Master List (tried recipes)

Baking:

  1.  Matcha Mochiko Cake:  3.8/5, 3.2/5
  2. Matcha mochi with red bean:  3.5/5
  3. Pound cake muffins:  3/5
  4. Sugar cookies:  4.5/5
  5. Golden raisin oatmeal cookies:  4/5
    • criticism:  not bad, not particularly exciting either
  6. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting:  4.5/5  (2x)  
  7. Japanese cheesecake:  3.7/5
  8. Dark chocolate brownies:  3.5/5
  9. Castella cake (Japanese honey cake):  4.3/5  (2x)
    • https://www.justonecookbook.com/castella/
    • criticism:  slightly dry.  brown sugar visuals isn’t as clean as white sugar
    • made twice, second time used white sugar, and also it took 50 minutes, not 35 minutes for my oven.  Leave oven ajar for about 5 minutes.
  10. Jenn’s chocolate chip cookies:  4.6/5
    • criticism:  inconsistency in choco chips, and too few. a couple slightly overbaked
  11. Chocolate Crinkles II:   2.8/5
  12. Japanese cheesecake again:  3.9/5
    • used springform pan this time, better.
    • criticism:  didn’t rise as much as expected, fluffier than first time, but still not fluffy enough- oven temps are possibly too low, and/or took too much time to set up parchment and pan after whipped egg whites.  sides were overgreased, a bit oily/soggy, and flipping it, it fell apart, but overall success.  Would not do 300-250 degrees again.  Try 320-285 degrees instead.
  13. Sopapilla (Mexican cheesecake pie): 3.5/5
  14. Jjinppang (Korean red bean steamed buns): 4/5
    • https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/jjinppang
    • criticism:  didn’t wait 30 min for buns to rise and become fluffier before steaming, did not close buns successfully, flour slightly got dry
    • very ugly but delicious
  15. Scones + Lemon Curd:  4/5, 4.5/5 
  16. Japanese purin custard:  3/5
    • House brand – Instant mix, uses gelatin, which I don’t eat anymore (animal parts)
    • Just doesn’t look that appetizing, yields 3 mini portions; parents liked it though
  17. Chocolate chip cookies: 2/5 
  18. Pumpkin Bread:  4/5
  19. Quiche with Sweet Onion + Sharp Cheddar Cheese:  4/5
  20.   Tres Leche:  4/5
  21.   Cheesecake (Cheesecake Factory recipe):  3.9/5
  22. Vegan Cinnamon Baked Donuts:  3/5
  23. Pumpkin Pie Squares: 3.9/5
  24. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies IX:  4.5/5
  25. Sour Cream Muffins: 5/5
  26. Crazy Cake:  3/5
    • Brownie-like
    • Added way too much Bru instant coffee
  27. One Bowl Chocolate Cake III: 4/5 
  28. Martina cookies dipped in orange dark chocolate (sprinkled with pareils): 4.5/5
  29. Grand Marnier Souffle: 3.9/5
  30. Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread cookies:  3.9/5
  31. Chocolate Souffle:  4.5/5
    • didn’t rise much, but texture was much better than last souffle (very moist but not mushy)
    • only yielded 2 ramekins this time, 2 oz of chocolate bar. not too sweet.  added confectioners sugar on top
  32. Urban Legend Chocolate Chip Cookies: 4.5/5
  33. Black Forest Cake: 3.75/5
  34. Banana coffee bread w/ walnuts and choco chips: 4.5/5
  35. Thai Tea Mochi Muffins:  3.75/5
  36. Orange Pistachio Muffins:  3.75/5
  37. Taro Paste:
  38.  Coconut Red Bean Jelly:
  39. Pavlova:
  40. Pinwheel cake:

Ice Cream:

