Current Progress

Friday, February 27, 2009

Counting Calories

Unfortunately I took the week off of blogging to readjust! I also took it easy with the diet and gym this week which is not so good.

I've cooked some tasty stuff though - stay tuned!

I liked this NY Times article yesterday:

All back to the basics of intaking less calories than you output. Now if only I would follow my own theory...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Una semana en España

Only a day left in Spain. I really enjoyed it. Everyone is dressed up in really nice suits. The food was ridiculously good. The architecture is amazing. The mens restroom always has a long line of europeans while there's no lineup on the womens side! Ah...being a female engineer in Spain seems to have its perks ;)

I will probably lose all followers of this blog if you found out all the things that I did this week here. I broke every rule I set for myself in the last while when it comes to food, drinks and self control.

I hope I get back on the wagon when I get back to California. I also realized that maybe my rules are too limiting. I inherently LOVE trying new tasty food, great tasting wine, the buzz you get around great company. I also LOVE to be alive to experience life. The two aren't mutually exclusive so I'll figure out a way.

I did hit the gym twice! And only drank 2 nights. And ate proscuitto twice. All the other meals have been plants + seafood + water. And some dessert. Ok maybe too many desserts.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Breakfast - my favourite meal

Ok one last post before I scramble to pack and fly outta here on Friday the 13th. It's no help that there was a plane crash yesterday in Buffalo. I think I want to lay low on the flying after this trip.

I put some garlic and mushrooms and (left over cabbage and onion) onto my pan today. Added free range egg whites and some mozzarella cheese. And finally used up the last of my costco wild smoked salmon. Boiled some water and made myself a gingerbread black tea.

My scale even said 146 today and the Wii Fit Balance board agreed :) I'm excited about the upcoming week but will be anxious to not tip the scale when I come back.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kale Saag

Woo!! My first Indian cooking session was a great success!! My roommate's birthday was yesterday so I offered to make something with my vegetables! She suggested Saag with my Kale and Spinach which I had never heard of before and off I went on google search. A bunch of recipes called for chopping, steaming then putting it in the food processor. Others called for coconut milk. While cooking, I forgot to do all of the above :) So here's my Kale & Spinach Saag recipe. Authentic Indian or not? No gurantees! But I think it was well received.

I put 1 onion, some ginger and garlic into the food processor to quickly chop for me. I de-stemmed and thoroughly washed my CSA delivery of spinach and kale and leeks. Heat up some olive oil in a pan and put in the ginger, garlic and onion. Add in some ground cumin and tumeric. As the onion turns more translucent, I started adding in the greens (spinach, kale and leeks). Moving it constantly back and forth until they turned more green and soft. I put some water in and put a lid on top. I stirred occasionally checking if it's become nice and soft. Thats about it!

My roommate made okra which starts out the same as my Saag. Ginger, garlic, onion. Add in the okra in low heat and wait until the stickiness is gone.

There was also some baked salmon and chicken and of course I've been trying to finish my costco smoked salmon so I added that as well! Top it with some brown rice and we had ourselves a good 11pm!

I'm off to Barcelona for a week! Can't wait to try the seafood and vegetarian fare there!

this is why you're fat

Seeing these pictures makes me wanna gag.

Promise of Cash Prompts Smokers to Quit

I like this article.

Mostly for this quote: "I think, in general, people have a lot of trouble making changes for the sake of delayed health benefits,".

I look back and wonder why I always thought I was invincible. And why I did such stupid things. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess. It's hard to know how valuable your health is until you lose it. Knowing what I know now, I'm still not sure how I'd successfully tell a 10-year-younger version of me not to smoke and eat/drink everything in sight.

I'd probably go for the money incentive :)


So after our weekly dinner meetup today, we somehow got convinced to try out one of the P90X workouts. That was a super tough 15 minutes before we all quit :)

I've heard many people talk about P90X recently and decided to check it out. It's a set of 13 DVDs and a workout plan of 1 hour a day for 90 days. Every review about it on the internet has been very positive. I can see how you can lose weight, gain strength and abs if you did something this intense for 3 months. I feel like you probably need to work out with more than one person to keep others in check and motivated. I'll definitely need to get a mat before the carpet here gets soaked.

