Red, yellow, green

July 31, 2010 § 26 Comments

Unbearable…that’s how to describe Taiwan summers. It averages at least 90 degrees F here, which may seem ok, but take in mind that the humidity here is like 250%. I’m not even half exaggerating. The minute you walk out the door, you start to sweat like you just came out from under the Niagara Falls. Forget about taking a shower after your workout, because the sweating never stops!

Besides the unbearable humidity + heat here, my second day has been fab. I zonked out last night at about 9pm and woke up at about 5:50 am this morning. Woohoo almost 9 hours of sleep! And I’ve already completely overcome the time difference as I did not wake up even for one second during the night.

Anyone care for breakfast? How about some really fat finger bananas?

I taste like banana but have a slightly tart taste. I am also firmer than your regular bananas, but tremendously yummy!

I have a confession to make: I like finger bananas more than I like plain bananas. There, I said it.

I sliced half of this into a bowl with some kiwi and topped the fruits with some plain yogurt and honey on top.

One of the things that always catch me by surprise whenever I come back is how small everything here is compared to those in the states. Check out the size of this bowl! It’s literally palm-size. This would be considered a kids bowl in U.S. standards. No wonder people here are skinny.

On the side I had a slice of this bread that I got yesterday: whole grain with walnuts, dried figs, and brushed with honey on top. It’s one of my fav breads from one of my fav bakery! I always get this whenever I come back home.

Hey look! It’s a snail on my plate!

I also got the chance to hit up the gym this morning. Although it was only 25 min of running on the treadmill, I’m not joking when I say that every pore on my body was streaming out sweat. Okay that sounded quite gross but it was the only way I could think of to describe my condition as! I don’t sweat alot, but only in Taiwan do I sweat like this.

After that almost unbearable sweating session, my family and I went out for something totally bearable. We joined my grandparents for lunch at my favorite vegetarian restaurant here!

Beware! The sister makes her appearance on Om Sweet Om!

For starter, we had this “Energizing Juice“, a house specialty that blends various veggies, fruits, nuts, honey, and fruit vinegar into this yummy drink.

My main dish was a soup pot with a tomato-based soup, tons of veggies, mushroom, chestnuts, cashews, and Japanese sweet black beans. The soup pot came with 8 treasure rice, or, simply put, rice with 8 types of grains. This rice is really, really good! It has a slightly nutty flavor because of all the grains, and very chewy!

We also got a dish of stir-fry cabbage that was soooo sweet, soooo crisp, and just soooo yummy overall! The cabbage was cooked with mushrooms and goji berries. Two thumbs up!

The restaurant had a variety of soup pots to offer, and my sister got one of our favorite ones: Rosemary-infused veggie pot.

Remember the silver fungus I was talking about yesterday? Well, whaddya know, it has a cousin–the black tree ear fungus (aka cloud ear fungus)!

Similarly crunchy, chewy, and yummy!

My dad got the Cream of Veggies pot.

And my grandpa got the pumpkin fried rice.

And now, the most important part of a meal: dessert! I sound like a hypocrite saying that, because I didn’t have any! I was stuffed to the max by the time dessert came around. I think the heat really screws up your appetite.

Nevertheless…

Cold, sweet, thick mung bean and barley soup.

The afternoon was spent chilling and reading in a well air-conditioned (too cold!) Starbucks with my mom, and some cellphone browsing. iPhone or HTC? Well, I use a Macbook, so I think I should stick with the iPhone. 3Gs or 4? Well, I’ve heard enough flaws about the iPhone 4 that I decide to stick with the 3Gs. Hmm..that pretty much narrow down my choices to…one. If (or should I say when?) I am getting an iPhone, I’ll have to wait till I return to Cali since it’s alot cheaper in the U.S.

Before I knew it, it was time for dinner. My stomach agreed. Seriously, where did the afternoon go?

From top (clockwise): steamed cabbage, cold bamboo shoots, braised bamboo shoots/sea kelp/dried bean curd, and a Chinese veggie that has no corresponding English name. I ate this with leftover rice from lunch.

If you’re curious, bamboo shoots before peeling, steaming, and chopping into bite-sized pieces look like this:

To eat, these shoots are usually steamed first and peeled when cool. Afterwards they can either be cooked in soup or eaten cold dipped in some mayonnaise. We ate them cold tonight, but I went sans mayo since I’ve never been a big fan of mayonnaise.

