[Almost] Home Sweet Home

I realize I’ve been MIA the past couple days – reasons being:

1)   I’ve been rather uninteresting the past couple days as I’ve spent the majority of them catching up on summer school projects and assignments that were due, and attempting (keyword 😉 ) to get ready for finals next week.

2)   When I was not being a bookworm I was out trying to enjoy my last couple days in Hong Kong.

I’m currently en route home and just got off a near 13-hour flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles and am currently in LAX waiting for my connecting flight home.

Although I’ve really enjoyed my time in Hong Kong, the Maldives, Singapore, and China, I’ve spent exactly one month on the other side of the world, and I’m ready to be home.

Home is where I get to have my favorite foods, eat my favorite breakfasts, and bake whatever I want whenever I want. Even though I had a kitchen to use in Hong Kong, ingredients were quite sparce. It was either too expensive or I just couldn’t find it. I’m sure if I had looked a little harder I would’ve eventually found some things, but some are just plain unavailable.

They do sell kombucha though. I hardly ever drink it, but since the flavor sounded mighty appealing at that particular moment I made an impulse buy.

I didn’t realize until after I had bought it that I had paid a little over $5 for it even though it was on sale.  I actually don’t know how much kombucha usually costs in the states, but I sure hope it’s not 5 bucks a pop.

At $5 a bottle, I figured I might as well drink it out of some fine china. And that’s exactly what I did…

Great flavor, btw.

I think drinking Kombucha may have just about been as exciting as it got the past two days, other than finding something in the fridge.

Remember how I mentioned how much I loved the pastries from Tony Wong?…Someone must’ve read my blog because look what I found in the fridge two nights ago tucked in right next to my cashew butter!

And inside that bright yellow & black box?

A mixed berry napoleon!

In all my excitement, I forgot to take a picture of the whole cake.

Just picture this slice times 10 and you’ll have a picture of the full napoleon. Sometimes we just have to use our imaginations 🙂

This is seriously one of the BEST napoleons ever. It’s officially joined my list of favorite sweets.

_ _ _

2 and a half hours until my flight home!

What do you love most about home?

Advertisements

Almond love

After a day of fun in the sun yesterday, it was time back to the normal grind…which today, was my dreaded operations management assignment.

Of course I didn’t start until I got my brain warmed up a bit with a nice hearty breakfast.

On the menu this morning: Oats

A nice big bowl topped with cooked apples and some homemade cashew butter.

I haven’t had oats in a very long time and this particular bowl was extra delicious.

I worked through the morning with a couple visits to the freezer where all the leftover 5 ingredient crispies I had made for yesterdays boat trip were hanging out.

Since I had made two batches and there was way too much food on that boat, there were quite a few leftover crispies. No worries though…just means more for me 🙂

Batch 1, I had made with cashew butter and batch 2 was made with crunchy barney butter. I love cashew, but the crunch of the almonds from the barney butter definitely gave those crispies a little extra somethin’ somthin’ which made them my instant favorite.

You know what else almonds gives a little extra somethin’ somthin’ to?

Black bean almond milk (and now that I think about it, just about everything else…)

Remember that batch of black bean milk I made about a week ago? I also blended up a black bean almond version recently, which I enjoyed even more.

I pretty much followed the same process as last time, except this time my 1/2 cup of soaked beans had been cooked for 20 mins in 2 cups of water.

After cooking them I had stored them in the refrigerator, along with the liquid, for a couple days until I decided to use them.

Black beans

Plus 1/2 cup roasted almonds & 4-6 cups of water

were placed in a blender with the strainer attachment.

(4-6 cups of water because it depends on whether you like it thick and creamy or more smooth and diluted)

2-5 mins in the blender and the black bean almond milk was ready!

Roasted almonds are key here! austiNuts has some of the best roasted almonds I’ve had and I think it’s really what gave the black bean milk its extra special taste.

I’ve got a couple other delicious almond treats up my sleeve, but that’s for another day 🙂

Any almond fans out there?


Boat Trip

Dearest Mother Nature,

Thank you for the gorgeous weather this afternoon.

Sincerely, Kris

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Around 11am today we boarded this lovely boat at the Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry Pier.

