Holiday Week Part 2: NYR’s, Blender-Free Ice Cream, Protein Pancakes, Indian Food Baby #2, More Reviews, a Mellow New Year’s Eve, Japanese New Year Celebration, Breakfast in Bed + New YouTube Video

I hope that you enjoyed reading my infinite post documenting everything that happened in my first week of winter break! There were a lost of fun memories, feasts, festivities and fun little babbles that I included along with my adventures, but the fun isn’t over yet! I still have a week’s worth of winter break left to seize the days and do some interesting things that I’ve always wanted to do, check more off my bucket list and show off my interesting eats! This week was a bit more mellow because the holidays are coming to a close and I’m getting ready for school, but

I deleted everything I already completed last week but kept everything I did this week!

  1. Buy the latest Health magazine with Cassey Ho on the cover ✓
  2. Get the biggest food baby at the Royal Delhi Palace ✓✓
  3. Volunteer again ✓✓
  4. Try the seasonal flavors at Go Greek Yogurt (never accomplished)
  5. Watch Creed, Mockingjay Part 3, Point Break and possibly The Big Short in theaters (never accomplished)
  6. Make vegan sushi ✓
  7. Make Josie Mai’s protein powder soft-serve recipe ✓✓ (second time I didn’t use protein powder)

SUNDAY (100 and 10 Circuit, 5 Minute Blender-Free Ice Cream + Sushi Brunch)

Basically I woke up at 6:48 A.M., spent half an hour staring at the ceiling and then spent a good two hours cuddled up in my bed with my laptop watching YouTube and commenting on other blogs! I know, not very productive, but there wasn’t much planned for today besides that my sister and I would visit the Royal Delhi Palace again because the last visit was such a success, and I would volunteer in the afternoon as well.

My workout today were actually two mix-ups of reps challenges: one of 100 reps of a ton of different beginner to intermediate moves with a one minute break, and then the second one being 10 reps of 10 really hard moves! It actually took a lot more time than I thought it would!

100 REP CHALLENGE

  • 100 knee push-ups
  • 100 plank jacks
  • 100 reverse crunches
  • 100 decline plank reaches (100 each arm)
  • 100 lunge kicks (100 each leg)
  • 100 running drills
  • 100 hip twists (100 each side)
  • 100 shoulder push-ups
  • 100 plie squats
  • 100 mountain climbers

10 REP CHALLENGE

  • 10 tuck jumps
  • 10 elbow push-ups (10 each arm)
  • 10 push-up burpees
  • 10 single-leg tricep dips (10 each arm)
  • 10 jump lunges with squat (10 each leg)
  • 10 decline push-ups
  • 10 snap jumps
  • 10 crossover jack-knives (10 each leg)
  • 10 rounds of 10 second planks or a 100-second plank

Check out my new yoga mat that I laid out in my room! It’s so pretty isn’t it? Plus, the mat was super helpful during my workout because I sweat like a pig during everything! There were times when it would slip underneath the carpet, but that was because I’d jump around a little bit and what not.

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Anyways, after my workout, I actually had to stay home while the rest of my family drove to Brand Americana for lunch because I had to volunteer in the afternoon. I was a little bummed that I couldn’t spend time with them, but to cheer myself up, I decided to complete some stuff off my bucket list by making some delicious food! What I whipped up this morning were veggie quinoa sushi rolls and a vegan adaptation of Josie Mai’s protein soft-serve recipe!

First up is the protein soft-serve because that’s what I worked on before everything else. Now you’re probably wondering from the title, how can you possibly make ice cream without a blender? Well my friends, it is actually super simple and fun too! Remember when you were in elementary school, you did a really cool science experiment where you mixed milk and sugar in a bag, put that bag in another Ziploc bag full of ice and salt and shook it around for a few minutes until everything would freeze up and become ice cream? That is exactly what happened in here! If you want to read about how the chemistry works in this experiment, click this link right here!

Basically, I put in one serving of my PlantFusion cookies n’ creme protein powder in a sandwich-sized Ziploc bag, measured one one cup of Orgain plant-powered almond milk, poured it into the same bag, tightly closed the bag and shook it around to mix everything so that there weren’t any clumps of powder. The protein powder blended in extremely well with the almond milk, even though I used my hands only!

I didn’t have a large Ziploc bag so I got a slightly larger one, filled it with ice and salt, and sealed the protein milk bag inside and shook the bags around all over the place! It got so cold that I had to hold it with a towel until I could feel the ice cream begin to form and freeze!

You will be so surprised by the consistency of the concoction. It is soft, frozen but not too icy, and it feels just like soft serve depending on what protein you use. For me, PlantFusion was absolutely incredible. I recommend mixing it around a little bit and using an actual ice cream scooper to serve it. But how freaking cool is science, right?! Looks like AP Chemistry paid off somehow!

And I definitely could not forget about my craving for sushi, because there is no bad time for sushi. Come on, wouldn’t you agree with me? It’s also a fantastic way to use up your leftover veggies and grains! I placed a Nori sheet on top of a sushi roller, added a few scoops of our leftover quinoa mix, avocado slices, and a few slices of fresh red bell peppers onto the Nori and rolled up the ends, spreading water on the sides as I went and continued to roll it up!

