What I Ate Wednesday – Going back to School

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Happy Wednesday everyone!

Hope your week has been going great for you. Summer is approaching and yet it seems like it’s still winter in San Francisco. As I’m writing this post it’s cloudy and gloomy outside. Then again, San Francisco isn’t really known to have seasons at all. :P

Anyway, I’m going to share a WIAW post today that actually documents my eats from Orientation Day! Now is a good time to share that I will be attending nursing school in the Bay Area and I will be starting next Tuesday! Ahhhh! I’ve experiencing so many emotions and feelings during the past couple months from pure joy and gratitude to intense fear and anxiety. My mind is still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am about one year away from becoming a registered nurse! This is an accelerated (not abbreviated, as the instructors emphasized) program that is one year because I already have a Bachelor’s in another field and have completed all the prerequisites. Today will be on Orientation day 1 (of 2). It was nice of the staff to provide us with breakfast and lunch, otherwise we’d be starving and grumpy students since it was from 8:30am to 3:30pm.

Breakfast was not pictured because I was focused on trying to meet new people and socialize. It consisted of half a bagel with cream cheese, diced fruit, and coffee.

Instead I’ll leave you with a picture of the homemade banana walnut chocolate chip bread I had the morning before.IMG_0318

Lunch
Lunch consisted of a delicious turkey sandwich with a side of chips and a gigantic oatmeal raisin cookie that’s almost triple the size of a standard one. The cookie was my favorite part of lunch. :)

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After a day of sitting too long, I decided to treat myself and get a salmon open-faced sandwich from La Boulange. This is one of my favorite dish to get from this cute, French cafe. It has a yummy creme fraiche spread on the bread with cucumber slices, and generous portions of smoked salmon and capers on top. YUM. I also got a warmed bread pudding which was absolutely delicious. It is made with their delicious and buttery sweet brioche bread soaked in their house custard sauce. One of my favorite aspect of this bread pudding was the sweet crusty exterior. In my opinion, the taste is reminiscent of a Chinese egg custard tart!
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Snack
Later in the evening, I snacked on some dark chocolate I recently purchased from Trader Joe’s. I don’t know if I’ve ever had 85% dark chocolate so this took some getting used to. Because it’s not very sweet, I am able to savor and eat a little at a time. :)

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Have you ever considered going back to school? If so, for what?
What is your favorite cookie?
Do you prefer dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Or white?
Comment down below, I’d love to know!

Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Love,
A

Spoiling Myself with Good Eats

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Hello everyone! Happy Tuesday!

I don’t know what is it about Spring, but it makes me want to go out and enjoy some good food and treats that really hits the spot. Lately, I have been enjoying lots of food and snacks that are not typical of my everyday eats. Of course, a lot of it is because I’m trying to not be a hermit and instead meet up with some friends to catch up and enjoy some good food. In addition, instead of packing lunch for work, I’ve been hitting up some local cafes and restaurants to try something new.

To start off, I enjoyed a nice picnic at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco with my boyfriend who drove down to the city for the day. I was so excited because this was our first picnic date and I’ve always wanted to experience it with him and pack lots and lots of snacks! I’m pretty sure we overpacked because we barely touched the snacks after finishing our Vietnamese sandwiches (Banh Mi). We relaxed on a soft blanket on the grass, just enjoying the beautiful weather. Other people must’ve had the same idea as us because there were a good number of other fellow picnic-ers. :)

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There were more snacks on the side that couldn’t fit the picture…

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We also tried a new boba milk tea place that opened up in the area.

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very refreshing!

I cannot tell you how excited I was when I finally had Philz coffee the other day. The locations are pretty out of the way for me so I rarely go. Hands down, my favorite place to get coffee. I don’t know how they do it, but every cup is made to perfection.  If you’re ever in San Francisco, you must give it a try!

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I’m not vegan/vegetarian but this spicy black bean veggie burger was the bomb! The cafe is located down the block from  my work place. It’s packed with flavor and spice. I enjoyed every single bite of this sandwich. It’s made with arugula, avocado, tomato, tomato, PICKLES, homemade black bean veggie patty sandwiched between crispy sliced bread slathered with mustard and mayo. To top things off, all their ingredients are organic and antibiotic/hormone-free! I need to replicate this at home ASAP.

