So. I promised you some real Chinese food and here it is! This is a snacky-type-thing called zongzi (pronounced dzong-zuh..kind of..my pronunciation is horrible), and they are basically sticky rice and some kind of filling wrapped up in reed leaves and boiled. They are tastier than that description might sound. Zongzi is traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival which just so happens to be occuring the weekend after next. So you can make these and have your own little celebration at home! You can make them salty (usually with some kind of pork inside) or sweet (with red beans, or corn or nuts or whatever you like, really).
They are not at all difficult, but there is a certain technique to it, and they are rather time consuming. But I say, grab some friends, a bottle of wine (or disgustingly strong rice wine in our case.. mixed with orange juice because we’re classy like that..) and you’ll be amazed how fast it goes! These are one of my favorite things I’ve eaten so far in China, and I can’t wait to try all kinds of different combinations when I get home. Whoo!
our resident zongzi experts..
Posted in breakfast, munchies, sides
Tagged breakfast, china, packaged, portable, recipes, rice, snacks, sticky rice, travel
I love bread. It’s one of the few things I could eat every single day and I would always love it.. All the time. Forever. A couple of years ago Brett bought a bread book and we’ve been experimenting with many of its recipes for awhile now. And I’d like to think we’re getting pretty good at making bread.
So when I saw a recipe for English Muffins, I obviously jumped right in and made them that very day. Why? Well because English Muffins are just plain delicious. And let me tell you, they’re pretty dang easy to make too. Maybe not quite a easy as our normal bread, but with Rosie on my side I kind of feel unstoppable. Also, did you know it rarely gets below 70 degrees here? No, I’m not trying to make you jealous. I’m just letting you know that heating your oven to 450 to make bread isn’t always the most pleasant idea. And did you also know, english muffins are made on the stove. Yeah, uh-huh. So go ahead, bust out that flour. I think you’re making english muffins right about now.
I have a new obsession. Before I tell you what it is, just promise me you won’t judge me for it. Promise me you won’t think I’m obnoxious. Or pretentious. Or overly concerned with health. Because trust me, I am none of those things. Okay. Ready? I am currently obsessed with…Whole Wheat Flour
I know, I know, it’s annoying sounding and it’s one of those trendy food things that people are doing and blah blah blah. BUT WAIT, you promised you wouldn’t judge! Let me let you in on a little secret: it’s awesome. Look, let’s be honest here, one look around my recipes and you’ll know I’m not a health freak. However, I am in public health now and I feel that this field comes with certain responsibilities. I’m not about to give up cupcakes or ice cream or fried food (or a sausage mcmuffin when I’m hung over..) but I do find myself trying to get in some of those “daily recommended amounts” or whatever they’re called. Turns out, it’s not really all that difficult to eat healthy things if you just trick yourself. All you have to do is hide the healthy in something so delicious it can handle.
While we’re being honest, lord knows I don’t eat enough whole grains. And seriously, do you? (If you do, you impress me. You can stop reading now because clearly you are better than me. and I want to be like you.) Cmon.. white bread? Dosen’t count. White rice? Doesn’t count. Pasta? Doesn’t count. Sucks, doesn’t it? But white bread and pasta and rice is so…good. Yum. So I have decided to share with you some of my tricks. I have been very, very tricky lately. I’ve made whole wheat just-about-everything and let me tell you the best part: I can’t even tell!!
Wait!! I know that you’ve heard this before! I know that you don’t believe me! But have I ever lied to you before?? I promise you, people, I’m not a liar! And I take my baked goods very, very seriously. If it tastes like healthy I just plain won’t eat it. Unless it’s slathered in butter or cream cheese. So when I say “you won’t even notice the whole wheat flour” or “it’ll taste exactly the same as regular flour” please, trust me. I really mean it.
I really like coffee. I have to be careful not to say the other “L” word though, because I know a lot of people who their coffee very, very seriously. And I am not one of those people. I did work at a coffee shop on-and-off for 3 years. But I’m not a coffee snob and I’m not a caffeine junkie either. I don’t sniff to find the subtle notes of vanilla, chocolate, the faint aroma of berries [or whatever]. I don’t fall into a stupor, or worse, erupt into a volcano of rage, if I’m deprived of my morning cup o’ joe. I don’t do espresso, I won’t drink it black, and I won’t look down my nose at you if you don’t either.
Nope, I’m the one at the milk station in the corner, pouring in the cream and loading up on sugar until your tooth aches just looking at me. That is, if I didn’t order the carmel-icious-vanilly-yummy-drink-with-extra-whipped-cream. But coffee snobs of the world: don’t look down your nose at me. Don’t judge me and tell me I don’t really like coffee if I load it with sugar, cream, caramel, chocolate, or whatever tickles my fancy that day. Because I do. I really, really do. So nanner-nanner-boo-boo. I’ll drink my coffee and my sugar too.
But it’s hot here. Have I mentioned that before? It’s very, very hot. Hot enough that a swim in the ocean at 7:00 in the morning is not an insane act of bravado, but rather, a cool, refreshing relief. All. Year. Long. So a scalding cup of coffee, as delicious as I agree it is, isn’t what I generally crave in the morning as I wake up sweating under my one sheet with my fan on in 80 degree weather at 6:30 am. Obviously, some genius already thought of a solution to this problem of hot-drinks-in-hot-weather, namely, ice. Duh. But seriously star-bean-peet-leaf? 3 bucks? To put some ice in your already-not-that-great coffee? No thanks. I’ve got a better idea.
