Year of the Ram

Happy Chinese New Year, friends!

Yesterday marked the first day of the Year of the Ram (or Sheep or Goat, depending on who you ask!), so allow me to wish you all a year of prosperity, good health, and great times! As most of you know, I am half-Chinese, so Chinese New Year is usually a big deal in my household, but this year my parents are out of the country so I had to make due with my own mini-celebration.

 
And by mini-celebration, I mean that ate some hand-pulled noodles at Lotus Garden with friends. Heeeeee.

Speaking of celebrations, I have another exciting thing to celebrate this week:

I got my BRACES OFF!!!!!!!

 
I’ve had lingual braces for the past year-and-change, which means I had braces behind my top set of teeth. So while you couldn’t actually see them, I DEFINITELY knew they were there. And now they’re gone! Well, replaced with a permanent retainer, so there is still a little something behind my chompers, but nothing nearly as intrusive as those big metal brackets. So here’s to a new year of not getting food stuck in my braces anymore!

In other news, Yelp’s Fit Club is still chugging along, and this week has so far given me the chance to try out an Ayengar yoga class. And tomorrow I toy with fate by attending my very first [solidcore] class, which I hear is supposed to be the most difficult workout of your life. No big deal. And then, as if that weren’t enough, I have another fitness event on Sunday — a bootcamp-style workout at The Worx by Maia. WHEW.

Good thing I’ve been doing P90 for the past six weeks, otherwise I wouldn’t even be in good enough shape to make it through my own fitness classes, hahahaha.

So I guess you can look forward to hearing about all those various different workouts next week… if I survive, that is! And have a great weekend in the meantime, folks!

Year of the Dragon

Monday marks the beginning of Chinese New Year, and it’s an extra special one this time around because it’s the Year of the Dragon!


So fierce. (source)

You see, I wasn’t just speaking figuratively when I said that 2012 was going to be my year. I am a dragon, which not only means that I have the best of all the Chinese Zodiacs (duh), but it means that this is literally my year! And we all know that I am definitely planning on making the most of it.


(source)

Though it is tradition to celebrate on new year’s eve, which would be Sunday, my family is having our big dinner on Saturday instead. Some of my extended family is coming up from Virginia Beach and it’s sure to be a loud, boisterous, Whasian celebration!

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According to the unfailingly accurate sources of the internet, “those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Dragon are energetic and warm-hearted, charismatic, lucky at love and egotistic. They’re natural born leaders, good at giving orders and doing what’s necessary to remain on top.”

The noble knowledge house of Wikipedia adds the following descriptors: “Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, eccentric, intellectual, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, artistic, generous, loyal. Can be tactless, arrogant, imperious, tyrannical, demanding, intolerant, dogmatic, violent, impetuous, brash.”

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Though I’m not sure if every adjective on that second list holds true (arrrrrgh, I’m so violent, I must punch things!), in general I think that the first description is pretty accurate for me! (Well, the lucky in love part remains to be seen, but I’m yet a mere dragonling, so I’ve got time, haha.) I am definitely energetic, I consider myself a fairly charismatic person, and as for egotistical? Well, I write about and take pictures of myself 5 days a week, so you tell me. 😉

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Dragon. Rawr.

When I was in college, I actually came close to getting a tattoo of the Chinese character for dragon (“Lóng“) and a dragon design encircling it. I ended up chickening out, partly because I couldn’t decide where to place it, and partly because I’m a wuss. I’m just not sure I’m enough of a rockstar to pull off a tattoo. I still think about it sometimes though, and I would want the same thing if I were to get one someday (and would have to hope that people don’t think of me as just another girl with a dragon tattoo, haha.)

This artist at DeviantArt must love me very much to create a Chinese zodiac using Gir! Ahhh! I love it!

I’m looking forward (well, somewhat apprehensively) to the craziness that I’m sure this weekend will bring. Saturday also marks Daxter’s birthday, so you better believe there will be celebrating on that end as well. Have a great weekend everyone, and gong xi fa cai!

Hey baby, what’s your sign?

Mid-Autumn Festival

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, friends!

Moon CakeHot, hot, hot!

You know our family loves our Chinese lunar celebrations! Technically, Monday was the actual date of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is a Chinese lunar harvest festival. Since our family wasn’t able to do anything on Monday, we made Tuesday the day to celebrate instead!

