Smells Like Heaven: Easy Aromatherapy For Your Home

There is nothing better than the sweet aroma of cinnamon wafting through the air, especially in the winter months. It’s the smell of hot cider simmering on the stove, bubbling apple pie, cinnamon buns in the oven, baked spiced squash or a hot cup of milky chai. There’s something about the spicy, yet sweet, smell of cinnamon that eases the mind, warms the heart and gives us a cozy sense of welcome-ness and home.

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Here’s my favourite way to create a wonderful aroma at home. It’s as easy as lighting a scented candle, and costs much less! Continue reading

Cinnamon Rolls: Ooey Gooey Goodness

The weather outside is frightful…or becomingly so. As we enter into the cold months, I find ways in the kitchen to warm the body, heart and soul. The cold, crisp winter air chills you to the bone. There is no better comfort than to feel the warmth of the oven, watch buns bake and to have the smell of cinnamon and sugar fill your home.

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I LOVE CINNAMON ROLLS! (And it’s probably safe to say that you do too.) These sweet, sticky, oozing buns full of cinnamon flavour are something I can’t refuse. It’s a mystery why I hadn’t tried baking these sooner! The satisfaction of creating each gorgeous little bun, and perfect cinnamon swirl, is unsurpassed.

I’ve had my share of different cinnamon buns from all over the place and some are definitely better than others. A good friend of mine baked a batch last month and brought me a couple (I have the greatest friends!). I had to make them for myself, THEY WERE DELICIOUS, and so she sent me the recipe that she used. The original recipe is from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, who has a wonderful blog, great recipes and a cookbook. I made a few slight changes and cut the recipe in half, because who could eat 50 cinnamon rolls!? I mean, I could…but I wouldn’t… ๐Ÿ™‚ Continue reading

Blog Awards & Feeling Thankful

I want to take a quick moment to express my sincere thanks to all of my friends and followers for taking the time to read my posts, try my recipes and share ideas. I have made some amazing friends through this blog! It is so wonderful how our love for food, flavours and life itself have brought us together!

This Hungry Kitten wouldn’t be the blog it is today if it weren’t for all the support and love I get from all of you! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Here’s a little love back, from a heart-shaped Black Pearl oyster. Had to pinken it up a bit with red wine mignonette. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Homemade Chinese Fish Balls…The Way They Should Be Made

Fish balls are a staple in many Asian homes. In Hong Kong they are a popular street food. There are as many fish ball stands in Hong Kong as there are hot dog stands in North America. They can be eaten on their own, fried, boiled, with noodles, in curry, in hot pots, on skewers, barbecued or any way you can think of cooking them! All ways are delicious!

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As delicious as they are, it shocked me when I looked into what ingredients were used in most store-bought and restaurant-served fish balls. If you read my earlier fish ball post, you’ll recall all the details. If you missed it, you can check it out by clicking here. It also includes a recipe for a healthy alternative to the traditional Asian fish balls (crispy pan-fried fish balls).

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I’ve received a lot of comments and requests for me to post a recipe for homemade, traditional, Chinese fish balls. So, as I promised a few months ago, I did some research and tried it out on my own. Making your own fish balls, or fish paste, obviously takes more time and effort than opening a frozen package from the store, but it’s definitely worth the effort if you want your food fresh, preservative-free and without added fillers in the ingredients. Continue reading

Balsamic Reduction: Make It Fancy In Minutes!

Making balsamic reduction is one of the quickest ways I can think of to spruce up your cooking. A balsamic reduction is simply the process of boiling down balsamic vinegar. The result is a wonderful syrup that can be used in sweet and savoury dishes alike. Takes only minutes to make, and can be used in so many ways. ย Make the transformation from regular home chef to culinary pro!

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A simple balsamic reduction adds elegance and a beautiful sweetness to leafy greens, and goes especially well with goat cheese and pistachios or other nuts. Dress up your salad with this classic dressing! It also pairs sensationally with tomato salads or strawberries in desserts. Can be used as a thicker topping for meats, fish and vegetables, or a thinner version can be used as a glaze for fish or roasts. So versatile! A simple balsamic reduction can add oomph to any dish that uses balsamic vinegar!

It adds an AMAZING touch to a simple Italian Caprese salad, which is what you will see here in my photos. I’ve also included the Caprese salad recipe in this post. ๐Ÿ™‚ Continue reading

A Classic Mignonette: An Oystergirl’s Best Friend

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but a girl like me would have to say that there are far better things in life than diamonds. For me, this list includes oysters. Some of the most beautiful things in the world come from the sea, a whole different world full of colours and life and secrets that will never be revealed to us. Oysters, to me, are the secrets of the ocean contained. Each beautiful shell unique and carrying the smell, the taste and the stories of the sea.

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If you don’t know by now, oysters are one of my favourite things in the world. They are not only a favourite food, they are an astoundingly complex and interesting species to study. I could spend days discussing my love for oysters and all the good they bring to this world. If you’d like to hear more about that, for the love of oysters, click here!