Although, I suppose that 7 days of P90x + other activities might be way too much.
I really like how many exercises you'll learn to work on the same muscles. The only complaint will probably be Tony Horton's voice :) I'd likely put the videos on mute. You'll see what I mean.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vegetarian Fine Dining

An old classmate was in town for a conference. Since he can only eat gluten free and is also in the best shape of his life, he was a perfect candidate to come with me to check out a restaurant I've heard so much about - Millenium. I think I've passed this restaurant more than a dozen times but didn't realize how nice it is. I guess Geary and the Tenderloin kind of camouflages that fact.

(It was raining hard outside and I had forgotten my camera in the car unfortunately no pictures)

The complaint is that I read the menu and neither of us knew what we actually ordered until it came out. Then we had no idea what was what on the plate. But everything that was in our appetizers and main courses was delicious!!! I even got a menu so I could remember/try to replicate it at home. Here's what we had:

Black Eyed Pea Fritters - aji chile coconut cream, jicama & apple salsa
Chimichurri Grilled Portobello Mushroom - sunchoke & root vegetable hash, saffron scented IPA & French lentil brodo, escarole with carmelized onion & roasted apples, smoky orange-almond romesco sauce.
Pumpkin Seed Crusted Tempeh Brochettes - masa gnocchi, seared black chanterelle mushrooms & spigarello kale, roasted butternut squash, cascabel chile, espresso & pink bean puree, cumin scented cara cara orange mojo.

Come on, seriously - do you understand every word? Oh well it was great!

I like how they describe themselves though because it's beginning to become my dietary philosophy. "We are dedicated to the essential earthly concepts of organic food production, including sustainable agriculture, supporting small local farms...We cook with only the freshest, organically grown produce and are proud to state that our restaurant is completely free of genetically modified foods. We believe that a gourmet dining experience can be created out of vegetarian, healthy and environmentally friendly foods".

I can't wait to try more tasty bay area vegetarian restaurants. Anybody up for Ubuntu?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Stevens Creek Trail

I've lived in the bay area for 2.5 years now and still feel like I'm experiencing it for the first time. Today I took my bike out to follow the Steven's Creek Trail. It's something I've always wanted to do but never actually did.

It's such a nice trail with lots of trees and wetlands wildlife. I smiled when seeing dozens of canadian geese there hibernating for the winter. I roughly mapped it out to be about 13 miles - 2 hours. Man I'm slow. I also realized that I have no sense of direction since I headed in the wrong direction about 4 times.

I'll try this trail again in a few weeks and pick up the pace a little. I'll also have my new toy by then.

Overall it's been an awesome sunny weekend! I'm guessing none of the snowboarders and skiiers will join me in celebrating the end of winter in the bay! But I sure am glad Winter is over in the bay. (Sorry to rub it in to all the Canadian folks :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I love the Web 2.0 world of free/cheap tools such as blogger, google docs, facebook, smugmug, yelp and such. I'm not sure how they all actually make money but while they figure it out, I might as well take advantage of it.

The one thing I've been evaluating are sites that track your exercise, food, weight. I have yet to find one that perfectly suits my needs of quickly entering what I ate and what I did to find the calories consumed, calories burned and any other stats I might want. So far, the easiest one to use is Gyminee. I like the community aspect of it and the content and features has grown a lot since I had used it last. That being said, the more like-minded people join the site, the more likely some of my recipes and food will already be there so that I don't have to painstakingly enter each in each ingredient. I do like how convenient adding water and food is. The pretty graphs and 2.0-ish GUI doesn't hurt either.

Other ones like (corporate site),, only had my patience for a few days. I found it tedious to search and add food or the GUI was not intuitive or it just didn't have what I wanted.

If you guys have any suggestions let me know.

Smoked Salmon and Pesto Penne

Since I have new vegetables eventhough I have yet to finish last week's, Chris gave me such a great idea!! Make Pesto!! I've never known what was in pesto and how that magical sauce was made but it's such a great idea when you have a bunch of random greens and don't know what to do.

I combined all my arugula, basil, mustard greens and rosemary into a food processor. Put in some garlic and mixture of nuts. Some parmesan cheese and half a cup of grapeseed oil. Oh and some zest of a lime. Press a button on the food processor and a few seconds later, a tasty sauce appears!

I heated up some trader joes whole wheat penne and topped it off with smoked salmon.

