Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thai Jasmine Rice Pudding

We host family night dinner at our house every Sunday night. We don't have any family anywhere near us and have a few friends in the same situation so we have them over every week and our 'family' of 9, including our boys and some adopted uncles and aunties, have a family dinner. Sometimes I cook something like a roast or a chicken and potatoes (typical Sunday night dinner kinda stuff) and other times we have a potluck style and choose a random ethnicity. Last week was Japanese and we made our own sushi, this week was Thai and some of us made dishes while others got some take out to share. I made Coconut sticky rice and a Coconut Jasmine rice pudding with fresh mango for desert. The rice was delicious and the rice pudding was to die for. I didn't take any pictures but here is the recipe I used.

A Taste of Thai Jasmine Rice is perfect for this flavorful dessert. Make it fresh or use leftovers- either way it's delicious.


8 Servings


15 minutes to assemble
60 minutes to cook
Total time: 75 minutes


4 eggs 3/4 cup sugar 2-13.5 oz cans Coconut Milk, 2 cups cooked Jasmine Rice, 1 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional) 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Lightly butter a 9" x 13" pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar well.
  3. Add Coconut Milk, Jasmine Rice, milk, vanilla extract, coconut extract, salt and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Make a "water bath" by placing the baking dish into a large pan that has an inch of hot water in it.
  5. Pour the pudding mixture into the baking dish. Stir so all the rice is evenly distributed in the pan.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir pudding to mix the rice again. Continue to bake for 40 more minutes or until the pudding is set or firm to the touch.
*I made the rice pudding and at the 20 min mark when I stirred it I added in about 2 more cups of cooked rice because it just didn't look thick enough and I'm glad I did because it came out beautifully! I also served it with fresh cubes of mango and toasted coconut. With the added rice the pudding can easily serve 10 and I would use 1/2 mango per person. Align Left

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Super Healthy Morning Muffins

These are my favorite muffins to make for a breakfast that fills you up, is good for you and makes you feel like you can take on the day and do anything! They are surprisingly moist thanks to nutritious add ins like carrots, banana and raisins. My husband has been suffering from gluten intolerance for a long time so I try to modify recipes to make them even healthier and suite him. For this recipe I made a flour blend of almond flour, brown rice flour and a small portion of unbleached white flour rather than using straight all purpose white flour and I substituted a sweetener that I like to use called stevia for the brown sugar. I have made these with all purpose flour and brown sugar before and with my substitutions the muffins came out even fluffier and softer than usual. I was so pleased with the results and so was my husband! I also mixed the wet and dry ingredients separately the night before so that I could just throw them together quickly in the morning so the raisins soaked over night and I think it plumped them up. I also sometimes add in nuts such as chopped pecans or walnuts which add nice texture but I didn't have any on hand this time so they were left out, its a really adaptable recipe.These are really great tasting, nutritious muffins that you can feel so good serving to your family.

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled) *alternatively I used 1/3 cup almond meal, 2/3 cup brown rice flour and 1/4 cup all purpose flour.
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar *alternatively I used 1 tsp of liquid stevia
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda *I upped this to 1 Tbsp
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder *I upped this to 1 Tbsp
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg *I upped this to 1 tsp
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt *I upped this to 1 tsp
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup skim milk *I used whole because that's what we had
  • 4 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 medium ripe banana, mashed
I mixed all of the dry ingredients except the raisins together well and placed in an air tight container. I combined the wet ingredients together including the raisins and carrots and stored in an air tight container in the fridge overnight. In the morning I just combined the wet and dry ingredients in a large bowl and the scooped the muffins with an ice cream scoop into a well greased tin. Bake for 25 mins at 400 and you've got some super healthy morning muffins on your hands!

Valentines Yarn Wreath

I had some extra yarn and felt left over from Christmas yarn wreath making and thought that I should craft up a Valentines yarn wreath to get us all in a lovey dovey spirit around here! I went to Micheal's and picked up a wreath and even found a cute wooden heart that looked damaged on the back so they gave it to me for 60 percent off! Here is how it turned out...

I wrapped the wreath in a thick, fuzzy red yarn and then cut out the hearts from felt and placed them on the wreath in an alternating pattern and then used a fuzzy white yarn to make x's over the hearts. I was going for an argyle sweater kind of look. I think its super cute!

I have this wooden heart that I got at Micheal's and I'm thinking of attaching it to the wreath somehow.

