Archive for March, 2011

I Don’t Want to be Two-Faced…

…therefore I’m shooting myself in the foot with this post rather than opening up a luvtoeat Facebook page.

Yup, Facebook, that’s what’s been on my mind lately and that’s what I’d like to talk about today. I’ve never mentioned Facebook on my blog or posts due to the reason that I never really added blogging friends, not up until recently. I take Facebooking very seriously. If you’re on my Facebook, you’ll know I’m on there a lot, and I mean A LOT. Recently though, I’ve been adding bloggie friends, but (here’s where I pull the trigger) I need to come clean and tell you that I have privatized many pictures and my friends list on there. I’m not doing this to disrespect any of you, but more as a respect towards my friends and family who are in those pictures. I’ve tagged them and so their real names show up. It’s only fair for me to respect their privacy and privatize those pictures and friends list. Until blogging, all the friends I had on my Facebook I have actually met in person. So adding bloggie friends from all over the world is very new to me. I don’t want to open a luvtoeat Facebook page either as blogging already takes up so much of my time. Until my friends and family come to the same understanding as me that bloggers can become real life friends too, I will respect their privacy and keep my photos and friends list privatized. Only a blogger will understand the life of another blogger and how much blogging really affects your everyday life. I hope you all understand and don’t take this personally. I believe in total honesty, and if we’re going to be friends, I want to start out on the right foot. To those of you who want to delete me from your Facebook, I totally understand and will not take it offensively. To those of you who want to keep me on your friends list, I look forward to building a long and lasting friendship with you and I thank you for your friendship and for finding me on Facebook.

Now speaking of friends and blogging, my lovely friend Veronica from Quay Po Cooks had a giveaway on her blog some time back. The giveaway was for some hand-made earrings and bracelets. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to enter her giveaway and win. I’d like to share some photos with you of the earrings she sent. She made two pairs, one for me and one also for my daughter. How sweet is she right? Here are K’s earrings in the front.

Such pretty colours and fun design. I would definitely wear those myself after finding a matching outfit. K loved both pairs and asked if she could even have mine. Immediately my mind turned to —> bribing incentive. I know, mother of the year right here.

I haven’t pierce her ears yet. I wanted to wait for her to be old enough to make the decision herself. Here’s a picture of my bribing incentive also.

Aren’t they cute and beautiful at the same time? No wonder K wants both pairs, can you blame her? Veronica, thank you so so much for these beautiful gifts and your lovely friendship. You really have a talent here, my friend. Your kindness and generosity shines through your blog all the time, and this is no exception. Hopefully I will be able to thank you in person some day. If you haven’t visited Veronica’s blog yet, I urge you to do so, you won’t regret it. Besides making beautiful jewelry, she’s also one heck of a cook and one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet.

That’s it for this week. Thank you for all your sweet sweet comments on my last post. Hope you all had a great weekend. I promise there will be food on my next post. Until next time, friends and family. What are your thoughts about Facebook and blogging?

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A Packed Weekend

Hi everyone! Hope you all had a lovely weekend. It’s been a while since I had a chance to meet up with my girlfriends and chat. So as busy as I was, I managed to fit in some time this weekend. When you’re a mom, time becomes one of the most cherished elements in your life and OCD becomes your best friend.

We started out the day having dim sum with an aunt who was visiting from Hong Kong. Then we went to WEM and I did some shopping for a birthday gift (at least that’s what I told the hubby…teehee) while hubby took the kiddies to Galaxyland. After that, he took the kids for a couple of hours while I met up with some of my girlfriends at Joey Tomatoes.

Most of us had dinner plans afterwards so we decided to order all the desserts (so proud of my girls) and some chicken wings (again, PROUD). All three desserts came out at the same time – BOOYAH! Usually someone orders a salad, but not today, ain’t no salad touching this table. My girls are growing up so fast, it was a very proud moment for me…teehee.

We ordered a lava cake,

an apple pie,

a banana cake,

and some salt & pepper wings with Tobasco sauce on the side.

Since being a mom, I’ve always ordered my wings this way because 1. ) you can adjust the “heat” level, 2.) they’re more crispy and my kids like their wings crispy, and 3.) your hands don’t get all dirty and red.

We only chatted for about an hour, but we all know that when girls chat, there’s no room for breathing ;-). Good times, good times. Can’t wait till our next get together ladies.

Thank you to the waitress who was able to work my camera and take a proper picture.

After girlfriends time, it was family time again. Gary picked me up and we decided to try out a new ramen place called Nomiya. (click on the link for the address)

I wasn’t expecting it to be full, but it was jam-packed. We got there at six o-clock and there was already a half an hour wait for a table of four. I wanted to leave, but K insisted we stay, so stay it was. The place was quite small. This was the best shot I could get of the restaurant (sorry).

