Doughnut Day!

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 Happy National Doughnut Day 2014!

Every year, we celebrate this day dedicated to doughnuts! Remember celebrating with me last year with vegan baked donuts? This time, I’m at my parent’s house for a week and I think we are avoiding fried food, so this year is another baked version. I don’t have my donut pans here so we had mini donut muffins filled with apricot jamContinue reading

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Chicken & Waffles B.L.A.T.

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Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Been busy in the lab trying to help get some data for a grant that the professor (who I work for) is submitting by the end of the month, hence my lack of wordpress activity. This post has been saved as a draft for about a month! But here it is, in time for Memorial Day! Maybe you are having a picnic, brunch, or other get-together this holiday. A waffle sandwich might hit the spot!

Recently, there seems to be a resurgence in waffle popularity. Nowadays, people are coming up with new dishes using waffle irons. Sorry, the wonut is a bit too over-the-top for me. Nevertheless, I am down to try my hand at waffle sandwiches, as kooky as that may sound. A couple of weeks a go, on a bus ride home, I was thinking about chicken and waffles and craving it. I thought to myself, how about a chicken & waffle B.L.A.T (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato) sandwich with sourdough cheddar and chive waffles!? Continue reading

Dark Chocolate Mini Cupcakes…

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…with bacon! Yes, there’s bacon in these cupcakes. As you may know, if you are a regular reader, we don’t shy away from bacon here, especially the high-quality grass-fed variety. A big reason why I don’t fear bacon is that there is actually good fats such as monounsaturated fats and phosphatidyl choline that has antioxidant power superior to vitamin E (for more science-geeky info on bacon, check out this article by the Naughty Nutritionist). But enough about the science, lets get back to the cupcakes!

I made these bacon dark chocolate mini cupcakes for my mother-in-law last weekend on Mother’s Day. She loves dark chocolate so I though that that she might enjoy these cupcakes. You could also leave out the bacon and you’ll get a really nice intensely chocolate-y cupcake!  Continue reading

Kale-nola?!

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Sometimes you can’t help but be angry or irritated. It just happens. Some stupid little mistake can make you blow a gasket. You just want to scream! There have been times where I have reached for that bag of chips or box of cookies when I am upset about something, but I’ve found another cure for the bad mood — kale-granola aka “kale-nola”Continue reading

Happy Easter 2014!


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Happy Easter Sunday dear readers! Also, Happy Passover too! I whipped up some spritz cookies for this spring holiday season. Last year I made Easter Biscuits, and wanted to try something difference, hence the spritz! They kind of look like Christmas spritz they way that I made them, but oh well! Since my husband is observing Passover and is not eating grains (chametz) or anything else labeled as kitniyot, these spritz are Kosher for Passsover and gluten-free too! How? The wheat flour is replaced with coconut flour! Continue reading

An unorthodox cream cheese?

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Cashew cream cheese? I’ve been eyeing this type of non-traditional cream cheese for several months now, but have finally have gotten around to making it! Cream cheese is pretty tasty to many people and also my family, especially my little sister, as we have fond memories of large blocks of Raskas (another word that’s fun to say out loud! I’m a fan of those) from Costco.  Nevertheless, it can be fun to try an alternative and be “outside the box” sometimes. Things can get dull under a restrained modus operandi. Being adventurous with food is the passion behind food flavor fascination–embracing both the traditional foods and non-traditional, orthodox and unorthodox. Keeping your cultural roots and comfort foods close, yet going on taste adventures as well. Instead of ordering your regular dish at a restaurant or cooking the same thing for dinner, live on the edge a bit and try something new.  Maybe try this unorthodox cashew cream cheese and a couple of ways to feature it in your next meal! Continue reading

