Better than Fruitcake Pound Cake

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Christmas is almost here and you might be looking for something different to bake than the usual gingerbread anything or fruitcake. Well the wait is over, I give you cannoli pound cake. It has a rich flavor and it seems like a fancier bread but it has pretty basic ingredients. Once you put this in the oven the house will smell amazing! Enjoy it with your coffee for breakfast or add some whip cream to it for a dessert. You can bring a little bit of Italy to your kitchen this year.

Cannoli Pound Cake Recipe

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KhaoAMAZINGsan Road

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Khaosan road is unlike any place I have ever been. I had booked a lot of our Thailand trip but my friend Becky took charge with Bangkok so I didn’t do much research on where our hotel was located or the nightlife. We had booked a room at Dang Derm Hotel because her flight attendant friend had stayed there before. I figured we took her suggestion because it was a decent hotel for a good price and in a good location, not that we would be staying in the heart of the party of Bangkok—I was 100 percent wrong.

We arrived after about 20 hours of travel to the infamous Khaosan road and we walked down the street to our hotel which was half way down the road. Each restaurant or bar had tables spilling into the road and each one played their own music—as loud as their systems would go. Each spot had a store front of about 30 feet (I’m sure this is not correct but they weren’t huge) and if I’m painting this picture correctly you are starting to understand how loud and how many different types of music/songs were playing all at once. It was awesome. It was at this moment that I realized I was officially on vacation in Thailand!

(I took a video with the hopes that you could hear how loud it was #fail)

We checked into the hotel and the receptionist asked us if we wanted to pay more for a room not on the street side and we were like no we aren’t falling for that and paying more. When we walked in our room it was as loud as walking into a club. It was hilarious. We called down to the front to see if we could get a different room and they didn’t have any more three person rooms so the obvious solution was to stay. We also found out that the music has to stop at 2 am so we realized in reality that wouldn’t be a problem since we would most likely be out that late each night.

We grabbed a beer and walked the street and got street food. My favorite pad thai I had in Thailand was 30 baht ($1) from a cart on Khaosan Road. This road will always have a special place in my heart. The Beatles have Abbey Road and I have Khaosan Road.

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Our roof top pool!

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Buddha, Buddha, Buddha, Rockin’ Everywhere

We came together to meet in Bangkok; three flights starting from Denver, one from Chiang Mai and three from London. This year Friendsgiving began in Bangkok for Sarena, Becky and me and we were ready to see what Bangkok had to offer. We were meeting the rest of the gang in Chiang Mai and they were doing Hong Kong first.

I had heard mixed opinions on Bangkok and I’m glad I didn’t listen to the negative ones because I really enjoyed it. I mean they had tuk tuks so how could you not like the city? After my first tuk tuk ride it became my favorite mode of transportation. Bangkok also has lots of wats which also means there are lots of Buddhas.

We started our day by hoping on a tuk tuk and getting a tour. Our driver took us to three wats and then dropped us by the Chao Phraya River to go on a boat tour of the canals—yes you read that correctly Bangkok has canals. They also took us to a clothing store, which was clearly one of their friends, where we could get dresses and suits made. Though you can tell this is why they charge so little, 5 baht or 14 cents, for the ride in the hopes that you will buy something they were very friendly when we said we weren’t interested, so don’t be worried if this happens to you.

First we stopped at Wat Intharawihan aka the standing Buddha, next the lucky Buddha, and finally the reclining Buddha which is in Wat Pho. Then we headed to the water. I loved the long tail boats. They took us around the different canals and we were able to buy beers from the ladies selling tourists items on boats. Don’t fall for the scam of buying the driver a beer. We did and I’m 99.9 percent positive they just keep it unopened and eventually hand them back to the lady. You will see in my posts about this trip a common theme of Becky and I falling for the tricks—Sarena was the wise one.

For sunset we made our way over to the Banyan Tree Hotel. Another tip is that traffic in Bangkok is awful so make sure to give yourself a lot of time. We pretty much missed the sunset, and we gave ourselves over an hour to get someone where that should have taken 30 minutes, but it was raining at that time anyways so the roof top wasn’t open. Instead we went to the Latitude Lounge which is just a few floors down and covered. Here we treated ourselves to Thai sparkling wine, which to our surprise it was actually pretty good. Luckily the weather cleared up after we finished our bottle of bubbly and we were able to go up to the Moon Bar which puts you on the 61st floor. It was an incredible view. We had been traveling for one day and already needed to treat ourselves. We are really good backpackers. Second tip is to make sure you have the location on a map—our driver had a really hard time understanding us and that added to our delayed arrival.

Day one in Bangkok was amazing and we had Khaosan Road to come home to. Khaosan road deserves its own post so standby.

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Let Friendsgiving Begin

I left Denver this morning and I am on my way to Bangkok!

DEN->SEA->NRT->BKK

This year for Friendsgiving we will be visiting many cities in Thailand and Myanmar. (Stay tuned for photos!)

