Category : Food

7 posts

My mom and I checked out a marketplace in a nearby city that we had never gone to before. My mom wanted to go because her friends raved about their deli meats and cheeses.

Yummy Sandwich!

It was a Sunday afternoon, which wasn’t the best time to go and we literally had to take a number and wait before we could be helped at the deli center. They slice and weigh all of the meat for you as you request for it, so it can take quite a while before it’s your turn if there are people in front of you and they order a lot of different meat. As we were waiting for our turn, I grabbed two loaves of some crusty French bread loaves that felt soft and fresh off a nearby shelf. We got black forest ham, roast beef, lean pastrami, and turkey breast deli meats.

I made myself a sandwich today, slicing two pieces of bread from one of the loaves I just mentioned, and used the deli meat we had bought. Slabbed in some mayo, sliced some cheddar cheese in there, and I fried the sandwich in a pan with melted butter. Whoo hoo, yummy indulgence! Usually when you eat a sandwich using packaged meat, the taste can be kind of underwhelming yet extremely salty (helps it stay preserved after all). Eating a sandwich with bread I just sliced up myself and freshly sliced deli meat was a nice change (trust me, I would know from all of the sandwiches I brought to school every single day in the past).

Supposedly deli meat is bad for you in general. Which, I can see that, although I can’t say for sure since I’d have to research further into it. But there could be preservatives, high sodium, and high saturated fat in deli meats (along with unsanitary handling but that can happen with any food you buy outside of home). I guess everyone’s best bet would be to find out from the deli workers about the nutrition of what you’re buying before you actually buy it. But if you’re going to eat deli meat anyway, freshly sliced meat at the deli counter tastes a billion times better than packaged stuff. Makes me want to go back to eating sandwiches again :p

Have you ever had a cake pop before? I think the first popular chain to sell cake pops would be Starbucks. Here’s one of their cake pops; their cake pops are about $2 a pop. At first I was shocked at how much they cost for such a tiny little snack. It’s about the size of a large lollipop and yet it costs almost as much as a cheap bag of cookies? Well, I finally made cake pops of my own and I will tell you, I don’t think I would make cake pops for anyone unless they were people I cared about or I was paid $2 for each pop because it is labor intensive!!!

Cake Pops

It is definitely the fact that I made these for the first time (aka I didn’t have the setup all ready and the prior experience), but even if I became a pro at this, it would still take an X amount of hours! My total time to make these (spanning over two days): about 2 hrs for the first day and 5 hrs for the second day. LOL. The next time I make these (IF there is a next time) I think I could cut it down to 3-4 hours total. Ehhhh.

A cake pop is basically a cake that is crumbled to fine crumbs, mixed with frosting to make a gooey texture, rolled into balls, stuck with lollipop sticks, and dipped into chocolate. It’s far more special than if you just used a mold to bake round cake balls and dipped it into chocolate. The process of making such fine crumbs and combining with frosting makes it very moist, sweet, and a creamy texture. I thought they sounded delicious and absolutely cute so I decided to make these as gifts for my friends this holiday season. Do I want to make it again? I’ll consider it again after I have a good rest and forget about it for a little bit, lol.

So…here is the entire process, with my tips & hints, and all of my screwups. :p


First, I baked the red velvet cake. After it was done, I crumbled it up the best I could with my hands, but the hardened edges were harder to get at. So after crumbling with my hands, I had to put the entire thing in a food processor to get better results. Next time I will cut the edges of the cake out and throw it in a food processor, and continue to do the rest of the cake with my hands.


Food processed cake

After I added a little more than 1/3 of the 12 oz can of cream cheese frosting and mixed it into the cake, I started forming cake balls.

Do not eat :)


I made sure to put a note on the refrigerated cake balls, informing everyone in my family to not eat them. :p I left them refrigerated overnight.


This part of the prep work took way longer than I expected. I had to buy a long block of styrofoam since I didn’t have any and then cut it half to make it easier to fit in the fridge and to have two blocks to switch cake pops onto. One batch would be able to sit in the fridge while the other was for freshly made ones. I had to cut the styrofoam which made a flaky mess, of course. Then I wrapped & taped it in saran wrap. Plastic wrap and styrofoam do NOT like each other. I had to put some extra effort into taping the plastic wrap down. >_< Then, I used the lollipop sticks to poke holes into the styrofoam.

