Saturday, November 29, 2014


I love the fall season and one of my favorite parts of it is Thanksgiving. I love everything about it...the food, the family, the Black Friday sales. So this year when Thanksgiving was held at my house, I was so excited and so ready to get into the spirit. 

Usually, my mom makes the entire feast, but this year I offered to make all the side dishes and leave the turkey to her. I hope to one day be able to make a turkey as good as hers, but making the sides was a good start for me. In addition, I went crazy over making the table setting this year and actually prepared for it for weeks in advance. Everyone's Thanksgiving is special and I hope mine can inspire some of you for next year!

So I began preparing the table setting a couple of weeks before the big day...

I made these burlap place settings with burlap ribbon and washable fabric glue. I did it by folding different lengths on a 4 x 22 inch cut of ribbon. See next photo...

On a 22 inch ribbon, fold 2 inches one way, 6 inches the other way, then 5 inches from the side you folded 2 inches from. Glue with washable fabric glue and place a heavy object on it to seal thoroughly.

Then I made the centerpieces using a large cylindrical vase and adding small pumpkins, squash, and walnuts and topping it off with a candle. I wrapped it up in the leftover burlap ribbon from the place settings and a festive bow. 

I wanted keep a rustic undertone to the table so I arranged mason jars as glasses instead of regular cups. And to top off I added paper straws that fit in with the Thanksgiving color scheme. 

The drinks I made for our guests were so yummy. In a pitcher, I just added 4 cups of orange juice to 1 cup of vodka, a few tablespoons of the syrup in maraschino cherry jars, 3 rosemary sprigs, and 2 lemons. 

Appetizers should be kept light so people save room for the Thanksgiving feast! I decided to make a veggie tray shaped like a turkey. Gobble Gobble! 

This was my take on stuffing. To 1.5 pounds of rosemary olive oil bread, I added simmered onions, roasted mushrooms, parsley, sage, thyme, and garlic and I mixed it all with 3 cups of chicken stock and 2 eggs. Baked it at 375 for 30 minutes and voila!

My Brussels Sprouts were a huge hit this year. I halved and  roasted the sprouts in olive oil, salt, and pepper at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. When they came out of the oven, I mixed them with cranberries and walnuts and finally topped it off with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese. The balance of the ingredients can be tailored to your liking! I like the taste of tart cranberries so I added a lot of those. 

Okay guys, this green bean casserole was by far the favorite side dish of the night and I like to attribute it to the fact that I did NOT use canned cream of mushroom soup! Instead I made a Bechamel sauce, which is just 5 tablespoons of melted butter mixed with 4 tablespoons of flour. Add 4 cups of heated milk and season with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg. I mixed this sauce with blanched green beans, roasted mushrooms, and French fried onions in a buttered pan. Finally, I topped it with more French fried onions and baked it at 350 for 25 minutes. So delicious!

Sorry (not sorry) that half of these mashed potatoes were eaten before I could get a picture of it, but apparently it was that good. My favorite potatoes to use are red potatoes because the consistency is really thick but still smooth. It's easy to get lumps out with red potatoes, and I like my mashed potatoes without the lumps! You can even leave the skins on, as the skins on red potatoes are actually nutritious and have been said to improve cognitive function. I added 1 cup of warm milk and 4 tablespoons of butter to make it extra soft and creamy.
Not pictured: Cranberry sauce made by adding 1 cup cranberries to 2 cups of boiling water with orange zest in it. The cranberries will burst in the heat to make the sauce!

I finally finished off the meal with a Rose Apple Pie. I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I got it from and it is to die for. It's topped with a bourbon glaze and it's oh so decadent. 

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving this year and that this post served as some inspiration for next year! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Plan Check.

I'm always on the hunt for the next great burger in LA and when I heard about Plan Check, I knew I had to try it immediately. There are three locations, I went to the Downtown LA location and it did not disappoint. And the $6 happy hour old fashions didn't hurt either!

We sat in a half indoor, half outdoor area and overlooked Downtown as we enjoyed our dinner.

Checked in on Yelp for free beer nuts. I don't know what herbs these are roasted with, but it was very tasty.

Plan Check is known for their "ketchup leather". It's a "slice" of ketchup if you looks like a slice of cheese but it's a concentrated ketchup that melts in your mouth when you eat it. It was so amazing...

Yummy ketchup leathery goodness. 

The Korean BBQ burger was also really yummy, but my plan is to eat the Chef's Favorite burger, which has a sunny fried egg and bacon. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Trick or Treat.

If you know me, you know that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and I love to celebrate it. Who says its just a holiday for kids? This year I really got into the spirit and tried out different activities to really celebrate. Because let's face it, nothing says fall like Halloween treats and crafts and getting a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks simply won't cut it!

Decorating Pumpkins

I started out the week decorating pumpkins with my boyfriend. He's more a carver, whereas I like to paint and glue stuff on my pumpkins. To each his own, but all I'm gonna say is that I won a pumpkin carving/decorating contest at work with one of my pumpkins!

Obviously, the check engine light is my boyfriend's and very true to his character. I used washable tempera paint and sticky rhinestones and plastic spiders for my pumpkins. 

Halloween Witch Truffle Treats

Next, I wanted to make a Halloween themed treat for a work potluck and I also wanted to try my hand at making chocolate truffles so this was a great recipe for me to try out. They're little witch truffles!

The decorating needs a little perfecting but what I did was make the truffles by mixing 1.5 cups of bittersweet chocolate with 2/3 cup of cream, let it sit for a couple of hours and roll them into 1 inch balls and stuck a tic tac in it as a nose. I then dipped them in candy coating and topped them with an Oreo + Hershey's kiss hat.


I was lucky enough to attended two costume parties this year. One was on actual Halloween day and one was a week before for my friend's birthday. Naturally, I had two costumes, both put together by me, instead of store bought. At my friend's birthday, I went as Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's. My friends' costumes were so cute as well!

On actual Halloween day, I went to a party and I went all out with my and my boyfriend's costumes. I really like being creative with our costumes rather than typical girls' sexy costumes. Last year we were a sushi chef and a piece of sushi and the year before we were Ash Ketchum and Pikachu. And this year, we went as Roger Rabbit and Jessica Rabbit!

I made Roger's bow tie with felt and hot glue and pretty much bought every piece separately and put it together. It's so much more fun having a creative costume rather than a common store bought costume.

Rise of the Jack O'Lanterns

Finally, I went to The Rise of the Jack O'Lanterns at Descanso Gardens where over 5,000 carved pumpkins were put on display. The pumpkins had carvings of celebrities and popular TV shows and even multiple pumpkins put together to create elaborate works of art. Here are some of my favorite pieces I saw...

Tulips pumpkins. 
The details on this solar system is incredible!

                      Sinatra and Walter. 

Chinese calendar. 
It's very faint but I see the can't escape this family. 

I hope everyone had a happy Halloween!