Old and Stale

My question to my mom before I got married was, “How do we stay fresh?”.  My main fear was becoming old and stale.  It was inevitable, wasn’t it?  Everything in the old creation gradually becomes old, stale, and dies.  The beautiful flowers eventually wither and fall.  My car puts on miles and scratches day after day.  Our clothes grow weary.  Was there any secret?  I didn’t know.  I still don’t know.  But I like the name of this site–Happy Wives Club.  Pretty cute.

So I’ll leave you with a quote from Fawn, since she’s been doing more research on the subject than me– “The best time to love with your whole heart is always now, in this moment, because no breath beyond the current is promised.”

There you have it.  Isn’t so much of the advice in our lives focused on the now?

Emojis! =)

When I was not yet going out with now Hubby, we did not talk much.  However, there were some incidents here and there leading up to our courtship that we do remember fondly.  Now that we are married, I ask him to tell me those stories over and over again.

One of them involves an emoji.  We were going over to a family’s house for lunch, and I happened to be grabbing potato salad for the event.  I was running late.  A certain boy was busy barbecuing in the backyard and texted me to say something like “Take your time.  We’ll save food for you =)”.  I remember getting that text while I was on the way to the store with someone I can’t remember who, and smiling to myself.  “How nice!” I thought.  But I also had another thought cross my mind, “He used a smiley face.  That’s interesting… he’s never done that before.  I wonder if he likes me?  But he could be just a nice person.  Hm.  Whatever!”  When I got to the house, I went to say hi to the boys barbecuing.  Hubby remembers that hello very clearly.  I guess it was the first time I actually came to say hi to him?  So there you have it.  The moral of the story is, be careful about sending emojis, guys.  Unless of course if that’s what you’re going for, then send away!

Summer is almost here, and the teachers and students are all counting the days.  I myself have some projects I want to work on, including finishing Marie Kondo’s book about tidying up and cleaning out the mess that is my closet.  I’ve been looking into different options for my old clothes, from donating to selling both locally and online.  Sometimes I get lost in the research and information out there.  It is the same for cooking.  There are just so many recipes to try, and not enough time in life to get through all of them!  I don’t know if it’s because I’m 27 now, but time seems awfully short.  The amount of things I could possibly learn is endless, never mind the things I could do.  I also have a little bit of an itch to bake.  My KitchenAid mixer is sitting somewhere in our kitchen all by itself.  It might just be time to bring it out, now that we’ve finally adjusted the height!  But really, where are my priorities?  Often I feel I am spread thin in my head.  So I curl up into a ball and watch the latest YouTube videos or check on my Neko Atsume cats.  Let me just close my eyes, and sleep.

Anniversary

Yesterday was our one year anniversary.  I was going to write a post about it, but I guess I got busy with other things.  We took a weekend away which was nice, but by the time we got back, there were a lot of things to do!  Laundry, work, and finding a nice “romantic anniversary dinner” recipe that would be easy enough to pull off.  Apparently there are lists of these things on the Internet, you know?  So I tried to make steak for the first time by myself.  Well it wasn’t exactly stellar.  I cooked it longer than I intended to and put too much salt.  But it was okay.  I think Hubby was touched, which is what counts.  Today I’m trying another one on that Internet list.  It’s a baked chicken with tomatoes and garlic and kale, and it was pretty easy, so far.  We’ll see how it turns out!

I’m kind of pooped now, after two part-time jobs during the day and feeling the kale bits on the kitchen floor with my feet while prepping.  Yes, something about that tires me out.  My head is aching, but the chicken is in the oven.  Phew.

So seriously, what am I supposed to write?  Oh boy, what is a girl to do!  Marriage is a strange and funny thing, and there are some things that just have to be kept between the two peas.  That’s the hard thing about it.  On the one hand, it’s my marriage right, so I should be able to talk about it?  But on the other hand, we’re two and yet one.  It’s all intertwined and yet not.  That’s the funny thing about marriage.

