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! 🙂
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.
And of course, no meal is complete with some sweet ending.
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.
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.
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! 😀
+ What are some foods that remind you of your childhood?
June 12, 2010 § 6 Comments
…, keep it light and clean for the soul to reside in.”
— B.K.S. Iyengar (Founder of Iyengar Yoga)
This, along with a few other quotes by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, is a quote I live by daily. It can mean so many things in one sentence. How one perceives to “keep the body light and clean” differs from individual to individual. For example, alot of fitnessistas/foodies circulating the bloggie world would maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating wholesome meals and exercising regularly. Others may meditate or pray daily to cleanse the mind and soul. Yogis observe their bodies by eating clean, mostly vegetarian, diet, along with body rejuvenating practices that allow the mind to declutter. Meditation is also often practiced daily by enthusiastic and serious yogis. Whichever category mentioned above you belong in, Iyengar has described you all. Because when your body is healthy, your mind is healthy, and consequently your soul is at peace. By maintaining a healthy body, you are not worrying about diseases that may plague you in later years, your weight issues, whether you’ll be hit by another insomniac attack tonight, or having to drag your battered body through another day. You would feel energized, and face your everyday with a carefree mind, and hence a carefree soul.
“The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul creates the symphony of life.”
–B. K. S. Iyengar
I consider myself an atheist, though my family leans more towards Buddhism. One of the reason why I love yoga is because it is not a religion, but rather a philosophy you embrace. Regardless of whether you’re Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Jewish, atheist, etc, yoga welcomes you into its practice and art with open arms.
On that note, I hereby present you what nourishment I gave my body today! 😀
Btw, I loved reading what you guys put down as your fave types of movies to watch! It seems like most of us were in a consensus there that horror movies are a no-no, and thumbs up for funny, light-hearted movies! 🙂 I love to curl up on a couch at home with some popcorn or a cup of tea and just relax with some funny movies to cheer me up after a long day!
At 6:50am, my eyes fluttered open, but my body lay in bed till 7:30am. Ahhh, love it when you get to roll around in bed on the weekends and just take your time to wake up! I made myself some blueberry-infused Green monster similar to the one on Thursday.
The mix included:
- 1/2 frozen sliced banana
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 cup soymilk
- 2 T plain nonfat yogurt
- 1 cup frozen spinach
- a splash of H2O
- 1/4 tsp xanthum gum
I had to go into lab this morning to finish up some stuff, so I did. It was only an hour or so, no biggie on a Saturday morning! When I came home at around 9:40am, my boyfriend was still sleeping, so I busied myself with some blog-reading. When he finally did wake up at around 10:10am, he grabbed some breakfast (bread with nutella) and I drove him out to San Bernardino to pick up the bike he bought on eBay! a week ago.
Record: He lost his bike TWO TIMES within the past year.
And of course, he rode home from San Bernardino, all 21 miles, while I drove back for some lunch. Just some leftover Chipotle salad from yesterday that I didn’t finish. I am sparing you guys the picture because you wouldn’t want to be turned off by the slightly blackened guacamole! 😐 No no, can’t do that to Chipotle!
For snackage, it was half a mango and 1/4 cup cottage cheese.
This has got to be the best mango I’ve had in the United States! Hah, but I got this from an Asian Market. Does that count? My encounters with mangoes here have been sour, dry, cardboard-like. Mangoes in Taiwan are the REAL mangoes! Oh. My. Gosh. I can probably eat 2 lbs of mangoes in one sitting.
It was cold today (63 degrees) so I fancied myself a cup of Yogi Detox tea.
Then it’s errands time: Trader Joe’s then Sprout’s Farmers Market. Yum yum I got La Tortilla wraps again! 😀 Also restocked with plain yogurt (I see more Greek yogurt making in the future!) and a dozen bananas! I go through bananas sooo quickly. Those green monsters, banana soft-serves, and just plain frozen bananas…I can’t get enough of those!
