… and this:

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Poor trees!  Everything is drowned in snow.  There is no way they’re going to open schools tomorrow, seeing as how we lack the awesome snow-removing equipment of the more northern states (and Canada, lol).  Maybe not even for Friday.  NY trip = as good as rescheduled.  Please cancel the bio field trip.  Please, please, please… I love how my bio teacher is the only one who doesn’t keep us posted on schedule changes.  We’re not seriously going to just keep using the calendar from the beginning of February that is now completely invalid?!

Sigh.  Well, let’s talk burgers.

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After turning my failed spaghetti squash-black bean pancakes (with no eggs for a binder… thank you, rustique! ;]) into baked “burger” patties, I well, built a burger from it.  I confess: I’ve always hated veggie burgers.  “Gimme the real stuff!” I would proclaim in elementary school as I stood in line in the cafeteria with my pink Styrofoam tray, eager to grab my burger and baked potato wedges.  Well, those burgers were actually straight-up nasty. But they weren’t as horrible as the veggie burger I grabbed by mistake in my rush to stuff my face one day.

*shudder*

I’ve mostly avoided veggie burgers since then.  However, the ones I ordered at Ruby Tuesday’s not too long ago (or at least it seemed that way) weren’t so bad, so I decided that maybe veggie burgers aren’t evil after all.

Cue crazy burger ingredients time!

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I actually bought this jam awhile ago, but it’s just been sitting in my pantry unopened, since I had all these other random jams /fruit butters still open and waiting to be eaten.  Well, I finally finished my vanilla-cantaloupe jam from I-don’t-want-to-think-about-how-long ago, so I decided that it was time to open the fig jam.

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Spread it on a Thomas English muffin like so.  It’s really, really sweet, so just a little was enough for a flavor pop.
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This is a post-toaster oven picture of the whole thing.  On the right, we have the last of the emmental cheese (in cubes) sprinkled with a little fine sea salt (I’m saving coarse for something else) with the last of the roasted cashew pieces atop the fig jam.  I forgot how delicious cashews tasted charred. My tastebuds threw a party. Spicy, hint-of-miso-flavored burger + sweet fig jam + nutty, rich cheese + CHARRED, CRUNCHY CASHEWS (self-explanatory) = holy flavor explosion.

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And on the left, we have the burger.

Of course, no burger is complete without a side of fries.  However, seeing as I was too lazy to slice potatoes, season them, preheat the oven, and wait, I settled with my new favorite snack from TJ’s: lentil-potato crispy things.  I forget what they’re really called, but they’re absolutely amazing.  Potato-y from the potato, but with a new dimension of nuttiness from the lentil flour, and perfectly crispy and airy.  If you have a TJ’s nearby, get these ASAP!

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I’m obsessed.

Threw a few edamame crackers in there, too…

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Holy. freaking. yum. :]  I’m going to try and perfect this recipe (or a similar one), hopefully one that solidifies the first time I fry it.  :P

Yesterday was spent watching FFVII: Advent Children Complete, playing Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, and finishing up a bio note card for Chapter 37 at 2 AM.  o__o  Erm… well, I had to get something done, ya?  The thing is, though I woke up four hours later than usual, so it balances. out.  :]  5 AM on school day vs. 9 AM?  I take the latter.  x)

Things to accomplish today:
* Chemistry problems
* Reading for 3 chemistry chapters (midterm prep)
* Chapter 38 note card
* Chapter 35-36 articles
* Finish the vertebrate notes chart for hominoids/hominids.  I’ve been putting this off because I haven’t been having bio, and the last thing I want is to study and forget everything by the time I actually have to know it!
* Bake cookies if there is school tomorrow. It was my friend’s birthday yesterday, and I already had the cookie dough prepared, but *BAM* no school.  I hate living so far away from all my friends.  I can’t go to gatherings as frequently (e.g. the one yesterday for her birthday), and I don’t have anyone in the vicinity who(m?) I really know or can talk to.  I’m living practically in the middle of nowhere, close to the ‘burbs but not close to my friends, my school, or my dad.  :(

The cookies were an experiment. Maybe not the wisest thing to do, seeing as this is my first time baking cookies!  I’ll let you guys know how it goes once they’re done!  :]

Q1: What is your favorite burger combo?
Q2: Have you ever felt isolated from your friends?  How did you deal with it? Give a girl some advice.  :(  Email + Facebook don’t quite cut it for me…

Love you ALL!
ox ~ c a n d i c e *

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I don’t know where to begin.