I seriously have arm cramps from whatever I did today (blowing bubbles for kids?  throwing a bouncy ball?  I have no idea..) so I will continue this line of thought later.

I’ll leave you with a quote I found that resonates with me.

A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short. – Andre Marois

Sticky Sticky.

Today I ate a late lunch, and thus when I came home for dinner, I was not hungry.  So while we microwaved Mom’s “zou lu ji”  (walking chicken, literally, a black silky looking chicken marinated in some Asian flavors), and baked a piece of salmon leftover in the freezer from one of Costco’s pre-marinated freezer bags, I decided I wanted to make mochi cake.  Every once in awhile, I stock up on mochiko and coconut milk, and today I had the itch to bake.

What, Esther has an itch to bake?  It is strange, I know.  But here I was, making a mess out of the kitchen with coconut milk, eggs, flour, and sugar.  The nice thing about baking is that, provided you’ve done everything else right, you can stick it in the oven and expect some magic to happen.  Pretty cool.

Remember that EasyBake commercial from the 90s?  Maybe since then, baking has always seemed magical.

I didn’t do too much searching for recipes this time since I had made two variations of mochi cake before.  This time, I just made the first one that came up on Google search that I had all the ingredients for.  It happened to be found on Epicurious.  We’ll see how it turns out.

My poor husband had jury duty all day today and is now collapsed on the couch with the blanket over his head.  It’s not like him at all.  I guess sitting in on a court case and listening to lawyers can be exhausting.  He asks, “Dear dear, when will the nian gao be done?”  Not for another hour and a half dear, and then it has to cool for another two dear.

//edit//

VERDICT:  I think THIS recipe is better, from AllRecipes.com or matcha.  I think the only difference is the addition of milk (whole milk, or condensed).  Somehow I think it makes the texture smoother and less cake-y.

Cereal for days

Cereal is an appropriate lunch meal, right?

Hubby wakes up early to go to work.  I woke up today at the same time because my stomach was hungry.  I guess eating salmon, veggies, and rice wasn’t enough to last me through a longer night.  So steel-cut oats, berries (how I MISS the NZ berries), and banana, and then off for some reading and quiet time which led to falling asleep.  I mean I guess it was inevitable since I was reading in bed.  Or was it?

Four hours later…

I can’t decide if it’s breakfast or lunch time.  But I haven’t established any sort of lunch meal routine, so I boil an egg and eat cereal.  I need some convincing that lunch is a worthwhile meal to eat, but cooking two meals in a day doesn’t seem like a great idea, and sandwiches don’t seem great either.  So I eat breakfast twice.

I realized recently that instead of buying the hubby sandwich meat, I could just roast a chicken and we could use that!  It’s yummier, and I don’t have to worry about bad nitrates!  So tonight I’m going to roast a cornish hen.  The last time I did it, it kind of grossed me out.  Because when I pulled it out of it’s plastic sack, it looked like a real chicken.  A headless, naked one.  EEKS.  So I was a little squeamish.  Yesterday though, I cooked a salmon head!

Mom’s Recipe for Salmon Heads

  • Clean fish head (I asked the fish folks at the Asian market counter to do this, aka, remove the gills and scales, and cut it in half lengthwise)
  • Put salt and pepper on both sides of both halves.  Pat dry (I forgot to do this, but Mom says it helps the frying).  Let it sit for like 10 minutes.
  • Put some oil, and a few ginger slices.  Pan fry both sides of the fish, Mom said until it’s lightly browned or something, a minute or two?
  • Add chopped green onions, rice wine (like half a cup), and like a tablespoon of soy sauce.  Cover and simmer for like fifteen minutes. You should also flip the fish in the middle of the time cause Mom said it would be better that way.  Flipping the fish is kind of difficult with particularly large salmon heads.  I had my hubby help.  Mom said to use a spatula.

And that’s all!  It’s a mellow flavor, hubby wanted to add salt, but I was pleased with it.  Reminded me of childhood.

So I should be okay with naked chickens, right?