  •  Vanilla ice cream with dark choco chips :  A-
  • Matcha ice cream :  C+ 
    • 3 eggs recipe
    • fatty, with 1 cup milk, 2 cup heavy cream
    • criticism:  failed to temper eggs properly, ruined texture.  overhardened from churning inconsistency, and too much matcha (3 tbs).  Also should not use egg whites
  • Mocha ice cream with dark choco chips:   A-
    • 3 egg YOLKS
    • fatty, very rich, custard-like, creamy with 1 cup milk, 2 cups heavy cream
    • criticism:  not enough chocolate flavor, personally too creamy for me, also didn’t like dark chocolate I used
  •  Strawberry ice cream:  A-/A
    • eggless recipe
    • lowfat, with 2 cup milk, 1 cup heavy cream
    • delicious fresh strawberry flavor!  half pureed, half diced
    • criticism:  not creamy consistency enough, slightly icy
  •  Godiva dark chocolate ice cream:  A                                    
    • 6 egg yolks
    • very rich and creamy
    • added cheesecake and toasted almonds
    • criticism:  slightly too heavy for me
  • Badam ice cream:  A
    • eggless
    • 2:1 heavy cream ratio, less icy!
    • added brownies
  • Coffee milk tea ice cream:  B-
  • Mint chocolate chip ice cream:  B
    • eggless
    • mint extract + vanilla extract
    • criticism:  a bit too sweet (1 cup sugar, less than 4 cups ratio… error)
  •   Red bean ice cream:  A+ 
  • Watermelon Sherbet:  B+ 
  • Vanilla Ice cream II :  B-
  • Cookie dough Ice cream Sandwiches:  C+
  • Mango Sorbet:  A-
  • Ube Ice cream:  A-
    • used 1 cup milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 tbsp ube extract, about 5 oz. sweet condensed milk ( I eyeballed it)
    • first batch was burned with coconut milk, dumped 😦
    • deliciousss, even though the ube is imitation and a really small bottle. tasted a bit artificial though
  • Straciatella:  A+

    • eggless
    • used Nielsen-Massey vanilla madagascar bean paste
    • low-fat ratio
    • straciatella technique used with melted drizzled belgian dark chocolate
  • Upcoming ice creams:

Other:

  1.  Shakshuka:
  2. Spiced Naan
  3. Onigiri (spicy tuna)
    • made with onigiri molds
    • spicy tuna = canned tuna mixed with japanese mayo and sriracha
    • sushi vinegar + sushi rice
  4.  Gingerbread cookies:  3.9/5
  5.  Indian curry:  3.5/5
  6.  Pumpkin soup:  5/5
  7.   Fresh Garden Tomato soup:  4.5/5 
  8. Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes:  2/5         
  9. Dakjim (korean braised chicken w/ glass noodles):  4/5
  10. Korean fried chicken: 3.9/5
  11. Soy sauce Noodles:  4/5

My signature/favorite dishes that I can make often without (mostly) looking up the recipe:

  1.  Penne vodka
  2.  Pumpkin bread
  3. Oatmeal Raisin IX cookies
  4. Korean cold noodles w/ cucumber
  5. Japchae
  6. Thai tea

US HealthCare Issues Notes

  1.  Low-Value Care: as opposed to more effective or less expensive alternatives, “overtreatment”
  2.  Lack of Price Transparency – seems arbitrary; most insurances apparently base prices on a “cabal”, or private small group which determines price values of medical procedures and care
  3.  Administrative Complexity =overspending on administrative costs 
  4.  Mandatory Budget includes Social Security and Medicare, which is increasing deficit; however, it is political suicide to suggest cutting spending for the disabled (grandma, Veteran, etc).  One solution is to lower overall healthcare costs, which Obamacare (ACA) addressed by including coverage for preventive costs, catching illnesses and diseases before they become ER visits or cancer treatments, aka more expensive costs.

Happy March! (2020) Good news

Ok, it’s technically March 2nd now, but I intended this for the first day of March.

Good news- last Tuesday, my Upenn visit actually had improved results!  Barium swallow went ok although it was unpleasant, and then my pfts went up! to 60%!  I think I was wary of being too excited about it like I was last time, because the fact that the doctors don’t know why it goes up or down is really scary.  It could so easily drop again, so I don’t want to celebrate too soon, but I think finally this week it’s starting to kick in and I’m starting to allow myself to dream again and envision a future I want.  The doctors think it could be a combination of anything they threw at me, including a possible delayed effect of the steroids back in December, or the additional medication they tacked on, and the fact that I was exercising more diligently.

Honestly, even though it would be great if pfts went up more, I don’t want to be greedy, and I’ll let myself be satisfied as long as the pfts are maintained over 50%.

——-

I’ve had this recurring dream that even though I already earned my high school diploma, I keep being stuck and for some reason, because I have no other options, I am repeating the same year of school over and over again, even though my age keeps going up.  It’s a bit of a nightmare in its ordinariness, but I always feel unhappy in the dream, sitting in class listening to some teacher in the background, until I come to the realization that I don’t need to be there, and I don’t need to ace the upcoming test, because I’ve already graduated.

