Category Archives: Who Am I?

The Blogging World

Three major essays for three separate classes, three articles for my school’s newspaper, tons of emails and more writings in preparation for my upcoming mid-term later…I just want to kick back and relax. So what do I do? I hitch up my Macbook and write a blog post.

This is the ultimate sign: I have to be born to be a writer. Writing is in my bones. When I’m happy, I write. When I’m angry, I write. When I’m sad, I write. I write for school, I write for the Daily, I write for personal emails, and I write for this blog. But I have to admit, writing for this blog is the highest form of entertainment for me.

That said, being a blogger comes with tons of responsibilities, both consciously and unconsciously. Here’s my personal list of blogger responsibilities:

Blogger’s Code of Responsibilities

Keeping my blog updated: this is critical for any blog. You’ve got readers, and you don’t want to spring them with a random post after two months of hiatus. I no longer post daily, but I try to at least post once every two days. That may even be too much for some of you, but you can always work up a regular schedule, and stick to it.
Responding to readers: Sometimes, readers may ask questions, or share something really personal. I don’t want to leave them hanging and disappointed. Obviously I don’t have to respond to every comment that says something simple like “Yummy!�? But if they ask specific questions, I answer back in the form of email. I don’t respond in my comment page, though, as not all readers return back to look for it.
Being sensitive to readers: Okay, I admit I may have a bit of problem here. I am super-opinionated, and I have a hard time holding back some of my views. Of course this is my blog and I can say whatever I want, but I still have the moral responsibility that people are actually going to read what I say and be affected by it. If the majority of my audience is eating disordered, I’m not going to put anything potentially triggering on my blog. Likewise, even though I’m a devout Christian, I’m not going to scream out, “You’re going to hell, you heathen!�? when I talk about my faith.
Commenting back: This is kind of ambiguous. I personally feel a bit guilty if I don’t at least “return the favor�? of commenting back to those who has blogs. Not to say I feel pressured to read your blogs – if I’m a regular commenter, it’s because I like you— but I think it is at least common courtesy to check out the commenter’s blog once.
Being wise with commenting: This actually pertains to everyone— both the readers and the bloggers. I added this because a large chunk of food bloggers have/had an eating disorder, and this blog started as an eating disorder recovery blog as well. I noticed that sometimes, when a blogger with history of ED starts to slip, nobody says anything.

For example, signs of obsessive exercise or restriction. Eating salads and yogurts for most meals? That’s not normal, nor is it healthy. I’m not saying you should condemn that person, or embarrass that person by pointing it out loud on the comment page. But commenting something like, “Wow, you eat so healthy, good job�?? Not cool. You don’t even have to say anything. You can simply stop commenting, and the blogger may take notice. Or, depending on the circumstance and your relationship with that person, you can send a sincere email with a nice reminder.

I like to think of bloggers as a community. We may not know each other personally, but we do have a relationship, and we shouldn’t be turning a blind eye to someone who is clearly in need of support or encouragement, or criticize and judge each other.
Being truthful in product reviews: Now, this is probably one of the best perks of being a blogger…the free swag! Don’t go crazy and start accepting any random samples, though. If you’re a health blogger, obviously you don’t want to be reviewing Kraft’s fat-free cheese. Also, don’t feel pressured to say a good word just to be nice. There is no Ms. Nice in reviews. There is only Ms. Trust. You’ve got to be true to your readers, because trust, once lost, is hard to gain back.

And now, it’s time for my own product review! I haven’t done many of these, but I’ve been receiving some sweet packages lately so I’ve been toiling away, munching on some yummy eats just to do a review for you guys…ah, the pains I go through for my readers! 😉

I tried them plain at first, just to see how they stand up to the other breads I’ve tried— I liked it! They’re quite substantial, none of that fluffy business, and I love how they have that slight sour aroma…just a bit of that good ol’ artisan sourdough taste. Yum!

