Friday, January 29, 2010

new slow cooker

my boss got me a slow cooker for christmas. a unique gift but i liked it. it was a hamilton beach 'stay or go' slow cooker. the cool thing about this slow cooker is that the lid has a latches that allow for portability without spilling.

i decided for the first use of the slow cooker i'd try making chipotle-lime chicken with jamaican rice and peas and i added kielbasa because everything is better with kielbasa. it was a fairly easy recipe but i added my own take on it. i added more spices, a lot more chipotle, bay leaves, tomato paste, bell pepper, potatoes, and coconut milk.

it was the first meal using the cooker and actually it was the first time using a slow cooker for me. i have memories of my mom's crock pot but i had never used it before. after some research on and reading the instructions i share with you some slow cooker dos and don'ts:

  1. defrost meats completely before putting in cooker. if possible do a little stove-top cooking before putting in cooker.
  2. cut meats into smaller portion. avoid whole chickens for example.
  3. if cooking meat, start the first hour on high, the switch to low.
  4. only fill the cooker 1/2 to 2/3 full. yeah, i packed mine to the brim the first time...
  5. no peeking! avoid opening the lid. every time you open it you are adding about 20 min to your cook time because all the heat has escaped. all most all slow cooker recipes don't need stirring.
  6. avoid moving a cold insert to cooking or a warm insert to a cold counter. the temp change could crack the insert.
  7. add any dairy, such as milk or cream, in the last hour of cooking.
  8. don't reheat food in slow cooker, it'll take way too long. hence, slow cooker. use the stove-top for this.
  9. put veggies on the bottom layer of the cooker and meat on top
  10. devise a way to transport if you don't have a latch lid!
it came out ok, i thought. a few changes to be made for next time. but i really enjoyed using the slow cooker and i'm looking forward to using it in the future. albert made a great side dish of sliced bean curd with cilantro and green onions too! thanks grace for taking pictures!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

lucky in love

check out a project i posted on our mambi blog. it's a valentine fortune cookie box.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


we're gearing up for valentine's day here at work. mark and i don't really celebrate the holiday because we feel like it's giving in to the hallmark money-making scheme but i'm all for telling people you love them!
think about a handmade valentine's day with things you already have. the important thing is telling those close to you know that you love them - friends, family, spouses, significant others, etc.

Friday, January 15, 2010


i love the show 'lost.' the monday crew has been re-watching seasons 1-5 while waiting for the season premiere of the final season on feb. 2nd. it's been awesome. as stephen king wrote about the series, and i paraphrase, "the show has always been more than a moving island, it's about the characters."

sometimes the monday crew likes to talk about what we would need in order to survive on an island. you have to remain somewhat realistic about these kinds of daydreams. what would you pack if you knew you were going to crash? of course you might think, "i'd bring a huge knife and a gun with lots of bullets." but c'mon with airport security these days you'd never get on a plane packing that much heat. and even if you could put those in your check-in if you've seen the show you'll know that one possibility is that you may not be able to find your check-in luggage.

so what would you bring in your carry on? ahhh...that would be a hard list to make. here's my list:

1. rope, lots and lots of it
2. flint, thanks bear grylls
3. hiking shoes + socks!
4. water bottle
5. snacks, just to hold you over until you kill a wild boar
6. plastic sheeting, remember voyage of the mimi?
7. my glasses
8. extra set of clothes
9. travel pillow
10. sewing kit
11. jacket, it might get cold at night on the island
12. mirror, it could be used as a reflective signal
13. small blanket
14. of course all this would be in a backpack

i wonder what else i should bring...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

mambi tutorials...coming soon!

mambi is launching a new website this month and also new to the website will be video tutorials of handmade projects using our products. there will be three different hosts and i have been chosen to be one of them! here's a sneak peek of the two projects that i'll be sharing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

stuffed savoy cabbage and roasted vegetables

savoy cabbage is really the beauty of the cabbage world. so distinct and it has really lovely leaves. i found a recipe for stuffed cabbage here and had the chance to make it for a second time this weekend.

in making this dish twice i've discovered that the hardest part is finding savoy cabbage! usually not sold in regular markets i have narrowed markets that sell savoy to these three: henry's market in costa mesa on harbor blvd., h-mart in diamond jamboree, and ralph's on harvard ave. not all henry's or ralph's carry it and surprisingly whole foods didn't have it last time i checked.

these parcels are rolled by hand and arranged tightly in a pot. they're cooked in tomato sauce to fully cook the stuffing inside.

it's a really easy dish to make and i think it's pretty healthy if you use the leanest ground beef you can find. the stuffed cabbage was served with a side of roasted veggies: parsnips, sweet potato, carrots, and small potatoes. these were tossed in a little olive oil, maple syrup, herbs, and S&P and roasted on a baking sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for 45min., toss half way through.

i'm going to try to eat better this year and eat less. i used to like the feeling of being stuffed but nowadays i like the feeling of being satisfied. it's going to be really hard but i think it'll be a good habit to have.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


win a free mambi "create-your-own" calendar by leaving a comment at the mambi blog! enter here!

Friday, January 1, 2010

dwelling in the past

happy new year! it's the first day of 2010, a new decade, the year when i'll turn 30 (OMG!), and i'm cleaning my room. LOL!

i'm a pack rat. i hate to admit it but i am. i wouldn't say that i'm quite on the level of being a 'hoarder' but maybe that's just denial. i hate throwing things away that have sentimental value but i also hate throwing away gift bags, foam core from school, clothes that don't fit anymore. i avoid getting rid of things because i KNOW that as soon as i throw something away i'll need it for reals. it's happened to me more times than i can count. i hate the feeling of regret and i also hate the feeling of buying something i had the day before trash day. AUGH! hate it.

but here i am....throwing things away. old magazines, knick-knacks i don't need, and even old memories. yes, i've come to the point where i've decided to get rid of things from the past. for example, my senior year in high school i kept small glass bottles containing sand from memorable moments in my life.

august 30, 1997 - senior girls going to santa monica for a sleep over with our teacher, irene

april 12 1998 - learning to drive for the first time with jean and anna

april 13-17, 1998 - my last mission trip to ensenada, mexico with the youth group

august 27, 1998 - visiting stanley park in canada with some youth group people and our pastor

august 29, 1998 - lincoln city, oregon on the same trip

these bottles used to be displayed on my dresser in a neat row. they meant so much to me back then. apparently 1998 was a big year for me. but as i emptied out these bottles i was a little sad. i mean, these bottles have long been tucked away in a closet and i haven't looked at them in ages but i still felt a tinge of sadness. the places and memories have gone and what used to be so precious isn't so much now.

i remember when i was in college sometimes i would have conversations with peers about the "good ol' days" when we were in youth group and how different things were back then. we would reminisce with such rose-colored glasses and it was hard not to look back with desire and longing. the best days seemed to always be in the past. i'm happy i memorialized those peaks during my youth when i did but i guess i feel like that chapter has closed and it's appropriate for a new one to start. i feel optimistic about the present and future and i don't want to dwell in the past anymore.

i look toward the future wanting to live leaner, with more intention, and with bravery. i see the road ahead and i don't want to be afraid of where it will lead but trust that it's going in the right direction. i want to be thankful for the first 30 years of my life and believe that the next 30 years will be even better, starting with this one.
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