What a great Saturday of boot camp, chinese class and biking in the sun and top it off - good healthy delicious food.

I'm definitely making lemonade (...or pesto) with the lemon that life gave me.

Farm Delivery #2

Got our second shipment yesterday!! We were too hungry to start cooking right away so we ate some left overs from the first shipment first that Chris made.

Butternut Squash Soup and Pesto Pasta. It was a combination of me starving, having fresh vegetables and also Iron Chef Chris mad skills, but these were the best soup and pasta I had ever eaten!! Fresh off the microwave :)

We then had enough fuel to begin cooking! We received bok choy this week and followed this recipe:

Bok Choy

After thoroughly cleaning the bok choy of bugs and dirt, you cut them into halves along the stem. Then in a pan of olive oil, put them in for 2 minutes on the flat side until its slightly brown. Then turn them over on the other side, quickly transfering them to a plate after 2 minutes.

On the side, mix some free range chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut oil and seasame oil. Mince up some ginger, green onion. Now add the ginger and green onion into the pan for 20 seconds. Then add the sauce mixture for another 30 seconds. Then add the bok choy back. Voila...the best bok choy I've ever had.

Top it off with a fresh pomelo from the farm and called it a night.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ceramic Knife

Ah I left my favourite knife up in SF last weekend and miss it. So I thought I'd talk about it. I found it in the NY MOMA store during my visit. Kyocera makes chips, cell phones and...ceramic knives? I bought it on a whim and it has been the best $30 I've ever spent. It can make nice clean cuts through any vegetable and fruit that I've had to prepare. Well, in comparison, I've only had el cheapo IKEA knives before this.

Anyway, everyone who has seen it thinks its a toy of a knife until they use it. No matter what you're cutting - mango, frozen bananas, sashimi, oranges, tomatoes - it all feels like you're cutting through butter. I haven't found something that this knife can't cut through yet. It is MUCH sharper and stays that way for longer.

The only drawback is how accident prone I am and how having something so sharp might not be ideal.

I think never need another knife again.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


This is a good website to calculate how many calories to eat to achieve your weight goals.

At the end of the day, it comes down to simple math. There are 3,500 calories in a pound, so in order to lose one pound per week you need to decrease calorie intake by 3500 calories. This equates to taking in 500 calories less a day.

Exercising and building muscles just means you'll be able to consume the calories faster at every hour of the day.

Eating whole unprocessed foods just means it's easier to know exactly what's in your food.

Finding new activities, grocery shopping for variety, cooking, reading, researching and blogging just keeps me sane.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Simple Joys.

I'm very easily amused as I look back on teh weekend.

- After getting multiple comments that my pants are too big, I went shopping today and dropped 2 sizes down in pants. Got excited and bought 2 pairs!

- In the 3 hours (~4 miles) of hiking in Point Lobos on Saturday I never felt exhausted or out of breath. Rewind to two years ago, 5 min of walking would leave me breathless. Maybe it was because I took 250 photos in the process too.

- We hit up my favourite Phil's Fish Market on the way back and I even refrained from ordering every animal under the sea and stuffing my face. It was oh so good. (If you're in the Monterey area, I highly recommend this over other tourist traps. The Ciopinno is so tasty and now featured on Bobby Flay's Throw Down!)

- On Friday it was great to see all of my friends show up for a surprise party for my old roommate. Seeing his destruction through drinking games and sake bombs was amusing but made me cringe at the thoughts of how they'd all feel in the morning. I also had a ton of fun being the only sober one.

Anyway, the weekend reminded me that I've changed...just a little bit.

Farm Delivery #1

So I just got my first shipment of fresh vegetables and fruits from the farm!!

First - the things I recognized :) Clementines and Kiwis! Lettuce and Spinach and Leeks.

Then the things I don't recognize:
- Red Mustard Greens
- Watermelon Daikon Radish
- Rutubagas (turnip)
- Italian Flat leaf parsley
- Arugala

I've made an omlette and salad so far with a mix of the greens. I had the clementines on the hike to point lobos yesterday and they were delicious too.

Now how do I cook this stuff? :)
Above is my salad for lunch: smoked wild salmon, walnuts, arugala, red mustard, watermelon radish, parsley and some spinach. The dressing is just some balsamic vinegar and grapeseed oil.