Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunshine ... named Coco

I woke up this morning with the warm sun on my face. When that happens, I stay in bed a little longer. I love it. It reminds me a little of times spent somewhere tropical lying on the beach. The same warmth brushing over.

Ming was doggysitting a puppy bulldog named Coco. I've seen a couple of cute photos of Coco but today I got to meet her. She is so crazy cute, as most puppies are.  But I absolutely fell in love with her. Can't believe how much she loves to sleep. She was playful for maybe the first five minutes I got there, but then it was soon lazy couch time after that. But the best thing was when I was sitting next to her on the couch, she came up to me and nuzzled her face into my arms and lap and fell asleep. I had my hand on her paw while she was sleeping. Once I moved my hand off of her, she woke up and moved her paw back to touch my hand before she closed her eyes again. Each time I moved my hand, she'd wake up just to make sure she was still touching me. So ridiculously cute. She loves to cuddle and loves the attention when she's trying to sleep. When she's awake, she loves to come so close and sit by you... and stare at you with her face just inches away from yours. When she's trying to find something, she's perfectly okay with stepping right over you to get where she wants to go. And when you play ball with her, she'll get so happy that she'll jump on you and lick your face just like in the cartoons. Yet, she's so gentle and friendly about it.  Did I just ramble? Oh, she is so affectionate and adorable! (but also a slobber machine). I wish she was mine. She was definitely a part of making my day.

Like the sunshine.

(I would have had more photos if she wasn't always coming so close to lick my camera or chew on my camera strap. Click on photos for a larger image).

Coco, there's a rack of shoes for you to chew. Just not the ones by your feet. Those are mine.

Is someone taunting you with treats in a vial? So not nice.
Poor Coco can't get into her treats.

You're such a cutie.

Lazy bum on the couch.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

No Scalpel Down My Throat, Thank You Very Much

Wow, a second visit to the doctor's this year. I normally don't go very often at all. Anyway, my throat was more unbearable than my banged up foot, and after a whole week of not much changing, I had a feeling it wasn't a cold or flu. I was waiting for the running nose, the cough, the congestion, the aches and pains maybe, but no, none of that. So, I got the tongue depressor and the light going down my throat.

"Ah-ha, I see it." He was digging and pushing my tongue knowing he was looking for something with my description of a super duper sore throat.

"There is a spot on your tonsils. A pustule. That would eventually turn into tonsilitis".

I added my two cents, "Antibiotics?".

"This would make it a staph infection. Think I'll go with Clox."

"It can't go away on its own?".

"Haha.... you can wait until it abcesses."


"And then we'd have to stick a scalpel down your throat to drain it."

"Yah, no thanks."

"The problem is that it's so far down that you'd probably gag."


"Or we can take a hook....".

"Okay, it's okay. I'll take the antibiotics."

"Okay, I'd like to give you Clox 500 but I'm afraid you might not handle it."

"Really? Isn't 500 a regular adult dose?." Why can't I handle it?

"Yah.... so let me give you 250. You know the drill. QID for 10 days."

I gotta say, four times a day on an empty stomach is pretty hard.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Giving It A Rest

Before the holidays, I went into a nail polish frenzy. I fell in love with all the colours. The sparkles.  I don't normally wear nail polish too often. Isn't natural and clean much prettier anyway? But it was the holidays... one reason you get to be super glamourous and fun. That's if you even need a reason.

But, the holidays have been long over. I'm allowing my nails to breathe again. While sipping on a 'Buck's Green Tea Latte and listening to Sam Tsui and Christina Grimmie's version of "Just A Dream" over and over again, I cleaned and trimmed my nails and did a bit of moisturizing my cuticles.

Ahh, so shiny. Soaking in all the oils.

The funny thing is trying to take these random photos for the blog. When both your hands are occupied, how do you use the camera without it sitting on a tripod with a timer? I'm not about to ask someone to take a photo of this for me. Although, what I ended up doing is probably not any better. I'll leave you to wonder how... :)

By the way, if you haven't heard of Sam Tsui and Christina Gimmie's version of "Just A Dream", go youtube it. It's worth a listen.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Under The Weather

Sore throat like I swallowed a razor blade. On and off nausea. Energy level's going up and down.

Vit C. Cold-Fx. Gargling salt water. Sleep. Repeat.

And because of the throat, leaning on more of a liquid diet. Even when I'm not swallowing, it hurts. I'm going to have to steam the heck out of my carrots till their mush before I can eat them.

Not fun at all.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Just What I Needed

I had this when I woke up in the morning. And it was just what I needed.

Homemade congee.

