Monthly Archives: June 2012

stocking up for future kitchen

I need to make a grocery list for my future kitchen in WV and figured this might be the best way to make sure I have the list with me when I’m there. :O There are apparently a whole bunch of pick-your-own farms as well as a couple farmers’ markets over there, so I’m pretty excited. :D (I hope they’re not too expensive though…)

For the record, if you walk the perimeter of the grocery store, you will likely save yourself a whole lot of money and that’s pretty much where all the good stuff (aka fresh produce, healthy foods, non-processed substances) tends to reside.

Protein
-slabs of chicken
-ground turkey, ground beef, ground chicken
-eggs
-salmon
-black beans
-garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
-tofu
-tuna
-almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, etc.
-peanut butter
-almond butter

Fruits/Veggies
-bananas
-apples
-blueberries
-lemons
-cucumbers
-oranges
-blueberries
-peaches
-strawberries
-mangoes
-avocados
-dried cranberries
-cantaloupe
-raspberries
-cucumbers
-spinach
-bokchoy
-broccoli
-nectarines
-romaine lettuce
-green beans
-corn
-mushrooms
-bell peppers
-tomatoes
-onions
-asparagus
-potatoes
-sweet potatoes
-edamame

Spices/Seasonings/Stuff For Flavor/Other
-pepper
-salt
-cinnamon
-chili powder
-cumin
-paprika
-butter
-dijon mustard
-garlic
-basil
-oregano
-nutmeg
-baking powder
-curry powder
-cayenne pepper
-honey (preferably local, in case spring tries to kill me with flower sex)
-brown sugar
-EVOO
-sesame oil
-balsamic vinegar
-soy sauce
-BBQ sauce
-Greek yogurt
-tahini
-flax seed
-chia seeds

Grains & Such
-brown rice
-whole wheat pasta
-whole wheat bread
-whole wheat flour
-oatmeal
-quinoa
-couscous

Drinks
-soy milk
-almond milk
-coconut water
-orange juice
-a whole lotta tea, especially green tea :D

Whole Wheat French Toast

I apologize for the somewhat blurry picture. Most of these pictures are taken with my camera phone. >_> I was also in a hurry to eat because we were supposed to be studying for finals at the time.

Whole Wheat French Toast


Ingredients:
-slices of whole wheat bread
-2 eggs
-soy milk (or regular milk)
-honey
-butter
-cinnamon (optional)

Instructions:
1) Beat eggs, soy milk and cinnamon (if using) together.
2) Dip each slice of bread  into the mixture and allow it to soak up some of the egg mixture.
3) Melt a little butter in a pan and put in the slices of bread. Fry until browned.
4) Sweeten with honey if desired.
5) Consume!

taiwan ( part 2)

We went to the Palace Museum and explored almost all the floors. They keep your bags for free if they deem it too large to enter. If you’re still a student, you should bring your student ID to get 50% off. :D (I think I got in for 60 NWT instead of 120.) But! Beware of the tour groups from mainland China. One of them smashed into me on the way to cutting in front of me to get a better look at an exhibit and had the audacity to tsk tsk me. Fun stuff. I think the hierarchy of possessing manners goes something like this: Taiwan > Hong Kong > Mainland China.

I’m really going to miss the 7-11’s here. They are freaking awesome. You can recharge phone cards and easycards (speaking of which, I reallyyyy wish the U.S.’s public transportation system was as awesome as the one in HK or Taiwan)…and best of all (to me), they have some pretty awesome (and super cheap) food. Tea leaf eggs,cold noodles, apple milk, strawberry milk… food is going to seem so expensive when I get back home. :[

Flo, Jun and I once scoured 3 different Asian markets in the bay area in an attempt to find these animal crackers. :O They’re 50 cents a box over here. The awesome bottle sitting next to it is peach mango milk. :]!

I will also wildly miss the street food and all the snacks.



We went sorta hiking up 陽明山. I say sorta because my mom and I have rather different vacationing styles. I’m all about exploring, hiking, trekking into the wilderness and wouldn’t mind having to rough it to save some monies. My mom leads an exceedingly stressful life at home and thus prefers rest and relaxation, and as little crazy physical activity as possible. We took the MRT to Beitou and took a bus (260?) up to 陽明山. Since it was a hell of a lot cheaper to go to the hot springs up on the mountain than in xinbeitou, we found a place next to the bus stop ( it’s across the street from the 7-11 and the Starbucks).