Anyhow, I looked up some recipes online but they all asked for roasting pans and I didn’t want to pull out our roasting pan.  I mean, we do have one.. but.. I don’t want to wash it cause it looks too much like a contraption.

So I knew I had a recipe for roasting a cornish hen from one of those food box companies around Thanksgiving time!  And it used a regular pan.  If they say I can do it, I know it won’t be a disaster.  Thank you, Blue Apron!

Next, searching for recipes for some green beans cause you can’t just have a meal with chicken, I think.

Ten million and one things to do.

Does anyone else feel like this on a daily basis, but then sits around and watches YouTube?  UGH.  Just me?  Because YouTube is EASY.  It’s one click, maybe two, maybe three.  Instant entertainment.  UGH, again.

OK, so this is going to be a more unconventional post, meaning I’m not going to pay attention to my grammar and caps and stuff and spelling ya.

I think that when things get overwhelming, I like to make lists.  So, here we go.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do now that we’re back from our honeymoon.  Honeymoon was awesome!  Everyone, when you get married, go on a honeymoon.  Do it.  Because I said so.  And because another family told us we had to.  I think we already were going to, but they insisted that we go.  OK, ok, we’ll go!  So we went to New  Zealand.  And it was lovely!  The air was pure and clean.  No really.  I actually hiked while we were there.  Is this annoying yet?  Yes?  Can I blame jet lag still?  No?

Ok so where was I.  List.  Yes.  Sometimes, the fact that I have ADD tendencies becomes really apparent.  Like days like today.  Especially when I have a million projects I want to do.  But let’s start with the necessary ones.

COSTCO. – I mean grocery shopping, of some sort.  My hubby is a trooper and eats sandwiches for lunch every day.  He also eats oatmeal with berries in the morning.  This means that if there is no bread, berries, or sandwich meat, he can’t really make his lunch or breakfast, and it also means he ends up eating out, at somewhere like MCDONALDS cause of his coworkers.  Dude, I didn’t even know people actually liked eating at McDonalds for real when they’re beyond Happy Meal age and McDonalds isn’t giving out Neopets anymore.  Is it a guy thing?  Anyway, so at some point today, I need to go to Costco.  Also, the Costco ad came today.  The first thing they are selling on sale is Whey Protein.  Now I’ve been wondering about whey protein, because when I was little, my mom used to make me protein shakes.  I really liked these protein shakes actually, and as someone with fast metabolism (see previous post), protein is an essential part of my daily meals.  It’s also why I feel like a vegetarian diet or even pescatarian diet is difficult.  I tried it for maybe a couple weeks in the first semester, and then I just didn’t do it anymore.  I don’t like feeling hungry all the time and worrying about whether I’m getting a complete protein by combining bean one with bean two.  Yes I made that up.  No I don’t know what I’m talking about.  Anyway.  So I’m not sure if I should buy protein or not, but it’s on sale!  So it warrants some consideration.

SLPA. – I need to do some work and finish something for this.  I can’t say what, because I’m ashamed that I’m still working on it. 😦  It’s going to take a chunk of time to do, and I’ve been putting it off because it reminds me of my failures.  So step one, is admitting, right?

COOKING WITH A PLAN. – AKA, not dumplings every night.  Tonight I’m going to try recreating my mom’s salmon head dish.  Because salmon heads are considerably cheaper by pound at the Asian market than a fillet is, and equally as delicious.  I’m armed with my mother’s recipe which involves no measurable ingredients nor quantifiable times.  I’m sure it will be no problem.  Oh wait, I need sides.  OK, what else, I’ll stir-fry some baby bok choy and make fresh rice, since yesterday I found out that dear hubby does not like old rice.  WHAT?

Let me tell you guys the proper way to reheat rice:

  • Cover rice bowl with a damp paper towel.  Reheat in microwave.  Stir.  Reheat some more.  This prevents your rice from being dried out and not tasty.  You’re welcome, now you won’t fear old rice.