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Something tells me I should go easy on my coffee consumption. Too much caffeine can’t be good for my body. But it’s oh-so satisfying…especially when it comes with a side of COOKIE!

This cookie was so yummy! Interestingly, this cookie was dense and soft, packed with whole grains, seeds, and coconut shreds.

This cookie was so yummy! Interestingly, this cookie was dense and soft, packed with whole grains, seeds, and coconut shreds.

I had a yummy chicken salad at delicious salad/sandwich place called Pluto’s in San Francisco. It was at Pluto’s that I first discovered people can actually become full from eating a plate of vegetables! I love the concept of salad bars – so many toppings to choose from! Even though I can be full from vegetables, I won’t be entirely satisfied unless I add some savory protein too. ;) My favorite toppings to put in salad are sweet potatoes, beets, mushrooms, broccoli, strawberries, carrots, tomatoes, walnuts, and if I’m lucky, feta cheese. Too bad they didn’t have sweet potato and feta cheese that day. :(

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I finally got the chance to check out this super popular French bakery called B. Patisserie, which is known for their Kouign Amann. Now I understand why these babies sell out so quickly. Its layers of butter and sugar gives it a wonderful flavor and the crispy crystallized sugar layer on the bottom gives it yummy caramel flavor and a nice crunch. I also tried their popular chocolate banana almond croissant which was simply awesomeeeeeee. I’m not a fan of plain croissants, but this one made me a fan of this one. Banana and chocolate go so well together!

buttery, flakely, sugary goodness

buttery, flaky, sugary goodness: Kouign Amann

best croissant I've ever had...actually I haven't had many croissants in my life, but this was still absolutely delicious. :D

Ooops, I smushed it – looks funky. Best croissant I’ve ever had…actually I haven’t had many croissants in my life, but this was absolutely delicious. :D

That about wraps up my recent eats. It is a blessing to be able to eat tasty food, and I am grateful for the ability to purchase food and to share it with those I care about. Also, I am so grateful to live in this city that has so much to offer. But sometimes all the hustling and bustling can make one feel overwhelmed or lost, so it’s nice to take a moment to enjoy the peace and beauty of everything. Even though I’ve lived here my whole life, there is so much I don’t know about San Francisco; I’m constantly learning and experiencing new things about this city. I’m not saying SF is the perfect place to live, but it’s certainly home to me. :)

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Till next time friends! Take care. :)

What are some of your recent favorite eats?
What are your favorite salad toppings?
How do you relax and experience peace in your life?

Weekend Hike!

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Hello lovelies!

I’m a bit sad that the weekend is almost coming to an end. However, I am so grateful to have spent a beautiful Saturday hiking with my boyfriend who drove down just so we could spend time together. We decided to hike Cataract Falls, which is a popular hiking spot by the mountains in Marin County in California. It was definitely a beautiful and memorable experience; let me share some highlights and struggles. :)

started out with some decaf coffee :)

started out with some decaf coffee :)

One thing I loved about this hike was the constant change in scenery with each trail we took. Each one was equally as breathtaking as the next. The first trail took us along Cataract Creek as we hiked through lots of stairs and rocks. It was quite a challenge to climb up the rock steps with my short legs LOL. We were surrounded by nothing but towering trees, overflowing small creeks and ferns, and cut down tree stumps and logs that seem to decorate the trail.

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Suddenly we heard it. The sound of water falling. It was such a comforting sound. We saw a series of beautiful waterfalls – my first time seeing actual ones! Each one was unique in the way the rocks allowed the water to fall.

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At this point, I was really grateful for being on this hike, because it felt great to get away from the city and take in some unpolluted, fresh air. It was a wonderful stress-reliever for me since I haven’t been feeling the best recently.

At the end of the first trail, we were already pooped and made a quick stop for lunch.
I told my boyfriend that, knowing myself, I’m not sure if I’m up for the next 6 or 7 miles that was left. (We could’ve chosen an alternative shorter path that was 2.5 miles in total). The first part was already pretty tough. But with some encouragement, I made through the whole thing! I was actually about 10 miles in total! We didn’t see that coming HAHA.

fuel for the hike

fuel for the hike

snacks for our hike. Fritos twists are so addicting!

snacks for our hike. Fritos twists are so addicting!