I wish they had a bit more chew and density to them, though, but I guess these were made to be used as sandwich bread, not to eat plain. So I blasted out my George Foreman for some sweet-ass grilled sammies:

Melon, Brie, and Smoked Ham Grilled Sandwiches

2 slices Nature’s Pride 12-Grain bread
dijon mustard
thin slices of melon
4 slices of smoked ham
thick slices of brie
thin slices of red onion

Slather one side of each bread with dijon mustard. Pile in all the other ingredients and snap them shut between the bread. Grill in the hot arms of Mr. GF.
Here’s where my “strong opinion�? budges in: This sandwich is the freaking bomb!! Heavenly, mind-blowing combination!
Don’t be afraid of the melon— it’s good stuff hot with melted, creamy brie!
=”http://burpandslurp.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/img_0756.jpg”>IMG_0756 If I had prosciutto, I would have used that, but you know with my pitiful budget and all…I had to make do with good ol’ 50%-off deli ham.
IMG_0754 Come on, I know you want a bite, don’t ya?
IMG_0755 Now, stop moaning and wake yourself up for another review: Chobani Greek Yogurt.
IMG_0563 I think by now all of you already know what Chobani is, and for good reason, because this stuff is rather awesome. I have to be honest— I was rather skeptical of this brand, because it is cheaper than its competitors.
IMG_0564 But I enjoyed them tremendously, even though I don’t really like flavored yogurt— they actually stayed creamy, without being overly artificially-flavored or sweet. Just perfect!
IMG_0661 My favorite was blueberry, pineapple, and of course good ol’ plain. I didn’t like the Pomegranate much, though. Something about that gritty seeds.
IMG_0663 See how thick it is?
IMG_0664 And the little pineapple chunks…
IMG_0667 Perfect light snack!

And here’s yet another review: Nature’s Path!
IMG_0772 (From left) Crunchy Maple Sunrise cereal, Pumpkin Flaxplus Granola, Optimum Strawberry & Yogurt cereal
IMG_0773 Optimum energy bar (blueberry, flax & soy) and HempPlus Raisin granola bars

First up, the Optimum energy bar:
IMG_0775 I’m not a big fan of bars in general, but these weren’t bad. They tasted a bit like blueberry coffeecake, but a very, very, very healthy cake, if you know what I mean. I liked them okay, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy them.
IMG_0776 Next, HempPlus Raisin granola bar:
IMG_0777 Pretty sweet! Chewy, sticky, with bits of crunch. Tastewise, I wouldn’t say they’re much different from your regular Quaker granola bar…but nutrition-wise, they’re stellar with the added omega-3 fats.
IMG_0778 IMG_0779
Now that the less-enthusiastic review are out of the way, I feel ready to rave about the next three…

Crunchy Maple Sunrise cereal:
IMG_0782This is amazing!!! Holy-freaking yummilicious!Tons of different textures, not too sweet, lovely maple flavor…I think I’m addicted, because I could not stop munching and crunching on these! Oh noooooo!! What about my budget?!
IMG_0785 They were awesome in my Chobani though.

Pumpkin Flaxplus Granola
IMG_0781 These are perfect. They’re already gone. The whole bag, in my tummy, now thoroughly digested. Enough said.

Optimum Strawberry & Yogurt cereal:
IMG_0783 I’m trying to restrain myself away from this, because I want my roommate to taste this— she’ll kiss her Special K goodbye, because this is incomparably good.
IMG_0784 I did dig through and just had to fish out the crunchy yogurt bites…urgh, bad habit. Stop it, stop it!

I can’t believe I used to be so cold towards cereal. Now I dread the day I reach my last handful of these wonderful cereal.

Well, that’s all, folks. Tomorrow I’ve got another blogger meeting planned…stay tuned! 🙂

Question of the day: What do you think of my Blogger’s Code of Responsibilities? Is there anything you disagree on, or want to add on? Please share! I’m still a newbie, so I’m still learning!

My Identity Crisis

I’ve got an identity crisis. But it’s not so much that I don’t know who I am, but others don’t. Because apparently, everybody here in USC thinks I’m anything but Korean.

Now, I wouldn’t really be so bothered if the above said people were non-Asians. Not to offend anybody, but non-Asians have the tendency to lump every “almond-shaped eyes, yellow-skinned and exotic-looking Orientals” into one undistinguished group. Korean? Chinese? Vietnamese? Japanese? Why, don’t they all derive from China anyway? (I know you guys are sophisticated enough not to think that, but trust me, I’ve had ignorant fools say that to me one too many times)

No, it’s the Asians themselves who actually double over in shock—yes, shock— when I reveal that yes, indeed, I am 100% pure-blood Korean.

“No EFFING way!” One girl even screamed out, clasping her chest and causing a whole bunch of kids to turn around. I thought she was going to hyperventilate. Um, wow. I did not know my being Korean is that incredibly outrageous.

