Electric Lunchbox #14: Broccoli Beef and Rice

Broccoli and beef is one of those dishes that are easily recognizable as they are offered in popular Chinese fast food restaurants like Panda Express and Pick Up Sticks.

This is an easy recipe made for the Itaki. I added the cornstarch to the mixture so that it thickens the sauce as it cooks. Red bell pepper adds a pop of color and ups the vegetables in this delicious dish.

*Please note that the word “cup” in any of my electric lunchbox recipe refers to the little itaki cup included with the lunchbox. It holds 40ml.*

100 – 150 grams beef, cut into thin strips

1/4 of a bell pepper, sliced

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons soysauce

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

2 tablespoons shao xing wine

Handful of broccoli florets

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Green onions, to serve

Top bowl:

2 cups short or medium grain rice

2 cups water

2 cups water in the base (38 minutes)

See Itaki’s offerings here! https://www.itakico.com/theresa

Bacardi Rum Cake

Happy birthday to me!! I am grateful for another year, family, friends, health, and food! And for today I will be sharing a recipe for Bacardi Rum Cake with you all!

This is one of my all time favorite cakes. I don’t drink alcohol but I do cook and bake with it. 😊 The smell emanating from the oven as this bakes is like no other. Totally mouthwatering!

This Bacardi Rum Cake is one of the several recipes I picked up from my wonderful coworkers while working at UCLA Brentwood. It was my then supervisor, Sandra Bovey’s recipe. It’s always a hit anywhere I bring it to, and I definitely could finish the whole cake if I’m not mindful of what I’m eating. It’s just so delicious. I have also read somewhere that you could use thick slices of this cake and make it into a decadent French Toast! Imagine that!

This recipe made it to both cookbooks that were put together by my coworkers so I believe I’m not the only one who loves this yummy, rummy cake.

I almost always have the ingredients on hand and I usually bring this to potlucks if I am short on time and want something that looks and tastes amazing. Use a beautifully patterned bundt cake pan and you got yourself a sure winner!

The recipe as it appears on the second edition cookbook.

Bacardi Rum Cake

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An easy to make, crowd pleasing moist rum cake.


For the cake:

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 (18.5oz) yellow cake mix

1 (3.75 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix

4 large eggs

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup Bacardi dark rum (80 proof)

For the glaze:

1 stick (1/2cup) butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 – 1/2 cup Bacardi dark rum


  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and flour a 10-12 inch bundt pan. You can also generously spray with nonstick spray. Sprinkle in the chopped pecans or walnuts.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil, and rum until well blended. Pour over nuts in the prepared pan and place in the preheated oven to bake for about an hour.
  3. When done, place the cake on a wire rack to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare glaze. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in water and sugar and boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum.
  5. Invert the cake onto a serving platter and drizzle with the hot glaze. Repeat until all the glaze is used up.

Electric Lunchbox #13: Feijoada (Brazilian Black Bean Stew)

I have been wanting to try this Brazilian Black Bean stew but I only have mild Italian sausage and no kielbasa. I decided to give it a go anyway, but I removed the sausage casing and roughly chopped the sausage. I encourage you to try substituting when needed, you might just create a new favorite!

I made my farofa using bread crumbs as I bake some of our bread and always have day old bread on the kitchen counter.

It did turn out good but will make it again with kielbasa and more bacon as soon as I get some to see which I would like better!

*Please note that the word “cup” in any of my electric lunchbox recipe refers to the little itaki cup included with the lunchbox. It holds 40ml.*

Place the following in the big bottom bowl:

A few slices of smoked sausage (kielbasa or linguica), diced – for this batch, I used 1 link of mild Italian sausage

A small piece of pork, cubed

1 slice of bacon, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon thyme, chopped

Dash of red pepper flakes

4 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained

3 cups chicken broth

In the smaller top bowl, place the following:

2 cups long grain rice, rinsed and drained

2 cups water

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon Chicken/tomato bouillon

Place both bowl in the Itaki and add 3 cups water in base. Cover and press start button.

