Mini surprise!

It had been about 5 months since we have Mr Hyde. Then one day, we received a package in the mail….

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Turns out to be a goodie bag from Mini HQ! wah.. I didn’t expect to receive any more stuff from the car dealership since “the deal is sealed” but these arrived! Most of the things are junk….except a really cool 1 GB USB thumbdrive.. oh… and I love the mini cooper shaped paper clip!

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haha… Here’s the gift our Motoring Advisor ( salesman) sent us:

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Love that picture! πŸ™‚ Now this mks me wonder… IF I were to purchase a BMW, what kind of freebies would I get?! hehehe

Acorn Squash Bread

It’s November already!!! Time seriously flies.. but not fast enough. Sigh.. that’s another story

I baked this 2 weeks ago. If you read my previous post, I got the Acorn Squash from my CSA box! Decided to try baking with it.. and I love the results!

This is my first time using squash in baking/cooking. I have to say that the squash is super hard. It took me awhile to slice the squash into half! It only became soft after roasting in the oven. By the way, I tasted the pureed Acorn squash and it is actually sweet!haha.. I actually think that it’s a good baby food! Since the squash is sweet and I added cranberries, I reduced the sugar in the recipe. The bread turned out perfect!

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This is the recipe I followed:

Acorn Squash Bread recipe
(Taken from Simmer Boston)

1 small-medium acorn squash

1 Β½ cups granulated sugar –> I used 1 cup of sugar

Β½ cup mild olive oil or vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 Β½ cups all purpose flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Β½ tsp ground clove –> I omitted

Β½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

Β½ tsp baking powder

ΒΌ tsp salt

Β½ cup chopped pecans or hazelnuts (optional) –> I used dried Cranberries

Coarse sugar for sprinkling –> I did not do this

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves cut side down on a baking tray and fill the tray with Β½ an inch of water. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the squash is very tender. Remove from the oven a cool. Once cool, scoop the squash from its skin and puree in a food processor (I used a blender) until smooth. Reserve 1 cup squash puree for the recipe and save any leftover for another use

In a medium size bowl, combine the 1 cup squash puree, the sugar, the oil, and the eggs. Mix well ( I used a hand whisk). Sift together the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add this to the squash mixture and mix until no lumps are visible. Fold in the cranberries.

Butter and flour a loaf tin, and scoop the batter into the prepared tin. . Bake for 45-55 minutes* until set. A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread should come out clean. Cool, slice, and munch!

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Note:
* My bread took about 60 mins to bake in a loaf tin. At 50min, use a sheet of aluminum foil to cover the top of the bread to prevent it from was browning too quickly
* If you are using mini loaf pans, it will only take 30-35mins!

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Tiny’s Organic CSA box

I always wanted to try CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) – just waiting for a good deal. Finally, a livingsocial deal came up! The best part is it is from Tiny’s Organic ( a farm booth I frequent at the Farmer’s Market) and BH’s office is one of the collection points! there is also an additional 20% discount code which can be applied to the deal! Things can’t get any better!! πŸ˜€ We paid $25 for 2 boxes

The most exciting part about the CSA box is you don’t know what you are getting every week. I enjoy receiving a mystery box – gives me a chance to try new healthy food and cook new recipes!

My first box: 2 October 2013

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The box contains tomatillo, tomatoes, carrots, fennel, apples, nectarine, prunes. Large box is supposed to feed a family of 3 but it’s just right for us πŸ™‚

I have never worked with tomatillo! I spent ALOT of time looking for recipes to include this ingredient. BH and I are not chips&dip people so I was reluctant to make salsa. However, I gave in and made Fresh Tomatillo Salsa in the end. Sorry, no pics for this one πŸ™ I used the salsa for baking salmon and it tasted really good actually!

Next, I have never worked with Fennel too!

After some research, I followed this recipe πŸ™‚ Turns out to be pretty tasty!

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As for the tomatoes, I used them for Tomatoes Eggs

My second box: 9 October 2013

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This time the box contains apples, nectarines, prunes, huge heirloom tomatoes, kale and 2 acorn squash

haha.. I have not done anything exciting for this box yet but I plan to make the following:
1) Acorn Squash bread
2) Kale pasta salad
3) Tomato eggs ( Gosh.. we are eating tomatoes nearly every day now!)
4) Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes with Fresh Mozzarella

I really enjoy my CSA experience but decided to stop after these 2 boxes because it is quite costly with any vouchers. Hard to say goodbye and I hope another deal comes soon!

Under the weather

Remember the Maroon5 concert at the Gorge which I mentioned here? Well, it DID NOT happen πŸ™

I am feeling sore. My heart is sore that we didn’t see Maroon5 perform, I am also having a sore throat. Gosh, I can’t decide which is more sore – My heart or my throat. I mean, if it was just an impromptu trip, I won’t have felt so disappointed. I was looking forward to it for months ( bought tickets in April/May!) and it was the first ever concert that I requested to watch. Booooo… well.. Maroon5 suddenly became my favourite after I watched Adam Levine on The Voice.. hahaha..

