Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone

Christmas is a wonderful time for my family and we wanted to share a story that is very dear to our hearts. You could always watch the Nativity Story, which we did, but here's a cute presentation that I've enjoyed this year via my friends. Hope you enjoy it too and may God bless you in the coming year!

One of the many reasons Christmas is such a lovely time to reflect on life past, present and future.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Time For Screaming

I love this character from Hallmark since the first time I laid eyes and ears on her...The Screaming Banshee. She's so lovable despite the fact that she's constantly screaming. So for this holiday I just thought I'd share one of my favorite e-card episodes of her. To be honest, sometimes I feel the same way she does...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Sugar Cookie Christmas Party

One too many cookies ago...
OMG, it's Frosty with the two guests he told us he'd bring. Wow, are those suspenders? I understand green tights and all, that's very elfish, very festive during this time. But suspenders, must be an Italian thing.

     Nice scarf.                                                Nice snow.
Quanto bello ed interessante.
Buddy: I'm Buddy what's your name? Nice gumdrops.
Ginger: Arrrrrrrrr. Rarrrrrrrrr. Arrrrrrrrr.
Buddy: Ooh you're a feisty one.
Santa! SAAAAAANNNNTTTAAA! You're in your long johns...where's the rest of your clothes? Does Mrs. Claus know you're here?  
Is that a Mexican or Italian star? I think she's mixed, so beautiful she makes me sick. I need another candy canetini. Bartender!
I can see a little Suessical influence. Love the purple.
Hey guys is this a Hanukkah star? I can't tell from this angle. Oh it's just the snowflake star that was introduced at the beginning of this blog. Way to go with wrapping all this together, FTW.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oh, Apartment Living!

Ladies and some gents I'm sure you know that line drying your delicates is probably better than drying them in the machine. Sooooo when I line dry my lingerie I usually place them by the fireplace, makes sense to me. Well yesterday our pilot light wasn't working so I ended up calling our main office for some help. When evening came, it worked. So this morning I called the office to let them know their assistance would not be needed.

Well, while I took a short nap maintenance stopped by unannounced and left a message:

Wow, what's the smiley face for?!!! I'm really hoping that's female handwriting because I will be so embarrassed to ask for any maintenance help. *ugh* After a couple text exchanges with my husband we both laughed and embraced the fact that at least others know that we keep our marriage spicy. 

So Wives, keep wearing the sexy things you wore when reeling him in! ;) Haha Here comes a reenactment of "Santa Baby"...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nostalgic Toys

I've been doing all my christmas shopping this year online and I'M LOVING IT! I've discovered too many wonderful things that I want to get but would never fit in my apartment. There's a slight chance I might have a little "hoarding" problem if I ever caved in to my "wants". But since this is the time of year we can come up with wishlists I might as well just start one now for next year.

Yesterday I discovered What a fun site to see most of all the classic things our parents or grandparents grew up with! And thanks to Disney Pixar's Toy Story movies our kids can now enjoy these classic characters once more.

Totally unrelated to toys: I know one thing that caught my attention was the Crosley Archiver USB Turntable. Hehe. My collection of vinyl records and their covers are getting a bit crusty. I mean I did buy them in dated condition but now they are hitting the ancient mark, you know what I'm saying? Anyway, I need to store them as Mp3s so I can enjoy them everywhere I go.

Well back to the toys I wanted to show you. I'm sure we've all encountered one or two of these toys before...

Betcha he never thought he'd be THIS famous.

So bad at this game but I liked playing it anyway.

What's with the red clown like nose?

Now the toys above may not have been the ones you preferred so let me see if you liked these toys below because I know I LOVED them...
I like the old school version. 

I screamed when I saw this at Target a month ago. It's back in my life again. 

Countless hours spent testing to see if my little sisters were smart...they passed! 

Tell me you remember the one on the far right.


What's your favorite retro toy? 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

White Lightenin' Chicken Chili

Are you tired of making the same old chili consisting of beans and beef? Would you like to experience something leaner and with a cleaner kick to it? (I sound like an As-Seen-On Tv commercial voice over, "Are you tired of getting your bras scrunched up in the washer? Well try this spherical bra-cage like thingy..." Curious if those things work btw.) Anyway, my dear readers look no further because I've got a recipe that will warm up your tongue, your love life (if it's not already volcanic) and belly during this winter season.

