Monday, February 8, 2016

Let's finish with a Drink for #FreshTastyValentines

Today is the last day of our Fresh Tasty Valentine event.  I hope you have enjoyed my Asian Inspired Menu as well as all of the other wonderful and delicious recipes shared by other bloggers during this fun week.

I am finishing up with a popular drink in China right now called Bubble Tea.  It is basically a tea and milk mixture that you can flavor any way you want but what makes it special and turns it into "bubble" tea is the addition of tapioca pearls.

I was originally going to change this up and make it alcoholic using raspberries and chambord but then we got this nifty little tool from Kitchen IQ, one of our sponsors, that hulls and/or slices up strawberries for you.

Then I got this lovely bar of organic chocolate by another of our sponsors, Pacari.  This chocolate is flavored with Andean Rose Geraniums.  Well, of course I was going to add this to my drink instead of the semisweet morsels I had bought.  Who wouldn't??

Then we ended up having our Little Angel Face so I decided to forego the alcohol as well and our Andean Rose Chocolate Strawberry Bubble Tea was born.  It is reminiscent of a thin milk shake that has been flavored with tea.  I think it must be an acquired taste because I didn't care for it.  I also was not crazy about the crunchy tapioca pearls.  I did use minute tapioca after I learned that it was not going to be cooked but I think in the future, at least for us, I will cook the tapioca in the milk before adding the other ingredients.  

My Angel Face loved it though and we all know that she is the only really important person in the house anyway LOL.  Don't you love her little haircut?   You should hear her Mama's stories about that experience!!

I want to thank Kitchen IQ, Pacari and all of our other sponsors for their generosity to us and to our readers.  Don't forget to enter the giveaway, today is the last day!!  I also invite you to go back to my information post where you will find a list of all of the sponsors and their contact information.  I never recommend any products with which I am not 100% satisfied.  I am very comfortable sharing all of our sponsor information with you, my readers.  I also want to remind you that all material in opinions in my blog are completely mine regardless of sponsors.

Andean Rose Chocolate Strawberry Bubble Tea

1 c. milk
1/2 c. tea, brewed and cooled
1 c. fresh strawberries, hulled 
3 t. sugar, divided
1 bar Andean Rose Geranium Chocolate, broken into marked pieces
2 t. water
1 T. honey
1 T. instant tapioca

Place strawberries and half of the sugar into the bowl of a food processor and run until pureed.
Place chocolate and remaining sugar in a small glass bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and microwave in 15 second increments until melted and smooth.  Add water to make into a syrupy consistency.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add milk, tea, strawberries, chocolate and honey.  Shake until well combined and foamy.  Place tapioca in the bottom of a tall glass.  Fill glass with tea mixture and serve ice cold. Print Recipe

Sunday, February 7, 2016

It wouldn't be an Asian meal without Almond Cookies for Dessert!! #FreshTastyValentines

You know those almond cookies that you get at the Chinese restaurants?  The light, fluffy one's that crumble all apart when you take a bite?  The one's that melt in your mouth?  Yes....those!

Don't you just love these cookies?  Well, today is your lucky day because I am sharing this recipe for Chinese Almond Cookies and I guarantee that they will be as good, if not better, than those at your favorite Chinese restaurant.

Now I wish that I could take credit for this recipe but alas, I found it on .  It was submitted my Wishme.  It is the perfect recipe guys....easy peasy and delicious.  

Don't forget to enter the rafflecopter to win some great gifts from our sponsors!!

Chinese Almond Cookies
adapted from, submitted by Wishme

1 c. + 3 T. vegetable shortening
1 c. sugar
1 egg
2 t. almond extract
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
pinch of salt
48 Almonds

Place shortening and sugar in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat until well combined.  Add the egg and almond extract, continue to beat until light and fluffy.  Add the flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix on lowest setting until combined and then increase speed, beating until well mixed.

Using a small (about 1 Tablespoon) cookie scoop, form the dough into balls and place on parchment lined baking sheets.  Press an almond into the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown on the bottoms.  Print Recipe

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Weekly Menu Celebrating Birthdays, Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day

Wow.....What a crazy weekend and week we have coming up.  Today we are singing at 4 pm Mass. Then we are celebrating our daughter Nicole's birthday.  We are having a Chinese theme because Monday is Chinese New Year.  Of course, we are still celebrating #FreshTastyValentines for a couple more days and then the actual feast day of St. Valentine will be upon us before you know it.

