Friday, March 27, 2009

chili spiced mangoes

Did I mention Rachael was a foodie (her birthday is today so wish her a happy birthday, happy birhday Rachael!). So while I was staying with her it was fun to see all the different little goodies she would pull out. One night when our friend Desiree came over she put out little bowls of snack foods and one of the things she put out was chili flavored mango. I loved it! I was a total pig and couldn't stop eating them. It's the sweet and spicy combo. Oh, I should mention the mangoes are dried (but I know Mexicans and Filipinos love to throw hot spices on their fresh mango).

For me most fruit doesn't need anything else. I'll throw some salt on a watermelon if it's not sweet enough but if it's a great watermelon it doesn't need anything else. The same with mango (although with a green mango it's different, it's not sweet, we use shrimp sauce on it, a bit much for my white friends, LOL). But dried sweet mango is a whole nother story. Now I've had dried mango before and really enjoyed it. You can find it in most asian stores. My filipino friend turned me on to it, it's like eating candy. But Rachael is the one who turned me on to chili spiced mango.

She says she bought it at Whole Foods which sucks because the closest Whole Foods is in Seattle and I rarely ever go to Seattle. So today I was in Trader Joe's and lo and behold they had a huge display featuring their chili spiced mangoes and for less then $2 a bag! I bought 2! I should have bought more but I was practicing restraint, LOL. Apparently they've had them for years but since I hadn't tried them til a couple of months ago I never noticed them.

I opened a pack in the car and it was as wonderful as I remember. You really do have to take a couple of bites to fully enjoy the yumminess of it. Nancy couldn't get past her first bite. Oh well, that just means more for me, LOL. I am so happy to have found these. I think I may have mentioned a time or two how much I love Trader Joe's but really, I can never stress it enough, LOL.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Back to the gym I go

I couldn't really make a New Year's resolution to go to the gym considering I was heading to California for 5 weeks soon after but I was determined to get my butt back to the gym once I go back and so far I've been doing pretty good. I need to start incorporating classes in my workout because I always do better in a class environment. I will push myself more. Mostly I've been doing interval training on the elliptical, which consists of going as fast as you can for 30 seconds and at a normal speed for 90 seconds. I've read that because of the intensity you don't have to work out as long so that works for me. I've also been doing crunches and light weights. I wanted to go 5 times a week but it's been averaging about 3.

I did make it to a couple of kickboxing classes. It's more of a cardio kickboxing which isn't really my style because I prefer to work on form but the instructor seems to be trying to work more kickboxing into the class. I definitely don't have the speed to keep up with all of the reps as fast as he goes but I do have the form. The good news is the second class I went to I felt better already. It totally fired me up and invigorated me and if I didn't have dinner plans with my sister I would have stayed and worked out a little longer after class. It's been awhile since I've been that motivated.

The first class I wanted to check out before I brought my gear. I didn't want to walk in trying to look like a badass with my IKEA bag full of kickboxing toys but I decided I wanted to wear my wraps in class and my kickboxing shoes so I was going to start bringing my stuff. Plus, there's some other chick who goes in there and she wears bag gloves and during the class will go over and punch on the one bag that is in the class. If she can do that I can most certainly bring my stuff but I won't wear my muay thai shorts, that might be pushing it a bit, LOL.

So on Tuesday I drag my suitcase that has been in the laundry room out to the shed. I need to dig to get to my kickboxing stuff, I know where it is, I just have to shift things around to get to it. Did I mention that Nancy's shed door doesn't shut all the way? So as I walk in I hear a noise but I think it's because I had the suitcase so I go still and I still hear a noise. I look inside and am face to face with a raccoon! Now raccoons are mean SOBs so I take off running to get into the house. The funny thing is for some reason I brought the suitcase back in with me even though we were in the shed and I could have left it. Jake, Nancy's cat also went sprinting inside when I did and yes, it was a funny picture me lugging the suitcase and running because you all know I don't run! I text my brother who was on his way over. His car was in the shop so I let him use mine and we were going to go pick up my car. He was already on his way when he got my text so I sent him into the shed armed with a shovel to scare out the raccoon. Turns out the raccoon is injured so he's not moving. He's hissing like crazy (Adam told me this while my head peaked out the door. He finally told me to shut the door because I was terrified and no help, LOL). Adam tried for 20 minutes to get the raccoon out even trying to lure him out with food but his legs look broken. We gave up and decided to pass the problem along to Nancy since I had to be back in time for my kb class.

