Sunday, June 15, 2014

Thank you to the greatest men in my life

Thank you dad for:
Giving me your sense of humor, showing me how to befriend all kinds of people regardless of race, "status", or age, for not always being the perfect example because you were only human, for discovering your roots and teaching me a knowledge of our background, for providing half of my good looks because I still see you when I look in the mirror or at  my siblings, for you and mom giving me a bunch of different names because I get to explain them all every time someone finds out my full name, for teaching me how to make and appreciate ono foods, teaching me (sometimes the hard way) to be tough and independent like you, but yet to have a little bit of a soft side even though it stays hidden most of the time, for spoiling me even when times were hard and I was a brat because I now appreciate all you did for me now more than ever, for leaving me endless wisdoms that didn't make sense at the time but continuously become more and more relevant as time goes on, for having such a distinct voice that I can still hear you call me "booboo" and "puka shell"...the gratitude I have for my dad is endless and increases everyday that he's been "gone".

Thank you grandpa Ted for:
Being the kindest, most gentle, loving man, for always cutting an orange for me from the tree in the backyard, for letting me sit on your lap on the bench swing, for being so photogenic that every picture of you makes the rest of us look bad, for loving gram and setting that example of a great marriage, for always wearing that scary mask on Halloween even though I hated it it made me laugh, for watching jeopardy and wheel of fortune so often that it now always reminds me of you, for teaching mom to have integrity and how to fix things and everything else she knows because she's passed it all down to me, for buying and building on to the cabin and leaving that place for us to enjoy and remind us of you, for always building the fire on Christmas morning, for letting me play in your workshop and office even though I probably broke or messed up some things...I'm grateful for every memory I have of my grandpa because he left this world a little early in my life, but I am so glad I was able to grow up only a few block from him and gram because they both taught me a lot.

Thank you grandpa David for:
Being the most righteous example of a priesthood holder I have ever known, for remembering every single detail of me and all your kids, grand kids, great grand kids, and all of our families and making us feel like the only one in the Miles family every time we see you, for being so willing to help with everything at anytime no matter what, for loving grandma so much and showing me how important temple marriage is, for adopting 11 brown kids including my dad, for being a great, for giving all you can and serving others nonstop. I hope to continue to make you proud and learn all I can from you in the future.

My mom today asked "have you talked to your dad today? I know you can reach him" and that hit me hard because I feel that since I haven't been able to call him or receive any of his emails full of advice and wisdom I have somewhat forgotten that I can still talk to him. I know he is on the other side watching over us who are still here, doing the Lords work, and probably busy talking story with everyone there. My grandpa Ted has also passed on but I am thankful for the time I did spend with him. My grandpa David is alive and well so I make it a priority to spend time with him and my grandma, especially because I didn't grow up near them. Luckily since I have lived in Utah the last few years I have been able to see them often.

With it being Father's Day today, please express your appreciation for the fathers in your life. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

French Macarons

Now I took a class to learn to make these but I am going to try my best to explain with tips how to perfect these. There is a science to them so have patience! They're so worth it!

Ingredients: (in grams)
Almond Flour - 300 g (or substitute 20 g for cocoa powder for chocolate cookies)
Powdered sugar - 300 g
Egg whites #1 (about 3 eggs room temp) - 110 g 
Food Coloring - to preference, gel or paste color works best
Granulated sugar - 300 g
Water - 75 g
Egg Whites #2 (about 3 eggs room temp) - 100 g

