Saturday, March 21, 2015

How You Eat is How You Live

(Adapted from Food52)

I believe that cooking doesn't have to be complicated or stressful.

When you cook:
Your family will share meals together.
You will naturally have a more sustainable household.
You'll set a lifelong example for your children.
You'll understand what goes into food and will eat more healthily.
You'll make your home an important place in your family's life.
You'll be happy.
You'll make others happy.

Do you agree?

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Spiralizer

As badly as I want to try out my new sous vide, my fridge is full so I've been holding myself back from going grocery shopping. But being sick is boring! So I decided to try this out instead. Sorry kids! You can have a turn next time!

Now that my youngest is in school a few mornings a week, I've been trying to finally do all the things I've (im)patiently been waiting to do. One of the projects on my list is to eat and cook healthier foods for myself and my family. I've never been your typical "skinny Asian girl" and the main reason is probably because I've always eaten everything I've ever wanted...literally, everything. Portion control, what? Literally, the best I've ever looked, and the most confident I've ever been, was each of the three times I was pregnant, ha! And we all know that women's bodies are not the same after having kids and also with age. So began my little journey towards a healthier lifestyle and this is just one of many steps I'm taking.

I stumbled across this "spiralizer" on the Nom Nom Paleo site. As many times as I've considered getting a Vitamix, I'm usually not too into kitchen gadgets. But this was not an expensive purchase and I really knew I would use this. I love Italian and I also love noodles and pasta. I've lowered my carb intake before but missed the yummy marinara sauces, Rao's being my fave. This was my answer.

Paderno Spiral Slicer

The main reasons why I love this is:
1. added nutrition
2. low carbs & calories
3. quicker cooking time
4. fun for kids

I've been trying to get the kids more and more involved in food decision making, as well as prepping and cooking meals. Getting kids involved with the everyday really does something to their little brains. It's like magic. Suddenly, they're excited to eat new foods, they think everything tastes so good, they think I'm the best cook, and having taken part of it all builds their confidence. I'll take those things any day!

If you want to know more, this chick Ali is the spiralizer guru and goes into the details of all the benefits here.

Getting back to actually using it...
It was very easy to put together, use and clean up. It worked exactly the way I expected with no unexpected glitches.

I was planning on cooking these "noodles" in a pan with a little bit of cooking oil but having no energy, I covered the bowl and threw them in the microwave for a little under 2 minutes. I had leftover sauce and threw some spicy mango & jalapeno chicken meatballs in (Aidells, can be found at Costco) and a few minutes later had this yummy little snack. (Yes, my snacks are mini meals.)

I literally inhaled it. Part of me was expecting it to taste too "healthy" but it was so yummy! And an unexpected plus was that I could use chopsticks! I don't use forks unless there are no chopsticks around.

I was surprised that Bed Bath didn't carry this. If you have a 20% off any item promo code at Williams Sonoma, get one there. Otherwise, Amazon seems to have a better regular price. If you happen to get one there, please use my affiliate link. I get a few pennies and it's no additional cost to you.

There are lots of other veggies and recipes I'm going to try from Ali's site. Take a peek if you're curious. For me, the next step is to make this for the hubs to see his thoughts. Will let you know!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Healthier Eating Step No. 1 - Fruits & Veggies

This post is dedicated to my friend Sonia Chun. I remember when I was shopping for you and thought to myself, "I know Phil loves his potatoes but do they really have to be organic?" You sparked my curiosity and now my family is eating a little bit healthier. You make me want to pray more, too. Thank you!

I've heard that we don't need to buy everything organic. But how the heck are we supposed to know what to buy and what not to buy? Here are some basic guidelines from the EWG (Environmental Working Group), the latest "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean Fifteen" list.

