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Jaded's Kitchen





Updated: 2017-10-01T01:26:42.177-07:00

 



Case Study Challenge # 132

2013-03-14T20:34:25.443-07:00

I know I haven't posted here in ages but I wanted to participate in this week's Case Study Challenge! I loved  Julie Ebersole's card so much I decided to my own version. I had some Studio Calico Mr. Huey sprays (Water Cooler - light teal, Boss Lady - coral/pink & Taxi - yellow) that I used to create the splatter effect. Then I punched out six "vellum" (I used tracing paper since I'm currently out of vellum) butterflies and stapled them to the card. I used washi tape on the left side and created a banner for my sentiment. I took the 1/4" rounder and punched the bottom two corners.





Cooking: Szechwan Style Steamed Beef

2010-12-27T18:00:30.293-08:00

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With Christmas over, I'm finally able to cook more often again.

One of Justyn's favorite dishes to order at South Legend (our favorite Szechwan restaurant) is steamed beef. I was only able to find a couple recipes online but one seemed like the closest to what we had at the restaurant.


Since I had the day off I took care of a bunch of errands and made this dish for dinner. It turned out very strongly flavored as it should be but I think I may have overdone it with the peppercorns. My mouth is totally numb right now but it's worth it overlooking. I can't wait for Justyn to come home and try it :)



Christmas Vacation

2010-12-25T21:51:27.782-08:00

Since Justyn was taking some time off this week I decided to do the same. We didn't have a trip planned or anything so it was really great opportunity to relax a bit and hang out with friends. I think this was on Tuesday but Kris, Karen and I met up at Dave & Busters for some video games and dinner. We also met up with Alex & Kate but they were pretty beat from work earlier so they only had dinner with us. I ordered the sliders, wings & fries platter. Total indulgence but hey.. I'm on vacation! The next day I started to catch a cold but decided to go out to lunch anyway with Alex, Kris, Karen, Reid and Justyn. We went to BCC Enterprises aka Jojo's BBQ aka Ghetto Q. They make the best ribs, chicken & sausages. I wasn't very hungry so I ended up getting a polish sausage with some beans and potato salad. That may already seem like a bunch of food but a normal combo order comes with two choice of meats, bread, potato salad & beans. It's super delish and although I didn't get a picture of the food, I did snap a picture of who I think is one of the owners outside tending to the meats. After lunch, Justyn went out while I wrapped his presents. The next evening, Justyn and I went to Santana Row to walk around and grab dinner. We went to a new place called The Counter which is a burger joint. You get to customize your burger out of all of the different ingrediant combinations which is a fun idea. I ordered a chicken burger with Russian dressing, herbed goat cheese, organic mixed greens, grilled onions and bacon. Justyn ordered a regular burger with his own toppings and we shared some sweet potato fries & onion strings. They also allow customized drink combinations but our waiter came by super fast so I just ordered a vodka tonic and Justyn had some beer. Suprisingly they had Devil's Canyon beer there so he got their Scotch Ale. For Christmas Eve we had a few people over for drinks and appetizers. I had my sister and Justyn open up a gift. I got my sister a Henkels knife set and Justyn got a Citizen Eco watch that he had been eyeing. Karen got me a huuuge booze shaker which I used to make some dirty martinis. For dinner we went to Jubba's which is a Somalian restaurant. They make a fantastic chicken suquaar which is what Janice, Dave and I ordered. After that we went back to our house to hang out a bit more before everyone headed home. The next day was CHRISTMAS!! My favorite holiday of the year. Justyn had woken up super early because he was on call so a few hours later he came in and woke me up. I was super excited and couldn't go back to sleep so we started unwrapping gifts. In addition to the watch, I got Justyn a taxidermied squirrel and the Mark Twain autobiography which he mentioned wanting a while ago. He was super stoked with his gifts which made me happy :) Justyn got me a leather jacket and a mattress pad warmer which we're trying out tonight. My sister got me a necklace from my Amazon wishlist. I also made tomato and feta baked eggs for brunch from a recipe I found on closetcooking.blogspot.com. I overcooked the eggs a little bit but it still tasted fantastic. For dinner we went to my mom & dad's house. My mom made some t-bone steaks, salad, a potato dish and dessert based from Holland. We also celebrated Oscar's 3rd birthday. All in all it was a really nice day. I'm rounding it out by watching Elf :D [...]



