Family, Food

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

After Jan canceled on our lunch (she came down with a fever), my sister and I did some baking. She’s been on a cooking & baking mood lately and marked off a whole bunch of recipes she wanted to try in the recipe book.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Original Chocolate Almond Biscotti recipe

The Chocolate Almond Biscotti recipe both caught our eyes because the picture was beautiful and the directions were very easy. But, since I’m not fond of almonds, we changed it to chopped pistachios and vanilla extract, as opposed to chopped almonds and almond extract.

I went about peeling over a ½ cup of pistachios by hand. It wasn’t fun, but it went by fast as we chatted away. Originally, I was going to emulate the TV chefs and chop them by hand, but then I realized how much of an amateur I was compared to them. Plus, there was the big possibility of making a mistake and cutting myself… So, electric chopper it is!

She wanted to be in charge of doing everything herself, so I was just there as my sister’s helper. I ended up helping cut up the biscotti and melting the chocolate that went on top of them.

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti
(Click the thumbnails for a bigger size.)
It turned up much better than we had expected, especially with the substitutions we made. Overall, we were very happy with the result. When Jan and I rescheduled our lunch, I brought her a bag of biscotti to try. She loved them!

Food, Friends, Random Thoughts

Make your own tea blend

Blue Mango Blend

My friend's personalized tea blend for me

My friend, Carmela, and I finally exchanged Christmas gifts. (It’s late, I know.) One of my favorite items was a tea blend she customized especially for me She even wrote up a description for it!:

This mango-inspired tea is blended with two different mango teas, mango green tea and mango melange herbal tea, and a third complementary tea, white tropics white tea. The mango green tea is the base of this blend, lending a creamy texture, juicy sweetness, and delicate floral aromatics. The mango melange herbal tea with its fresh mango and apple pieces and hibiscus flowers adds a sweet and tangy flavor to the blend. The white tropics white tea rounds out this fruity floral blend by adding natural pineapple and coconut flavor and rose petals.

This is my favorite part:

The Blue Mango Blend was inspired by my good friend who loves mangoes. I decided to create a special tea blend for her as a gift.

It’s nice-tasting tea blend. Since most of the blend is white tea, the flavors are quite subtle. During my two (separate) steepings, I was able to taste the apple-y sweetness and the floral taste of the hibiscus. Unfortunately, the mango taste didn’t come through for me. But, then again, I’m not an expert tea taster. I’m thinking of steeping it for longer the next time, hoping that more of the mango flavor will come out. If you’re interested in trying it, you can buy it here.

I’m not sure when I turned into a loose leaf tea fan, but it went full-blown when my ex-friend bought me a glass teapot with infuser. I started going to tea rooms in the city and near Carmela’s work. Coffee never appealed me like it does to everyone else (blah blah mocha frap blah blah Starbucks!). I’m just not a fond of the taste. However, I love the different varieties of tea offered, especially herbal teas, which are pretty much dried fruit infusions. Those are my favorite :!: and I typically lean towards tart & sweet fruits, like strawberries, passionfruits, blueberries, mangoes, etc.

Food, Travel

Japan ni ikimasu!

Discover Japan 2012

Discover Japan 2012

I’ve been on two Cosmos European tours and have enjoyed both immensely, so imagine my excitement when I found out that their parent company, Globus, has a Discover Japan tour! Since my London trip has been postponed, I’m really hoping I can go to Japan next year.

A room in a Matsue ryokan

A room in a Matsue ryokan - Wikipedia

Besides shopping in Tokyo, one of the Japanese things I’ve always wanted to do was to stay at a ryokan—a traditional Japanese inn. That chance is offered on the Kyoto part of the tour. Unfortunately, it’s an additional $439 (for 3 nights, I think), so I’m not sure if that dream is gonna come true… Continue reading

Family, Food

Thanksgiving 2011

Lots more leaves to fall...

Lots more leaves to fall...

This year, Thanksgiving was on November 24th and it was a nice, warm day. So, I started my day outside raking the hundreds of leaves that fell from the ONE tree in our front yard. And, from the looks of it, it’s still not done shedding its leaves.

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Food, Friends, Shopping

Successful shopping day!

Free Shopping Day

Free stuff!

Today, I accompanied my friend on a shopping trip to the local mall as she was looking for an outfit for her Kpop concert tomorrow. I’m low on cash, so I decided to cut back on my purchases. While my haul wasn’t as impressive as hers, mine were all free!

We went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch where I ordered small plates of Chicken Croquettes and Tempura Shrimp Stuffed Peppers. I didn’t finish all of my food and asked for the leftovers to be bagged. Our server agreed, but eventually forgot about it. When I asked her about it, she must’ve thrown away my leftovers because she gave me a new order of Chicken Croquettes to take home… FOR FREE! Continue reading