ARTICHOKE ICED TEA

Growing up my mother has always made us Artichoke Tea drink. In Vietnamese we call it, Nước mát, which means refreshing water. It was my all-time favorite drink, especially during the summer.  Of course during those years I had no clue I was drinking Artichoke, not until my high school years. Then after researching the beneficial of drinking Artichoke I realized that the drink was even tastier. Recently I went to Trader Joe’s and found some. So I believe the season for Artichoke is sometime in spring through summer.

Why is Artichoke good for the human body? Now let me share some facts and science to this theory. Artichoke is rich in carbohydrates, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Artichoke can be made into an herbal tea, which affords some of the quality of the whole vegetable. The drink acts as a diuretic and improves liver function and it also helps stimulate the immune system, preventing the risk of inflammation and intensify the resistance of the body against illnesses. Drinking artichoke tea regularly is also a good way to beautify the skin.

So though it might not sound appetizing or look appealing, but trust me… It is something you all should definitely try to find out. Enjoy!

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Artichoke Iced Tea (Nước Mát)

Ingredients:

2-3 whole artichokes
1 gallon of water
sugar (honey, rock sugar, palm sugar)

Directions:

In large pot bring water to boil. Add artichoke and reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cover for about 1.5-2 hours or until the artichokes are completely soft. Remove the artichokes. While water is still hot, add desired amount of sugar to taste and stir until dissolved. Allow to cool before draining to serving container. Served chilled.

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MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM CUPCAKES

Several months ago we had a pot luck at the house and I made the best cupcakes ever. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cupcakes! They were the easiest thing to make and just perfect for any occasion, especially for the summer when you have a BBQ outside with the family. It is perfect to hand out to the guests. I made the cake with chocolate batter and then a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Purely delightful! Then top it off with some chocolate chips and you got yourself a delicious mint chocolate chip ice cream cupcakes!

I made my batter using Chocolate Cake. You can either buy the store box or make your own chocolate cake from scratch. Either or will do! Then I bought a tub of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream or any variety ice cream you like. After that, I made my own Whipped Cream Frosting. And there you go… Now you got yourself some delicious cupcakes! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Cake part: chocolate cake mix (store bought)

Ice Cream: Blue Bell or Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Whipped Cream Frosting: 1 ½ cups heavy cream, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/2 cup powdered sugar.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put cupcake liners into the muffin tins and measure out about 1 Tbsp. of batter into each liner. Bake for about 15 minutes. Do not take the cupcakes out of the pan just yet.

Once cooled, scoop some of your softened ice cream on top of the cake until it reached the top of the liners. Place it in the freezer and freeze until the ice cream is hardened.

While the cupcakes are in the freezer, make the whipped cream frosting. Pour the chilled whipping cream into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the cream until soft peaks form. Lightly pour the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until soft peaks form. Do not over beat.

Right before serving top the whipped cream frosting and add the chocolate chips!

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 We devour it before I could take a picture of the  actual cupcakes. So the only pictures I have is when I took it out of the freezer and when I put whipped cream frosting on top. Sorry! But I do plan to make some soon, so I will definitely post more pictures up soon or maybe do another post on a different ice cream flavor. Thank you for reading!

TUTU TUTORIAL

During this time of the year, I love to take the kids out for their yearly photos. Whether it is indoor or outdoor pictures, our household just loves to take tons of pictures for that precious memory keepsake. Now any time we take pictures, I love to dress my daughter up in a cute tutu. I had heard these tutus were very easy to make and I thought I would give it a try. Boy… Were they correct! I love anything crafty that does not require too much work. I guess you can say it is like a fun version of knitting. Not only are the tutus great for pictures but definitely for other occasions. Here is the one I made for my daughter. You can scrunch the tulle together for a really full tutu if you like.  

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Here is what you will need:

A spool of tulle – I bought about 20 yards of tulle. You can find tulle at any craft store; I got mine at Joann’s.
Elastic – 1/2” or larger
Needle & Thread
Scissors
Ribbons (optional)

Here are the steps:

1. Measure waist. Make sure you measure the child and then take off about 2 inches of elastic. The reason for this is because as you put on the tulle and tighten it, it will stretch the elastic out and make it bigger. Trust me; I learned my lesson the first time I made it for my daughter.

2. You then sew the elastic together by hand or machine.

3. Next, find something to hold the elastic while you tie on the tulle. I used a roll of paper towel; just make sure you do not stretch the elastic too much.

4. Now it is time to measure and cut the tulle. Decide how long you want your tutu to be. What I did was measure my daughter from the waist to just above her knees and then I double that number. A good general rule of thumb for a toddler will be about 24 inches, so by the time you fold it in half it will be 12 inches in length. You do not have to be precise because you can do all the trimming at the end.

5. Fold a strip in half with the ends even, so where it forms a loop. Pass the folded end under the waist band then slip the cut ends through the loop and tighten the slip knot around the elastic. Make sure not to pull it too tight.

6. Continue the process until you complete the entire waistband. And there you have a finished tutu!

7. I like to add props to my tutu. So this step will be where I will pick a pretty ribbon and tie a bow onto the tutu.

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That is it! You can now wrap your little princess in the tutu you just made for her. I also made my daughter a very cute tutu dress for Halloween. I will definitely post it up with instructions on how to make it when October is closer.

KOREAN-AMERICAN FUSION KIMCHI FRIES

Over the last several years, the food truck scene has been really growing, especially in Texas. I want to share with you the first food truck dish I fell in love with: Korean-American fusion Kimchi fries. It is definitely a comfort food with an international twist. The crispy fries topped with melted cheese, the savory taste of Bulgolgi meat, and the tanginess of the fermented Kimchi completes the dish. Please do not worry when I say fermented Kimchi, it is actually very appetizing. You do not have to make it, you can actually purchase the Kimchi at any local Korean store. So here is the recipe to my own twist to the Korean-American fusion Kimchi Fries.