I puttered around a little after I got home, and ate a snack:
10-grain toast spread with PB2 and blackberries, topped with cottage cheese and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Because cinnamon just makes everything tastes better. I was opting for a PB&J sandwich, but made this healthier version instead. Does that remind anybody else of shortbread and custard or cream?
decided to go out for a run seeing that the weather has warmed up a little bit more. It was only 63 degrees the entire morning! Brrrr…SOOO not So-Cal!
I managed to cover about 5 miles in 46 minutes. Woohoo! I think this is my new record, as I’ve never ran a full 5-mile before, and this is just under 10 min/mile (I usually run 10 min/mile…yep slow runner here)! I felt great. I felt rejuvenated.
A leisurely shower after, I leisurely strolled to the kitchen and leisurely prepared a fantabulous dinner. Just before I headed out for a run, I put a spaghetti squash into my oven to bake for an hour at 375 degrees. I instructed Dmitri to take it out of the oven when the timer goes off. He obeyed accordingly. 🙂
I’ve never had a spaghetti squash before, so this was all fun and new to me!
Look at that heapin’ pile of strings!
Next, I got to work with the sauce. First, I chopped up 1/2 onion, 1 small zucchini, and about 9 cremini mushrooms. Threw in a handful of fresh basil in the last minute. Because, like cinnamon, basil makes everything tastes better.
Next up, it was the pan. I heated some olive oil and sauteed the onions until golden.
Then I threw in the other veggies.
I deglazed the pan with some white wine vinegar while sauteeing. When they’re almost cooked, I stirred in about a cup of TJ’s Tomato Basil Marinara and added pepper to taste.
Let it simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors blend together! Just before turning off the heat, I threw in the bunch of basil leaves. Annnnndddd……
Ring, ring, ring. Dinner’s ready!
Topped with some more peppah and served with a side of steamed asparagus, drizzled with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a dash of salt. Tell me that looks delicious!
Despite the fact that it was a superb dinner, and we both had a heaping plate of spaghetti squash, the plate was still full of veggies. My body and stomach was in post-run mode, and Dmitri in a post-bike mode. We were still hungry for carbs. And because I got lots of tortillas today from my grocery run, we both decided we wanted home-baked tortilla chips. I went for sweet ones while he favored salty.
We first cut the round tortillas into triangular shapes. For the salty ones, I lied the tortilla triangles onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, covered ’em with another coat of spray, and sprinkled salt all o’er. For the sweet cinnamon ones, I pretty much adapted the method from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. Pop ’em into a preheated oven to 425 degrees, and bake for about 15 minutes, flipping in between, or until starting to get crispy. Let cool slightly before digging in!
These are, HANDS DOWN, the BESTEST OF BEST tortilla chips I’ve ever had! And Dmitri agrees too! No salsa or dipping sauce required.
I also made myself a dessert version of my Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie.
This yummy bowl was topped with two slices of my last frozen bananas, fresh blackberries, and April’s protein brownie batter.
And now, we’re lounging in the cool evening before the sun sets, complete with homemade tortilla chips and a lovely strawberry dessert. Ahh…life can’t get any better can it? 😉
Have a great weekend folks!
+ Have you had spaghetti squash before? If so, what other ways have you eat them with? If not, what recipes would you come up with?
+ What do you do to keep your body “light and clean”?
June 9, 2010 § 15 Comments
Once again I have lots to update here! A lot has happened since I tinkered around in my bloggie world on Monday afternoon. So, chop chop!
Monday evening I received a nice little surprise: a package! You all know how much I love getting packages in the mail. And so I was super excited when I saw that I had received the Buddha Bowls I ordered from Kath’s OpenSky shop. I’ve been seeing them popping up everywhere on Kath’s blog for her to put oatmeals in or make SIAB. So when I saw that she was giving her blog readers a discount, I jumped right in!
Lovely aren’t they?
Better yet, they came in these adorable boxes!
