A PRODUCT OF UNCHECKED IMAGINATION

Goodbye City, Hello Reno(vation)

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May 6, 2014 Decor & Style, DIY Projects, Renovations 0 Comments

So I’m saying goodbye to my City-Life and Reluctantly waving Hello to life in Queens.

So why the move??? Our families are in Queens, and we’re thinking about having some kiddos soon and naturally we wanted to be close to family. So we’re moving into the Hubster’s House and leaving our carefree city-life behind.

So in comes the planning part. I always start by creating a current floorplan. Just so I have an idea of what I’m working with, and where I would want to make changes or place things like Stove, Bed, Bath, etc.

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Based on the current floor plan the Mister and I have decided on a few Major Minor improvements:

  1. Remove the 3rd bedroom
  2. Expand the Master by 2 FT – Creating a bigger Walk-in Closet and Bathroom
  3. Remove the Walls in the Kitchen – Open Kitchen Concept
  4. Update Electrical – Separate Lines for each room, and each major appliance
  5. Add a Washer/Dryer Closet
  6. Put in Recessed Lighting throughout
  7. Create Wainscoting
  8. New Kitchen Cabinets & Appliances
  9. New Bath Fixtures and Tiles

Creating something like this:

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Essentially, we’re gutting the entire floor and starting from scratch! I’m super excited to create a home that is both mine and the hubsters, but an super anxious as well. Cuz renovations never go smoothly and the cost of supplies and fixtures are going to put a serious dent in our finances.


Tian Nian Gao – Sweet Chinese Rice Cake

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Feb 3, 2014 Good Eats, Recipes , , , 0 Comments

A Chinese New Year Tradition

Sweet Rice Cake that symbolizes Good wishes for those who eat it: Sweetness for the new year, Family unity, and come on who doesn’t love some Rice Cake!!! Serve with Green Tea and make sure to slice thin before pan frying, for extra crispiness.

Inspiration for this Dish:

The scent of this sticky goodness frying up on the stove became synonymous with all things good about the New Year for me. It’s Sweet, Chewy, Crispy, and the aromatic scent of Dates, still gives me fond memories of my Grandma on Chinese New Year Morning. So since it’s my first CNY (Chinese New Year) being married, I figured I would give make some Tian nian Gao for my Hubby and Grams.

Makes:

2 Rice Cakes (approx. 8inches Round each)

Total Cook Time:

50 minutes to 1 hour

Difficulty Level:

Beginner, Kid Friendly

Pre-boil:

In a Pot (filled 1/3 full) fitted with a Steamer or Steamer Insert, Boil Water over Medium/high Heat

Ingredients:

Directions:

    1. Fill Pot with 1/3 water over Med/high heat
    2. In Medium Pot, Boil 2 Cups Water
    3. Add Sugar and Vegetable Oil, and Stir Constantly til Sugar has melted and mixture looks smooth (Basically til you don’t see any lumps), Set Aside to cool for 20 Min
    4. Add cooled liquid to Sweet Rice Flour and mix til mixture is smooth
    5. Transfer evenly to 2 8inch Round Aluminium pans
    6. Add Pitted and Pre-Soaked Dates to the pan, arranging 1 in the center and the others as you like
    7. Cover each pan lightly with Alumnium foil (Make sure the Foil does not touch the top of the mixuture)
    8. Steam in Steamer for 50-60 minutes
    9. Cool for 20 Minutes, Cut Thinely, Fry in Pan & ENJOY!

Photo Credits: All Images taken and Created by Simply Chimerica


Two Peck Comes to America!

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Nov 5, 2013 Good Eats, Street Eats, Taiwan, Travel , , , , 0 Comments

Taipei’s Beloved Fried Chicken King – TWO PECK CRISPY CHICKEN!!!

Happy Dance Over here !!! Has finally come to America! Hitting the mean streets of NYC, just in time to save me from my withdrawal of the Yummy Fried Goodness that is Two Peck!

Location:

136-55 Roosevelt Ave / Flushing, NY 11354 (Between Main Street and Union Street) Click here for Google Map Directions.

