Chrysanthemum Goji Longan Jelly

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It’s officially a monkey year. Here’s to a healthy, peaceful, and exuberant filled year ahead. 祝大家身體健康,幸福美滿,候運當頭!

While loving all the sweet treats and deliciously rich dishes available during the celebration of Chinese (Lunar) New Year, they could be uneasy on the stomach, heavy on the digestion, and not to mention dangerous to the waistline.

I might got just a solution to remedy those concerns. A cup of light and refreshing chrysanthemum goji longan tea comes to the rescue. Perhaps it makes a great beverage to serve during or after meal, do you agree? This tea makes an appearance in our household quick often, especially after it has been “jello-ized” into a light and refreshing, and ridiculously cute looking shaped snack.

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Not only they are pretty to look at, chrysanthemum (also known as mums) flowers and goji berries could also be consumed and had been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Just naming a few health benefits:

-A natural remedy for common cold
-Reduce of heat and inflammation
-A natural remedy for red or dry eye
-Help with blurred vision
-Calming nerves
-Promote healthy skin
-Help with insomnia

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With the weather warming up, I like to serve it cold and in a dessert form. With Valentine’s Day coming up, these would make lovely lovely lovely dessert for your loved ones (kids and adults). Each piece has a golden hue and a mild, flowery flavor similar to chamomile. Each bite is soft and juicy with a taste of goji berries and naturally sweetened longan. 4 ingredients is all you need to make this quick and easy dessert.

This dessert or snack is:

Refreshing
Thirst Quenching
Adorable looking
Flowery flavor
All Natural
Fat-free
Gluten-free
Processed sugar-free
Guilt-free
Caffeine-free
Bite sized
Finger food

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Leave a comment and let us know if you get a chance to try it. We love to stay in touch and hear your thoughts. Have a beautiful day!

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Chrysanthemum Goji Longan Jelly 

Serve: 24 jelly
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes + 1 hour
Ingredients
3 cup water
1/4 cup (roughly 5-7g) dried chrysanthemum flowers
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp honey (or agave nectar for vegan)
1 tbsp agar agar powder (or gelatin)
1 tbsp dried goji berries, soaked for 10-15 minutes, till puffy
7 dried longans, soaked till soft, about 15-20 minutes, and julienned
24 small moulds
Instructions
In a pot, bring water to a boil. Add chrysanthemum flower. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour tea over a mesh sifter to remove all chrysanthemum flowers. Pour tea back into pot. On low heat, add honey and stir to combine. Then, add agar agar powder and bring to a boil. Stir constantly to combine powder. Remove from heat.
If using silicone moulds, place them on a baking sheet or flat surface to assist moving from kitchen to fridge to avoid flipping and flopping. Fill moulds with tea halfway. Fridge for 5 minutes, or until a little solidify. Take them out and place goji berries and longan pieces into moulds (this way they will flow in the center of jelly). Fill moulds with remaining tea. Fridge for an hour or overnight, before serving.
Enjoy them cold!

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Peanut Sesame Seeds Brittle (花生芝麻酥糖)

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Chinese New Year celebration includes a lot of sweet treats. Starting the new year off with eating sweets is believed to represent a year of sweetness and happiness ahead.

Peanut sesame seeds brittle is one of the common sweets easily found at an oriental grocery this time of the year. It is my favorite, ever since a child. It’s super crunchy. It’s sweet. It’s unstoppable.

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Instead of buying, this year I wanted to make my own. First time playing with maltose and candy making, it was intimating and fun. But it required just a bit of patience.

I got a bit greedy (alright, very greedy). I threw in lots of seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, black and white sesame seeds) into the ingredients. The result was unbelievably great. So incredibly glad that I did. Rather sad to separate them. One bite and got all the seeds I like (licking lips). It makes perfect snack bites for the little one, as well as Valentine’s Day treat.

Leave a comment to let us know how you like it when you get a chance to try it. Have a beautiful day!

