Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Easy Curry Recipe! (can also be vegan!)

Hello everyone!

What I really love about blogs is that every time you read a blog post, it's like you're reading a story, a slice of someone's day, or their thoughts.  It's much more comprehensive than a Twitter update or a Facebook status update, and personally, I find it to be much more engaging and waaay more interesting.  It's also a great way to keep up with what's happening in your friends' lives if they live far away, and you guys don't get to talk very often. I'm personally quite awful at keeping in touch, but through the blogsphere, I have been able to keep up with what's happening in a couple of my friends' lives, and I absolutely love being able to do so.  It would be so amazing if every single one of my friends kept blogs!  *hint hint* ;)

Anyway, a couple of days ago, one of my friends from undergrad, Kalen, posted about eating healthier/going vegetarian/pescetarian, and also talked about this documentary called "Forks over Knives".  I was intrigued, especially since I had just gotten off of my detox, and what they were advocating sounded very similar to the diet I was on during detox. So last weekend, David and I popped ourselves down with a bowl of homemade curry for dinner, and watched it.

Wow. What an interesting documentary! It's about eating a plant based diet, and how much that can change our feeling of well-being and our health for the better.  A couple of doctors used only the plant-based diet (no meat, modified sugars, or starches) to treat patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, hyper tension, and even cancer, and surprisingly, they had a lot of success in treating, and even curing, these diseases with only the change in diet (no pills, no shots,,,).  What I found to be really fascinating was that their diet was basically my detox diet, but that they do it for years and years, and they don't have the big slab of ribs to look forward to at the end of 2-3 weeks like I did...  I do feel much better when I do detox, and that's why I keep going back to it once in awhile, but I'm not sure that I can do that every day of my life, for the rest of my life...  you know?  the meat (ribs, burgers, Bulgogi, Korean bbq...yumm) it just tastes so good...!  But the documentary definitely got me thinking, and though David, my skeptical scientist, was definitely more reserved about their ideas than I was, we're are going to try to go 'mostly' vegan/vegetarian from now on.

As I was thinking about different things you could eat while you were on this plant-based (vegan) diet, I realized that what we had for dinner could very easily be turned into a vegan dish!  Just take out the shrimp, and add either more vegetables, beans, or some tofu, and there you have it!  Perfectly healthy, yummy, and so easy.  We're going to be making the vegan version soon  =)

Easy Curry Recipe!  (also vegan option)

2 Tbs Sesame oil
1/2 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp curry powder
3 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbs turmeric
1 Tbs red pepper powder
1 Tbs peanut butter
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1/2 cup cashews
1 cup frozen vegetables
1-2 stalks of green onions, chopped.
1 pound of shrimp, or chicken, or cubed tofu (and add 1 more cup of your favorite kind of beans if going vegan)

Let's begin throwing things into the skillet!

1. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add onions and garlic to cook for a few minutes.  If you are adding raw shrimp -like I did- or cut up chicken, add them to the skillet after a couple of minutes (if going vegan and using tofu or more veggies, you can wait to add them until later).

2. While the meat and the onion/garlic mixture is cooking on low-medium heat, mix together all of the spices (salt, ground ginger, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, and red pepper powder) in a small bowl.

3. Once the meat is done, add the spices mixture and mix, mix, over low heat.

4. Add the can of diced tomatoes, the coconut milk, peanut butter, and cashews to the skillet, and simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently.   If you like the curry a bit thicker, you can add some flour or corn starch to thicken it up a bit!

at this point we added some more red pepper powder and some more cumin because we wanted it spicier

5. After simmering it for 10-15 minutes, throw in the frozen veggies and the green onions! (oh, and if you're doing the tofu version, add that now as well.)  Simmer for a few more minutes.

6. Tada!  the finished product. So much curry--perfect for left overs.

7. Enjoy with your family or friends (or by yourself.  more for you, right?), over hot rice, while watching that documentary.  And if you made the vegan version, you can feel extra awesome while watching that movie!!  ;)

Happy eating!

I made the vegan version with extra beans and roasted veggies, and it was AMAZING!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Game Night!

Hello everyone,

Last Saturday, we held a little game night/double date at our apartment with our respective boys  =)

oh, and Houdini was there too!  Can't forget about Houdini!

We began by playing "Ticket to Ride" which was a new game to both Amulet and I, but we ended up really enjoying ourselves.  Houdini wanted to help move our pieces along the board, but then got captured by David   haha

Though we put up a valiant effort, the game was dominated by David. by a lot.  I think in the end he doubled our points or something...   It's ok, we'll play again, and the results shall be different!! ;)

We chowed down on so many munchies, including this scrumptious baked brie we made while we were playing the game.  Who would've thought that puff pastry, some jam, and brie could make such an incredible dip?  

