December Things | Coupons, Lobster, Turkey Marinade

Happy holidays, friends! ❄️

According to over 63,000 votes on Google Surveys, these are voters’ favourite parts of Christmas:

  • 3% carolling
  • 14% Christmas decorations
  • 9% Christmas dinner
  • 6% Christmas movies
  • 9% Christmas music
  • 24% presents
  • 7% Santa Claus
  • 28% time with family and friends

What do you think?

This holiday, I’ve been home for a week so far and have had so much deliciousness. First up, a tasty plate of Hainanese chicken rice, a fried egg, sauteed asparagus, and seared tofu with green onions. Mom is an amazing chef.

Another day, I loved chocolate oatmeal with crunchy peanut butter, along with the richest honey Greek yogurt and blackberries.

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Mom’s Taiwanese dishes are lovely. I loved this rouzao rice (minced pork rice) with stir-fried broccoli and carrots.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet up with the super intelligent, articulate, hardworking, and food-loving SHANNA YEUNG! I had such a fangirl moment when my mom and I saw her parking her car and coming over. Shanna suggested Kinemi Kitchen, a quiet Italian restaurant in a Vancouver strip mall. While unassuming from the outside, Kinemi Kitchen smelled amazing and served up the best cheesy baked lobster I’ve ever had, atop a bed of linguine and veggies in garlicky rosé sauce and parmesan,

We also had dessert: taro Nutella bubble tea sans bubbles and red bean cheesecake bubble tea – also sans bubbles. Before I knew it, I was on my way home!

Mom and I did some baking shortly after:

Chocolate Cheesecake

Serves one 9” pan (16 servings)

INGREDIENTS

  • 18 to 24 Oreo cookies or graham crackers, crushed finely (1.5 cups)
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, optional (I didn’t use this)
  • 2 to 6 tbsp melted butter (depends on how much cookie you use)
  • 3 8-oz packages softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips, melted  in a double boiler and cooled
  • sprinkle of cinnamon, optional
  • 1/2 espresso powder, optional
  • 3 large eggs

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine cookie crumbs, icing sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9” springform pan.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, or until you smell a strong chocolate aroma.
  4. Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt.
  5. Add chocolate. Mix well.
  6. Add eggs one at a time. Mix on low speed until just blended.
  7. Add optional cinnamon and espresso powder, if desired.
  8. Pour over crust.
  9. Bake 55 mins, or until centre is set. Turn off the oven. Crack the door open several inches. Allow the cake to cool in the oven for 1 hour. Remove.
  10. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen the cake.
  11. Cool before removing the rim.
  12. Refrigerate cheesecake for four hours.
  13. Serve with berries (raspberries are awesome), caramel sauce, and whipped cream.

The day before, I had the opportunity to speak at my high school about travelling, co-op, volunteer work, and life in university. It was a wonderful experience, and neat to see all the hopeful, excited grade twelve students.

On a completely different note, I emailed a bunch of companies during the fall (to ask for free samples) and recently made a compilation of all the companies that responded to me with coupons. These were all mailed to my house.

Basically, what I’m saying is: if you have free time, or no life like I do, email these companies and get some free coupons. Mom and I ended up getting juice, maple syrup, bread, three boxes of tea, nut butter, two large containers of hummus, and frozen chicken and cheese taquitos – for just over $1.00.

Operation Coupon

  • Silver Hills Sprouted Bakery $1 off (x5 coupons)
  • Tetley CARE Lemon Ginger tea bag
  • Tetley Ayurvedic Balance Herbal tea bag
  • Tetley free herbal iced tea
  • Tetley herbal iced tea save $1 (x2 coupons)
  • Ozery Bakery $1 off (x3 coupons)
  • Ozery Bakery one free package of any product (max value $5)
  • Ocean Spray save 50 cents
  • Quaker, Aunt Jemima, Rice-A-Roni $2 coupon
  • Maple Lodge Farms $1 (x2 coupons)
  • Nature save 50 cents (x5 coupons)
  • Hain Celestial $1 off (x2 coupons)
  • Earth Balance $1 off (x2 coupons)
  • El Monterey Free product (max value $16.99)
  • El Monterey save $1 (x3 coupons)
  • Welch’s save 50 cents (x2 coupons)
  • TAZO free box of filter bag tea or tea latte concentrate (max value $5.99) x2 coupons
  • Sabra hummus free product (max value $5.99) x2 coupons
  • Smucker’s save 55 cents (x2 coupons)
  • Clover Leaf tuna snacks save 50 cents (x3 coupons)
  • Eden or Sobaya $1 off (x3 coupons)
  • Splenda $1 off (x2 coupons)
  • Twinning free box of tea, any size (max value $9.99)
  • Organic Meadow save 75 cents (x3 coupons)

That’s pretty much it for today. It’s Christmas Eve already, so I’m going to help with Mom’s turkey cooking. Here is what she used to make the turkey really flavourful.