Weekend Update

2010-12-19T17:13:46.102-08:00

On Friday we went to Devil's Canyon brewery. We tried a few of their beers before heading over to a taqueria across the street for dinner. After that we went to Old World spirits. I'm not a big gin fan so I let Justyn do the tasting. I had a couple tiny sips but didn't like their gin but their absinthe was amazing. On Saturday, Karen had planned a surprise birthday dinner for Kris. He probably assumed that dinner would be just Karen and him but she invited Jen, Stefano, Reid, Chloe, Justyn and I. We arrived there about an hour early so we went to a nearby dive bar called Hi Dive. There I had the best dirty martini. It wasn't overly salty and strong like I've had in the past. At around 7:30 we walked to Palomino's and met up with Reid, Chloe, Jen & Stefano. Around 8:00, Kris and Karen arrived and he definitely had a surprised look on his face when he saw us. Four bottles of wine, dinner and dessert later we found ourselves back to Hi Dive for a night cap before heading back home. It was an awesome night filled with great conversation and good times. Today we caught up on some much needed sleep before going to Cafe San Jose for brunch. I had the breakfast sandwich with country potatoes which were delish! I’m normally not a breakfast person so for me to say it was good, actually says a lot. Justyn ordered the pancake sandwich which came with eggs and bacon. After brunch we went to see Tron which was a really great movie. It was definitely a lot better than the original filled with tons of action and breath taking CGI. We’re probably going to take it easy for the rest of the evening, eat leftovers for dinner before going to bed early for work tomorrow. *sigh* One more day until vacation! [...]



Our Christmas Tree

2010-12-14T22:40:04.412-08:00

I'm finally posting a picture of our Christmas tree. This year has been seriously hectic trying to get Christmas presents ordered, wrapped, cards created, mailed out, etc... I am seriously ready for a break next week. I love Christmas with a fierce passion but sometimes it gets overwhelming. I never want to leave anyone out when it comes to Christmas cards so I've been trying my best to crank them out. Next year, I'll definitely get them started waay sooner. Maybe even starting January 2011. Hey.. don't judge me.

Suprisingly we got our tree decorated in less than half an hour. No joke. I was shocked and disappointed. I really wanted to take our time and make it an enjoyable thing but we had so few decorations that it went by super fast. Don't get me wrong, it was still fun but I wish we made it an event or something. We've decided on a tradition of picking out a random ornament each year so that we have less and less ball ornaments. That means every year that passes, the tree will mean more to us than ever before. Cheesy right? Ah well..

So here it is... our tree :)