After the gasps and cries of astonishment, they continue: “So. But you’re like, half Chinese, right?”

I struggle to keep my cool. “Well, my dad is Korean. My mom is Korean. My grandparents and great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents were all Korean. I was born in Korea. You could say I am a purely-bred Korean.”

They still look suspicious. They don’t relent: “But you don’t look Korean. And you’re kind of skinny.”

Oh. Em. Gi!!!! What the freaking hell?

I can’t go on anymore. I might burst a blood vessel.

Anyway, perhaps it’s the abdominal questioning of my mother country that has spurred me to go crazy with the Korean influence on my food. But I’ve been having mad cravings for the quintessential Korean ingredient, gochujang, for the past few days.

I hope by now you already know what gochujang is… It’s this red fellow here. The Korean red pepper paste that is ubiquitous in pretty much any Korean dish. It’s really versatile, and all you need is a pinch of creativity. Let me prove my point…

I actually have pretty much been using this same marinade/sauce to spice up my dishes:

Gochujang-PB sauce

1 tablespoon gochujang
1-2 tablespoon soy sauce (to taste)
1-2 tablespoon peanut butter
enough chicken broth to thin it out to your desired consistency

Mix. Pretty straight-forward and easy.

Here are the dishes I created with this incredible sauce:

Dish #1: Spiced-Up Frittata

garlic, minced
onions, diced
shitake mushrooms, diced
chicken, diced
gochujang-PB sauce
2 eggs, beaten together with a bit of milk
goat cheese
green onion, chopped

Stir-fry the first three ingredients until slightly soft, then add in the chicken and the gochujang-PB sauce and stir-fry until cooked through.

Pour in the egg mixture, cook for a bit over low heat until the bottom is slightly set. Sprinlle on the goat cheese and green onion.

Cook in a 350 degree oven until the top is set. DIG IN!
Pretty simple, basic frittata. But over the top with the gochujang-PB sauce!

I pretty much just cut into it and dug in like pizza. I forgot the carbohydrate part, though, and got kinda gassy later…Thank god I was done with classes for the day! (Ok, TMI…but case in point: Do NOT forget the starch! Very very important if you wanna have a social life!)

Dish #2: Grilled Vegetable Salad

roasted kabocha, sliced
summer squash, sliced
green bell pepper, chopped into rough pieces
red onion, roughly chopped
shitake mushroom, left whole
pickles
gochujang-PB sauce
Parmesan cheese, grated
green onions, chopped
Avocado cream

I had to resort to my trusty George Foreman for this. It took a long time to grill every vegetable though…Mr. GF was small!

So basically, just grill every vegetable, even the pickle (trust me, it’s freaking good). Then toss them into a bowl, drizzle as much of the gochujang-PB sauce over, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and green onions. Add a dollop of avocado cream. And you’re done!
The cool, creamy avocado cream…
Lovely grilled summer squash (I like it al dente)…
Juicy, plump and meaty shitake mushroom…
Crunchy, sweet bell pepper that took forever to grill…
Kabocha that just about brightens any dish…
Pickle that may seem random but adds a burst of sweet-sour flavor in your mouth…
One perfect lovely bite!

Have I convinced you to try my gochujang-PB sauce yet? No? Okay, here’s another one…

Dish #3: Summer Stir-Fry with Runny Egg

You didn’t think I’d end this without a runny egg, did you? That might just be my trademark! 😉

This was basically the same recipe as the fabulous concoction I told you about here…The one that got me totally addicted.
Instead of the balsamic vinegar I used the gochujang-PB sauce and a squeeze of fresh lime juice to cook the vegetables. I didn’t have andouille sausage, so I just used plain regular hotdogs…don’t judge, I’m a poor college student and the big pack was 50% off! >.< I forgot to buy vinegar so I couldn’t make poached eggs, but a runny fried egg worked just as well! As long as the yolk flows, anything goes! (Eep. That was corny…) Hmm…You know what? Those kids who couldn’t believe I’m Korean might just have a point…Notice that though I used the authentic Korean ingredient, none of my dishes were really truly Korean…. What are they then? I don’t know…but they tasted mighty good! A total mumble jumble of different cuisines and styles, but I suppose that’s what I really am. I don’t have a single ethnicity. I may be born in Korea and be a Korean citizen, but I’ve been exposed to so many different cultures as a missionary kid. I blend in perfectly with the Chinese people, but also feel incredibly comfortable with Koreans. I don’t feel the least bit out of place with Caucasians or African-Americans or Latin-Americans, either. So you know what? I embrace my multi-cultural self. So there. I don’t look Korean? Fine. As long as I can blend in with any group of people and be myself and be comfortable, who cares? Question of the day: Ever had the same issue in which people tell you that you don’t look like who you are? (Be it race, age, or god forbid, sex)

My Hair is a Mess

Yes, you heard me right— Praise God, thank the Lord, sing Hallelujah my hair is a mess! Am I crazy, you ask? Well, I’m crazy-ecstatic that I actually have the hair to call my hair a mess!

