Graham Cracker, Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! And we are well on our way to Christmas!!! My favorite season of the year, and although it may be short (in my eyes since I only start the season the day after Thanksgiving), I value it that much more! Christmas songs are on repeat, holiday treats are being baked, and drinking coffee and hot chocolate when the rain is pouring outside. I try to learn something new every year in baking/cooking world, and this year I am pretty excited to say that I played with more meat and making sausages. Cookies are still my standard of baking, but I learned a new pie crust technique that I am now a fan of with no failure. Super excited to share all of these things on this blog, eventually…when I get a chance to write. Now that the year is winding down, I should have more time. Here are some pics of my Christmas tree, and Christmas cookie #1: Graham Cracker, Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip Cookie. The graham cracker makes the smell and the cookie DIVINE.

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2013 Year in Review!!!


2013 BLOG YEAR IN REVIEW!!! Thank you for all of your support this past year!!! You reading my random antics, random food cravings, and giving me feedback is what gives me LIFE! Cheers to another full year of DELICIOUS food and health! Here are the TOP 10 RECIPES OF 2013: 

Let me know what YOUR favorite 2013 recipe was! ūüôā¬†

1. RAMEN BURGER
2. Cuban Oxtail Stew
3. Nutella Chocolate Cake with Strawberries
4. Acai Bowl with Bee Pollen
5. Kale and Quinoa Cakes
6. Kimchi Fried Rice w/ HotDogs
7. Halal Chicken & Rice
8. Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
9. Albondigas Soup
10. Lobster & Shrimp Mac&Cheese

Pressed Juicery 3-day Cleanse Diary!

So if you have been following me over the past year you know I love doing cleanses! Last year when I was on a crusade to lose weight, I made my own¬†Blueprint Cleanse¬†and bought a local San Diego juice cleanse a few months after. Making my own cleanse was very tedious, but it was A LOT cheaper than the $200+ price tag for a 3-day. So if you are up for it and have a juicer, I highly recommend it! The green juice I am having now with Pressed Juicery tastes exactly the same as the one I made!!! During the blueprint one, I had the occasional avocado and cucumber to curb my hunger. Also, tons of green tea to improve digestion and get some natural caffeine. The local San Diego one was good, but I did eat lightly, so it was just to get nutrition from it. I also exercised during those cleanses – I had a ton of energy actually and never felt like I was dying. So basically based on my experience of these last 2 cleanses, I began my love affair of cleanses and couldn’t wait to do the next one. So here we are now, almost a year later and I will be doing my third cleanse! I chose Pressed Juicery because several of my friends have done it, and also it was on sale after the holidays for $149 for a 3-day Cleanse 2! A lot cheaper than the normal cleanse price of $199+, and also cheap enough for me not to make my own cleanse again (too tedious!). Ends up being around $8.27 per bottle (18 bottles), so it is a pretty good deal to get it delivered to your door the morning of!

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Pork and Chive Dumplings!

From time to time I like to go back to my household roots and make things my mom or dad makes. I have been heckling my dad to create a Chinese recipe book so I can use it in the future in my own household. If you don’t know, my dad is a great cook. He can seriously make anything. Right now he is working on perfecting Chinese rice noodles, ya know the ones you get a dim sum. I wish I can be at home all the time to document his successes (i.e. macarons, Japanese cheesecakes) but being that I am in SD, I will have to do my best to find it in my memory to create the things I love eating at home. Here are some delicious pork and chive dumplings. Its a tsk tsk thing though, I did buy the potsticker wrappers this time, but in the future I will try my hand in making the wrappers.

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How I lost 15+ pounds in 3 months!

Now this is not an infomercial on a weight loss pill or a lap band that magically sheds pounds. haha! I am writing this not to gloat, but to share my story on how I became happy and healthy and shed 17 pounds to be exact since January. A lot of people have asked me what I have been doing so I figured I would write it on here so I can refer people to this post! My juice cleanse post is actually my most viewed post, so I figured that a lot of you out there want to get healthy and am wondering different methods to do so. I hope to inspire someone to get healthy, like I inspired several people to go on a juice cleanse!