Today's White Lightenin' Chicken Chili was first experienced a couple months ago and made by my friend Debbie. She's an excellent cook when it comes to combining healthy ingredients and still making it flavorful. She does wonders with veggies and pasta and I can't get enough at times. This chili was a must for my recipe trove because it's that good and plus my husband liked it and he's not usually one to enjoy anything with beans in it or not really preferred.

I'm posting my 2.0 version of the chicken chili followed by the original version with cooking instructions varying a little. Also it's because I didn't have chicken breasts in my fridge at the time, there was just a lot in the pantry that I needed to use up. I hope you enjoy making, eating and sharing both recipes as much as I did and continue to do.

White Lightenin' Chicken Chili 2.0

1 Lb Ground Chicken Meat
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Onion diced
1 Entire can of Stewed Tomatoes
1 Jalapeno chopped
1 Red chili pepper chopped (thank you Michelle for the home grown pepper)
5 Cloves of Garlic (large)
2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Oregano
1 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce
2-3 Cups Great Northern Beans
4 Cups of Chicken Broth
  • In large pot, brown chicken in olive oil. Add onions and cook over low heat until browned. 
  • Add jalapeno, red chili pepper and garlic, cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  • Add spices and tomatoes. Stir well. Add beans and chicken broth. Bring to boil then simmer low for about 2 hours. Thicken if desired. 
Garnish with cheese, cilantro and sour cream. My husband added some Tabasco Chipotle Pepper sauce to his. Makes 4-6 servings.

Original White Lightenin' Chicken Chili 

3-4 Chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
3 Tablespoon Olive oil
1 Onion diced
1 Jalapeno chopped 
4 Cloves of Garlic 
1 (4 oz.) diced Green Chiles
2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Chili powder
1 Teaspoon Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Salt 
2 drops Hot pepper sauce 
1 Teaspoon Oregano
2-3 Cups (16 oz.) Great Northern Beans
1 Can Chicken Broth 
  • In large pot, brown chicken in olive oil. Add onions and cook over low heat until browned.
  • Add jalapeno and garlic, cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  • Add diced chiles and spices. Stir well. Add beans and chicken broth. Simmer 20 min. Thicken if desired.
To thicken chili: you can add a roux (butter and flour) or use cornstarch mixture (add 3 Tablespoons Cold water to 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, mix well. You can go even lighter if need be by going by the teaspoons. Gradually stir in cornstarch mixture and until you've reached desired consistency.)
Enlarged to show texture and because I think it looks cool.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sugar Plums and Buddy the Elf

Hey there, how was your weekend? Did you do anything festive? Get some shopping accomplished? Watch your favorite Christmas movie?

Well, this weekend I bombarded my evenings with all the holiday dvds we owned and there's not much. I started off watching Holiday Inn (for the first time) and enjoyed it immensely. With a duo like Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby you can never go wrong with an evening of entertainment and music. Then I proceeded watched the Burl Ives classic, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Initially I was bit creeped out with the animation and how every male figure seemed to have this loud and obnoxious voice of "daddy-knows-best". But I pushed through it and enjoyed it for the aesthetic purpose of this being a movie enjoyed by many during this time of year. 

All strangeness aside, my favorite movie of the weekend would have to be Jon Favreau's Elf. It's easily one of my top Christmas cheery movies that gets me in the mood for baking and singing out loud. What struck me this time around was when Will Ferrell said he would find his dad and they would make snowmen and eat sugar plums. I thought, yeah, what are sugar plums really? 

After some research on what sugar plums are and how you make them I found one recipe that I will probably try this week or next depending on what I've set out to do and if I can achieve it. Tell you about it later.

This recipe is from If you want more holiday baking ideas that will definitely make you the talk of the table check out their "Christmas" recipes. You'll find recipes showing you how to make your own Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookie Sandwiches) to Nutmeg Cake and Mexican Eggnog. Mmmmm happy kitchen times ahead.

Sugar Plums

2 cups whole almonds
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp. grated orange zest
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1 cup finely chopped pitted dates
1 cup confectioners' sugar (the site suggest you redust before serving because the sugar plums absorb the sugar after some time)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast in oven for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool, then finely chop.
  • Meanwhile, combine honey, orange zest, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl. Add almonds, apricots, and dates and mix well.
  • Pinch off rounded teaspoon-size pieces of the mixture and roll into balls. (Rinse your hands often, as mixture is very sticky.) Roll balls in sugar, then refrigerate in single layers between sheets of waxed paper in airtight containers for up to 1 month. Their flavor improves after ripening for several days. 
For a pretty picture of what it looks liked click here

For all you Buddy the Elf lovers here's another YouTube video that I thought you might enjoy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Banana-Pear Bread

It's hump day and I don't even know where that name came from. But I can see what they were trying to get it at...maybe. Anyway, today's recipe is a spin-off from Eating Well's Banana Bread recipe. So essentially we have most likely went from Eating Well to Eating Overly-Well, if you know what I mean.