I’m really sorry if I can’t give more accurate names or descriptions of certain vegetables that we eat here, because alot cannot be find in the States. Case-in-point:

On the top left is a type of Chinese vegetable that is usually stir-fried with some garlic. In raw form, you can see hints of red/purple in the leaves. When cooked, it leaves a residue of purple juice.

Protein of the night? A hot-spring egg that I got from 7-eleven today.

You must be thinking: What? At 7-eleven?! Yes indeed. I love 7-eleven in Taiwan because they offer a variety of health(ier) breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack food instead of your usual hot dogs, slurpees, and hot pockets. While they do sell those items at the 7-elevens here, there are actually more of prepackaged salads, fruit cups, yogurt, microwavable meals (okay, maybe not so healthy), fresh sandwiches, and rice balls wrapped in seaweed with either some sort of meat/seasoning/veggies.

What’s with the “hot springs”, you ask. It’s actually a Japanese-style of cooking eggs. These eggs are slowly cooked in hot water in hot springs (well, it doesn’t have to be cooked in a hot spring) of about 160 degrees F until the eggwhites are cooked and soft but the yolk is still runny. Kind of like your soft-boiled egg.  This one was probably cooked in soy sauce since it was well-seasoned.

Let’s talk about dessert…again. I did eat them this time.

My mom bought these cute little marshmallows as we were leaving Starbucks because she had an afternoon munchie attack. I ate them despite knowing that these contained gelatin. Here is where I am bending the rules of my vegetarianism.

Did I feel bad? Maybe a little. Was it good? Heck yes! They were soft and fluffy, maybe a tad sweet, but acceptable if you eat one or two at a time.

This is the type of situation where I let loose of my vegetarian lifestyle. Gelatin is derived from the collagen from inside animals’ skin and bones, and thus, not strictly speaking a vegetarian-friendly food. But over the past couple of years of my vegetarianism, I’ve come to accept the fact that I can’t always eat a clean, vegetarian diet all the time. There are gelatin hiding everywhere–in yogurts, candies, pudding, jello, marshmallows, desserts. Unless you have an encyclopedia of ingredient lists of all the food you’re eating with you all the time, it’s really hard to distinguish what has gelatin and what doesn’t when you’re eating out. This is exactly like what Katie was talking about, that sometimes veganism, or vegetarianism, aren’t black or white.

Marshmallows, as well as other food that may or may not contain gelatin (puddings, jello, gummy worms), are what I’ll term yellow light food. You know how when you see the light turning yellow, you’re not sure whether to step on the gas or hit the brakes? That’s what I’m referring to. There’s the obvious green light food for vegetarians (veggies, beans, tofu, milk, eggs) and the red light food (meat, duh).

Street scene on the streets of Taipei

But what about yellow? Should you go for it or stop yourself? Most of the time I stop (the same goes with my driving….REALLY!), but I can’t say that I’m completely clean.

So, dear readers, I leave you today with a question to ponder (before my laptop completely crashes from all the pictures overload): Are food items containing gelatin completely out of the bounds for vegetarians? Is an individual still considered a vegetarian if he/she knowingly consume food with gelatin?

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Eggs, that’s what for lunch and dinner

July 25, 2010 § 22 Comments

The banana pancakes this morning kept me full for 4 full hours! It must be the combination of bananas plus whole grains and some protein! Definitely a keeper of a recipe.

As if we didn’t get enough eggs last night, the star of my lunch today were…eggs.

I used Allie’s method of cooking her eggs, and by golly, they indeed turned out beautiful! How shameful of me to cover them in nooch before I took a picture to do them justice. 😐

The eggs were on a bed of spinach and arugula, with some sugar snap peas, red pepper, roasted eggplants, and roasted sweet potatoes on the side. Can’t have roasted sweet potatoes without the ketchup!

I don’t know what took me so long to try date + nut butter, but it totally blew me away when I popped this bite-sized dessert in my mouth!

Love affair of date and crunchy almond butter.

Like what any normal person would do on a lovely Sunday afternoon, we window-shopped at this beautiful outdoor mall called Victoria Gardens in the P.M.

