Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pinterest Pins...Failures and Successes

Raise your hand if you're a Pinterest fan! Personally I have a love/hate relationship with the site.  I love the ease of finding ideas on there and the ability to organize my sometimes chaotic thoughts.  I love looking at pretty and eye catching images.  A lot of my time is wasted  occupied by perusing through the collection of pins that others have found.  It's like little virtual treasures.

Most of my pins are related to food--cookie and cake recipes and tips, dinner recipes, slow cooker recipes, even juicing recipes from that time of my life (once).  However sometimes I feel like some of the pins I find can be deceiving, especially the food ones.  The pins make the process look so simple and when executed by the amateur like me???  Well let's just say there have been a few failures and successes on my attempts.

This week I completed three recipes I found on Pinterest.  It all started when my husband looked in the fridge and found about 30 string cheeses that were about to expire (I bought a huge bag of them from Costco thinking I could totally eat them all...I know I'm not the only one that as done that!).  Then I recalled browsing Pinterest in the past and seeing some fun snack ideas with this ingredient.  I thought this was a good time to try them.  Of course not only did I find string cheese recipes, but I found about 10 other pins to add to my "Taking Care of My Tummy" board that were unrelated to string cheese.  So this week I attempted two string cheese recipes and one recipe for mini shepherd's pie.  Why shepherd's pie?  Well I also had pie dough in the freezer I thought I should use up.  Pie dough stays good in the freezer you say?  Whatever, I just wanted shepherd's pie, okay?!  hehe :)

Moving on, the first recipe I tried was oven baked mozzarella sticks found here (and if you scroll to the bottom there is another recipe for oven baked onion rings... yea, I added that pin to my collection too).  The ingredients and process looked simple enough: string cheese, bread crumbs, an egg, flour, and seasonings.  I followed the easy instructions and this is what happened:


This was a Pinterest FAIL.  The taste itself wasn't too bad though.  A little on the salty side, but over all not too bad.  The cheese all melted and because of that it became a big blob of cheesy-breadcrumb-thing.  I probably would not make this again.



Next on my list was a recipe for cheesy-stuffed garlic butter crescents found here.  I spruced it up a little by adding pepperoni because I saw that idea on a different pin and because I love pepperoni (and salami, and prusciutto, and pancetta, and bacon, and and and...).  This again also asked for easy ingredients and had simple steps.  As a result, this is what happened:





The oozing cheese...
















This was a Pinterest SUCCESS!  These were so tasty and addicting.  I dipped them in marinara sauce sprinkled with Italian seasoning and voila! It reminded me of an upscale pigs-in-a-blanket appetizer.  hehe Okay, not upscale, but a variation on crescent roll recipes.

And finally, the non-string cheese recipe I tried was mini shepherd's pie.  I saw someone else pin this recipe (found here) and it used muffin pans and ground beef.  However I remembered I got these really adorable mini pie dishes (thanks L & C!) and I had not tried using them yet.  I thought this would be a fabulous recipe to break them in with. I also decided to use ground lamb instead.  As with the other recipes, the ingredients and instructions were simple (see a trend?) so I said, "Why not?!  I love shepherd's pie!"  This dish also reminded me of our trip to the UK back in 2012 and ate lots of this stuff there.  That was a fun and delicious trip!  Here is what happened with this version of the recipe:






How cute are these little pie dishes?
I love that they are sunshine yellow!
This was a Pinterest SUCCESS!  At least I think so!  My husband has yet to try his so I will update you on what he thinks later.  The ground lamb brought a different dimension to the flavors of this dish and the crust gave it another textured layer that was quite delightful!  I would definitely recommend you all trying this recipe!






Well, that's it for now.  I'm sure I will post many more reviews on things I have found using Pinterest and letting you know if they are failures or successes.  In the meantime, this is a fun site I found (while on Facebook, not Pinterest) about other people's Pinterest failures.  It's quite funny!!!  Check it out here and have fun nom nom nomming! :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Morning Stroll with a Morning Treat

There have been quite some scorchering days here in the OC. In the high 90s and low 100s which is pretty warm for September. Or is it? I guess weather here is sometimes unpredictable when it comes to seasons other than summer. It could be very hot like it is now. Or feel like a real autumn or maybe winter. Haha Who am I kidding? It never feels like winter in September. Heck, it rarely feels like winter in winter! That reminds me of a day in college and it was 80 degrees in the middle of February! Don't tell my parents, but I totally ditched class that day to go to the beach because why not?! :) I miss college. But I don't miss the extra 20+ pounds I gained back then! 