Here's out it all began. I had this one lingering overly ripened banana just wasting on the counter and then I found a beat up raggedy pear left for dead in the corner of the fridge. I've always wanted to attempt a banana bread but never found any motivation until I met this couple. I knew the recipe called for four bananas but hey, that's not what my kitchen afforded me so a pear had to do.

For the pear I poked a couple fork holes into it and put it in the microwave for about 40 seconds on high. Keep an eye on it. Once that pear was softened, I discarded the stem, core and seeds. I mashed my pear with a fork but next time I will probably pulse the pear into semi-chunks in a food processor because the skin took more time to break apart.

The ingredients for this recipe has been modified but the preparation is straight from Eating Well. Have fun!

Here's what you will need:

2/3 C packed brown sugar (make it 1 Cup if this doesn't sound too sweet for you)
1/3 C hot, strong brewed coffee
1 1/2 C of mashed banana & pear (will be a bit soupy)
1 large egg
1 large egg white
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract (My favorite is Madagascar vanilla)
2 1/4 Cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1/4 Teaspoon of baking soda (and a pinch more)
2 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 Teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 Teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2 Teaspoon of salt
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  • Dissolve brown sugar in coffee in a bowl. Stir in banana-pear mixture. Whisk together egg, egg white, oil and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the banana-pear mixture. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the banana-pear mixture and stir just until combined.
  • Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick (a steak knife for me) inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes (baked mine for about 40-42 minutes, you know your oven best). Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Invert the loaf onto a rack and let cool completely. 

Guilty Pleasure tip: Heat slice in microwave for 15 sec, top with Cool Whip!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fancy Pumpkin Pie Crust Design

Every year since 2008 I make it a point to bake at least one pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving. I guess it's been instilled in me from home. My dad is a huge fan of pumpkin all year long. But during Thanksgiving is when my mom would bake pumpkin pie and have my dad taste test them like he was judging a pie competition (at least that's how it looked to me). Anyway, I'm working on my crust and pie filling for next year when they can be in the States and hopefully have dinner with us.

My pie recipe is still in the works but the basis of it is from Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe. I just add little more spices to it like my go-to Jamaican Allspice from Whole Foods. As for the crust I used Crisco's butter flavored baking stick's recipe. Very easy to follow.

Last year my crust was just a typical looking crust but this year I got fancy with the pie. My inspiration was the pie slice pic on a Libby's pumpkin can. The pie crust was made up of all these leaves overlapping each other into this beautiful piece of food art. So here is how I replicated that design:

What you will need
  • Unbaked pie dough (try making your own if you haven't, it's pretty fun)
  • Rolling pin
  • Flour to keep rolling pin from getting sticky
  • Sharp, thin pointy knife
  • Egg wash
  • A Christmas Playlist. Preferably with Harry Connick Jr. crooning "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" (Oh why Harry, I thought you'd never ask but I'm already taken by my trumpet playing hubby. Tickling the ivories don't cut it for me Okay back to crust talk.
First roll out a thin, not too thin, layer of the pie dough. Next use the tip of the knife and individually cut a simple leaf shape. Then gently press in the veins of each leaf. To keep crust from building up on the knife, you can dab a little corn oil on the tip.

Once the leaves are cut and prepped, press the interior end of the leaf into the crust gently.  Remember to overlap each leaf, press the ends into the crust and repeat until you are back where you started. Brush the leaves with egg wash and pour in pie filling. Bake according to recipe instructions.

I covered my middle boo boo with a couple leaves.
I'm sure you can come up with other creative shapes and I'd love to see them. Send them to  
Stay warm and cuddly!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cinema Sentinel: Tangled

Hi was your Thanksgiving day? Did you get the turkey and pumpkin pie? Or did you go for asian cuisine like my Aunt Ro does every year? Well, whatever you ate hope it was as good as your little hearts anticipated.

