Saturday, July 18, 2015

SUMMER SWEETS: My top 3 favorite sweet treats to eat in the heat!

Hello beautiful readers,

It's been a long, and warm, summer in Seattle! I am happily adjusting to high (think 80-80 degrees F) heat days and warm evenings with colorful sunsets. Everyone up here is savoring every second of it because, in a couple months, rain and gray will take over the bright turquoise skies.

Cooking in the heat is dreadful. Baking is even worse. Who wants to turn on a hot oven and crank their stove when it is close to one hundred degrees? Forgo the biscuits, cookies, and cobblers, say HELLO to light and refreshing desserts.

Here are my top 3:

1) Grilled fruit: Summer time is prime time for BBQs and outdoor picnics. After the hamburger and hotdogs are happily consumed, throw on some fruit! Peaches, bananas, and pineapple are the three most popular fruit to be grilled. Also, I like to grill citrus (lemon, lime, and orange) and "squeeze" the juice over grilled or roasted seafood for a char-coaled taste.
Grilling fruit is quite simple, following these easy steps:
-Clean the grill with a grill brush. Make sure any excess meat trimmings are clean off. Set the temperature to medium-high heat.
-Oil the grill with either: a brush coated in a flavorless oil (like canola or sunflower) or a oil-spray.
-Cut the fruit to desired size and toss it on! Fruit takes 4-6 minutes each side. The excess sugar will caramelize the fruit fairly quickly. Flip with tongs.
-Eat. Serve with vanilla bean gelato, homemade whipped cream, cream biscuits, or dried fruit scones.

2) Pureed frozen fruit: This is the perfect cooling treat for any vegan, young kids, or health addicts (*waving hands in the air*)! It has the same consistency of ice-cream but with a less caloric intake. My favorite fruits to puree are bananas, berries (all), and mango.
Purring fruit is easy-peasy:
-Cut fruit into small 1-inch cube sizes. Place on a plate.
-Freeze overnight, or a couple hours.
-Puree in a high speed blend or robot coupe on medium speed.
-If there the fruit will not 'blend," add a touch (think 1 tablespoon) almond milk, water, or juice. (Or your favorite beverage of choice)
-Put in bowl and eat! I like to top mine with goji berries, cacao nibs, and raw nuts.

3) Go out! Try a new sweet shop! Seriously, treat yourself to homemade gelato, an ice cream sandwich, or a heaping cup of fro-yo. Having long summer nights is a perfect reason to stay up past your bedtime.

Hello Robin, in Capitol Hill, is my new sweet treat place!

Hello Robin is famous for ice-cream cookie sandwiches.

Happy baking and stay cool!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

My top 3 favorite, and least favorite, baking tools!

Helllllo beautiful readers, bakers, cooks, and foodies,

One of the most common questions I get from people are about tools and gadgets: from pots to spatulas to mixers to measuring devices, tool are necessary in the kitchen to make the food! I cannot imagine making chocolate cookies with my spatula, frying chicken without sturdy tongs, or sifting dry ingredients without large mixing bowl.
I have a collection of my favorite tools that I use on a regular basis and ones I always recommend to cooks, newbie or veteran.

MY TOP 3 favorites:

1) Good od' kitchen knife: Invest in a good, all-purpose chef knife and toss out those cheap and dull ones. The average size of a chef knife are 8 inches or 10 inches long and are made of high carbon stainless steel (thus, it resist rusting and keeps an edge sharp). Feel it in your hand before you make a big purchase. A sharp knife will inspire you to chop more, faster, and quicker.  Be sure to get it professionally sharpened on a regular basis (every 1-2 months) to keep it nice and sharp. My personal favorite are Shun knives.

2) Standing Mixer: Kitchen Aid brand mixers are the most common mixers. Especially for bakers, mixers are essential for creaming butter and sugar, whipping meringue, and making basic bread dough. I have had mine for over 10 years and it still works like new. Not a hardcore baker? Most standing attachments like meat grinder, pasta maker, and cheese grater, which helps with any type of savory cooking you will do!

3) Fine Zesters: Think "fancy-schmacy" graters. Coming a wide variety of "zest sizes," I prefer the very small grater on zesters, Microplane zesters are my favorite.. Why? From citrus zest, to dark chocolate, to hard cheeses, it finely shreds the ingredient into the batter, dough, or dish I am preparing.

MY TOP 3 least favorites:

1) Pastry blenders: They look like a half circle with soft blades. I think they are unnecessary. Why? Your hands do a better and more efficient job at it. The purpose of pastry blenders is to blend dry ingredients with cold butter. Trust me, you get a more efficient size of butter with your hands and not the pastry blender.

2) Flimsy cutting boards: They tear and crack very easy, especially if you are using a strong and sharp knife. You are better off with a good wood cutting board or a thick plastic cutting board (for raw meats). The only time I like using flimsy cutting boards is for decorating large quantities of cookies or other baked goods.

3) Herb choppers: Herb chopper? As long as you have a good old sharp knife, it will do the trick just as fine.