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Peanut Sesame Seeds Brittle (花生芝麻酥糖)

Serve: 8
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients
1 cup raw blanched peanut
1/2 cup black sesame seeds
1/2 cup white sesame seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maltose
1/2 cup water
Instructions
Preheat oven at 350F. Put peanut in a bag. Pound or crushed into smaller pieces. Lay flat on a cookie sheet. Roast for 15 – 20 minutes, or till lightly brown. Meanwhile, in a pan on low heat, stir sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds until lightly toasted or fragrant. Pour into a bowl with roasted peanut. Stir to combine. Set aside.
In a pot on medium-low heat, bring water, sugar and maltose to a boil. Stir constantly to avoid burnt. Cook until sugar caramelize, or lightly brown, about 20-30 minutes. Turn heat to low.
Prepare a baking sheet lined parchment paper or a cutting board. Pour peanut mixture into sugar. Stir to combine. Immediately transfer mixture onto prepared baking sheet or cutting board. Roll flat with a rolling pin (wet with water to prevent sticking). Let cool and pound it down into small pieces, or cut it with a knife. (I let it cool too long that I couldn’t cut so I pound it down with a meat pounder).
Take a bite and enjoy your hard work!

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No Refined-Sugar: Date Glutinous Rice Cake (Zhao Nian Gao – 無糖棗年糕)

I am in full swing getting ready for Chinese New Year, which is a big eating festive celebration (like Thanksgiving and Chrustmas). A nice coincidence, this year CYN’s Eve is on the same day as Superbowl 50 (setting right in our hood). Call for a double feast, don’t you think?

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Chinese New Year was my favorite childhood festival for many reasons. One of them is having a new outfit to wear, getting red envelopes stuffed with fortune money, playing with fireworks, lion dancing right in front of our house and eating lots and lots of special sweet treats and candies. My mom, aunts and grandma would be busy cleaning the house, getting rid of every spiderweb, cooking and steaming, stuffing red envelopes, mail greeting cards to family and friends with well wishes. In tradition, this is called the “many nian” (忙年), which starts on the 23rd or 24th of December on Lunar Calendar. It is symbolic of saying goodbye to the olds and bad lucks and to wish upon a new year of happiness and fortune (辞旧迎新).

Such big festival is celebrated with lots of sweets. I will be sharing some traditional and specialty sweet dishes from my hometown with you, family and friends. And to introduce the customs of Chinese New Year to Zara through goodies.

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First, “nian gao” (年糕) is a very important and must have sweet for the celebration. It is symbolic of “nian nian gao sheng” (年年高升), which translates to “getting higher year after year” in English. It implies the promise of a higher income, a higher position, the growth and height of children, advancing to a higher level of students, etc.

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Nian gao requires only 4 ingredients: sugar, glutinous rice flour, water and oil. However, my version uses 3 different types of dates as the sweetener to replace processed sugar. It adds extra fragrant and health benefit to the rice cake. Dates are rich in fiber, iron, vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and a great source of energy replenishment. 

The rice cake is chewy, sticky and fun to eat for kids because you could pull on it like gummies. It taste sweet but not thick, with a light fragrance of dates and coconut (from oil).

Let me know and leave a comment if you get a chance to try it out. Have a beautiful day! 

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Date Glutinous Rice Cake (No Processed Sugar)

 

Serve: 10
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes

 

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups of warm water
10 dried black dates
10 dried red dates
3 dried honey dates
1 tbsp coconut oil
3 cups glutinous rice

 

Preparation
Fill bowl with warm water. Soak dates for an hour or till soft.

 

Remove dates from water. Pour water into a pot and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, pit dates. Add pitted dates to boiling water and simmer for 30 minutes with lid on. Remove dates and any crumbs through a sifter. Set aside. Add coconut oil to water (now become date juice) and stir to combine. Turn off heat.

 

Pour juice into flour while hot. Stir to mix with chopsticks until smooth. Set aside batter.

 

In a food processor, ground dates into a paste. Then add paste to batter. Stir to combine.

 

Pour batter in a pan coated with coconut oil and steam for 50 minutes. Let cool completely. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and serve.

 
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Gluten-Free Protein-Rich Cuttable Cookies

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Oh, I found these cookies hidden in my archive from last Christmas. I ate them but forgot to share. However, for you, they don’t have to wait till the next Christmas to be in your cookie jars. Everyday should be celebrated with soft and warm sweet cookies.