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Put the two gorgeous concoctions together, and you have a very creative and unlikely but super healthy and tasty brunch that’s completely natural, homemade, wholesome and cheap! It will also be vegan if you omit the little chunks of whole grain banana bread I chopped up for this recipe 🙂 Be sure to eat the ice cream quick because it melts fast! I had to lick the rest of my plate to get all of the cookies n’ creme goodness!

I added some low sodium soy sauce for dipping, even though I didn’t use up all of it. Doesn’t it look absolutely to die for?

My only critique was that the Nori was extremely hard to cut. I actually wanted to cut up some legit rolls, but because the seaweed was about to break apart while trying, I had to leave them like hand rolls rather than cut. It would’ve looked a lot nicer, but no taste or flavor was lost in the making 😀

After volunteering, I had a small snack of Greek yogurt, cacao powder, blueberries, strawberry slices, dark chocolate and pumpkin peanut butter, which would NOT drizzle off the spoon! So annoying. so I had to eat it separately! Regardless it tasted JUST like chocolate desserty goodness!

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I’m definitely NOT a leisure reader (though I love English and reading classes), but I was also able to catch up with reading a bit of Winter, the last book of The Lunar Chronicles! I only got up to Chapter 23 from around Chapter 14 or so, which is a shame, I know, but I’m SUPER slow at reading anything!

This is probably one of my favorite novel series ever (literally, Cinder is goals.), because of the dark twists to my favorite fairy tales, yet the originality of the whole story, the characters, etc. I’m so sad that this is the last one! If you’ve never read The Lunar Chronicles, I highly recommend it, especially if you’re into science fiction and fantasy.

Our family decided to have dinner right after a little garage workout session and before watching The Princess Bride–which by the way, if you have never watched, WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU, DO IT. I know this is looking SUPER boring, but surprise surprise, dinner was leftovers night: quinoa arugula salad with butternut squash and Brussel sprouts, along with some baked chicken, my maple cinnamon and sea salt sweet potatoes, marinara and mushrooms, Sriracha and string beans!

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I also left room to polish the rest of my vanilla maple Arctic Zero with corn flakes, pumpkin peanut butter, and dark chocolate! It tasted so good but I was also so sad that it was all gone! Well, that adds another thing on my grocery list! Next time I’ll hunt down salted caramel or toasted coconut 😀

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MONDAY (Running with Deer, Indian Food Baby #2 + Blogilates on Health Magazine)

I woke up at 7:03 A.M. today or so but didn’t actually workout until 7:24-ish. Basically, today was a combination of light calisthenics and LISS where I completed a 100 circuit in an hour and ran around the community for half an hour. While running, I ran into some unexpected visitors on the hilltops! It’s actually quite common to see fawn around our community, but I still enjoyed seeing another part of nature pass me by.

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Even though it was pretty light today in terms of exercise, I still broke a really good sweat! It’s great to get back into running and all, but in this weather, I’d probably bundle up with gloves, a coat and everything! I don’t care if I look like a hopping little Eskimo on the sidewalk, but I hate freezing to death!

Anyways, I didn’t really feel hungry until lunch time, so I drank a few cups of jasmine green tea. But for lunch, I decided to introduce my father and my baby sister to the Royal Delhi Palace for one more round of unlimited Indian food! We were craving something hot, spicy and soft, which are the three things to describe curry, of course! If there are only THREE types of cuisines I could live with for the rest of my life, it would have to be 1) Indian, 2) Japanese, and 3) either Vietnamese or Californian cuisine. If you’re wondering why I’m indecisive between Vietnamese and Californian, it’s because I believe there’s a lot more variety in a Californian diet than in a Vietnamese diet, but Vietnamese food is just so DANG good! It changes depending on my mood.

I drove my dad and sister to the Royal Delhi Palace and we were so shocked as to how many people were there! My dad also noticed that it was a good sign that there were a lot of Indian customers because it shows that the Indian food tasted good and remained true to the culture! There were SO many people in line too. Just look at all that food!

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We gathered everything for Round 1! Wheeeeeee!!!

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I got my favorites for my first plate–my number one is the chicken chili in the top left, second are a tie between the chicken tikka masala below the chicken chili and the saag paneer (mashed spinach sauce with Indian cheese cubes) right next to it, and third is the gajar halwa, a carrot pudding made with carrots and almonds! Probably not the healthiest thing in the world, but it was a fantastic dessert! I also had a side of pineapple, which was not the best because it tasted a bit unripe.

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Round 2: giving the chicken tandoori one more chance since it’s not my favorite from this place, more chicken chili and more chicken tandoori, and trying the malai kofta for the first time! I didn’t really like the malai kofta nor the chicken tandoori that much, even though it was better last time I had it. I guess I just get unlucky with meat gristle 😦 still tasted just as good as ever!

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Last round of food: lentil dahl, more chicken chili, more saag paneer, two pieces of some old chicken curry because whyyyyy not, and more gajar halwa! 😛 I had a pretty dang big food baby after this, so big that I had to change into a larger pair of pants after I got home! XD

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I swear, I think I broke my protein record today–my record being 77 grams in one meal! It was definitely worth it and very well-deserved, however. Am I sick of Indian food? Ha, nahhhhhhh. As I write this, I still crave it.

