Tuesday, March 22, 2011

FREE Birthday Meal at Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill

Rubio's is so generous!  Every year, I receive a coupon for a free meal coupon up to $7 for my birthday and I just love it! I got free fish tacos today and I was in heaven! My meal was 100% free, no purchase necessary!  How cool is that? All I had to do was sign up for Rubio's beach club E-mail and this free birthday meal coupon is just one of the perks included.
I have to admit that I haven't been to Rubio's in a long time and while I was there I was pleasantly surprised to see that Rubio's has great recycling and composting bins set up to correspond with their recyclable plates and utensils.  Way to go Rubio's for being so environmentally friendly and responsible! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sephora Beauty Insider Birthday Freebie

I just got my birthday freebie from Sephora, a 6 oz bottle of Philosophy Vanilla birthday cake shampoo, shower gel and bubble bath! The bottle is so cute--it says, "Happy Birthday, Beautiful!"
This is such a cool birthday freebie from Sephora and there is no purchase necessary to pick this up! I received my birthday coupon in the mail and showed it to the gal at the register and she hooked me up with this splendid birthday treat. This is just another reason to sign up for Sephora's Beauty Insider Program. I always look forward to this free birthday goodie because it's one of the great perks to being a Sephora Beauty Insider.

Sign up free to be a Sephora Beauty Insider


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sigeumchi namul (Korean Spinach Side Dish)

I've been totally digging this Korean spinach side dish, sigeumchi namul. It is so simple to make and it's a good way to use up spinach.
I used about a pound of bagged spinach to make this batch, but you can use one bundle of spinach. I've made it both ways and it's good either way.
The first thing you have to do is wash the spinach and then bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach to the salted, boiling water. Cook for 30 seconds and then dump the spinach in a colander and place spinach in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Gently squeeze the water out. Cut spinach into smaller pieces and place in a bowl.
Finely mince two cloves of garlic and one green onion and add to the spinach. Add about 1-2 tablespoons  of soy sauce and about 1/2 tablespoon of Korean sesame oil. Mix it by hand or with a spoon and garnish with sesame seeds.
This will keep in the refrigerator for a couple days, so I make a big batch and keep it on hand to eat with my rice.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Korean Jumuk-Bap, Rice Balls (aka: Japanese Yaki Onigiri)

My friend gave me a cute triangle rice mold to use for Korean Jumuk-bap, also known as Japanese Yaki Onigiri. This is my first shot at making this grilled rice treat! It was so fun to make, but I think I had my heat up a little too high (it was on medium, but our gas stove runs hot) and my triangles got a little charred. I might try using another type of fry pan next time, too (I used a cast iron skillet this time). I think I lost my patience and didn't let it brown properly on some sides (I rushed it along and I wasn't supposed to! I was eager to eat it, I guess! Oh well, lesson learned! Patience helps with this recipe.) My first batch was still tasty, but the batch after that turned out a lot better and had a wonderful crispy outer layer of toasted rice!

You can make the rice into any shape you want, just make sure you grill it on every side. That's what takes the longest--you have to grill it five times and then brush each side with soy sauce and grill it again on each side! But it's well worth the wait for these yummy snacks!

I decided to document my first attempt at making grilled rice balls. As you can see from the video, my hands are a little clumsy at making the triangles! I always say, "I gotta start somewhere!" And, I always learn from my mistakes and try to make improvements the next time--that's what's so fun about cooking, it's all about learning and trying new things! Try, try again...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Onigiri (Rice Ball)

My friend gave me yet another fun thing to try: roasted seaweed wrappers for making rice balls or Onigiri. Gosh, I am SO LUCKY to have such a nice friend! I wouldn't know where to find half of this stuff without her help! Of course, now I'm hooked and I'll be buying these seaweed wraps all the time now. The package she gave me had 10 individual sheets of seaweed inside. I found them on Amazon for $20.90 for a 4 pack, which seems like a really good deal to me (4x10=40 for $20.90, so about $0.52 each). I can eat two rice balls easily for lunch...but if you put more in front of me, I'm sure I can eat those, too!

I was so excited to try this out, but as you can see from the video, I had a few technical difficulties. (But that's ok. It always happens when you're recording something, right?) 

I had some leftover seasoned sushi rice (I added some diced pickled radish to the rice), so I decided to make some Onigiri, rice balls. These seaweed wrappers are so cool because they have plastic on them so you can make them ahead of time and the seaweed won't get soggy! The wrapper is so cute, it has the directions for how to unwrap the rice ball (or triangle, really) by pulling down on "tab 1" and then slipping off "tab 2" and then "tab 3." It's magic! You get some nice salty, crispy seaweed for your rice when you're on the go! While I just filled my rice with chopped pickled radish, you can certainly put anything from salmon, tuna, cucumber, grilled spam, or even kimchi inside and you can have a nice picnic somewhere! If your kids like sushi, then try making this for their lunches!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ground Turkey Egg Rolls