I used to have three grocery lists - Shoprite, Costco, and HMart (major korean supermarket chain). I was avoiding a fourth for so long because of cost but now my priorities have shifted a bit and I now have a WFoods/TraderJoe's list. The Dirty Dozen fruits & veggies now go here. When I see the non-organic dirty dozen with cheaper prices and looking fresh and yummy, I do get tempted. Who wants to go to another store in the middle of our busy days? But then I think back to this video and keep on walking down the aisle. If time and money is really a concern, I just opt for a less pesticide ridden option on the Clean Fifteen list. 

The full list of 50 or so fruits & veggies can be found here.

Update: I want to note that list is not perfect. From what I've read, the EWG bases this list on (1) the number of pesticide residues found (2) the percentage of samples with pesticide residues, and (3) the total amount of pesticides detected. It does not take into account how toxic the pesticides are nor the toxic organic pesticides used on organic fruits & veggies. Are you surprised that there is no simple straight forward answer? Course not.

In an ideal world, we would all just grow our own fruits and vegetables. I do want to start a small garden sometime in the near future. Plus, it's so much yummier. Or we would shop only at local farms where we could ask farmers what kinds of pest control and chemicals they use. Anytime we can do this, great! But realistically, our options are:

(1) blindly just eat what's cheap and easy with no concern for our health - But we're past that already, yes?
(2) buy everything organic - Then I've at least eliminated the synthetic pesticides, right? I wish I could afford to do this but I can't. And I need to still save to buy organic meats!
(3) just stick to this EWG list as a guideline

It's about progress, people, not perfection. And what's most important is eating more fruits & veggies overall. Let's just keep trying new recipes and including more nutritious foods into our daily.

Oh and there are also many Asian fruits and vegetables that aren't even included in this list. Again, I'm aiming for improvements and realistic, doable changes. So for now, I will continue to buy my bean sprouts and Korean melons from HMart and get my organic dirty dozen from Whole Foods or wherever else I can find them.

Why I (Finally) Decided to Make Some Changes To What We Eat

I know a few people who are health food crazies. Honestly, I don't think many of them know why they eat what they eat so I see most of "them" simply as trend followers. Koreans are notorious for this and I actually find it rather annoying. Why would you do something when you don't even know why you're doing it? Of course everyone knows we should all eat healthier but why? I've always enjoyed food and generally thought healthy eating wasn't ever going to taste as good. So why become one of "them"? I'm the kind of person who needs facts and numbers to be convinced of most things. Not that I ever went looking but no one ever really told me the details as to why eating healthier is important.

I've seen snippets of different food documentaries and have overheard my Whole Foods employed sister mention a few things but nothing clicked until I came across this video.

I have three children with peanut and tree nut allergies and one of them also has an egg allergy. Sadly to say, many of my friends have little ones with some sort of food allergy. I've also been praying for friends and their family members with different illnesses including cancer. So naturally, a switch flipped in my head and I decided I needed to start looking into all this and make some changes for my family's sake.

Now, where to begin...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"You're a Nice Mom"

me: M, what kind of mom am I?
M: You're a nice mom. You're a faither mom. 'Cause you have faith. You're a studying mom. 'Cause you study knitting. (LOL) You're a cooking mom. I like what you cook. You're a nice mom.

Then he tipped his head to the side to touch mine.

God knows how to send me just the right kind of love to give me a boost.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Today, Maxx learned what genetics was. One of the examples I gave him was that we had the same toes.
"Mommy, when you pass and go to heaven, I'm going to look at my toes and think about you."
I became mush.

Today, the first person to wish me a Happy Valentine's Day with hugs all day was my Ellie. No one gives me more hugs daily than my Ellie.

Nowadays, when I tell Iann that I love him, he responds with "I love you a lot." He said it all on his own. Love. And today, in the car on the way to pick up the big kids...
Iann: When I'm a grown up, I'm going to sit there. (Pointing to the driver's seat where I am.)
me: What about me?
Iann: You can sit there. (Pointing to passenger seat.) And I'm going to drive you when I'm a grown up.

