Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chocolate Almond Upside-Down Cake

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Can you smell Christmas in the air?? I love the holidays. Mostly because of all the cookies, holiday drinks and jolly-ness that everyone seems to have. Although, not so much about my birthday and Christmas gifts all rolled into one. Too bad my birthday is at the end of the year. I never get two separate gifts and all my friends are usually on holiday in some exotic warm place :(
Wow. I whine. A lot.

Now for some interesting facts on how retailers use psychology to make you spend more!
Sometimes I can't help being enamored by the extravagant window displays or the huge signs that say "up to 80% off". And then I get home and I think, "Why on earth did I get that?"
Your Five Senses on Overload
SIGHT: Christmas colors red and green influence our mood and spending! Did you know that waitresses wearing red receive 14-26% higher tips and eBay shoppers bid more aggressively for products shown on red vs. blue backgrounds?

SMELL: Oh that holiday scent of pine, peppermint and gingerbread. These smells can evoke feeling of happiness, physiological arousal and creates more alert shoppers who will shop longer.

HEARING: Studies show that nostalgia elevates positive moods and helps people feel better about themselves and what they're buying.

TOUCH: Retailers carefully design stores with merchandise roadblocks and sneaky displays. Physically holding products can create a sense of psychological ownership and drive "ZOMG I NEED THIS" purchase decisions. You see how Apple does this to you?
Research also shows that waitresses who touch restaurant patrons earn more tips (!!) and customers drink more when "innocently" touched by female bartenders.

TASTE: I admit that I go around Costco and get free food samples... Sampling drives people to want more of anything that's rewarding.

Read the full article here ... and now onto an easy Christmas Cake to Bake!

Chocolate Almond Upside-Down Cake
From Martha Stewart with slight tweaks

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Warm Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Beans

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The Christmas season is here and I'm really trying to stop eating all the cookies that are brought into the lab. Gah! So much temptation and so little space in my jeans :( I've been trying to incorporate more veggies and warm salads into my meals because who wants to eat cold salads in the winter everyday? This dish is also great for potlucks and can be served on a huge platter. Fill up on salads first and then touch the sinful desserts later (this advice is always lost on me...)

Let's do a boozy myth buster for the holidays!
MYTH: Alcohol Kills Brain Cells
FACT: NO it doesn't! Whatever your parents told you or what you learned in high school is a lie. But, before you bring on the kegstands, know that alcohol does many other things that could injure your brain. Although, it clearly doesn't wipe out neurons or brain cells, booze does reduce your ability to remember. Recall those moments when you woke up on the bathroom floor? Or being drunk and have no perception of depth, direction and advice? hahaha... Author Braum says:
Research shows... [Alcohol] disrupts the cellular machinery most widely believed to underlie our ability to form new memories.
Also, binge drinking can lead to decrease in breathing (heavy boozy breath) that can starve the brain and of course, making you do stupid things, like drinking and driving. So remember kids, drink responsibly and moderately.

Taken from my holiday reading...Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine by Stephen Braum

Warm Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Beans
Adapted from Food and Wine
Serves 4

1/2 pound spinach blend (7 cups)
1 pound shelled and deveined shrimp
Garlic Salt + Pepper (or regular salt)
2 tsp Crushed red pepper
One 15-ounce can white beans, drained

1/4 cup olive oil
1 small red onion diced
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

  1. Divide spinach onto 4 plates or spread on a large platter. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet, season shrimp with salt and pepper and cook until just white through.
  2. Add beans, season with more pepper, chili flakes and salt if needed and toss until heated through. (2 minutes). Scrape the shrimp and beans onto the spinach.
  3. In same skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil, cook red onion until softened and then whisk in the mustard, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of olive oil.
  4. Pour over salad and serve with freshly cracked pepper.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Apple 'n' Oats Muffins

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Wow! It's been almost a month since my last post. I feel bad and now I'm back to stop this procrastination and laziness... hopefully it'll last. Anyhoo, I'm in Virginia now and I just went apple picking in Charlottesville! I'm so glad I came down to visit bubs when the weather was not too cold for my Californian blood. The leaves are all kinds of colors and it was so romantic :) We picked fuji and pink lady apples. They seriously taste crazy fresh and sweet. Very unlike the old apples you'll find in supermarkets. So here's a recipe putting apples into my favorite breakfast item...muffins!