When I got home, I was able to drive around at the Commons to get the latest Health magazine for this very reason! Ahhhhh I was so excited! Reading about Cassey’s story and fitness tips were very helpful and insightful of her life. The photo spread was so gorgeous as well–she had a magnificent style and makeup look that wasn’t too obvious but very classy.

Dinner time was more leftovers, and my food consisted of two rounds of organic firm tofu and beef spinach soup with asparagus, string beans, marinara and more cinnamon maple sea salt sweet potato!

My dessert was a small bowl of honey Power O’s from Love Grown Foods and Erewhon corn flakes with Orgain protein almond milk! I absolutely LOVE the honey Power O’s. If you haven’t seen my cereal roundup featuring their chocolate Power O’s, check it out for sure, but the macros and ingredients for both are similar except that this one has honey and no chocolate, of course! These honey O’s are sweet, crunchy and not too sweet that they taste like straight up sugar. Try it out and you’ll LOVE it, and they are way healthier for you than Honey Nut Cheerios or any conventional O’s cereal.

TUESDAY (Only a Few New Year’s Resolutions, Pinterest Pancake Recipe + D’s Naturals and Rise Bar Taste Tests)

It’s only two days until the last day of December, and I still haven’t come up with that much New Year’s Resolutions! There are really only a few, those I can easily fix. I don’t believe in placing such high standards because you basically set yourself up for failure. I actually did a fairly decent job at keeping up with my 2015 NYR’s, which were to be less spoiled, be more flexible, and to make sure I continue working just as hard as I always have.

I’ve definitely learned to express much more gratitude this year by spending a lot more frugally, not investing in too many fad products and just constantly putting my wish list aside for later and later until I don’t want them anymore. I was so obsessed with buying all these snack subscriptions, these health foods, fitness equipment, gift cards, basically anything that I didn’t have. I realized that I really only needed a very small fraction of those to be happy, and I didn’t have to get them instantly. I wouldn’t die without them, nor did my life depend on them. Once I prioritized, everything just seemed to be not such a big deal anymore, and that’s how it should be.

For the second, you can definitely see that I’ve piled a little bit on the junk while not going too crazy with pizza, ice cream, cheesecake, wraps, potatoes and more, more ice cream, a donut and a muffin, apple pie crumble, more gluten free pizza, fried rice, and some vegan snow cream! Yes, I definitely could have indulged a bit more, but this is what works for me. For my spring break I’ll actually be going to NYC, so be on the lookout for some interesting treats!

The last one is a given–I took the hardest classes I possibly could, took some time off from YouTube and blogging ATM (with pre-scheduled posts), had to quit a few hobbies for more work, and dedicated a week’s worth of time to mental breakdowns in order to achieve what I have this year. There was actually a time when I thought everything I was doing was pointless to not only my future but to my happiness. I realized that happiness is a choice, and it is what you decide to make of it that determines everything.

Anyways, hope that wasn’t too boring for all of you to read but there is so much I had to say! I guess my NYR’s this year are to post a bit more fitness or exercise-related content and just go through life and see what I have to fix and work on those. Now, this morning, I woke up at 7 A.M., worked out in my room, and came downstairs with a pancake craving–no surprise there. I didn’t want to save it until Sunday, so I went on my Pinterest board and found two good protein pancake recipes I saved, one from Blogilates and one from Kim Hoeltje!

By the way, if you don’t follow me on Pinterest, you definitely SHOULD.

Because I didn’t have all the ingredients for either of these recipes, I decided to adapt both of them and make my own perfect protein pancake recipe! I ended up using a little more egg whites, some apple cider vinegar, coconut flour and no Greek yogurt!

Attempt to open my can of pumpkin: the struggle is real!

I sprayed a huge nonstick pan with a bit of PAM coconut oil spray and got my first few pancakes ready to go. My batch ended up making four pretty generous sized pancakes, about the size of my palm each–some even bigger! They held together perfectly, flipped very well and were uber soft and fluffy!

When you bite into these pancakes, you can taste the sweet chocolate from the cocoa powder and protein, along with the fluffiness from the pumpkin. My recipe was perfect! It’s nutritious, packed with natural and filling ingredients and taste just like dessert. I’ll definitely have a separate post on these protein pancakes coming up very, very soon!

I topped my pancakes with pumpkin peanut butter, Qi’a chia cereal, Evoke Foods super muesli, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and cinnamon!

Behind the scenes–don’t they look so beautiful and soft on the inside?

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Lunch was on-the-go Mediterranean food before a doctor’s (YUP! I said it!) appointment: some delicious lemon chicken with Sriracha, Romaine, cucumber and tomatoes! I didn’t know what that weird sauce at the top was but I didn’t eat it!

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I was out and about when I stopped by a local car wash to get my Volt cleaned, and while waiting in the food mart, found this heavenly aisle! Just look at ALL THOSE QUEST BARS. Ahhhhhh! They have D’s Naturals bars as well! In other sections, I saw Lenny & Larry’s cookies, Quest protein powder, Quest chips, and protein shakes! I won’t have to go to GNC anymore for Questies 😀

Now for the D’s Naturals and Rise Bar reviews!

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You know that I already LOVE Rise Bar, but you can probably figure out that I LOVE their snickerdoodle bar! Each one has around 310 calories, 15 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein, so it is quite a caloric dense bar. I tasted one of the ends and fell in love with how the honey sweetness melted in my mouth with the vanilla and the cinnamon! The piece was very, very chewy, much denser and a little stickier than a Quest bar. I give it 4/5 stars!