Mexican Chocolate Pie with Almond Crust

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Yay! Here’s the post that I promised yesterday on Pi(e) Day! Even though I got home a little late yesterday after a day in the lab doing science-ythings such as concentrating proteins and SDS PAGE , I was devoted to coming up with and making a pie! Every year we celebrate Pi(e) Day no matter how busy it is! Inspired by Dr. Andrew Weil‘s True Food Kitchen, one of my favorite San Diego restaurants, I made a Mexican Chocolate Pie with an Almond Crust. At True Food Kitchen, the motto is “Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure.” Their mission is that “every dish served must not only be delicious but must also promote the diner’s well-being.”While the focus is  fresh, nutritive dishes that highlight organic fruits & vegetables, grass-fed meat & wild-caught fish, there is something for everybody whether or not you are a health nut, are a vegan, or eat gluten-free. My in-laws like the restaurant too! You feel content after eating there. Satisfied, but not heavy. I even feel energized enough for a workout. Everything we’ve had is delicious, from the beverages, appetizers, entree to dessert. I’m a big fan of their desserts, especially Dr. Weil’s signature flourless chocolate cakeContinue reading

Bidding farewell to the 2014 Sochi Olympics with Khachapuri

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Today I was a bit sad that it was the last day of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. I always look forward to watching the olympics and keeping track of it. It doesn’t matter what sport or event is on, I just enjoy watching it! It is a worldwide tradition! The athletes are inspiring as they are dedicated to their sport and also dedicated to their health. That’s something I admire. This year’s olympics, even though amidst controversies, was pretty good, in my opinion. Do you have a favorite winter olympic sport? I think I got into watching the skiing competitions more this time. I wish I could go watch the olympics in person sometime. Today while the last events were on the TV, I made khachapuri, a Georgian dish that I hear is a Sochi staple. Continue reading

Beet Red Velvet Æbleskiver (pancake puffs)

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Happy Belated Valentines Day!

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Yesterday, for our Valentine’s Dinner we had a wonderful 3-course meal, made by my husband and I. He makes a mean steak, especially filet mignon. Sorry, don’t have pictures of the first two courses, but here’s the dessert:  Beet Red Velvet Æbleskiver with cream cheese filling. Continue reading

Ottolenghi-style lamb rib chops and some fun-sized sweet treats

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In my last post, I mentioned that we had lamb for New Year’s Eve as well as desserts. I wasn’t sure about posting about them, but decided to anyway. These are double-cut lamb chops (from a Frenched rack) with a cilantro and honey sauce from Ottolenghi:  The Cookbook. Yotam Ottolenghi is the chef “known for being the champion of vegetables at the same time as eating and loving meat”(to quote wikipedia). With his cookbooks and eponymous restaurants, he is also known as “the man who sexed up vegetables.” I do not yet have Plenty, his cookbook dedicated to vegetables and vegetarian cooking, but will probably soon get it as well as JerusalemSo far, I like the bold, vibrant Middle-Eastern flavors in his recipes. See more of his recipes and food commentary in his Guardian column. Ottolenghi pulled pork recipe? It’s on my cooking to-do list and maybe I’ll report if this recipe is “bringing sexy back” to pulled pork. Continue reading

Happy New Year! Some happy new recipes for 2014!

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It’s now 2 weeks into January and I haven’t greeted you all a happy new year yet! Better a little late then never so…..Happy 2014 to you all! We wish you the best possible year! Have any resolutions? I don’t remember when I stopped making them, but this year I’m just focusing on being positive (and hopefully inhibit the production of gray/white hairs). I tend to stress (go bonkers) about things (such as finding recyclable plastic in the kitchen garbage can every morning). Nevertheless, I guess I don’t have much reason to be stressed. I don’t have kids yet, hehe, just higher-maintenance fur-kids. As always, here at food flavor fascination, we celebrate with good food (and a little tinkering of recipes & culinary ideas). In addition to the grub, we celebrated with New Year’s Eve traditions of displaying 12 or 13 round fruits to bring prosperity in the new year as picture above (click here to read more about this seemingly peculiar Filipino cultural tradition) and also watching all five of the original Planet of the Apes movies (my husband’s New Year’s Eve tradition). Now, back to the food. We rang in the year with some classic/traditional New Year’s dishes, but updated for 2014. Continue reading

Fall delights–gobbling it up

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What are your fall delights?  I’ll leave afternoon delights alone, LOL. For me, one fall delight is pie and a cup of coffee for breakfast on the day after Thanksgiving. Instead of Black Friday shopping, I’d rather eat naughty ;). I had no shame in it, especially after an hour long walk with the dogs 🙂 Thanksgiving, as always, was a splendid time spent with family, reflecting on things and being full of thanks. The holiday has come and gone, but it still lingers in my mind (+ we’ve been savoring the leftovers). How was your Thanksgiving? And we can’t forget about Thanksgivukkah/Thanukkah as well! Continue reading

Happy National Doughnut Day 2013!

