Crunchy PB Cornbread

Happy Thanksgiving to all the US readers out there! I thought I’d share a simple recipe for today that I also was able to share with my “guinea pig” classmates last week. Since it passed that trial, I think it’s worth putting up here ;)

I am actually pretty glad with the decision I made regarding whether or not I should return “home” for Thanksgiving. I didn’t think it would be a good idea at first since my last set of exams for the semester are looming near, but then I realized that seeing my family and friends again for a couple days would most likely do more help than harm. 

Despite how beautiful LA is, and how much I adore the city life, I think a small break from it all is necessary. In fact, I think it may actually strengthen my love for the more—at least I hope! 

So even though a couple of my classmates and I are planning to spend the “real” Thanksgiving with our families, we decided it would be an awesome idea to throw a pre-Thanksgiving get-together for just our class. We had a potluck that consisted of a variety of foods—enough to stuff everyone into a food coma that affected attention spans in lab for the rest of the day :P

My contribution was cornbread with a twist. I did use Fleishmann’s mix, but with some alterations, ended up with something sweeter and nuttier.

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Crunchy PB Cornbread
Serves 12
A sweeter and nuttier take on classic cornbread.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. Fleischmann's Simply Homemade Cornbread Baking Mix
  2. 2/3 cup of almond or coconut milk
  3. 1/3 cup of crunchy peanut butter
  4. 1 Neat egg or egg substitute
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix to get a moist batter going.
  3. Add water if necessary to add extra moisture.
  4. Line pan with non-stick parchment paper.
  5. Pour in batter into pan.
  6. Bake for 45 min.
  7. Take out, cool, and bring to a potluck!
Adapted from Fleishmann's Cornbread Mix Box
Adapted from Fleishmann's Cornbread Mix Box
Will Study for Food http://www.willstudyforfood.com/
I swapped out butter and regular ol’ milk with a mix of almond/coconut milk, and some crunchy peanut butter that I wanted needed to finish so that I could have a jar for YIAJ later ;)

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The peanut butter I was using also had raisins and cinnamon pecan pieces, so the extra additions only added to the sweetness!

When it came out of the oven, it had the appearance of a golden brick, but the inside was soft and chewy.

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Someone brought a bean/chili type dish to the potluck, and I noticed someone else pairing this bread with that. How often do potluck dishes pair up so well? ;)

How are you celebrating Thanksgiving 2014?

Diner Fare

Before my Dad had to leave for the airport, we were able to have dinner out together one more time. It involved some crazy driving in DTLA for the most part—taking 10 minutes just to turn at a corner 0.3 miles ahead—but we were able to push the driving-associated frustrations aside when we sat down at the Nickel Diner.

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Looking at the outside of the restaurant, it looked like the entrance to a quaint little bakery. Inside however, it seemed like a grand lounge from the 50’s or something, with high ceilings and seats all around.

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Not a big fan of the dim lighting though.

I didn’t have to open the main menu at all when the placard with the day’s specials were handed to me.

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I was fixed on the Sloppy Veggie Jo, and asked for my side to be cooked spinach. Dad had the vegan chili.

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The Sloppy Jo was an interesting version: it was an open-faced sandwich, and the “meat” was actually cremini mushrooms (even though the menu said portabello?) chopped up into miniscule pieces that would have fooled anyone into thinking it was actually meat. I had to ask my server again just to make sure it really was meat-free!

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So much cheese though—and so good!

While I was chowing down like a ravenous dog on my sandwich, my Dad was able to ask the server about the history of the diner. Apparently it was restored from an older restaurant from the 40’s, and the “this is the place” signage was originally part of that older restaurant. Gotta love tableside history lessons ;) !

For the remainder of the week, I went back to out-of-my-apartment meals, but was still on a diner kick come Saturday. After a late start, I hopped on the Metro Rail and headed up to Hollywood to check out The Waffle. 

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Another busy Saturday at another popular restaurant, meaning the only available seats were at the counter.