Now for the D’s Naturals peanut butter chocolate chip No Cow Bar! I’ve been trying to find these everywhere and I was so glad that my GNC carried them! Their macros are very similar to those of a Quest bar as you will see in the photos, and their bars are completely made of pea protein, brown rice protein, and are only sweetened with Stevia and monk fruit, which is much better than Quest because a lot of the Quest bars have sucralose. This bar is a little smaller and thinner than a normal Quest bar, and the texture is a lot softer. I found that I didn’t need to microwave it to enjoy the perfect chocolatey peanut buttery goodness. It was sweet, rich and tasted seriously sinful!

Onto the Raspberry Truffle bar! It was also SUPER delicious, except instead of the peanut butter, it tasted a lot more chocolatey with a little hint of raspberry bits!

My family and I then had dinner at Kabuki where I loaded up on family-style sashimi, a crab and soy paper cucumber roll, some steamed kabocha, asparagus, mushrooms, cucumber, bell pepper and broccoli! I thought the plating arrangements of every dish was gorgeous. The sashimi came in this giant glass bowl filled with ice, daikon, a banana leaf, various greens and even a small Hawaiian flower. My cucumber roll tasted amazingly fresh and hearty–plus, there were little Sriracha dots! My steamed vegetables were plain and bland, but I only ordered it because of the kabocha 😉 what? I was seriously craving it!

And what better way to end the night than with some honey Power O’s, coconut milk, dark chocolate and pumpkin peanut butter?

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WEDNESDAY (Sweet Potato Pizza, Leftovers Sushi + Sketching For Others’ Approval)

I woke up quite differently than normal this morning. Firstly, it was around 6:38 when I turned on my iPhone to check, and I felt this surge of a need to eat pizza. I don’t exactly remember what it was that initiated my craving, but I just yearned the taste of the hot veggies, the soft crust, and the flavorful tomato sauce that you would have on any normal pizza. So after working out, I did what anyone would do and made myself a pizza. But not just any pizza…a one-ingredient pizza cake!

I topped a BIG microwaved, peeled and mashed sweet potato with a mushroom, arugula, red bell pepper slices, homemade marinara and a dash of pepper! It actually tasted really delicious–hot, warm, soft, etc.

I also had my pizza with green tea, a side of the skins, two thin egg white omelets with mixed greens and quinoa with arugula! LOOK HOW HUGE EVERYTHING IS. Told ya I can eat a lot! Warning: you will be very sad when the pizza is all gone! 😥

Before lunch I was driving all over the place, running errands and such, so I didn’t get home until 2 P.M. and was starved to death! However, I wasn’t going to just gorge in front of the fridge, but I was actually going to get creative and cook something presentable. Got to the fridge, and I found chicken, green beans, and red bell peppers. Not much, right? But add a couple of Nori sheets and before I knew it, they saw me rollin’ and they hatin’. I actually got the Nori to cut this time, even though it was harder!

Great way to use leftovers? Roll it into sushi and have them with Sriracha! This lunch was super tasty, filling but also light, and had a great flavor to them with the Sriracha!

For my afternoon snack my parents FINALLY restocked on Greek yogurt! I was ecstatic! I mixed some with cinnamon and Stevia and topped it with honey Power O’s and dark chocolate. My sister also enjoyed this little treat, and so did I!

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They also bought this HUGE box of Explore Asian Edamame fettuccine pasta, which is made completely of organic edamame and water! You know that I reviewed their black bean spaghetti and thought it was totally bomb diggity, well I cannot wait to try this as soon as possible for all of you to buy it if I like it, and for me to come up with some delicious recipes!

Afterwards, I decided to do something super difficult. This has never been accomplished before, and my attempt was revolutionary, though it has been done in the past. Wanna know what I tried to do? I tried to get my dog Cookie to do K90X, or Blogilates’ video working out with pups!

Let me tell you. It was not successful.

Right before dinner, I also caught up with some dress sketching. I love to draw portraits, generally of clothes, but sometimes I just run out of ideas for something and end up not finishing a drawing! However, I like to do it just to ease my thoughts and keep that secret little skill to date. I started drawing ever since I was in 4th grade, actually, and ever since I’ve improved! I was actually known to be the signature “artist” in 8th grade, and people would actually ask me to draw portraits of them. It was a way that I thought would get everyone’s approval. It seemed like it was, but really, it was nothing significant for them or for me. Even though people crowded around me to see what I was drawing at my desk, I was still friendless in middle school. Moral of the story? Do what you love for you, not to seek the approval of other people. You exude much more confidence that way.

Dinner was my mother’s special butternut squash soup, a quinoa arugula avocado salad, green beans, leftover cinnamon sweet potatoes, asparagus and chicken!