—–

I also have this other thought that kind of concerns me a bit.  I wonder if reversed, if I had a friend like me with the kind of complicated, invisible condition, if I could put up with it.  The little things like letting them have the bed because they have terrible sleep and desperately need every ounce of energy, or being willing to pay more to accompany them in an Uber as opposed to the subway, or getting the weights for her so she can save the actual little bit of energy for lifting rather than carrying the weights back and forth.  All my close friends have done this for me, and I always felt like a terrible burden.  I also realize that I’ve always been a very impatient person.  I was restrained by my health, but now that I am more free, I’m not sure if I could really stand being so patient after being forced into patience my whole life.


I’m also gaining more weight than I’d like.  For some reason, I don’t know if it’s my diet necessarily, or my steroids or what, but the weight gain is bothering me a bit.  I went from 113 to 117 when I weighed in this past Tuesday, and then then next day hit 118, the heaviest I’d ever been.  But the following day, dropped to 115.  Now I’m actively dieting and working out more again because I’d really like to hit 113 by the end of this week, at least.

My ideal weight is 105-110.  I’m pretty sure I can do it, because I know what I have to do.  Last time I lost the steroid weight by eating oatmeal and a banana or boiled egg every breakfast, and just cutting out more sugar.  I don’t like having a weird turkey neck and puffy cheeks, and having a muffintop so that I can’t even properly bend down to pick things up…


The other day, I passed by the vehicle registration center… and I was planning to go in to register myself as a donor.  But then for some reason, last minute I swerved and continued straight.  I’m not sure why I did that, what was I scared of?  I guess I didn’t want to confront the possibility of death so soon, even if it was only a possibility.  But I know it’s what I want to do, but it’s still a scary thought to think about.

Drinks I Want to Try

-Gin and Tonic (tried, yum)

-Pisco Sour

-Amaretto Sour

-Whiskey Sour

-Whiskey Ginger

-Daiquiri

-Black Russian

-Blue Curacao

-Bellini

-Blueberry Margarita

-Old Fashioned

-Aperol

Best drink I ever had at Booker and Zinc (Blueberry Jalapeno Mule, stoli, blueberries, fresh jalapeno, lime juice, simple syrup, ginger beer)

Recipe:

2 oz cointreau

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 strawberry

2-3 basil leaves

3-4 oz club soda

Cruelty-Free/Vegan Make Up List

-Anastasia Beverly Hills

-Artist Couture

-bareMinerals (*owned by Shiseido*)

-BECCA (*owned by Estee Lauder*)

-Bite beauty

-Charlotte Tilbury

-Colourpop

-Drunk Elephant

-Drybar

-elf

-FENTY BEAUTY

-Huda Beauty

-LUSH

-MILK

-rms beauty

-Sand and Sky

-Smashbox (*owned by Estee Lauder*)

-Tata Harper

-Urban Decay (*owned by L’Oreal*)


Korean Beauty:

COSrx

Time Stop

Benton

Klairs

 

* = not cruelty-free/vegan company

Feb. 8, 2020 What’s New?

Sometimes people ask me what I’ve been up to and how I’ve been, which is a pretty normal question.  What I’ve been up to I feel can’t be easily summarized in a sentence.  It’s part of juggling “everyday” normal life with chronic illness, even if I’m technically no longer a strictly COPD patient.  Not that I spend every waking second worrying about insurance, but I’m my own secretary essentially.  I often have things scheduled on my calendar like “call back Christine from Horizon” about some question, or figure out why my claim got rejected, which can alone take up to 2 hours on the phone because insurance is often disorganized and non-transparent.  -_-  I have to figure out why this lab accepts this insurance but not this other one, and which one would save me more money.  I have to keep tabs on all my medications to make sure I don’t run out of refills, and I often message my transplant team for random test results and updates.

I also, still cook, clean, and bake a lot.  I’ve taken this habit of tidying up the house late at night after my workout, which is strangely calming.   I like to straighten the magazines, put things away in the sink, puff up the pillows and fold the blankets in the family room.  I also cleaned out the medicine cabinet with all the random expired meds, and re-arranged all the magnets and important pamphlets on our fridge.

I also enjoy browsing the internet to save future recipes, and this past week, I’ve spent a good amount of time reading up on health insurance policies and how they function, as well as architecture.  I also finally finished Andrew Yang’s first book from I believe 2006, “Smart People Should Do Things”.  Politics is not fun, but a necessary evil.  He’s growing on me, I have to say.  He has some interesting concepts and ideas, so I can say I have one foot hovering over the “Yang Gang” zone.