“Cinderelly, Cinderelly
Night and day it’s Cinderelly…”

I guess my legs were a bit tired and sore from the long-a$$ bike ride yesterday, so we came home for some splashing in the pool. While we were in the jacuzzi (hot tub) to end our splashing session, these two little girls (3 and 7 maybe?) joined us. At first I was playing with them, so I cupped my hands to get some foam and blew it at them. You know, for fun. They returned the foam blowing. At first it was just friendly and fun, and then they started to get violent! They’d put the foam on my head and pat my head, hard. They also splashed me in my face with the warm water :(. Now that’s not cool. I know, I know, they’re just kids, and I do love playing with kids. But sometimes they need to know when they’re stepping out of the line!

I had been planning to make this dinner ever since I saw it on Tina’s blog a few days ago. The Tortilla-Crusted Feta and Broccoli Quiche becomes the Tortilla-Crusted Feta and Spinach Quiche.

  • 3 La Tortilla Low-Carb tortillas
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup feta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • salt & pepper

But first, the onion broke my fragile little heart. It laughed at me as I shed tears and cursed at it.

Well, I’m a tough girl so for my sweet revenge I sauteed it with some mushrooms in a little olive oil. I added the spinach to block out its glistening, golden eyes. I dumped everything onto the “crust” that was simply 3 layers of tortillas, and buried the onion deeper with the feta cheese.

pre-baked, without egg + yogurt mixture

I mixed the 2 eggs plus the yogurt in a bowl and whisked till well incorporated. I poured the egg mixture over everything.

Baked for about 40 min (instead of 30) because it was watery!

I put the okras that I got on Thursday to use. I usually eat them steamed with some soy sauce, but this time I decided to roast them. It was a good plan 😀

A wholesome meal!

Oh onions, why must you cry and turn the crust soggy? Well, I believe the yogurt was his accomplice too. See, I used plain yogurt which contained more water than your regular greek yogurt. Gosh darn it, I should have strained the plain yogurt first!

Well, I think I’m off to go relax and snuggle up with this cinnamon roll (or here)  that was just fresh out of the oven! Mmm..the smell of heaven…:D

Now go and enjoy your Sunday evening!

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+ What are you favorite shops at the mall?

28 miles, 2 burning quads, and 1 sore butt later…

July 25, 2010 § 21 Comments

…I was finally home.

Because of last week’s whale-watching fail, Dmitri and I braved the chance of biking those long 50 miles out to Newport beach. The roads were ugly alot of the time, with bumps and dips, and there were a few long stretches of uphill roads.

I filled my bottles with coconut water, which I finished within 2 hrs of our bike trip. It was so sweet and refreshing!

15 times the potassium? YES PLEASE! 😀

I also made myself an apple + brie sandwich on ab Ezekiel Sesame Toast for lunch.

Of course I had to bring some sort of snack. Enter: Mama Pea’s KIND bar.

…which turned out kind of soggy (everything was sort of falling apart!). I blamed it on the maple syrup (I should have used honey instead). I wrapped the somewhat more solid ones in plastic wrap and took them on the road. It’s just as delicious if you simply scoop the “dough” and eat them straight like that :D.

0 hr (7:10am). Little did Trekmeister and Ms. Gianta know that their mountain bike frames were going to be tested on the road.

25 miles and 2 hrs and 30 min later, I was exhausted.

28 miles and 2 hrs 45 minutes later, Dmitri got a punctured and flat tire. Fortunately, while I sat in Subway as Dmitri biked over to the nearest Target to get some rubber stuffings, he met a couple of bikers who happened to have equipments & tools on them!

28 miles and 4 hrs later, I called it quits. I’m usually not one to give up easily, but my quads were burning and my knees were starting to act up. I didn’t want to strain my knees because I have really bad knees!

5 hrs later, we were still circling around the city of Fullerton trying to find the nearest train station. Dmitri recently got the new Android phone and he was using the GPS on his phone to look for the Metrolink station. All the GPS did was take us in a big circle.

7 hrs later, we finally hopped onto the train heading to L.A. Union Station.

8 hrs and 25 min later, our train to Claremont departed from L. A. Union Station.

9 hrs and 5 min later, we arrived at Claremont and biked 2 miles back home.

