Food and Recipes

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Frittata - A Second Try Success

I tend to not consider too many of my recipes complete fails except on rare occasions when my pancakes become scrambled almond flour/banana/egg mixtures and my GF scallion pancakes become crumbles....but there are a lot of things that I wouldn't exactly call successes, either.

My attempts at frittatas could be placed in the "not so successful" category.  My first attempt for my family a few months ago -- perfect.  I can't even remember what I put in it, but I just remember everyone loving it, and it had the most perfect texture.  I know that I didn't put it in the oven at all, and I just let the eggs slowly cook on top of the stove. My second attempt.....wasn't so successful.  I think I added too much liquid (eggs + egg whites), making it too thick.  It didn't really cook right, and the center took forever to set, even after broiling it for a few minutes.

Determined to get it right again, I made it for a third time.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

March 2014 Favorites

I think I'm getting better at this....instead of being two weeks late, my favorites post is now up just one week late.  I actually don't have that many favorites, and they are all predictably products that I have posted about recently with a couple surprises here and there.  Apart from the blushes that I posted about earlier, I have been reaching for the same things pretty consistently.

 Keep reading to see what I've been using!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fyrinnae: the company that makes me giddy about makeup. Review, Haul, and Swatches!

I don't know what it is, but I've never really been into Indie makeup companies.  I have nothing against them, but I tend to forget about them, despite how FABULOUS they can be.  I think I can safely say that has changed.

Sometime around January, I had a sudden desire to start buying from Indie brands - I have no idea what prompted me to do so, but all of a sudden, I was spending hours browsing through various website and deciding what pigments and eyeshadows to get.  I think what drew me in was how complex different pigments could be - how one taupe shade could somehow have reflective shimmer in every color of the rainbow.  Most mainstream eyeshadow are not that complex, and let's face it - the prices of Indie companies is often more attractive, since a decent sized 1/4 tsp. sample is only around $1.75-$3.  These small samples are the perfect size to try a lot of different shades without having giant sizes of pigments that I'll never finish (MAC, I'm looking at you!)

Enter Fyrinnae into my life.  Within the beauty community, they are probably one of the best and unique Indie makeup companies.  Every time I see a look with Fyrinnae products, I'm kind of starstruck by how gorgeous everything looks.  The only thing that's tricky about Fyrinnae is that it can be difficult to order from them because their website is down a lot.  It's understandable - Fyrinnae is a very small company with a small staff, and since all their batches are handmade, it's easy to get overloaded with orders.  A lot of the times that I wanted to order something from their website, they were not taking orders, so when I saw that they were finally open again in January, I jumped at the chance to try some things out.

After furiously looking up swatches online, here's what I ended up with:

Keep reading for tons of pictures and swatches!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Adventures in cooking: Chinese Scallion/Green Onion Pancakes - Going back to the roots and a diferent kind of pancake stack

I don't often make "traditional Chinese" food, most because well..I never learned it.  As a child, I would always spend hours watching my mom make all types of food - garlic sauteed vegetables (which is about a daily occurrence in my house), steamed fish, stuffed tofu, dumplings, you name it, my mom would make it.  However, I never really had the desire to learn it on my own, and the most I ever did was help her chop vegetables.  Chinese food is also really labor intensive, even though it's not always actually that difficult.  All dishes have some food that needs to be chopped or sliced or julienned, and cutting the meat was always an exhausting job because most Chinese dishes have meat with the bone attached. I am eternally grateful for work that my mom puts in every single night to prepare multiple dishes, prepping for dinner about three hours in advance every day, and now when I go home and visit, I am sure to help out however I can...also with the added benefit that I can start learning how some of my favorite foods are made. 

I have to say, I haven't made toooo much progress on learning how to make some of my favorite dishes, but I'm starting to get a better idea just from watching how things are done. Now that I almost never go home, I'm having a desire to learn more about Taiwanese culture and to go back to some of the foods I ate growing up.  I'm doing the best I can with some recipes that I'm finding on my own, supplemented with memories of how things were done with my mom, but I definitely have some work to do.

