Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Montreal Bagels... Success!

Hello everyone!

I'm so excited to write this blog because we made bagels over the weekend.  After eating some delicious bagels from St. Viateur Bagel (Montreal, Canada) we decided we had to have more.  So one evening Mr C told me he wanted to make bagels.  I laughed a little at first, but after seeing the excitement in his eyes, what the heck, let's make some bagels.  Treading on unfamiliar territory, we do what normal people do best...we Googl'ed.  The search came up with this recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/Montreal-Bagels-35261.  They came out wonderfully and even after day 5 of staying out on the counter, they taste and smell great.  All the credit goes to Mr C for all his hard work and his eagerness to always try new things!

 Adopted recipe from http://www.food.com/recipe/Montreal-Bagels-35261

1. Add wet ingredients and ensure everything is well mixed.  Add the flour and continue to mix.  We decided to add 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of honey (instead of syrup).  We also omitted the salt, but this is personal preference. 
2.  Get those hands dirty and knead knead knead.  Make sure you get the flour on the bottom of the bowl.  Once everything has been mixed together start kneading on a flat surface.  Mr C says that the more you knead, the more chewy it tastes, so keep kneading it for at least 10-15 minutes or in my case when I got tired.  Shape it lovingly into a round ball and let it rest for 10 or so minutes (haha isn't it cute?!).  Make sure it's covered because you don't want it to get dry
3.  Cut it up into equal pieces and start making rings! Be creative and find a style you like :)
4. Cover them up with a moist cloth and let them rise for at least 30 minutes.
5.  In the meantime, boil water and then add honey.  We just filled a swallow pot with some water and honey.  The more honey you add the sweeter your bagels will taste.  Dip the bagels into the bath and boil each side for 1 minute
6. Let the bagels dry a bit on a rack and then sprinkle sesame on the top and bottle.  Add whatever floats your boat whether it be sesame, poppy seed etc (in our case we used sesame, a whole bottle worth of sesame :P).  Bake them at 450F.  Make sure you check the bottom of the bagels to ensure they don't burn.  We noticed ours didn't really bake evenly (could be the oven, baking trays who knows) so some parts started to brown before others! Make sure to rotate and check them frequently.
7. Once both sides are brown take them out of the oven and let them chill and relax.

Next step, enjoy with extra cream cheese :D

Hope you enjoyed the commentary and my makeshift tutorial diagram.  Would you like us to tackle something interesting next time? If so let me know in the comments section and we'll work on it :)  


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Random January Post

Hello again,

Bet you didn't think I'd have another post did you?!  I have so many pictures on my phone that are bringing up random stories so I decided to blog away.  I've also made some different dishes, so I thought I'd share my food adventure.  Anyways, Mr C has been experienting with bread lately and we've been making everything from pizza dough, sweet bread and french bread.  Recently I made a pizza.  It tasted really great.  I used some frozen pizza dough that we had saved earlier and I just added some olives and feta cheese.  I think next time I make this I'll use fattier feta cheese as I used a low fat cheese and they kind of became hard rocks.  If you've ever thought of making your own bread, I think it's definitely worth the try.  It definitely requires experimentation, but it's so rewarding eating your own bread!  I also made chicken skews with peanut sauce for dinner.  Instead of pan frying chicken, I decided to bake them which is really easy.  Before baking I marinaded chicken cut up in strips with a little bit of soy sauce, sugar, finely chopped up onions and garlic.  Then you just broil on low for about 15 mins.  I usually check on them every 5 minutes to make sure they are good.  Make sure you prop them up on a rack when you bake them.  I then whipped up some peanut sauce adding some water, rice vinegar and of course peanut butter.  It was definitely yummy :D

 On a random note, I got my January Birchbox! I was so excited because I got the shipping e-mail in California.  When we came home my birchbox was waiting for me in the mailbox! Score! :D I got some samples of vegan lotion (it smelled great, but I hate these tiny Ketchup packets), some face lotion, perfume, hair oil, and the best thing in the box was this eyeko eyeliner.  If you use eye liner this one is great for sharp and precise lines! So far my Birchboxes have been great.  I love trying brands I've never heard of before!  I wish I got this month's Deborah Lippmann nail polish, but it's okay! I can't wait until February comes!

