Sunday, August 9, 2015

30 Before 30 - #19 Complete

 This one was harder than I thought it would be.  Number nineteen on my 30 Before 30 list is find a food I've never eaten and try it.  Bonus points if I cook it myself.  :)  I obviously went for bonus points hehe.  The hard part was finding something I haven't eaten before.  I am willing to try almost any food (nothing raw or weird stuff like caviar).

I finally decided on sweet sticky rice cake.  It's a really popular Asian dessert that I'd never tried.  The problem is I couldn't find sticky (glutinous) rice anywhere, so I finally ordered some online.

Hubby surprised me with an early birthday present (because I had to do this before then obviously) with an authentic Thailand sticky rice steamer!

How cool is that??  The water goes in the pot and the rice is wrapped in cheesecloth and put in the basket.  When the water boils it steams the rice.  :)  Here is a link on how to make it.

In my excitement I soaked the rice for six hours, wrapped it in the cheesecloth and put it in the basket.

 Put a lid on it and let it steam 45 minutes.

It actually looks really yummy when it's done and it's SUPER sticky!!  They aren't kidding about the stickiness of this stuff lol.  I tasted it plain and it had a good flavor. Tt doesn't taste sweet like the name implies, but I'm a rice lover so that didn't bother me at all.  To me it needed salt, but I'm a salt-a-holic so that's not surprising.  Once it was done cooking I finally realized that the rice isn't cooked in the rice cake recipe!!!  Oops!!!!

So I looked up other things to eat with sticky rice (it had to be eaten lol).  Most of the suggestions were things I didn't already have, but I found one that suggested fried eggs and soy sauce.  Sounded good to me and luckily I had gluten free soy sauce already on hand.  :D

So hubby fried up some eggs for me (I suck at frying eggs).

I put them on the plate really pretty for the pictures...

... but to eat it I chopped up the eggs in the rice, covered it in soy sauce and mixed it up.  It was DELICIOUS!!!  Seriously I could eat it every night it was so good!

So the next day I started over with soaked, but not cooked rice for the rice cake.  Here is the recipe (LINK).

First step was greasing the pan with coconut oil and then spreading the soaked rice in the pan.

Then I mixed up the coconut milk, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and eggs in a bowl.

Jackal is my cooking partner.  He politely lays in front of the fridge and watches, hoping clumsy me will drop something (I often do... seriously I'm clumsy... he knows to wait permission though so it's not like he's going to eat something he shouldn't, I pick up poisonous stuff like onions or chocolate).

Then I poured that over the rice and stirred it up.

Then I put it in the oven at 350 for 35 minutes.  While that was cooking I started on the topping.

I put the rice flour, coconut milk, egg, salt, brown sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat.

I know this part is boring Jackal.  :)

Then I whisked and whisked and whisked until it started to bubble.

Then I turned the heat to low and whisked for two minutes, then I took it off the heat and whisked some more... thought my arm was going to fall off lol.  It gets THICK very quickly.  Once it was smooth and thick I put it in a bowl to cool while the rice layer finished cooking.

Pulled the rice layer out when it was done (you can see where I didn't whisk the egg white enough).

Spread on the topping.

Stuck it back in the oven, over a pan of water (one inch of water and put it on the bottom rack under the cake) and cooked for fifteen or twenty minutes.

Pulled it out and tada!  Sweet sticky rice cake.  I let it cool a little before cutting it.

To be honest it isn't my favorite dessert.  It's not very sweet at all (I guess I was expecting sweeter?) and it has almost a bread pudding texture (or soggy quiche) that I'm not fond of.  The flavor is really good though (just not sweet... oh and you have to like coconut, which I do).

The cool thing is this recipe can be modified in a million different ways so I can always try again.  :D

So I had a lot of fun with this and I'll definitely be making sticky rice and fried eggs again!!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

30 Before 30 - #15 Complete

Number fifteen on my 30 Before 30 list is to have hubby take pictures of me with Jackal because I'm really bad about forgetting to do that and I wish I had more of me with Storm.  Above is my favorite one.  :D

 Below are some taken with hubby's cell phone so they aren't as good quality.

 My favorite cell phone picture.

 Even Chrome got in on the action.

 I think I like it in black and white better.  :)

Bonus picture of Jackal trotting.

 Check out that awesome overstep hehe.