I don’t know how I should begin to tell you guys how happy I was when I took a break from my reading/collaging/venting/crying to check my inbox.  All of your wonderful comments were neatly chained together in an email from WordPress, and the warmth that I felt after reading every one of them was just… astounding.  I’m not really a “online confession” type of person to begin with—I’d take a handwritten letter over a ten-page email any day.  I find online communication to be very impersonal, and it’s frightening to me how much easier it is to lie and pretend to be courageous when I know that no one can see my tears.

But yesterday, I looked in my inbox and received a big, fat “Hello, welcome to blogland” thump in the head.  For the first time, I had poured my true feelings out for the world wide web to see in the moments succeeding complete hysteria.  This is the real blogging community that so many others have written praise and thanks for—a community built on mutual love and support, with comfort during the dark hours and funny emoticons and exclamation marks during the brighter ones.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all.  And by the way, I’ve got your backs, girlies.  ;)

Here’s an excerpt of a post I wrote a couple of days ago and was planning to publish before… stuff happened.  I don’t want to let it go to waste, so I’m just putting this out there!

~ * ~

I have an innate distrust in weathermen.  There were too many instances when I was younger where I would hear even the mention of snow and grow ecstatic, because school was going to be canceled!… and then nothing.  Or that a huge tornado was coming our way, take cover or die!…. annnd nothing.  To this day, whenever I hear “snow” or “hurricane” or any kind of news about possible inclement weather, my brain automatically pops the question, Will school be canceled? 

Well, as Google Weather promised, it began to snow this morning.  Light, almost invisible flakes streamed down from the sky—the kind of snow that you can only see clearly for an instant when the wind picks up and pushes the trillions of tiny snowflakes together.  I watched them, not with the cute little smile of a fourth-grader who found out that she would be able to play in the snow, but with the sullen, wrinkly frown of an eighty-year-old grandma, cursing the fact that she ran out of flour to bake with for her granddaughter’s birthday cake.  With the snow, the roads are muuuch too dangerous to go out and get it now…

But no, I’m not that grandma—not yet, anyway.  With my supposed-to-be-observant science nerd analytical skills, the first thing I infer from the scenery is that “It ain’t enough for them to cancel school.”

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-___-;

Yes, because it’s Saturday, and the school board will have to “argue” about that anyway… Sigh.  I think I’ll be trapped in this mindset until I am a grandma, unless I move to SoCal or Florida or a place where I will never have to think like that again.  Actually, I think I just may be on an equal level with a grandma now.  After all, I go to all these restaurants where old grandmas gather and eat and wear antique pearls and sweaters and chat about… well, who knows what they chat about…

What would’ve tied this whole post together is a breakfast with a sprinkling of coconut shavings as a foodie imitation of freshly fallen snow.  Or even a schmear of the coconut butter that I wanted to, but never did buy, at least not this week.  But alas, I’m going to spend the next couple of days desperately trying to eat up my Great Harvest Sunflower Crunch bread, because according to Kath, it takes at least a week for it to go stale.  … Oops… it’s already been more than a week!  Putting things in perspective, though, I’m the only one who eats it, and I only have about one-fourth of it left.  ‘Sides, if it does indeed become stale, I can always make bread pudding with it, à la Mitri.  Or croutons.  ;)

So here was breakfast yesterday…
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 A proper picture of my raw cheese-and-butter-on-toast-with-sea salt action. 
… what a healthy combo, hehe…

… and today:

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Two slices of toasted Sunflower Crunch with vanilla-cantaloupe-green tea jam (jam + matcha powder).  Sides of knife and crumbs.

Vanilla and green tea make quite a delicious balance of rich tinged with bitterness.

~ * ~

I’ll be off now.  I have to study, study, STUDY for my giant history test tomorrow, and I’m basically brain-dead from attempted creative thinking for about two and a half hours.  Sigh.  Beginning of the new semester = tougher workload begins.  We’re doing spontaneous essays in bio now, too—fun stuff!  :D D:  Yeah… I’ll try not to completely obsess over my work.  What’s sad is that all the stereotypes about my school are true.  I die a little inside when I see the skinny guys in glasses congregating in the halls discussing physics theories and calculator programming.  Or the guy in one of my classes who runs to his precalc teacher at every possible opportunity and got a 106.2% in his class… or, something that I discovered last night: there are such things as Starcraft parties. 

