Pumpkin Mac & Cheese!!!

It’s already Fall, and almost October ya’ll! And Fall is my favorite food season because of all the PUMPKIN around!!! Last year, I went on a shopping spree at Trader Joe’s, buying up everything from pumpkin ice cream to pumpkin chai lattes. I have so far held off my pumpkin obsession…but it isn’t October yet…soooo….it might spark up again soon. In a few days. Wee! Anyhoo, for those of you who have been keeping up with my blog, know I love mac&cheese. Remember that delicious Lobster Mac&Cheese? Well its Fall, so I thought I would put a Pumpkin twist on it! It turned out perfectly and I can’t wait for you to all try it!!! Happy Fall everyone! Look out for many many pumpkin recipes in the next few months! 😀

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Beef and Tomato with Rice!

This is my family’s version of a classic Chinese dish. I grew up eating this on lunch days where we needed something fast and delicious. I had no idea that this would be considered ‘comfort food’ for Chinese people. I don’t ever eat this at restaurants. When I see other people get it though, it looks sort of weird because I am so used to my family’s version. Its actually really easy to make, with only a few ingredients. Anyone can whip this up in a second. If you don’t have much of an appetite, this dish could curb your hunger because its sweet and a little sour, and so freakin’ good!!! You can even add an egg in it to modify the traditional tomato and egg dish.

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Pork and Chive Dumplings!

From time to time I like to go back to my household roots and make things my mom or dad makes. I have been heckling my dad to create a Chinese recipe book so I can use it in the future in my own household. If you don’t know, my dad is a great cook. He can seriously make anything. Right now he is working on perfecting Chinese rice noodles, ya know the ones you get a dim sum. I wish I can be at home all the time to document his successes (i.e. macarons, Japanese cheesecakes) but being that I am in SD, I will have to do my best to find it in my memory to create the things I love eating at home. Here are some delicious pork and chive dumplings. Its a tsk tsk thing though, I did buy the potsticker wrappers this time, but in the future I will try my hand in making the wrappers.

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Chicken Pho (Pho Ga), Turtle Tower Way!

I frequently claim I don’t like pho- which is true most of the time. When I am forced to go, I usually order chicken pho because I like the broth slightly better than the beef one. However, one of the main reasons I don’t like it is pho noodles. I just don’t like the texture or the weird after taste of them. But when I had Turtle Tower for the first time, it changed my life! Apparently they are more of a Northern style pho, with fresh flat noodles instead of the dried skinny ones. Fresh flat noodles are similar to Chinese chow fun noodles, which I grew up eating anyway. And Turtle Tower’s broth is similar to plain chicken soup, which is perfect for the soul. So when I became sick, I immediately craved the TT chicken pho, but obviously I can’t get it here because no Viet place in SD serves it like TT does. So I set out to make my own. I have heard stories about the broth being cooked for hours, sometimes even all day to achieve that delicious broth. And believe me, after making it, that’s very much true! Time is essential in creating this broth. I suggest making it at night, and letting the chicken simmer for hours into the night, when you sleep. Therefore, the next day at lunch, you can have a hot bowl of pho! 🙂 I have to say that this recipe’s broth actually comes pretty close to the taste of TT. You can always adjust the salt (or msg) if you want :). Happy eating!

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Lobster & Shrimp Mac & Cheese!

Sorry about my weeks long hiatus on posting-just been super busy with school and finals are coming up! Along with that hectic schedule, I have a knack for craving comfort foods. I am not much of a cheese person, (I don’t like cheeseboards or even brie cheese that much), but I LOVE mac&cheese!!! I like them soupy, like Souplantation’s, or baked, like gourmet. So you ask, why did I decide to make such a fancy mac&cheese in the midst of my busy schedule? Well, I was walking around Food4Less one day, and I stumbled upon some cooked, frozen lobster tails for only $5! I am used to eating fresh ones, so I wasn’t going to bring it home to make a surf and turf, but I thought it’d be a great idea to throw the lobster meat into mac&cheese to fancy it up a bit! When I finally pounded the lobster tail open though, I realized that there probably wasn’t enough for my dish, so I decided to throw in some shrimp for some added meat and seafood! Turned out delicious!!!