It all started in a very¬†embarrassing¬†way: I realized during winter break that I wasn’t fitting into my winter coats anymore! And when I brought home a dress for a wedding, it didn’t fit when it came time to wear it. It was my favorite dress. How shocking and sad I was =(. I knew I had to do something about it once I came back to SD and away from the abundance of food during the holidays. Also, its funny how heartbreak can lead you to look at yourself and want to be better and channel all your anger, sadness, loneliness into something. For me, it was to get fit and be skinny like I used to be 2 years ago. Luckily I interned in a building that had a gym spring semester!
Jan-Feb: So the FIRST thing I did was RUNNNNN on average 4 times a week, 3 miles a day, on an incline of 4.0. I did this for about 4 weeks. There were 2 weeks where sometimes I ran twice a day, once at lunch and once after work, for a total of 5 miles. I did some machine weights. I did 100 crunches a day. I became sort of obsessed! It was definitely VERY HARD in the beginning. I would come home and sleep at 10pm and be sore. I felt like this for 3 weeks. It was sort of an escape for me! Then it became easier and easier. In addition, I did my 3 day juice cleanse! It really taught me that I really didn’t need that much food and it really was an invigorating experience. That lesson has stayed with me since then.

Feb-Mar: The SECOND thing I did was buy a Groupon for a month of unlimited Corepower yoga. I had done the free week last October, so I sorta knew what it was like. I didn’t really like it, but I did it to get toned and flexible. I went 5-6 times a week. I did Hot Fusion and Yoga 1.5 exclusively. I didn’t like the 2 or the Sculpt classes because I figured if I am going to run 3 miles a day, that was enough cardio. So I did this in conjunction to my running. I did another 3 day juice cleanse from Extract Juice Bar in SD. There is a Groupon deal for it! $50. So cheap! I was eating a lot more salads and protein (egg whites, protein powder, chicken) By now, I had lost 10 pounds!!! (stepping on the scale becomes an obsession sorta! hahah)

I went on Spring Break and tried to eat until I was full, and exercised when I could. I went to Miami feeling better about myself, but I knew the trip wasn’t the end of my fitness obsession. I came back and realized I had dropped another 5 pounds! Yee-haw! I came back and signed up for 24 hour fitness too so I can continue to have a place to run!

Fast forward to today, I am now a member at Club Pilates! I like the community feel of the studio, or maybe pilates in general? Everyone is so helpful and nice and the teachers/students are always so friendly and helpful. I dislike it because IT REALLY MAKES YOU SORE!!! There are a lot of core workouts, which means A LOT of planking. But I can already feel some of the results. It definitely tones you up very quickly!

So basically there is no secret to weight loss, but working hard and¬†persevering¬†through the whole thing. Definitely try supplementing your cardio with an extra type of workout that focuses on other parts of your body. My metabolism has gone up! I don’t overeat. I can even hike without dying!!! Now that I am at my ideal weight, I have been wanting to firm and tone up! I plan to continue running and to continue taking that extra fitness class, like pilates and barre. If anyone has recommendations for Bay Area fitness studios, let me know! Currently I am looking at the Dailey Method and the Bar Method. I plan to give barre classes a try! When I come back to SD during the fall, I have another pilates Groupon lined up and plan to try Bikram!

Here are some recommendations I have:

Protein: Trader Joe’s Designer Whey! (I drink it with soy milk and chia seeds after I work out or wake up in the morning.)
Lifting gloves: Saranac b-grl just4me gloves off Amazon.
Shoes: I just bought my first pair of Nike Frees! [But in the past I have been running with Asics]
Hair bands: Sweaty Bands. [I have a really really small head, so even these sort of slip, but I am abnormal and it will not slip for you]

I hope to inspire someone out there to get happy and healthy! Let me know your exercising regimin and your success stories! ‚̧

Eat Puesto!