I poked holes into the cake balls with the lollipop sticks, dipped the lollipop sticks into melted chocolate, and dipped the sticks back into the indents I had made in the cake balls. After the chocolate hardens, it acts as a glue to hold the stick to the ball.

After all the cake balls had the lollipop sticks in them, it was time to dip them into the melted chocolate. I just got chocolate chips and melted them in the microwave (15-30 sec intervals). My first cake pop wasn’t so bad, but the chocolate was kind of running down the stick. The second cake pop decided to break and stay in the chocolate. :X The following cake pops broke as well, and I started to panic because I had intended to make all of the cake pops count (aka perfect & not total failures).

The rejects

After briefly freaking out, I re-evaluated my technique and decided the “dip & twirl” method was not working for me, at ALL. The cake balls were too heavy and too fragile to handle that. I took a plastic fork and broke the two center legs to make a prong. After dipping the cake ball into the chocolate, I used the prong to dump chocolate all over the ball and then pick up the ball between the two legs (tines). I tapped the fork a bit to get out the excess chocolate, gently lifted the cake ball from the fork, and used the fork to gently scrape off the excess chocolate while twirling the cake ball around. I also used the fork to fix any bald spots that didn’t have enough chocolate. This method totally works because I was able to save a lot of cake balls that had already cracked or weren’t very securely stuck to the lollipop stick.

The partially rescued rejects

I found that using the previously mentioned method can actually save cracked cake balls – they could stand on their on when stuck on the styrofoam and harden properly. It even saved cake balls that broke apart in my bowl of melted chocolate. I just spooned chocolate all over the broken ball until it was completely covered, and then I transferred it face down (lollipop stick up) onto a sheet of wax paper. When the chocolate hardened, I was able to lift the cake pop with the lollipop stick and it was all in one piece. It wasn’t pretty, but it was somewhat salvaged. Those will be eaten as samples, and I might use them to see how well they freeze & defrost.

The chocolate was super difficult for me to deal with because too much of it stuck to the cake ball and wouldn’t drip off. That made it one huge, ugly lump of chocolate. So I decided to try adding some oil to the chocolate, and also heating up the chocolate for about 10 seconds whenever it started to harden a bit. The oil helped SO much; it was a walk in the park compared to how unwieldy the chocolate was without it. The chocolate was much runnier, making it easier to cover the cake balls, shake off excess, and make a nicer shape. There is one drawback: it will taste like oil. Duh. I don’t know what I expecting, but I think I put a little too much so the chocolate doesn’t taste amazing. It doesn’t taste bad, but it definitely doesn’t taste like pure chocolate anymore. The lesson here is that a tiny bit of oil really does a lot to affect the taste.

I used crushed candy canes as decoration on the chocolate before it hardened.

Wrapped up

After all of the cake pops were finally done and cooled off in the fridge, I wrapped them up in pairs. Like I said, I plan to give these out as gifts. ^_^ They don’t taste as good as they could have been, but these were seriously made with hard labor and love so I hope everyone will still appreciate them. :p

That was one troublesome project. But hey, at least the ones that turned out right actually look decent!

Cake Pops

And honestly, it could have been a whole lot worse. This person’s attempt had me stifling my laughs since it was too early in the morning to wake anyone up with my laughter. :D

This year for Thanksgiving, my family invited over two of my cousins and their parents, making this an eight person feast. My mom was in charge of the turkey and salad, but I was in charge of all other dishes from scratch.

The night before Thanksgiving Day, I prepped all of the food as much as I could. The involved a ton of chopping, boiling, mashing, mixing, and measuring ingredients. The next morning, I continued baking the food and cooking everything after my mom finished with the turkey. I’d say in totality, that took maybe six hours (the turkey was another 3?). Of course, none of this is ever mandatory. My family couldn’t care less if we didn’t eat a Thanksgiving dinner. We are very Asian and very non-traditional in general. But, I love doing it once a year because 1) I love food, and 2) I love making all of the food so that we can all get together and eat yummy homemade food together.