Won’t comment on that.  I’ll do my best to keep posted on what’s going down with you lovely bloggettes, and until then… peace :)

ox ~ candice

Somehow, I found two containers of the new chocolate Oikos greek yogurt in the refrigerator this morning.  Naturally, even though it wasn’t the beloved caramel flavor, I had to try one.  Me and greek yogurt are just meant to be.

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But you know, it’s an unbalanced relationship.  I’m so stupid, so yogurt is always exasperated with me.  I have to eat it quickly, before it leaves me…

So, I lacerated the covering and the first thing that popped into my mind was, “Hm, this looks like plain yogurt to me.  I guess they didn’t use artificial colors!  :D”  But alas, when I tasted it, I thought, “Erm, this doesn’t really taste all that chocolatey.  Am I missing something?!”  And then my spoon hit the bottom of the container.  VoilàI found a magic pile of cocoa powder and chocolate chips just waiting to be mixed with the—yes—plain, yogurt.  Oh gosh, what a concept!

Note the dramatic change in color after the proper mixing was done:

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The verdict?  Eh. I mean, it was tasty enough, but I could’ve just added chocolate chips and dark cocoa powder to plain greek yogurt and gotten the same result.  Caramel, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult to recreate.  I’ll have to track down that flavor ASAP.  ;)  And speaking of things to track down, has blood orange season begun already?  If so, then I need to get my hands on some of those ASAP.  They’re my favorite type of winter citrus.  :)

Random breakfast items this week also included a delightfully runny microwaved egg topped with a sprinkling of wakame furikake

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Hello, my half-eaten beauty.

Slices toasted Great Harvest sunflower crunch with melted raw milk cheese were frequent, hearty additions to breakfasts during the week.  Why?  It’s ‘cause they’re pure. heaven. I’ve been eating this bread every single day since I bought it less than a week ago!  I’ve single-handedly consumed about half of my loaf already!  It’s just so good, and I’m a total bread + carb-a-holic, so I can’t resist… it calls my name every time I see it sitting on the kitchen counter!  P:

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Sorry that all of my pics in this post are an ugly yellow tint—I wake up when it’s literally pitch black outside, so I have to resort to unnatural, icky fluorescent lights to shoot my breakfast foods.  :|  I’ll try to get a proper shot of the melty-cheesy-toasted bread sometime.   It’s just too tasty to not be commemorated properly!  :]

I have a four-day weekend this week (end of the semester, woo-hoo~), but it’s totally packed.  Tomorrow, I’ll be up by 7 AM—“late” for many other bloggers, I know—for a one hour-drive to a classmate’s house to work on our English project for The Canterbury Tales. And I wonder why I go to this school, where everyone lives so far apart.  -_-  This was one of the rare “creative” assignments our teacher gives, so we’re basically doing a giant collage of two rather sketchy women from the works.  Ever since I stopped taking art, I haven’t gotten the chance to partake in a real, artsy-craftsy project, so it’s been a lot of fun.  :]  I miss just hanging around in art class sometimes…

I stayed after school today to attend a lecture at Carnegie Hall about genomes and sex.  It was so much more interesting than the first one I went to, which was basically two old men spewing arcane, monotonous nonsense (to me, at least).  I couldn’t help but sleep through practically the entire thing last time (the man’s voice was just so dull), but the biologist this time had an Australian accent, which automatically perked things up a bit.  I could also understand what she was talking about, so I only found myself on the brink of dozing off simply because I was drained from the week.  I think I did okay on the math midterm today, but it seems that whenever I feel okay about something, it turns out to be the opposite.  And vice-versa.  School is a vicious mind game for me…

By the way, I packed the best. sandwich. ever. for dinner tonight.  I didn’t photograph it, of course, since I won’t risk lugging my precious SLR to school with a bunch of heavy binders and textbooks.  It consisted of two thick slices of sunflower crunch, a smear of cilantro-jalapeno hummus from Trader Joe’s on one slice and vanilla-cantaloupe jam on the other, a few shavings of the amazing raw milk cheese, and two slices of deli ham.  Chewy, dense, crunchy bread + spicy hummus + sweet, deeply vanilla-flavored jam + rich, aromatic cheese + salty ham = sdfijsofjsdiofj. Yup.

