Battle of Ingredients 2018: Chinese New Year Edition

Welcome to the first Battle of Ingredients of 2018. Let’s call this Year 2! We didn’t get a full year for 2017 but this year, we are already much more organized. Battle of Ingredients has changed over the months and we are working with themed dinners more than we are working on ingredients however, we do try to stick within using seasonal ingredients available to the province of Quebec or ingredients related to the theme we are working with.

I have added Battle of Ingredients to the menu on top so you can check out any of the past events we’ve done that you may have missed in 2017.

The first Battle of Ingredients this year is a little belated celebration of Chinese New Year! Phoebe and I welcome everyone to enjoy this lovely event. Our best friend is back home so we luckily had her drop by to be part of this event along with the usual cast of guests.

Wine of the Night

Main Meal

Battle of Ingredients

Honey-Garlic Chicken Stir-Fry (Kim)

My contribution of the event comes from a recipe that Phoebe shared with me earlier in the week on Pinterest right HERE.

Stir-fry dishes always are a staple of a Chinese meal. I’m not a very skilled cook so this dish worked perfect for us. Its pretty easy to make. The original recipe asks for carrots but being the forgetful person I was, I picked them up at the grocery story to look at but forgot to put them in the basket so I replaced it with green beans. I kind of supersized the menu so I had to modify the sauce a little bit. My meal actually turned out to be a healthy blandness that I like but I offered salt and pepper to everyone to add if they preferred it stronger. The way to improve this one would be to use the chicken broth instead of water. However, this meal did make for some tender chicken as I did use thighs and vegetables had a nice crunch.

Battle of Ingredients

Ginger-Garlic Abalone (Phoebe)

Phoebe went with a lovely abalone dish. Abalone is a staple of a classy Chinese dinner ingredient. Sometimes the simplest way to make a dish is to go back to the basics. She used frozen abalones along with ginger and garlic on the top and put it to steam. It still had a little bit of the fishy taste here but to us, it was still very good. However, she did forget to bring green onions which would have helped with added a little more flavors to mask the seafood taste that some people (aka my husband) doesn’t like.

Sticky Rice (Outside contribution aka my mom)

Sticky rice is one of the Chinese dishes that you can find at dim sum restaurants and its also one of my favorite things to eat. Luckily, my mom had a potluck the day before and she contributed the sticky rice that one of her friends made to use for our Battle of Ingredients. It was delicious. One year, I will figure it out and I’ll give it a go.


Tangerines, Dark Chocolate & Wife Cakes

I slacked off on my original plan to make Baked New Year Cake (recipe HERE) and Egg Tarts (recipe HERE). However, we did have some tangerines which is pretty normal to have for a Chinese New Year fruit dessert as well as some Wife Cakes, which is a delicious Hong Kong pastry made with winter melon. Without any coordination, both Phoebe and I ended up picking up some Theobroma Chocolate from Costco. I like the Raspberry flavor Dark Chocolate one and she got the Original 72% Original Chocolate one.

That wraps up our Chinese New Year Edition of Battle of Ingredients!
We had a few months of hiatus but we are back!
We are getting back into the groove of things 🙂
Our next one will be next month with a little Easter celebration!


Recap: Goodfood #14

Its been a whirlwind of movie reviews over here lately with the Ultimate 70s Blogathon and Valentine’s Marathon tag teaming it, which is great but I’d like to change the pace a little (if just for myself).

Let’s take a quick recap at the Goodfood box last week!

Singapore Noodles with Haddock & Pickled Turmeric

Singapore Noodles

I love Singapore noodles! However, I also have no idea how to make it before this box obviously. It was definitely pretty nice especially since we don’t usually eat haddock and that was a nice change. However, this one is quite fancy with having to grind our own turmeric. If you haven’t used turmeric before (like myself prior to this experience), when they say it stains, boy does it stain? My fingers were yellow for two days after some intense scrubbing throughout. The taste of the dish was somewhat worth the hassle . It had a nice taste and the spices were really nice. The pickled turmeric also came out decent, although honestly, I was a little worried to eat it in fear of my mouth turning yellow. If I were to do this meal again, I’d probably just get some grinded turmeric instead and save some of the hassle.

Creamy Gnocchi with Mushroom, Sundried Tomatoes & Green Beans

Creamy Gnocchi

I had this meal without the creamy sauce and the cheese. This portion is my husband’s who got all the sauce and cheese so it looks slightly overwhelmed unless you love cheese like he does. He liked this one a lot. To be honest, the meal tasted really good just with the lactose-free base. I did overcook the gnocchi which was my fault since I normally fried gnocchi instead of boiling it like pasta.