Anyhow, it had been 5 days since the trip to the Gorge and I am still not feeling well. How should I put it? I am feeling as under the weather as the weather πŸ™ I might see a doctor tomorrow

So why was the concert cancelled? It is due to bad weather. The windy and rainy conditions made it unsafe to perform. Now you know how I caught this nasty flu πŸ™

Before the concert, we stopped by Wild Horse Wind & Solar Facility. They do offer FREE tours at 10am and 2pm but tours were cancelled because of the bad weather. It was extra windy – you can’t even walk in a straight line. The wind speed was 60miles/h. Yes, I thought I could be blown away

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I personally thought that it was interesting to go upclose to a wind turbine – I always saw this on textbooks but never thought that I would go so close to one

We also hiked up to see the Wild Horse Monuments. The hike up/down was really steep but it was a beautiful sight. The view of the Columbia River is amazing but it was just too windy to hang out there

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Finally, we arrived at the Gorge. The weather was still alright at first BUT got bad after that πŸ™

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We all left after Adam Levine & kelly Clarkson made the announcement that the concert needs to be cancelled due to bad weather. Just our luck πŸ™

Lesson learnt: It is better to watch an indoor concert

Happy 5th 6eptember!

You know how the song “Marry Me” by Train goes?

Forever can never be long enough for me to feel like I’ve had long enough with you

I feel like that all the time πŸ™‚ It’s amazing that 5 years of married life went by in a flash.. seriously, a flash. Yes, I do complain about BH some times BUT on most times.. I wondered ” Why didn’t we get married earlier?!” haha.. as selfish as it may seem but I still can’t get enough of our ‘2 people world’ Hope BH feels the same too

To BH (who may or may not read this entry): Thank you for not saying NO to the things I want, regardless of how big, how far, how expensive – If i dare to dream it, I know, you will get it for me, for us ( just a matter of time) Thank you for dreaming the dream with me, hopefully, we will turn dreams to reality some day. Happy anniversary and many more to come!

Blueberries Coconut Oil Banana Bread

Found this recipe as I was surfing around on Pinterest πŸ™‚ I bought a bottle of Coconut oil a while back after reading that it is healthy and good for cooking and baking. Basically, you can substitute butter with coconut oil. Well, I also know that my sis feeds Bambi Coconut oil… haha.. so it is not only good for humans but good for dogs too!

Anyhow, this is my first bake using coconut oil and I am loving it! The recipe uses pineapple BUT i replaced it using blueberries. Please don’t be mislead that this is a ‘bread’ – it is actually a cake! super delicious and moist too! This recipe is going to be my favourite for a long long time!

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FYI, stand mixer is for show. You don’t need a mixer in this recipe. In fact, just whisk by hand!

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Recipe from Averie Cooks
(Makes 1 regular loaf and 3 mini loaves)

Ingredients:
-2 large eggs
-1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (canola or vegetable oil, or browned or melted butter may be substituted)
-1/3 cup buttermilk (1/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream may be substituted) > I used honey greek yogurt
-1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
-1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, optional but recommended
-pinch salt, optional and to taste
-1 to 1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (2 large or 3 small ripe bananas)
-1 cup pineapple, diced (I used frozen; mango, peaches, nectarines, strawberries or blueberries may be substituted) > I used frozen blueberries

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 8-by-4-inch loaf pans with floured cooking spray; set aside.

2) In a large bowl combine the eggs, coconut oil, buttermilk, sugars, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, optional salt, and stir to just incorporate; don’t overmix because the gluten will overdevelop and bread will be tougher. Stir in bananas. Stir in pineapple (if using frozen, just add it frozen, no need to thaw it first. If using fresh or canned, make sure it’s well-drained or it could water-down the batter).

3) Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for about 45 minutes, or until top is golden and set, a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (banana bread is gooey and it may not come out perfectly clean). If bread is browning too fast on the top, you may wish to lower your oven temperature to 325F in last 15 minutes of cooking, or tent the pan with foil

4) Allow bread to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Bread will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container or large Ziplock at room temperature

Note:
-I only have enough batter for 1 loaf and 3 mini loaves. I followed Averie’s instructions on storing the bakes – wrapped in cling wrap and put in airtight container ( I usually don’t cling wrap my bakes) and it does make a difference! The cakes still taste fresh after 3 days and i could slice it nicely with little/no crumbs.
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– I reserved 1/2 my my regular loaf and freeze it. This is saved for emergency cravings. haha..

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Steamed egg cupcakes [Minions, Ladybirds, Bees]

I came across a interesting video by Angela Chia on Facebook and decided to give her recipe a try… Oh… the results…. Super cute cupcakes!!

