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Weekly Snapshots

20 Dec

Having just completed my first semester of college, I realize how important it is to savor the small moments in life. You may be thinking, “This girl is only 18 and she’s writing as an 80 year-old!”. But when the weeks fly by, a blur between studying for exams, rushing from one appointment to another, and socializing, I have come to appreciate the little things that make every day special. Whether it is catching up on the New York Times over a latte or re-teaching myself how to knit a scarf, these moments allow me to slow down and reflect.

During the holiday season, when it is so easy to get carried away with buying gifts, decorating our homes, and stressing over party preparation, we should remind ourselves of all we have to be grateful for. I am an over-thinker and over-analyzer, my own toughest critic, and sometimes these traits have inhibited me from enjoying the present moment and being grateful. A recent death of an acquaintance really put things into perspective. Life is so precious, and rather than focus on always having a set plan, on constantly looking towards the future, I must be honest with myself, pursue activities that make me happy, and appreciate the wonderful people who surround me.

There is nothing more therapeutic than running on an empty track. Time stops and my mind drifts away, the huff-puffing of my breath and rhythmic thud of my sneakers engulfing me.

Little Flower Candy Company is a favorite, quaint breakfast spot in Pasadena.

In late November, I returned to my high school for the annual Yam Festival, a school-wide potluck. I contributed these coconut-yam macaroons and yam cupcakes with toasted marshmallow frosting (pictured below).

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Edible gifts are one of the simplest and most sincere ways of showing appreciation for others. Along with a few other treats, I made this salted-honey chocolate bark from the December issue of Bon Appétit, and sent care packages to my roommates.

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Weekly Snapshots

8 Nov

Lunch at one of my favorite places in L.A. I have an entire post dedicated to this lovely spot coming up. In the mean time, can any locals guess where this is?

As the end of my first semester of college draws near, I have been swamped with endless reading assignments and essay deadlines. I cannot believe time has passed so quickly–my weeks spent mostly in the library, nose buried in a pile of books. My workload has not allowed for much experimentation in the kitchen, nor have I longed to do so, quite honestly. While I maintain a healthy diet, my meals have slipped into a monotonous pattern dictated by simplicity and efficiency.

This past week, anything that I could pile onto whole wheat toast (homemade tuna salad, almond butter and bananas, and scrambled eggs with basil) qualified as dinner. My breakfasts have been sad repeats of a granola bar and fruit, usually wolfed down while power-walking to class. So this weekend, I look forward to indulging in foods I crave during the school days. This means obligatory visits to my favorite breakfast café and the newly opened Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in Glendale. That’s what weekends are for, right?

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Every week, my mom surprises me with a different, hand-made flower arrangement in my room. One of the top three reasons I love coming home (after a good, long shower and clean sheets).

Flatbread pizzas from The Bread Lounge in the Downtown Arts District.

Homemade salad topped with the most perfectly soft-boiled egg. Eggs add richness and satisfaction to any vegetarian meal.

My family and I went out to our first dinner in months at Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood. It doesn’t get much better than classic American desserts, done right.

Weekly Snapshots

18 Oct

While I mourn the end of summer and its ruby red strawberries and juicy tomatoes, Fall foods excite me. I love hearty soups and roasts, spice cakes that fill the kitchen with an enticing aroma, and all things pumpkin. When pumpkin puree lines the shelves at Trader Joe’s, I become giddy thinking about all the possibilities: pumpkin bread my sister and I have made every year since second grade, pumpkin pancakes, and pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting.

This week, I celebrated a chilly Fall night with homemade white bean soup. Beans are life-chaging when it comes to cooking in college. They are simple, versatile, and very filling. My roommate and I enjoyed this soup alongside a loaf of crusty bread and great conversation.

I would love to know, what do you cook to celebrate Fall?

The garden in my front yard feels like a magical wonderland.

I loved building these custom-made pies from Blaze Pizza.

Less-than-scorching temperatures prompted a visit to my favorite shabu-shabu house in Downtown L.A.

A casual morning drive behind a horse carriage. My suburban hometown is becoming the next NYC.

Weekly Snapshots

5 Oct

For eighteen years, I avoided coffee like the plague. I would crinkle my nose at its bitter flavor and lingering aftertaste. I did not realize that I had been missing out on a revolution.

In recent years, artisanal coffee shops have popped up around the country and changed the way Americans consume this ubiquitous beverage. These intimate operations have designed a social coffee experience, encouraging you to mull over a ceramic cup with friends rather than rush out the door with a watered-down brew. So when Portland-based roaster Stumptown opened a store in Downtown Los Angeles, I had to check it out. I admired my barista’s attention-to-detail and savored the creamy, nutty flavor of my almond milk latte.

On a completely different note, I’ve been on a baking streak these past few days. I haven’t yet transitioned to cozy seasonal flavors, but look forward to picking up some gorgeous apples from the farmers’ market this weekend and breaking out my Fall spices.

A custom-made espresso machine featuring oak inlays, antique brass finishes, and gold leaf detail.

These jazzed-up, browned butter blondies were a hit at my cousin’s birthday party. Side note: the corner piece is always the best piece.

Fun fact about me: I’m not a frosting fan. Why mask moist, deeply chocolatey cake with a pound of sugary buttercream? I prefer the minimalism of an orange-cream cheese or chocolate glaze, topped off with dainty fresh berries.

Simple lunches are the best lunches. Also, who doesn’t love a good cheese plate?

My mom makes the prettiest bouquets with flowers from our garden. They always put a smile to my face, but especially when I’m working in the kitchen.

Weekly Snapshots

26 Sep

Stocking up on fruit at the Urban Radish in Downtown L.A.

Now that college is in full swing, I’m suddenly drowning in endless pages of reading, essay deadlines, and extracurricular activities. Cooking a homemade meal offers a much-needed break at the end of my day. I slip into comfy clothes, dance on my own to my favorite Shakira songs, and take my mind off everything I have to accomplish. I have a bunch of new recipes that I’m excited to share, but for now want to give you all a taste of my week courtesy of my iPhone.

A romantic dinner that I prepared for my roommate and me.

I had my first acai bowl at this amazing food truck parked next to my school.

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I literally would not survive in college without eggs. They are packed with protein, quick to prepare, and extremely versatile. I have a whole post dedicated to egg recipes coming soon.

I nearly jumped for joy upon discovering my school’s weekly on-campus farmers’ market. In addition to all the wonderful produce at my fingertips, ethnic foods like this Jamaican jerk chicken add excitement to my lunch routine.

Roasted eggplant and zuchinni from the farmers’ market–easy to store and reuse throughout the week.