~$33 USD for 2 people–3 hours! :D

We also went to 鼎泰豐 (Din Tai Fung)! It’s apparently super easy to get to from Taipei Main Station. You take the  板南线 (Bannan–it’s blue) to the 忠孝敦化 (zhong xiao dun hua) stop,  take the third exit, walk straight and take a right at the light. Walk for ~5 minutes and it’ll be on your left! You might not understand my excitement about this, but let me just put it out there that I’ve never been able to eat a 小龍包 (xiaolongbao, or soup dumpling) because they are always, always, always made of pork. My 2006 Project Dumpling roadtrip to Arcadia with a couple friends was pretty cool, but I didn’t get to eat them famous soup dumplings. :[ However, this one had chicken ones! We ordered 3 steamers of them, along with sesame noodles and a steamed cake dessert. :]

We also explored a couple malls and bookstores, the Red House, 西門厅, and another section of the underground mall since it was raining. I got two pairs of shoes for ~$6.50. :D And a couple shirts. And socks. …etc. We also came across the cutest cards ever at a Christian bookstore near 鼎泰豐 and kinda couldn’t resist picking up some of those too. :X I was also inspired by the drink I’ve been having lately (mango yogurt drink, bitter melon juice, apple + 山藥 [“common yam” Melanie made me one of these smoothies once], apple celery pineapple, apple carrot pineapple…), I got a recipe book for awesome fruit blends that tells you the nutrients and benefits of each fruit/ ingredient. :D Hopefully, I’ll be able to improve my Chinese reading ability while sharing some more new recipes soon? :D

My uncle flew over to Taiwan to hang out with us for the day and treated us to dinner at a really awesome restaurant. I’d strongly recommend this place above any other sit-down restaurant. It’s an amazing deal, particularly if you can consume copious amounts of food, because yest indeed, it is a buffet (hot pot!). :O It’s called 馬辣. I think there are 4 different branches and it’d be best if you called to reserve a spot in advance because they get crowded/booked pretty quickly. For around $15 USD, you get all the meat you want, including all kinds of beef (my favorite was the Angus; it practically melts in your mouth), lamb, chicken…there’s also seafood and pork, neither of which I eat, but it’s there and probably would make this an even better deal. :O There are also all kinds of veggies, a ton of different types of tea, fruit, desserts, freshly squeezed fruit juice, 16 different kinds of ice cream (8 of which are Häagen Dazs :O ).


I probably ate around 10 trays of meat. + veggies, 2 cups of juice (orange, watermelon), 2 cups of chrysanthemum tea and I tried all 16 flavors of ice cream. :X

This was the first time I ever actually hung out with this uncle (dad’s sister’s husband). He is rather awesome though. :O He has to fly around a ton for business trips and such so he gets all kinds of perks now, so when we were flying back to HK (to get to Macau), he took us to the VIP lounge where we ate the world. He also gave me his business class spot and sat in the back with my mom. ._.

Space for my feets! Big Bang! Holy crud, if I could have this on the trip back to the US, it’d be heaven for my spine. But for the price of one ticket, I think you could take a family of 5-6 to and from HK from the US. sigh. Twas an awesome experience though. :O

鼎泰豐

Pineapple Steak

My brother rarely ever eats regular food. (By regular, I mean home-cooked meals.) I’m not sure why. However, this is a dish that he says he’d gladly eat at every meal for months. :O After trying it, I basically forced my dad to teach me to make it the next day because it is indeed that amazing.

Pineapple Steak

Ingredients:
-10 oz. steak, cubed
-2-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 fresh pineapple, cubed
-1 onion, sliced
-salt, to taste
-pepper, to taste
-2 tsp chicken essence
-meat tenderizer
-corn/EVOO blend
-3-5 tbsp sugar (to taste)
-1 heaping tbsp cornstarch

