Happy New Year to all of you! My last activity around these parts was more than a month ago & the only explanation is that I was pulled into a blackhole called Netflix, sucking up all of my free time. Blog or watch the next episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Just one more…episode…curse you, poor self-control!!! I’m not going to make a New Year’s Resolution list because I always break them & forget them, so I’ll just actively try to control my Netflix binging habits & place myself in a type of productivity rehab. Let’s begin with the first step towards a fresh start: a juice with detoxing properties. I’m not a medical professional (yet) nor am I a nutritionist, so I highly encourage you to use some common sense & do your own research. I’m just some person with a blog, so…yeah, don’t cite me, bro. I call this juice the Sweet Beet Zinger & it’s a great first drink in the morning after a night of partying too hard. But if you partied too hard, get yourself some water to rehydrate & a great meal packed with protein, amino acids, & vitamins.
In an attempt to be more festive because I haven’t had the time to make Thanksgiving themed recipes, I’m sharing with y’all recipes I’ve written in the past–all which make great Thanksgiving dishes–& recipes from others. I’m partial to these food bloggers because they interact with their readers, so please give their recipes & websites a visit. Such beautiful scrumptious pictures & recipes, what’s not to love? Shameless plugs + friendly plugs, simple, short, & sweet. Hopefully these recipes get you inspired to get cookin’ this holiday season.
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It’s October, not St. Patrick’s Day, I know, but I couldn’t resist DAVIDsTEA’s limited edition Pumpkin Pie Matcha, which is what made my pancakes green. I bought 2.5 oz of it thinking that would be a good amount & after making these pancakes, I bought more the next day. I couldn’t resist. I’m that person who loves pumpkin, but to be fair, I love all squash! The shaming of people who love pumpkin flavored things has become so mainstream that it’s now trendy to bully someone who loves autumnal flavors. I can’t tell you how many times people come into work, ask about our pumpkin flavored teas, & then apologize for being that person. Stop apologizing!!! I don’t apologize for being obsessed with sushi or chocolate, why should you apologize for being obsessed with an orange seasonal squash?! Madness, I tell you. /pumpkin rant.
Let’s talk more about matcha because not everyone’s heard of it & let’s face it, green is the new black. That’s right all you black tea lovers, green tea is getting its righteous revival–& I’m not even referencing Selena Gomez’s new album, but there, now I’ve plugged it because it’s pop royalty. Green tea was actually the first tea to be discovered, but black tea was made popular by the British, especially since it fared the journey from China to the UK much better than green tea. Green tea has fantastic health benefits (antioxidants, longevity, antibacterial properties, etc) & although it has a significantly shorter shelf-life than black tea (1 year-ish vs. several years), it’s making its comeback. While black tea is the most popular tea and makes up about 80% of the sales in the West, matcha is changing the game. So imagine a whole pound of beautiful Japanese green tea that has been pulverized & that’s what matcha is: powdered green tea. It’s not artificially colored, it’s just that beautiful & green. Not only are you reaping all the benefits of green tea, but you are now actually consuming entire tea leaves. Amazing, right?
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The first time I had matzo ball soup was at my friend Ben’s apartment in LA circa 2011. Ben was beside himself, upset that his matzo balls weren’t fluffy & that his broth wasn’t flavorful enough. He advised me for help, but all I could really do was tell him how to make his broth tastier (hint: salt). He ladled some soup in a bowl for me to try, repeatedly saying, “imagine these matzo balls are light & fluffy, not dense & hard like these. I messed up, so, I’m sorry I’m ruining your first matzo ball experience.” Since I never had it until that first slurp, I politely asked for seconds because I thought it was like chicken noodle soup, but with balls of matzo meal. I didn’t know what it should’ve tasted like, but I thoroughly enjoyed Ben’s failed matzo ball soup.
Moving forward a few years later when I started dating Josh, we made the soup together for the first time & our matzo balls turned out perfectly. To be fair, we “cheated” by using Streit’s Matzo Ball mix so it was guaranteed to come out fluffy every time. Ben, a former pro matzo ball maker, was still struggling to make a batch of good matzo balls that weren’t hard as rocks. I tried to figure out the science behind it & even adventured to make the balls from scratch. I had a few moments of failure, but finally, last year, I–the Vietnamese girl who only had it for the first time 3 years prior–produced a recipe to make the perfect fluffy, yet dense matzo ball soup. My recipe is so good that the balls don’t obliterate into mush when they hit the nearly boiling water. These babies will stay together & they’ll be fluffy, just like your Jewish grandmother made them. I shared my recipe with Ben before publishing it here, to which he’s confirmed success. Furthermore, I’ve made this recipe 3 times with 100% success & the Jewish boyfriend approves.
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Wow, you guys, I actually forgot how to blog for a good minute there; it’s been so long since I’ve posted an edible recipe. Last Monday, I received my box of soap goodies from Bramble Berry, which got me so excited to make cold process soap for the first time. Melt & pour soap is really easy to do & I love the instant gratification of using your soap a few hours after you’ve made it, but since I’m a control freak, I need to have power over what goes into my soap. I don’t like the cheap feel of soap leaving your skin dry–something you can get from low quality melt & pours–so I just sucked it up & bought the Beginner’s Cold Process Soap Kit. I’ve made 2 bars of soap so far, so in 4-6 weeks–it takes at least 4 weeks for soap to cure–I’ll finally have my belated birthday giveaway! I guess it’s way too late to even call it a belated birthday giveaway, I’ll just call it my summer giveaway or something. Anyway, more details on that when the soap finishes curing.
Before I get too carried away with soap, let’s talk about my new edible recipe, which features a mix of oyster mushrooms & crimini, kale, cashews, & of course, creamy polenta. Don’t mind the flattened look of the polenta–took a picture of this when the polenta was at its least creamy aka the next day, heated up–this recipe will produce a very creamy bowl of polenta, which you can top off with your choice of mushrooms, greens, & nuts. It makes a really quick & easy vegetarian dinner & if you’re still hungry, you can grill some other veggies like asparagus or squash or any protein (tofu, fish, etc) of your choice!