Thursday, June 30, 2016

Miso Soup
 for two

miso soup

Before you do anything, put the kettle on. When the kettle starts to make a little noise, take it off the heat. You just want hot (not boiling) water for the miso in a minute.

I only put the peas because I had half a bag of frozen peas that I wanted to use up. They're good in this, though.

2 cups water
1 sheet nori
2 green onions
1/4 block firm tofu
handful of peas, optional
2 Tbsp miso
1 sheet nori

Put water in a medium saucepan over low heat.

Cut the nori into squares with scissors and add to the pan. Trim and thinly slice the green onions and add to the pan. Cube the tofu and add to the pan. Add the peas. Turn up the heat and bring the soup to a strong simmer.

Meanwhile, put the miso into a small bowl, add a little hot water from the kettle, and whisk until smooth. When the soup is simmering, take it off the heat and stir the miso into the soup. (This is so it doesn't clump.)

June Review

Ahhhhh, I had such a good month! I deep rested on Memorial Day and limped through the rest of that week including the first few days of June; and then starting the first Sunday of June, it was ON.

June picks:

HOME: Cleaning and decorating

1. Throw some shit out for the love of god.

PHWOARR, I have been ON FIRE with this! STILL so delighted with my bed six inches away from the wall and the bags in the red dresser and the ladder thingy in the foyer for my backpacks. Moving the bed is what forced my hand to deal with all my bags—three of which I sold, thirty bucks to Gryffindor! Really I think not having all my bags hanging off the footboard is what makes the bedroom seem so much calmer, that and finding a place for the laundry bag i.e., an IKEA bag, off the floor at the foot of the bed. It's so nice in here, I am writing from my calm bedroom. Plus, Mitch put in the A/C just in time. Also side note, the first Sunday of June I suddenly just stopped watching TV to fall asleep. So it's nice and cold and dark in here, I have been sleeping great.

But wait, there's more! Bunches of stuff got sorted to be trashed or donated (or sold!) or saved, I'm down to three bankers boxes of craft materials that I have definite plans for neatly stacked in the kitchen. Der schweetums has six bankers boxes similarly neatly stacked in the kitchen. And the rest of the house is clear living space! Almost. I still have more fitness equipment than space to keep fitness equipment in, and I re-messed up my project cubbies clearing off my drawing table, but look!

sewing table

A while back I had raised this table so that I could have a standing desk at home, and then proceeded to do all my desk work sitting on the couch. I mean, home days are really gym days. I'm going to start calling them that, as a level up from not saying anymore that I work part-time. Anyway I'm plenty active those days, a little couch time is so necessary; life is balance. On the other hand I had a block about having to get out my sewing machine if I wanted to sew, not to mention finding or making a clear space to set it up. Which the table was the opposite of, because I wasn't using it as a desk and was using it to pile things on. So here I have a clear space and my sewing machine already out, see what happen.

Also I massively cleaned out our suitcase of office supplies, I can't even imagine why I thought I needed three boxes of #1 paper clips and three boxes of jumbo paper clips squirreled away and that wasn't even the half of it. Not to be morbid but if I were to measure out the rest of my life in paper clips, I'm pretty sure that what's left is less than one box:

So pleasing, that empty space in my desk drawer has actually always bothered me. And I found the round labels, so I was able to relabel all my spice jars. And I found the stack of kraft cardstock that I've been going bananas looking for on and off for the past ten or so years, it's been in the suitcase all this time :/

Just one more thing: der schweetums liberated a file cabinet from his closet and I reclaimed it for myself, thus liberating my two file boxes from their restless wanders around the front room floor. OMG SO MUCH FLOOR SPACE. SO TIDY.

ETA: AND ANOTHER THING: I really thought I was going to spend this morning baking a cake and instead I found myself defrosting the freezer, it sounds much happier now.

BODY: Healing my body

2a. Get mammogram.

Done, easy peasy. I also took a peek at the primary care practice that's on the Rush campus, but I think I will stick with Dr. Goldfarb for now. I have it on my calendar to get a physical in fall... man I love my body and all, but I really could use a break from taking it to doctors and fluffing its pillows and bringing it flat 7-Up with a bendy straw. I mean, I had a break this month. But like, a longer break.