 Awkward picture-taking, but I was successful ;)

Awkward picture-taking, but I was successful in the end ;)

I wasn’t to overwhelmed by the menu either, since they had neatly arranged the vegetarian-friendly selections under their own category!

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The Cobb Salad and Veg Reuben sounded tasty, but I decided to order the Vegetarian Philly, which ended up being vegan since I had it sans cheese. I also had a side salad that came with balsamic vinaigrette.

Soy beef strips, bell peppers, and onions sauteed in a sweet balsamic reduction, and served on a warm vegan French roll; side salad; pickle .

Vegetarian-turned-vegan Philly Cheesesteak – Soy beef strips, bell peppers, and onions sauteed in a sweet balsamic reduction, and served on a warm vegan French roll with a side salad and pickle .

I dug into the salad first, and then pulled and tugged at my sandwich with a fork since I didn’t want to get my hands messy.

Soy beef strips, bell peppers, and onions sauteed in a sweet balsamic reduction, and served on a warm vegan French roll; side salad; pickle

I found the bread to be too dry to my liking, but the soy strips had a nice, sweet taste to them. The sauteed onions and peppers were delicious too! In the end, despite my best efforts with the fork, I wound up picking up the bread and eating it like an open-faced sandwich.  

After my meal, my plans to pick up some groceries to hold me over until I leave for Thanksgiving slightly changed. Instead, my walk to the grocery store was cut short due to it getting dark out, and I needed to catch the bus before it got really dark. It’s all okay though…I have about six apples and some other close-to-expiration goods I need to get to before I leave :P

Nickel Diner on Urbanspoon The Waffle on Urbanspoon

Out of the Way, but Worth It

I think I started to get frustrated with recent chilly weather LA has been having after the first two days of it. I’ve also started to feel jaded from school—since the semester is winding down and rotations are wrapping it up. It makes sense, but it can be difficult to shake-off when you know you need to study!!

Being able to spend a few days with my Dad when he was in town for business helped to break these mundane routine feelings as of late, and it was just what I needed to freshen my perspective. It was nice to see him even though I would be seeing him again the following week for Thanksgiving break :)

As in previous instances, we only got to get together around evening time since we both had our tasks to fulfill during the day. Since we were staying in the Pasadena area the first night, we decided to check out My Vegan for dinner—voted Pasadena’s best vegan restaurant.

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Strip mall vegan restaurants oftentimes turn out to really be stand-outs, so I had no worries!

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For a weeknight, it had a fair amount of customers dining-in around 6pm. There was also someone waiting by the door for a take-out order. From the booth, it was easy to get some pictures of the surroundings.

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To start off, we split a spring roll appetizer, and I knew what I wanted after a quick glance at the entrees and went for the P.E.T.

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My P.E.T. came with brown rice, and included pumpkin, eggplant, tofu, mushroom, onions, garlic, bell pepper, basil, and chili. The spring rolls were crisp and fresh since they were stuffed with lettuce and wrapped with rice paper. The peanut sauce on the side was great for dipping!

My dad ordered the Green Curry, which included eggplant, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, basil leaves, and of course all of which was swimming in a spicy green curry sauce. Even though he requested that his dish come out milder, it was still too spicy for him.

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We finished off our meal with some greek yogurt cups from Trader Joe’s nearby, and I promptly went to sleep since I was feeling quite exhausted from my day as a whole.

The next day was one of my on-campus-for-pretty-much-the-whole-day days, but even though I got out of my late afternoon lecture as the sky was turning dark, we made the hour (and then some) trek to Costa Mesa to check out a restaurant that has been on my foodie bucket list since learning about its existence almost two, three years ago!

 The anti-mall in Costa Mesa, at night.

The anti-mall in Costa Mesa, at night.

I was finally approaching Seabirds Kitchen!

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Since it was prime time for dinner, we were lucky to find a seat in a corner booth.

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The menu selection was current for Fall, and quite overwhelming. I ended up ordering first, while my dad took some time to decide what it is he wanted exactly…and to make sure it wasn’t too spicy!

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For appetizers, he ordered a carrot ginger lemonade and we split the burnt brussels sprouts.

