Monthly Archives: October 2011

mandarin orange cupcakes

I’ve gotten pretty darn good at making cupcakes. I’m also VERY lazy so I’d like to say that my ways of making cupcakes are super easy. Sometimes I make them from scratch, sometimes I used the box mix. Either way works just fine. They both taste delicious. My big bruhder’s birthday is this Saturday and he LOVES mandarin oranges. I didn’t really know what I could make with mandarin oranges until I thought about cupcakes. If all else fails, make cupcakes! 🙂 Anyway, while I was on campus I was contemplating what to make. I finally decided to make a trip to Trader Joe’s to see if they had any mandarin oranges. Luckily for me, they did! These are supposed to be the highest quality mandarin oranges around because they’re imported from Valencia, Spain. Hopefully that’s true! They were pretty darn delicious.
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Here’s the recipe..
Mandarin Orange Cupcakes
1 box vanilla cake mix
1 box vanilla pudding
3 eggs
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 12oz can of mandarin oranges (juice and all)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Pour all ingredients except for mandarin oranges in your mixing bowl and combine.
3. Pour in your oranges and combine again. You want the oranges to be in a dice form. Not minced! Don’t mix too long.
4. Spoon batter into your cupcake liners and bake for 25-30 minutes.
5. Let cool and frost with buttercream frosting. I bought two cans of oranges so I could use one for decoration. I also used sliced almonds. Enjoy em! 🙂
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And if anyone’s curious, Jake Wood (founder of Team Rubicon) won GQ’s better men better world search. Rock on TR Nation!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

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italian herb chicken

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This weekend while fighting the flu bug and whatever else is going around, I decided to make myself a nice filling meal. I’ve been eating porridge for the past week because my attempt to use my sisters old rice cooker failed. I ended up with lots of semi-cooked rice so porridge it is! I had a lot of chicken thighs on hand so I made italian herb chicken with season salt mashed potatoes and marinated tomatoes. Most of you have either heard of or read the Pioneer Woman’s blog. I love her because all her recipes are so basic. They usually don’t call for ingredients that you can’t find at any store around the states. With that being said, I’m a simple person. Unless it comes to macarons..then it gets quite fancy. BUT, I was not in the fancy mood yesterday seeing as how I was kind of sick. I’m not sure if there’s a staple to italian herb chicken. I only call it that because I used a lot of herbs that I would have used in spaghetti or lasagna.

Here’s the recipes..
Italian Herb Chicken
3-4 chicken thighs (you can use breast if you like)
salt and pepper for seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon basil
a pinch of season salt
1 teaspoon thyme (optional)
oil for frying

1. In a medium pan, heat oil on medium.
2. Add marinated chicken thighs and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Time WILL vary depending on how big your pieces are. It’s a good idea to pound the chicken to an even thickness but I was lazy.
3. Cut into strips if you desire!

Season Salt Mashed Potatoes
4 medium golden potatoes
1/2 stick of butter
1-2 teaspoons season salt

1. Boil a medium pot of water.
2. When the water comes to a boil, add in potatoes.
3. I cut mine into pieces to make it cook faster. It should take at least 20-40 minutes.
4. Drain potatoes and add butter right away.
5. Once the butter is melted add in the season salt and voila.

Marinated Tomatoes
4 plump tomatoes (not roma)
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar dressing (I know I cheated!)
1-2 teaspoons parsley

1. Cut tomatoes into small pieces (not a mince but a dice).
2. Add balsamic vinegar dressing and mix to combine.
3. Add parsley and mix again.

Hope you enjoy the recipes. The meal in itself is quite filling. Unless you’re a boy..then it probably won’t be! 😛 I’m super excited I finally got my Team Rubicon sweater! It’s so nice and comfy. Don’t forget to visit their site @ teamrubiconusa.org! They’re currently monitoring the earthquake that hit Eastern Turkey. Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

