Fruit paradise

Fruit paradise

Quite frankly, if this isn’t fruit paradise, I don’t know where it would be!! We’ve been devouring fruits like they’re free. Well, they’re not free but they’re certainly not expensive and there’s enough choices to make my eyes go zo-iink! We’ve been carting back boxes and boxes of fruits and eating at least 3 different types of fruits after dinner every night.

Bosc pears, blueberries and crimson grapes

Bosc pears, blueberries and crimson grapes

I love pears but I haven’t bought, or eaten pears in ages simply because I haven’t been able to find any that are not from the land of exploding watermelons. Now there are these Bosc pears, so soft and sweet, I buy them practically every week! It’s like making up for lost time, know what I mean? :grin:

Okay, you know the Red Globes or whatever so-called seedless grapes – forget about those. Let me just say, there’s nothing, repeat nothing, like these crimsons. They’re super-sweet. The skin is not bitter and you don’t have to peel it off (if you’ve ever peeled the skin off grapes, you know it’s torture). They pop in the mouth (yes, you can literally hear the pop).

And they’re seedless, as in really seedless, no false advertising here. We’ve been gobbling them every single day, faster than you can say ‘where have these crimsons been all my life?!!’. Sadly they’re out of season now. We passed by the vineyard and the tops of the grapevines have been cut *sobs*. Guess we’ll have to wait till next year for these gorgeous babies.

Bagfuls of crimsons

Bagfuls of crimsons

You know, most fruits are meant to be sweet and plump. But somehow I can’t say I’ve eaten too many strawberries and kiwis that aren’t sour and dry, and that has really put me off. Well now, these strawberries and kiwis are sweet and juicy, and I’m totally sold.

Strawberries, plums, kiwis and gorgeous crimsons

Strawberries, plums, kiwis and gorgeous crimsons

Persimmons, plums, honeycrisps, love ‘em all. What can I say?

Persimmons, honeycrisp apples and black plums

Persimmons, honeycrisp apples and black plums

Did you know that storing sweet strawberries with blackberries in the same box makes the blackberries sweeter? And those navel oranges the size of my palm are in season, yay us! Bought my first crate of 24 sweet-and-juicies for $9.99 and I’m laughing!

Navel oranges, blackberries and strawberries

Navel oranges, blackberries and strawberries

So cheers to some of the fruits we’re going gaga over. Of course, we love bananas too because they don’t need to be peeled, cut and stored, says the hip but lazy mom.

You know what’s so great about this whole fruit shopping experience? It’s that I don’t have to scrutinize the labels and question where the fruits are from, and limit myself to buying only Washington apples, Del Monte bananas and kiwis which are practically the only fruits I’ve been buying for years. Now it’s like the fruit gates have been thrown open right before me and I’m shoveling a myriad of fruits into the trunk of my car each week with my eyes closed. I’m in fruit paradise!!!

Clairity/

My Cuisinart SmartPower blender

My Cuisinart SmartPower blender

Now that I’m almost done setting up my new kitchen, I’m finally finding time to blog about what I’ve bought. First off, my new blender which I’ve been keeping pretty busy. When I was living in Vancouver, I thought I had the best blender, the one with the jug. I liked it but that was because I didn’t know better. So now, obviously I was shopping for a similar one.

As it turned out, not all blenders are created equal and we did stumble upon an even better one, this Cuisinart CPB-300 SmartPower 15-Piece Compact Portable Blending/Chopping SystemCuisinart CPB-300 SmartPower 15-Piece Compact Portable Blending/Chopping System right here. Well, Hip2bDaughter1’s eagle eyes spotted it first, and I haven’t looked back since.

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The blender I had before came with only a jug the size of an aquarium, and nothing else. This one comes with 4 full-sized blending cups complete with lids, a chopping cup and a jug which is just the right size for everyday use. And the entire set cost less than what I paid for that other one. Score!

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And you know what I love most about my Cuisinart blenderCuisinart CPB-300 SmartPower 15-Piece Compact Portable Blending/Chopping System? The fact that I can make all my fruit juices and smoothies right in this cup and drink directly from it. No need to transfer from the jug to a drinking glass. Let me tell ya, I would do anything to avoid washing an extra item :lol: .

The cup comes with a lid that I can slap on and rush out the door when I’m in a hurry. In fact, the whole set is so compact I can even make smoothies in my car if I wanted to, heh! How convenient is that!

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The motor’s slim design saves me precious counter space, and it’s powerful enough to even crush ice. I don’t have hold down the button the whole time which is nice. Whir it for a few seconds, just look at that silky smooth blend …

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As for the chopping cup, it’s perfect for chopping onions, garlic, chilli peppers, and what have you. I use it to make my special chilli blend which we eat with practically everything. Gotta have some spice in your life, y’know!!