Though we have to warn you, it's quite rich,,,  so after we gulfed this down, we moved on to some Twister action to burn some calories  ;)
We take Twister very seriously in this household.  So stretching beforehand is a must!  haha

The game started out pretty tame, though I was the first person out during the first round...
but look at this synchronization!  first, it's David and Chris, then it's David and Amulet! 

 And then, things got a little more,,, twisted

We played two rounds of this,-the second round was a bit less civilized, and all three of us ended up piling on top of one another and then falling down-and having decided that we had burned enough calories from laughing so much, we moved onto the Settlers of Catan.  LOVE this game!

Everyone was pretty civilized throughout the whole game, trading with everyone for everything they needed, nomming on more of the baked brie and cookies, and laughing at Houdini's antics.  He really likes hiding under the table and poking his head up into our hands as we're counting the cards   haha

However, all of this civilized behavior changed when we realized that Amulet was waay in the lead and was only 1 point away from winning!
Then we ordered a full-on trade embargo, and we were able to keep her from winning for a couple more turns.  This is probably when we were laughing the hardest.  I needed brick, and I kept asking if anyone had brick to trade, and Amulet kept yelling out "I have brick!!" but of course, none of us could trade with her.  I think in the course of next couple of turns, I asked for brick about 10 times because nobody else had brick, and by the end, all of us were rolling on the floor laughing at Amulet yelling out "I have brick! just take my brick! Janny you never listen to me!  Everyone has selective hearing in this room!!"
Granted, it was past 2 am, so that might have added to the hilarity of the situation, but we thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless  =D

It was such a fun night, and we're planning on doing it again soon.  Any other games you would recommend?  Let us know, and we'll definitely give it a go at our next game night!
I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Penguin Suits and Wedding Dresses!

Hello everyone,

Last night, I got to be a part of an amazing concert, "The Golden Age of Operetta: Take 2!"  And man, was that a fun concert!  I say 'concert' but it was actually more of a 'production' that included a director, singers, an actor, a string quartet, and 2 pianists, all having a part in acting and playing with props.  Oh, and all of us were dressed in wedding gowns (until the second act when the singers changed into black dresses) and penguin suits (tail coats)!

The show followed the history of the operetta, and included works by such composers as Offenbach, Strauss, and even Gershwin!  All in all, it was a very fun and engaging concert that the audience members (both the musically inclined and the not so much) thoroughly enjoyed.

I was a part of the string quartet with Boson, Mr. Norman Fischer, and Mr. Ivo-Jan van der Werff, and we had such a great time!  I found out that Mr. Fischer has an amazing voice (because we were also given parts to sing, much to my horror), and that we have some hilarious people on our faculty  ;)

It was also fun getting to meet and play with Linda, the awesome pianist!  I had attended her recital, and have always thought that she was a great pianist, so it was really fun to get to play with her   =)
Boson and the ladies  ;)

A huge thank you to Ms. Susie Dunn for asking me to be a part of this wonderful production, and also a huge congratulations to her, and also to everyone else involved, for a wonderful night of music and much laughter  ;) 

*sorry about the quality of the photos; the lights were quite dim, and I forgot my camera at home, so only had my little iphone camera...

I hope you all had a wonderful Saturday so far!
If you are in Houston, stay dry out there! or better yet, stay inside and avoid the flash floods!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Life sans school

Hello everyone!

I've now spent a whole week without having to think about classes, lessons, or school work, and it's been...  well, truth to be told, a bit odd.   haha.   Don't get me wrong, it's been really great having so much time, and being able to relax and not stress out about running from one rehearsal to the next. However, I'm nowhere as productive as I was during school, and I feel a bit like I've been floating about, kind of like algae...   It was really nice for a couple of days, but I think I'm ready to get back to having a schedule  =)

Thanks to having wonderful weather for the most of the week, we got to spend a lot of time outside, getting some Vitamin D.  Not that Houston ever gets so cold and gloomy that we would suffer from Vitamin D deficiency, but still...
and warm weather = ice cream.
of course.
Amulet and I go through buckets of ice cream like no other.
and so far, Amy's is my favorite!  It's like Coldstone, but with more interesting flavors, and richer (therefore better) ice cream.

Butterfinger ice cream!!
Then our friends had a BBQ/pool party, so we spent the day getting some color, and hanging out with this adorable little dude  =)
hi there Toby!!
So much food!!!  that's the best kind of BBQ after all  ;)

After gorging ourselves, we decided to try the pool.  The pool seemed really inviting, especially after sitting in the sun for awhile, but the water was SO cold!!
(hence the face I'm making in the photo  haha)

People still swam, but I definitely chickened out.  I'm the sort of a person who takes hot showers even in the 100 degree weather, so I went back to hanging out with Toby while some people swam.

