Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday dessert...Pumpkin Spiced winter squash vegan cupcakes with a lemon coconut frosting! (Completely Vegan)

I do not bake as much as I used to. Any baking I do now are casseroles. However, when my cousin is back from college, we get together and we bake. Sometimes, we make other things, but mostly we bake. We make myriads of cookies, pies, and, of course, cakes. Everything except muffins. I do not like muffins. Well, there is one muffin I do make, but it does not taste like your regular muffin. 

As we grow older, my cousins and I, thankfully still keep many of our traditions when it comes to family gathering. Although many of us have gone our separate ways, there are times when it do feel like we haven't grown at all. Holidays are one of those times.

I am not vegan. I love meat too much, but I do appreciate why people do the vegan thing, at least here in the US. However, I do love vegetables; thus I love vegan food. A friend of mine, Jill, is an animal activist and a proud vegan. On several occasions, I had gone vegan for a day, a week, and even a whole 40 days. The 40 days was hard. I scoured the internet for vegan recipes. Back then, it was hard to find vegan recipes. Nowadays, because of food trends, it is a lot easier. 

As I try to post my silly thoughts and ravings on the internet, I thought I'd try to scatter the internet with more delicious vegan recipes. Because, there can never be enough. So, as the holidays are approaching, here's a lovely cupcake recipe with all the holiday spices to keep you warm and toasty on a cold winter day with a lemon coconut frosting to brighten things up. Enjoy.

Happy Holidays! Happy cooking!

Spiced winter squash cupcake with a lemon coconut frosting


1 favorite winter squash halved ( I used butternut)

1/3 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup almond milk 
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 tsp of clove
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of ground ginger
1/4 tsp of allspice
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 tsp of cayenne

Roasting the Squash

1. Preheat oven 400 degrees.
2. Score the two halves of the squash. Drizzle with maple syrup. Sprinkle with cayenne.
3. Roast in the oven for 30 mins or until squash is tender.
4. Scrape the squash out and then puree. Set aside.

Making the cupcake

5. Turn oven down to 350 degrees F. 
6. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
7. Whisk together oil, sugar, almond milk.
8. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. 
9. Gently whisk flour mixture until well combined. 
10. Fold in pumpkin, but do not overstir or the batter will become gummy.

11. Fill liners two-thirds full. Bake for 24-26 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely.

Lemon Coconut Frosting

1/2 cup coconut oil
4-6 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp of lemon zest
1 tsp of lemon juice

1. Cream the coconut oil with 2 cups of sugar until it has become smooth and lump-free.

2. Add salt and 2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar and resume mixing.
3. Fold in lemon zest and lemon juice. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Comfort meets portability...Mac 'n' Cheese Bites (a recipe!)

Mac 'n' Cheese

a childhood favorite of just about most everyone

even someone from an Asian household like me.

I'm not a regular lover of cheese, especially as a younger child. Although I would eat Mac 'n Cheese as a child, it was never something I ever requested or went nuts for. Now, even though I have come to appreciate cheese and will eat certain cheeses, I mainly eat Mac 'n' Cheese for nostalgia purposes. However, Mac 'n' Cheese is something I make quite often. My brother loves it, and my SO can definitely live on just Mac 'n' Cheese.

The Mac 'n' Cheese I make like any good Mac 'n' Cheese requires a blend of cheeses. Mine, however, also starts with a base of a Bechamel sauce

I love this sauce and use it frequently in a lot of my dishes, especially when creaminess and pasta are involved. I think it is the perfect vehicle for a lot of things. Supposedly, it's a favorite of the French. They drench their grilled cheese sandwiches in it.

Also, I think this certain recipe needs the Bechamel sauce because we're going to bake it a second time and it'll hold shape but won't loose the cheesy-gooey-ness.

I won't write out a recipe for Mac 'n' Cheese since I think anyone who cooks know the basic recipe for a Mac 'n' Cheese. If you don't, well,

Mac 'n' Cheese Bites

- Preheat oven
- Follow the Bechamel "recipe"
- Over medium heat, add your favorite blend of cheeses
   - I like using Gouda, a sharp white cheddar, and either Parmesan for the saltiness or Mozzarella for the gooeyness
- Add cooked macaroni and stir until all cheeses melt and the right consistency is achieved
- Grease muffin or cupcake tins
- Spoon the Mac 'n' Cheese mixture into the tin
- Optional, topped with breadcrumb mixture or more cheese, like Mozzarella or American Cheddar.
- Baked at 375 degree for about 15 minutes.
- When done, let cool before fishing them out.

Bechamel Sauce

- butter melted over medium-low heat
- add flour STIR
- add milk and STIR
until a soft velvet consistency is achieved

Simple. I've been making this since I was 13. I actually didn't perfect it until much later on when I understand more about cooking.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Traditional Thanksgiving Dish: Winter Succotash!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Although I love cooking, I hardly ever make Thanksgiving dinner. I have enough aunts to make much more food than the family could ever eat. Thus, it's hardly necessary for me to cook. However, this year, I'm determined to make food and contribute to our Thanksgiving feast.