And as a grand finale, the hubs left work early to pick up one of my fave foods, Taqueria, on his way home from work. We always go to the one in Jersey City but he totally surprised me this time and picked up from a New York location. Might seem small but it really is the little things.

Oh happy day.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ellie is 3!

This post is waaaay overdue but I wanted to make sure to write my Ellie a little note when I found some time.

Dear Ellie,

This past year you've become a real little girl, no more baby Ellie. You started a 2's preschool program and are doing amazingly. You still miss me now and then but you always get over it and are that happy little camper you are. It takes literally, so little, to make you happy. I love that. Some people say you're just like me but in all honesty, I wish I was like you. You're so free spirited and you love people so easily and somehow get them to love you in the blink of an eye. You are such the determined one. You demand (I mean ask, haha) to do everything yourself...everything. You always try and if you need help, will then always ask. Then you'll try again and when you finally get it, you beam with pride and I always laugh cause in that moment, I feel like we're the same person. From getting yourself dressed and undressed by yourself to coming in and out of the car/carseat all by yourself, it all has helped me sooooo much these past few months in raising you and your brothers. You have no idea right now but one day you'll know. ;)

You know, everytime you see your oppa at school, I hear you guys cause a long lost loves. Even though it's not okay to tackle hug each other at school, I hope you two are always that close and that as Iann gets older, that you bring him into that special bond as well.

Sometimes I tell people you're like a little boy, the way you are so crazy and wild in how you play with your brother and the other boys. But you are so much a sweet little girl and the way you love clothes, accessories and PINK! I used to dread that color but now it just reminds me of you so I'm good with it too. And oh, you know what I love? I love love love that you love arts and crafts! You make the wanna-be crafter in me so happy.

More than anything, I hope you always know how special you are. And how beautiful you are on the inside, not just the outside! We need to work on that a bit, haha. God gave you this gift of sweetness. Your hugs heal and cure. You just plop yourself on people's laps or lean up against them and although I love how affectionate you are, it makes me worry about your future and boys!!

Before I go, I want to apologize for all my mistakes, the times I've hurt your feelings with my words or tone. I'm definitely far from perfect. I hope you know how much I love you and really am trying my best to mold you the way I think God wants me to. Sometimes I may go overboard, I'm learning too, so thanks for your immediate smiles.

Happy Birthday again to my special little girl.

Love you so much,
Your mommy

Friday, June 8, 2012

My 1st Graduation

I rarely post a status on facebook but I did today:
I happy cried 3 or 4 times today because of Maxx. He just turned 4 and "graduated" from preschool today. So proud of him and ♥ him so much. So not used to this! :P

I took preschool graduation VERY lightly. I was late going to school and didn't even bring a camera. I got there and most dads were there and most parents were dressed up a bit. I didn't realize I was the odd (wo)man out until the teacher began to give out diplomas said the sweetest, most thoughtful things about each child. She knew each well and how much they grew up in the class. I was tearing. Then my friend, the class mom, presented the class present to the teacher and was reading our message to her aloud and again, I started tearing. I was thinking about how much she loved Maxx and how much she believed in him and really helped him in the areas he needed help in.

Later at home, he did something that landed him a time out and during our conversation about what happened, I started tell him how proud of was of him again and I started tearing.

Then bedtime came...

me: Look at how B (classmate) is looking at you in that picture. I think she really likes you!
M beaming from ear to ear and eyes barely visible.

me: Did you know that L said she wanted to marry you?
M beaming harder.

me: Do you want to marry L?
M: No, I can't because I'm too little to get married.

me: What about when you are a grown up?
M: No, because I'm going to marry someone else?

me: Who?
M: Umma (mom)!

me : You can't marry me!
M (tearing & hugging me): Why not? But I want to.

me (tearing): Cause I'm going to be too old.
M: I don't want your face to change.

me: Your face is going to be different too! You're going to be a grown up!
M cracking up like crazy.

Then I was laughing out loud too.
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