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Yay it’s Doughnut Day!

Every first Friday of June is a great odd holiday of National Doughnut Day. We’ve been celebrating this holiday for years. I think it was my husband who brought it up first when we first started dating. Since then, I always keep it in my mind to remember the day and to make some doughnuts. These round bread-y pastries  have always been popular, but in recent years it seems like it’s popularity has skyrocketed. There are even pretzel doughnuts, muffin doughnuts, and I still have to try those “cronuts!” Or maybe if you want to try a new type of doughnut, try some of the pao de quiejo donuts that I made a few weekends ago. With donut maker electric appliances and doughnut baking pans, no wonder these have become more popular, especially homemade. This year I tried a baked version from Official Hungry’s “Eat My Vegan” recipe. I have been eye-ing this for some time and adapted it to a gluten-free recipe. Continue reading

Brunching on donuts de pão de queijo com bacon…Happy Memorial Day Weekend 2013!

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Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone! We hope you all are getting a chance to spend time with family and remember those who served our country. Though this holiday is synonymous with grilling and eating outdoors, I think it is important to remember why this holiday is significant and why we get together and celebrate. Thank you to all who have served. We appreciate it today and everyday. Cheers to you all!

Like many people out there, we like to spend Memorial Day Weekend relaxing and spending time together. We eat good food and play with the dogs. I think we do this for many other holidays as well. Earlier this weekend I made a brunch dish that would be perfect for this holiday to make you feel happy and in the mood for going outside and/or grilling. Doughnuts of course! Well pão de queijo shaped into doughnuts with bacon added in. Also with a maple bourbon Hollandaise “glaze.” Continue reading

Crispy Purple Yam Tots and a breakfast salad bowl?

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I’ve been a proponent for salads as breakfast fare and was craving one lately. While watching Trisha Yearwood making Garth’s breakfast bowl on her Food Network show Trisha’s Southern Cooking, I suddenly had a craving for a breakfast bowl too. So, that lightbulb thought sparked in my head to combine the two cravings into a breakfast salad bowl with tots, of course. This time crispy purple yam tots for a nod to my Filipino roots. Why would you want salad for breakfast? Try this recipe, tweaking this to your taste if you like, and see for yourself. 😀 Continue reading

Caramel sweet treats on a relaxing and surprise-filled Mother’s Day

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This was a really fun Mother’s Day weekend! Relaxing and yet surprising! We hope you all had a nice Mother’s Day! As for the surprise, on Saturday, my husband, I, and the two dogs Pipi and Nutter drove up to “the Valley” at my husband’s parent’s house. His mom did not know at all that we would be there and she was so surprised and happy that we came up to spend Mother’s Day weekend with her. You should have seen the look on her face when we got in the door! A happy shock! It’s always a great time visiting them. Pipi and now also Nutter love visiting too!

We took her out for dinner at a cafe not far away from their house and had a great time. The only thing that could make it better is if the dogs could come along to the restaurant too, LOL. After dinner and walking with the dogs, I baked some alfajores, a sweet treat of caramel sandwiched in between two British biscuit-like cookies. I baked some at their house and then finished baking more at my parent’s house on Sunday evening. Lots of alfajores! This time it was alfajores–two ways:  whole wheat and a gluten-free variation. Continue reading

Avocado-Coconut Panna Cotta

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One of my favorite desserts is panna cotta, a creamy gelatin-based dessert originating from Northern Italy in Piedmont (possibly since the Middle-ages). Panna cotta translates to “cooked cream” in Italian. So delicious. If I see it on a dessert menu, I am most often going to order it! Light, yet creamy and rich-tasting. I like it even better than custard. I think it is about time that I tried to make this dessert! But I always like to play around with ingredients. Tweaking things is a fascination of mine. I just can’t help it even if a food experiment sometimes ends up as a mess or something not palatable at all. Luckily, this recent panna cotta experimentation was a success. Panna cotta should be fool-proof. As David Lebovitz says, “Panna cotta is incredibly easy to make, and if it takes you more than five minutes to put it together, you’re doing something wrong.”

