I can’t believe it’s almost the end of January!  I hope everyone is doing better so far in 2021.  Today I had the opportunity to make Cơm Gà Instant Pot (Vietnamese Chicken Rice) for my parents since they are feeling under the weather.  My Mom said she enjoyed it!  I haven’t made this dish in ages so I figured it was time to edit and revive this recipe!  This dish is easier with 2 Instant Pots so if you are like me with multiple IP please give it a try.

Recipe: Cơm Gà Instant Pot (Vietnamese Chicken Rice)

On Thanksgiving this year I put together a simple Vegetarian Hot Pot for our small family.  We had turkey and ham but I needed a vegetarian dish for my Mom who is a vegetarian.  Hot pot is the easiest thing in the world.  I had the IP cooked the vegetable broth.  And during that time I washed and sliced vegetables.  And pretty much that was it.  I planted some Napa cabbage this Fall so we harvested it for the hot pot!  Our family truly enjoyed this meal.

Recipe:

Lẩu Chay Instant Pot (Vegetarian Hot Pot)

Happy December 1st everyone!  Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving.  I can’t believe we are in the last month of 2020.  What a crazy year it has been and I can’t wait for 2020 to be over honestly.

There is a recipe that I shared on my Facebook page awhile back that never made it on here.  It’s a simple recipe for Pâté Chaud – Bánh Patê Sô (Vietnamese Savory Puff Pastry).  If you are Vietnamese you know exactly what I’m talking about.  They sell these delicious pastries at local Viet delis and they are a popular appetizer at Vietnamese house parties.  We also eat them for breakfast and as snack.  If you are not familiar with Bánh Patê Sô here is a link to it on Wiki.

There are so many variation of these delicious puff pastries which you can find all over the internet but the one I make is very simple and incorporate liver pate.  I hope you will give it a try!

Recipe: Pâté Chaud – Bánh Patê Sô (Vietnamese Savory Puff Pastry)

Happy Fall everyone!

Although Fall doesn’t quite exist in Florida like most Northern States we still really enjoy this season.  The temperature in Orlando has actually dropped a bit and if we go outside very early in the morning we can almost feel “Fall”… LOL.

Colder temperature always translate to soupy/brothy dishes for me.  Yesterday for lunch I decided to recreate the Alphabet Beef Soup that are typically served with the 7 courses of Beef (Bò 7 Món).  I first had it years ago at a Vietnamese restaurant in Southern CA that specialized in Bò 7 Món.  The 7th course of beef is Beef Congee or Cháo Bò which are cooked with rice.  But because your stomach gets pretty full after the 6th course that rice congee might not be very appetizing.  So I think instead some restaurants opt to serve this Beef Soup with the Alphabet Pasta (I could be totally wrong here… LOL).  It’s just a small amount of pasty cover by a ton of flavorful ground beef broth.  I love the warming taste and the kids love it because they saw the alphabets floating in the bowl.  It becomes a fun meal!

You don’t have to use IP to make this dish but it does make it easy not having to “babysit” the pot.  I hope you will give this kid-friendly recipe a try!

Recipe: Vietnamese “ABC Soup” IP

Prime Day 2020

The day that I’ve been waiting for is finally here!  There are so many deals to watch.  Here are some Instant Pot deals might be interested in:

There is a great deal on Gift Cards, buy at least $40 of gift card and get $10 credit with promo code GC20PRIME (credit will apply to your account within 2 days).  It’s 1 per Prime account, unfortunately.

Hoping to update the list as the day goes on!  Happy shopping all!

This is a much belated post!

Our kitchen reno was completed about 6 months or so ago but I haven’t yet share the final update with you.  When we bought the house in Summer 2019 we felt in love with the backyard but definitely not other parts particularly the kitchen which were original to the house.  We knew we would have to do a reno sooner or later.  After using the kitchen for 2 months I had enough!  I kinda told my husband if we don’t do this now I’d move… LOL.  There was very little storage and the sink was as tiny as can be.