Instructions:
1) Cube the steak and season with meat tenderizer, salt, pepper and chicken essence. Mix until evenly distributed.
2) Cut the pineapple into cubes and add in with the beef. Let it marinate for a while (~1 hour).
3) Slice up an onion and throw it into a pot with 2 tsp of chicken essence and some garlic. Cook it up with some oil.
4) Separate the pineapple and beef since they have separate cooking times.
5) Throw in the beef with the onions and cook until beef is around 70% cooked. Take it out and throw in the pineapple.
6) Add a little water to make it more saucy (heh heh heh). Add 3-5 tbsp sugar depending on how sweet you want it.
7) Drain the sauce into a bowl and add 1 heaping tbsp of cornstarch to thicken and smooth out the sauce.
8) Combine everything again and serve with rice.

hong kong

My mom’s pretty amazing at finding travel deals. (She’s the resident travel agent among our family friends.) Before we left, she looked up several groupon deals and had local friends buy em’ for us so we could take advantage of some pretty awesome deals.

On our first day in HK, one of my mom’s friends took us all over Mongkok to get all the things we were looking for (e.g. a stand-up case for Optimist Prime), mini speakers, headphones, phone card…). One of my mom’s other friends works at the hospital next door to the hotel we’re staying at (our giant hotel discount is also due to her awesomeness). Before work, she came by and took us all over to point out the best eateries near our hotel. (We get along extremely well because we both love food so much.)

咖哩魚蛋 (curry fishballs) from a nearby eatery!

One of the most refreshing drinks ( in my opinion) in the summer is 蔗汁 (sugarcane juice). We also went fruit shopping and got some 王 帝 蕉 (wong dai jiu), lychee, and mangosteen. I just found out that farmers’ markets and pick-your-own fruit farms exist around the area I’ll be living in in WV, so I’m pretty happy. :D


I absolutely love 茶餐廳s. I’m definitely going to miss those like no other when I’m in WV. We went to Fairwood (‘dai fai woot’) for dinner before browsing through 女人街 (Ladies’ Market).

Fish with cream corn and vegetables.
Lotus-wrapped Rice & Ovaltine.

We had a whole ton of mango desserts. :D (I temporarily forgot the name of the place…I’ll get back to you like that.)





I hadn’t been to 山頂 (Victoria Peak) since the age of 7, so we took the tram up and explored for a little while. (The rain stopped while we were up there, so that was pretty cool. Thank you, weather! :O ) We went up an extra floor to avoid all the people/get a window seat view of the city and decided to eat some more.

Chicken & Leek Pie.

Bread Pudding.
Guava Lemon & Kiwi juice.

We took a photo tour on Sunday (groupon deal) to the New Territories with two of my mom’s friends. By photo tour, I mean that the trip was meant for people who were very serious about photography/there to learn how to take awesome pictures with fancy cameras. The four of us did not own such cameras, but we had fun anyway.

We stopped at along the way to have 豆腐花 (tofu dessert) and 菊花茶 (chrysanthemum tea) and found some cute kittens. :D


We also took some pictures of somewhat of a sunset (the day was pretty overcast). The rest of the group got to do “light painting” after the sun set. I wanted to join in, but unfortunately, my camera couldn’t do it. :[ So here, have a sunset!

I haven’t done any serious shopping ( hah, I make it sound so intense) in HK yet since we were settling in and taking advantage of groupon deals (the photo tour, a 2 hour makeup course at Makeup Pro 2 for me/ my mom where I learned that I don’t completely suck at turning myself into a girlier version of myself–it was only around $18 USD each!–and two 3-course dinners at Amour Club & Cafe for ~$21 USD). I’ll write more about those when I have pictures. I’ve realized a couple things though:

1) The only occasions where I don’t feel insulted when someone thinks I’m a fob include the following: a. when I’m in Asia, b. when I’m at clinic ( because it means my Chinese doesn’t suck as much as I feel it does), c. when I pretend to have a fob accent. So far, I’ve been asked if I’m from Singapore or Malaysia. People can tell that I’m not from around there. My mom says it’s because we’re way more polite to everyone than the locals are. My mom’s friends say it’s because I don’t look completely Chinese. I think it’s because of the “T & A,” as my aerial hoop instructor put it.
2) I like visiting cities, but I kinda feel like I’d rather live in a more rural area, if given a choice between the two and suburbia couldn’t be an option. I still may want to do an international rotation here someday though. There’s really no better way to improve my Chinese. :o
3) I cannot walk into a skincare store without one of the sales reps or my own mom recommending me products to whiten my face and/or ” make my freckles go away.”