A Fun and Delicious Weekend with Family and Friends!

This weekend, I’ve been a tad quiet, although I did post up my normal personal blog.  I will be posting up another bonus one some time this week, just an update based on all the self-reflection I’ve done this weekend.  BUT onto happier things!..What better way to pass a weekend than with family and friends? They totally helped me put my worries aside for a little bit.

Right now is the time to talk about what happened on my extremely busy but fun part of my past weekend! The parts where my brain could be shut off it was fantastic fun.  On Saturday, in collaboration with one of my friends, we had a “reunion” party at my house.  The goal was to get everyone together or as many as possible in our group of friends now that summer is just around the corner and we sit together and have good laughs, eat and chat.  We managed to round up a good 15-16 people in total (including me) and we had tons of food for the potluck.

I didn’t have time to take pictures of some foods, mostly ready made ones like the McCain Three Cheese Pizza and cooked frozen foods from M&M Meat Shops, like the lasagna, garlic bread and the hors d’oeuvres.  We had a Ceasar Salad from Costco.  Those things I didn’t particularly take pictures of either, except for one. Other than that, we had some salad, meat dishes, desserts.

Hors d'oeuvres

Hors d’oeuvres

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

Turkey Meatloaf (from me)

Turkey Meatloaf (from me)

I’ve featured this one before.  This time around I did it completely to the recipe, at least I added those chopped apples.  You can check it out HERE! I will keep using apples for this one because it gives it a nice moist texture, better than when I made it without.

Stir-Fried Veggies (from my best friend)

Stir-Fried Veggies (from my best friend)

Viet-Style Chicken (from my best friend)

Viet-Style Chicken (from my best friend)

My best friend also made Oven-baked Asparagus.  I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of it.  They were delicious! My best friend is a really awesome cook. Which is totally cool because we complement each other.

Now, I know you all were looking forward to the desserts.  I apologize that I didn’t get a picture of the Chocolate Chip cookies before they were all eaten.  I did catch the Shortbread cookies

Shortbread cookies

Shortbread cookies

And another one of my friends made some truffles.



Doesn’t this look totally awesome and delicious? The best was being with a nice group of friends and having a good relaxed time.  Some others contributed alcohol, like wine and whatnot.  One of them brought me SoHo lycee liqueur.  He usually drops by my blog so I’m going to thank him here.  He’s one of my long time friend’s boyfriend and also a fellow Dragonboat teammate.  He’s been introducing me to cool liqueurs ever since we’ve been friends and having these parties.

We ended Saturday with a collective board game of Apples for Apples where the majority joined in. Some of us were busy talking about a new baking project so we skipped but then followed through and went downstairs for 2 games of Mahjong and trained 2 friends to play.  It was fun even though it wasn’t long.  I haven’t played in a while but its always enjoyable.

I know this post is getting long but Sunday was a quick day for me.  I ended up going over to my boyfriend’s place with some homemade hamburger patties and ate with his parents.  I made those awesome scones that I posted about yesterday.  If you missed that post, you can drop by HERE!

I had a fantastic chat next to these beautiful hanging flowers with my boyfriend’s mom.  She is the sweetest lady ever! We’re both bookworms so we talked a lot about that.


Excuse the bad angle.  It was the furthest I could go before having the danger of falling down the spiralling stairs…Still, I wished that sun had stayed around.  Its all gloomy and rainy again. I just wish this spring weather would disappear for a while and let summer drop in for a bit longer than a day…

Sunday dinner: Burgers with Homemade fries!

Sunday dinner: Burgers with Homemade fries!

At least we’re breaking out the summer meals and enjoying whatever good weather we can 🙂

If not, the weekend would’ve been totally rubbish, if not for my awesome friends and family! They brought in the sunlight and pushed those dark days away for a little bit! Finding the positives..I’m still trying to keep that up! 🙂

Scones with Almonds, Coconut and Chocolate Chips!

Monday morning is around once again and what better way to bring in a nice morning but with some baked goods.

In a chat with Nick at Cinematic Katzenjammer last week, he suggested me to make scones with almonds, coconut and chocolate chips.  A huge THANKS to him for giving me the baking missions ;).  Its been a while since I’ve baked scones.  I brought it over to my boyfriend’s family for dinner and they loved it!