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roasted to a crisp and tossed with fried garlic, lime and dijon mustard

I couldn’t wait to dig into my Holy Smokes Bowl when it arrived—as it had the bbq jackfruit Seabirds is famous for!

 brown rice, bbq jackfruit, sautéed greens, cauliflower, pickled red onion, coconut bacon, Seabirds sauce and kentucky bbq sauce

brown rice, bbq jackfruit, sautéed greens, cauliflower, pickled red onion, coconut bacon, Seabirds sauce and kentucky bbq sauce 

My dad ended up ordering the Butternut Enchiladas, which sounded innocent at first, but then when I pointed out it had roasted pasilla pepper sauce, the appeal of the dish was quickly lost. In my opinion, it looked beautiful in appearance!

 butternut squash, spinach, black bean and mushroom enchiladas with roasted pasilla pepper sauce, almond feta, Seabirds sauce and cilantro. Served with arugula salad and sliced avocado.

butternut squash, spinach, black bean and mushroom enchiladas with roasted pasilla pepper sauce, almond feta, Seabirds sauce and cilantro. Served with arugula salad and sliced avocado.

So even though we had to make an hour-long trek back the next morning, I can’t deny that I felt nourished and content from my meal at Seabird’s. The next day was more of a low-key day anyways, so the return trip didn’t feel too rushed. Sure, it may have been out of the way—just for a restaurant—but it was absolutely worth it :)

My Vegan Restaurant on Urbanspoon Seabirds Kitchen on Urbanspoon

MTR Week 3

Week 3 of marathon training started off well with a 10 miler—but then hit a rest plateau during the work week. I did however manage to rake up 18.7 miles for the week, thanks to the fact I was able to weekend warrior it out…

 Snacks after the run!!

Snacks after the group run!!

Sunday – LSD 10 miler at 9:25/mi, with the team

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday - Rest

Thursday – Rest

Friday5 miler solo morning run at 9:11/mi

Saturday – 3.7 miler solo morning run at 9:25/mi


Total Mileage -> 18.7 miles

Sunday’s 10 miler was a run along Woodchip Trail that crossed through Manhattan/Hermosa/Redondo beaches. Since the trail itself is about 4 miles one way, we had to run an extra 1 mile on the pavement before returning back to home base. We did get to stop by the pier for about ten seconds, breathe in the ocean air, and use that fresh energy to power ourselves back to the starting point. 

Overall, it was a great run, and even though I had some slight tummy issues, it was nothing debilitating fortunately! I was one of the first few girls to finish, and since it was one of the faster guys’ turn to release the snacks for us post-run, I was able to get first dibs ;) !

Since my Dad was in town from Monday through Wednesday, I put running on hold. Thursday was a jam-packed day regarding school-related stuff, so even though I did wake up quite early, I wasn’t in the mood to set out for an early morning run. On Friday, I managed to garner the energy I needed for a morning 5 miler, and was happy with the faster pace I must have gained from the four consecutive rest days! Saturday’s run was also planned out as a 5 miler, but I was feeling off in the morning (and actually ended up going back to sleep after waking up at 6 still feeling dead tired), so I was satisfied with knocking out a little under 4 miles.

I am looking forward to week 4 though, since I will be running a turkey trot and (plan to) run along old, familiar routes towards the end of the week. All those miles—and good home-cooked food—to be excited about ;) !

RAW-ful, Restful Weekend

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is merely a week away, and that we have already passed the mid-November mark! It seems that with the holidays coming closer and closer, everyone around me is starting to be a little bit more relaxed when it comes to work…or maybe it’s just me :P

Last weekend was very much a relaxed one for me, and I was able to do things at my my own, slow pace. Friday night was a cloudy one, and after a short day in lab, I came home to a cozy crockpot dinner, a pint of coffee Artic Zero, and a taped episode of Shark Tank. On Saturday morning, I woke up leisurely and after having a cup of coffee, decided to not go for a run, but instead review my lectures from the past week before heading out to lunch.

 A low-key dinner on Friday night, and some light studying on Saturday morning.

