Merry Christmas!

What a wonderful time of the year! I love Christmas because of numerous reasons. Lights, glitter and christmas-y music...but more than that and the gift-giving acts, it reminds me of the greatest gift God gave to me that no one else has given- Jesus. Above all the clutter and mess of this world, I have found peace, comfort and joy in the One who loves me most. The dawn of Christmas also reminds me of how quickly a year went by and that it's almost the start of another year.

We went to Pasadena to catch glimpses of bright and beautiful Christmas decorations.

And tried to spread some Christmas cheer by singing to kids at the Loma Linda's Children hospital. It's an indescribable feeling when the little faces lit up because of our prayers and singing.

With a few more days to go before Christmas, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! May God's peace, joy, love and happiness be yours! :)

Over the last couple of days, I tried several new restaurants...here are 2 places that is pretty cool... ....
The pictures you see above and below were taken at the Heroes restaurant in Claremont. It's an interesting place because it is legal to throw peanut shells onto the floor after eating them! (It would be a $500 fine if one is caught littering n Singapore- that's why Singapore is called a clean and green country.)

If you want authentic Korean food, here's the place to go.Kobawoo House is located at 698 Vermont Ave #109, LA, CA 9005. Number to call to make reservations is 213-289-7300.

Kimbup, Soon tofu, Bibimbup, Chap chae (hope I spelled them correctly) are staples when it comes to Korean food. However, this place had traditional food not commonly found elsewhere. I love the acorn noodle dish. :)

Since it's Christmas time, I baked several stuff and will post up pictures of the stuff aunty C brought back to Singapore to pass to my family.

Cookies are one of the easiest things to check in.

I used the Martha Stewart's alphabet cookie cutters to make various lettering like JOY, PEACE, LOVE, PAPA, etc...

And then decorated them...i hope that they'll like this surprise. :D

Other shapes and styles...

Not forgetting white chocolate peppermint bark!

The unbroken piece...

Sinfully good fondant fudge...

Last but not least, C and I made Ang Ku Kueh that came out pretty good. (For those who don't know, Ang Ku Kueh is a favourite dessert for the Chinese and Nonya in Singapore. It's a glutinous rice-flour cake with bean-paste or peanut-paste fillings, moulded into a turtle-like shape). Red and green blended into the Christmas season colors.

I will post up more pictures of other stuff that I made for friends later so till then, stay happy and thankful! Happy Holidays! :)


Persimmon bars

Right here in Loma Linda, you'll catch glimpses of persimmon trees if you look hard enough. Since they're in abundance, it'd be nice to make full use of this seasonal fruit.
I usually eat the fresh fruit but aunt Gwen inspired me to make persimmon bars when we were over at her place having kimchi hotpot!

She shared with me her recipe and gave me some persimmons from her own tree to make them. :)
I tried her version and did a little "tweaking" to another batch to see how it'll turn out. I like her recipe a lot but varied it because I wanted a softer spiced version. Topping it with lemon glaze gave it a nice look. :)
All the ( brackets) indicated are the additional things I added.
Aunt Gwen's recipe
1. Canola/grape seed oil, 1 cup
2. Brown sugar, 1 cup
3. Eggs, 2
4. Salt, 1/2 tsp
5. lemon juice, 1 Tbsp
6. Hachiya persimmon pulp*, 2 cups blended
7. (I added an additional 1/3 cup apple sauce for a smoother batter)
8. Pastry flour, 4 cups ( 1 used 2 cups whole wheat and 2 cups white)
9. (1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon 1.2 tsp cloves 1/2 tsp nutmeg)
10. walnuts, coarsely grounded, 2 cups
11. coconut flakes, 1 cup {didn't add this as I didn't have them}
12. raisins, 1 cup
Directions: Mix 1,2,3 well followed by 4,5,6. Sift 8, 9. and add it into the wet mixture. Add the rest of the dry ingredients. Spread onto 2 parchment-lined trays. Bake at 375 for 26 minutes.
(Lemon Glaze: Blend 1 cup unsifted powdered sugar with 2 Tbsp. lemon juice until smooth. )
*Note: Must use Hachiya variety! To make the persimmon puree, the persimmons have to be fully riped, soft and jelly-like. Cut them into half, and use a spoon to scoop out the pulp.


Beautiful weddings and thanksgiving

I cried today. They were emotional tears of joy for Eileen at her wedding ceremony...it's beautiful and touching. :)

Aren't the bouquet of flowers lovely? They're mine. :) I can't believe the bride's bouquet flew right to me! ^_*

Korean food was served at the Hilton Hotel.

Congratulations Eileen and Donghoon!

I attended another beautiful wedding. Darren and Soojin are a lovely couple. It was interesting to watch the Korean P'yebaek ceremony vs Chinese tea ceremony.