So if you’re looking to wash one less item when you blend, or for a new blender, or plan on giving one as a gift, consider theĀ Cuisinart SmartPower blenderCuisinart CPB-300 SmartPower 15-Piece Compact Portable Blending/Chopping System. It’s a tool no kitchen should be without. Seriously. I mean, if I received one of these for Christmas, I’d be laughing :grin: .

Note: I’m not being compensated nor did I receive this item for this review. I bought this blender out of pocket. The opinions I’m sharing here are mine and I hope you find them useful. This post contains affiliate links.

Clairity/

Hip to be #Shopping – Layer It On #Sale!

The weather’s definitely cooling down. Although I can technically still go out in a T-shirt in the day, I have to layer a cardigan over in the mornings. Layering is fun. I hope you have fun checking out my choices this week.

Ooh La La Lady Top in Black
Ooh La La Lady Top in Black

Well look at you, feeling fabulous and fashionable in your new black top! The way you’re walking in your tweed pencil skirt and the dramatic angular neckline of that short-sleeved design shows that you’ve got confidence to spare and fierce attitude aplenty. We especially like the way you’ve parked a grey beret on the top of your head for a look that has all your pals saying Ooh la la!

Your Fireside of the Story Cardigan in Rust
Your Fireside of the Story Cardigan in Rust

Snuggled under the cable-knit front of this rust-red V-neck, you patiently listen to your best friend relay a tale of this weekend’s adventures. The oversized, wood-like buttons of this wide-ribbed sweater add excitement to your look, as your face lights up to match the glowing fireplace!

Cookie Pie Coat
Cookie Pie Coat

You hurry up the path of your best friends house with a fresh, home-baked treat nestled in the crook of your arm. Cloaked in this nubbly, chocolate-speckled taupe coat, you’re as toasty warm as the ooey-gooey pie you baked for a giggle-filled girls night in.

Greeting you at the door, your pal raves about your delectable hooded coat – its double-breasted, silver-lined licorice buttons mixing perfectly with your black leggings, tunic-length shirtdress, patterned socks, and lace-up boots. In this charming confection, you’re sure to look sweet!

Psst! Here’s a heads up, layer to your heart’s content and save 25% off at the Layer It On Sale now on from November 17 thru 21, 2014. Stocks are expected to fly off the shelf so get there early.

Sophisticated Steamed #Tofu

Sophisticated Steamed #Tofu

Browsing the aisles at Trader Joe’s, I was excited to see tofu. A picture of tofu topped with ground pork quickly came to mind. It’s a well-loved dish that’s commonly served at Chinese restaurants. My home-cooked version uses steamed (not deepfried) tofu, has added beta carotene and looks better? Okay, I’m just showin’ off here :wink: . I have no idea how my dish came out looking this pretty. Stoked!

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Well, as you probably know, tofu is made from the curd of coagulated soy milk. It’s low in calories and cholesterol, gluten-free (whatever that means, I never really figured this out), and a good source of protein, calcium and iron. So it’s all good. But tofu on its own can be very bland which, if you look on the positive side, means there are endless ways you can funky it up. So here’s what I did with mine and let me warn you, this is crazy delicious.

Sophisticated steamed tofu

My Sophisticated Steamed Tofu topped with ground pork, carrots, cilantro and spring onions

This is the tofu I used, the firm type. Soft tofu tastes good too but it breaks easily. So if you’re new to tofu, or if you’re planning to steam it like I’m doing here, firm tofu is easier to handle.

TraderJoesOrganicTofuImage credit

These are the other ingredients I used. As usual, these are estimates ‘cos I don’t measure my ingredients.

  • 1 cup ground pork
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 baby carrots, finely diced
  • cooking oil (I use avocado oil)
  • 2-3 teaspoons spicy black bean paste (comes in a bottle and can be found at any Asian grocer)
  • drizzle of sesame oil
  • a few sprigs of cilantro and spring onions, roughly chopped

First thing, I bring to boil a pot of water to steam the tofu. If you own a fancy electric steamer (I don’t), use that. I do it the old school way with a big pot and a steaming basket.

Meantime, I drizzle some avocado oil on my skillet and saute the garlic till fragrant. Then I add the carrots followed by the pork and spicy black bean paste. At this point, you can season to taste if you like. Stirfry on medium high to high heat till everything is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Finish off with a generous drizzle of sesame oil. Smells so good!

Sophisticated Steamed Tofu

Do you think my Sophisticated Steamed Tofu looks good enough on a restaurant table? :)

And it’s time to plate this baby – steamed tofu in the middle topped with the ground pork and carrots, and garnished with fresh herbs. Look at that burst of colors… definitely a feast for the eyes before the tummy. Enjoy!