You probably can figure out what dessert was too! Honey Power O’s, corn flakes, a pinch of granola and dark chocolate 🙂

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THURSDAY (Leaving My Best Friend, Rant on Bad Drivers + Microwave Chocolate Power O Cookies for One)

This morning I was quite surprised to see Cookie sleeping on my bed–she normally sleeps with either my baby sister or my parents, but it was totally not a problem because I love having her by my side (or feet, in this case). Doesn’t she look like a giant cloud? (Note: she feels like one too :D)

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For my workout I got back into jump roping–it’s a great way to get your heart up and work out your entire body! After showering and changing into a comfy sweater I came down just in time for more banana bread! If you remember my sprouted banana bread recipe, then you probably remember how big of a hit it was in our house! I have to say, it is definitely better than most banana bread recipes I’ve tried because it is moist, fluffy and scrumptious for any time of the year–this time, my mother added walnuts for an extra crunch and baked it in a bundt cake pan! I topped a slice with Greek yogurt, strawberries and blueberries!

At around 10:30 or so, my friend Jessica came to visit before winter break ended! We basically spent a whole hour talking about the college system, what colleges we wanted to go to, which ones offered the best programs, meeting other people and studying our desired majors. It makes me really sad to know that the best friends you find in high school will most likely part ways with you once you graduate. Yes, you make new friends everywhere, but certain individuals are irreplacable. So I treasure my relationships every minute, every second through the good and bad.

Disclaimer: Cookie isn’t being strangled if it looks like it! X’D

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Jessica and I drove to the Northridge Fashion Center and spent a good amount of time at DSW where we window-shopped for prom shoes! In general, my interest in shoes is extremely limited; basically, I could live off of only three pairs of shoes and still be perfectly fine! I did happen to find two lovely pairs of open-toed heels! The second pair, however, was terribly uncomfortable despite my attempt to smile through it. Sometimes beauty truly is pain 😦 during our shoe shopping, I also suspected that someone was stalking me. It was quite creepy and I hope that it will never happen to me again! Do you ever sometimes feel like someone is following you?

After some more walking around the mall, we drove back to Westfield Topanga for lunch BUT…don’t even get me started on parking. We had to circle around the parking lot more than five times to find a spot, and for the majority of the rounds we drove around, we got stuck behind someone who had no idea what the H-E-L-L he/she was doing, who wasn’t paying attention, or just cut others off. Yes, shopping mall parking lots are usually VERY crowded, but that does not excuse people from driving as if they own the road, let alone, as if no one else is around them. Some people can be such ignorant bigots who are just setting themselves up for accidents!

Lunch ended up being a really bland edamame and falafel salad with a whole wheat kale and hummus wrap that I forgot to take a photo of because we were HANGRY. The stand that we ordered from was out of chicken and soy chicken (as usual). At the very least, the hummus was delicious!

When I got home and said farewell to Jess, I made myself a Greek yogurt chocolate parfait with honey Power O’s, corn flakes, cacao powder, Stevia, strawberry slices, raspberries, blueberries, dark chocolate and some pumpkin peanut butter! Despite the terrible drivers encountered on the road today, dessert just never fails to put a smile on my face (and stomach).

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For dinner, we went to our go-to Vietnamese restaurant (Pho 21)!  To be honest, at first I was quite disappointed that we weren’t going to a fancier, newer restaurant because it was New Year’s Eve. But once we got there, I realized that all that mattered was that I was with my family. We went over our highlights of 2015, what we were grateful for, and that was that. I didn’t need to glam up head-to-toe in silver for a party or go all out on a crazy buffet. I didn’t even need that midnight kiss! All I could think about was what a crazy year 2015 was and how weird it’d feel that 2016 was just hours away.

I ordered a shrimp stir-fry with black mushrooms and spring onion! Of course, I had to douse it in Sriracha!

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When I got home, I knew I had to end the year with a bang. So I brought a very old favorite that I haven’t seen in a while and put in an extra twist! 🙂 Yes, if you remember my single-serving microwave chocolate chip cookies for one, I made them again except with honey power O’s instead of chocolate chips, cacao powder and pumpkin instead of banana! They tasted soft, fluffy, sweet and super filling without any after-bloat!

Original recipe: Healthy Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies for One

Happy NEW YEAR! ❤ ❤ 😀

FRIDAY (Netflix & Chill + Japanese New Year Party [with Snapchat Story])

Do you ever have those mornings where you just wake up, no matter how late it is (it was 7:24 A.M. this morning!), you just don’t want to get out of bed because it’s A) freezing and B) waaaaaaaaay too comfortable in bed? Yes, it was one of those types of mornings for me. I had such a hard time getting out of my bed. I mean, who wouldn’t want to wake up after a ten-hour sleep that was much needed for a very long time? I know I would definitely not!

Anyways, I finally dragged my butt out of the bed, brushed my teeth, changed into some Lulu and sweats, pulled out the Blogilates mat and worked out right in my bedroom while watching YouTube cooking tutorials on my television Roku projector! It definitely comes in handy when you want to look at a giant screen rather than a teensy laptop. Don’t get me wrong, a laptop is good, but if you want real high quality entertainment, use a television. They may be dying in terms of playing DVDs and all, but they’re still very useful in this sense!

Because I wanted to save up my appetite for the party, I only had some Stevia n’ cinnamon Greek yogurt, honey power O’s, strawberries, blueberries, and a few raspberries–nothing super extravagant but super tasty! Plus, it perfectly complemented my whole “Netflix and chill” setting while I watched one of my favorite movies of all time: The Breakfast Club!

Plus I also wore my favorite Christmas robe 🙂

Around the time the movie ended, my father and sister drove to our neighbor’s house for the big New Year’s party! Because they’re Japanese, there was a massive variety of different Japanese foods! Lots of beef skewers, sushi rolls, pickled vegetables, and seafood to choose from!

