Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vietnamese/Thai Coffee Recipee

I love Vietnamese food! There's nothing like a hot bowl of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and an ice coffee to go with it. I could never figure out how to make both because no matter how many times I tried, it never came out as good as at a Vietnamese restaurant.

Finally, though, I found a recipee for Thai coffee that tastes exactly like it. I am pretty sure it is the same exact thing. For those of you that love Vietnamese or Thai coffee, here's a recipe you need to try!
Thai Iced Coffee
Ingredients: 4 servings

1/4 C instant coffee
2 C hot water
1/4 C sweetened condensed milk
1/4 C evaporated milk

ice cubes

1. Dissolve instant coffee in hot water

2. Combine coffee with sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk
3. Pour the coffee mixture into ice filled glasses.
For those of you who prefer to use Vietnamese coffee, I would recommend the following (see illustration below): Cafe Du Monde
The brand, Cafe Du Monde, seems to often times be used in Vietnamese restaurants. However, it is not instant coffee! If you would like to use this type of coffee, make sure you filter it first.
You can purchase filters at any grocery store (for the most part). You'll also need to get a special cup, so that the coffee can drain into it.
Put 1/4 c coffee grinds into the coffee cup (with the filter) and pour 2c hot water over it. The coffee will drain into the cup. Add the condensed milk and the evaporated milk into the coffee (add more if necessary).
Then transfer the coffee mixture into a cup with ice for a refreshing drink!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ballroom Dancing

Last night, I went ballroom dancing! Actually, "I tried my best to learn" would be a better statement describing last night. It was a lot of fun and a whole lot of hard work, but totally worth it. I absolutely loved it!

My husband is taking an anthropology class and was assigned to try something out of the ordinary. He also had to choose a group of people who meet consistently, at least once a week. Initially, he chose martial arts, but there weren't enough consistent attendees. After his teacher suggested ballroom dancing, he decided to go for it because it's something out of his comfort zone, as well as something we could both do together for fun. I am pretty much open to try anything, so I went with him and I'm glad I did.

It took us forever to find the dance hall. In fact, we missed the first class! We were tired, hungry, and almost reconsidered attending. However, we gave it one last shot. We turned into a driveway and to our surprise, we found the palladium! We were so happy because after a while, we were getting quite frustrated. Once we found it though, we were the happiest people alive!

When we walked into the dance hall, there were students practicing the Rumba. Many of the dancers were well into their 60s, if not older. There were about 2 other young couples, suprisingly. The dance floor was huge! There was a dance instructor who had a microphone headset to guide all the students through each step. There were also teachers everywhere to help students, like my husband and I, who needed the most help.

Since the man is suppossed to lead, the instructors often danced with the men to help guide them. Help was everywhere and students even offered assistance. I was really happy, although nervous at the same time because I couldn't quite get the steps down. However, after practicing it a million times, my husband and I slowly started to get the hang of it. It was so much fun!

Many of the instructors have been dancing for several decades. The nice thing about the students and instructors was that they were so positive and helpful. The instructors seemed to enjoy our company and I noticed they encourage younger people to join because the majority of them are much, much older. The prices are also quite reasonable too.

I am glad we found the palladium and I definitely look forward to going back next week! We had the chance to learn basic steps for the Waltz and Samba. I can't wait to see what we'll learn next week! In the future, I hope to improve and I would also like to continue dancing because it's so much fun!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


For the past two months, I helped plan and organize a luncheon for seriously/terminally ill children. We finally had the luncheon today and it was incredible. It was a lot of hard work, but totally worth it to see the children smile and for their families to have a chance to relax. I can only imagine what the families must go through, as well as the children, so it was nice to plan an event for them.

I cannot thank the volunteers enough for the incredible support of this event because it wouldn't have been possible without them. There were so many volunteers and people willing to donate money, gifts, plastic easter eggs, and more. When it seemed like I would face coordination challenges, things somehow came together miraculously.

