Welcome to my blog, where one may find all sorts of random, hopefully amusing tidbits about food & other things.

November 6, 2014

rhubarb bars (with cardamom + pistachio).

Have you ever not eaten enough during the day and gotten massive stomach cramps?

This happened to me recently and I swear, I would not wish this pain on my worst enemy. A long day at work meant 7 hours of not eating, followed by the really bad stomach pain. By the time I was able to scarf down an apple on my drive home, it was just too late.

November 3, 2014

halloween-inspired treats.

I'm not the scary Halloween type - I'm more the "let's make halloween-themed desserts and decorate the house with huge spiders, witches, ghosts, and pumpkins so I can pretend I can handle scary" person.

Hence these desserts came out a little cuter than planned. Nonetheless! I made a vow to make one themed dessert for every week of October, and I was able to mostly stick to it. Below are a couple examples that of what I made to celebrate Halloween.

October 2, 2014

carrots, with black sesame + ginger.

I made up a new diet plan.

I know there are tons out there - Atkins (do people still do that?), Weight Watchers, low carb, low fat, high-protein, low calorie, Whole30 ... that last one strikes me as really controversial. I understand all of it except for the no legume/soy thing. No peanut butter?!?!? C'mon.

Anyway, my diet is called: the don't be lazy diet. It has 2 rules: Don't be lazy. Cook your own meals as much as possible, and only eat what you cook.

September 10, 2014

peachy breakfast quinoa.

Oatmeal definitely gets all the attention for breakfast. Whether cooked in a bowl with some flax and sunflower seeds, or crumbled with cinnamon, butter and clumped over apples, it's always oatmeal.

I recently got Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook It's All Good ("all iz well" what up movie reference, what up superwoman reference). In it, she talks about how she was really feeling the ill effects of her stressful, crazy lifestyle, and so went about eating better. The cookbook is a culmination of mostly vegan, pretty simple recipes with basic ingredients.

August 9, 2014

healthy fig bars.

At this point, I've tried almost every single flavor of Nature's Bakery fig bars. They're like a fancier fig newton. Although I dislike how the nutrition facts are for one bar vs. one package (contains 2 bars, which I find incredibly easy to devour), I just can't get enough of these bars.

In recent efforts to cut down on the amount of refined products I consume, I have been looking for snack options I can make myself. So the next time I was at the store, instead of buying a few more packs of these fig bars, I bought a pack of dried figs. After getting home I Googled around, and these are what I came up with.

July 29, 2014

buffalo chicken dip.

I gave in to making this. It goes against every bone and fiber of my being that says to not eat processed food and unnecessary cheese and salt, but but .... I've been having this everywhere! At a potluck. At a work party. At a graduation party.

A person can only stand enjoying something at so many places before making it herself. So I made it, and it was delicious. I even used real chicken (instead of canned, which apparently is common). No regrets!

June 26, 2014

mango vanilla pastry cups.

I had this one dessert the other day. Its simple novelty stuck with me.

It looked like a teeny layered parfait. The very small glass was half-filled with vanilla bean pastry cream, topped with tiny cubes of cake, strawberry pie filling and then sweetened whipped cream.

I loved how perfect it seemed for summer. An upcoming BBQ was the perfect excuse to recreate them myself.

June 24, 2014

vanilla pastry cream.

Don't you love it when you make a list of things to do, and at the end of the day, you've actually crossed off almost every item?

I have always been a list-maker (before I realized during college that they usually made me more stressed, and then I obsessively turned to Google calendars). When I was younger, I would put things like "Brush teeth" and "Make bed" on my summer to-do list, oftentimes after I had already done them, just to feel better about myself.

My list has developed to slightly more important things - like "check 401(k) policy" and "apply to med school." It's a nice day, however, when my to-do list tells me to make pastry cream. I can certainly oblige to that.

June 8, 2014

coconut cream pie bars.

Whenever I watch tennis, soccer, or any really athletic sport (sorry golf), I at some point appreciate how fit those people are. The thought sometimes continues, in-between admiring Rafa's outbursts of greatness and Djokovic's insane flexibility (can you tell I've been watching the French Open?). Commercial breaks come, and I start to plot out a regime of health foods & exercise to get my heart pumping on the level of the players I was just watching. The game comes back, and an exciting rally reinforces my vow to reform my life.

Eventually, the game ends. And instead of immediately going for a hike or run, I stay on my bed, stalk foodgawker, and decide to make coconut cream pie bars. Well ... everyone has their own thing to love, right?

May 27, 2014

pina colada bars (using cake mix).

I posted a recipe for snickerdoodle cheesecake bars some time ago, also using cake mix. Although homemade baked goods are favorable most 100% of the time, cake mix does have its role in baking. Oftentimes for bake sales, you don't want to spend a lot of money. Or there's just not enough time to make from-scratch dessert.

For these instances, cake mixes work wonderfully. One of the reasons they work so well is not just because they're pre-packaged, but because they're versatile! I Googled extensively on how to manipulate cake mixes into interesting creations. I didn't find as much as I expected. 

In order to increase the doctoring-cake-mix database the Interweb, I thought I'd start adding some of my recipes. I made these pina colada bars for a friend's bake sale, and apparently they sold out first, if that says anything. 

May 2, 2014

vanilla strawberry chia seed pudding. (paleo, gf, vegan)

Have you heard of chia seeds? I reviewed them before. They have an insane amount of fiber, and make their presence known by texture more than taste. Dry chia seeds are crunchy. When soaked, the seeds absorb the liquid and develop mucilage - which just means they get a little polysaccharide gelatinous coating.

