Today, I share a family recipe with you!

Whew! I worked up a sweat last night. I’m not normally an active person. The most active part of my day involves walking up (climbing up) the LONG and PAINFUL DC metro escalators. Other than that, I lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle. Last night, however, I decided to pop in a Tracy Anderson Precision Toning DVD. A classmate of Charkie (shout out to Rarkie!) introduced me to Tracy’s method. I’ll try to make a separate post about that journey. After the sweat, I decided to reward myself with a little homestyle treat. It was also a good way to free up some space in my crowded refrigerator.

6) Bon Appetit!

Lotus Root Pork Patties

Growing up, lotus roots were a staple part of my diet. I never really though about what the circular slices with weird holes came from. Most people have probably seen lotus leaves/flower float above water. Who knew we could eat the roots planted underneath the water or soil? I call that cray. There are many medicinal benefits to this plant according to Chinese medicine. It is common to see people mix hot water with lotus root powder to create a sort of concoction that is supposed to be good for the body (high in dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, thiamin just to name a few and quite low in saturated fat). I also love pastries that are made with lotus seed paste (such as in mooncakes or wife cakes, etc). This dish here (the one that I made last night), involves slicing the lotus root into thin patty-style slices and filling it with a sort of dumpling or wonton or meat bun filling and then coating it with cornstarch and flour to prepare for deep frying. It is great as an appetizer or on the go snack! The lotus root comes out crispy while the savory pork filling gives a juicy, tender to complement.

Ingredients List

  • Lotus Root
  • Ground Pork (or minced pork loin)
  • Green Onions
  • Chives (optional, you can just stick to green onions)
  • Minced Garlic
  • Minced Ginger
  • Egg
  • Cornstarch
  • Flour
  • Soy Sauce
  • Black vinegar
  • Sesame Oil
  • Chinese Cooking Wine
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper Powder (optional)
1) Create your pork (or veggie) filling!

1) Create your pork (or veggie) filling!

For the pork filling, I combined minced pork (you can use ground pork, or ground whatever other meat you’d like – I wouldn’t suggest using ground beef though), chopped chives, minced ginger, minced garlic, soy sauce, black vinegar, chinese cooking wine, salt, white pepper powder, red pepper powder, and cornstarch in a bowl. Mix thoroughly.

2) Slice the lotus roots

2) Slice the lotus roots

To create the lotus root “patty buns,” you should begin slicing the lotus root, as if you were creating a thin slice. However, stop just as you feel that you are about to completely cut off a slice. Move to what would be the beginning point of you second slice and complete the slice. This way, you have two thin slices that are attached to each other at one end.

4) Flour, Cornstarch, Egg, Water

4) Flour, Cornstarch, Egg, Water

Create the batter for frying! Mix flour, cornstarch, an egg and water! You want a thick consistency for this. Think pancake batter!

3) Fill lotus roots with tasty pork!

3) Fill lotus roots with tasty pork!

This part is fun! Fill each patty with the pork filling! 🙂

5) Fry, Fry, Fry!

5) Fry, Fry, Fry!

Fry the patties! For a healthier version, you could probably stick these in the oven. Let cool on a rack/use a paper towel to blot away some of that oil. Bon Appetit!

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Today, I am hoping for a healthier heart…

I mentioned in my previous post that “prevention is where it’s at.” In trying to get that beautiful mind, let’s work on having a healthy heart! So this morning, I made sure to make some oatmeal (I opted for quick oats since ain’t nobody got time for dat actually cooking oats) that is healthy.

How are you trying to stay healthy today? 

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Okay, maybe that’s a little more than a dash of cinnamon. Teehee.