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we were so high up in the mountains! I love the warmth from the sun that we felt here.

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The next part of the trail took us into a wide open space with a grand view of the valley that traversed through the giant green hills and mountains and led us straight into the woods lined with red manzanita trees. Towards the end, we caught beautiful views of the lake.

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Alright, as someone who does not do regular exercise on a daily basis, my body was absolutely drained by the end of the hike. The hike was intense not only because it was long, but also because we were constantly hiking uphill as well as downhill. Sometimes to shorten the struggle of going uphill, we would make a sprint for it. That was so fun! The downhill part was eventually started to irritate our knees from the force of impact. The hike is definitely not good for those with bad knees haha.

At the end of our hike, we were so pooped that we took a half hour nap in the car.

THEN we indulged in some delicious SUSHI for dinner! We worked for this.

Takoyaki - fried dough with octopus.

Takoyaki – fried dough with octopus.

This was delicious, with a hint sesame oil and sea salt

This was delicious, with hints of sesame oil and sea salt

Besides salmon, my favorite fish is unagi. Drool-worthy.

Besides salmon, my favorite fish is unagi. Drool-worthy.

This roll was humongous! And also my favorite dish of the night. Tried to fit the whole thing in my mouth...and failed.

This roll was humongous! And also my favorite dish of the night. Tried to fit the whole thing in my mouth…and failed.

We demolished everything. Nothing wasted. :)

After dinner, we went to get some boba milk tea in downtown SF. Didn’t snap any pictures, but it was nice take a short walk after our meal. :)

Today, I woke up feeling sore all over my body. I tried very hard to not fall alseep during Sunday service LOL.  I haven’t felt this sore in a long time. I love the feeling!

Thanks for reading through this long post! I hope you had a beautiful weekend!

What are some of your weekend highlights?
Do you like the feeling of soreness after a good workout? How do you deal with it?

What I Ate Wednesday

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Welcome to my first What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW)! I discovered this series through Jenn from Peasandcrayon, the creator of WIAW. Recently, I’ve been intrigued by the daily eats of other people, so I love reading posts about other bloggers’ food experiences whether they be mundane or totally adventurous. I tend find much inspiration and encouragement from other bloggers whenever I read about their attempts to stay healthy and fit or when they take a stab at developing an awesome recipe. Sometimes I like reading WIAW because I’m just well….nosy. :P But I think most of all, I like learning about the differences in eating patterns and habits of those from different cultures or lifestyles, especially when there’s a story or explanation that comes attached to the food. I tend to eat the same or similar meals/snacks every day, so I don’t think I’m going to do this regularly. However, I am beginning to vary things up a bit…to be honest, I’ve been craving variety in my meals and finding ways to really enjoy my food. Without further ado, here we go!

BREAKFAST

I chugged a large cup of water as I do every morning after I brush my teeth. I always wake up feeling super thirsty.

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Breakfast consisted of a green smoothie – a blend of frozen banana, spinach, chia seeds, ground flaxmeal, yogurt, green tea, carrot, and cinnamon. SO YUM and filling. I enjoyed this at the office in between tasks. I also had a few pieces of chocolate and a throat drop (because I’ve been sick lately) before lunch time rolled around. Probably not the best combo but whatever.

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LUNCH

For lunch, instead of making my usual plain sandwich, I wanted to try something new and bought a super veggie sandwich. It consisted of avocado, roasted red pepper hummus, sprouts, mixed greens, tomato, and cucumber on whole wheat bread. In my opinion, the sandwich was kinda dry, so I added some mustard and ketchup (my two favorite everyday sandwich spreads!).

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SNACK

Wednesdays are short days for me so I decided to hit up a local coffee shop to read and enjoy some delicious cappuccino. I saw a huge jar of triple almond biscotti and couldn’t take my eyes off it. I debated whether to purchase it or not as I didn’t feel hungry and it was an additional $2.00. I got one anyway. :) No regrets. Coffee and biscotti just go SO well together.

