Honey Sesame Chicken

Ohhh, this recipe definitely hit the spot today. I was craving mall food. You know, that sweet sesame chicken they have at those Chinese places or that syrupy Bourbon Chicken at the Cajun places. Now I can make it at home! I couldn't be more YAY.

The original recipe instructions is meant for a slow-cooker. About a 3-4 hour cook time in a regular slow-cooker! I just threw all of the ingredients into my soup pot and cooked it on low for about an hour and hoped for the best. Everything turned out pretty darn good.



This recipe was SO easy and smelled so great while it was simmering in the pot. I had most of the ingredients on hand so I didn't even need to go out of my way to buy anything but fresh chicken.







Chhally loved it. I loved it. We enjoyed with with some freshly steamed green beans. =) I also threw in some shrimp for extra meatiness. Don't forget the sesame seeds, too!



Honey Sesame Chicken
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 5
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Cornstarch
  • Sesame seeds
  1. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
  2. In a bowl, combine the honey, soy sauce, ketchup, vegetable oil, garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes. Stir well to combine!
  3. Place the chicken thighs in the pot and pour the sauce mixture over the chicken. 
  4. Cover and cook on low for about an hour. 
  5. When done, remove chicken from pot and cut into chunks. Prior to putting the chicken back in the stockpot, combine some cornstarch in water and whisk it into the crockpot to thicken up the sauce a bit. Throw the chicken back in and stir around to re-coat the chicken in the sauce.
  6. Serve over white rice and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Creamy Chicken Lasagna

Creamy homemade white cream sauce melds together with artichoke hearts and shredded chicken. I found this recipe here. It's not as hard as it sounds but packs a lot of flavor and makes you look like an amazing gourmet chef!



Start with shredded chicken breast..


Tossed with Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella cheese...


Bake for 25 minutes..Then broil for 5 to get the cheese on top all bubbly, golden brown.




See the link above again for the full recipe!

Teavana Haul

As a birthday present, Chhally took me into Teavana at the mall to check out their gourmet teas. I've always wanted to try and buy some of their teas but it's VERY pricey. Here's what I got:



Tea Harmony Tumbler - Basically a water bottle for hot tea! The glass is double-walled so your tea stays hot and your hands aren't burning while holding the bottle. It also has a stainless steel strainer that you pop onto the lip of the bottle so you don't have to worry about the tea pieces. The cap is twist on with a lovely design on it. They have a larger size bottle too but I think this size is perfect for $20.








I sampled and decided on two different teas. Their flowering tea, Peach Momotaro, and a loose leaf tea mixture called Blueberry Bliss & Pineapple Kona Pop.


I've been super excited to get my hands on these flowering teas. Basically they look like little balls of organic-ness. Drop them in hot water and they bloom into beautiful displays of flowers, all the while steeping your water into delicious tea!









The blueberry bliss and pineapple tea is also really awesome. It's a looseleaf tea, so there's no teabag. You just dump a spoonful into hot water and it steeps. This is where my strainer comes in handy. This tea can also be cooled to make an iced tea. Look at those pretty colors!




Hopefully my experience at Teavana can help you better your experience if you're interested in visiting their shop. The only problem I had at Teavana is that their employees are very pushy. They're nice but they're pushy and constantly pressuring you to buy other things. They have a system that I noticed they use on every customer who walked into the store. They guide you towards their tea samples and then guide you over to the tea kettles and bottles. They interest you in things and ask you what you like. When you say, "Oh I liked this and that." They introduce you off to their tea masters who work behind the counter in the back of the store. The tea masters then work their magic and get you to buy a whole variety of teas based on what you said you liked. Make sure you make it clear what you want to buy and tell them you're not interested in anything else. They're very precise and well trained to sell things to you while being very nice!

I wanted the Peach Momotaro, so the tea master grabbed a large canister (you HAVE to buy the canisters if you're buying tea from them. They say you can bring these canisters back when you want a refill). He filled the canister with the peach tea and weighed it on the scale (this is how they price their teas, by weight) and my total came out to $195.00! I asked him if he can scale down a bit and told them I didn't want to spend more than $20 on a can of tea. He obliged. Then he grabbed other teas similar  to the one I was buying and tried to pitch them to me. I held firm and said no. Just two minutes later, the same process happened when he canned my Blueberry tea. He poured a large amount into a canister and the total came out to nearly $100. You really have to stay firm and tell these people what you want, again I said if he could scale it down to $15, that would be great. I ended up spending about $70 on my two teas and the tumbler bottle.