Healthy Oatmeal – Healthy Heart
Ingredients

Oatmeal (stovetop or microwave)

  • 3/4 cups quick oats
  • 1-1.5 cup of water/milk

Toppings –

  • 1 saturn peach (also known as donut peaches) –
         **use any other fruit of choice
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (optional)
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of sliced almonds
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Today, I strive towards a more beautiful mind…

Tous Les Jours, Centreville location

Tous Les Jours, Centreville location

Nomnomnom! Look at those yummy pastries! I had planned for a low-key weekend, however, I ended up accomplishing quite a list of activities that were never originally on my to-do list. These include enjoying churros from a Tex-mex establishment, being introduced to psychedelic rock (with eastern influences) by a local band called Iritis, renting my very first Zipcar, relaxing at Spa World, enjoying a Green Tea Smoothie and some pastries from Tous Les Jours bakery, feasting on about half a dozen of crabs, buying and cooking food of my motherland, and studying for a math exam I have later tonight.

I’m sad that the weekend has ended, but I suppose there are more weekends yet to come! As I am still in that in-between period of not knowing what my next steps will be, I have decided to create a TO-DO LIST, as this will probably be one of those few brief periods of time until I retire that I have time/space/energy to do what I want to do. My #nofilter list (rough draft) –

  • Job search – when I haven’t got a family to think about, maybe this is the best time for me to pack up my bags and move cross country or cross country borders!
  • Learn a computer programming language (any suggestions?)
  • Create my own website (teehee, this is something in the workings, you shall see soon)
  • Work on my novel / create a small small book of short stories (Coming soon, as in maybe a decade)
  • Find an activity that will help my heart health – Daily, I’m seeing patients come in with an extensive list of medical conditions… prevention is what it’s all about now. Hiking? Dancing?
  • Smile more. Laugh more. Don’t let negative thoughts come in as much.
  • Have a more beautiful mind.

What’s on your to-do list?

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Today, I make my own version of Salad Niçoise …

I watched Amélie for the first time the other night. While food did not take a directly role in the plot of the film, food did find itself into many of the scenes in the film. I thoroughly enjoyed the film – but it left me hungry… hungry for French food!

Image via blogspot.com

I decided to ask the -arkies for suggestions of French food and tonight I finally began the process. Tonight’s menu involved just one dish.

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Salad Niçoise – There apparently is debate as to what the true salad is. Some say that the true salad does not include green beans and potatoes (both of which appear in my version… woops). I also seared my tuna to more than just a medium rare as I was afraid my tuna steak wasn’t fresh enough. But anyways, here it is. Have you made this dish? What is your  advice/tip/secret for this salad?

Vinegrette – Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Worcestershire Sauce/Balsamic Vinegar (uh… I didn’t have red wine vinegar in my pantry so I just made something up), Minced Parsley, Dijon Mustard, Garlic, Salt, Pepper

Salad – Fingerling potatoes, Green Beans, Boiled Eggs, Tomatoes

Tuna  – Olive oil, chives, tarragon, Salt, Pepper
Grill each side for ~2 minutes or so.

Combine everything!
Enjoy!

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Today, I am enjoying the comfort of home and prepping…

Ahhhhh, tomorrow is TBD (THE BIG DAY). Sorry… not my wedding. I hope I didn’t get your hopes up. An interview! Epp! Excited, nervous, flurries of little butterflies hitting the lining of my stomach. OH NO. I found this photo on my computer as I was cleaning it up. It’s of a sign in a bathroom (I can’t remember which bathroom now… was it Parker & Otis?) of a brunch place that I dined in with Markie back in April (DURHAM).

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I’ll try to remember that whenever I get nervous or am feeling down. Also reminds me of a similar message of J. Cole’s song with TLC “Crooked Smile.” The MV is worth a watch; it’s sad, but it’s based on a true story. I won’t say much about it, however, it’s worth watching and then doing some research afterwards, whether you want to use news articles or Wiki or google.. up to you! But always remember, you look lovely! Ahhhh… good luck to me, have a lovely Friday and a lovely weekend!

