Very raspberry

June 23, 2010 § 13 Comments

First of all, I’ve updated my Meet Me page. It’s newer, spankier, more thorough, more detailed, and you can learn more about me now! πŸ˜€

This week is one of those weeks when I just feel like I’m running out of steam. I felt like I was just dragging my body around the lab the whole day yesterday! Thankfully, tomorrow I decided to take a “reading day” off. Ever since I started this research thing back in May, I haven’t had the time to really sit down and read primary papers that might be of importance to my project. Tomorrow will be, simply put, “sit-on-my bum-all-day-and-read” day. I’m usually not one who likes to veg out all day, but I am actually looking forward to a day of resting my legs a bit.

What’s a foodie gotta do when he/she is running out of steam?

Cook and eat! (balanced out with exercise, of course)

Lately, I’ve been indulging in foods from all seasons.

From the summery raspberry concoctions…

Raspberry preserve + sliced fresh raspberries, and Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese wedge on cinnamon spice Alternative bagel.

Banana + PB wrap topped with raspberry ricotta sauce (raspberry preserve + fresh raspberries + a scoop of ricotta, simmered on low heat). Cottage cheese and more sauce, raspberries, and cinnamon for dippage.

To some fall flavors.

Homemade Greek yogurt with sliced bananas, Lauren's (Whole Wheat or Bust) pumpkin roasted chickpeas, homemade pumpkin butter, and more cinnamon!

Yum yum chickpeas!

While the boyfriend opted for some wintery cuisine.

Moroccan "Lamb" Stew cooked by the boyfriend. The "lamb" was replaced by TJ's Beefless strips. Served with whole wheat couscous, roasted broc & carrots.

my plate

What about spring? Maybe some cool slaw?

Tossed in Waldens Farm’s Raspberry viniagrette, more white vinegar, honey, and pepper.

Ate the slaw with a quesadilla made with TJ’s spicy hummus and nutritional yeast, pressed in La Tortilla’s 100-calorie wrap.

I definitely like their soft wraps the best. So soft and chewy! But alas, they are the most expensive, and only comes in 6 tortillas per package :-(.

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Okay, so now that you’ve all been pumped with some food pictures, don’t mind me while I go on and whine about my problems lately.

Lately, I’ve been feeling stressed in the kitchen, usually before dinnertime. Mornings are my calmest times, where I can let my creativity flow as I scavenge for my victims in the fridge and pantry to make a delicious breakfast. Come dinnertime, I am cranky, impatient, and lacking creativity (at least for this week). I guess it’s the combination of long work days, coming home to a house that is “messy” (in my definition), a boyfriend that is clearly hungry, and trying to get dinner on the table as soon as possible.

Call me superstitious, spiritual, whatever, but I am a firm believer that good food is prepared with calm minds, gentle hands, and most of all, with love. That is why home-cooked meals outrank any 5-star restaurants dishes, because they are prepared in a household filled with love and happiness.

In yoga and Buddhism, there is a belief that one can taste the mindset of whoever prepared his/her meal when he/she prepared it. If the cook’s mind is disturbed, angry, upset, or frustrated at the time he or she prepares the meal, that same energy is transferred into the food, and whoever ate it will obtain that negative energy. On the other hand, if the cook is calm, grounded, and undisturbed, the positive energy will flow from the cook to the food to the eater.

Now, nobody wants bad energy flowing around do they?

But that’s what I’ve been this past week: a grumpy, grumpy old cook.

Stress definitely is not a good thing to bring into the kitchen. Everything will go wrong if you bring that monster in. I slightly burned one of the omelet on Monday because my mind was distracted. Today, I initially wanted to make some sort of sweet potato hummus quesadilla, but the sweet potato got burnt in the microwave while cooking, which almost set of the fire alarm. Almost.

As for the slaw, I initially wanted to go the creamy route, where I’d mix in some yogurt, honey, mustard, etc. But my creativity was blocked while my stress took over.

Trust me, it’s no fun to cook when your mind is everywhere but in the present–right there, in the kitchen, meditating on preparing your food.

You heard me right, it’s cooking meditation, ladies and gents, boys and girls.

It makes perfect sense, because when you’re preparing your food (in a calm mindset, of course), your breathing is steady, your mind is focused on what is in front of you, whether it be on the stove, the cutting board, mixing bowl, etc. It’s just you, your food, and your kitchen gadgets.

