Monday, January 26, 2015

The Value of a Smile

A Smile does not lose one's capital, but benefits from it a lot.

A Smile does not make one poor to give, but make people who receive it richer.

A smile just blooms for a moment, but give the lasting impression.

The richest man on earth without a smile is still a poor one. The poorest who is wearing a smile on his face has a large capital in him.

 Smiles bring happiness in the family. It is the source to start of commercial intentions and the sign of friendship.

 A smile relieves depression. It is the dawn image for those who lose heart, the spring sunshine to those who sorrow, and the miracle of drugs to treat anxiety.

 A smile cannot be bought and cannot be pleased as alms; It cannot be borrowed nor cannot it be stolen. Because those who keep it tightly, is not worth anything. But those who use it generously, the value is immense.

 So when you meet a tired person, he has no energy to smile at you. You smile with that person. As someone who does not even have a smile to give to others, he or she should receive a smile more than anyone else.

So if you want to be loved, remember this rule:

"Keep smiling"

Source Internet

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Chicken Chop Suey

Chop suey and Chow mein are both Chinese stir-fry dishes.  Chop suey can either be served with crispy fried noodles or on top of cooked rice. For me, chop suey is the dish that I want to make on a lazy day. This dish also will help me to finish up all of my vegetables that are just about to go bad in my refrigerator. The leftover rice would be perfect. This is the recipe that belongs to my family’s restaurant from a long time ago and one of the most popular items on the menu in addition to the fact that it is very easy to prepare. Now, when I prepare this dish in my own kitchen using the leftover rice and the vegetables that would soon go bad in my refrigerator, it gives me a little taste of a sweet memory that I had with my mother and sister,Mai, at the restaurant when it was still in operation.

2 chicken breasts, sliced
1 tbs cooking wine
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp hot chili paste (optional)
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 sliced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
2 cups bean sprouts
1 cup total of shredded carrots, celery, mushrooms
A handful of baby spinach

Oil for stir-frying

Marinate the chicken breasts in cooking wine, cornstarch, salt, and pepper for 1 hour.
Mix the sauce ingredients in a small cup and set aside.
In a wok, heat 2 tbs peanut oil until hot. Add ginger, garlic cook until fragrant. Add chicken and cook until almost done. Add onions, mushrooms, carrots and celery. Mix well with chicken for 2 minute or until  they are just soft. Add sauce and bring to boil. Cook sauce until almost thickened. Stir in spinach and bean sprouts. Adjust seasoning, if needed. Mix them well. Pour over rice and serve.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fish with Stir-Fried Vegetables

“What’s for dinner?” This question we all hear every day from our families. To make an everyday meal is quick and easy, but never compromise its taste nor its nutrition. This recipe is all of it. Stir-frying is one of easy Asian techniques that requires few ingredients. Hot, spicy, sweet, and sour is the sauce for stir-frying. Inexperienced cooks can master this technique and then experiment with some ideas to create their own stir-fry sauce instead of buying it in food market. Also, a wok-good stove plays a big role for successful stir-fry dishes. However, the stir-fried dish presented here can easily be put together in most home kitchens. Try to prepare this dish as a beginning to a promising, relaxed weekend.

Two 6 oz tuna fillets or any firm white fish
1 tbs cooking wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tbs each of soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup water or chicken broth
1tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornstarch
1 cup total of shredded, red, green, and yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup carrots, julienned
2 button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 white onion, thick sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced

Garnish with chopped cilantro

Place tuna in a baking dish.
Melt coconut oil. Add wine, salt, and black pepper. Pour over tuna and marinate for 1 hour. Bake in a preheated oven set to 375° for 15 to 20 minutes.
Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.
Heat wok over medium high heat. Add 1 tbs oil until hot. Stir in onions and garlic, mushrooms, carrots, . Cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

 Add the stir-fry sauce.Bring to boil and add the rest of the vegetables.

Cook until sauce has thickened.
Pour over tuna. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with rice or cooked noodles.

Coconut Sweet Rice with Peanuts (xôi đậu phộng)

Xôi đậu phộng is one of the easiest dishes to prepare using a rice cooker and crockpot. I add coconut milk while cooking the rice for flavor and the health benefits from the coconut milk. This dish can be made in the morning for breakfast or packed for lunch or a picnic. My family is from the North of Vietnam, so this dish is an all-time favorite, but I prepare this recipe with the taste of coconut, which is from the South of Vietnam. I love the creamy taste of coconut in my cooking. However, it is not only for the taste, but now it is a healthy choice for cooking. The glossy, creamy taste of coconut fat, the sweet-salty from the roasted peanuts, and sesame topping all combine for a pleasing aroma to make this dish a fantastic meal never boring to eat.