Give The Bonding Hormone to cheating men!
I first learned of Oxytocin as the hormone that triggers uterine contractions during child labor. But after some classes at Georgetown and reading this article, oxytocin is also super important in pair-bonding in couples. The levels of the hormones increase in humans after they enter a romantic relationship and after good physical contact with that partner (as in petting and holding hands...or more...). This study gave intranasal delivery (shot up the nose) of oxytocin and showed that it could improve communication in couples, emotional reading from facial expressions and increase trust!

Even more impressive is that there is now evidence that oxytocin can help maintain monogamous relationships. Married men given the hormone stayed FURTHER AWAY from attractive women than men lower oxytocin. Wow... we need to jump on this band wagon ladies..

Apple 'n' Oats Muffins
Makes 11-12 muffins

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reese's Pieces Oatmeal Cookies

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Hope for Acne-ridden teens (and adults)?
I'm glad that somehow some of my mum's clear skin genes made its way over to me. Although, during my awkward teen years, my raging hormones gave me pimple-face and I did all kinds of things to try to get rid of my zits. I'll have you know that a paper published last month, in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology found acne-fighting viruses that may zap your zits away!

These viruses called bacteriophages were found on the faces of flawless skin and helped to keep the acne bacteria under control says Laura Marinella at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. They even found the enzyme that the viruses use to kill acne and that could one day become a schmear-on cream ointment. Yay for good viruses!

However, with medication comes mutations and bacterial resistance :( Will we have super acne in the future?! D:

On the side note, I've been eating way too much candy in preparation for halloween and hibernation. Here's another cookie recipe I've been gorging on. Although, I made it healthy and eat them before working out.

Reese's Pieces Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Spicy Crab Stew - Ggotgae jjigae

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I'm finally moving out of korea town. No more gun shots in the night, gang fights, or ktown sleaziness on youtube (haha). Sorry, just exaggerating a bit. I'm going to miss the cheap groceries and good food though. You'll always be in my heart ktown. Although, moving has been a huge pain in the butt and in my arms gahh!

Anyhoo, here are some random facts I've read in the past...

False: Toilet water on your toothbrush will get you sick
I don't ever keep my toothbrush where the toilet is because microorganisms are ejected when you flush the toilet. It can spray further than 5 feet (ahh!) and all the good stuff lands all over the bathroom even if you close the lid. But, fortunately you won't catch anything from what comes out of your toilet because when the toothbrush dies, so does most of the organisms. Although, that'll probably take some time so don't brush your teeth right after you go haha... Just keep your toothbrush in the cabinet!

False: Bathroom door handles in public restrooms are the germiest place
Door handles actually have the least bacteria of any surface in public restrooms says Dr. Chuck Gerba of University of Arizona in Tucson. That's because on average 68% wash their hands before leaving (WHAT! NOT 100%??). Your desk is way dirtier than a toilet bowl (400x more!) In his recent study, Gerba and co. found parainfluenza virus, which causes colds and flu on about one-third of office surfaces...and most of it on the phone. These viruses can survive for 2-3 days on desktops, phones and keyboards too.

Just keep washing your hands, become a germ-aphobe and stop making out ah ha ha...

Spicy Crab Stew - 꽃게 찌개

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chinese Pepper Steak (Stir-fried Beef with Peppers)

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DEAL WITH THE SCIENCE: Girls do throw like girls

When my tennis coach told me I throw like a girl, I was livid. I generally don't like being told that I'm weak or feeble...maybe it's my height complex (?). But true to my coach's statement, my overarm throwing really needs working on. In fact, a professor at the University of North Texas conducted a throwing experiment, where results showed that nearly every boy by age 15 throws better than the best girl (NOooOO).

The article says that the rotating motion of a girls versus boys motion is particularly significant. The power in an overhand throw (like a golf swing, tennis serve or baseball swing) comes from the separate turning of hips and shoulders. Apparently, us women tend to rotate our hips and shoulders together...true in my case -gulp-. This one-whole rotating motion may have even evolved since we were cavemen, when women had to throw rocks or weapons while holding a baby (ah ha ha).

Anyhoo, after practicing snapping my shoulders around and whipping the ball, my right arm feels like it's about to fall out of the socket. Who knows, maybe I'll become the next Serena Williams...

