Monthly Archives: January 2012

birthday dinner recap

Everyone who knows me knows I tend not to make a big deal about my birthday. It’s just not my style. I may crack jokes about the tiaras and such but really, it’s just like any other day. I just like to enjoy the day with good food and good people. I ended up going to Stonefire Grill courtesy of my lil sister Kristine’s recommendation. It was ah-mazing to say the less. The tri tip was excellent! ๐Ÿ™‚
Photobucket
We ordered two stimulus packages which came with salad, bread sticks, pizza, and a meat of our choice. We got the caesar salad..I’m not one to brag about salads but holy cow it was hands down the best salad I’ve had.
Photobucket
The breadsticks were okay. I didn’t wow over them like I did the salad. I was looking for the herby flavor but it wasn’t there. It was also a little too bready for me.
Photobucket
We got two pizzas. The first one had italian sausage and mushrooms. I don’t remember much about the toppings but the SAUCE! OH THE SAUCE..it was ah-mazing. I need pizza sauce like that man. The crust was excellent as well. It was flat bread but crispy and delicious.
Photobucket
The second pizza is hawaiian. I would like to rave again about the sauce! ๐Ÿ™‚
Photobucket
I wanted to go to Stonefire for the sake of trying their tri tip. I love my meat, what can I say? ๐Ÿ˜› Anyway, their tri tip came with two different sauces. One was bbq and the other was garlic butter. The bbq kicked butt! ๐Ÿ™‚
Photobucket
Here’s the bbq one
Photobucket
Here’s the garlic..
Photobucket
And last but not least..not dessert but the fire outside of the restaurant
Photobucket
I would like to say that yes, people thought I was strange for taking pictures of every course of my meal. Hey, I’m a food blogger. It’s what we do. Besides, none of us are normal! That would be way too boring. If you haven’t been there, give it a whirl. I recommend the tri tip! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for reading.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

chinese new year!

I hope everyone had a great Chinese New Year! ๐Ÿ™‚ Filled with lots of luck, red envelopes, and of course food.
This is a picture of Hainese chicken
Photobucket
This picture is more complicated..there’s abalone, broccoli, carrots, snow pea, water chestnuts, dried scallops, mushrooms, and the black hair like thing in the middle. You might cringe if you haven’t heard or seen it before but make no mistake people. It’s de-li-cious.
Photobucket
This is fish with sauteed green onions, ginger, and soy sauce
Photobucket
Vermicelli noodles are also a staple.
Photobucket
I think these are called water chestnuts? Correct me if I’m wrong..my mom didn’t know what they were called in English and neither do I!
Photobucket
Nothing like bright kumquats to ring in the new year! ๐Ÿ™‚
Photobucket
My mom also got me a birthday cake from Cathy Bakery. It’s a mocha cake with strawberries, kiwis, and grapes on top. You probably haven’t heard the combination before unless you’re used to asian bakeries.
Photobucket
That’s me trying to cut my cake while people kept distracting me! Haha
Photobucket
It’s not my birthday yet. I can’t believe I’ll be turning 23 this Thursday. Sometimes time just flies by too fast. Come this June I will be considered a college graduate and possible graduate student. That sounds unbelievably scary. Anyway, have a great Chinese New Year! Gong Hai Faat Toy ๐Ÿ™‚

On a side note, I hope everyone in the Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Georgia area is okay. I can’t believe the devastation the tornado caused. The pictures were heart wrenching. For those living in Clay County Alabama, rest assure Team Rubicon will be there if they’re not already there. I have all of you in my prayers.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

chocolate cupcakes w/chocolate bavarian cream frosting

Photobucket
It’s almost Chinese New Years! I’m super excited to be home this weekend because I know there’s going to be ah-mazing food. I blogged about vanilla cupcakes earlier in the week and now I’m blogging about chocolate cupcakes. I made both to give away as gifts to family for Chinese New Years. Some of the older family members don’t really like chocolate because they think it’s too sweet. I opted to use a classic chocolate mix for the cupcakes. It worked out pretty well because I didn’t taste the overwhelming abundance of chocolate or cocoa powder. I actually cut holes in the cupcakes and filled them with chocolate bavarian cream that I got from Sweet Baking Supply. I was originally going to frost the cupcakes with the same buttercream frosting as the vanilla ones. However, my buttercream was really hating on me so I frosted them with leftover chocolate bavarian cream instead. I topped them with brown jimmies just for decoration.
Photobucket
Here’s the recipe..
Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Bavarian Cream Frosting
1 box classic chocolate cake mix made according to instructions (also add in 1 small box of chocolate pudding mix)
1 lb chocolate bavarian cream
brown jimmies
cupcake liners