2b. Draft a plan for doing taxes better.

YATTA!!! So done! So at work I get this small business newsletter as a perk from one of our insurances, we're a bigger business than that but, hello, I'm a small business; so I actually read the newsletter quite a bit, and there was this really helpful article about how to get a handle on your business cash flow, my technique up to this point having been winging it and hoping for the best. So, I basically followed those steps and now understand my cash flow for the first time basically ever, oh man it's so great. Knowing removes so much fear, and gives you so much control! And after doing all that, figuring out a plan for my taxes was like Duh: finalize last year's expenses in January, receive tax documents in January, fill out tax worksheets in February, and send to Elliott to prepare and file tax return in March. BOOM.

In addition to this, there was a lot of shmooing (see PASTIME below) that resulted in me finally canceling the ad-free service on my rocketmail account that I haven't even been using for past three years ::gun emoji:: just in time to save $20 this month. I mean, twenty dollars is twenty dollars.

PLAY: Studying movement and muscles

3. Let's just see what happens in June...

Last month I was feeling very wobbly in this area, this month I feel SOLID. So it goes like this, my #1 favorite trainer is Naudi Aguilar and as you can see right there, he has a YouTube channel with lots and lots of videos that I was always pinning or bookmarking to watch when I had time and never having time to watch them. And, I have Tuesday mornings blocked off to study. So finally, those two ideas came together, viz., Tuesday morning is when I watch Functional Patterns videos. It's so awesome, I feel like I'm screwing around! But it's what I'm supposed to be doing, I wear headphones and everything! And I'm getting pretty good at drawing stick figures:

PASTIME: Writing

4. Let's just see what happens in June...

Lordy, my brain has been a shmoo about this. Not so much the helpful aspect, more the changing shapes bit:

Well also, helpful. I'm happy with my brain. But like no sooner did I think I was giving up on Nom, brain shapeshifted into Let's do THIS with Nom! So okay then I think let's take a little leave from alla Poppy to do that and then brain goes boing into No wait, let's do that BUT WITH ALLA POPPY!

That kicked up a whole side thing about what to do with my Flickr, and transitively, my Yahoo account (see above), and did I want to start a Google Photos account, all of which ended up with me figuring out how to cancel the ad-free service on my rocketmail, and otherwise staying the course just so I can move forward with my writing, instead of getting bottlenecked by photos again, and anyway it's not as if Google doesn't giveth and then taketh away, so I don't want to dump a lot of work into that.

State of the Blog

So who knows what shape brain will be in next month, but right now I'm up to my armpits in editing the recipes that were going to be published in Nom, but publishing them in alla Poppy. When that's all done, I will be shutting Nom down (not that I ever started it up) so it's going to be all alla Poppy all the time for me. I'm allapoppy on Instagram, too. I love Instagram, it's soo much faster to get pictures out. So then I have this idea that I will do little monthly sum-ups like here's my June Eats and eventually when my recipes are in situ, I will link out to them. This makes me so much happier, it seems more flexible and less like always feeling like I'm behind the eight ball trying to cook and photograph and process and write up recipes. This seems like a more natural way to cook and eat, insofar as it's natural to take pictures of everything you eat, well, we'll see if this lasts the month.

Going out

I started a group! Actually that's two groups, the Sunday supper club and now the 6:06 Sunday 606 Skate. What I really needed was just that little umph to achieve escape velocity from my house and to make skating the 606 on a Sunday evening a thing that I do, well, being the unmoving target for people to aim at is exactly that umph (that and the fun wordplay on 606 that I was so proud of I had to share). If I get out of the house and end up skating by myself, I have achieved what I wanted; having people to skate with is gravy. But, I skated with Sparty and Jammy the first week and with Jammy the second week. So, good gravy! I did skip last Sunday, which I also liked; it's a fine line between making things non-negotiable to save on decision fatigue and, you know, The Red Shoes. I had four things to do Sunday and three time slots, and I got to choose!