Happy with my surprises, I got to work on a Mediterranean fare. Of course I’m not just going to let the pita breads I made on Sunday be just another batch of bread forgotten in the freezer. Not after slaving away for hours in the kitchen that evening! So with the pita breads on hand, and this baby…
Mix with water…
…then broil for about 5 minutes on each side…
…you’d get falafels!
They look like cookies! They turned out kind of dry. Maybe because I baked instead of fried them? Not enough water when mixing? This box of falafel mix was actually from months and months ago. Recently I saw Brandi’s sweet potato falafels, and I think I’ll give them a try next time!
Continuing with dinner, on the side I prepped:
Finely chopped cucumber + Plain nonfat yogurt + dash of cumin + drizzle of honey = amazing yogurt dressing!
The feast. ❤ Mediterranean food!
The following morning, I put my Buddha bowl to good use.
SIAB! I started out making a banana-strawberry smoothie because I thought the pink color would complement better with the bowl and make prettier pictures. However, I couldn’t resist throwing in a cup full of frozen spinach into my smoothie and reblend them for a green monster. I really needed the extra energy boost that day! I topped my smoothie with sliced bananas and Swedish muesli that I got from Ikea.
Tuesday, 6/8, is also my boyfriend’s birthday! So what did I do?
First, I took the afternoon off from work (he thought I was in lab the entire day!).
I came home around noon, and fixed myself a quick and simple lunch, featuring leftovers from the mediterranean fare.
On a bed of arugula, I had sliced tomatoes, 1 hard boiled egg, 2 falafel patties, finely chopped cucumbers, all of that topped with generous amounts of the yogurt-cucumber dressing, homemade hummus, and salt & pepper. Can I hear someone yell delicious?!
With a satisfied tummy, I got to work on the Frozen Pink Cheesecake from Green Kitchen Stories that I knew it’d be the perfect birthday cake for Dmitri the moment I set my eyes on it. Dmitri is a cheesecake lover after all! 😀
All stirred up nicely with mascarpone and 9 parts ricotta + 1 part sour cream to sub for the quark. Poured onto the almond-date crust and ready to be frozen.
Well, all that stirring + mixing sure got me hungry! I made myself a veggie-galore snack plate with zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, more yogurt dressing, and a dollop of homemade hummus.
I felt like I needed some carbs since I didn’t get much for my lunch. So here came pumpkin cheesecake! Lol not really.
Half a toasted whole wheat bread, heaping spoonfuls of homemade pumpkin butter, topped with cottage cheese and muchos cinnamon + pumpkin pie spice. It was love at first bite for sure!
I’m really enjoying eating my homemade stuff (e.g., pumpkin butter, hummus, yogurt dressing, pita bread), because I know exactly what went into making those. No artificial ingredients, no preservatives, all freshly made. And doesn’t food just taste so much better when it’s homemade? Okay, so the hummus didn’t exactly turn out the way it was supposed to be, but I still ate them happily. Why? Because I made them. When you put a little love and effort in the kitchen, you’d get tasty results no matter what. It’s the same deal with traveling and living in grand hotels. However luxurious the beds, breakfasts, and bathrooms are in those hotels, nothing makes you happier than returning home to cozy up on your slightly shabby couch, or sleep on your a little creaky bed.
And that is why I continued with hand-made gifts for Dmitri’s birthday.
Hehehe coupons! 😀
And a store-bought card…:-P
His entire present set:
Annnnnnnnndddd…don’t forget the frozen pink cheesecake in the freezer! After ~2 hours…
The birthday boy enjoyed a large portion of Italian family-style dinner at Buca di Beppo, with the company of his friends.
And got a little brownie surprise from Buca di Beppo, while they sang & clapped away with their Buca di Beppo birthday song.
And of course, the night ended with more sweets from yours truly. The cheesecake actually turned out really good, and tasted more like strawberry ice cream cake than an actual cheesecake. They all raved about the almond crust, and how wonderfully creamy it was. Little did they know the cake was totally made out of all natural ingredients, and no sugar at all! SCORE!!!