Pepper Beef Stir Fry

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Haemul Soondubu Jjigae - Seafood Soft Tofu Stew

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My biggest regret this month is to miss the audition for the Spicy eating challenge at BCD Tofu House sponsored event at the Ktown Food Fest. OMgoodness, I would have totally owned it. But I didn't know there was an audition. I thought...I thought... ahhh. I missed my chance to win an iPad!! There were other contests like choco pie eating, but I can almost imagine choking down chocolate covered dry pieces of bread. bleh...

Anyhoo, I can make my own Soft tofu soup and eat it. Wuah wuah. Although, BCD's hot stone pot rice is soo fluffy and delicious. Something I can't make at home, unless I burn down my house.

Here's a short human body fact for today. I promise a more substantial, interesting and intellectual story next time...unless you guys really don't like reading too many words :p

FACT: 250,000 pores that exist on the soles of the feet secret almost 1/4 cup of sweat every day
Now I know why my feet smells like flowers.... :)

Haemul Soon dubu - Seafood Soft Tofu
Makes 2 servings

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

S'mores Cupcakes

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I thought I might enlighten you guys with cupcakes this time. I haven't made anything sweet and sugary in a while, but since it was my brother's birthday, I went and made him these S'mores Cupcakes (best sister ever). Somehow, I've fallen into this role of making my brother a birthday cake every year. First it was red velvet, then honey chocolate cake, but this time I went the easier route and made cupcakes. He engulfed these. Seriously. I turned my back and at least 5 were gone :O

I'm also posting this recipe for my friend who's ill but wants to eat these as soon as she can. Talking about ills and chills...
HOT TUB FOLLICULITIS: What's in your hot tub?
Now I know it's summer and a hot bubbling whirlpool is the last place you want to set foot in, but for other reasons, I would think twice before jumping into a vat of bacteria and bugs. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is found to contaminate hot tubs because it's nice and warm, withstands chlorine and live in this layers of slime inside the water system. Blech. Dr. Claire Panosian Dunavan, an infectious diseases specialist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, say they're also found in hospitals and can cause ignited fevers, pustules, itchy and irritating skin rashes. Luckily, it goes away after a week, but do you really want to walk around red, itchy and angry?

S'mores Cupcakes
Makes baker's dozen

1.5 cups honey graham cracker crumbs (about 10-12 whole crackers)
0.5 cup all purpose flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter + 1/4 cup yogurt (or use whole stick)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk

Few tbsps Nutella Spread
Mini marshmallows

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line or grease cupcake pan.
  2. Crush graham crackers using a food blender (pulse) or put it in a bag and crush it manually with your hands or a rolling pin like I did. Measure 1.5 cups of that. There will be some left you can use for decoration. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the crumbs.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk softened butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one and then add in the vanilla too. If you're going to use the yogurt add here too.
  4. Add the graham cracker/ flour mix to the wet mix, alternating with the milk. Mix that up gently and divide the batter.
  5. Bake for 20-22 mins. 
  6. Let them cool, spread some nutella and top with left over crumbs and mini marshmallows. You can put it under the broiler/oven for less than a minute to get the toasted marshmallow effect. Or use a kitchen torch if you're handy like that.
Happy Birthday lil bro~

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Green tea & Red Bean Mochi Cake

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Ah! I've been so busy lately I haven't posted as regularly as I do. Definitely trying to juggle too many things and I need at least three clones of me. Boo. So I'll keep this one short with an interesting body fact.

FACT: A person can live without eating for weeks, but will only survive eleven days without sleep.

Well, I guess I should just go hungry and sleep. I'm so sleep deprived. I'm usually a morning person but seriously waking up every morning at the crack of dawn is driving me insane. Thankfully no cranky behavior (guess I can't be my own judge). But imagine people around those who haven't slept crazy moodswings...they'll probably only survive a day or two.

I made this super simple and tasty mochi cake. It isn't very sweet, which is perfect for me and a lot of my aunts and relatives who were eating them. They make lovely gifts when you wrap them up nicely. Koreans love this stuff. I mean, it's mocha and it's got red bean. What's not to love?

