December 2009


… with my aunt’s family.  :(  At least it was a memorable one—for them, at least!

We went to Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House for dinner yesterday, one of those places where they cook the food right in front of you with fancy tapping and flipping.  Oh, and huge fires.  I was almost afraid to whip my camera out in fear that it would get burned or something!  But when I saw my cousin begin to record the procedure with his digital, I couldn’t resist…


I split a hibachi scallop dish with my sister.  It came with soup, salad, stir-fried vegetables, and steamed/fried rice.  We agreed on steamed, but it was still fun to watch the cook flip the fried rice around.  :]

I was expecting miso soup, but this turned out to be ramen noodle soup (as in, the stuff that comes in the instant noodle bowls) flecked with mushroom slices.  This was the first time in a looong time that I’ve had instant noodle soup, so it was a pleasant-ish surprise.  ;)

The salad had a peanut dressing that wasn’t very Japanese, but was pretty darn tasty.  Otherwise, it was quite uneventful—my share consisted entirely of iceberg lettuce swimming in watery peanut sauce at the b0ttom of the bowl.  Oh, the sacrifices an older sibling must make…


I ordered a hot tea, which turned out to be genmaicha, my favorite type of green tea.  The toasted brown rice adds such wonderful depth of flavor to the plain green tea.


Cooking the veggies + scallops—look at the onion volcano!


My veggie portion was pretty lame after I split it with my sister… and perhaps munched on a few pieces before the camera.  ^_^;


This isn’t the most appetizing picture, but it’s the only one I took of the scallops.  :/  I actually ended up getting a piece of shrimp as well :D  Lucky lucky~ x)  These were, again, amazing scallops—really juicy and tender, and of course, extremely aromatic.  *drool*  Maybe I really don’t hate scallops after all!  <3


I loved that the steamed rice was actually a wee bit sticky instead of the hardened, loose stuff they serve at Chinese-American places.  It smelled really good, too—I adore the smell of fresh rice.  :)  (Yes, I’m a weirdo who sniffs rice.)  Also on my plate are random fried noodles that I honestly have no idea where they come from/who ordered them…  Lucky again?  They were pretty greasy and not too different from your average fried noodles.

Perhaps the weirdest part of dinner was watching the cook carve off pieces of shortening from a giant ball of the stuff.  I’m sad that I didn’t take a picture of it—at first I seriously had no idea what it was.  My cousin had suggested they were mashed potatoes.  o__o

For some reason, I honestly was not very hungry tonight.  I just could not finish my rice and mustered only about half of the noodles before I felt bloated.  Now, seeing as that I only had half an entrée in the first place, I did not eat very much.  My family began to voice their concerns, and I tried to tell them that I was honestly full, but the more I talked, the more it sounded like I was lying.  Begin freak-out on the inside.  What do I do?  How do I tell them that I’m truly full?  How do I make them believe me? etc.

Pft.  And to think that my disordered voice thought that they thought I was a fatty for finishing my food the other night—what a load of BS.  My sole question today is: What would you do in this situation?

Good morning!  Yesterday was just *boom boom boom*, going everywhere with my aunt’s family before they leave tomorrow morning.  :/  Then it’s back to the grind for me, really—aka finishing up all the homework due after break.  Boooooooo.

I’ve been going to a hell lot of restaurants lately, even eating two meals out in one day.  o_o  Lunch yesterday was at the Eiffel Tower Café (again).  My dad suggested it—he wanted to bring his friend from China to a “European-style” restaurant.  And me?  I’m all for it, man.  They even put us in a little corner this time!  It was super cozy and awesome.  :]

After a few “issues” (“I couldn’t understand a word he said”) with the French waiter’s pronunciation and fast-paced run through the specials, my dad and his friend started off with a special arugula and endive salad with gruyère cheese and anchovies.  I had a taste—pretty tasty sans olives, which I despise, though everyone else in the world seems to love them.