9 hrs and 30 min later, with more than 28 miles behind me, 2 burning quads, and 1 sore butt, I was home.

I did a full on Savasana the moment I stepped into the house. Whale-watching still did not happen, but it will, it will, I PROMISE!

11 hrs and 30 min later, we celebrated our failure with McDonald’s McElaine’s.


On the menu:

  • Egg McMuffin (one fried egg and melty cheese)
  • Chicken McNuggets Boca McNuggets
  • French fries Carrot fries
  • Real fruit smoothie (yes real watermelon!)

I haven’t been to the Golden M in almost 6 years. I don’t plan to ever go there when I got this!

Dmitri got creative and made In & Out-inspired animal (carrot) fries!

Everything was lip-smacking delicious! And you bet I went back for more Boca McNuggets ;-).

After that lonnnnng day, I still had to drag my butt to lab for about an hour or so. I came home and was barely awake as I mindlessly skimmed through some blogs.

15 hrs and 10 min later (10:20 pm), I crashed onto the sweet comfort of my bed, and snoozed till 7 this morning. I feel so refreshed now!

Yesterday, Dmitri brought this banana on the road but didn’t get a chance to eat it. The poor banana barely made it.

Heat + bumpy roads = no good for bananas.

Well, with a banana like that, I can only think of one thing for the morning: Banana Pancakes!


Quick Whole-Wheat Banana Pancakes
(adapted from Green Lite Bites)

  • 1 large overripe banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (forgot to add this, but still turned out a-okay!)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg I used cinnamon because I didn’t have any of this
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

Mash the banana in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg and the milk. Whisk till light and frothy.

In a separate, smaller bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the dry to the wet and mix till just combined.

Spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray on medium-high heat. Pour desired amount of batter into pan and cook about 1-2 min on one side, or till small bubbles form. Flip and cook the other side for another 1-2 min.

I made 4 small pancakes and 3 large ones.

Drizzled with watered-down PB2! I’m telling you PB2 makes the perfect pancake topper!

“…I’ll make you banana pancakes
Pretend like it’s the weekend now
…”

Pancakes with a side of yogurt for dippers and blueberries.

Have a fantastic Sunday!

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+ Do you know how to make perfectly smooth and even pancakes? I need help! My pancakes always turn out blotchy, with uneven brown spots!

A taste of childhood, a taste out of the world and HOW WE SHOULD LOVE OUR KNEES

July 14, 2010 § 18 Comments

I’ve gone too long without Overnight oats, and I finally rediscovered my love for it yesterday morning.

The night before:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • a spoonful or two of yogurt
  • 1 tbsp flax seed
  • half a mashed banana
  • dash of salt
  • drops of vanilla
  • sweetener if you like

The morning of:

  • BANANA SOFT-SERVE!!!! (with half of frozen, sliced banana)
  • protein brownie batter
  • chopped almonds and walnuts
  • blueberries

A taste out of the world.

I’ve been seeing protein cakes everywhere on the blogworld since months ago. I don’t know why I waited so long to give it a try. I followed April’s recipe, but didn’t half applesauce nor pumpkin on hand. Therefore my recipe looked more like this:

  • 15 grams of chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tbsp 100% cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp of sweetener
  • 1 tbsp flaxmeal
  • 3 tbsp liquid egg whites (or 1 egg white)

I stirred everything together in a microwavable cup, as instructed, and microwaved for 1 min…

Out came moist, fluffy, chocolatey protein cake!

With some yogurt and almond butter, this dessert is out of the world.

My Kardea bar number two was the Cranberry Almond, sampled last night with the boyfriend being a taste-spotter too! 😀

His reaction: “Mmm..there’s a strong flavor! But I don’t know what it is!”

Me: “It’s almonds, silly. Haha.”

Upon first bite I was hit by the intense almond flavor. And by intense I really do mean intense. LOVE IT! I couldn’t really taste the cranberry part though. Perhaps the almond aroma was too strong that it masked the tangy taste of the cranberries. Or maybe I was enjoying the almond taste too much to really notice the cranberries. Conclusion: I MUST try it again to see if I can taste the cranberries, and also to chow down the almond-packed bar! This definitely was another taste out of the world!

It was unbelievably hot these past two days. We almost never turn on the air conditioner, but last night it was so unbearable that we just had to turn it on for 30 min or so to cool down after all that cookin’ in the kitch.

