Sunday, February 28, 2010

Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal

Oh my goodness, I've been on an oatmeal rant. I'm completely and utterly obsessed. Normally these kinds of intense obsessions are unhealthy, but in this case, this obsession is quite the opposite. It's heart healthy and it's doing all kinds of good for me. Whew...
Apple Pie Oatmeal. It's comforting, nourishing and delicious. Filled with baked apples AND topped with caramelized apple topping. I've experimented with my baked oatmeal recipe more times than I can count and every time I make it, I often omit the sugars and oils and replace them with more apple sauce. I don't include this in the recipe but I wanted to tell you guys that this oatmeal is still every bit as fabulous without those unneeded extras. For that little bit of sweetness that I crave, just a drizzle of sugar free maple syrup does it for me!
For me, it's really important to try to cut down on unnecessary sugars and fats. My dad has Type II diabetes and making healthy snacks that he enjoys and CAN enjoy makes me happy. If it still tastes delicious without that stuff then why add it? That's what I think at least :)
Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal
Yields: about 6 - 8 servings

2 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1/2 cup steel cut oats
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (or more to your taste)
2 cups milk
2/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup cooking oil (I used coconut oil)
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped into bits (I used Granny smith)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla

Healthier version that I always make:
- exclude the brown sugar
- reduce cooking oil to 1/8 cup
- add another 1/3 cup applesauce
- for sweetness when serving, I like to drizzle a little sugar-free maple syrup on top :)

For the apple pie topping:
3 medium apples (I used Granny Smith)
2 tbsn. unsalted butter
1 tbsn. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of allspice

Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease a baking dish, set aside. In a large bowl combine the oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar (if using). In another bowl, combine the milk, applesauce and oil. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix to combine. Fold in the apple bits and then place mixture into a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently stir the mixture. Bake for another 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

To make the apple pie topping, heat the butter in a medium saucepan until melted. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Saute until desired consistency and slightly caramelized, about 5 - 7 minutes. Serve the hot oatmeal with the apple pie topping and some sugar-free maple syrup!
To fork or not to fork?

Fall 2010 RTW

The next batch of beauties:

Red & Black never looked so damn good.
Most people associate Tory Burch with resort wear or perfect flats, but I've loved what she's done with women's wear for some time now, and this is no exception.
This is like my ideal version of classic New York fashion. I could see the women of Sex & the City rocking all of these outfits.
I die. Then I become reborn. Then I die AGAIN!
I don't know why people scorn Michael Kors for his work as a designer. I think that he is fabulous in every way. He takes a simple concept: Americana fashion, and takes it to a whole new level every single time.
Basically the closet of my dreams. I love blacks and earth tones.
In one word: breathless.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chai Spiced Pancakes

Un-freaking-belivable is what these pancakes are. Really. Please, go home, scrounge up these ingredients and make these. Right now. I'm not lying folks; would I kid about such an important thing as Chai Spiced Pancakes? I think not.
First of all, anything Chai really does me in for it. I simply just love Chai that much. It's spicy, sweet and heart warming. Then to combine it with the fluffy lightness that is a pancake? Well, I think we've got a winner folks.
Joy the Baker, in all her amazingness, created a great recipe here. These pancakes are fluffy and light and have just the right amount of spice in them. I substituted some whole wheat flour just because I like the texture that it gives but feel free to use the original recipe. And please, feel free to make these every morning for the rest of the week!
A pat of butter, a splash of syrup and I'm good!

Chai Spiced Pancakes

Yields: 20 - 30 medium sized pancakes

Original recipe from Joy the Baker, which can be found here.

2 eggs

2 cups flour

3 tbsn. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

pinch of ground cloves

scant 1/8 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. crushed black peppercorns (or dash of freshly ground black pepper)

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup brewed black chai tea

4 tbsn. butter, melted and cooled

1/2 tsp. vanilla

oil or cooking spray, for cooking

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the buttermilk, chai tea, butter and vanilla, mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Mix until smooth, let sit for a few minutes. Heat pan over medium heat. Add tsp. of oil or spray with cooking spray. Once pan is hot, pour two tbsn. of batter onto the pan and cook until bubbles start to form on the top, about 1 - 2 minutes. Flip over and cook another 1 - 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tailored Tuesdays & The Latest of Fall 2010 RTW

Just really, impossibly chic. Perhaps what I'd be wearing in NY if I were to live my dream and attend the Fall shows!

