Parmesan crusted chicken with Polenta (Recipe)

Some days, I judge a book by its cover and get taken by appearances.

About a year ago, while browsing through recipes books at Barnes and Nobles, I came across a beautiful recipe book.

Doesn’t it look gorgeous? Such an elegant looking cover and I just love white!
Beautiful pages inside too!Read More »


Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (Recipe)

So it’s time to do the weekly clean-out-the-fridge thingy to make sure there aren’t things laying forgotten in the fridge. This afternoon’s find: 3 red peppers whose skins are starting to get wrinkly, a box of also wrinkly grape tomatoes, and a going-to-yellow bunch of parsley. Hmm…maybe it’s time to cook another soup. I don’t have enough tomatoes to make just a tomato soup nor red peppers to do a roasted red pepper soup, so I guess I’m gonna to have a marriage of recipes and do a roasted red pepper and tomato soup.

To make this soup, I looked through three recipes, and took elements of what I liked from each recipe. The three recipes are, Roasted Red Pepper Soup and Grilled Tomato Soup from the recipe book The Joy of Cooking, and Nigella Lawson’s Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup Recipe. I have tried these two recipes from The Joy of Cooking before and I think the addition of fennel seeds, rice, wine and carrots in the roasted pepper soup recipe greatly added to the taste and gives you the nice texture without the need to add flour or cream to thicken the soup. Read More »

Happy National Running Day!

So apparently, there’s a National Running Day! Hope you folks had a good run or walk or spent some lovely minutes out in the sunshine. If you haven’t, there’s still time!

Today’s photo for my online running log: some cheery wildflowers beside the small lake. Love that they are springing up everywhere.

And a parting thought:

Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Crackles (Recipe)

I love to eat cookies and before I started baking, Pepperidge Farm cookies are my favourite. They still taste great to me, but really, once I started to bake, nothing tastes better than freshly-baked cookies, and I love how the whole house smells like cookies. 🙂 I tried a few recipes that I found online before but they didn’t turn out all that great and I thought it was due to my poor baking skills. However, after trying out Martha Stewart’s Cookies cookbook, I am convinced that sometimes, all you need is really a good recipe! So don’t give up! For the longest time I thought I was just cursed and could never produce a decent baked good. Well, this was the first cookie I tried baking from her book and my first attempt. If I can do it, so can you! By the way, I highly recommend this book. I have tried 3 recipes so far and all have turned out looking pretty and tasted great. I can’t wait to share these recipes with you! The first one I’ll be sharing today is Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Crackles. Read More »

Easy Cream of Mushroom soup! You won’t need Campbell’s ever again. (Recipe)

I’ve never tried making soup till I got my stick blender. They have always looked like they need a lot of work, especially the creamy ones. After I (finally) bought my stick blender, it’s like a new area of cooking opened up to me. I HAVE to make sure I put my blender to good use (lest someone starts nagging that there are too many things in my kitchen…) so I started looking up the ‘Soup’ section of my recipe books and realised that, hey, you know what? Soups can be one of the easiest and quickest thing to prepare AND they can be really cheap and healthy food too! Of course, just don’t choose to make lobster bisque or something if you are in a hurry. A few days ago, I discovered another soup recipe that is so quick and easy to prepare – Cream of Mushroom soup (no blending required).Read More »

A new beginning for running in 2015.

It’s been a long while since I ran regularly. The year started with news of our move to another state, and with that came the weeks of sorting, packing, looking for a rental home, arriving, unpacking, settling in and then not having the right gear to run in snow and icy conditions. Five full months of 2015 have passed since and the weather has finally turned warmer.There are no more snow and icy patches on the trails, and I have fully recovered from a hip flexor injury that put me out of running for 5 weeks.

There are no races this year in my calendar to train for this year. I’m rather relieved for that – No more stress when I have to skip a day of running, or worry about how fast I am, about crossing that thin line of pushing myself and improving, and over-doing it and injury, about logging in the miles. Last year had been such a fruitful year of running for me – breakthroughs in speed and endurance, opportunities to see this beautiful country through running races in different cities, and then this year, there is suddenly nothing to train for. I am a little worried about losing all that speed and strength I have gained through so much effort last year. No doubt I am already slower and weaker, not running regularly for almost 6 months; I’m just hoping I don’t keep regressing! I once came across a motivation poster that says, “If you are persistent, you will get it; If you are consistent, you will keep it.” I really need to do both.Read More »

Play like an old man. 

At piano lesson this morning, my teacher said something that really stuck in my head. I’m currently working on Chopin’s Nocturne in C Sharp minor op 48,  no. 1, one of my favourite nocturnes. Yeah, the super sad one. All that ‘zal’ in the first lento section. And you know how it is like, playing in front of the teacher; you tense up, a million thoughts irrelevant to the music zip through your head – not helpful at all in expressing the music.

After a few tries, I paused, took a deep breath and told myself to stop worrying about whether my interpretation sounds ‘correct’ , wrong notes etc, and played.

At the end, my teacher said, “You are beginning to sound like an old man.”

“Yeah, too slow, huh?”

“No. An old man has lived a life of experiences, known love, and pain, and grief; he is full of wisdom, and all that is easily expressed through his fingers onto the keys.”  The gist of it is, for this piece at least, I want to sound like an old man. So, I wrote this on a little post-it pad and stuck it on the music. Note to self:  “Play like an old man”.

Here’s a video of the beautiful, heart-rending nocturne in C minor, op 48 no. 1, played by Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Hiking and sight-seeing in Valdez, land of waterfalls. Part 1: Keystone Canyon Pack Trail of 1889

As a continuation of our weekend road trip, we set off from McCarthy early in the morning, went back onto McCarthy road, Edgerton highway, then onto Richardson highway and headed South towards Valdez. Edgerton Highway and McCarthy road have beautiful views and you can see some pictures of the scenery in my earlier post on McCarty and Kennicott. You can also read about the Bonanza Trail Hike, a beautiful hike up the challenging Kennecott Bonanza mine trail in that post.Read More »

The husband’s birthday cake: Lemon-curd with swiss meringue buttercream ombré cake 

In following the tradition of baking a birthday cake for my husband every year (a tradition that has only started last year really), I began to starting looking through Pinterest to look for some inspiration a week before his birthday for some inspiration. A picture of an ombre cake piqued my curiosity and then many clicks later, I decided to try making one!Read More »

Panda Express’ Beijing Beef Copycat Recipe. 

Have never been a fan sweet and sour pork/beef/chicken. I didn’t dislike them, just never much cared for sour stuff…until I came to the U.S four years ago. Most of the Chinese takeouts are sweet and sour meats, but, I must say, the Chinese restaurants here have perfected the art of deep-fried sweet and sour meats and I have slowly developed a liking for them. Now in Alaska, we started to miss Panda Express’ Beijing Beef and so, at the husband’s constant nagging for me to try cooking the dish, I went onto the Internet to search for copycat recipes. I’m pleased to say, i found a pretty good one! Read More »