Cost:

Prices range from $2.99 – 4.50
(Chicken taco to $4.50 for the House Special – Fried Chicken Cutlet, )

Must-Try Item(s):

Crispy Boneless Chicken Breast
(Salt-n-Pepper Flavor)

The NYC Menu

It seems the NYC location offers much more variation (i.e., Many different flavors like Plum & Curry, not just the Original Salt-n-Pepper) on the traditional Chicken Cutlet than Taipei, and less traditional items (i.e., Fried Pig blood cake, or Sticky Rice Stuffed Intestine).

So here’s the low-down:

Taste:

I was expecting the flavor bomb that was Two Peck in Taipei, What I got was a milder, sweeter version. The batter is light, crispy, but thicker than the original. The flavor is a sweet version of 5 spice with just a hint of salt, garlic, and wasabi.

How does NYC Two Peck Compare to it’s Parent location in Taipei:

Here is the truth, It doesn’t. It’s not half as good as Taipei’s version and TWICE the Cost ($$$). BUT, probably the best you will find of it’s kind here in NYC. I’m not sure if they decided to scale down the spices and change the flour batter to suit the U.S. palate, but I found myself wishing they stuck to the original recipe. Another thing, that bugged me was that NYC Two Peck refused to cut the Cutlet for you, making sharing a cutlet with a friend or significant other – Super Duper Difficult!

So the real question is will it be worth the $4.50 you hand over for the Fried Chicken Goodness???

The Answer is Yes. Even though this version pales in comparison to Taipei’s. For those of us who can’t hop on our private jet to go to Taipei, it’s the best we can get.

Click here for MORE YELP Reviews on TWO PECK NYC

Photo Credits: Images taken and Created by Simply Chimerica


The Sweetest Cake of All

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Nov 4, 2013 Family - Wo De Jia, Good Eats, Random Musings, Recipes , 0 Comments

Happy, Happy, Happy, Joyous Birthday Cake!

For my family, the months of September through December is a never-ending whirl of Birthday’s and gorging ourselves on Cake til we are all literally bursting at the seams…

So I’m always looking, hunting, and testing recipes all year round to prep for these 3 months of non-stop Birthday’s ! ! !

Through all the years of trials and errors of store bought versus home-baked, I have found that there are a Select Few CAKE(S) in NYC that are above and beyond… the ga-jillion bakeries in and around the city

1. Panya Bakery – Chocolate-Choco Souffle Cake ($30 for 8 inch Cake)

If you like super moist, not too-sweet Chocolate cake, and Whip Cream Toppings then this is the birthday cake for you! It’s a great cross between a Japanese/Asian pound cake and a traditional Chocolate Souffle. Minus all the dense heaviness and richness of a traditional Souffle-cake.

Budget Friendly and It looks pretty too! Perfect for someone who likes Simple, Clean Lines, perhaps the Modernist in your family!

2. Two Little Red Hens Bakery – Banana Cake W/Cream Cheese Frosting ($39 for 8 inch Cake)

My Aunt loves Banana Cake, and Two Little Red Hens’ Banana cake is the BEST Banana Cake, you can buy! Light, fluffy, perfectly moist and real banana taste. None of that processed chemical taste, just wholesome, real banana taste here!

Try it, and the many other flavors this lovely little bakery has to offer, you will not be disappointed!

3. Lady M. Confections – Milli-Crepe Cake ($75 for 9 inch Cake)

Ok, so this is technically not your run-of-the-mill Birthday Cake, Some of you may even throw rocks at me for including this in my list, BUT It is a DEFINITE contender for those in your life, that just don’t like tradition, your dare-devils, your person or persons that enjoy the different and unique!

Think Ultra Thin Layers of handmade, and hand assembled light crepes (Approx. 20 layers to be exact) with semi-sweet vanilla pastry creme and a smidgen of caramelized sugar…This is heaven on a fork.

And for those who don’t mind busting out their mad baking skills

Here are my Best Home-baked, Home-Tested, Super- Picky Family Approved Recipes. . .

A. Hersey’s Perfectly Chocolate, Chocolate Cake Recipe – Best New Baker/Go-To Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever

This was the very first Chocolate Cake recipe I ever tried when I first started to learn how to bake. And it is still one of the most beloved cakes, I make. The ingredients are simple, nothing fancy (no, cardomom or tahitian vanilla beans here). Just good old : Flour, Sugar, Eggs, Milk, Water, Oil, and Vanilla Extract.

