Last Chance for the GIVEAWAY!

Don't Forget!

Pssst! Here’s a little reminder……

Don’t forget—today is the last day to enter to win a fabulous KitchenAid® 7-Speed Hand Mixer! Entries must be submitted  by 5pm PST (December 6th). To enter, please go here.

Our lucky winner will be announced on Wednesday, December 7th.

GOOD LUCK Friends! 🙂


Carrot-Carob Pupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting….Happy Birthday Bella!

Bella's Birthday Puppy Cupcakes

My little puggle turns 4 today!

Hard to believe how quickly time flies……..and to think, I used to be “Not a Dog Person”. Shame on Me!

My Bella has brought tons of love, laughter, and cuddles into my life—and yes, a tad of mischief too. She definitely keeps me on my toes. 🙂

To celebrate her birthday, I whipped up some puppy cupcakes….Carrot-Carob Pupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting! All puppy safe—I even double checked with Bella’s vet to make sure.

Bella's Birthday Puppy Cupcakes

The extra shredded carrot on top made the perfect “sprinkles” for these pupcakes. Pretty snazzy, eh?

Bella's Birthday Puppy Cupcakes

Bella LOVED them!!

Bella's Birthday Puppy Cupcakes

And because Bella’s mama loves her so much AND because I just discovered Animoto via one of my besties, I’ve made her a birthday video montage. Yup, I’m one of those puppy parents.  Though, you’ll have to excuse the abrupt end of the video–I’ll work on it 🙂



Carrot-Carob Pupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes 8-10 Cupcakes


Cupcake Batter:
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Large Egg
1/4 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Shredded Carrots
1/4 Cup Carob Chips

1/2 Cup Lowfat Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Tablespoon Honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in a cupcake pan.

In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients for the cupcake batter. In another bowl, whisk the egg, honey, peanut butter and vegetable oil until thoroughly combined.  Stir in the dry ingredients and then the carrots and carob chips. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners until they are about 2/3 filled. Bake the cupcakes for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on racks.

While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. Whip the cream cheese, peanut butter, and honey together until light and fluffy. Pipe (or spread) the frosting on the cooled cupcakes. Top with extra shredded carrots and carob chips.

*Although these ingredients are safe for pups to digest, please be sure to only give them moderate portions


Jack Johnson = Music Therapy

I woke up this morning in a Funk.

Not a cooking/baking funk. Not a Tone-LocFunky Cold Medina” Funk. Just the BLEH kind of Funk.

Nothing in particular spurred it. In fact, the sun was shining and I actually got to bed early. But I just couldn’t shake it. In fact, even Bella was in a Funk. I mean…just look at her. If those eyes don’t emit “Funk”, I don’t know what does.


Bella feeling Funky!


So I did the only thing that made sense. I filled a mug with freshly brewed Kona Coffee, grabbed the pups, and headed straight to the beach.

I’ve always found the ocean air and sounds of the waves calming. But today, I needed some extra oompf in the form of the best music therapy—-Jack Johnson.



Those that know me are well aware of my adoration (and slight obsession) for the Hawaiian born crooner. I dig his music and envy his mellow beach vibe. C’mon, the guy is just “beachy”—what’s not to love?



When I get in these emo funks, I often find myself turning to music to get some quality soul searching in. And when I mean “turn to music”, I mean “listen to music”. I don’t have a single musical bone in my body. I cannot sing for the life of me but I did play the flute in junior high. Hey, don’t judge. All the cool kids were doing it. True Story.



I spent several hours walking on the beach today…..just breathing in the fresh air while the pups got their exercise in. The warm sun, light breeze on my face, Jack singing, and self-reflection time. All much needed things. I highly recommend such a regiment for everyone.

Thankfully, I’m not feeling as funky anymore.

Mahalos, Jack.



*Quick Note….I would be remiss if I didn’t confess that not everyone was in a funk today.

Princess Leia was in her usual hyper–happy go lucky-disposition.


Princess Leia - Fiesta Island


My little pug niece will be staying with us for a couple of weeks. And this little bundle of energy was just as happy and hyper as ever!