My husband and I had a great dinner with kindred new friends (it's so great to meet new people and feel like you were meant to know them). We had fantastic red wines and all the fixins' that make a turkey/beef dinner memorable; plus I also made my pumpkin pie with a little bit of crust decor this time. As you can read...I am truly proud of my artwork. I'll be posting those soon.

But for now I just wanted to share a new Disney film that's sure to become a classic. Ever since I was a little squirt my father made sure we had access to almost all the Disney cartoons despite living in Thailand during the 80s. We were never in lack of great cartoons like The Sword in the Stone, Cinderella, Three Caballeros, Make Music Mine, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White...the list goes on and on. But in every film there was a formula that never failed and it's something that's been hard to find in most cartoons nowadays. There was magic and wonder, good and evil, and good always won.

I think most of us who grew up with Disney cartoons will understand that nostalgia when you hear the reprise of "When You Wish Upon A Star" towards the beginning of a movie as the Magical Kingdom Castle icon appears (80s/90s version, latest version). It is a feeling that can only be evoked by Walt Disney's imagination, vision and collaboration with some of the best of his time.

 Anyway, I can go on and on about this but I wanted to express to you how good it was to watch Tangled and feel like I was a kid again watching Sleeping Beauty for the first time. There was never a dull moment during the film. Each character introduced were distinct and unforgettable. The physical humor was highly entertaining without it being so slapstick. And the parts without dialogue are probably some of my favorite scenes. Bring some tissues just in case because the executive producer of this film is John Lasseter (Wall-E, Toy Story 3, Monsters, Inc., Ratatouille) and the songwriter is Alan Menken (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas). I mean HELLO?! we're talking about an All-Star production team that only converges once every decade. Can't miss!

Folks, this is a story worth paying to see with family and friends or by yourself because it's that good for me. It truly recaptures all the magical qualities of the Disney we've grown up with and yet keeps it fun and contemporary for the new Mouseketeers out there. I hope you get the chance to see it. Have a wonderful weekend and come back again to see my pie crust artwork (proud mama here).

*Hugs & Warm Desserts*

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Gift Wraps and More!

My dear friend Monica gave me such a great birthday present last year. She let me choose between a couple of "food" magazines and the one I liked best, she bought a subscription for. Thank you Mo!

Well, yesterday I just received a copy of my Food Network December edition. Oh my goodness, my eyes just feasted on all the holiday goodies and gifts available. Going through the magazine has also started my Christmas wishlist for myself and my loved ones.

Anyway, you must grab yourself a December copy because it is spectacular. I'm talking about 100 Gifts for Food Lovers, Giada's Perfect Presents and Bobby Flay's Coconut Cake recipe (my little heart's about to explode just reading the ingredients). Haha. So one of the things among many other things that caught my attention was their gift wrap ideas. Yeah, no longer the typical red and green for me sir. I'm going creative and fun.  I searched all the sites that were shared and found more things to enjoy and most likely giving this Christmas season.

I'm thinking I might wrap sisters' and girlfriend gifts with this paper from Capri Designs:
The Candy Swirl design
Then for the family members maybe a little Whimsy wrap: 
The Merry Little Something design
And for the men in my life who have been both naughty and nice (mostly nice), Paper Source has just the right idea:
The Gingerbread Men design
Last but never least Food Network introduced me to what I like when it comes to online stores and! They showed off their holiday bacon gift wrap but I found something even more special to me:
Cupcake ornaments. How cute!
Oh yeah and one more thing, if your man loves pizza as much as mine then check out this gift from ThinkGeek (love this company):
Food is the Final Frontier!
Thanks for reading and this blog will become more frequented once we get internet set up in our home. For now I've been living off of our apartment's wi-fi and my iPhone. Oh just in time for the holidays. Loves & Hugs!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Holiday Must Try: Libby's Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies

How I love the holidays...pumpkin, spice and everything nice. 
So I had the pleasure of baking my first treat for Fall...Libby's Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies. Believe me folks, this is the real deal!

I'm posting their recipe and how they did it to the exact instructions. The only things I modified was lessoning the nutmeg, using an entire 15 oz can of Libby's Pumpkin and adding a teaspoon of my Whole Foods Jamaican Allspice. It was a good choice knowing how much my husband loves spices and flavor. Oh yeah and I was out of powdered sugar for the glaze so we went without. Other than that, follow the recipe and you are sure to be enjoying this treat in a jiffy (does anyone use this word anymore? Oh well, I will).

