Secrets of Pickling

Last Wednesday, June 19, 2013, due to the fact that I was able to cook Siomai (at around 1 am in the morning for my husband’s lunch) for tomorrow, worked 6.5 hours for a side-line and then headed to Edmonds Community School by bus (for the first time) to volunteer for another Burnaby Food First hands-on workshop (Thank you dear path-finder ^^,) I felt very, very productive. IMG_9815
From 6-8pm, we joined the savvy Andrea Potter- a Red Seal chef and a Registered Holistic Nutritionist-and learned how to make pickled foods using fermentation.
I thought it was great!
We talked about how fermentation (more commonly known as “pickling”) traces its roots way way back in time!
From the Korean “Kimchi” to the Japanese miso soup, Greek yogurts and classic Hamburger pickles, it sure has a special place in our palates.
It is also good to know that the “probiotics” in these pickled foods not only are good for your digestive system but they also fight off germs and viruses.
After our mini lecture, we then proceeded to our ‘hands-on session’.

Yup yup yup! We had take home samples!
Thank you for the fresh local kohlrabi, carrots and radishes Urban Digs Farm!
In about 2 weeks or so…
we will see how these “pickled” veggies turn out (=

Diary of a Newbie Patio Gardener

Joseph and I have zero experience in gardening.
(Well, I guess Joseph has about 2% edge-due to his plant-watering skills way back when) but in my case, okay…let me explain…The thing is…I’ve always had an aversion to frogs. The mere thought of them jumping out from a hole whenever I start digging the soil makes me cringe!

First Basil

First Basil

Mr. Alex Mc Naughton patiently answering questions of newbie gardeners

Mr. Alex Mc Naughton patiently answering questions of newbie gardeners

The husband looks really accomplished (=

The husband looks really accomplished planting that zucchini (=

The good thing is… I haven’t seen one here in North America and I doubt if I will ever find one here in our patio! (=





Burnaby Food First sponsored a workshop called Apartment Gardening for Beginners. Plant genius Mr. Alexander McNaughton treats his plants like a “person” with human feelings. (e.g.If you water them regularly, they will be happy; Be careful with the roots because they will get hurt and not make more babies) Who knew that you can go down to your local grocery store for free milk crates and coffee sacks and grow food in small spaces using these containers?! Not me!

But yeah…it did. (=

There is nothing more rewarding that seeing your very first plants grow…

First Harvest! (Snap Peas)

First Harvest! (Snap Peas)

and using them in your recipe at home (=


Homemade Pesto Pizza with patio-grown snap pea leaves

Thank you Mr. Alex Mc Naughton for your passion for plants and of course, thank you Burnaby Food First for another successful Workshop!

The Ultimate Chicken Shawarma

In doing one of my homeworks in the second Coursera Class I took called Child Nutrition and Cooking, my husband and I found our new favorite!

Chicken Shawarma with Cliantro and mayo drizzle

Chicken Shawarma with Cliantro and mayo drizzle

While it takes a bit of time to do it all from scratch, I would say that it is all worth it! Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish of garlicky meat or poultry served on pitas. The carbohydrate component of this meal is the pita bread; which is made from organic whole-wheat flour. According to Saad Fayed, Pita bread is served at just about every meal in the Middle East. It can be used for dipping, or to make delicious sandwiches in the pocket. In the Middle East, pita is made in brick ovens, where very high heat can be achieved. It is very hard to duplicate in a home kitchen, but this recipe, combined with high heat, comes very close. (although I can’t tell you how many times I have used the abaniko to turn the fire alarm off ^^p)

Pita Bread Ingredients:

1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast

1/2 cup warm water

3 cups all purpose flour( I substituted this with 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup APF)

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 cup lukewarm water

Pita Bread Preparation:

  1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.
  2. Combine flour and salt in large bowl.
  3. Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.
  4. Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until elastic.
  5. Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.
  6. Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated.
  7. Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
  8. Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to also preheat your baking sheet.

    Balls of Pita Goodness

    Balls of Pita Goodness

  9. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick. IMG_9149
  10. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes.

    They really are puffy!

    They really are puffy!

  11. Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.
  12. Take spatula and gently push down puff or slide them into halves.

    Hello to "pockets" of endless meat + veggie combo possibilities

    Hello to “pockets” of endless meat + veggie combo possibilities

On the other hand, the protein comes from the minimally processed mozarella cheese and free-range grilled chicken tenderloins marinated in garlic, curry, lime and other interesting spices.

Shawarma Ingredients:


2 T fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. curry powder

2 t EVOO

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

3 garlic cloves (I usually double the amount because we are garlic-fans)

 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into 16 (3 inch) strips


1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek Yogurt

2 T tahini

2 t fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1 garlic clove, minced

Remaining Ingredients:

Oil to grease baking sheet

4 (6-in pitas)

1 cup chopped spinach

8 (1/4 in thick) tomato slices

Shawarma Preparation:

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. To prepare chicken, combine the first six ingredients in a medium bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss well to coat. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.

3. To prepare sauce, combine yogurt and next 4 ings.(throw 1 garlic clove), stirring with a whisk

4. Thread 2 Chicken strips onto each of 8 (12-in) skewers. Place kebabs on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side until done.

*What I really find amusing is the grilled lines (and smoky flavor) formed after you flip those chick-fillets. Oooooh! They look soooo yummy!

