30 December 2014

Wrapping up 2014

2015 is a day away (!!!) and it sure doesn't feel like it yet. The days right after Christmas tend to involve a lot of counting down to the next year for me, but this year it really feels like I've got a couple more months to go before January.  I guess it's time to do my yearly reflection post–I used to do this on all my previous blogs.

2014 was a good year. I guess everyone else will look back at the year and like me, will say that they grew, and learned to be better..but I really, really felt like I accomplished a lot in 2014 and had tons of opportunities to figure things out. Towards the end of this year I started slipping into a bit of restlessness and anxiousness.. hopefully things get better soon!

This year.... 

I learned to live happier and healthier, and tried to adopt a more calming / positive mindset, especially through my studies of Buddhism / Taoism. I really hope it stays this way (or that it gets even better!) One thing I've learned in the past couple of years (and am still trying to keep this in mind) is to be thankful for even the littlest of things. Another thing to always remember is to always look at things from a different perspective, especially when it involves people who seem mean.. you never know what someone has actually gone through. This one is tough to always keep in check, especially when daily life involves a lot of social interaction sometimes. This is one thing to improve on!

Another thing I started doing this year was journaling. There's definitely a lot more ways I can actively do this, but somehow journaling became very personal / creative / reflective this year compared to chronicling emotions previously.. it's been a good way to keep me in check / organize my goals, and live with less greed.

Jw flew to Singapore in the summer to visit my family and to take on an internship.  I thought I would do the same, but ended up having to cancel my flight to Korea month before the trip.. next summer perhaps?


... and then we went to Hong Kong with my family!

I grew closer to my family over the summer, and bonded a lot with my mom.

I got to see one of my bestest friends, Mel. She studies in Australia so our school breaks clash most of the time, so having the opportunity to meet her after almost one and a half years was much needed!

I learned more about myself through the internships I took up, and figured the future out a little bit more.

We visited more forests and mountains than ever this year, and I hope we continue to do this in the coming year!

We moved into a new place and welcomed Joggy into our family! He is the best thing that has happened to us all year. I'm so glad that Jw and him get along, they behave like one another. Joggy has helped me learn a lot about myself as well. I really don't want to sound psychotic and obsessed here but he has also made me think a lot about parenting and what kind of mom I hope to be. On a side note, I also learned A LOT about house hunting and how to deal with awful and racist people (sorry, this just had to be said).

I came up with more recipes than ever! Hopefully this continues in 2015 as well :)

One of my favourite memories this year was when it suddenly started snowing in March–Jw and I dismantled a chair at home, so we could use it to go sledding down a slope near our place. The joy of feeling like a kid again and laughing all the way home was unforgettable. That's basically how he makes me feel.

Overall, a great year, so 2015, you've got big shoes to fill!  Happy new year to all of you, and have a great year ahead.

(Ps: If anyone wants to know what my most played Youtube video of the year is.... it's Anaconda. I'm sorry.) 

25 December 2014

Christmas!


Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a wonderful time with your family and loved ones. Christmas was a really simple affair for us. We were so tired from last minute shopping the day before (it was crowded everywhere) that we didn't do much. Everybody was happy with their gifts (i love it when i give a good gift!) and the fur-babies got lots of toys and treats. Dumpling got a flying saucer wheel which he loves – he hasn't stopped running the whole day, and I love it too because it's so much more quiet than a regular wheel. Joggy pranced about in his festive sweater and met a beagle named Baxter, and also ripped apart his new Kong plushie in six hours... something we weren't expecting because they said it was double layered and extra thick. Well. Other than that, everyone was happy, and I made custard buns and 순두부찌개 (spicy tofu stew).  Maaaaybe i'll try turkey for New Years eve.
I love my little family.

Happy holidays!

