Why I love paper bags

My regular grocery store makes us pack our own groceries and passes on those savings to us in the form of lower prices. What a wonderful thing, right? Oh wait, there’s more!

At the end of the checkout line, there’s also a choice of plastic or paper bags to use. No prizes for guessing which one is my number one choice. The paper bags, of course! It’s one of those times I get to feel good about doing my teeny tiny part for the environment.

Not to mention that carrying my groceries in a paper bag is pure nostalgia. In my college days, I’d be hugging two paper bags stuffed to the brim with the week’s groceries. I swear they were so heavy I almost felt I would lose my grip and drop everything.

I recycle all my paper bags and use them for trash. That makes me feel much better than tossing out plastic bags which I know are going to that landfill to choke up the environment for a million years. And that’s not funny! at all!! Go hug a paper bag instead!

Reflecting on 2015

Here we are, on a freezing cold last day of the year. Yeah, it has been unseasonably cold this winter. Still that’s not going to dampen my mood. It’s bright and sunny out. I don’t see why this last post of the year can’t be exactly that! Let me see… so what piqued my interest in 2015.

Cooking firsts

This has been a year of cooking up a storm of new recipes and ending up loving all of them. Seriously I don’t think there’s anything we didn’t like and that includes my homemade cranberry sauce and vanilla cupcakes with strawberry icing. As for my Asian cooking, which isn’t my forte, I’m laughing that I managed to cook these.

  • out of this world radish soup
  • steamed egg with homemade salted egg – a little watery from the condensation but still good
  • glutinous black rice soup
  • gajinamul (eggplant Korean sidedish)
  • ginger and spring onion tilapia fillets (always loved this at Chinese restaurants but didn’t think I could wing it at home without a recipe)
  • charsiew (barbecue) pork steak – omg, totally awesome!

New loves

  • Beef stew noodles, where have you been all my life? Omg, I can’t even begin to describe the intensity of this rich beefy soup made with 9 herbs and spices that our favorite Chinese restaurant chef says he brings in from San Francisco. Confession, I’ve never eaten tripe and never thought I’d like it so much!
  • Shrimp tempura in a box? C’mon, no way!! But yes, finally we don’t have to look sadly at those one or two pitiful shrimp tempura peeking out of a sparsely populated bento box. Now we can eat plump crispy shrimp tempura till we bounce up and down like helium balloons.
  • Tin roof sundae, bartlett pears, apple pears, grapefruit – what’s not to love?
  • Sampling food at Costco where they give out portions you can actually taste instead of those measly microscopic bits that do nothing more than get stuck in your teeth.
  • Going to basketball games and cheering like a crazy LOL.

Learning experiences

  • People can promise you the world but it doesn’t mean they will deliver. Lots of those around.
  • Bring cupcakes to a potluck. Everyone loves ’em.
  • Don’t waste your time on b*tches, witches and ditchers.
  • Don’t settle for lukewarm Vietnamese noodle soup. It tastes better piping hot.
  • When in drought, go to a car wash. It’s fun watching the soap bubbles dribble down the windows and it’s even more fun vacuuming the car yourself.

Okay, and I’m off to bake an orange cake. Have a safe and amazing 2016. Happy New Year!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

When the weatherman said an Arctic blast was blowing our way Tuesday, he wasn’t kidding. The rain came and temps dropped 30 degrees from the day before. Woah! Clearly Mother Nature made a mistake, hey, this is California, y’all! Well, okay, we do need all the water we can get but …

Still rain or shine, nothing can deter us from our long-awaited Thanksgiving grocery shopping which is always such great fun, joining the crowd and tasting free samples of all our seasonal favorites. Oh, the turkeys are huge this year (20, 25 pounders, are you kiddin’ me?) but less expensive than last year, yay!

thxgvg15-1

We had trouble finding one small enough that we wouldn’t still be eating leftovers come Christmas. You know what? We ended up with no Thanksgiving fare in our cart *sobs*, none! Only panini, pesto and croissants for the week’s lunch, a crate of oranges, a slab of salmon (can you see it? no? the shy salmon’s hiding under the croissants), a 3-pound bag of a chef’s dream come true peeled garlic.

thxgvg15-2

What? No turkey? So now, the question of the year is, *drumrolls please* will we be having roast turkey tonight? Or are we going to chicken out? What’s your guess?

For now, Happy Thanksgiving, from our family to yours. Be thankful for what you have. As for the things you don’t have or can’t have, give a thought to someone less fortunate. As for those perfect Instagram lives that get you feeling like your life sucks and you’ve got nothing to be thankful for, well, things aren’t always all they’re cracked up to be. If you can remember that, you’ll be even more thankful that you’re you. Have a good one, guys 😀 !

Leave out fall? Nah!

Leave out fall? Nah!

We’ve gone from hot and sunny to wintry cold, straight from summer to winter. Whatever happened to fall? I love fall. There’s a certain romance about the colorful backdrop, the crunch of leaves underfoot and the need to huddle together for warmth. Do you think Mother Nature would be so mean as to leave out fall altogether (heck, was that an ever so subtle pun right there? I do surprise myself sometimes)? Here’s proof she hasn’t forgotten!

fall15

I took this picture the other day. The colors of fall are awesome against a completely cloudless sky. You ponder what an amazing job Mother Nature does with her palette, taking her time to paint each and every leaf from the spirited scarlets, to the mellow maroons, to the awe-inspiring auburns, to the unyielding yellows, and all the shades in between. It’s sad these amazing colors won’t last long though before the trees became brown and bare 🙁 .

But the best of fall cuisine and cooking is still here to enjoy. More on that later?