Today’s high was 100 degrees. 100 degrees!!!

I drove home from work in an oven my car that had been roasting in the sun all day (I really need to remember to put those shade on my windshield from now on). I stepped into a muggy, warm house. Naturally I had no desire to stand watch by the stove or the oven. All I wanted was something chill and sweet.

I started off with a slice of watermelon. Just then a lightbulb went on in m head.

Watermelon milk slush

  • 2 cups watermelon, large cubes
  • 1 cup milk (I used soymilk)
  • 1 tbsp honey (or any other sweetener; this step is also optional if you have super sweet watermelon)
  • LOTS of ice!!!

Blend in a blender till smooth. Pour in a cup/bowl (or just drink straight from the blending cup :-D). Smile and enjoy!

A taste of childhood.

This is something that reminds me of home (Taiwan) because you can see street vendors selling these all over the place during the hot summer season (along with banana milk, papaya milk, avocado milk). This drink definitely cooled me down effectively! 🙂

Okay, so I liked about the not cooking part. I did bust out the pan and light some fire. Just for these eggs.

If you haven’t tried fried eggs with soy sauce yet, you MUST! It’s an order! My grandma and my mom would make these for breakfast all the time.

This is again a taste of childhood.

I also had some celery with olives and a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese and called it dinner.

‘Twas a beautiful, satisfying meal! 🙂

~~~

So you saw my overkill of words in my title. I was only going to do a post about knees, but a post without food just seems…weird. I know I want to have some food pictures and talk about food, and I know that you want to see some food gossip as well. In the end I thought, what the heck, I’ll just make it an extra long post with an extra long title.

Hope you don’t mind.

Anyways, the story begins when I went on a run yesterday morning. I noticed a discomfort in my knees that I am all too familiar with. On good days, my knees wouldn’t act up, but on bad days like today, my knee joints felt like they need some gear oil.

Due to my excessive running and sports during high school, I have unfortunately worn down the cartilage in my knee joints. Being the skinny thing I was back then didn’t help either, since my muscles around my knees were not strong enough to offset the harsh impacts on my knees.

Yes, excessive running can cause some injuries to the knees, especially if you don’t let your body rest between your running days. However, little did most people know that healthy knees start with healthy walking.

Ever since we learned to walk as a baby, our feet and legs have been the main support of our bodies whenever we want to bring ourselves to places. We rely on our legs, and yet we take them for granted.

The Science Behind the Knees

Besides the dense bones that make up most of the structure and support of our bodies, we also have plenty of cartilage that help support and cushion, especially around the joints. For example, the bridge of your nose is made of cartilage, as are your ears and part of your knee joints.

The cartilage residing in the knee joints is called the meniscus. The meniscus helps stabilize the knee joint as well as provide cushioning between the joints.

What happens when you walk/run excessively or incorrectly is that you’re wearing down this protective shield between the tibia (your shin bone) and the femur (your thigh bone). The discomfort or pain that you feel when you run is caused by the two bones rubbing against one another.

One doctor that I went to (he was a practitioner in Traditional Chinese Medicine) told me that knee problems, regardless whether you’re a runner or not, usually start from how we walk. He said that most people embrace the “wrong technique” in walking.

To find out if you walk “correctly,” answer the following question:

When you walk, do you:
a) Take big strides and land on the back of your heels with your knees straight?
b) Take smaller strides and land on the front of your heels with your knees slightly bent?

If you answer (a), then you are probably walking incorrectly! When you land on the back of your heels when walking and with your knees straight, it causes too much impact and force on your knees. Alternatively, if you land on the front of your heels with your knees slightly bent, you lessen the impact.

Now after a year of no running and proper walking, I can actually start running again! Of course, I try to limit my runs to maybe two times per week, since I want to give my knees ample amount of rest between runs.

If you suffer from these knee problems, I suggest that you lay off running for awhile, and opt for low-impact exercises instead. I’ve listed below some great exercises that can help strengthen your knee muscles.