the lime truck my true love

If anyone has ever had anything from The Lime Truck, you’ll understand my hype about them. Not only does their food taste amazing, their service is great too. The guys working will always remember a familiar face. Their laidback attitudes and awesome service really cater to the California beach cuisine they sell. Being in my college student mode, I was too lazy to cook and wait for my food. I find it ironic that I’m willing to wait half an hour for my food but I can’t spare half an hour to make my food. It’s because I know savory goodness is coming when I wait the half hour. Needless to say, I drove myself to the food truck round up and got in line at the Lime Truck. You have to be early because they ALWAYS have a gigantically long line. Today’s menu was legit, the pblt! Usually blt stands for bacon, lettuce, and tomato but in this case it would be pork belly, lettuce, and tomato. The best darn sandwich I’ve had in weeks! Totally worth the wait 🙂 I also got those carnitas fries I’ve been raving about. It was delicious! To accompany my artery clogging lunch, I washed it down with mango lychee limeade. So overall, it was the best lunch I’ve had in weeks.

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mango lychee limeade

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carnitas fries

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pblt

If you’re in the Southern California area, you MUST come to Irvine and try this truck. You’ll love it 🙂 Thanks for reading

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

too muchhhh

I got some emails as to why I went M.I.A. I didn’t think anyone followed my blog to that extent! o_o You guys are great 🙂 Anyway, for the most part to answer that question..I’ve been stuck doing homework (lots and lots of it) and studying for midterms. I’m writing research papers and the like. I’m a psychology major so I guess it’s in my nature. Gotta learn how to do it somehow, it’s required. I’m sorry for the lack of recipes. I haven’t had much time to cook anything in the last few weeks. The dishes that I have made are already posted on here so I don’t wanna repeat. That’s definitely no bueno. My workload for this quarter is pretty high. I will cook when I have time and share recipes. I’ve been eating out or eating ramen noodle for most of this week. Yes, that really is the life of a college student. For those of you who have done the same, I feel your pain! Haha 🙂 Also, I would like to bring you back to my fundraising page for Team Rubicon. I blogged about them in a previous post. I donated $25 myself towards my goal of $250. So far, no one has donated 😦 I just want to kindly ask again. It’s important that I reach my goal by Veterans Day or it sort of defeats the whole purpose. You can find my fundraising page at justinawong.stayclassy.org OR you can visit the Team Rubicon page for more information as to what they’re all about. Their website is teamrubiconusa.org

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

pork stew

I love simple recipes. I would totally waste my time making macarons just to show people I can. Apparently it means you’re a pretty bad ass baker if you can make nice macarons. I’ll get fancy when I bake but not when I cook. I like to stick to things that I know how to make and well…cooking has never been my strong point. I leave all the cooking to my mother 🙂 Except for major holidays, that’s when she’ll nag me to cook. Anyway, I’ve been feeling under the weather lately (it’s raining today and I hate rain!) so I decided to try and make a stew. I found the recipe in Pam Anderson’s cookbook. If you want to know more about her you can go to the Pioneer Woman’s website. I sort of forgot what her blog is. Three Many Cooks? Sorry Pam! 😦 She had a recipe for pork stew and looking at it made me drool a little so I had to make it. Rain calls for comfort food like pork stew! Now I can go home and tell my mom I know how to make pork stew! She probably won’t believe me though.
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Here’s the recipe..
Pork Stew (adapted from Pam Anderson)
2lb pork shoulder cut into 1in. squares
4 tablespoons olive oil divided
3 stalks of carrots chopped
4 medium golden potatoes cubed
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup red wine (PLEASE use the good stuff! I stole some from my dad. Not much of a wine drinker myself)
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 large onion diced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley or thyme (I used parsley)

1. In a large pot, season your pork with salt and pepper. Add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sear the pork on both sides. Probably about 5 minutes on each side.
2. Put pork onto a plate and dump in the diced onion. Add the 3 tablespoons of flour and whisk until it’s combined. Be careful with this step. I sort of hate recipes with flour or cornstarch because I never whisk it enough and it burns. So don’t be like me!
3. Once the onions have cooked for about 3 minutes, add the chicken broth and red wine. Stir to combine.
4. Add the pork back into the pot and cook on medium heat for about 30-45 minutes. After 30-45 minutes, add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, carrots, potatoes, and parsley or thyme. Cook for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are fork tender.
5. Ladle into a bowl and enjoy with some bread 🙂

