… 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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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 :)

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 :)

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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!

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!!!

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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.  :]