Spent The Night At George's

When night falls, there are a lot of options. Usually, mine is to stay at home in my comfy home clothes. On the couch. Wrapped in a blanket. With a good book. Or a movie. Maybe just my laptop. Music in the background. And a warm Christmas in a Cup. But, usually of course doesn't mean always. The rarity of a full weekend off makes it more tough to get out on a Saturday night. But then again, tough doesn't mean I don't.

So, this Saturday night, I put on my heels and went out with a couple of my friends to Yaletown and hung out at George's. A lounge with few seats, great drinks, and even better bartenders. We got there at the best time. Right around 10pm. A few people were just leaving after watching the hockey game, but most decided to stay. We got in right before the line-up started to form at the door.

Once we got in, we went straight to the bar before we found a seat. Then, the night really started to.. hum......

Before we knew it, (or was it more ... before *I* knew it), it was one drink... then two... then three.... then .....

Gosh, I can't remember the last time I drank.... that much. (And it wasn't even much!). Where has my tolerance gone? Even my friend, Allie, who used to get drunk on half a drink outdrank me. And where does the time go? First we were talking about this, then we were talking about that... then the next thing, I don't remember what we were talking about or if  we were even talking. Or just laughing. But the lounge was ready to close.

Somehow, the buzz didn't hit me until it was time to leave. Oh great, I thought. Now I have to walk.

Right before we left, Allie pulls me to the bar. "We're going to have a shot with the bartender!". Are you nuts??

What I do remember was the bartender first denying the shots because the bar was officially closed.... but then he proceeded to whip out three shot glasses.

The rest... well. The sound of my friend dry-heaving, then a lot of laughing, and the rest to your imagination. Good times.

(Oh by the way, the drink called "20th century" is an old one but a pretty good one).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Winter Farmers Market

There are several Farmers Markets that take place at several different locations throughout the city.  Most of them run during the warmer months from May to October. However, there is one winter farmers market at the Nat Bailey Stadium that is on from November to April, every Saturdays from 10am-2pm. This Saturday, I decided to check it out.

Farmers Markets are all about supporting our local BC farmers and helping sustaining our land and community. You'll find a variety of fresh and healthy foods. Organics. Gluten-free. All terms you'll find on their signs and at their stands. Apples dull in appearance (without the waxy coating) but bright in colours and plump in size. There were also some growingly popular street vendor trucks parked on the side.

Pizza made right in the oven behind him.

Scooping out that aromatic chili from the tank. Perfect for a cold winter day.

I want one of those cutters. They work great!

I brought my parents and we had a lot of fun going from stand to stand seeing what was available and watching other people buy and consume their goodies. We also picked up a couple bags of organic apples and carrots to bring home.

organic carrots so chubby and cute

crisp, juicy and delicious apples (mutsu, granny smith, and galas)

(Click on photos for larger images.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Salmon with Sundried Tomatoes

Everyone enjoyed it when I brought it over for a dinner party one summer. Salmon makes a great entree for the summer. Especially with a delicious and light topping. Of course, I can enjoy it just as much in the winter so I was craving it the other day. I haven't made it since that summer party but the ingredients are so simple and easy, I have no problems remembering it and duplicating it once more. This was given to me by my lovely coworker, Deanna. (Actually, she's probably one of my biggest source to developing my repetoire).

Mind you, I was never a big fan of sundried tomatoes. I'd eat it but I never loved it. I think with most tomato-based things, it has to be on the sweeter rather than sour side for me. (That's why I don't understand American ketchup!). And to me, not all sundried tomatoes I've tasted taste the same. But, Deanna gave me the great tip to using only the California Sun-Dry brand of sundried tomatoes. They're soaked with the right amount of herbs and has the perfect sweet and tanginess. You can get them in a big jar from Costco and it keeps for a while. Love!

Salmon with Sundried Tomatoes

chopped Califronia Sun-Dry sundried tomatoes
diced onions
chopped Parsley

Equal parts of each. Lay like a crust on top of salmon filet that is seasoned with salt and pepper. Wrap in foil and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Need a better knife for finer chopping.

Lunch and snack.

Add some veggies. Yam and potatoes.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

1.5 Weeks

 Hmm... well, maybe the reason why it hasn't been hurting is because it's actually a bit numb.

I have pretty veiny feet. I don't have pretty feet. But veiny feet. That's for sure. Some people have veiny hands (which I don't have), but my feet are like 3D spiderwebs wrapped around them. Someone had asked once if I put my finger on a large vessel whether I could feel the pulse. Anyway, it isn't pretty. But for once, I'm glad I could see the veins again.