One Pan Greek Chicken with Roasted Vegetables, Feta & Crispy Croutons

One Pan Greek Chicken

This is the actual version of the meal with the feta cheese. Mine was without the feta cheese. This one is actually really easy to make and tastes very good. Its mostly 15 minutes preparation then its popping in the oven. I can’t emphasize how much I love efficient cooking solutions especially when this one not only had really tender chicken and oven baked bread which turned into some delicious croutons.

Pork Burgers with Homemade Sauerkraut, Roasted Red Peppers & Potato Salad

pork burgers

Last meal we cooked was pork burgers. Whenever burgers are a choice, that week probably ends up ordered. I never knew my husband had such a deep love for sauerkraut until he wanted to get this burger. So this box taught me homemade sauerkraut which was fairly easy since these boxes always ask us to pickle one thing or another. No complaints since I have learned that while I don’t digest raw vegetables well, pickles is a different story. It also had a delicious pork patty with some amazing spices along with a potato salad which included making our own dressing. All of the above worked so well together.

Overall, last week’s box was pretty decent. A lot of the bad was my own fault for overcooking. The burger was great. Despite staining my fingers, the singapore noodles were also really good and then the one pan chicken was delish and efficient whole the gnocchi turned fairly well also.

Goodfood #13

Time for a lovely food post! I’ve been writing about books and movies and TV series that this is a nice little break! 🙂

We’re onto another Goodfood box. My darling friend Phoebe (aka Starry Traveler) suggested that I do a video unboxing of Goodfood after this one. Due to the PC issues I talked about earlier today, that will be something I’ll look at in the future once that is settled and operations get back to usual.

Let’s check out this box!

Seared Salmon Ramen with Black Salt Miso, Carrots and Mushrooms


The first meal of the box was the ramen. Its been pretty chilly here with quite a few storms so its always nice to have some warm soup for some heat and comfort. This meal was a lot of fun to make. I was able to multitask a lot of it and timed it all fairly well. There is some chopping involved with the carrots but other than that, its nothing complex. Its also why I love making ramen bowls. This one tasted quite good. Salmon has gotten so expensive that when we get boxes with them, its the rare occasion we actually buy it anymore. This box’s highlight was the black salt and we sprinkled it on top of the fish and it added a really nice flavor to it.

BBQ Tofu Subs with Pickled Cucumber Ribbons and Yellow Beet Chips


Our hesitation for this box went to Tofu Subs. My husband really doesn’t like tofu too much but he opted for this one. Surprisingly  for both of us, it was incredibly delicious. I don’t know if its the sauces they use or just the combination of everything, it was really delicious. The pickled cucumbers were good but a pain to cut especially since I don’t own a mandolin so it was just cutting it as thin as I could with a knife. The beet was kind of annoying to peel as well. This meal has a lot of prep work to it. However, the results were worth it. Writing this up, actually reminded me of something I need to message Goodfood about.

Pork Chops with Agrodolce Sauce and Roasted Vegetables


I had no idea what agrodolce sauce was before but our little menu card gave a delightful description of it. I’d be lying if reducing the sauce had me a little worried because usually the worst results are anything we need to reduce. Surprisingly, it actually turned out quite good. This one is rather sour though. However, I love roasted veggies and the spices blended so well with the sauce to make the pork chops really delicious.

Harissa-Honey Chicken with Spiced Zucchini and Sugar Snap Peas Couscous


Finally to the Harissa-Honey chicken. My bowl didn’t have any  harissa because hot sauce is not my thing. We’re not a big fan of this type of couscous however, the blend with the spiced zucchini and the snap peas actually gave it quite a nice flavor. On top of that, the only issue I had was the instructions on how to make the chicken felt a little inexact and my chicken turned out looking really burnt. Normal because there was honey but I also wondered why it wasn’t blended before. However, despite the burnt bits, it was very good as well.

I’m keeping nice and short today. 4 delicious meals, some nice surprises and nice flavors in the box. My favorite overall for this box would have to go to the Tofu Sub. The Seared Salmon Ramen definitely comes very close to a fave here as well.


Recap: Goodfood #4

I had to take a break this weekend. Sorry about that. For many reasons, it was one I had wanted to focus on real life things. Happy stuff! Plus, it was super humid and hot so being in the office was like sitting in a preheating oven. Regardless, we stayed in mostly and did a lot of gaminh and cooking. Thanks to finishing up the last two meals from last week’s Goodfood box.

Lets check it out!

