Wednesday, November 30, 2011

unsolicited wedding advice wednesdays : vidalia chop wizard

Ok, I'm not usually one to recommend "As Seen on TV" products (Shake Weights and Pajama Jeans come to mind) however I will make an exception for the Vidalia Chop Wizard.  You can register for it at Bed Bath & Beyond or use one of those 20% off coupons you always get in the mail.  The Vidalia Chop Wizard is great for chopping vegetables (especially onions) in to uniform pieces.  It comes with two different size grates that cuts the veggie as you press it down with the cover.  I especially like to use it when I chop veggies for soups, chili, and salsa.  Easy to use and dishwasher safe is a gold star in my book!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

creamy turkey soup with egg noodles

Ok, so Mark's work gave him a free turkey but I knew we were going to his aunt and uncle's house so we didn't need the turkey for Thanksgiving.  I broke down the raw turkey and froze all its yummy parts for later use and boiled the remaining carcass to make homemade turkey stock.  It was a lot more stock than I needed for this soup but I froze the rest in some ice cube trays for later use.

**update: This post was written last week and since then I've had to make a second batch of this because Mark liked it so much.  :P

Homemade Turkey Stock
**You don't have to use a carcass but if you use breast, wing, thigh, etc meat use the bone-in because it will taste better.
Turkey/chicken carcass (hahaha it seems so barbaric) or bones or actua
1 large onion, rough chop (large pieces)
3 celery stalks, rough chop
2 large carrots, rough chop
1 Tbsp of italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper

1. Place your protein carcass/bones in a large stock pot.  Fill with water until carcass is covered.  Throw in the rest of the ingredients.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 1-2 hours.  Skim off any foam or extra oil that comes to the top.  Once it has cooled, skim off any fat and remove carcass to salvage any meat that is available. Save meat in a separate container.  Strain the stock and toss the bones and veggies.

Creamy Turkey Soup with Egg Noodles
**Obviously you don't need to make your own stock for this.  Store bought chicken stock will do just fine.
1/2 cup of butter
1 large onion, large dice
1/4 cup flour
6 cups of turkey or chicken stock (more or less depending on how thick and creamy you want it)
2 cups cream and/or milk
3 stalks of celery, large dice
2 large carrots, large dice
1 peeled potato, large dice
5 stalks of green onion or 1 leek, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
cooked turkey meat
egg noodles

1.  In a heavy bottomed stock pot or dutch oven saute onions with butter.  Before the onions get soft, mix in flour.  Cook for about 2 min.  Scrape the bottom of the pot while adding cream and 2 cups of stock.  Stir until it thickens a bit.  Add remaining veggies, garlic, and stock.  Bring to boil and simmer for 30 min or until the veggies aren't raw anymore.  Salt and pepper to taste.

2.  (If you're not going to eat all of the soup in one sitting then I'd recommend cooking the noodles separately.)  Add noodles and cook until al dente.  Place cooked turkey meat in bowl and ladle over the meat with the soup.  Garnish with sliced green onions.

Monday, November 28, 2011

copycat dinner

Two Sundays ago Mark and I had dinner at our friends' house (what up, C+S!) and we were served some delicious food.  Tonight's dinner was a copycat of that de-lish meal with salmon and roasted broccoli.  The creamy turkey soup on the side was my addition to the meal which I will share tomorrow.

Oven-Roasted Salmon (adapted from ATK)
1/2 stick of butter
1 shallot, minced
1 heaping Tbsp of fresh dill, minced
1 (4 lb) side of salmon, skin on (mine wasn't but I think skin on would've tasted better)
2 lemon, one sliced and the other for juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and adjust rack to middle position
1. Melt butter in a saucepan, add shallots and cook until soft (1min).  Take off heat and add dill and the juice of half a lemon.

2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy duty foil and spray with cooking spray.  Pat salmon dry with paper towels and lay on foil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover salmon with the dill butter and lay the sliced lemons on top.  Roast for 12 min.  Serve with lemon wedges and extra fresh dill.

Roasted Broccoli (adapted from Rachael Ray)
**I used my toaster oven while the salmon was in the oven but you can use the oven just the same.
Chili powder
Garlic, minced

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees
1. Prep the broccoli by removing the tough other skin on the stem with a paring knife.  Cut to bite-size pieces.  Line the rimmed tray with foil and place broccoli on top.  Lightly drizzle EVOO evenly over the broccoli.  Sprinkle with chili powder, paprika, garlic, and salt + pepper.  Roast until bright green, about 12 min.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

happy thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I hope you have a happy and safe holiday with family and friends.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

unsolicited wedding advice wednesdays : vacuum


It's been two months since we moved to our cozy little apartment.  We only have carpet in our bedroom and because of the moving expenses we opted to wait to buy a vacu-um ("Enchanted," anyone?!) a little later.  But a little later ended up being two months later (I know, gross).  We actually might have waited longer if Mark's allergies hadn't gotten so bad LOL.   Mark has pretty bad allergies so we had to do some research to get a good one.  We ended up getting the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Vacuum Pro.  It's a really easy to use vacuum and we were both impressed by it's suction power.  One con is that it's attachements need to be stored separately but so far that's the only bad thing.  We bought ours from Bed, Bath, and Beyond with a 20% off coupon and paid about $160.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

how i fold t-shirts

So a while back I watched a Japanese video on YouTube that demonstrated how to fold a shirt and I was so amazed by the sorcery that time to time I would yield its magic to fold my shirts.  Nowadays I use a method that's based on that video but is less confusing for my brain.  I will share my method with you today.  In hind sight I should've used my Lakers t-shirt for this but whatever.  Happy laundry folding!