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The ‘rents, the bro, Taylor and I all ventured out to the Hong Kong Palace in Seven Corners for dins. Mom was naturally in charge of ordering, and we ended up with quite a spread!

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Spicy lamb dish

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Bok choy with mushrooms

I didn’t take pictures of all of it (there was also fried fish, giant prawns with spinach, and kung pao chicken!), but suffice it to say it was good eats.

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My (first) plate, hehe.

Unfortunately, I’m feeling a little under the weather (yet again) and my throat was/is literally on fire (perhaps I wore it out vlogging? Haha) so I didn’t get to eat as much Kung Pao as I would have under normal circumstances.

Luckily, my favorite part of the Mid-Autumn Festival is not spicy in the least!

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MOONCAKE!!!

Mooncake is a traditional festival treat made with a filling of sugar and lotus seed paste (sounds so appetizing, I know, but I love it!) and sometimes baked with an egg yolk inside (the “moon”, which I don’t actually like, so fortunately this one didn’t have one.)

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My mama brought one to the restaurant for us to share! Which is necessary, because just one of these little 4-inch suckers could set you back at least 800 calories! Yikes.

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I think NOM pretty much covers it.

Don’t worry though. Even though dessert was mooncake, I couldn’t end my night at a Chinese restaurant without a proper Chinese fortune:

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Finally, the Deus Ex Fortune Cookie I’ve been waiting for to answer all of the “what am I going to do with my life?” questions! I wish there were such a thing as a food lawyer. I think I would be really great at defending the peas. 😉

Are there any less-mainstream holidays or traditions that you celebrate? I love my Whasian heritage because it lets me run the gamut in terms of holidays to celebrate. Plus, I get two New Years!

East Meets West (Yet Again)

You guys know that I’m not exactly what I’d term “picky” when it comes to cooking. I play pantry roulette on frequent occasion because I am too lazy to follow real recipes, and it usually works out.

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As always, the game started with a rousing round of “what ingredients do I currently have in my possession that are still okay to eat?”

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It can be a risky game. RIP, my friend.

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Pantry, pantry, what’s in the pantry?

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But otherwise, it was all chop-chop-dice-dice-cook-cook-done!

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And, lo and behold, surprise success yet again! I’m giving all the credit to my Whasian roots this time.

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Putting my new post-HLS recipe-writing skills to use…

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Green Curry Mac & Cheese
Print this recipe!

Similar to my Sweet & Whasian Tofu, this “dish” (I use the term very loosely) has a whole east-meets-west-in-your-mouth kind of vibe to it. Creamy and zesty, this one is potentially very weird, yes, but good! You’ll end up with plenty of curry sauce leftover as well, so bring it to work and pour it over some rice for a fast and delicious homecooked meal!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 (6 oz.) box of Annie’s Organic Shells & Cheese (White Cheddar)
1 tablespoon green curry paste
1 (14 fl. oz.) can light coconut milk
1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
1 large tomato, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Set a pot of water on the stove to boil. Heat olive oil in a saute pan to medium heat, then add garlic and onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions become translucent. Add zucchini and bell pepper, cook for an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.

2. While veggies are cooking, add the noodle shells from the mac & cheese to your boiling water. Cook per the instructions on the box, then set aside.

3. In the same pot you cooked your noodles in (or a separate one if you don’t mind doing more dishes) mix curry paste, coconut milk, fish oil and cheese packet from mac & cheese over low heat until all is dissolved thoroughly.

4. Add cooked veggies and chopped tomato to curry mixture and bring the sauce to a simmer. Allow to simmer and reduce for an additional 5 – 10 minutes, or until curry is of desired thickness. Pour some of the sauce over noodles and enjoy!

Strange? Yes. But delicious? Definitely. And a much fancier take on just a plain ol’ box of mac & cheese, don’t you think?

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See? I told you there’d be leftovers.

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And judging from the way these vultures were buzzing around, it must have smelled good, too.

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No curry for you!

And just one more…

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We’re dogsitting for my sister right now, in case you couldn’t tell.

Are you a fan of fusing cuisines together? Or does this seem like it’s just a little bit too weird for you? I’m always interested in other people’s take on it, but I find it fascinating. I mean, I kind of AM fusion, you know? So why wouldn’t I want to eat Whasian food?