Seared Haddock with Farro and Orange-Fennel Salad

Seared Haddock Goodfood

A lot of new or ingredients we rarely use for this recipe. Haddock isn’t our usual choice of fish. And the fish part of this was tasty. Farro was new to us and its pretty much like a harder texture of brown rice ( or maybe it is brown rice…I should research it further). I’m not a hard rice sort of fan unless its in sweet congee. I didn’t eat the orange fennel salad mostly because of the not eating raw veggies thing but my husband did and his words, it was okay.

Grilled Ratatouille Sandwich with Sundried Tomato Hummus

Grilled Ratatouille Sandwich


Easily one of our favorite meals from this box. Its also vegetarian so thats saying a lot. Its juicy. The bread is made with a crispy outer crunch and the veggies, peppers, zucchini and multicolor chery tomatoes had a nice balanced flavor. You can make this for a fancy bbq sandwich idea if you’d like plus, the sundried tomato hummus was absolutely heavenly. Yummy!

Chinese Five Spice Chicken with Snow Pea Tips, Beans and Quinoa Salad

Chinese Five Spice Chicken

I’ve had five spices flavored stuff when I went to Hong Kong however, since my mom’s not much for spicing up food too much, I’ve never had much exposure. With that said, trying out five spices, it being a chicken dish and the fact that it had snow pea tips (which is one of my ultimate favorite veggies) made this one so awesome. However, we did make a little twist to this and cooked the snow pea tips as well with all the ingredients that would have gone in the salad which actually ended up fantastic. I’d do this one again any day. Now to figure out where to find five spices in the Chinese supermarket nearby. 😉

Chef Jonathan Garnier’s Fresh Tagliatelle with Lebanese Moussaka

Fresh Tagliatelle Goodfood

Definitely an interesting choice here. We’re big fans of fresh pasta. I’d like to say that we’ve actually been buying fresh pasta options more than the dry ones. We also don’t eat chickpeas or eggplants a lot either but this one had some nice spices. Not to mention my husband did a fine job of putting it together. Not sure what Lebanese Moussaka was before. In fact, I’ve never heard of it before and it was pretty good. Definitely a nice way to incorporate chickpeas and eggplants into everyday meals.

That’s it for this Goodfood recap!
It was a success with 3 meals that we absolutely loved and one that we liked well enough.


Recap: Goodfood #2

Guess what? (or maybe I told you in the last recap HERE) We went for another Goodfood box right after that trial first week because the menu looks fantastic.

The second box came as expected. What is really nice is that I had wanted to skip it and couldn’t figure out how to get it done and the customer service was very prompt in answering my questions and had detailed answers to help me navigate through it. Good customer service is another great point of this company.

The box came right on time. This time the weather was great however, the box did have a little broken part at the bottom. Perhaps something about their delivery service system should be improved. There should be more care especially when handling a box designed to insulate for a certain amount of time and has meats inside especially in the summer. Luckily, the week before the temperature did happen to drop a little so we were okay for the most part.

Regardless of that, the menu for that week was great and to be honest, most of it turned it pretty awesome as well. Here’s the recap!

Korean Vegetable Bibimbap
with Shitakes, Kale and Quick-pickled Veggies

Korean Bibimbap

This was a ton of work to put together from the pickling to the chopping. However, it was also really worth the effort because it was delicious. Not to mention a recipe that I’ve kept thinking of redoing once I get a chance to buy the spice that it uses in the rice. However, they did give us a lot more kale than we needed. As my husband made a valid point, more is better than less. So we had a generous portion of kale that was used for just a veggie side for the next day. This was the main reason why I wanted this week’s menu and I’m glad that it lived up to my expectations.

North African Spiced Chicken
with Grilled Vegetable Tabbouleh and Fresh Chickpeas

North African Chicken

Possibly my husband’s favorite meal in this box. The North african spices were very flavorful and paired up with the fresh tabbouleh with grilled veggies and some crispy fresh onions/shallots (can’t remember which as I’m writing this up) and cucumbers, it worked great together.

Maple Pork Burger
with Oven Roasted French Fries and Bacon Dipping Sauce

maple pork burger oven-roasted french fries

Sorry for the not perfect picture here. We actually made this one morning and then went down to watch TV and just kind of ate the two separately. I had the fries first and it went super well with the dipping sauce. That sauce was actually to die for. Then we had the burger. Mine is without the uncooked veggies so its pretty bare-bones. However, my husband ate his and didn’t take a picture so well, this is what I’m left with. However, this burger was good. I actually like pork burgers more and more now because we are growing some odd thing towards beef, maybe because its harder to digest so it makes us bloated. Personal problems. However, this was tasty also. Its a burger and it was a nice twist on the traditional beef patty.