1. Stella McCartney 'Satin and sequin ball necklace'
2. Milly 'Toggle cotton blend coat'
3. Michael Kors 'Stretch wool H dress'
4. Proenza Schouler 'PS1 medium leather satchel'
5. Jimmy Choo 'Private strappy sandals'

all images can be found at

Some of my favorites thus far:

For such a small color palette, Vera Wang sure knows how to keep things interesting.
Tracy Reese adds just a bit of sass to Fall.
Marc Jacobs; kills me over and over again. Every single time.
A fabulously classic collection with just a bit of modern flair.
Simply love the little metallic flairs to a comfy casual wardrobe.
And Chris Benz has once again given me a reason to smile.
All images from by Marcio Madeira

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Salmon & Dill Soup

Not many words today;
Just a lovely, lovely soup.
It's a traditional Vietnamese soup that has a sour taste due to the tamarind powder and tomatoes added. Warm, delicious soup with hearty chunks of salmon and earthy dill. I'd say it almost is perfection.
Put in place:
Dig in by all means!
Salmon & Dill Soup
Yields: 3 - 4 servings

5 cans of sodium free/ low sodium chicken stock
1 tbsn. olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lb. salmon filet, skin removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp. tamarind soup base
Rice noodles, cooked according to package
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup dill, roughly chopped
Fish sauce, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Green onions, sliced thinly lengthwise (optional)

In a large saucepot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 3 - 5 minutes. Add in the salmon pieces, then cover with the broth. Add the tomatoes and tamarind soup base then turn heat on high and bring broth to a boil. Some 'scum' should come up, which you can just remove with a ladle. Once it has come to a boil, you can reduce the heat to a simmer. Just before ready to serve, add the dill and garlic and let heat for a minute. Add fish sauce and black pepper to taste. To serve, place some cooked noodles in a bowl, then top with the soup. Top with some green onions and enjoy!
Salmon Dill Soup - the cinematic version.
What a lovely Sunday to have soup!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tailored Tuesdays

Muted tones and a whole lotta sparkle.
1. Tom Binns 'Swarovski crystal multi chain necklace'
2. Miu Miu 'Fine knit cropped cotton tank'
3. Vivienne Westwood 'Red-label high waisted wool blend pants'
4. Maison Martin Margiela 'Cotton canvas tote'
5. Rick Owens 'Mikonos leather ankle boots'

all images can be found at

Monday, February 15, 2010

Apple Berry Pie

Pie & I are very good friends. We see each other often and that's the way I like my relationships with my friends. But as any relationship goes... well, there are some hard times. No relationship is perfect. There are amazingly delicious times and well, those "UGH, I'm really over this" times.
Thankfully, this is one of those amazingly delicious times. I have to say, never have Pie & I gotten along so well. Wow Pie, I really gotta give it to ya, you are one amazing friend. I think the best relationships are based on honesty, and honestly, I love you Pie.

This pie is quite possibly one of my favorite pies I have ever made, aside from this one. I would have never, ever thought to combine berries and apples in a pie but after reading numerous rave reviews, I just couldn't resist this recipe. I used a new recipe for the pie crust, most assuredly called "The Perfect Pie Crust," and it was, the most perfect crust I have made thus yet. Buttery, flaky, and incredibly easy to make. And that's saying a lot, considering I rolled it out with a PAM canister! Hey you gotta make do right?!? That was definitely interesting, to say the least. Anyways MAKE THIS PLEASE and when you do, send a slice my way :)

Apple Berry Pie
Yields: 1 pie/ 6 - 8 servings
Original recipe can be found here.