Anyway, I wanted to get in a stroll before the heat became too unbearable for baby and me. So I strapped her in and walked to our local Starbucks. I had been craving for a little coffee lately and something hearty to eat. Do bagels count as something hearty? I count them as that. 

The heat wasn't too bad yet and actually it was quite enjoyable especially in the shade with a slightly cool breeze. Though as I'm typing this under the shade at an outdoor table it keeps getting sunnier and sunnier out there. I should probably head back anyway. The little one feel asleep and if she stays asleep this mommy can catch a little nap!! Oh wait... I just had a latte...=caffeine... Let's see how this goes!


Monday, September 15, 2014

HAI! Sushi!

As a continuation from my last blog mentioning life in 3 hour increments... Finding time to eat is sometimes a challenge. I have been blessed with a sleepy baby (for now) and during her naps I mostly do have the chance to enjoy a meal or two! 

After a morning running errands with my sweet one, we got home and I made some rice. The Chinese girl in me was craving some for lunch and I am thankful for the quick cooking setting on my fancy rice cooker. I fed my little one (with breast milk not rice. Don't freak out) and put her down for a nap (she's currently in and out of sleep right now as I write this! "Hurry!" I'm thinking), and put her laundry away. Then I took a look in the kitchen at what else I could eat. And I knew my avocados were ripening quickly in this heat (it's about 90+ degrees F out there!). So I thought how about I make some maki sushi?! And I did!

Yum yum in my tum...my. And it was quick! After my baby fell asleep and I put her laundry away my rice was ready! I got all the fillings and toppings out and rolled some sushi together. Here's the breakdown:
-cooked rice with sushi seasoning
-sliced riped avos
-nori sheets
-cucumbers (I had leftover sliced up from a dinner salad the other night)
-sesame seeds
-furikaki seasoning: just because I had some so why not
-bamboo sushi rolly thing
-sharp knife


Spread some rice on the nori, pile the ingredients across the rice, carefully roll it up! Slice with your sharp knife (if you really want to be fancy, dip your knife in hot water to make your slices cleaner). Now I am not a professional at this nor do I really know what I'm doing. So don't get all huffy and puffy on me knowing this is all wrong. Hehe this is the best I do under a time limit and with a hungry tummy! Don't forget the shoyu/soy sauce and the wasabi!!! Nom nom nom!!!


Hello stranger. How've you been?

So it's been a while bloggy blog. A lot has happened since who knows how long. The biggest event that has happened was this-
And this--
Yes. That happened. Really. I know. Crazy. I think so too. 

Our baby girl arrived in early August and it has been a whirlwind of an adventure since. We are so in love with everything about her. 

As you all know, life with a newborn is quite hectic. I basically live life in 2-3 hour increments. If I'm lucky 4 hour increments. That's very rare at this time. Baby's cycle goes like this--sleep, wake up, change diaper, feed, chill out, and then starts over. Everyone tells me "Sleep when she sleeps!!" And trust me I do. Just not all the time. I know it will get better and honestly I am not complaining. She is really (knock on wood) for the most part and great sleeper!!

There's so much I want to do while she sleeps (no particular order)--
-stare at her while she sleeps
-catch up on my tv shows
-shower
-brush teeth
-eat
-drink water
-eat
-go to the bathroom
-reply to emails, texts, calls
-stalk people on Facebook (you do it too, don't lie)
-eat
-catch up on Candy Crush
-clean/put dishes away (I don't want to do this but my head feels better when it's done)
-do/put laundry away (again, I don't really want to do this but if I want don't want to smell wearing dirty clothes then it's a must)
-eat
-paint my toenails
-bake cookies
-eat
-and of course catch up on this bloggy blog!!!