I also still keep up with my mukbang Youtube videos, and looking into online courses that could be helpful.  Also, drinking enough water, which is weirdly a huge task.  I noticed I am about 15-20 oz under my goal unless I am aggressively conscious about it.

I’ve been playing with my dog a lot more too, and making sure that I get out of the house every few days, whether to see a friend, or get an errand done.

So yep, that about sums up my February so far.

The Perfect Scoop -David Lebovitz (Notes)

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Kirsch:  a distillation of cherries heightens flavors of many fruit- or berry-based frozen desserts because it doesn’t interfere with fresh fruit flavors; a few drops.  Ex:  Poire Williams, or another eau-de-vie.

Add a splash of alcohol.  3 tablespoons (45 ml) of 40-percent (80-proof) liquor, such as rum or whiskey, to 1 quart (1L) of custard/sorbet mixture.  Wine or champagne = up to 1/2 cup (125 ml) per 1 quart.

Sour cream, plain whole-milk or Greek yogurt

Liquid sweetener substitute for sugar can yield a smoother result, substitute up to 25% granulated sugar for honey/golden syrup/molasses/rice syrup/glucose/corn syrup- use light corn syrup.

If buying frozen berries, buy unsweetened and individually frozen (IQF). Measure when frozen.

Cocoa nibs!  Pure chocolate without sugar, remaining crisp in ice cream- specialty shops or well-stocked supermarkets.


Finely chopped chocolate = 1/4 inch

Coarsely chopped = 3/4 inch

Use serrated bread knife, start at corner.


Coconut milk:  do not use low-fat, or heavily sweetened Coco Lopez (“cream of coconut”)


Coffee and Espresso

-Bialetti brand, or “moka” type.  1 tsp powder to 1/4  (60 ml) cup of hot water


Dried fruit

Use Trader Joe’s for well-priced.  Unsulfured dried fruits will affect look of finished ice cream.

Dried apricots- use from California.   Prunes are also labeled as “dried plums”


Eggs

Use large-size (2 oz).  Eggs are easier to separate when cold.    Cooking eggs to 160 degrees F for safety, or use pasteurized eggs in their shell.


Oils and Extracts

Store extracts in cool, dark place. Avoid artificial.


Zester

Use Microplane — can also use Oxo.  Rasp-style grater.  If using box grater, double amount


Liquor

“cook with what you would drink” — Italian Prosecco is budget-friendly

If you want to omit for recipe that calls for 1 tablespoon or less, can substitute with vanilla extract or a squirt of lemon juice


Maple syrup

Use dark amber maple syrup


Nuts

Hazelnuts pecans and walnuts spoil easily.  Can be frozen in zip-top freezer bags.  Taste better if toasted.  Pistachio nuts can lose delicate green color though.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spread in even layer on ungreased sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, but check sooner, stir once or twice  Lightly golden brown throughout, let nuts cool completely.

Use commercial peanut butter


Salt

A pinch brightens flavors, gentle contrast to sweetness.

Kosher salt or flaky sea salt.  Fancy salt  = fleur de sel, Maldon salt from England


Too much sugar and it won’t freeze.  Granulated white sugar.


Online Supply Sources

Chocosphere.com, guittard.com, perfectpuree.com, starkaywhite.com, tovolo.com, trader joe’s, vanillaqueen.com, penzeys.com

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Chasing Inspiration

The word inspiration is so easily thrown out sometimes I feel like it can lose its meaning.  I think maybe these days I’ve in a rut or just stumped, and I wonder if I should take it more easy and not stress and overanalyze on things, or if I should push myself more to chase inspiration and find it.  It can often feel like most of the people around me have their life figured out, even though I know it may not be the case.

Things I’ve been doing to try to get inspired:

-Listening to music on Spotify A LOT and listening to modern classical pieces, as well as asking friends to send their favorite music to me

-Reading a bunch of books and working my way through this UN article on accessibility

-Worked out late last night with yoga, squats, and curls, and realized how quickly I became out of shape 😦 Felt rewarded though for setting aside 1.5 hours to focus solely on my body.

-Constantly tracking my diet and my liquid intake (HYDRATION!!!)  Reading up on nutrition and browsing tons of vegan and other recipes online (I bake a different recipe each night).

-Stalking musical and other types of people I admire on Twitter

Current book- “The 48 Laws of Power”: 

“Never waste valuable time, or mental peace of mind, on the affairs of others- that is too high a price to pay.”  