I think I’m going to keep track of the little things from now on.  It’ll be fun to look back on this stuff and descry all these little tidbits of life right now.  The big things are important, but the details make everything all the more interesting and personal.  Plus, things like a schoolwork schedule will hopefully keep my guilty conscious strong when I slack off.  :D

Craving of the Day
* Dolsot bibimbap. I’ve been craving it all week…

Grocery List
* Goat milk yogurt
* Sunflower seed butter
* Coconut butter
* Crazy Richard’s creamy peanut butter (Yes, I buy a LOT of nut butter.)
* Toasted black sesame seeds (I go through these things too quickly!)
* Multigrain Puffins (must try)
* Chocolate calcium chews
* Gum
* Vosges chocolate

Things to Accomplish: 01/29/10
* English group project
* Chemistry midterm studying: chapters 11-12
* Chemistry lab report (finished tonight, 10:40-ish, woot!)
* Biology reading: Chapter 34 (VERTEBRATES!  Ugh.)
* Chapter 35 note card

Q1: What’s the BEST sandwich you’ve ever created?
Q2: How do you hide the fact that you are asleep during a lecture?
Q3: Are you a carb-a-holic?  Veggie-craver?  Carnivore?
Q4: What’s YOUR craving of the day?

Okay, I be going to beddie now.  But tonight… not without a prayer.  Let me try this again.  I need to find a little peace before the busy days commence…

Hello all!  How has your Saturday Sunday Monday been going?

… What?  I’m posting on a weekday?  Without homework nailing me into my chair?  I can kneel on the floor and blog?!  (Yes, I do!)

Score.  :D  Sweet freedom comes only once in a blue Pandora, and I’m going to savor it.  By blogging, of course.  ;)

To start off, I’ll recap some of my Sunday eats.  A portion of breakfast was brought to you by my first loaf of Great Harvest bread, the sunflower crunch, which was dense, chewy, and chock-full of nuts and tiny yellow grains…

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… and most importantly, circular!  I was super excited to go to a real bakery and buy a real, circular loaf of bread.  <3  I don’t think I ever want to go back to elongated buttock bread!  See the lovely sunflower pattern on the bread, complete with a seed in the center?  I’m not really sure what the yellow grains are, but they do help to make it delightfully crunchy.  :)  I like dense, chewy breads just as much as I love fluffy, soft ones.

I decided to have my second taste of this bread (LOVE the fact that they give such generous samples) with a savory twist:

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A simple schmear of butter and shaved raw milk cheese was all this needed to taste great.  Sooo much richness from the cheese… and so fun to shave off with a knife!  :D  Cheese ‘n buttah really do make everything better (I actually typed “butter”…).  I would include bacon in that statement, except it failed here.

Lunch included a lovely jewel yam from Whole Foods from waaaay back when.  Apparently, sweet potatoes last a long time, and I’m grateful for that, because this was divine.  Ah, nothing like a roasted sweet potato.  Not as sinfully delicious as my precious Japanese sweet potatoes, but it was tasty in its own lovely, orange right! 

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Savory was the name of the game on Sunday.  After roasting in the oven at 375* for a little more than an hour till it was hot and caramelized, I topped it with more shavings of raw milk cheese, crushed, addicting edamame crackers from Trader Joe’s, and pepita dust.  Mmmm… creamy and luscious from the sweet potato and the cheese that melted on it… made just salty enough by the pepita dust and crackers.  <3

Speaking of pepita dust, Oster’s customer service told me that a new blender should be arriving in two to three weeks.  Pray that this one won’t be as flimsy and break down after the first go…

Except for the beginning (I woke up ten minutes before I was supposed to leave), today was fairly relaxing for me, which was much appreciated after the everyday-sucks routine of last week.  I basically did nothing except take a test, which I do not think I did well on.  Invertebrates are hell, I say… the fact that I didn’t remember that crustaceans have two pairs of antennae killed me doubly.  Ugh.  -_-  Not a good start to the new semester, but you know what?  I’m not going to let this bring me down.  This cannot nullify the joy of freedom that I’ve felt all day!  Laughing, drawing funny pictures, listening to music, snacking on junky Snyder’s honey mustard pretzels (damn. addicting.)… can’t be beat :D  One test failed?  I can make it up with like, twenty more!  :) 

Q1: What texture do you like in a bread?  Dense and chewy or fluffy are both fine with me, but I dislike “hard” breads that are hard to bite.  :/
Q2: Sweet or savory?