So I guess the cat is now out of the bag...All week long (and a day or two before hand) I have been sharing recipes with you for an  Asian menu that I created for #FreshTastyValentines.  I made egg rolls one day before Fresh Tasty Valentines even started, we had a couple of them with our dinner that night but most went into the freezer for tonight's celebration. Then, when the event started I shared chicken puffs and shrimp balls that also went into the freezer and will be served with the egg rolls as appetizers tonight.  The Vegetable Pork Wonton Soup was dinner one night for Frank and I, the rest was frozen for tonight's dinner.  We will also be serving the Lemongrass Sorbet tonight.  The entree featured last week, Yuk See Chau Mein was enjoyed the night it was prepared so our entree will be different.  Of course, dessert will be a birthday cake!

Tomorrow Kirsten, Karen and I are going to Shipshewana in Michigan after which I will be picking up my Angel face as her Mama has a Super Bowl party to attend.  We will be watching the baby channel here at our house LOL.  I will be making a slow cooker meal to be ready when we get home.

The rest of the week is filled with Parish Council meetings, doctor appointments, choir practices and on Friday evening we are going out to dinner with friends.  This Wednesday is already Ash Wednesday.  Lent has started so we will be preparing the way for our Lord!!  We do this in my church by fasting, abstaining and giving.  It is a time for us to be much more as Christ to others. In our family this means going the extra mile for others who need help, eating only one large meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday with perhaps a protein drink for the other two meals and abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent.  I will also, personally spend more time in the quiet presence of the Lord during this season.

Image result for Lent

Saturday- Nicole's Birthday Dinner
Egg Rolls
Chicken Puffs
Shrimp Balls
Vegetable Pork Won Ton Soup
Lemongrass Sorbet
Baked Honey Sesame Chicken
Ginger Rice
Birthday Cake by Frank

Chicken Stew

Meatless Monday-Happy Chinese New Year
Breakfast for dinner

Egg Noodles
Glazed Carrots

Ash Wednesday
Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells


Fish Friday
Out for Dinner with Chet, Bob and Cathy

Time for the Entree: Yuk See Chau Mein #FreshTastyValentines

Those of you that have been following me for a while, know that we eat Asian food quite often in this household.  Some of this is because we have a daughter who came to us from China.  But even before Tingting came to live with us we loved Asian food.  We would often go to Chinese, Japanese or Thai restaurants and I would make stir fries at home as well as chop suey.

When Tingting came and I gave her Pork Chop Suey, she loved it but she also informed me that it was not anything she had grown up eating and that it must be "American Chinese".  Up until that point I had never given much thought to how our culture changes the foods from other cultures to adapt to our likings.

Image result for my grandmothers chinese kitchen

I went out and bought an authentic Chinese cookbook by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo called "My Grandmother's Chinese Kitchen".  I will never forget the look on Tingting's face when I made my first recipe from this book.  She actually broke down and cried saying it was just like her grandma's cooking.  Needless to say, this has been my go to book for Chinese recipes ever since.

Yuk See Chau Mein

The recipe I am sharing today is adapted from this book and is the "Chinese Chinese" version of Pork Chow Mein, we don't even spell it correctly LOL.  The adaptations are slight.  I used coconut oil instead of peanut oil. I used fresh baby portabella mushrooms instead of dried black mushrooms, and ginger and garlic paste provided by Gourmet Garden instead of mincing fresh,

Gourmet Garden is one of our many sponsors for this event who not only provided great products for the bloggers to try but also are sponsoring a great giveaway for our readers. You can enter by going to my Welcome to #FreshTastyValentines post.  All opinions in this post are solely mine and are not influenced by the generosity of our sponsors.

Pan Fried Noodles with Shredded Pork
slightly adapted from My Grandmother's Chinese Kitchen by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo


2 t. oyster sauce
1 t. light soy sauce
pinch of salt
3/4 t. sugar
2 t. sesame oil
1 1/2 t. dry sherry
1 t. cornstarch
pinch of white pepper
6 oz. lean pork loin, shredded

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Add pork, mix well and allow to rest for 15 minutes.


1 t. light soy sauce
pinch of salt
1 1/2 t. sugar
1 t. sesame oil
1 T. oyster sauce
1 1/2 T. cornstarch
pinch of white pepper
1 c. chicken stock

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Set aside.

Pan Fried Noodles:

8 oz. Angel Hair Pasta
3 T. coconut oil

Cook pasta (al dente)  according to package directions.  Turn off heat and run cold water into the pot, drain through a strainer and rinse twice more.  Allow noodle to drain thoroughly for about 30 minutes. Loosen noodles with chopsticks or a fork.  Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat.  Add 2 T. of the oil to cover the bottom.  Place the noodles in an even layer in the pan, covering the entire bottom.  Cook for one minute, moving the pan around on the burner to ensure that the noodles brown evenly.  Lower heat if necessary to prevent burning.

