Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Finally, Inside The Reading Room!!

Lugging a large bag filled to the brim with DVDs and CDs I didn't want any more, I made my way to Amoeba Records in Berkeley to do some trading! I knew they wouldn't give me much money, but I wanted to get rid of some things. It makes moving easier. My dad dropped me off on Telegraph Ave and then went off to the Theological library.

I was able to get $20 in store credit, which isn't too bad. I bought two used CDs: Andrew Bird's new album Noble Beast and a Sigur Ros' album called Agaetis Bryjun, which has just been named Iceland's best album of all time! I am excited to have new music to listen to! :)

Then, I walked around trying to decide whether or not I should scrape some change together for some frozen yogurt or gelato, but decided against it. Instead, I walked through the streets and enjoyed the nice cool day. I relished the coolness since it's been a crazy hot week!

I love how green everything was! So bright and cheery! Then, I walked onto the campus and enjoyed the feeling of being on college ground again! :)

I saw these stone lanterns in the garden of the Alumni center. Lovely, aren't they?

Finally, I reached my destination: the Doe Library! I love this library; it's so stately and large!

The highlight of this little trip to Berkeley has to be the Morrison Reading Room! It's a special room located on the first floor to the right as you enter the library, and it is dedicated to reading! Anyone can come in and plop down in one of the comfy chairs and read! Oh, it was so relaxing and wonderful! When I have some money to spend a day in Berkeley, I plan to go spend some afternoons there! It's really something special! :) I woulld have loved to take pictures of it, but you aren't allowed to.

Of course, none of my blog posts would be complete without mentioning food! My dad made chicken, carrot, garlic, and green bean stir fry for dinner! Yum! The picture above is my sister's plate: she begged me to put it on my blog for some reason. Below is my plate. It was very filling and fresh! :D

Monday, June 29, 2009

Homemade Monster Bagels!!! :)

Ahhhh, summer is truly upon us. The days are slow and hot, full of relaxation and sometimes idleness. Even Scooter is spending her days just sleeping and munching away at her cool lettuce, like in the picture above.
Since my dad didn't need me at work today, I stayed home and made something we needed! I've realized that I really like working and keeping busy. :)
What is that mound of dough going to become?

BAGELS! Yes, this morning I tried my hand at making homemade bagels! My dad doesn't like buying bread at stores anymore so he makes his own. Today I wanted to try!

In the two pictures above the bagels are puffing out and waiting to be boiled. You have to boil the bagels quickly before they are baked in the oven.

Here they are after being boiled. Wrinkly aren't they? I am not too sure why, but my dad thinks it is because we didn't have any bread flour so I used regular all-purpose flour instead.

Voila! Homemade bagels! Even if they don't exactly resemble bagels perfectly, they still taste delicious!
They puffed out so much that some of them are huge!

Here is what they look like on the inside. They didn't rise too much, but thats okay!

Here was my lunch--a cheese and chicken apple maple sausage omelette with one of my bagels. Very filling and good! A simple summer lunch. :) This may seem like breakfast, but eating eggs for lunch or dinner is a French thing.
I am hoping that these bagels will last until Andrew comes over on Friday! I would love for him to try one! He will be spending the 4th of July with me and my family!! I am sooooo excited!!! :D
Lots of cooking ahead! ;)

Grace of Sunlight


Grace of Sunlight

A field of yellow--

Now that summer has come

The grass has gone dry

My hands are outstretched

And I feel the dry tips of plants

With my fingers

My legs take me far

And I don't stop

Words and feelings stream by

Like a river that propels me forward

But I'm lost in its currents

The sweet musk of jasmine flowers

Hangs in the hot air

As I ride my bike down paths not yet forgotten

The trail opens itself up to me,

It welcomes me

Ducks swim by with their fluffy ducklings

Plopping in and out of the water

Learning to navigate through it

Bees hum and hover among the flowers

And birds trill out from the trees

A turtle's head peeks up from the rippling water

A silent hello, a faint recognition

Squirrels scuttle through the paths and up trees

The air is flavored

With the refreshing bite of eucalyptus

Everything flows through me

Cleansing me and reminding me

Of the grace of sunlight

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Homemade Basil Pesto Pasta! :)

I have been dying to try making homemade pesto sauce ever since I discovered how much I like it at Cafe Citti. I bought a nice pasta cookbook a couple weeks ago, and there is a quick and simple recipe for pesto in it. Thus, I couldn't wait to make some! My dad let me make some for dinner tonight, and here is what happened!

