Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Visiting Adventures

We have been super lucky in the last few weeks to have some of our favorite people visit us. With all this visiting there hasn't been much time for cooking (or at least cooking with my camera), so I thought I'd share some pictures of our adventures instead.

Thunder Mountain with Kyle and Kate (my favorite ride!) I might have made them go on it... oh... at least 3 times?

Kyle and Kate came to visit us for a weekend which was so so so fun. We were hoping they would have a chance to come down before we graduated and we are so glad they made it. It was Kate's first time to Disneyland ever and she did an excellent job. She and Kyle were even selected to star in a cowboy comedy show. I have a video but they would probably kill me if I posted that, so here is an attractive still photo instead.

Stealing the show :)

We were also lucky to have another friend from undergrad visit SoCal. I was able to visit Disneyland with her for an evening and we enjoyed wearing wearing out mickey hats (her's is a mickey storm trooper hat which is AWESOME, unfortunately my camera didn't capture it well, please imagine this).

About to embark on Haunted Mansion

 In a change of pace we spent a lovely day with Lisa and Ben at the San Diego Zoo. They were in town from Texas to visit family and came in a couple days early. We were happy to get to spend some time catching up and looking at cool animals. 

San Diego Zoo with Ben and Lisa

We were also delighted to get to see our friend Jessica for her 30th birthday at Disneyland. It was so nice to walk around the park with her and hear how her life is going. We even got to go to Flynn's Arcade in California Adventure's Electronica which hosts a room full of arcade games from the 80's for just 25 cents each! We played original Mario and Dig Dug. We died embarrassingly fast, but still had a pretty good time. She even arranged for a fancy dinner at the chef counter at Napa rose which was amazingly delicious. Really, that could be a whole blog post, the food was so good!  :)

Jessica's amazing 30th birthday dinner. :)

We are so glad that everyone was able to come see us before we graduated. Thank you so much for making the trip down and we can't wait to see you agin!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chinese Eggplant and Quinoa

Every once in a while our Chinese grocery store has Chinese eggplant on super sale, and by that I mean $0.33/lb. I always get a bunch because at that price, it seems pretty safe to experiment. I mean if something goes wrong what did I loose, 25 cents? Here's our latest experiment which turned out pretty tasty. We served it on top of quinoa, but you could use rice instead (we used quinoa because we're trying to vary our grains a little). Hope you enjoy it too!

Chinese Eggplant with Quinoa. (The white thing in back is a steamed pork bun).

Ok let's get started, for this dish there are three main ingredients: mushrooms, red bell pepper, and Chinese eggplant. We'll start off by sauteing the mushrooms in a pan with a bit of hot oil and chili sauce.

poke poke poke.

When the mushrooms have cooked down a little add your chopped eggplant and red peppers. Stir everything around a little.

 In a small bowl mix the soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch until smooth. Poor your soy sauce mixture over the vegetables and cover your pan with a lid and let everything steam in there for a bit (5 min, but check midway to make sure nothing is sticking, add some water or broth if it looks too dry).  

Now uncover and let everything cook until the eggplant softens and begins to brown. Dish out and serve on top of quinoa or rice. Top with green onions and you're ready to eat!

yum! :)
This is a pretty adaptable recipe, so you can add tofu, onions, garlic, egg... or anything else you think would go well with eggplant. 

1 - large chinese eggplant cut into bite-sized pieces
1 - red bell pepper diced
6 - mushrooms sliced
1 - green onion sliced
1 - tsp chili sauce
2-3 Tbsp - soy sauce
1 Tbsp - vinegar (I used apple cider but rice vinegar would probably work too)
1 tsp - corn starch

1. Saute mushrooms with chili sauce
2. Add eggplant and peppers
3. mix soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch
4. poor soy sauce mixture in and cover with lid
5. cook for 5 min checking to make sure nothing is sticking, add water or broth if it looks to dry
6. uncover and cook until soft and starting to brown
7. serve!

Have fun!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Welcome to our new blog!

Hi Everyone!

When we originally started our blending blog we hadn't really planned on blogging beyond Nathan's recovery period, so a blending related name seemed reasonable. Also, in general, I hate writing... so I figured I probably wouldn't want to blog afterwards anyway. However it turns out blogging is kind of fun, and if I'm sneaky, I can get away with my posts being mostly pictures anyway (ok, and maybe I don't hate writing as much as I thought). 

So welcome to our newly named Bales family blog, named for the long term. :)

Hey, Bales!

and wait for it.....

Hay Bales!

I may also be guilty of pointing and shouting "Oh look! Our FAMILY!!!" every time we drive by farms or trucks stacked with bales of hay. Nathan, is a very tolerant man.

<>< Elizabeth

Happy Easter!