I ordered the vegetarian ramen which came with corn, enoki and shiitake mushrooms, bamboo, broccoli, and spinach (although I just realized as I’m typing this that I didn’t get any spinach in mine…hmmm?).  I’d give this dish a 4 out of 10. The soup wasn’t anything special, the ingredients looked pretty, but like the soup, was just blah. Size wise though it was a pretty big bowl. For $8.95 it wasn’t too bad, but I don’t think I would order this dish again. If you want something more on the bland side for the kids, then I’d suggest this, otherwise get something else.

Gary ordered the Spicy Miso (what I wanted to get in the first place but didn’t want to double order). It included sliced pieces of pork (good thing I didn’t order it), bamboo, bean sprouts, and kamaboko. I had a sip of the soup. It was quite tasty (much better than mine) and slightly spicy, not spicy enough for me though. Hubby gave this a 7 out of 10. He seemed to enjoy it and said he would order it again. This was $10 a bowl.

I shared my ramen with the kiddies and we also ordered a Paradise roll (mango, cucumber, shrimp, imitation crab stick, sweet mayo dressing, and deep fried). Yup, this place also serves sushi. It was the mango that caught my attention.

At $10.95, I found the portion a bit small, but I really enjoyed this dish. The sweetness of the mango blended well with the saltiness of the crab and shrimp, but also complimented the sweet mayo dressing very well. I loved the crunch and texture that the deep-frying added to this. If I didn’t already just share 3 desserts, I probably would’ve ordered another one of these. K enjoyed this very much as well. I almost didn’t want to share with her (teehee), hence the contemplation of a second order. I know, mother of the year :-D.

All in all we had a pretty good experience at this restaurant. Other than my vegetarian ramen being rather disappointing, everything else held up. The service was extremely attentive. For such a small restaurant, they had about 3 or 4 servers running around. As soon as we were seated, everything ran pretty smoothly. I’d love to come back and try some of the other items on their menu. I’m not sure if they take reservations, but I would suggest you call to try to make one if you’re going to visit, or go really early. Like I said before, we got there at 6 and there was already a half an hour wait for a table.

That’s it for this week dear readers, it’s always a pleasure to have you dropping by and visiting. Until next time, friends and family :-D.

Eat Alberta Food Conference

 

 

Slow Food Edmonton is pleased to announce a hands-on food conference called Eat Alberta: A Celebration of Our Local Food Heroes. It will be held in downtown Edmonton on April 30th, 2011.

This is a DIY conference! Some of the hands on sessions include:

·       Sausage making

·       Cheese making demonstration

·       Apple pie and pastry making

·       Bread making

·       Pasta making

Tasting sessions include:

·       Fruit wine tasting

·       Honey tasting

·       Coffee tasting

·       Canadian wine and cheese pairing

·       Goat Cheese Tasting

There will also be opening and closing keynote sessions on urban gardening and urban homesteading, respectively.

What the day looks like:

·       8:30 to 5 p.m.

·       Continental Breakfast followed by the morning keynote

·       Two morning break out sessions (choose from 8 different sessions)

·       A charcuterie and cheesetasting lunch with artisan breads

·       Two afternoon break out sessions (choose from 8 different sessions)

·       Closing session followed by a “wine” down

To register for this hands-on conference or for more information, please click the following link: www.eatalberta.ca.

Side note: We are “attempting” a local food blogger BLOG OUT to advertise this grass roots conference. I have agreed to participate in hopes that it will make a difference to my local food community. 

All comments have been closed for this post. Thank you for dropping by this week. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, see you next week.

Metabolism, I want to be Friends Again (Let me Bribe you with a Recipe)

Warning: Lame post coming up. Read at your own risk.

Metabolism, are you there? It’s me, LeeQs. Remember the good old junior high, high school, and university days? You had my back every time. Didn’t matter what I shoved into my mouth, you were there. Be it the whole bag of Cheetos I had for lunch, the cans and cans of soft drinks I used to wash down said bag of Cheetos with, the chocolate bars I had after badminton, volleyball, or basketball practice. Whatever processed food caught my eye that day, YOU were there.

In junior high, people would stare in amazement as this short little 4 foot 9  Asian girl wolfed down a foot long Subway. Now I’m a whopping 5 feet. Yes, what a growth spurt I had. Which reminds me, how come you never showed up at my doorstep Ms. Growth Spurt? I waited and waited and waited, but I’ll get back to you after I’m done dealing with sellout Metabolism here. Anyways, those were the days weren’t they old friend?