And what is my ultimate favorite tool? My brain! As long as you have a good head on your shoulders, are super organized, and can be self-efficient, you will be cooking and baking like a pro in no time.

Happy cooking and baking,

Sunday, February 1, 2015

What the Seattle Seahawks and baking have in common...

Hello beautiful readers,

Besides food, yoga, and health, I am a HUGE supporter of the Seahawks. From watching them in the Kingdome to Century Link field, I have seen the team grow from the worst team in the NFL to winning the Superbowl in 2014!

On the first chilly day of February, Seattle Seahawks had a chance to win back-to-back Superbowls. (They won it in 2014 against the Denver Broncos) It is rare that a person gets to play a sport for a living, let alone be apart of a team that has a winning season, and get a chance to play in the biggest American sport championship game. Twice.

In the last seconds, Russell Wilson (quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks) had a chance to win the football game, except he threw the ball to the wrong player. A player on the opposite team. A member of the New England Patriots. THAT touchdown would of won the game and given Seattle its second Superbowl win.

Being a fan, it was a hard loss to watch. Hard to see dedicated, strong, and honest players lose one of the most important game in their season.

And, it got me thinking how this Superbowl lose is related to cooking and baking....

You may ask, how are these two, very opposite subjects, similar. THIS is how:

1) Wilson messed up on a simple play he has successfully completed many, many times.
I mess up. I still mess up on simple recipes I have cooked and baked multiple times. The tart crust came out too dark! The pie filling is super thick! The roast is slightly over done! But, how? No matter how successfully I have mastered a dish, I still trip over my own feet and make mistakes. The key? Don't let it bother you, pick yourself back up, and don't lose sleep over it.

2) You question, why did the game come down to this play? What could of Seattle done earlier in the game?
Maybe, Seattle could of scored more plays in the first half. Made a touchdown instead of a field goal. Sacked Brady a couple more times. What if I cut in the butter a bit more in my pate sucree? Would of it be better? Stirred the risotto just a touch longer? Added more lemon to my dressing? That would of made it taste even more delicious.... it is over now. Learn, listen, and look at what you can succeed in the future versus observing your fails in the your past.

3) Seattle could of won back to back Superbowls! Oh no!
A Superbowl win is for any professional football player is quite the achievement. Back to back is even more outstanding. Yet, look what at they achieved: Going to the Superbowl, twice, with a team that the media mocked and called "mediocre," making unbelievable plays and comebacks in the near seconds of the game, and getting to do what they love for a profession.
Even though, I have not been on glossy food magazines covers, written up in Food network's blog, or mix and mingled with some of my favorite chefs, I have succeed in my own way. By achieving what I wanted in my career and life. From USA yoga competitions, to traveling to Florida for a pie competition, creating a "Kimm-chi" cupcake, and starting a food blog, success is in your own term. Look how far you have come.

Congratulations Seahawks on a successful football season! I can't wait to start the journey all over again. Thanks for all the inspiration and making me never give up.

Happy cooking,

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My sweet adventure: Kinesia Pilates, via Classpass!

Hi guys,

A few months ago, I had the great pleasure of teaming up with Class Pass Seattle! What is Class Pass? A membership to all the latest, coolest, and healthiest workout studios. Thus, you sign up through classes, on Class Pass' website, choose a variety of workouts, and live a healthy active lifestyle! This is perfect for the commuter (TONS of studios all over the city and Eastside), traveler (you can sign up to use Class Pass, city to city), or just a person who wants variety in their workouts.

When Class Pass asked me to check out Kinesia Pilates, I jumped at the chance. Located in downtown Pioneer Square, it shares a room with  Saltroom Yoga. I love the big pink salt wall, gorgeous wood floor, and super high ceilings.

Christl, one of the owners and teacher, is approachable, friendly, and life-long pilates practionier. She informed me she "was a dancer most of her life" and instantly clicked with pilates once she started practicing.

I attended the "Mat class" which involved stretching, toning, and core exercises. It felt great with my ache-y legs, tired hands, and back. Another teacher, Gay, said "most do pilates to compliment their life.

Another perk to Kinesia Pilates? I grabbed a tasty lunch at Sprout Salads, right down the street!

If you're in downtown Seattle and want to a great toning workout, check out Kinesia Pilates for your mind, body, and soul.

Happy cooking,

Friday, January 2, 2015

My top 5 food trends for 2015!

Hello fellow bloggers, foodies, and cooks/bakers! I open 2015 with big hugs!

The year of 2014 flew by and gave us: the Cronut, an over abundance of kale recipes, paelo and primal diets, and everything else in-between.  Watching, observing, and of course, tasting all the latest food trends keeps me on my toes about what is happening with the local food scene. 
My personal favorite foods of 2014 are Ansel's Cronut because it spun off an unlimited number of "hybrid" pastries. Copying is the biggest form of flattering when it comes to food.
What are your favorites and least favorites food trends of 2014? (Let me know in the comment section below)

Below are my predictions for food trends in 2015 for the greater Seattle area:

1) Korean food: One of my personal favorite cuisines and the least present Asian cuisine in the Seattle area. With the opening of Trove, Korean BBQ  are making Korean food a staple in the Seattle food scene. Barbequed meats and pickled veg has always been a hit with local diners, and it is no lie that the Korean food will surely rise in the Seattle area. Expect to see more KBBQ joints opening and seeing more Korean dishes (like bibimbap, rice cake, Korean fried chicken, japchae, and bulgogi) floating around on Asian-Fusion restaurant.

