Cardio and Cooking: Wings, anyone?

After a number of good badminton games, as usual, I came back quite hungry. Sooo...I made myself some wings! They were good, and really hit the spot after all of that moving around. This will be a pretty quick post, as I have quite a busy schedule tomorrow.

Things I have learned today about wings:
- You can actually eat a lot more wings than you think you can. I had separated a large package of 22 wings into ziploc bags of 7-8, and cooked one bagful. I wish I had made at least 2. I could have probably done all 3. (There was only one time that I went out for wings with friends at a bar, and I had 34. After that, P and I hit a fancy restaurant to have dessert - i.e. the best apple pie EVER. It turns out that you can still be hungry after that many wings, but it's just that the taste of chicken wings gets kind of old.)
- You can have any kind of wings you want because it just depends on what you season them with.
- As usual, it is more inexpensive to buy and make your own wings than Wing Wednesdays when they're 25-33 cents a wing.
- The mini drumstick parts of the wings are called "drumettes". 
- Wings taste very good after an intense amount of exercise.

My very own Friday night wings! I Skyped with P so as not to feel too sad. = =
Any Night Wings (with Frank's Hot Sauce)
*per 8-10 wings*

3 Tbsp Frank's Hot Sauce
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 Tbsp Canola oil
1 ziploc bag of 8-10 chicken wings

1. Turn on the broiler.
2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. (I prefer using parchment paper because food doesn't stick to it, but you can use tin foil if you wish.)
3. Add hot sauce, salt, pepper, and oil into bag of chicken wings. Seal tightly, and massage the chicken wings around until they are all coated with marinade.
4. Dump all of the contents onto the parchment paper. Use chopsticks (or tongs) to separate all of the wings so that there is one layer.
5. Place the pan under the broiler for 10 minutes.
6. Remove the pan from the broiler, and turn each wing to the other side. Place back under broiler for another 10 minutes.
7. Remove the pan from the broiler. You can brush the wings with more hot sauce if you want. 
8. Enjoy with a dipping sauce of your choice (I used ranch salad dressing)!

Today, I learned that satisfying hunger is a priority of mine over hygiene... I came back from badminton, made the wings, ate them, and THEN took a shower.  > >; Such is life...



Cardio and Cooking: Green Onion Cakes

I'm excited for tomorrow because it's going to be the first day of badminton club :D I hope there are some nice people there. It would be awesome to have friends. (Lol?) I've been getting some cardio in since I walk to class every weekday. That's a guaranteed 30-40 minutes of walking - half being down the hill, the other half being up. But badminton...I do miss that. I haven't played for over a month :(

Eating, however, I have been doing very well in. I recently had a craving on Friday (well, Saturday morning) at 2 AM for something crunchy. I was texting with P, and he was out with badminton friends having bubble tea and green onion cakes. Feeling rather envious, I made myself some "cong you bing" or green onion cakes. When I have time, I'm going to buy myself some tapioca pearls and tea leaves to make bubble tea. Maybe I can make friends that way - inviting people over for homemade bubble tea and green onion cakes. Ehh?...Ehh? ;)

Things that I learned on Friday about green onion cakes:
- Green onion cakes are also known as "cong you bing" or "onion...oil...cakes" in Chinese. They are also called scallion pancakes, or chive pancakes, but chives are not green onions. 
- They are very easy to make, and freeze well, so great for late night snacking. They kind of cost a lot at bubble tea shops for what they're made of and how easy it is if you just make them yourself.
- They taste awesome with sriracha or chili garlic paste or some sort of hot sauce to dip in. 

They puff up slightly when you cook them. I love the texture combination of crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

I have to go out to buy my chili garlic paste today, so I had them with sriracha. So good...

Frozen and separated by parchment paper :) I was getting a little stingy on the parchment paper, so some of them got squished in the fold and became somewhat rectangular. That can be fixed while cooking though.
Green Onion Cakes
*Makes 9 hand-sized pancakes*