3 Tacos: Chicken Al Pastor, Carnitas, and Shrimp

Puesto Mexican Street Food is a bright, trendy, and hip Mexican casual restaurant in downtown La Jolla! When you first walk in, you notice big boards that tell you what you can order and its prices. Two main items on the menu are the bowls and the street tacos. The tortillas are made fresh, and you are able to see first hand of your tacos/bowls put together. They ask you what type of meats, salsas, and toppings you want, similar to Chipotle, but with way more options. Avocado slice comes free, but guac is extra. At the end of the line, there is a drink menu. Puesto serves a variety of cocktails, such as Micheladas (icy cold beer served with spices and fresh ingredients such as tomatillos, cucumbers, and lime), and frozen Margaritas. In addition to drinks, there’s a variety of side items to choose from such as black beans, corn, chips and guac, and the Mexican street fruit cup!

My experience:
I was able to meet with one of the co-owners, Eric, during my visit for this review. He, along with his cousin and brother, were fans of their executive chef’s authentic Mexican street taco creations and wanted to build upon that. They jumped right in with limited restaurant knowledge, but word spread fast of this fun and hip joint, and soon became recognized in the San Diego community as a place to go to for good Mexican food. They are opening a second location in Downtown San Diego later this year, and I am delighted to go once again when it opens.¬†
Best things there: huitlacoche taco and the fruit cup!!!
Tacos: 
Chicken Al Pastor, Carnitas, and Shrimp
I was very eager to try their tacos because of the freshly made tortilla, grilled cheese, and all the crazy freshly made salsas they had. I got the huilatcoche, chicken al pastor with tomatillo roja salsa, carnitas with tomatillo verde salsa, and shrimp tacos with mango salsa. 
Let me tell you the huitlacoche taco is AMAZING. THE BEST THING EVER. I still think about it, and want to go back specifically for this. For those of you who have never heard of this wild thing, let me educate you!!!!! It is a FUNGUS (corn smut) that grows on corn. Google it! It’s black, oozes out like black sesame, and has an earthy flavor, like mushrooms. Some call it the Mexican truffle! Eric, the owner, told me that those who know what it is order it and are in love with it. Well I have definitely seen the light! It might look/sound gross to some people, but trust me, think of it as black sesame or something and you will be fine once you put it in your mouth. TRUST ME. ORDER IT NEXT TIME YOU GO! ITS DELICIOUS! Here is a delightful picture:
Huitlacoche taco with grilled cheese
The chicken taco was good, and full of flavor. I was a fan of the salsa blending very well with the marinated chicken. However, it was a good taco, but nothing too OMG.
The carnitas taco was delicious! I am a HUGE fan of salsa verde and perfectly salty and flavored carnitas. I really enjoyed this one. The meat was really tender. Sort of inspires me to make my own carnitas!
The shrimp taco was my least fav. The shrimp itself was big, not like the dinky little ones you normally get at Fred’s or World Famous on taco tuesdays. But the shrimp taco itself, combining all of the other stuff in it was lacking in flavor, immensely. I wasn’t a fan of the rice in the taco…or the meh mango salsa. Those two things could definitely be worked on. Like the mango salsa being either sweet or salty, but it was neither. :(. This was just too bad because I normally LOVE shrimp tacos. If you do decide to get them, I suggest getting them without the rice, and choosing a different salsa!¬†
I was also able to taste the pistachio salsa. Earthy in flavor. Its supposed to be sort of spicy, but I didn’t really notice the spiciness.
Drinks: 
Green Michelada
Sangria Margarita

Micheladas are beers with fresh lime, fresh ingredients of choice, with a salt lined brim. The GREEN one here has tomatillo, charred jalapeno, cucumber and lime. I really enjoyed this drink! Its refreshing, and has a bit more flavor than a regular beer. Get it next time on a hot day!