Weekend Update: Christmas Tree & Party

2010-12-05T19:00:10.371-08:00

On Friday we went to our local tree farm to pick up our Christmas tree. At first I was really drawn to the little ugly ones that nobody would really want but Justyn wanted a bigger one so we settled on the one he's carrying in this picture. I love how he lifted it above his head like it was no big deal as the worker's jaws at the tree farm dropped open haha. For dinner we went to Olive Garden. I know what you're thinking, why? I used to love Olive Garden but I think my taste buds have matured so I wanted to go back to see if I'd still like it. I still enjoy their salad and soup but other than that, I probably will never go back. On Saturday we went to Julie's house for a Christmas party to participate in a white elephant gift exchange (we brought a can of WD-40 & a box of zip ties), and hang out with peeps we haven't seen in a while. It was really good to see everyone while enjoying dinner and drinks. Justyn made corn pudding and I made some brussel sprouts which were suprisingly gone by the time I checked on them after everyone had gotten dinner. Today, Justyn and I went to brunch at Happy Bamboo which we thought was a vegetarian place but it's actually vegan. I had the noodle salad with veggie egg rolls and some neon bright pink looking stuff which probably was supposed to represent the chicken in the dish. It tasted good though which was a relief. Justyn had the dream burger which had the consistency of a fluffly fish filet. I actually liked the food we had and wouldn't mind going back. After brunch we ran some errands and picked up some groceries for tonight's dinner. Justyn has really wanted to make ratatouille for a while now so that's what he made. It turned out so savory and fantastic that I didn't mind eating vegatarian twice in a row today. I balanced it out by making some garlic rubbed parmesan bread to go with it. Now I'm watching The Abyss and about to have a slice of red velvet cake for dessert and relax for the rest of the night. It was a great weekend and I'm pooped. [...]



Cooking: Italian Bread Soup with Escarole

2010-11-30T19:47:51.963-08:00

It has been a looong while since I've cooking something and I suppose it has been because I've been stressed out lately but nothing seemed better than a nice comforting bowl of soup tonight for dinner so I made Italian Bread Soup with Escarole. There's something about white beans, leafy greens in a nice tomatoey broth right? Not only that but it has the toasts on top which were topped with a really nice grated parmesan and broiled in the oven. Oh yeah... and the crispy bits of pancetta really rounded things out. Salty and crunchy :9I started out by crisping up the pancetta in my dutch oven. I removed them and let them drain on a paper towel while I added a chopped onion and 3 chopped cloves of garlic. The directions say to let the onion and garlic get nice and golden before adding the rest of the ingrediants but I was busy topping the baguette slices with cheese and let the onions and garlic get a little brown (OK.. I burned them a bit :P). I gave the onions a quick stir to get them to stop sticking to the bottom of the dutch oven before pouring in my chicken stock, canned chopped Italian tomatoes, oregano, pepper & escarole. The escarole needed to be cooked down a bit for 5 minutes so I took that opportunity to pop the baguette slices in the oven to get toasty. Keep an eye on them! They don't take 5 minutes on broil and you will burn them. I let them broil for about 2 1/2 minutes and they came out perfect. I thought I started to smell something burn so thankfully I pulled them out on time. Once the toast was done, I added the white beans to the soup, seasoned it with salt and let everything simmer for 15 minutes before serving. Italian Bread Soup with EscaroleIngrediants:1 oz. chopped pancetta1 chopped medium onion3 cloves of minced garlic4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth14 oz. chopped canned Italian tomatoes5 cups of chopped escarole (1 bunch)1 1/2 tsp. dried oreganosalt and pepper to taste30 oz canned cannellini beans rinsed and drained4 oz sliced Italian baguette1/3 cup grated parmesan cheeseDirections: 1) Set dutch oven on stove over medium heat and add some olive oil. Once the dutch oven has heated through, add pancetta and brown for about 2-3 minutes. Once the pancetta has browned, transfer to a paper towel to drain. 2) Add the chopped onion and let it cook for about 5 minutes before adding the garlic and let them cook together for another 5 minutes. Once they are golden (don't burn them like I did), add broth, tomatoes, escarole, oregano and pepper. Bring everything to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover the dutch oven. Simmer for about 5 minutes. 3) While the soup is simmering, set oven to broil, put sliced baguette onto a foil lined cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and top with parmesan cheese. Put the cookie sheet in the oven and broil for 2 1/2 minutes. Keep an eye on it! Take out of the oven and set aside. 4) Add the cannellini beans to the soup and simmer for another 15 minutes. 5) Ladle soup into a bowl and top with a couple baguette slices and crispy pancetta and serve. [...]