This was the first time in a looong time that I had anchovies, and I forgot how salty they were!  Solution?  Stuff mouth with warm, crunchy-on-the-outside-doughy-on-the-inside baguette.  Never fails.


I told my dad’s friend that he had to try the baguette, and though he didn’t give me his opinion on it, he kept going back for more pieces throughout the meal… so I’m guessing he liked it.  ;)

I snapped a picture of the baguette, and then the nice British waitress commented on my camera.  I was completely thrown off guard—actually, I expected people to eye me weirdly for bringing a big camera into a teeny-tiny restaurant and snapping tons of photos of my food.  We had a little discussion about cameras, mostly lamenting the quality of most digital cameras, and she eventually asked me for the model.  Of course, I happily told her :]

(They recognize us probably because it’s our third time going, and we’re probably one of their few, if not their only, Asian customers.  lol.)

For the main course, I was originally going to have la crêpe du jour, chicken and vegetables, but I decided I had to get the chicken chausson with couscous after hearing the waiter’s description (i.e. finally understanding what a chausson was).  I’ve never had a savory puff pastry dish, so I knew I had to try it.  :D

Voilà.



Hmmm, not bad.  Salad = good—not too oily, and a little sour from vinegar.  Couscous = fluffy and fantabulous—I think this was cooked with chicken broth or something, because it was delish.  Puff pastry = omnomnom, flaky and buttery and amazing.  The chicken inside was yummy, but a wee bit too salty.  I drank about 5 wine glasses of water throughout the meal, building up quite a tankload without realizing it.  ^_^;   The orange sauce was a fruit-based (citrus?) sauce, I believe, to go with the chausson. The combo of sweet and savory was fantastic, and the sweetness of the sauce helped tone down the saltiness of the chicken.


My dad’s friend was a newspaper photographer at one point, so he gave me some helpful photography tips.  :]

Dessert could have been the only-at-Christmas bûche de noël, but I was stuffed, probably from the buttery puff pastry.  Ah, well—there’s always next year, right?  ;)

Dinner was at a local restaurant, Willow Creek Farm.



It was, no doubt, warm and toasty inside.  :]  The decor is apparently supposed to emulate an “American-style inn” from colonial times?  It has a really earthy, rustic feel to it.  It’s a good reminder that I’m technically in the countryside, haha.

We started off with some bread with two kinds of butter, regular and strawberry.  I’ve had strawberry butter before—it’s pretty damn tasty!  I LOVE flavored butters, almost as much as I love flavored (sweet, not savory) cream cheese.  :D  I didn’t have a slice, though, because I was still kind of full from lunch!  :|


No offense, but I don’t think this can beat baguette.

Everything on the menu looked tantalizing.  *_*  I wanted to get everything!


There was actually a big sign in the front advertising the filet mignon, but I didn’t take a picture of it.  :(  It was amusing in a weird way…

Drinks:

That water jug was so heavy! o_o

After much contemplation between gnocchi, butternut squash ravioli (MUST TRY NEXT TIME), and pulled duck salad (!!!), and other goodies, I chose the seared sea scallops.


I’ll be perfectly honest here—I didn’t choose this dish for the scallops originally.  I was intrigued by the various sides (besides spinach, lol), which included pancetta, parsnip purée, and sweet potato gaufrettes.


I consulted with my cousin about gaufrettes, and he described it as some sort of “little cake”?  Anyway, I wasn’t expecting sweet potato crisps.  But they were delicious anyway, and I ate all of ‘em.  :D


Oh, and I just looked up pancetta on Wikipedia, and am delighted to know that it’s cured pork belly.  That stuff is incredible, seriously.  Actually, everything about this dish was incredible, sans the spinach, which was just… spinach.  To tell you the truth, I never really liked scallops before.  I always found them tough, rubbery, and virtually flavorless, but now I realize that they must’ve just been prepared in an unappealing way!  The waitress told me that the chef recommended the meat to be medium-rare, so I went with that, and boy am I glad I did!  These babies were juicy, savory, tender, and transformed my outlook on scallops entirely.  I’ll still be wary of them because of the tendency to overcook them, but OMG… I was totally not expecting to adore them.