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DINNER

I eat whatever my mom makes and so tonight we had one of my favorite Chinese meats – BBQ pork! I also had broccoli and pan-fried cod as well. I drizzled sirracha (super good Asian hot sauce) and sprinkle some Japanese furikake (savory dried seaweed and salmon flakes) on top and enjoyed my meal with a bowl of rice on the side. I went back for seconds. And thirds. :D

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After dinner, I had some white fungus, pork, and carrot soup my mom made. White fungus might sound really weird to some people, but it’s really good! It has a jelly-like texture and a mild flavor. This soup warms my soul. :)

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SNACK
A little later, I had an apple and some oreos while I caught up on Once Upon A Time.

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That completes my day of eats! Thank you for reading! Hope you had a beautiful Wednesday. :)

How have you been changing up your eats lately?
Do you watch Once Upon A Time too? What other TV shows do you watch??

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes – I love breakfast!

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Happy Saturday everyone! It’s such a beautiful day today that I felt like making some yummy pancakes this morning! I’ve never really made pancakes from scratch before. In the past, I wanted to make a healthy version using whole wheat white flour, but it just didn’t turn out right for some reason.

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Recently, I’ve been exposed to a whole new world on instagram of users who create stunning breakfast posts that are filled with fun and vibrant colors, intriguing textures, and creatively using healthy and natural ingredients. Everything I saw was absolutely drool-worthy. I don’t follow a raw or vegan diet, but boy do some of the food they make look absolutely delicious. One particular user that I follow has a food blog and I decided to try her whole wheat pancake recipe. I tweaked it a little bit because I was missing milk, and I wanted to personalize it to my liking. I roughly followed her recipe because I was too lazy to measure things out accurately LOL. However, I was SO happy with the final product; I shared it with my mom and she was a fan too. Without further ado, here’s the adapted recipe.

The Best Whole Wheat Pancakes
adapted from Chocolatexdiaries
makes about 4 medium sized pancakes

6 tbsp natural yogurt (I used fage 0%)
3 tbsp water (or milk of choice)
1 egg
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp sweetener of choice (I used honey)
1/3 c whole wheat white flour
1 tsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
a dash of vanilla
a few dashes of cinnamon

Whisk together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together yogurt and milk, then add in egg and oil. Whisk well.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix using a wooden spoon until JUST combined. Lumps are fine. Just make sure that all dry ingredients are well incorporated. The batter will be fairly thick. (I thought it was a little too thick, so I added a tbsp more liquid. i.e. 3T water instead of 2T)
Heat up your pan and once hot, drop some oil on top and tilt your pan to grease the surface. Turn heat to low.
Drop large spoonfuls of your batter on your pan and gently spread into a pancake shape. Cook each side for about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip when bubbles appear and the edges look dry.

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I placed sliced bananas on top of each pancakes and stacked them up. I sprinkled some cinnamon and raisins on top and some drizzled honey over the pancakes. My pancakes lost some heat so I placed the whole thing in the microwave for a few seconds to warm up the bananas. These banana pancakes were delicious! Makes me even more happy at they’re pretty good for you. I love the look of stacked pancakes….such a classic American breakfast…and I got to slice and eat through a stack of pancakes for the first time! I might sound like a deprived child, but I never grew up eating pancakes, and I rarely go out to diners and breakfast cafes. This was definitely a yummy treat.

I need to make this more often and practice the art of making perfectly round pancakes! :D

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Breakfast Diaries

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Hello people of the internet!

Recently, breakfast has been my favorite meal of the day. There are so many options to choose from and it generally requires very little prep and effort to put together. And I love that I can play around with the different components  to make it look extra pretty. :) It makes the breakfast experience so much more enjoyable! Ever since I started my new part-time job, I’ve been dedicating extra time in the morning to get ready and then enjoy nice meal to fuel me until lunch time rolls around. Here are some of my breakfast eats recently!