The Day After Thanksgiving

2010-11-27T16:17:10.277-08:00

Yesterday we drove up to Jen & Stefano's house in Boulder Creek for dinner. Jen made homemade turkey noodle soup and Karen whipped up a batch of jalapeno and white cheddar biscuits. Both were made from scratch and amazingly delicious. I can't stop thinking about how good it was and I could sure use a bowl right now :9 After dinner we enjoyed some hot toddies (which I didn't like) and some spiked hot chocolate with Godiva liquer (super comforting for the very chilly night) while playing Mad Libs.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

2010-11-25T21:01:48.539-08:00

Today we went over to my mom's house for Thanksgiving. She made an incredible spread of food including not only turkey but CRAB! My mom let me eat some of the brains which were so decadent and lovely I almost died. We also had some veggies that my sister made, tiny deviled quail eggs with bacon, my all time favorite sticky rice, and homemade bread. We broke out a nice bottle of Sullivan wine that we had gotten in Napa during our last trip there. For dessert my sister made a cranberry pudding and my mom made cheesecake. It was all so delicious and I'm surprised that I haven't passed out yet. While the food was being cooked we hung out.. Here's the spread: I'm so thankful to have an awesome family, loving husband and a mom that is as much of a foodie as I am :) She cooked her ass off today and I love her for it! [...]



Iron Chef Challenge: Battle Chicken Breast

2010-11-14T17:07:14.545-08:00

The day after airsoft, Jen and I decided to challenge each other in a cooking competition with chicken breasts. As you know, I haven't had a lot of cooking posts lately and it's mainly because I've been practicing the recipe. I wanted to make a Thai inspired dish and I eventually settled on doing Thai Basil Chicken. It didn't seem like a very original idea and since we were going to be judged on that criteria, Justyn came up with the idea to do raviolis. Originally we boiled the ravioli in salted water but I upped the ante by frying them instead. Since the sauce I made, inspired by Top Chef Hosea, got so many rave reviews in the last Iron Chef competition, I decided to make it again. I'll post all the links to the recipes after the pics. Yesterday we drove up to Jen & Stefano's house for the competition. We arrived early to help set up. Eventually people started arriving and we had one of the guests flip a coin to see who would cook first. Unfortunately, I was picked to go second so Jen got cracking on her dish. She and Stefano (we were allowed a sous chef), cooked a chicken breast roulade with mushrooms and broccolini. I ended up getting to taste her dish way later in the night and thought the flavors were fantastic. I'm going to ask Jen for the recipe so I can make this sometime. The chicken was juicy and the mushrooms which had a wine sauce (?), tasted so comforting and savory. Kris took great pics of the plates.Next up to cook was Justyn and I so into the kitchen we went to whip up our dish. I ended up making a chicken skin gremolata which had the skin deep fried and chopped into thin strips, Thai basil, green onion, cilantro and thinly sliced and seeded Thai red chilies. Justyn arranged the fried ravioli on top of the coconut orange ginger sauce and we topped that with the gremolata. We also put some blanched bok choy on the plate just to lighten the dish up a bit but I think it ended up not being necessary.So onto the results. Karen, Kris & Prentice were our judges and I won! I'm super stoked :D Big thanks go out to the judges for giving me the win and to Jen and Stefano for hosting. PS - We went to Ogisan for lunch before going to Jen & Stefano's house. It was mediocre at best but I took pictures of it to share. We also went to California Cafe for lunch with my family since it was my mom's birthday. It was pretty good but I'm too tired to type anymore so just enjoy the pics :) Recipe Links Thai Basil Chicken: http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/recipes/baschi.htmlCoconut Orange Ginger Sauce (substitute heavy cream with coconut milk): http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/sesame-crusted-tuna-with-ginger-creamChili Sauce: http://steamykitchen.com/5068-hainanese-chicken-rice.html[...]



More Christmas Cards!

2010-11-11T21:10:26.517-08:00

I think this is a better way of posting my Christmas cards rather than do them one at a time. That would take forever! So here's the next batch of cards that I made in the past few weeks. [...]