The parsnip purée was surprisingly delicious, too.  I don’t know what they put in it (I should’ve asked…), but it was freaking amazing—buttery (well, I wonder what one ingredient was) and just a tad sweet.  I’ve never even eaten a real parsnip before, but if this is what they taste like, then I need to go buy some.  Like, now.  And purée them to a pulp with my new blender.  :]

Good things aside, I can’t deny that this dinner threw some disordered thoughts into my head post-meal.  I finished everything on my plate, and my mom and aunt commented that I could eat a lot, that I finished my whole meal, etc.  That old voice started to talk to me:

Look, you finished the WHOLE THING, you fatty!  You’re going to get so fat from this.  Even your mom and your aunt noticed!  FATSO!  Why didn’t you leave a few bites on your plate?  We should have a three-bite rule—at LEAST three bites must be left on your plate when you finish eating!

I thought about that last bit twice, and then I told the voice to f-off.  It can’t pull me down anymore.  Just going over those ridiculous thoughts makes me realize how truly stupid they are.  I encourage all of those who are struggling with these same thoughts to try to replay them in your mind and really try to listen to what ED/DE is telling you.  For example, leave three bites on my plate for every meal I eat?  WTF?  What if I’m hungry?  What if the portion is small, like tonight’s?  Why the hell should I institute such arbitrary rules?  Why should I take away my own freedom?

So I ate three damn scallops.  So I ate some spinach and a thin layer of parsnip purée and three 1-centimeter cubes of pancetta.  So what? It’s not like I’m stuffing myself till my ribcage explodes or eating so fast that my stomach hurts (poor cousin).  I’m treating my body well.  I can eat out during the holidays—I can eat out, period, and not worry about calories and fat and weight.  As long as I trust my body, I can do anything.

Sorry for the little speech there—I’ll get off my soapbox now.  ^_^;  Alright, ladies, I’m off—I hope you guys have an amazing day!

Q1: Do you like olives?  If so, is there a food that most people seem to like, but you don’t?
Q2: What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
Q3: Have you ever disliked something the first time, but liked it the second time?

I’m getting addicted to the shutter-clicky noise of the camera.  It’s just so satisfying for some reason… Every click leads to a pretty pic.  :]

Santa was super nice to me this year.  ;)  Besides the camera, I also received iPod speakers (!):


miscellaneous chocolates and candy canes

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the blender from auntie and uncle :]

Godiva goodie bag (err, mug)


and best of all…


A GIFT CARD TO TRADER JOE’S!  :D  My parents know me so scarily well, I love it.

Breakfast this morning was light—another deconstructed banana hammock.  This one was topped with peanut butter, cinnamon, the last of the raisin container, pepitas, and a dollop of whipped cream.  Is it weird that for whipped cream, I only like fat-free Reddi-Whip?  I find the “regular” and “heavy” versions too cloying and “buttery”-tasting, but the fat-free kind is light and sweet.  Mmmmm.  I eat that stuff straight from the can, no shame.  ;)



This one isn’t backlit… HUGE difference.

Many of the blogs I’ve been reading up on lately have discussed topics pertaining to the lack of freedom around the holidays that one has (or should I say, does not have) when dealing with EDs or disordered eating.  A couple of years ago, I was in this trap as well.  Hell, my goal wasn’t even to enjoy the holiday, the break from school, and the wonderful company—it was to not get fat. Holiday feasting?  Nada. DE thoughts were rampant:

Eat as little as possible, so in case everyone eats a big dessert, you’ll have “spare calories” (whatever the hell that means) for it.

Do jumping jacks every night to burn off all the calories from the “feast.” What?  WHAT FEAST?!?!

I look back and I wonder how the hell I could have ever been so ridiculous.  1000 jumping jacks?  Every night?!  What kind of sane person does that?!  I think about all of the times when I could have been socializing with family I hadn’t seen in months, or enjoying some delicious holiday cooking, when instead, I was worrying about my weight, my figure, and the damn calories in the food.