2) Ramen soup: Living in Seattle and the Eastside, there is a local mom and pop pho (proouced "fuuuu"  not "fhoooo"),  on.every.single.corner. Pho is staple if you want to survive a chilly and rainy winter here. But, if you want to mix up your soup routine, ramen is another great choice to add to your lunch routine. With Samurai Noodle, Tsukushinbo, and Aloha Ramen, there are plently places of get your ramen fix and keep you warm.

3) Pickled Vegetables: (Look at food trend #1) Super easy, super flavorful and super cheap. Need I say more? On a sandwich, in a salsa, over eggs, or served with a grilled protein, it adds tons of bright flavor to anything and everything.

4) Primal Diet: Primal diet is an offspring of Paelo diet. Paleo and primal diet is composed of super rich and vitamin-packed foods, like animal protein, fresh fruits and vegs, and healthy oils. Unlike Paleo, Primal diet hallows high fat, grass-fed dairy and does not allow beans. Both diets restrict the consumption of grains, sugars, and processed foods.

5) Seeds: Seeds are jam-packed with nutrients and vitamins, making them a healthy ingredient to cook with. Living in Seattle, people are always testing out any health trend and seeds fall under almost every diet (like #4).  From pumpkin seed pesto to pepita bread to aramath pilaf, cooking with seeds will add a wide varity to your recipe collection.

This list is my observation from what I've seen working in the food industry and being a overall foodie in Seattle-area. Let me know what your thoughts on the next big food trend in the comment section below.

Happy cooking and new year,

Friday, December 5, 2014

My experience with ClassPass-Settle: Pretty darn SWEET!

Hello readers,

As you know from my previous post, I got the opportunity to team up with ClassPass-Seattle and get to experience new fitness workouts throughout Seattle/Eastside.

What is ClassPass exactly? A workout membership that allows you to try new exercises at participating local business. Thus, I got to a killer leg workout at The Bar Method, super sweaty at Bikram U-District, toned my core at 5 Elements Pilates, spun like a maniac at Flywheel, plus more! I loved the variety and ability to adjust a workout to my crazy work schedule.

Registering for classes, via ClassPass, was easily. It had a complete listing of all participating studios, schedules, and times for classes. Whether I needed an early bird class, or Seattle-based, or a nice yoga class, searching for a workout was easy-peasy.

For more information, check out this TechCrunch article and ClassPass FAQ page.

Worried about the cost? At $99/month, it is comparable or lower than most gym and workout studio memberships.

Any more questions? Feel free to ask me in the comments section.

Happy cooking,

Monday, November 3, 2014

Coming to Seattle: Classpass - A fun way to exercise!

Hello beautiful readers,

Food, cooking, and baking are a huge part of my life and career. Next to it is Bikram yoga and living a healthy, active lifestyle. Why? Health is wealth! If you do not have your health, you are unable to do anything you desire in life. The food industry is especially hard on the body: long hours, hot and humid conditions, and ache-y feet. Taking care of yourself means less worry of becoming sick and bouncing back quickly if you do become ill.

That is why I am very excited to have Classpass coming to Seattle. Classpass is already active in Boston, Los Angles, Chicago, New York, and San Fransico, and it sure will be a success in the health-conscience Seattle community.

So, what is Classpass? Simple terms: An alternative to a gym membership. It is one membership to multiple local exercise businesses. Think: variety and experience to your workout.

  • Allows you UNLIMITED classes at participating studios.  We are not restricting you to 10 classes like we had in the past. 
  • You are limited to 3 classes per studio per month.  However, once the next month starts, you can visit that favorite studio again for 3 times!
  • Allows you to build a workout routine full of variety visiting studios of all types (barre, yoga, pilates, indoor cycling, bootcamps, martial arts, strength training and more!).
  • Provides studios with a marketing platform to get their name and classes out there to a group of fitness enthusiasts actively looking for new classes in their area.
  • Helps studios focus on what they love to do--teach--while ClassPass helps them grow their business!

  • For more Classpass facts, click here.

    In simple terms: You buy a Classpass membership and get to try out local workout studios in your community. It is a great way to mix up your workout routine and test your body in a new physical activity. (Yes, I am even trying out new exercise besides yoga! A blog post will let you know how I enjoyed my Classpass journey experiences.)

    Of course, they are very social on facebook, twitter, instagram and Pinterest. Use hashtags:
  • #livingthesweatylife
  • #PassTheHappy (Used to post pics of moments when you are happy!)
  • #classpassSEA
  • #classpass

  • I can't wait to try new and exciting exercises in  my community and share them with you! After all, life is meant to be enjoyed. Which workout are your excited to try out using Classpass?

     Let me know in the comment section if you have any questions on Classpass.

    Happy cooking!