Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A belated V-day post

Confession: I've actually never dated someone on Valentine's day.

Chalk it up to short-ish relationships that always started or ended before or after Valentine's Day, but I've never had a boyfriend on February 14. Even though I know it's the most commercial holiday out there, a part of me used to stress about this when I was younger. "Next year, I'll definitely have a boyfriend for Valentine's day!" I thought. Well, it hasn't happened yet and over the years, I've stopped stressing about it too. This year, I chose to spend it with some of my favorites, my very own valentines, and had the best Gal-entine's day ever!



 I cooked shrimp and asparagus risotto, roasted acorn squash, and threw together a salad



Evil cat that reignited my cat allergy

Dancing to 90's love songs -- best Pandora station ever. 

If you're ever feeling single or down and out on V-day because you're not in a relationship (first of all, you shouldn't -- Valentine's day is just the same as any other day of the year!), get yourself out of your slump and spend it with people that you know you love. Cook yourself or your family a fancy meal you wouldn't normally attempt. And use the excuse to gorge yourself on all of the wine, strawberries, chocolate, and ice cream you want! I know we did =)





Thursday, February 14, 2013

Honolulu



Last week, I took my very first business trip to Honolulu, HI for the International Stroke Conference. Lucky me! I presented my poster from my research project over the summer and attended a bunch of seminars/talks on stroke research and treatment. It was a whirlwind 3-day, 3-night trip where the flight time (12 hours there, 10 hours back) outnumbered the time I spent on the beach, but it didn't detract from my test performance the following Monday so in the end, it was all worth it.

As well as being my first business trip, this trip was the first one where I traveled alone and honestly, I wouldn't do it again. The first day I was in Hawaii, my heart was about to burst from how beautiful and perfect it was, but it was really sad not to have anyone to share it with! I always prided myself on being a strong and independent woman, but I realized that traveling is just not one of those things that I'd ever want to do alone. Nonetheless, I did take the opportunity to do whatever I want and eat whatever I want, so here are the pictures to prove it! 

 I was lucky enough to stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, this crazy entertainment complex of 5 buildings. I didn't even go into half of the buildings of my "hotel" when I stayed there. 

 The view from my balcony!

 Proof I was actually at the conference

 Ahi tuna poke

 Custard malasada and Kona coffee, classic Hawaiian breakfast foods

 View from the conference center

 Waikiki beach!


 Studying by the pool

Peculiarl local dish called loco moco: hamburger patty, rice, sunny side up eggs and gravy. Tasted exactly how it sounds like. 

Going to Hawaii on business only convinced me that I needed to go back for pleasure and with the people I love. I had been there before, but it was as perfect as I remembered it to me and it's one of my favorite tropical locations in the world (that and Cancun, definitely). 

Since I could barely concentrate on my trip, I locked myself in my room after I got back on Saturday afternoon and have never been as focused as I was when studying for this GI/pulmonology test. I ended up almost pulling off an A (88%) where I only needed a mid-B to keep my grade in the class, so needless to say I was ecstatic that my trip to Hawaii didn't derail my academic progress. Now that I've cleared that hurdle, I can safely say that Hawaii was totally worth it for a bit of sunshine and warmth, and my first taste of an international conference!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Orange beef with broccoli

I've been in a hibernating mood lately. Blame the weather outside, blame my uterus, blame my wanting to take it easy before HAWAII (I leave on Tuesday!), but lately I've been totally satisfied with relaxing at home, watching a few episodes of a show, drinking tea, catching up on my reading, and oh yeah, studying too! It's actually ok when it's not in a panicked fervor the weekend before the exam and it helps that the material isn't hard. I finally feel on top of my schoolwork for the first time this semester, w00t!

This past week, I had a huge crown of broccoli left over, some clementines, and a craving for beef. Maybe I'm anemic. So I made this!

Aren't my Instagram skillz improving? 

It was easy, delicious, and we finished it off in one go because was so good. Here's the recipe, all scientific and stuff, courtesy of yours truly.

Orange Beef with Broccoli
-1/2 pound stir fry beef, cut into strips
-1 head of broccoli
-2 cloves garlic, minced

Marinade:
-1 T soy sauce
-1/2 T rice vinegar
-1 T vegetable oil
-1 tsp sesame oil (optional, but gives you that hint of something extra Asian-y)
-1 T cornstach

Sauce:
-1/2 cup beef broth (I used 2 bullion cubes with 1/2 boiling water)
-1/4 cup orange juice (I used the juice of 2 clementines)
-1 T orange zest
-2 T oyster sauce
-1 T soy sauce
-1 T cornstarch
-1 tsp sugar (I used a half packet of Splenda)

Garnishes:
-red pepper flakes
-sesame seeds

1. Cut your beef into strips, against the grain of the meat. You can use any cut of beef you want and any quantity you want, actually. Since I like to eat more veggies than meet, I only used a small amount and made it with an abundance of broccoli.
2. Dump your marinade ingredients into a container with the beef strips and use your hands to mix everything together. Refrigerate for at least 30 min.
3. Cut your broccoli into manageable chunks and mince your garlic while you're waiting for the meat to marinate.
4. Juice 2 clementines and grate 1 T of zest into a mixing bowl. Then add the rest of the sauce ingredients and mix it together.
5. After you've let your meat marinate, oil and heat a skillet (cast iron all the way) until it's sizzling hot (when you flick a few drops of water on it, it should sizzle). Stir fry the beef for a few minutes until it's seared. Give your sauce a quick stir and then dump it into the skillet. It should boil and bubble up for a few minutes and reduce down to a nice thick sauce.
6. While you're doing this, or you could even do it before, microwave your broccoli on a plate with about 1/4 - 1/2 cup water for 2-3 minutes. This cooks the broccoli beforehand to cut down on time where you could burn your meat.
7. After the broccoli's done, dump it into the pan and mix it around with everything. Cook for a few minutes until everything's combined and give it a taste! Add red pepper flakes for a kick and sesame seeds on top for a nice garnish.

And then remember these?


My pumpkin-banana-oatmeal breakfast cookies? I love these so much I make them about once a week to eat for breakfast and this week, I made CHOCOLATE ones.


Just use my old recipe below and replace all the pumpkin spices (cinammon, nutmeg, allspice) with about 1/2 cup of cocoa powder. I just add cocoa powder and combine it with all the wet ingredients + salt + baking powder until it gets to a chocolate-y color and then add the oats last. I know, I'm not very scientific at all when it comes to cooking because I think at the heart of it, it should be about the taste and not about following a recipe. Use the ingredients you love in the amount that tastes good to you. Most of the time, I don't have all of the ingredients on hand for a specific recipe, so I make do with what I have and it turns out fine! It's a little harder if I really like something I make and then want to recreate that exact same recipe, but I still figure it out. And by now I've made these cookies so much I can recipe the recipe like the back of my hand. If you haven't made them yet, give it a go! It's like eating a bowl of oatmeal in cookie form. The best part is there are no dishes to wash and it's healthy to boot.

Oh yeah, follow me on Instagram @froyoyo! I'll be live instagramming from Hawaii ;)