So on to the food.  I needed to make something traditionally Chinese/Taiwanese (yes, they are different, but they also share many foods) for an end of semester party for the students I teach English to.  I was absolutely stumped for days, as I wanted something that wouldn't be too difficult to make, would be universally liked, and would be unique enough to not be a standard menu item at a typical Chinese restaurant.  It wasn't until yesterday that I had the idea to make scallion pancakes.

I should also note that I tried to make a gluten-free version......and failed.  I'm going to try it again, changing up what I did next time, but the results were pretty hilarious.  The taste was there, even if the texture was completely off.  See the end of this post for some real failure :p

Monday, March 17, 2014

Gluten Free + Dairy Free Irish Soda Bread - A Successful Experiment! + Going Gluten-Free for Real?

As much as I love soda bread, and always had it in the house around St. Patrick's Day (who knew...Asians eating soda bread?), I know surprisingly little about it.  All I knew was that my parents always really liked it and we would both buy and make it.  It was actually kind of a shock that some people had never had it before - but then again, it was the only aspect of St. Patrick's Day that my family ever celebrated...or "observed" might be the better choice here.  

Alas, when it came to being asked some trivia questions about St. Patrick's's all that I could come up with:

Well...I tried.

All I know that Irish soda bread is one of my favorite breads....but after experimenting with some more foods in my house and eating regular soda bread and my mom's pasta...I can nearly confirm that I now have a gluten-intolerance.  I was always suspicious of it, especially after coming home from Europe last summer and realizing that everytime I ate anything gluten-heavy (breads, pastas, pizzas), I would feel nauseous and get a headache after.  I didn't really quite believe that it could happen to me - especially after four months of eating some type of bread, pasta, or pastry on a daily basis in Europe.  I kept experimenting and somewhat stayed away from anything that had a lot of gluten in it, but didn't follow it really strictly.  I'd say I stuck to about a 75% gluten-free diet but wasn't picky about it at all.  

Then I went home for spring break and was surrounded by all things gluten - pasta, bread, cookies, mom's homemade noodles and buns (which were delicious!).  I didn't go crazy, but I had two main meals - noodles and these Chinese buns filled with sauteed tofu, ground pork, and chives.  These were the only times I felt nauseous for the rest of the day and night after eating, leading me to believe that the use of regular white flour was what was causing my discomfort.  

I haven't seen a nutritionist, nor can I say 100% that gluten is causing my discomfort, but I think these experiences plus my discomfort in the summer say something about my gluten intake and my stomach.  I know now that I will be much more conscious about being gluten-free, and doing some more testing to see how much gluten I can tolerate.

Anyway, explanations aside, I managed to make this:

 A total experiment on gluten free Irish Soda Bread.  

A little non-traditional, I know, but I daresay I liked it BETTER than traditional soda bread.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Little Haul (NYX and Real Techniques) and What Goes On A Face - FOTD

I don't know what spring break means for you - but it certainly doesn't mean sitting in my room writing a paper the entire week.  Alas, my spring break was not full of sun, beaches, warm weather, or too much of a "break," at all, but at the end of the day, I'm actually glad I had time to work on my homework without having to worry about class for a week. (Note that this is the life of an overachieving nerd, and I'm desperately hoping it will all pay off in the end)  

BUT, I did manage to get a few things done. Beauty-related things, too!  I bought makeup for the first time since January...a BIG deal for someone as beauty and makeup obsessed as me.  And I only managed to spend $20..not too bad, right?  

Here's the damage:

To see more details (and swatches), as well as how I incorporated these into a look (plus a haircut), keep reading!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Desperate Peachy-Pink Call for Spring

By now it should be known that my monthly favorites will be at least a week late, but it will be more like two weeks late.  Time just has this funny way of escaping me when it comes to things like this....

BUT this month (or should I say last month?) was different.  I had planned to do everything on time, until I looked around and realized I didn't really have too many favorites.  Then I looked at the few things I had together, and realized they were all kind of the same thing.

Case in point.

 I think the fact that all of these are basically the same color but with slightly varying tones indicates that I'm emerging out of my winter and cold weather-induced berry and plum toned blush selections to lighter pink and gold tones.  I am officially ready for spring even though I was able to enjoy the bitter cold better than most...but I'm ready for warmer weather and sunny days where I don't have to layer 48932 shirts underneath a puffy coat.