Eric, the owner, said that the Sangria Margarita is a popular drink. I can definitely taste the strong agave of the tequila in it. Wasn’t a big fan of the sweetness. It was sort of wine-y and fruity, but because I am not a fan of tequila in the first place, I didn’t really enjoy this one. But I am sure many of you would enjoy this drink! It has a slushy texture. Good for a hot day too!

Lastly: THE MEXICAN STREET FRUIT CUPS!!!

I personally have never had one, even on those drunken nights in Mexico back in the day, or my cruise trip senior year. Let me say that Puesto’s cup is delicious!!! I really liked the lime, chili and sea salt sprinkle mixture with the fruit!!! The cup contains seasonal fruits, so its bound to change when summer rolls around. The one I had contained mangoes, pineapples, jicama, dried mango with seasoning, cucumbers, and carrots. It was the best thing to end my visit. SO THANKFUL!

If you like them, or want to get to know more about this restaurant, follow them on Twitter at @eatpuesto, or Like them on Facebook at facebook.com/eatpuesto, or follow them on Instagram at @eatpuesto. They have a food truck that sells tacos and fruit cups that drive around SD too, so if you are interested, follow them and be informed! Tag #eatpuesto on Twitter or Instagram, and your photos and/or comments may be shown on their tv screens inside the restaurant! 

Fig and Olive – Melrose

My first DineLA eating out adventure! I go to Restaurant Week in SD a lot because I just want to try everything! I could not wait to go to LA to eat again– they have the most amazing restaurants and also the chefs there have space to create. SF and SD restaurants are usually very small because of space constraints and the way the cities are set up.

My friend and I chose this restaurant because 1. We have heard it before; 2. We know celebrities go there all the time. I looked at the menu and it looked great. Mediterranean food! Done deal. We were going! We ended up walking up Melrose looking at the clothing shops to kill time because we got to the area a bit early. By the way, if you have never been to Melrose and you love clothes, you should really go. There are sooo many shops and each have their unique style and flavor to it. You can literally find everything. Anyway, we got to the restaurant a little bit before it opened…they open at 6pm for dinner! When you walk in, the walls are lined with olive oil and you immediately see couches and candlelight. Beautiful decor.

They presented us with 3 different olive oils: One from NorCal, another from Italy, and Spain. We all agreed we liked the NorCal one the best- it tasted less olive oil-y, like less bitter. And because they are famous for their crostinis, we got a plate of 6. The fig&prosciutto and mushroom ones were outstanding! The shrimp and salmon one were alright– sort of plain. Goat cheese one was sweet but tasty.

For appetizers we got 1. Mushroom Croquette; 2. Salmon Crostone; 3. Beef Carpaccio. The mushroom croquette was super creamy and flavorful. The salmon crostone was just a bigger version of a crostini. It was alright… and the beef carpaccio was tasty- the beef was sliced very thin and the tomatoes were an amazing paired with it. The service was great there and they even stopped by to talk to us and asked us where we were from and what brought us there! I love it when they interact with you!

For the main course we got 1. Chicken Tagine; 2. mushroom risotto; 3. filet mignon. The chicken tagine was pretty bomb. Not as many spices as the one I had at Kous Kous in SD, but the Fig & Olive one was pretty tasty in its own way. It had figs and olives, and apricots! Cous Cous and 2 different sauces came with: chimichurri and this spicy one. Very good! The mushroom risotto was rich and creamy. And the filet mignon was pretty good. 
Finally, the dessert! We had 1. dessert crostini which was crostinis with mascarpone? and dried cherries. The dried cherries were very tangy and paired well with the crostini. 2. Dark chocolate pot de creme. It was thicker than I had expected, but it was a rich dark dark chocolate. Amazing!
What a great Sunday evening with friends! And I cant wait to try more LA restaurants!!! 

Cleanse Diary!

