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.  :)

A desultory post awaits… sorry for the sporadic-ness :(

After all the wonderful things that happened over the winter holiday, I fell into an inevitable pothole. Figuratively, I mean!  You know how I was going ga-ga over my new blender in this post?  Well, it turns out that my blender broke. After one use, yes, the motor is broken. And the worst part?  I can’t exchange it! It was bought in Canada, and none of the stores in my area carry the model—only downgraded ones.  -_-  I’m going to shoot customer service an email today demanding they send me a new blender inquiring about whether I can mail it back and get another one or something.  >:(  It was eighty [Canadian] dollars!!!  I get warranty for that, right?!  Oh, I wanted to make so many things… like more nut butters and puffin pie crusts and babies…

Mehhh.

I didn’t even get to finish making my pumpkin seed butter.  :(  So now all I have left is a bunch of pumpkin seed dust chunks.

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… Hurray.

Oh, but I can’t forget about the wonderful jar of roasted pecan butter… great for dipping dried calimyrna figs in.  I snapped a pic this time :]  I also gave it its own recipe page here.

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100% heaven.  Happy tastebuds = happy girl.  Works the other way around too.  ;)

Alright, I know it’s pretty ridiculous to get worked up about a blender, and I admit that I’m exaggerating the severity of this for humor’s sake.  I was blessed far beyond my expectations over the holidays, with great company, food, gifts, and no stress, so I’m really not that upset about this.  But alas, being the cheapo and human being that I am, I want my aunt’s money’s worth in the form of a new blender.

Oh, and here’s another reason: I like food and eating and photographing and writing about it. Me want new kitchen appliance.  Now.

Amanda of seek generously awarded me again, this time with an only-for-the-blogger award.  ;)  I love these types of memes—they’re a counter to my intrinsically pessimistic outlook.  Even though my pessimism isn’t really the super “negative” kind, doing things like this is just happy food for the soul :)

happyaward

1.  Friends. On the weekdays, they’re basically the only people I talk to (besides teachers, which is unavoidable, haha).  I’m so exhausted when I come home from school that I just don’t have the energy to talk.  If I didn’t have friends, I would probably be as good as mute.  And I would probably collapse from the stress that gets let out when we complain together. :)

2.  Photography. Especially now that I have a cool camera, I’ve been taking photos like mad, of everything: nature, landscapes, people, food—if there were pretty architecture where I lived, I’d take photos of that, too.  ;)

3.  Music. A universal language.  There are few things more pleasurable than curling up under the covers with Bose headphones and an iPod, completely immersed in a different world.

4.  Blogging. Even though I’ve only been blogging for about two months, but it’s been making me happy so far!  Venting leaves a more relaxed –> happier individual.  :)

5.  Restaurants. Going out to eat used to make me a nervous wreck.  How many calories are in that?  Which one has the lowest amount of calories?  What if the website lied?  What if the chef added extra oil?! etc. etc.  Now, though, I’m able to appreciate restaurant food as a) tasty, b) an opportunity to try new foods, and c) a “challenge” in some ways.  ;)

6.  Homemade baked goods. If someone bakes me cookies on my birthday, I’m basically ecstatic.  Someone likes me enough to remember my birthday and takes the effort to bake something for me?  From scratch? *_*

7.  Grocery shopping. I also like accessory shopping, but definitely not as much as grocery shopping.  It used to be the other way around—I used to go to a Korean grocery store just for the little accessory shop inside!  Well.  This is a product of DE and reading food blogs, I guess?

8.  Nut butter. Maybe the only food that I super duper loved as a young kid, and still love now.  Mmmm… rich, creamy, nutty goodness, and so many different kinds, too!

9.  Dawn. I love the color of the sky at dawn.  It’s such a deep, beautiful blue color, almost like a darkened azure.  Streetlights are still on at dawn, but they take on a mystical glow.  In short, gorgeous.  :)

10.  Working efficiently. Hahaha, I had to put this!  :P  Working efficiently and being productive definitely makes me feel good.  Makes me feel… errr, not lazy and not useless.  Plus, the faster I get work done, the faster I can do what I want.

