Today I… + EcoEd Thursdays

June 24, 2010 § 18 Comments

Today I…

…made a simple breakfast…

Cinnamon spice alternative bagels, smeared with raspberry preserves and PB2. Sliced nectarines and cottage cheese on the side.

…went into the lab for 2 hours and did some lab work…

…ate three EXTRA LARGE slices of San Biagio’s Veggie pizza…

…came home and took a siesta

…on the comfy couch and pillow.

Today I whipped up my virgin Janetha-inspired faux frosty…

…topped with the last of my raspberries :-(.

Today I did some reading…

(yawn)

MUCH better 😀

YESTERDAY I cooked up a batch of polenta and let cooled in a pan overnight.

Today I was calm in the kitchen, and cut them up into squares to make polenta gnocchi.

(Sprinkled with some nutritional yeast and baked at 350 degrees for ~ 25 minutes)

Meanwhile, I steamed a bunch of green beans in my rice cooker/steamer (hauled from TAIWAN!!!)…

and chopped up some SmartDogs.

I cooked some plump, meaty mushrooms in some vegetable broth and white wine vinegar

…threw in the Smartdogs

…then dumped in the last of my TJ’s basil marinara sauce.

(empty jar)

Of course, we can’t forget some parsley flakes and pepper

…and before you knew it, dinner was ready.

Still had some leftover slaw

From kitchen to table in less than 30 minutes. What a big difference it makes when you are calm in the kitchen.

Today I also made use of these sad-looking bananas

…and decided to transform them into Banana Oat Cookies.

Banana Oat Cookies
(adapted from Steph Chows)

You’ll need:

  • 3 large, ripe bananas (the browner the better!), well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup almond meal (almond slices + food processor for a few pulses) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & sweetened
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries or other dried fruit of your choice (I used craisins)

Destruction Constructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, wire rack on the top third of the oven.

Combine bananas, vanilla, and apple sauce in a large bowl and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.

Add dry to wet. Mix till just combined.

Add in the sweet bits and mix.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake 12-14 minutes.

Let cool on a wire rack. Lay them out pretty and take pictures.

Today I devoured these cookies.

~~~

Today is…EcoEd Thursdays!!!

Okay I’m going to keep this one short since I still have some boring exhilarating readings to do. So sort of branching off from my last EcoEd post on plastic bags, today I am going to talk about Ziploc bags!

You use ’em, you love ’em. Don’t deny it, you probably have 5 boxes each of different assortments and sizes at home. It’s so convenient, from keeping veggies fresh to bringing it with your sandwich inside to work, to using them to keep your toiletries, loose coins, candies, cookies, chapsticks, lotions etc, in one place.

It’s okay, I use them all too often as well.

But one way to be more environmental-friendly with these cute, handy ziploc bags is to reuse them. I’d pack sliced apples to work one day, but I’ll wash and reuse them to pack other stuff for up to five times. They don’t break easily, as you can see. If I buy a box containing 50 sandwich-sized bags, I can subsist on this one box for up to a year.

Next time when you’re subconsciously tossing a “dirty” ziploc bags into the trash, consider the conditions of the bag and see if you can reuse them. Not only will you be reducing plastic waste on this planet, you’ll also be saving some moolah! 😀

~~~

Till Friday fellow blogsters!

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+ Complete the sentence: “Today I…”

Where the wild things are…

June 20, 2010 § 13 Comments

First of all, a big shout-out to all the dads in the world! It’s kind of weird for me to celebrate Father’s Day today since in Taiwan, Father’s Day isn’t till August 8. Why? In Mandarin, the number eight is pronounced “ba.” So, August 8 = 8/8=ba-ba. Clever right?

Since it’s a beautiful Sunday, the boyfriend and I decided to head over to the Los Angeles Zoo. Of course there was some noshing & munching to fill our bellies before some wild animal actions!

We bought a $20 coupon for $40 worth of food + drink at Cayenne Cafe from Living Social a few weeks ago, and decided today was the day to use it! Since most food items are $10-$15, we spent alot on drinks + dessert.

I ordered a cooling Moroccan Mint Tea and Vegetable Valencia:

A ridiculously large salad consisting of greens, grilled eggplants, grilled zucchinis, sundried tomatoes, artichokes, herbs, roasted peppers, and mozzarella.

