12th Week of 2018

19th – 25th March 2018

Oh dear, I have been neglecting my blog. Let me try to recall everything as best as I can. Luckily there’s lots of photos that will help jog my memory.

One of the main reasons I’ve not blogged is because we started to exercise more frequently. We have slacked off so much in the last year that I have gained 10 pounds. Yes, that much! That is why it is time for us to get back in shape, and it has not been easy. I am so weak now that it takes me a day to recover after each exercise class that we attend at the YMCA.

Due to Larry’s work schedule, we can only exercise in the wee hours of the morning on Monday to Wednesday. I wish the YMCA outlets are also open early on weekends, but they are not. So far, we have only decided on a weekly swim and a weekly spin class. Maybe we can also have a day where we do something random each week. We also need to visit the other YMCA outlets because we have only sticked to one. I also need to try out the yoga classes.

Ok, so for that week, we ate out three times which is a lot for us. Eating out is seriously the easiest way to spend too much money! I had to keep telling myself that being tired from exercising is not an excuse to eat out. We had Japanese food at our favorite Japanese restaurant Hapa Japanese Cuisine. I will always be grateful that I can get fresh sashimi from them even though we kind of live in the middle of no where in Oklahoma.

It was also hard to resist eating wings when it’s half priced wings on Tuesdays at Buffalo Wild Wings. Again, I need to remind myself that there is no point exercising if I am just going to eat lots of fried food. Gosh, I hope I’m not boring you by being so contradicting.

We also went to an Indian buffet that weekend because Bon Appétit posted a flaky bread recipe on their Facebook page. It made me really crave for some paratha.

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I wasn’t really creative with my home-cooked meals that week. The only two that kind of stand out were the Chinese stir-fried flat rice noodles and egg benedict. It was the first time I made hollandaise sauce, and I absolutely hated it. It was way too buttery and I didn’t like the brand of butter that we have. If anyone has a recommendation for butter, let me know! I’m still looking for one that I like. We recently bought Kerrygold pure Irish butter, and I think it’s the one I like the most so far.

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My favorite moment for the week was our visit to the Gilcrease Museum. It had a great collection of American West art. It was a genre I am not familiar with, so I had lots of fun learning from the docent. I highly recommend that you go for the free guided tour that they have at 2pm on Tuesdays to Sundays. I will have to go back again to spend more time in the museum and also see the gardens in the summer.

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Two of my favorite oil paintings were Charles Marion Russell’s Meat’s Not Meat ‘Till it’s in the Pan and Thomas Moran’s Shoshone Falls on the Snake River. I was going to put the photos of the art pieces below, but the images don’t look nice at all. They just look so much better in person. I will try to take more photos when I’m there next time!

I’ll try to catch up on all my posts this week, so stay tuned! Have a great week everyone.

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11th Week of 2018

12 – 18th March 2018

Sorry for all the late updates! Been busy gardening. Our neighbor’s cat had been using our raised beds as litter box after I cleaned them up. Ugh!! I will just leave all my plants to overwinter in the raised beds and not clear them until the very last minute next year.

I have planted onions, carrots, potatoes and sweet pea flowers so far. Really need to get my lettuce, kale and cabbage seedlings out as soon as possible. I have been running late because my seedlings are still tiny. There’s not enough light for them to grow indoors, and I haven’t been hardening them off. They are super late to get in the dirt. Oh well, it’s my first time gardening in Spring.

Now onto my favorite meals of the week!

Favorite Meals of the Week - 11th Week of 2018Brussels Sprouts
Pan fried brussels sprouts are so good! They taste so creamy when they are cooked right, and the outer layer stays crisp. Can you imagine that I’ve never had it until last year even though I like cabbage?

Avocado Toast
I like to mash up my avocado when I have my avocado toast. I tried spreading a bit of mayonaise to go with it. Hope it doesn’t sound gross to you. I don’t really like the taste of our butter, so I decided to try something new. I think it tastes alright. If you have any recommendations for butter, let me know!

Shrimp & Scallop Linguine Alla Vodka
We tried Carrabba’s Italian Grill for the first time, and it did not disappoint. I really enjoyed my shrimp and scallop linguine alla vodka. I really like the tomato vodka cream sauce because it’s the best of both tomato and cream sauce! I usually like seafood for my pasta when I’m eating out because we are less likely to cook that at home. Scallops are pretty tricky to cook.

Fajitas
We went crazy with fajitas at Lopez Grill in Wagoner, OK on Saturday. It was a drive away but we went over because my friend was giving me five of her peony plants that were not doing great in her shaded front yard. Peonies are my favorite flowers, so I can’t say no to that! I love hanging out with her and her significant anyway. Their Lopez Grill fajitas had everything – shrimp, chicken, beef, chorizo and a pork chop! It was quite a steal for costing less than $15 if I remember correctly.

Here’s a short video I took during our drive. Love the trees with white blooms!

