Getting to know you: The Kitchen

It’s no secret that I love to experiment in the kitchen. For this week’s Getting to know you, I thought it would be funny to tell you how all the cooking craziness started.

When I left for university (or college, whatever you want to call it), I moved away from home. No more home cooked meals, no more pre-stocked fridge, and hello to a tiny student budget! Thanks to my super bland food palette and affinity for chicken breasts over steak, my eating habits have proven to be quite wallet friendly (except for those crazy weeks during exams when I would get take-out every day and run up ridiculous $150 food bills every week. ugh).

Having roommates that also love to cook is definitely motivating for trying new things in the kitchen. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve prepared a chicken pasta salad for myself in the past five years. Something like at least once a week sounds accurate. haha

Aside from the economic advantages of dining in versus getting takeout, I cook a lot for myself due to food allergies (Thanks to Sylvia, you’ll get an extensive list of my food allergies in one of the future Getting to know you posts). So now I’m curious…

How often do you make a home cooked meal? What do you like about dining in versus going out to eat?

(P.S. All the food in the photos above were taken on the same night. I had quite the feast making fried noodles, a chili chicken dish [not pictured], and shrimp spring rolls)

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Is there anything you’d like to get to know about me? Feel free to leave suggestions for future topics in the comments.

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Grilling the night away

Korean BBQ: sitting at a table with an inset grill, surrounded by good company and copious amounts of meat. Occasionally comes with unlimited servings of delicious green tea ice cream and mango pudding for dessert.

Huge apologies to the vegetarian readers. I’m quite the meatatarian and love going out for all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue. There’s just something about cooking your own meal while not in the comforts of your own home plus eating seven scoops of ice cream after eight servings of meat that appeals to my inner foodie. I promise I don’t binge this badly all the time, but when I do it’s like being in food heaven.

This was the first time I had ever seen full-sized steaks being served at a Korean bbq place. Usually, there are only thin slices of steak meat being served but I wasn’t about to complain! Actually, that’s a lie. My only complaint was the lack of cutlery for these steaks. There were only chopsticks (which I admittedly suck at using) and no knives or forks! I can only imagine how savage-like it must have looked trying to bite into a steak being held with chopsticks.

Tip: Don’t wear nice clothes to eat Korean BBQ in. I wore my Label of Hope shirt hoping to keep it free of oil that splatters out from the grill, but I sadly failed. I also left the restaurant smelling like meat for the rest of the night. Attractive, I know. : P

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

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Vinyasa Flow

I went for my first yoga class of 2011 yesterday and woke up with sore abs (not that I have a flat stomach to being with, but I think I just woke up some sort of muscles that might have been dormant for the past 20+ years or so haha). It was quite the experience having to do set after set of planks followed by sit ups followed by the downward dog.

Yesterday’s class was Power Yoga, which aims to strengthen the core muscles of the body. I guess I should’ve started off with a lighter class! Either way, I’m planning to drop in on the Vinyasa Flow class today which I hope will be less drill-sergeant-like. After three straight days of physical activities, my body is starting to feel a little fatigued. Sleeping at 3am and waking up at 8am is probably not helping much either.

I leave you with a semi-outfit photo of what my yoga gear looks like: flowy top and Lululemon pants. Exciting, I know!

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Getting to know you: The Basics

I’m always super curious to know what other bloggers do outside of blogging. I guess I’m guilty for this since I don’t talk about what I do too much aside from my wardrobe and kitchen experiments. I thought it would be fun to start another fun column that has been lovingly titled “Getting to know you”.

I wanted to kick this one off with a bit of the activities I do in my spare time. As much as I wish that my life could revolve around nothing but dressing myself on a daily basis and making (and eating) oodles of cookies, I’ve made a promise to myself in 2011 to take better care of myself. After years of being a huge junk food addict, I’m starting to learn that my metabolism just isn’t what it used to be. Curse those Big Macs for being so delicious but artery-blocking at the same time!

In all honesty, I’m not one for physical activities. When given the option, I’ll take an escalator instead of stairs. I’ve had my fair share of short-lived sport affairs starting with gymnastics (until I grew too tall for the uneven bars, hah!), then moving on to a few years of tennis, a season of basketball in high school, and then a couple seasons of badminton. After I moved out and started living on my own, I stopped going to the gym and being interested in physical activities. I just didn’t have the motivation to drag myself out to a gym. Not to mention whenever I moved to a new city, I was too shy to join any local leagues for fear of being the newbie of the group.

This all changed at the end of 2010 when I started playing squash. Buying a racquet was one of the most impulsive decisions I’ve ever made in terms of sport-related purchases. I remember messaging one of my friends and telling him that I was in the market for a workout partner. After agreeing to motivate each other to play squash at least once a week, we headed to the mall on a mission to find the perfect squash racquet. Having never played squash before, we were both quite confused about what to look for. Like said, this was an impulsive decision with not much thought put into it other than, “Squash gives an all-over workout, right? Right! Let’s go get equipment!!”

We both ended up buying the same racquet, which came with safety goggles and a set of double yellow dot balls. Being the noobs that we are, we had no idea that the double yellow dots meant that we would be in for a workout! Turns out these balls have very little bounce and have a slow speed, which forces us to run like crazy. Yes, I’ve since learned my lesson to research a sport before committing to it.

Aside from squash, I joined an intramural dodgeball team. A lot of people poke fun at me for playing dodgeball because they think of the movie Dodgeball and Ben Stiller’s shenanigans in the movie. Sadly, dodgeball is actually the one sport where I’ll get extremely competitive (which ends up being a huge motivator for pushing myself harder and working out more) since I’m one of a handful of females in the league. I was actually the only female on the team last season! I signed up for another season of dodgeball this year and it looks like here are going to be three of us ladies on the team together! YAY!

One last activity that I want to participate more in this year is yoga. I first tried Hatha yoga in January 2010 and found it to be quite challenging to keep up with. Despite being able to touch my toes after two sessions (having never been able to touch my toes since the age of 12, when I quit gymnastics), I wasn’t able to commit enough time to yoga. Life got in the way and I only ended up going to 3 or 4 of the 9 sessions I paid for. I tried Bikram over the summer of 2010 and called it quits after 2 sessions. As great as my body felt after the 90 minute class, I felt like I was going to pass out or puke during the class.

I’ve decided to give yoga another shot in 2011. I joined a yoga club with drop-in classes for various difficulty levels. I’m hoping that the drop-in sessions help with my ever-changing weekly schedule. The reason why the first classes in 2010 didn’t work out is because my schedule kept changing and I couldn’t devote my Thursday nights to yoga after the first couple of classes. I like the idea of being able to drop-in for sessions that work around my schedule.

I hope I’m not being overly ambitious this year. I want to take better care of myself and am trying to keep myself motivated through different mediums of activities.

What do you guys do to stay in shape?

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I thought I would open up this column to you as well. Is there anything you’d like to get to know about me? Feel free to leave suggestions for future topics in the comments. I’ll try my best to make it happen!

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