Also, I’ve been wanting to create a recipe binder.  I even got a cute binder at Staples for it! Of course, one needs recipes before one can fill a binder…

STEP TWO OF COOKING WITH A PLAN. – Or is it step one?  Collect recipes!

CLEANING WITH A PLAN. – You’d think I never cleaned before in my life.  Oh I’ve cleaned before, but I’ve always lived with a vast amount of housemates.  That means that I had ONE job, every week, and everyone else got other jobs.  And I took about two hours to do that one job, very, thoroughly.  Let’s just say my roomies were very glad I was the person cleaning the bathroom.  Now we have an entire place, and at first, I was too scared of the bugs to venture into cleaning.  Now that the bugs are gone, I am still scared of remnant bugs.  Our place has been cleanest when we have had guests over.  So I guess that’s the secret, folks.  I need people over.

WAKE UP AT PROPER HOURS. – I wish I could blame jet lag.  Without an alarm clock, I sleep about 12 hours every night.  I think.  I need to measure it.  And I’ve been this way for. ever.  On Saturdays, my brother would bound out of bed in the early morning and come to my room and pull my blankets off of me in an attempt to wake me up to play.  Did I want to play?  NO.  I remember in college, my senior year, I took Spanish class.  10am, every day, or was it 11am?  It didn’t matter.  And in Bible school I was a walking zombie.  That was the first time the word “zombie” became real to me.  I just looked it up on Google and apparently there’s a SUCH THING as people that simply sleep.. a lot.  And that just kind of is how it goes.  But this is in the absence of other disorders.  So I probably should check if I have sleep apnea, etc, first.  Put that on the list of things I need to bring to my doctor so I don’t completely blank out when I go see her.  Oh but this guy says he went from 11 hours to 6 hours!  Hm….  Sleep, an eternal mystery.

CLEAN MY CAR. – Jaws, as I affectionately call him, is dirty.  He has empty water bottles all over the floor.  Why?  I don’t know.  He just does.

GET RID OF THINGS. – I’ve only made it halfway through Marie Kondo’s book, and…

GET A NEW MAILBOX APP. – Mailbox by Dropbox is shutting down.  I’m disappointed.  The other apps I’ve found so far are either for phones only or require a $, and I don’t think I should pay for an email app when I used to have one for free!  Apparently Polymail is coming out soon, let’s hope it’s real soon!

Maybe I should have just called this post, an enumeration of Esther’s current problems and what to do about them.  Haha.  What should I work on first?  Seriously though, we’re doing well.  I’m really glad that hubby and I got to take a trip together.  My heart is so full, in the cheesiest of ways.

 

What is a title?

I’m tired.  Lately I’ve been attempting all sorts of recipes, and the results have been mixed at best.  I’m not sure.  Beyond the black and white directions is a frantic girl crouching over a hot oven, peering through the not so transparent window, checking for burns.  I’ve burned myself once in the process, but haven’t cut off any fingers.

I’m not sure, but I think Asian recipes are easier for me.  I wonder if it’s because I subconsciously absorbed some of the things my mother told me in my teenage stupor.  Mom used to pass on bits of cooking advice here and there, but I was never interested.  It sounded like a foreign language to me, and she always made it sound so easy.  My mind tuned out, just the way it does when people give me directions…  Thank the Lord that in this day and age, we have GPS.  Every week, I go to the same places, but I always use my GPS.

What was I saying?  I was saying that although I didn’t watch Mom cook as in give her undivided attention, I think I must have been hovering around somehow.  I saw stalks of green onions here, a chunk of ginger there.  And when I cook now, the quantities are familiar somehow, even though I have never touched them before.  Like distant shadows have materialized before my eyes.  I always miss home when I have to cook.  I miss the way Mom made it look so easy.  The kitchen was always in pristine condition.  Like a fairy had come in while I was gone and swept all the evidence of cooking away.  Now that I live on my own, there is no fairy, save my dear husband who I allow to wash dishes for me, with some guilt.

Friday is coming, Friday is coming.  The little ones will come through our door with hungry stomachs.  What will I feed them?  Stay tuned…