Matcha Green Tea & Red Bean Mochi Cake
Makes 2 loaves or 9x13" pan

3 cups glutinous rice flour (I used a mix of 1 cup brown and 1 cup white)
2 tbsp Matcha green tea powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 tbsp oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup red bean boiled (or measure from a can of prepared sweetened red bean and cut sugar to taste)
1/4 cup dried dates chopped (or use diced kabocha squash)
1/4 cup walnuts quartered

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Grease pan or 2 loaf tins with oil or butter
  3. Whisk all your dry ingredients in one bowl (rice flour, matcha powder, sugar, baking powder, salt)
  4. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk and oil. Combine dry mix with the wet mix.
  5. Gently fold in the filling ingredients. Feel free to use all red bean, or add raisins. Seriously, whatever you like.
  6. Bake for 40-50 mins or until the sides pull away from the pan.
Glossy with honey and walnuts!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Seasoned Shishito Peppers - Ggwarigochu muchim

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I always love those mini banchans (반찬) that they give in Korean restaurants. Most of the time you get free re-fills so don't be too shy to ask. I fill myself up on those ah ha ha. I've been learning so many recipes from my mother so here's a simple side dish to complement a steaming hot bowl of rice.

A little science for the day and a little justification of why I'm so short haha :)
Why Height Matters
Interestingly, in modern western society, studies have found that shorter women tend to bear more children. On the flip side, average-height men do best, better than short or tall men, in the number of children they father. Researcher Gert Stulp and co. of the University of Groningen in Netherlands pulled data that followed more than 10,000 Wisconsin high-school graduates for around 50 years.

Results show in shorter families, the sisters had more children than their brothers. In average-height families, however, brothers had more children than their sisters. The published article in the journal Biology letters says that sexes are locked in a push-and-pull battle over height. That means: shorter than average woman are more likely to have children and pass on her short genes. Good for her daughter who will bear more children than average, but bad for her son. Can you imagine this pattern continuing over the entire population???

As a whole, the population gets shorter because shorter women are producing more. Too bad for men, this increases the evolutionary pressure but still taller guys reproduce more and push the heigh of the next generation back to average.

They say that height is also correlated with income, attractiveness, education, health and longevity. An apology to short guys who think they'd like to find a short girl... :( I'm sure personality counts!

Seasoned Shishito Peppers - 꽈리고추 무침
phonetics: ggwarigochu muchim
Delicious ban-chan (side dish)
A Japanese variety of the bell pepper - small, finger-sized and thin-walled. Not spicy unless your seasoning is!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Shrimp and Veggie Scramble

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How do you guys like my new and remodeled blog? The banner took me all night, because I'm not very good at photoshop (and my sister is never home). Even my brother had to help me with setting it up! So you guys are going to just have to like it, because I ain't going to be changing it for a while... Need. to. get. off. Internet.

Check Depression levels with How You Use the Internet
Computer science nerds at Missouri University of Science and Technology recently published an article  about a group of students and how their use of the Internet correlated with the depression levels. They explained in the New York Times that 216 undergrads first did a questionnaire to measure how depressed they were and then monitored their internet activity.

Apparently, those with indicated depression from the survey had high levels of sharing files (like movies and music). That sounds like me (NOooo). To add further insult, depressed students also tended to engage in very high e-mail usage, which could indicate high levels of anxiety. Lastly, they also have a habit of switching between applications frequently, like e-mail, chat rooms and games. It's called normal behavior @(%*(#_@($@ <-- denial

The research is being conducted to develop a software app that could be installed into computers and mobile devices and alert you if you show symptoms of depression. That could be your parent monitoring your mood swings during puberty. Sounds like a terrible idea!! What do you prefer? Data privacy or mental health?

Shrimp and Veggie Scramble
Serves 4

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Kiddy Kimbap - 꼬마 김밥

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I'm finally doing a kimbap post, but only because my mum is here helping me make them. My little brother's at camp and we decided to make it for his lunch and ours too! It's a perfect picnic recipe and my mum and I enjoyed these under the LA sun. The weather is to die for :)

Have short intestines? Addicted to Alcohol?
I guess you can't really tell if your intestines are short or not... But if you're older and have undergone gastric bypass surgery (stapling stomachs!), you're more likely to become addicted to alcohol! For people with short or damaged intestines, the alcohol goes straight into the intestine and is absorbed rapidly. That higher absorption rate makes alcohol oh-so-enticing, says research team from the University of Pittsburg Medical Center.