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Cuban Oxtail Stew! (and Miami Post!)

As many of you may know now, I went to spring break in MIAMI! This is one of the last spring breaks I will ever have as a student and I really have never done it that big before. We went to the beach, saw the alligators in the Everglades, ate tons of food, relaxed, sightseed, day clubbed and night clubbed, and drank. Everyone was such a blast and made this trip memorable.  Thank you to you crazy fools!

Easter Brunch on yacht around Miami!
Inside LIV
Dancer at MANSION
Expensive Red Bull Vods

So a little bit more about Miami: it is a totally different vibe than Cali. or even Vegas. (Now I know this may not be the case during ULTRA because so many Cali kids and west coast people go). The vibe there is much more relaxed, chill, European. No ragers like us, barely any dancing, and especially no twerking. Even the fist pumping wasnt punching the sky like we know how to do. haha! But they do play a lot of European style trance so it was nothing that I was really used to. The clubs there are beautiful, but I have to say LIV underwhelmed me-it was a mix between the Grand and FLUXX. I totes expected it to be like XS or something. Nope. We also went to STORY, which was aight. But MANSION was by far the funnest club and very unique. Cool dancers, everything was so flashy and show-y and they only serve top-shelf- our red bull vods were made with Belvedere and were $25. hahha! We went to the RX pool party at the Shelborne, and it basically was very chill and no one splashed water around or danced or raged like at Encore Beach Club haha. One thing I learned on this trip was the best way to cure a hangover is to drink coconut water before you go to bed and to never go out so early- 1am is still early. BEST THING EVER!

Me running away from the alligator bc I was too scared to hold it!
Cuban coffee-Cortadito
Bulldog! (Margarita and 2 beers)
Ceviche

The food in Miami is AMAZING. Every meal we had was delicious. Notable mentions: La Sandwicherie (went there 5 times during our stay and got the Salmon, Prosciutto, Mozzarella one), Puerto Sagua (delicious Cuban food, which inspired my obsession with oxtail stew), Cuban coffee called Cortadito (brown sugar sits at the bottom of the espresso cup and the espresso drips onto the sugar, creating a sweet paste. More espresso drips and creates this delicious foam on top. One order of it can feed 3 people- that’s how strong it is!), and lots and lots of potato balls, pork, and black beans! The ceviche at My Ceviche we had was delicious, but somehow I got food poisoning from it. No one else did though so I still recommend it to anyone who goes to Miami! More pictures on my facebook!

Beautiful blue water

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Tomato and Basil Soup!

Tomato soup is one of my favorites-I sure wish I had a grilled cheese right now! I used to get the boxes of Trader Joes Tomato soup and drink it all the time. I really wanted the opportunity to make it myself because its obviously less processed and you can make it with the ingredients you like. I substituted heavy cream with light sour cream [or greek yogurt] and used some fresh tomatoes and basil. I got to control how much salt I put in and the consistency of the soup. I bought an immersion blender literally to make tomato soup haha. I dont really like creamy soups; I typically prefer broth-y ones. The blender is so handy to use! Through my search for an immersion blender, I figured there are two kinds that are similar: hand mixer and an immersion blender. They both look almost the same, but if you have a regular mixer or a stand alone one, the hand mixer is of no use. Immersion blenders puree food! So if you want to make hearty and creamy soups, I suggest you get one! I love my Cuisinart one!

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Beef and Barley Soup!

                                         
Mmm beef and barley. Usually at restaurants, it is super salty and I always have to add water. Why not make it at home? The meat used is lean so it isnt as oily. I added kale and mushrooms because those are like my two favorite things. Did you know barley is part of the grass family? Weird, I  know. It is also used to ferment for beer and other distilled beverages. It is a high fiber and high protein grain- perfect for my obsession to get skinny with protein and lots of fiber. It is so delicious, I am so happy with the way it turned out!

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