We Love to Brunch

With a 9 to 5 work schedule, it's hard to get a good sit-down breakfast or brunch during the work week which is why Peter and I love making brunch at home on the weekend.  This was is very basic but can you see how pretty those pancakes are?!!  Thanks to our $19 griddle from Black Friday last year, the pancakes turned out perfectly golden.  Also, that cup of coffee you see is a homemade latte from our espresso machine that I bought on woot several years ago.  It's still going strong!!


Burger Night

I have lost count of how many burger nights we've had.  It's so easy yet so delicious and everytime, it's something different.  In this photo, we have a thick slice of gouda with a fried egg and homemade french fries!  Other times, we've had grilled onions and/or grill mushrooms and just tonight, Peter came up with a kimchi burger.  The possibilities are endless!!

I love making fries.  These were cut by hand but we also have a potato slicer (dicer??) which I forgot to pull out.  Once deep fried in oil, I immediately add a handful of spices including the obvious salt and pepper, italian seasoning, seasoning salt and whatever else I feel like sprinkling on.

Oh, and we always, always have to be stocked with dill pickles (not pictured).


Five Spice Chicken and What Is a Star Anise

Five Spice Chicken is a dish I learned about through eating numerous times at a restaurant near work, Pho Garden.  Our team likes to caters from there because it comes in easy-to-serve plated portions and their Five Spice Chicken with Steamed Rice is a pretty popular choice.  On a whirl, I decided to Google the recipe and discovered it wasn't too hard.  The speed bump came when I had to search for tumeric and star anise because I had no idea what those ingredients were.  Tumeric is a ground yellow spice that you can actually find at Target and Star Anise looks like this...

Luckily, my mom had both so I did a little shopping in her kitchen and took those supplies home with me.  The rest of the recipe was pretty easy and straight-forward although I blame myself for a minor screw up.  The instructions said to add toasted star anise powder into the chicken which I completely missed so I threw the whole chunk into the mixture then to fix my mistake, I crumbled it up with a spoon and tossed in tiny bits of star anise.  Once we ate it, I realized this was a boo-boo because the bits stuck to the chicken when we grilled it so when you ate chicken, there was a chance you ate a star anise bit.  The taste is overwhelming.  The chicken itself was pretty good although I would reduce the amount of spices added.  The sodium notch was turned way high and it also makes for pretty smelly leftovers when you have to heat it up in the office kitchen!

To accompany the chicken, I found a simple and somewhat-tasty garlic noodle recipe to eat on the side.  I ended up substituting the sherry and rice wine for a teeny bit of Pinot Noir which seemed to work out okay.  Next time, I want a darker outcome like some garlic noodles I've seen and enjoyed in the past.  Overall, good experience and plenty of yummy (and easy) food.


Halloween Cake Pops

Don't be fooled - cake pops are simple and fun yet very time consuming!  I found some very helpful sites and videos that got me started but I actually had to start the previous night by making the cake, crushing it into tiny bits, mixing it with frosting, then letting it sit in the refrigerator.  On the day of my Halloween festivities, I started out by inserting the lollipop sticks and letting that sit awhile longer.  A few hours later, I melted a bag of white chocolate chips which melted with a layer of liquid on top so it clearly didn't work out too well.  Luckily, I also had my bag of milk chocolate chips that actually let me cover 29 cake pops.  Once dipped, the chocolate didn't turn out as smoothly as I had hoped, but I covered most of them up with sprinkles or cookies & cream bits anyway so it wasn't a big deal.  I do enjoy baking so I would definitely try this again for another fun "holiday" but I would also make the cake pops a little smaller because I actually had 3 pops that dropped from the stick since it was so big!!  I should also note that not only is this a pretty and aesthetically pleasing dessert, it's really yummy too!

Love from the Oven - step by step photos
How to Make Cake Pops - short video