The weather's been a bit odd lately, but I'm sure the hot weather will be upon us soon enough...  It's Houston, after all...
I'm kicking off the weekend by performing in a concert my Thematic Programming teacher, Ms. Dunn, is giving tonight, and I'm going to be in a white gown and all glammed up!  Everything is always more glamorous when singers are involved  ;)   It should be a fun concert, and if you are around the Rice area, we would love to see you at the Duncan Recital Hall at 8 pm!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Linda's B-day!

Hello everyone!

Today is my dear friend Linda's birthday!
Poor girl, she had a test on her birthday, but now it's all over, and we got to talk for half an hour, so it was all good!

during our hike at the Deception Pass
We've been friends since our elementary/middle school years, and she's always been one of my best friends, though we never really lived in the same place after halfway through our high school years.  The last time I saw her was when she came to visit me in Seattle (blog posts here, here, and here, and we had the most glorious week exploring one of my favoritest cities in the U.S.  We've also decided that when we 'grow up' we'll be settling down in Seattle, both teaching at University of Washington, living next door to one another, so *ahem ahem*  UW, get your act together and hire us as professors!

I can't wait to see where our lives will lead, and how our friendship will grow through the years.

matching bracelets from my sweet grandma.  Because she thought it would be cute on us

haha!  love her  ;)
Happy Birthday Darling!
Can't wait to see you again, hopefully sometime soon!

Rosemary Shrimp Kale Spaghetti Squash Recipe!

Hello everyone!

Today was one of those days when you have the time, but yet have no motivation to cook.
I was all practiced out, already hungry, and the roomy wasn't going to be home to cook with me,,,
so sad...  haha
Jimmy Johns...?

but!  as I was climbing the front steps to our apartment, I caught a whiff of some of the rosemary bushes right by our front door, and all of a sudden, I had motivation to cook!!
No Jimmy Johns for this lady for lunch!

With a small rosemary branch(?) in hand, I went on a hunt in our fridge to see what I could use.
The hunt yielded; leftover spaghetti squash from a couple of days ago, shrimp, kale, and some cheese!
Yay!  I basically threw everything in the pan, and it turned out amazingly!  Easy and delicious.  It doesn't get much better than that!

1 1/2 cup Spaghetti Squash (you can either make it fresh, or have it already made beforehand)
1 cup Shrimp
1 cup Kale
1/2 Onion
some Cheese
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1-2 minced Garlic
Italian Seasoning
Lemon Pepper Seasoning
Black Pepper

Let the cooking begin!
1. If your spaghetti squash isn't cooked, cook it first.   Cut the squash in half, and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for half an hour, or until you can poke it easily with a knife.  When they're cooled enough, scrape out the spaghetti-ish inside out and set it aside.

2.  Cut up half of an onion, and saute is in some olive oil with the rosemary leaves(?) and some minced garlic. 

3. When the onions have taken on that clear-esq-caramelized, look, dump in 1 cup of frozen shrimp.  Season it well with the Black pepper, Italian seasoning, and the Lemon Pepper seasoning.  I never measure these out, because in my opinion, the more the merrier when it comes to seasoning  ;)

4. Once the shrimp has turned pink, add 1 1/2 cups of Spaghetti Squash and 1 cup of kale (I also found a couple leaves of spinach about to wilt in the fridge, so I threw those in as well) and mix, mix!

5.  The kale will shrink considerably as you keep sauteing them, and once they look like this, and you can no longer stand the tantalizing smell of the rosemary mixed with shrimp and garlic, you're done!

6. Grate a little (a lot) of your favorite cheese, and enjoy!  Our favorite right now is Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar Cheese!

This was so good, and it was an incredibly easy meal to put together. I think it took about 15 minutes? AND it's healthy for you!  =)
It's a good meal to balance out the ribs from my last post  ;)  haha

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Hello everyone,
The 'detox' I was doing has slowly been ending for the past couple of days,
but two nights ago, with the consumption of BBQ Ribs for dinner,
the detox has officially ended for good.

Though I rather enjoyed being a vegetarian/sort-of-vegan for the past 2 or 3 weeks,
the fact that I enjoyed eating these ribs so, incredibly, much has confirmed that I could never become fully vegetarian.  I mean, seriously, these ribs were SOOO good!!

So, this is the Meadowlark Trio's signature ribs.

