Cold Food recap

…and now since my husband is home from training today on Tuesday, August 2nd, I feel like I have breathing room again. I felt like it all month was a cycle was a triathlon of dealing with my physical health, mental health, and caring for my young child and two dogs all month. Plus I’m still on a probation period at my job so I am determined to perform well.

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Cheese recap

I usually have a goal in mind of what I would like to make each month. This month I wanted to try to make ricotta cheese, but it’s been so hot this month. I was already looking forward to experimenting with cold dishes which is July’s food theme.

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Strawberries around the World (recap)

I decided not to do a deadline. At some point I’d like to do a standing page on previous food themes so I can continue to update and share some recipes around that theme. After my Eggs post recap, I thought to myself, “I don’t want to stop sharing recipes about eggs.” A few days later, I made shakshuka. I have to admit, it was not the best shakshuka recipe but I will continue to find a good shakshuka recipe even if April is long over.

So rather than being bound by deadlines, I’ll continue to share some egg dishes just as I want to share some recipe wins around ice cream and festive dishes. But also I do enjoy recap posts because I get to reflect on the past month through food. Plus I think it is fun to focus and explore on a certain food or theme for a month.

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Eat Around the World: Strawberries

Anything with strawberries are hit and miss with me. I like fresh strawberries, but I am not a fan of strawberry flavor such as strawberry ice cream, strawberry candy, strawberry milk, etc. because the flavor tends to come off as artificial. I ask “did they really use strawberries?”

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Eat around the World: Eggs (recap)

Now back to the fun foodie post. Did you hear? I experienced a racist incident. I was so steamed I had to write about it.

I have to say, keeping a blog has saved me many, many times. It has helped me deal with difficult and dark moments. Rather than being drowned out by what everybody else thinks, I get write my own narrative and I find that empowering. In blog world, I kick ass.

Anyways, here egg dishes I got to try this month. Most of the egg dishes were chicken eggs. I was hoping to find some eggs bonda or maybe make some this month. I did not even get to make eggs bonda during my week off. I think I may have under estimated the free time I actually had during my week off.

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Foods shaped like rings (Eat around the World)

Initially, I wanted February’s theme to be bagels because I like bagels. Instead, I thought maybe I should go a little broader and explore different types of ring-shaped food. This theme is so fitting for February because the Winter Olympics start this Friday. Also, this month is Valentine’s Day and I thought of engagement rings — cheesy, I know.

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Salads recap

I thought doing a post on salad should be a fun twist on a common New Year’s Resolution, losing weight. Instead of the focus being “to lose weight,” it could be to eat more salad or more vegetables. The challenge was looking for salads that use cold-weather vegetables or grains.

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Just a grain of salt…

Happy weekend coffee share! Let’s have a light brunch at Huckleberry in Santa Monica. I’ve been hearing great things about this place for years. I even borrowed their cookbook from the library to try out some recipes even though I’ve never been at the time. The jam-filled brioche loaf on the cover page caught my eye and that’s why I borrowed it. I was ambitious to venture into brioche-making. When I was about to return the library book, my miniature Schnauzer, Teddy, ruined the cover. Maybe he thought eating the cover page was a delicious idea. The library did not want want the book back in that condition (obviously). I had to pay for a replacement and got to keep the wrecked version.

To be honest, the damage is not as bad you think. Thank god for hardcover. Plus the pages are in great condition.

I guess I never bothered going because there are many other great brunches between there and where I lived. This morning I decided to finally go because it’s hot where I live. I wanted to escape the heat of the Valley for a little bit and hang out at Santa Monica. I am happy to say I am glad I made the small trek. This quiche gruyere and mushroom quiche is amazing! I also had their fruit crisp. This place definitely lives up to the hype. I’ll definitely go back to re-read this cookbook and replicate these dishes.

Anyways, if we were having coffee, I want to share a thing that bothered me. Background: my daughter’s daycare is at my work in the hospital so I get to see her during my lunch breaks. The other day, I decided to have lunch at the daycare to watch Lana do waterplay because it was first time doing waterplay. I like to see her have fun and engage with the other kids. I asked the daycare supervisor if I could eat lunch at the daycare and he said it was ok but as long as I’m not eating chips or other junk food in front of the other kids. He was explaining the importance of modeling good eating habits for the kids at the daycare. Also, he did not want to have some kid say “hey I don’t want to eat this watermelon, I want to chips because she’s eating chips!” I understood where he was coming from and I am not against this policy. Funny thing was that I had a bag of chip with me. All I had to do was walk a few feet to the staff cafeteria and eat them away from the kid’s sight. No big deal.

But that is not the part that frustrated me. After work, I met up with my husband for dinner and his friend tagged along. I shared with my husband about their lunch policy because we don’t want Lana become a picky eater as she gets older. But his friend exploded saying “Oh my gosh…ugh…they’re social engineering your kid. This is why you should not put your kids through public school, blah blah blah. This is why homeschool is far superior blah blah” Side note: this friend does not have any kids. And if you think public health and teaching kids and anybody about healthy eating (and washing your hands, brushing your teeth, etc.) is social engineering, then sure… Then hope you have one or all the things as a result of not doing any of these healthy habits. Also daycare is not the same as public school because I pay for daycare. It’s completely ridiculous. As much as I am ok with hearing other perspectives, I prefer to keep them at arm’s length. I commend my husband for taking these comments with a tiny grain of salt, while I am a little bit more sensitive.

5 Things Friday: Food fads I hate

Instead of my usual five things that made my week, I decided to do this fun prompt on food fads I hate from Salted Caramel. I would not say I absolutely hate any particular food, maybe more like I’m frustrated with certain food trends. Here are mine’s below.

