Friday, May 16, 2014

Thai Iced Tea

I think Thai iced tea might be a "love it" or "hate it" kind of drink. I really can't describe its flavor, except to say that it is definitely one of my all-time favorite drinks. It actually has a slightly vanilla hint to it, and when you add milk or cream and some sugar or simple syrup it's simply luscious. Plus it has such a fun orange color!


Thai Iced Tea
4 tablespoons loose leaf Thai tea* or 4 Thai tea bags
8 cups water

sweetened condensed milk
heavy cream
simple syrup (1 cup water + 1 cup sugar brought to a simmer, then cooled)

* I've used two different types of Thai tea. The first is a loose leaf that you should be able to find in Asian markets. 

The other is a Thai tea already in tea bags. Both have great flavor. I use the bag version if I'm just wanting to make a single glass or the loose leaf and a stock pot full of water to make a pitcher.

Fill a large tea bag with the loose leaf tea.

Bring the water to a simmer, then remove from heat. Add the tea bag (or multiple tea bags) and allow to steep for 1 to 2 hours if you are making a pitcher. You only need to allow a singe tea bag to steep for about 5 minutes if you are making only a glass.

Pour over ice. Pour in about a teaspoon of sweetened condensed milk and a teaspoon or two of simple syrup. You can also swap the sweetened condensed milk for cream or add more simple syrup if you prefer a sweeter tea. Play with the quantities until you get the flavor you like best. 


I could drink this every day, but it would be great as the drink to accompany Korean Pork Tacos.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Coconut Pecan Crunch Muffins

These muffins are a delicious morning treat and (relatively) healthy with whole wheat flour, coconut, and pecans. The cake is light and fluffy. The topping is crisp and sweet. Perfect.

Coconut Pecan Crunch Muffins
for the muffins…
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely ground pecans
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup granulated cane sugar
1 large egg
1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

for the coconut-pecan crunch topping...
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Pinch of sea salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, mix together the coconut oil, syrup, sugar, egg, yogurt, and vanilla until well blended. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flours, ground pecans, coconut, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the oil and egg mixture. Stir gently to combine. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups.

In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients. Sprinkle topping over each batter-filled muffin cup.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


recipe from

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Crab Cakes with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette

Crab cakes sound like a great dinner or appetizer on a warm spring evening… Don't you think? These crab cakes taste so fresh, bursting with a mixture of fresh herbs and lemon. They are divine! Pair them will a little arugula salad and a glass of your favorite white wine.

    Crab Cakes with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette
    for the crab cakes…
    3 tablespoons mayonnaise
    1/4 cup green onions, minced
    2 egg yolks
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
    2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
    2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon lemon zest
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1 pound cooked crabmeat
    2 cups panko breadcrumbs*
    2 tablespoons butter & 2 tablespoons olive oil for cooking

    *if you're making these crab cakes gluten-free, simply substitute gluten-free bread crumbs, available in most markets now

    for the vinaigrette...
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon fresh dill
    1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
    1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
    1 tablespoon green onion, chopped
    1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

    to make the crab cakes…
    In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, egg yolks, lemon juice, herbs, mustard, lemon zest, and pepper. Carefully stir in the crabmeat and 1 cup of the breadcrumbs. Form the mixture into patties about 1/2 inch thick and 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the remaining 1 cup of breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl and pat each crab cake into the breadcrumbs to coat. Place prepared crab cakes on a waxed paper lined plate or baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. It's important that you not skip the refrigeration step. This helps the crab cakes hold together when you cook them. If you try to cook them right after forming the patties, they will fall apart.

    meanwhile, make the vinaigrette…
    Place all ingredients in a small blender. (I like to use my magic bullet. It's such a useful little tool in the kitchen.) Puree until herbs are chopped and ingredients are well-blended. If you don't have a blender, you could simply chop the herbs and whisk all ingredients in a bowl until well-blended.

    to cook the crab cakes…
    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil until glistening. Cook the crab cakes until golden on both sides (about 5 or 6 minutes total). You will likely need to cook them in batches. Be sure to leave enough room in the skillet for flipping the cakes over to cook both sides. Place cooked crab cakes on a paper towel lined plate until ready to serve.

    Serve with the vinaigrette drizzled on top. And maybe a little arugula salad too.


    recipe adapted from

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    DIY Refrigerator Deodorizer

    I don't know about you, but I love it when my refrigerator is fresh and clean. I've used the traditional box of baking soda to keep smells in check in the refrigerator before, but I like this do-it-yourself deodorizer better. I think it works better than baking soda too… it uses ground coffee beans. I always loved the smell of coffee. I can remember going to the super market with my mom as a kid and my very favorite aisle to walk down was the coffee aisle. I just loved that smell. The coffee also absorbs unpleasant odors in your refrigerator.

    DIY Refrigerator Deodorizer
    1 small mason jar
    1 coffee filter
    enough ground coffee beans to fill the jar

    I used a small, short mason jar for this project with the widest mouth I could find. This allows maximum area to absorb smells.

    This is so simple… Place coffee in mason jar. Place coffee filter over the mouth of the jar. Twist on the ring portion of the lid only. Trim excess coffee filter. Done!