Mr. Dman ordered a hot chocolate and Pizza Calabra.

Mozzarella, artichokes, sundried & fresh tomato, olives, peppers, mushrooms and herbs. Best damn pizza EVER!

For dessert, Dmitri ordered his favorite:

Soooo good! I had about 1/4 of it. The berry sauce was actually warm, which contrasted perfectly with the cold, creamy cheesecake.

I managed to polish 2/3 of my salad, the rest was packed into this cute box and bag:

GREAT service , GREAT food, FIVE STAR OVERALL! 😀

What perfect way to walk those food bellies off than a stroll in the zoo? Bear with me (pun intended!), there are lots of pictures to come. I probably took 50 more than shown here, but these are my faves!

This little guy was really vain. He was literally half a foot away from me, and just kept sticking his head in front of my lens. He stood there for about 2 min or so, and I snapped a good dozen pictures of him.

Did I just hear Hakuna Matata? 🙂

Pink overload.

This one made me sad…:-(

A bunch of chillin’ chimps. 😉

Hippoppopopoppopoppoopopoppotamus!

~~~

After a little bit too much sun a lots of walking, we came home with tired legs and hungry tummies! Dinner tonight featured Mama Pea’s Tofu Ricotta Gnocchi that I cooked up yesterday. I followed the recipe except mine wasn’t vegan. I used real ricotta instead of Tofutti Cream Cheese, and substituted parmesan for nutritional yeast.

Holy yum! I need to make more of this!

Post-dinner I settled happily with the HUGE bag of old-fashioned kettle corn that I got for $5 from the zoo!

Happy me 🙂

~~~

Despite the fact that I enjoyed admiring all these animals and learning about them, I realized today that my feelings toward the zoo has changed since I was little. When I was younger, I didn’t give too much thought about those animals behind the bars, and I just dwelled in my own pleasure. Today I felt pity towards the animals, cooped up behind glass walls, bars, or nets in areas as small as four square feet.

Everyday they have to deal with kids screaming at them to move, or people banging on the glass walls. I couldn’t help but wonder whether the animals themselves miss or remember what it was like out in the wild. Granted, some animals in the zoo were considered endangered, and thus the zoo kind of acts like a sanctuary for them. But the other animals? The orangutan clinging by the bar shown above was a sad-looking fellow. I was looking at it for a full 2 minutes, at its wistful looking eyes. The black bear above also looked very lonely. It was resting in its cave when I came around. When it finally poked its head out, the other zoo-goers were yelling at it: “Come out come out! Come on!“. Okay, since when did we get to decide whether the animal should rest or not? Since when did humans get the right to yell at animals?

Some of the animals have the ability to run up to 80 km/hr, or jump as high as 5 feet. But where in the zoo can they (re)discover their own capabilities? Where are they supposed to roam free?

It was a fun day and I didn’t mean to end on a downer-note. But I couldn’t help but wonder.

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+ Popcorn: butter or kettle? I’m a huge kettle corn fan all the way! I don’t really like the heavier, buttery popcorn that my boyfriends looooovvesss.

HAIIIIIII-YA! to a productive Saturday

June 19, 2010 § 15 Comments

First of all, I want to give a shout out to my mom. It’s her birthday today! Well, technically yesterday since she’s in Taiwan. She reads my blog too, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! 🙂

Summer of 2007, Disney World, Florida

Hope the rest of the family gave you a FABULOUS birthday!

In case you were wondering, yes I did watch The Karate Kid yesterday evening at the same drive-in theater. Having learned our lesson last time that arriving there at 8:15pm when the movie starts at 8:30pm is not a good idea.

This time, we raced to the line at 7:30pm, and the box office opens at 7:45pm. Great family movie, by the way. And can I not emphasize enough how cute Jaden Smith is?!?!?! ❤

Dmitri and I spent the majority of time while waiting for 8:30pm to roll around playing Mr. Egg. I totally dominated that game! If you haven’t heard of this game, basically one person thinks of a well-known or famous person (can be an artist, singer, actor/actress, writer, scientist, etc.). And the other person must ask yes or no question to lead him/her to guess the person. For example, the person I’m thinking of is Jennifer Aniston (which I did think of yesterday). You can ask me questions like: Is your person a male? Is your person an actress? Is your person blonde? So on, and so forth. It’s a game just for killing time’s sake.

