Friday, September 16, 2011

Watermelon Steaks

Since moving away from home about a year ago, my mom has started this tradition of over supplying me with food to feed an army. I have no idea why she thinks I consume this amount of food. Honestly, if I manage to eat twice a day during the working week - its a good day. I guess I play into the overly concentrated scientist, but I digress.

Last Sunday, my mom decided to give me watermelon. So yesterday I decided to experiment with  the watermelon and found several interesting recipes on but the idea of cheese and watermelon was most intriguing. (My friends and ex agree that I have an expensive mouth cause I like weird yay for future hubby when I'm preggers. lol.)

From the little research I did, I gathered that most of the cheeses tend to be dry. I thought it would be interesting to use a cheese known for its amount of water to create more of a creamier smoothness along with the juices from the watermelon.

So try it out and tell me what you think. Its different so one must be open to trying something new.

Watermelon sliced into giant steak
Mozarella Slices
Fresh mint - these are from my mom's Viet herb garden
Agave Syrup
Plain Breadcrumbs
Basalmic Glaze
Vegetable oil


Cheese sticks:

1. Coat each side of the cheese with a thin layer or Agave Syrup and bread crumbs
2. Place them to chill out in the freezer for a good 20 minutes - don't want them to melt as quickly when you toss them into the pan
3. In a saucepan pour in about 2 tbsp of veggy oil and place the burner on high until the oil becomes viscous and runs fluid like water with ripples along the surface. Reduce the heat a bit (the oil will retain the high temperature and the reduced heat will prevent the cheese steaks from dying in the pan) place the Cheese sticks and lightly toast both sides. You have to be quick or you'll get lumps of goo.

Note: I use agave syrup because it has a light sweetness  which is very different from honey and traditional maple syrup. You might ask why not use eggs whites instead to bread. The reason to NOT use egg whites would be the interference of taste because this dish is rather mild and has very light notes with the exclusion from the bite that comes from the basalmic glaze. 


1. Its kinda self explanatory: just look are the pictures I included
2. Remember to serve while the cheese is still warm.

Enjoy my friends until next time! <3

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Survival of the Poorest! Casserole Time!

I must first note that the one thing I really don't like about casserole dishes is that they're not pretty when plated. Lasagna can look pretty but when they do the flavor from the sauce is lacking.

When I was thinking about my next blog I looked in my fridge and saw a bunch of food that needed to be eaten before I could go crazy at the grocery store again. Since I made spaghetti not too long ago, I thought why not make a dish of everything? So casserole time!

I was hoping to find some history on casseroles ie: the reasoning behind why they were made and continue to be dishes of yum. For me, when I make a casserole dish, it is often left overs and bits of other ingredients that I have left in the pantry. This dish is no different. :D

Canned Tomato sauce
1/2 jar of Alfredo sauce
1/2 bag of Spaghetti Noodle
Provolone cheese
1/2 frozen green peas
6 piece of chicken thighs
Herb mix of oregano and basil
Garlic Salt - its my cheat
Cayenne Peper - love the back of the tongue spice
Ketchup - use this to make it a bit sweeter because often times canned tomatos lack dept in their taste
olive oil or butter - only need a small amount


Chicken preparation:

1. Lightly boil the 6 thigh pieces of chicken on the stove until most of the pink is gone. Around 10 minutes.

Note: I'm kinda phobic of placing large pieces of uncooked meat in a casserole so I do an initial cook. Also, if you're feeling super crafty leave the skin on during the boil and collect the broth for a later use - this is what i'll be using next week.

Noodle preparation:

1. Break the noodles in half and lightly coat them with melted butter or olive oil

Reasoning: This will prevent them from sticking together once you make the dish.

Putting your casserole together:

Preheat Oven at 350
1. First coat the bottom of the casserole dish with 1/4 of the tomato sauce so things don't heat up too    much when its in the oven
2. Along with the sauce add spices : garlic salt, herb mix, cayenne, and a light ketchup drizzle
3. Scatter 1/2 of the frozen peas on top
4. Take four slices of provolone and evenly distribute
5. Next comes the noodles - evenly distribute them across the dish - this will guarantee that they cook evenly
6. Place chicken thighs on top and spoon Alfredo sauce on each piece.
7. Add the remaining peas & tomato sauce and add the salt, herb mix, and cayenne (basically redo the first initial layer)
8. Place into the oven for about an hour so the flavor comes out or until the top layer is bubbling
9. Spread freshly shredded Mozzarella on top and return back into the oven until there's a lightly crispy toast on top. (10-20 minutes)
10. Take the casserole dish out and allow it for cool down (15 minutes)

There you go! Some yumminess made from what you have lying around. Below are some pictures I took along the way.

* Because everyone lives soo far away and or super busy - this lasted me the entire week and then some.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Terrarium - A piece of nature in the big city.

I absolutely love terrariums! Its wonderful to be able to have a mini greenhouse in your very own bedroom. They vary from moss to succulent plants like the ones I chose. I think the beauty is that they are self preserving for the most part only needing water about once a week.

So yesterday, after spending a ubiquitous amount of time on etsy trying to find one that I wanted to order. I realized I had to no patience in waiting for the mail to come in so due to my boredom and child like attention span I set out on a quest to Burbank to make one.

My supplies included:
a) 3 succulent plants - you can find them at your local hardware store for about $2 each
b) 1 sack of pebbles - you can always find them but I coped out and bought some from Ikea for $3
c) 1 glass container with a lid - I found this one at TJMax for $10

* The lid is very important to keep your mini garden on the humid side especially if you live in hot dry weather like the Valley. :/
* Remember to not put in all the pebbles at once, save some for after you place the succulents in because it helps to anchor them down. 
* If you decide to use moss instead they only need to be watered 2-3 weeks and do get some cute ornaments for your moss
*They require sunlight but not direct sunlight

There you have it! Your very own terrarium :D

Song of the moment: Laura Jansen's version of "Use Somebody"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Greetings Everyone!

I made this blog a few months ago but didn't do much with it. First of all, the name lavender and lemonade comes from my love for this lovely drink concoction I make EVERY spring with and without vodka. It is very refreshing. Every spring since my college years in Santa Cruz, I've gone on a hunt for lavender around the city and made a beautiful purple syrup. If you stick around with me till next spring, I'll do just that. :)

Sorry, if that's a long wait, but summer has come to a close and we must keep in tune with the changing of season. There's much more to be accomplished in the fall: crafts, tricks, and tons of food to be made and consume.

So please join me on my life journey. (I have a corresponding blog but it about my strives emotional over the course of a year post my break up with my college sweetheart. I don't really recommend reading it but its there if you find yourself struggling like I do.)

With the love that is capable in this world,

UPDATE: I added a few of my old blog entries they are not very informative but if you have any questions ask away. :)

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