And off we went towards Clear Water Bay.

Still on our way…

~25 mins later and we were in Clear Water Bay where we spent all afternoon swimming, laying out, eating, and just relaxing on the boat. I even managed to get in about 15 mins of school work!…until I got sidetracked…

No boat trip is complete without copious amounts of food.

Lunch spread minus the desserts, fruits, and drinks.

For a total of 20 people, there may have been a bit too much food…

After a sunny afternoon of fun, we began our trip back just as the sun was beginning to set, which made for some pretty photos.

It still amazes me how many high rises are on such a small island.

Hong Kong is divided down the middle by a waterway known as Victoria Harbour. To the left would be the Island side of Hong Kong, and on the right is the Kowloon side.

A better view of the Island side at dusk.

And now the Kowloon side.

All salty, sunned out, and back on land.

Have a beautiful Sunday! 🙂


Photo Friday

Friday morning started out early with a fun strength workout followed up with an all-in-one type breakfast. I wanted to drink a chocolate protein shake, but I also wanted oats, and there was no way I could eat both a bowl of oats AND a large protein shake, so I just had them both at once.

I kept it on the cool side though, since it was hot hot hot outside yesterday.

Ok, so I just looked at the weather and it doesn’t seem like it’s that hot from the numbers, but I promise it felt way hotter. Perhaps because the humidity is 80%+ everyday.

I was out and about pretty much all day yesterday, and I realized that I really haven’t shown any photos of Hong Kong other than food, so I’ll show you my afternoon through photos…

Lunch in Soho

There are restaurants lining this hill and at every block it opens up left and right and there are MORE restaurants.

 You can pretty much always find shade somewhere here because of all the high rise buildings.

One thing most of these photos have in common? People. And a whole lotta them.

I took most of these photos in Central, more specifically Soho where a ton of restaurants are located. It’s a very international area where everyone speaks English.

The last two photos are in Mong Kok – you may remember me mentioning this is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, particularly on Saturdays.

I don’t have many plans today other than getting back on track with summer school, once again…but tomorrow (Sunday) I’m going on a boat trip!

Have a fabulous weekend!


Raging Sweet Teeth

So I’m pretty sure anyone who’s read a couple of my posts kinda figured out I have a raging sweet tooth. Actually, I should probably say sweet teeth, since I love sweets so much. And Hong Kong is no exception. I probably eat more sweets here than I actually do back home.

Good thing I consider fruits to be sweets because they satisfy my sweet cravings and are aplenty here.

Gold Kiwi

Jackfruit

But nothing makes me happier than a whole box of delicious sweet treats

Pastries from Tony Wong

Mixed-berry Napoleons, Mango Napoleon, Blueberry Cheesecake, Fig tart, Mango Delight, Pinky – aka Almond cake with raspberry jam, and Hazelnut & Chocolate Crunchy Cake

The fig tart was so pretty!

and lastly, a cuppa goodness – a Mango Parfait.


I love how pastries here are usually super light and less sweet. I don’t ever get that sickening feeling from too much sugar.

Tony Wong also has beautiful full sized cakes you can specially order.


They’re shaped like roses! I wish I had a better photo…but aren’t they gorgeous?? My birthdays just around the corner and I’m hoping to be blowing out candles on one of these. Just kidding. That’d be pretty darn awesome though!

I’m proud to say I had a taste of every single one of those pastries in that box 🙂 That should be plenty, but I didn’t stop there…

I’ve also been eating mooncakes!

Mooncakes are traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is sometime during the end of September or early November, depending on when the moon is at its fullest.

People celebrate in different ways, but lighting lanterns and sending floating lanterns to the sky is what I remember the most. Technically these mooncakes are eaten while admiring the full mid-autum moon with friends and family, but they’re sold months in advance, so we can practically eat them almost all year round.

A mooncake is actually a little hard to describe. It’s basically a pastry-type sweet that has a tender crust surrounding a dense sweet lotus paste that may or may not contain up to three salted eggs yolks in the center. The egg yolks symbolize the full moon. It’s kinda got that sweet and salty thing goin on, which I love.