Have a lovely evening, ladies!  I wish you all a week filled with joy and relaxation :)

Hello everyone!  I’m still alive here after my Week-from-Hell #2.  Done with three midterms, two tests, and three quizzes—score. I only have 1 midterm next week and another the week after, and then it’s back to the regular testing routines.  … Hurray?!  :) (:

My brain has been fried for about two weeks now, and my short-term memory has basically shut down entirely (past cramming biology into my head).  I actually had to think for awhile before I could remember what I wanted to recap for this post.  -_-;

Breakfast on a date that has been shoved out of my brain was this lovely bowl of cereal with my first pouring of original Pacific almond milk.

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It was eh. I forgot to buy the unsweetened kind (if there is such thing), so this tasted really watery and well, unpleasantly sweet.  :/  I think I’ll just stick with Almond Breeze from here on out.

This is a lunch prepped on another random day was a random mixture of leftovers that I was trying to use up.  This had leftover spicy tofu, shredded Mexican cheese from TJ’s, and leftover salad. Obligatory toasted sesame seeds and wakame-rice ball furikake are obligatory.

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Annnd another date stuffed with grainy peanut butter and sea salt.

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Dee-lee-cious.  :)

As for this, there is only one lonely square of this milk chocolate bacon bar left now…

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It wasn’t as good as I expected.  The bacon bit-chocolate flavors don’t really meld together—when I eat it, I just taste bacon, salt, and then chocolate.  Muuuch prefer the goji bar. You can never go wrong with a pink bar of chocolate.  :)

On Friday afternoon after school, I went to a Great Harvest Bread Co. bakery for the first time.  I had actually wanted to go last week, but it closes pretty early (around 5-ish), so we were too late.  :(  This week, we arrived ten minutes from closing time, in which I tried three different types of bread and bought two of ‘em.  I call it my “reward” for getting out of this week alive.  :)  I’ll save that for another post, though, since this one’s picture-heavy enough as it is!  It was really exciting though, since I’ve never bought “real” bread from a bakery before.

The weekly Friday night dinner out was at Bazin’s on Church, which had (mostly) rave reviews on Yelp!.  Though it was a little noisy—it’s a small place, and the bar was just a few feet away from us—the food was très delicieux. :)  I think this was one of the only three-course meals I’ve ever had?!

I loved the decor.  I felt so warm inside!  :)

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The location was pretty awesome, too, with lots of big windows and pretty holiday lights.  Even if the candles were fake.  ;)

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The feast began with a bit of warm bread and butter and the butternut squash agnolotti, which was basically butternut squash ravioli with sage sauce and crumbled amaretti cookies.  It reminded me of the first meal out I photographed (and wrote about), pumpkin ravioli.  Creamy, buttery outside with a surprisingly sweet, fluffy filling.  “Special,” said my father.  :)  But, um, where are the cookie crumbs?

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Maybe they drowned in the sauce.

For my main course, I made a historic decision in the course of eating out [in my life]—I ordered red meat for the first time!!!  I usually go for seafood, salads, or carbalicious dishes, but I’ve never ordered red meat at a restaurant before (not a DE thing—I was like this before all that jazz, too).  I’m not much of a steak person, and I find BBQ ribs annoyingly messy—you could say I’m picky with red meat.  But this… this was amazing.

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The toughness of red meat is the one thing that puts me off about it, so I was surprised and excited by the super, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of this.  I guess there’s a reason it’s called tender pecan pork?  The pecans added a whole other dimension to the meat with their prevailing, deeply toasted and nutty flavor, and the vanilla sweet potatoes had a real, pronounced vanilla flavor, and they weren’t cloyingly sweet, thank goodness.  :)  Perfectly balanced out the umami of the meat.  The roasted baby spinach was a bit too salty, but I loved the roastyness that roasted foods have (oh yeah, I’m specific), and the fact that it wasn’t a complete pile of mush.  And, as much as I was excited for it, the bourbon-bacon sauce was just average.  Is bourbon sour?  The sauce certainly was…

For a little sweetness to end the meal, my sis picked a key lime pie with coconut-macaroon crust and chantilly cream for the three of us to share:

The coconut-macaroon crust was amazing, even though I’ve never had a macaroon in my life.  Totally stuffed with coconut, and huge shreds of it at that.  The pie itself, on the other hand, was not nearly as sour as the ones I ate by the busload in Florida.  In fact, it was a bit too sweet.  I needed periodic dips into the fluffy and perfectly sweet chantilly cream to cleanse my palate.  ;)

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I was originally planning to post all of this on Friday night, but spontaneously made the decision to see Avatar.  It was a 9:40 PM showing, and being the wonderful three hours that it is, ended at 12:30-ish… thus, I got home around 1:15 the next morning.  o_o  Being the goody-goody that I am, I’ve never stayed out that late before.  I beat my record by more than an hour… whew.