These cookies are perfect for any occasion. Valentine’s Day is around the corner and I am thinking to bake some for Zara to share with her little friends.

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Made with protein-rich almond flour, healthy fat coconut flour, and all natural sweeteners maple syrup and blackstrap molasses, these cookies are surprisingly nutritious while their flavors are delicious and gluten-free.

Leave me a comment if you get a chance to try them. Have a beautiful day!

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Gluten-Free Protein-Rich Cuttable Gingerbread

Serve: 16 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes + 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
1 1/4 cup blanched almond meal/flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp of salt
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 egg
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, and mix until a thick dough is formed. Form dough into a ball. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes in the fridge, to make sure it’s nice and firm before scooping.
Preheat the oven to 350F degree. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Take dough out of the fridge. To make a round cookie, drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a wet fork to flatten each dough into desired cookie thickness. To use dough to cut shapes, roll dough, into desired thickness, with a rolling pin (I find it easy to roll without any sticking to rolling pin if lay a ceramic wrap on top of the batter) and use your choice of cookie cutter shape for the cookies.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until firm around the edges or lightly golden brown, but still soft in the center.
Allow to cool in baking sheet for 10 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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Gluten-Free Protein-Rich Cuttable Sugar Cookie

adapted from Primal Palate
Serve: 28 – 30 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes + 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
1 1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
In a large mixing bowl, add the coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, salt, and raw cane sugar. Stir to combine all ingredients evenly.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, and coconut oil
Pour the egg mixtures into the dry ingredients and blend with a spatula until smooth. Form dough into a ball and chill the dough for 30 minutes in the fridge, to make sure it’s nice and firm before scooping.
Preheat the oven to bake at 350F degree, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Take dough out of the fridge. To make a round cookie, drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a wet fork to flatten each dough into desired cookie thickness. To use dough for cutting shapes, roll dough, into desired thickness, with a rolling pin (I find it easy to roll without any sticking to rolling pin if lay a plastic wrap on top of dough) and use your choice of cookie cutter shape for the cookies.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until slightly golden brown on the bottom
Allow to cool in baking sheet for 5 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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Gluten-Free Protein-Rich Orange Cresent Cookies

adapted from Paleo Crumbs
Serve: 28 – 30 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
2 cup almond meal
2/3 cup coconut flour
3 tbsp tapioca flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
1 orange zest
2 whole egg
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 raw honey
Preheat the oven to bake at 350F degree, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, add the coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, salt, raw cane sugar, and orange zest. Stir to combine all ingredients evenly.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, honey and coconut oil.
Pour the egg mixtures into the dry ingredients and blend with a spatula until smooth. Form dough into a big ball. Take a small amount of dough, and roll into a small log. Place small log on lined baking tray, and form it into a “smile” shape. Repeat until all your dough is used up.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until slightly golden on the bottom. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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Chocolate Chip & Fig Granola 

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Here’s one simple thing I’ve been doing since the year began (and one of my to dos in 2016) that has made excited and happy: think of a recipe, make it immediately. I know if I save it to my cook-it-one-day queue list, I will never see it again. Cooking/baking is an instant impulse. So dig right in when one feels that moment.

So far, it had been great. Starting out with an easy one, I made granola (this was on my wanted to do since last year and now I finally could check it off).

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The best thing about homemade granola is that I get to pick and choose what I like to go in the ingredients. Hehehe…dark chocolate chip (tasty ones) was a must. I had been dying to have figs, but dried figs will do for now (since it is not in season). Not to mention, I get to control the amount and type of sugar, in this case, all natural, that goes into the granola. It is well balanced in taste.

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This is one granola with every bite oh so

Sweet (just enough)
Chocolately
Fruity
Nutty
Wholesome
Crunchy
Crunchy
Crunchy

Did I just mention “crunchy” 3 times? Wait, 4? Well, it’s REALLY 4 times crunchier than your regular granola.

I sprinkle a handful on my greek yogurt. Walt likes his with whole milk like a cereal snack. Topping it on a bowl of oatmeal also makes a nutritious breakfast.

This recipe makes a big batch that could last for a week. But it is so hard to keep our hands off of them, more than half is gone (and I just made it yesterday). Next time, I’ll remember to patch lock the jar.

