Random ramblings

The last time I wrote a blog post was so long ago. The immediate feedback and instant gratification of Instagram has taken over my social media attention.

Then on the other hand, some days I really hate Instagram. I can’t get a full thought or story out about something.

Not that I have any organized thoughts to share today.

In any event, here are some random updates:

  1. We had snow in Vancouver! That was a few weeks weeks ago now, but for a few days, the streets were covered in snow. I commuted to work on the Troll, with tires at very low pressure of 10psi. When the snow was fresh, riding was not a problem. I did wipe out on ice one day after the snow has been cleared. That knee is still bothering me now two weeks later.
  2. Since November, I’ve been pretty diligent with the portion control of my eating and keeping up with exercising. Getting back to using MyFitnessPal to keep track of my food has been painful, but oh so beneficial. I did a round of 21 Day Fix Extreme, and am now doing Insanity Max 30. As of today, I’m 14 lbs down since the beginning of November.
  3. Both kids are taking turns getting sick in January. Each have missed a few days of school due to fever and all the other pleasant things that come with it. Then they gave me their stomach bug, which knocked me out pretty hard for a few days.
  4. This year is going to be low key in terms of traveling. I have to go to Austin TX for work in the fall, so I may haul everyone with me. Other than that, our plan is to do road trips close by this year.
  5. I have signed up for the Buckshot 2020 race in May. This time around, I’m planning to not make the same mistakes, and the goal is to actually finish the race. I’m sure I will be blogging about it later.
  6. Sourdough! Omg. I have made so many loaves. I’m addicted to baking. It’s just so much fun.
  7. Work is, you know, work. We have a small but efficient team of high performers. I’m happy with where we’re at. After doing this for 18 years, I am still constantly learning new things and facing new challenges. You can poop on public practice work all day long, but one thing is for sure–you will never be bored.

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Day 55/365 {Brownie Crisp}

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Savanna and I had a girls’ weekend together, while the boys went off to ski in Whistler.

Since we have quickly devoured the brownie crisps I brought home from Trader Joe’s, Savanna and I found a recipe to make the crisps ourselves. These taste like brownies, but they are crispy. We spent Friday afternoon baking and making a mess in the kitchen. Those are the best afternoons!

Day 54/365 {Brave}

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One day a few weeks ago, I got an email from Josh’s teacher. She said, “Dear parent, your child had signed up for the lip-sync contest at school. Here is the performance schedule…”

I figured the email came to me in error. There’s no way Josh would have signed up for a lip-sync contest. Well, he came home and told me he is going to be in the lip-sync contest and he is going to sing the Pokemon song.

Wait. What!

We don’t come from a family of performers. Where did this come from? Well, I couldn’t get to the bottom of the story. He was so excited to tell me that he already picked the song, I didn’t want to sound like a calloused bitch. I just held back my surprise and smiled and nodded.

So on Thursday, he took the stage with his cardboard guitar, and lip-sync’d to “I want to be the very best”. I ran out of a work meeting so I can attend his performance.

Being the youngest contestant, his choreography was the most basic. But I was just beaming with pride through the entire 4 minutes and 8 seconds. He signed up for this contest, learned the lyrics, and choreographed the moves himself. He got on stage, performed, and came off the stage all with his cool and calm presence. The first thing he said to me was, “That was my first lip-sync contest. I did all the moves I wanted to.” I couldn’t help but look at him and smile ear-to-ear.

He is so much more brave than me!

Day 46/365 {Sous Vide}

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I eat a lot of chicken breasts. It’s lean and healthy. I have tried all different ways of making chicken breast to try and make it tender/juicy. Some methods work better than others.

The only method I haven’t tried is sous vide. I have heard about it and have seen it, but have never tried it myself. I finally broke down and bought an immersion circulator.

The first thing I made was some brined chicken breast. 90 minutes at 140F later, I was blown away by how juicy and tender the chicken was. I am never going back to any other cooking methods when it comes to chicken breasts.

Rustic no-knead bread

Lately I have been on the hunt for a good bread recipe. It has to have simple ingredients I can easily buy, and it cannot be time consuming. I think I have found THE ONE.