In order to avoid taking my stress with me into the kitchen, starting tomorrow I will take a deep breath, exhale slowly for 10 seconds, shed all thoughts and distractions from the day, before I step into the kitchen.

Stress, be GONE!!!

Because the kitchen is a sacred place where energy is transferred. Cherish it.

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+ Have you been on a raspberry obsession like I have? How are you eating them? I eat them alone, simmered with preserve, or topped on yogurts or ice cream! πŸ˜€

+ How do you feel when you are in the kitchen in the morning? Noon? Evening? I am usually the calmest in the morning, because my mind is still free of the distractions that will come throughout the day. I am also usually the only person up at that time, so the house is really quiet.

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The kitchen is my second bedroom

June 7, 2010 § 9 Comments

Hey peeps!

It’s been two days since I last blogged, but I felt like I needed a little break. For those who blog 3 times a day, I don’t know how you do it and not feel exhausted. For me blogging takes up a chunk of my time in the evenings, and sometimes I’d rather just curl up on the couch and do some good reading, catch up on some tv shows, or tinker away in the kitchen. Maybe because I’m relatively new to this whole blogging shebang so I haven’t quite gotten down the strategy to blog efficiently.

Anyways, alot has happened since the last time I blogged, which was Friday night, but all seems like a haze now! The weekend just kind of flew past me and now as I sat here I am struggling to retrace what I did on Saturday.

Ohhh that’s right. I went for about a 4-5 mile run in the morning, then pretty much did nothing till later that evening. What I am sure of is that I made myself some Greek yogurt! I love greek yogurt, but they tend to be pretty expensive, so after reading Allie’s post, I decided to give it a try. I used TJ’s Organic Plain Nonfat Yogurt, and used a tiny coffee filter to strain the yogurt into creaminess. Yup, I’m ghetto like that.

It’s still slightly more tart than your store-bought Greek yogurt, but the creaminess was spot-on! Maybe I’ll make this enough that I can convince myself to buy a cheesecloth so that I can just dump the whole tub of yogurt onto the cheesecloth instead of doing single cup at a time.

After having mastered my Greek yogurt, my tummy told me it was time for lunch. I whipped up a really quick wrap that included 1 egg + 1 egg white, arugula and some feta cheese. On the side I had a few stalks of celeries, PB2 and Oasis Natural’s Cilantro & Jalapeno hummus. I love all their hummus!

Dessert was TJ’s Dark Chocolate Pretzel Bark! I couldn’t resist when I saw this big box of chocolate was only $1.99! And again, TJ did not disappoint–these were sooooo good! I can’t get enough of the sweet & salty crunch!

I had this times two!

Later that evening, Dmitri and I met up with some friends who arrived back at school for Global Clinic. Global Clinic is a project where the students here get to cooperate with overseas students to work on a project. One of my friends’ project is focused on how to get clean water to certain areas of Cambodia that do not have access to drinkable water. It’s really cool when you’re in a small (literally only about 800 undergraduates here!) engineering school. Alot of my friends are engineers, and I’ve heard really cool projects that apply to the society. Many had the opportunity to work on projects for Nike, Bio-Med companies, etc.

Anyways, we went out to dinner to a nearby Mexican restaurant & bar called Espiau’s with my friends and their Singaporean teammates. I refrained from taking pictures because I didn’t want to look like a total dork in front of everybody. But I can tell you what I ordered: Mushroom cheeseburger with veggie patty, no cheese, and fruits on side. Their burgers are just the right portion, but their other orders are huge! For example, last time I got a cheese enchilada that comes with refried beans and rice. First of all, I like cheese. But my enchilada was smothered in cheese! It was delicious the first few bites, but then my tummy felt so greasy and uncomfortable afterwards.

A game of RoboRally ensued in one of my friends’ suite and turned the night into alot of laser shooting and getting carried away by conveyor belts.

