Monday, December 1, 2008

Mayo, oatmeal, mashed taters, aloe vera, and cheap granola bars at RT Mart

The RT Mart import section is still well-stocked. I saw both "real" and "light" mayonnaise there for a good price. (the bottle is very big)

And the instant oatmeal is so cheap! Only NT$69/ box.

They also have instant mashed potatoes, for those of you who prefer the instant ones to the real ones. (I happen to like the instant)

Now, I had to post the NT$39 can of aloe vera, because if you've lived in Taiwan long enough, you've probably ordered a "green tea with aloe" at least once. That is still one of my favorite drinks, and I am now intrigued by the possibilities of making desserts with aloe chunks.

FYI...I have yet to find cheaper Nature Valley granola can get a box of the oats and honey bars for only NT$67! The maple and nut bars are NT$85, which is still a good price.

Christmas decorations, candy, and gifts at RT Mart

I know there are several great "junk stores" in Taipei where you can find a lot of Christmas decorations, but sometimes it's just easier to buy the new stuff in a less-cluttered store. I was very impressed at the amount of Christmas decorations I found at RT Mart, along with some cute candy gifts. Most things were very reasonably priced.

You can find just about anything here...from lights to ornaments to tinsel .

So get in the Christmas spirit and go to RT Mart for decorations!

York Peppermint Patties at RT Mart!

This deserves its own post. Yes, ladies and gents, you can now find bags of York Peppermint Patties for only NT$135/ bag at RT Mart in the candy section. One of these days, I'll give you my peppermint patty brownie's perfect for Christmastime!

"Perfect every time" Pumpkin Bread

If there's one recipe I've worked hard to "perfect," this is it.
So if you happen to have any extra pumpkin pie filling around, get baking!
This recipe was originally given to me by my mother-in-law, who has made it for years.
I've only slightly tweaked it, and it comes out (nearly) perfect every time. It also makes a great gift and freezes well.

Pumpkin Bread


1 1/2 cups sugar
(I sometimes cut this down to 1 cup, if I'm concerned about the spiked insulin levels of my recipients or making it for Chinese friends who "don't like sweet things")

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup oil
(okay, I know that's a lot of oil...but the bread tastes much better when it's moist. You can try 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup applesauce. I've done that, too).

3/4 to 1 cup cooked (or canned) pumpkin
(just depends on how much of a pumpkin freak you are...I always add at least 1 cup)

1/3 cup water

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 cups flour

chocolate chips or walnuts (optional)

a little butter and sugar for the topping


1. Beat the sugar, eggs, and oil together. (sometimes I use a mixer, sometimes I do it by hand)

2. Add the cooked pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and water and mix well.

3. Stir in the flour and baking soda. (you probably want to blend those ahead of time) Add chocolate chips and/or walnuts. Please add chocolate chips. They make everything better.

4. Grease (and flour, if you think that will help) a large loaf pan. Pour the mixture into the pan.

5. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees C, 170 degrees F. (my oven cooks things very fast, so I only bake it about 45 minutes, and I put my temp down to 100 degrees F. )

6. Okay, now here's the part you don't want to miss. When you pull the bread out of the oven, spread butter all over the top of it. (not margarine, folks...real butter). Then, sprinkle at least 1/4 cup sugar on top of that. Wait for the bread to cool, and then pop it out of the pan.

7. Enjoy with a nice cup of hot tea.