Thursday, January 28, 2016

Trader Joe's Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins

Review Submitted By: Jane Ong

Even though I can make delicious banana nut muffins from scratch,  I always go to Trader Joe's to get its Streusel Topped Wild Blueberry Muffins whenever I crave for blueberry muffins ($3.99 for a box of 4).  They taste really natural and not overly sweet with the corn syrup that is widely used in a lot of cheap baked goods in discounted warehouses and the typical supermarket chain.  They expire fast but they can be stored in the fridge and are really good for several days. They are light and fluffy after being warmed up in the microwave for 20 seconds.  I also feel good and clean after eating them, which from my experience indicates that there is no hydrogenated vegetable shortening.  I can't tolerate margarine and vegetable shortening because I feel nauseous every time when I consume a baked product that has it.  Regardless what the bakery tells me, I can absolutely feel the presence of such hydrogenated oil because my body for some reason just rejects it every time and makes me feel sick.  I like these muffins at Trader Joe's because they don't make me feel sick at all.  Each muffin has 320 calories and it's good for my portion control for breakfast.  I stick to only consume less than 500 calories for breakfast.  I don't think I can make these muffins any cheaper based on my hourly pay at my job.  Between spending an extra hour at work and spending an hour making my own blueberry muffins, I'd rather get them from Trader Joe's.  I still will make my own if only I can find a really good recipe and I have the free time:)

Notes From Our Editors: Tell us about your most favorite grocery store baked goods, and we will send you a box of Godiva Chocolate Truffles if we decide to publish your review here. For submission guidelines, please click here to connect with us.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Rival 2-Slice Toaster Is My Cheapest Appliance Buy Ever!!

Review submitted by: Barbara Weiner
This is the first toaster I ever owned.  I rarely toasted my bread at home and when I did, I usually used the broiler in my tiny kitchen's built-in oven.  As a renter , I move around a lot so I always try to avoid acquiring too many things, appliances included. My very little space in my kitchen counter top is another reason why I never bought a toaster before.  My problem with toasting bread in the oven broiler was, I had to pre-heat it and then I always burnt my toasts.  So eight months ago when I saw this 2-slice toaster with a price tag of $6.50 at Walmart, I had to buy it.   I have been using this toaster a lot since then, and I have been very satisfied with my toasts.  This cute and compact toaster doesn't take up much counter space and it's very easy to clean.  I especially like that the electric coil can be neatly tugged in the nooks underneath the toaster (unseen) when it's unplugged.  At $6.50, this is the cheapest and most useful appliance I ever bought.  This toaster is made in China

Notes From The Editors: Share your cooking appliance review with us and we will send you a box of gourmet Chocolate Truffles if we decide to publish your review here. For submission guidelines, please click here to connect with us.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Blue Corn Tortilla Chips Breakfast Under 5 Minutes

Recipe submitted by: Jane Ong

Even though I eat out most of the time, I still use my kitchen to cook, particularly after I returned from my vacation in Southeast Asia and blew all my savings just so I could live like a princess for a few weeks. In the last couple days, I have been eating this for breakfast and dinner at home because it's fast, easy and cheap....

Makes 1 Serving:

  • 1 cup of Trader Joe's Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
  • 1 large organic egg
  • 1/4 cup of Trader Joe's Mild Pico De Gallo Fresh Salsa
  • Dried parsley flakes 
  • Moran's Grilling Seasoning 
  1. Layer a plate with  blue corn tortilla chips.
  2. Fry an egg in any style you want (I prefer mine to be over easy with runny yolk inside).
  3. Put egg on top of the blue corn tortilla chips and spoon the fresh salsa around.
  4. Sprinkle dried parsley flakes and Moran's Grilling Seasoning on top of the egg and serve.
The grill seasoning and the parsley flakes just made my egg taste really good.  The Trader Joe's salsa is one of the best fresh salsa I had tasted, and I think it's the best tasting store bought fresh salsa among all the store bought fresh salsas that I had tried in various American grocery stores.  I won't recommend jar salsa at all.  You can surely make your own salsa if you prefer, For me, I think I can't do a better job than Trader Joe's in terms of producing such a high quality salsa, or does it even make economic sense for me to make it myself.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Vietnamese Spring Rolls And Combo Pho