But OMG… it was completely worth it. To see this?

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original image from
here

Heck yes.  I loved, loved, loved this movie.  The fantasy world totally drew me in with the lush CGI and brilliantly imagined flora and fauna.  The whole thing was just explosive with its color and life—immersive and completely believable once you’re drawn in.  I mean, bioluminescent organisms?!  All of them?!  Synapses and exposed nerve endings?!  <3  This was a feast for the eyes (and the mind!) and a thousand times better than Twilight. I think I’m going to become an Avatar geek or something.  Gosh, I’d kill to see this in IMAX 3D!

Q1: What do you look for in a restaurant setting? I like quiet restaurants… can’t stand bars :/  (But I’d go back to Bazin’s on Church for the food!!!)
Q2: What do you usually order at restaurants?
Q3: What’s the latest you’ve stayed out?
Q4: Have you watched Avatar?  Do you love it?!  If not, what’s your favorite movie genre? I normally dislike sci-fi, but this was a whole different story, obviously.  ;)

Alright, I’m out.  :D  Have a happy week, everybody!  Yay food!  And, for Avatar, yay nature and phosphorescent organisms.  :)

Good evening, loves!  :)  I hope you had a Sunday that was the complete opposite of mine.  By that, I mean totally relaxing.  ^_^  Oh, and I’m only half-kidding here…

I went grocery shopping (happiness-inducing!) at my favorite Korean grocery store last night after dinner.  I was honestly planning on only buying one or two items, but I ended up buying three bagfuls.  Yes, I am a compulsive buyer… but that doesn’t automatically make me a stupid one, hm?  ;)  Cheapness 4eva!

Goodies galore!  :)  Such as…

fresh persimmons

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orange blossom honey

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pickled plums, though it says apricots in the ingredients list?…

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PANEER!!!  Gosh, I just love this stuff.  :]

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And parts of an old Whole Foods haul…

Awesome-smelling cheese <3

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and dried turkish apricots (to replace my beloved calimyrna figs)

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Breakfast was around 7 AM.  I even had to turn on the light to take the photo… on a weekend?!  O_O

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Peanut Butter Puffins with cherry vanilla granola, dried banana slices, black sesame seeds, and coarse sea salt.  Made delicious with unsweetened almond milk.  :)

My mom just keeps buying PB Puffins.  Okay, I love them and all, but honestly, I’d like to branch out into other cereals…

Lunch was another adventure in my quest to taste different ethnic foods.  Today, we went to a Persian restaurant called Shamshiry.  No pictures of the decor, since the waiters were already staring at us, and I was already pretty uncomfortable, but it is a really tiny place that looks ten times bigger because of a single, completely-mirrored wall.  It was a little strange watching myself eat from my peripheral vision, but who cares about how messy/weird I look when I chew when there’s food to photograph?!

My dad ordered the house salad to start.  Nothing special—just some iceberg lettuce, tomato, olives (blech), red beans (kidney?), and goat cheese, which I stole with some of the greens.  It came with a runny, sour lemon-yogurt dressing.

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I was pretty intimidated when I saw the portion for my dish, the shirin polo, which was “sweet rice” with spices, sugared orange peel, pistachios, and almonds.

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It’s impossible to tell from the photos, but trust me—this was enough to feed a family of four, at least. The sad thing is, the description on the menu made it sound so amazing, but it really wasn’t that good.  The rice was nice and fluffy, but it just wasn’t very well seasoned at all (I expected a TON more spices), and the flavors just didn’t mix well.  Instead of a heavenly combination of flavors, I tasted each one individually, one after another, as I ate it.  The candied orange peels were also much less fragrant and citrus-y than I expected.  :(  At least it looked good…

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Oh, but the crusty rice cracker-like thing (tah digue) was pretty awesome.  :)  So darn crunchy!  I should cook rice in a pot just for this.  ;)  I was eating it in quite a barbaric way (with my hands), and my dad scolded me for it.  Then, he proceeded to do the same and munch and crunch on it just like a cracker.  Mmhmm, I’m just that brilliant!  Also, I can’t believe they actually sell this stuff.  I saw it at the Korean grocery as “scorched rice,” lol.