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1 green onion
Cooking oil

1. In a medium bowl, add flour and water, and mix until combined. Knead a few times until the dough comes together in a ball. If it's too sticky, add a little bit more flour. 
2. Brush or smear the surface of the dough ball with oil, and leave to rest in the bowl covered with plastic wrap for 30 minutes. You can chop the green onion into small pieces while the dough is resting.
3. Split the dough into 3 equal portions. 
4. Flour your counter, roll or flatten one portion of dough out into a long rectangle so that it is thin, but won't break. 
5. Sprinkle the surface with 1/3 of your green onion pieces, and some salt.
6. Like you're making a small cinnamon roll, roll the rectangle so that you get a long log with all of the green onions tucked inside. 
7. Divide the log into 3 equal sections, and roll them into circular coils. Use the palm of your hand to flatten it into a circular pancake, and set them aside.
8. Repeat steps 4-7 for each of the remaining portions of dough.
9. When cooking, add some oil into a pan over medium heat, and cook each side of the pancake for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy with some hot sauce or plum sauce!
10. When storing in the freezer, separate the pancakes with squares of parchment paper or wax paper, and place in a ziploc bag.

The next phase is to make homemade bubble tea...



Cardio and Cooking: Mershed Perderders

Since I am now completely responsible for feeding myself, I can only buy a few things that I like to eat per week, or else food will go unused, turn bad, and then be wasted. As a result, I have been suffering from various forms of withdrawal. At the end of last week, it was my Alberta beef. Oh how I longed for that sweet, juicy, red, delicious Alberta beef. So, on my grocery haul, I purchased a sirloin steak from Loblaws. Since the following day was the "best before date", it only cost $2 :D Today, I had an impulse buy problem. I meant to just go to Loblaws to find foil protectors for our stove burners, which I did end up getting, but I also got potatoes (and other things, but that's all beside the point). I don't know if I've mentioned this in my food blog before, but I have a very deep love for potatoes. I'm pretty sure that the starch from potatoes runs further and more frequently than the rice starch in my not so Asian blood. And so, I decided to make myself a scrumptious chicken pot pie with a mashed potato topping...

Things I have learned today about potatoes:
- Who am I kidding? I didn't learn anything new about potatoes. I think I've just come to love them more than before. Below are some things I do know about potatoes...
- Potatoes are so versatile. You can boil them, steam them, mash them, bake them, fry them, roast them, or grill them, and they will still be delicious.
- In French, pomme de terre means "apple of the ground". This kind of makes sense because when raw, the texture is very much like that of an apple.
- Potatoes are great for stews and curries. They melt into the smooth, creamy texture, and don't take away from the flavour of everything else going on. Because of the starch, they also act as a thickening agent in the mix.
- Potatoes can apparently be made into bread according to P. I'll have to try that some time...
- Potatoes are one of the best comfort foods ever. (To me, it is the best ever.)

The best cure to potato withdrawal. I love mashed potatoes. 

The masterpiece. Thankfully, it tasted good enough to make it worth the work and wait.

Ready to indulge in my chicken pot pie and a simple salad along with my new friend, Netflix. I am now near the end of "How I Met Your Mother" Season 5. Balsamic vinegar actually compliments mashed potatoes very well too. P makes this amazing salad dressing with balsamic in it, and it is sooo good with mashed potatoes as well. That, and salmon. 

I prrrrobably could have packed away half of it for tomorrow, but why would I? Mind you, I still have a rice bowlful of mashed potatoes leftover in the fridge.
Chicken Pot Pie with a Mashed Potato Topping for One 
*Approximately 2 servings*
**Note: I ate the whole thing for dinner along with some salad. I am on the border of feeling guilty and not. Nonetheless, it was pretty darn good.**

Vegetable oil
Chicken stock
1 chicken breast
3 white potatoes
2 Tbsp margarine
Unsweetened soymilk
Salt and pepper
1 cup broccoli florets
3 white mushrooms
1 green onion
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1. Slice mushrooms and set aside. (I sliced them so that it was about 5 slices per mushroom. You don't want them to be too thin this time because they're in the filling of your pie.) If you haven't already, cut the broccoli into small florets.
2. Boil a medium pot of water on high heat. While boiling, peel, and dice your potatoes into bite-sized chunks.
3. Add 2/3 of your potato chunks into the boiling water and cook until you can easily puncture the pieces with a chopstick (or fork). Once cooked through, drain, and mash. Add margarine while mashing potatoes to add flavour. Also add a couple splashes of soymilk to make it creamier.
4. While the potatoes are cooking, also chop your garlic and green onion and set aside.
5. Add oil and half of the chopped garlic to a pan over medium heat until slightly browned, and add to the mashed potatoes, stirring evenly.
6. Add the other half of the chopped garlic to the pan with some more oil, add the last 1/3 of the potato chunks. Pour in a splash of chicken stock until about half way up the potato chunks, and simmer.
7. Add the flour into the mixture and stir until just thickened. Add mushrooms and another splash of chicken stock. When bubbling, add broccoli florets, and remove from heat when just cooked. Pour the mixture into a small nonstick loaf pan and spread evenly. (Unless you're fancy and wealthy enough to have ramekins. Then you could fill a couple of those. I was trying to be innovative :/)
8. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F. Add some oil to the pan over medium heat. Dice the chicken breast into bite-sized chunks and add to the pan. Cook until slightly browned on one side, and turn each piece to cook the other side. Add salt and pepper to taste and a sprinkle of rosemary. Stir fry until just cooked. Add into the small loaf pan on top of the vegetables.
9. Top off the pie with mashed potatoes, and spread it evenly. Chop the green onion, and sprinkle the pieces over the mash. Bake for about 15 minutes.
10. Remove from the oven, and serve with a salad or your choice of side. (I went with a simple salad of chopped romaine lettuce, some canola oil, and balsamic vinegar. Mmm~ Isn't comfort food just awesome?