My all-time favorite fruit are blueberries and I love eating them partly frozen with greek yogurt, sprinkled with walnuts and chia seeds. On this particular morning I also decided to treat myself to some yummy chocolate. SO gooood.
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My mom and I love to make hot banana oatmeal in the morning. The banana gives the oatmeal such a delicious natural sweetness as it cooks with the oats. Our favorite add-ins are raisins, chia seeds, and cinnamon. This one below has chia seeds, ground flaxmeal with layered strawberries and cinnamon sprinkled on top.

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On days that I want something quick and easy, overnight oats are the way to go! I made this the night before by mixing oats, vanilla almond milk, chia seeds, ground flaxmeal, and strawberries.  I also added sliced bananas to make this a happy meal! :)_MG_0099 (6)

Sometimes, in the morning I grab some Starbucks before work. My favorite hot drink is their soy cappucino. Such a satisfying drink! Anyone ever have a barista totally get their name wrong? I guess “Anna” was mistaken for “Emma”. Strangely, I didn’t really mind; I kinda liked it! Maybe I secretly wish my name was Emma. :D What’s your favorite Starbucks drink??_MG_0084

Forget Starbucks banana walnut bread! Homemade ones are the bomb!_MG_0105 (2)

Ahhh I remember on this day I was running late to work so I ate this quest bar for breakfast. This flavor is AMAZING. By far my favorite of the Quest Bar line. Tastes like eating a candy bar! I felt slightly guilty. Not really.

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couldn’t wait to take a nice picture…so this is what you get! :P

During the weekend, I tried making Blogilate’s banana/egg pancakes. Everyone raves about them. Mine came out like this. They just keep getting darker and darker! Maybe the bananas were getting ripened as I cooked them. These were okay. Definitely needed a side of maple syrup.

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Can’t go wrong with green smoothies for breakfast! Packed with good-for-you nutrients from spinach, bananas, apples, greek yogurt, chia seeds, ground flaxmeal, cinnamon.

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If you know me you would know that I can live off bread – specially Asian buns. I grew up eating Chinese buns my whole life and it just never gets old. It’s definitely an awesome Chinese staple. I recently discovered this Japanese Honey Bun that’s just out of this world! The bread interior was so fluffy, with the exterior sweetened with a nice crunch. I had no idea there was a filling and was blown away by the delicious milk custard inside. It wasn’t super sweet or greasy at all. I’m totally going back for more. :D

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gahhhh so goood!

This tuna salad on toast really hits the spot. It consists of celery, tuna, apples, salt and pepper, squeeze of a lemon, and a greek yogurt-based dressing. My tummy is so satisfied after having two of these!

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Lastly, wash everything down with a nice cup of hot tea. Current favorite: Trader Joe’s chamomile tea.

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What’s your favorite breakfast? What have you been loving lately? I’d love to know!

Turkey Chili

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One of my favorite comfort foods is chili. There’s nothing like having a big bowl of hearty chili on a cold evening. It tastes even better the next morning for breakfast! I’ve come to love just adding whatever ingredients I feel would make it tastes delicious, so this isn’t really a traditional recipe for chili. It’s so incredibly filling and I love the spices that lingers in the back of my throat after each bite.

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Ingredients

2lbs ground turkey
1 yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
2 (15oz) canned crushed tomatoes
1 (15oz) chili beans
2 yellow, red, or orange bell peppers
3 T tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar, or one packet stevia/truvia
3 T chili powder
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp paprika or cayenne pepper
green onions to garnish
other veggies: kale, spinach, etc.
optional: 1 T cornstarch/flour
Directions

  1. Saute oil with onion and garlic until slightly browned and onions turn opaque. Add ground turkey and cooked until crumbled and browned.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on medium heat for ~30 min.
  3. If you like your chili more thick and less liquid-y, you can mix in cornstarch or flour.
  4. Taste your chili and add more seasoning to your liking.
  5. Garnish with green onions and enjoy!
    made it again, this time I added kale and spinach!

    made it again, this time I added kale and spinach!

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Snack Bar Junkie!