1. Things that are gold leaf or has gold flakes – there is zero nutritional value and it does not change the flavor. It’s just pretty.

Matcha cheesecake
This matcha cheesecake was good but the gold flakes were unnecessary.

2. Activated charcoal everything -There was this ice cream shop in downtown LA that sold activated charcoal ice cream. Seems like this charcoal trend went a little too far at this point. I think if you want to have “healthier” ice cream, blend frozen bananas and frozen pineapples. Voila! You have pineapple soft serve. Or if you have to do some damage, get regular ice cream.

3. Feta – Please, please leave my feta alone! Or at least don’t hoard it. I remembered when the TikTok pasta (errm...baked feta pasta) was trending, it was so hard to find feta cheese for so many weeks. I finally did make the pasta and I get it. It tastes amazing!

Tiktok pasta baked feta pasta

4. Sourdough making – I remembered watching videos on how to make sourdough. What I did not like is discarding half of the starter for each feeding. I would keep another container for the discard and made things with it like put it in waffles, crumpets, pretzels, etc. There was a point I had more discard than I could handle so I stopped making it. Instead I do the five minute bread.

5. Juices – Don’t buy a juicer — get a blender instead. I understand the thought of blending celery may not sound so pleasant because of all the pulps and fibers but that’s all the nutritious stuff! Plus you get more bang with a smoothie for your buck.

Watermelon drink
Why have watermelon juice when you can have a watermelon smoothie?

Wednesday Coffee and Croissants

I wanted to scale back the lavishness of a wedding to celebrate something ordinary like a Wednesday. I’ve been doing this recently to celebrate that I am halfway through another workweek. Plus, the lines in bakeries on Fridays tend to be long. I assume people are celebrating the end of the work week or they have Friday off..

Treating myself for a coffee and croissant on an Wednesday makes the middle of the workweek special. Wednesdays tend to be my busiest days also, so waking up a little early to leave my house a little early is worth it. Plus, I support small businesses.

This week has been pretty hard already. Since Sunday my car broke down and it’s still down today. My husband anticipated that the repair was beyond his skillset so I called for a mechanic to come take a look, but that did not happen until the following day. Monday happened and the mechanic shared his insight and said he’ll go look for the part and possibly come back later that evening or the following day. Anyways, I had to use my dwindling PTO to get that Monday off. I thought about getting a Lyft ride to work after the mechanic stopped by, but because I live fairly far the fare was pretty pricey for doing less than five hours of work that day.

Anyways here’s to another work week!

Ham and gruyere croissant
Ham and gruyere croissant from Proof Bakery

Do you do celebrate any “ordinary” days? Comment below!

“Eat around the World is a monthly writing/photography challenge where I invite people to share a dish around a theme, ingredient, or technique. June’s theme is “Wedding Cake…and other Celebratory Treats.” All themes are open to interpretation. Cooking skills are not required to participate.

“Eat around the world” — a new blog challenge

I’ve spent a good part of the pandemic watching YouTube videos. My favorite videos are ones that involve food. It could be a recipe video, a food journey in a particular destination, a food challenge, cooking techniques, restaurant review, etc. I enjoy watching them all!

I’ve been entertaining the idea of having people share how their part of the world would eat something…it could be a particular dish (pizza), feature a particular ingredient (tomatoes), or use a cooking tool (cast iron skillet, cheese grater). It combines my love for food and travel. You don’t have to be a home cook to participate. You can share a dish from a place you dine at too

I plan to kick off my first prompt on June 1st. I am thinking the theme could be wedding cakes around the world…or some treat one would eat at weddings. I chose a wedding theme because June is peak season for weddings. I am inviting everyone to participate all June long.

Anyways I thought it would be a fun idea. I can’t wait to kick it off on June 1st!

Also…any tips of hosting blogging challenges? Comment below!

Week 5: Bangkok, Los Angeles, Naples

Week  4 of the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge: Top 3 Cultural Foods

“Travel Tuesday” is a back and I am so excited to post this set because my favorite thing about travel is the food. Here are my Top 3 Cities with the best food.

Bangkok, Thailand

I was in Southeast Asia back in 2012 exploring Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam…and I had a brief, less-than-24-hour stint in Hong Kong. I have to say, Bangkok has AMAZING food or my friend who lives in Bangkok took me to all these great places. Maybe because I was young, I loved how places opened late and there were still people around. It reminded me of living Los Angeles when I was in college. At the time, I lived in sleepy San Diego for about 3 years and being in Bangkok made me miss the liveliness of living in the city.

I have to say, fruit in the food stands in Thailand was good. Keeping the fruit under the shade makes all the difference. It was a contrast in buying fruit laying out in the sun from a stand in Cambodia.

Naples, Italy

This was from our long overdue honeymoon in Italy. We went to Italy in September 2015 — our wedding was in October 2014. See, overdue. We went to Rome, Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre, Naples, and the Amalfi Coast. Out of all the cities, Naples had the best food and the most diverse. Naples had the best pizza — after all, that is where pizza was invented. My favorite snack (from this whole trip!) was this fried seafood medley.

Los Angeles, CA

I know, I live in Los Angeles, but I feel no matter what your budget is you can find really, good food. Sometimes the saying “you get what you pay for” does not apply in food in Los Angeles.

I love how I can always somehow find food reminiscent of my travels somewhere in LA. If I want Neapolitan style pizza, I can go to Midici’s down the street from my house. If I want kanom krok, I can find it in a Thai stand in Grand Central Market.

Read more posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge:

Week 1: Your Favorite Travel Photo of You and Intro
Week 2: Little Known Travel Tips
Week 3: Funny Travel Story
Week 4: Travel Misadventures

Who else is doing the challenge?

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!