This wreath was super easy to make, probably only took me a couple of hours total so you could make it in the amount of time it would take you to watch a movie (or over a couple of nap times like I did!) Its also super affordable, cost less than 5 dollars total! Love me a good yarn wreath! :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cinnamon Roasted Nutty Granola

I made some really delicious granola this morning and thought I should share the recipe with bloggy land. Not the best picture, I know, but the recipe is great!

1. First make the cinnamon roasted almonds. Mix 1 egg white with a tsp of water and whisk until frothy. Add in 1-2 Tbsp of brown sugar, 1-2 Tbsp of white sugar, a half tsp of salt and 3 Tbsp of Cinnamon. Stir together until the almonds are evenly coated.

2. Pour mixture out onto a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread out into an even layer. Bake @ 300 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 mins or so.

While the almonds are roasting...

3. In a large bowl mix together 2 C old fashioned rolled oats and 1 C flaked unsweetened coconut. Add in 3 Tbsp oil and 3 Tbsp honey. * I like to add in a Tbsp oil and then a Tbsp of honey alternating because that way the honey just slides out of the spoon.

4. Pour mixture out onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake @ 300 for about 30 mins stirring a couple of times during the baking process.

While the almonds and the granola finish off...

5. In the large bowl you used to mix up the oats and coconut, mix together 1/2 C rasins, 1/2 C dried cranberries and 1/2 C flax meal.

6. When the almonds are done pour half of the mixture into a bowl *you can keep these around as a snack (not that they will last long!) or package them up in cute cello baggies for your friends! Take the other half of the almonds and roughly chop them up on a large cutting board. Throw these into the bowl with the dried fruit mixture. When the granola is done toasting pour that into the big bowl too. Stir all of the ingredients together so that they are well combined.

Enjoy this granola on top of some greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey, on top of some cottage cheese, with some keifer or your favorite milk! Makes a delicious topping for ice cream or just a great snack! The thing I love about granola is that it is totally adaptable. You can add in whatever dried fruits you like rather than the rasins and dried cranberries, diced dried apricots or dried cherries perhaps? Or try to make the cinnamon roasted almonds with a different nut, I think pecans would be amazing. You could also throw in other stuff you like such as mini chocolate chips, yogurt chips, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds... the combinations are endless. Try making some granola today!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A new year and new birthdays!

I have so many half finished projects on the go right now and, as a result, half finished posts so that explains the lack of blogging on this blog! Oh well, that's just the way things are these days.

I have been thinking allot about my sons second birthday coming up at the end of March. His first birthday was kinda weird as we had just recently moved to a new country and he was only turning one so he didn't have very many friends (he didn't/doesn't really know what friends are anyways I guess!) The first birthday is more for the adults in the little persons life and although we had some new friends we had lots of old friends back home in Canada so it was kinda sad. SO we did a little party at the common room at the apartment we were living at, it was circle themed and I made a bunch of cute decorations but it was kinda random and drop in style and he only had two little friends come by. We did do another party a week later at my parents place up in Canada while we were visiting for Easter and since my extended family is basically dejavu of My Big Fat Greek Wedding it was pretty big. Since our little family had just relocated to California we celebrated it and had a beachy theme. It was super cute and my dear, sweet boy got to smash a cupcake in his face twice in one week- lucky kid!

This year hes turning two and old enough to kind of 'get' the whole party, gifts, games thing and since we have lived here for a while now we and he has more friends to invite to his birthday this year so I'm getting really excited to plan a shin dig. We also live in a house now (a little show box sized half of a house mind you) that has a yard so there is room to have some fun! I decided since Ive got a real B-O-Y on my hands to throw a backyard buggy bash. This kid is obsessed with bugs. Its going to be caterpillar/bug theme and 'going to use a lot of inspiration from the book A Very Hungry Caterpillar! I have been cruising around the internet and have found so much inspiration!

Here is a run down on my thoughts so far:

Some invitation inspiration...


Super cute handmade invitations. I am having mine made by a friend who designs cards but these are so cute!


In the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar the caterpillar eats different food every day and it goes like this:

  • Day 1: The main character is established. The hungry caterpillar eats through a single red apple.
  • Day 2: The caterpillar eats through 2 green pears.
  • Day 3: The caterpillar eats through 3 purple plums.
  • Day 4: The caterpillar eats through 4 red strawberries.
  • Day 5: The caterpillar eats through 5 whole oranges.
  • Day 6: On this day, the caterpillar devours his way through many, many different foods: chocolate cake, ice cream, a pickle, swiss cheese, salami, a cherry pie, a lollipop, a single sausage, a cupcake and a whole slice of watermelon. The caterpillar then gets a stomachache as a result of eating all this food.
I am thinking it would be fun to have all of these foods for the party and I have seen really cute ways to arrange them on a buffet table.