Recently a friend of mine introduced me to needle felting. She had told me she had gotten an owl kit from etsy which got me curious! I started doing some research and I became so intrigued by the idea of creating 3D objects with just wool and a rough needle. So on the weekend, we headed to Daiso (a Japanese $1.50 store) and luckily I found some wool and needles.  Since I was feeling better yesterday I decided to try my hand at this craft and I made a rilakkuma head!  This one is for Mr C :)  I think I'll definitely make more things so keep checking back :D

Have a great week everyone and I'll try to post more during the week! Take care <3

Rilakkuma looking at you

Sunny California

Hello everyone,

Wow, it's been awhile since I've blogged! Sorry sorry *bow head* bow head* :P.  We went to California for about 5 days and I've been sick with the flu this past week so I haven't really felt like blogging.  I'm back today though so I hope you guys enjoy.

Anyways, last week we went to SoCal! It was my first time so it was great to see a new place!  I loved the palm trees and the different style of architecture! It was really sunny when we went even though there was rain on the first day we arrived (I guess we brought the Seattle weather too).  It was pretty cold, but strangely enough there was still sun.  At times I feel like a vampire from Twilight, I bet I'm as pale as one too.  We don't often see the sun, and sometimes I'm worried I might combust, but don't worry guys I'm okay :D.  California is great and I hope to go back sometime in the summer.  Although we spent sometime in Ontario, we spent the majority of our time in Anaheim (Disneyland) as well as LA. 

Disneyland is awesome.  The tickets are pricy, but I think it was SOO worth it.  When I was a kid I dreamed of going to Disneyland and somewhere between growing up and becoming jaded from work I forgot about this dream.  Luckily this trip helped make some dreams come true.  We headed down to Disneyland early Saturday morning.  By 8 am we could already see people swarming the gates.  It was so exciting entering the park, but sadly the workers didn't seem too happy? Anyways, it was pretty cold that day so we had to wear our jackets.  The weather didn't deter the large crowds because we did have to wait for most of the rides towards the end of the day.  Our early morning strategy was to hit up the "popular" rides such as Space Mountain, Star Tours, Matterhorn as well as Indiana Jones.  When they cut the rope, we jetted off to Star tours (almost zero wait time).  It was a fun ride, but I definitely think it's somewhat overrated.  The 3D effects are cool and the appearances of Darth Vadar was cute, but it was too short!!! The next ride we went on was Space Mountain.  This is my favorite ride! You're basically in the dark for the whole ride, but you are surrounded by black screens that display space.  I loved the quirky music and the twists and turns.  We went on the ride 3 times!!! Funny enough Mr C's dad told us he went on that ride in 1981! lol, I guess things haven't changed that much.  Another notable ride was Indian Jones.  We waited for 45 minutes, but we were thoroughly entertained with the jungle themed line up.  We thought it was really smart of Disneyland to make the lining up process fun and entertaining.  Often you'll see random videos and statues of something related to the ride.   The Indian Jones ride was pretty true to the movie, and if you're a fan it's a must see!  Lastly, we went on It's a Small World.  I really love this ride because it's a great way to just sit down and relax.  It's pretty darn cute with mini people singing and dancing EVERYWHERE. We got to meet Mickey Mouse, which was kind of cheesy since we were stuck in line with babies, but what's the point of going to Disneyland and not seeing him?!?!  The best part of the day were probably the fireworks.  This was most amazing firework show I've ever seen.  It's a grand performance with lights, music, fireworks and even tinker bell.  If you don't believe me just YouTube it.  It was definitely worth the wait. 