    Shake the jar every so often to release more of the smell. Replace the ground coffee beans every couple of months.

    Enjoy your fresh and clean refrigerator!

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    Gluten-Free Banana Muffins with Pecans & Toffee

    Here's a twist on my go-to banana bread muffin recipe. I decided to try some toasted pecans and toffee bits rather than the mini chocolate chips I typically use. They are a perfect breakfast treat!

    Gluten-Free Banana Muffins with Pecans & Toffee
    1 cup coconut flour
    1 cup oat flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
    2 tablespoons canola oil
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs
    4 very ripe bananas
    1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
    1/4 cup toffee bits, plus extra for sprinkling on top


    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a muffin pan with paper liners.

    In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Using an electric mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter, canola oil, and sugar together. Add the eggs and bananas and mix. Add the the flour mixture slowly and stir until just combined. Stir in the chopped pecans and toffee bits.

    Evenly divide the batter into the 12 cups of a muffin pan prepared with paper liners. Sprinkle extra toffee bits on each muffin before baking.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes. Enjoy!

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Yogurt

    I've seen a few recipes on Pinterest for cookie dough yogurt, so I decided to give it a try. I used a Yoplait vanilla yogurt because that's what I had in my refrigerator. I think it would work a bit better if you use Greek yogurt because it's typically thicker. You could also substitute peanut butter if you prefer. This is a protein-packed treat that you can enjoy without too much guilt (even for breakfast)!


    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Yogurt
    1 container yogurt (plain or vanilla)
    2 tablespoons almond butter
    pinch salt
    a couple drops of vanilla
    1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips

    Stir all ingredients together and enjoy!

    Hint: If you're using plain yogurt (rather than vanilla), add a bit of sugar or honey to sweeten.

    Sunday, April 6, 2014

    Crab Deviled Eggs

    Here's a twist on the traditional deviled egg. Mark made these for lunch today and they were delicious. This would be a great way to use those colored Easter eggs you'll have in a few weeks!

    Crab Deviled Eggs
    6 eggs, hard boiled*
    1/4 cup lump crab meat
    1 tablespoon mayonnaise
    2 cornichons, chopped**
    1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    about a teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning (for garnish)

    *Here's my method for hard boiled eggs (learned this one from my mom). Place the eggs in a medium pot, cover with water, top with the lid and cook over medium heat. When the water starts to boil, turn the heat completely off. Leave the lid on and set a timer for 12 minutes. Allow the eggs to simply sit in the hot water for 12 minutes. Then pour the hot water out of the pot and run cold water over the eggs. Store cooked eggs in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

    **Cornichons are little mini pickles. You'll find them in the aisle with the pickles and olives at your local market. If you don't have cornichons, you could substitute dill pickles.

    Now… to make the crab deviled eggs…
    Cut each egg in half lengthwise. Remove the cooked yolks and place in a medium bowl. Stir in the crab, mayo, cornichons, dijon, and sat until creamy. Transfer the crab mixture to a large ziplock bag or a piping bag. Snip off the corner of the bag to for a hole about 1/2 inch in diameter. Pipe a bit of the crab mixture into each egg white. Sprinkle Old Bay seasoning on each egg.


    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    California Roll Salad

    Have you ever tried to make sushi at home? I have. It's not easy. Getting the rice nice and sticky… cutting fish and vegetables into tiny strips… warming the nori (seaweed) so it's flexible enough to roll… then trying to roll everything tightly together… ugh! This is salad is waaaay easier, but will still satisfy your craving for sushi until you can get to your favorite sushi bar (mine is Wasa Sushi - locations in Irvine and Newport Beach). 

    California Roll Salad
    1/2 cup white rice (cooked)
    1/4 cup rice vinegar
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    3 tablespoons sesame oil
    2 tablespoons soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce if desired)
    2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
    1/4 cup carrot, shredded
    1 cucumber, cut into strips
    1 avocado, diced
    1 cup imitation crab, shredded
    2 scallions, green parts only, chopped
    2 sheets toasted nori, torn into pieces
    2 tablespoons pickled ginger
    1 tablespoon sesame seeds

    In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt, oil, soy sauce, and fresh ginger. Mix dressing into the rice. Top the rice with all remaining ingredients. Toss lightly to combine.


    Sunday, March 30, 2014

    Gluten-Free Classic Coffee Cake

    Do you love Starbuck's classic coffee cake? You will definitely want to make this for tomorrow's breakfast (or tonight's dessert). This coffee cake was Katie's special request for her birthday this year. I was a bit nervous that the gluten-free version wouldn't quite hit the spot. But it was perfect - just like Starbucks (but gluten-free)… with a moist cake, cinnamon ribbon in the middle, and a thick crumble on top. Happy Birthday, Katie!!!


    Gluten-Free Classic Coffee Cake
    3/4 cup butter, softened
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 1/3 cup brown sugar
    2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    3 eggs
    3/4 cup yogurt
    1 1/4 cup milk
    3 3/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
    (Wheat all-purpose flour can be used if you don't want this to be gluten-free.)

    for the filling…
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

    for the topping… 
    2 sticks butter
    2 1/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
    1 3/4 cup brown sugar
    1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
    powdered sugar for serving (optional)

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13 inch baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray. (HINT: You could do only half of the recipe and bake in a square baking dish.)