For amateur photographer hubby they aren't too bad huh??  I'm going to try to do this more regularly, but the next time is waiting until cooler weather!!  We were both extremely hot!  I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Friday, August 7, 2015

30 Before 30 - #22 Complete

 I finally finished my letter to my future self!  I started it on July 20th and only now finished it lol.  I only had a couple of hours on the weekend to work on it and as usual my creative side went nuts so it turned into a bigger project than I thought.  I like how it turned out though, even if it's a little sloppy.  I blurred out most of the writing for privacy reasons, but you can get an idea of what it looks like.

I blacked out my name and wrote achieve1dream in there haha.  I should have used a ruler for writing the quotes and dates.  The crookedness is brutal to anyone who is even a tiny bit OCD.  Oh well.  It makes it unique and original... or so I tell myself haha.  I folded a sheet of my drawing paper in half to make this.

There wasn't enough room for everything I wanted to write (I'm long winded) so I used my fancy scissors to cut out pieces of my scrapbooking paper.  You can see in the middle where the big piece is pulling up.  That's because I can't find my acid free glue stick.  I had to use double sided tape.  I'll glue it when I find it.  :)  I mostly just wrote what everything is like now and then asked my future self questions about what I accomplished and what changed.  The future dog section is mostly stuff about goals and dreams I want to accomplish with my next dog (CGC, therapy dog, etc.).

This shows how the pieces lift up creating a lot more writing area.  You can also see the edges better.  :)

The last page. I left some of my lists (I'm list obsessed) unblurred to make it a little more interesting haha.  Feel free to laugh at some of the things I listed that I like.  :D  These lists only cover a tiny number of things I'm interested in, so I just chose the more recent stuff.  For instance right now I'm listening to Richard Marx "Right Here Waiting" and it's one of my all time favorite songs, but it's not on the list because I've loved it for years and years.

To make things slightly less boring here are some pictures of our peaches and flowers!

 They are so small, but hubby said they taste great.  What are the spots on them??

 The hibiscus has gorgeous blooms!!

 The vibrant red Geranium blooms.  Love them!

A close up of our Crape Myrtle blooms.

I have several other 30 Before 30 goals completed, but I haven't posted them because I've been so busy.  I'll get as many posted this weekend as possible.  :)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Progress VII

Penelope Swan is a pen name for my friend HY Hanna that has written the Beach Vet books and the Honey mysteries that I've read for this challenge and posted about several times.  The Netherfield Affair was a variation on Pride and Prejudice.  I really liked it!!  She kept true to the characters and it was like reading a book by Jane Austin!  I can't wait to read the others.  This is going in my category for a book published this year.

I read the Hunger Games for my trilogy.  I've been meaning to read these for a long time, but I just never got around to it.  I had seen the first movie when it came out and absolutely loved it.  The books are just as good or better.  I loved them!  I liked the first one the best.  The other two had some slow spots, but they redeemed themselves.  I wasn't totally happy with the ending of the final book, but it wasn't horrible.  If you liked the movie you really should read the books.  It's totally worth it.  :D

Aurora is a book I found on the shelf at work.  I like to read during my breaks, but the choices are very few and most are really not my kind of book.  I picked this one for my one word title because it was the smallest book with one word, but within a chapter it quickly made it's way into the category of a book at the bottom of my to read list.  It was awful!!!!!!!  I'm so not into political books and it was so boring!  Glad to have that dreaded category done at least.  Also to keep from totally bashing this book I did like the end of it.  Basically the last two chapters or so lol.

Red Rising is for my author under thirty years old category.  I had never heard of it before, but when they compared it to Hunger Games I was immediately intrigued (and now I want to read Ender's Game since they also compared it to that too).  When I started out reading this book I was really unsure...  The first person present tense was the same as Hunger Games, but I didn't see anything else similar.  It took a while before it got to the part that resembles it.  In the end I absolutely love this book!  I can't wait for the rest of the trilogy to come out!

This is another HY Hanna book.  It's actually book five in the Summer Beach Vet series.  I loved it because it brought back the people from earlier books and added in new characters.  It was a lot of fun to read and I loved all of the characters, new and old.  This one doesn't fit into a category.

I also realized that a book I read last month called Playboy's Redemption can actually go into the recommended by a friend category.  :D  So that only leaves two books that don't fit into categories.  So 29 down and 21 to go!  I did great this month though.  I read seven books (even though the trilogy only counts as one) and I'm halfway done with another one (I read one book at home and one at work so I'm always reading two).  Sadly the reason I got so much reading done is because it's been so hot outside and I've been injured for most of the month.  Sucks!!  So thankful I have my books to escape into. :)