If you've read several posts back, I managed to fall and injure myself. My left foot has pretty much recovered aside from the marks left by the wounds, but the right foot is still a bit swollen. When I traumatized my right foot about 1.5 weeks ago, my foot was so swollen that all the veins disappeared. You couldn't see them. You could see my skin all taut and if you pressed anywhere on my foot, it was hard (because it was so swollen). It was so swollen that my toes couldn't touch the floor while I was standing. It's been 1.5 weeks, and the swelling is still around the trauma site. I'm not too worried. I think in due time, it'll get better.

It hasn't been painful at all. Besides the first day when it was sore to walk, I haven't felt any pain whatsoever. Today, as I'm grazing my fingers over the lumpy swollen areas, I realized, hmm... can't really feel my fingers on my foot either. The area is numb! That's why there's no pain. Now... is that possible? Does that mean I've damaged nerves too? Do I just wait for them to regenerate? It's a funny feeling...

Ah well, I'm sure all I need is time.

Isn't it lovely? I've got a discoloured pig's foot.
 (I suppose this blog can deviate away from "simple pleasures" sometimes. Some wanted to see the photo of my foot so hence this post.)

Couple days ago :

Me (trying to photograph food) : This is one disadvantage of being short. I can't take a picture of something without having to grab a chair to get on top of it.
Brother : Are there even any advantages to being short?
Me : Hmm... well, if you fall, you're closer to the ground so you won't hurt yourself as much?
Brother : That doesn't seem to apply to you either.
Me :  Bleh.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ending Up At The Shangri-La

It is a sure sign that we're *ahem* growing up now when we're choosing hotel lounges over club lounges. We ended up at the Shangri-La last Saturday night. For some of us, not our first time. No head pounding beats to rap and hip hop. Just soothing piano jazz music cooing us to contentment. We sat in comfy, cushy chairs at a round table much suitable for some entertaining conversation. Oh, good times. We laughed so hard that we flopped on the table or flung our heads back with laughter. Probably disruptive to others around us. We made requests with the live entertainers and bobbed our heads to their songs. Michael Buble's Everything. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You. So many old and new ones that seem to be plucked out of romantic comedies.  All the while, nursing our drinks and cocktails.

I couldn't help but think how our conversations have changed over the years. It brought up all sorts of issues like parents' approval, future plans, kids, and commitment. There is no more try it out and see... or fun and games... we're *cough cough* grown ups now. The fun and games now come with us imagining what it is like to talk to someone a decade younger than us. Would we be able to relate? Do they know who R. Kelly is? Do they even know who P. Diddy is? Where does the time go...

But as long as we're having a good time, then there'll always be stories and laughs to share. Till the next hotel lounge...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Good Sweat

My Yoga Mat

Somedays are harder than others for just getting to yoga class. I have to drive 20 minutes across the city just to get there.... when you're feeling unmotivated, that's a long time. But, I made it there last night. A high energy, music pumping, cardio and repetitive movement kundalini class. Aside from my sore swollen foot (yes, it's still there), I felt pretty gooooood.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Afternoon Delight

I wanted to check out one of the newest addition to the Kerrisdale area. A coffee shop called Faubourg. It is modern and chic and inviting. I loved the decor. It's nice and bright with the white marble walls. All the baguettes, croissants, and desserts were neatly on display. The place was bustling with people of all ages. They even had a quiet back room with a more elegant atmosphere.

The lady who served me at the counter had a french accent. The lady she repeated my order to also had a french accent. All of a sudden, I was brought back to my days spent in Paris. I had the greatest urge to go for the chocolate croissant for old times sake. But I had a feeling no matter how close it may be, it just wouldn't be the same as the freshly baked chocolate croissants we had for breakfast every morning in Paris. So, I went for something different.

I read their beverage menu up and down. The one thing that I had no clue about was their Marco Polo Latte. I asked the lady at the counter what it is. A black tea with a hint of mint, she says. There was small sample of the tea leaves right at the counter for you to smell. Although I have been avoiding caffeine, I had to try it. And since I knew that I was going to come out here by myself (and have no one to share a dessert with me since everyone is at work on a Monday)... hmm... no, I didn't opt out on the dessert/pastry. Instead, I ate very very little lunch. I wasn't going to try this place out without the full drink+pastry package!

I chose their lemon tart. All their napoleons looked tempting but I fear they were too messy to eat. I'm so glad I went with the choices I did. They were absolutely divine. I rarely use such a pretentious word as "divine" to describe food. But it really was just that! The lemon custard was perfectly tart. Not too sour, but sour enough that it gives a punch. The texture was velvety smooth and creamy. The underneath meringe layer was not sweetened at all. It was a light layer of beatened egg white that completed the matchup with the flavourful custard. Then, there was the tart's crust. You could see the black specks from the vanilla bean. It was also not too sweet, which really balanced the whole dessert and made the custard stand out on its own and be the star.