Review submitted by: Jane Ong

I just returned to Los Angeles from a vacation in Southeast Asia, and yet my first meal back in America is Vietnamese.  I just can't stay away from Asian food.  I came to this Pho restaurant because my friends highly recommended it. But somehow, I just feel that the Vietnamese food here isn't too authentic.  The food is not bad, but not great.  Vietnamese Cuisine in Toms River NJ and Mrs. A Hanoi Pho here in this area both have much better Phos than this place.  The broth in Mrs. A Hanoi Pho tasted a lot more flavorful with no sensation of MSG. Meanwhile, the spring rolls in Vietnamese Cuisine back in Toms River  just tasted a lot better because the carrot and daikon julienne in the spring rolls were pickled and seasoned, and  Vietnamese Cuisine in Toms River NJ also used mint leaves inside the spring rolls for the greens, instead of purely lettuce. Meanwhile, the spring rolls I had in this restaurant ($5.99 as shown in photo) tasted pretty bland to me.  Yes, I used a lot of the peanut sauce on them, but the absence of  pickled and seasoned veggies, and the absence of mint leaves inside the rolls really water down the flavor quite a lot.

The House Combo Pho (Beef Brisket, Half a Beef Ball and some Tendons, $7.99 for a large bowl) in this place was totally dependent on my own addition of a lot of Hoisin Sauce and  Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce.  I normally don't like to add these sauces into my Pho. It's because in a good Pho place, the broth is the soul, which takes many many hours to slow cook and lots and lots of ingredients to churn out the broth.  I prefer to enjoy such richly flavorful broth as is without ruining it with the Hoisin Sauce and Sriracha Sauce which should be, in my opinion reserved to be used in water, not a great quality Pho broth of labor.   I always prefer my Pho to be in a slow cooked broth that is so flavorful that no extra sauce is needed.  I think the Pho at this place is just too bland  for my palate,  it's not a bad place to go for some simple and affordable lunch and dinner on a busy workday.  I personally just like Mrs. A Hanoi Pho much better even though the price there is higher. You get what you pay for.  The difference is clearly shown in the broth.  And I do miss Vietnamese Cuisine back in Toms River NJ, which is the only restaurant I miss from that area.

Restaurant: Pho 1945
1945 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita, CA 90717
Lomita, CA 90717
Tel: (424) 263-5989

Monday, January 4, 2016

Spicy Miso Chicken Stir Fry Rice Bowl And Iced Thai Tea

Review submitted by: Jane Ong

A week before Christmas, I treated my friends to one of my favorite dinner joints for some rice bowls.  My treat to them was in lieu of Christmas presents. I'm not good at shopping for presents but I figured out that I could treat my friends to a nice dinner while I opened the Christmas gifts they had for me.  My friends told me they were really delighted to experience such good Chinese food.  I am not even sure if this is Chinese food because I have a feeling that this is East Asian fusion food, or it can be Taiwanese style East Asian food.  I don't know if the owners are Taiwanese or not, but this kind of rice bowl reminds me of the similar ones that I had when I visited Taiwan a couple years before.  It also reminds me of the lunches I had when I was a kid.  My mom cooks this way, which is stir fry of thinly sliced good quality meat with lots of  fresh & crispy veggies, dressed with a very light sauce.  I think most Asian home style stir fries are light (but deliciously seasoned) like this.  The Chinese food in a lot of Americanized Chinese restaurants are too heavy and too drowned in either stuffy brown gravy, or the overly sticky and sour "sweet & sour" sauce.

I don't make this kind of stir fry at home because I don't have good knife skills to slice meat this thin and I don't like to load up on numerous type of veggies that I end up trashing because I can't use them up fast enough.  Cooking  for 1 to 2 people is a challenge when I like varieties in my rice bowl, 3 ingredients just don't cut for me.  I would rather spend time in working over time than making stir fry at home because I can get a Spicy Miso Chicken Rice Bowl for only $8.25, which is much less than what would cost me if I spend the time to cook it myself.  I also like the numerous kind of teas at this place. This time I ordered Thai Milk Tea ($3.00), which is not as sweet as the ones I got at the Thai restaurant, because this is somewhat a non-Thai lighter version.  

I like both versions. This lighter version really complements my meal here because I feel really healthy after meantime. There is just this light, clean and comfortable feeling.  So it all depends on whether I am craving for rich food  or light clean food at the moment. But I find this light version of Thai tea very enjoyable.

Restaurant: Go Go Juice Café
Address: 1943 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita, CA 90717 
Tel:(310) 539-6486

Notes From The Editors: Share your restaurant experience with us and we will send you a box of gourmet Chocolate Truffles if we decide to publish your review here. For submission guidelines, please click here to connect with us.