Hope you will like them as much as we do. Leave a message and let us know. Have a beautiful day!

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Chocolate Chip & Fig Granola

Serve: 8
Cook Time: 40 minutes
2 cups rolled oat
1 cup crushed pecans
1/2 cup sliced almond
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup (8) dried fig
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp raw cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 cup dark chocolate chip
Preheat oven to 350F.
Lay oats, pecans, and almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer them into a large mixing bowl. Add seeds, coconut, fig, and cinnamon. Stir to mix. Set aside.
Reduce oven heat to 300F.
In a sauce pan on low heat, melt the oil. Add syrup, sugar, extract and salt until dissolve and bubble. Remove from heat. Pour over the nut mixture. Stir to coat. Let cool for 5 – 10 minutes. Then add chocolate chips (otherwise chocolate would melt). Stir to mix.
Lay a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with parchment paper. Spread the granola evenly across the pan. Bake at 300F for 25 minutes. Let cool. Store in airtight container for snacking.

 

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Holiday Morning Oatmeal

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My life is delicious, like this bowl of oatmeal – The Holiday Morning Oatmeal

Being a mom and a wife, life is colorful and abundant. As these feelings reflect in my bowl of oatmeal (such as this one). Decorating it with colorful fresh fruits. Layering it with different flavors. Adding texture for richer taste bud. I enjoy this deliciousness.  

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Since when oatmeal is a breakfast staple to help kick start my day? I can’t remember. But I love how a bowl of warm, creamy and sweet porridge wakes up my body making me feel fuzzy and huggy.

‘Tis the season to have a Holiday Morning Oatmeal. It’s like eating a slice of pumpkin pie and gingerbread all in one except in a bowl that is hearty and healthy. Say “good morning” to your dessert fix without the guilt. 

Persimmon is the fruit of this season – fresh and sweet and perfectly pair for this spiced pumpkin flavor oatmeal. Personally, I prefer the fuyu persimmon because of its crunchiness.   And this crunch balances out the smooth and creamy texture of the porridge. Eat up before they are gone. 

Spend 15 minutes on Sundays (nights before bedtime if you want to save extra precious sleeping minutes in the mornings) making a big pot of this all natural, smooth, creamy, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and healthy oat porridge for the week to come. Holiday spirit will be dancing in your mouth with every bite.

Let me know if you give this recipe a try. Tag #abeautifuldayblog on Instagram or Facebook. Or leave a comment below.

Enjoy your beautiful day!

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Coconut Pumpkin Oatmeal

Serving: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/3 cups steel-cut oats
1/2 cup Pumpkin purée
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp all spice
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp maple syrup

Toppings:
Pecans
Shredded coconut
Sliced Persimmons
Ginger candies
Mint

Preparation:
Bring water to a boil

Add oats to boiling water. Bring to a boil and turn heat down to a simmer, covered, for 10 – 15 minutes till thickens and soft.

Mix in pumpkin purée, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and spice. Lastly, add coconut milk and syrup. Give it a stir and turn off heat. Scoop in a bowl and decorate with toppings. Serve hot.

Note: Oatmeal could be cooked ahead of time. When is ready to eat, scoop a serving into a bowl and add 1/3 cup of any type of milk (regular, almond or coconut) to oatmeal and reheat in microwave. Just as smooth and creamy. 

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Chocolate Chia Pudding 

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Feeling the blue. Feeling the tears. Feeling the helpless. Not because of the gloomy weather I suppose. But perhaps about the mass shooting tragedy in San Bernardino, in my very own home state. Grieving for the many many innocent lives who were taken away from this world by the acts of inhumanity. How could we feel safe anymore in this world when it is increasingly scary (especially for our little ones) and dangerous anytime?

Sorry if I made you feeling sad too. Perhaps a bowl of merry cheery chocolate chia pudding will pick us up and divert our heavy thoughts. As Hippocrates once said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

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I am a bit late jumping on the chia pudding but better late than never. I could now happily replace my favorite tapioca pudding (which was just high in carbs) with this bowl of wholesome, healthy, and delicious alternative.