I always pair this cake with Fresh Whipped Cream instead of Frosting, and My Family and Friends have always requested this cake time and time again, but if you have a sweet tooth, you can follow their directions for Chocolate Frosting!

B. Paula Deen’s It’s Really Better Than Sex Recipe – Best Lazy Man/Go-To Yellow Cake Recipe Ever

If you are low on time, or your local Supermarket has a super deal on Better Crocker or Duncan Hines Boxed Cake Mix, this is the perfect recipe for you! Every single person who has tried this recipe and tasted this cake – LOVE the way this cake tastes and looks. Some substitutions, I’ve made to make this cake a bit more to my family’s tastes: Using Fresh Pinapple instead of Canned and Using 1/2 Cup sugar instead of 1 and 1/2 cup. Or Follow the Recipe to the T, Either way, you will not be disappointed!

Photo Credits: Images taken and Created by
1,2 – Simply Chimerica, 3. Lady M. Confections


The Midas Touch In the Kitchen

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Nov 1, 2013 Decor & Style , 0 Comments
I want want want want want Brass, Copper, and Gold in my Dream Kitchen

So Freaking bad, my mind is constantly whirling with all the awesomeness that would be, could be, my future kitchen, that I have contemplated selling a few of my non-essential organs for it (Missing a spleen or appendix is not a Huge Deal, Right?!).

And Can ya blame me?! I mean, look at these kitchens and hardware!
How Awesomely Drool-worthy are they!

From Dominic McKenzie Architects- Genuis GOLD/COPPER Cabinets!!!
- It’s the kind of stuff I imagine in James Bond’s House.

From Design Inc.- I am in love with all that Marble, and Gold! I’m in love!!!
- I have an Uber-Crush on Marble right now, I’m not sure if it’s knowing that each piece of marble is unique to its-self that intrigues me, or that a clean white slab of marble changes the tone of a kitchen entirely.

From La Cornue Who would’ve have thought something so beautiful could exist in the form of a real-life use-able kitchen range. The cost you ask??? Equivalent to a good size down payment on a small condo in south Florida or for a mega million winner. A girl can dream though right?!

Designed Jean-Louis Deniot Archinect and Elle did a whole spread and Article on the wonderful world of Jean-Louis’ Paris Apartment. A perfect balance between modern, romantic, and what I call Parisian Chic – Ecclectic & Vintage.

Photo Credits: Images taken and Created by
1. Dominic Mckenzie Architects, 2. Design Inc., 3. La Cornue, 4. Archinect.com (Via John-Louis Denoit)


Wild Berry Coffee Cake

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Sep 27, 2013 Good Eats, Recipes , , 0 Comments

Yummy! Great for breakfast or with a great cup of coffee!

Tip: My hubby loves this with some Clotted Cream!!!

Inspiration for this Dish:

This Cake came from a desperate need for Starbuck’s Very Berry Non-Fat Pound cake, on a crappy Rainy day, and a surplus of Berries, thanks to my local Fairway Market Super Sale! Every time, I make this Coffee Cake, my house is filled with the fragrant scent of Vanilla, Sweet Berries, and lemon, filling my mouth with drool, and house with the scent of pure love!

Total Cook Time:

45 minutes to 1 hour

Difficulty Level:

Beginner, Kid Friendly

Preheat Oven:

350 degrees

Ingredients:

Directions:

    1. Spray Baking pan or 9 inch baking loaf with Pam Baking spray & set aside
    2. Mix Non-Liquid ingredients: Flour, Baking Powder) together in a seperate mixing bowl, set aside
    3. Cream (Mix) Butter and Sugar together until light (Basically til you don’t see any lumps)
    4. Add whole eggs or egg whites (1 at a time), Mix until fluffy (the mixture should have air pockets)
    5. Add in Vanilla extract, Lemon zest, and Sour Cream or Greek yogurt, mix well
    6. Alternate between adding the  Non-liquid mixture and Milk (Start and end with the Non-Liquid Mix) – Mix on Low
    7. Pour half the batter into the baking pan or loaf, Make sure to spread the batter evenly
    8. Add in the Berries
    9. Add the remaining of the batter and spread the top evenly
    10. Place in the oven and bake
    11. Cool for 30 Minutes & ENJOY!

Photo Credits: All Images taken and Created by Simply Chimerica