Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Blueberry Mochi Recipe--easy, quick to make, and so yummy!

Blueberry Mochi

Blueberry Mochi Recipe
I love all sorts of mochi...but for those of us that are less traditional, this Blueberry Mochi will be a hit!  The part I like best is it is made in one mixing bowl, one pan-quick to make, easy clean up!

1 box mochiko (16 oz)
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
1 can blueberry pie filling

Stir sugar in melted butter.  Add milk and mix well. Add eggs and mix.  Stir in baking powder, mochiko and vanilla.  Pour into 9x13" pan. Using a spoon, drop the blueberry pie filling onto the batter.   Use a butter knife, swirl to create a marbelized look.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Cut into squares.

Lemon Bars Recipe--yummy and easy to make!

Lemon Bars
Lemon Bars Recipe

Light, tasty, and so easy to make!  These lemon bars will be a hit with any crowd!

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup cold butter or margarine
Combine flour and powdered sugar; cut in butter until crumbly.  Press onto bottom of lightly greased 9x13" pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup lemon juice
While crust is baking, combine topping ingredients and mix well. Pour over baked crust (crust need not be cool) and return to oven.  Bake 20-25 min or until light brown.  Don't overbake.  Cool. Cut into bars. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Microwavable Peanut Butter Mochi Strawberry Mochi Recipe--yummy and easy!

Peanut Butter mochi, Strawberry mochi
If you're a traditionalist, don't bother reading further.  If you don't have time, or baking isn't your "thing," then this recipe is for you.  My girls said it tastes just like the popular Hawaii Two Ladies Kitchen and Nisshodo.  I don't know if I'd go that far, but it was pretty good...for my first attempt at making mochi (well, at least for microwavable mochi)

Microwavable Peanut Butter Mochi or Strawberry Mochi Recipe
1 1/2 cups mochiko
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp. vanilla (optional)
peanut butter, or strawberry
Katakuriko or cornstarch

Mix mochiko, sugar and water until smooth.  Pour into slightly oiled microwave tube pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 6-8 min.  Turn over on plastic cutting board covered with katakuriko or cornstarch. Cut mochi into 12 wedges.  Coat hand with katakuriko or cornstarch and and flatten mochi.  Place a teaspoon of peanut butter, or strawberry, in center of mochi and bring edges together and pinch to close.

Note:  If you use fresh strawberry, cut mochi into 8 wedges.
I microwaved mochi for 8 min on high and it came out a little overdone.  Next time I'm going to do 6-7 min.  Cooking time will depend on your microwave.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Goma Tei Ramen Review--love the tan tan!

Vegetable Tan Tan Ramen
Goma Tei Ramen Review
I've been going to this place when the owner was at Goma Ichi.  The owner left to open two restaurants, the first at Ward Centre (the old Borders side), the second at Ala Moana (ocean side).  Goma Tei is known for their special tan tan menu--which is a spicy broth of sesame seeds, vegetables, slow-cooked for 24 hours to create a rich and flavorful broth!  I always order the vegetable tan tan ramen (see pic above), but they also have chicken katsu tan tan, char siu tan tan.  They are also famous for their cold noodle, curry, ban ban ji chicken, and gyoza.  Yes, they also have the traditional shoyu ramen too.  There is something for everyone...yum!!!

Don't spend a lot of dough on bread

Costco Bread-buy it and freeze what you won't use right away
When did bread get to be so expensive? I've tried all the different brands--but unless it is on sale...$5 for a loaf?  Really?!? If your favorite brand isn't on sale at your store, if you're like me, you're at Costco on a weekly basis.  The Watanabe bakery bread is available in a huge loaf for $4.55 (wheat) and $4.29 (white).  The loaf is double the amount you will get at Times, Longs, Don Quijote for about the same price.

My family will generally consume nearly the whole loaf by the expiration date, but if they don't, it can be frozen.  Yeah, I know...I'm not big on freezing food either...but I've done it, and honestly, after it thaws, (microwave on defrost setting for 20 seconds) it's soft again.  I've also used it for bread crumbs, to put in hamburgers, meatloaf, and to mix with panko for breading.
Note: I've often seen 3-4 different dates on various packages, so look carefully.  Dates may vary up to 5 days!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lemon Shrimp and Spinach Pasta Recipe

Lemon Shrimp and Spinach pasta
Both Rachael Ray and Giada have done their versions of this pasta.  I did my own--sort of a cross between both of theirs, and I added spinach for flavor and a burst of color.  It's easy, uses many of the ingredients you already have in your kitchen, and quick to make.

