Friday, September 08, 2006

Ice, ice (Kachang) baby!

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It's a known fact that the original Los Angeles farmer's market offers an endless array of delectable treats. I was thrilled to find out recently that one of those treats can be found at Singapore's Banana Leaf.

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My Dad lived in Singapore for many years, and as anyone who has ever been there or is from there will tell you, the food is incredible. Local and regional recipes are the stars at Singapore's Banana Leaf, and after seeing it featured on California's Gold with Huell Howser, I hot-footed it right down there to get one of my favorite desserts, Ice Kachang.

Ice Kachang will be a new twist on dessert for most american taste buds. It's comprised of shaved ice served over mung beans, chendol beans and agar agar jello. Rose syrup and condensed milk are poured on top and then its all garnished with jackfruit, lychees sweetened chick peas, and more!

It sounds a little strange, but on a hot day, it's the coolest thing around.

Singapore's Banana Leaf, 6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA
(323) 933-4627

Roasted peaches

This is a super easy recipe that makes a perfect compliment to any meal. Light, fresh, but feels totally decadent!

roasted peaches

Roasted peaches
serves 4

2 ripe peaches
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
vanilla ice cream
caramel or butterscotch sundae topping

Preheat oven to 375. Slice peaches in half and remove pits. In a medium sized frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in sugar and place peaches cut side down.
Cook for 2-4 minutes, until flesh is nicely browned. Place peaches in a baking dish and cook for 6-10 minutes, until nice and soft.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle caramel on top.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

This stuff sucks...but not how you might think

I mean that as a good thing! This amazing clay mask sucks the goop outta your pores better than a dirt devil.

sucky in a good way!

It can be found at most health food stores, Whole Foods, or online.

If you can't afford facials, but need some serious deep pore cleansing action, at around $7 a tub, this is for you. Mix according to package directions with pure apple cider vinegar (this works alot better to create a good consitency than water, which you can also use. Beware: it can be pretty intense. The clay literally pulls everything out, creating a pulsing sensation as it dries and tightens (the intense part). If you can get through the first few minutes of it beginning to dry, it almost starts to feel good, especially if you visualize all the nasty grime it's sucking out.

Afterwards, you'll be blessed with incredibly smooth, clean skin that looks virtually pore-less.

I have oily skin, so I like to do it once a week. However, if you're on the dry side, you may only want to use it once a month. It also works great as an overnight spot treatment for stubborn pimples.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Easy Italian menu

This is an easy, delicious menu that will impress, guests, lovers and family alike! Created using fresh, seasonal ingredients, these simple recipes are extremely flavorful.

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1. Fresh tomato basil salad

1 tomato per person
1 bunch fresh basil
drizzle of olive oil
drizzle red wine or balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste (remember, fresh ground is best!)

Rinse and slice tomatoes. Arrange on plate in a pleasing fashion. Rinse basil and chop.
Sprinkle over tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar to taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Summer "Pasta e Piselli" (Pasta with peas.)

1 package farfalle pasta
1 medium package fresh or frozen peas
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup of heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 an onion (variety of your choice)
1 clove garlic
chopped chives for garnish
grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta and peas according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Chop onions and garlic. Cook in a wok or large frying pan with a 1 teaspoon olive oil until they begin to become translucent. Pour in cream, lemon juice and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour in pasta and peas and toss until warm.
Serve garnished with chopped chives and parmesan cheese. (This would also be delicious with some chopped bacon added!)

3. Easy tiramisu
Serves 6

3 tablespoons instant espresso or coffee powder
1 bar (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 packages (3 ounces each) soft ladyfingers
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

In a medium bowl, mix espresso powder with 3 tablespoons boiling water until dissolved. Add 1 1/2 cups cold water; set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese with heavy cream and sugar until light and fluffy.

Spread a few tablespoons of cream-cheese mixture in the bottom of a 2-quart serving dish. Separate ladyfingers. One by one, dip ladyfingers in espresso, then arrange in bottom of dish. Spread with a third of cream-cheese mixture. Repeat twice, finishing with a layer of the cream-cheese mixture. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Dust with cocoa just before serving.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Think girl, think!

This is an awesome new site dedicated to providing easy access to news about women from around the world. Love it!

Think Girl

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Stewie gets a boo-boo

These are my dogs, Kylie and Stewie. Stewie's leg looks like a drumstick because somehow one of his toenails got ripped off. Sad hilarity ensues as he tries to navigate with his new cast.

Get this video and more at

Monday, June 05, 2006

How to: buy and care for fresh flowers

These are a few simple rules to go by when buying fresh flowers. Follow them for more beautiful, longer lasting blooms.

flower markets are fun

1. Make sure that the vendor has them in at least a few inches of water (I've been to stores where they aren't in any, a big no-no!), away from direct sunlight, and in a refridgerated area or cool place.

2. Look out for droopy, wilted looking heads, petals that fall off easily and/or are bruised, torn or brown (the exception to this last part is roses, which have a layer of "guard petals" that protect the flower and can be peeled off.

3. Once you get your blooms home, snip off stems at a diagonal and put them in water immediately. The stem can seal up and prevent the flower from drinking if exposed to air for as little as 10 seconds. If you've bought hydrangea, first submerge the heads in water for a few minutes as they like to drink from there as well. I've seen this trick revive even the saddest looking hydrangeas! Also, when dealing with woody stems like, lilacs, branches, etc you want to snip up into the stem or smash the ends with a heavy object to allow them to drink. Just the customary snip won't do for these guys.

4. Once your flowers are arranged make sure to add fresh water daily and always keep the vase full. If you can flush out the entire vase even better.

5. Keep your arrangement away from direct sunlight, heaters and drafty areas.

These steps will keep your flowers fresh and beautiful for up to a week and a half. Heartier or tropical blooms will last even up to 2 weeks!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Spaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh water

Here's a quick, easy recipe for a refreshing treat that will impress anyone you serve it to, guaranteed! It's called "spa water", so named because it's usually the beverage on tap at most spas.

Spa Water:
1/2 a cucumber
1 lemon
1 handful mint leaves
1 pitcher with ice

spa water ingredients

1. Rinse cucumber, lemon and mint.
2. Peel cucumber and slice. Slice lemon and remove mint leaves from stems.

spa water almost ready to go

3. Place ingredients in pitcher with ice and fill with water. The water can be refilled throughout the day and will remain flavorful.

spaaaaaahhhhhhhhh water

The best thing about this is that you can do lots of variations on it. Oranges, berries, limes, use your imagination!