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This trip could have started with a bit of drama but I got lucky; my sister drove me to the airport this morning so I picked her up in my car. After she dropped me off at the airport apparently the car started to make noises once she was back on the high way. In her words “the car sounded like a plane.” My car is an older stick shift so she tried changing gears thinking that was the issue. Then she said the tire started smoking and people were honking at her. She made it to a gas station where a good samaritan helped her put on the spare while she waited for her husband to arrive. That was news to me that I had a spare!

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There is lots to be thankful with this situation: First that Kara and Henry were able to get the car off the highway safely, second that I had a spare so this isn’t going to be too costly of a fix, and three that it didn’t happen on the way so I didn’t miss my flight!

Lots of Friendsgiving/Thanksgiving thankfulness today!

I would be even more thankful if I got bumped to business class! Fingers crossed!

See ya USA!

Manipulation Thanksgiving

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This will be the third year in a row that I will not be in the US for Thanksgiving; my favorite holiday of the year. I’m not complaining much because I’ll be in Thailand this year but I will say I am sad to miss the best cooking day of the year.

Each year I have organize or host a Thanksgiving with my sister, brother-in-law, and friends, but this year was a little too busy to really get something together. I was away for work or my sister was gone or my sister and brother-in-law were packing because they are moving; the list goes on and on. I had accepted the loss, kind of, and then decided I couldn’t not do a Thanksgiving themed dinner so I would just do a small one.

It is not in my nature to not go over the top with cooking but I could make the exception for this. I knew it would be an easier sell if I made it seem like it would just be a normal dinner. I put together a little menu of four dishes; turkey breast, green beans, potatoes, and stuffing and pitched the idea to Kara. She was nervous and said she just didn’t want to commit to a big meal because they are packing and she was leaving again on another work trip. I agreed and told her I promised I wouldn’t go overboard and she said ok as long as she approved the menu; one down! Then I got my brother-in-law on board; he is easy to convince with cooking. I was so pumped the dinner was on!

While I was at the grocery store I saw the turkeys and made the call to Kara that the cost was actually less for a turkey than turkey breast and there was a small 8 pounder. She caved and that is how master manipulation Thanksgiving happened. I sipped on my canned champagne and ate my delicious smoked turkey thinking to myself I will always make Thanksgiving happen no matter. I added canned cranberries and pumpkin whoopie pies to the menu!

Tagle plus Kelsey Early Thanksgiving Day is what I decided to name the day for early Thanksgiving—the tradition will never die.

Menu

I was not in charge of the smoked turkey…

Slow-Roasted Green Beans

Stuffing  (I halved the recipe)

Pumpkin Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

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Tackling A Fear: Eggs Benedict

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Kara and John attacking the recipe!

I am a true lover of eggs Benedict. It has been my favorite breakfast item for as long as I can remember. Every birthday my mom would make it for me and the love for the poached egg, hollandaise sauce, Canadian bacon, and English muffin kept growing. Though my love for eggs benedict is very real I never attempted to make it. There was something about the sauce curdling or the eggs not poaching right that scared me enough to keep me out of the kitchen; until now. At age 26 I decided to tackle my fear and I am so glad I did because I am happy to say eggs benedict is not as hard as it looks! Let’s first start with the fact that there are only five ingreditens; eggs, Canadian bacon, English muffin, butter, and lemons. Second if you are nervous about the poached eggs watch this video and you won’t be. Third the hollandaise sauce; the most important part of the recipe, if you let your butter cool and slowly pour it in to the blender you will have light heavenly sauce. I was on an eggs Benedict high for about a week because of how amazing it was.

My advice—stop fearing the eggs Benedict; cook it today! This is a perfect wow breakfast to serve around the holidays.

P.S. I have always been told how unhealthy hollandaise sauce is but cooking it really shows it. With that said embrace it and don’t skimp on the butter, just don’t eat this everyday.

Egg Benedict Recipe

 

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Trio of Mason Jar Salads

I’ve fallen for the jar; I love my mason jar salads. I don’t use it the way you are supposed to but I still love it. The idea behind the mason jar is that the dressing will not make the rest of the salad or ingredients soggy and then you can make a weeks worth of jars and be ready to go. Me though, I make mine each morning. Even though I’m not a rule follower I love these salads and love making different salad combinations. They look cooler, prettier, and trick my mind into thinking the healthy ingredients inside are more exciting than they are. Below I give you my trio of go to mason jar salads.

Chicken Salad:

  • Arugula
  • cucumbers
  • garbanzo beans
  • tomatoes
  • roasted chicken breast mix with a table spoon of plain greek yogurt and half an avocado.
  • quinoa
  • tablespoon olive oil

Taco Salad:

  • Lettuce mix
  • cheddar cheese
  • tomato
  • avocado
  • corn
  • black beans
  • turkey ground meat cooked with taco seasoning

Fall Salad:

  • Lettuce mix
  • goat cheese
  • pomegranate
  • steamed brussel sprouts
  • roasted broccoli with olive oil and salt and pepper
  • roasted butternut squash with olive oil and salt and pepper
  • balsamic olive oil dressing