SundayΒ  morning I woke up bright and early at 6:30am. I really wanted to sleep in a little more, but my body has gotten used to getting up at 5:45am almost everyday. I think I usually get less sleep on the weekends because I would stay up later, but still wake up at about the same time. Ugh. Nevertheless, it was a day for some yoga, and after 1.5 hr of a sweaty session, I showered and got to work on these gourmet vegan protein pancakes a la Mama Pea. I used Biochem Chocolate Fudge Whey Protein to make chocolatey pancakes. I also added a Tbsp of flaxseeds for some added healthy fats and fiber, and about 3 Tbsp of whole wheat flour because they seemed kind of watery after I blended everything.

I was licking my spatula the whole time I was mixing, cuz the batter was just irresistable! πŸ˜‰

The puuuuuuuuurrrrfect pancake topped with some cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, cinnamon, thawed frozen strawberries, and drizzles of Walden Farms Sugar-Free Carb-Free Blueberry syrup. T’was a GREAT way to start a Sunday!

Not longer after our late brekkie, Dmitri & I took a field trip to 99 Ranch Asian Market to stock up on groceries. He got not one, not two, but THREE bags of frozen vegetarian dumplings! THREE! He loves dumplings more than I do!

And once our fridge was happily stocked, I had a little “snack” in place of lunch. I wasn’t all that hungry because it was a pretty big breakfast. Egg whites it was!

With arugula and a wedge of Laughing Cow’s Cheese folded in, and topped with ketchup and lots of salsa! There can never be too much tomato-based sauce, right? πŸ˜‰

We then trekked off to Pasadena to meet up with some friends to do some flea market shopping, where I got a potato masher for two dollars. Not bad eh? πŸ™‚ I love going to flea markets because you never know what goodies you might be able to find. That afternoon I was on the scour for kitchen goods.

Speaking of Pasadena, anyone been to/heard of Roscoe’s? Aka “the House of Chicken ‘n Waffles.” It’s kind of a weird combo, ain’t it? Here you have waffles (sweet) and chicken (savory) on the same plate. It’s very famous in the Los Angeles area, but my boyfriend said it was disgusting to have syrup mixed up in his chicken. Me? Never tried. I’ve only heard of it after becoming a vegetarian.

Dinner featured Teriyaki Quinoa from Thursday, but I added in some frozen veggies to make it like a fried rice dish. The quinoa was complemented with steamed cabbage and edamame.


All in all, a pretty well-rounded meal! Grains/Carbs from the quinoa, cabbage as veggies, and edamame for protein.

Here marks the point where I started going a little bit crazy in the kitchen…

First of, homemade whole wheat pita. I made slight changes from the original recipe by adding about 3 cups of whole wheat flour instead of 2 3/4 cups flour and 1/3 cup gluten. Anyone know what difference the gluten would make to the bread?

While I was waiting for the dough to rise, I went to town with homemade pumpkin butter. I followed this recipe, but halved the recipe and added barely half a cup of sugar. I don’t like my food too sweet! It was so easy to make and yummy! I’ve never had store-bought pumpkin butter, so I don’t know how it compares, but I’m happy with my results!

Stirring & simmering away!

While that was simmering, I got to work on my third task: homemade hummus following this recipe by Brown Eyed Baker. I don’t know what it was but the taste was kind of off…a bit sour. Too much lemon juice perhaps? We’ll see how it tastes today after having been refrigerated for a day.

And finally…my pita bread was ready and hot from the oven!


It smelled good and looked great. But when it came time to cut it open to see that magical split…BLEH! Okay, so it’s supposed to look like this when you cut it in half:

[Image from Tammy’s Recipes]

Instead it was just BREADY all over. So I did some research and troubleshooting, and the most likely problems were that:

  1. I flattened them out too much.
  2. I didn’t let the dough rise enough.
  3. The oven wasn’t hot enough (MUST be 500 degrees).

Okay, I confess. I flattened the breads out a little more after they had been rising to make them bigger, but I just popped them immediately into the oven without letting them rise some more. Maybe that was it. Nonetheless, failures call for another try! I’m determined to make the perfect pita bread!

Happy Monday!

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+ How often do you blog? Do you feel like you need some breaks from blogging from time to time? And how long does it usually take you to write up an entry? It takes me about 1 hr to write up an entry, partially because the internet is a slow-poke where I live, and so pictures take forever to load. And like I’ve said before, I sometimes definitely feel too lazy to blog.

+ What’s your favorite board game? RoboRally was fun, but I’m currently also obsessed with Apples-to-Apples. Does that count as a board game?

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