1. Make cupcake batter according to instructions. I added the pudding mix because it gives the cupcakes a fluffy delicate texture. I’ve found that adding pudding mix and maybe some whipping cream or sour cream really punches in the flavor.
2. Let all cupcakes cool before frosting them.
3. When cupcakes are cool, cut holes in them and dig out the middle of the cupcake.
4. Fill the hole with chocolate bavarian cream and then allow it to “overflow” so you have enough for frosting the top.
5. Sprinkle with brown jimmies or any kind of sprinkles and enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

I love this cake mix. The classic chocolate is really great because I’m more of a cake than a frosting person. I always go for cakes that make the frosting instead of frosting’s that make the cake. I enjoyed them without the frosting but since I was giving them away as gifts, I had to dress them up somehow! Thanks for coming by.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

peruvian stir fry chicken & beef w/noodles

Photobucket
I tried a peruvian chicken recipe from Okie Dokie Artichokie and fell in love with the flavor. The smell itself will make your mouth water. My roommate actually came into the kitchen and asked what I was making. I decided to try it with beef fillet because that’s the kind of person I am. I must say, it taste amazing with beef. I think it was more amazing with beef than chicken. To find the recipe for her recipe, scroll through the right sidebars of my blog and her blog should be listed under blogroll. I’ll be making chocolate cupcakes tomorrow so look out for the recipe for that. I’ve been trying to cook and bake so I could test out my camera and have goodies to give away for Chinese New Year. I can’t wait for all the yummy food I’m going to stuff my face with when I get home! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s going to be so awesome. I get to test out my camera with that too ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope everyone is having a great week. I’m super sleepy as I’m typing this because I spent 8 hours at school today. Ya gotta do what you gotta do. You could definitely count on pictures from Chinese New Year!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

noodles w/stir fry beef & bok choy

The weekend is here! And I still have no idea what I want to do. How awesome is that? ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Well..I’m still addicted to taking pictures of the cupcakes I made yesterday. Here are a few more shots of the caramel sauce and heath bar bits.
Photobucket
Photobucket
I’ve also worked my way back to snacking on some awesome chocolate. Albertson’s sells real cheap Cadbury chocolate and it’s DELICIOUS! ๐Ÿ™‚ In my opinion it beats the Godiva bars which are over $2 more per bar. I have a soft spot for dark chocolate. I also found these awesome smash bars. They have cereal, chocolate bits, berry bits, and pretzels in them. They tasted a lot better than I thought they would. So much for a healthy snack! And lastly, my love for Dove’s dark chocolate hearts will never fade. Had to get some of those of course ๐Ÿ™‚
Photobucket
Photobucket
Here’s the recipe..
Noodles w/Stir Fry Beef & Bok Choy
1lb egg noodles
1 lb beef fillet marinaded according to your preference
1 bag bok choy cut and washed
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of water
water for boiling noodles

1. Boil the egg noodles in water until the water becomes bubbly with the noodles in them.
2. Drain noodles and wash with cold water.
3. Pour 1/2 cup of water into the pot/pan (whatever you’re using) and add in the garlic and bok choy. Boil until the bok choy turns colors. The stems should go from a solid white color to a translucent white.
4. In a medium pan, stir fry your beef fillet to medium rare.
5. Add the noodles into the pan and stir fry with beef.
6. Scoop some onto a plate and serve with bok choy on the side.
Photobucket
It’s a quick lunch/dinner that’s pretty filling. I hope you try it out ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for stopping by!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