Basil leaves, garlic, and parmesan is put into a food processor and blended together. I omitted the pine nuts because my dad doesn't like them. After all those ingredients blend, with the motor running you pour olive oil into the mixture to make a paste.
Here is the pesto paste! I love the deep green color of it! :D

Here is the finished pasta! Yay! We didn't have the required amount of basil leaves on our plant that the recipe called for. Thus, the pasta isn't as green as it should be. I also think that the food processor we have is too big, so the pesto paste didn't mix too well. My dad and sister really loved the pasta though, which made me happy. :) It was very garlicy and we put a lot of parmesan on it. Yumm~~
My dad wants me to make this again, but I plan to do it a bit differently. I'll make sure we have enough basil leaves, even if we have to buy some. Also, my dad suggested we use the blender instead of the food processor, so we'll see how that turns out! :)
Otherwise, it is SO HOT. I almost can't stand it! It's been over 100!! My poor tortoise Scooter is spending all her time under my sister's bed since it's cool and dark down there. We have been hanging in the house all day trying to stay cool. It's supposed to cool down this week, which I can't wait for!!! :D

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Going to the beach!! :D

Ooooh, two posts in one day! Yay! ;)

Anyway, today my dad took my sister and I to the beach for the first time in two years!!! I was really excited about going since we hadn't been for so long. It was a nice family outing, and we went to the beach that was a large part of our childhood. It made me a bit nostalgic! :)
I smartly took a hat and was very excited to show it off apparently, hahaha. :D I had fun taking lots of pictures with my camera!

For lunch, we packed a picnic! We brought sandwich fixings and everyone helped themselves. I made a gigantic sandwich full of chicken, Black Forest Ham, lettuce, sharp cheddar cheese, and I spread some hummus on the bread! Trader Joe's hummus is rather sharp, and since I have only been eating my dad's homemade hummus I had forgotten what that one tasted like. I think the acidic flavor is almost too strong, but that's just me. The sandwich was delicious and filling!! I also munched on some Fuji apple slices, yum!

The day started out a little foggy, but it wasn't cold. The fog quickly went away, which was nice! It was a lovely day, perfect for the beach. :)

Good old times! :)

Yesterday I spent the day with my two oldest friends! We hadn't really hung out too much since summer started because we've been busy, so it was nice to be with them again and have fun. It's been a while since we did that. :) Things are changing in our lives and ourselves, but we will always be family.

It was a hot but pretty day so we wanted to eat outside. Thus, Val went to go get a burrito from Chipotle and then walked over to Whole Foods where me and Andrea were getting sandwiches! We sat outside and had fun talking and eating. My sandwich was delicious and filling! I got lettuce, spring mix, onions, roasted turkey, cheddar cheese, hummus spread, and basil pesto spread on a sweet baguette! I loved how all the flavors meshed together so well. Pacific's sandwich counter could learn a lot from Whole Foods! One might think that having basil pesto spread on one side and hummus on the other might taste kinda weird, but it works! The hummus had a nice strong garlic taste that complimented the pesto. I loved it! :)
Then, we went to Gelateria Naia to try some soy gelato. I went to the one in Berkeley with Andrew and we loved it! I wanted to see if the one where I live had as many flavors. Sadly, one of the display cases was broken so they only had less than half of their regular flavors. Which meant no hazelnut gelato for Ophelia. :( Instead I got Madagascar Vanilla and Soy Scharffen Berger chocolate. It was pretty good, but didn't taste as fresh as the gelato we had in Berkeley.

For dinner, my dad surprised me and made French Onion Soup! He used his homemade wheat bread in it, which was good but soaked up all the broth. Still, it was a filling and rich soup! The onions were soft and had a sweet flavor. The cheese is the best part! :D

Here is a close-up of one of the huge soups. We only had one bowl apiece but that was enough!
Today we might be going to the beach! I haven't been in sooooo long! I wish Andrew was coming, but he will hopefully be coming with us next time! I plan to take lots of pictures! I have discovered a love for photography; I think the more I practice and take pictures the better photographer I will become! Just like guitar, which I love playing thanks to Andrew's awesome skills! :D

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy 20th Post!! Yay! :)

Last night, my dad made a Filipino chicken dish called Chicken Adobo! I love the flavor of the sauce with the chicken; soy sauce, spices, and other yummy things are mixed together to create a very aromatic and flavorful dish! The rice soaks up all the sauce and is a perfect accompaniement to the chicken and sauce. :) I've only ever tried my dad's chicken adobo, so I would love to try a true Filipino version!

For lunch today, my dad wanted to take a shot at making Miso Ramen soup again. Thankfully it isn't super hot right now, so it wasn't bad having soup. :D The broth tasted very nice and strong; I think my dad did a really good job this time. It's simple, with only the miso broth, noodles, green onions, and hard-boiled eggs, but it's good. I will post a recipe on here once we perfect it!