Plated Chinese food served at another Hilton Hotel

(Note to self on dish ideas: Cylindrical taro fried in sweet and sour sauce, Deep-fried white mushrooms. The red "flower"on the right is actually white fungus dipped in red coloring. )

Thanksgiving is a major holiday in the US and it's similar to the Chinese New Year or Mid Autumn Festival where families get together to eat. (I think I gained several pounds that day. *wink* )

Staples include pumpkin pie, candied yams, turkey, corn bread, green beans, potatoes, etc...

Aunty Helen made her specialty candied yams that's absolutely traditional...she's been making it for the last 20 years! Here's her recipe that she calls, "Elizabeth's candied yams" as Elizabeth gave her this recipe.

For 9x13in pan, Use 7 yams (red skin), peeled and quartered into strips. Place cubes of butter or Liquid Lecithin +olive oil onto the bottom of the pan. Mix these in a bowl: 1/2 t nutmeg, 1/2 t cinnamon, 2t vanilla extract, 2 c white sugar (or 1 cup white and 1 cup brown). Pour on top of your yams. Dot 1 stick of butter on the top of yams. Bake at 350 F for about 1-2 hours. Every 7 minutes, bath yams with liquid, using syringe. (top with marshmallows if you want)

Alternative healthier version: Go natural- bake the yams wrapped in foil- they're naturally sweet and tasty :)

The pictures above show the two desserts I made that day. The top is cream cheese pie-cake while the bottom picture is Orion cheese cake.


Happy Birthday to 2 girls..

It was potluck dinner for Joan's birthday and I made a gigantic egg tart, scribbling the words "Happy birthday Joan!" on it.....
I used the Portuguese egg tart recipe, hence the "burnt" look on top.

J and I shared a tiny slice...it's high in calories and cholesterol!

Kar Wai's 24th birthday...

Vegan strawberry tofutti cake that I made specially for her :)

Crushed graham crackers acted as a base for the strawberry tofutti cream cheese mixture, topped with clear strawberry jelly.


Silver anniversary Banquet & more

LLCC concluded it's week-long silver anniversary celebration with a lavish banquet in the evening!

Pastor Yen said, "these are the most talented & smartest waiters and waitresses in the world!"
Pictures of the fancy dishes:

The mayor of Loma Linda and Cal Conference President Gerald Penick liked the flamingo decoration so much that they took it home as souvenirs!
Pictures of Prep work:

These carvings were made out of daikon or white carrot!

Rosettes are for the pioneers to wear:

Shadowless Dancers danced wonderfully. :)
The noon worship service celebration was just as meaningful with baptisms, inspiring sermon and wonderful special music numbers.
Steve got baptized and I'm really glad he made this stand for God and accepted Jesus! I made him a "HOLY BIBLE" cake that's richly frosted with chocolate buttercream. The whole cake is a little too dense and rich in my opinion. Oh well, it's the look and thought that matters.
Side note: Sister Zhang was baptized several weeks ago and believe me, her story is amazing! Click here to refer to my journal article for her touching testimony!!!!

I made these German chocolate low- fat cupcake topped with carob frosting for her. ;p Even non chocolate cupcake lovers loved it. It wasn't sweet and smelled heavenly fragrant. :)
Going back to what I was saying earlier. Oh yes, along with Steve's cake, I made a Mango cream cheese cake for Shawn's birthday. ;p It was a good excuse for me to try out this recipe that a friend shared...Mango cream cheese mixture and mangoes between two layers of soft sponge cakes- topped with fruits and jelly mixture.
It was icy and frozen when I took it out from the freezer... should have taken it out earlier. ...

The mini ones with graham cracker base were creamy and perfect. :)
Let me just focus my attention on Zoei now. She is a star in her own way, capturing the hearts of all who were at the banquet with her "The Lord's Prayer" song.
I got to spend some time with her earlier this week and and we made coconut agar agar with pineapple bits. To her, it was "art and craft."

Baby Zoei insisted on taking pictures of me...I think it came out pretty good for a 2 year old. lol

Ok, this post is getting long...
but I thought that I should just post up this bundt cake picture. Thanks Elizabeth for this recipe. :)
Some modifications I made:
Since I didn't have cranberries on hand, I substituted it with wild blueberries and raspberries. Low fat sour cream was used instead of the regular one and 3/4 cup sugar was used instead of 1. It turned out great...thanks Eliz. :)
Ingredients :
115g butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggsn( large)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 can wild blueberries, 1/4 cup raspberries ( or 1/2 cup of cranberry)
Method :Refer to her blog for further instructions.
Disclaimer: All the recipes posted are for my personal references and/or adapted from mentioned instructors or books. They/I reserve the rights to it. Please remember to cite your sources! Thank you.