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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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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7th week of 2018

12 – 19 Feb 2018

Frost on 12 Feb 2018

What did I do last week? I can barely remember.

The frost was so pretty on Monday morning that I ran out in the cold to take photos. I wish the quality of panorama photos on the iphone are not so bad though. May have to try other apps like Cardboard Camera. Hopefully I will find something good because stitching photos manually is too time consuming, and I don’t want to pay the monthly fees for Adobe Photoshop. This reminds me that I have yet to finish blogging about my vacation last November!! That will be in my to do list this week.

We didn’t do much for Valentine’s Day because I just don’t fancy paying for overpriced food and gifts. Take me to the Target clearance sale after Valentine’s Day instead! I think Larry’s colleagues are all very surprised and jealous that he doesn’t have to do anything. Haha, I would prefer to have lots of seeds to grow my own seasonal and perennial flowers. Actually, if I could have things my way, he would be paying for a landscaper to do up our whole yard. See, he’s actually in bigger trouble than all of them.

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As for our home-cooked meal on Valentine’s Day? Good old pork chops with caramelized onions. Side of zucchini, squash and steamed white rice. Super easy and yummy. I usually just coat my pork chop with salt, pepper, cayenne and onion powder. I cannot wait to start eating my own vegetables once gardening season starts! Food just taste so much better when you grow it yourself.

Also, I don’t think I have ever had zucchini and squash until I moved to US! Can you imagine how long I have been missing out? They are such staples here.

I got the house decked out in some Chinese New Year decorations since it starts on 16 February. Did not organize a cookout this year because I didn’t want to stress myself out. It’s crazy difficult to cater to everyone’s taste buds since not everyone is familiar with Chinese cuisine. it was probably everyone’s first time having duck last year. I wish I know a group of people who enjoy cooking and food in general in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so we can all take turns cooking for each other every week. That would be so much fun.

Alternatively, and more realistically, I can just cook for Larry’s nephews. They wolf down almost anything I make, and they enjoy spicy food. They are an easy crowd to please but it will add up a lot of expenses to cook for three boys all the time. If only we have more spare cash!

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So, my first meal for Chinese New Year is a plate of waffles with fruits at the nearby casino. It was late at night, and we ran out of groceries. That’s probably a few superstitious taboos right there, but hey, I can think of a good one! Eating something sweet to signify a new year of sweetness! 甜甜蜜蜜. Actually, here’s another one! Since the waffles and bananas are round. It also symbolizes 团团圆圆 (圆满) which means togetherness and harmony.

We also finally watched The Greatest Showman which we really enjoyed. I’m so glad that the theaters are still showing it. Definitely a lot better than the last musical film we watched Les Misérables in 2012. I was actually surprised Larry didn’t mind watching it. Apparently it reminds him of a TV series he’s watching: American Horror Story. Worked out well for both of us.

Here’s the rest of what I ate. Avocado toast because we bought way too many avocados. I think I have decided I like my avocado mashed up on my toast. Somehow it just taste better. I also prefer a scrambled egg over a hard boiled egg on my avocado toast. Scrambled eggs just bring out the taste of Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Seasoning when I put them together.

Also had Chile Rellenos from Chuy’s last weekend. I think it may be my top three favorite Tex-Mex dishes now. I just love peppers, and my super sweet gardening friends are going to give me a few poblano pepper seeds to grow this year. I love how we try to grow everything we love to eat. Larry said he wouldn’t mind making them at home too! Let’s hope I get some decent harvest later this year.

Last but not the least, we found pork shoulder on sale at Sprouts. We got a huge bone-in slab for 99 cents per pound. Cut up half of it to slow cook with onions as well as tomatoes and peppers from my garden that I have froze late last year.

 

 

 

6th Week of 2018

5 – 11 Feb 2018

Chinese New Year in Oklahoma, USA

Yet another week has flown by. Chinese New Year is on 16 February, so I have been putting up some decorations for it because it has been a tradition for me when I lived in Singapore. We didn’t drive out to Oklahoma City this year to shop for more festive decorations, so I just make do with what we have.

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I found this set of Chinese New Year decorations that look so cute, but they have sold out already! Not too sure why I took so long to decide.. They weren’t too expensive either. I guess it is just hitting me how difficult it is to live in a different environment. That is growing up though, isn’t it? The older we get, the more we realize things and people are different from us. I will share my favorite Chinese New Year snack once I finish baking them. It is quite a tedious thing to bake, so I hope they turn out ok. (I’m not the best baker.)

Met up with my gardening friends at White River Fish Market last Friday. It is always a blast to chat with them because they are as enthusiastic about gardening and cooking as I’m. The broiled flounder that I ordered made me realize that I probably only like my fish fried with no breading or steamed. Haha, steamed fish is something I’m sure lots of you will not comprehend unless you are Asian or has lived in Asia.

Flounder at White River Fish Market Broken Arrow

2018 Gardening - Seeds Amy gave me
Check out all the seeds my friend gave me! How generous of her.

Lastly, I will end with a cute photo of my dog because I’ve been lazing around with her when I really should be doing more spring cleaning. Base on Chinese superstition, you need to get the house in tip-top conditions, so that you have “room” to bring in all the good luck for the new year. I need every excuse reason I can find to tidy up the house which really isn’t that bad other than my desk.

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Fifth week of February

How did everyone’s week go last week? To be very honest, I have been feeling like crap more often than not since Christmas. I don’t know why I have not recovered from all the year end hustle and bustle. I mean it is already February. Maybe the weather is affecting my mood, and I miss having my family around.