Mashed Potatoes


Caramelized Butternut Squash


Yam Casserole

As you can see, we had mashed potatoes, turkey (12 lbs), caramelized butternut squash, salad (not pictured), stuffing (with apples, cranberries, celery, onions, and sausage), and yam casserole (with a crunchy pecan topping). I even attempted making gravy from scratch (using the turkey drippings) this year; it’s not hard at all! Couldn’t find fresh cranberries, so I just heated up some cranberry sauce from a can. We also had a store-bought pumpkin pie at the usual request of my brother (his favorite!), but surprisingly, this year my family loved the yam casserole and ate most of that as a dessert instead of the pie. I’ve made it in the past with it going untouched, but this year I altered the recipe to be a billion times less sweet and that made a huge difference. My cousins’ family brought over some tasty sparking juice.

I hope everyone really enjoyed all of the food. ^_^

Dining Table

As always, I continued eating leftovers the days afterwards and shared them with my boyfriend (he loves it since his family never makes traditional Thanksgiving food). His family had an annual Thanksgiving party, but the time ended up conflicting with my cousins staying over (the party was earlier than I thought), so I decided just to spend time with my cousins instead. Since we had a Thanksgiving lunch instead of a dinner, for dinner my boyfriend came over to “trade food,” haha. He packed me a ton of food from his party (traditional Filipino food + BBQ + other stuff), while I gave him my Thanksgiving food. It was really yummy! A great way to keep me from getting tired of Thanksgiving food, too, since I alternated with eating the food he gave me. :p

My family never goes around the table asking what we’re all thankful for (a common tradition), but it’s not really necessary since I think everyone knew what they were thankful for anyways, and obviously was happy that we could all sit down and eat some great food together. In case you haven’t noticed, I love good food, so any holiday that involves food always makes me happy. :p

I keep mentioning the ages of my family members. I keep doing that because it really feels like my brother (age 30) and my dad (age 57) never got a chance to grow up in some aspects. My dad has no idea how to do laundry. Both of them have never cooked food before. And the list goes on and on. My boyfriend knows these things very well – I vent to him all the time in order to stay sane!

My mom has thrown in the white towel – or she is fighting back passive-aggressively. I’m not sure which…but either way, she’s just not going to do it anymore. And by “it” I mean doing household duties for them: cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. She has cooked a meal for almost every day of the week (besides vacation or abundant leftovers, etc) for as long as I can remember. Very recently was her last straw, I suppose.

Why now, and not 20 years ago? In the last year, my dad went into unemployment and it put my family in a really difficult position. My brother remains unemployed as well. What is the progress of things? Well, nothing has changed. They both remain unemployed, and my dad expects my mother – working as a hairstylist with minimal and sporadic pay – to pay the bills. And yet, it was still expected for her to cook and clean every day. Something is just not right, don’t you think?

At first my mom felt bad for my dad’s loss of a job & just let him do whatever he wanted as a mini-vacation and to get out of his mourning period (mourning for the loss of his job). He even started doing the dishes every day – something he never did in his life. But then month after month, he continued to stay at home playing around and relaxing. He didn’t even bother fixing little household things that would have been great since he has the time now. And eventually he even stopped doing his own dishes – he would leave them in a big pile on the table and then maybe after two days put them in the sink for someone else to wash. I don’t know what’s wrong with him. He’s home all day with absolutely no intention to get a job, so I don’t get why he can’t help out around here.

In fact, my dad has gotten really strange in the head lately. I get that he wants to be healthier (he had high blood pressure :/ ), but he took it overboard. He rejected my mom’s cooking – which is very Asian & healthy compared to eating out in the first place – despite how hard she works and wanted to eat “better” food. So she stopped cooking for him entirely. He cooks for himself now…which is basically just some boiled vegetables with brown rice, and blended vegetable/fruit smoothies. He’s been meditating and going to meditation/”Oriental medicine” classes. It sounds dandy and all, until you look at the fact that we’re not in the best financial situation right now but he’s spending money on drinking up only fresh vegetables (he says you should never drink water, just drink vegetables) and doing weird shit. And yet, he also eats out with his friends often & comes home to “detox” with vegetables again. *sigh* Honestly, nobody would care what he does if he had a JOB. The fact that he’s at home all day doing nothing and then demanding for expensive things my mom has to pay for just really puts me in over the edge.