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze (recipe follows)

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F. Grease baking sheets.
COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.

COMBINE 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth. 

For more recipes like this one visit
Don't know how to bake a pumpkin pie yet? I made my first pumpkin pie straight from a Libby's Pumpkin can and used my girlfriend's pie crust recipe. I'll have to ask her first to see if I can post her delicious never-fail pie crust recipe. Until then...thank you VeryBestBaking team and Happy Baking to us all!

Proud Aunt Moment: My cute little niece made the candy corn ornament. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A National Cathedral Must-Own For Me

The next time I visit The National Cathedral I will have enough money to splurge on something that caught my eye. First of all, I've visited this beautiful place more than three times already. I've been through the main worship area, spent some quiet times in the Bishop's Garden, took the elevator up to the top floor and enjoyed a festival or two during the summer months. But never did I realize that they had quite the gift shop downstairs had I taken a complete tour. What a goober!

Here are some trinkets and whatsits you can find in their gift shop the next time you visit:

Pretty ornate decorations, perfect for the upcoming holiday season. And the Child Angel is an adorable great gift for any angel collectors.

There is something to love about the simplicity of wooden figurines and especially if they are of revered saints. Left to Right: St. Jude, St. Julian of Norwich, St. John of the Cross.

You can't visit the National Cathedral without seeing her minion of gargoyles. Aren't they just the cutest things? And believe it or go see for yourself, there IS a Darth Vader head mounted there. My husband was determined to look for it one Sunday and sure enough there he was...Lord Vader.

Here are some more things I found serene and beautiful...

I'm not sure what they call this but I like to call it the Rosary Cross. I'm sure someone can give me the actual name. But this would be a great gift to give a friend of the faith. 

Finally, the thing I want most above all things from this gift shop would have to be this book, Cooking with the Saints (heavenly ahhs). C'mon, how neat is this book? I love cookbooks that are specific and have their own flare to it. Just like the postcards I bought from Graceland that had all of Elvis Presley's favorite foods. Now I can cook and eat what the saints ate. Awesome. If you have this book please do share with me your favorite recipe.

Well, my friends this has been the National Cathedral Gift Shop tour courtesy of The Full Time Wife. Until next time, Faith, Hope and Love...above all Love!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakery

I am back now after a long period of time and I don't really like to be away from my blogging if I don't have to be. But I had to due to huge life changes for my husband and I. We've moved from one coast to the other and it's been quite the adventure. Ask us and we'll tell you.

The week before we left the East Coast my husband's wonderful sister and her friend came to visit us and of course we gave them our Family Food Tour. Visiting the hotspots like Ben's Chili Bowl (of course!), 2 Amys & never missing a beat...Red Velvet Cupcakery.

I remember when I heard of their store opening at DC's Penn Quarter right next to their sister company TangySweet. In fact I think I signed up for some kind of daily deal online and that's how I found out about their premier. My first taste of Red Velvet's cupcakes was last spring and there has not been another cupcake store around DC to beat them since, at least that's what I firmly believe.

We entered the quaint storefront and were greeted with one of my favorite aromas in the world, chilled dairy mixed with spices of fall and chocolate. Oh it's such a wonderful experience every time. I'm telling you, it's so good you have to share this place with everyone you know.

My husband and I went all out and ordered 4 cupcakes: Southern Belle (a signature recipe of theirs and I promise you, you will not regret it), Devil's Food, Cookies N' Cream and their featured Poached Pear. My sister-in-law and her friend both ordered the Peanut Butter Cup. A delicious time was had by all.

So the next time you decide to visit DC definitely make it a must to visit Red Velvet Cupcakery. There are some other well-known cupcake stores in DC but not all stores live up to their hype. I know by personal experience and talking with locals about their favorite cupcake stores. Red Velvet is a gem you shouldn't pass up.

Current Locations found on their home page:

Washington, DC: Penn Quarter
501 7th St. NW
tel: 202-347-7895

Washington, DC: Dupont Circle
2029 P Street, NW
tel: 202-822-2066

Tucson, Arizona: Downtown
943 E University, Suite 165
tel: 520-829-7780

Tucson, Arizona: La Encantada
2905 E Skyline Drive, Suite 287
tel: 520-829-7780

Reston, VA Town Center
11939 Democracy Drive

They've announced on their website that plans are being made for two store openings in Northern Virginia. Lucky them, now can they please open one on the West Coast? We need lovin' too.