Then, this kid:


A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on

Has graduated from high school! And is going to the Naval Academy. Man, I feel like this solid twelve years of my life were really tough and then I think, he had the same twelve years but like in the first twelve years of his life. His sister, too; they're incredible kids. Sheesh his dad put together a video for his graduation party and the first two pictures were my sister and my mom with Josh as a baby, idk why I wasn't expecting that, and I burst into tears. Ah well, good times! Okay Josh so far so good, don't try to slide down the laundry chute at the Naval Academy like the kid in my dorm who broke all the bones in his body! (I am not remembering this right, there was no laundry chute in my dorm; it must have been some other dorm. Still, solid advice.)

And, this girl:

so much work done this month, this week is just for fun 🙌

A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on

p: i hope you are ready for your selfie
p: i am practicing
p: ...
s: you have to turn the camera around
p: ah

Staying in

Sleeping and working TV are NO MORE, at least this month! It's so weird: at bedtime after I do my gratitudes, I shut my computer, take off my glasses, shut the light... and go to sleep.

Watching TV

That makes actual watching TV more fun, I think. We watched the first season of Blunt Talk, which a) stars Patrick Stewart, and b) is really singularly funny and smart; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, which blew the top of my head off and made me want to do a stage adaptation (I got better); Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which I liked more than der schweetums did, I'm more familiar with Jane Austen's ouevre and could appreciate more how nicely they dovetailed in the zombies; and Orange is the New Black, which—meh.

Reading! What? Yes!

Well, Watership Down. Again!

So, July picks:

1. I think I'm at a stopping and smelling the roses point with the front room. And it has been a year since I started this Whole Apartment Big Clean, the other rooms could probably use some love again by now? Or maybe now I can use a little of this time to get crafty? On my new sewing machine setup?!
2a. Woosh speaking of cash flow, I have an eye appointment coming up and I need new glasses and new contacts.
2b. Get new passport, this has been on my list forever. But cash flow :/
3. Keep watching Functional Patterns videos.
4. Keep editing and publishing recipes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lemon-Miso Vinaigrette

lemon-miso vinaigrette

Look how smoooth.

I swiped and tweaked this dressing from A Beautiful Mess's Kale, Miso, and Soft Egg Salad. My Bella Cucina Rocket Blender comes with a small cup, I make all my vinaigrettes in that.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon miso
1 green onion, thinly sliced

Put all the ingredients in the blender cup, screw on the cap, stick the cup on the motor base and blend until smooth and emulsified.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chicken Salad

chicken salad

Cropping this phone pic made this look like a GIANT container, but this is about a cup of chicken salad.

This came about because last week's pan-roasted chicken breasts were ginormous for some reason, so I had a lot left over this week just wanting to be chicken salad. The smaller amount of mayonnaise is if you just want chicken salad qua chicken salad, the larger amount is if you want the chicken salad to dress a leafy salad (which I do)—but you know, do whatever you want.

2-4 tablespoons mayonnaise, not that store-bought isn't fine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
idk 12 oz or so pan-roasted chicken breast
1 celery stalk
2 green onions
a handful of parsley leaves

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and mustard.

Roughly chop the chicken breast, finely dice the celery, trim and mince the green onions, and mince the parsley. Stir them all into the mayonnaise.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June Eats

YAY SUMMER, the hands-down easiest season to feed yourself:

First I edited out the jam, then more recently the banana from my spring breakfast bowl. Strawberries are still very good at the Jewel, peaches are coming up soon though.

god i love summer, laziest #lunchbowl #watermelon #putaneggonit #salt

A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on

I haven't cooked a lunch all month, except for boiling eggs. Watermelon the first week, cantaloupe last week, honeydew this week.

the easiest #dinnerbowl #koreangroundbeef #kimchee #avocado #rice #goodeats

A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on

Really the only cooking I've been doing is on Sundays I've been making korean ground beef and the like, I'm updating these recipes and will edit in a proper link when that's done.

More pics on my Instagram, by which I mean more pics of bowls than you can shake a stick at. Also stick figures and pothos plants. And cute domos, of course.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

List #14: List The Ways You Can Cleanse Your Life For Spring

Woooo, I'm just making it under the wire with this spring list. It's not that I forgot about my lists project, I just thought I needed to make a list of the ways I could cleanse my life for spring like I needed to write a note to myself not to drill a hole in my head: I KNOW. DUH SPRING CLEANING, CLEAN THE FRONT ROOM.