This property is vital in order for chia seed puddings to work. In all the variations I've found, chia seeds are mixed with a non-dairy milk (probably to retain the vegan aspect), and let sit, with occasional stirring. After a couple hours (or overnight), the mixture has thickened substantially, forming a "pudding." Fruit, purees, nuts, and flavorings are added afterwards.

April 19, 2014

whole wheat carrot zucchini muffins.

The two busiest weeks of my senior year ended today, and I cannot be more at peace. Before 9pm, I had washed my face, brushed my teeth, climbed into bed, and was watching a movie, and IT WAS GREAT.

I figured I would blog since I had the time, even if I made these muffins a while ago.

April 1, 2014

tres leches cake.


Whew, now that's out of the way - I read somewhere that tres leches cake (which means three milks' cake) was invented by canned milk companies in a ploy to increase their sales. Isn't that interesting? The recipe has really stuck around.

For good reason. The just perfectly viscous mixture of milks. The way the cake has a gradation of custardiness - the top retaining more of the original sponge texture, and the bottom also with a sponge texture, just that of one absolutely saturated with sweet milk. The lightly sweetened cushion of whipped cream on top.

I could go on and on. When you're deluged with work, emails, and just general stress, I highly recommend stopping whatever you're doing, remembering that chronic stress leads to cancer (I will have written & defended at least 35 pages on the matter by mid-April), and making this cake!

March 17, 2014

chocolate zucchini bread.

Spring Break!!

I could've been blogging this from the sunny, sparkling beaches of PCB or Mexico or Cancun. Of course, if I were in any of those places, I wouldn't be blogging - I'd be letting the sun's warm rays blotting my stresses away. That blue sky breeze would be welcome, not just another hurdle to run through. And my only worry would be whether the waves would reach my chair on the shore.

At that point, I'd be obligated to play Knee Deep [by Zac Brown Band].

As it is, I'm still wearing a sweatshirt, am still hesitant to shower for fear that maybe this will be the time I dilly dally a little too long & lose an appendage to hypothermia, and would still rather stay in my warm bed than do anything else. The latter works perfectly with my recent House of Cards obsession.

March 3, 2014

(three-ingredient) spinach smoothie.

I am FINALLY finally finally blogging about these smoothies. I've been making them pretty regularly for at least a year, and make it a point to buy spinach and steal bananas from the dining hall purely for this.

Green smoothies are nothing new at this point. It feels like between every 10-12 butter laden or themed food items on foodgawker, there is a new green smoothie recipe. Well, here's another.

It might be sad to admit that I am really fond of these. They're just too healthy and easy. There was a period of two weeks where I had one everyday. Then I stopped because spinach was expensive that week ... and I think my digestive health was a little too healthy.

February 20, 2014

snickerdoodle cheesecake bars.

Big things are coming! In life, that is. Graduation in a few months is not even in my mind - there are other important things to do first.

Have (survive) a successful Dance Marathon.
Finish my thesis. (LOL. SOS.)
Run the half marathon 8K I signed up for.

And THEN, a mere few days after the end of finals period, I can don my cap and gown, stumble down the aisle to pose for a quick candid shot for my parents, and head back. A 2-minute walk and 2-hour ceremony to mark the end of my four years of higher level education.

January 31, 2014

review: Federal Donuts (in Philadelphia).

Remember when I mentioned I had gone on a road trip earlier in the year - late December into January? Well, one of the places we went to was Philly. Once there, we decided we needed to visit Federal Donuts.

Bring up just the word "donuts" in Philly, and people will direct you here. It's pretty famous, in general. They have a few locations. The one we visited was very small (as most of the best places are). They are known for offering fried chicken, donuts, and coffee. Odd combination, but I guess 2/3 are fried, so same equipment.

January 22, 2014

orange clove bars.

I feel like it's the little things that make the biggest differences in life. A little argument could blow up into the biggest deal, or reveal deeper issues. Or in a more positive light, getting lunch during Restaurant Week at Buddakan in Philly with someone I haven't talked to in forever, but was easily able to hold a conversation with, could turn out to be a very relaxing day trip.

January 6, 2014

orange cardamom meltaways.

It's interesting, how close my birthday coincides with the New Year. Two reasons to start afresh and finally implement those lifestyle changes.

Sleeping this late wasn't the plan .. I'm in bed with the glare of my laptop screen burning into my retinas, prolonging my descent into sleep even further. I took a Neuroendocrinology class where someone presented on the topic of how artificial light (from laptops, cell phones) is effective at preventing sleep, contributing to long-term problems, especially for my generation.

So much of our lives are affected by electronics. On the recent roadtrip I was in the passenger seat, and had so many electronics to handle - my phone, the driver's phone for Google Maps, Spotify, Snapchat, and my iPod for music. Oh, and my DSLR nestled carefully in my lap, being high maintenance as usual.

January 4, 2014

chocolate chip cookies III.

I just wrote a blogpost for a community service trip I'm going on soon, and doing so encouraged me to write a post here, too. Well, in addition to the fact that it's past 1 am .. I stayed up too late and am not sleepy now.

These delicious cookies were consumed partially by my brother within five minutes of their transfer from baking sheet to cooling rack his plate. The rest, I brought with me on a road trip with friends. I've been wanting to road trip for so long and it finally happened!

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