When your entire family comes home for the holiday weekend, it’s cause for excessive amounts of eating and sitting on your bum for long periods of time, “bonding and catching up”. It was a marathon of gluttony, to say the least. Buffet? Sure, let’s go. Dim sum? Oh yes, please. Hot dogs and hamburgers? Heck, the more, the merrier. My digestive tract just worked overtime. My double chin is about to give birth to a third one. My muffin top is overflowing with bounty. It’s time to start eating a little healthier. First up, Kashi, yogurt and strawberries.

Down the hatch!


Kinder goodness

Kinder chocolates are delicious. So delicious in fact that it boggles my mind as to why it’s so hard to find this brand in a regular supermarket. I’d pick Kinder over Hershey’s any day (is that blasphemous to admit?) Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I found these adorable things while rummaging through the pantry today. My sister had gone to Greece about a year ago and this is what she returned with — a box of Italian hippo shaped wafers. Authentic Greek good? Probably not. So cute that I put off eating these for a year? Yes indeed. Blinded by hunger, I decided that now was a good time to eat one of these guys.

My sister and I are very easily amused (as noted by the post-it note).

These hippos sure were yummy with their thin wafers hell and rich white chocolate filling. I thought it was a little strange that they tasted exactly like Ferrero Rochers, until I found out that Kinder was a division of Ferrero. That would explain a lot…

Eating something with a face on it, especially when they have tiny googly eyes staring at you, is kind of morbid. But there’s nothing like creamy chocolate innards to wash away the guilt.

Steamed buns with azuki bean past

Is there anything more welcoming than a Chinese steamed bun? Oh-so-fluffy, slightly chewy, piping hot with sweet adzuki bean paste filling waiting in the middle… my mouth is watering just thinking about it! These buns were my first foray into the world of working with yeast and it was quite time consuming, considering that I had some problems with letting the dough rise. But the effort was well worth it — they came out pretty darn tasty. My rolling out and folding techniques, however, leave much to be desired…

I’m definitely making these again but next time, I might try the store bought bean paste. There’s something about the excessive amount of sugar in and smoothness of the prepackaged stuff that’s very appealing to me.
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here, chickee chickee!

After a ten month hiatus, I have clawed my way out of the cave and ventured back into the world of blogging. During these long months of inactivity, I’ve managed to study abroad in China, lose two twonails from a bad pair of heels, pull more almost all-nighters than I care to remember, and shake (Sir? Lord? Duke? Master?) Anthony Bourdain’s glorious hand. I’ve been a busy bee, you see.

This semester, I’ve been holed up in an apartment-style suite, complete with a delightfully crusty stove and oven in the kitchen. Having access to a kitchen was probably bad for my food addiction, especially when I decided I wanted to start roasting things. And roast, I did. Asparagus, potatoes, onions — if it sprouted naturally from the ground, I’ve probably nuked it in the oven. One thing that I didn’t get to roast, however, was a whole chicken, something that’s so simple, hearty and delicious. Something that I had absolutely no clue as to where to start. After coming home and stumbling upon 2 cornish hens in my freezer (why my mom had cornish hens in the freezer, I’ll never know) and some sleuthing on the internet, I found a bunch if recipes that I thought would be fun to try.

But of course, when I decided to roast the hens, I ended up not following any of the recipes because a.) I didn’t have half of the ingredients on hand and b.) I’m pretty horrible with exact measurements (unless it has to do with baking, but even then…) Luckily, this little experiment of mine turned out a-okay. Keep in mind that these measurements are rough estimates and that this was my first attempt at flavoring a chicken — definitely a work in progress.

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Randy Pausch

I had heard about this man a few months back from the many people I know who are Carnegie Mellon students and the media that had a field day with his story. I thought it was great that this man was being so optimistic and proactive in the face of death, but I didn’t quite understand why there was so much buzz about this man.

As the news of his passing was brought to my attention, I found myself reading an article about him and somehow, I found myself on Youtube, waiting for the hour-plus long video to load. And skeptically, I began to watch, thinking that I’d doze off by the 10 minute mark because let’s face it: I have the attention span of a goldfish. But, 1 hour and 17 minutes later, I found myself slightly tearing and greatly moved and inspired. I now understood why everyone loves him.

He was an ordinary man who managed to become a figure that represented unabashed optimism, self-motivation, and deep accomplishment, in (to quote Jerry Maguire) “a cynical, cynical world”. His lecture was universal, his lessons obvious but often forgotten. It felt as if he was a guidance counselor!

If you find yourself with spare time on your hands, or if you just want to feel inspiration at its best, watch his lecture. His legacy is well worth the time.

Once (and again, please!)

Simply stated, Once was magical.

Lonely vacuum-fixer-guy pours his heart and soul out while playing his guitar on the streets of Dublin. By chance, he encounters poor immigrant girl who also shares his passion for music and together, they write songs, play instruments, and make music. Beautiful, enchanting music that transports you into a sort of nostalgic haze.

What surprised me about this movie was how a large majority of this story was told through songs, and how natural it felt. It wasn’t like Grease, where the characters burst into hyperactive chorus and shimmy like there’s no tomorrow. They were more a mode of storytelling — relationships were built through these songs, the story propelled, and the emotions heightened. Another aspect that I adored about this movie was the unconventional romance that developed between Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová: quirky, honest, and (bitter)sweet.

With a fantastic soundtrack(reminds me very much of Damien Rice), Once was a quiet, sincere film that gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling in the end.

a lazy afternoon

For the 8 years that I was subjected to piano lessons, I can honestly say that I never really enjoyed playing it. There was something about being forced into sitting in front of the keys for 30 minutes a day and practicing scales and songs repeatedly. It was so… laborious, especially as an eight year old child. My attention span was shorter than a pineapple’s, maybe a brick. But in the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to reacquaint myself with the piano (and strangely enough, it’s probably due to the music theory course I had to take in order to graduate from high school).

Having the day off from my strenuous (UNPAID) internship, I decided that it was time to play again. I opened the curtains and the windows to the backyard and let me say that it is one of my favorite moments: a warm breeze, the sound of the giant oak trees rustling like waves, and the feeling of having absolutely nothing to do. Simplicity at its finest. I sat in front of the oh-so-familiar row of black and white and unearthed the old sheet music that my mom buried in the seat compartment in one of her cleaning frenzies. I began playing again — Canon in D, Fur Elise, 21082 sonatas, To Zanarkand (you have to admit that it is a beautiful song!) and needless to say, I sucked. Horribly. But at lest I still remember the great big dogs fight animals.