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Ingredients:

1 Bag Frozen Fries

1 Pound of Bulgogi, recipe follows

Caramelized Kimchi

1 Jar of Cheez Whiz

Mixed Lettuce, recipe follows

Spicy Mayo, recipe follows

Bulgogi (Korean-Style BBQ Beef):

1 pound thinly sliced rib eye steak

1 Jar of Bulgogi Marinated Sauce

1 tsp. Sugar

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 tbsp. Sesame Oil

Salad:

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce

½ cup thinly sliced green onions

½ cup thinly sliced cilantro

Dressing for the Salad:

1 tbsp. soy sauce

1 ½ tsp. lime juice

1 ½ tsp. sesame oil

¼ teaspoon sugar

Spicy Mayo:

½ cup mayonnaise

3 tbsp. Sriracha

1 tbsp. chili oil

Directions:

1. Baked the frozen fries as directed.

2. Make the Bulgogi: in a resealable plastic bag, pour in the Bulgogi Sauce. For me, I prefer to add a little extra seasoning but if the sauce tastes good for you, you can omit the extra seasonings.  Add the rib eye and toss to coat. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight.

3. Drain the meat. In a large skillet, drizzle about a tablespoon of vegetable oil until hot. Add the meat and cook over high heat, turning once, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and keep warm.

4. Prepare the toppings.  In a medium bowl, combine dressing and salad.

5. Heat the Cheez Whiz.

6. Top the French fries with a layer of caramelized Kimchi and Bulgogi meat. Pour some cheese over it. Sprinkle the salad over to taste and then top it off with spicy mayo and extra Sriracha for more spiciness.

Ta Da! Now you got a food truck dish in your very own kitchen. Enjoy!

CHRISTMAS THEMED BAPTISM

Happy Friday! Today I would like to share another party or event that I created. We had our son baptized when he was about 3 months old. After the Baptism, we had a celebration at the house. Any time we have a party, I am the kind of person that will try to incorporate a theme and have a dessert table. Well since my son’s Baptism was right around the corner from Christmas, I thought I would incorporate a Christmas themed Baptism. I mean since the decorations was going to go up one way or the other, why not put it to use for a Baptism event.

I planned for a warm tone color theme, so I used brown and white. Now for the food, it was all made by my mother. She is the most awesome cook in the world. Literally! I have to say, we are very blessed to have her. And for the desserts and decorations, it was all made by me. It is always great to have family together to celebrate an occasion like this.

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If you would like any recipes on the food, please let me know in the comment section below. Now for the desserts, I will definitely post the recipes up soon. Thank you for reading! You all have a wonderful weekend!

BAKED BACON & EGG MUFFINS

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But I guess we always wonder why? I would like to share some facts and science to this theory. Food is a fuel and energy for our bodies. When our bodies have the proper nutrition, it will function to its fullest. It also increases the metabolic rate and has shown to help maintain weight loss.

At this point in my life, being as busy as I am… I am always trying to find a quick solution to everything, especially when it comes to cooking. When you have kids, you want to make sure you put healthy food on the table. Here is a quick, easy, and creative way to make a delicious, yet savory ALL-IN-ONE breakfast.  

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Ingredients:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

8 slices white or whole-wheat sandwich bread

6 slices bacon

6 large eggs

Coarse salt and ground pepper 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter 6 standard muffin cups. With a rolling pin, flatten bread slices slightly and, with a 4 1/4-inch cookie cutter, cut into 8 rounds. Cut each round in half, then press 2 halves into each muffin cup, overlapping slightly and making sure bread comes up to edge of cup. Use extra bread to patch any gaps. Brush bread with remaining butter.

2. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium, until almost crisp, 4 minutes, flipping once. (It will continue to cook in the oven.) Lay 1 bacon slice in each bread cup and crack an egg over each. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until egg whites are just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Run a small knife around cups to loosen toasts.

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This will be great to make for brunch or if you are on the go like me. Enjoy!

RODEO OUTFIT IDEAS

It is Rodeo season once again. Every year I yearn for this month to come. I was born and raised a Texan, so I look forward to the Rodeo every year. It actually became a tradition in our family. So I definitely had to share with you my yearly rodeo outfits. It does not matter what you do! Whether you are at the carnival, hanging on the bull-rides, wearing your cowboy hats, or eating those delicious funnel cakes; you have to kick it off in style without looking like you stepped out of an old western movie. Well I got the perfect Rodeo outfit for you and just in time for the Bar-B-Que cook off.

What is the Rodeo without denim shorts and some cowboy boots? If you seek for the Country Fair look, here is the perfect apparel for you. I wanted to keep this look comfortable yet still have a sweet touch to it. So I paired these ripped denim shorts with a cute top and of course… We cannot forget those cowboy boots. For the accessories, I just kept it simple with the Tory Burch leather wrap bracelet. Curl your hair for to give it a wavy look, and you my friend, completed this Country Fair look. (Sorry about the misspelled of Cavenders at the bottom of this picture. I accidentally double typed the V)

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For this outfit: I still wanted to keep a western look but with a lady-like twist, so I brought out this flowy-white dress. Since the weather here in Texas varies each week, I wanted to pair it with a denim jacket so just in case it gets a little chilly. And of course I still kept the cowboy boots. Now for the accessories, I just added some dangle earrings and a pair of sunglasses (just in case it gets a little sunny out during the day). Then, style your hair in a messy fishtail braid. Well, there you go… Now you got yourself a perfect Southern Belle look.

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I hope you like the outfits. Again, thank you for reading!