21 December 2014

Holiday in: Lazy day food guide

Today was a rainy day so sleeping in was definitely the right thing to do. I work up at 2pm just in time to catch about an hour of daylight before taking another nap after. The holidays are great. The rainy weather also means that I haven't wanted to leave the house so no new groceries have been bought. I'm no stranger to days like these, and when this happens I usually stay on the couch / in bed watching my favourite TV shows, and use whatever's in my kitchen (and this isn't exactly healthy living) to make something. so this is my lazy day food guide for you.

Source: circleofmoms.com
Milkshakes
Milkshakes are relatively easy to make: all you need to do is blend ice cream and milk (a 2:1 ratio is good enough). Sometimes I add in nesquik chocolate powder if I'm making a strawberry shake.

Smoothies
Smoothies are just as simple as milkshakes: just fruit, ice, and chocolate powder / syrup if you like.
My favourite combinations are chocolate banana, chocolate strawberry, caramel banana ... ha ha I guess I'm not super creative here.

Iced Instant Coffee / Chocolate 
Unfit for social interaction days mean no Starbucks, either. To make an iced coffee or chocolate, use 50ml of boiling water, stir the powder in, and then fill it with cold water / ice.

Tuna Pasta
I love pasta and it's no secret! On lazy days I usually heat up a tomato based pasta sauce (something like Ragu) and mix in a can of tuna with it, then pour it over my pasta.

Stir-fry Canned Soup
Back in catholic school (surprise!) we were taught this easy but unhealthy recipe. It's painfully easy to make and when I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed this was all I ate. You need: 1 can of mushroom soup, ¼ can of water, and your choice of "easy-fry" vegetables, like broccoli, mushrooms, or carrots all chopped up. In a skillet, fry the vegetables first, and then add in the soup and water. Stir occasionally until it bubbles. You can eat it by itself, or you can pour it over pasta (guilty of this!).. apparently you can mix rice in but I don't think it's going to taste that great.
Source: food.com 

Saltine Pizza 
A friend of mine taught me this a while ago and I make it pretty often. This works best if you have a toaster oven, but a regular oven works too, it just takes a longer time. All you need is a pack of saltine crackers, pasta sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Spread pasta sauce over each saltine, place cheese over it, and bake in a toaster oven for about 5 minutes on medium heat. It takes about 10 minutes in an oven at 200F (i think? i've tried that once).

Toast
Toast is basically simple. Do I have to explain it? no. But follow this and you will make the best cheese toastie you'll ever have: click here. Otherwise, I make vegemite–avocado toast, vegemite–cheese toast, avocado and cream cheese toast... the list goes on and on. Toast is versatile. Toast is forever.

I stock up on a ton of perogies as well, so we're never out of them here en la casa. They're also nice with bacon on the side. I also have clamato juice always stocked so it's really convenient for me to make caesars, alcoholic or not.

These are what I usually eat on days where I don't get to go grocery shopping. They aren't the healthiest, but they are pretty yummy and quick if i do say so myself!

18 December 2014

The best things in life are free.

Hello! Today was an incredibly shitty day. I failed a course last week (honestly, I did try to study but most of my failure is through no fault of my own.. or so I want to believe) and tried to dispute it, etc etc but today UBC came back and told me they wouldn't accommodate my learning disability because I didn't send in an excuse on time.. when I seriously had no idea that there was an option for students to apply for credit / D / F grading because back in first year my then-advisor had told me it was irrelevant. ???????? Who needs science anyway? I'm freaking out because this grade lowers my GPA for this semester significantly and stuff like that. On the other hand I kind of want to believe everyone who says that grades don't matter but I tend to think the worst of situations, so. Hopefully my writing gets me somewhere one day.

I'm going to try and forget about this. Jw bought me Minecraft to keep me busy, so while that's being downloaded I'm going to talk about other things, like forests, and cosmetics, so keep reading if you're into that.