After a night of cheesy ravioli’s, superb breaded eggplant parmesan, gnocchi in cream + garlic marinara, and butt loads of apple gorgonzola salad, a few bites of brownie + vanilla ice cream, and a generous slice of frozen pink cheesecake, my body was more than happy to be back to a normal, healthy eating routine. This morning, my tongue was still reminiscing the pink cheesecake from last night, and of course I gave my body what it craved: a healthified strawberry cheesecake.
I present to you…
Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie!
This is very much like the strawberry yogurt dessert I made the other night. In the blender went:
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/2 frozen bananas
- 1/4 cup cottage cheese
- 1/4 cup kefir
- 2 rounded Tbsp Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup soymilk
- 1/2 tsp xanthum gum
Blend, blend, blend, and you’ll get the perfect pink breakfast!
Lunch today was a repeat of yesterday’s lunch, finishing up the last bit of my cucumber yogurt dressing. I love that dressing! Did I say that already? Let me repeat…I ❤ cucumber yogurt dressing!!!
Returning home late from work meant getting dinner quickly on the table for devouring.
Roasted broc, zucchini, baked sweet potato rounds with cinnamon, and my leftover sandwich from lunch today. I got filled right up with my huge salad with falafels and tons of yogurt dressing, so I only ate half of that sandwich for lunch. The sandwich was again the pumpkin butter + cottage cheese + cinnamon + pumpkin spice combo. I popped it in the toaster oven while prepping my dinner, and the cottage cheese got all gooey and cheesy! I approve! 🙂
Anyways, off to do some laundry (I’m all out of underwear…)!
+ What would you like to receive on your next birthday? My birthday is coming in 3 months! Hmm..this is a tough question for me. I gotta get back to you on that 😉
+ Do you like cheesecake? I used to hate cheesecake when I was little, but now they’re listed in one of my top five desserts of all times, along with tiramisu, apple crumble/cobbler, warm chocolate brownie, and creme brulee.
May 27, 2010 § 2 Comments
Holy moley, this week has been craaaazzzzzzzzzyyyy! Anyone feel the same? It’s been like chop chop everyday in lab this week, beginning from Tuesday’s late night to today’s standing for 8 hrs straight and only 25 min lunch break. Although my mornings always start like this:
Peaceful, quiet, calm. Like this Eeyore on my fave mug! Even though Eeyore usually isn’t quite that happy, but he sure does look like he’s in a blissful state here! I think mornings are my favorite time of the day, not just because breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, but also because I always feel so grounded in the mornings. Mornings are when everything is just arising to and waking up. I love the feel of the first rays of sunshine upon my face, breathe in the fresh dew of the morning, and the quietness that mornings provide. Mornings mark the start of a new day. Whatever happened yesterday remains there, whether it be that you get a crap ton of junk, or that you said something horrible to a person and you didn’t mean to. Today you get to start afresh, with a fresh new face, spirit, and mindset.
Needless to say, by the end of the day everyday from lab, I’m like this:
Pooped n’ tired. Lol my boyfriend took this picture with my Canon EOS 450D and didn’t really know how to use it, so everything turned yellow. I’m camouflaged! 😀
So today, after having stood and ran around in the lab for 8 hours, I was less than psyched to cook a full-blown dinner. What’s a girl gonna do when she has a hungry boyfriend lurking around with starving eyes and when she’s just plain exhausted?
Pasta! More specifically, organic whole wheat spaghetti with Sprout’s Mushroom Marinara Sauce! On the side we had some roasted broccoli, red and yellow bell peppers. Sometimes the simplest dinner just hits the spot! I’ve also been craving green smoothies this entire afternoon. So I ate my spaghetti with a green smoothie that I made with lettuce. Yup, you heard me right, lettuce. I didn’t have spinach, and the only leafy veggie i have is lettuce. So lettuce it was! I could not taste the lettuce at all though. The banana and chocolate whey protein powder and strawberries must have masked the lettuce taste! I still think I’d continue making my smoothies with spinach, as they are more nutritious. Yep, drink up those iron, niacin, zinc, vitamin A, C, E, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese.