J. Cole ft TLC – Crooked Smile (<– click on link to watch music video)

Today, I drink lots of hot chocolate & enjoy my NewBeauty TestTube Sept/Aug 2013…

My NewBeauty TestTube came on my birthday! What a lovely “Experiment with Beauty” birthday surprise! 🙂 Since tests and applications are starting to slow down, I have much more time to just enjoy this 20-something life, which sadly but also lovingly means gorging on delicious food (pizza?), sipping on coffee/teas/hot chocolate, lying in bed, watching TV, etc. Speaking of which, Downton Abbey came out overseas. I shall watch tonight along with my cup of hot chocolate. Markie found this article about the health benefits of hot chocolate (let’s keep away Alzheimer’s & Dementia!). I guess I can’t complain. Of course, the addition time given to me also means finding new/discovering old hobbies (drawing/painting) and spending quality time with dear friends 🙂

NewBeauty TestTube
Cost: $29.95 + S&H (~$38.00)
See my previous reviews HERE.

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The box has gone through some changes along with that came new packing! The overall design is so pretty! And the tube is now recyclable and reusable! I love it. I always felt a bit guilty having to throw away the previous tubes. I am still thinking of ways to use this tube.

I was excited to receive an additional AmorePacific color control cushion compact and two hair products! 🙂 Much needed!

AmorePacific Color Control Cushion (0.14 oz / $8) 
I first discovered this product in a previous Glossybox… I love that it protects, hydrates and provides coverage… the perfect on-to-go product to keep in your bag. It’s interesting in the sense that the makeup is liquid-ish but in a sponge so that you can control how much of it gets applied onto the puff. The puff is what is used to apply make-up to face. Wonderful coverage! 🙂

BioSilk Silk Therapy (2.26 oz / $10.01)
This product contains silk, wheat and soy proteins and smells wonderful! It isn’t too heavy and leaves my hair feeling so smooth!

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin (2 oz / $10) 
I first experimented with It’s a 10 product .. actually from a previous testtube. I finished that bottle last week, so I’m excited to get this one. 🙂 Smells good and works!

IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Powder Brush (Full size: $48) 
It’s a large plush powder brush. I don’t wear make-up that often… but it seems so awesome that I’m going to have to give it a try… maybe with my bareminerals powder that I’ve been meaning to use. Apparently delivers a flawless airbrush application every time! 🙂

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer (0.25 oz/ $2.97)
I’ve actually received way too many of these deluxe samples that I’ve lost count. However, I keep managing to give them away, so this time, I will TRY it. I’ve heard good things about them. Have any of you tried them?

La Roche-Posay Mela-D Deep Cleansing Brightening Foaming Cream (0.5 oz / $9) 
Brightens with gentle exfoliation. Smells good… I wouldn’t say it’s too foaming, but I think it’ll be go wonderfully with my foaming net. Formulated with 0.1% micro-exfoliating Lipo-Hydroxy Acid (LHA).

Mally Evercolor Starlight Waterproof Eyeliner (Full size: $15) 
This is a really pretty eyeliner. Light blue-ish with almost a light green tiny. I don’t think I’ll use this much… so expect in a future giveaway 🙂

Extra samples 🙂 I am in somewhat of a rush, so I won’t calculate the value of these bonus products! I’m sad that my dr brandt collagen booster doesn’t work. I’m a bit lazy to try to contact customer service. Should I contact? Bleh. Lazy me. Hahaha.

The total value of this box came to OVER $102.98. Aside from the eyeliner, I’ll be able to use every single product (and I’m looking forward to it). This was a wonderful box for me. What did you think of it? I’m currently stuck in between deciding whether to keep Blush Beauty or NewBeauty mystery box :\ I need to cut back on spending to just one box. Any suggestions? Advice? Comments? 

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Today, I consider the Takeaway: 5 Things I Learned this Summer

1. “I’m not psychotic, it’s the side effects of my medications” takes on new meaning inside a psychiatric ward.
Although the summer months were filled with food, family, friends, and general fun frenzy, my main goal in July was the completion of my nursing practice, a required summer clinical rotation to expose us to patient care.  The speciality and location were up to us, as long as it took place in a teaching hospital, and I was fortunate to find a spot in a psychiatry department in Frankfurt. I hoped to get a better feel for the field of psychiatry, as well as glimpse what the health care system in Germany is like.