So, as I looked through the recipes page here, I realized something: the ratio of desserts to everything else on this site is extremely lopsided. So I looked through some of my most recent posts, and lo and behold, the last four were some type of cake. Hm, obsession much? Clearly, I have a sweet tooth and clearly, I am incapable of growing out of it. Not that I’ve tried very hard.
So, I figured I ought to do a post that wasn’t a dessert. But I couldn’t bring myself to go all the way. Sure, I’ve made some tasty dinners lately, but I’m sitting here watching law and order and I don’t feel like talking about gyoza or stuffed peppers. I’m sure I will eventually, but right now, I want to talk about muffins. Blueberry muffins.
do you love cranberries? I think I love cranberries. I’ve always been a fan of cranberry sauce, cranberry muffins, cranberry scones. Really that’s all the cranberry things I really remember eating a lot of. Then I found a recipe for cranberry upside down cake. And I realized I had every single ingredient it called for. In my house. already. (We bought a costco size bag of cranberries for thanksgiving and they were still in our freezer. and still delicious.) I didn’t have to buy anything. If that’s not enough of a reason to bake something, then I just don’t know what is.
So I made it. And I will probably make it again and again. The cake itself was just sweet enough to work with the super tart cranberries (especially if you slap a huge dollop of homemade whipped cream on top..mm..) and it was moist and yellow and yummy. I wish I were actually knowledgeable in food and food terms so that I could describe this cake “properly”. It was great. I feel like that’s enough.
Brett said recently that we eat too many sweets.
Let me put this into context. We got a really good deal (86% off, anyone?) on these fitness classes, so we decided that working out intensely was the perfect way to get a jump-start on our new year’s resolution of being more active. (Ps. does anyone ever have a new years resolution that doesn’t involve working out? It’s no wonder we never stick to them…sweat sucks) So we both agreed that we should make some small adjustments to our diets in order to help us achieve our fitness goals. In other words, we are trying to be more healthy. “Don’t we pretty much eat healthy-ly though?” I said (in admittedly bad English) “Well…” he replied, “we eat a lot of sweets.” …
I was speechless. ‘what??‘ I thought. ‘too many..sweet..but…what?‘ I didn’t have a response. Sugar is probably my favorite thing. Um. Ever. Some people like salty things, some people like savory things, some people like spicy things. Me? Give me some sugar and I am a happy camper. Now if you mix that sugar with any combination of flour, butter and eggs… well then I’m just in heaven! So to me, saying that “we eat a lot of sweets” is like saying “we breathe too often.” Saying “we should cut down on desserts” is like saying “we should try to stop thinking.” Seriously, unheard of. And quite impossible.
But after a few days of thinking about it (and looking in our kitchen which only has 2 food cupboards and realizing that almost one whole one was dedicated to sweets) I consented that.. “well… I guess we do kind of eat a lot of sweets..” I wasn’t ready to give them up. That’s blasphemy. I’ll never consent to that. But I did (eventually) agree that we should maybe not eat dessert every night…and at every lunch time. Ok, maybe I had a bit of a dependency problem. And perhaps a cavity or two. “Ok. You’re right. We should only eat dessert 3 nights a week. or maybe 4. but definitely not 7.”
I made a decision to cut down on the sugar intake.
Then the next day I decided I wanted to make a cinnamon crumb cake. (I couldn’t find a recipe I liked so I did a cinnamon coffee cake instead. Same flavors, so it did the trick)
It’s a breakfast cake! So it doesn’t count as dessert! hah! I beat my own system! Continue reading
I really love granola. Don’t you? I mean, it’s so crunchy and yummy and delicious, especially with some yummy yummy yogurt and some fruit on top. But the bummer about it is.. it’s kind of expensive. And I can never find brands at the store that I like… unless they’re like one million dollars for a bag. Yes, I know, I exaggerate, but still! So I have embarked on a quest to create the perfect granola-at home.
The first time I made granola was over the summer and I’ve made it several times since then. Every time I’ve used a slightly different recipe (or no recipe at all..) and every time the granola has turned out differently, and never has it been perfect. It’s either too sticky and not crunchy, or crunchy but doesn’t cluster, or tastes funny and doesn’t cluster but at least it’s almost crunchy… or I don’t even know but it’s not my dream granola. Saturday I tried again. This time, the granola turned out as close to what I want as I’ve gotten so far. It’s still not perfect, because even though its nice and crunchy and the flavor is good… there aren’t really any clustery bits which is my favorite part of granola. But still, its a pretty decent recipe so I thought I’d share. Enjoy!! Continue reading
So. Saturday morning I woke up early and went to bootcamp. Yes, that’s right. Bootcamp. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life. For a good twenty minutes at the beginning I really thought that I might keel over and die right there on the sand. And for some reason I decided it would be a good idea to continue doing this four days a week for a month. I start tonight. Dear lord, wish me luck.
But what came out of this was something really spectacular. I came home and ate a mountain of breakfast. Why?Because I deserved it. I worked out. Which I never do…and the bootcamp claims that you burn 800 calories in a mere 45 minutes, so I figured I had to eat about a thousand when I got home… you know.. just in case. I was ridiculously starving, and I couldn’t think entirely straight, I just knew I wanted a whole lot of food. So I tried to make something new (which, for me doesn’t always work) but this time it turned out pretty good. I honestly just threw together whatever I had. I would change a few things in the future, so I’m going to put the changes on here as well, so you can take your pick of versions.