1. Chair knee lifts. This is by far the simplest exercise you can do to strengthen the muscles around your knee joints. You can do this while reading, watching tv, blogging, eating? Well, pretty much whenever you’re sitting down on a stable chair. Sit in a chair so that half your thighs are not resting on the chair and your lower legs are perpendicular to the floor. Your feet should not touch the floor. With both hands, grab the underside of your chair lightly for stability. Slowly raise your lower legs up until they’re parallel to the floor, then slowly lower them back to the floor but not resting on the floor. Do this until the muscles around your knees feel sore. This exercise helps build muscle and strength around your knees without putting any stress or force on the knees, which is what you want!

2. Biking, elliptical machine, or stairmaster. Pretty self-explanatory. You always feel that burn on your quads and near your knees.

3. Yoga. There’s a reason why some people turn to yoga as therapy for spine injuries, body misalignments, and such. This thousand years old tradition offers the most natural way of healing the body. Some poses that strengthen the knees include:

There are also a couple of poses that can help relieve some of the tensions in your legs and knees

Even if you don’t get discomfort in the knees, these exercises are also great for prevention! If you feel that you get discomfort in your knee everytime you run, perhaps it’s time to lay off on running for awhile and turn to alternative exercises (such as these!) that are gentler to the knees. Remember, your knees are going to have to last you for the rest of your life. Cherish them, protect them, love them.

Sometimes we take our bodies for granted, and before we realized it, we’ve already damaged it beyond repair.

Do not wait till you feel pain even when walking. We are all young now, but think about whether you still want to be active and healthy 50 years from now!

Berry good breakfasts

July 10, 2010 § 11 Comments

I probably have said this a thousand times here already, but breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day! There are some many variety of healthy concoctions out there that you can create with oats, yogurt, whole-grain bread, cereals, muesli, milk, kefir, eggs, cinnamon, fruits, and…

You get my point.

For the past two days, I’ve been coming up with berry concoctions for breakfast. For example,

Oatie eggwhite pancakes (I made one BIG one this time!) topped with yogurt, Walden Farm’s sugar-free blueberry syrup, frozen strawberries and blueberries. And cinnamon. Never forget cinnamon. I actually used almond extract instead of vanilla like last time. I love the strong aroma of almond!

I don’t know about you, but I sure do enjoy frozen strawberries, blueberries, actually any kind form of frozen fruits just straight out of the freezer. No thawing, no microwaving. Just like eating a popsicle! 😀

Do you eat frozen fruits straight out of the freezer? Or do you have to thaw heat them up first?

Well, this morning, I was feeling berries again.

My carb of the morning was the breakfast cookie that I made last night and stuck in the fridge.

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1 scoop (15 g) chocolate protein powder
  • cinnamon
  • salt
  • sweetener
  • splash of milk to make it stick
  • coconut shreds

This morning, I topped it with, surprise! more yogurt. THIS morning, however, I heated up some blueberries and strawberries in the microwave with some Walden Farm’s calorie-free blueberry syrup for 30 sec. Perrrrrrrrfff topping!

The blob of sunflower seed butter says: “I’m on top of the world!” 😀

WIth some frozen banana slices.

Are you sick of seeing berries pictures yet?

But wait! I have more! Sorry if this is getting repetitive. By now you’re all probably like, Yes yes, Elaine, we know how much you like berries in your mornings now.

Bear with me.

For Dmitri, I whipped up some French toast with the last 3 pieces of sourdough bread we had. French toast with sour dough actually turned out pretty good!

BOO YA IHOP and Denny’s!

You’ll probably gag if I present you with more breakfasts featuring strawberries and blueberries. No worries, those are all I have for now. I may or may not have more tomorrow :-P.

Let’s move from berries to eggs shall we? For lunch yesterday I packed a semi-egg salad sammie.

Uhhh…semi-egg salad sammie? Yeah, I was too lazy to properly mash up the hard-boiled egg, so I simply sliced them up and lay them on one half of sandwich thin. I made a creamy honey mustard dressing for the other half that consisted of yogurt, honey, and spicy dijon. I threw in some chopped celeries for some extra crunch.