1 cup raw peanuts
2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups sweet rice, washed and drained
2 cups coconut milk
1/4 tsp salt

Roasted peanuts and roasted sesame seeds mixed with some sugar and salt
1 cup shredded coconut flakes
In a crockpot, add raw peanuts, water, and salt. Cover and turn to low heat. Cook overnight if you want to make this dish for breakfast.  If using fresh peanuts, then cook them in stove top for 2 hours.
In a rice cooker*, add sweet rice, cooked peanuts, salt, and coconut milk. Turn to cook.

 After the rice mixture is done cooking, wait for ten minutes and press cook one more time. After the second time, the rice is cooked.

Serve on a plate. Top dish with coconut flakes, roasted peanuts, and sesame seeds.

*A rice cooker is the easiest way to prepare any kind of sweet rice. I always keep cooked peanuts and beans in my freezer to save time in the morning to make this dish. Always use 1 cup of liquid for each cup of rice.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blackberries & Coconut Muffins

I have made many muffins using cake mix or self-rising flour. For a quick and delicious breakfast, I am introducing a new recipe using coconut oil to replace butter. Blackberries can be substituted for other berries that might be available. Since coconut is nature’s miracle healer, then why not include coconut into our baking.

1 cup cake mix or self-rising flour*
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
1/3 cup grated coconut flakes
3 tbs melted coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350°.
Line muffin tins with 6 to 8 muffin liners

In a bowl, combine egg, honey, and coconut oil and beat well with a whisk.

Add coconut milk and whisk to combine with the egg mixture.

Add cake mix and mix just until the cake mix is moistened.

Fold in blackberries and half of the coconut flakes.

 Fill the muffin liners half way full. Top with the rest of coconut flakes .

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean.

*You also can use all-purpose flour. With every cup of flour, add 2 tsp baking powder and 1/8 tsp salt.

Chicken Stew with Indian Spices

I remember back in Vietnam that fresh coconut water is a wonderfully refreshing drink under the hot sun. However, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut oil or the meat from coconut is also a good choice for cooking. I am glad now that food marts are starting to sell all these coconut products. Dating back for hundreds of years, most citizens of countries that consumed coconuts daily have had very good health. Today, I will introduce another wonderful and easy recipe using coconut milk and coconut water. This recipe that blends well with Indian spices makes it a healthier choice for dinner.

Two to three lbs. chicken thighs and breasts, bone, skin in cut into big chunk
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 carrots cut into bite-size pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1 knob of fresh ginger, minced (about 1 tsp)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups coconut water
1cups coconut milk
2 tbs coconut oil

1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

 Garnish with green onions and cilantro

In a large pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add chicken and brown.

 Remove chicken and add all the spices, onions ,ginger, and garlic.

Cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Return chicken to the pot and add carrots, potatoes, and coconut water.

Bring to boil (reduce the heat to simmer).  Cover and stir occasionally for 30  to 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add coconut milk in the last 10 minutes. Bring back to boil.

Serve on a plate. Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Baked Cod with Coconut Oil and Tomato

Lately, coconut oil is the "talk of the town" because it is a superior health food, based upon a study on the life expectancy of the people who are living in the regions where most people use coconut products. Everywhere in the market many products are made with coconut in it. Much Asian food includes coconut from sweet to savory. Coconut oil can be used for every recipe that calls for olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, or margarine. Today, I will introduce a recipe with a very short list of ingredients but produces a healthy and delicious meal.

Two 6 oz cod fillets or any kind of fish
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tbs lime juice
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbs of store-bought Asian seasoning*
1/4 tsp salt and black pepper
1/2 tomato, sliced

Green onions and cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 375°.
In a sauté pan, heat coconut oil until melted. Pour oil in a bowl and add lime juice, Asian seasoning, soy sauce, salt, and black pepper. Place cod onto a baking dish and pour the coconut mixture over cod. Top with sliced tomato.

Bake for 20 minutes and sprinkle with green onions and cilantro. Serve.

Asian seasoning is sold in Asian food markets, but other seasoning can be substituted. A simple rub substitute can be created at home with a few ingredients, such as garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, onion powder, black pepper, and some dried herbs.