Deep Fried Sandwich
Treats at Critterland
By now you guys are probably wondering why I haven't talked about the food yet? Well because it deserves it's own paragraph.  I love Disneyland food.  Why? Because everything is shaped like the characters (yes, I got suckered into buying a Mickey Mouse pretzel, and it was good).  We had Bengal beef skewers for lunch, and topped it off with a dole whip.  My brother has been telling me this stuff is the bomb, so we definitely tried it out.  My favorite part was the pineapple ice cream.  It was definitely a neat little drink.  I had a great time looking at snacks at Critterland and I hope to make some of their marshmallow goodness (I bought all the ingredients so keep a look out).  For dinner we shared a Monto Cristo sandwich with Parmesan fries.  Every Disney food blog I've read has recommended this dish, so of course we set out to try it.  It was good, but at $17.99 I'm not sure if we would eat it again.  The fries were delicious though!

All You Can eat BBQ
The next day we headed down to Korean Town and West Hollywood.  In Korean Town we had the best Korean BBQ ever.  We went to Road to Seoul (1230 S Western Ave, California) and were promptly greeted with a table set up with side dishes (I was really impressed because most Asian restaurants have a tendency to set up while you are being seated).  We had all you can eat and it was amazing! Their meat was nicely presented on the dish, their pancake and stemmed egg were delicious and their LA Galbi  (ribs) were mouth watering.  The ribs were so good, and every bite was meat heaven.  The staff was also attentive and would often change the grill.  The best part is that they use charcoal which added to the taste of the meat. Yummy.  I would go to California JUST to eat their all you can eat BBQ.  West Hollywood was interesting, we saw the sign and matched our foot prints with the stars at the Chinese theater.  We also got stuck in traffic because of the Golden Globes, but that's just a normal day in LA right?   See you later!
Pluto says BYE BYE

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year

Hello again! How's everyone doing? I just wanted to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! We didn't do anything really special this year, maybe because new year's fell on a weekday or maybe I tend to associate the new year with Lunar New Year!? I guess it's all thanks to the many years of Lunar New Year celebrations with my family.  My mom really made it a special event with lots of yummy treats and let's not forget lucky red pockets! Regardless, it is a new year, and I hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2013!

Anyways we went exploring and went to Seward Park in Seattle.  I found this park very relaxing and beautiful!  Mr. C and I hope to be able to jog it one day! haha, maybe once we become more fit Mr C. Seward park is a part of a peninsula that comes out onto Lake Washington.  It's a little bit of peace and quiet in a busy city.  It was a pretty chilly day, but we still enjoyed the fresh air and beautiful water.  I felt absolutely energized from the warmth of the sun, sort of like the energizer bunny.   We skipped rocks along the shore, more like me throwing the rocks into the water, but still fun nonetheless!

Another fun adventure was going to a Chinese bakery (Kiki bakery) around our neighborhood.  Ever since moving here, we've been craving Asian food! To think about it, Toronto has a very good variety of ethic food.  I feel kind of sad that we didn't get the chance to explore more of it while in Toronto.  Anyways, I was craving Chinese style buns.  Do you know what Chinese style buns are? It's this really soft bun that is sweet and has a rich buttery/sugary smell.  It's like a dinner roll but much more soft.  Typically, they maybe filled with things like red bean, coconut, "cha siew" (Chinese BBQ pork) or curry beef.  The softness of these buns kind of frighten me.  What do they use to make them so very soft?  Anyways, I just love walking into these bakeries because the sweet smell makes me feel like I'm back home.  We've been eying this bakery for a month and we were finally able to go during the day! Last time we went, we arrived around closing, so sadly there wasn't much selection left.  We did try a pineapple bun, which was interesting because it actually had a pineapple flavor to it.  If you've never had pineapple bun it's basically just a bun with this weird cookie shell on the top.  It kind of looks like a pineapple I guess... hahaha just google it :P.  Anyways, this time we got the chance to try the beef curry bun and ham/cheese bun.  Both were  delicious and soft! I think we'll definitely go back :D

Anyways, thanks for reading! I'm off to bake some cookies... if I'm successful I'll blog about it ok? keke :D
Seward Park: Skipping stones
In the neighborhood

Seward Park
Buns from Kiki bakery

 Take care and stay warm in the cold weather!  <3 Janet

P.S. Sorry for the wonky picture placements! I swear it's blogger's fault! Not mine lol.