Lunch yesterday was paired with a big tubful of roasted broccoli. Give me the fiber! 😀

‘Twas a delicious, healthy, fiber-full, protein-packed, balanced meal.

What’s on my schedule for this beautiful sunny California weekend?

Dmitri and I will be heading out to Santa Monica Farmers Market right after I hit Publish. I ❤ Farmer’s Market! We have one here in Claremont, but it’s pretty tiny. We also bought a kite for $4 yesterday from Target! So after our Farmer’s Market expedition we’re going to fly it by the beach. I don’t think I’ve flown a kite since I was 12! This will be funfunfun! 😀

See ya later alligators!

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+ Flown a kite recently?

T-t-t-t-t-taco Tuesday!

June 29, 2010 § 18 Comments

I’m so glad that you guys loved the light cheesecake recipe I posted yesterday. It seriously is delish, and a perfect way to end dinner because it won’t leave you feeling stuffed and sluggish!

Anyways, I found these sweet mugs online today and thought I’d share with you guys:

Just perfect to go with my blog! This store also has lots of other cool yoga-related stuff for some “browser shopping”…haha :-D.

Here are just some other neat finds:

Buddhalicious tile coaster!

“Anything you do could have serious repercussions on future events.”   –Doc Brown from Back to the Future

Love this one! So funny!

This was my alternative name for my blog!

This morning, I got a little daring in the kitchen and tried Allie’s bread pudding recipe out. I first mixed up one egg (the original recipe calls for one egg + one egg white, but I only had 3 eggs left in the fridge so I didn’t want to waste another one if I’m just going to use the egg white), splash of soymilk, some sweetener, a dash of salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.  I placed one Van’s organic frozen waffle into the egg mixture, coating both sides, then covered the bowl with saran wrap and heated it in the microwave for about 1 min.

I then topped the waffle with some frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, and frozen bananas and microwaved for another 30 secs uncovered, till the fruits were soft.

Waffle pudding!

More cinnamon, a drizzle of maple syrup, and some home-strained Greek yogurt completed the dish! Seriously, I should have put a maraschino cherry on top of the yogurt. Sundae anyone?

Work was the usual, except now we’ve been having this high school student around in our lab for the past week or so already. He’s volunteering at our lab to get some research experience, and we took turns coaching him on lab etiquettes, techniques, and some basic biology (he’s never had a biology class before). I feel like I learn more when I teach stuff to other people, because I can’t just mumble out the smoosh of information I have in my brain. I’d have to organize my thoughts and explain in a somewhat logical way. You learn by teaching.

The other day when we were grocery shopping, Dmitri decided we should do a Taco Tuesday. That’s the story how taco shells, taco seasonings, and Yves Vegan Ground Beef ended up in our shopping cart.

For the “ground beef” part, Dmitri (yup he cooked!) sauteed up 3/4 of a chopped onion, added the “ground beef,” some tomato paste, and the taco seasoning and did some stirring. I got busy with washing and chopping the lettuce, chopping the tomato, and whipping up the guacamole.

Not pictured above: sour cream (for him), yogurt (for me), salsa, and shredded cheese.

This totally contradicted the meaning of Taco Tuesday, but I just wasn’t feeling the taco shell at first.

I think I totally nailed the guacamole! First time I made my own guacamole I added too much onion and garlic, resulting in a not-so-creamy guacamole. THIS time I mushed up one large avocado with 1/4 of a chopped onion, half a chopped tomato, a squeeze of lemon juice, some cumin, and S&P. Bye bye Chipotle guacamole!

Just kidding. I still ❤ Chipotle!

LARGE soft taco!

Which transformed into a semi-burrito midway through eating.

I did make myself a taco, just for good measure.

Naturally, a taco or burrito or ANY KIND OF MEXICAN FOOD isn’t complete with a Hugh Jass ton of guacamole.

Dmitri ate 7? 8? tacos. I lost count. This was his last taco of the night, which he declared the prettiest taco he made today.

Purrrdy taco! 😀

I got some sweet and juicy cantaloupe waiting for me in the fridge! Have a great evening!

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+ Do you like soft or crunchy tacos?

Oh, Sundays

June 27, 2010 § 10 Comments

= baking + cooking day!

