Overnight oats

On Pinterest someone somewhere is pinning an overnight oats recipe. I’ve put it off for awhile now, writing it off under “yuck!”. I know, I know – don’t knock it before you try it – but I’ve never liked oatmeal. The consistency is mushy and reminded me too much of a bad childhood breakfast. That’s because of course I’ve always had the instant flavored oatmeal kind prior to this.

One day about a month ago, one of my coworkers brought this in for her mid-day snack. She was chatting at my cube and whatever she was eating smelled amazing! She told me it’s overnight oats, super easy to make, and totally customizable to your palate. I was sold!

I don’t have a different photo for every recipe I’m posting here. After awhile to eating this, it all looks the same really. But keep in mind, I like to make things simple, and some of the recipes out there, while awesome as they are, have too many ingredients for my liking. This is breakfast, not rocket science.

I use the Ball 8 oz canning jars wide mouth as my airtight containers. They’re perfectly sized for breakfast in our family and easy to clean. These recipes are 1:1 ratio of rolled oats to liquid. Also, I add a teaspoon of chai seeds to all my recipe as well. I make mine at night time, usually after dinner. Stick in in the fridge and by morning, it’s ready to go!

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Chocolate overnight oats

  • 1 part chocolate soy milk
  • 1 part rolled oats
  • 1 tsp chai seeds

Peanut butter overnight oats

  • 1 part skim milk
  • 1 part rolled oats
  • 1 tb peanut butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp chai seeds

Strawberry overnight oats

  • 1 part skim milk
  • 1 part rolled oats
  • 2 tsp of strawberry jam
  • 1 tsp chai seeds

Brown sugar cinnamon overnight oats

  • 1 part skim milk
  • 1 part rolled oats
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chai seeds

Julie and Julia’s Bruschetta

Meryl Streep is the best actress! I seriously love every single movie she’s done. Even if the rest of the movie isn’t all that great, her acting makes the ~2 hours go by so fast! She’s mesmerizing.

Julie and Julia was one of those movies I was sure to like. It had Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, blogging, and food – a hard to beat combo. In the beginning of the movie, there’s this scene when Julie is making dinner and discussing with her husband to start a blog. If you have seen the movie, then you won’t forget this scene: she’s making bruschetta! Their first bite into it at the dinner table…drool.


Here is the scene, for those of you that would like to be hungry this very moment:

Tomato Bruschetta

recipe provided by Susan Spungen

  • Tomatoes
  • Rustic bread
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Cut tomatoes into chunks and julienne lots of basil leaves. In a bowl, toss tomatoes and basil with a good quality olive oil. Marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.
  2. Cut bread into slices about 3/4 inch thick
  3. Pan fry the bread in olive oil to get it toasted on the outside while retaining some softness in the center. After pan frying, rub the bread with whole garlic clove.
  4. Season tomato mixture with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
  5. Top bread with tomato mixture.


Zion National Park

About once a year, my husband and I take an outdoor excursion trip with another couple to get out of the city. Living in SoCal is wonderful, but it can feel like I’m living in a bubble sometimes. It’s nice to get out to mother nature and see a small part of what she has to offer from time to time. We’ve planned our Zion trip for the past few months and this past weekend, it finally came!

Roughly 6.5 hours drive from where we live, Zion is majestic in every sense of the word. There are countless trails and hikes, but none more famous than Angel’s Landing and The Narrows. On the first day, we took on Angel’s Landing. With a climb of 1500ft in elevation, this hike was strenuous and challenging. It defined vertigo for me! On the second day, we woke up early and went on The Narrows river hike. Taking 6 hours, this hike had us in cold water almost the entire time. The riverbed was lined with sand and large rocks along with the river current made this a challenging hike as well. I’m just happy that I didn’t fall on the rocks!

The days spent here were truly magical. Zion, stay beautiful!

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I’m a big fan of pickles. We have a Costco-size jar of whole pickles in our fridge at all times. But my love for salt and sour doesn’t just stop at pickled cucumbers, I love everything pickled. Other than the fact that it’s darn good, it’s quintessential in Vietnamese food and cooking so I grew up with it in my cuisine. There is a unique balance of flavors and textures in Vietnamese food and that’s why I love it so much. In a common bowl of pho, you have the noodle soup with raw onions, the aromatic scent of basil, crispy bean sprouts, and a squeeze of lime for tartness. And it doesn’t stop there, I can take this concept of utilizing the different flavors and textures to nearly every dish.

Pickling plays an important part to make Vietnamese food what it is. The saltiness is balanced perfectly with the sour and sweetness of the pickles, and the soft meats are made better with the crunch of the pickled vegetables. I found a recipe on White on Rice Couple‘s blog and it’s super simple and the outcome is 100% foolproof! On their blog, they use sliced carrots and daikon but I had a huge bag of jalapenos on my hand so I used that instead. That’s to say, this recipe can extend to anything you want to pickle, from cucumbers to okra.

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Pickled Jalapenos and Garlic


  • 1 lb of jalapenos
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 cups water, slightly warm enough to dissolve the salt and sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons distilled or rice vinegar


  1. In large pitcher or large bowl, mix water, vinegar, sugar and salt till everything is dissolved and combined well.
  2. Place sliced jalapenos and garlic in a clean, sterile jar and fill vinegar till jar is full.
  3. Cover jars and set in the refrigerator to pickle for about 3 days. Pickles can last for about 3 weeks in the fridge.