To make this, I got a bit creative and used a Looneyspoons Collection cranberry-orange scones recipe and changed it to incorporate the ingredients I wanted.


Makes 12

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup oat bran

1/4 cup chopped almonds

1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 tbsp butter, melted

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 egg



1) Preheat oven to 400F.  Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

2) In a large bowl, combine flour, oat bran, chopped almonds, coconut shreds, chocolate chips, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

3) In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, butter and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Stir until a soft dough is formed. Add a bit more flour if dough is too sticky.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 pieces.  Form each piece into a ball.  Place the balls on the baking sheet.  Pat dough to 3/4 inch thick circles about 6 inches in diameter.  Using a sharp knife, cut each circle into 6 wedges.

4) To make glaze, lightly beat egg and 1 tbsp water in a small bowl.  Brush glaze lightly over top of dough (you won’t use it all).  Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until scones are puffed up and golden. Cool slightly and serve.



There you go! How does that sound?

As I was typing this up, I realized something that I did which was different.  However, lets start with what they originally suggest. If you aren’t lactose-intolerant, you can use buttermilk instead of almond milk. As for the scones, when in their wedges, I made the mistake of pulling them apart, so they turned out all weirdly shaped.  However, they aren’t supposed to be separated.  Try that out when you do it. Just bake them in circles separated in 6 wedges and pull them apart when you want to eat them after they’ve cooled down 😉

The texture seemed soft and puffy, even though mine seemed more like the height of cookies instead of scones.  Everyone loved them yesterday and they ate them with smiles.  That always is a good sign 😉

Also, before I let you go, I urge you to go check out Nick’s Cinematic Katzenjammer.  His blog posts about movie-related news,  reviews and much more plus he has various other bloggers who write for his site as well.  I just started listening to their podcasts and they are really fun. Check it out!  I linked his blog up on top but HERE it is once more! He’s super awesome so drop on by and I sure that you’ll love it!!

Have a great Monday morning! 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day: Oops! There It Is! Chocolate Cake

Cute name, right? This is the actual title of this recipe that I did for yesterday’s early visit to my boyfriend’s place to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.  Along with dessert, I bought her some nice yellow and pink bouquet 🙂

I don’t usually make a lot of desserts completely chocolate unless its for special occasions.  After developing some sensitivity to chocolate, it not always my first choice because then I don’t get to join in the fun but I realized that sometimes baking is really about seeing how happy others are when they like what I make! Whats a better time than making people I care about something they’d love, right?

Here’s how this came out:


Doesn’t it look delicious? When I was mixing this, it started smelling so chocolatey and awesome.  Imagine what happened while it was baking then when it came out? 😉

The recipe is from Looneyspoons Collection from Janet and Greta Podelski.

Makes 12 servings


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

2 eggs

3 tbsp high quality vegetable oil

1 cup light (5%) sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Right out of the oven :)

Right out of the oven 🙂

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2) In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

3) In a medium bowl, beat together brown sugar, eggs, and oil using an electric mixer on medium speed.  Add sour cream, vanilla and almond extract.  Beat on low speed until well blended.

4) Gradually add flour mixture to sour cream mixture, beating on medium speed.  Fold in chocolate chips.

5) Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 15 minutes.  Cut into 12 squares.  For maximum moistness, store at room temperature in an airtight container.


Its a pretty simple cake to make and if you follow their ingredients, it should be quite healthy.  I followed it for the most part.  However I removed the almond extract and sour cream and replaced it with 1/2 cup almond milk.  Also, I used white chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet because I ran out of the latter.

Still, the moistness was right on.  My boyfriend and his parents thought it was delicious 🙂 That always makes me happy! I didn’t try it so I can’t comment much on that. It did smell extremely yummy!

It was definitely a success and its worth a try! Especially worthy for Mother’s Day (or probably any day)

Have an awesome Mother’s Day!!!

Happy Mother’s Day

*Almost* Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies!

Have you ever heard of these cookies? Kitchen Sink Cookies for short apparently…

These ones came up in my search when I was digging up recipes based on another blogger’s comment for Coconut Cloud Cake post. Brian at Hard Ticket to Home Video commented that “mixes coconut, toffee and dark chocolate”.  I have never baked with toffee so I had to run off and look for that.  Of course, the trusty Walmart Superstore here has everything and I managed to pick up a pack of toffee bits on Saturday.