Cards Blog Challenge: Thanksgiving Placecards

2010-11-09T14:56:09.742-08:00

Last week I made a Thanksgiving placecard for the Cards Blog Challenge. Here's how it turned out. I did something similar to this last year but thought it came out way better this time around.



Vegas Weekend!

2010-11-09T10:58:14.942-08:00

This weekend Justyn and I went to Vegas to meet up with peeps that participated in SEMA and to celebrate our 4 year anniversary. We started out by checking into our hotel and doing a little gambling on a $.05 machine. I put in a dollar and won $.20. Yay! Here's our room. It was decent for what we paid. Our bed was against the window and had remote control curtains which gave us access to a nice view. After we were settled in to our room, we met up with Kris and went ziplining down Fremont Street. I was super nervous but after a couple drinks, I calmed down enough and did it. It was super fun and I wanna go back and do it again at night when the Fremont Street dome show thingy is on. We met up with another one of our friends, Dave who had taken our pictures from the balcony of the Fitzgerald bar. I don't have the pictures yet, but I'll edit this post and show you guys if he let me use his pics. We then went to the Hard Rock for dinner at Johnny Smalls. I've been craving their tapas style American food ever since we had it the last time we ewre in Vegas. Soo delish!After dinner we all went to the Stratosphere where Justyn and Kris wanted to jump off of the top! And they did! The next day we went for dim sum at a local place that was recommended to us by a friend. It was pretty good and authentic which was comforting. After that we went back to our hotel to gamble a bit before heading over to Erik's suite at the Bellagio. His room was soo pimp. It had 3 bathrooms!We went to dinner after meeting up with Imelda, Dave & Erik at the Grand Lux Cafe. This place was supposedly founded by the same guy who opened Cheesecake Factory. The food was really good and we were primed for partying the rest of the night. After dinner we went back to Erik's hotel to have some drinks before going downstairs to gamble. The next day Justyn and I had brunch at our hotel which was mediocre at best. Then we gambled a little more and then went to the airport to wait for our flight. We hung out at Tequilaria and had a few beers before flying home. Man.. I'm completely wiped out but we had such an awesome weekend with friends and fun. Can't wait to do it again! [...]



Halloween 2010

2010-10-31T20:06:28.800-07:00

We had so much going on for Halloween this year. Not to brag but we got invited to 6 different parties. There was no way we could make all of them so we went to whichever one we were invited to first. The first party started on the 23rd which was at Jason's house. Then on Friday, we went to Catherine's house. The highlight of the night was a group of guys dressed up as a team from Justice League. There was The Flash, Superman, Batman and Green Lantern. Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to take a picture of them as a group but I got shots of most of them. The food was great too. Catherine and her dad made fried wontons which I helped stuff with cheese and pork. Of course we made our pulled pork pizza rolls which were a hit as usual. Oh yeah and here is the pumpkin Justyn carved. My pumpkin didn't turn out the way I wanted so I ended up throwing it away. Last night we went to Julie's house for her Halloween shindig. She really went all out with the decorations. She even decorated the garage which turned out awesome. By this point my battery was really low so I only got a few pictures. I'm hoping I'll see some of the pictures that other people took and hopefully I'll be able to post them here. The best costume was Jack from Jack in the Box. He put so much time into making the ball head that it won me over. Tonight I'm going to be getting over this massive hangover and practicing my Iron Chef dish. Wish me luck! [...]