Steam until it shuts down on its own, about 50 minutes.

Carefully open the Itaki and fluff the rice. Set on a heatproof surface. Stir the black bean stew, if there is too much liquid, you can drain some off. Sprinkle with Farofa, if using. Serve hot with rice.

Breadcrumb Farofa

Farofa, if desired, for serving

Farofa: Toast cassava flour (or breadcrumbs) in melted butter until golden. Cool and stir in chopped Italian parsley and a pinch of orange zest.

Follow me for more recipes for the Itaki!

See Itaki’s offerings here! https://www.itakico.com/theresa

Sourdough Pancakes

Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to all the brave serviceman and woman for the freedom we have!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last used my sourdough starter. Last night I thought of serving pancakes for today’s breakfast since it’s Memorial Day and we are all off. I usually want a slow breakfast on days we have nothing planned. I decided to go with a sourdough discard recipe, that way I can have pancakes AND feed my starter too. A well fed starter is a happy one, and to me that means great tasting sourdough bread when I make it!

This pancake recipe needs a cup of sourdough discard so it’s perfect for when you have excess discard on hand. Otherwise, just feed your starter without discarding any of it. When it rises after a few hours, take 1 cup and you can store the remainder in the fridge until needed.

This recipe makes really nice, flavorful, fluffy pancakes that I hope you’ll love as much as my family does!

1 cup sourdough discard

1 1/2 cups milk

1 large egg

2 tablespoon canola oil, plus additional for cooking pancakes

1 teaspoon vanilla, optional

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Place sourdough discard, milk, egg, oil, and vanilla (if using) in a large bowl. Mix well to break up and incorporate the sourdough discard and other liquid ingredients.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Mix until just moistened and no traces of dry flour is visible.

Preheat a 10 – 12 inch skillet or a griddle over medium high heat and spray with non stick spray. Add a little oil or butter to the pan, swirl it around so it evenly coats the pan. Let it heat up for a couple of minutes.

Add about 1/4-1/3 cup batter for each pancake. I can usually fit 2 to 3 in a 12 inch skillet at a time. Let cook until bubbles appear on top and edges seem dry. Turn pancakes over and cook for a minute or two more, until nicely browned. Adjust the heat as needed.

Repeat with remaining batter. Keep cooked pancakes warm until serving.

Serve with softened butter and maple syrup. And/or jam…or sausages and bacon….however you want to enjoy your morning treat!

**In the Philippines, I saw pancakes slathered with softened margarine, sprinkled with sugar, and sometimes doused in evaporated milk. I serve it like that once in a while. Try it, it’s good!**

Makes about 15 4-inch pancakes.

This is how the batter looks like after it is mixed. It still has a few lumps. Do not over mix.
Flip the pancake once it looks like the pancake on the bottom left – it has bubbles on top and edges are dry.
I love pancakes with butter and maple syrup!

Electric Lunchbox #12: Gyudon (Sweet Soy Beef Rice Bowl)

*Please note that the word “cup” in any of my electric lunchbox recipe refers to the little itaki cup included with the lunchbox. It holds 40ml.*

Gyundon (beef bowl), is a one dish beef, onion, egg, and rice meal that is similar to what Yoshinoya serves. It is a very popular food in Japan and I like to make it as it comes together rather quickly. Preparing it in the electric lunchbox is a plus as it is essentially set it and forget it until it shuts off! And just like that it’s time to eat!

A handful of shaved beef (I used 2 cups ground beef as that is all I have)

1 teaspoon apple, grated

2 tablespoons diced onion

Pinch salt

2 T soysauce

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons sake

1 cup water

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 cups rice

2 cups water

3 cups water in the base

Mitsuba or celery leaves, to serve

Place beef, apple, onion, salt, soy sauce, sugar, sake, and water in the big bottom bowl. Mix and pour beaten egg on top. Do not mix at this point. Place bowl in Itaki base.

Wash and drain rice and place in the smaller top bowl. Add 2 cups water. Place bowl on top of bigger bottom bowl.