Adam, the great white hunter said he couldn't hurt an injured animal and I totally understood. I wanted the raccoon gone but not dead. By the time Nancy got home, about an hour later the raccoon had left. Apparently they have a strong sense of survival and there have been many times where animal control has been called and the raccoon has been gone before they get there. My dad thinks it went off to die somewhere else which is fine with me, I don't want it dying in the shed, ewwww.

I was not brave enough to go into the shed to get my stuff when it looked like the raccoon was gone. I think I need to get someone to come over and check out the shed one more time before I go in there and get my stuff. I can barely handle tame animals, let alone wild ones, LOL.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some funny videos...

I love Flight of the Conchords which is about a folk band from New Zealand trying to make it in the states. Unfortunately it's on HBO so I only get to watch it when I'm at a friends and they have on demand. This is one of my favorite songs by them.

I just saw this video today. It stars Nathan Fillion who I love and just starred on a new show called Castles which I really enjoyed. I loved the deliberately bad acting.
And here is my favorite song from Dr Horrible's Singalong Blog, just for the line where they say they do the weird stuff LOL.
You can watch the entire musical online. I downloaded the soundtrack and now have a musical in my head that's constantly playing, LOL.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Chicks with Knives

Now there is one specific meal I wanted to talk about. You know my friend and fellow blogger Rachael. She's been linked to my blog for years, Fresh Approach Cooking. Well she has started another venture called Chicks with Knives (love the name), which is a sustainable supper club. What exactly is that you ask?

7 principles of sustainable food based on a website link Rachael has posted:
In our opinion, people and businesses adopting a sustainable approach to food should:
1. Use local, seasonally available ingredients as standard, to minimise energy used in food production, transport and storage.
2. Specify food from farming systems that minimise harm to the environment, such as certified organic produce.
3. Limit foods of animal origin (meat, dairy products and eggs) served, as livestock farming is one of the most significant contributors to climate change, and promote meals rich in fruit, vegetables, pulses, wholegrains and nuts. Ensure that meat, dairy products and eggs are produced to high environmental and animal welfare standards.
4. Exclude fish species identified as most 'at risk' by the Marine Conservation Society, and choose fish only from sustainable sources - such as those accredited by the Marine Stewardship Council.
5. Choose Fairtrade-certified products for foods and drinks imported from poorer countries, to ensure a fair deal for disadvantaged producers.
6. Avoid bottled water and instead serve plain or filtered tap water in reusable jugs or bottles, to minimise transport and packaging waste.
7. Promote health and well-being by cooking with generous portions of vegetables, fruit and starchy staples like wholegrains, cutting down on salt, fats and oils, and cutting out artificial additives.

But the chicks take it a step further and practice S.O.L.E. food. Sustainable, Organic, Local and Ethical.

Remember the grapefruits Rachael and I picked? Someone had emailed her offering them up for one of her dinners of which I got to participate in while I was there. Normally their suppers are hosted in homes and average about 20 or 25 people. They were doing a special dinner in a gallery for 75 people, keep in mind, the chicks are 2 women and there was no kitchen there! Needless to say, Rachael was crazy busy that week. They used the grapefruit to make a grapefruit gelet (sp?) with flecks of gold to go on top of the raw oysters that were their first course. I wish I could tell you all of the love and ingredients that went into this dinner. They had so many ingredients and the process was amazing and yes, Rachael has her own garden that she also gets ingredients from. They also made their sausage by hand as well as 2 kinds of mustards, someone said the tart cherry mustard was smack your mother good, LOL. I'll have to get Rachael to tell you the menu because it was super fantastic and super impressive.

Unfortunately I was not sitting at a table enjoying the meal. I was in the back helping with the meal. They also had 2 volunteers and the cool thing was, we had people coming in to help serve each course because they saw that there were so few people serving. How cool was that? It was pretty exhausting work and Rachael and Suzie had been there longer then I was and left after I did.

