Home for Christmas

24 Dec

Hi all!

It’s been a busy fall quarter (September – December) for me at college. Being a Resident Adviser for 60 freshmen has been a fun experience. Balancing my job, school work, family, friends, and spiritual commitments has been a learning experience (to say it lightly). But I’m so thankful for all that has happened this quarter.

Coming home has been a good break from my job and school work responsibilities. It has meant decorating my home, spending time with my mom, going Christmas shopping with friends and family, and baking (yes baking!).

Baking

I’ve done some cooking too like the Filipino macaroni!

Filipino Macaroni

Can you guess what the sauce it made out of?

It’s strangely sweet but so good…

Ketchup!

And it’s usually served with spaghetti noodles and sliced hot dogs.

You might call it a “poor man’s spaghetti and meatballs” but it actually makes a tasty dish!

For a more detailed and authentic recipe, check out this Filipino blog here: http://www.busogsarap.com/2011/01/filipino-sweet-style-spaghetti.html

Continue reading

Summer Baking (Part 1)

4 Sep

Blueberry Oatmeal Crumble

Adapted from: The Farm found on “Leite’s Culinaria

The Recipe & Procedure

1. Gather 12 ounces of fresh blueberries…

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2. Mix blueberries with 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 to 2 tablespoon lemon juice. Then transfer berry mixture into buttered 9-inch pie tin.

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3. In another bowl, stir together 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup quick cooking oats, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Then blend 1/2 stick unsalted butter cut (already cut into cubes) in the flour mixture.

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4. Bake in preheated oven (375F) for 25 to 35 minutes or until berry filling is bubbling and the crumble is browned. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream on top!

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We Heart Ramen

15 Apr

I am a college student but here in UC Davis I don’t eat instant ramen very often. The Dining Commons (DC) is just that good and convenient enough that I don’t have to cook up ramen. However, this really cool infographic was brought to my attention:

We Love Ramen Infographic
Created by: HackCollege.com

Original link: http://www.hackcollege.com/blog/2012/2/27/infographic-we-love-ramen.html

Isn’t it cool? I thought so too and decided to make my own version of ramen. Granted this isn’t going to be super healthy but I did my best.

My ramen with egg and vegetables (red/black/green things). Photo taken using my smartphone's app called "PicsArt"; setting: Pastel.

Nell’s Quick Ramen

Ingredients

  • 1 package of ramen
  • 1 egg, boiled (takes 5-7 minutes, depends on how well you want the egg to be cooked)
  • 1/2 cup frozen vegetables, thawed
  • ground cayenne pepper OR freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)

Ramen Ingredients

Procedure

  1. Cook ramen according to package. Usually this means 2 cups of boiling water per 1 package of ramen. Cook ramen in boiling water for 3 minutes (or package’s required time).
  2. Thaw and warm up frozen vegetables in microwave. For my microwave, it took 1 minute. It will vary based on strength of microwave.
  3. Slice up boiled egg in about 1/4 inch slices.
  4. Once the ramen is cooked, pour the entire contents (water and noddles) into a medium bowl. Mix in vegetables and ground caynene pepper or black pepper to taste. Sprinkle a little bit of the spices from the ‘spice packet’ provided in the ramen package. Do NOT pour it all if you want to reduce the sodium (and unhealthiness).  Top with sliced egg.
  5. Eat and enjoy!
My thoughts taste-wise? Not too bad actually. Of course I didn’t use all of the spice packet so the flavor wasn’t as strong as usual but I added the ground cayenne pepper to give it a kick. Having the egg slightly “gooey” helps too.
Glad this infographic was shown to me. I’m tempted to try to Spaghetti Ramen and Breakfast Ramen too… :)

Easter Day with Family at UCD

15 Apr

Just last Sunday was Easter, so let me start off by saying: Happy Easter!!!

Easter Bunny

This little guy looks a tad grumpy but isn't he cute?

For Easter my Mom, Mom’s best friend (Eric), Dad, and Aunt (Dad’s sister) came up to visit me in Davis last Saturday. It was a lovely treat especially since I don’t see my Aunt very often since she lives in Los Angeles. I was able to show my them downtown Davis – “so cute!” they said – and the Davis bookstore which we pillaged through for cute UCD shirts and memorabilia.

They even saw my dorm room, which I was so busy cleaning that morning. I vacuumed, dusted, fixed my bed, reorganized my desk, and shoved everything that I didn’t know where to go in the closet. (Haha…) It looked all nice when they came in and by the nods of their heads and the lack of questions like “When did you last clean?”, I figured I did a good enough job.

When my family greeted me, they all came bearing a gift. Check them out:

Watering Can Flower

"Watering Can Flower" brought by Mom

Mr. Caterpillar

Mr. Caterpillar

Pink carnations with Easter Egg

Pink carnations with Easter Egg

Easter egg

Easter egg that "came" with the pink carnations

Orange Star (flowers)

Orange Star (flowers)

Three flowers on a window sill with a balloon

The three flowers on a window sill with a balloon.

Count how many “things” are in the above picture. Three flowers and one balloon, so there are four things.

How many family members came to visit me? Mom, Eric, Dad, and Aunt. So four again.

Logically you could assume that each one of them carried in a flower or the balloon. But that is not the case! My mom (or was it my Aunt?) carried in a flower AND the balloon. But I said they all came bearing a gift. What did my dad give me?

After I gave all the initial hugs and greetings, I noticed my dad standing there behind everyone. When there was a slight pause in the conversations, I walked toward my dad and asked him how he was.

The first thing you should know about my dad is that he is a man of very few words. He rarely shares his opinions. Our conversations are at most 5 minutes long. This only makes the words he does say AND his actions all the more important. When I approached him he was holding a white plastic bag with something wrapped in foil inside it.