1. Sift the powdered sugar and combine with the almond flour. You can find almond flour at kitchen supply stores or in the gluten-free areas of a grocery store.
2. Stir in egg whites #1 and the food coloring by hand. I suggest adding more color now since the white meringue will lighten the overall color later.
3. Cook the sugar and water to a simple syrup until it reaches 118 degrees celsius
4. When the syrup reaches 115 degrees begin whipping the egg whites.
5. Turn the speed down to medium or low speed and pour in the sugar. It is really important to pour the syrup down the side of the bowl as to not touch the whisk and splatter all over the bowl. You want it to incorporate straight into the egg whites.
6.Return the speed to high and whip until cool. I touch the outside of the bowl to see if it is cool.
7. Add the meringue to the almond dough slowly and softly fold in, you do not want to flatten the meringue.
8. Put your straight edge round tip in the piping bag and fill with the mixture.
9. Pipe cookies roughly 1.5" in diameter about 1" apart. Hold the piping bag as straight as possible and flick when done so the top of the cookie will bake to be a smooth surface.
10. Let the cookies sit at room temperature uncovered for 1 hour.
11. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes, rotating the pans half way. When done, remove the cookies from the sheet pan immediately.
12. Store in the freezer until ready to fill. Once filled, store in the refrigerator.

Now, there are various fillings and flavor mixtures you can do. The basics are a chocolate ganache and an Italian buttercream (oil based flavorings/extracts are best, fruit purees can be used as well). Or use chocolate hazelnut spread or anything you see fit! The nice things about macarons are that you can make any combination of flavors and you little heart desires!

For the ganache:
20 oz of dark chocolate
3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
I used about a tablespoon of raspberry flavoring. Add more or less flavoring to taste. You want the ganache to be sturdy so it does not smoosh out of the cookies.

For melt-in-your-mouth Italian buttercream:
1 lb. sugar
1/2 lb. egg whites
1 1/2 lb. butter

1.Warm the egg whites and sugar over a double boiler until warm to the touch and all of the sugar is dissolved.
2. Whip on high speed for 2-3 minutes, then lower to medium speed and whip until cool. The meringue should be shiny and cool.
3. Gradually add the soft butter with the mixture on medium-low speed. Whip until smooth and light.

Below are some pictures of different variations for some inspiration :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Two years' eve

Two years ago tomorrow, may 4th, my dad passed away unexpectedly. Losing a loved one and readjusting to life 'without' them is no easy feat for the family and friends that were close to that person. losing my dad was no exception.
Nobody looks back on life and thinks, “man Im glad I worked all those hours”. Instead, people think about all the fun and positive things they did with the people they cared about. Looking at my dad’s life ive decided to expound on a few of the positive attributes that he demonstrated and how he has influenced me.
My dad was one to help others in any way possible. Help pay friends' bills, change a light bulb for my grandma, hand some cash to a homeless person on the street, help someone push their stalled car (cause his old mustang needed to be pushed more often than not so he was probably paying it forward haha)...anything to help someone who needed it more than he did, he always did what he could. I try to remember this about him because I think we can all use a little help, and we can all benefit from service to others here and there.

he always told me to be friends with all kinds of people and be nice to everyone. he taught me not to discriminate and that all people have something to offer. he definitely practiced what he preached..he was friendly to everyone. the kind of friendly where he would go into a store and be on first-name/talk-story basis with the people working there. he knew people all across the country because of his frequent cross-country road trips even in the most random tiny towns in the middle of nowhere. i admired that about him..and i think i got the driving bug from him because i can drive for hours on end by myself and love it haha

his passion, his laughter and his voice are things i hope to remember forever because his voice was strong yet caring, and you could tell when he was passionate about something. wether it was about his work with the union or family or hawaii or food...anything..his voice and his laughter had a presence. even in writing, his voice came through. when i was very young, he would write me lengthy letters about things that i did not understand then, but thankfully my mom kept all the cards and letters he gave me over the years. he would write sentiments in cards and words of wisdom in 6+ page letters and im glad he did because i have them all and i read them and hear his voice. his laughter was unexpected because he always looked serious to someone who didnt know him just because of his large physical stature, but he loved to laugh and make others laugh. and he was good at it.

looking back on the last two years, even after my dad has passed on, i can still see his influence in my life and i know that will continue. just because a person is "gone" does not mean they are forgotten. 
always, "a hui hou" 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Trending now: fringe bikini..DIY!