I am really excited to make a caterpillar cupcake cake and a caterpillar out of sandwiches!

A really cute centerpiece idea Ive seen is lollipops growing out of pots or buckets on the table.

Individual cherry pies in a jar for the adults perhaps? Represents the cherry pie he eats on day six!

My son is (unfortunately) into hitting things so a pinata is a must. I'm thinking I could fill it with fun things like plastic bugs from the dollar store. I found this super cute butterfly pinata like the butterfly in the book on Etsy!

I want to do a bean bag toss game and am hoping my husband will make a bug with an open mouth painted on a board to toss bean bags through. I was even thinking that I could find some fabric from the book and make some cute bean bags.

I think as a favor I am going to get the kids who come to the party a bug bucket thing with the magnifying glass on the lid to keep your bugs in and look at. I always liked that when I was a kid. So, I was also thinking that a way for them to use their bug holders would be doing a bug hunt. Apparently you can buy lady bugs online (like 1000 of them for 7 bucks!) and release them into your yard for the kids to 'hunt'. I know that my lil guy would go nuts for this.


For a craft I was thinking that we could make egg carton caterpillars. Egg cartons, paint and pipe cleaners is all it takes to make one of those lil critters and I think it would be a fun activity, affordable and age appropriate. The finger print caterpillar pictures are so cute too!


Lots of balloons in red and two shades of green. Ive even seen when they make the oh so popular pom poms that are popping up everywhere into a caterpillar and it looked super cute. People have also made the caterpillar out of Chinese paper lanterns or balloons, simple and affordable but big impact!

A sweet birthday banner that a mom made out of paper plates! How resourceful is that?!

Isnt this a great idea for a guest book? Use the actual book!

I really like the idea of making apple stamps out of a real apple to create your own thank you cards. Keeps with the theme of the party and is super green!

So, yeah, those are some ideas that I am excited about. We will see how many or few I actually do but either way its going to be a fun party and a great day!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Yarn Wreath

Before I begin this post let me show you some lovely yarn wreaths that I found browsing around online and you will see why I'm obsessed :)

Christmas yarn wreath- I love this one, so classic and pretty and I love what they did with the felt diamonds!

Easter yarn wreath! SO pretty and pastely!

Halloween yarn wreath- spooky yet pretty!

I must learn how to make this lovely flower... this is just gorgeous!

I love the unexpected color combo of mustard and mint on this one!

Corn flower blue is my very favorite color and I love the colors that they chose to accent this wreath- it really pops!

This is a really great modern looking Christmas wreath, I love how they hung the ornaments in the middle.

This winter I went a little Christmas craft crazy. OK, allot Christmas craft crazy. It was a joke in our house that we weren't able to enjoy a holiday meal around our table because it was always covered in Christmas craft supplies! I finished my last project and cleared and put away all crafting supplies the Sunday before Christmas :) I have a few Christmas craft posts saved up for next holiday season, that's for sure! One of the crafts I did was inspired by my friend Chiara over at Calico and Cupcakes . She made a gorgeous ribbon wreath and I happened to have some spools of random Christmas ribbon that I didn't know what to do with so I whipped one up- dontcha love when things work out like that? After I finished that craft it got me thinking about wreaths so I started googling images and stumbled upon the world of yarn wreaths.
Danielle over at Take Heart (where I originally found the inspiration for my first yarn wreath and a great step by step tutorial) says that she is smitten with yarn wreaths and I just have to say so am I! My husband officially deems me obsessed. Yarn wreath obsessed. I'm okay with that :) I love this cozy, fun and easy project so much that I even made a couple as gifts this holiday season. They are so easy and fun to make I am actually considering making one for every season and/or major holiday. I mean, how cute would a Valentines yarn wreath be? or an Easter yarn wreath? commeon!!! :) OK, obsessed might just accurately describe me. We've gone yarn wreath crazy over here... join me wont you?

I am not going to post a step by step tutorial as I followed a great one over at Take Heart and there are many available on the web. Here are a couple of my finished projects!

This is a really easy, inexpensive craft that is totally customizable to the person you are making it for or for the season or holiday. A large wreath takes only one skein of yarn which is about 3 bucks and a sheet of felt is only about 30 cents so including the straw wreath and whatever embellishments you want to use you can make a wreath for about 10 dollars. Easy, inexpensive and cute. :) I ♥ yarn wreaths!


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