Monday morning ramblings

I’m in a rambling mood today, sorta so just ignore me while I ramble away…

So here’s the story about last weekend at the grocery store. A staff was loading up the shelves. He had boxes and a cart along one side of the aisle. I was walking past to get to the other end of the aisle when two bottles of sauce (looked like mayo) fell off his cart, crashed onto the floor and some of it splattered onto my clothes, face and hair. I got a new look instantly. A mayo makeover, if you will…

… and last night, did anyone see the super moon? We got pretty excited about it earlier in the evening but when 7:00pm rolled around, we were getting ready to sit down for dinner, so we figured, forget it, growling tummies get first priority, we can always catch the super moon on live feed later. Well, it wouldn’t be live any more but …

… yeah, so scientists found water on Mars, liquid water that flows on the surface of the planet in spring and summer, a sure sign of life, but then they determined that water to be too cold for anything on Earth to survive in. Agreed, Earthlings may not be able to survive on Mars, but that doesn’t mean no other life forms can. For the most part, humans are so self-centered they think they’re the only ones inhabiting the universe. I’m pretty sure there’s no shortage of aliens checking us out too *waves back*. There IS definitely life on other planets, the Buddha said so 2,600 years ago, and I believe that. Just because we can’t see them in the pictures that space probes beam back doesn’t mean that they don’t exist…

… and in other news, I have just eaten half a grapefruit the size of a personal watermelon, and it was the juiciest thing ever, a far cry from the slightly bigger than an orange-sized ones that I have to squeeze to death for every last drop of juice that it’s worth. I guess it helps to have the world’s orchards in your backyard, eh! I’ve got a 10lb bag of these delicious babies in the fridge, gonna take my time to work through them.

Okay, that’s all the rambling from me today. Have a great one, folks!

Rain!

It’s raining!! Yup, you heard me! It’s freakin’ raining!! It hasn’t rained in California for ages so you can imagine how it’s been on the agricultural produce that California is famous for – the grapes, apricots, peaches, oranges, almonds, walnuts, … Our back lawn is parched, and our poor car, rarely washed, to conserve water, has been wearing an unfashionable coat of dirt and dust.

The rain is not heavy, just steady but it’ll do. I’m standing at the open window just breathing in that distinctly cool and nostalgic freshness. It takes me back to overcast college days of hoodie-clad me racing down tree-lined paths on my racer bike with the cool breeze whipping the rain lightly onto my face  It always made me feel light-hearted and so happy.

I love the distinct smell of the rain here. It’s so clean you just can’t help being greedy and taking it lungful after lungful of its cooling freshness. It’s certainly not the kind of rain that serves to come down in torrents to wash away the disgusting pong of trash left behind on the streets by the garbage truck, shall we say?

It’s still raining outside. I can hear it. I don’t have the pictures to show you, I’m assuming you know what rain looks like. But trust me, this rain is different, it’s so much more beautiful (for the memories it invokes in me).

Strange and stranger

The world is full of strange people, or to be more precise, people who strike me as strange. For instance, I’m enjoying a quiet coffee at the reception of a gym (not my regular gym) and minding my own business when a man comes up, stands over me and loudly asks if the person sitting across the coffee table from me is my mother. I didn’t answer him right away.

Instead I look up at him, giving him my signature once-over!! Granted he looks like your friendly neighborhood older person but still, how is it any business of his who that woman is? Not getting the response he expects, he repeats his question in the same demanding voice, to which I give him a do-I-know-you look and go, “Do you know her??!” I mean, so what if she is my mother? and so what if she isn’t?

Okay, maybe I’m just being difficult.

Not my fault, meeting a strange and nosy person first thing in the morning does this to me.

Unable to get a confirmation from me, he goes on to assume that she is (wrong!), and continues his line of questioning. So how old is she? Silence and a grin from me. So he starts guessing. Is she in her 60s? Silence and a grin. I wasn’t being rude or anything. I didn’t glare at him. I just didn’t say anything, and with people like that, it’s okay if you don’t answer, they won’t even notice, they’ll keep the questions coming from other angles and when they get tired of that, they go on to talk about themselves.

Actually more like brag. He tells me he’s 75, his wife is 73, and that they work out at this gym. Well, if he hadn’t annoyed me with that line of questioning, I might’ve jumped up enthusiastically and clapped, that’s great, I’m impressed! But he’d gotten me all sorta garlicky so I just nodded.

He goes on to lecture about what exercises he does. I couldn’t resist a big smile. I’m often amused listening to people like him. In my mind, I’m conjuring up images of him turning left and right, posing for selfies in his gym gear perched atop the gym equipment and posting them all over the internet LOL.

Pretty soon, I’m savvy to his weekly gym routine. Oh, I work out here for 1.5 hours 3-4 days a week, the other days of the week, I play golf, and my wife works out for 2 hours 5 days a week. We live across the road, it’s so convenient, we’re here every day. Oh man, as if I need to know all that! He laughs as he tells me, we have all the time in the world, we only eat and exercise… at which point, I’m LOL-ing real hard inside.

Yes, I know all about the eat-and-exercise syndrome. People here tell themselves it’s okay to pig out ’cause heck, they exercise – so no guilt, no worries, just eat. Then they go jump on the treadmill for 2-4 hours a day to ‘work off’ those calories they’ve just put on (you know, like filling up a wheelbarrow with rocks, then emptying it all out again) and they’re convinced it’s all good. Wokay, I get it LOL!

As it turned out, ten minutes was all it took me to know more about him than I do some of my relatives even. I really didn’t have to say much. He did all the talking. All I had to do was paste a big grin on my lips. Seriously though, now that I have all this information about this complete stranger, what do I do with it? 😏

Related Posts with Thumbnails