In terms of ingredients, it can’t get any easier than flour, salt, yeast, and water. Prep time is 5 minutes, if that. No kneading! Then you let it sit for 12-18 hours, and bake. It’s so good that I baked 8 loaves in 10 days.

You do need a cast iron pot with a lid. I used my 5Q Le Creuset dutch oven for this, and it’s perfect.

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3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 – 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  Heat oven to 400 degrees F with the cast iron pot in the oven.
Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.  Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
Tonight I tried adding shredded oka cheese in the dough, and it turned out divine. I think you can add shredded cheese (whatever you have left over), likely some chives or green onion, or other chopped fresh herbs.
This is so simple that there’s no excuse to not make it. Caution: This thing is very dangerous while it is still warm. I cannot stop at just one slice.

Day 356/365 {garlic soup}

Angela Chang Photography Day 356 of 365A few years ago, when I was obsessed with cooking, I bought Julia Child’s recipe book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. After trying out a few recipes, I realized the complexity of French cooking is just not for me. But there was one recipe I keep going back to, and that is the aigo bouido (garlic soup).

The soup costs next to nothing to make, and is heavenly on a winter night, or when you are fighting a cold. The garlic flavor is very subtle and sweet. It is pretty easy to make too.

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
 --------  ------------  --------------------------------
    1                    Separated head or about 16
                         -cloves whole, unpeeled
                         -garlic
    2       qt           Water
    1       t            Salt
    1       pn           Of pepper
    2                    Cloves
      1/4   ts           Sage
      1/4   ts           Thyme
      1/2                Bay leav
    4                    Sprigs parsley
    3       tb           Olive oil
Drop garlic cloves in boiling water and boil for 30
   seconds. Drain, run cold water over them and peel.
   Place the garlic and the rest of the ingredients in a
   3-quart saucepan and boil slowly for 30 minutes.
   Correct seasoning.
   
   3 egg yolks 3 to 4 T. olive oil
   
   Beat the egg yolks with a wire whip in a soup tureen
   for a minute or until they are thick and sticky.  Drop
   by drop beat in the olive oil for making a mayonnaise.
   
   Rounds of hard-toasted French bread 1 cup of grated
   Swiss or Parmesan cheese
   
   Just before serving, beat a ladleful of hot soup into
   the egg mixture by droplets.  Gradually strain in the
   rest, beating and pressing the juice out of the
   garlic. Serve immediately, accompanied by the bread
   and cheese.

 

Day 265/365 {salsa}

Angela Chang Photography Day 265 of 365

I just realized that I haven’t shared a recipe in quite a while. I think mainly because the mister has taken over most of the cooking duties, and I don’t get to play in the kitchen as much as I used to.

Cliff’s mom’s garden produced an abundant of tomatoes in the last couple of weeks. I am not a big fan of tomatoes, but the one thing I do love that calls on them is salsa. This is just my own version of salsa that I enjoy. All measures approximate.

  • 3 or 4 ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1 peach or mango chopped
  • 1/2 avocado chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 stalk of green onion chopped
  • 2 or 3 stalks of cilantro chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Throw all the ingredients into a bowl, mix, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld together. Better the next day.

Day 264/365 {I made butter}

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Are you impressed yet? I went from riding my motorcycle to San Franciso to making butter at home in 60 seconds. Ha.

It turns out, making butter at home is super easy. I can’t believe I never tried this before. Simply pour 2 cups of heavy whipping cream into your blender, set it on high. Within 5 or 10 seconds, you get whipped cream. Scrape down the sides of the blender jug, continue blending on high for a few more seconds. Scrape down the sides. Repeat this for 4 or 5 times then the whipped cream becomes liquid again. Continue blending and you’ll see butter start to form. Pour out the liquid, blend some more, pour out the liquid. Add 1/4 cup ice water, blend, pour it out. Repeat 2 or 3 times. You are DONE! Home made fresh butter!

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Impress your spouse.

 

Day 217/365 {real wasabi}

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My parents are heading back to Taiwan tonight. So for our last dinner together, Cliff made sushi and he insisted on getting real wasabi to go with it. This is what a real wasabi plant looks like. The little piece of root needed to be scrubbed, washed and grated. The flavor is nothing like the fake wasabi made from powder. The real stuff is fragrant, flavorful, but not annoyingly spicy.