13th Anniversary

Husband and I celebrated our 13th anniversary last Sunday.  I think as we get older we celebrate a little less each year.  Normally, I require a big expensive gift + a lavish dinner.  Kidding.  Normally, I like to get something to remind me of our anniversary…nothing expensive of course…just something small, but this year I didn’t want anything.  I really didn’t even want dinner.  Just a quiet evening watching tv or grilling up something simple would have made my day.  Husband wanted to go out for dinner though.  So we headed out to the Cheesecake Factory.  It was nice but went by too fast.

We had this stuffed bread for appetizer.  It was so good.

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Our main dishes were delicious.

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Instead of ordering dessert to share and stuff we went for a 7″ Oreo Cheesecake to take home.  I don’t normally eat cheesecakes because I’m semi-lactose-intolerant but I did try a slice and it was just so heavenly good.

On hour way home, I told husband how blessed I am to be where we’re at in our lives.  Not a day goes by that I don’t thank someone above for this simple and wonderful life.  We’ve had our share of hardships and we are still working toward our dream but what we have right now is priceless.  Our home.  Our kids.  Our health.  Our friends and family.  Our jobs.  I got teary-eyed when I told him all about this.

Made Eggs Benedict + Food Photos From Cruise Vacation

On the cruise, I had Eggs Benedict for breakfast a couple of times and just really loved it.  I’ve never had it before so I had nothing to compare it to.

This is what I had on the cruise (taken with an old Nikon Coolpix).

CRUISEFOOD0429When I got home, I looked for Eggs Benedict and hollandaise sauce recipes.  I found a recipe on the Food Network website for both but didn’t want to try my hands at the hollandaise sauce yet so I went with a powder mix instead.

EBSAUCEMIX0065_640I’ve had bad experiences with powder mixes before so I was already prepared for this sauce to taste nasty.  To my surprise, it was really good.

EGGSBENEDICT0067_640It was the perfect consistency and had a buttery slightly sour-ish taste to it.  It tasted so much better than the sauce on the cruise (which didn’t taste like anything).  Now, I just need to make some from scratch so I can do more comparing.

KIDA0075_600My daughter tried the sauce but didn’t like it.  She said it was too strong.  Husband said the same thing and only used a little bit.

My favorite dish on the cruise was the home style Cuban chicken and rice.  While we were on Half Moon Cay Island, I had three plates of it and still wanted more.  I just found a recipe for it via Pinterest so I’m going to try my hands at it one of these days.

I ate a ton of food on the cruise.  It was almost like a 24 hour all-you-can-eat buffet.  For dinner, sometimes I would order one or two starters.  Once I ordered two main courses!  This was simply to taste the different variety of food and not because I was just stuffing my face because I could.  Here’s a collection of most of the food I ate and/or tasted.  I apologize for the horrible photos.  I used an old Nikon Coolpix that I really shouldn’t be using.

PADTHAI0138{Dinner on our first night in Miami.  This was a couple days before boarding the cruise ship.  The group (excluding 2 members) ate at a Thai restaurant.  I don’t remember the name of the restaurant but the food was beyond delicious!  I fell in love with the Pad Thai and couldn’t get enough of it.  The papaya salad, although not exactly my flavor, was very good in it’s own way.  In the photo, from top clockwise: Pad Thai, rice with yellow curry, sweet and sour beef (?), and papaya salad with shrimp.}

Day 1

CDAY1_0258 CDAY1_0259 CDAY1_0261 CDAY1_0262Day 2

CDAY2_0387 CDAY2_0388 CDAY2_0389Day 3

CDAY3_0395 CDAY3_0396 CDAY3_0399 CDAY3_0401Day 4

CDAY4_0403 CDAY4_0404 CDAY4_0405 CDAY4_0416 CDAY4_0419 CDAY4_0420 CDAY4_110203{Above, eating a bit of fruits before heading out.}

Day 5

CDAY5_0446 CDAY5_0447 CDAY5_0451 CDAY5_0452Day 6 – While during our lay over in Chicago, we caught eye of a Dunkin’ Donuts, and couldn’t resist getting some donuts.  I had a very tasty Boston Cream!

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A Healthy Dinner and Veggies From The Farmer’s Market

DINNER0003_640Yesterday morning I went to the Farmer’s Market and bought some broccoli and asparagus.  I mainly went because I wanted to get a photo for the 365 challenge but the broccoli and asparagus were calling my name.  I made steamed broccoli and had it with baked lemon salmon, white rice, and a veggie salad of cucumbers and tomatoes.  The salad was so amazingly delicious and refreshing.  I haven’t done anything with the asparagus yet but my daughter wants some bacon wrapped asparagus so that’s in plan.