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Chia seeds is a staple ingredient I now have in my pantry at all times. I don’t see why not when it is a superfood packs with potassium, fiber, omega-3 (more than salmon!). The BEST reason to incorporate these black little gel like seeds into the everyday diet is it helps weight loss by making you feel full and reduces food cravings. Perhaps those stubborn last few pounds that I could never lose could be achieved this way, slow and steady, making chia pudding as my breakfast, snack, dessert and/or dinner.

Oh, try prinkle them all over your Christmas baking goods. An easy way to get them into your little ones diet. If not, the chcocolate chia pudding will do the trick as well (tested on Zara).

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I love how this bowl of pudding is so versatile. Basically, any topping could be added to complement its taste. I am excited just thinking about all the possible toppings I could put on my next bowl.

Toppings
Fruits: mangoes, apples, peach, cherries, figs, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, mulberries, grapes, kiwis, pineapple, cantaloupe, passion fruits, durian, jackfruits, etc.
Dried fruits: goji berries, dried cranberries, raisins, apple rings, banana chips, etc.
Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistaschio, chestnut, pine nuts.
Shredded or flaked coconut
Chocolate nibbles are great too.
Sweet sauces (molasses, chcocolate sauce, peanut butter, etc)

Enjoy your bowl of beautiful! May it bring you happiness. And color and hope into this world.

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Chocolate Chia Pudding
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour – overnight
Serving: 4

Ingredients
2 cups unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk (or regular milk for non-dairy)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup honey (or vegan, use agave nectar)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup pomegranate kernels
1 banana, sliced
1/2 cup pecans

Preparation
In a large bowl, mix together milk, cocao powder, and honey.

Add chia seeds and stir to combine

Cover and chill in fridge for an hour or preferrably overnight. Chia seeds will expand, turning the mixture into pudding or gel like texture.

Portion into bowls and serve cold with desired fresh fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, sweet sauces, etc.

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3 Minute Waffle Sandwich

3 Minute Waffle Sandwich | A Beautiful Day

Happy Happy Thanksgiving! Hope everyone gobbled, continue to gobble, and/or gobbling a belly of warm fuzzy comforting food.

It is freezing here in California. It’s late in the afternoon and I am still in my sweatpants. Yup, it’s stretchy sweatpants day at home. And stretchy sweatpants at Thanksgiving dinner later tonight. It’s the day where you wear stretchy pants and people look at you with “envy” eyes at dinner because they regret putting on their fancy pantsy. Muahahahahaha…looking good is not on the agenda. EATING.EATING. EATING. is the only agenda I have in mind.

3 Minute Waffle Sandwich | A Beautiful Day

3 Minute Waffle Sandwich | A Beautiful Day

I am thankful for no cooking today. Woohoo!!!!! (popping a bottle of champagne). I am thankful for Walt and Zara, my sweet family who love me unconditionally and make me feel wholesome. I am thankful for amazing friends who have touched my heart and belly (yes, they are great chefs). I am grateful for you and all my readers, who are still sticking around with me. And lastly, I am thankful for these easy breezy stuffed waffles.

3 Minute Waffle Sandwich | A Beautiful Day

It’s a sexy, classy and modern twist to our breakfast toasts in the morning. Goodbye, old boring way. Oh, make it a dessert too. Please! So versatile, all you do is have fun and go wild with toppings.

3 Minute Waffle Sandwich | A Beautiful Day

I made a peanut butter with banana for Walt and me on multi-grain toasts (keeping up with our healthy lifestyle). And for Zara, I spread some Nutella with banana for Zara (no toddler could resist nutella, not even adults). 3 minutes or less, breakfast and/or dessert is served. We were warm and fuzzy in our PJs.

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday!

3 Minute (French Toast) Waffle Sandwich

Preparation Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: > 3 minutes
Serving: 2

Ingredients
1 egg
2 slices of toast
Peanut Butter
Banana, sliced
Nutella
A waffle maker
Coconut oil, spray

Other Topping Options
Chocolate chips
Almond butter
Any flavor of fruit jam
Any fresh fruits, sliced

Preparation
Whisk egg in a bowl until light and foamy.

Dip each side of toasts in egg and place on a plate.

Spread peanut butter (desired amount) on one side of one toast. Then, top it with sliced banana. Close it with the other slice of toast.

