Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Beet greens

I'm on a mission to eat better and to feed my family better foods. I've tried kale and it's now a staple at our house. This time, I've decided to try beets. I've never cooked beets before but with my very handy tablet and the Internet, I'm not afraid to try.

Found these organic beets over the weekend.

And look at these rainbow carrots. They look nutritious.

I brought home these colorful beets.

The greens are just too beautiful to toss away.  I Googled to make sure they're edible, and they are! According to Self Nutrition Data, they are a good source of protein, folate, pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Zinc, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese. It gets a 5 star in optimum health.

I cut them off the root, rinsed them in cold water, then cut them up into 1 to 2-inch pieces, roughly.

Set a pan on medium high heat and add about 1/2 tbsp of oil. I used avocado oil. 

Let the oil heat up a bit, about 15 seconds. Then add 2 slices of fresh ginger and toss for about 15 seconds. You'll start to smell the aroma from the ginger.

The stems take longer to cook so I usually put them in first and let them cook for a minute.

Add the rest of the greens and toss so each piece of green gets coated with a bit of oil. After a couple of minutes they'll start to wilt.

Cover for 15 seconds (the number 15 just works in this recipe!)

They shrink and are ready! You do not need to add salt. Beet greens are a bit salty naturally.

I have another quick trick my mom taught me and would like to share. Sweet potato is another super food but it just takes so long to cook. I put them in with my rice and they're done when the rice is done. This method saves time and energy. Jebu ate the whole red Japanese sweet potato on the left.

I also made some chicken and peas from our backyard garden. Well, the peas are from the garden, the chicken is not. Although, I'm working on getting a few pet hens for their fresh eggs (no, not for the meat). We'll see.

This is Jebu's plate before.

And his plate after.

I'm a happy mother when my kids finish their food!

Next time, I'll actually cook the beetroot. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Volunteering at Anthopologie

How often do you get to volunteer at your favorite store and for something so meaningful? I'm very honored to be invited to help with the preparation of the 8th Annual Lucile Packard Children's Hospital School prom.  

The hospital school puts on an annual prom to give chronically and terminally ill children a chance to participate in an event they would otherwise miss. This is the biggest night of the year for the hospital kids. According to Kathy Ho, schoolteacher, advisor, and organizer of the prom, "...several of our hospital's high school students miss their own school proms because of their illnesses, and some of our younger students may never get the chance to go at all."

Every year, Kathy and her team come up with a theme for the evening and transform the hospital cafeteria for the event. In the past, the themes had been Alice in the Wonderland, Pirate's Ball, Passport to Adventure, etc.

So why Anthropologie? This year, the theme of the prom is "Mysteries of the Deep." Coincidently, Anthropologie thinks that's a good idea too. The store is decorated with thousands of fish made with bubble wrap painted in different shades of blue. The schoolteachers approached the store manager and asked if Anthropologie would donate the material for the event. She not only said yes, but also offered the store to have the volunteers come to cut the fish! 

Even the not-so-experienced scissors operator was able to help.

What a fun day. Now, I can't wait to see the transformation. Thank you Anthropologie!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Goodwill Hunting: May Flowers

April showers bring May flowers. It's so true. We got quite a bit of rain in the spring and the May flowers are just spectacular.

Not long ago, I was the modern, structure, neutral type when it comes to fashion and design. My wardrobe consists of 4 colors: black, grey, brown, and blue. And maybe some whites. I wasn't into the pinks and purples, orange and yellows, let alone floral patterns. To me, floral looked dated, old-fashioned. As I age, I find that I'm secretly into floral. Remember how I ended up with a bold floral print fabric for the dining room chair project?

When I was shopping for this month's May Flowers challenge at Savers, I was exceptionally excited. I had in mind to look for floral print decorative pillows, floral print skirts, and found these:

Originally $18.00, the orange maxi skirt was $9.99 and brand new. It's cute, it's me. I had it in my cart for a while and finally had to part with it. It didn't seem right that it's only less than 50% off originally price. 

I then saw a short floral print skirt in neutral brown and cream. It's so cute but it didn't have a price tag. I went to the cashier and she said it'll take a day to price it (not sure why). She said someone will call me once they have it priced. I gave her my name and number and sadly didn't get a call. 

Finally, my sister handed me this fabric bag by Paint the Lily. It's floral and it's $1.99. It's in good condition and very well-made. I then examined the bag and found a surprise inside. 

A delicate, hand-embroidered handkerchief with floral designs. Just perfect!

Excited to see what lili found for May Flowers.

Next month: Summer Lovin'.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Spring break photos by Ye-ye

Organizing photos has been an on-going nightmare for me. They're all over the place: email attachments, Google+, my camera, other people's cameras, my smart phone, iPhoto, desktop, Shutterfly... The list just goes on. At least now that I'm on Google+ which synchronizes my photos from my Android phone automatically, I don't ever have to manually upload them anymore. What a nice thing. 

Ye-ye started this photo project called 366 on new year's day (there are 366 days in 2012) which he uploads one photo a day onto Google+.  What a neat idea. Sometimes, it's a series (he did a series of spring flowers), sometimes it's just life as it happens (one of the photos was his broken phone.)

In "My New Chairs" I mentioned I would share photos taken by Ye-ye over our Spring break and here they are.

Arrival day.  B was longing for their arrival and Jebu was just focused on his drawing.

Jayhawks in the finals. B wore his Jayhawk shirt to support our team. What's with the hair though?

A visit to Woodside. This wooden fish is gigantic. See the tennis ball?

Stanford. Gebu ran around on the open field. The green grass in the background makes his red hat pop.

 The Stanford Tower

SF. Ye-ye and Nano took B to the city for a field trip.

Nano and B in front of gun bunker.

Back to Stanford for more photos. Amazing colors! I think this whole HDR technique is growing on me.

Half Moon Bay. This is probably my favorite photo in this series. I love that turquoise hut.

Us, sitting by the fire at Half Moon Bay. 

Downtown Palo Alto after dinner at Il Fornaio

Foster City. On our way back from Petaluma, the moon was so beautiful that we had to stop to snap a photo.

Sony Store, Stanford Shopping Center. Boys were sneaking in some screen time.

Easter egg hunt in the back yard. Gebu didn't want to lose. 
Awwww... need I say more. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My new chairs

Over our Spring break, Ye-ye and Nano came to visit. We all get so spoiled when they're here. We ate at our favorite restaurants, took a day trip to Petaluma and visited with our cousins, did a lot of serious photography (with Ye-ye's permission, I'll post some photos here soon!), ate Ye-ye's famous cinnamon rolls, and of course, went to the toy store. Nano is the crafty one. Last time, she made me a decorative pillow, and this time, I got four "new" chairs!

Our dining room chair pads were badly stained and I'm ready for a fresh new look.

We went to JoAnn and I was drawn to the rich damasks and paisleys in neutral colors, although originally wanting red to match the decorative pillow in the adjacent living room.

And then I thought, what about something modern or something fun.

But really, I've been going for the French Country look.

There were just way too many options and it was impossible to make up my mind, until I picked up this store brochure and turned to this page. 

After 2 cans of brown spray primer, 3 cans of ivory spray paint, the perfect electric staple gun (this took many trips to Home Depot to find), a lot of staples, 1.5 yards of fabric, and a few days of Ye-ye and Nano's hard work, here is the transformation.  

I love the rubbed edges!  So French Country!

And the fabric, so Anthropologie! 

Richloom Studio Esme Graffiti

Thank you Ye-ye and Nano! And, please come back soon.

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