Turn noodles onto a plate. Cover with another plate and flip over.  Add another T. of oil and slide the noodles, browned side up, back into the cast iron skillet.  Cook this side for one minute or until browned as well, moving the pan as before.  Place noodles onto a platter.

Chau Mein:

1 (15 oz) bean sprouts
1 (8 oz) package baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 1/2 T. coconut oil
2 t. ginger paste
2 t. garlic paste
3 scallions, white and light green parts, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces

Add coconut oil to a wok over high heat.  Add the ginger, scallion and mushrooms and cook for a minute or two, until the scallion greens are bright and vibrant.  Remove from wok to plate and set aside.

Wipe wok clean, add 1 T. of coconut oil and heat over high heat for half a minute. Add garlic and stir quickly for 15 seconds before adding the pork and it's marinade.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Add reserved vegetables and bean sprouts.  Cook and stir for another minute.  Make a well in the center of the mix.  Stir the sauce and pour into the well.  Stir-fry all the ingredients together until well mixed and sauce thickens and bubbles.  Pour Chau Mein over the Pan Fried Noodles and serve.  Print Recipe

Friday, February 5, 2016

Cleansing the Palate with Lemongrass Sorbet ~~ #FreshTastyValentines

When serving a several course meal I like offering a palate cleanser before the entree is served. Sorbet is commonly used and depending on the meal I often serve different flavors of sorbet.  I look for a flavor that is tart and prepares the palate for the richness of the plates to come.  Cranberry sorbet is one of my favorites to serve, especially if I am following it with a beef, pork or poultry entree. Lemon sorbet is also very popular and I have used it when serving fish or seafood entrees.

You can find Gourmet Garden in the produce section of you grocers.
Also on instagram at GourmetGarden and on twitter at GourmetGardenUS
This zester from KitchenIQ is the best I have ever used!!

Since the menu I am sharing this week contains an Asian entree, I wanted to use Asian flavors in my sorbet.  Gourmet Garden graciously sent us stir in pastes that included Lemongrass and Ginger.  knew that these flavors would be perfect in the sorbet for this meal.  I also included some lemon zest and lemon juice.  I used a new zester that I received for this event from Kitchen IQ.  This is a wonderful tool.  It has a container under the zesting blade that catches and measures the zest for you and a cover for over the blade while the zester is being stored.  This is going to get a lot of use in my household.  I love it!!

Wow!!!  This is the best Sorbet I have ever enjoyed!

Sorbet is very easy to make and can be made up to two weeks in advance and kept frozen until ready to serve.  A little goes a long way as you only offer a small scoop to each guest.  This sorbet was everything I knew it would be.  The brightness of the lemongrass with a little warmth from the ginger, cleansed the palate and left us ready to continue on with the rest of the meal.  This may be my favorite sorbet flavor profile yet.

Just one more little note:  While our sponsors are lovely and generous (see their reader giveaway here) all opinions are strictly my own and 100% accurate.

Lemongrass Sorbet

1 tube Lemongrass Paste (I used Garden Gourmet)
1 t. ginger paste (I used Garden Gourmet)
1 T. lemon zest
1 T. lemon juice
4 c. water
1 c. sugar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over med high heat.  Cook and stir until it comes to a boil and the sugar is dissolved.  Let cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.  When liquid is completely chilled, pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions. Or alternately, pour into a freezer safe container and freeze for one day and up to two weeks.  Print Recipe. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Shrimp Balls with Tangerine Hatch Chile Dipping Sauce #FreshTastyValentines

Have you been enjoying our #FreshTastyValentines event?  I know that I have been enjoying sharing my menu with you.  We have made it to the last of the first courses.  Today we will enjoy our fish course with the last of our Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc that we received as a sponsor gift for this event.  We will be switching to the Woodbridge Pinot Noir after the next course which is simply sorbet with which to cleanse our palates.

This is a light citrusy wine with floral notes.
It paired fabulously with the spicy citrus sauce that accompanied the shrimp balls.

In addition to the wine, I also used products from two additional sponsors for this course of Shrimp Balls with Tangerine Hatch Chile Sauce.  As always all opinions expressed in this blog are 100% honest and 100% mine.

The lightly dried cilantro from Gourmet Garden was perfect in the shrimp balls.
A sauce made with a base of  Not Ketchup had just the right amount of spice.