On a truly random note, I think mopping the floor is an absolute waste of time. The floor will get dirty from the mop and your shoes, so there is no point! Augh! I had to clean the kitchen and mop the floor this morning, and it wasn't easy. I don't like mops......but at least it looks clean. And Scooter's little area is clean too, which makes me feel happy and accomplished. :)

I tried watching French Director Eric Rohmer's latest film "The Romance of Astrea and Celadon" this morning before cleaning, but I was very disappointed. It was not as good as his older films. I believe that France in the 1960s and 1970s was full of interesting art and culture asthe times changd. Some of the best French films come from that time, in my opinion. France has just changed too much these past 20-30 years, and the films just don't seem as real. Everything seems so postured and fake, as though the actors are trying too hard to be real people. When actors try too hard, it's so obvious that they are just actors presenting a facade of normality. Rohmer's earlier movies were acted by regular people who didn't feel a need to try so hard. I reccomend most of Rohmer's earlier films, just not this one.

Otherwise, I have been packing and cleaning my room. I keep unearthing old poems and notebooks, and, being the somewhat sentimental person that I am, I feel a desire to hold on to all my old writing. It shows how I've grown not only as a writer, but as a person. It makes me feel so nostaglic. :) I can't wait to share all my childhood things with Andrew! I also have an urge to keep it, and then look back on it many years from now. Looking at my old writing makes me smile, and I would love to read it again as the years pass.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cosmopolitan taste! ;)

Even though I miss college a lot, I have to admit that the food at home is way better than the food at school! My family is very lucky and thankful that we can eat so well.

For lunch yesterday, my dad made fried rice! We had some leftover rice in the fridge that we needed to eat, so my dad mixed that up with some ham, green onions, celery, egg, and peas. Then, he sauteed green beans and carrots in a garlic sauce to mix into the rice as well. It was very tasty! The ham added a nice meaty flavor to the rice. :) My dad was so proud of how he presented this that he told me to take a picture for my blog! I guess he is getting into the whole food blog/photo thing too! ;)

This mashed up-looking dish was part of last night's dinner. It is an Indian dish called Aloo Gobi, and there is cauliflower and potatoes in it. You can also put chickpeas an regular peas in it, but my dad kept it simple. He put in a small amount of curry, so it was okay for me to eat. It was delicious! It had been simmerring in chicken stock, so it was very rich! Yum!

Oooo, today's lunch! I had my favorite sandwich, a Croque Madame, which is grilled sandwich full of turkey, ham, and sharp cheddar cheese, plus an egg on top. Sorry if the egg yolk oozing down the sides looks gross, but it tastes delightful. Having the egg with this sandwich brings it to whole new level, since the egg adds another layer of richness.

As for life at home, it has been sooooo hoooooot! Yuck! My dad wanted to try making ramen soup for lunch today but I convinced him otherwise. It's too hot to have soup! We are hopefully going to have chicken adobo, a Filipino chicken dish, for dinner!! Someday Andrew will have to try my dad's chicken adobo, it's very light and tasty! I suggested to my dad that he and Andrew's mom should have a chicken adobo cook-off, but he backed down. :D
Next week might be a bit busy for me, which is good! :) I like having things to do! I hope to have time to do some special cooking. I've been dying to make some pesto sauce; it's delicious with not only pasta, but sandwiches too! Yay for cooking! :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Morning in Berkeley!

Yesterday my sister and I spent the morning in Berkeley while my dad went to the theological library to stock up on more books for his research. We were there before 11, so many of the stores and cafes weren't open. Many summer students were roaming the streets and campus, which made me want to go back to Pacific! UC Berkeley's campus feels so collegiate and inspiring; I would love to take summer classes there but they are ridiculously expensive. :/

After we walked down Telegraph Avenue for a bit, my sister and I stopped in The Musical Offering classical music shoppe and cafe. It's across the street from Sprawl Plaza, so it has a very convenient location. In the picture above I am contemplating Bach. :D
Here is the cafe's delicious strawberry lemonade! I like to get this whenever I go; it's very fresh and sweet! The cafe also serves lunch and dinner entrees for very reasonable prices. They have sandwiches, soups, salads, and then fancier dishes for dinner. There are also lots of homemade pastries and cakes! The brownies are very rich and chocolatey! Here is a picture of the music shoppe portion of the cafe. It's full of great recordings and music by many different composers and styles. The prices aren't too bad; they sometimes have CDs on sale.

After we relaxed at the cafe for a bit, we then decided to walk back through the campus to the library. It was a lovely day, if a bit hot, so it was a pleasant walk. :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Korean Meat Dumpling Soup!