Weekend Update

2010-10-26T21:15:51.119-07:00

I haven’t done one of these updates in a while and I know I should’ve since I’ve had things to blog about but was just too lazy and unmotivated to do so. Last Friday, Justyn and I went on a date. We saw Jackass 3D in Cupertino. Honestly, I could’ve gone without seeing the movie in 3D. It just made it more.. gross. I’m glad we finished our popcorn during the previews and the first 15 minutes of the movie because I seriously lost my appetite. Unfortunately, we had dinner scheduled right after the movie and although I lost my appetite, it came right back as we were pulling into the parking lot of Bistro Tupaz. The place is a little weird because you order at the counter and pick up your own silverware but don’t let that deter you from trying this place out. Don’t let these terrible and crude pictures make you run away too. They were taken with Justyn’s phone and the lighting was bad hence the unjustice. The first thing that arrived at our table was the house bread. I want to say it’s a focaccia but it was much lighter than what I’ve had. It was fluffy and delicate yet dense at the same time and had a somewhat sweet and savory thing going on. Confusing right? But oh sooo good. It came with some butter that I think was infused with goat cheese which paired really well. I had to control myself and just have half a serving of the bread so I could save room for our entrees. Justyn ordered the sausage with polenta and I had the braised beef short ribs which was served with mashed potatoes and root veggies (beets and carrots). Surprisingly, I enjoyed the beets. The short ribs were super tender and did not require any knife work. I don’t really like sausage, but it was really nice. It wasn’t dry on the inside and packed a ton of flavor. I hesitate to even post these pictures but I need them to break up this boring post hah. Later on that night we tucked a dry rubbed pork butt in the oven for a 12 hour nap so that we could make pulled pork pizza rolls for Jason’s Halloween party the next day. I’ve posted about these things so many times before so I won’t bore you with the details. We hadn’t seen Jason in a really long time since he’s been in China for work and his fiancé so it was really nice to see him again and hang out. It wasn’t so much a dress up kind of party so I’m glad I didn’t go all out. I would’ve been the only person in costume. I got to meet Bill & Flo’s baby, Shamus (sp?) which was adorable! He almost made me want to start having kids. ALMOST. Calm down. We had fun drinking and eating some really great food prepared by Jason. He made some chile verde with roasted veggies, chicken (which I don’t think I got to try), salsa and guacamole made by Matt and some awesome cake with some decadent cream cheese frosting for dessert :9 Oh yeah and we found out that night that the Giants are going to the World Series!! Woooo! [...]



Cooking: Healthy Lemongrass Chicken & Noodles

2010-10-18T18:32:52.222-07:00

I really needed to go back on my diet after this weekend's indulgences. I managed to eat an entire thing of Panda Express (chow mein, veggies, beef & chicken), had my way with beverages... I was really thirsty for some reason and didn't really do anything except for helping Justyn clean up the garage a bit. Since I was "bad", I decided to go back on my diet and hardcore it this week. I had some yogurt and a Subway breakfast sandwich for breakfast, for lunch I had a frozen food and for dinner I decided to make some lemongrass chicken with noodles. It's not a very authentic recipe but the varying flavors were all there. Justyn thorougly enjoyed it. I was barely 1/4 of the way done with my dinner when he had already inhaled his plate. He also said I could make him this dish anytime, he enjoyed it so much.

So here's the recipe and accompanying photo.

Lemongrass Chicken and Noodles

2 tbsp peanut oil
1 chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 medium scallion(s), green and white parts, chopped
2 tbsp grated lemongrass (I used store-bought tube form instead of fresh)
4 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1 cup(s) fat-free chicken broth, reduced-sodium
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 lime zested
1 lime juiced
1 tbsp Sriracha
1/2 package of spaghetti cooked
1/2 cup(s) cilantro, leaves, fresh, coarsely chopped

Mix the broth, soy sauce, lime juice, lime zest and Sriracha together in a bowl.

In a cast iron pan, add the peanut oil and heat on high. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown on all sides.

Add scallion, lemongrass and garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add the mixture from the first step and simmer for about 4 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Add the mixture to the drained spaghetti and mix until combined. Then serve.