Home Envy

My husband and I are no where close to buying a house, both financially and emotionally. The thought of purchasing our first home scares the heck out of me. Not speaking of the financial burden (it’s a big one!) but just the emotional toll of the whole process can be quite demanding on a person. I could just be overly dramatic right now but I’m not ready to take on such a task, especially with nursing school in the next 2 years. However, every time I’m on Pinterest, browsing through my friends’ Instagrams, or reading up on my favorite blogs, someone somewhere is posting amazing photos of home sweet home. So here it is…

Inspirations for my future humble abode.

Swoon. Love. Eye candy, that’s for sure.

Pho Ga

I’ve been eating and making soup like it’s nobody’s business. For some strange reason, when it’s hot outside, I want to eat hot, make-you-sweat-in-your-pants, soup! It’s annoying but atlas, what can you do? I bought a whole chicken for the first time at the grocery store a week ago and had no idea what to do with it. I stuck it in the freezer and promised to get to it as soon as a good recipe comes up. I waited, and waited. Thought about roasting the thing, but Costco does a far, far better job at roasting chicken than I ever could, plus they sell theirs for cheaper than the price I paid for my raw one.

Low and behold, the Vietnamese in me came through and screamed for pho ga (chicken). I feel like the pho scene has taken off in the last couple years nationally and everyone seems to know the famous pho of Vietnamese cuisine. I’m happy that this is the case! It’s nice to see my motherland, in this case, fatherland, cuisine on America’s map. However, most of the pho people eat and know about is pho bo (beef). The stock is made from beef bones, and the protein eaten with the noodles is beef (rare steak, brisket, meatballs). I haven’t muster up the courage to take that on yet!

I love Vietnamese food but never attempted to cook anything because 1) my mom never really required me to be in the kitchen and 2) finding authentic recipes online proves to be a challenging task. Most Vietnamese cooks I know don’t use a recipe or write anything down. They simply know how to make a dish by memory and through tasting as they cook. And the recipes I find online are mostly from American cooks written for American households so the recipe is not…how should I say this, good. But thanks to my husband, I came across a blogger that makes authentic Vietnamese food!

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Pho Ga – Chicken Rice Noodle Soup


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 onions
  • 2 stub of ginger
  • 2 Tb rock sugar
  • 2 Tb granulated chicken base
  • 3 Tb salt
  • 2 Tb fish sauce
  • 6 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • chopped green onions, cilantro, sliced onion, bean sprouts, and Thai basil for garnish
  • lime
  • hoisin sauce
  • sriracha sauce
  • rice noodles


  1. Wash your chicken well. Place chicken in an 12 qt. stock pot and fill pot with water.
  2. Let chicken cook on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of salt.  You’ll want to skim the broth whenever necessary.
  3. Once the chicken has cooked all the through, approximately 1.5 hours, remove the chicken.
  4. Add all the roots vegetables to your broth (ginger, onions, and leeks).
  5. Remove all the chicken meat from the bones, and throw the bones back in the pot.
  6. Add 2 tablespoon of salt, rock sugar, and granulated chicken base. Let the broth simmer for about another hour on low heat.
  7. While you wait for the broth, you can shred the chicken meat and prepare the garnish.
  8. Roast the spices on low heat on a pan. Then throw in the broth. Also, add 2 Tb fish sauce to the broth at this time.
  9. After 15-20 minutes, strain the broth so you’ll only have the chicken broth remaining in the pot.
  10. Follow instructions to cook the rice noodles on the package.
  11. Assembly the bowl with cooked rice noodles, shredded chicken, and garnishes. Pour the broth over and enjoy!

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Chrissy Teigen’s Jok

I’m currently obsessed with Chrissy Teigen. Love love love her! I find her funny, cute, and endearing. Plus, who doesn’t like a paradox? She’s both a model and foodie! Uh, life’s already hard as it is; I can’t even imagine the struggle she goes through haha.

Her blog, So Delushious, is a gem! On it, you’ll find recipes, photos, and best of all, sexual innuendos. Chrissy is half Norwegian and half Thai so her blog does feature some very enticing Southeastern recipes. One very hot afternoon, I decided to take on her mom’s recipe. After much, much sweat that day, I had myself Jok Moo, Thai’s version of Chinese congee, for dinner.


Mama Teigen’s Jok Moo

  • 1 cup dry Jasmine rice
  • 6 quarts water
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch green onion
  • 1.5 tbs kosher salt
Pork mixture, marinate overnight:
  • 1.5 lbs ground pork
  • 15 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbs coriander seeds
  • 2 tbs black peppercorns
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  1. Mince garlic and grind the coriander and black peppercorns. Add the mixture to the ground pork and mix thoroughly with your hands. Add the fish sauce and incorporate.
  2. For the congee: In a 8-quart stock pot, fill with water 2 inches below the rim. Bring to a boil. Add the dry rice. It will take approximately 1.5 hours to boil the rice down to the right consistency. You want a nice and slow rolling boil. Stirring frequently, particularly when it thickens. You want the consistency of soupy oatmeal when you add the pork. The pork bits should be rough. Take a handful and pinch of little bits into the water, stirring so they don’t stick to each other. Add 1.5 tbs kosher salt (more or less to taste). Cover and allow to simmer on low for another 15-20 minutes.
  3. Garnish with a little fresh cilantro, green onions, slice ginger, fried shallots, fried garlic, Thai chili powder, Thai chili in fish sauce, or pickled Thai chili – to your taste.
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