A low-key dinner on Friday night, and some light studying on Saturday morning.

I was particularly excited about my lunch destination that Saturday, since it was a relatively new raw, vegan place nestled on Melrose Ave.

 Entrance to Grassroots Alchemy

Entrance to Grassroots Alchemy

Grassroots Alchemy—the name itself sounds so unique and mystical! And the ambiance was a pure reflection of that…

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There was outdoor seating as well, but I obviously chose to stay inside. Plus, I had the whole place to myself since everybody else was distracted by Urth Caffe across the street :P

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I ordered the Habibi Plate at the counter, and then asked to use the restroom. I was directed towards the back of the restaurant and told to use this magical-looking key to open the door…

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Even the bathroom is treated with respect!

After freshening up, I found a seat at the counter near the front window (it was that or eat awkwardly on the couch since there were no tables in sight). It was interesting to watch people walk down the street in fitness garb or yoga wear. Since it was just past noon on a Saturday, you could safely assume people were done with their morning workouts—I was just surprised no one came in to refuel with a raw food dish, or even a cold-pressed juice!

Ah well, at least I enjoyed having the space to myself, and finally feasting on this beauty when it arrived:

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The Habibi Platter, which included curried hummus, raw falafel, tabouli, raw crackers, and tahini dressing.

(Almost) too good to eat…almost.

Habibi Plate Close-Up

I loved all of the main components of the plate, but I especially loved mixing the curried hummus with the raw falafel and crackers. The falafel was quite doughy since it was not baked or fried, but the crackers balanced things out texture-wise with their crunchiness and full-bodied flavor.

After my exceptional lunch experience, I spent some time walking down Melrose before heading home. I wanted to head back early and rest up before running 10 miles the next day!

So yes, my Sunday at least had a productive start with a 10 mile long run with my running group, and once I got back around 11am, I couldn’t resist taking a nap! I woke up a little after noon and slowly got ready to head out for lunch and also grab a few necessities from the grocery store.

I wanted to refuel properly, and was craving a huge salad with filling ingredients. I also felt like hoping on the rail, so towards North Hollywood I went, stopping at the station near Universal Studios to visit SunCafe Organic.

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From the outside, it didn’t look like much, but I shouldn’t let appearances fool me too quickly! I made my way to the entrance after winding around the outdoor patio seating area. The inside was dimly-lit, but quite spacious and cozy.

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The bathroom was well-kept and cutely decorated as well.

 I was quite fascinated by the faucet.

I was quite fascinated by the faucet.

But…back to the main point of my visit: satisfying my salad craving. I was able to do just that by ordering the Kale Colossus.

 Kale Colossus, which included massaged kale, soy chorizo, mushrooms, bell peppers, pico de gallo, three dressings, raisins, and three slices of banana delicately placed on top :)

Kale Colossus, which included massaged kale, soy chorizo, mushrooms, bell peppers, pico de gallo, three dressings, raisins, and three slices of banana delicately placed on top :)

It came to my table crazy fast, that even my waiter was surprised when he came by to check on me. Seeing as it was smaller than I expected, I did my best not to demolish it in three bites or less even though I wanted to.

Kale Colossus Close Up

I took my time eating this salad, and felt completely nourished by the time I finished. After paying the bill, I headed over to Ralph’s before heading home as the sun set.

Even with my nap, I still felt quite exhausted from the weekend’s events, so I went to bed at the early hour of 10pm…even though, I must say that this particular weekend was a much more tame one in comparison to the others I’ve had to-date!

Grassroots Alchemy on Urbanspoon

SunCafe Organic on Urbanspoon

Swiftwick Socks

As a runner, it makes sense for me to have an innumerable pair of socks, but I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping even my worn out socks. I literally wait until threads start coming loose, or holes larger than a quarter start to make there appearance. I realize that with marathon training currently happening, I should probably be more concerned with anything that concerns my feet—running shoes and socks, especially.