Then one day I had a child and you seemed to disappear. You allowed me to maintain the same weight from junior high all the way through to my early motherhood years. After that, it seemed like a part of me was missing. I even tried to start eating better in hopes that you’d come back, but no matter how hard I tried, you still refused. You know I’ve never been one to worry about weight, but your absence is really starting to make me want to step on that evil scale more often these days. I want you to know that just because I have kids now, doesn’t mean we can’t be friends anymore. My door will always be open to you. Just between you and I though, there IS someone who I really don’t want to be friends with anymore, Insomnia. Gosh, she can be such a pain, but shhh…..don’t tell her I said that. I miss you my dear Metabolism, please come back soon.

The moral of this: Exercise and eat right, your metabolism will love you for it (so will your body).

If you’ve gotten this far, pat yourself on the back my friend. Let’s at least try to end this properly, with a recipe. Yeah, now I’m talking right?

Ketchup Shrimp (on top of Enoki Mushrooms)

Note: The chilies on the side are just part of my plate design. You can definitely add sliced chilies to this dish if you’d like. I highly recommend it, but I didn’t because of my kiddies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb shrimp deveined (shell on or off is up to you)
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 stalks green onions cut into thirds
  • ketchup
  • salt to taste

I don’t know how much ketchup I used, about a big glop like this:

Instructions:

Heat up cooking oil in a hot pan or wok. Add in green onions and garlic. Cook until garlic starts to turn golden brown. Push green onions to the side. Add shrimp and sesame oil. Cook until shrimp have turned pink and start to curl. Add in ketchup, mix everything together and cook for another minute. Add salt to taste, give it a final mix and plate.

My Grandma used to make this and ketchup mussels for me when I was younger. I still love those dishes to this day. I added Enoki mushrooms because they were on sale at my grocery store ($1/pack), and I’m cheap like that 😀 .

I hope you all have a lovely week. Until next time, friends and family. Do you have a favorite or memorable childhood dish?

Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Soup With Shrimp

 Thank you for all your supportive comments on my last post. I’ve never been one to hold back on what I eat, but posting it on the internet for everyone to see is a whole different story. So thank you to each and every one of you for your honesty and support.

This week I’d like to share one of my favorite soups with you, Vietnamese sweet and sour soup. Let’s get down to business, shall we?

There is an ingredient in this recipe that is quite unfamiliar to many people. In Vietnamese it’s called bac ha. Upon googling bac ha, I found that the English name is known as Elephant Ear. This vegetable is sold in stalks at Asian grocery stores. 

The insides are quite spongy looking. When cooked, they absorb a lot of soup and have a slight crunch when bitten into. This is my favorite vegetable in this soup. If you cannot find this, you can easily substitute with celery. Have you tried this vegetable before?

(Feeds eight)

Ingredients:

  • 2 liters vegetable broth
  • 500 ml water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 3 – 4 stalks bac ha sliced into half inch thick slices
  • 1 cup chopped pineapple
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups king oyster mushrooms sliced into 2 inch lengths
  • 2 cups oyster mushrooms separated by the stem
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 7 tbsb tamarind pulp (more or less to taste, I like my soup more on the sour side) 
  • 1 – 2 lbs shrimp (preferably head and shell on)

Instructions:

To prepare tamarind pulp, empty a 227 gram bag of tamarind into a bowl. Add 2/3 cups hot water (not boiling water) to submerge the tamarind for about 15 minutes. Once cooled, squeeze the seeds out of the pulp and press pulp through a fine strainer.

Have all your vegetables washed, cut up and ready to be added into the soup.

Heat up oil in a 9 quarts pot and fry minced garlic until golden brown.

Add vegetable broth and water. Keep heat at high and bring broth to a boil. Once broth boils, add in shrimp. Cook shrimp until they turn pink and have fully curled up. Remove shrimp from the soup so they don’t shrink and set aside for later.

Add in all vegetables and bring soup to a boil.

Once boiling, allow vegetables to continue to cook for another 15 minutes.

When ready to serve, return shrimps back into the soup and boil for another 2 minutes. Serve immediately before shrimp start to shrink.

Note: Use shrimp with heads and shell on for better presentation and flavor in the soup. I ran out and had to use whatever shrimp I had in my freezer.

We ate this with rice, but you can also eat it with vermicelli noodles. The sauce you see on the side is a mixture of 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1 sliced red chili pepper. It is used as a dip to accompany the vegetables and shrimp when eating with rice. If you like spicy soup, you can definitely add chili sauce or red chili peppers. I left those out of this recipe for the sakes of my kiddies. Cut the recipe in half if you’re not planning on feeding more than four people.

My mom makes this soup with fish instead of shrimp and sometimes adds okra. You can even substitute the shrimp with chicken if you don’t like seafood. If you want a vegetarian version, substitute the shrimp with tofu and the fish sauce with soy sauce. This soup is quite versatile and everybody can enjoy it.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week. Until next time, friends and family :-D.