Add 3 cups water in the base. Cover with lid and steam until it shuts off, about 50 minutes.

Open lid, carefully remove rice bowl and set on a heat proof surface. Stir the beef and egg mixture and serve with rice. Enjoy!

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See Itaki’s offerings here! https://www.itakico.com/theresa

Itaki Shabuki Pot

When I got the Itaki Pro, I also got the Shabuki pot and the Itaki Jumbo. For this article, I will focus on the Shabuki pot. I purchased the optional steamer basket as I think it will be useful to cook or heat other items while your main dish is going. It kind of reminds me of my small 3 cup Aroma rice cooker with steamer!

The photo above shows everything I got in the box: the shabuki pot with a glass cover, power cord, a little instruction booklet, a soup spoon, the carry bag, and the optional steamer.

The shabuki is essentially a portable, personal sized pot and stove. You have two temperature settings, low and high, like the little stoves. The cooking surface is metal and fused to the outer plastic body. It comes with a sturdy handle, making it look like a giant soup mug. It’s just so cute!

The optional steamer is to be placed on top of the pot and the glass cover over it if cooking multiple items. The steamer can reheat food, steam veggies, or cook rice in a small pot while you cook another dish below. I think it was worth to get it even if it had to be purchased separately.

Of course, if you only have the pot itself, you can place a basket steamer (the ones that open and expand) over the shabuki and have the same effect although the depth might be different.

One piece stainless cooking surface.

The inside of the Shabuki is stainless and there are no creases to worry about, making clean up easy. I would have preferred a removable cooking bowl to make washing up easier since you have to be careful not to wet the area where the power cord plugs in.

Unlike the Itaki Pro and Jumbo, this requires you to be around and will not shut off on it’s own. You also have to be occasionally stirring your food if you don’t want it stuck on the bottom. Quick stir fries and stews would be great in the Shabuki. Ramen and other soups would be a natural food item to cook in this as is boiling water. I have not really made recipes to cook in it as any stove top recipe can be cooked in the Shabuki, just on a smaller scale.

All in all, this would be perfect for if you have limited space (dorm or studio apartments) are cooking for one, traveling, or don’t want multiple dishes to wash as you can eat straight from the pot too.

Snug fit in the carry bag because of the handle.
Does not fit with the steamer attached.

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See Itaki’s offerings here! https://www.itakico.com/theresa

Pancit Bihon

This is a perennial Filipino favorite dish! It will always be present on tables during fiestas, birthdays, holidays, or even everyday as lunch or snack.

I like this dish because it is easy to put together, light, and I do not feel bloated after eating it. The fact that it has vegetables mixed in is a plus.
Serve it with calamansi (Philippine lemon) if you can find it as it melds perfectly with the taste of this noodle dish! If not, lemon juice is a great substitute.

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced
  • 1 pound chicken breast, cooked, shredded
  • 5 to 6 cups water
  • 1/2 pound green beans, sliced at an angle
  • 2 big carrots, sliced at an angle
  • 1/2 cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup celery, leaves included, sliced at an angle
  • 1-3 tbsp chicken bouillon powder, to taste
  • 1/4 -1/3 cup soy sauce, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 lb pancit bihon (Rice Noodles)
  • Calamansi or Lemon, cut in wedges, for serving
  • In a wok, heat up oil and saute garlic and onion
  • Add the pork and chicken then let cook for 2 minutes
  • Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  • Put in the carrots, pea pod, cabbage, and celery leaves and simmer for a few minutes
  • Remove all the ingredients in the pot except for the liquid and set them aside.
  • In the pot with the liquid in, add the 1 tbsp bouillon powder, 1/4 cup soy sauce, black pepper, and mix well
  • Add the pancit bihon, let it sit until it softens and mix well. Cook until liquid evaporates completely. Check if noodles are cooked, adding water if necessary.
  • Add back the the vegetables and chicken that were previously cooked and heat for a minute or two. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Serve hot with calamansi or slices of lemon. Share and enjoy!