Monday, November 14, 2011

Food!...on the go, in the morning, and feeding friends!

Lately, I feel like I need to start cooking and baking again! What brought on this spark, you ask? 
1.Friends - who cook and entertain
2.Food blogs - showing their delicious food recipes that I seriously need to make
3.Being healthy - lately I have just been eating one meal a day, very terrible I know 

So we all know that breakfast is very important in the morning right! Well I am not a morning person, low and behold many years of staying up late have made in fact a very apt night owl as well sometimes cranky when I have bouts of insomnia. However, good tea, a full stomache, and a good read as well as journaling have helped me deal with my insomnia pretty effectively. Also if I want to get cracking on my goal of running a marathon and be more focused in the mornings and not a zombie then eating breakfast is ideal a must.Usually my breakfast may consist of eating Greek yogurt or eating a Cliff bar depending on how much time I have before I have to run to class. However, I had already come upon a very appetizing breakfast recipe in one the running blogs, The Runner's Plate, I like to follow but what made it even more appealing was that this recipe was also portable say if you put in mason jars as well as could be made in the night and enjoyed cold in the morning plus she being a runner packed all these other nice extras! Here is a clip of  blog post with links to the recipes and ideas of how to alter the recipes. She also has a recipe for overnight oats which is similar but doesn't require cooking the oats. I am going to try both oatmeal recipes. 

 I made “homemade” oats in a jar—if that is even possible.
Usually when you make “oats in a jar,” you use an almost-empty jar/container of nut butter (almond butter, peanut butter, etc.). Well, I wanted oatmeal this morning, I wanted it to be portable, but I didn’t have an almost-empty jar of nut butter, so I made my own!

Here’s how I did it. . . .
I started by filling a clean jar with almond butter–approximately 2 tablespoons.
I then made oatmeal on the stove following these directions and poured it into the glass jar.
I topped it with the rest of my banana, a crumbled Lemon Pistachio Muffin, and unsweetened coconut.


Speaking of mason jars, the other day I learned how to can food which was very easy but does require a lot of space as well as prep work. I guess if I want to make my mother's homemade salsa in a large quantity, I could easily can it. However, I recently stumbled upon the blog, The Big Red Kitchen that had posted a bunch of recipes you can cook and store in mason jars including a different version of overnight oats and even a chicken cordon bleu recipe! This is making me want to go out and buy a bunch of mason jars which can also handily be used as drinking cups in a pinch!

Secondly, I want to cook and entertain my friends sometime soon because there is nothing quite like having friends over for dinner. It is always sad when I end up cooking for myself. I, being a very social bird, like having friends over and am always happy when friends compliment my cooking as well and are well fed. I found this lovely recipe for a fancy dinner for friends that is basically roasted duck and a salad by perusing my food blogs. The recipes were actually from an old New York Times article, which I have to say if you haven't already checked out their Recipes for Health Section online then you have been missing out! I think that combined with a good bottle of wine and perhaps Bananas Foster for desert would be quite a fancy dinner for friends. Have I mentioned I love to spoil my friends and that I have never before eaten duck!

Lastly, I plan on making some very simple and easy pumpkin muffins for another quick and filling breakfast idea as well as to add some Fall to my food menu. Also baking makes this gal very happy. I mean I grew up baking before cooking! Sadly the recipe I am going to use calls for a cake mix and canned pumpkin (that's it guys!) but I being a baker would prefer to make my own muffins from scratch and not pre-made cake mixes. Well you got to do what you got to do right! If you have any other ideas for quick and easy breakfasts or good recipes for using mason jars, please let me know in a comment below! I love learning of new recipes!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lessons learned in October

October has been a roller coaster of a month, but I feel like I have said that before about other months. On the bright side I have had plenty of time to hang out with friends and boy have I had some fun times! Those times though have helped me through the rough times. The funny thing is that when I was feeling at my lowest, I suddenly had a revelation that I was not the only one suffering the same misgivings about relationships between the opposite sex nor the only one with bad luck with guys; there is an epidemic of miscommunications as well as jerks.At first I was thinking that guys who are nice but then flake off or turn out to be jerks are worse than jerks. I also thought that having crushes on guys is just bad because then if they turn out not to like you after they got you all hopped up on hope and therefore much less inflated. However while reading one manga (which yes is a shoujou) I stumbled upon this scene:
NOTE: This reads right to left instead of left to right because it is Japanese!

At first I didn't think too much about the scene but then it hit me what she said. We spend so much time thinking about the end result that we don't see that we have had happy memories in between. In my experience I was so focused on getting a boyfriend that I couldn't just have fun playing around with guys. I wanted that security and comfort but in the end, when I did reach that I didn't even know how to act. Applying this principle to any situation that takes a process I think helps us to get so much more out of whatever we are doing.
Currently I am enjoying flirting, channeling some River Song from Doctor Who but also some Tina Fey from reading her book Bossy Pants. In the book, Tina talks about how the rules of Impromptu changed her life. 