 

Ribs for days - 11th Week of 2018

We had guests on Sunday. Larry grilled pork ribs. Unfortunately we bought the wrong cut of spareribs! We usually get St Louis spareribs, and we didn’t know baby spareribs are different. Pretty sure one of our guests who rarely eats ribs was not pleased to see the chewy cartilage. I think we will just stick to burgers or chicken when we have guests over. They are just more friendly dishes that everyone can enjoy. Sorry if I sound salty, but I do not want to go through all the effort to cook and also clean up the house if they don’t enjoy the food. I also specifically asked if there’s anything they want to eat…

Meat is tricky and so are vegetables. Everyone needs to be less picky with their food! Haha, is that what all bad cooks say? I will just have to up my cooking game. Have a great day everyone!

10th Week of 2018

5 – 11 March 2018

Oops, a late recap! Been busy starting seeds and planning activities for the next few months.

Lazy Monday. Week 10th of 2018

I tried watching Michael Pollan’s Cooked series after watching In Defense of Food, but I ended up falling asleep. Spent the rest of the week watching Ugly Delicious instead. I guess I was in the mood for lighter content although Ugly Delicious wasn’t all about food too. Anyway, I highly recommend you watching it if you enjoy learning about food culture like I do. David Chang explores a different food type every episode and how the different food cultures prepare their dishes.

Meals during Week 10th of 2018

I tried making curry (top left in picture) from scratch on Tuesday, and it just tasted weird. I thought I had curry powder but I didn’t. A chef on Ugly Delicious mentioned that there’s no such as curry powder in India too, so I’m going to do more research on the spices that are commonly found in curry!

I had stir fried tomato egg, baby bok choy and luncheon meat with rice on Wednesday. Baby bok choy is my all time favorite vegetables. I have not gotten tired of it even though I have it every week for at least a year. I can’t say the same for Yu Choy (pictured in the second row).

On Friday, my gardening friends and I had Cajun for lunch. The fourth episode of Ugly Delicious was about Shrimp and Crawfish, so I was so excited to order crawfish that day. I ordered two pounds of it because I didn’t know how much it would actually be! My friends were laughing when the waitress served me the huge tray of crawfish. It was great to be able to share the crawfish with everyone though. I also concluded that in general I prefer Cajun food at Flavors of Louisiana over Cajun Ed’s.

I then made fried rice for dinner on Friday. Can’t quite remember what we did for the rest of the weekend since I didn’t take many photos. Larry was on call for his work though, so we were mostly cooped up at home. We also dropped by his office for a while, so I finally saw how it looks like. They work in the basement, and it felt like I was in the set of Criminal Minds since the huge room was dark and filled with so many monitor screens. They had like 2 or 3 monitors each.

Week 10th of 2018. Start of Gardening Season

I am going to end this post to tell you I’m beyond excited about the start of gardening season!! I have started so many seeds indoor that I need to get more containers and trays. My goal for gardening this year is to try as many varieties of everything because I want to learn as much as I can.

P.S. all my images are done on my phone using Adobe’s Spark Post app. It is so fun and easy to use! Go try it.

Family trip: Part Two – Grand Canyon

5 – 6 November 2017

On the third day of our trip, we took a stroll around the Mandalay Bay hotel to visit the wave pool before we checked out. It was non peak season, so not all the pools were open. Took us a while to find it since the place was huge. Love the sand that was around the pool!

We took Uber out to the car rental place. Rented a Cadillac for the rest of our trip since I found a good deal online, and I wanted it to be comfortable for my mum since we will be driving a lot. Before we headed toward Tusayan Arizona, we drove to Island Malaysian Cuisine to have some food that Larry and I really miss from Southeast Asia.

These are dishes that we would not be able to find in Oklahoma unless we drive four hours to Plano, Texas. I would be able to cook these noodle dishes, but I can’t seem to find decent packaged noodles at the Asian supermarkets in Tulsa. We also popped by a few Asian bakeries because we can’t get them in Tulsa. Do you see a trend? Haha, we were trying to eat everything we miss from Singapore.

Thus, with our multiple pit stops, we were driving most of the four hour drive in the dark. We missed out on the amazing view there, and only arrived in Tusayan Arizona around 10pm. By then, most food places were closed other than McDonalds. We rushed over to eat before we head back to the hotel.

I decided to book the Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn because it was a short 13 minutes drive to the Grand Canyon, and there are some food options around. I contemplated staying at Flagstaff instead because it is a bigger town that is one and a half hours drive away. The drive on US-180 from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon looks scenic too, especially with the view of Humphreys Peak. However, I just went with the shorter distance because we still have a long road trip ahead.

The next morning, we headed to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center before having coffee and a quick bite at Bright Angel Bicycles & Mather Point Cafe. I did some online research on which trail we should go for, but it was so difficult to decide! We eventually randomly decided on the Bright Angel Trail that day.