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Christmas Card Update

2010-10-14T19:42:14.342-07:00

Instead of making a bunch of posts about the Christmas cards I've made thus far, I decided to put them all in one. Saves a lot of time so I can make more right? You might've already seen a few of these but I retook pictures of them anyway. I'm not so concerned about friends or family seeing this since they won't know which one they're getting, so enjoy! [...]



49ers vs. Eagles

2010-10-12T18:07:14.824-07:00

On Sunday Justyn and I went to the 49ers vs. Eagles game at Candlestick Park in SF. It was his birthday present. Based on all the cheering and disappointing sighs I'm assuming he had a good time despite having the 49ers lose. This was the first football game that I've ever been to and the crowd and game were amazing. Having been to a game now, I can say that I'd much rather watch it at home. I can see the action better without having someone in front of me hold up annoying attention whoring signs (trying to get on TV). Plus I can do without the standing in line for a quarter of the game just for some mediocre garlic fries. Oh and leaving the parking lot was a nightmare. We had fun though.. more importantly I think Justyn really appreciated it.

Anyway, here are the pics.




Cards Blog Challenge: Halloween Card

2010-10-06T21:07:01.342-07:00

I really needed some card therapy tonight so I decided to participate in the Cards Blog Challenge this week. This week's theme was Halloween Cards. I made a similar card last year but came up with a new sketch and this is how it turned out.



Airsoft Weekend

2010-10-03T16:43:30.811-07:00

This weekend we went up to La Honda where Stefano's grandparents cabin is to play airsoft. I didn't end up actually playing but I have to say this was the weekend I needed. It was so quiet and peacful.. just what I needed after a very stressful week. We arrived Saturday morning and hung out while everything was being set up. Meanwhile, I had breakfast with a lovely view on the woods. I was supposed to be the photographer for the day but I wussed out and didn't want to be accidentally shot nor get lost so I headed back to the cabin and hung out there. In fact, I did get shot on purpose by Justyn so I knew it hurt. For dinner, Jen made turkey burgers (nom!), with all the fixins and afterward we played Spoons. The next morning we helped clean up and headed home towards Five Guys for some burgers and fries. Delish! If you're wondering... it's waaaay better than In N Out. Most noteably, their pickles are the best I've ever tasted in my life and contribute to making a lovely burger. It was such a fantastic weekend. Thanks to Kris for driving and Stefano and Jen for inviting us. Stay tuned for Iron Chef in November :) [...]



Justyn & Dad's Birthday Dinner

2010-09-28T18:53:07.438-07:00

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On Sunday my mom made a beautiful spread of sushi and other fixins for Justyn and my dad's birthday. It was all so good. She made unagi rolls, spicy tuna rolls, and California rolls along with tuna, fatty tuna and salmon sashimi served on a large salt block. There was also a stir fried potato and bell pepper dish, quick pickled cucumber, natto, tofu, some weird tasting baby eggplants and onion salad. If you guys think I'm a good cook (which I'm not), you should see my mom's cooking. Amazing!

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Cooking: Moroccan Chicken Meatballs w/ Couscous

2010-09-28T18:43:42.774-07:00

I really felt bad that Justyn has been cooking a ton and all I've done is make some pizza rolls for parties so tonight I decided to make dinner. Justyn requested chicken meatballs so I looked up a recipe and was intruiged by this Moroccan style dish. It's actually a fairly healthy recipe but the flavors came out so bold. I'm not missing anything.. well I guess the only thing I would change would be to make a bit of roux with the veggies so that the stew came out thicker. It's fairly soup without it. Moroccan Chicken Meatballs w/ CouscousIngrediants1/4 cup bread crumbs1 lbs uncooked ground chicken breast, skinless1/4 cup onion grated2 tbsp pine nuts coarsely chopped2 tbsp parsley, fresh flat-leaf chopped1 tsp ground cinnamon1/2 tsp ground ginger1/2 tsp table salt2 tsp olive oil3/4 onion chopped2 medium garlic cloves chopped3 medium plum tomatoes diced1/2 tsp ground cumin3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth14 dried apricots halved2 medium carrots cut into 1-inch chunks1 tbsp honey1/4 tsp red pepper flakes10 oz cooked couscous, plain variety3 tbsp sliced almonds Combine the bread crumbs, chicken, onion, pine nuts, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, the cinnamon, ginger, and salt; mix well. With wet hands, shape the mixture into 12 balls. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a nonstick Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the Dutch oven; stir in the onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are softened, about 5 minutes. Return the meatballs to the Dutch oven, then add the broth, prunes, carrots, honey, and crushed red pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the flavors are blended and the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon chopped parsley. Transfer some couscous to a bowl, add the meatballs, ladle over some of the soup and garnish with chopped parsley & sliced almonds. [...]