There are some great dishes out in the blog world that celebrate spring and all its green-ness and vibrancy, so I thought I would chime in and do something with avocados as they are in season here. Creamy and rich, I thought it would be a nice parallel in panna cotta. So here’s a spring recipe contribution:  avocado-coconut panna cotta. Continue reading

Green Smoothie Muffins and Pistachio Milk

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I’m feeling mean green today. In sixth grade, my friends and I would do silly things and one of the things that I did (among other crazy kid things) was perform rap songs. To my friends, I was once “The Mean Green Rapper Crapper” because I was a wannabe rapper and my favorite color was green. So silly, but those were the days of being crazy kids. I was influenced by those times as I was developing a new muffin recipe and an accompaniment to it. I was thinking of using green things that are good for your insides so that they do their job well (LOL yes, alluding to my former rap name). I love zucchini bread and muffins, but wanted to use a different green veggie. Cruciferous kale is big nowadays, so I decided to try it out in a muffin recipe along with banana, apple, and pineapple, which are often found in green smoothies. When I wanted to stop my coffee and caffeine addiction a couple of years ago, I started having tea or a green smoothie instead, often with kale and a few fruit pals. Moreover, I love matcha green tea in green smoothies so I added it here in this recipe. The pistachios are a nice addition as well. Going with the green theme, I also made pistachio milk, which, when paired with these green smoothie muffins, is a mean & green, yet delightful combo. 😀 Continue reading

Happy Easter 2013!

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Happy Easter to all my readers! It’s a beautiful day to enjoy our family, friends and good food. I hope you all are having a good time! What are your Easter plans? For Easter 2013, it will be a relaxing day for my family and I. We (including our Papillon-mix dog) are going out to eat! There are a number of restaurants in my town that allow dogs in the outdoor area. Can’t wait! Since I am not cooking, of course I had to bake something! 😀 I read an interesting post over at Lois Elsden’s blog (be sure to check out her blog!) on her Easter treats and saw a recipe for Easter Biscuits that fascinated me.

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Passover Popovers

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Popovers for Passover? Never heard of them until about a year ago when my Grandma-in-law gave me a recipe for it after we were all full from eating the really good food that she made for Passover seder last year. After getting that recipe, a few days later, I tried making them and they turned out to be delicious. Actually, they are “delectable” as Martha Stewart would often describe the food she was tasting on TV. This recipe is from a Martha Stewart episode on Passover years ago. These popovers are made from matzo cake meal, which I also used in the mocha brownies. The procedure is pretty straightforward. It’s like making choux pastry. Continue reading

Mocha Brownies for Passover

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As the sun sets, I would like to wish you all a Happy Passover! I know that many of you are busy  preparing for the holiday and festivities. I hope that your seder dinner goes well and you have a great time!  Though I am not Jewish, my husband is following the traditions and that means food for him has to be Kosher for Passover. So, for something sweet to enjoy, I made Mocha Nut Brownies for Passover.

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St. Patrick’s Day inspired cupcakes

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I couldn’t help myself. I jumped on the bandwagon and baked something with chocolate and stout! Luscious cakes. Gotta live a little, right? 😀 In recent years, there has been an explosion of chocolate and stout desserts especially for St. Patrick’s Day and last year I made chocolate stout cupcakes from Nook & Pantry. Those were really good. This year, I baked another chocolate stout cupcake, but with different ingredients based on the butternut squash, carrot, and hazelnut muffins I recently made. Using that recipe and a recipe from Cannelle et Vanille as motivation, I came up with St. Patrick’s Day inspired stout and chocolate cupcakes with Carolans cream cheese frosting. These cupcakes can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free dark beer. Continue reading

Carrot and Hazelnut Muffins…with a hidden ingredient

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“The rule is flavor, and flavor rules.”

-Master Breadmaker Peter Reinhart

Okay, I won’t keep you in suspense, the hidden ingredient to these carrot and hazelnut muffins is…butternut squash! These muffins have another secret too…they are gluten-free! But they taste really good! That’s no secret 🙂 A year ago I never thought that I would cook gluten-free foods. I’m not on a gluten-free diet, but I love the challenge of cooking gluten-free, especially in baking, where baked goods usually depend on the chemistry of gluten. I enjoy science, and gluten-free baking is like a science experiment for me, in addition to cooking in general. I realized that even if dishes are gluten-free–if it tastes good and makes you feel good, what’s the harm in that? Thus, I wholeheartedly subscribe to Peter Reinhart’s “Flavor Rule” where flavor determines what I enjoy in a dish, not labels–whether gluten-free or otherwise.