There are obese testimonials who developed alcoholism and were treated for their alcohol addiction. What would you rather have? A trimmer figure swapped for alcoholism? Well...both (as in gastric bypass and alcoholism) are avoidable if you get off your lazy butt, exercise and eat healthy!

Kid's Kimbap - 꼬마 김밥 (Ggoma kim bap)
Makes 3-5 servings 

Here's a jumpstart to a healthy lunch! KOREAN SUSHI.
Since we had to be out of the house early the next day, we prepped all the ingredients the night before and kept them in the fridge after letting them cool. Then we made fresh rice that day and rolled the kim bap straight away. If you're making it all in a day, make the rice as your rice cooker says first so that it can cool.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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Woohoo! How long has it been since my last post...? eek. I've been on a vacation, going around Hong Kong and Korea and now I'm back. I've been eating like I'm about to hibernate, bought all kind of Asian goodies and weird phone accessories and finally tried out wakeboarding (whether you believe me or not, I am a total pro). I thought I would gain 10 pounds but looks like all the water activities I did made me lose weight instead. Bring on the bikini weather! Although, it's more like just laying still's a desert in LA.

You should see my phone accessories. They're super popular in Korea and so funny! You can stick like an object into the earphone plughole. I can't really explain, but now my iphone looks like an apple. If you find me on Facebook you can see it! I've got all kinds of other attachments too. Heehee. Although, I don't know if I want to keep using my phone so much because of this article.

Frequent Cell Phone Users Slobber More
How funny and gross is that? The investigation found out that heavy users of mobile phones had increased salivary flow rate, blood flow rate and volume of parotid glands. Those are our salivary glands. You know how your ears get hot after being on the phone too long? Well, that heat and radio frequency radiation emitting from your phone is absorbed by the tissues where you use your phone (hopefully that's your ear). All that heat can cause the adjacent tissue to expand and increase in volume and the radiation absorbed by the water in the tissues can further raise skin temperature and modify blood flow too.

Hopefully, we'll be talking less on our phones and more face-to-face time. Or we'll find ourselves slobbering and spitting all over each other. EW.

I made these cookies before I left DC, so I could use everything up in the fridge! Super fast and easy to make. You can always freeze the ones you don't eat and then toast them up or microwave them for a healthy snack. I always have a few of these in the mornings. If you're not a fan of chocolate, add in nuts, shaved coconut blabla etc... you get the idea :)

Banana Choc Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 2 dozen
Guilt-free goodies

1 cup Oatmeal
1/2 cup Flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 Ripe banana
1/4 cup honey and 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp butter (room temp)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Dark or semisweet Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.
First, cream the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy. Whisk in the egg, honey, mashed banana and vanilla extract.

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together (oatmeal, flour, cinnamon, powder, baking soda, salt)

Add the wet mix to the dry (or vice versa) and mix until incorporated.

Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips (or/ and nuts) and then pop it into the oven for 10-12 mins.

Straight out of the oven!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Rustic Tomato Mozzarella Tart

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I tried to finish this post while I was stuck in Shanghai but then blogger seems to be a censored site. It's typhoon season in Hong Kong, so my flight was delayed. Ungh. We were put in some awful hotel and fed terrible food. Also, there was a sign in there that apologized for all the mosquitoes that were infesting the place! Ahh. Luckily, I'm not so prone to mosquito bites and I just figured out why...

Do Mosquitoes Love You or Hate You?
One in 10 people are highly attractive to mosquitoes so says a professor at the University of Florida. It's actually not dinner they want, but female mosquitoes (the ones that do all the work) need blood to develop fertile eggs and apparently, you've got to have some good blood for them to want  eggs to hatch in them. EW.. Now let's take a look at this list...

1. How much carbon dioxide do you emit?      
  • I guess you wouldn't really know, but people who are heavier, preggers or have faster metabolisms tend to exhale more carbon dioxide. Mosquitoes are attracted to the gas apparently.
2. How sweet do you taste?         
  • If you exercise quite a bit or sweat profusely, your perspiration contains lactic acid, octenol and other chemicals that mosquitoes love. Motion also gets their attention and you're emitting more carbon dioxide.
3. Are you goth? Or do you just like wearing black
  • These buggers are highly visual and their first mode of search for humans is for dark colors.
4. How hot are you?          
  • Your body temperature or warmth can make a difference. It's why they flock to pregnant women because of their extra body heat.