Princess Leia - Fiesta Island


R.I.P. Cutting Board

I’ve never claimed to be a Smart Cookie. Especially when I have some serious Kitchen DOH! Moments.

My latest episode occurred only a short time ago with a total lapse in thinking. In a flurry to clean up the kitchen, I threw my wooden cutting board into the dishwasher. Guess what happened?


RIP Cutting Board


Oh yes……you all being much smarter than I probably have guessed the outcome. When I opened up the dishwasher and saw my poor, newly purchased board, I immediately turned into this…..



And that, is a Sad Panda. A VERY Sad Panda.

My friends, learn from my follies. Avoid a Kitchen DOH! Moment and HAND WASH YOUR WOODEN CUTTING BOARDS! Now excuse me as I bang my head on the kitchen cabinet 😦


Holiday Recap and Best Hits of 2010

Overview of 2010 Holiday Eats

December was a crazy month. Over 31 days, there was tons of cooking, baking, candy making, and cocktail shaking.

We ate….we drank…we laughed…and then we ate some more. Such little fatties we were. 🙂 But isn’t that what the holidays and celebrations are all about?

And I’ll tell ya friends….as I was compiling the mosaic above, I became “re-exhausted” just thinking about it! From left to right, some of my December kitchen adventures included:

  1. Vietnamese inspired Banana Blossom Salad
  2. Cutie-Pom Cocktails
  3. Short Rib Ragu with Pappardelle
  4. Lychee Panna Cotta with Guava Coulis
  5. Lemongrass Mojito
  6. Cook’s Illustrated Paella
  7. Peppermint Crisps
  8. 40 Garlic Cloves Chicken
  9. Candy Cane “Kissed” Nutella Cookies
  10. Asian Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
  11. Doughnut Muffins
  12. Pomegranate Margaritas
  13. Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies
  14. Rosemary Garlic Hasselback Potatoes
  15. Cosmopolitan Martinis
  16. Peppermint Kissed Brownies
  17. Green Appletinis
  18. Shrimp Scampi
  19. Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Molasses Frosting
  20. White Chocolate Peppermint Bark
  21. Chocolate Raspberry Tart
  22. Vietnamese inspired Shrimp Po’ Boys
  23. Chocolate Lollipops
  24. Porcini Mushroom Turkey

Yummy, yummy, yummy. And yes, because of it all, my relationship with “GYM” is scheduled to grow. I’m hoping to see “GYM” on a daily basis for the new few weeks. 🙂

And while we’re walking down memory lane, allow me to share our Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2010…….

Best Hits of 2010

Drumroll please….

10. Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
9. Chocolate Toffee Cookies
8. Fresh Apple Cake
7. Peppermint Crisps = Confidence Boost
6. French Macarons…..The Holy Grail of Pastries
5. “Chocolate Malt” Cupcakes
4. Bún Thịt Nướng (Vietnamese Grilled Pork over Vermicelli Noodles)
3.  Alton Brown’s “Overnight Cinnamon Rolls”
2. Vanilla Bean Cupcakes filled with Dulce de Leche
1. Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies

Though I think my personal favorite posts were:

I know…kind of random. But I had a TON of fun in the kitchen when making those dishes 🙂

We’ve had a great year of Foodventures. It’s been humbling (and funny) reviewing some of our kitchen disasters and very exciting to revisit our successes. My goals for 2011 include:

  • Publishing more posts on Vietnamese cuisine,
  • Improving on my photography,
  • and Tweeking our page to be more user friendly.

Simple goals really but I hope you’ll stick with me in 2011 to see them actualized. And with that Dear Friends….Here’s to 2011!

Desserts/Pastries · Miscellaneous

“Ad Hoc at Home” Winners & Decadent Brownies

Brownies from "Ad Hoc at Home"

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for Thomas Keller’s “Ad Hoc at Home“. The response was truly overwhelming—so much so that I was convinced to pick TWO winners!

Drum roll please…..