*What I really find amusing is the grilled lines (and smoky flavor) formed after you flip those chick-fillets. Oooooh! They look soooo yummy!

5. Place pitas on grill rack; grill 1 minute on each side or until lightly toasted. Place 1 pita on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1/4 cup lettuce and 2 tomato slices.

in Pockets

in Pockets

or just one whole pita

The sweet and sour property of the tomatoes combined with the slightly bitter taste of the dark green leafy spinach not only balances the flavors of the whole dish but their rich vitamins also makes it very healthy. To top it off, I drizzled some Japanese mayo and tiny pieces of dehydrated fresh cilantro leaves in the fridge to save it from completely decomposing. ^^p It was so rewarding! Yay homemade meals! Yay to homemakers who love real food for their families! Yay to Cooking Light and for this awesome recipe  and Yay to Maya Adam for bringing us all together! (=

Hello Nigirizushi!

Nigiri, also known as “hand-formed sushi” consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice that’s pressed into a small rectangular box between the palms of the hands, usually with a bit of wasabi, and a topping draped over it.Toppings are typically fish such as salmon, tuna or other seafood. Certain toppings are typically bound to the rice with a thin strip of nori.

1st Attempt at Nigirizushi

1st Attempt at Nigirizushi

I am definitely in awe at how much attention and care the Japanese put into their food. It doesn’t only hold true in their sushi-making, their craftmanship and lifestyle also scream both class and elegance.


lox (smoked salmon) cut into rectangular strips

Sushi rice (Adapted from Noobcookleihut, and smokywok)

– 1 cup of Japanese short-grain rice

– water to cook the rice (usually in the ratio of 1 cup rice: 1 1/4 cups of water)

For sushi dressing:

1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsps. sugar
1/2 tbsp salt
1/4 inch worth of nori strips


pickled ginger, soy sauce, wasabi


1 Prep nori (seaweed) strips by cutting them into thin pieces, about a quarter inch thick. IMG_4775

2. Shape each of these sushi, or rather, nigiri using a rectangular mold.IMG_4782


The rice is pushed into the mold to take its signature Nigiri shape.

3.The smoked salmon strips are then topped onto the molded sushi.IMG_4778

Tuck the extra strips at the bottom for a stronger hold

Tuck the extra nori strips at the bottom for a stronger hold.

4. And finally a belt of nori is used to secure the  the fish & rice together.


5. Enjoy! (=IMG_3456

Whole Wheat Stawberry Pancakes

Weekend Mornings aren’t complete without this lightly-browned fluffy creatures lying on your breakfast table.

Like many “health and fiber-conscious” people,  I don’t really want to use the “empty” refined all-purpose flour. Remember, the dietary expert and my Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention instructor Katie Ferraro MPH,RD, CDE said that “fiber” is the future!

Therefore, the more fiber you add in your servings the better off you will be.

And so, here is a recipe that will satisfy that premise.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Whole Wheat Pancakes
Adapted from Skinny Taste
Servings: 7

  • 2 cups Organic Whole Wheat flour 
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp fat free milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • sunflower oil
  • Nutella spread (for a little swirling only!)


1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Add wet ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix well with a spoon until there are no more dry spots; don’t over-mix.

3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Lightly coat it with oil and pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter.

4. Wash strawberries, cut the top part off and cut them lengthwise.

5. When the pancake starts to bubble, you may add your strawberries if you wish. (or you can add them on top of your pancake tower later)

6. When the bubbles settle and the edges begin to set, flip the pancakes.

7. Repeat with the remainder of the batter.

8. Get that fork and dig in! ((=
Makes 14 pancakes.

Calories: 171.7 • Fat: 2.1 g • Carbs: 31.5 g • Fiber: 4.9 g • Protein: 8.9 g • Sugar:2.5 g
Sodium: 561.4 g

Yummie Raspberrie Smoothie

Who is ready for Summer?!

Yummy Raspberry Chocolate Smoothie

Summery Smoothie

Summery Smoothie


2 cups fresh raspberries (or frozen)

3/4 cup low-fat milk
6 ounces non-fat vanilla yogurt
3 tablespoons chocolate syrup or semi-sweet dark chocolate bits
3 ice cubes (only if using fresh berries)


1. Combine the berries, milk, yogurt & chocolate in a blender

& process until smooth, then (if using fresh berries) add the ice cubes & again process until smooth. 

2. Pour into 2 glasses & enjoy!

Hopelessly Romantic: Project Home Spa + Hubby Coupons ^^,

Have you ever felt like… Oh no! It’s so and so’s Birthday next week and I still don’t know what to give him/her! The next thing you think is…well…I don’t want to be a “typical” gift giver who just buys things and call it good! For me, a gift is something that comes from the heart, and should be given enough time and effort to make….So, I wanted to surprise the husband with a fun, hand-made and exciting gift for his “nth” birthday…

Handmade Birthday Coupons

Handmade Birthday Coupons

I had to think, plan and execute…in secret ^^, Well…as far as I know…it was a success.

I will let the photos speak for themselves (=

1. The Plan

Planning Stage


2. Assembly Stage





3.Execution Stage: Revealing the Surprise



Coupon #1

Yummy and Healthy Dessert Coupon



Coupon # 2

The Bubble bath Adventure



Coupon #3

The Unforgettable Hour



Coupon # 4

Bonus Feature ^^,



5. Result: One very Happy Birthday Boy (=

IMG_6113 I love you Sephie Ko! I really do ^^,