My days have mostly been forest walking, which is great and you probably already know that I love it because I'm always gushing about the trees or the mountains somewhere on the internet.
The smell of fresh air and treading on earth beneath my feet are perfect. And it's always nice to look up and see that the trees are towering above me. Keeps me in check. I want to live in the woods some day. Lately, all I've been wanting to do is to live in a van for a year as I travel across the PNW. Montana looks amazing and so does the Cascades.  In the mean time, good days, bad days... I'll always take comfort in these trees. And my boys:

 A few weeks ago we cycled round the shore.  I was feeling so down and restless that day, and I really wanted to go outdoors.. and this guy was like, "let's go".  It was so chilly that day and we ended up with fevers later that night but I'm so glad we headed out. I really needed that.

 Snow and woods. Beeeeautiful.
 A couple of friends we made at Lost Lagoon.

 Joggy peering out at a brook. He's never really been outdoors so he's always learning new things on our hikes. We tried to get him to try stream water (it's clean!) but I guess he's not a water dog. He loved this trail. On our walk we went past many big dogs and he never once charged or barked at them! He used to do this a lot with big dogs when we first got him. I'm so glad his socialization skills are getting better, it was really nice watching him play with a labradoodle in the forest. The labradoodle then proceeded to mark a tree and Joggy watched with great interest. It was hilarious. I love this little dude.


 C o m f o r t


In addition to forest walking, my new obsession is LUSH cosmetics. I've tried my best to avoid Lush for the longest time because I've always likened them to something that would fit in with the ~quinoa rage~ or the whole detox water thing, and in a way it is still a little true... but I bought myself a couple of bath bombs and bubble bars the other day and can I say I'm H-O-O-K-E-D. I've also been using their toothy tabs and I love it– it feels / tastes exactly like the enzyme toothpaste Jw's mom got us from Korea, but at a fraction of the price. Fluoride is something I really try not to consume because a few years ago I read that toothpaste (and fluoride!) actually makes you a little less smarter when you ingest it, and I've always been so paranoid about that, I always ALWAYS rinse my mouth extra to ensure I don't get any dafter. So yay toothy tabs! Jw and I love it.

But let me talk about their bubble bars and bath bombs. I love them. I love them. They never turn out as pretty as the pictures I see on Instagram (and trust me, last night I went to LUSH and asked them for the pinkiest bath bomb they ever did had...) but they smell so good and, while I haven't had any rainbows yet, coloured bath water is still prettier than regular bath water I guess. My favourite ones are Granny Takes a Dip and Sex Bomb! They are also so pricey so I'll save them for special occasions or something. And the buuuuubble bars are ace. They're also more practical than the bath bombs (in my opinion) because one bubble bar can last you 3-4 times, while the bath bomb disappears just. like. that. The bathroom smells heavenlyyyy!!! I can't wait to go back and pick up more stuff.



The best things in life are free... but I guess it's okay to spend a little bit on myself sometimes?

15 December 2014

Family.

Found this on our desktop. Had to share..!


Spaghetti Carbonara with Monterey Jack


Image: knorr.co.uk 

Last night I made spaghetti carbonara for dinner! (No pictures because my phone was dead... and the nice plates were in the dishwasher anyway)

We didn't have parmesan so I swiped that with monterey jack cheese instead, and used bacon (the breakfast kind) instead of pancetta. The result was super. The bacon was oilier so the pasta was tastier after I coated it. The jack made it taste a little sharper, I guess, but because they were sliced instead of in a block, the texture of the pasta was less creamy than regular carbonara. Still, like(!!) and it's relatively easy to make – you just have to get the timing absolutely right. I didn't measure out the pasta or bacon, because I cook according to how much of a certain ingredient I want the dish to taste like.. but just so you know, I used a lot of bacon.