And ten bloggers that make me happy (in no particular order):
Amanda (seek)
Stef (More to Life than Lettuce)
Tatianna (Tatianna Lives)
Coco (Balance, Joy and Delicias!)
Allie (Live Laugh Eat)
Sophia (Burp and Slurp~)
Natalie (Counting Down to Life After ED!)
Shelley (Finding Happiness and Health)
Mitri (All in the Oats)
Eliza (nourishing mornings)

I tag thou, if thou hath not been tagged already.  Actually, this is just a general list, haha (sinced I tagged my tagger).  ;)

Ah… but that’s not all!  I have to make up for five days of missed posts, after all.  ;)  The real reason this post is titled “happy food for the soul” is…

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Pecan-date cake with cranberry goat cheese cream, the latter of which became practically invisible after its stint in the oven, but you can still taste it!  ;)  This was the first cake that I have ever baked from scratch!  Sure, I’ve made cupcakes from cake mix and (tough) muffins before, but this is the first time that it was 100% me.  Not saying that it was my recipe, of course—I’m not that good!  I adapted this recipe and threw in the cranberry goat cheese cream as a last minute, personal twist.  I had seen it used as filling in these muffins, so I thought, “I have a log of cheese just waiting to be used.  OH!  I KNOW!”  That’s how all great ideas are born, right?  :P  I actually refused to tell my family members the “secret filling” until after they ate it because I was afraid they would gag if they knew what it was.  Yeah, not a very open-minded foodie family I have.  My sister wouldn’t even eat it because she saw me blending the goat cheese… –_-

Oh, and for the flour, guess what I used?…

… If you guessed the pumpkin seed dust from my failed pumpkin seed butter experiment, WHOO HOO for you!  You are awarded a slice of cybercake.  ;)

I’ve put the full adapted recipe on this page if you’re interested.  :)

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Yum!  Err, we actually didn’t have any baking powder, so I left that out completely.  o_o  I think it might have been a little less fluffy due to that, but it was still pretty delicious!  Purrrfect with a dollop of whipped cream.  ;)

Okay, I’m off for now.  No restaurant tonight, surprisingly.  I guess it’s time to be productive and happy, so I should start working efficiently now… ;)  Have a wonderful evening, loves!

Giveaway: Enter to win delicious greek yogurt on Faith, Food, and Fitness!

From one of the most addicting songs ever… “Come Back to Me” by Utada :]

Babies have been rampant across blogland lately, no?

Thanks, Katie.  Thanks to you, blogland has now become babyland.  o__o  How scary!  I find babies cute and all, but once they start crying, I am out! I would be such an irresponsible parent.  And you must now forget that I even mentioned that last word.  (No worries; I won’t be making any nerdy fertilization jokes.)

Food babies are annoying too… but THESE babies are hothothot~

That’s where my baby is.  <3

:D

I didn’t use a specific “baby” recipe to make these, because I’m too lazy to look up the recipe splendidly spontaneous.  I also don’t have specific measurements for the ingredients because I’m way too lazy to measure everything out.

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makes a hunk of… stuff

* ~10 Medjool dates
* 2 large handfuls roasted, salted almonds (if using unsalted, add salt to taste)
* 3 large handfuls dried cherries

Since I have a weak, crappy blender, I decided to use my head and blend the almonds into a powder first.  Then, I pitted the dates and tore them into fourths.  Threw them into the pile of almond dust along with the dried cherries, and blended into submission.  The key flavor component here was the almonds, to be honest.  They were from Costco—coated with a thin layer of sea salt and possessing a sinfully deep, toasted flavor.  Amazing.

The big hunk of poop “dough” that’s produced once everything is whirled together is soooo much fun to play with!  It’s like actually edible play-doh (no, I was a good kid and did not eat that stuff!)!  My sister and I had a little too much fun shaping it though… :P  Pictured above is my heart, some kisses, dice, and a snowman that had its head cut out of the pic.  :c

I judge the success of these babies based not on my tastes, but my sister’s.  She hates almonds and the “weird” food that I eat, which includes Larabars and Pure Bars, so I wasn’t sure how these would go over with her.  But she loves them, I think, more than I do!  :]  Again, thank you, Katie!!!  I’ll never have to dish out $1.xx for a Larabar again!  ;)

On another note…

My presentation went quite well.  :D  Thank you all for supporting me! I just thought about all of your sweet comments before presenting and all of my worries dissipated.  I was super prepared . . .

. . . ^_^; Alright, so that’s not exactly what happened.  Actually, the worst possible scenario occurred.  o_o  I ended up trapped in my worst nightmare—apparently, I was supposed to present more than I had practiced!  I was forced to do truly last-minute preparations and memorize more slides on our powerpoint right before the presentations began!  That also meant that my stomach was growling like mad during class.  :( 

But, I was surprisingly calm during the presentation!  We were the last group to go, which always makes me nervous, because I end up sitting around, twiddling my thumbs, going over my points over and over and barely paying attention to what the other groups are talking about.  ><  Do you prefer to go first or last for speeches/presentations? I just like to go first and get it over with!

… Annnnd our group got the highest grade in the class.  ;)  Score! Grades > food in bringing joy into my nerdy heart.  :P  (Just too bad that I think I failed my test on Monday.  Hehhh…)

I just took a nice, hot shower to offset the crazy cold I had to wait in this afternoon.  My mom also tried to make me drink ginger soup to “push” the coldness out of my body, but I’m a little wary of that (taste-wise, I mean).  o_o  Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely, lovely evening!