The Meadowlark Trio Signature Ribs

Aluminum foil
1 rack of ribs
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
(or, if you want to feel really fancy, buy 2 different ones and mix them together!  we always do this  haha)

Dry Rub
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 to 2 tsps of many different kinds of spices.
(the spices change for us every time, depending on what we have in our pantry,
but this time they were,
garlic pepper, lemon pepper, black pepper, onion powder, cumin, paprika, red pepper powder, Italian seasoning, and turmeric.)

1. Mix together all of the ingredients for the dry rub, and set aside.
2. Cut the rack of ribs into four similarly sized sections.
3. Tear 4 large pieces of aluminum foil (enough to wrap around one quartered section of the ribs) and place the ribs on the foil.
4. Apply dry rub to both sides of the ribs and pat /rub them in.

5. Apply the BBQ sauce generously to both sides of the ribs.
6. Wrap the ribs completely in foil, and wrap it again in a different piece of foil.
7. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, or over night.
8. Preheat the oven to 250, and put the ribs in for 3.5 hours, flipping them after 2 hours.
9. Take the ribs out of the foil (be very careful, they're really hot!) and apply more BBQ sauce.
10. Broil the ribs for 15-20 minutes until the BBQ sauce becomes a little crusty.
11. ENJOY!!!  Perhaps with some roasted veggies,,, just to feel a bit better about eating a balanced meal ;)

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Austin Open 2013

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.
It's almost 7 pm right now, but I feel like it's still early in the afternoon because...
well, I woke up at 1 pm.

I know.
so late...  but!!
I have a good reason for that happening because we didn't get back home from Austin Open that I mentioned here until 5:30 am this morning.
and I was driving, so I feel like I basically pulled an all-nighter!

I talked with Abers earlier, and she asked why we didn't just stay the night in Austin,
and looking back, it was not the smartest idea to start driving back to Houston at like 1:30 or 2 am.
However, who thinks clearly at 2 am after you've been dancing for 12 hours?
Definitely not me.
and the competition was supposed to end at 7 pm, not at 1 am,
so we didn't think we would need to book hotels for the night.

But anyway, it was a really wonderful day spent road tripping with my fabulous car,
(Tim, Jesse, and Michael)
hanging out and meeting new friends,
and of course, dancing with my favoritest scientist/dancer ever  ;)

We competed in International Standard and Latin,
as well as some fun dances like Lindy hop and Salsa,
so here are some pictures from the day.

International Standard and International Latin outfits

 I believe these photos are from American Smooth divisions Newcomer, Bronze, and Silver.
yay go Team Rice!!  
not to brag, but we dominated these divisions  ;)

International Standard was supposed to happen around 2 or 3 pm,
but our level of International Standard didn't end up happening until like 7 pm...
so we spent those 5 hours or so eating, goofing off, and cheering on the rest of our team!

Then finally, finally, it was our turn.
poor people running the Austin Open competition...
I think they had a huge technical malfunction or something,
and that's why things were running 5 hours behind.
International Standard Silver and Gold division

I think my favorite thing about the dress was the 'wings'   haha
the first time I put them on, 
I ran around flapping my arms for good 5 minutes or so  =p
sorry, we don't have pictures of me doing that  haha (thank goodness...?)
David being engulfed by the wings

Then came the International Latin rounds in which we competed Silver and Gold again.
The only bad thing about that was that Silver had 3 different rounds (quarter, semi, and final),
and dancing cha cha, rumba, jive, samba, and paso doble back to back that many times is unbelievably tiring.  They usually have breaks in between rounds, but because they were running so late, they just cut out all of the breaks I think.  Thankfully Gold division only had 1 round, but by the time I was dancing the jive for the 4th time back to back, I was about ready to collapse.

After all of the different rounds were finished,
we had the award ceremony around 12:30 or 1,
and we were free to go home!!!
yay  =)

We only competed in 10 dances (plus 2 social) and I was completely exhausted by the end.
My goal for the day was to get called back for the final round for all of the dances,
and while I'm very thankful that we did, 
and that we placed in every single one of the dances we competed in,
I have to say, by the time the end was near, 
our number being called for the final rounds definitely felt like both a curse and a blessing.
(no more jive... can't.. dance.. anymore...)
Some people from our team competed in all 20 dances,
(American smooth and rhythm, and International standard and latin)
and I really admire their stamina!
woo!  way to go folks!  I don't know how you did that!

Everyone did so well at the competition,
and I think our team definitely held our own out there!
we may be small, but we are mighty!  =p  haha
Rice Ballroom Dance Team.

Thank goodness school is over, because I don't think I could get up to go to school tomorrow.
I woke up this morning (afternoon) feeling like I got run over by a bus  haha

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!
thanks for stopping by!