1 double-crust 9-inch pie (recipe below)
3/4 cup sugar (original calls for 1 cup)
1 tbsn. cornstarch (original calls for 4 tsp. tapioca)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups blackberries
2 cups apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tbsn. butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 375 F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one crust and place into a 9-inch pie dish. Roll out the top crust and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Add blackberries and apple slices. Toss to coat, but gently, without mashing the berries. Let stand for 20 minutes. Spoon into the crust, then dot with the butter. Moisten the edge of the pastry with water, cover with the top crust, trim and crimp the edges. Cut a few slips in the top to release the steam (or you can cut pretty little shapes with a cookie cutter). Cover the edges with foil to prevent the edges from burning. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Perfect Pie Crust

Yields: 1 double-crust pie or 2 single-crust pies

Original recipe can be found here.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup/ 1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chilled vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
5 tbsn. or more of ice water

Blend together the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and shortening and then pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Transfer to a medium bowl, then add the water and mix with a fork until the meal comes together, adding more water if dry. Gather the dough together, then split the dough in two and flatten each into a disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and then refrigerate for at least an hour.
Isn't that the most gorgeous thing you've ever seen?
I don't mean to toot my own horn, but, damn this was mighty delicious!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ruth's Chris Steak House {Irvine, CA}

I'm not much of a steak house fan. Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love steak. But for some reason I'm just not one to go to a steak house to get it, I'll more often enjoy a nice steak at home.
The steak at Ruth's Chris, though, was divine. Thick, simply seasoned and perfectly cooked. Of course, it all get's expensive, as other items are a la carte but if you're in the mood to splurge, this would be the time. The sauteed mushrooms were cooked so well: still had some bite and simply dressed, letting the flavor really shine through.

We also got the salad and calamari as starters. Though the salad left something to be desired, the calamari was really delicious! Probably one of my favorite calamari dishes to date.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

There may be only a handful of you guys, but I love you all dearly! I don't think I've ever thanked you guys but it's a damn shame because all of you are wonderful, enchanting, hilarious and incredibly sincere. I could keep complimenting but that list would take the whole screen!

It always helps to know that somewhere, out there, someone is rooting you on, despite your failures or triumphs; and when I had a not-so-nice encounter with a certain someone, you guys all outpoured your loving support and it made me happy beyond words. My heart literally smiled, cause ya know... hearts can do that right?

So this Valentine's day I want to dedicate to you guys! Because after all, I ♥ You!
OH, and happy Chinese/ Vietnamese New Year as well :)

And if you happen to be in need of some last minute & easy treats, try these:

The simplest and most effective treat? Chocolate covered strawberries of course! Why not jazz them up a little by coating them in your favorite nuts? Mmmm.
And how about a little bubbly buzz to go with those strawberries? The perfect drink would be these Champagne Raspberry Fizzes. Sweet, decadent and luxurious.
Looking for some good clean fun? Perhaps a nice Valentine's day with the kids or just something to warm you up? Homemade spicy chai; deeeelicious. And how cute are these? Just cut out a heart into a piece of paper and use it as a stencil for cocoa powder or cinnamon :)
And just to spice up your night a little more: some spiced chai snickerdoodles, for your snickerdoodle at home. With these, you'll be impossible to resist. Go get 'em tiger!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tailored Tuesdays & Exciting News

Of course the usual: Tailored Tuesdays
Buttery leathers & creamy nudes.
1. Mike & Chris 'Dresden leather biker jacket'
2. D&G Dolce and Gabanna 'Cotton blend shift dress'
3. Miu Miu 'Bugatti glazed leather tote'
4. Giles & Brother 'Hook fastening leather bracelet'
5. Rupert Sanderson 'Patent leather pumps'

all images can be found at


BUT what would I wear this delicious outfit to?!?!
Hmmmm the possibilities...
Well if you scratch the heels and add some comfy flats,
I'd SO wear this to a Lo-Fi-Fnk concert.

