So, confession time. Seeing as how I regularly post about food here, I usually try to avoid talking about unappetizing things. But be warned, today’s post might veer a little bit into some icky territory, especially if you’re as averse to bugs as I am.

See, a few months ago, after we came home from holiday traveling, we started noticing a bunch of moths around the house. I killed 5 moths in a single day, and even after that, we kept seeing more flying around the house. It took me a few weeks, but eventually I found that they had made a makeshift nest… out of one of the boxes where I store some ingredients for baking. Gross.

I ended up having to throw away a bunch of things: bags of almonds, chocolate chips, dried cherries. Pine nuts! It was painful. But in the process I realized that I’m kind of a hoarder. A lot of what I ended up throwing out were half-used bags of things that I didn’t want to use up just because I like the idea of having a variety of ingredients on hand so I can make whatever I want on a whim. And to be honest, some of the things I threw out were kind of old. Hoarding, I realized, was actually doing the opposite of what I had intended–instead of keeping things untouched so I wouldn’t have to go without, I was actually wasting food by letting it get stale (or in this case, get colonized by moths) before using it. 

After I cleaned everything out, I was left with a few unopened bags of ingredients: some flaked coconut, pecans, peanut butter chips, and my favorite Guittard chocolate chips. Everything was bought pretty recently, and I decided that I would make a concerted effort to use them instead of hoarding them. 

My sister in law introduced me to these peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies by Brown Eyed Baker a while back, and it was love at first bite. They’ve become my go-to cookie recipe, and they were the first thing I thought to make with the peanut butter and chocolate chips. They’re also the perfect way to welcome home someone who’s had a long week at work–a far better use for these things than hiding them away.

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Today’s recipe comes to us by special request from my husband. This is our family’s favorite way to eat vegetables lately, but I was never planning to post about it here. The thing is, I don’t really see this as a recipe at all. Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce and sesame oil is a simple, classic way to eat these delicious, healthy veggies, one that anyone who’s come into contact with Chinese cooking probably knows about. But he was adamant. I believe his exact words were, “People have to know about this.”

I can’t really blame him for his enthusiasm. We’re pretty much obsessed with these lately and we can go through several pounds of greens in a week. Considering that it’s been my goal since last year to learn to love vegetables, this is a very, very good thing. 

Like I said, there’s not much of a recipe. It’s so simple, in fact, that I’m not even going to add a recipe card to the end of this. There are three ingredients: Chinese broccoli, sesame oil, and oyster sauce. Wash the Chinese broccoli, chop off the ends, and then chop each stalk into thirds (or if you want to be a little fancier, leave them whole). Boil some water and place the stalks into the water. Boil for about 3 minutes, or until the stalks are bright green and just slightly tender. Remove them from the water and arrange them on a plate. (Here, I find it useful to let the greens cool for a few minutes and then drain off any extra water at the bottom of the plate.) Top with sesame oil and oyster sauce to taste–for a pound of greens, I’d say start with a tablespoon of each and work your way up from there. 

So there you have it, the most simple yet addictive way to eat vegetables that I’ve come into contact with lately. I’d show my husband this post to let him know that I’ve done what he asked… but he’s too busy stuffing his face with these greens at the moment. 

There’s something about a rice krispie treat that is so irresistible. I mean, ok, what’s not to love about a sticky, buttery, and chewy yet light-tasting treat?  That much is obvious. But I’ve found that a lot of the time, even folks who typically stay away from sweets will make an exception when it comes to that marshmallowy goodness. 

I can’t really tell you why, seeing as how I’ve never really had the “problem” of disliking sweets. And beyond that, I’m pretty much a goner when it comes to just about anything with marshmallows in it. But s’mores seem to exist on a different level. In my mind, it’s almost like the components were made to be eaten together. So when it comes to any combination of marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate, I guess you could say I’m kind of biased. 

These s’mores rice krispie treats are no exception. They’re super simple: just your basic rice krispie treat, with graham crackers and chocolate chips. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated. But they certainly do the trick when the s’mores craving hits.

And it’s not just me. I brought these to a family get together a while back, and they caused even the more health-conscious members of our family to indulge. It’s like I said: marshmallow + graham cracker + chocolate = bliss. Why even try to resist?

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After I gave birth last year, my parents took it upon themselves to cook for me during the first few weeks of mommyhood. After all, it’s Chinese tradition to treat the first 30 days after a woman gives birth with a special level of care. New mommies are expected to stay indoors, not wash their hair, and eat a special diet for 30 days. If you ask any Chinese mom about it, they’ll probably say that they consider it of the utmost importance for keeping the mom (and subsequently baby) healthy. 

Luckily, my mom didn’t force the issue with me too much. After all, you can’t expect a girl not to wash her hair after labor, let alone for 30 whole days. But I did let my mom blow dry my hair after every shower, which for me was a pretty big step. My favorite part of the 30-day period? The food, of course. 

Oh, the food. I thought my pregnancy cravings were pretty true to my normal tastes, but my postpartum cravings were a whole different story. All of the sudden, I couldn’t get enough red bean soup if I drowned myself in a pool of it. And I’m not usually a meat girl, but oh man, was I craving my mom’s Chinese braised short ribs. 

Of course, it might not have had anything to do with the post-baby hormones. I’m not even sure these short ribs are on the approved list of foods that you’re supposed to have during the 30 days. But my mom made them one day, and–wow. Poor woman didn’t know what she was getting into, because we ask her for them every time we see her now. These short ribs are so addictive that the new daddy also couldn’t get them out of his head.

The last time we went to visit my parents, my mom made sure to show me how to make them. Lucky for me (and for you), the recipe is pretty simple. Just one more thing: serve these with rice, so it can soak up all the mouthwatering sauce. 

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Orange Marmalade Roll Cake

I’ve got sponge cake on the brain! I swear, I never used to like this stuff that much. I mean, I enjoyed it. I would buy it at the Chinese bakery whenever I went, but it wasn’t like I had mad cravings for the stuff. Somehow it feels different now that I’ve been making my own. Ever since I nailed down my favorite sponge cake recipe, this humble cake has been elevated to favorite-status. I love it better than probably anything else I’m making at the moment (although admittedly, I’m not cooking nearly as much as I used to, considering that on some days it’s tough to even break out the rice cooker while handling a baby). 

It’s a little weird to me, since my tendency is to like things less when I make it myself, as opposed to having it made for me. Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that I know exactly what goes into everything I make…which isn’t really appetizing knowledge when the ingredients are super fatty or sugary. I guess that’s one thing I like about sponge cake: the ingredients are simple enough, and not so ridiculously unhealthy that they distract me from fully enjoying the final product. 

Anyway, this orange marmalade roll cake is one of my favorite new ways to make sponge cake because (1) the cooking time is pretty short, since the surface area of the pan is so large, (2) it’s pretty darn fun to roll a cake, and (3) um, it’s really ridiculously yummy. I used this tawny orange marmalade because it’s not as sweet as regular orange marmalade, which is good for this cake since the cake part has all the sweetness you need. But if orange isn’t to your liking, I think this cake would also be fantastic with cherry or blackberry jam. 

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