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, salt, sugars, baking powder, and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, to the butter mixture, beating between each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and milk. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixture to the batter until completely combined.

    In a small bowl, mix up the filling by simply stirring the brown sugar and cinnamon together.

    Smooth about half of the batter into the prepared baking dish using a spoon or spatula. Sprinkle the filling over the entire area of batter. Top with remaining batter, smoothing evenly. Use a knife to slightly swirl  the batter. Just run the knife in one direction a few times the length of the dish, then a few times the width of the dish.

    Place the baking dish in the oven and set a timer to 50 minutes.

    While the coffee cake is beginning to bake, make the topping. In a large bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients with an electric mixer. After about 40 minutes of baking time, Sprinkle the crumble topping all over the coffee cake. Continue baking for 10 to 20 minutes, or until golden and the center is set.

    Allow to cool. While you're waiting for the coffee cake to cool slightly, check out some of Katie's previous birthday treat requests…

    last year was a Harry Potter themed party
    fruit with cream cheese dip is always on Katie's favorites list
    snickerdoodles or gluten-free sugar cookies

    When the cake has cooled slightly, but is still a bit warm, slice into squares and dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

    Gluten-Free Chex Mix

    Need a snack while you're watching the NCAA college basketball tournament this weekend? This one is easy, delicious, and gluten-free.

    Gluten-Free Chex Mix
    3 cups rice chex
    3 cups corn chex
    1 cup pecans
    1 cup almonds
    2 cups gluten-free crackers or pretzels
    1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
    4 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
    3 teaspoons garlic powder
    3 teaspoons onion powder
    2 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    6 dashes tabasco

    Stir together, place in roasting pan, bake at 250 degrees for 2 hours. Stir every 15 minutes.


    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    Mini Frittatas

    Need a quick and healthy breakfast on the go? Give these a try. You can make them in the evening and they are ready to grab on your way out the door in the morning. I used ham and cheese, but you could also add vegetables or any other meat. Experiment with flavors you like.

    Mini Frittatas
    5 eggs
    1/4 cup milk
    1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    4 to 6 slices deli ham
    salt & pepper

    Blend all ingredients in a bowl. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray. Fill each well about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Run a knife around each mini frittata and gently lift out of pan.


    Sunday, March 23, 2014

    Gluten-Free Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

    These are chocolately and gooey and just absolutely delicious. You'll never know they are gluten-free.

    Gluten-Free Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
    1 stick butter
    3 ounces (about 1/2 cup) dark chocolate chopped
    1 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons almond meal
    4 tablespoons cornstarch
    2 tablespoons millet flour
    2 tablespoons white rice flour
    3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    for the cream cheese swirl
    1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    1 egg
    1/3 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1/4 cup chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips

    * you can make half of this recipe and use a square 8-by-8 inch pan or 9-by-9 inch pan rather than a 9-by-13 pan.

    Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line an square pan with foil so that the foil hangs over the edge a bit. Lightly grease the foil. Set aside.

    Melt the 3 ounces of chocolate and butter together in a large microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals at 50% power. It should take about 2 minutes total. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the sugar and set aside to cool slightly.

    In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, cornstarch, flours, xanthan, and salt.

    Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar until the eggs are light and doubled in volume. Stir half of the egg mixture into the chocolate. Stir in half of the dry ingredient mixture. Repeat with the remaining egg and remaining dry ingredients. Mix in the vanilla. 

    Using an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese swirl ingredients, exempt for the chocolate chips, until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.

    Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan reserving about a cup in the bowl. Top with the cream cheese mixture and smooth evenly. Drop the reserved brownie batter in large dollops on top of the cream cheese mixture in the pan. Use a knife to swirl the cream cheese and brownie batter. Bake for 30 minutes.

    Allow to cool, then lift brownies from pan using foil hang-over. Slice into squares using a sharp knife.


    Friday, March 14, 2014

    Pi(e) Cupcakes

    Happy Pi Day!! March 14th is Pi day… get it! 3.14… In honor of this mathematical day, I made these pi(e) cupcakes and some simple cupcake toppers with fondant and edible marker. Here's how…

    What you'll need:
    cupcakes - any flavor you like (try chocolate marshmallow cupcakes)
    frosting - any flavor you like (try hazelnut frosting)
    M&M candies - red candies work best to look like berries, but you can use blue too
    piping bag and tips (optional)*

    * if you don't have a piping bag with various tips, you can simply use a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off

    Lightly frost a cupcake. Place M&Ms on the frosting with the "m" facing down. Place a small amount of frosting in your piping bag fitted with a small round tip (or in a ziplock bag with a very small hole snipped in one corner). Pipe a set of parallel lines over the M&Ms, then another set diagonally across the first set.

    Change to a larger flat tip if you've got it, or snip a larger hole in the corner of your ziplock bag. Pipe a zig-zag in a circle around the edge of the cupcake to look like the pie crust.