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My sock “collection” is also of a wide variety. I have pairs ranging from ankle to mid-calve height, and I usually end up rolling down the later so that they end up being ankle socks :P . I recently had the opportunity to try out a pair of PURSUIT Swiftwick socks, which are designed for active lifestyles and athletes of all levels.

I chose to try out the “Zero Heather” which are shown here, meaning that the socks hit right below the ankle and come in a gray color. 

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Of course there are other sizes and other colors, and the different kinds available are ready to view on their website

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My specific pair also came with a specific breakdown of how they should feel compared to other socks in the product line. Scoring a 10/10 in the wicking category made it more attractive as a sock to use on long runs!

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At first glance, the socks looked thick, but light in color and soft to the touch.

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I tried them on for my 9 miler, and love how they fit just below the ankle as promised.

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When I first put them on, I could feel the compression in the arch area especially. Since my arches have the tendency to get sore or dull aches when I amp up the mileage in a short amount of time, the extra support can’t hurt! The green S at the bottom of the sock was random, but cute. As I was getting used to the socks, it felt like I was walking on freshly-cut grass or artificial turf, but then the feeling habituated once I got going on the run. 

Overall, I found these socks to provide great compression while helping to avoid sticky or sweaty feet at the end of a run. I’ll have to see how they measure up in durability as I wash/run in them over time, but from first impression, I think I can safetly assume I’ll be holding onto this pair for a while. 

What’s your go-to sock height?

MTR: Week 2

I woke up last Sunday morning to see clouds outside my window, but fortunately the temperature was not too cold. I was able to head out to Santa Monica with my team for a 9 miler in some Under Armour running tights and an old race tee—no layers necessary :D !

The 9 miler itself was a two-part run, with the first part being an out-and-back along the beach (7 miles), and then finishing up the last two miles down Ocean Ave. It would have been the perfect run—if it were not for the mild humidity (sticky skin = eww), the entitled bikers who think they own the entire strip of road along the beach, and the random staircase we had to climb back up to the pier, just so we could finish two more miles (slightly ruined my mojo).

 Walking back from the LSD on Sunday.

Walking back from the LSD on Sunday.

At least we had snacks and water when we finished, and I decided to stick around in the area after the run (hey, now I only had to pay one-way for the bus ride home!). I decided to make the ~40 minute walk over to Venice Beach so I could have lunch at Seed Kitchen.

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Welcome to Venice.

Walking near the beach was quite a site once I hit Venice. There were street artists lining the road, as well as crowds consisting of skateboarders, tourists, and the occasional verbal brawlers. But after I turned left, away from the beach, I ended up walking along a quiet street of local shops and cafes. Seed Kitchen was nearby.

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Vegan deliciousness or veggie delite? Hmmm…

After stepping inside, I was somewhat taken by surprise since I expected the restaurant to be a lot larger than it actually was. It did have that cozy feel to it however.

seedkitchen

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I took a look at the menu at the front counter, and decided to go for the BBQ Tempeh Bowl.

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I don’t know why I can’t resist ordering some kind of bowl dish from vegan restaurants. Perhaps it’s because I know I won’t be disappointed—or at least not entirely—since I can expect a variety of ingredients.

 BBQ Tempeh Bowl - a gluten-free bowl with steamed kale, bean sprouts, carrot shreds, and bbq tempeh served over organic brown rice :)

BBQ Tempeh Bowl – a gluten-free bowl with steamed kale, bean sprouts, carrot shreds, and bbq tempeh served over organic brown rice :)

Other than the small size (compared to the price) and the BBQ sauce actually tasting more like a tangy tomato sauce, this bowl did NOT disappoint.

 Just look at that tempeh!

Just look at that tempeh!

I ravaged through the tempeh too quickly—as I didn’t have any to mix with my rice that was pressed to the bottom of the bowl!

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Ah well, the rice was good on its own anyways :)

Even though I felt like I fueled up well after the 9 miler on Sunday, my energy the rest of the week didn’t measure up, at least in the beginning.