The Marco Polo Latte was exactly what I love. It had a good hint of everything but not too harsh. The black tea was strong enough to leave a good hazel brown colour in the milk, but not so strong that it would leave a bitter tea taste in my mouth. And the mint was ever so slight. Mmm... it was definitely soothing. I would totally go back just to have those two items again.

What a lovely new place. Definitely going on my must-return list.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Good Day

 This is one of my favorite places. Can you guess where it is? Where half the people there are holding cameras and photographing every food and fruit stand while the other half of the people are running after children or walking dogs. I'm of course of the former. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. People were asking me all day yesterday, "It's going to rain. What are you doing tomorrow?". I'm not so sure, I told everyone. But the moment I saw the sun peek out, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. It gets pretty busy when the weather is nice. Luckily, it was a relatively quiet day today. I seem to rarely get to spend time alone, which I actually consider a good thing. I love company. But on these rare occasions when it's just my camera and I, I enjoy them just the same.

It's funny that there are so many photos of birds. I hate birds. I really hate birds. Even when I was scrolling through these photos I took today, I couldn't help but cringe when I'm on a bird photo. It's really as strange as it sounds. I really can't explain it. I've never been attacked by a bird. Something about them that makes me think they're creepy. Regardless though, in the above photos, the little black bird with the orange trimmings is gorgeous. I also love the very last photo of the seagull in flight... its wings appear almost translucent with the sunset light.

The third last photo is one of my favorite of the day. Only because the moment was perfect. The sun was setting. The air was crisp. This family must have just finished their grocery shopping at the market. They were enjoying their stroll outside just as much as I was. The little boy was dancing and playing amongst the flock of birds on the ground. And even once they've flown away, there was still a happy skip in his steps.

I indulge a little on my days off. I treated myself to a pumpkin seed and fruit granola bar from La Baguette et L'Echolate. It was packed with pumpkin seeds, apricots, cranberries, oats, and honey. Don't let it fool you to think it's super healthy, because with one bite, you'll know that it's truly decadent. But oh, was it good... As I looked up from taking that photo, I noticed a man watching me... and walked away laughing. I suppose it may have looked funny watching someone take a bite out of their food and take a picture of it. At least... I hope that was the reason he was laughing at me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Superfood Quinoa

The first time I was introduced to quinoa was probably about a decade ago when I went with a couple friends to Foundation, a vegetarian restaurant in town. It doesn't have much flavour on its own. If you cook it in a way to enhance its own natural flavour,  it might have a bit of a nutty note. It is high in protein and contains all of the essential amino acids. It is also a good source of fibre, magnesium and iron. Because of its unusual trait of a complete protein, its demand and popularity has been increasing.

It wasn't until a week ago when I saw it in my coworker's lunch that I also decided to make it myself. I was told it was easy. After reading the how-to-cook instructions, it did seem so. The only thing is, what do I do with it afterwards? What would I put with it? When I'm making lunch for work, it usually contains a bit of brown rice, a small piece of meat and one or two vegetables. I decided I'd sub the brown rice with the quinoa. But still, steamed broccoli, grilled chicken and plain quinoa didn't sound too fun. Well, what I ended up with isn't that much more fun... but it certainly didn't taste too shabby either.

Whenever in doubt, I always add corn. I could add corn to everything. I love corn. Last year, I met a boy who does the same thing. At that time, I found it amusing that someone else loved corn just as much and would add it to everything too! But adding corn to everything isn't that unusual I suppose. ( By the way, just like Henrik Sedin, I also set my clock two hours ahead so I can wake up and say to myself, "It's still early! I can sleep in!". My brother ever so kindly points out that he's sure that Henrik and I are not the only two people who does that...) So I guess I'm not that special after all. Anyway...

I sauteed some diced onions before I browned the corn a little. Then, I mixed it in with cooked quinoa (cooked according to instructions) with a bit of salt, pepper, and cumin. Topped it off with some shredded green onion. Wha-la!

Prepping to cook the quinoa. Generally, the quinoa found in North America has already been through a process of removing the outer bitter coating. Otherwise, you would have to soak it for 15 minutes and draining it before cooking.

Every instructions I've read said to fluff with a fork. I of course tried using a spoon to see if it would really break up the quinoa (since you can use a spoon for rice), but yes... there is a reason for every instruction given. Fork definitely works better.

Prepping the onion and corn.

Mixing it in with the quinoa adding some salt, pepper, cumin and green onion.

The finished product.

My brother's lunch.