As I mentioned, my mom went on vacation for a week. In the meantime, I took care of all the cleaning and food – it drove me insane how dirty & unappreciative my brother and dad can be. When my mom came back, I told her my new policy: do not do anything for them and they will realize they have to do it themselves, no matter how long it takes. She actually listened to me, and stopped completely. In the past, I would tell her the same thing, but she would respond with, “If I don’t do it, nobody will.” But maybe now is the last straw and my words actually meant something to her. I feel like I was responsible for my mom’s “strike” but in the end, if it makes her life easier & happier, I don’t think I did a bad thing. I might even have set her free… and I might even have forced my dad and brother to be more independent.

I’ve been cooking for myself and my brother, but after much frustration, my mom & boyfriend have helped me come to terms with the fact that I should NOT feel responsible for my brother. He is extremely overweight and when I cook he eats 4 portions more than the average person. It’s frustrating for me because when I cook something and tell him to portion it out, it’s all immediately gone in his belly. But if I don’t cook, he will go out to eat fast food because he refuses to learn to cook. However, I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s not my responsibility to take care of him (my brother even said that himself). I can cook when I feel like it, but if my brother goes hungry, then he has to fend for himself.

It can go two ways – he will get even unhealthier and more obese with regular fast food all the time, or he will finally learn to cook for himself. I’ve tried my best for like 10 years to motivate him to lose the weight and I’ve given him all kinds of suggestions but they always fall to deaf ears. The only person who can help him is himself. I do care for him, but this is probably the best way for him to grow as a person – he’s been babied for too long. I only hope that this will lead to good results.

Bad news and venting aside…at least I am excited for my own adventure in cooking. I’ve made some good dishes in the last 2 weeks to put under the “winner dinner” list, and I’ve got around 100 other recipes saved to try in the coming days. Once I get through them all, I can just cycle through the good recipes and make them in larger batches for more meals. I’m thinking typed & printed recipes in a note-binder. Then maybe I can convince my brother to try one of the recipes himself and realize cooking for yourself is definitely a life skill worth having & necessary. Feel free to send any of your favorite recipes my way ^_^

My mom is on vacation in a state located across the country at the moment and she’s gone for a week. I’m living at home with my 30 year old brother and my dad. They do not know how to cook or clean. And even if they did, they wouldn’t do it. Yeah. I try to help out around here by cleaning so my mother won’t go insane, but honestly she always takes care of all the food. Yeah, in a way I’m spoiled because of that. Back at home, studying, doing some chores here & there, and relaxing (albeit the extreme STRESS I’m having is driving me insane!) is not so bad in the grand scheme of things.

Anyways, I’ve got enough groceries to last us almost a week, that is if my cooking turns out okay. :p Normally my mom would make a huge dish that can sustain us over a few days and then gives us cash for fast food, but this time the cooking is in my hands – not much fast food here this time. It’s great that I’m going to be experimenting with cooking, but not so great that I’m spending time cooking instead of…you know…studying. Aghh! D:

Chicken & Veggie Masala

Used Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce with chicken and vegetables. I give the sauce a 3 or 4 out of 5 stars. Make for a great, simple meal…although it might be a little too simple for some. I had to cook it for extra long to reduce the excess liquid (tip: don’t add a cup like the directions say), added some sriracha chili sauce, yogurt (adds creaminess), salt, and pepper to kick up the flavor. It goes great with Trader Joe’s Naan bread. That stuff is great.

Blueberry Shortbread

A very TINY piece to test if it was edible. Turned out really good!

I’ve been going out for a run with my boyfriend a few times a week. It’s really nice because other than going out occasionally and the chores, I’ve been living a VERY sedentary life ever since I graduated college. So today, I basically cooked for half of the day, went running with the boyfriend, watched a few shows with him, and baked blueberry shortbread. Lol. Ohhh myyy goooodness. I promise I will get better. Maybe I just needed to get it out of my system so I can get into my studying groove? Bleck.