Photos from the farmer’s market.

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A Culturally Mixed Dinner And A Turmeric Rice Recipe

Husband, the kids, and I, had a big dinner last night.  I was craving kimchi so we dropped by the Asian Market and I ended up getting three different type of kimchi, plus some seaweed.  Then, we headed to the regular grocery store to get some French bread and additional ingredients for the Greek salad and turmeric rice.  Husband grilled peppered chicken breasts and we ate to our delight.  The kids weren’t so much into the turmeric rice or kimchi but they loved the chicken, which was a tad try, but not bad.

MIXEDKIMCHI0005_640Kimchi: Cabbage, cucumber, and daikon.  I’m the only one in the family that LOVE kimchi so it was all for me.  I still have a lot left…should last me this whole week but I really don’t know if I can eat it all by myself.

SEAWEED0007_640I normally eat this type of seaweed at Korean restaurants but when I saw it on the shelf, I had to buy it.  The combo of seaweed with salt and what seemed like a little sugar (hope it’s not MSG) was delicious.

GREEKSALAD0001_640I got this tasty Greek salad from The Pioneer Woman’s blog but I tweaked it to my liking by omitting the chopped olives in the dressing, adding peperocinis to the salad, and marinating the sliced red onion in some red wine vinegar and olive oil to get rid of that super strong onion taste while the salad was being put together.

GRILLEDPEPCHK0008_640This was a very simple grilled chicken.  Husband just threw on some black pepper and a bit of salt and put it on the grill.

TUMRICE0003_640I got the idea to make my own turmeric rice from going to an eatery called Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill.  I did some online searching for a recipe but couldn’t find anything I liked so I decided to just figure it out on my own.  I knew turmeric was the spice that turned things yellow and that chicken broth gave it the slight flavor.  Originally, I tried it with Basmati long grain rice but I didn’t like the scent of that rice (I just don’t like my rice scented) and it also took longer to cook the Basmati rice than the normal rice I buy.  You can definitely add other things to the rice but I like mine just plain and simple with a very subtle flavor.

Turmeric Rice Recipe:

Ingredients

2 cups of rice

2 cups of low sodium chicken broth (add another 1/4 cup if you prefer your rice slightly soggy)

1 tbs of turmeric (turmeric does have a scent and flavor so if it’s too strong, reduce it to your liking)

1 tps vegetable oil or (you can use butter or olive oil in place)

Cooking Directions

In a pot, mix the rice, turmeric and oil together until everything is mixed.  Pour the chicken broth in and turn the stove to high.  Allow the liquid to boil for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the liquid is almost gone, stirring a couple of times.  Turn the heat to low and cover with a tight lid for 15 to 20 minutes.  Turn off stove and fluff rice with fork.

Serves 4 to 6.

Bok Choy and Kabocha Squash

Mom gave me some bok choy and a kabocha squash and because my kids and husband are not fans, I have to be a little creative with what I make, otherwise most of it goes to waste.

With the bok choy, I made a stir fry with chicken and a little bit of osyter sauce.  Husband and the kids liked it but they only ate the chicken.

I also boiled some bok choy.  Husband and the kids didn’t eat any but that’s okay because I didn’t mind having it all to myself.  It was sooo good.  Especially because it reminds me of being Hmong.  You’ll find that eating boiled greens of any kind (but usually leafy greens) is a norm in the Hmong culture.  So, if you come across a friend or a neighbor who boils their greens and sets a big bowl of it on the dining table during meals, you’ll know they’re Hmong. 🙂

With the kabocha squash, I normally would just boil it and eat it the same way I do the boiled greens.  This was the only way I knew how to eat it because this was always the way I grew up eating it.

The photo above was taken of some of Mom’s larger squashes.  Mine was about the size of a small round watermelon.  It was still a lot for one person.

I tried it boiled with some cinnamon and sugar.  It was okay. I still prefer it plain or with a little sugar and mashed.

And, made a Thai red curry squash. The recipe is here.  Instead of using bell peppers (which I don’t like), I used thinly sliced bamboo shoots.  I also added one lemon grass sprig (tip and green rough parts chopped off), kaffir lime leaves, and instead of adding lime juice, I sliced a lime into quarters and set them aside with some thinly sliced scallions to be used as needed.

It was pretty good.  I loved the aroma of Thai curry and the combination of the buttery flavored squash with the crunchiness from the bamboo shoots.

Mom always toasts some of her seeds.  I think she lets them dry out in the sun and then toasts them in a pan.  I wanted to toast them in the oven so I found this recipe and it turned out pretty delicious except that I burnt them a little.

Kida ate them with me.  She liked that they were slightly burnt.