I know I've made broken promises before about being more consistent writing on here. So I won't promise. But I can tell you that I will try my best. As with my new baby daughter, I will try my best. I know you won't cry if time passes and there's nothing new on here because no one really knows I actually have a blog anyway. Unless you stalk me on Facebook. Which is ok because we all stalk each other. No judging. :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

My 7 Day Juicing Experience


It started when a passionate juicer coworker of mine was working on my computer.  We got to talking about juicing because talking about computers would be boring.  He has done a couple of 60 day juice fasts.  The first fast was due to a bet on who could lose the most weight in the IT department here at work.  Funny how that works--like my vegan friend who became vegan on a bet and chose it as his lifestyle.  Good for them.  My coworker did his research and was filling me in on details.  I got really interested in giving it a try.  I said, “Why not? Sounds like fun…”  Okay, I didn’t say “sounds like fun,” but I wanted to challenge myself to try it.

Before the Cleanse
 
I've never seen the show,
but these BPA 32 oz bottles were
on clearance for $7 each!
I choose to call it a cleanse versus a fast or a diet.  I wanted to focus on cleaning my system out and starting fresh for the holidays of gorging and feasting.  My goal was not to lose weight or choose to do this longer than 7 (ish) days.  Heck no was I going to do this for 60 days.  I love food too much.  I love mac n cheese, garlic bread, broccoli, tacos, chicken.  Oh, sorry, getting off track.  Moving along, I read more of my coworker’s blog (which can be found here) and glanced over Joe Cross’s Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead website.  I printed recipes and made a grocery list and borrowed my mom’s Magic Bullet with her juicer attachment (not the regular magic bullet).  I talked to the husband about it and let him know I was interested in giving this a try.  He must have been taking the crazy pills that night because he said he would accompany me in this juice cleanse adventure.  Nevertheless, we were in it together and I appreciated that support.  Plus it was nice I didn’t have to juice while making dinner for him.  Not that I always have to make dinner for him.  He’s a big boy and this is modern times.  He can make his own food.  Sorry, off topic again. 
The week before, I went to Salt Lake City, Utah for a conference (I’ll work on that blog post next!) and gorged on yummy meals.  Mostly vegan ones, but again more on that in another post.  I also drank a lot of bourbon.  Don’t tell my acupuncturist that though.  When I got home, the next day I ate Indian food for lunch (naan, chicken tikka masala, saag paneer and some rice… oh so yummy!!) since I didn’t have anything to bring and knowing the husband was probably not going grocery shopping while I was gone.  I wonder what he ate all week?  Then after the gym, I visited our local Costco (one of three within a 10 mile radius of where we live) on my way home to check on my grocery list for juicing!

·         Apples
·         Carrots

·         Spinach

·         Kale

·         Strawberries

·         Blueberries too expensive

·         Raspberries

·         Celery

·         Cucumbers

·         Grapefruit

·         Oranges

·         Lemons

·         Bell peppers

·         Watermelon

·         Pineapple

·         Jalapenos, habaneros

We got home, went through my print of recipes and got to juicing for the next day!

During the Cleanse
I felt like the first few days were maybe the 2nd toughest.  Just getting over the fact that juice is all I get throughout the day and thinking “how is this going to keep me full all day?”  I don’t know if I just psyched myself out or what, but even after working out on my lunch those days I didn’t feel so bad.  Day 4 I felt great.  I even got complimented on looking good that day.  I felt my skin was less oily, I wasn’t as bloated, I didn’t have as much gas (TMI?  We’re all friends here now), and I wasn’t falling asleep at my computer in the afternoons.  I thought, “Ok, not bad.  I can do this!”  Then Day 5 came…

It was a Saturday and we had decided to go to the beach to get some exercise and walk from Balboa Pier to the Newport Beach Pier.  Something we have done numerous times before.  However, since we took Friday night off juicing for the following day, we didn’t have anything in our stomachs except water.  BAD MOVE.  I couldn’t even make it all the way to the pier just knowing we had to walk back.  I was starving and getting lightheaded and my head started to hurt (enter sad face here).  We stopped by Mother’s to get a small 12 oz juice to share and I took one sip and almost threw up.  It was disgusting!  It was called Beet Me Up which has a carrot base, beets, parsley, and garlic.  I usually love beets roasted… and when I am chewing them.  But in juice form with garlic?  It was too weird for me.  Of course, the flavor grew on Tim and he had the rest.  We got home, my stomach still growling and my head still spinning.  Unfortunately since we took Friday night off from juicing, we still had to juice for the day.  It felt like eternity before getting something in my stomach.  Sharp pains started poking in me.  Ok, that’s a little dramatic, but you get the idea.  I got cranky and angry and light headed even more.  Finally I got the breakfast juice in me and I bottled up my lunch juice for later.  I felt fine after getting something in me and I learned I will never do that again. 