I like to enjoy tea often, so for me it's worth it. And with Fall and Winter on their way, I'll be drinking even more tea! I'm trying to wean myself off of coffee and sugary hot chocolate drinks this year. ;)

- TSJ

My Birthday

My birthday was on August 8th and we were still in Holland, MI at the time. I wasn't really thinking of doing a huge celebration. In between funeral planning, it was something that wasn't on the top of my list of things to do. But my amazing family and friends still managed to make me feel special on my birthday and I couldn't help but cry!

My friends Vida and Maly surprised me with a cupcake cake!









Chhally took me to the Teavana store at the mall to buy me some awesome tea that I've been wanting for a while! I'll write a whole post and review about it! His family also sang happy birthday to me at midnight!



My brother met us in Michigan to have a birthday dinner with us at Carino's Italian restaurant. I didn't want anything super fancy, to be honest, I was just really craving for some Spaghetti and Meatballs. (Which weren't that great here)



The highlights of our meal though were the fried zucchini appetizer, the bowtie pasta with chicken and bacon, and the lemon cream cake.







And when we finally made it back home to Wisconsin, my sister and another group of friends decorated the whole apartment for us.















I loved everything that came my way and was grateful for all the friends and family who didn't forget my birthday even when I was trying to haha.

Holland, MI (Part 2)

In between the majority of time spent with our family there, we found time to spend with some of our longtime friends.


(Instagram! @vickysithy)



We bought drinks! We ordered dessert first!



And we splurged on half price appetizers at Applebee's!





Then we drove during the mornings, 45 minutes away to the best authentic Vietnamese eatery in Michigan.



Where we had tons of PHO!



And other Vietnamese food.

Holland, MI (Part 1)

For the past two weeks or so, we've been in Holland, MI. Chhally and I used to live there so we have close family and friends who still reside there. Most of his family are there, including his grandmother and mom. He's so very close to his grandmother. Unfortunately during our time there, she passed away. What was supposed to be a weekend trip turned into one and a half weeks of planning a funeral. And we didn't mind. There were a lot of tears, a lot of sadness surrounding this trip. But in the end, Chhally admits, he couldn't have been happier for his grandmother. She passed peacefully and her funeral was beautiful.



We also got to spend every single day there with his brothers and sisters. They're all pretty young and it felt good for us as the older siblings to be there for them and help them learn how to cope with losing their grandma. We took them bowling, out to eat, and spent a lot of days indoors eating ice cream and building forts out of blankets.





The most memorable dinner was when we rounded up all of the kids and cousins and went out for dinner at Crazy Horse Steakhouse.





The basket of dinner rolls here are SO GOOD. Some of the best restaurant bread we've ever eating, and trust me we like our free dinner breads! Hands down, Crazy Horse already had us hooked.


They're famous for their Chicken Corn Chowder soup. A bowl of soup or salad came with the dinner meals. I must say, it was pretty darn good if you're into corn. It wasn't as thick as I thought it was going to be. Usually when I think "chowder" I think of thick soup. But I liked the lightness this soup had.


All around the walls of this establishment are dollar bills that customers sign and pin to the walls. When a local or national tragedy occurs, the owners take all of these dollar bills down and donate them to a cause. Now that's awesome! We folded our dollar into a heart and pinned it right on their fireplace.


I ordered the Cattle Baron Steak, medium well. This steak was oddly cut. I got two spherical pieces of meat instead of a slab. It was hard to cut. One side was cooked perfectly and was top notch. The other half was dry and overcooked. Their red skin mashed potatoes were good!



Chhally ordered the Spinach and Artichoke Chicken Sandwich and onion strings on the side. The onion strings were delicious and I kept picking these off his plate lol His sandwich was good for the first few bites but the spinach and artichoke dip seeped into his bread, making it so soggy it was unedible. So he knife-and-forked his chicken.


Only was able to get pictures of two other dishes out of 10! Everyone liked their food and the portions were generous!




It was amazing to get to know the family more and be around the kids who were always smiling and joking. We also realized that everyone in Chhally's family has the same awesome sense of humor which we believe everyone got from their grandma. She was a hilarious woman, always joking and laughing. Even when she was sick, she still managed to crack a joke. We love her and miss her!

- Vicky



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