But then again, the American Mosquito Control Association said it could be that people who don't get bitten produce chemicals on their skin that make them more repellant and cover up smells that mosquitoes find attractive. So remember to cover up yourself with some DEET this summer! Luckily, I have my little brother who acts as my repellant. I guess I'm just not so tasty and he is (yay for me)!

Rustic Tomato Mozzarella Tart 
Makes one 9" tart

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Roasted Beets Feta Salad

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Oops...I've been a little lazy and haven't updated in a while. My good friend/roommate/labmate came down from LA and we went kayaking. It has been almost 100 degrees!! (I can't believe I just used Fahrenheit) And now I have awful shorts tan, farmer's tan and my shoulders are aching. Whine whine whine.

Here's a recipe for a healthy salad for the start of summer!

Why Aren't Bald Men Extinct?
I guess some women find it attractive? But, I sure as hell don't (haha kidding not really). We all have hair because it is useful - it protects us from the sun, gives us a little bit of warmth and most importantly hair is sexy. So why is it that male pattern baldness is successfully passed on?

Usually by age 30, a quarter of men start to lose their hair starting around the temples (Wolverine look), then on top of the head (Santa Claus look) and finally to total retreat (Dick Cheney look). Research suggest that baldness might have some survival advantage because it signals dominance and status. When bald men are angry, they could appear to have red domes (think alarm bells), which could signify dominance (what?!). Other studies say women see bald men as more mature and less aggressive. But then they also see them as older and less attractive :(

Anyhoo, whether you fancy a man with hair or no hair is really up to you. But if you prefer hairy burly men look for the pattern baldness trait on their mother's side.

Roasted Beets and Feta Salad

1 bunch beets and beet greens
1 medium onion (red or white)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup crumbled Feta
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 425F
Roast beets in a baking dish and cover with foil. Takes about 1 hour until it is soft. Cut off the ends and the skins should peel right off.

Slice onions across the grains so you get rings. Chop up the beet greens into 2 inch pieces.

In a frying pan, heat up some olive oil and place your onions on top. Let it brown in either side (about 3 mins). Set that aside.

Fry up the beet greens also for about 3-4 mins until soft. Add salt and pepper

Slice the beets and arrange on a platter. Arrange the onions and beet greens a over the beets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk together 2 tbsp of good extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Drizzle over the onions and beets. Crumble feta over and serve.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nutella Swirl Cupcakes

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I introduced nutella to bubs some time this year. I know. Who hasn't grown up with nutella sandwiches for breakfast?? Poor deprived man-child child. Anyway, we're in Richmond, VA for a quick tour. It's so damn hot right now even I'm sweating, and I don't sweat.

We're off to more BBQ wee! Excited!!

Factoid: Erythropoietin - Your Exercise Motivation Hormone
How much effort does it take to get you off your fat bum and exercise? Don't you just have those days where you want to just veg? I'm guilty. But I might just throw that onto how much erythropoietin (Epo) I have. Epo is a hormone present in small quantities that stimulate red blood cell production so you can supply those limp muscles with more oxygen while you power jog through the park.

Healthy people treated with EPO reported to feel improved mood, physical conditional as well as increased ventilation (yay oxygen). That helps you change how fatigued you feel and enhance exercise capacity. Other nerds from Switzerland this year injected extremely high doses of Epo into mice and even made genetically modified mice to produce Epo in their brains!  Both groups of mice showed more motivation to exercise than the control group.

Maybe they'll find a pill or injection for humans in the future? In the mean time, get off your lazy arse and hit the tread mill :)

Nutella Swirl Cupcakes
Makes a baker's dozen
No need for icing!
1.5 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup white or brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup (or just use all sugar)
2 egg
1/2 cup yogurt (or use another 4tbsp butter)
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F
In a large bowl, cream your butter and sugar together. Once the butter is nicely incorporated, add in the maple syrup, egg, yogurt and vanilla.

In another bowl, sift all your dry ingredients together. Add dry to the wet mix and fold until just incorporated.