That was probably more info than you needed to know. I didn’t know half of those were high in spinach myself!
Phew, am I glad that tomorrow’s going to be a Friday! Alrightey, I’m out. Gonna go relax with some tv or a book!
+ What’s your favorite “lazy person’s” meal?
+ Are you a morning person?
April 13, 2010 § 2 Comments
Oof, I think I’ve indulged in a bit too much carbs today. I’m feeling quite lethargic and weighed down. For breakfast I had oatmeal made from 1/4 cup quick oats, water + soymilk, 1/2 mashed bananas, a scoop of Amazing Grass Chocolate Infusion Powder, all topped with a few crumbles of chocolate brownie (from the dining hall yesterday), a teaspoon flax seeds, a tablespoon plain nonfat yogurt, and sliced strawberries.
Lunch: some brown rice (half a cup? 3/4 cup cooked?) with veggies following Kath’s recipe. I also had about 1/8 cup of chocolate pudding made with Mori-nu’s Lite Firm Tofu and Mori-nu’s Mates chocolate pudding mix. A bit sweet to my taste, but nevertheless yummy! And since it’s blended with tofu it’s a source of protein too.
I had Neurobiology and then a meeting with the Asian American Advisory Board (Ad Board) at 4pm. I had a couple of strawberries, half a slice of Tofurkey, and a bite of TCL Trail Mix Granola. Random, I know. I wasn’t all that hungry but felt I needed some fuel.
For dinner I went to the dining hall and I had a slice of Spinach Quiche, which according to their nutritional info is about 290 calories per serving. I also had about 1/8 cup of some sort of penne pasta mixed with sun dried tomato goodness. This was all topped off with a side salad with organic spring greens, a hard-boiled egg, some olives, three slices cucumbers, a handful of chickpeas, a sprinkle of raisins and sunflower seeds, and fat-free tomato basil dressing. For dessert I had about 5 frosted mini-wheats with about 2 tablespoon of cottage cheese and some cantaloupe. SO FULL AFTER THAT.
At the beginning of orchestra I had to play on a full stomach, which was not at all comfortable. By about 8:30pm, I have partially digested, and playing was easier. All in all, I did not think I played well today. The flutes actually got “yelled” at several times today. Well Dr. Lamkin never yells, but, you know what I mean. I felt horrible. Ever since Ilan and Andrea left, I’ve always felt that I can never be as good as them on the first flute part. I fail at living up expectations of the first flute position 😦
Well well, now it’s 10:19pm and I still got a long night ahead of me. I’m still quite full from my dinner, but I did have half of a strip of wild blueberry Airhead candy bar (just needed some sugar fix, I guess). I almost had a snicker mini-size bar, but managed to resist it. I don’t think I need any more carbs or sugar for that matter today. Tomorrow, a good run or elliptical perhaps? I hope it’s not chilly in the morning.
Anyways, I discovered Kino MacGregor yesterday, and am amazed at how young she got certified to teach Ashtanga Yoga by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois! She started practicing Ashtanga at age 19 (I started at 18), and in merely 10 years age age 29, became certified. This makes her the youngest person alive to be certified! She’s done the third series and is currently working on the fourth. You know how RARE that is?!?!?! To have done the third series AND working on the fourth? There’s probably only a handful of people in the world who can do that!
Oh how I envy her! My dream was to travel to Mysore, India someday and study under Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. His death back in May of 2009 was a devastation to the devoted Ashtanga Yogi’s. Needless to say, Kino is now my new inspiration. Ok, Elaine, you are almost done with college. Just hang on one more year, and you can get your teacher’s certificate, travel to India and study Ashtanga to your heart’s desire!
Alright, I’m out. Work work work!