Spaghetti Carbonara with Monterey Jack 
Serves: 2
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:
Pasta
Bacon, cut into small-medium sized pieces
Mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1 clove of garlic
1 egg
½ cup of monterey jack cheese, grated
Salt
Pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix the egg and cheese together quickly, ensuring that everything is well mixed and no lumps of cheese are left in the mixture. 
  2. Boil pasta in a pot of water (with a generous pinch of salt added in!). Follow instructions on the package as to how well you want your pasta to be cooked.
  3. In a separate pan, fry your bacon on medium heat, about 2 minutes on each side until just enough oil from the bacon seeps out. 
  4. Reduce to low heat. Add in mushrooms, and sauté for about 2 minutes 
  5. Add in garlic, again, sauté for about a minute. 
  6. Drain pasta, but leave about 3-4tablespoonful of pasta water behind. 
  7. Add the pasta to the pan of bacon /mushrooms, toss around and coat evenly with bacon oil. 
  8. Reduce to lowest possible heat. Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the pasta quickly, and keep tossing, until the mixture is 'cooked' (about 2 minutes) 
  9. If the mixture is too thick, pour the pasta water over to thin it out. 
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste. 


Notes:
If there isn't enough bacon oil for the pasta, add in ½-1 tablespoon of olive oil. 
The egg and cheese mixture is meant to be cooked off heat, but because I want to be very sure that my egg is cooked, I leave it on really low heat. 

I really loved this because it didn't feel very heavy. I think the next time I make this, I'm going to try mixing the egg and cheese in a food processor first.

12 December 2014

Holiday In: Movie marathon / film party for one (or two)

This week was yet another #BCStorm kind of week, so we spent a lot of time indoors. Which is why I'm writing this post right now–inspired by all the gift guides being put up on the blogs I follow, I too, will start a guide... about holidaying 'in', instead of gifting.

I'll probably get around to writing one about gifts soon, but a 'gifts for him' post is challenging because Jw literally wants nothing. Ever. Our birthdays and anniversaries are mostly like, "so what do you need?", or "here I got you this coat because I noticed that your old one was falling apart". So anyway, 'Holiday In' serves as a guide for whoever loves their home more than they love shopping, or whoever likes being a homebody all throughout the festive season, or throughout the year even.

Today's Holiday In will be about throwing a movie night/ film party for yourself (or your little family). Usually I have moods and they kind of set the tone for the type of movies I want to watch. Some nights it's a Madagascar marathon, other nights I do Mean Girls and Legally Blonde and the likes back to back. (Last night we had a Kill Bill party and I did not enjoy it).

Sometimes I like watching movies that were filmed somewhere I know.. just like, the ones filmed around Vancouver (can't wait for The Interview!) and in UBC (The Butterfly Effect,Wolverine, cough, 50 Shades of Gray) just because i get to feel excited for 5 seconds when they show a corner of a building or a bush. You know, something I can touch the next time I walk by, and be like "Hugh Jackman stepped on this"

When I know what I want to watch I then decide how I'm going to watch it. If I'm in an animated movie kind of mood I usually like to build a fort using the sofa and chairs (easy instructions here), with down feather pillows as my choice of butt comfort. Sometimes it's a TV and sofa night (usually when we decide to order pizza).. you know. Things like that. It's extra effort sometimes, but the fun of watching a movie from your own blanket fort / teepee is what makes this a party!!!! You can even turn off the lights and use an astrostar light projector to set the mood. Perfect if you're celebrating something indoors.

Movie? Check.
Buttrest of choice?  Check.

Let's move on to big-kid decisions.

F O O D 
!!!!!!

The microwave here is the most well used on movie nights. We make things like popcorn, KD, cheeseburger sliders and nachos. Sometimes, Shoppers has Dr Oetker pizza on sale (3.99!!!!!!) so we pop that in the oven. But I'm not here to tell you how to manage your movie night food. I'm here to show you how to make them even better (and unhealthier, I suppose).
1. Macaroni and cheese popcorn – One time, I microwaved mac & cheese, then microwaved popcorn (to eat after) and thought: "what if I mixed the two together?" the first five shovelfuls were great. Then it got weird and gooey and crispy and kernels got stuck in my teeth. So now, I just microwave popcorn, and pour in half a sachet of KD cheese powder and mix. (I cook half of the macaroni after, because i've only got half the cheese left). Also, this only works with stove top KD, because the microwavable pasta doesn't really boil in water.
2. Bacon bits and vegemite popcorn – If you're lucky enough to have access to Vegemite (it's tough here in the great white north), mix bacon bits in a spoonful of vegemite and spread it on your popcorn! Top with more bacon bits. My friend told me about this and it's the best. I love vegemite.
3. Mozzarella sticks with nacho cheese – Pop your mozzarella sticks in the oven. When you take the tray out to flip the sticks over, pour the nacho cheese over the sticks and resume baking.
3. Oreo cookies smeared with cookie butter – Cookie butter smeared on oreo cookies.