It was so cool to see her in action. This is something she's talked to me about but I didn't really grasp it. It was wonderful to see all of Rachael's hard work come to fruition and I was so proud of her and proud to be a part of it. If you are ever in LA and lucky enough to be there when she has a dinner planned I really hope you check it out.

Monday, March 02, 2009

My trip via food...

As my sister Kim has correctly pointed out, my memories all revolve around food. I find as I get older I don't remember as much as I used to but I do remember a lot of the meals I've eaten, LOL. So that is how I will recap the rest of my LA adventure because my two goals were to see as many friends as I could and to eat at all of my favorite places or if I can, get my friends to cook for me, LOL.

I drove to Santa Monica to visit with my friend Carmen who I hadn't talked to in a long time, we struck up a friendship at our gym It was like we talked yesterday. We went to the seafood market for fresh fish for dinner and she shucked a dozen oysters for me. I love raw oysters! What a treat to have them while not at a restaurant, I have to have them at home more often! Yes, we were also drinking mimosas while sitting around the kitchen catching up. She made a white fish and scallops to go with a simple salad. She's Italian and she whips up the most delicious simple salads.

Bernadette is a former co-worker of mine so I've known her almost since I moved to LA. I was even in her wedding and caught the bouquet. That pic that I used of someone taking off the garter with their tongue is from that wedding, LOL. She now is the mom of two young beautiful kids. She used to always share her Filipino food with me so I wanted some good home cooking. Unfortunately when I got there she hadn't started cooking yet and I didn't have a lot of patience, I was hungry so I ate leftovers her mom brought over. Hey, I love leftovers! And even better while the kids laid down for a nap, so did I.

I wanted to eat at my favorite Korean place which just happens to be a buffet also. What could be better? Why going with Rachael and Bernadette could make it better! Bernadette hadn't been there since I left and Rachael had never been and they both loved it, yay! You know I loved it but I did practice some restraint and not eat myself to pain although I could have easily done that, LOL.

Stephanie and I went to the Tofu house after going to kickboxing class. I laughed at her suggestion that we go but got talked into it. The good news is I didn't have to be carried out, LOL. Joe says he took it easy on me. I don't believe him. Mmm I love hot tofu soup. I got the seafood tofu soup.

Steph and I also went to Absolutely Pho-bulous a couple of days later which used to be a favorite after kickboxing spot. We were both disappointed in our meal. I tried the seafood version since there are so many pho places here I wanted something different. I should not have walked off of the beaten path. Steph said her egg roll was cold. Party foul! Good thing I introduced Steph to the gloriousness that is Yogurtland before we went there, yes, dessert first, we didn't want it to close on us.

Rachael went with me to Lala's, which was an Argentinean restaurant down the street from where I used on live. I love their chimichurri sauce. I think Rach may have gotten one piece of bread, I had already used the rest to sop up the sauce and wipe it all over my body. I ordered the garlic skirt steak thinking that's what I always ordered but I was wrong. I should have ordered the mushroom skirt steak! It was still good but not the same even tho I ordered a side of mushrooms. D'oh! Got too excited there. The mushroom version has a cream sauce while the garlic had a red wine one. Was so full on the bread I had to take half of my food home, that and the portions are healthy, LOL. My friend Julie, another kickboxing bud lives in San Fran now but we knew each other in LA. She was down for her engagement party with her LA friends so I stopped by there and her friend's mom made the most divine cake! The piping was like a taffy, you could just chew on it, it was so good. Here is Julie and her fiance Adam.And this is Dave who showed up at the party with his future ex girlfriend Karla. He says it's my fault because I liked her, LOL. Dave and I go way back. I'm sure I've mentioned him on here before.

I stopped by Rossi and Michelle's house and she made a home made chili. We sat around eating comfort food and catching up. I knew them both before they got married, we had all worked at the museum together and I used to be Rossi's boss. I was the best boss he ever had, LOL. He was actually in class most of the night so Michelle had a lot of girl time together which was fun and we watched the first ep of Survivor together LOL.

I know there were other meals while I was there but this was a quick overview of my trip, overall wonderful food and even better friends!