Last night, I was eating some TJ’s popcorn macadamia nut clusters (something like that), which are basically clumps of caramelized popcorn and macadamia nuts.  It’s sweet, but it’s damn good.  My cousin and I ate it while watching Spiderman.  As I munched and crunched on the rich, buttery goodness, I thought about how just a couple of years ago, I would never have let myself even have a bite of the popcorn that late at night (it was around 11 PM).  Not only would I have been scared that I was going to overeat, but I would have also thought that I was going to get fat overnight from eating it.  Fat from a few measly pieces of (delicious) popcorn.  How ridiculous!  I would have pulled out the fat-free caramel popcorn that my mom also bought at TJ’s and maybe ate a few pieces of that, but last night, I was able to look at the fat-free crap, scoff at it (it tastes fake and gross), and stick my hand into the jar with the full-fat, yummy stuff.

In no way am I trying to make myself seem above all of those who are struggling with this.  Rather, I offer my full support and sympathy, because I have been through this.  I know what it’s like to have ED/DE shouting, and I know the sick feeling of being pleased by refusing food.  I know the constant worrying about weight and calories, especially around the holidays, and I remember too clearly the fear foods.  I am proud of all of the ladies who pushed through this and conquered their ED for the holidays this year, and said “screw you” by picking up a fear food and trying it.  It honestly gets less scary the more you do it.  Trust me!

Q1: What fear food(s) did you conquer this holiday?
Q2: Favorite type of popcorn? I think my answer is pretty clear, haha.
Q3: Anyone braving the hoards at the mall today for some sales? I know I’m not…
4: Don’t forget to enter Chocolate-Covered Katie’s Wild Bar giveaway!

Alright, I’m off for today.  Thank you for all of the sweet comments about the photos—I’m still practicing, and it really encouraged me! Have a wonderful day!!!


It’s CANON that we’re in love.  <3  Too bad I can’t take a beautiful self-portrait (of Mr. Canon, I mean, hehe).  Here’s another pic-heavy post coming your way, although I love that you guys care for the words, too.  :]

When were unshelled sunflower seeds so beautiful?


When Canon took them.  My mom was amazed… looks like she got her money’s worth :]

Christmas dinner was like Thanksgiving dinner without mashed potatoes.  We had turkey, because apparently, my aunt has never had a real turkey before.  O_o  Sounds pretty crazy to me, but I guess they just have Chinese food (for the Canadian Thanksgiving)?

Pics~



Turkey, salad, corn, and canned cranberry sauce.  Stuffing came later. :]

Let me reiterate how much better this is than my old camera, as seen by their performances in low-light settings (looking at the kabocha pie pics should give you a valid comparison).  Let me reiterate how much I freaking adore this camera.  Let me reiterate how much I freaking adore this camera.

I’m in the process of clearing out my memory card, because the SLR pics take up a LOT more space.  Around 3 MB per photo! Maybe I should ask for an 8GB memory card for my birthday… kidding, of course.  :P  How weird would that be?  “I want a memory card for my birthday, Mom/Dad.”  Then again, this is coming from the girl who asked (and received) for a blender for Christmas.  o__o  A creative solution to this problem would be to change the image size on the camera.

Oh, and those cookies I said I was going to bake?  We ended up not baking them :/  We had just finished watching It’s a Wonderful Life on TV (damn commercial breaks…), and then we opened presents, and then soon enough, it turned out to be 1 AM!  O_O  And we. were. pooped.  Pooped, but happy.  :D  I’ll think up something else to make with those ingredients… somehow…


Oh, and since the raindeer came, it was icky outside today.  :D  I basically stayed inside all day, watching movies, playing video games, and of course, practicing with my new camera :]


And now for a side of funnies…

I’m less inappropriate than my mother thinks, honest.