These two Instagram accounts have been reminding me that it is ok to not feel my best. There are just days where we don’t feel 100%. It’s also funny that someone in my local gardening community said this: “All any person can do is just do their best on any given day, and accept that there are going to be days when their best just isn’t good enough. That’s just part of being human.”

Just shy of a year ago I checked myself in to hospital for overnight suicide watch. I was going through a really rough time in my personal life and had stopped meditating for 5 days straight in some strange form of self pity. On the 6th day I encountered a situation that severely triggered my #PTSD like never before and it sent me into a state of total terror and panic – I just couldn’t escape my mind, I was trapped in a perpetual flashback and eventually reacted by running away and driving my car to a cliff. It was there that I sat for hours trying to regain my state of mind while fighting off a series of all too real past suicidal thoughts and plans that I had not revisited in years… Not wanting to ask for help or admit defeat to those I loved, I drove to the emergency ward of the local hospital and asked for help. I remember feeling like a fraud… I was ashamed that I could still feel like this after so many years – it was one of the realest nights of my life. After being checked in and put on surveillance a nurse came to me and told me that she’d lost someone close to her from her #mentalhealth battle and as she held my hand she said “thank you for coming here, you are exactly where you need to be.” It was in that moment that I let myself just be as I was, vulnerable, raw and unashamed… the unedited me. I never intended to recall or share that night with anyone, but today is day 5 of the @mindspo #Goloveyourself challenge, where I ask everyone to share something that they would normally hide, edit or never post on social media. I am one of the happiest people I know, but that happiness comes from a contrast of so much pain which I’ve felt in the past and a decision to work tirelessly to change my story and create a new reality. I came really close that night, but looking back now it’s self love that stopped me and an awareness that this too shall pass. Please trust me, it will pass. Now… that was hard to write and even harder to share, but that night is a part of me. I am a meditation teacher and I teach best what I most need to practice myself. ❤️ Thanks for reading – Love Fox 🦊 #Mindspo

A post shared by Fox (@rochelle_fox) on

I hope I will eventually feel better, or figure out things that would make me feel better. Here are some things I hope to do in February:

  1. Build up my strength and stamina by doing more yoga and barre at home, so that I can actually do a full hour of class at a studio. (My fitness has sadly gone down the drain in 2017.)
  2. Cook and bake more new things because I enjoy it, and it’s more productive than relying on retail therapy. The holiday season is over. It is time to save up.
  3. Start on seeds because gardening season is just around the corner.
  4. Spend minimal time on video games because it isn’t making me happy.
  5. Organize everything because it is oddly therapeutic for me.
  6. Chill. It is ok to not do anything if that’s what I need to do to feel better.

Have a great week everyone. ❤

Third week of 2018

How did everyone’s week go? I ought to post my weekly update on Mondays! We had a pretty ordinary week where we spent most of our time indoors. It’s so easy to come up with excuses. I only went outside for a brisk walk around the neighborhood on Friday when it was 57°F (14°C). My silly dog wouldn’t even walk past our driveway which made me sad because we really need to exercise more.

I can also tell you that it’s incredibly hard to do a lot when my husband works the afternoon shift (4pm-12am). It always feels like no one can comprehend how difficult it is for us to hang out with people of normal schedules. His usual sleeping hours are 8am to 3pm. That leaves us with only a few hours in the weekend to run errands and meet up with people. Why are there not more people like Mariah Carey who prefers linner (late dinner) over bunch? Everyone is pretty much in zombie mode by 10pm, and that’s kind of our prime time. I also really hope we would start cycling in the wee hours of the morning in Spring just to get some exercise in daylight because it keeps me from getting too cranky.

Homemade Torta

Food wise, Larry made Torta (which is a Mexican Sandwhich that we love) since there were some sirloin steaks that were marked down at Walmart. Here’s his recipe.

Larry’s Homemade Torta

Ingredients

  • Italian Bread
  • Steak (Any cut that you prefer. We like ribeye, but we usually get whatever is on sale)
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado
  • Mayonnaise
  • Shredded Cheese (Optional)
  • Spices (Paprika, Cumin*, Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Onion Powder)

Steps:

  1. Marinate steak with spices for at least an hour.
  2. Grill steak to your preference. (I like it medium well. Larry likes him medium cooked.)
  3. Let steak rest for at least 5 minutes after it is cooked. Cut into small pieces.
  4. Add a light coat of Mayonnaise on Italian bread and brown it on a skillet.
  5. Add tomato, lettuce, avocado, steak and cheese to the Italian bread.

*Tip: Go easy on the cumin.

Homemade Meatballs

We also had success making meatballs last week. We made them with Italian sausage, ground turkey, ground beef, crackers and an egg. It is awesome how they taste so much better when you add different kinds of meat in it. I had enough leftovers that I made a meatball soup a few days later with potatoes, carrots and celery.

As for shopping, I scored two Magnolia Hearth & Hand stoneware dessert bowls for $1.18 each (from $3.99) thanks to someone who posted it on Instagram. I can’t remember exactly who, but they said to scan the prices to check if they are on clearance. Same thing for the hammock. AllThingsTarget.com posted them on clearance at $14.98 (down from $49.99), so I tried to see if it’s lower than the price tag and it was. I felt like I was more ahead of the Target employees at pricing their products which was pretty funny.

I also dragged Larry and his nephews all the way to Atwoods because I wanted to get some seed potatoes early. Didn’t find them, but got some seed onions and some Burpee seeds that are 40% off instead. Also got a pink camo seat that you can attach to five-gallon buckets for $5.94 that was down from $9.99.