I think it’s perfect for my garlic and onions! 👍 Thanks Dad!
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Turkey Meatloaf (I can not take a good photo of meatloaf…but it’s still yummy!)

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I never had meatloaf as a kid. It wasn’t something my parents’ made. My first vague memory of meatloaf was from the TV sitcom, Full House, and Stephanie Tanner has a pretend wedding to her friend, but he goes home shortly afterwards because his mom was making meatloaf, and Stephanie says something along the lines of, “I want to marry a guy who won’t leave me for his mom’s meatloaf.” So with that, I felt meatloaf must not be very appetizing. I mean…it IS called meatloaf and it is literally a loaf of meat.

I don’t even know or remember what made me want to try to make meatloaf, but one day I did, and after I took my first bite, I had a moment of introspection. Why did it have such a bad rap? It is pretty darn tasty and with a side of veggies and potatoes it was down right comforting! Over the years I’ve gone from ground beef to ground turkey meatloaf and I haven’t gone back to using beef since (at least for meatloaf). I’m actually not sure how mine would compare to others since I don’t order it out and never had it from anywhere, but I know I really like the one I make and my husband likes it also. So I will share my recipe with you and if you ever want to give turkey meatloaf a try…why don’t you give this recipe a chance? =)

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Turkey Meatloaf
1.5 Lbs. ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbs garlic
1 cup diced red bell pepper
¼ cup chopped mushrooms
1 celery chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs ketchup
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp paprika
Fresh chopped parsley

Tomato Sauce
8 ounce tomato sauce
1 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 Tbs Siracha sauce (or to taste)
Combine all ingredients

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. In a skillet over medium heat sauté onion, garlic, celery, carrots, bell pepper, and mushrooms until soft.
  3. Add salt, pepper, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, and about 1 Tbs of ketchup.
  4. In large bowl bowl combine turkey 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, egg, breadcrumbs, spices, vegetables.
  5. Add to loaf pan and spread top with some of the tomato sauce (save some for extra sauce on the side).
  6. Bake at 350 F for 1 hour 15 min
  7. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

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Vietnamese Beef and Potatoes Stir-Fry

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Remember the leftover oil from my Katsu recipe? Well I decided to use it for a beef and potatoes dish. My dad used to make a beef and potato stir-fry dish that was very satisfying and of course delicious. It had a light sauce to it that was not heavy and pulled the meat and potatoes together very well. Well this recipe is not that dish 😆. But it’s still very good, I promise🤚. Anyways, inspired by my dad’s dish, I looked on the internet to see if I could find something similar and I came upon various versions of Vietnamese Beef with Fried Potatoes dish. It didn’t seem exactly like the one my dad made but it looked intriguing enough for me to try.

It sounds easy enough, marinate some thinly cut beef, fry potatoes, stir-fry beef, then add potatoes and you’re done! The thing that keeps me from making this dish more often is that frying the potatoes takes me a LONNGG time. Maybe if I had a deep fryer it’ll be faster but it took me almost 1 hour to fry two potatoes. Despite the time consuming frying of the potatoes, it’s a really good dish to make and enjoy with a bowl of rice! By the way, the oil I used has served its purpose and is now retired.😊👍

Vietnamese Stir-Fry Beef and Potatoes (Thit Bo Xao Khoai Tay)
1 lb. beef sliced
1 Tbs fish sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sliced white onion
2 Russet potatoes peeled and sliced about 1/4 inch thick half circles
Frying oil

1. Marinate meat with fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, pepper, and salt
2. Set meat aside while you fry the potatoes.
3. Make sure potatoes are dry.
4. In a frying pan add enough oil to cover the potatoes.
5. Over medium high heat fry potatoes until golden brown, turning potatoes over every so often to ensure even browning.
6. Remove potatoes on to a plate lined with paper towels.
7. Remove most of the oil leaving behind about 2 Tbs. in the frying pan.
8. On high heat stir-fry onions for about 1 minute.
9. Add beef and stir-fry for about 3-5 minutes until beef is cooked to desired doneness.
10. Add potatoes and gently fold into the beef and turn off heat.

*I like to leave some potatoes on this side and serve them nice and crispy.

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