Plug in waffle maker. Spray with coconut oil. Place the sandwich in the center. Close and press the lid. Wait till green light is on, it’s done!

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Quinoa Bibimbap (Vegan)

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Vegan. Quinoa. Bibimbap.

Love. Love. Love.

Who needs rice, right? Rice (bad carbs) is so in the past.

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I made this dish when I am hungry but want to have a dish that is satisfying the taste bud and not go hungry later.

It was unintentional to make it a vegan style, but Walt (a meat-lover) totally couldn’t stop scooping it off the bowl. It was THAT comfort and soul satisfying. Vegan style.

If you prefer to have it with an egg or 2, or wonder what other veggies to add, click on this recipe on the blog.

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This 1-bowl recipe is everything.

Colorful
Healthy
Tons of veggies
Gluten-free
Low carbs
Lean protein
Tasty
Crunchy
Sweet
Spicy (just enough)
Satisfying

You will find yourself licking the bowl to the last piece of quinoa. And then tummy rubbing. Ahhhh, so satisfying.

This is Zara approved (see her hand above?). This is holiday-watch-your-waistline approved. This is weight loss challenge approved. This is definitely a 21 Day Fix approved. Yay or nay? (Autumn Calabrese, what do you say?)

Tip: Try eating it with a long handle, stainless spoon (like the one in picture). Something to be said about it making the dish extra soul satisfying.

Let me know if you give this recipe a try. Tag #abeautifuldayblog on Instagram or Facebook. Or leave a comment below.

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Quinoa Vegan Bibimbap

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serving: 2 large bowls

Ingredients:
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 box firm tofu, cubed
Pinch of salt
Pinch of grounded black pepper
1 small carrot, sliced or julienned
1 small bell pepper, julienned
4 shitake mushroom, julienned
1 cup of bean sprouts, washed
2 cups spinach, washed and drained
1 persian cucumber, sliced
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 tbsp seasame oil
1 tube of bibimbap red sauce

Optional Toppings
1/4 cup black bean (store bought)
1/2 cup seaweed (store bought)
1/2 cup store bought marinated daikon
Toasted sesame seeds

Preparation:
Pat dry cubed tofu with paper towel. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. On high heat, drizzle 1/2 of coconut oil to a frying pan. Wait for the pan to heat, add tofu. Stir fry for 5 minutes, or till dry and golden brown. Set aside.

Drizzle the other half of coconut oil into frying pan. Add carrot. Add bell peppers. Add mushroom. You can either section them out in the pan or stir them together. Both ways yield equal deliciousness. Cook for a few munutes, or till soft. Set aside.

Stir fry bean sprout for a minute. Set aside.

Add spinach to the heated pan. Turn off immediately. Let spinach sit in the pan till it shrinks. Set aside.

Plate 1/2 of the cooked quinoa in the center of a bowl. Decorate the different veggies and tofu around quinoa. Drizzle some sesame oil and bibimbap sauce on top. Serve

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Orange Almond Flourless Cake 

We all have sweet tooth cravings from time to time. Okay, all the time, like me. Eating healthy shouldn’t stop us from having cake. Because cake could be as healthy as a bowl of oatmeal. I have found THE cake that loves your waistline, your heart, and your skin.

Never have I thought flourless cake could taste soooooooo good and be soooooooo moist. With the healthy lifestyle we are maintaining (after doing the 21 Day Fix challenge), it felt right to bake a carbs, sugar and gluten free cake for Zara’s birthday. After all, Walt and I will be eating it, most of it. In fact, we did and it is all gone by the time I finish this post.

Orange Almond Flourless Cake-31

If healthy mean I can eat cake, everyday, sign me up. Oh, yes! (hands raised).

Everything about this cake is organic. All NATURAL.

I am a novice when it come to baking. Often I would do something wrong during the process that the end product is not like what it supposed to be (Guilty! Not very good at measuring and following instruction). Hah, this one is easy as a piece of cake (no pun intended), there’s no room for error. No fluffing, no whipping, no handstanding. And did I mention the ingredient list is short? Yup, that’s right. 1.2.3.4.5.6. Wooohoo! Some love for the wallet!