Mom’s Special Turkey Seasonings

  • olive oil
  • butter
  • soy sauce
  • Dijon mustard
  • lemon juice from a fresh lemon
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • poultry seasoning
  • Montreal chicken seasoning
  • dried oregano
  • dried parsley
  • dried thyme
  • dried rosemary
  • dried basil
  • paprika

Trip Planning: Cambodia’s Top Restaurants

PHNOM PENH TOP RESTAURANTS

  • Malis restaurant (beef in bamboo, goby with Kampot peppercorns, Battambang beef steak, prahok ktis fried rice) **
  • ALMA cafe breakfast (huevos rancheros, enchiladas) **
  • Sesame Noodle House (cold sesame house noodles with pork, veggies, egg OR killer pork pan-fried gyoza OR thor bun, closed Mondays, chocolate sesame balls, close to Russian Market) ***
  • ARTillery (healthy, sausage, eggs, bagels, near Sisowath Quay) *
  • The Foreign Correspondents’ Club (overlooks Tonle Sap river) **
  • Romdeng (NGO for street kids, Khmer classics like baked fish amok, beef loklak, deep-fried tarantula, red tree ants with beef and basil, unique handicrafts) ****
  • Van’s Restaurant **
  • Brooklyn Bistro (cheesy pizzas and burgers) *
  • Sovanna (grilled pork and beef, fish soup) **
  • Java Cafe (sandwiches, pasta, soup, burgers, pastries, coffee, gallery next door) **
  • Feel Good Cafe *
  • Brown Coffee *
  • Khmer Surin Restaurant (local authentic Khmer, beautiful decor, oldest Khmer restaurant) *
  • Backyard Cafe *
  • Khema Pasteur *
  • Daughters of Cambodia **
  • Friends the Restaurant (tapas, smoothies/lassis/shakes, sautéed quit with pepper, eggplant dip with bread, dessert, shop next door, very good cookbook, near National Museum) *****

SIEM REAP TOP RESTAURANTS

  • Sister Srey Cafe (breakfast) *
  • Fresh Fruit Cafe (#1 trip advisor)
  • Haven **
  • Blue Pumpkin (bakery, ice cream, pistachio, amazing desserts) **
  • Embassy (kdat soup) **
  • Cuisine Wat Damnak (curry prawns, fish) *****
  • Sugar Palm (Khmer classics, authentic) **
  • Mie Cafe (4-course menu) *
  • Chaney Tree *
  • Banllé (Mexican, with ice cream) *
  • Vibe Cafe *
  • Damnak Lounge *
  • Nest *
  • Marum *
  • Touich (salted grilled red snapper) *
  • Olive *

KEP RESTAURANTS

  • Sailing Club ****
  • Kimly ****
  • La Baraka ***
  • Breezes ***
  • Democrat **
  • Holy Crab **
  • Veranda (breakfast buffet) **
  • Beach House **
  • Mr. Mab (breakfast) **
  • Pain de Jade (breakfast) *
  • Led Zeppelin *
  • Brise de Kep *
  • Strand (breakfast, fine dining) *
  • Chez Bebe *
  • Eli d’Or (patisserie, breakfast) *
  • Kep Coffee (Mexican food and coffee, breakfast) *

Things That I Can’t Wait to Eat in Cambodia!

Traditional Cambodian Foods to Eat

Tons more info over at my good friend, Wikipedia.

  • prohok ktis (traditional fermented river fish, pork, coconut milk)
  • num banh chok (breakfast, thin noodles with green fish gravy)
  • Cambodian Khmer red curry with baguette bread
  • bai sach chrouk (grilled sweet pork, broken rice, broth with onions on the side)
  • lok lak (stir-fried beef in brown sauce of oyster/soy/palm sugar)
  • ang dtray meuk: grilled squid
  • kuy teav (pork broth rice noodle soup with garlic, scallions, shrimp, lettuce, etc.),
  • kdam chaa
  • lort cha (stir-fry noodles with greens, bean sprouts, egg)
  • fish amok (curry in a banana leaf)
  • bread with cream cheese
  • coconut milk dessert in the food stands
  • fried crickets
  • omelettes
  • bobor congee
  • samlor korko (pumpkin soup, pork ribs)
  • tropical sour fruits
  • Ah Ping
  • beef saraman curry
  • kaw (braised chicken or pork, topped with egg, sweet sauce)
  • Cambodian sandwich
  • tai krolap tea
  • lemon tea (tai kdao kroich chhmaa) with sugar
  • mango salad
  • Cha houy teuk (sweet jelly)
  • grilled and fried bananas
  • Num sang khya l’peou (pumpkin custard with coconut milk on top)

All in all, I’m super excited for 2018!