The rules of improvisation appealed to me not only as a way of creating comedy, but as a  worldview. Studying improvisation literally changed my life.
The first rule of improvisation is AGREE., Always agree and SAY YES. When you're improvising, this means you are required to agree with whatever your partner has created... Now obviously in real life you're not always going to agree with everything everyone says. But the Rule of Agreement  reminds you to  "respect what your partner has created" and to at least start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you.
The second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes but YES,AND. You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own...To me YES,AND means don't be afraid to contribute. It's your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you're adding something to the discussion. Your initiations are worthwhile.
The next rule is MAKE STATEMENTS. This is a positive way of saying "Don't ask questions all the time." Whatever the problem, be a part of the solution. Make statements, with your actions and your voice.
THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, only opportunities.

I hadn't realized that after reading her book, I had started to put most of the rules into action. I am still working on the Making Statements and Not being afraid to contribute but hey somethings are easier than others.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Words that reveal blindness

Here are the newlyweds on the beach!
So this week I am sick, ironically I got sick on the leg back up from Cancun/my brother's wedding. Word of caution, if you can avoid transferring planes in Mexico City, its a pain in the butt! Fortunately, though my throat isn't hurting and the phlegm is under control so that I am not gagging on it. All things that made Monday quite unbearable. I am not sure what I got, it's feeling more like a cold these days but I am okay with that as I am not letting it bog me down too much. Though last night I feared for my classes but God gave me strength today to attend them despite getting like 2.5 hrs of sleep. My voice is also coming back, still raspy but atleast its not completely gone. Something I am very thankful for since I need to practice speaking for my language classes. Then I read this quote by Paulo Coelho, author of the Alchemist:

A blind man was begging on the road to Mecca, when a pious Moslem came over and asked whether the people were giving generously – as the Koran commands. The man showed him his little tin, which was almost empty. The traveler said:

- Let me write something on the card around your neck.

Hours later, the traveler returned. The beggar was surprised, for he had received a large amount of money.
- What did you write on the card? – he asked.
- All I wrote was: Today is a beautiful spring day, the sun is shining, and I am blind.

At first I didn't understand the message, then I scrolled down and someone had posted this youtube video with the same message:
That's when I understood what it was saying and I thought how true it is we are all blind sometimes to the blessings we have. I wonder myself how many times I have walked by and ignored those in need or how often we don't think about those lovely spring days because so much else is pressing on our minds. I am especially thankful for those writers like Paulo that can express the thoughts that I am thinking about but can never articulate well enough. It is why I like languages, they allow me to see things differently than otherwise I would have by simply using different words.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Creative Juices II - first sketch

First week of classes has been going well and I am excited to be back in the art studio, more specifically the print making studio. Today we started working on a collograph but mainly had time to mix paint/colors which was so therapeutic and fun for me so when I got back to my room, I just wanted to keep those art juices/humours flowing and followed up on the last post. This is the first draft/pencil sketch of what I was thinking. Originally from the waist down it was going to be fully patterned but then that was going to be a lot of work and then later I realized that it would make it look too busy and draw away from the dress form. I intend to make a nicer drawing of this and then color it at a later point. So stay tuned if you are so inclined to do so and leave comments as well.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Creative Juices flowing...inspired/fueled by tumblr!

So there is this dress which is pretty but I thought I would spice it up to emulate...
The absolutely amazingingly belished Toms! Can you see it. Okay maybe its just me but I do wish I could make my Toms like this!
This street wall art, one of my friends found and posted on the Fb. The only non-tumblr photo! Reminds me of this last tumblr photo below...
Which reminds me of Disney's Tangled! Still I kind of wish I could be there. Something to add to my new Moleskin Travel Journal!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Ice Cream and books don't blend but Books and Food do!

Today is supposedly National Ice Cream Sandwich Day! Let me tell you, I love ice cream sandwiches! I grew up on the chocolate rectangular wafers with vanilla center (i guess they are called original) ice cream sandwhiches! The definitely bring back summer memories! Food network however, has come up with some inventive ice cream sandwhiches such as one with cherry ice cream sandwiched between an almond croissant!

On another note, the latest buzz of foodies everywhere is David Chang's new food magazine called Lucky Peach. It combines the best of food magazines with the best of art magazines to create a one of a kind thing. Even the NY Times wrote an article about it (here). I am going to have to order myself a copy because it is sold out in Barnes and Nobles and I am guessing Borders too.