One of the many unattractive physical repercussions of anorexia (including osteoporosis, sunken dull eyes, dry sallow skin, popping veins, deflated chest, guitar-ribs, multiple organ failures, irregular heartbeat, etc) is hair loss. To me this is one of the worst symptoms, because though I’d always been self-deprecatory towards most of my physical features, I had always been damn proud of my hair. They were long, shiny, soft and straight, and I loved putting them up in different styles with beautiful pins and clasps and barrettes.

But now…four years into this ED, I have lost 70% of my hair, and because of the lack of nutrition, they are no longer straight and vibrant, but frizzy and dull. Simply put, my head is now scarcely covered with wispy fried hair and there are enough patches of bald scalp to make any balding old man feel better about himself. Take that, Hollywood! Glamorous disease, anorexia is not!

But anyway, I was trying to tie the remaining miserable strands of lifeless hair into a ponytail, when no matter how much I tried to smooth my hair down, there were still random tufts of hair sticking out. I zoomed in into the mirror and on a closer look, discovered that they were new tufts of hair!!! WHOOOPPPEEEEEEEEEEE~~~~!!!!

So, yeah, I’ve been pretty much skipping about everywhere announcing the birth of my new hair, and even though there are these random short pieces of hair sticking out of my head like a porcupine, I can’t help grinning idiotically whenever I see them.

But other than just plain vanity, I am super-glad to see my head growing new hair again because it’s solid evidence that I am finally getting the nutrition I need! My body is recovering, it is healing, it is at last renewing itself! HIP HIP HURRAH for recovery! This just invigorates me with fresh motivation and hope!

Heh, sorry for going all excited and hyper about it, but I just wanted to share some good news, and also at the same time reassure all the other ED-recoverers out there that your body will absolutely restore its previous health and beauty as long as you give it the proper treatment it needs. You only get this one body in life, and all responsibility to take good care of it is yours. So keep on pampering it, everyone!

Okay, enough babbling, time for today’s eats.

Met some friends today, and because we liked it so much the last time we went there, we went to Shokudo Japanese Street Food Market again, but this time the one in Raffles City Shopping Centre.

I ordered the omelet again (I know, I know, but why mess with the top customer favorites?), but this time with salmon and onions as the filling:

We sat right below the air-conditioner, so my bonito flakes were actually dancing as I took the photo! Kind of creepy, like they were live dancing creatures or something…

But this was damn good! The best out of all the other omelet fillings I’ve tried. Here’s my ranking so far:

Salmon and Onions
Unagi
Mushroom and cheese
Asparagus and cheese

I usually hate mayonnaise, but this Japanese mayonnaise they drizzle on top with okonomiyaki sauce is so yummy I could probably just lick it plain…

My friend ordered rosti with sausage and fried egg:

Crunchy, crispy, yet tender and still piping-hot! Here’s another close look into the rosti:

I wish I had the proper equipment to be able to grate my potatoes into those thin long noodles too! Think of all the fun dishes I can create…where can I get this equipment? Gotta put it in my birthday list. Haha!

Upon returning home, I picked up another old favorite:

Perfect starter to a nice afternoon nap!

Right, time for question of the day: Which of your physical features are you most vain/proud of? Why?

Well, that’s it for today, I’m off to have my dinner of Eggplasta Pudding and go obsess over my new hair some more!

Hello fellow bloggers

A BIG FAT shout out to all you wonderful bloggers out there who left such sweet comments to my last post! Thank you so much for your uplifting and encouraging words. Each and every single one of them made me smile so much, by the end of the day I had a permanent ache in my cheeks!

Oh, and a BIG high-five to all of you other burpers out there! Glad I’m not the only one. Sure it may not be great social etiquette, but if I’m gonna be gassy, I’d rather it be out my mouth than out my ass, if you know what I mean. And for the others who just absolutely cannot burp, I am sorry. My condolences. I know how much you want to burp. But we can’t have it all.

