I HAVE TIME

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Apologies for the extremely long hiatus! Something called school got in the way… Meh. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to bake or cook very much during the semester, though I did do a few artsy craftsy things here and there!

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Other things include this Peppermint Brownie in a Jar gift and this handy (but really gross) way to get rid of fruit flies if you have a hoard of them in your kitchen, as we did earlier this September. 

But yes, we did bake and cook here and there. 

We made some fun pumpkin cookie cups with pumpkin cream cheese frosting, peppermint sugar pizookie (using my favorite Peppermint Sugar Cookie recipe!), and (of course) the famous microwave mug brownie

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Now that I’ve been home for a while, though, I decided it was time for me to do something productive with my spare time. 

Productive, you ask? Yes, exactly. On my desk I have a stack of fabulous MCAT prep books and a list of internships to apply to, both of which have been dutifully neglected for the past week. I have pages of workout routines to brave, as well as an Insanity Max Interval Circuit DVD and a couple medicine balls of different weights, that have been used in a futile attempt to combat the increasing intake of delicious snacks and food that have been consumed at various parties and gatherings. And, last but not least, I have my computer, with which I search nommy recipes to make. Hehe. 

We drove to Oceanside the other day and ate dinner at this delicious Peruvian restaurant, Panca Peruvian Cuisine & Rotisserie, I stumbled upon using Yelp. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend it. Everything we tried was excellent! I ordered the 1/4 Peruvian chicken. Mm. So good. So tender. We also had the quinoa cakes… WHICH I NEED TO LEARN TO MAKE RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THEY WERE MIND-BLOWING. Apparently the sauce it was served in included animal crackers. Interesting. The waitress told us that they used the aji pepper for a lot of their sauces, which made everything that much better. 

Apart from those quinoa cakes, I also wanted to try to make Edamame Hummus, which I tasted at a party. Oh Trader Joe’s, you’ve done it again. I tried to make it healthier, too, since everyone’s been indulging in rich foods as of late. Lucky for me, I had time to make it last night to bring to a party, and I was glad to see that it was a hit! Additionally, I also made a ton of layered jello and mosaic (stained glass) jello for the party, which was popular with all the little kids. 

These recipes are all super duper easy to make, so give them a shot! Let me know how your creations turn out, too!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and Happy New Year’s! 

 

Healthy Edamame Hummus

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

  • 1 cup frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
  • 3½ tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • olive oil to drizzle on top for serving, optional

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mini food processor.
  2. Process until desired consistency, scraping down the sides as needed. Add salt and pepper to taste!
  3. Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow flavors to blend.

Layered Christmas Jello

Yield: One 9×13 pan with five layers of jello

  • 2 boxes Cherry Or Strawberry Jello (3 Ounces Each)
  • 1 boxes Lime Jello (3 Ounces Each)
  • 1 cans Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 Ounces Each)
  • 2 envelopes Plain Knox Gelatin
  •  Nonstick Cooking Spray

Directions

1. Spray a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex with cooking spray, then give it a gentle wipe with a paper towel to remove the excess.

2. Prepare the creamy layers: In a small glass measuring cup, measure 1/2 cup cold water. Stir in 2 envelopes of plain jello and stir to dissolve. Pour sweetened condensed milk into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of boiling water. Pour dissolved gelatin mixture into the condensed milk mixture, then add another 1/2 cup of boiling water. (This will make enough for both creamy layers.)

3. Mix 1 box of Jello with 1 cup boiling water and ½ cup cold water. Do this for each of the colored layers when you’re ready to pour it into the pan. 

4. Pour a layer of red jello into the pan and refrigerate until set (about 45 minutes, but can vary depending on the temperature of your fridge and how full it is). Once it’s set, very gently pour half of the creamy layer on top. Return to the refrigerator for 20 minutes, or until set. Repeat with the colors and creamy layers until the last color is used. When finished, refrigerate for at least another hour. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve; refrigerate leftovers. *Make sure that the mixtures are cooled to about room temperature before pouring it on top of the other layers.*

 

Christmas Mosaic (Broken Glass) Jello

Yield: One 9×13 pan

  • 5-1/2 cups boiling water, divided
  • 2 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
  • 2 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Lime Flavor Gelatin
  • 2 env. 