Divide it into muffin cups and fill up to 1/2 way. Drop 2-3 tsp of nutella on top of the batter in the muffin cups. Swirl it around with a toothpick.

Bake it for 18-20mins

Friday, June 15, 2012

Daikon and Carrot Pickle {Bahn Mi Sandwich}

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Woo. Going to a low country boil tomorrow. Filling my belly with some mud crawlers crawfish. I had a Vietnamese friend who loved crawfish and introduced it to me. But, I still think they taste a little like mud. She can pull off their heads so quickly, it's pretty amazing. Hmm... I just realized that there are so many crawfish places that seem to have Vietnamese that a thing?

Anyhoo, we're going to one in Virginia, and the Southern-ness (whole 4 years I've lived in Texas) is excited to be eating andouille sausages, corn and maybe some crawfish :D

Factoid: Sleeping Too Little Gives you a Heart Attack

At the SLEEP convention this month, researchers from the University of Alabama surveyed first stroke symptoms and how much they slept. They amassed a study of 5,666 people and followed their sleeping pattern for 3 years. Sleeping less than six hours increased the risk of stroke symptoms! And that's not just fat, old prone adults. Man, I really need to sleep more...

Not only for strokes, too little snooze time is a risk factor for many other disasters. So skip the exercise and sleep more. Haha kidding.

Daikon and Carrot Pickle - Do Chua (Vietnamese)
Makes about 1 huge jar
Pickles are the best sandwich accessory

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chicken-Pork Meatballs with Sriracha Mayo

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Chipotle got smart and made an Asian version of itself in DC! It's called Shophouse and it is derricious. Bubs and I alway make time to go there. What I like is their super spicy sauce. Of course, not so spicy for me so I have to add in maybe a gallon of extra sriracha. But enough for bubs to sweat me a river (ew!). So Chipotle was my inspiration for these meatballs. They also work so well for making 'pseudo' Banhmi (dericious vietnamese sammich). I'll be posting later on about making a quick banhmi next! A quick factoid about cilantro, because I love them and because they are all over these meatballs!

Factoid: Cilantro Lovers Share a Genetic Trait (and so do Haters)
Cilantro is oh-so-heavenly. It's refreshing, crunchy and a lovely lime-y flavor that compliments all kinds of cuisines like guacamole, curry and meatballs (!). However, I know some hateful people that are repulsed by it. Why is it so polarizing to them? Only science can explain...

A new study conducted at the University of Toronto found that among 1,400 young adults, 21% of East Asian roots hated it and 17% of white people Caucasians hating it too. The results were published in Flavour Journal. It's possible that hater have a mutated or even an absent receptor gene for the protein that would interact with the very pleasant smelling compound found in cilantro.

It's all still speculative! There may be a genetic mutation of some sort that makes people just want to throw cilantro across the room and stomp on it, but there is yet to pin-point a single gene that's responsible. So... I guess science hasn't quite explained it yet (harhar)

Oh right, so you fussy people who hate cilantro. You can substitute it with Thai basil.

Chicken Pork Meatballs with Sriracha Mayo Dip
Makes 15-20

Friday, June 8, 2012

Potato-Beet Gnocchi

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Yay! I'm off to NYC for the annual Big Apple barbecue Block Party. Well, I'm also going to see my high school buddies but ribs and pulled pork are definitely on the agenda. If not, I will have a hissy fit. Haha just kidding. But, not getting bbq can make me go cray cray. Just saying...

With that kind of crazy talk, I bet you would never in a million years thought I had ever been a vegetarian. In fact I have! Well for about a year. I don't really know why. It was probably a college phase thing. You know...because people experiment in college right...? So here's a little something something about veggies and a recipe to match!

Factoid: Beet Juice for Healthier Brains
I figured some people really don't like the taste of beets. I'm a veggie lover and I thought it tasted like dirt when I first ate it. Actually, I still think it tastes like dirt...but I've grown accustom to it. I'll eat it now, especially knowing how good it is for me! A research group at Wake Forest University, has shown that drinking beet juice increases blood flow to the brain. That's super important as you age because some areas of you noggin just don't get enough blood, leading to dementia and forgetting where you last saw your keys...or grandchildren :/

The reason is that beets contain lots of nitrates, which is also found in celery, cabbage and other leafy greens. Good bacteria in your mouth will convert it nitrate to nitrite. Nitrite is a super important blood vessel dilator that will increase blood flow everywhere and especially to places lacking oxygen. Read more about increased MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) brain activity recorded in old old people after drinking beet juice here.