Now let’s rewind a bit. Before the movie, we stopped by Souplantation–basically a big salad/soup/pasta/bread bar. I had never heard of this place till one of my friends told me about it when she visited me over my spring break this year. It’s now one of my fave restaurant!

Hidden under all the veggies included raspberry-walnut slaw. So yummy!

To-die-for honey-whipped butter.

Moroccan Tomato-Lentil Soup.

And of course, no meal is complete with some sweet ending.

Stewed apples and peaches, topped with apple mousse, cottage cheese, peanut sprinkles, granolas, and chocolate syrup.

Then it was movie time!

This morning started out like any other Saturday. Waking up to the sunlight streaming through my blinds, lying in bed for 20 more min, then rolling out of bed leisurely. Usually I’d go for a run soon after getting out of bed, but this morning I was feeling lazy. So I had a bowl of oatmeal and read some blogs. Ahhh…I love these kinds of leisurely mornings!

At 10am I stepped out for an easy run. I was tired today, and my legs just didn’t want to move fast. I stopped and walked two times, but still managed to finish 4 miles within 45 minutes.

Does anyone feel that after a good workout there’s no other perfect way to recharge but with a ginormous green monster smoothie?

❤ my Buddha bowl!

With chocolate cheerios!

Green, green, brown, and red!

And of course other snackage ensued.

Mini Chinese-styled steamed buns and Sweet BBQ Vegetarian Pork Buns. You can probably tell I got too excited and dug in before I remembered to take a picture.

Mini BBQ-vegetarian pork buns. With one bite taken.

Steamed buns!

Growing up, I loved the sweet BBQ pork buns, but turning vegetarian sort of worked against me. If you’ve ever had those BBQ Pork Buns at Dim Sum places, you’ll know what I’m talking about. When I went back to Taiwan last winter, I discovered these vegetarian versions! I loved them so much I brought about 1.5 dozens of them back here to California.

More food to come after this:

From the package Dmitri’s mom sent him.

Not bad. Does not have the most stellar ingredients list though. 😐

The rest of the afternoon was spent on doing productive stuff, including grocery shopping, baking, cleaning the apartment, prepping dinner, making Mama Peas Tofu Ricotta Gnocchi for tomorrow’s dinner.

Let’s talk about my favorite: baking!

You Got Peanut Butter in my Chocolate” Cookies from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. This is just like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It’s amazing how soft and crumbly these cookies are, even without the butter! Dreena Burton once again made my day! 🙂

After messing around more in the kitchen and cleaning the apartment, scrubbing bathrooms, the kitchen, etc., it was time to prep dinner. Since it was such a hot day, I decided on a chilled dinner.

Chilled Noodles with Peanut Sauce & Lentils
Makes 3-4 servings

  • 3-4 servings of noodles of your choice, cooked
  • two small carrots, or one large, chopped into small pieces (or pulse in food processor)
  • half a large cucumber, again chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup cooked lentils

The Sauce (makes about 1 cup)

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used chunky, but creamy is fine too)
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar

Mix the ingredients of the sauce in a food processor until well blended.

In a large bowl, mix the noodles, lentils, carrots & cucumbers, and sauce until the noodles are coated in the sauce. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

The results:

These may not be the most aesthetically pleasing noodles, but they were darn good!!! The noodles remind me of these traditional Taiwanese chilled noodles that is paired with sesame sauce, shredded carrots & cucumbers. It brought me back to my home country! When I was whipping up the sauce, I didn’t even have that Taiwanese noodles in mind, but the taste turned out exactly like that. I guess the sesame oil, peanut butter, and the lentils combined brought out the same nutty taste as the sesame sauce.

One more You Got Peanut Butter in my Chocolate Cookies later (I’ve had a total of 3 today!), I sat down in front of my computer and realized how tired I was! The running, errands, cleaning, baking, cooking sure got to me today! I also had a cheesecake that I planned to bake tonight, but I’m now debating whether I should make it tonight or tomorrow. Maybe I should take the night off 🙂

Dmitri and I got some exciting plans tomorrow! Can’t wait! 😀

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+ What are some foods that remind you of your childhood?

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