Just wanted to share one of my favorite foods: egg rolls! I could eat egg rolls every day and never get sick of them.
I love making these egg rolls with ground turkey meat as an alternative to pork.
These egg rolls are super easy to make and it's a good way to use up veggies. The best part about making egg rolls is that you don't have to measure every ingredient precisely. You can eyeball everything!
For this recipe you will need:
1 lb ground turkey
4 green onions, chopped
1 pack of vermicelli bean thread noodles
1 egg
Finely shredded cabbage, about a quarter or up to a half a small head of cabbage
Handful of shredded carrots (I used the pre-shredded carrots)
4 cloves of garlic crushed and minced into a fine paste
Handful of bean sprouts (optional, I didn't have them the day I made this batch, but I put them in when I have them)
Handful of cilantro, chopped
Two splashes of rice wine (optional, if you don't have it, these will still taste good)
Salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
Spring roll wraps (I used the frozen lumpia wraps)
Optional: For fancier egg rolls, you can also add 1/4 lb chopped cooked or uncooked shrimp.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and generously season with salt and pepper. Add two tablespoons or so of mixture near the corner of a spring roll wrap. Fold over the corner to cover the filling. Fold over the right and the left sides, ensuring the mixture is snug inside and then roll it until you come to the last corner. Use some water on your fingers to wet the corner and seal the egg roll. Repeat with the remaining 29 wraps (my package came with 30 wraps). Use a damp paper towel to cover the wraps so they don't dry out. Also, use a damp paper towel to cover the completed egg rolls, which I set into a food storage container. These egg rolls freeze well, so I usually freeze four to six per container so they are ready for me whenever I want them.
To cook these egg rolls, deep fry them for 6-7 minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy. You can make these ahead of time and layer them (uncooked) in a food storage container between sheets of parchment paper. If you fry them all up, you can keep them warm in a 200 degree oven until you are ready to eat them. Leftovers can be eaten the next day by warming them up in a 375 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes.
These are best enjoyed with sweet and sour dipping sauce, Chinese duck sauce or sweet chili dipping sauce. I also like these egg rolls wrapped in red leaf lettuce with mint and cilantro and then dipped in nuoc cham, Vietnamese fish sauce.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dukbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)

I decided to try making dukbokki because it's cold outside and I have a bit of a cold, a sore throat. So, I thought some dukbokki would warm me up and soothe my throat...or at least the spiciness would wake up my dead tastebuds! Boy, was I right! This was so spicy, my nose started running!

I didn't have dried anchovies, so I just made it without them. I know the original recipe calls for them, but it still tasted good (just didn't have the mellow fish flavor in the background).

For this recipe, I just boiled 4 cups of water and added 4 tablespoons of gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste). I could have added less to make it less spicy or more to make it even hotter! Once the paste mixed with the water, I added 1 tablespoon of Korean corn syrup (but you can use sugar). Next, I added the Korean rice cakes to the simmering liquid. I simmered them until the rice cakes plumped up and the sauce thickened up a bit (this happened after 5-10 minutes or so, I forgot the check the clock). Then I added 4 green onions, sliced down the middle and chopped in 3 inch pieces. I let that simmer for a few minutes.

It has been 10 minutes since I polished off my small plate of dukbokki (a little goes a long way with these rice cakes, otherwise, you know me, I am hardly ever satisfied with a small plate of anything!) and I can still feel the heat in my chest! It really does warm you up and it's perfect when it's cold outside. I know this wasn't 100% authentic, but it still tasted good and did its job of warming me up! At least my tastebuds got a jolt today! Yum!

Free Panda Express Golden Treasure Shrimp on March 9, 2011

Panda Express is at it again! Panda Express has a new shrimp dish, Golden Treasure Shrimp, to try FREE on March 9, 2011. No purchase necessary. This Panda Express coupon is good for one single serving entree of Golden Treasure Shrimp on March 9, 2011 only. Talk about a cheap lunch--can't beat FREE Shrimp! 

Panda Express Coupon: Free Golden Shrimp

Find a Panda Express Location near you

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Trader Joe's 1% Lowfat Milk in Tetrapaks

I am so glad Trader Joe's brought back their lowfat milk in individual tetrapaks! For $2.99/4 pack(or about $0.75/each), Trader Joe's offers the convenience of having non perishable milk on hand for lunch boxes or other last minute outings! I love that they have this back--it's been a long time since Trader Joe's offered non-perishable milk and I'm so glad it's there now!

Anthropologie 15% off Birthday coupon!

It has arrived! I got my birthday gift from Anthropologie, my once a year 15% off Anthropologie coupon! Anthropologie even customized the adorable cloth envelope that housed the coupon! It says, "What's in the stars for you, Aries?"

How cute is that???? I can't wait to find my Anthro gems this month!

This is yet another reason to sign up for a free anthro card at the store--you get fabulous benefits like this precious coupon (no other coupons exist for this store!). The anthro card is not a credit card, it just tracks your purchases so you don't have to worry about keeping your receipts for returns.