I learned the names of medications and how to take a psychiatric history, but what I will remember most are the interactions I had with patients, one of whom said the above quote to me. I didn’t know whether to believe her at that stage of her treatment because she seemed so … normal, and yet, the psychiatrists said otherwise. Discussions with the doctors and nurses gave me new appreciation for the subtlety of diagnosing and treating psychiatric diseases.  Sometimes, the patients were clearly and acutely ill; more often, their mental illness was made manifest by social dysfunction. I’m interested in exploring other branches of medicine, but psychiatry is such a rich field that I can’t wait to be part of in some professional capacity.

(Arkie recently pointed me to this article about the stigma of mental illness)

2. No Internet = no problem
Well, that’s not exactly true, since I did have some limited Internet and it was a bit of a problem. Still, since my apartment in Frankfurt didn’t include wifi (something I hadn’t considered asking about first, lesson 2b), Gail and I made due with a computer internet USB stick that had us frugally counting megabytes. I checked my email “only” twice a day and didn’t video chat with anyone for the entirety of my stay. Having gotten so used to Google hangouts/Skype/FaceTime over the past year, it was nice to realize that they weren’t the sine qua non of my long-distance relationships. By the end of the five weeks, we weren’t itching for the Internet at all!

I think I’ve lapsed, but at least I know it can be done?!

3. Watch your wallet!
I was pick pocketed for the first (hopefully last!) time this summer. Very luckily, I ended up getting everything back because I noticed the theft right after it happened (strange circumstances). In that initial moment of shock and panic, the loss felt like such a violation. Since then, I’ve been more attentive!

4. Fan mail exposes the illusion of separateness
Simon van Booy is one of my absolute favorite contemporary writers, as the -arkies and other friends can tell you. His literary style is ideal for poetry lovers who prefer prose, with incisive metaphors and characters that make me stop in awe of life formulated with such insight.

His novel The Illusion of Separateness was one of my most anticipated reads of the summer, and in preparation, I reread his previous novel (that deserves a whole blog post. Note to self) and a collection of his short stories. I’m a fan, ok?!?!
illusion-of-separateness1

In June, I e-mailed SvB about how much I appreciated one of his characters in particular, generally fulfilling all stereotypes of zealous fan mail. Less than a week later, HE WROTE BACK!! It was short, but personalized and kind, and definitely a highlight of my summer.

I’d say that the primary lesson from this was to read SvB’s works. 🙂
Secondly — even more so than countless cold emails or statistics about the rise of social media — I realized how powerfully connected we are these days. Whom to reach out to next…?

5. Sometimes, there’s no going back
I visited Hong Kong for the first time this summer, the place where my mother was raised. She hadn’t been back since she emigrated 40 years ago; her HK was the one before the massive boom in Asia, prior to the Handover of HK to China from Britain for that matter. Even as she cited those changes as reasons for staying away, it was hard for me to understand why she wouldn’t want to return to her former home. Now, I’m not sure we really saw her home anyway, or if that’s even possible anymore. The HK I got to know was a packed modern city with impressive skyscrapers packed like tetris shapes, bustling with people constantly on their electronic devices. It’s hard to imagine that almost none of that was present when she lived there. It was unsettling to put myself in her position: my hometown still looks pretty much like it did when I was growing up; Budapest, like much of Europe, has me accustomed to ubiquitous centuries-old buildings and structures, even if they house modern operations. The past is inherent and recognizable in my environments. However, her apartment building no longer exists; we went to her school and university, but they look totally different now, too.

The places I have left might not see such drastic change in the coming decades (or maybe they will, who knows?!), but if/when I do go back, maybe all I can hope to recognize is a memory.

My mom instantly recognized the hibiscus near the HKU campus, but not those newly erected high-rises in the background.

My mom instantly recognized the hibiscus near the HKU campus, but not those newly erected high-rises in the background.