Cards Blog Challenge: Leaves

2010-09-24T17:05:16.866-07:00

This week's challenge on the Cards Blog was to create a card using leaves. I actually didn't have a plan going into this one and it sorta just formed itself. I hand drew and cut out the leaves and used a background woodgrain stamp to stamp and emboss a strip of vellum for some added interest. When I stuck on the leaves and added the sentiments the right side of the card looked really naked so I added the same woodgrain stamp from the vellum with some Versamark ink & added a row of zig zag stitching. I then took a tip from Kristina Werner and rounded the bottom corner. Much better right?

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NAC: Congrats!

2010-09-22T19:38:33.270-07:00

I came up with the sketch for this card a couple days ago and thought it'd be a pretty easy card to create and film. Unfortunately while I was making it, I quickly found out it was a lot more difficult than it looked. With that said, I obviously decided not to film it plus I want to get an arm extender for my tripod and camera before I film anymore. It'll look a lot better when I do and I promise I'll make a lot more videos. In the meantime, here's the card.

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Happy Birthday Justyn!

2010-09-19T14:25:42.977-07:00

This weekend we went to Napa with Erik, Imelda, Dave, Dave, Mat & Janice to celebrate Justyn's birthday. The weather was beautiful, the food was lovely and the company was even better. I couldn't have asked for a better trip. We started out by driving to Napa on Friday and going straight to Castello di Amorosa which is a castle winery. After the castle we went to Buster Burke's for lunch/dinner. Everyone was amazed that the habanero BBQ sauce they had was actually spicy. My tongue was burning for a good 20 minutes after trying a small bite of it. In the evening we took advantage of the hot tub and since Justyn doesn't particularly enjoy water, he went next door to play some Texas Hold Em. The next morning we went to Hwy 29 Cafe which is about 5 minutes from the Gaia hotel where we stayed. Shortly after breakfast, we were picked up by our driver, Toby. We started out at V.Sattui which was already very crowded but we were finally able to taste some of their wines. After V. Sattui we went to a much quieter and tranquil winery called Sullivan. I was pleased to see that the owner was there to greet us and led us through the tasting. He had to run off and tend to some wines so he had one of the employees finish the tasting. These wines were absolutely amazing and Justyn quickly decided to buy a couple bottles. The property itself was very pretty too. Alpha Omega was next on the list. Toby reserved a table for us on the terrace which made it possible for us to enjoy the tasting and weather at the same time. At this point I was feeling really tipsy so I don't even remember what winery we went to after Alpha Omega but this place also had a beautiful propery with bocce ball courts as well. The group went in for a tasting and apparently I was not invited inside due to me being inxoicated so I played bocce ball outside with Toby while we waited for everyone to finish up. For dinner we went to Bistro Jeanty and had a very memorable meal. We started with escargot and roasted bone marrow on toast points. For our entrees we ordered a creamy mushroom risotto, beef bourginon, pork and one other dish that was out of this world. For dessert we ordered bread pudding and rice pudding one of which had a candle lit to celebrate Justyn's birthday. It's no wonder that Bistro Jeanty is my number one absolute favorite restaurant. Everything was so delish! [...]