I changed it around a bit to match the tastes of my boyfriend and his family, which will be delivered to them tonight 🙂


I found this recipe on Martha Stewart`s site.  The link to the original recipe that inspired it is: http://www.marthastewart.com/332894/everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-cookie



These cookies are quite easy to make as its pretty much mixing the wet ingredients then in another bowl the dry ingredients. After that putting it together and after having the cookies dough done.  Its time to add all the contents: dark chocolate, toffee bits, coconut shreds, dried cherries, pecans, oats and pretzels.  Point is, its supposed to have EVERYTHING…


My version doesn`t change much for the dough.  I did remove the salted pretzels and dried cherries.  Its not hit in their families and then swapped almonds to replace the pecans.  Also, I didn`t have any dark chocolate on hand so I used some semi sweet chocolate chunks.  Plus, the intended recipients aren`t big fans of dark chocolate and more semi-sweet.



Obviously, this one fits in all my nono`s. So I couldnt`t try it out.  However, what they do feel and look like are Oatmeal cookies with Chocolate chunks, coconut, toffee bits, and almonds.  Now that sounds like a winner combination right. My mom did help me out to taste it and she said that it was a bit too sweet (but she always thinks that) however, she did say the taste was pretty good.  The texture of it was not too hard and all the ingredient choices matched up to a good taste.

If you don`t like any ingredients or you want to swap things in and out, as long as you know the end result taste works for you, then go for it.  It should work out fine. 🙂

Seeing as I`m a beginner with toffee bits, what else do you recommend I do with it? Any other great recipes or types of cookies or cakes that it would work well in? I was thinking maybe fudge might be a good option? I don’t know.  I’m not experienced with fudge either..Give me some suggestions.  I’d love to hear all about it 🙂

Valentine’s Baking: Skillet Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie

Whats a good morning (any day) without a little sweet tooth craving fulfilled, right?

I was going to make a huge chocolate cake for my boyfriend.  As he is trying hard to stay fit (aka lose fat gain muscle), I didn’t want to make him lose track so I asked him what he wanted.  He saw this and wanted me to do it right away. Last night, I went downstairs to bake this gigantic cookie.  However, I didn’t want to use a skillet so I just used a square baking pan.


This recipe was from Martha Stewart’s site and if you want to try it, just go to this link:


This was a crazy easy recipe to do.  I didn’t do any adjustments to it.  However, I don’t own any semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips at home but I still had a bunch of chocolate chunks.


The only long part was waiting for the giant cookie to come out of the oven, since its in there for 40-45 minutes.  Of course, this gave me time to finish up my last movie in the marathon (The review will be up a bit later today) After about halfway through baking time, the house started smelling like chocolate and sweets.  A mouthwatering aroma…and it wasn’t even done yet.


Just look at that right there.   That’s what a piece of this cookie looks like.  I can’t eat chocolate but my boyfriend gave it a little time to cool and cut this piece out right away to try.  I know when he really loves something and this one, he totally loved it.

Try it out! Whats a better time than Valentine’s day to treat yourself and whoever you choose to spend it with sharing a giant chocolate chip cookie, right?  Chocolate is just right for all occasions.

Sand Art Brownies

This is a great little gift idea for families with little kids.  My coworker was the one shared this with me.  She got it from her mother who I think learned about it at the community center.

This was the one gift that I had already decided on giving this year and I knew exactly who would get it also. It ending up being for my brother’s sister and her family.  She thought it was very nice.



The only problem was the my jar was too big so I ended up adding in some gingerbread cookies (these ones) onto the top to keep the layers of ingredients from shifting. So make sure that you get the exact right shape of jar.  When I went to Walmart, they had ones too small or too big labelled and this one had no size so I could only assume.

Here is the exact paper as to how I made it and the exact page my coworker had photocopied for me.  You can print out the page and cut out the lower part and give with the jar as instructions to how you make these brownies.

Sand Art Brownies

However, for this little craft, if you look at the jar.  The top layer was not vanilla baking chips.  Somehow, these are impossible to find anywhere, so when I went to Plattsburgh, I was able to pick up Christmas Mint and Dark Chocolate Chips so I layered the top with that

It was really fun to make.  Plus, its a fun activity for the family.  That makes it a very awesome gift!