Things have been rather chill at home so yesterday my dad asked me if I wanted to cook anything special. He was going to the grocery store with my grandmother and wanted to know if I needed anything. I grabbed some of our many cookbooks from the overcrowded living room bookshelves and paged through them, yet nothing called to me. I then went over to our awesome Asian food cookbook and opened it up to a random page. Lo and behold it was the recipe for this soup! I had been wanting to make this soup for a long time now, so it was fun to finally do it! :)
Here is a pic of the dumplings bubbling in the broth. This soup isn't necassarily difficult to make, but it has a lot of different parts to it, such as the dumpling filling, broth, and then actually filling the dumplings. It's a lot of hard work. I need to make it again, since I had a couple of mishaps. I should have made more broth, but the amount I did make was fine for the three of us. The broth was sooooo tasty though! It was a beef broth with chopped green onions, lots of slivered ginger, and soy sauce. So simple yet so refreshing! The ginger tasted incredible in it! The dumplings kind of exploded on me.........they really puffed out! I think I might have cooked them in the soup a little too long, but they were fine. My dad and I had a hard time filling them and closing the dumpling wrappers.

Here is the finished soup! Some of the dumplings fell apart, making their filling of pork, beef, green onions, chinese cabbage, and sesame seeds spill into the broth. Yet that didn't deter from the deliciousness of the soup at all! :)

Yay! My dad happily slurping away at my soup! He and my sister loved it!! :D The broth was so fragrant from the ginger and oh so flavorful! It wasn't overly salty either, since I used low sodium beef broth. :) Healthy!!

I am bummed that this pic is blurry. But its still cute! There's me and my dad toasting my yummy success! :) I just wish Andrew could have tried it, but I will make it again for him and it will be even better! :D
Today I went to church with my dad for Father's Day, which made him really happy. :) My sister and I bought him kitchen stuff, which he loves receiving! Later today we are going to go to my grandma's house for an early dinner. I just finished doing a monster load of laundry.....and I should probably go fold said laundry! :) Hope you all enjoyed this post!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pizza galore!

Yesterday for lunch, my dad made pizza! It was such a treat! He had already been in the kitchen all morning working hard on making chili, so the fact that he made pizza too made me so happy! The pizza pictured above was my dad's pizza, with pepperoni, olives, basil leaves, cheese, ham, and a tomato on it.

The above pizza was mine! SO GOOD! My pizza had an egg in the middle (yay!), ham, pepperoni, basil leaves, cheese, and mushrooms. I really enjoyed it!

This was my sister's pizza with tomatoes, pepperoni, mushrooms, cheese, and basil leaves. She wanted to have a healthy pizza. ;)
The pizza tasted awesome, but it had a special twist to it. My dad used whole weat flour to make the dough with, so the crust tasted different. It didn't fluff up as much, but it had an almost chewy, tasty texture. I really liked the wheat crust!

My dad made homemade hummus on Thursday and it's really good! He put garbanzo beans, tahini sauce, lemon juice, and some spices into a food processor, and voila! You get hummus! :) You are then supposed to put some droplets of olive oil on it and sprinkle some paprika. I photographed it next to my sunflowers because they are so lovely!

Oooo, we just had some of these Cheddar Drop Biscuits for lunch! These were really good! I haven't had biscuits in a while, so this was a nice treat! My dad heated up some of his chili for himself and my sister, while I made myself a burger. A yummy and filling lunch!

Tonight I plan to make Korean Meat Dumpling Soup. The recipe seems really simple; it's like Won Ton soup in beef broth with lots of green onions. The dumplings have almost the same filling as Japanese gyoza too. Soup sounds good because the weather turned a little chilly again.......the clouds are out! My sister cajolled me into going tanning with her for a little bit before lunch, so I guess it's good we did it before the clouds rolled in.

It was funny because we saw so many cats just wandering around; they are all so cute! I've realized that I really like tuxedo cats, since they remind of a cat we used to have at my mother's house...I miss that cat. But, I have my wonderful Scooter! :)
Oooo, funny story! My sister and I walked to the grocery store yesterday morning to get groceries for the pizza. On our way back home on the trail, we saw a group of little boys with their mom walking a dog. The part of their conversation we overheard went like this:
"Vampires are real!"
"Vampires are not real."
"Ghosts are real too!"
"Ghosts are soooo not real!"
It was really cute and amusing! We also saw a super tiny frog hopping on the side of the trail! I kinda wanted to catch it for fun, but it was too small and fast for me. I was able to touch it a little bit though, haha. :D I love that there is so much nature on my trail!