There was a lack of easter eggs this year, so I worried about the number of plastic eggs I actually had. However, yesterday I received an incredible response from my co-workers who came by with bags of easter eggs. Today, my other co-worker brought more eggs! I went from having 124 to almost 400 within a matter of a day! The outpouring of suport was indescribable.

Midnight, last night, I also found out the amount of kids who would attend had more than doubled. The amount of kids increased from 17 to 42. I had to run out to the store to make additional goody bags, while I still needed to bake brownies and make funnel cake batter. It was a long past two days, but completely worth it. The help I received allowed for things to also run smoothly. I had so much help! I was happy there were more children who attended also. The more the merrier! I am also glad that everything worked out exactly how I had envisioned.

I learned a lot from the experience and in someway, it changed me. I saw how much people cared about this event and what they were will to do to make today possible. The compassion I saw truly touched my heart.

With all the crazy things happening in the world today, it's nice to be apart of and to witness the compassionate, caring, and hopeful side of life with events such as these.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

California Lemon Pound Cake

I finally made my first poundcake in a fluted pan! I love baking and the fact that my poundcake actually looked edible! It tasted awesome and everyone seemed to love it (unlike my disastrous pie that I couldn't even eat).

After mixing all the ingredients, I put it in my pan. The pan cost $24 bucks. I am not sure if that's reasonable, but luckily there's a lifetime warrany on it.

The secret ingredient definitely has to be the lemon extract and the lemon peel! And of course, the fresh lemons used for the frosting.

Finally, I put my pound cake in the stove to bake for 70 minutes! I know it takes quite a long time, but it's totally worth it in the end.

The final product! An edible, lemon pound cake for everyone to enjoy. It tasted fresh since it was baked from scratch and using real lemons for the frosting helped add a special touch to it.

Everyone really seemed to enjoy it! I was so happy that my first pound cake turned out well!

Easter Egg Shortage

Never would I have imagined a shortage of plastic easter eggs the day before Easter! I desperately needed easter eggs, but none were available anywhere! It was quite an interesting day. I looked for plastic easter eggs at 6 different stores, but all were sold out!

I looked from store to store, getting rear-ended by another car in the process! I also ran into one of my classmates who shared a similar predicament. We ran into each other at two of the same stores, searching frantically for whatever we could find. After a while, it started to become quite ridiculous. There were many others searching for baskets, plastic eggs, cellophane, and "grass," but most places had already sold out. Fortunately, at the 6th store I looked at, there was a bag of pre-filled easter eggs that I had found after searching every aisle carefully several times. Out of desperation, I purchased a bag of 28 pre-filled easter eggs for $10 bucks.

I still need plastic easter eggs for a party we are hosting this weekend, but now all I can do is beg for plastic easter eggs my co-workers kids do not want anymore! Fortunately, I have been able to collect 10 extra eggs, which have been dispersed throughout my desk. For some odd reason, people love to hide them.

Never again will I wait till the last minue. Fortunately, however, with enough donated eggs and the ones I already purchased, I'll be able to meet my minum goal!

I am ecstatic about the upcoming event and hope the children who we are hosting the party for will have a great time. In the end, that is all that really matters!

Friday, April 3, 2009

My First Pie

My first pie!

I know it's hideous and yes, it was not that great tasting either, but I am proud of my pie anyway. It's my first one!

I used "No Sugar Added," cherry pie filling with Pillsbury crust. It was easy to unfold the pie crust and simple enough to add the cherry pie filling, but anything "no sugar added," can taste a bit off. I also cooked my pie too long, which is why it's overflowing. I think that is the reason why it is overflowing at least :0

I will definitely make my next pie differently! Hopefully, with fresh ingredients or at least canned pie filling with sugar! Any tips?

Besides pie, I am trying to master other deserts too. I feel totally obsessed with baking nowadays. I know after looking at my pie, it's probably scary to think of me baking anything, but I am slowly getting there... I finally mastered a cake recently and I can't wait to bake even more.


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