Sunday – LSD 9 miler at 9:30/mi, with the team

Monday – Rest

Tuesday3 miler early morning solo-run at 9:38/mi

Wednesday - Rest

Thursday – Rest

Friday - 5 miler not-so-early morning solo-run at 9:13/mi :D

Saturday – Rest (originally planned a 6 miler)


Total Mileage -> 17 miles

I had to nix my planned early weekday morning runs since I felt too tired, especially from Tues-Thurs, and I think that may have affected my pace on Tuesday. I originally planned for it to be a 4 miler, but I was surprised I was even able to make it to 3. It was definitely not my best run for the week, since instead of feeling pumped and energized, I wanted to get back into bed after the run!

At least Friday’s 5 miler proved to be much better. I got up at my own time since I didn’t have class (just lab), and did not try to rush myself to get out the door and back before a certain time. On Saturday, I felt lazy tired again, and used my morning to catch up on studying before heading out to lunch. I also “excused” myself out of the run since I was going to run 10 miles the next day with the team! 

Do you like taking unplanned rest days, or find that it throws you off?

Seed Kitchen on Urbanspoon

TMI Survey

When I saw this survey on Irina’s blog, I knew I had to complete it myself. It’s been a while since I last took a survey too…


Making

…do with what I have. I don’t say this in a depressing way, but rather I like the challenge of living on a budget and keeping track of my spending. So far, I’ve been quite frugal, and have actually saved more money than I expected. It’s also a way for me to figure out what I need on a weekly basis, and I’ve been able to avoid wasting things this way.  So far, so good :D

Cooking

…crockpot-based  dinners during the week, and not cooking on the weekend because I’d rather taste what LA has to offer. 

Drinking

 …coffee with So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut Milk Creamer. Where have you been all my life??

 1 tablespoon goes a long way! It tastes great in chamomile tea, as well as coffee :) !

1 tablespoon goes a long way! It tastes great in chamomile tea, as well as coffee :) !

Reading

…any running/fitness magazines I can get my hands on. I love reading them before going to bed, or when I’m on the bus driving to campus in the mornings. 

 Case in point: free magazines I scooped up from Vitamin Shoppe :P

Case in point: free magazines I scooped up from Vitamin Shoppe :P

Wanting

…a step stool, so I can store more stuff in my kitchen cabinets. I finally got a seat cushion after a countless number of days where studying at the kitchen table resulted in a sore behind.

 So cute, and so comfy!

So cute, and so comfy!

Looking

…forward to seeing the fam a couple of times between now and the new year. 

Playing

…music on my weekday early morning runs. That, and treating myself to Quest bars and coffee before starting the rest of my day are great motivators for me to get out the door!

Wasting  

…time when I get home after a long day. It makes sense to recap on the day’s lectures, but no. My brain immediately goes into lay-zee mode once it hits 6pm. It also doesn’t help that I instantly change into my PJs either…

Planning

…on hosting my girls in December for a week! I just need them to be able to coordinate themselves and find their way to LA first.

Running

…in the mornings as the sun rises. You cannot say you lived until you do this.  

Enjoying

…each day in this sunny, warm-even-in-November city. Being able to run in the morning without putting on layers—but I do want to breakout my armwarmers again!  

Waiting

…for classes to be done! I’m already planning (in my mind) what to do/where to go in the city and surrounding area with the time I have off. Perhaps I can finally get an OC trip in…

Liking

…these KIND Strong Bars that I got as freebies from this race. To be honest, they all pretty much taste the same (except for the jalapeno flavor, which tastes similar to the other two, but spicier), but that doesn’t mean they don’t taste good! They remind me of Nature Valley’s trail mix bars, except more savory of course. 

 Flavors: Roasted Jalapeno, Honey Mustard, and Hickory Smoked

Flavors: Roasted Jalapeno, Honey Mustard, and Hickory Smoked

Wondering

…about where I should take my friends when they (hopefully) visit me next month. I’ve been urging them to make requests, but so far, all I know is that my sister wants me to take her to a “legit” bakery. I have a list…  

Loving

…how I’ve been spoiled with free food, pretty much at least once a day, and at least 3-5 times during a week!

 Some free food from last week!

Some free food from last week!

