Moist Pumpkin Cupcakes

Let me tell you, I’m not a whiz in the kitchen. I love good food and I love cooking, but my mom’s the goddess and I never inherited that trait. Sometimes I’ll have a stroke of genius and concoct some ingenious recipe by throwing things into the pan (wok/pot/oven/slow cooker), but that’s rare. There’s a handful of recipes that I am naturally good at, but I can’t cook those every day and some of those take a lot of preparation. And money.

I’ve been on a pumpkin spice roll ever since I got addicted to that pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. Somehow I thought it would be a good idea to deviate from the cake mix and make pumpkin spice cupcakes from scratch. It sounded easy enough in theory: a can of pumpkin, flour, sugar, and some spices.

Somehow I didn’t realize that the recipe would involve a hand mixer and some stubborn butter that would not soften no matter how long I left it at room temperature. Then after I had pour the batter into my cupcake liners I realized that I forgot to add milk. After I added milk and put them in the oven I realized that I had mixed two recipes together and the one I was using didn’t call for any milk at all, but it was already in there. Oops. Too late. Despite all that these turned out DELICIOUS. It’s my own quasi recipe. Enjoy!

Cupcake Ingredients (18 cupcakes):

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • OR 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • OR 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon 5 spice powder OR another 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon fresh ginger OR 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), softened
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup milk
  1. Preheat your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Finely mince your fresh ginger. If you’re not using fresh ginger then use ginger powder.
  3. Mix together the flour, spices, salt, baking powder/soda, and the fresh/powdered ginger. Set this aside. Continue reading

Raspberry Coconut Popsicles

LE ZOE MUSINGS

Here’s another popsicle recipe that’s fairly simple, fun, delish, and so summer-worthy! All you need are two ingredients- coconut water/juice with pulp and raspberries.

Raspberry Coconut PopsiclesAdd raspberries and coconut juice into popsicle molds. Freeze. Enjoy!

Raspberry Coconut Popsicles2How vibrant and pretty?!

Raspberry Coconut Popsicles3Your kids will enjoy making these and reaping the benefits!

Happy almost Summer!

View original post

The Miracle of Noodlerolla

I’ve eaten from a food truck once before and that was in Washington DC when I went with some friends. I spent my childhood in China so I’m used to street food, but having grown up in the pacific northwest, there aren’t a lot of food truck options there. Then, I started watching The Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network and I have this urge to eat stuff from interesting food trucks now. I’m not going to lie. When I saw the food truck I was attracted because of it’s color and then I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to like it because it was called Noodlerolla. What? That’s the oddest name ever.

Even more odd, the cuisine seemed to be a mix between Korean and Mexican. Bulgogi tacos? Bulgogi burrito? Udon and Mexican? I was one confused foodie and kind of lost when I was looking at the menu. I was having a war with myself. I love most Korean food, but the only Mexican food I’ve ever liked was Chipotle and Taco Bell. I wasn’t sure how the two were going to mesh. The prices were also kind of scary. For a college student, it’s not like I can spend $10 on lunch every day. Especially not when I wasn’t sure how big the servings were going to be.

After watching two other customers order, I got up the nerve to order their spicy chicken bulgogi tacos and I was so glad that I did. It was amazing! For $5.50 it was kind of pricy, but I counted it as a treat for myself. It’s not like I buy lunch every day and the smells coming from the truck registered as ‘OM NOM’ inside my brain and translated into ‘GIMMIE NOW.’ Whose to deny the urge to eat yummy food?

Does’t that look amazing? I was kind of expecting hard tacos (which I don’t love) and I was happy to find out that they were soft tacos (which I love). I’ve had this kind of taco shell before in the DC food truck. It’s a sort of grainy corn taco. It’s not my favorite by itself, but it went amazing with the fillings that Noodlerolla provided. As you can see from the picture, they do not skimp on the fillings. The Korean veggies were a great alternative to the traditional Mexican taco veggies. The chicken was marinated and seared to perfection (you can’t really see it under the veggies). Also, can I rave forever about the sauce? It was so gooooooood. My mouth screamed in happiness and my stomach asked me why I never fed it these tacos before. I would choose this over Taco Bell and Chipotle any day! I should have shared with my friend who was with me, but I was greedy after taking a bite and I wanted the whole thing to myself. (ALL mine!) I also love food that photographs well.

The chicken was sweet and tangy with an aromatic grilled flavor. The veggies were tangy, spicy, and semi-sweet all at once. The sesame seeds added to the taco’s gourmet rating. With chicken bulgogi it’s really hard not to dry out the chicken, but the truck did an amazing job. The pieces of chicken were still nice and juicy. Love! I will definitely be eating here again. My classmates suggest the bento box, maybe I’ll have the beef bulgogi bento next time?

Noodlerolla Mobile Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Starbucks Treat Receipt

I’m probably a little too late to jump on this bandwagon, but jumping on late is better than never jumping on at all! I blame it on the fact that I’ve been home and my mother does not believe in Starbucks, so I haven’t been able to sneak out and get the nom-noms. Basically you buy a drink before 2PM and then you get a Grande cold beverage (like a frappuchino) for $2+tax. Not a bad deal at all.

Hence, this post, where I’m trying to enjoy it while I can, chilling at Starbucks, sipping my Passionfruit Shaken Iced Tea like a boss (for the record, it’s very yummy). I’m trying to bask in the last days of my summer vacation before school starts next Tuesday (with a 9AM class, wtf).

Carmel Frap after 2PM :]

Something to Appreciate: 2

Credits: Mary Rice from FrederickNewsPost.com

This is something that I tried for the first time this summer. It’s been out on Costco markets for months (perhaps a couple of years now), but I’ve never tried it until now. I LOVE Haagen-Daz’s vanilla bars with almonds, but for some reason I never thought to try this. For only $1.50, you can get a BIGGER, BETTER, version of the Haagan-Daz bar. The only downfall? The whopping 870 calories per bar. Wow. Don’t eat this daily!

My mother and I share one while we’re driving home from Costco and my brother has one to eat all for himself. My mom and I had a good laugh when I mentioned how my hand hurts from holding the bar up! It’s seriously the biggest ice cream bar I’ve ever had. It’s the size of my hand! I have a small hand, but that’s still pretty impressive!

Something to Appreciate: 1

I guess this is the start of a new series of “pondering” for me. In life there are many things to be appreciated, to be thankful for, to love, to enjoy, and this is just a snapshot of all the thing that make me feel as if my heart is going to burst.

#1: Saburo’s Sushi on Bybee Blvd, Portland, OR

Saburo's Sushi

The sushi here is divine. You have to line up before the restaurant even opens! The place is so popular that the owner can choose his own hours and his own Holidays. Sadly, this means that Saburo’s is only open for business on evenings. Though the place is widely acclaimed, the dress for this place is casual. However, I think that if the owner wanted to expand he could easily open in a grander and more expensive location. Me? I don’t care. As long as the great prices and the amazing sushi continue to exist!

I will always remember this place as part of the first summer that mum and I decided to explore restaurants in the neighboring city. This was location #2. Location #1 was a great pizza place, but I’ve always had a soft spot for sushi and I immediately fell in love. For this place, I will gladly wait in the hot sun an hour before opening.