Yesterday was my first time making a real, traditional snowman—as in, packing together snowballs and rolling them around in the snow, stacking them atop one another and decorating with hats, scarves, carrots, and apples (eyes… they were small apples!).  We went a little un-traditional with the mouth (though I really have no idea what you’re supposed to use) and used a banana for a big smile.  At least, that was the plan. My cousin went in to get the banana and you know what my mom and my aunt (her younger sister) thought it was going to be for?!?!…

… Yes, you’re right.  Three kids building a snowman.  Can anything in life be more innocent?!

*sigh*

Anyway, I hope you all are having a lovely, holly jolly Christmas :]

Get ready for a photo-heavy, sparsely-worded post…

With Christmas presents just two days away, I try to remind myself about of the less fancy schmancy joys in life.  As Katie pointed out, the simple, thoughtful gifts are the most precious ones.  I appreciate a jar of homemade cookie mix tied with a pretty ribbon much more than a carelessly purchased box of fancy chocolates.  Sunlight glittering on snow is entrancing, as are the wonderful blue-green hues of early morning.  The view from a rooftop in the midst of winter darkness—


Pre-snowstorm.

Indescribable.  Now, why can’t I be so easily pleased when it comes to myself?  -_-

Well anyway, today, I immersed myself in simple pleasures.  :D



I love me some dried fruit, especially when I’ve dried my own (the banana and bartlett pear slices).  Just stick ‘em in the oven for more than a couple hours @ 175*F, and voila, the notion never to buy dried fruit again comes up.  :]  Why buy flattened bananas when I can make my own?

Though I’m absolutely in love with TJ’s dried calimyrna figs.  So chewy and meaty and crunchy from the seeds… love fleshy dried fruits.  This one has a nice coating of creamy almond butter.

Q1: What are your simple pleasures?
Q2: What’s your favorite dried fruit? Persimmons and figs are mine, definitely.  <3
Q3: Less words and more eye candy?  Or vice-versa?

G: What are the implications of the word “X-Naut”? I’m thinking tissues, personally.  (Get it?  You get it??)

Oh, and punny things are another one of my simple pleasures.  :o)  Have a wonderful holiday, my dear blogpeeps, if you celebrate it.  If not, have a wonderful December 24th + 25th!  :]

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Contrary to this lovely event not too long ago, I’m being the good little hostess my mum would be proud of.  I’ve been accompanying my lil’ cousin in whatever games he wants to play all day.  We’ve been rockin’ out on the pool table (my first time = yesterday, to give you an idea of how badly he beat me.  le sigh.), computer games that I can’t play for my life, and GameCube games, which I haven’t touched in years.  Ahhh, the nostalgia.  Anyone else a video game nerd?  Anyone?  I loved this man for many, many years.  :]  The music’s pretty awesome, too—it’s on my iPod x)

It’s also pretty hilarious hearing my cousin curse at the TV screen while watching a little paper Italian plumber run around and make funny noises.  He also gets “cursed” by evil black boxes that give him new abilities, like being able to fold into a paper airplane or a sailboat.  You open the black box and scary cartoony music plays, and the controller shakes with the evil laughter… but you can’t get anywhere if you aren’t cursed.

I realize that I complain a hell of a lot of the time.  At least 50% of my life is probably going to be spent complaining (thinking pessimistically, as always), and I get through the drudgery of the school day by ranting and whining to my friends.  It’s not the best approach to life, but it does manage to relieve some of my stress and “spice” up the monotony of the day.  Whenever I feel like I’ve failed a test, I wail, “Ahhhh I faaaaailed that tessst!  :( :( :(”  Whenever I get assigned a new project or debate chart >:(, I groan and grumble and complain until I get sick of myself.  At the end of the day, when I think about how much homework I have to do, or how much I should be doing to get ahead, blah blah blah.

But only through hardship have I learned how to be persistent and efficient.  Only through being pushed to my limits has taught me the importance of moderation.  Only through being stressed to the brink of (non-literal) explosion have I learned what my limits are and how to forgive myself.  I’m viewing half of the events in my life as “curses,” when I would have probably been doomed as an impossible glutton without them.  I need to open those evil black boxes of doom, or else I’ll never get any closer to my full potential as a person.  I’ll never be able to advance through life.