Bright Angel Trail at Grand Canyon

As you can see from the photo, the view was breathtaking! I wish I trained up my stamina before this trip. The hike was tiring for me, as the path gets steeper the further you get. I was also letting fear get the better out of me because the path is not very wide and there are no barriers. Carrying a backpack and a heavy DSLR camera definitely didn’t make it any easier for me. Thankfully we went during the off season in November because there weren’t as many people.

I took it slow with my mum and we only made a round trip of 0.9 miles. My brother and Larry made it till the two mile mark before they made their way back. They said it got warmer as they went down. I was glad they felt like they got a workout with their 4 miles hike because I didn’t want them to feel like we are holding them back. I was also glad we packed lots of water because we finished every bit of it.

Time-Lapse at Grand Canyon Nov 2017
Took a time-lapse while waiting

Time flew by while we were hiking. It was close to sunset, so we drove over to the Dessert View Watchtower after our hike. The view was different there, and it was nice to see the river at the bottom. I really want to kayak in the Grand Canyon one day!

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After chasing the sunset along the Grand Canyon, we went to We Cook Pizza and Pasta for some food. As expected, it was quite a pricey meal since we were kind of in the middle of nowhere. We got 10 wings, a large pizza and Alfredo fettuccine to share between the four of us. Wish we just bought wings and the salad bar for all of us instead!

We took a walk around Tusayan General Store to look at souvenirs before driving back to our hotel. The best part about staying at Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn is the indoor pool and jacuzzi! It was so relaxing to chill at the pool and jacuzzi after a full day at the Grand Canyon.

Our visit to the Grand Canyon was actually my dad’s bucket list. I wish cancer didn’t take him away from us in 2014. He would have totally enjoyed himself. Larry and I both thought it was more beautiful than Niagara Falls.

Appreciate every day you have with your loved ones! You never know when it would be the last day.

 

 

 

Nicest bandanas ever!!

apprvl nyc "Keep Your Chin Up" Bandanaapprvl nyc One Day at a time bandanaapprvl nyc "Make It Count" Bandanaapprvl nyc Indigo "Good Luck" Bandanas

Aren’t these bandanas from apprvl lovely? I first saw the ‘Keep Your Chin Up’ bandana on Poptart Couture’s Instagram, and I had to look them up. Gosh, I can’t even decide which one is my favorite. I wish I can spend $100 and get all four of them! I like them enough to actually frame them up. Yep, it’s so difficult to find good (and affordable) art to put up around my house that I just frame up whatever I like.

Decisions, Decisions.. I want to wear them as headbands all summer!

9th week of 2018

26 Feb – 4 Mar 2018

Isn’t it crazy it’s March already? Time seems to fly by as you get older. I feel like I’m not doing much in my life because I’m just a homemaker. Should I only be defined by my occupation? Anyway, I thought I will share my meal prep last week.

Asian Greens

These are the glorious vegetables I bought from the Asian supermarket on Tuesday.

  • Red bell peppers (They were on sale. 3 for $1)
  • Ginger
  • Bean sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Yam leaves
  • Leek
  • Yu Choy
  • Small Bok Choy

I’m on a mission to eat more vegetables especially after watching In Defense of Food on Netflix. We usually have stir-fry for most of our meals anyway, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. Stir-fries are easy to prepare and are pretty healthy.

The steps to cook stir-fries are pretty much the same. You heat up your cooking oil and fry some garlic/onion/shallots/ginger. Then you add whatever you are cooking according to how long they take to be cooked. The final step would be to add the herbs and seasoning to your dish.

Some of the dishes I made are:

  • Pan fried catfish with fried ginger slices, stir-fried bean sprouts and carrot with steamed white rice
  • Basil beef, and Stir-fried leeks with steamed white rice
  • Slow-cooked pork shoulder, stir-fried yam leaves and fried eggs with scallions on top of steamed white rice
  • Stir-fried flat white noodles with chicken and bok choy

Have you tried adding fried ginger slices to your fish? Ginger is such a great garnish.

Ingredients for Basil Beef
Minced garlic, ground beef, basil, cayenne pepper, black pepper and soy sauce (or salt). I added the red bell peppers this time since I had more.

Try adding scallions to your fried eggs! They add another dimension of taste.

You should check out this video from Chef Norman Musa if you want to cook your own flat noodles. For his recipe, I used chicken instead of seafood. I also took the easy route of using jarred peppers instead frying up my own like his recipe.

The start of Gardening season 2018

Other than cooking, I’m also starting up my seeds for gardening. I cannot wait to eat my own garden harvests later this year! I’m trying to grow a lot more vegetables and flowers this year, so wish me luck! Had to spend quite a fortune on soil and grow pots.

I’m going to end my post with these irises that are popping up in my front yard! Haha, a non-gardener would probably think it’s such an ugly photo, but it’s AMAZING for a gardener! New growth signifies the start of the gardening which is fun times for gardening.

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