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So I may have a bit of a snack bar addiction lately. I am a HUGE snacker, and I try to eat a snack or two in between meals to maintain a steady blood sugar levels and provide me with energy throughout the day. Snack bars have been my go-to snack lately when I’m in a rush or when hunger pangs kick in mid-afternoon at work. Heck, it’s even been my dessert after dinner! I’ve been perusing the aisles for healthy, fiber-filled, protein-packed bars and I’ve been loving some of my options! Generally, I go for bars that don’t contain too much sugar (12 grams or less) and doesn’t skimp out on flavor. Here are some of my favorites:

Trader Joe’s Fiberful Peanut Butter Chewy Granola Bars
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I’m not a fan of peanut butter, but these granola bars are absolutely delicious satisfies my sweet tooth on a whole other level! And guess what? For something with this much flavor, these only have 6g of sugar! Bonus points for also having 9g of fiber and 6g of protein! It looks pretty appetizing doesn’t it? It has a chocolate-dipped bottom with peanut chips studded throughout the bar, and a yummy chocolate drizzle on top. It’s priced at $1.99 at Trader Joe’s, so bonus points for being budget-friendly! :)

Kashi’s Chocolate Almond and Sea Salt Chewy Granola Bar
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Kashi is known to have very tasty and healthy cereal options but I haven’t tried their bars until now. I generally liked these; even though this has 7g of sugar, it is not as sweet compared to Trader Joe’s peanut butter bar. I like that Kashi uses a heart healthy “whole grain blend” and the almonds give it a natural and hearty crunch. I can definitely taste the sea salt, which initially surprises my tastes buds, but it actually works well paired with the semi-sweet chocolate pieces! I wouldn’t pick these up very often since it can be pretty pricey – around $3.99 per box at Safeway.

Luna Bar – Toasted Nuts N’ Cranberries
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Luna Bars have been one of my favorite nutritional snack bars ever since college and I was first drawn to these because they were made primarily for women. I’ve tried a number of they’re products and have not found one that I haven’t like! I recently tried the Toasted Nuts N’ Cranberries, and I really liked this one! It tasted and smelled awesomee. It is reminiscent of Quaker Oat’s chewy granola bars and brings me back to my childhood! :D I like its chewy texture; it felt like I was eating a homemade oatmeal raisin cookie (my favorite!). These are a little higher in sugar with 11g of sugar, but they also have 9g of protein and 3g of fiber!

Fiber One Strawberry Streusel Bars
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Ohmygoodness these bars are absolutely delicious! I almost feel guilty eating one almost every day (my mom brought home a huge box of it-yay!) because it tastes like a decadent streusel dessert that I can eat with vanilla ice cream. How are these made of whole grains and taste so good?! It is packed with 5g of fiber, 2g of protein, and 9g of sugar.

Quest Bars – Chocolate Peanut Butter
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I’m so happy about my latest discovery! I was looking for something to fill me if I got super hungry at work and these were awesome because it contains a whooping 17g of fiber and 20g of protein! I know I’m not working out or anything, but these just taste good and keeps me full. These bars have a different texture than the bars previously mentioned; it’s kind of like a chewy, fudge-y brownie. I like the little crunch from the crushed peanut bits throughout the bar. I did some snooping around the internet and learned that these are some of the best quality protein bars out there. I would definitely go for these from time to time. It is a bit pricey for a bar, it can go up to $2.99 PER BAR at some stores.

What are some of your favorite granola/protein bars? I’d love to hear! Hope you’re having a great week! :)

Happy Lunar New Year!

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Happy Wednesday!

I’m so excited that tomorrow is Chinese New Year! I’ve been seeing so much Chinese new year festivities and goodies selling at the markets lately -new year candies, bright mandarin oranges, dangling flower ornaments, red envelopes, I can just go on and on! As I’m typing this late at night, I hear firecrackers exploding in the distance. People on the streets sure are having fun with those the past few hours!

Chinese New Year Eve is known as Reunion Dinner. It’s a day where relatives from all over would fly home to enjoy a huge feast with their loved ones. I don’t have any family members that fly from far away as most of them are in the States. I remember having large family gatherings as a child, but I as I grew older and my family grew with me, I realized that we have grown apart and stopped having family gatherings, even to go out to yum cha (drink tea eat dim sum). I suppose it’s because my grandparents used to be the heads who brought everyone together, but now that’s not possible due to health reasons. So over the years, it has just been my family of three enjoying a nice meal together. This gives my mom the chance to whip up a scrumptious homecooked meal!