You probably know that my favorites of the entire table were the kabocha and the sashimi! I probably ate most of what was presented because I love them so much XD I came back for four rounds of food!

The majority of my palette consisted of asparagus, shrimp, kabocha, sashimi, grapes, a little bit of green beans and chicken thighs for the first round (of which I didn’t necessarily like).

A couple hours later, we decided to drop off our little sister at home because she wasn’t having a swell time (no one her age to hang out with!), and I took this opportunity to dress in something much warmer, because it was super cold outside during the party!

Dinner time rolled around, and I came back for two rounds of a tofu salad, asparagus and–you guessed it–more sashimi! I also tried two slices of pork chops and black beans! I made sure to eat 18 for good luck 😉 My middle sister also wanted this weird deep fried thing on the side, so that’s why it’s on the plate!

I’m not the biggest fan of pork, but it was actually delicious! I also really liked the black beans because of their softness and flavor along with the tofu salad and miso-glazed asparagus! I was able to sneak in some dark-chocolate macadamia nuts for dessert, but I forgot to take a photo of them because I was so busy updating my Snapchat, which I do around once every three months because I’m awful like that XD

SATURDAY (Sweet Potato Cake Breakfast in Bed, The New Counting Calories, Breakfast for Lunch + Grocery Tips)

For some reason this morning I was incredibly motivated to workout in my room, which is definitely not a bad thing! So I just did some circuit HIIT–all bodyweight–in my room once again, and made myself a delicious sweet potato cake that was topped with a very special DIY “soup” or “curry” if you will: chopped chicken breast, chopped red bell pepper, and super thick butternut squash soup with pepper and cilantro. To make everything extra fancy, I placed the bowl on a plate lined with strawberries and blueberries.

But how do you make it extra extra fancy? You eat breakfast in bed, of course! In all honesty, I wouldn’t attempt to photograph myself in bed ever again. The TIME IT TOOK.

Was it even worth it?

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Anyways, do you know how around ten years ago or so, maybe a little more in the past, people started to become more concerned with counting calories? A lot of old recipe videos would flash the nutritional information on the screen, people would ask how many calories were in one serving of a dish, make sure they were eating a certain amount, you get the idea. Well, we’ve obviously moved beyond that because there are so many nooks and crannies worth of laws of thermogenesis, ways that certain foods digest in our bodies, how we burn calories in different environments/situations, sleep, smoking, alcohol, age, height, blah blah blah, just too many complications for us to handle.

But there’s this new technique that claims to cut calories without you knowing it, plus it’s easy, effective, and is doable. Instead of counting calories or macros, you count your bites. Makes sense, right? The more you chew, the more you savor your food, the sooner you’ll feel satisfied, right? I decided to give it a try by taking a photo of every single bite I took, and I got to forty two!

I ended up forgetting after I finished the cake and got to the fruit, but I was ready to stop anyways. Not exactly something I’d commit to because it is quite tedious, plus I already had a decent serving set up for myself, so there was no need. It might be useful if you go to a dinner party or a restaurant or something, but if you make a well-balanced meal, it’s not necessary. Also, there needed to be a lot more evidence that counting bites does result in weight loss. Yes, there may be a correlation, but that doesn’t mean it was the cause. Takeaway? Not for me, just eat clean!

For lunch, I made myself a breakfast plate of two HUGE egg white omelets, both with pepper and Sriracha: one was stuffed with arugula and topped with marinara sauce, the other stuffed with mixed greens and topped with, believe it or not, butternut squash soup with corn! Trust me, eggs and butternut squash = perfection! And if your soup is thick enough, you can definitely use it to top other things! For dessert, I also had a breakfast-like concoction made of strawberries, blueberries, honey Power O’s and dark chocolate! They both tasted perfect, yet were so simple and quick to make. Nothing beats a home-cooked meal!

Oh yes, and sometimes, I do eat omelets with a spoon.

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Now I  know I don’t have a real health-related New Year’s resolution, but I want to make it a habit to walk more. My life is generally pretty sedentary where I’m standing or sitting in one place for hours, and even though there isn’t really much for me to do, I should always get my body moving a little bit. Lately, I’ve been running more errands and driving places, but parking in areas where I’d still have to walk a good amount to get in a lot of steps. My favorite place is the grocery store, of course! I’ve been making a lot of trips there because I have the time, and I’ve been wanting to check out all the cool new produce and products, including this extremely oddly-shaped sweet potato. I could chop this up and make a whole pie out of it!

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Sometimes, grocery shopping can be a bit troublesome for others, because they either don’t know what to get, they don’t get very healthy items, or they come with a set plan but stray away from it for certain reasons. I know this because I’ve gone through these problems so many times, and once in a while, I run into one or two. But, I have some pretty good tips on how to make a successful trip to the grocery store or supermarket that you can keep handy anytime and anywhere below!