BBQ Rubbed Steaks
with Summery Sweet Potato and Zucchini Hash

BBQ Rubbed Steak

Yummy! This one was so awesome! The zucchini and sweet potato had a nice crispiness to them even thought it was cooked and then the spices and the steak were fantastic. It wasn’t a huge portion of meat but just enough to make this have a nice healthy balance. Its definitely one that I plan on doing again or maybe using the same vegetable portion and match with chicken or pork chops or something like that.


This Goodfood box was great. There were some amazing meals. However, all of these had relatively longer prep times. That is one that I do suggest to add to the meals is the prep time. I’m not sure if their time right now includes both prep and cook because some of the things with more to cut do become quite lengthy. I always budget out an hour or more to do these recipes with more chopping to do because honestly that is where the slow part is for myself. Of course, if you are a chopping master in the kitchen, this should go by quickly. However, these recipes to incorporate some level of multitask so it helps shrink the cooking time by a little also. My fave of the bibimbap, my husband’s was the north-african chicken and we both like the rubbed steak and the pork burger was decent also. This box was a definite winner.

We are taking a little break from meal subscription boxes to get back to cooking normally but I’ll report back next month probably with more if the meals match our tastes.


My Weekly Adventures #39: Upcoming Projects & More…

2017 has been incredibly busy so far!! We’re already halfway done with March. Can you believe it? That means in two weeks or so, I’ll be officially in my thirties, the 3-1. Honestly, entering 30 hasn’t really changed anything much except coming to terms that I now can’t tolerate as much alcohol as I used to. Which isn’t a problem since I drink a glass of wine like 3 days in a month, unless its holiday seasons or some special event.  Being 30 only seemed to fuel this additional motivation to do the things I’ve wanted to and just not care so much and do it. Point is, it seems getting older has given myself some more courage and clarity about what I’m doing and life and all that stuff.

Running off on a tangent apparently is still something that I haven’t changed. Getting back on track! Let’s check out these last two busy busy weeks!

Ultimate 90’s Blogathon Done!

Ultimate 90's blogathon

Ultimate 90’s Blogathon hosted by myself and Drew over at Drew’s Movie Reviews drew to close a few days ago. If you missed any of the reviews, you can find them all on this page HERE. We’ve already expressed our gratitude in the conclusion post but yet again, thank you to all for the participation, comments and likes. It does feel great to know that there’s so much love for our little blogathon. We’ve met new friends and bloggers and it was a lot of fun. We are hoping to do something similar next year and for those who missed out (and a few of you have reached out to us about it), we will keep you in our hearts and minds and maybe we’ll have you all on board as well if all goes well. Of course, a big thank you goes to my darling co-host Drew which I don’t think I ever express thanks to him enough. Remember to head over to check out Drew’s Movie Reviews if you haven’t already right here.

New Online Courses

 I wrapped up my last course a week or so ago. It was pretty good and a lot of fun. I had already learned a bit of the foundation so it was really polishing up those skills and I realized that I was reminded why I chose to  not major in this in university. Funny how some things just never change, right? I did pretty well in my final exam so yay!

Last time, I did mention that I was debating on courses so I decided to be ambitious and took both the photography and guitar course. Does that sound a little crazy? Maybe. I never know anymore. I just follow my instinct. If you are newer here, then you probably didn’t quite get to experience the whole photography days here which is moved over to my other blog, Avenue of Daydreams. I have been playing around with photography for a while but its been a while that I’ve felt like I need to learn more about the foundation of photography so that I can use my DSLR with much more ease. The main thing is that while I know of the terms like shutter speed and aperture and the idea of what effect they have but how to set the numbers on the camera are all a blur. Pairing guitar with photography seems to be good because it shouldn’t be incredibly hard.

We’re in the second week of the course now and let me tell you, photography is pretty cool and exactly what I expected as that its helpful but never  too hard because I already know a part of it. However, guitar is a whole other story. I’m definitely picking up more than when I ambitiously tried to learn on my own but I play the piano so my hands don’t work the same way and fretting hurts so much. I am working hard to get in some practice everyday from what I’ve learned to hopefully get the basics down. Guitars are a little huge for myself. Its why I’m starting to convince my husband to learn it instead. 😉

I’ll report back with more news later on. I’ll be approaching the end of the course by the next weekly adventures.