Now, back to the muffins. These butternut squash, carrot and hazelnut muffins were inspired by a recipe I found in Whole Living magazine. It is a great all-around muffin recipe with a nice soft and moist texture. They taste even better the next day, or days later. Makes for a great post-workout snack, after-work/school snack, or even as part of a quick breakfast (though I prefer more savory foods in the morning). I decided to use carrot instead of apple in the original recipe and it was definitely yummy. I think you can pretty much sub or add in ingredients like you would in a normal muffin or quick-bread recipe. Zucchini, banana, and chocolate, you’re next!

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Hamantaschen

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Have you ever heard of Hamantaschen? It is a Jewish pastry that is part of the Purim festivities. It is a tender, crumbly, and buttery-tasting cookie shaped in a triangle and has a filling. I never knew about these cookies until about 3 years ago when my husband and I started to go to D.Z. Akins, our town’s Jewish-style deli. My husband especially likes that place when he is craving for Matzo ball soup and a good corned beef sandwich. I really like their barley soup.  Their bakery is really good too! Their hamantaschen are very yummy! I guess that when I heard that Purim is this weekend, I got a sudden craving for Hamantaschen. So I made some! Continue reading

St. Valentine’s Day Pop Tarts—something for the kid in all of us

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The rose is red, the violet’s blue,
The honey’s sweet, and so are you.
Thou art my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou’d be you.
—English nursery rhyme, Gammer Gurton’s Garland (1784)

Love is in the air as St. Valentine’s Day is approaching (on Thursday) 🙂 The history of this holiday and it’s origins is rooted in the martyrology of Valentine, who was said to have illegally performed weddings to soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians who were persecuted during the Roman Empire. Then, by the time of Geoffrey Chaucer (known as the “Father of English Literature“) in the High Middle Ages, Valentine’s Day became a day to celebrate romantic love full of flowers, sweets, and valentine cards.  Continue reading

Pancit Canton Bistek + Happy Birthday Dad! & Happy Anniversary to my Parents!

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Happy weekend everyone! I have to start by wishing my Dad a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Today is his birthday and I am so glad that he is my Dad! Also,  on Thursday it was my parents 31st Wedding Anniversary! They are definitely a couple to look up to and admire. I’m glad they went out to celebrate yesterday by going to a Lea Salonga concert in Palm Springs. They had a great time and they deserve it! This post is dedicated to them.

As you probably know or if you have read some of my posts, that Filipinos (and many other cultures) celebrate special occasions by feasting well and by eating noodles, specifically a noodle dish called Pancit. There are many variations of Pancit noodles such as Pancit Guisado, Pancit Malabon, Pancit Hab-Hab, and Pancit Canton to name a few. Wikipedia lists 29 variations! I’m sure there are more out there!

I was thinking, for these specific occasions that I would do a different type of Pancit and of course continue in my fascination of tweaking and tinkering with foods. Since we are celebrating my Mom and Dad, I thought,” Hmmm…what is a dish that my Dad is known for and that my Mom often requests?” My Mom asks my Dad to make Bistek very often and it is a family favorite. It is a dish with Beef Steak and Onions in a soy-lemon sauce. Bistek is one of his specialties! Also, he loves to eat steak on his birthday in addition to Pancit, so I thought that the best dish to fit the special occasions would be to combine Pancit with Filipino Bistek. The result is a dish that is flavor-packed and fun to eat! It is hearty, yet light at the same time. It’s a noodle wonderland with meaty goodness!  Continue reading