Step 1: 
Holding the top of the t-shirt with your right hand and the bottom hem with your left fold back the right sleeve.  Notice that the fold is not directly on the collar but like 2 inches away.  Adjust this distance to your preference.  

Step 2: 
Take your left hand holding the bottom hem to your right hand and fold the t-shirt in half bringing the bottom hem up to the top of the t-shirt.

Step 3:
Next, fold back the left sleeve to match what you've done up til now.  Notice that the distance from the collar on either side is somewhat even.  I know, it's kind of anal but if you're actually following this post you're probably a somewhat anal person.  You're in good company, friend.

Step 4:
Fold the whole thing in half again so that it looks like the picture below.  You did it!

Ok, so if you're like me at this point you'd want to see a demonstration.  So using the timer setting on my point and shoot I have tried to do the steps again but including my hands.  This was a very awkward process to shoot.  Imagine me setting up the camera and hunching in front of it with the shirt above my ducked head.  All in my PJs.  

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:
This is a shot of what Step 3 looks like from the back of the t-shirt.

Monday, November 21, 2011

g-ear up for the holidays

Sorry I've been MIA.  I just got back home from a WONDERFUL week-long trip back to home home in CA (woot woot!) and then I got sick.  :/  It's it always like that?  It was like IL was punishing me for coming back.  :P  Just kidding, I probably over did it when I was home.  Anyhow, this fabulously unemployed person (Target rejected me!) is dreaming of Christmas and beautiful holiday parties with sparkling pink champagne ("An Affair to Remember", anyone?!).  Here are some dazzling earrings from Charm & Chain that I would wear to such a soirĂ©e.  

[3] Carly Earrings, sold out :(

Thursday, November 3, 2011

book review : little old lady recipes

Full disclosure I received a free copy of Meg Favreau's new book published by Quirk Books, "Little Old Lady Recipes" in order to do this review.  You can purchase it here.

Once again, thanks to Eric at Quirk Books for letting me review so many awesome books.  

I really wanted to review this book because in my experience the best tasting dishes have been made by people who are "little old ladies" and I always find myself asking them for their recipes.  This pocket-sized book is packed with everything from everyday recipes (like pancakes) to dishes you'll want to take to your next potluck (like tuna surprise casserole).  You won't find the latest and greatest in gourmet food here but you'll find the oldies but goodies that you'd find from your grandma's kitchen.  Well...not MY grandma since she's a 1st generation Korean woman but you know what I mean. 

The recipe I decided to tackle was the one for frosted cinnamon rolls.  I've never made cinnamon buns before and to be honest I was a little nervous about making it.  Any time I work with yeast I feel a little nervous.  I always feel like I'm going to 'hurt' them or kill them somehow and nothing will rise.

So the way the recipes are written are very much in the voice of a little old lady.  As in, there are specific measurements but there are also generalities written in to the recipe.  For example, the recipe calls for the first resting period of the dough to last "until doubled."  So basically what I did was what an episode of Castle on On Demand and guess when it looked like it had doubled.  I kind of wished it had given me some kind of timeline like an hour or whatever but in the end the buns came out fine and it wasn't a big deal.

So the cinnamon buns came together pretty easily and I have to say that they weren't the loveliest of all cinnamon buns that I have seen but they were yummy just the same.  Mark had one after work and he said they were "delicious" so I guess my first time with these babies went a-okay.  One bonus of making these is that they made the apartment smell divine.  :P

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

unsolicited wedding advice wednesdays : straws

So for my wedding we couldn't serve alcohol and we didn't want to just serve water either so we went the trendy route and had bottles of colorful soda that we got at Restaurant Depot (what a wonderful place to buy stuff).  And since we were already being trendy I thought I'd by those cute striped straws that you see everywhere nowadays.  Unfortunately something got lost in the measurements (either I measured wrong or didn't measure at all or maybe the bottel change, who can tell....) and the straw was about the same height as the bottle itself.  Which isn't an issue when there's soda in the bottle because the fizz makes the straw float a bit but the funny thing with soda is that you tend to want to drink it in which case the straw would sink and become useless INSIDE the bottle.  Anywhoo...I returned the straws and we served the bottles as-is because I couldn't find longer straws but I thought I should share this cautionary tale in case you decide to buy those cute straws for your wedding or your next party.  Measure, measure, measure.  Most cute straws are 7 3/4" or somewhere around there.

HOWEVER, in my recent research (5 min ago I googled 'stripped straw') I discovered that The Sugar Diva now sells LONG 10 1/2" striped straws, here.  Not in every color sadly but they do come in hot pink, aqua, and grey.  Yay!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

belated happy halloween!

Here are some point and shoot shots on our walk yesterday.  Technically it was Monday but it's considered our Saturday because Mark has been working Wednesday–Sunday lately.  I'm going to press some fall leaves to take home to give to my mom.  She loves ginko leaves.
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