Don't know Lo-Fi-Fnk? Now you can cause I'm finally hosting MP3s on my site. Woo hoo! That took long enough right? Enjoy :)

Purchase their album HERE.
Via Google Images.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tartelette's Poire D'Eve

Working in a restaurant has had a lot of influence on me. Aside from school, extracurriculars and life, I also happen to work at a restaurant as a server. Of course, right? Even more involvement with food for me! Well my obsession with Vietnamese food stemmed from my constant contact with well, Vietnamese food; both at home and at my job.
Which don't get me wrong, I love. For one, I love being able to sneak peaks in the kitchen and see how the chefs work their magic on the food. And shh, don't tell but sometimes they even let me in on their secrets! Well, another great perk? Dessert sampling, mmmmm. Tons of pastry chefs in the area send their delicious goodies for us to sample and hopefully purchase, and if I'm lucky, I get to eat 'em! That's what kinda inspired me to branch out and try something more risque, so to speak.
I've longed over Tartelette's gorgeous goodies for a while now but they were so complex that they freaked the hell out of me! But I got over my fears and tried her Poire D'Eve. Yes, there were many, many steps. Yes, it was a wee bit scary. Yes, it was amazing.

The feuillantine was my favorite! It had the crispiest crunch and was deliciously chocolatey. Next, the caramel mousse, oh my. So light and airy it just melted in your mouth. By itself, it was really sweet but when paired with the very light Bavarian cream, oh gosh, words cannot say. For me, the pear component didn't shine through much but that's probably because I didn't actually poach the pears in spices like Tartelette did but rather just used canned pears (please don't tar and feather me)! Anyways, what a great dessert!

Poire D'Eve

Yields: 8 - 10 servings

Original recipe from Tartelette, which can be found here.

For the Feuillantine:

5 oz. milk chocolate

4 tbsn. butter

1 cup corn flakes

2 oz. toasted and skinned hazelnuts

For the caramel mousse:

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbsn. water

2 tbsn. salted butter, room temperature

1 cup heavy cream, divided

For the Vanilla Pear Bavarian Cream:

4 canned pears, drained and chopped into small dices

4 egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup whole milk

1/2 vanilla bean

1 tbsn. powdered gelatin, sprinkled over 3 tbsn. water

1 cup heavy cream

For the Pear Syrup Glaze:

1/2 cup reserved pear liquid

1 1/2 tsp. gelatin, sprinkled over 1 tbsn. water

Line a 8x8 square pan with foil and set aside. To make the feuillantine, put the cornflakes and hazelnuts in a small freezer bag, close the seam and roll with a rolling pin until finely crushed. On the top of a double boiler set over medium heat, melt together the chocolate and butter until they come together. Remove from the heat and stir in the cornflakes mixture. Immediately pat the mixture with your fingertips or the back of the spoon at the bottom of the line pan. Set aside while you prepare the mousses.

For the mousse, measure 3/4 cup of the cream and refrigerate. In a microwave or small saucepan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup until fairly hot. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the sugar to the water and cook over medium high heat without stirring until you get a dark brown caramel. Take the pan off the heat and add the butter and 1/4 cream. It will bubble like mad but it will not run over. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Let it cool to room temperature. Whip the cold whipped cream to soft peaks in a stand mixer. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream to the caramel to loosen it up and then add the remaining whipped cream. Spread over the feuillantine base and refrigerate until completely set.

To make the bavarian cream, in a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until very pale. In the meantime, in a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk and vanilla bean to a boil. Slowly pour the milk over the yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium low heat and cook until the cream coats the back of a spoon (as if making a creme anglaise). Add the softened gelatin and stir until completely melted into the cream. Let cool to room temperature. Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and fold it into the cooled cream base. Fold in the diced pears and pour mixture over the caramel mousse until set. If you want to add the glaze, freeze the cake to avoid melting the mousse.

To make the glaze, bring the liquid to a boil, add the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature, if the mixture gels, warm up over low heat until barely melted again. Pour over the frozen cake and let set in the fridge. Cut through the cake with a knife dipped in hot water to prevent breaking the glaze.