And relatedly, I was making fried shallots the other day and musing making fried shallots is like churning butter: nothing is happening, nothing is happening, nothing is happening, and then all of a sudden magic is happening ::heart eyes emoji:: and then as an afterthought i guess all life is like churning butter, and as it happens, cleaning the front room has been shaping up a lot like churning butter. Magic is happening! I don't know how it's happening! And the magic is spreading through the whole apartment, an almost visible blanket of sparkle like bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.

To wit:

bed six inches from wall

Grainy! There's a reason I don't take pictures in or of the bedroom, there's almost no light back here.

A little while back I read something, maybe on Food52, or it might have been Apartment Therapy, about how you could make a huge difference in a small bedroom by moving the bed just six inches away from the wall. Which I had a moment of rage about, I have a chip on my shoulder about the universality of experience that white lady bloggers blithely assume. Like lady imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try... no fucking six inches to move my bed away from the wall >:(

But, guess what. Haha.

I've never posted a picture of my bedroom, so you don't know what it looked like before. But you know, just picture it without that six-inch space; the right edge of the photo is basically the opposite wall. Smol! The tall skinny bookcase is der schweet's, it's been floating around the front room for the past year. Idk there was just a moment when I looked at it and thought, that's about six inches innit? So the bookcase went in the corner, and now MJ has shelves on his side of the bed! I had to rotate the wooden crates that I use as bedside shelves from landscape to portrait to fit them in, but they're totally better like that. MJ made me a little extra shelf for the bottom crate, that's where I stow my laptop when I go to sleep. Behind the crates was where the only full-length mirror in the house used to be, that's stowed for now in the pantry and I can pull it out as needed. What do I need to see myself in the mirror for anyway, every day I wear the same clothes. Weirdly the one time I miss it is when I'm putting on lotion.

So, I'm sorry for calling you a white lady blogger. I don't actually ...know if you're white? When you're right, you're right: it has changed the whole energy of the room.

P.S. I made that bed. When MJ makes the bed, it looks a lot nicer.

red dresser to kitchen

Okay so, like in April I rearranged the furniture in the front room and pulled this red dresser out. Totally meant to finally take it out back and, well, you know. Somehow, though, it found its way into that corner of the kitchen where the gear crates used to be. And basically we've had three months to find that that extra surface is really handy. It's weird, it's the sort of surface that collects things but it doesn't for some reason. I put my laptop there when I'm cooking, because I cook from my blog. MJ likes to stand there and read, for some reason. Whatever makes him happy!

Anyway after three months I finally realized I could put things in the drawers again and clear up other overcrowded spaces. The top drawer has my baking sheets and racks, the second drawer has all the odd-shaped attachments for my handblender and mixer. And I guess I have finally come into my own as a middle-aged Asian woman, because now I officially have a bag drawer. Two bag drawers! I put backpacks that I can't bear to get rid of in the third drawer, and good plastic bags in the bottom drawer. "Good" plastic bags ::shiver:: did I ever tell you about cleaning out my parents' house after they died? First of all, it took us like eight months to clean out the house and then we realized: the garage. So then we were cleaning out the garage, I pull down a box that's labeled PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS and open it and yep, plastic shopping bags. Before I leave this story, also a folder labeled MT FOLDERS filled with—did you guess, empty folders? Bahaha.

ladder of backpacks

I kinda didn't realize about all the red accents in my house...

That's the edge of them sticking out from behind the door, I found two cabinets in the alley! This is not usual in our house, MJ is the finder. They're just a squosh narrower than the alley-picked cabinets that were previously in the foyer, and that opened up some space to put—you know what this is, it's the side support for an IKEA shelf system that I bought as the piece de resistance of my apartment organization like a month before MJ moved in and turned all that on its head. So like, it's been in the pantry (where the full-length mirror now is) for the past eight years. But look, it's basically a ladder! Like on Pinterest! I put hooks on it, and now I hang my actual working backpacks and other bags here. THIS IS EVERYTHING. We have been walking around my backpacks on the front room floor for I don't even want to think how long.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Persian Ground Lamb

persian ground lamb

This is actually leftover ground lamb from Easter chopped in the food processor, that's why the texture looks weird. It tastes real good, though.