Perhaps the size of these meals is better reflected in this picture?  Possibly?…

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My dad ordered the mahi kabob (salmon), which came with baghali polo, dill rice with fava beans.  There was salmon there before, I promise.  ;)

I also ordered the a pot of “Persian tea,” which was basically nice, piping-hot, bitter black tea in a jug that came with a cute teacup and tiny straw.  Oh, and sugar cubes.  :)  I never knew such a small amount of tea could be drunk so slowly until today…

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Dinner was a bit of a different story.  We went to a local chain restaurant called Clyde’s, and my dad immediately proclaimed that he was craving junk food.

The phrase “junk food” means different things to different people.  To my friends, it would probably be McDonald’s, Burger King, deep-fried foods—the obviously not-too-healthy foods.  But for a DE-ravaged mind like mine?  I’ve gotten my definitions confused and/or mixed up.

Junk food, to me, once meant carbs.  It once meant dessert and sugar; even my beloved nut butters were stuck under that label!  It meant eggs and creamy sauces and butter and red meat—basically anything that wasn’t a vegetable or fruit.  Actually, if DE deemed a fruit too high in sugar/calories (WTF), it was also considered “junk food.”  Maybe I didn’t call it junk food in my mind, but from the way I was treating those foods, they might as well be as nutritious as a McDonald’s cheeseburger.

I asked my dad what he meant by “junk food.”

Burgers.  Fast food.  Soda.  Deep fried foods… like french fries. I really need french fries today.”

His reply was so simple and damn obvious, and yet somehow, it cleared my mind of the DE fog and pulled me closer to normalcy.  I asked myself, Is this bread “junk food” because it’s white and has “no” nutritional value?

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No.  Nonetheless, I didn’t eat it.  It was cold and tough.  :(

Am I only allowed to drink water and calorie-free drinks?

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No, but I needed a hot drink that night, and peppermint tea sounded good.  *shivers*  Plus, unless they are at room temperature and flat, sodas/sparkling fizzy drinks make my stomach hurt like hell.  They don’t really taste that good in that state either…

Should I order the winter vegetable platter or the jumbo lump crab cake dish?  Did I eat too much meat during the day?  What if the sweet potato gratin it comes with is too cheesy and delicious and I finish the whole thing?  What if there are too many carbs in the veggie platter?

What if what if what if I just ordered what I wanted?

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Don’t get me wrong, the winter vegetable platter sounded delicious (and I could taste acorn squash that was maybe done the right way), but everything about the jumbo lump crab cake dish just sounded perfect.  And it was.  :)

1. Jumbo lump crab cake. Biiig clumps of delicious crabmeat, little to no breading, definitely no mayo, and perfectly seasoned.  Oh, and no food poisoning is a plus!

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2. Chipotle sweet potato gratin. This was coated with a cheesy sauce rather than being smothered in real cheese, but it was certainly better than my first time having “sweet potato” gratin.  100% sweet potatoes, yay!  They were really sweet.  :)

3. Brussels sprouts + blood orange vinaigrette. This was my first time trying brussels sprouts, and they were yummy. I don’t understand why it has the reputation it does?!  I think these were steamed or boiled, and boiled is apparently the yuckiest way of preparing them, but they were good!  The blood orange vinaigrette was a little less citrus-y than I would have liked, but it wasn’t overly sweet, which was nice.  (Still need to buy blood oranges!)

All this while my dad chowed down a giant bacon cheeseburger with fries and a coke.  Is there anyone who thinks that “bacon cheeseburger” means a burger made out of bacon with cheese?

… Didn’t think so.  -_-

The moral of the story is: Not every food is “junk food,” and no junk food is off limits. I will say it: Life is a balancing act.  What if what if what if I just did that?

2010 Goal #3: BALANCE.  BALANCE.  BALANCE. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but so much easier said than done…

Q1: What’s your favorite type of cereal?
Q2: What do you consider “junk food”?
Q3: Do you like brussels sprouts?

Off to… finish my homework!  :D