So we started the design process with a cabinet company shortly after that.  Like with any home renovation there were so many unexpected issues along the way especially when you start to open up walls.  For our small kitchen we only wanted to remove a tiny pantry wall to make room for more  cabinets.  Little did we know that tiny wall had pluming pipes from the upstairs guest bath hidden inside.  Weeks of delay and some more money spent later we were able to route those pipes to the back wall.  The other unexpected issue was our AC went out completely while we were trying to figure out the plumbing problem.  Oh my goodness at this point we felt like we were on some sort of home renovation show on HGTV!  A few more thousands dollar later we got ourselves a new AC unit as well.

There were a few other delays with measurements so we had to wait for new cabinets to come in.  The entire process took over 6 months (seriously it did!).  We ate very poorly during this time as you can imagine.  Most days we had carryout and delivery.  It was painful to say the least but the result was well worth it!  Would I do it all over again?  Heck yeah!  The pictures below speak for themselves.  Our modern farmhouse kitchen was a success.  We got everything we wanted and more!

Here are some upgrades in this new kitchen:

  • 33″ Prohs Fireclay Single Bowl Sink with Apron Front – Pretty much we got the biggest size possible!  This is the highlight of the kitchen and my favorite spot!  This sink is the easiest to clean and very difficult to scratch.  It’s heavy so the installer had to put extra support on the bottom.  Absolutely no complaints from me.  I highly recommend it over a stainless steel farmhouse sink for its look and durability.
  • 36″ Samsung Induction Cooktop – We never had induction cooktop in any kitchens before so it was a bit of a splurge.  There was a period of learning curve as things were spilling over because it heated up way too fast!  But we can boil water in less than a minute now, unbelievable right?  There are pros and cons to induction but overall, we love it now that we are used to it.
  • 30″ Microwave Combination Wall Oven Unit – We don’t bake often so the microwave unit on top is much more useful than another oven.  So we went this this combo instead of a double-oven.
  • 36″ ZLine Steel/Glass Hood – The hood is a focal point of the kitchen. This thing is so powerful I have no problem deep frying fish inside the house… LOL.
  • Quart Countertop – Everyone is going quartz so we did too and was mainly because of the options to match the white cabinets.  We wanted a white kitchen so granite wasn’t going to do it.
  • Seeded Glass Doors – We wanted 2 set of glass doors on the top cabinets to provide balance and a bit of modernness to the kitchen.  I know I cannot keep the kitchen organized all the time so going with a clear glass style would be too painful.  The designer recommended seeded glass doors for Farmhouse style kitchen. They are so pretty I must say!!!

Here are some before photos of the kitchen from when we first saw the house:

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Some photos of the messy process:

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And here are the after photos!

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We decided with a subtle 2-tone kitchen.  The island is gray so it provides some contrast to the white cabinets in the back.  We opted for black handles versus stainless steel.  The white and gray shaker cabinets provide the simplicity that we were looking for in a farmhouse kitchen.

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The wood sign with my logo from Etsy made this kitchen officially Katie’s Test Kitchen!
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Instead of putting a small cabinet above the espresso machine we went with floating shelves to make the space looks more open.  This 3  Tier Wood Shelves with Black Pipe Brackets was ordered from Amazon.  The quality is very decent.
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This sink is EVERYTHING to me!  The brush and sponge holder was from Pier 1.

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Every nook and cranny are being used.  The left draw is the pull-out trash can.
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Each bottom corner has a Lazy Susan with 2 shelves.  This hold so many kitchen spices and sauce bottles for me.
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This is Rev A Shelf Pull Out Organizer.  We got them on Amazon and my husband installed it.

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My IP Family
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Breakfast Nook
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We went with a simple gray subway tile backsplash to compliment the gray island.  The tiles was ordered from Wayfair!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Let me know if you have any questions!

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