If you love eating these briny beauties as much as I do, you must know that going out to an oyster bar can start to get expensive. Shucking them yourself is lots of fun (if you know how) and a great money saver! I’ll seriously warn you though, please shuck carefully! You don’t want to hurt yourself! If you’re in Toronto (Ontario, Canada), I recommend contactingย Oysterboy to do a shucking class! Lots to learn, and lots of fun!

Shucking your own oysters has lots of benefits! You save money, you can enjoy oysters in the comfort of your own home (or whatever environment you please) and you can impress friends and family at get togethers or family gatherings. Oysters are great for any occasion!

There’s nothing better than a freshly shucked oyster eaten as is, but I do like to play around with different flavours so I always have my go-to sauces and oyster-sidekicks available. Continue reading

Autumn Apple Maple French Toast

Fall is such a gorgeous season. The weather begins to cool and leaves begin to turn wondrous shades of red, orange and yellow. I wake to a crisp, still morning air and fall asleep under warm, toasty covers. Each deep autumn breath carries the faint aroma of hot apple cider and warm cinnamon. It’s a season of harvest, coziness and sweaters; a season of warm ovens and warmer hearts. Each day is full of rich colour and the smell of hot bubbling pies, freshly baked and ready to be devoured.

This is my first official fall post this year and a perfect time to share this amazing apple brunch creation I made yesterday. I went apple picking near Collingwood, Ontario last week with my family and brought back a half bushel of McIntosh and Cortland apples with me. I’ve been spending the past few days thinking of ways to use them all. The funniest part about this is that I am slightly allergic to apples so I don’t really eat them myself (once in a while, if I can’t resist).

The classic French toast I was going to make on a Saturday afternoon, became something so much more delicious…and pretty. I took a couple of my fresh-picked apples and made apple maple French toast. Sauteing apples in butter and maple syrup turns them into a sweet, warm, caramelized apple topping to spoon over vanilla cinnamon French toast. Continue reading

The Best Kale Recipe: Fritters!

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Kale is the new black. (At least I think it kind of still is…) I’ve never seen a leafy green so in-fashion! A few years ago, when I first heard rumours of this new “thing”, everyone was talking about it. “Kale is SO good!”, “Have you tried kale?”, “Superfood!”, “Nutrients!”, “Kale saves lives!”. It was all around me. Kale salad, kale smoothies, kale chips, sauteed kale…everyone in the world, it seemed, was being kale-ified.ย Of course I had to taste this veggie for myself!

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of veggies including cabbage and brussels sprouts. I always say it looks like huge, curly spinach. It’s a little bit tougher, and some say it has a bit more of a bitter flavour. It has been called a superfood and one of the healthiest foods in the world. It is packed with nutrients and has a ton of health benefits, while also low in calories. Here’s a top 10 list of kale health benefits.

Kale can be eaten raw or cooked. I absolutely love it (although I don’t think there’s a single vegetable that I don’t love). The problem I had with kale was that I didn’t know a lot of kale recipes. I never knew what else I could do with it, other than sauteeing it with garlic or making a salad. I mean, I love kale salad, but there’s got to be other ways to eat this stuff… And I found out thatย there definitely are! Here is one of my new kale favourites! Delicious kale fritters! Flavourful and full of kale (and spicy if you want). They’re so hard to resist! Continue reading

Indonesian Chicken Soup For The Mind, Body and Soul

We all have our bad days. Days where you have too many questions and not enough answers. Days when your mind feels full and empty at the same time. Days when you’re sick, tired, or both. Sometimes we need a moment to see the light; something to intervene our thoughts. A great intervention: chicken soup. Soup is an amazing answer to any question, no matter how big or small. It can be an equally good addition to a good day, cold day, lazy day or busy day all the same. Soup clears your mind, fills your insides, warms your heart and brings a smile to your face.

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“Anyone who tells a lie has not a pure heart, and cannot make a good soup.”
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

It may be my Asian upbringing, but there is nothing better than a hot bowl of noodles and soup. The breakfast, lunch or dinner of champions! The best soup noodles are homemade. You take the time to make a delicious broth and the rest comes easily. The noodles take no time at all, and you can quickly add simple toppings. I make batches of broths to freeze. That way, there’s always a bowl of hot noodle soup waiting to be made in a flash. Continue reading

Tomato Salad In A Snap!

There is no better time than tomato season to enjoy tomatoes. Everywhere I look, my friends and family are harvesting their crop and bragging about how good their tomatoes taste.ย My father started a vegetable garden last year and is growing all sorts of tomato varieties. He planted so many he doesn’t even know what to do with them all! And so, of course, I have a never-ending supply of sweet, ripe tomatoes coming to me. I have to say, these homegrown tomatoes are the best I’ve ever had!

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Take advantage of the delicious tomatoes in season and enjoy them in a simple salad! Tomato salads have always been a staple in my home, and I have my father to thank for it. He is the man always on a quest for the freshest, ripest, sweetest tomatoes, and was the one who first showed me this recipe. (I’m sure this is how I developed my love for balsamic vinegar.)

This is the easiest salad to make. It uses only a few ingredients, and takes minutes to make. Continue reading