I am going to sleep so well tonight. :)



Cardio and Cooking: How to Asian-ify your Kitchen

I am going to keep this one as "Cardio and Cooking" because I get so much cardio from walking between my residence and class. I swear that ever since I moved here, I hike for at least an hour every day. I can feeeeel the toning of my calves.

I'm starting to get used to cooking for myself, but I need to work on the right side of my brain so that my meals don't get too repetitive. Yesterday, I made myself a pot of rice for lunch. Needless to say, I didn't need a pot of rice for lunch. P came up with the splendiferous idea of making congee. Easy, somewhat nutritious, homey...sure!

Things I have learned today about congee:
- It's a great way to change up some already cooked rice in only 20-30 minutes, especially for those who overestimate how much steamed rice you need for a meal :)
- It makes your kitchen that just more Asian.
- Congee goes nicely with some fresh "choy" lightly stirfried with garlic and salt. You could be even fancier and have some "yau tiu" or chopstick donuts. If you were even fancier, you could make some "jia leung"...it's essentially chopstick donuts wrapped in a flat rice noodle sheet, typically topped with soy sauce and served with hoisin and peanut sauce for dipping. Common for dim sum!
- It is unlikely that London has a good dim sum place because there isn't even a Chinatown D': Buuut, I did manage to find 2 Asian supermarkets that I haven't made it to yet.
- Congee can be adjusted to your desired thickness. My parents prefer thinner, more watery congee, which I only like with Chinese barbecue duck or pork bones. Otherwise, I like rather thick congee, so I often add an egg.

Like holy Asian, right? 

I enjoyed my congee with some "Yu Choy". Mmm... I actually prefer "Gai Lan" with congee or wonton noodle soup, but this is what I get for going to Superstore for all of my groceries. 10% off Tuesdays for students at Superstore and Loblaws here in London, okay?
Basic Chicken Congee for One
*Makes about 3 Chinese rice bowls of congee*
1/2 chicken breast (You could use another type of meat like ground beef or pork if you'd like.)
Soy sauce
Cooking oil
Green onion
Chicken broth (Or bouillon stock)
1 1/2 cups cooked jasmine rice
1 egg (Optional, depending on desired thickness of the congee)

1. Add your cooked rice into a small to medium-sized pot. You want your total fluids to come just a bit above your rice. Use 1 part water to 1 part broth when doing this. Bring to a boil with the lid propped up by chopsticks. You can probably just put the lid on with a small opening, but I've grown so accustomed to this method from home.
2. While the rice is boiling, take the time to prepare your green onions and meat. When prepping, I typically do all of the vegetables first, and then the meat just to avoid contamination of weird raw meat germs that my mom has made me become paranoid about. Wash your green onion, and chop just about 1 tbsp of pieces, and set aside.
3. Slice the chicken breast into 0.5-1 cm thick slices. Add them into a small bowl with about 1 tbsp of soy sauce, and 1 tsp of oil. Back home, my parents made the chicken pieces nice and smooth by adding 1/2 tsp of cornstarch, but I don't have cornstarch yet. I don't have lot of things yet... Stir until all of the pieces are coated, and set aside.
4. Once the rice has boiled, remove the lid, and bring down to medium heat. Carefully add the pieces of chicken and stir to cook. Make sure the chicken is cooked so that the salmonella monsters don't get you. Annnd...it's ready! Or...
5. If you'd like a thicker congee, add an egg, and stir around until the yolks and whites are well dispersed in the mixture. Chopsticks tend to be a good tool to use for this. Continue to stir until thickened. Annnd...it's ready!
6. Top with some raw pieces of green onion, and enjoy! (If you were actually Asian and not CBC-ified like me, you would add small slivers of chopped ginger and ground white pepper as well.)