Basically:
1. Pick your movie
2. Build a fort / get blankets / get in bed
3. Stock up on food

And you're good to go.

If this post has inspired you to go have a movie marathon tonight, great!
Here are some of my favourite films that you might like:
1. Harold and Maude
2. Napoleon Dynamite – Lahfawwwwnda.
3. Little Miss Sunshine
4. Breathless (Godard)
5. Fireworks Wednesday – This is an Iranian film, so make sure you get subtitles with it! I really liked the symbolism used, and I really like how the film pieces itself together towards the end.
6. Away We Go
7. Legally Blonde
8. Bridget Jones 
9. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 
10. Scott Pilgrim vs The World 
11. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist 
12. I Heart Huckabees (ps if you don't get this film you don't get life). 
13. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 
14. Sleepless in Seattle 

Ps: Just to be transparent and stuff, this is where I let you know that I used Amazon affiliate links in this post.

Happy holidays, everyone!

10 December 2014

Crossing the river stax: Mini PB&J Hotcakes


This post isn't much of a recipe, but we've been cooped up indoors the last couple of days because of finals and the #BCStorm – apparently the tides are so high today that they're called 'king tides'.. something I've never heard of. Anyway. I woke up at 12 and thought it was 7am because it was just so. dark. out.. then I thought of heading to 49th to get myself a PB&J doughnut but my brain was like 'no, you want to stay at home and stay dry!' and so I did. Then Jw was like, 'do you want toast? I bought jam last night'.... and with Joggy's peanut buttered Kong on the floor, it all clicked. I was going to make PB&J doughnuts!! So anyway after research and stuff, it just seemed like sooo much work and because I didn't have a lot of required ingredients anyway, I just decided to make a PB&J stack because it would kind of feel like the PB&J would be nicely enveloped in some sort of pastry that way.

Such a good way to use the Morinaga hotcake mix at a Japanese supermarket a while ago, that I left sitting in my cupboard! What I like about Morinaga hotcakes is that they're fluffier and a little sweeter than most of the brands in the market. All I did was really just ladle up less of the mix to make tinier hotcakes. I also used low heat and greased the pan like crazy!
The skies have been so dark lately and there hasn't been ANY bright natural light around here.. hence the picture quality.


All you need is:
Pancake mix, peanut butter, butter, jam (or jelly!)

And then we put NSYNC and Britney on and sang and finished off our little mini pancake stacks. All was well. 2001 never forget

-------

Oh, and because I must, here's Joggy the rabbit:

He's perfect.

Ps: In case anyone's wondering, Dumpling is still around, not forgotten.  He plays with Joggy often  and they usually play at night, when he's awake. They share turkey bits and when Dumpling has eaten his fill, he goes to hide amongst books. He is ageing though.. :(

8 December 2014

Happy birthday won won!

Today was Jw's birthday. (I wrote a post about our last adventure outdoors earlier, but it's now tucked away in my drafts because towards the end of it I went on a rant about how restless i've been feeling lately. I don't think anyone wants to read about that).

Anyway. Today Jw turned 23! We spent the day randomly yelling out 'Happy birthday Wonwon!" because we once watched a video of a fox on youtube and we've wanted one since. Have you seen their faces. Watch: Happy birthday Ronron!

I still don't know if he was posing for this photo or not. He says he wasn't, but he is looking in to the camera lens, so i don't know... 
Happy Birthday, Wookie. Life's been a lot of laughs (and a lot less manual labour) with you on board.