    KNOX Unflavored Gelatine

  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

Directions

1, Add 1 cup boiling water to each flavor fruit gelatin mix in separate bowls; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Pour each flavor of gelatin into separate small shallow food storage container sprayed with cooking spray. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.

2. Sprinkle unflavored gelatine over cold water; let stand 1 min. Stir in remaining boiling water. Add condensed milk; mix well. Cool slightly.

3. Cut flavored gelatin into cubes. Randomly place cubes in 13×9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray. Pour milk mixture over cubes; stir to evenly distribute gelatin cubes. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm before cutting into bars.

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Merry Christmas and Monkeys!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas at the Char household is always full of people and food. And food. Last night we had a party where some delicious curry and steak was served. Mmm. And cookies, of course! None I made, but yummy nonetheless :) When we opened gifts this morning, I got even more cookies (Japanese ones!) and sweets. Goodness me. I’m supposed to be losing weight, not gaining it. Heh. (YOLO.)

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Stuff for curry. Look at the colors!
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Mmm steak.

To my delight, I received a KitchenAid Digital Hand Mixer (from William Sonoma)! Good thing too–my roomie and I were struggling as we stirred everything with spoons, forks, and chopsticks for much longer than we liked. I’ll let you know how it works once I get back to school and concoct something new ^_^

This morning we had people over for a huge breakfast. The menu? Creamed salmon, scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon bits, fried rice, Belgian waffles, Mahi Mahi, and Monkey Bread made by yours truly! Monkey bread has become a popular dish nowadays, and I recently discovered that there are many variations to it–caramel, peanut butter and chocolate, dinner rolls, and so many more. Some variations can be found here

As per my younger cousin’s request for tradition, I made Cinnamon Monkey Bread! I was flattered to be told that it was delicious and a hit, as almost all of it was quickly demolished. I had always used a bunt pan and entire biscuits, but this time I cut the biscuits into quarters and put them in shallower pans to make it easier to eat.

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Quartered biscuits for easy eating.

And as usual, I just guessed on how much cinnamon and sugar needed to be mixed together, as well as how much butter needed to be used. Eh, it’s all guesswork anyways. Keeps things interesting.

They turned out yummy and gooey with cinnamon and sugar! Yeeeeee! These make perfect breakfast meals/desserts. All meals should be desserts anyways. Hehe. 

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Stack ’em up!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans Pillsbury biscuits
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in a large bowl. Mix cinnamon and sugar in another bowl. Feel free to add more or less cinnamon if you want more or less cinnamon flavor!
  2. Quarter biscuits. Dip each one in butter to coat, then cover with the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat generously. Place in ungreased pan. Squish and stack the biscuits close together to fill all the space. (Any pan will do; usually it’s easier to bake with less layers of biscuits.)
  3. If you have extra butter and/or cinnamon-sugar goodness, feel free to spread it over the top of the biscuits in the pan!
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for at least 10 minutes. To eat, simply pull the pieces apart and enjoy!

Have fun! If you try any other variations, let me know which ones turn out well! I’ll have to try them sometime ^_^

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But all baking and sillies aside, let’s all remember the true meaning of Christmas. This day is to celebrate the birth of our amazing, glorious Lord who loves us all so much–how can we even imagine or understand anything He’s done? It’s just all too much. When I think of all the great things in life, from the blessings to the struggles, I get so overwhelmed with it all. He is so good to us, so much as to send His Son to die to save us. All because He loves us. How crazy is that? He’s the only reason we can enjoy great food and great friends and family. He’s the only reason we can smile and laugh and celebrate this glorious, joyful day. He gives us our joy and peace and hope, and there is no gift greater than that. Thanks, God. You’re the best. 

Hope you all had a great Christmas! Love you and happy baking ^_^

syd