Finally, a lamb version! This was held up forever because I was waiting to get my hands on fresh turmeric, which I thought would never happen. Now that turmeric is the golden child, I can get it at Stanley's. But, I didn't like it in the lamb. Womp. I like it in smoothies, though.

I overlooked the obvious, though: onion! I picked up the puree technique from Persian Mama's Kabib Koobideh. Then I was looking for a salt, and also googling WTF is sumac, sumac is lemony, well I just happen to have salty lemony preserved lemon in my fridge, then I did date paste for the sweet, and parsley to finish. Though I think mint would be good, too.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground lamb
a small onion
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
wedge of preserved lemon
2 Tbsp date paste
a fistful of parsley

Peel and cut the onion into chunks. Pulse the chunks in a food processor into a coarse puree.

Heat oil over medium high heat in a saute pan. Brown the ground lamb and pureed onion together in the oil, about ten minutes.

Meanwhile mince the preserved lemon.

Add cumin, coriander, lemon, and date paste, stir and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile chop the stems off the parsley leaves and mince. Stir the parsley into the meat at the end of cooking.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Roasted Broccoli

roasted broccoli

two broccoli crowns

olive oil


Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Trim and cut apart the broccoli into florets, wash thoroughly in a salad spinner, and drain. Toss the broccoli florets in a baking pan with olive oil and salt.

Roast for ten minutes, stir up the florets, and roast for ten more minutes until lightly charred.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Thai Ground Chicken

thai ground chicken with basil

Fish sauce subs for soy sauce, galangal is the aromatic root, and basil is the aromatic herb here. Galangal is sort of like ginger, it's a rooty thing like ginger but it tastes more peppery. I bought a big root at Joong Boo Market and whacked it into chunks for the freezer; when I've used it up, I'll probably just sub in ginger. Fish sauce and galangal, and for that matter basil, is a lot going on, so just olive oil and just sugar in this recipe. Basil usually comes in packages at the Jewel, I just use the whole package.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground chicken
a chunk of galangal
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 c fish sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
a bunch of basil

Heat oil over medium high heat in a saute pan. Brown the ground chicken in the oil, about ten minutes.

Meanwhile mince the galangal and add it toward the end of browning the meat.

Add red pepper, fish sauce, and sugar, stir and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile pick the basil leaves off their stems, wash gently in a salad spinner and spin dry. Stir the leaves into the meat at the end of cooking, until they wilt.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Chinese Ground Pork

chinese ground pork

This was second banana to Korean Ground Beef until I learned how to make fried shallots in the microwave. Now it might be ...first banana? Yargh, fried shallots are so good.

3 shallots
1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 lb ground pork
a thumb of ginger
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 c soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey

Peel and sliver the shallots. Zap 1 Tbsp coconut oil in a small bowl in the microwave just long enough to liquefy if it's not already liquid, maybe 10 seconds? Toss the shallots in the melted coconut oil and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir a bit and microwave for another 2 minutes. Stir again and then microwave for 1 minute at a time, stirring in between, until the shallots are brown and getting crispy. Remove to a paper towel to continue crisping.

Heat the other more tablespoon of coconut oil (plus any leftover from the shallots, if any) over medium high heat in a saute pan. Brown the ground pork in the coconut oil, about ten minutes.

Meanwhile peel and mince the ginger and add it toward the end of browning the meat.

Add red pepper, soy sauce, and honey, stir and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Stir the crispy shallots into the meat at the end of cooking.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Korean Ground Beef

korean ground beef

Growing up I never ate a thing called Korean ground beef, but I must say it smells like home. I'm not a person who can isolate different smells, but I guess beef + soy + garlic + something sweet smells exactly like home.

This gets served with in a rice bowl with pan-roasted vegetable, or kimchee and avocado.

1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 lb ground beef
5 cloves garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 c soy sauce
2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
a bunch of green onions

Heat sesame oil over medium high heat in a saute pan. Brown the ground beef in the sesame oil, about ten minutes.

Meanwhile mince the garlic and add it toward the end of browning the meat.

Add red pepper, soy sauce, and molasses, stir and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Finely chop green onions and stir into the meat at the end of cooking.