Hangout with Friends

Living in a city where winter is so prominent makes it hard to do much during these cold winter weeks. The last two weeks definitely beat us down with some dry cold weather that just urged us to stay in unless absolutely necessary, like going to work. As I’m typing this post up, its now milder but in a snow storm. I’m just hoping this is the last leg of winter and we’ll be seeing some lovely spring weather soon. Of course, this doesn’t stop us from going out. On a Friday night, I went to hang out with Starry Traveler and we chatted about a ton of stuff and finalized some details on our new segment that I’ll talk about in the next section.

The week after that was the day of our actual segment in the works. Maybe one day I’ll get something going for it more as we work out a little more on how this will work in the long-run. The hope is that it will keep going on. So we even had the husbands join in along with two more friends. We’re pretty much the foodie group now that heads out to these food events in Montreal together. Fun times! To clarify the picture, we only managed to set up the game before my friend’s baby tried to grab everything and we decided that this game is for a babyless night. Not sure when that will happen, or at least when baby or toddler is more grown up.

Two New Projects/Segments

Project #1: Battle of Ingredients

Next week will launch the first instalment of Battle of Ingredients, featuring myself and my awesome childhood friend and casual blogger, Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road. We’ve been brainstorming this one for a good few months (if not a year) and finally decided to just do it. I’ll explain a little more on how it works but the goal here is that we pick one or two ingredients to compose a meal. We usually grab some friends and our husbands to sit down for a lovely gathering and they can then give us feedback. The key is not really to see who wins out of this but rather to inspire some new recipes and hopefully explore what is in season. We hope to start this off as a monthly segment due to preparation and getting everyone together. For the first battle, we chose two ingredients that are very common however, it is what is in season for us (at least one of them is). However, its not always going to be battles and sometimes just a team-up.

Project #2: All About Adaptations

Launching this week (if tonight’s recording goes well) is All About Adaptations. The idea of talking about adaptations was actually one of the first reasons why I started movie blogging unfortunately nothing ever happened. However, when Movie Reviews 101 and MovieRob had their Stephen King Blogathon, I did an entry that really made me think about this idea harder and finally, after something like two years, I’ve decided that I’m ready to do this. The idea of this is that any adaptation can fall into this category and compare it to source material. If there are many adaptations, I will try to look at as much as I have access to. Because there is much more preparation, I’m not quite sure about the frequency but I already have two ready for recording. With that said, this is going to be a YouTube segment. I’m slowly transforming the channel to focus on Movie, Gameplay & Unboxing. Hopefully you can join me over there! More details on the launch post. 🙂

Gaming Reviews Update!

Would you look at that? The latest project this week was putting together our video Game Reviews. Obviously the choice to read the written review is still there but for those of you that want to kick back and just listen to the review while watching some gameplay, we now offer you that option! Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

Cute Kitty Pic


  • Toronto Comicon
  • All About Adaptations #1
  • Battle of Ingredients #1
  • Various Movie Reviews

Breakfast Dinner: Portobello Mushrooms & Eggs

2017 is going to be a huge goal of trying to get back to a healthier lifestyle. With that said, cooking is going to be a bigger part of our life. At least we’re really trying to do more homecooked meals.

In the last few months of 2016, I started having a huge love for Portobello mushrooms. Add into our love for breakfast food and eggs in general, I thought about doing something like this for a while and decided this past weekend that with the remaining two Portobello mushrooms left in the pack, I could try this one out. I took some inspiration from the site below for cooking times but I didn’t really season with anything fancy.

Portobello Mushrooms & Eggs

Portobello Mushrooms & EggsRecipe inspired by:

Makes 2 servings

2 Portobello mushrooms
2 eggs
Salt & pepper to season
a dash of Herbes des Provences
olive oil, to spray

How to make it

  1. Preheat broiler, setting temperature to high. Set oven rack in the middle and line the baking sheet with foil.
  2. Spray the mushroom caps with olive oil cooking spray on both sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil 5 minutes on each side.
  3. Remove mushrooms from oven. Switch oven from broil to bake, setting temperature at 400F.
  4. Break an egg in each mushroom. Sprinkle with Herbes des Provences.  Bake 15 minutes, until egg whites are cooked.
  5. Sprinkle the egg with a dash of salt and pepper. Serve.

If you follow the link above, you can see the variation is to sprinkle with cheese. Which would be our first choice except we ran out of lactose-free cheese (for myself) so I used herbs instead. And that worked out quite well. A note to remember would be to avoid sogginess to wipe clean instead of washing the mushroom. I only remembered that as I turned on the faucet and tried to soak up the water as much as I could. It wasn’t too soggy luckily.

Overall, simple and easy. I really loved the taste of this one and to be honest, I’ve been thinking about heading out to get some more portobello mushrooms and adding cheese to the mixture and it should taste even better.

How do you like to make mushrooms? What variety do you use?