soo while I was in california last weekend, I went to nordstrom to buy pink glitter toms for my two year old niece. they were adorable on her and she kept calling them her "dancing shoes" cause that girl loves to dance. Anyway, while I was there I wandered past the swimwear for this season and became obsessed with a neon green (and also the turquoise one) fringe bikini bandeau top...but I was not obsessed with the $70 price tag. Since then I had been thinking of a way to re-create that look. So I found an inexpensive bikini top for $4.50 at forever 21 and decided to make it my own, mine is a bandeau but this would look cute on a halter too. I was feeling creative today and went to Joann fabrics and picked out a neon pink swimsuit material for $16.99 per yard. I got a quarter yard and some 100% polyester thread in purple (because it has more give than cotton for stretchy fabrics). A quarter yard is more than enough, which gave me room for mistakes. I cut the fabric to the shape of the bandeau top and decided to do the same shape along the bottom of the fringe instead of a straight edge. I began cutting small strips almost to the top of the piece of fabric, not all the way so i had room to sew the top edge to the swimsuit itself.

 The cutting of the strips was a little time consuming, but you can cut them as skinny or as wide as you want them to be (The sharper your scissors the better). I prefer a skinnier look. And voila! this is the finished product. You can also do the bottoms of your bikini if you want, but I just did the top so I can mix & match my swimmies for fun :) now go try it! make your own custom cute bikini for the summer for under $10!

Monday, April 2, 2012

mini "cinnamon rolls"

So yesterday was April General Conference, my favorite time of year is conference. Mom came down to my house and we (ok, she)cooked all day because I am busy with school so she made various meals for me to have ready to eat for the week. she's amazing right?! well anyway, she was making quiche and had an extra ready-made pie crust and so i took it, slathered some melted butter on it (about a tablespoon), and sprinkled a good cup or cup and a half of cinnamon sugar on it. I rolled it up and cut it into 8 round pieces and popped them in the oven in a greased pie pan for 15-20 minutes at 350. I made some simple icing for them with a half cup of powedered and a tiny bit of milk (just enough to barely moisten it) and mixed it up. When my mini treats came out of the oven and were golden brown and crispy around the edges, i dabbed a little bit of icing on them and that melted down over them. voila! mini "cinnamon rolls". a quick and super easy breakfast treat a classic that my mom's grandma used to do for them when they were kids on thanksgiving when they had leftover pie crust, and also something my mom did for me growing up. so try em! share our lil family 'tradition'.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


so for the past few weeks ive been trying to find something to fill my time, seems that the last stretch of summer seems boring if i have nowhere to go before school starts; therefore i found a hobby. decoupage! yes, decoupage, as in the stuff you did in art class back in the day with tissue paper and mod podge. except i expanded the paper selection to scrapbook paper, magazines..anything i could find really. so i went to the craft store and found two 11x14 canvases for $6! sold! then i bought 6 pieces of scrapbook paper for 59 cents each, some mod podge, and those foam brush thingies. 

my ultimate goal is to make some new wall art for my room but i figured i would test my skills and start small with some personalized pieces for the bff jam and myself. so i went home and looked through old magazines for anything i liked and laid stuff out for planning. i found little words and pictures and all sorts of fun stuff. i told my mom it was more like a little inspiration board haha

next was gluing cutting paper to size and gluing stuff down. just smear a good amount of the mod podge to hold stuff down, then go over it gently to keep it in place. normally i hate crafts and stuff that requires creativity but i actually enjoyed this since it was like a collage and looked cute no matter where i placed stuff (or at least i think it all turned out well!)

Friday, August 5, 2011

i love home projects

i just cant describe how much i love having a home of my own to have fun with and take care of. last summer i painted the downstairs half bath a dark purple to go with a panoramic picture i had. bad choice, the bathroom is small enough so a heavy color like purple made it feel even smaller. so i decided to switch it up and do a nice light tropical-ish blue (again, to match another picture i have..i like having something to go off of!) heres right when we started painting:

So mom and i painted and this is what turned out. i bought pieces to make a frame from Michael's for the painting i had, as well as an easy-to-put-together wall shelving unit that i got for $20! love. so now the bathroom looks much bigger than before, and not to mention much cuter. maybe i should start a business doing home projects for people! haha