Hoping

…that my marathon training goes well. Right now it just seems like I’m running like normal, but come January when we start to hit the numbers beyond 13, I’m not sure how I’ll feel!

Marveling

…how DTLA looks from the freeway. I need to remember to never take this for granted. 

Needing

…see “Wanting”, above.

Smelling

…cooked cabbage when I come back to the apartment on weeknights. I use it as a base in my crockpot dinners, and I’m glad my roommate doesn’t (seem to) mind!

Wearing

…dresses on the weekends because between lab/school/running, there isn’t another appropriate time!

Following

…the news, or at least attempting to. Since I’ve recently been caught up with things occurring in my own life, I’m waaay behind on current events. It now feels like I’m reading more about history than current events :P .

Noticing

…how irritating undergrads can be (not saying they all are ;) ). I live in an apartment complex that mostly houses undergrads, and it amazes me how they are so hyper all.the.time. Yeah, I was an undergrad once as well, but I don’t think I was as annoying (or messy, or narcissistic).

Knowing

…that time is flying by so fast, and that this amazing year is almost over! I also know that I don’t want it to end so quickly, but that I at least can look back on the many posts from this year if I ever want to “relive” the life-changing moments that took place in 2014.

Thinking

…about where I was two years ago: in my last year of undergrad, dreaming about something bigger, and where I (want/hope/expect) to be two years from now: only time will tell!

Feeling

…content, happy, anxious, grateful.

Writing

…more blog posts. I seem to be behind on what I want to share ever since moving to the city! I also need to go back to writing in my personal journal, I haven’t touched it since I moved…

Opening

…emails through the phone. It can be such a pain.  :/

Missing

…going to the gym with my Dad, my fluffball of a cat, and the rain. 

Feel free to take the survey yourself!

Little Tokyo Treats

I’m glad to say that this past weekend was mine to seize yet again! Many of my classmates and I were wiped out the entire week leading up to this particular weekend, since we were slowly getting over the onslaught of exams from the week before. Needless to say, it was particularly difficult for me to stay awake through most of my lectures—good thing we have recordings!

To be honest, I didn’t have anything specific planned until I learned about the Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt. Even though I missed out on the pin-collecting insanity (most of the participating restaurants distributed collectible pins with their Hello Kitty-themed dishes, and they unsurprisingly ran out right away), I most certainly knew that I wanted to try some of the Hello Kitty food items before the promo ends on November 21st.

Many of the participating restaurants were in the Downtown/Little Tokyo area, and that’s when I realized why not just explore the area while I’m at it? So after some coffee and my morning run, I walked into the heart of downtown, and slightly east towards Little Tokyo. 

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It was also 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and I was wearing shorts and a tank top. November in LA is all I can say…

When I turned the corner into the Village Plaza, I found one of the target locations of the Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt—Cafe Dulce.

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It was the exact place I needed to visit to get a hold of an actual Hello Kitty donut!

cafedulce

Even the front counter had a HK-themed pumpkin on display. The cafe had a long, stretched layout, with the seating options being limited to a counter with bar stools near the front window, or outside. I made no hesitations in my order, even though there were so many cute desserts to choose from! 

I chose to get the chocolate (versus strawberry flavor), and enjoyed it with a fork because I don’t eat donuts with my hands like normal people :P

 How can you not love the bow? Almost looked too graceful to eat!

How can you not love the bow? Almost looked too graceful to eat!

It would have been awesome to have chocolate custard as the filling, but normal custard tasted fine in this case even so…

custardfilledchocolatehellokittychocolatedonut

After my snack, I walked around the Village Plaza for a little bit, and even took the time to check out the Japanese grocery market. I ended up not buying anything since I didn’t think I would be heading home for a couple hours, and I didn’t want to carry perishables too early and have them out for a long time.

 Shiritake noodles on sale!

Shiritake noodles on sale!

I was also not in too much of a buying mood since I still felt hungry. It was time for a real lunch, and since I also wasn’t in the mood to stand in line for sushi/ramen—or worse, stand in line only to realize that no vegetarian options were available—I decided to pay a creperie that was across the street a visit.