Lemon Shrimp and Spinach Pasta Recipe

Pasta (I use one box of whatever I have, spaghetti, fettucine, penne, etc.)
2 Lemons (use both zest and juice)
Spinach (fresh or frozen, or any other vegetable like broccoli, eggplant, peppers)
Garlic, 4 cloves
Shallots or onion
Black pepper
Cream or Milk (optional)
Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Cook pasta separately.  Reserve 1 cup of starchy cooking water.  Saute garlic, shallots/onions in EVOO.  Toss Shrimp and Spinach along with remaining ingredients, cook until shrimp is pink.  Combine pasta with Shrimp/Spinach, add 1/2 cup parmesan reggiano, combine well.  Top with more parmesan reggiano to serve.

Serves 4-6; 5 min. prep, 15 min. cooking time

Note:  This isn't the best picture, but I had to hurry and take the picture as hungry kids stood over me waiting anxiously with plates in hand. 

Kill Nutsedge (Nut Grass) dead with Ortho Image

Some call it Nut Grass.  Those horrible weeds that connect via root systems and literally, can take over your entire lawn if you let it.  I found the ONLY thing that kills the plant/flower AND the root system.  In about 7-10 days after spraying, it turns yellow/brown and dies.  Yes, new ones from other systems grow, but with consistent application, your yard will return in time to its glory.

This magical nutsedge killer is by Ortho, IMAGE.  You can find it in the spray bottle, or concentrate form.  It's sold all over--Home Depot, Lowe's, WalMart.  WalMart is the cheapest and they usually have it in stock.

Note: In between applying herbicide to your yard, you also need to fertilize your grass.  I usually let my grass grow a bit so I can see the nutsedge easily, to aid in application of the herbicide.  After the nutsedge dies, I (okay, my yard guy) cut my grass and my lawn is pretty again!

I also found a great analogy on one of those lawn&garden sites...grass needs fertilization and constant cutting to keep it beautiful.  The strength is in the root, so when you cut your grass, it's like giving your hair a trim.  Weeds get their strength from the top, so when you keep your grass trim, it's like chopping off the head of your weed.  Whatever the case, herbicide, fertilize, and trimming grass...your lawn will be ready for summer barbecues and parties!  (Don't forget to invite me!)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Microplane Grater-the best grater ever!

This grater from Microplane is absolutely another kitchen tool I use almost every day.  It grates garlic, ginger, lemon, name it!  I used to use a box grater, but honestly, who has space to put that in their kitchen?!? This goes right in your kitchen drawer, or in your cooking tool container.  It also cleans up easily too.  There are so many sizes and different collections to choose from.

Interesting note: Microplane started out making woodworking tools (that resemble this grater and more) in 1990, then 10 years later branched out to make kitchen tools and foot files.  (It sort of looks like the Ped Egg, doesn't it?)  Get won't regret it!

Bath and Body Works soap--new spring fragrances!

I love Bath and Body Works!  Soaps, lotions, shampoos, hand name it, I have it.  Good news! They came out with new spring fragrances.  I have some of my favorites displayed in photo above, but there were too many to show.  I love the peach bellini, fresh picked peaches, fresh picked strawberries and fresh picked tangerines for the kitchen.  Love the vanilla berry sorbet, apple lavender for the bathrooms.  My favorite of my favorites (my girls love it too!) is the wildberry dahlia scent.  Oh, and for those of you that love the scent of Hollister, the new pacific blue will be right up your alley! 

Tip: They always have the 4 for $15 or 6 for $20 offers, but be on the lookout for the 7 for $20 offer, or even better--get it when they have the coupon for $10 off purchase of $30 or can get one for as low as $2.22 each!

Maybelline Colossal Volume Express Mascara-lengthen your lashes!!

I've never had those long and dark eyelashes like my girls do (they got it from their dad)...and as I get older, it has become even sparser.  I've heard of Latisse, but with all that I'm allergic to--I'm not willing to take that chance.  

I've tried so many mascara brands--from the popular pink/green tube, to expensive department store ones.  Some were pretty good, and I've used them for years.  Until now.  

My niece turned me on to this mascara--The Colossal Volume Express by Maybelline.  It comes in regular or waterproof.  You can't miss the obnoxious bright yellow tube in the equally eye-catching purple packaging.   If you use the waterproof version, it really stays put until you take it off.  Even through tears, sweating, swimming.  It opens up your eyes, and helps on those days that you look "tired." And don't we all need some help there, right? ;)