Sadly Borders will be closing after all and I know that their prices were more expensive than Amazon, but there was just something about going into a bookstore and being able to peruse the many aisles of book that beats looking at books online. Now, I know that Kindle's are very popular and ebooks are cheaper but I am a bibliophile. Though, I have yet to go shopping at used bookstores, but still there is nothing like holding a book in your hands and even more points if its an older book and smelling those pages.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Top Thoughts Running Through an Insomniac's Mind

Let's talk about things on my mind lately since I have of late resumed insomniac activities. Also its nice to just be able to rant about these things! So here they are the most common topics on my mind currently:
  1. Travel
  2. Food
  3. Running
I find that one thing I have found the most enjoyable of traveling is being able to get lost in a city. I mean travel guides are great and all but where's the adventure in having everything before you. It is funny that on my first day in France, I was forced to think on my feet and well for the first 6 hours I was like oh crap, had I just arrived on my own though things would have been easier as I had already a destination to be but I was concerned about the people I was supposed to meet up with however there was a time set to meet at our destination and so that forced me to move forward rather than continue waiting for people. Once at my hotel, I learned I had jumped the gun and was a day ahead of my group's arrival. It was nice though once I had dropped off my luggage with still plenty of time to stroll the streets, that I decided to do some solo exploration and well that was really my only solo exploration time. I discovered some great spots and because of getting lost I was able to orient myself better in the city.
I wonder why it is people panic when they are lost. I mean besides the fact panicking only makes things worst; you can only be lost so much before you find your way around. When in doubt, you can always ask a local. A few times I was even mistaken for a local but on most cases I was able to answer their questions pretty well. I never thought I look French but I guess being myself you blend in very well to most mixed races.
I even got lost on the Paris Metro going to Versailles if you follow my blog but in the end, I got there, by grace of God and I didn't at all despair. I may have accidentally mislead some other tourists though. Well it was bound to happen, some Metros are indeed tricky. I can only imagine what it will be like to maneuver through Japan's rail system. But Paris, was fairly straightforward and there were at least one person who spoke English available to help at the stations. However, one thing to also keep in mind, is its important to know the holidays of the country you will be visiting. On my way to Versailles, I had a long wait to get a ticket and there were some people running late to the airport who also were waiting long in line. I felt bad for them; I mean I doubt they were going to make it in time but it would have been good if they had gotten their tickets beforehand rather than wait in line. I nearly despaired when I kept coming back to the first train station twice, gah, but then I managed to get on the right one at last and once at Versailles, the whole getting lost in the Metro didn't seem at all a fiasco but more a tale to tell or a passage of right. Honestly, it was nice that I was by myself at the time too because being in a group is a lot harder to travel with I also realized. I am only responsible for myself and no one else at those times and I had no one to worry about getting lost besides myself nor any panicking person. Oh thank god for Douglas Adams and his very astute advice - Don't Panic!

It was an interesting thing to note how food in France is much a better quality. I mean junk food was just as expensive as our healthy food. They had farmers markets every week -though I am not sure about in the winter - and I noticed that these people don't stock pile food like most people do and I have of late been doing. My host mother for one thing bought the food that she was gonna cook with on that day and cooked it that day. Something I need to be more diligent about. Their fridge was a lot smaller and definitely did not cool as much. In fact, they reminded me of the old 50's model fridges. There was no pantry. The kitchen was a small one, smaller than my studio kitchen of my old apartment. Yet my host mother managed to cook delicious food in that kitchen; goes to show you, you don't need a large kitchen to cook well but you do need plenty of time to cook well. My host mother would be cooking for atleast an hour before the food was ready.

I recently read in a NY Times article that our body is very lazy and clever in its laziness. It adjusts to running on different surfaces and once adjusted stays that way. Hence, those so-called toning shoes don't really tone because our body only adjusts the muscles to work with it one way. However the article did say that certain people liked the feel of toning shoes better and well if that gets you exercising all the better. Similarly, running on soft ground is no better for your feet than running on pavement for the same reason. Our feet adjust to the ground and impact forces and shoes also help to manage it. If you, for instance, are like me and wear cushioned shoes that help your with your feet balance and level, then that same cushioning acts like soft ground would naturally. However, the one nice thing about pavements/asphalt trails is that the ground is usually flat and level and thus better for your ankles and less stress with uneven ground. So here I thought I running on soft ground helped lessen the impact on my knees but really the shoes are what do that. I am not sure they have measured the effects of running with the ever-growing popularity of the five-finger shoes. Though from my friends who do use them, they have all said positive things and become very much advocates for the shoes. However, I would not advise people to wear those shoes for casual outings unless they are prepared to explain to strangers the new shoes as they are still quite the novelty!