Day 1:

OK ya’ll! I survived Day 1! It was not bad, and I have a juice to spare. Drank 3 Greens, 1 Pineapple, and 1 Lemonade. I did snack on a few extra cucumbers, celery and some avocado though. Don’t worry, thats not cheating the cleanse–when Blueprint mails the juices, they mail you an extra card that says if you get too dizzy/hungry for some solids, you can munch on a few of those things. To be honest though, I didn’t need the extra munchies, but I had to wait for one of my juices to defrost [I ended up freezing the juice to make sure it didn’t go bad (precautions after I spent 2 hrs juicing)].

I didn’t feel dizzy or out of the ordinary today! I still went to the gym and ran/walked for 3 miles. My usual routine anyway, so I feel great and green!

Day 2:

Yay! Made it through 2/3 of it! I still feel good. I’m still not that hungry where I will keel over and die. I ¬†did the same-ish routine from yesterday. I drank 3 Greens, 1 Pineapple, 3/4 of the Lemonade. I exercised too. I found that I sweat more both today and yesterday. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the cleanse…

I am SO HAPPY that I inspired 3 friends to do it today! Thank you for the love and support =)! And I know you can survive this cleanse!!!


I really am excited about eating a Costco hot dog on Saturday for lunch. And the many recipes I bookmarked in class to make in the future. And I bought a 6 pack of Nando’s hot sauce immediately after my friend mentioned it. And finally, I am super excited to make finger food for the Superbowl! I swear this obsession with food didnt come because of this cleanse– I do this every day of my life. Hehe stay tuned! =)

Day 3:

I MADE IT!!! I drank even less- I had 2 Greens, 1 Pineapple. I just wasn’t thatt hungry and also I was so bored of the drinks by now. I felt great though!!! I made baked ziti and nommed on some at midnight!¬†

***I ate a Costco hotdog the next day. I didn’t ween off the cleanse like I was supposed to. It was a terrible idea…I felt sick after and my stomach hurt and I felt like I had no energy. =( so dont be like me!!! Ween off of it by slowly incorporating more fats. Only reason I craved the hotdog was because my friend mentioned her love of hot dogs last weekend =(.¬†

RESULT: LOST 4 POUNDS! woot! I guess its all water weight, but oh wells! I felt skinnier in the morning and felt good and felt like everything left my body until I ate that stupid hot dog.

BRB Going on a Cleanse!

BRB going on a cleanse. Dont talk to me, I’m not eating.

I discovered the Blueprint Cleanse reading gossip posts about celebrities going on it to slim down for certain events and award nights. Recently, too, a few of my friends have been on it and have posted their success stories! This uber inspired me to go on it because I am on this fitness obsession right now: I must be happy and fit and skinny and healthy again! (It also doesnt hurt when I have Miami for spring break coming up either :D) So I read up on Blueprint Cleanse¬†and it looked great! I liked the ‘Foundation’ one- 3 Greens, 1 Pineapple one, 1 Spicy lemonade, and 1 Cashew Milk. I normally LOVE veggies and fruits and juices and healthy tasting stuff so I got excited that the cleanse involved that. I have heard of the Master Cleanse [or the lemonade diet] and was sort of grossed out by drinking lemonade all day everyday– sorta boring if you ask me!

Then I looked at the price tag and was blown away! At first I thought it was $75 for the recommended 3 day cleanse, but boy was I wrong. It was $75/day [including shipping to your home]. Each day involved drinking 6 bottles of various juices. So I decided to just make my own. The internet is amazing and I found a recipe by Home Fitness Manual. Because I dont like cashews anyway, I decided to do 3 Greens, 1 Pineapple, and 2 Spicy Lemonades [I read on their website that if you are allergic to cashews, they send you an extra Spicy Lemonade].

I tweaked the recipe from Home Fitness Manual a little bit because for some reason every grocery store I went to ran out of kale -_-. So I decided to use Swiss Chard in place of the kale.

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