Orange Almond Flourless Cake-21

Can’t say enough, it’s one of those healthy cakes – that loves your waistline, your heart and your skin (injected with Vitamin C). Top it with desired fruits to make it all colorful, pretty and happy. (Only because it’s Zara’s birthday, I added Nutella and M&Ms candies leftovers from Halloween as those are her favorite chocolates.)

This cake is made with love and filled with happiness. From my kitchen to yours.

Orange Almond Flourless Cake

adapted from SBS’s Food

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours + 50 minutes
Serving Size: 10

Ingredients:
2 orange
6 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

Topping
Strawberries
Raspberries
Blueberries
Blackberries
Grapes
Kiwis
Mangoes
Oranges
Apples
Nuts
Shredded coconut
Almond flake/crushed
*Nutella
*M&Ms
Anything desire

Preparation
Wash the oranges. Place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Drain the oranges, set aside. Allow to cool to room temperature. Use a blender to puree the skin and meat (not so much of the juice) till it becomes a paste. This step could be done ahead of time.

Preheat oven at 350F.

Line a spring form tin or 9″ round tin with baking paper. Set aside.

Whisk together 6 eggs and honey in a bowl until well combined and honey melted. Add the orange puree and stir to combine. Mix in the almond meal, baking powder and baking soda. Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, till top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Decorate with fruits or any topping desire. Serve!

Have a beautiful day!

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The Best Omelette Cupcake

Egg is my best friend when it comes to protein as well as quick easy meals for muscle recovery. Our household could go through 48 eggs in less than 2 weeks (including the little one)!

Me and WT have been doing this 21 Day Fix challenge. Yup, the one and only, 21 Day Fix with Autumn Calabrese. We are 5 days in our round 2. To pump it up, WT went out of his way to get the extreme version. They are not kidding with the added word “EXTREME”. The workouts are kicking butts. I don’t lightly say this. It is TOUGH!!! Very TOUGH!!!!! But so happy, so sore after each workout each time. For fuel, we turn to eggs as our source of protein and for a easy quick fix meal.

I have always love eggs. So this egg diet is quite easy to adapt too.

I love them sunny side up (as a dip with toast).

I love them boiled (with oozing yolks).

I love them scrambled (fluffy with ketchup).

I love them omelette. 1 egg omelette? Is that possible? And in cute little cupcake? No way! Yes way! Don’t want to spend more than 10 minutes in the kitchen chopping and cooking, look no further.

This savory cupcake light on the stomach but heavy on flavor without any artificial seasoning. This savory cupcake is moist and fluffy, even hours later. All right, even overnight. Yes, you heard it right. Overnight. Just pop them in a oven toaster the next morning and it will moist and crispy again.

Omelette Cupcake 102115-20 

Double the ingredients and make extra. Otherwise, you will regret that you didn’t. Like I did.

     Omelette Cupcake 102115-21

Perfect for breakfast. Ideal for snack. Easy for lunch. Time-free for dinner. And did I forget to mention that toddlers and kids love them? Oh yes, they do!

Omelette Cupcake

Preparation Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 + 3mins
Serving: 4 (8 cupcakes)

Ingredients:
8 large eggs
3 cups spinach (packed), chopped
3/4 cup mushroom, sliced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp green onion, chopped
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp lite shredded cheese
Coconut oil spray
8 medium sized cupcake/muffin liner or tin

Preparation:
Preheat over at 375F. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk eggs until foamy (Tip: Foamy = fluffy and airy cupcake).

Mix in spinach, mushroom, onion, garlic, green onion, salt and pepper.

Spray cupcake/muffin tin or liner with coconut oil. Fill each holder with egg mixture.

Bake for 17-20 minutes, in middle rack, till is set. Take it out and sprinkle a small pinch of shredded cheese on the top of the cupcake. Put it back into the oven and broil on high for 3 minutes, till is brown.

Serve. Drizzle with some hot sauce is a personal preference. 

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Thai Beef Stew Noodle 

The weather has gotten a tiny bit cooler and gloomier in the morning. Well, maybe because I have been waking up super early (an hour before sunrise) by Zara. She is an alarm clock; everyday at the same time, she rolls on my tummy and slaps lightly in the face to make sure I wake up to feed and play with her. Yup, she is ready to play by 6am, and that is on a good day.