Day 6 was a challenge as well.  We had San Diego Wild Animal Park tickets and they expired soon so we packed our breakfast and lunch juices along with a juice snack bottle.  My husband is the best because he carried the 2 lunch and snack bottles along with a bottle of water in his backpack all throughout the park.  There were definitely a large number of temptations all around the park: donuts, popcorn, sodas, ice cream, cotton candy and more.  However we stayed strong and didn’t get anything.  We drank our juices for lunch at this Elephant Talk Session thing and all was good.  However by around 3 pm I was definitely getting tired and weak.  It is interesting to recognize the difference when your body feels it’s weak and hungry from the lack of nutrients while juicing versus feeling weak and hungry from not having food to eat throughout the day.  That doesn't make sense... I’m not quite sure how to explain it.  Perhaps as my coworker mentioned, “think of the juice as fuel for your body” and not as something to enjoy or experience.  So during the juicing, I could feel my body needing the fuel to energize myself versus feeling like I need french fries because they sound good. 
Our juices to-go for a day at the Safari Park

Day 7 we made another little mistake.  We juiced a watermelon for breakfast (with basil and lime) and while delicious, I felt like it didn’t have any nutrient substance to keep me going that morning.  I was sluggish and hungry and all I could think about was fooooooood.  I drank my lunch which was mistake #2 that day because it wasn’t a “green juice.”  Instead of the usual greens we used for lunch such as kale and spinach, we used some small sweet bell peppers.  I continued to feel whacked all day with even some light headedness again.  However it could have just been all in my head and I was going crazy knowing 7 days was the minimum I was going to do.  Speaking of, as just mentioned, I knew I wanted to do at least 7 days with the possibility of 8 or 9 total just to get through all the rest of our vegetables and fruits we had purchased.  But by the end of the work day on Day 7, I had had ENOUGH.  I was tired of juicing and so hungry.  I texted my husband and said let’s eat tonight!!!

After the Cleanse
I won’t go into too much detail about the aftermath of not easing into eating solids after 7 days of juicing.  But let’s just say, please don’t do what I did and eat half a burrito after 7 days of cleansing.  You will NOT feel good I promise you that.  For the record though it was not my idea to get a burrito for dinner that night.  Anyway, let’s look at the positive side of things:

·         Ended up losing 8 pounds (let’s remember though weight loss was not the goal)
·         My skin felt smoother and brighter and definitely less oily
·         Didn’t have as bad as breath (or gas for that matter!) as normal
·         Didn’t feel as bloated
·         Had more energy on the days I made the right combination of juices for myself
·         Didn’t have to cook anything for 7 days

 

 Here's a snack I bought from nekter, a trendy juice bar around the corner from my work.  If I could afford buying my juices from here every day, I would a happy camper!















Here are my cons:

·         We went through the fruit and veggies quickly especially not having a high quality juicer (it did the trick though for 7 days).  We went to the grocery store probably around 4 or five times in the 7 days (8 days including the night before for the initial purchases).

·         Some of the juices were gross.

·         The cleaning of fruits and veggies, the prepping, the actual juicing and the cleaning were the worst parts of this whole thing.

Would I do it again?  Yes.  Definitely.  Anytime soon?  No.  Maybe at the beginning of the year to cleanse myself from all the holiday gorges.  Here are a couple of my favorite recipes from the week:

Morning Fruit Juice via http://blog.theproofisinthejuice.org/:

·         1 large grapefruit

·         6 oranges

·         4 apples

·         1 pound of berries (I preferred strawberries while the husband preferred the raspberries
 
Juice these ingredients, strain and bam!  Scrumptious!


Green Lemonade via http://www.rebootwithjoe.com:

·         1 green apple

·         2 cups spinach

·         2 cups kale leaves

·         ½ cucumber

·         4 celery stalks

·         ½ lemon

Juice these ingredients, strain and bam!  Slurp, slurp, slurp!!!