“I baked you an apple pie,” he said handing over the white plastic bag.

“That’s an apple pie in there?” I asked not hiding the surprised expression on my face.

“Mhmm..”

“Are you sure?”

“Mhmm..”

“You baked it?”

“Mhmm..”

“Really?”

“Mhmm..”

After we all returned from our mini Davis tour, we gathered outside my apartment near the parking lot. The subject of the apple came up again because I couldn’t help asking him, “Did you really bake that pie?”

He smiled slyly and said, “When you open it, you tell me.”

The second think you should know about my dad is that he likes to tease. How does he do that when he hardly talks? At the minimum 50% of what he says is a joke. However, he only jokes with you when he likes you or feels comfortable with you.

I nodded my head. Then with gusto and a smile displayed from ear to ear he said,

“But you HAVE to eat it with ice cream. It’s not apple pie without ice cream, vanilla ice cream.”

So there you go, folks. The man of very few words who doesn’t share his opinion on much said that I MUST have apple pie with ice cream.

And so I did. Thanks, Dad. :)

Got some Thrifty ice cream to go with the apple pie. Did he really make it? Well, I guess I'll never know for sure. ;)

Topped the apple pie with vanilla ice cream ... and coffee ice cream ...

Midnight Crepes

4 Apr

Midnight Crepes

It’s not advisable to eat after 9pm, or specifically 2-3 hours before you go to bed but I had to make an exception when it came to crepes.

I was at a home meeting when I was asked to make crepes.

“Make crepes? But I don’t know how,” I said.

“It’s fine. You’ll learn! We have the batter ready too.”

Luckily I have spent my fair share watching Sofie’s Crepes in SF Japantown so I knew sort of how crepes were to be made. SORT OF.

Pouring the Batter

Finished Crepes

Finished Crepe

Crepe Filling Options

Strawberry Banana Nutella Crepe

So the crepes didn’t turn out too bad. Do I have a hidden skill for making crepes? I wouldn’t go that far yet but I’ll have to try making crepes again. Overall, it was a delicious midnight snack. :)

Skillet Brownies, Pesto Pasta, & Walnut Banana Bread

30 Mar

Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Skillet Brownies

Recipe from theKitchn here.

My last post was about Nutella Oreo brownies, and now this post also includes dark chocolate hazelnut brownies… You may start to be seeing a theme with what I’ve been baking lately. I’ve got to say that I’m enjoying making all these cookies/bars/brownie recipes though because back home if I made any of these I wouldn’t have people to eat them! The recipes always produce 24+ pieces and there was no way my friends and teachers could eat all of them. Some are dessert fans, others are watching their sugar intake, and still others are just watching their weight. But with starving college kids, no one is really that picky. :)

Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Skillet Brownies

Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Skillet Brownies 2

Pesto Sauce: perfect for pastas!

Recipe from Allrecipes.com. 

But you’ll also notice that this title includes pesto pasta, which is a savory dish. I’m also trying to cook more and utilize the kitchen I have in my apartment.

I haven’t always liked pesto sauce but just within the past year or so I’ve grown to like it, especially on pasta and pizza. It’s green color isn’t a bright green. It’s more muted. Yet it’s made of olive oil, nuts (pine nuts or walnuts), basil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. What’s not to like?

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the final product (pesto penne pasta)…but (to my amazement) people finished the entire container at the potluck!

Pesto sauce ingredients

Pesto sauce ingredients

In the blender

Pesto sauce ingredients in a blender. (I wish I had a food processor.)

Walnut Banana Bread

Recipe adapted from Tartine bakery cookbook.
I found this recipe in a cookbook so there’s no website. However, if you want the recipe, please email me at nell.notebook@yahoo.com I would be happy to share with you.

Because my mom requests banana bread so often, I’ve posted several times about it already. I’ve even found my favorite recipe too. The recipe comes from Tartine, a San Franciscan bakery in the Mission District. It’s a small, homey bakery with friendly people. I’d go there more often if I didn’t live on the opposite side of town. Alas!

Walnut Banana Bread

Remember to toast the walnuts before adding them to the batter. This makes them so much more flavorful!

Gotta Love Nutella Oreo Brownies

4 Mar

Greetings! I am back with some pictures and comments of a  monostrously crazy-looking baking endeavor.

For the volunteer club I am a part of (Circle K), I baked a brownie-like dessert for the annual Spaghetti Feed auction.

Here’s what I made:

Nutella Oreo Brownies

“What is THAT?” you might be thinking (not necessarily in a good way). I know, I know they look sort of funny. But trust me when I say that these brownie-like things are delicious.

First of all, they are NUTELLA brownies. It’s more nutalla than flour! What’s better than sweet, chocolate-y, hazelnut brownies? …

Nutella and Oreos

Of course, ones that have whole Oreos inside it. This is the second reason why these brownie are delicious.

The Layers

And as if Oreos and Nutella weren’t amazing enough. I added other layers of yumminess on top of the oreo: a small teaspoon of marshmallow cream, four M&M’s, and graham cracker bits. Then I topped it off with another scoop of the Nutella brownie batter. Ta-da!

Packing up the monster brownies

Yep, that’s my monster brownie! NOW, what do you think? Delicious, yes? Fattening? Yes, that too. ^^; Ah, but that’s why whoever bid on the boxes of monster Nutella-Oreo-M&M’s-Marshmallow-Graham Cracker brownies should have shared them.

Brownies all packed up

If you’re looking for the recipe, here’s the original recipe that I adapted mine from: http://butterbaking.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/oreo-and-nutella-brownie-bites/