Not Ketchup Fruit Ketchups

These little tender morsels would also make a perfect appetizer.  When having a meal with a lot of courses it is important that you keep each course to just a taste so that your guests don't explode before the entree arrives.

This recipe made 28 little shrimp balls.
Serve each guest 3 or 4 of these little darlings with a schmear of the sauce.

Shrimp Balls with Tangerine Hatch Chile Sauce
Shrimp Balls adapted from My Grandmother's Chinese Kitchen

For Shrimp Balls:

3/4 lb. cooked shrimp, cleaned and shelled
3 T. lightly dried cilantro
1 egg white, beaten
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
pinch white pepper
1 t. soy sauce
2 t. oyster sauce
2 t. sesame oil
1 t. hemp oil
2 t. dry sherry

Place shrimp in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until it is a paste like consistency.  Remove to large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix on medium speed for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is firm.  With wet hands, to prevent sticking, roll into 28 small balls.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the shrimp balls, return to a boil and cook for 3-4 minutes until cooked through.  Immediately rinse with cold water to stop cooking.  

For Sauce:

2/3 c. Not Ketchup Tangerine Hatch Chile 
2 T. honey
1 T. soy sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over med high heat.  Bring to a light boil, stirring to blend.  Serve with Shrimp Balls  Print Recipe

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ham and Broccoli Quiche for Foodie Extravaganza

I am hosting our Foodie Extravaganza this month and I chose for everyone to share a pie recipe this month.

Foodie Extravaganza

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you're a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.

This is the invitation that I sent to the others in our group:
February has so many food holidays...chocolate, of course. Heart healthy, Red foods, Fondues, Berries, Cherries, Grapefruit and Hot Breakfasts to name just a few. And American can make them red, you can make them chocolate, you can use berries or cherries, you can make them savory and serve them as a hot breakfast, you can make them out of grapefruit....well, maybe not, but if you do you will be my hero!!!
I had great plans for the pie I was going to create for this event.  I signed up to host quite a while ago and didn't anticipate where my life would be at posting time.  Mom passed away on the 27th of January and we had the funeral this past weekend when I would have been creating and baking and scheduling my post.

This event, of course, got placed on the back burner and I apologize to any of the group that felt neglected this month.  I truly appreciate all of the great recipes that you are sharing today.

Frank's sister and brother in law, were kind enough to send a honey baked ham and all the trimmings to our house to serve during the breaks from the funeral home. Thanks Roz and Ron, that was very thoughtful and kind of you.  When things finally calmed down around here and I had time to think of this challenge, I looked in the fridge, found the ham bone with the remaining meat still on it and some broccoli and cheese I had bought for soup that had never gotten made.  I, of course, always have eggs so a Ham and Broccoli Quiche it is.

I love to make quiches.
Layer on any flavors that you love.
Make it ahead of time and reheat it when ready to serve.
  1. Start with pastry for a one crust pie.
  2.  Add in meat of your choice
  3. Next is your layer of flavoring, I chose sweet onion, you can use garlic, scallions, leeks, etc.
  4. Layer on one or more vegetables, you want about 1 1/2 c. total
  5. Sprinkle on a cup of cheese.
  6. Pour your custard mixture over all and bake to perfection.

Ham and Broccoli Quiche

Pastry for a one crust pie
1 cup diced ham
1/4 c. diced sweet onion
1 1/2 c. cooked broccoli, chopped
1 c. shredded Colby Jack cheese
4 eggs
1 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Line a deep dish pie pan with the pastry. Sprinkle the ham along the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle with the onion, the broccoli and the cheese.  Whisk together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper.  Pour over the filled pie crust.  Bake in a preheated 400* oven for 40-45 minutes, until puffed, golden and a knife inserted into the center removes cleanly. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing.  Print Recipe

Here are the rest of the pies being shared today

BLT Pie by Georgina of G'Gina's Flavors Palatte
Cheddar Leek Potato Pie by Lauren at Sew You Think You Can Cook
Cheeseburger Pie by Kathleen at Fearlessly Creative Mammas
Grapefruit Pie by Rebekah at Making Miracles
Ham and Broccoli Quiche by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm
Homegrown Blackberry Pie by Carlee of Cooking with Carlee
No Bake Peanut Butter Pie by Lauren of From Gate to Plate
Peaches and Cream Pie by Elaine at Cookin and Craftin
Penne Pie by Terri at Our Good Life
Red Velvet Pudding Pie by Teri of The Freshman Cook
Tar Heel Pie by Tara of Tara's Multicultural Table
The Impossible Coconut Pie by Stacy of Food Lust People Love
Walnut Crumble-Topped Apple Tart by Caroline at Caroline's Cooking