Sunday, November 29, 2015

Whisky Advent Calendar 2015

During the month of December, I will be posting each day of the Whisky Advent Calendar beginning December 1st. A different whisky is featured. There is even a 50 year old Scotch in this rare collection. Handmade waxed seal 30mL drams of whisky from around the world is behind each window.

A dram a day keeps the doctor away...

Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Easy Butternut Squash Soup

While at Trader Joe's the other week, I saw that the squashes were $1.79 each.  So I'm looking to find the biggest squash since it's not by the pound.  A nice employee helped me.  She exclaimed, "I think I FOUND IT!!"

Most good-sized butternut squashes are about 2.5 lbs.  Well, mine was 7 lbs!!!  WOW..

People would see the squash in my cart and comment on how huge it was. (I actually didn't take a photo of it before chopping it up.)

Now, cutting off the ends/skin, scooping out the seeds, and chopping it into smaller pieces was such a chore.  It took 45+ min just to do that.  The gigantic butternut squash produced tons of flesh to the point where I had to change pots because it was overflowing.

Easy Butternut Squash
Prep Time: 30 min      Cook Time: 35 min
(But obviously my prep time was doubled due to the 7 lb squash)

3 lbs butternut squash, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups chicken broth (1 can)
water, enough to cover veggies (about 6 cups)
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Combine all ingredients except for the heavy cream.  Cook covered on medium heat for 35 minutes.  You may need to cook it longer if the veggies are not tender by then.

Pour the soup mixture into a food processor or blender.  Mine didn't fit so I had to do it in batches.  I poured the soup mixture in with a little heavy cream at a time.  Then blended it.  Once I finished my puree, I would dump it into a pot.  When you have a whole pot of pureed soup, heat it through on medium heat.

This soup is tasty, packed with vitamins; it'll warm you up on a cold, winter day.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mac n Cheese for ONE

Most of the time, I cook for two.  But cooking for one is doable too.  Most people are too lazy to cook for one, not I.

I am modifying my Macaroni and Cheese recipe so that you can make just one portion.  I'm not an environmentalist but if you see the way I live, you would think that I was.  Don't like to waste foil, saran wrap for leftovers.  That's why I usually cook JUST ENOUGH.

This is easy and fast.  

Mac n Cheese for ONE
Prep Time: 0 min     Cook Time: 15 min
1/2 + cup of macaroni (or other pasta)
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup shredded cheese
a dash of garlic salt (to taste)

Fill a small pot with water and boil on stovetop.  When the water boils, throw in the pasta (this can take 7-12 min according to the kind of pasta you use).  Strain when done.

While pasta is cooking, whisk milk and flour until there are no lumps.  Use the same pot (after you cook pasta) to pour the milk+flour mixture.  On medium heat, stir the mixture until it thickens, about 1-2 minutes.  Mix in cheese and garlic salt.  When cheese melts, mix in the pasta.  Done!

Spinach Mac n Cheese - Add frozen spinach after the sauce thickens (before adding cheese)
Bacon Mac n Cheese - Add bacon after the sauce thickens (before adding cheese)
The possibilities are endless...

I use a little more than 1/2 cup pasta.  You could put in 2/3 cup pasta also.

If you are a big eater, you might want to just make half of the regular recipe instead.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwich

Today's dinner was a Chicken Salad Sandwich accompanied with a green salad.

Looks ordinary at first.  But my husband took one bite of the Chicken Salad Sandwich and exclaimed, "WOW!  What did you put in this?  It's really good!!"

I just smiled.  He started by saying that it didn't taste like a lot of mayo..  I had him guess the secret ingredient.  Told him that something was mashed in.

Secret Ingredient??


Chicken salad sandwich usually comprises of chicken, mayo, and some crunch factor. Replacing mayo for avocado adds healthy fats.

Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwich
Prep Time: 10 minutes
12.5 oz of chicken white meat (You can buy it in a can at most grocery stores)
1 avocado (I recommend one large avocado or two small ones)
some chopped celery
some mayo (optional: only if your avocado isn't large enough)
2 slices of bread (I use Safeway Brand 15 grain bread)
sea salt and pepper to taste
paprika to taste (optional)

In a medium sized bowl, mix chicken, avocado, diced celery.  If your avocado is not big enough (like mine, I only had a small avocado on hand), add a tablespoon or two of mayo depending on the consistency.  Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Put one slice of bread on the plate.  Spread a generous amount of chicken salad.  Place the other slice of bread on top.

Easy, tasty dinner (or lunch) !!  Serve with a salad.


I made this a second time but used a large avocado instead.  Did not need any mayo then.
So either use one large avocado or two small ones.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mini Apricot Pie (Filling)

Mini Pies!  Filling is easy to make.  I usually buy premade crust.  So all you have to do is fill them and bake.  You can use any fruit actually.  Add the desired amount of sugar and cornstarch.  Read from bakers about the correct amount but it ends up being to your liking.  Some like them sweeter, some don't.  Some like more liquid (or thicker liquid), others want more fruit.

Filling for Apricot Pie
Prep Time: 10 min      Bake Time: 30 min
Serving Size: 6 mini pies
1 lb apricot (fresh apricots sliced)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
a dash of salt (little less than 1/8 tsp)

Mix the apricot, sugar, cornstarch, and a dash of salt.  Fill your mini pies evenly.

Bake at 375F for 30 minutes.

*Note: Apricot pie is a bit tart.  If you want, you could add more than 1/4 cup of sugar.
*Note: I did much reading to see how to make a pie less messy, not too watery.  Read debates about using cornstarch vs flour vs minute tapioca.  Finally decided to use cornstarch (I don't like cornstarch but flour makes the final product grainy white).


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Easy (Easiest) Turkey Spaghetti Meatballs

My husband LOVES LOVES LOVES spaghetti and meatballs.  I usually use ground beef but thought that I should switch it up this time.

Didn't have all the ingredients in my other recipe on hand.  Decided to look for another recipe that fit my ingredients. It's really only mixing turkey, egg, and breadcrumbs; then spicing it up!!

Easy Turkey Meatballs
Prep Time: 15 min     Bake Time: 25 min
1 lb ground turkey
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (I used Panko crumbs)
1 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a medium sized bowl, mix all the ingredients. In a 9x13 pan (or what I do is get 8x8 pan and a loaf pan instead), line them with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Use butter, oil, or nonstick spray on the foil. Either use your hands to form meatballs about 1.5 inches in diameter or an ice cream scoop to make them more uniform.

Bake for 25 minutes.

In a pot, prepare spaghetti. In a pan, heat up spaghetti sauce.

Grab a plate, place spaghetti with meatballs on top. Add as much sauce as you wish. 


For the meatball leftovers, I made a meatball sub.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Party: Minnie Mouse Oreos (or Mickey Mouse)

I was helping my friend with making Minnie Mouse oreo cookies for her daughter's birthday. They were super cute. Need to share with the world.

There are many more examples all over the internet with dipping the oreo, putting more embellishments, etc. You can put them on a stick and do a flower pot of mouse ears. We did simple ones.

Minnie (or Mickey) Mouse Oreo Cookies
Prep Time: Depends on how many you are making
Oreo Cookies
Mini Oreos (for the mouse ears)
frosting (any kind since it's just a little for 'glue')

You open the oreo. Remove some frosting so that the ears fit on both sides. After placing the ears in, sandwich back the oreo. That's it.

For embellishment, we used Wilton's Big Hearts to create a bow. Stick the hearts on with the frosting using the toothpick. Done!

Here's another fun way to decorate. I made pink chocolate bows with Wilton Candy Melt in the light pink color. Stuck these with frosting too.

You can also have Mickey and Minnie.

Be creative!!