Whoa.  Sorry about that long-winded tangent I went off on.  o_o  I was just typing and typing and typing, and whaddya know…

ONTO FOOD!

Eats have not been lacking lately.  In fact, last night, I ate a GIANT slice of Costco pumpkin pie, which was really not that tasty… and it gave me an even more giant stomachache.  :(  No dessert for me tonight.  Lunch, on the other hand, was exceptionally tasty, especially this delicious quinoa stir-fried (like fried rice) with bell peppers, green onions, chicken, and shrimp.  Topped with raisins, pine nuts, and a wonderful layer of melty shredded three-cheese blend from TJ’s.

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Nutty, meaty, sweet, cheesy, and FLUFFY.  Rice may be the ultimate comfort food, but quinoa is like, the ultimate grain texture-wise.  Then again, I don’t have much experience with grains.  I still need to try couscous, millet, barley, etc…

Q1: What’s a “blessing in disguise” you’ve encountered recently?
Q2: What’s your favorite grain/what grain would you recommend I try? :]
G (for GAG :]): Are YOU a video game/Nintendo nerd, or was I just spewing nonsense this entire post?

I can’t believe my cousin is still playing.  o_o  Don’t his eyes start to hurt???  Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful evening!  I’m proud to say that I’ve only done an hour of homework today.  :]

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Glory to the WINTER BREAK that has finally come!!!!!!  Thank you, weather gods!  Thank you, thick blanket of snow that shook them to their senses and made the cancel school for the week!  THANK YOU FOR TWO WEEKS OF (mostly) BLISS.

(Unfortunately, this also pushes my two tests back to after the vacay… but whatever—let’s focus on the good stuff, hm?!)

Anyway, I ended up not jamming to music while shoveling the insane amount of snow that was clogging up our driveway yesterday.  I was afraid that I was going to jam aimlessly and drop my iPod into the foot-deep snow, because I’m just prone to doing stupid things like that.  -_-;  Oh, and after shoveling in solemnity for about two hours, my right arm was as limp as lettuce.  Not. Cool. Thus the solemnity.  Today, the true soreness has kicked in and I am hurtin’. My neck aches.  My arms ache.  My shoulders ache… see?  See how weak I am?  That was the best strength workout I’ve had in my life!  (BTW, push-ups are my mortal enemy.  I do 10 and collapse—maybe not even 10 anymore?!)

My little cousin with his (wealthy) parents will be arriving this afternoon.  I’m not that eager to hang out with him, but apparently, he cried when we left his house two Christmases ago?!  O_o  I’m not quite sure why, but it definitely tugs at my heartstrings a bit…

Oh, and apparently, his voice is starting to change… bahahaha.  Isn’t that phase in little boys hilarious?  ;)

I’m going to try to get all my homework done ASAP, or else it’ll be hanging over my head like a storm cloud the entire holiday.  :/  That would not be fun.

Highlight of today was definitely breakfast—a very festive oatmeal! :]

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I call this “festive” because of the medley of colorful toppings that remind me of holiday decor.  :]  ‘Course, the brown background represents the Christmas tree, because I just don’t do green oats.  ;)  Dark chocolate-cinnamon oats with dried cranberries, dried ginger, dried blueberries, and sunflower seeds.  My other seed love is definitely sunflower seeds.  So rich-tasting!

jeweled cinnamon dark chocolate_2

Q1: Do you have any… “interesting” family members?
Q2: What’s your least favorite strength workout?
SEMI-GAG: Are you a klutz?

Alright.  I’m off to tackle my other mortal enemy, homework.  >:(  But before I go, I have to mention that I got 9 whole hours of sleep last night.  Ka-ching!~ :D  I don’t think that’s happened in months! Maybe even a year?!  Anyway, I’m brimming with energy even though it’s the late afternoon, when I’m usually half asleep.  Yay!

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