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.  :)

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… onto my walls, my floor, my clothes, etc.  D:

Ahem, before I get into all that, let’s start with Thanksgiving morning.  Thanksgiving morning greeted me like so:

Hello, I am impending doom.

Yes, that is a super thick, impenetrable layer of fog out my window.  Good morning indeed…

It was a bad omen.

The crust was the good part.  I actually got a little creative with that—I can say that I have a recipe for it.  :D  My first ever, haha!  I was too lazy to make actual dough, so I resorted to using a “press in pan” crust.  It turned out pretty good.  :)

On the other hand, the pie filling was MESSY.  o_o  I screwed up a thousand times during the process of making it!  Actually, everything was going great… until the mixer. *shudder*  Electric whisks are dangerous.  When your squash ain’t fully blended.

-___- *facepalm*  How could I forget to purée the squash when the recipe calls for squash purée?!?!  Because I’m a nerd with no common sense, that’s why!  I ended up having the take out all the random hunks of squash in the mixture, along with any leftover seeds that were not scooped out initially… yeah, I’m fabulous at preparing squash purée.

Bleh.  It was a bleh experience, that’s what it was.  Cleanup was a pain in the (_|_).   However, I refuse to let my first go at pie-making bring me down for eternity!  I’m going to keep destroying my kitchen until I can make pie like someone’s grandma!  Yesss!  Who’s with me?!

puffin-pepita pie crust
makes 1 10-inch crust

– 2 + 1/2 cups Barbara’s Bakery Original Puffins
– 1/4 cup Barbara’s Bakery Peanut Butter Puffins
– 3 large handfuls pepitas
– 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
– pinch of sea salt
– handful of granola

Throw all ingredients into a blender and pulse until fully combined.  The mixture should have a slightly sticky texture when it’s done.  In all honesty, I eyeballed all of these measurements (except the butter), so this is just a guestimation of what I actually used, but you should end up with 2 1/4 cups of cereal “flour” to combine with the other ingredients.

And the results, after divvying up among the family—

Yes, I topped it with black sesame seeds.  Yes I did.

My piece, with ahem, whipped topping:

Eat me, good friends.

The verdict? My family loved it.  :)  Granted, it was just three people… four, if you include myself, but it was pretty tasty for my first pie!  I was really quite scared that they would hate it, and we’d have to resort to the store-bought pumpkin cheese chocolate ganache pie.  Uh, that sounds better than lame “kabocha pie” by a long shot.  But anyway, I’m pretty happy with the results, even though the steps that it took to get there were partial agony.  ;)

Our turkey this year happened to be incredibly juicy.  OMG.  Succulent, tender white meat… no gravy even needed.  The trick was to flip the turkey upside down to bake and fill the dish with water (something like that), according to my brilliant mom.  The best turkey I’ve ever had, period.  I don’t think I’ll get sick of the leftovers this year :)

I was also responsible for mashed potatoes this year.  Although I’d much prefer to eat mashed squash or sweet ‘taters (mmmmmm), my family is just… one potato.  :/  I did put a little spin on the more “traditional” butter-and-milk recipe though.  Anyone care to try it out?

miso-olive oil mashed potatoes with oregano, garlic, sea salt
serves 4

– 6 yukon gold potatoes
– 1 tsp red miso
– 2-3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
– splash of milk
– sprinkle of dried oregano
– sprinkle of garlic powder
– sprinkle of coarse sea salt

Boil potatoes until fork-tender.  Mash with your trusty potato masher until well-mashed.  Add a splash of milk and continue mashing—if the texture of the mash is still too dry, add another splash.  Continue adding milk until the potatoes reach the desired consistency.  Add olive oil (as much as you want—measurements are just an estimation of what I used), oregano, garlic powder, and sea salt to taste.  Mashmashmash.  The resulting mash has the slightest tint of red due to the miso, which I love, but of course, you could substitute any type of miso you happen to have on hand.

… I know, I know—I’m a terrible recipe-writer.  But I can’t help it—when I’m in the kitchen, I don’t think about measurements or anything (unless it’s extremely precise, like… oats).  I just do everything to taste and eyeball all the ingredients (which is why my crust recipe measurements may not be entirely accurate…).

I’m thankful for my sort of stellar Thanksgiving, the chance of reconciliation, and overall positivity for living in our new house.  Thanks for reading.  :)