Here’s what we had tonight:

Yellow Skin Chicken - my mom made some bomb chicken soup with this (not pictured)

Yellow Skin Chicken – my mom made some bomb chicken soup with this (not pictured)

Cha Siew - BBQ pork my favorite!

Cha Siew – BBQ pork
my favorite!

Chicken and eggplant: it doesn't look appetizing, but trust me it's yummy. ;)

Chicken and eggplant: it doesn’t look appetizing, but trust me it’s yummy. ;)

Pork with snowpeas

Pork with snowpeas

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the spread - plus more pork

the spread – plus more pork

guilt-free dessert

guilt-free dessert

gotta have some chocolate and Lucky new year candy!

gotta have some chocolate and Lucky new year candy!

Even though I was beyond full, I also ate some fruit and crackers later in the evening. Good stuff.

Anyway I hope ya’ll had a awesome Wednesday wherever you are in the world! I’d love to know how your day/week is going! Now it’s time for me to get some shut-eye and get ready for a long day in the office. We’re almost at the end of the week! If you’re having a long week so far, it’s okay, hang in there, you’re almost there! :D

How was your valentine’s day??

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Happy Monday!

I’ve been blessed with such great weather in San Francisco lately, it doesn’t even feel like winter anymore! Anyone else excited for spring to come already?! Actually, I’m more pumped that daylight savings is going to happen soon which means it’ll be still bright out at 7pm! Hooray!

Anyway, Valentine’s Day just past and I just had a nice, relaxing dinner with my boyfriend at a cafe (awesome dinner and dessert options!) We’re not really big on celebrating this supposedly flower-and-chocolate-filled day, but since we barely get to see each other, the night was definitely something to celebrate. :)

Here are some of the FOOD highlights! #nomnom

Rice noodles with pb, sirracha, and oyster dipping sauce!

Rice noodles with pb, sirracha, and oyster dipping sauce!

Japanese beef teriyaki with rice and house salad

Japanese beef teriyaki with rice and house salad

Crispy Chicken and Avocado Salad

Crispy Chicken and Avocado Salad

Green tea souffle

Green tea souffle

GIFTS
I remember when we started dating, I made him a lot of DIY, artsy-fartsy gifts and he really appreciate the effort I made to make it for him. I felt like I haven’t made anything for him in quite a while, so I thought I’d create some thoughtful and sentimental gifts this year for Valentine’s Day. I wanted to remind him that our primary Valentine that captures our hearts should be first and foremost, Jesus Christ! So this happened: heart-shaped envelop/card with John 3:16, creatively highlighting VALENTINE. I thought this was pretty smart. (Thank you pinterest!)

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Then I made a jar filled with notes on reasons why I love him and random notes and jokes, and handmade paper hearts and stars. (Again, thank you pinterest!)

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Although my boyfriend’s primary way of expressing love is not the language of gift-giving, I am grateful for his efforts whenever his gives me a thoughtful gift because it shows he is trying to improve in areas he knows he might not be the best.  I guess we complement each other in that way! :) I received 3 roses, a giant box of blueberries (my all-time favorite fruit!), a box of organic sea salt dark chocolate (I love dark chocolate!), and a sweet card. He presented me 3 roses because this is our third valentines day together! Does that mean I’ll be getting 60 roses if we reach that far?? :D) At the end of the night he gave me the rest of the dozen flowers since it would just go to waste. Hahaa we joked that he could give the rest of his other dates later in the night. LOL.

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Overall, it was a nice but short reunion; however, every opportunity we get to see each other is a blessing to be celebrated. :) How did you guys spend Valentine’s Day? Whether it was spent with friends, family, or your significant other, I hope you had a wonderful and memorable day spreading the love. Even if it was an uneventful day for you, I hope that you can see what a valuable, unique, and beautiful person you are, created to love and be loved. And I want to let you know that God loves you so deeply that we as mere human beings can never truly understand. And that is why you deserve to love yourself and extend that love to others around you. I hope you have a wonderful week!

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