vanilla cupcakes

Photobucket
I’m better! Hooray for sweets again. I’m so excited it’s not even funny. As some of you know, I had a long battle with a bacterial infection starting the day after Christmas until now. I’m almost done with the antibiotics so I should be as good as new in a few days. My friend from New York rolled his eyes at me because I begged and pleaded for a new camera as my birthday present. It’s not my birthday yet but HOLY COW! I love it ๐Ÿ™‚ I tested out my new camera by baking up some yummy cupcakes. My current roommate Maggie isn’t a fan of chocolate so I made her vanilla cupcakes. I also saved the rest to give away to family for Chinese New Years. My mother requested that I come home next weekend. She said she doesn’t care what’s going on..how nice of her right? Anyway, I’m a big fan of boxes cake mixes. I always say you can’t go wrong with them but sometimes you can. Red velvet? Not a fan. My sister made some from the box mix once and it was grody. I’m not a fan of red velvet. Chocolate all the way man! ๐Ÿ™‚ I used two different toppings. One topping was caramel topping sauce and heath bar bits and the other topping was Hershey’s special dark chocolate syrup and brown jimmies. I aspire to be a cupcake decorator. It’s pretty fun ๐Ÿ™‚
Photobucket
Here’s the recipe..
Vanilla Cupcakes w/buttercream frosting
1 box vanilla cake mix baked according to instructions
heath bar bits
approximately 1-2 cups buttercream frosting
a piping tip
caramel topping sauce
brown jimmies
Hershey’s special dark chocolate syrup

buttercream frosting:
4 egg whites
1 cup of granulated sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter

1. Bake cupcakes according to instructions.
2. Let cupcakes cool while you make the buttercream frosting (it takes awhile).
3. Pipe buttercream frosting using a piping tip onto your cooled cupcakes.
4. Drizzle caramel sauce or chocolate syrup onto the buttercream frosting.
5. Sprinkle caramel sauce cupcakes with heath bar bits and chocolate syrup cupcakes with brown jimmies.
Photobucket
Enjoy em! ๐Ÿ™‚ I really like the turn out of the pictures of the chocolate syrup cupcakes.
Photobucket
The caramel sauce ones look nice too! ๐Ÿ™‚
Photobucket
What can I say? I’m pretty much a cupcake freak. I spend my days dreaming about cupcakes from Dots Cupcakes (Pasadena), Mrs.Beasley’s (Pasadena), and Sprinkles (Newport Beach). Thanks for coming by! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll be updating more about Chinese New Years and what all the different dishes represent. It’s quite interesting after my mom explained everything to me ๐Ÿ™‚

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

cinnamon french toast

Photobucket
To get back in the groove of early morning classes I’ve been making huge filling breakfasts so it will last me until lunch break. People work 9-5 and I go to school 9-5. I usually eat a large breakfast and then a sandwich for lunch with granola bars and some sort of fruit to cover in between. This french toast recipe is pretty simple. So simple in fact I’m not sure it’s called french toast? :/

Here’s the recipe..
Cinnamon French Toast
3 pieces of sourdough bread
1 large egg (the largest you can find)
1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon (more if you like)
butter for frying

1. Heat your skillet on medium low and melt butter.
2. In a medium plate, beat the egg and add in the cinnamon. Beat to combine.
3. Dip each piece of bread in the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides.
4. Drop into melted butter and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side. You could turn up the heat after you have all the bread in the skillet.

Hope you enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s super simple and it screams college kid so that’s why I use it. I would like to use this time to point out to everyone that Top Shot Season 4 will be airing on the History Channel on Valentines Day this year! My big bruhder will be on there. Be sure to look for Chee Kwan as a contestant! ๐Ÿ™‚ Also here’s the link to his website (http://www.cheekwan.com).I didn’t even know he had one? Yeah, talk about leaving your little sis out of the loop! It’s all good though. When everyone wants his autograph I’ll be square because I have plenty of them and I have cool pictures of Hello Kitty and mosquito mans that he drew me. He also insisted I put up paper targets that he shot for me. Talk about corruption. Until next time! ๐Ÿ™‚

Fail Sweetly,
Justina