The spicy, salty ground pork is the perfect complement to the bland tofu, and the subtle crunch of the carrots adds a layer of texture to the smoothness of the tofu. Super delicious and healthy. Goes great over steamed rice and vegetables. I’m excited for you to try this… and if you do, let me know how it goes, okay?

Clairity/

The grocery haul 1

The grocery haul

Our Sunday got off to a slow start. It’s hard to drag myself out of bed now that the mornings are colder. With daylight savings though, it gets light earlier and when the sun streaks in through the windows, you know it’s time to get up.

We got to Costco 2 minutes before they opened and already there was a crowd waiting. Parking near the entrance is what we aim for and we did get a fairly good spot! Inside, the Christmas displays are out. Santas and snowmen peeking at us from every corner. Feels so festive already.

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We took our time to shop which, for us, is a nice change from having to contend with crowds who think nothing of bodily contact (eww!) and cutting lines. So this is nice. After an hour and a half, this is what our cart looked like.

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Let’s see what we got here – a box of almond milk, raisins, dates, sliced almonds, 12 grain bread and a huge jar of raspberry mango jam which we sampled. When the promoter told me it’s not only a jam, you can use it as a topping, in a smoothie or even freeze it to make ice cream, I immediately snagged a jar. Cool!

I bought a ton of fruits – a crate of navel oranges, grapes, and the strawberries and blackberries were on sale at only $4.99, how could I resist? So happy especially seeing as oranges are in season. We went through many crates of them in Vancouver. They’re juicy and sweet. So good.

I also got a pack of party chicken wings (which should be fun for making buffalo wings), a huge slab of salmon, a box of frozen crusted tilapia, a bag of frozen cooked shrimp (which I always have in the freezer just in case), and a 2 lb bag of asparagus.

That should do it, says the chronic bulk shopper with a satisfied grin on her face. Now if the Apocalypse hits us tomorrow, we’ll still have food a-plenty to eat while we sit it out :wink: .

Next, on to Baja Fresh for lunch. You know I love Mex food and this is my favorite place to get my fill. We had the shrimp and steak burrito, and the grilled chile lime shrimp salad. No regrets. So good.

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After lunch, it was time to hit two more grocery stores for the remaining items on my grocery list. Between hanging out and getting the laundry done, it was time for dimsum dinner at our regular Chinese fast food place. A laid-back Sunday doesn’t get any more exciting than this (am I contradicting myself?). So how did your weekend go?

Clairity/

Get dressy for that #holiday #party (2) 1

Alluring Simplicity Dress
Alluring Simplicity Dress

All fab and no fuss – that’s how you feel in this elegant black dress. With flutter sleeves, a hi-low hem, and ruffle detailing, this lightweight, flowy frock features the drama of an LBD and the effortless charm of your favorite sundress.

Creative Consultant Coat
Creative Consultant Coat

Slip this petal-pink trench coat over your ensemble for coffee with today’s client, affixing its matching sash over its clear gemstone buttons. This soft layer, designed by Nicolette Mason in collaboration with ModCloth, makes your ensemble as unique as the advice you give, from its traditional trench collar to the tiny bows at its sleeve cuffs.

Prolific Poet Scarf
Prolific Poet Scarf

You’ve won numerous accolades for your recent work, so you’re even more motivated to start your next collection. Set up shop at your local cafe while wearing this lightweight scarf. Featuring a magenta and aqua floral print trimmed in black and white stripes, this tasseled scarf adds sweetness to your day as you plug away on your next masterpiece.

There’s an Awesome Mystery Offer going on at Modcloth so be sure to check back EVERYDAY so you don’t miss the next surprise. I don’t have to tell you this won’t last long. Offer ends November 11, 2014.

Lazy day meals

Lazy day meals

On the weekends that we volunteer for community service, our days start out early. We’re out the door when most folks are just rubbing the sleep from their eyes. We get home around mid-morning and between cleaning house and getting the laundry going, we’d really rather not have to spend hours in the kitchen.

We basically do our lazy day meals, the kind that we can throw together in no time. Here’s lunch for the three of us which looks like a lot but believe me, we licked the platter clean.

weekend lunch

We had pan-fried Korean potstickers dipped in killer habanero sauce which is so spicy it makes you cry. The ready-to-eat shrimp scampi which we got from Costco is so so good. The shrimps are crunchy and the dressing not overly salty. Totally addictive.

weekend lunch

Our salad with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, celery, mandarins and chia seed with some of that lovely shrimp scampi thrown in for good measure.

weekend lunch

Dinner was equally simple consisting of potatoes, frozen beer battered cod which goes straight into the oven with no defrosting required, and more of that scrumptious salad sans shrimp since we finished it all up at lunch time.

weekend dinner

Clairity/
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