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(Makes 12 cupcakes)

Ingredients:
180g plain flour
180g fine sugar
6 eggs (room temperature)
brown coloring (I can’t find brown colouring, so I mixed my own)
red coloring
yellow colouring

Tools:
– 2 piping bags ( purchased disposable one from daiso)
– Pot with steamer ( using my Happycall big pot)
– Cupcake pan ( used disposable aluminum ones as it fits my steamer nicely! If not, you can use ramekins instead)
– Cloth , optional (to wrap the pot’s lid, so the water don’t drip onto the cupcake and ruin the designs)
– Ice-cream scoop to scoop batter into muffin liners

Directions:
1) Beat eggs n sugar till light and fluffy.

2 Gradually add in the sifted flour.

3) Scoop 1 tbs of the batter into a piping bag. Snip a small hole and set aside.

4) Scoop 7 tbs of batter into another piping bag. Add brown colouring and mix well

5) Divide the remaining batter into 2 equal bowls.

6) Add red coloring (for ladybug’s body) to one of the bowls, mix well. Scoop 1 teaspoon of red batter into a small bowl ( for the bee’s cheek)

7) Add yellow colouring( for bee’s body) to the other bowl, mix well.

8) Line paper cups in the muffin tray.

For Ladybug:
9) Fill the cups 3/4 full with the pink batter.

10) Use the brown batter to draw a ‘T’ , to divide lady bug’s body.

11) Draw brown dots on bug’s body

12) Fill upper part of bug with brown batter

13) use white batter to make b/g of bug’s eyes.

14) Put brown dot to mark bug’s eyes *DONE!*

For Bee:
15) Fill the cups 3/4 full with the yellow batter.

16) Use the brown batter to draw 2 lines for bee’s markings.

17) Draw brown dots for bee’s eyes and mouth

18) use 1 chopstick, dip into the small portion of red batter to make bee’s cheek. *DONE!*

For Minions:
19) Fill the cups 3/4 full with the yellow batter.

20) Use the brown batter to draw outline of minion’s eyes.

21) use white batter to make b/g of minion’s eyes.

22) Put brown dot to mark minons eyes

23) Draw minion’s mouth with brown batter , if u still have any *DONE!*
——
24) Bring water to boil and lower cakes into pot or pan. Steam under medium heat for 15 minutes.

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WARNING: Cupcakes do have a eggy taste/smell. Reduce the no. of eggs if you prefer not to have the smell

[UPDATE] My cupcakes did become a bit hard after it cooled down (still edible) – not sure if it’s me or is it the recipe πŸ™ Will steam it before eating

Minions unite!

Finally got all my minions!

Actually, Jo, the minion hunter, went McDonald hopping and got most of them for me! haha Thank you!!

ohh.. just in case u haven’t met our new bulldog. SHE is MIMI.. say ‘HI MIMI!!’ .. she came with Mr Hyde πŸ™‚

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Review: Black Bottle Postern (Bellevue)

BH and I recently found a good restaurant that we love and it is really near our current place. [Thanks Alina for introducing this place to us first πŸ™‚ ]

We dined at Black Bottle Postern with our friends and just fell in love since then. haha.. it’s funny coz we always drove by but nv get to come in and try the food here.. So, this place is really great for big groups as the food is meant to be shared. The ambiance is really nice – a mix between modern and rustic. I feel that it is rather charming.. and quite romantic πŸ™‚ Imagine chilling out, drinking wine and just chatting

One Sunday, BH and I decided to do just that ! I was feeling particularly good because I finally caved in and bought a nice Lululemon top which was on sale (but still expensive) – love how the top shapes my upper body and you don’t have to wear a bra! hehe.. perfect for the warm weather now! Opps.. sorry.. I digress..

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Back to the food~~

The thing that I don’t understand about this place is “Our unfussy, rustic dishes are intended to be shared….” (quoted from their menu) Like seriously?! Are you kidding me?! The food is so good!!! I just want the whole dish to myself!!! How to share!

Anyhow.. My favorite is the bread pudding.. I really love the buttery taste of the bread pudding… and crave for the bourbon sauce .. . Food was as amazing as the first time we dine here. This time we ordered:

-house duck sausage rainbow chard shiitake mushrooms( Our new favorite!)
-bulgar wheat harissa lamb meatballs & paneer
-Broccoli blasted (Of course!!! How can I get sick of this! It is super delicious! shall attempt to mk this one day)
-BREAD PUDDING!!!

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As it was Sunday, there’s 1/2 off bottle of wine! We had a bottle of Riesling ($15) to go with our food. This is life!
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Will definitely go back again very soon!!!

Minions craze!

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I am still collecting.. hope to have the whole set ( 8 minions) soon! πŸ™‚

P/S: Luckily, the McDonalds here allows u to buy the toy (~US$1.90) w/o the meal!