Also, don't freak out when you get red doo doo okay? That's just the beets. :D

Potato-Beet Gnocchi
Adapted from F&W

1 (8 oz) medium red beet with greens (SAVE the greens!)
1lb medium baking potatoes
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour (divided)
1 onion vertically sliced
1/4 cup fresh parmesan
Garlic salt + Pepper

Preheat oven to 400F
Remove greens and stems from beet. Save the greens! We're going to use the whole plant.
Pierce beets and potatoes with a fork. Bake potatoes for 1-1.5 hours and the beets for 1.5 - 2 hr or until soft.

While you're waiting, chop the green parts to measure 2 cups. Slice the onion too.

Once they're extremely soft peel and mash them both pretty well in a bowl. You can use a paper towel to rub the skin off. It should come off pretty easily. A trick I learned from bubs is to mash using the end of a wine bottle! Very convenient if you don't have a potato masher.

To the mashed beets and potato, add in 1 cup flour and 1/2 tsp salt to form the dough. The dough should be a brilliant red. Knead on a floured surface until smooth.

Divide the dough into 4 and make long ropes out of them. Dust them if the remaining 1/4 cup flour to prevent from sticking.  Cut each Gnocchi out (~3/4 inch) and roll each piece down with a slightly floured fork.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a pot. Add half of the gnocchi, cook for 2 minutes or until done. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place in a colander to drain. Repeat with remaining gnocchi.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, saute 4 minutes. Add gnocchi, greens, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp salt. Cook for another 2 minutes.

Serve with some shaved cheese!
Serves 4

and some fresh parmesan~

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Green Tea Cake with Red Bean Filling

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I have all this left over red bean from making the red bean mochi and also a lot of time. Well, I have to write a paper but I have absolutely no motivation in any bone. Gah... So here is a recipe to use that red bean filling. Green tea and red bean go so well together!

Onto a totally different tangent. Have you realized when you're dating that you seem to look more and more like your boyfriend/girlfriend?? Or am I just crazy?

Factoid: Men Tend to Seek Women who Look Like Themselves
After dating for a while, we all know that people tend to find mates that are similar to them in many ways, such as cultural background, socioeconomic status, and intellectual ability. (Well, true for me...) It's been found in many surveys too that spouses more similar to each other are more successful in terms of having babies and staying longer together than less similar pairs.

In this particular paper, they got 150 volunteers and showed them pictures of the opposite sex, whose faces were warped/photoshopped to resemble their own face. They were then asked to choose a potential partner from 3 images: self-resembling face, non-resembling face, attractive face.  Men apparently rated the self-resembling faces as most attractive (egotistical tsk tsk). In cavemen terms, men choose a physically similar mate to enhance his and his spouse's fitness and the genetic fitness of your offspring. Meaning if they looked alike, there's a higher chance his genes will be carried onward. Like father, like son geddit?

Women are less superficial far more complex when it comes to making mate choices. They didn't show any preference for similarity, just preference for the most attractive hotties ;)  It just goes to show that physical appearance is only one of the many influencing factors to making our decision. Another important factor is scent!

Oh women are so much more evolved than men~

Green Tea Layer Cake with Red bean Filling

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp matcha powder

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 small/medium eggs
1/2 cup yogurt
1.5 tsp vanilla

Red Bean filling

Preheat oven to 350F
In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients (oil, eggs, yogurt, vanilla) and sugar.

In another bowl, sift the flour, mix the dry ingredients and add that to the wet. Mix until JUST incorporated. It's okay if there are a few lumps.

I used a huge 10" x 13" pan to get a large thin sheet of cake. But you can use 2 smaller pans for the same effect. Liberally grease the pans and add in the batter. Bake for 15-20mins or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let that cake cool for 20 mins. Invert it onto a plate. Cut the cake in 1/2 if you used a large pan. Trim the edges if you want to make it pretty. Spread red bean over the top side. (The cake is amazing on it's own too!)

Slap on the other layer. Dust with some powdered sugar and cut up and serve!