The recipe originally calls for prunes which I despise. So no prunes in this stew. Pam also used sweet potatoes instead of potatoes. I like both but I only had the regular kind so that’s what I used. I also don’t own a dutch oven so I stewed the soup on the stove. It works just fine as long as you don’t burn anything 🙂 Happy reading!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

team rubicon

As many of you know, I’ve posted a lot about fundraising and such. This post is no different. Team Rubicon is an organization comprised of veterans and medical personel that deploy across the world when disasters strike. They are highly trained and this organization holds a close place to my heart. Many combat veterans who come back from Afghanistan or Iraq have PTSD. Some of them even end up homeless. If you’re interested you should take a look at the Jubilee House episode on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It’s dedicated to women veterans who are homeless and helping them find stability. With that being said, I have special ties to this organization as I’m almost positive that my big brother served with the man who started the organization. His name’s Jake Wood. Several months ago, I was talking to my brother on AIM and I did my usual complaining. That day was different. In the midst of my complaining he talked about a marine that he served with. He was a member of Team Rubicon but he also suffered severely from PTSD. In the end, he lost the fight. Although he is no longer with us, he will always be a hero in my eyes. The reason why I wanted to study psychology in college was because I wanted to help these veterans. I saw what it did to my brother.

Every year, in the fall I kind of make out my “special project.” In the past years, I’ve adopted soldiers and marines from organizations such as Adopt A US Soldier or Adopt a US Hero. In total I’ve adopted about 10 altogether. I’m still close to 3 of them. I’ve also written letters for veterans at home through Operation Gratitude. This year I kind of twisted my own arms trying to find something different but still relevant to the military. I remembered reading my brothers Facebook and he had a post saying vote for Jake Wood for GQ magazine. I browsed the website for a bit and I decided to make my own fundraising page. I really liked my friend Christians CrossFit fundraising page so I made my own. If you type justinawong.stayclassy.org you’ll get to my fundraising page. It is my Team Rubicon fundraising page. To learn more about the organization, I encourage you to click on the link and just read it. I have a goal of $250 that I want to reach by Thanksgiving (which is why I’m starting early). Please donate and help disaster relief victims. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Just what you can afford. I know with the economy today it’s hard on everyone. It’s hard on me too but I can’t stand by and do nothing. That’s just not the type of person I am. The donation page has a list of how you want to donate. You can dedicate your donation in honor of someone close to you or whoever you want to dedicate it to. I dedicated my donation to Clay Hunt. He was a friend of my brothers, a former member of Team Rubicon, and an outstanding marine. Thank you for taking the time to read this. It really means a lot to me and is greatly appreciated.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

char siu (BBQ pork)

As most of you who have been to a Chinese takeout place know, they usually have char siu which is the same thing as cha siao (cantonese) and bbq pork. It’s pork shoulder or pork butt..depending on your preference. My dad bought me some to see if I could make it as good as my moms. It’s really not as hard as most people think it is. All you need is pork and char siu sauce which is sold in most asian supermarkets.

Here’s the recipe..
Char Siu
2lb pork shoulder cut into pieces. 1in thick, 4in wide, 7in long.
1 jar char siu sauce (the big one)
1 tablespoon honey

1. With a fork, poke holes into your slices of pork.
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2. In a large bowl, marinade your pork with char siu sauce for 2 hours minimum. Stick the bowl in the fridge.
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3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
4. Line a cooking tray or deep cookie sheet with foil. Place a cooling rack on top.
5. After the pork has been marinated for 2 hrs, place them on the cooling rack. Save the reserve marinade.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
7. While the pork is baking, mix the reserve marinade with 1 tablespoon of honey.
8. After 30 minutes, turn the pork over and spoon some of the honey/marinade mixture on each piece.
9. Bake for another 10 minutes and repeat. The honey/marinade will act as a glaze and give your pork some shine. Overall it should be done in 50 minutes. Some pieces might take longer if they’re thicker.
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10. Let cool and cut into strips. Serve with rice 🙂

Hope you enjoy it! The whole point of the cooling rack is so you get all the juices from the pork onto the foil and you can spoon it back onto the pork later. Or at least that’s how my mom does it! 🙂
To add something sweet, I made these chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting for my friends birthday. I put them in a container I got from sweet baking supply and sprinkled some red sanding sugar on top for decoration. She loved them.
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Fail Sweetly,
Justina