Anniversary Coconut Bundt Cake

by Koko on April 20, 2016 · 2 comments

in Baking, Cake, Recipe

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For our anniversary this year, I wanted to make Q a special cake. And by making FOR Q, I really mean making MY favorite cake and letting him eat it! Coconut cake may be my favorite sweet treat ever, and I always love trying a new recipe.

When we were in Hawaii, my Aunt Steph made this bundt cake for us and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The minute we got home, I asked for the recipe and voila! The original recipe called for coconut milk, but I had a can of coconut cream from Trader Joe’s on my shelf and decided to us that instead. If you don’t have coconut cream, unsweetened coconut milk will also make a delicious cake!

We ate a few slices for our anniversary and froze the rest, defrosting a slice (45-second nuke in the microwave) every day for the next week. YUM. Like most baked goods, this cake freezes well and is equally as delicious after a reheat. Enjoy!

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Hawaii Adventure

by Koko on April 14, 2016 · 0 comments

in Travel

Oh hi, I’ve so sorry I’ve been MIA, but it is for the best reason: in the first time in what feels like forever, Q got 2 weeks off of work! We spent the first week of the break going to Hawaii with my parents and my best friend, Jess. Jess had never been to Hawaii and Q had never been with my family, so it was a blast showing them the local way (my mom is from Hawaii and my grandma, aunt and uncle all still live there).

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We rented a fabulous beachfront house in Kailua(there’s nothing like walking on the beach each morning). Because of our fantastic view, we ate most of our meals as a family in our front garden.

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Each morning we would venture into town for breakfast and the three of us joked that we went on a pancake tour of the islands, trying a different kind each day (these ones are lilikoi (passionfruit) pancakes from Mokes).

IMG_9084But we also felt like we definitely deserved those after spending 3 hours taking surf lessons that morning. I’ve had a few lessons before, but it took me a little while to find my footing again, but once I did I remembered how much I loved it.

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We brought an underwater camera with us on the trip, which was so fun to use when we surfed and also when we went snorkeling in Lanikai.

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I took them to my favorite food stop in Hawaii, Romy’s Kahuku Shrimp, for some local garlic shrimp. It took them a while to get used to peeling and eating the shrimp by hand, but in the end they gave it a thumbs up.

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And in true local fashion, we stopped on the side of the road to get some fresh fruit and got to take pictures with an extra friendly parrot.

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And because why not, we stopped by the Honolulu Zoo for a quick morning visit. Weird fun fact about me is that I LOVE going to zoos and seeing animals. I turn into a 10-year-old girl going from exhibit to exhibit.

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Overall it was such a fun trip spent with Q, Jess, my parents and extended family. We are all still wishing we were there!

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White Chicken Chili

by Koko on March 28, 2016 · 1 comment

in Cooking, Recipe, Soups & Chilis

Hi friends! Sorry for the unexpected Spring Break I took! In the last two weeks, I spent every other day on a plane (Nashville a few times, and Hawaii for a little family vacation) and hardly have had time to eat! Although I did make time to make this White Chicken Chili last weekend while I was home and loved it. Super easy to make (you can substitute shredded rotisserie chicken if you don’t feel like baking your own), and can sit on the stovetop while you whip up some biscuits to go with it :).

I served this chili with biscuits (sort of a mix between these Buttermilk Biscuits and these Feta and Chive ones).

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White Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans Great Northern beans
  • 4 uncooked chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 medium poblano peppers, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 limes, juiced, plus lime wedges, for serving
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat shredded
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • Sour cream or Grek yogurt, for topping
  • Tortilla chips, coarsely crushed, for topping
  • Avocado, for topping

Directions:

  1. Drain and rinse the canned white beans. In a medium bowl, mash half of the beans with a potato masher until chunky. Reserve the beans until needed.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the tops and bottoms of chicken breasts with salt and pepper (a pinch of each on each side). Add chicken breasts to large baking dish and place into oven for 20-25 minutes, until chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Once cooked, set aside.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, add the canola oil to a large Dutch oven and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onions, season with salt and pepper to taste, and saute until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, saute for 1 minute. Add the cumin, coriander, and chili powder and continue to saute for 1 more minute to toast the spices. Stir in the chicken stock, and lime juice and bring to a simmer. Add the beans and continue to simmer for 20 more minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes of simmering, taste for seasoning, and adjust if necessary. Chop your cooked chicken breasts and stir in the chili. Add cilantro leaves. Simmer until ready to serve. Serve the chili in individual bowls topped with a dollop of sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, and lime wedges.

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Sausage & Peppers

by Koko on March 7, 2016 · 0 comments

in Cooking, Main Course

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According to Q, my usual dinner is: “grains, some protein, veggies, and some sauce.” I told him that when he puts it that way I sound like a really boring chef! So while I was home last week, I decided to try something a little different. I looked at what we had in the freezer and saw 2 dozen sausages (I don’t know why, but those Costco testers convince me to get sausages every visit!). So I decided to use what we had, plus some peppers and onions and make this simple dish.

I served Q’s in whole wheat hot dog buns, and I put mine over brown rice. This recipe turned out GREAT, and made enough for 8 portions (hello freezer meals!). It’s a little different than usual Sausage & Pepper recipes because of the addition of the Marsala wine, which makes for a great flavor.

Sausages & Peppers

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5-6 pre-cooked sweet Italian turkey sausage links (I used a mix of sausages that we had in the freezer and they all worked well)
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 8-10 small sweet peppers, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • Sandwich rolls (optional)
  • Brown rice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown on both sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain.
  2. Keeping the pan over medium heat, add the peppers, onion, salt, and pepper and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, basil, and garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the Marsala wine, tomatoes, and chili flakes, if using. Stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the browned bits. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Cut the sausages into 4 to 6 pieces each, about 1-inch cubes. Add the sausage back to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.
  5. Serve in bowls. Or, if serving as a sandwich, split the rolls in half lengthwise, fill with mixture.

 

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