I highly doubt my description was all that enticing, but I promise they are absolutely delicious. If you don’t eat eggs, there are mooncakes with no egg yolks and just lotus paste. Those are delicious too 😛  The most important aspect though is that you have to buy the RIGHT brand of mooncakes. Otherwise, it’s it’s not so delicious…

So mooncakes and pastries should be enough, right? Wrong.

It’s so hard to pass up sweets here. Just this evening when I was walking home from dinner, I just had to stop at a food stand to buy this.

In that bag is…Egg waffles!

These puffs are warm and crunchy on the outside and hollow on the inside with the slightest chew. If you like waffles, you will LOVE these. There should actually be another row or two of puffs, but I kinda ate them before I got a chance to take this picture.

These have to be one of my absolute favorite foods here in Hong Kong. I’ve eaten them since I was little and they never get old. They’re sold on the streets and there are good ones and bad ones, but thank goodness I live close to a good stand 🙂 I can never pass it up when I walk by because I can smell it a block away.

They actually started selling the egg waffle maker at William Sonoma this year along with an egg waffle mix.

[Source]

I haven’t had the opportunity to try it yet, so I’m not sure how it compares to the ones in Hong Kong, but I’d love to find out!

I could probably go on and on about all the desserts and sweets I’ve been eating, but think I’ll just stick with my favorites so I don’t bore you all to death or give any of you a toothache…;)

What’re some of your favorite sweets? 


Black Bean Milk

Since I got back from Singapore and the Maldives, it’s been raining everyday here in Hong Kong.

As much as I love the rain, I’m kind of hoping it lets up soon since I have to walk outdoors in order to get places. But in the meantime I’m taking the rain as a sign to spend more time in the kitchen.

I haven’t really done much cooking or baking since I’ve been in Hong Kong. Wait, who am I kidding. I’ve barely set foot in the kitchen, aside from last nights steamed dinner, since I arrived here.

Here are two reasons why:

1) There’s too much tasty and easily accessible food throughout Hong Kong. Restaurants, hole in the wall restaurants, street vendors, bakeries, you name it, Hong Kong’s got it. And EVERYWHERE. I like to consider myself a health-concious person, and I still try to make the best possible food choice when dining out, but I still think I may have fallen off the healthy wagon a bit since I got here. Its time to get back on it!

2) Kitchen space here is limited. Actually, all space is limited in Hong Kong. People can live in teeny-tiny apartments. And I’m talking 100 sq ft apartments. Thats tiny, people!

This is my kitchen here. I’m pretty sure it fits a maximum of 3 adults.

It’s tiny compared to the one I have at home (which is about average in size), but I guess I shouldn’t be complaining after I just mentioned that people live in 100 sq ft apartments.

So, in an effort to get back on the healthy-wagon and appreciate my ‘large‘ kitchen space, I’ve been cooking blending. Gotta start off with the easy stuff 😉

Actually, it’s more like the ‘necessary’ stuff. Since almond milk costs an arm and a leg here, well mostly just an arm, I’ve decided it’s easiest to just make my own milk.

Enter:

Black Turtle Beans, better known as black beans to most people (including me).

They’re also called black soyabeans here, but they’re really just black beans of some sort. I’ve seen a lot of people refer to them as cuban black beans.

 1 cup of dry black beans soaked in water

Soaked for 7-8 hours or overnight

Drain and rinse the beans

1/2 cup black beans + 2 cups water

I know I soaked 1 cup of beans, but I prefer to make smaller batches each time so I just used 1/2 a cup of beans and refrigerated the other ones for my next batch.

Blend until smooth. About 2-5 mins depending on the blender.

I prefer my milk unsweetened, but if you prefer it sweet, now is the time to add in your sweetener of choice so that it gets thoroughly mixed in…agave, honey, sugar, stevia, anything you like.

Sieve the blended milk through cheesecloth into a pot

Usually I would use a cheese cloth to wring out all the liquid (milk), but since I have no cheese cloth and my blender here has a filter attachment I just used that instead. It doesn’t work as well, but it still traps the remaining pulp.

Pour the sieved liquid into a pot and bring to a slow boil. Once it boils, turn off the heat.

There may be some foam on the top, but no worries, I just scooped it out before pouring the milk into a pitcher.