  1. Set up a list and stick to it. Before you go to the supermarket, look everywhere in your house that has food: your fridge, your pantry, your cupboards, and keep note of what you need and what you already have. Don’t let other things sway you, either. Yes, those fresh apples at the fruit aisle look gorgeous and tempting now, but do you already have them at home? If they’re on your list, go for it, but if not, walk away.
  2. Don’t arrive hungry or thirsty. It isn’t the end of the world if you do arrive hungry or thirsty if you have a list and stick to it, but it’s a trap if you don’t. If you come to the grocery story starving, then you’re more likely to pick unhealthier options and raid the candy aisle. Either bring some water, tea, or a healthy snack to help, but if you don’t have any of those, either avoid the temptations all together or choose a healthier alternative to what you’re craving, such as a gluten free whole foods cookie box or bar of high quality 70%+ dark chocolate.
  3. Bring a jacket. It can get very cold in the supermarket, and if you’re too cold, you may actually feel hungrier than you really are. Don’t do this to fall for tip #2!
  4. Set up a budget if this is a small trip. Unless if you’re getting bulk items, then you should make a rule on how much money to spend if this trip only requires less than five cheap items.
  5. Meal plans and recipes are your best friends. This is another great way to stick to only one set plan or list of items you need. For instance, if you’re making slow-cooker oatmeal, you know that you’d need one large bag of rolled oats to make all servings instead of just looking at “oatmeal” and having a hard time deciding whether or not you want to buy one packet or two.
  6. Always look for sales. Dark chocolate is a great example of this. I never go by brand names of dark chocolate because brands are not the tell-all, nor do they cost the same. If there is a good dark chocolate brand that costs you $5, even though the one you generally get is $7, get the cheaper item.
  7. Buy in bulk wisely. Buying in bulk is a great way to save money, but that doesn’t mean you should always do it. If you don’t eat lentils every week, don’t get lentils in bulk, because once you do, they won’t serve much use to you. Only buy items that you consume all the time. For me, that would be Greek yogurt, egg whites, sweet potatoes, quinoa, berries, oatmeal, and mixed greens.
  8. Can’t decide whether or not you want to buy a certain item? There are two things you should do. This, right here, is the STORY OF MY LIFE. I’ve roamed grocery aisles, picked up something intriguing, but had such a difficult time deciding whether or not to get it! So, I’ve made this rule to follow.
    1. Don’t buy it…at least not right now. If something looks good to you, but you don’t really need it at the moment or you’re not 100% sure if you’ll like it, give it time. Take a picture of the item or make a note and look it up online at home and look at reviews. Is the item popular? Is it completely wholesome? Do people like it or hate it? Arctic Zero took me about eight trips to the grocery store for me to finally buy their products, and they were absolutely worth it! However, there were so many mixed reviews about it that I was so confused at first, and I finally took the risk. But sometimes it doesn’t work out, and that’s totally fine.

I ended up getting a bulk pack of Stevia, the seasonal gingerbread LARABAR, and cottage cheese for Josie Mai’s high protein cheesecake and some of Monique Volz’s cottage cheese pancakes! Highly recommend you check out these recipes and wait until a future post where I dedicate a whole day to cooking with cottage cheese!

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Right when I got back home, my mother, sister and friend were actually SUPER hungry–sports tournaments all day, running everywhere, no lunch or snacks in between at all! When they asked if the rest of us wanted Indian food, I said yes in a heartbeat. I know, I had Indian food on Monday, but who cares (LOL!)?!

We stopped by Anarbagh Indian Cuisine in Ventura (hands down, the BEST sit-down Indian restaurant in Los Angeles), our favorite place in the world for Indian food! The service is incredibly friendly, waiting time for food is limited, ambience is calming and beautiful, but of course, can we please just take a moment for the food.

There is no time–EVER–when Anarbagh disappoints us. Here are some staples you should order if you ever stop by: chicken tikka, eggplant bharta, chicken tikka masala, vegetable curry, vegetable biryani, and saag bhaji or saag mushrooms. I also ordered the shrimp tandoori and the sea bass curry, both of which tasted absolutely amazing and should be some new staples for our family! I had over five plates or food! Of course, they were small scoops of curry and sauces and meats, but still! (Forgot to photograph the last three too XD whoops!)

The night ended with my father and I just chilling in my room and watching a documentary called Listen to Me Marlon, which basically documents the life and career of one of my favorite actors Marlon Brando, who you’d probably know as either the mumbling orange-peel grandaddy in The Godfather, the troubled boxer who wears way too much eyeliner in On the Waterfront or that super creepily sexy but vulgarly rash and abusive brother-in-law from A Streetcar Named Desire which by the way, don’t fall for men like that EVER, but sounds like a cool movie in which Marlon was pretty damn sexy in. If there was an actor I’d bring back to life, it’d probably be him. Buzzfeed pretty much sums him up perfectly in this post, but you can gaze at him for days down below!

marlon brando

I’m kidding, but no, he’s fabulous at acting! In all seriousness, I could really connect with Marlon because we’ve both lived as isolationists in a certain period in our lives. It’s something I generally hate to admit, but one of my biggest feats in life is dying lonely. I’ve always had this irrational–or not-so-irrational–fear of rejection. It’s why I often occupy myself with blogging, updating on my personal interests, or at least spend a lot of time with myself (for Marlon, it was acting, promoting civil rights and native American rights, and lastly, computerizing his face to document his life before his death). On the other hand, I don’t necessarily like the fact that he was known to have a lot of affairs and was difficult to work with on set. I’m just someone who believes that you should devote your absolute 100% in a relationship with one person, if you know what I mean.