 
Random Thoughts
·         Yes, juice is all I had for 7 days.  No food, no anything else (except supplements)

·         Speaking of supplements, invest in a good trustworthy brand or your big sister will give you sh*t about it (my parents can agree with me there).

·         Don’t tell me you had a smoothie for breakfast and think that’s the same thing.

·         Yes, I did get full off the right combinations of juices (fruit blend for breakfast, green juices for lunch and dinner)

·         Yes, I peed every 25 minutes, but not throughout the night which was nice.  I slept very well too.

·         Day 3 I experienced two very awful and painful “Charley Horses” in the morning.  This was due to not consuming enough water.  I made sure to drink so much water I was peeing every 15 minutes instead.  (I’m exaggerating)

·         The idea of mixing your lunch and dinner juice recipes with spicy peppers to change up the flavor is a great concept.  Executed… not really for me.

·         Double straining the green juices makes it for a much better experience.  No one wants to be slurping up bits and pieces of kale.

A photo of some baseball cookies I made
for a 12 year old birthday boy. 
Random, I know.
 
·         Because I love food so much (the experience of flavors and the act of eating itself along with the social aspects of getting together with friends and family for a meal), I really had to remember whatever I consume is to fuel my body.  My coworker friend told me on the first day—don’t smell the juice just drink it.  You’re not drinking it for enjoyment; you’re drinking it for nourishment and fuel.  So then that got me to think…French fries can be good fuel too right?  J

Disclaimer: If you want to try juicing, please don't use my blog post as real medical advice or anything like that.  I know nothing.  Consult your doctor and all that jazz.

P.S. I saw this today from a buzzfeed.com post and thought it would be fun to share:
 


Image Taken From:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/kristinchirico/things-youre-only-afraid-of-if-you-live-in-los-angeles

 







Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Heart Popcorn Chicken!

I'm going to be honest here.  I want you all to know about my love for popcorn chicken so here is my review for a place that has the best popcorn chicken.  Not Guppy House, not Tapioca Express, not KFC.  haha  Check out my Yelp review for i-Tea.. a Taiwanese street food type place.  I'm not Taiwanese and I'm not an expert on popcorn chicken, but I know what's good.  And it's good here! :)  It's owned by a family who is a part of our dance group and I want to spread the word on how great and scrumptious this place is.  So check it out!



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What are Blueberries Doing in my Mac N Cheese?!

So a couple of Christmas vacations ago, my husband and I drove from the family cabin in Rose Valley, WA to Cannon Beach, OR. It was a dark and stormy night which made it for a scary drive to and from. Because the rain and windy was getting so bad in the evening, we decided to stop and get some dinner hoping everything would calm a little down before heading back to the cabin. We Yelp'd to see what was good around town and came across a restaurant called Castaway Tini Tiki Hut. Um ok, I thought, a tropical themed restaurant in the middle of a cold and stormy little town? Sure, it's a beach town... but ok never mind. Good Yelp reviews=worth a try. In the end, the food and drinks were fantastic and anytime the chef comes out to greet you, that is a sign of a cool place. I approve.

Fast forward to why I'm writing this. Husband got the crab fritters and I got the mac n cheese. But when the dishes of deliciousness came out, there were these mysterious little blue round things sprinkled on top of the food. What is that? I wondered. I took a bite of one and it was a blueberry!? Who in the world puts blueberries on savory dishes?! Well, the chef at Castaway Tini Tiki Hut does and you know what? It totally works!!! Don't knock it until you try it. In fact, we tried it last night.

Blueberries in Pasta.  Who'd have thunk?
We had some friends, Katherine & Brian, over the other night and I made some penne with meat sauce. Well we had another friend, C.J., over last night to help finish the leftovers (sauce is always better the next day right?). I got the recipe from what else? Pinterest (see the recipe here).  And I substituted the ground beef for lean ground turkey.  Boiled up some al dente penne and TA DA!  Pasta with homemade tomato meat sauce.  So easy and simple, yet so delicious and impressive. 

So when our buddy came over last night, the husband washed some blueberries and put a bowl of them on the table.  The boys sprinkled them on their pasta and instantly C.J. loved the combo.  So I encourage you to all sprinkle some blueberries in your pasta and give the flavors a try!  Don't get me wrong, it's totally weird.  But it really does bring the flavor out!!!