We always making deviled eggs for the annual GCF potluck. However, this year I stumbled across something amazing! About a week ago I was on Pinterest (or maybe Google+ or Facebook? I can't remember...) and saw a picture of deviled eggs that were decorated to look like chicks. I forgot to actually pin the original site, but I googled the recipe and it looks like Rachel Ray did a segment on how to make them, so maybe she is the inventor? The basic idea is you make regular deviled egg filling but you slice the top off the egg instead of cutting it in half. Then you pipe the yolk mixture back in and make little eyes and a beak out of olive and carrot slivers. 

All in all, they are pretty cute but also a little disturbing. To appease our consciences we decided to make a few but enforced a strict "no paprika" rule since adding red splatters seemed to be in poor taste... maybe we'll reconsider for Halloween.

Hunkered down with the dill deviled eggs

Making only a couple eggs into chicks also turned out to be a good idea because they are pretty big and it basically means you have to eat two deviled eggs at once, which is kind of a lot. In the end we made 5 chick-eggs and 38 regular deviled eggs.

Penguin approves of the results... probably because he doesn't realize these are eggs... otherwise he might have been traumatized.

We put one chick-egg per egg plate, these guys didn't last very long. Poor little dudes. Notice there is paprika is on the regular eggs but the chicks are paprika free.

In the end I'm glad we made them. They were a little more time consuming to make but they are pretty cute too. :)

12 - eggs (hard boiled)
1/3 cup - mayonaise
2 tsp - dijon mustard
dash of tabasco (more if you want more kick)
1 or 2 - olives
1/2 - carrot


1. Cut the top of each egg (low enough so that you can easily scoop out the yolk). 

2. Next slice a thin layer off the bottom of each egg to make a flat bottom so that your chick will stand up without wobbling. 

3. Combine yolks, mayo, mustard and spices, in a bowl until well combined, we used a hand mixture for this part to make it extra smooth. 

4. Pipe the yolk mixture into the yolk cavity of each egg. Make sure there is a good amount sticking out the top of the egg because you will need that to make the face.

5. Place the egg top back on the egg at an angle to make a little hat for your chick. Then add two small olive slivers for eyes and a small carrot piece for a beak. 

6. Admire you masterpiece. Your done!

Happy Easter!
Elizabeth and Nathan

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tooth Update!

Today was the big day! Nathan Finally got to see the dentist about his broken teeth! We had to wait a while since you have to be able to open your mouth to get teeth fixed and mouth opening has only been a recent development. We have an awesome dentist here in San Diego and he was able to put a cap on Nathan's tooth so that it no longer looks like he was in a bar fight... or in a bike ->face/pavement fight.

He would only make silly faces for me, but hey, at least you can see the tooth. :)

The cap is a trial and he's not supposed to bite into anything too hard, but we figured we'd give it a go and see how it worked (hopefully it will hold out until we have real jobs). The really good news is that his tooth was still a "Happy Tooth" in the words of my little second cousins (as opposed to the other option of root canal).

As you can probably tell from our most recent posts, Nathan has also started eating non-soup foods this week (and a little bit last week). They still have to be pretty soft, but he's eaten quinoa, carrots, noodles, and even a piece of pizza (the pizza was a slow process but he finished it, even the crust!). We'll post some of our non-soup recipes soon, and probably few more soup ones too. :)

Get well soon!
Elizabeth and Nathan

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chinese Egg Custard

I recently started using Pinterest, and I saw this recipe go by. It's for steamed eggs which it turns out are really good (and soft and easy to eat). The blog I linked to says they are Korean, but they seem to be common in Chinese, Korean and Japan cooking as well. Wikipedia seems to suggest they are Chinese in origin so I'll go with that. I also asked my mom and she said Chinese grandmother (my PoPo) made them when she was growing up so it's kind of fun to revive a tradition.

2 - eggs
1/2 cup - water or broth
1/4 tsp - salt (less if you are going to top with soy sauce, or include salty ingredients like dried shrimp)

Optional ingredients:
Chinese sausage
green onions
dried shrimp
anything else that you think tastes nice in an egg

Start by mixing your egg, water and salt. Pour the mixture through a strainer to get any lumpy bits out of the egg (this results in a smoother texture). Then place the ramekin in the steamer basket of a rice cooker or steamer pot. We used our rice cooker so that I could make quinoa at the same time. :) 

As it cooks it might puff up a bit, that's ok, it will settle back down when it cools. I haven't figured out how to get a smooth top to my custards like in the link at the top of this post, but they still taste great and have a nice smooth texture.

Now for toppings!! The best part! I splash a little soy sauce, sesame oil and sriracha on my egg before I cut into it. You can use any sauces of toppings you like to make your own masterpiece. :)

Mix the egg, water, and salt together and pour into a small ramekin (for an extra smooth egg custard strain the egg as you pour it into the ramekin). Add any extra ingredients you would like such as sausage or mushrooms and then place the ramekin in the steam basket of a rice cooker, or in a pot on the stove with a steaming compartment. Steam for about 10 minutes or until the egg is set (it will still be jiggly like jello but shouldn't be watery.) Garnish with toppings and enjoy!

Get well soon!
Elizabeth and Nathan