“People are of infinite complexity and you can spend a lifetime watching them without ever fully understanding them.” 

I’ve only read the preface so far, and I can see this will be a hefty book to get through, but I’m intrigued.

Conclusion after preface:  Power is always present and in effect whether or not you’re consciously participating in it.  Learning how it works and at least being aware of it is good, so that you’re not taken advantage of by other’s manipulation (whether they’re conscious of it or not)

Keeping my eyes on the prize:

My lung function had decreased by almost half, and it was pretty disheartening to see.  I felt a bit more hopeful since after exercise it went up by a few percentages.  What will get me through this winter is all mental.  You need mental to do the physical.  Mental is everything.  I need to keep trying my best so that I am ready for the day I am “free”.  I may have written my to-do list already, but these are some of them that I look forward to:

  1.  Traveling with a friend somewhere, and then all places on my immediate list (Vancouver, Yosemite Park, Portugal, Seville, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore.)
  2.  Interning in a different city/country for 3 months
  3. Ziplining with a beautiful view
  4. Doing a 5k
  5. Wicked at Broadway, and walking all over NYC

Winter To-Do List:

-Coding bootcamp prep

-Lose 4 pounds and get fit

-Read up on accessibility

-Record some new compositions

-Korean 15 min a day

-Attempt networking

-Make a personal website (?)

-Stay alive

 

Productivity Levels Today

Today was pretty lazy… I woke up and just felt unmotivated and tired.  I slept in, then made ramen and fruit sandwiches.  Then I succumbed to my sleepiness and just kept drifting in and out of sleep, which is honestly pretty gross and lethargic feeling.

I pretty much wasted my afternoon until it was time to make dinner.  I planned to make penne vodka, but the heavy cream went bad, so I had to switch to spaghetti, along with baked salmon and cauliflower and bell peppers (they all turned out mediocre).  My friend came over later for an arts and crafts night, but I was suddenly inspired to make cookies… unfortunately, I have never succeeded at making great cookies alone, because I get impatient and don’t wait for the butter to completely reach room temperature, which causes inconsistency in the texture.    They were much crispier this time, because I probably slightly overbaked them.  Then I cleaned up the kitchen, which was a giant mess.  The one productive thing I did today that was successful was outlining my Gudetama painting that I had done about 3 weeks ago.

Kind of a disappointing day in terms of productivity.  I didn’t even reach out to people on Twitter like I put in my calendar for career questions, or call the dentist.  But I’m attempting to make up for it now by reading “The Four” and doing my daily Korean at least. And of course, attempting catch up in my daily hydration goals, taking my meds, and my spirometer levels (pulmonary function numbers).

Tomorrow will be a great day though!  Mini day trip to Frenchtown to enjoy new scenery and the weather, then my other friend is visiting at night 🙂

Good things will come to those who wait.  I hope.

#Housewife Status and Self-Care Write up

My lung function decreased lately, probably because I had a viral infection that went undetected.  As long as it’s just that, and not rejection, I’m fine with it.

Being at home can often feel stagnant and uninspiring, but I actually was quite productive today, which is why I award myself a #housewife status award.  I have grown very good at doing chores around the house, whether it’s cleaning up, washing the dishes, putting them away, cooking, looking up new recipes, washing the fruit, buying groceries, tracking my food intake and diet, doing the laundry.

Today, I:

-finished my Netflix binging series “You”

-ate brunch (leftovers of korean fried chicken with rice and radish I made last night for dinner)

-washed strawberries and raspberries, attempted to make a daifuku mochi recipe but failed (wasted hour)

-washed dishes and put away

-did my laundry, washed, dried, and folded

-made dinner (dan dan noodles for the family with lots of veggies)

-did research on Frenchtown, NJ, which I’m visiting this week

-Youtubed Tiny Houses and vegan meal ideas

-refilled and sorted my week’s daily pills box

-watched CNN to catch up on impeachment case

-wrote up today’s food diary to make sure I’m intaking enough nutrition and hydration

-scrubbed and washed dog’s toys

-later, watching friend play Ni No Kuni

Pending:

-Finish “The Four” book on Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook

-do daily 15 minutes of Korean

-Read on United Nations “Good Practices in Accessible Urban Development” write up (80 pages)

-Reach out to people on Twitter and ask about their career paths (tomorrow)

-make Hokkaido bread, then Japanese fruit sandwiches (tomorrow)

-bootcamp prep