Since my family is Asian, I wanted to do something more educational. Succotash is something that most likely be

Winter Succotash


1 tablespoon of olive oil

1/2 tablespoon of canola or another high heat oil like coconut or peanut oil

1 1/2 Cup of winter squash ( I used butternut)

1 Cup of corn

1 Bell Pepper, chopped

1 can of Luma Bean

Dried herb: thyme

Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Add oil to pan and then sautee the butter Squash over medium high heat until slightly soften. About 7 minutes.
2. Add corn and bell pepper. Add dried herb. Reduce heat.
3. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until done.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Preparing for the Feast (...and a recipe One Pot Vegan Pasta)

I love reading. I love cooking. So, naturally, reading cookbooks is something I wish I have more time to do. Back when I had my first Food Confession blog, I would literally spend an eight to ten hours day just cooking. I would spend hours pouring over not just cookbooks but also the Internet, cooking shows, and any other sources I can get my hands on. So, as I pour over these volumes, I wish I still have that much time to cook and experument. Oh, the woes of having a day job and being responsible!

One of the book I was reading was called Martha Stewart's One Pot Meal. As a busy working woman, I love one pot meals. They're easy and sometimes require very minimal prepping. Because I love vegetables, because I do love vegan food, and because I have a locally sourced produce store down the street from where I live, one recipe stood out to me. This one.

Now, I, being who I am, just could not follow the recipe. I love experimenting, and I love developing flavors. Simplicity is not in my nature. You can, of course, just follow the recipe, and, I'm sure, it will be delicious as simple recipes often are. Or, you can do what I do.

One Pot Meal Vegan Pasta


12 ounces linguine
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 1/2 cups water
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving if desired
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Take half of the onions and tomatoes and place them in a sheet pan. Wrap the garlic in tin foil. Place it in the pan with the onions and tomatoes. Place both of them in the oven for about 15 mins. 
Roasting give the vegetables a smoky, nutty flavors that simply boiling them can't bring forth.

3. Now, place them all in a pot, and bring to a boil.
4. Then, reduce to medium heat. Let it go until the pasta is cooked. While cooking, season to taste. 

Note: I didn't have linguine so I used angel hair. It didn't work out well. I think, as a substitute, a heartier pasta like spaghetti might have worked better.
Experiment, and try different things. Let me know what you think.
Happy cooking!

Monday, November 23, 2015

...I'm really back at it

I guess I didn't have the best start. I think I must have started the second post at least five times before I completely forgot about it. However, late is better than not at all right? Well, at least, that's what I am telling myself.

Lately, I have been cooking and made some pretty delicious meals, if I do say so myself. Also, my kitchen, although still tiny, had acquired more tools for me to play with. Two items that brought me much excitement are a slow cooker and a pressure cooker. I haven't experimented with the pressure cooker yet but the slow cooker had had plenty of used. Two dishes I was very proud of were an Irish stew and a white bean chili. I have photographic documentations for neither of those unfortunately. Hunger got the best of me.

Anyway, I've been on the vegan/vegetarian kick. Not that I'll ever go completely vegan, but more on that later. So, I made this last night as a before dinner snack.

However, I didn't think my snack was hearty enough. So, I added a poached egg. Still healthy. I've been in love with poached egg since Japan. They put it on everything. One of the many things I loved to put poached eggs on is Zaru Soba.

Soba was going to be my second post. My time on Japan had greatly influenced my taste buds. I will write a post about Soba and Japanese food. The next couple of post will be about Thanksgiving. Happy cooking!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Going back at it

Hello there people of the interweb!

A lifetime ago, I started a blog called Confessions of a Food-a-holic Fat Girl. It cataloged some of my misadventures in my daily cooking life when I was living in Colorado with a lot of time to bake and cook. Then, as life, as it often does, spun out of control, I no longer had time write and update my blog. As life slowly inched forward, I'd still cook, experiment, and all that fun stuff.

Through the few years between my last post and now, I've learned a lot about food and cooking...and about life too. But that goes without saying. My love of food and cooking hadn't fade. On the contrary, I think it's a lot stronger now. My passion of learning new cooking techniques, melding and meshing of flavors and types of cuisine, and oh so much more, had risen with a new vigor. Thus, I would like to revive my blog, and, again, try to catalogue my cooking misadventures. I say misadventures, because, more often than not, it never turns out the way my mind had pictured it.

If you're wondering, I was a graphic designer in another lifetime but now a teacher to be; I'm a traveler at heart; and even if I manage to be skinny again, I'm a fat girl who loves food way too much. Strangely enough, I like to cook a lot more than I love to eat, and, believe me, I love to eat.

Showing off, I guess, is what the internet is all about. So, I guess, now, it is my showing off section.

Please be kind. Happy cooking!

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