Fresh Lumpia Cabbage Wraps, a Remix on Lumpiang Sariwa

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Last week, I was at my parent’s house visiting for the week. Since I still go to my dentist near where they live, I often stay at their place for a few days when I have an appointment. One thing that I love, besides spending time with my family and the good food that they make is that I get to test some recipes on them. They have a bigger kitchen, so it is a nice change-of-pace to cook there instead of my small apartment kitchen. I think I mentioned in some of my other posts that my Dad has a big garden and that I often get some of his homegrown produce. One new item that he planted this season is a type of cabbage. I’m not sure exactly what the name of it is, but it seems like Savoy Cabbage. I told my Mom that I was thinking of making some sort of cabbage wrap with it and she gave me the delightful idea to make Lumpiang Sariwa (aka Fresh Lumpia) with the cabbage as a wrapper and some of the Spaghetti Squash Pancit Guisado (+ added veggies) that I had made. Continue reading

Pancit Guisado with Spaghetti Squash Noodles

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Noodle time again! Though it was not anyone’s birthday this week, I wanted to make Pancit Guisado, a Filipino stir-fry noodle dish with vegetables, seafood, and meat. We’ve been continuing to enjoy the winter squashes that are available, especially Spaghetti Squash, which are in it’s peak season from fall to winter. I’ve seen a lot of pasta applications to Spaghetti Squash, but I think that  it could also be adapted to any noodle dish or beyond. What better way to satisfy my Pancit craving and my fascination with tweaking dishes like this Filipino favorite than with the tasty, nutrition-packed and unique Spaghetti Squash? Continue reading

Sorghum Flatbread (Jowar ki Roti/Bhakri)

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As you probably know, I love experimenting with and eating gluten-free foods. I’ve had some sorghum flour that I wanted to make something with and was excited to try making Jowar ki Roti or Jowar ki Bhakri. This is a flatbread made with only sorghum flour and without the help of any gums or other common gluten-free binding agents. To make this flatbread you need just the sorghum (jowar) flour, salt, water, and oil which is optional. Continue reading

Eggnog Tea Cakes

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After making Swedish-style Meatballs with Eggnog last week, I still had some eggnog leftover. I should have made a double batch of them, but was also curious on what would happen if I baked with it. So, to appease my curiosity, last Friday I baked some Eggnog Tea Cakes. Continue reading

A quirky cookie, an Allergy-free version of Costco’s Aussie Bites

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A part of me wishes that the holiday season won’t end. It’s a time of fun with family and good food. Probably the reason that I don’t want the season to end is because I’ve been battling the stomach flu since Christmas Day and wasn’t able to enjoy it as usual. Nevertheless, I am better now and am itching to get back to cooking and blogging. Last week, I promised to post a recipe of one of the holiday treats that I made and gave to friends and family, so here it is…..a post on Aussie Bites! Continue reading

Chaat Masala Chips – Two Ways

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About a week ago, at lunch, I was at home heating up a bowl of chicken and vegetable noodle soup and wanted something crunchy with my meal. Something crunchy that was also spicy. Chips! Who hasn’t liked those sensations that you get from eating chips? It’s those sensations that hook you. Crunch. Flavor. Crunch. That’s why chips are so addicting. Can’t explain that experience of eating chips into words very well. Some phenomenological qualia that’s addicting. Lol. However, chips are usually fried and I don’t like to eat fried foods often. When I make nachos, I make my own tortilla chips by baking them, so I decided to make myself some baked tortilla chips since I had some corn tortillas on hand. Of course, normal fried tortilla chips taste better, but baking the chips is a nice compromise. For the flavor kick, I used chaat masala, an Indian spice mix that I really enjoy. I like the hint of sweetness from the amchoor (dried mango powder) in the blend of spices.

I’m also a fan of veggie chips and earlier this week wanted some kale chips. Why not spice it up with some chaat masala? Kale with  garlic, salt & pepper is a great classic, but it also pairs well with the sweet and spicy notes in chaat masala. Below is a recipe for chaat masala chips, two ways:  spicy kale and tortilla chips. Continue reading

Pumpkin Pie Spice Latte – Make it your way!

Fall is finally in full swing here in San Diego after that September heatwave where we had temperatures that went up to about 110 degrees. That was sweaty time, now it’s sweater time! …and time for some yummy hot beverages. I usually drink a variety of teas from our budding tea collection, but I miss coffee now and then, especially seasonal coffee drinks. At times, I like going to local coffee shops and sometimes even Starbucks to get my fix, but I don’t like all that sugar and having to spend too much $$$$ on a drink. Like one comedian said, “You think I want to stand in line at Starbucks and spend that much money everyday? I would rather learn how to make that **** myself!”

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