And there you have it…Black bean milk!

Be sure to store it in the fridge. I’m guessing it should last at least a week, but since I only made it two days ago, I’m not too sure.

I’m not sure what to compare the taste to, but I guess I’d say its most similar to soy milk. A little creamier though.

So far I’ve had black bean milk in my morning cereal mix.

And I’ve mixed it with other milks, 70% black bean milk and 30% soymilk.

I’ve also used it in my protein shake.

1 cup black bean milk, 1/2 packet true vitality chocolate protein powder, 1/3 block silken tofu, 5 frozen cubes of black bean milk, 1/2 frozen banana.

I only used a half packet of protein powder because it’s my last one 😦 Therefore, I added some tofu as extra protein.

I still have 1/2 a cup of soaked beans in my fridge, which I brought to a boil, then simmered for about 15 mins with 1 cup of water after soaking. I plan on blending it with some almonds for a black bean-almond milk once I finish my current pitcher.

Oh, and I forgot to mention…black beans are good for the kidneys 🙂

What’s your favorite kind of milk? – I prefer unsweetened almond milk most of the time, but I also like soy milk.

Do you prefer homemade or store bought milk?  I prefer homemade, but most of the time I’m just too lazy to make it 🙂


Steamed Dinner

Ahhhhh…

That’s me breathing out a sign of relief.

I’m finally caught up (for the most part) with my summer school assignments and can relax a bit for a day or two 🙂

I spent the majority of yesterday working on a project and an assignment, which I completed a little earlier today.

It wasn’t all work though. I took a couple breaks in between.

During my mid-morning break, I went to buy a snack at my favorite bread shop downstairs. I needed to get my blood circulating in my legs 😉

After perusing a bit I decided on a sweet potato bread.

Doesn’t it actually look like a sweet potato from the side? I didn’t realize it until after I had snapped a photo of it.

The outside is soft bread, and inside is actually a sweet potato.

It’s definitely not the most attractive looking bread, but it’s a tasty one.

After I very slowly ate my snack it was back to work.

A while later I took my second break and had lunch. I ate the other item I had purchased during my mid-morning trip to La Creation de Gute.

Any guess what my lunch was?

How about now?

It’s a tuna sandwich! Well, I guess it doesn’t qualify as a true sandwich since it’s not between two slices of bread, but I don’t know what to call it. Tuna roll? eh..

Whatever it’s called, it was mighty tasty.

And I ate it all. After all, I am a member of the clean plates club 😉

I had some golden kiwi and watermelon on the side.

Anyone know if you can eat kiwi skin? I didn’t try it, but I feel like I should.

After lunch I finished up my assignment (finally!) and headed to they gym for 22 mins on the elliptical, 17 on the bike, 17 on the treadmill, and 10 mins of abs.

Then came my favorite part of my day today. A walk to the grocery store! 🙂

I have no food here and needed some veggies stat. Plus I really wanted to use the steamer in the kitchen here.

I’ve never used an actual steamer before and this thing is amazing! You can make anything in it from rice to de-crystalizing honey, or even make yogurt!

Since it was my first time using it, I kept it on the simpler side.

I decided on some chinese spinach, carrots, tofu, and half of a mini Japanese pumpkin.

During it’s 15 mins in the steamer, I showered off and had some salmon rolls as an appetizer.

Then, voilà! – Veggies were ready.

I think I may have overcooked the spinach slightly, but it was still good and not tough at all. Just a bit brown.

After I was about 2/3’s through, I realized I didn’t season any of the veggies before steaming them, but I don’t really think it needed anything. Fresh veggies are always best as is. The carrots gave the spinach a slightly sweet taste, and the pumpkin was delicious on its own.

I couldn’t read the label of the tofu to see whether it was firm or silken, since it was all in Chinese, so it was a surprise 🙂 I usually eat firm, but luckily I like all tofu because it ended up being silken. Delicious and smoooooth.

This has to be one of the easiest dinners I’ve ever made! Aside from my instant noodles last night…

But that doesn’t count 😉

Now I’m off to find something to satisfy my sweet tooth 😛

I’ll also be making something with these in a bit!

Any guesses what I’ll be doing with them?

Have a terrific tuesday!