Anyways, if you like Marlon Brando, I highly recommend this movie, but make sure you know most of his work if you don’t already. So start with On the Waterfront or even The Godfather for some incredible entertainment!

SUNDAY (YOU Make the Day Exciting, New YouTube Video, Strawberry & Chocolate Blender-Free Ice Cream, LARABAR Gingerbread Review + Explore Asian Organic Edamame Pasta Review)

Waking up a little earlier than usual actually felt pretty good! It was probably because after the movie, I was totally knocked out, but yeah, I went to bed around the same time but have woken up later in other instances! For some reason, this morning I was so pumped to exercise. I was also really determined to get in a really good workout, meaning that I would be sweating and having trouble carrying a conversation. Once I put my eyes on the prize and focused on my goals, I made it happen. I had a fantastic Spin bike workout and boxing circuit–much better than most days when I’d do something for such a long time without a real difference in how I’d feel. I felt so proud of myself!

Breakfast was some more protein soft serve made sans a blender or food processor! I actually made a super rich dark chocolate flavor by using a cup of Orgain protein almond milk with Stevia and cacao powder, and a strawberry flavor with strawberries, cinnamon and Stevia! I went crazy with the toppings today and chose honey Power O’s pumpkin peanut butter, dark chocolate, blueberries, cherry lavender granola, and chia seed muesli! Highly recommend these flavors, and I decided to film a YouTube video of all my main meals as well!

After breakfast, I was a bit ready for a snack, so I had some fresh and juicy green grapes with the seasonal gingerbread LARABAR I bought on Saturday, a bar I’ve been hunting down far and wide–I was so glad it hit my grocery store! You know how much I love LARABARs–they taste just like sweet, fruity candy bars, except they have no added sugars, no gluten, no syrups, no dairy, and no animal byproducts!

Link: https://www.larabar.com/our-products/larabar/gingerbread

Now, if you remember that my parents bought a huge box of Explore Asian edamame spaghetti, you would have figured that we’d use it right away as well! My family and I cooked up this totally BOMB recipe made of the pasta with a bunch of super healthy but tasty and simple ingredients! I don’t know about you, but as much as I love my mother’s cooking and as territorial as she is with the kitchen, I absolutely treasure every single moment we’re all cooking together. It’s a great way for us to bond while we’re helping each other out, cutting cooking time in half, running around and trying new ingredients, and just sharing a lovely experience together. Not to brag, but this recipe was probably one of the top 10 in our house–and we all contributed!

The full recipe will be posted separately very soon when the video is up, but we basically boiled half of the box’s pasta accordingly, stir-fried some mushrooms, kale, red bell peppers, onions and soy sauce, compiled the two together, and gobbled everything up! I was so impressed with the 24 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber that every serving of spaghetti provided!

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The pasta wasn’t as strong as the black bean spaghetti, had a much softer texture and absorbed the sauce SUPER well! Hands down, this is probably one of my favorite pasta substitutes, and it is a much tastier alternative than shirataki noodles because it doesn’t have that weird fishy smell or chewiness. For a whopping 24 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber per serving, you will not sacrifice flavor at all! It will probably taste even better than your conventional spaghetti noodles, I guarantee it.

Link: http://www.explore-asian.com/products/edamame-spaghetti.html

I also got to help out my mother with dinner by chopping up Brussel sprouts, peeling shrimp–which I personally did not have because they were part of a pasta dish, slicing cherry tomatoes, and bonding with her in the kitchen and telling her my true thoughts and worries about life. We exchanged laughter and advice, and also a beautiful bonding moment. Overall, my day was quite uneventful, but I had a lovely Sunday because I excited myself with new things that I could do at home, spend time with my family and not pay a dime. At the end of the day, you don’t need to do crazy things or travel the world to be surprised all the time. It is up to you to live every day to the fullest for what it provides and take advantage of everything. Yes, sometimes you will have to make sacrifices, but appreciate what you can experience already. Maybe it will never come back again.

Okay, enough with the rambling and onto the food, right? I had three DELICIOUS dishes for dinner, actually! A lot of the times, I actually like having small multiple dishes at once because I get to enjoy more flavors, more textures, more nutrients and more variety, so I like to get small bowls and plates to dig in! Tonight, I ate warming butternut squash soup, a salad with arugula, Brussel sprouts and quinoa, and lastly, a majorly savory and strong artichoke tomato stew. I’m more of a fan of canned artichoke hearts rather than whole. It’s just way too hard to eat them whole and roasted!

You can find the full recipes for Sunday’s full day of food (minus the snacks) and recipes in my YouTube video below. I hope you enjoy it because I had to upload it three different times in a row because my music would NOT fit into the copyright policies. I was actually going to use a remix of “The Prisoner” by The Weeknd and Lana Del Ray, but the video got muted and I had to search for another song all over. Luckily, I found this really funky but super awesome track by Da-P. Do check out that soundcloud page–all credit goes to them!

YouTube video: (HOORAY!)

Hope you enjoyed this more mellow post of the second half of my winter break! I always try to make it as exciting as possible, but this time it was a bit difficult to do crazy things because winter break was winding down and I had to get ready for school again! Also, please let me know if you like these types of posts and YouTube videos with recipes listed on the screen and what else you’d like to see!

How was your New Year? Any New Year’s resolutions? What are your best grocery store tips? Favorite actors/actresses?


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