1 - Life in London

Yesterday, my baby blog turned a year old (despite my month-long absence). Things have been very hectic lately, and mostly because I have relocated to London (the Canadian one) to pursue further education. In celebration of my blog's anniversary and my big move, I am introducing a new in cognito segment entitled, "Life in London" where I will post about my culinary and dining adventures here in the western East! (You can follow these posts by the label.)

I have a segment from before that was called "Cardio and Cooking" which I hope to have back up and running once I start running again too. I will tentatively say that this will commence next week...tentatively. I feel the need to refurbish my blog and organize it a bit better, and will try to do so before my workload increases! We shall see what happens :)

I was actually planning to do this blog entry last night since it was my first homemade meal in my new residence, but unfortunately, I didn't have time because I had a late Skype dinner date with P.
So. Here it is!

Things I learned over the past few days about how to be overly frugal:
- Be on the lookout for free stuff, coupons, and sales ALL THE TIME.
- Compare prices between stores and find out which is the better deal. Any savings are still savings!
- Know that forks are good for whisking, mashing, and forking, so you don't need a whisk or masher if you already have a fork.
- You can cook a decent dinner for yourself with less sodium, fat, and no MSG within 30-45 minutes, so it's probably a good idea. It is also less expensive than eating outside.
- Buying packages of more rather than less is usually a better idea. Consider whether or not you can freeze the rest. If you can, it's probably a more worthwhile investment :D

My first homemade meal in my residence that wasn't leftover pizza! Yay! (I also learned that Prego tomato sauce might actually be better than Classico.)
Simple Chicken Pasta with Tomato Sauce for One (Plus toast because there was too much garlic)
1/2 chicken breast
Salt and pepper
Rosemary leaves
Canola oil
3 white mushrooms (You can actually use less if you want. I just really like mushrooms...)
1 1/2 cups Prego tomato sauce (Because I was too lazy to make my own :/)
1 cup dry penne pasta (Barilla pasta boxes are on sale at Metro for 99 cents!)
3 cloves garlic
2 slices French bread (97 cents at Superstore for a whole loaf! Freeze the rest!)

1. Bring a medium pot filled 1/3 of the way with water to a boil. Add a few drops of oil and a sprinkle of salt. Once the water is boiling, bring down to medium heat, and add your pasta. Cook for about 12 minutes or until "al dente" with the lid off.
2. Chop 3 cloves of garlic and set aside. If you don't want garlic toast, you can probably just use 1 or maybe 2.
3. Slice the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and set aside. (Now) I usually slice the mushroom in half vertically, and then flip the halves so that one side is flat on the cutting board. From there, I cut the half mushrooms into slices.
4. Cut the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. Add to a small bowl, and mix in a sprinkle of salt and pepper to your liking, along with a light drizzle of oil, and set aside.
5. In a medium pan on medium-low heat, add about 1/2 tsp of oil and swivel the pan so that it spreads. Add about a tsp of chopped garlic to the pan and stir fry until fragrant, then add chicken.
6. Stir fry the chicken until almost cooked. Add the sliced mushrooms, and cook slightly. Sprinkle some rosemary, and continue to stir fry until the chicken is cooked through.
7. After the pasta has finished cooking, transfer the pasta to a colander, and use the same pot to heat up your sauce on medium-low heat until ready.
8. Turn on your broiler. Line a small baking pan (like a pie plate) with parchment paper. Butter 2 slices of bread and place them face up on the parchment paper. Use the remaining garlic and sprinkle it evenly over the slices of bread. Place under broiler until browned and crispy on the edges, remove from the oven, and serve!
9. Assemble your dinner! Pasta, then chicken and mushrooms, then sauce. Add some Parmesan cheese on top if you prefer (and if you can afford). Parmesan cheese was not a worthwhile purchase for me since I rarely use it. :(
10. Enjoy!

With whatever time I have to myself in my lonely dorm, I will try to update and finish my draft entries from this summer! Until then, look for more updates from London!!