SAMSUNG

Four Leaf Tea and Crepes was a cozy cafe tucked in between other small establishments. I think it was also not as crowded as the other eateries nearby because of this.

fourleaf

I was the only customer to walk in a little after noon to order a crepe and milk tea, and to also have that meal indoors. After ordering My Country Garden crepe and matcha milk tea, I waited for my meal while other customers slowly trickled in. Most of them ignored the crepes part of the equation, but made elaborate orders for milk and boba tea. 

 Matcha Milk Tea - it tasted nice, cold, and sweet for the first several sips, and then the green tea flavor kicks in! Love how the layers separate appearance-wise, but if that's an indication of how well the flavors mix, they didn't do so well there...

Matcha Milk Tea – it tasted nice, cold, and sweet for the first several sips, and then the green tea flavor kicks in! Love how the layers separate appearance-wise, but if that’s an indication of how well the flavors mix, they didn’t do so well there…

 My crepe was compactly folded into a triangle shape, and tucked away carefully in sheets of parchment-like paper. Again, I had to use a fork instead of just grabbing it and taking a bite out of it like a burger or sandwich. The filling included: corn, guac, sour cream, salad leaves, tomatoes.

My crepe was compactly folded into a triangle shape, and tucked away carefully in sheets of parchment-like paper. Again, I had to use a fork instead of just grabbing it and taking a bite out of it like a burger or sandwich. The filling included: corn, guac, sour cream, salad leaves, tomatoes. The crepe itself was thin, soft, and chewy!

The day wasn’t complete until one more thing—froyo! I literally did not have a decent cup of froyo since Labor Day weekend, so the reason was justified. Plus, Yogurtland has all the right flavors and toppings necessary. 

In the mix was a flavor combo of pistachio, cookies n cream, and green tea froyo, with mochi pieces, poppers, carob chips, and mango—you know, the usual ;)

SAMSUNG

I snacked on this while walking by the Japanese American National Museum, and realized that they were hosting a free admission day until 4pm! Since I hadn’t planned to visit the museum, I passed on the opportunity. And since the Hello Kitty exhibit wasn’t part of that promo, I felt like there would be other days.

Instead, I watched a couple folks work on this mural:

outsidemuseum

And then hopped on the gold line to do some grocery shopping in Pasadena :) 

Are you a scavenger hunt fan? 

Café Dulcé on Urbanspoon

Four Leaf Tea Room on Urbanspoon

MTR: Week 1

Week 1 of “official” marathon training went by smoothly. Considering I ran a half marathon the weekend before, I found the 8 mile LSD to be quite tolerable—especially since my team ran it at Griffith Park! Here’s how the mileage this week broke down:

Sunday – LSD 8 miler at 9:35/mi, with the team

Monday – Rest

Tuesday4 miler early morning solo-run at 9:39/mi

Wednesday - 4 miler at 9:06/mi, with the team

Thursday – Rest

Friday - Rest

Saturday4 miler solo-run at 9:21/mi


Total Mileage -> 20 miles

Running with a group has really helped me to stay motivated, and I’m not surprised that two of my runs this week were with at least some people on my team. I guess I even felt a little competitive on Wednesday, and pushed myself to not be “the last one” to finish out of a group of three guys!

As far as my training plan goes, I am following the one that has been given to us by the team captains, but I am adapting it based on my level/schedule. Since weekday runs are not mandatory like the Sunday long runs, I have some flexibility with when I want to run them. I’ve noticed that I usually have more energy/motivation early on in the week since I am able to get up early and squeeze in a run before starting my day. When Thursday and Friday roll around however, I’m usually (mentally) exhausted from classes/lab, and it’s harder to push myself out the door when I’d rather sleep in for an extra thirty-to-forty minutes :P 

My long run goals for this training cycle are as follows:

longrungoals

The asterisk weeks are PDR weeks I shall be looking forward to! Too bad Week 7 also coincides with my third exam week. Ick…

Do you find it harder to motivate yourself as the end of the week nears?

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