I love it when weekends are relaxing and actually feel like summer! Yesterday’s BBQ was a blast. Well technically it wasn’t a barbeque because we were served corn tortillas, spanish rice, black beans, refried beans, guacamole, salsa, chips, you know the fare. I didn’t feel comfortable whipping out my camera and obsessing over all the angles of the food there, so I didn’t have any pictures to show you. I had two small corn tortillas topped with rice, beans, cilantro, guacamole, green & red salsa, dollop of sour cream. So good! For dessert we had watermelons and homemade chocolate marbled bundt cake!

After a day’s rest yesterday, my body was ready get back and rock ‘n’ roll!!! Haha literally, ’cause I had the best run in a long time this morning! I finished 5 miles strong in about 47 min (best time yet!), and felt I still got energy for one or two miles.

I came home, took a shower, and recharged with this breakfast.

Wrapped some frozen banana chunks in a La Tortilla 100-calorie wrap, smeared with PB2 and sprinkled with cinnamon.

Microwaved till tortilla was warm. Then I decided to whip up some vanilla-scented yogurt to keep the little guy company (and for added protein of course :-D).

Oozing with goodness.

As always, running makes me hannnnngry. But I need to go to lab today to do some work, so I made a quick Green monster smoothie, but with a new twist!

See that beautiful green? It’s from avocado girlies! I added half an avocado to buff up the creaminess and for some healthy fats! That 24-oz tumbler you see is my new find from Bed Bath & Beyonnnnd yesterday. I’ve been meaning to get the Starbucks one, but those are kind of expensive. This one was $7.99!

Lab work –> TJ’s –> Sprout’s –> Home.

It was already 1pm by the time I got home from all the errands. I love simple but satisfying lunches, and I couldn’t think of a better one than an egg wrap!

This wrap totally rocked my day! I even took out my blender to whisk the 1 egg + 1 egg white so that it will be nice and fluffy when I cook it. Haha even Dmitri agreed that the eggs looked “pretty” when I was cooking them. Halfway through cooking the eggs, I threw in a handful of spinach and folded the eggs in half. I then layered the tortilla (La Tortilla 100-calorie wrap) with Laughing Cow Light Swiss, TJ’s spicy hummus, the eggs + spinach, some ketchup. On the last minute, Dmitri suggested I spread on some of his TJ’s Olive Tapenade. I concurred…hahaha. He’s learning to be creative too! 🙂

Eww okay this picture turned out gross and blurr. I love the green sandwiched between the white and beige though!

Lunch was served with some leftover slaw and green beans.

The afternoon was spent with some quality-napping, cooking,  baking, and lounging in the sun!

Sneak peak at what I baked today:

Recipe to come tomorrow! Stay tuned 😉

In other news, I decided to follow the blogworld trend and try out the raved and praised Jenna’s Lentil Walnut Loaf! I’ve been looking for the perfect lentil loaf recipe since…uh..since I can remember? It was love at first sight when I saw these circulating the bloggieworld this past week. It’s somewhat time-consuming, but the results are soooooo worth the effort!

After I dumped the loaf grubs into the loaf pan, I stopped working and accompanied Dmitri to the pool. Poor thing had been cooped up at home all afternoon while I was busy minding my own businesses. I thought I could be his play date for awhile :-D.

To the pool!

Who doesn’t love a warm sunny afternoon with a gentle breeze, the pool, a good book, and plain relaxation?

Dmitri found me a pretty flower! 🙂

It was 6:40pm already when we returned. I quickly made the glaze for the loaf and popped it into the oven. Grumble grumble tummy!

At last, the sweet-smelling loaf was ready for some serious devouring!

Hmm…the results were kind of crumbly, not because it was too dry, but it was actually kind of wet. Perhaps letting the mixture sit in the loaf pan while we were at the pool wasn’t a good idea. Those onions can sure leak!

It was yummy nevertheless. I had a mini 2nd serving for myself, and there’s still some for lunch tomorrow! Nom nom nom.

A night isn’t a night without some sweet endings.

I blended some frozen bananas and frozen strawberries with a splash of soymilk to make this Strawberry-Banana softserve. I then topped this creamy deliciousness with some nonfat plain yogurt, PB2 (yes I eat them just straight up sometimes), Nature’s Path Flax Plus Red Berry Crunch, and lastly some of April’s addicting protein brownie batter! This was so good and made me so full!
What I baked today is supposed to sit in the fridge overnight for the optimal flavor, but that didn’t stop Dmitri and I from sampling a small piece. I got four words for you:

Creamy, smooth, spongey, tangy.

Until tomorrow!

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+ What are your favorite Sunday activities?

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