Congrats to Xochitl M. (Fallon, Nevada) and Virginia R. (Artesia, California)! WOOT! Hope you both enjoy this lovely book and are inspired to try out some of Keller’s delish delights!

And in the spirit of “Ad Hoc at Home“, I decided to make the utterly decadent Brownies from the book. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with these bad boys. And in truth, “decadent” doesn’t even begin to describe them!  So ridiculously choco-licous that you’ll just have to whip them up yourself.

You won’t regret it. For reals.

And if you have a few extra minutes, check out the video link at the end of this post with Chef Keller as he dicusses “Ad Hoc at Home”.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! (I know I will—Harry Potter comes out today!!) 🙂


Brownies from Ad Hoc at Home
From Chef Thomas Keller


¾ Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Unsweetened Alkalized Cocoa Powder
¾ Pound (3 sticks) Unsalted Butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
3 Large Eggs
1¾ Cups Granulated Sugar
½ Teaspoon Vanilla Paste
6 Ounces 61 to 64% Chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces
Powdered Sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350F. We use a 9-inch square silicone mold, because it keeps the edges from overcooking; if you use a metal or glass baking pan, butter and flour it. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside.

Melt half the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Put the remaining butter in a medium bowl. Pour the melted butter over the bowl of butter and stir to melt the butter. The butter should look creamy, with small bits of unmelted butter, and be at room temperature.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until thick and very pale. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then add one-third of the butter, and continue alternating the remaining flour and butter. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)

Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer poked into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it. If the pick comes out wet, test a second time, because you may have hit a piece of chocolate chip; then bake for a few more minutes longer if necessary. Cool in the pan until the brownie is just a bit warmer than room temperature.

Run a knife around the edges if not using a silicone mold, and invert the brownie onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 rectangles. Dust the tops with powdered sugar just before serving.

Giveaways · Miscellaneous

Thomas Keller’s “Ad Hoc at Home” GIVEAWAY

It’s the season to take time out to GIVE and be THANKFUL. And because I’m so THANKFUL to all of you readers, it’s GIVEAWAY time! 🙂

Up for this month is the gorgeous hardcover book by the AH-MAY-ZING Chef Thomas Keller— “Ad Hoc at Home“. I chose this specific one as it centers around Chef Kellar’s version of comfort food. So good. So beautiful. You’ll love it.

Want to enter?? EASY-PEASY! If you are already a subscriber to The Culinary Chronicles, you’re already entered! Yay! If you haven’t yet, simply subscribe to us at the top right hand corner of our page. It’ll take all but 5 seconds….ok, maybe 8 seconds.

Deadline to enter is next Thursday, November 18th at 5pm (PST). I’ll randomly select the winner and announce it the next day on the November 19th—which incidentally, coincides with the premiere of the next Harry Potter movie: The Deathly Hallows, Part I. Thomas Keller and Harry Potter?! It’s going to be a fabulous Friday.

So until next time dear friends–Good Luck!

And in case you haven’t seen the trailer for the next Harry Potter, here you go!

omigosh….I’m so excited! 🙂


Nourishing the Mind and Spirit


We eat when our bodies are hungry. We select foods that taste good, that is available, that we crave….and hopefully, sometimes things that are healthy for our body.

But should our food selections be based on physiological needs alone?

I was struck with this thought while I was reading Nicole Mones’ book “The Last Chinese Chef”. In it, an excerpt read:

“For someone grieving, cook with chives, ginger, coriander, and rosemary. Theirs is the flavor, which draws grief up and out of the body and releases it into the air.” -The Last Chinese Chef

The approach is less about “treatment” and more about the need to being in tuned with the mind and spirit. And when one is conscious of their mind and spirit, you select ingredients to nourish it.

This has really resonated with me over the past few days. But perhaps many of us already inadvertently practice this belief. Comfort Food. Soul Food. When many of us feel under the weather, we want soups or foods that we grew up eating—evoking a sense of nostalgia. Celebratory events almost always have sweets to offer. So although the ingredients selection may not be as methodical, the approach is still the same.

Food should nourish the Body, Mind and Spirit. Perhaps the Chinese had it right all along.