… 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 *

Yes.  Yes they did.  The county proclaimed both Tuesday AND Wednesday snow days.

My immediate reaction?  “HALLELUJAH!”… not.  Actually, it was pretty much like the title.  Oops.

Why did I curse two more days off from school?
1) That’s one more day cutting into spring or summer vacation.  Would I prefer staying in during winter on a snow day doing nothing, with homework at the back of my mind, or going shopping, sightseeing, traveling, and hanging out with friends in the WARMTH of spring/summer?!  I’d pick the latter, thank you very much!

2) Welcome back to school!  Here is your chemistry midterm!

3) I haven’t had bio for three classes.  In bio time, that’s like three weeks!  We were supposed to take two tests and three quizzes within that time period.  And now there’s even more. Rarrgh.  There’s also an “extra credit” field trip on Thursday, and that’s something I’m praying the snow will give me (and everyone else) an excuse not to go to.

4) I won’t be going to school on Friday + Saturday, ‘cause I’ll be in NYC.  HOWEVER.  Friday, if we have school, is precisely the day I have bio.  So I’ll miss a class, except this time, no one else will have missed it!  And I’ll have to make up so much crap next week… awwww shiznit.  >:(

Should I be ecstatic about the snow?  Everyone else seems to be.  Am I thinking too far ahead?  Is my mind too old?  I know I’m putting unnecessary stress on myself, but the stupid, “worry worm” (as my dad calls them) thoughts just won’t go away!

*deep breath*  Okay.  Rant over.  Moving on to the *fun* things I do when stuck at home in a snowstorm!

I joined TasteSpotting and FoodGawker a couple of days ago, and submitted some pictures yesterday.  FoodGawker’s verdict?  Dingdingding! Green light!  To say the least, I was a very happy kid when I noticed.  I didn’t even feel that bad when I realized that TasteSpotting rejected them!  :D

With my culinary trash –> worthy of critics’ cash experience not too long ago, I had a little déjà vu with that today when my idea for clean-out-the-fridge-and-pantry pancakes totally and completely failed.

I still had half a roasted spaghetti squash (my first!) from last week that was sitting in the fridge covered in plastic wrap.  Okay, need to use that up. I scrounged around in my bookmarks to find a suitably scrumptious recipe to use, and the spaghetti squash gratin from Chocolate & Zucchini happened to be the only one.

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Clicky clicky.  Read read read… cheese… PANCAKES?  She mentioned that her friend used spaghetti squash to make pancakes.  Pancakes?  Dingdingding! Green light!

So I set out to make some très délicieux pancakes with my little squashie.  But I couldn’t make pancakes with just watery squash, oh no.  The answer to that should have been “bread crumbs.”  Or “tofu.” Or “flour,” maybe?

The answer was year-old canned black beans.

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Mmmm.

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Scoop, drain, mix, mash; spice, taste, fold, smash.  Ergo—

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… Gross-looking stuff, isn’t it?  It tasted good, I promise, especially with the addition of various goodies such as chopped emmental cheese, red miso, white sesame seeds (I need to buy toasted black, but I’m kind of stuck here), and a big scoop of hot gochujang. To balance out the spiciness, I finally stripped my orange blossom honey jar of its plastic wrap and drizzled in the sweet nirvana.

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Nirvana, say hello to goop.

And then, as what must happen to all foods tagged “pancake,” it was time to fry the goop into glorious, crispy, fragrant patties of cheesy, spicy deliciousness.

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Pan-frying, of course, with the last of my wakame furikake sprinkled on top for good measure.  There’s no way I’m going to clean up a deep-fried kitchen!

Buuut it didn’t work.  You see, without the magical addition of breadstuffs, the goop was much too flimsy to be flipped.  Basically, it went from cold goop –> hot, charred goop.  Fail.

Maybe it’ll work if I spread it out over the pan so the edges can crispify?…

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… Uh, I guess not.

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At least the goop didn’t stick to my pan…

I began racking the corners of my mind for a way that I could use this goop.  I contemplated using it as a burrito filling or just… *gulp* eating it straight up as goop?  No, no, no.

Gimme my oven… I popped these in there for 15 minutes at 350*F.  I wouldn’t say they came out crispy, but they were definitely firm, and if anything, the pan-frying beforehand really brought out that deep, charred, spicy flavor.  It smelled amazing, too.  Not quite like the heaven that is eau de freshly-baked muffins per se, but my mom and sister were swooning from the aroma.  Needless to say, they were pretty disappointed when I told them it was spicy.  :]

So, this is the result of my supposed-to-be pancake goop turned pattie turned burger pattie…

… Actually, I think I’ll post about that next time.  This post is getting much too long!  :P  I’ll try to get a recipe for this, too.  I think this would’ve worked fabulously had I used rice as my carb base, seeing how good it tasted when I ate two patties smashed into rice today for lunch.  Crispy, pan-fried rice = love love LOVE… = idea for Sophia’s challenge?

Okay, I’m off to fill my brain with fun chemistry stuff!  Hah… fun.  I’d burn the book at the end of the year, but in cases of $$$ vs. rebellion, $$$ wins.  Always.

Question: How do you use up your leftovers? All of my cooking lately has involved using up leftovers from long, long ago.  That’s pretty much the ONLY reason I cook, haha!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!  I wish you warmth and good eats… love you lots and lots more :]

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 :)

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?

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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.  :]