There’s nothing better than to have a bowl of warm noodle soup for breakfast. Especially on a cold morning, a bowl of Thai Beef Stew Noodle sounds so delicious. Just to switch things up. Do you know in Asian countries, noodle soup is often one’s favorite breakfast choice? My dad used to take my brother and I to go have Pho (Vietnamese beef noodle) on our way to school when we were young living in Vietnam. We believe starting the day with a warm meal keeps the stomach all cozy and fuzzy, which the body would then feel nice and warm. The night before, I would cook a big pot of this Thai Beef Stew to eat as dinner with rice noodle. And would have leftovers to eat as breakfast the next morning.

I don’t often cook with lemongrass. Just because it is not always available at the supermarket. But I love dishes with lemongrass, like this dish which I stumbled upon Bon Appetite one day. I love the aroma it gives off to the dish and the house while the beef is simmered. In this dish, because the lemongrass is processed into a paste, you won’t need to chew on the pieces of lemongrass, which sometimes feel like chewing on grass when the lemongrass is tough and dried.

Note: when select lemongrass, make sure that the color is greenish and smell fresh. To lengthen its shelf life, wrap lemongrass in paper towel or newspaper and store in a dry place in the fridge.

Thai Beef Stew Noodle
modified from Bon Appetite 

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 
Servings: 6

Ingredients:
4 lemongrass stalks, trimmed, tough outer layers removed, thinly sliced and minced
6 cloves garlic chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cubed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 whole star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoon fish sauce
¼ cup light brown sugar
4 medium shallots, quartered
3 carrots, peeled, diagonally sliced
1 bag of fresh rice noodles
Basil (for serving)
Green onion (for serving)
Lime wedges (for serving)

Preparation:
Throw lemongrass, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, and 2 chiles into a food processor. Blend until a fine paste forms.

Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook beef, turning occasionally, until browned. If necessary, work in batches till all the beef is cooked. Transfer to plate. Set aside. 

In the same pan, cook lemongrass paste, stirring often, until lemongrass is beginning to soften, 5–8 minutes. Mix in star anise, cinnamon, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, beef with any juice, and 10 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until beef is tender and liquid is slightly thickened, 2 – 2.5 hours.

Add shallots and carrots to stew and cook, partially covered, until vegetables are soft and beef is falling apart, 35–45 minutes. 

Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.

Divide noodles among bowls and ladle stew over. Top with basils and green onions. Serve with lime wedges.

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Miss You

Hello Everyone! You are so so so so so missed!!!!!

I am back. After taking a loooooooooong vacation (2 1/2 year?) from blogging. During my off time, I was really embracing the experience of motherhood and enjoying every second I have with my family. And I still am doing that. There’s nothing in this world that I would want to swap my job with.

Zara Eating Madeleine

Meanwhile, I’d learn to cook some really really delicious recipes and ready to add to my repertoire. Looking forward to sharing them with you!

Dreamy Pink Peony

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The Sweetness of a Matcha Latte

Matcha Latte

Instead getting a dose of my usual boba milk tea, I opted for a matcha latte this afternoon.

It had been a while that I have had in my head to make a matcha latte. I made a trip to a Japanese market to load on matcha powder. I am fond of tea and milk and mixing them together seem so fitting for an afternoon drink.

Matcha Latte

Matcha is both a stimulant and a relaxant, perfect for focusing on work, meditation, exercise or play. It is an antioxidant wonder  (17 times of wild blueberries) which is great for health.

Matcha Latte

This drink is great to add a little honey to sweeten the taste and bitterness of the matcha. It is also a great refreshment for a nice little gathering with friends.

Matcha Latte

Matcha Latte

Serving: 1 cup

Ingredients:
1 tsp matcha powder
2 tsp water
8 oz milk, soy milk, or almond milk
honey

Preparation
Mix together matcha powder and water in a cup, until powder all dissolve.

Bring milk to a boil in a small pot on medium heat. Stir frequently.

Pour hot milk to matcha mixture while stirring.

Add honey to sweeten the drink.

Enjoy!
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Spicy Italian Sausage Pasta with Vodka Sauce

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“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”- Albert Einstein Fun time with great companies and … Continue reading

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