Deluxe Christmas Fudge Bites

Anyone lovers of fudge? I know a few people that would jump up with joy if they saw this.  However, its the first time that I’ve ever taken up the challenge of making fudge.  This year, I wanted to make a little change so I did this one: Deluxe Christmas Fudge.  I halved the recipe but poured it into a 9×9 inch baking pan so it turned out to be more fudge bites.  Still, everyone who tasted it loved it.



DELUXE CHRISTMAS FUDGE BITES (inspired from Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook)


1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1/2 can (7 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup pistachio nuts

1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries

1. Line 9×9 inch square pan with foil, leaving 1 inch of foil overhanging at two opposite sides of pan.  Grease foil with butter.

2. In 4 cup microwaveable measuring cup, place chocolate chips, marshmallows and milk.  Microwave uncovered on High 3 to 5 minutes, stirring every minute, until marshmallows and chips are melted and can be stirred smooth.

3. Stir in vanilla, nuts and cherries.  Immediately pour into pan.  Refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm.  Remove fudge from pan, using foil edges to lift.  Cut into little bite size pieces or into diamond shapes.


These are absolutely beautiful.  It was supposed to be with an 8 cup microwaveable measuring cup which I don’t own so I halved the recipe.  The recipe on top is adapted to what I used and how I did it.  However, all you have to do is double everything and you will have the actual Deluxe Christmas Fudge a la Betty Crocker style.

As a side note, you could also decorate it with melted vanilla baking chips.  All you have to do is melt and drizzle on top of the fudge before popping it into the fridge.

Fudges are new to me however, I think a lot of people are quite familiar with it.  Do you like cherries and pistachios in fudge? What other ingredients work well with fudge? Other varieties?

Sunday Baking: “Cookies for Rookies”

Wait wait, you thought Sunday was just dinner? No way, I went all out.  While the Minestrone Soup was simmering and after the chicken strips were out of the oven, I went on a crazy turbo mode and whipped up some cookies to put in the oven while we were eating.  Any guesses on what “Cookies for Rookies” is? Seriously, isn’t the name just so fun? I love these recipe titles in my new cookbook.  It makes cooking and baking even more fun. I made these ones not only for my boyfriend but also we were dropping by my boyfriend’s parents place so it was a little something to bring over.

Cookies for Rookies everyone? Any ideas up to now? Okay okay, I’ll tell you.  Its a mix of three ingredients: Chocolate chip, Oatmeal and…Peanut butter! Doesn’t that sound amazing?

While I was mixing it all together, the smell of peanut butter was surrounding me.  As it was baking, man, it was a fantastic smell that filled up the kitchen and dining room of chocolate and oatmeal and peanuts..yummy stuff right there!

So lets get straight to it..the recipe.

COOKIES FOR ROOKIES (from The Looneyspoons Collection by Janet and Greta Podleski)

Makes 24 cookies


1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant)

1/2 teaspoon each baking soda and salt

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup light peanut butter

1 egg

1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


1) Preheat over at 350F.  Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

2) In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

3) In another medium bowl, beat together brown sugar, butter, peanut butter and egg on low speed of electric mixer until well blended.  Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips and mix well using a wooden spoon.  Dough will be stiff.

4) Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.  Using a fork dipped in flour, flatten cookies to 1/4 inch thickness.  Bake for 10 minutes.

5) Remove cookies from tray immediately and cool on wire rack.  Store covered in plastic wrap or in an airtight container.


And thats it! Easy stuff, right? Look at the texture of it.  It was amazing!

So back to what I did different.  There really wasn’t much.  As usual, I changed the butter to margarine and the mini chocolate chips to chocolate chunks.  Other than that, all the ingredients stayed the same.  The only other thing I did was that I had beated the peanut butter blend by hand then mixed in the dry mixture by hand as well.  It wasn’t a complex recipe so it didn’t cause any big issues with the dough consistency.  It still turned out pretty stiff.

Definitely a winner for people who like peanut butter.  It smelled wonderful and tasted wonderful. Nice easy batch of cookies.  It took me less then 30 minutes to get it in the oven and only 10 minutes to bake.  Less than an hour and its ready to be served.  Efficient stuff, I like it!