I think it’s really becoming a habit. I always have a “Mix-it-up” bowl one day, then a soufflé-omelet the other. They are two very different dishes: the “Mix-it-up” bowl is fast and simple, while the soufflé-omelet is a tad bit more labor-intensive. But both are so incredibly good and perfect for using up leftovers, so I can’t help gravitating towards these two same basic concepts for my lunches.

Thus, following my Miso Pilaf the day before, of course I had to have another variation of my soufflé-omelet the next day. I had several things in the fridge I needed to clear up: cheddar cheese, beans, roasted winter squash, mango, pineapple, tomato. I decided to combine them all together to make some kind of Tropical/Mexican filling for the omelet. These are the ingredients that went into it:

Trop-Mex Filling

1 clove garlic
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup green bell peppers, chopped
1/3 cup black beans
1/3 cup roasted winter squash, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
few spoonfuls of tomato sauce
some chopped mango
some chopped pineapple
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
spritz of juice from 1/2 small lime

First I sautéed the garlic and onion until fragrant and soft, then tossed in the tomato and bell peppers. As the tomato started to release its juices, I threw in the beans, winter squash, and cumin and stir-fried them for awhile. I dribbled in some tomato sauce as the mixture started looking kinda dry. Then I transferred the mixture into a bowl and stirred in the mango and pineapple and cilantro. Lastly, a squeeze of lime juice and ta-da~!

Lovely Trop-Mex filling, all ready to be stuffed into an omelet! The winter squash lost its shape in the heat and became some sort of paste that bound all the items together, which worked out perfect for me. I think this would also be really great as a dip.

I made the soufflé-omelet as usual, plopped in the filling, and added about 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. Mmm! What is an omelet without cheese? I can’t believe I used to only purchase fat-free processed cheese! *Shudder*

I think I have finally perfected the art of making a soufflé-omelet. The secret is to cook this over a really low temperature, covered so the bottom does not burn before the top can set. A broiler would work just as well, but I don’t have one, nor do I have an oven-proof skillet.

This was an awesome combination of flavors. I loved the sweet bursts of juices from the mango and pineapple with the smokiness of the cumin-flavored beans and winter squash. The cilantro and lime juice added the last final touch to really make all the flavors pop.

You want a hunk of that, don’t ya?

Come on, what’s stopping you? Grab a fork!

This was incredibly tasty, but I have to admit it paled in comparison to what I had for lunch today! As you know I eat out with family every Saturday, but this time an amusing little sister decided to join our weekly lunch date…Her treat! I remembered what she once told me: “I have quite a lot of money, but I don’t know where to use it! I live with my parents so I don’t have to pay for rent, living expenses, or groceries, so I’ve got quite a lot saved up! I feel kind of guilty having so much money though…” Well, never fear! I took it as my deed of charity of the day to help her spend some of that money 😉

We went to this place specializing in crepes called Out of the Pan. It was sort of an outdoor-indoor cafe, meaning the restaurant was right smack in open space in the middle of the shopping mall with no walls. Here’s a snapshot of how it looks like:

There’s a fountain next to it that sends refreshing bursts of water shooting up. The kitchen is also open for everyone to watch the cooks prepare their meals. Very cool.

My mouth started watering as I perused the menu:

There were so many tasty choices, my head was spinning! After lots of deep, serious consideration, I finally decided to order the Norwegian Salmon, which is described as: “Smoked Salmon with creamy pistachio cheese & Plantation chutney.” I ordered it wrapped in a whole wheat crepe, and it came out like this:

She ordered the Peking Duck wrapped in sun-dried tomato crepe:

“Roasted Duck with sambal olek, lychees, and sweet dark sauce.”

She ordered the Beef and Bell Peppers, also wrapped with sun-dried tomato crepe:

I’m not sure exactly what went in this, but it was basically marinated and roasted beef and bell peppers, with some kind of yogurt sauce.

She ordered Korean Pulled Pork BBQ in sun-dried tomato crepe:

”Pulled pork grilled in spicy Korean BBQ marinade and kimchi.”

I can’t believe this is the first time I tried crepes. They were so freaking delicious, I had to control myself from moaning with each bite. We all shared our dishes, but I still thought mine was the best. I love cheese, I love salmon, and I love pistachios, so what was there not to love about this?

The smoked salmon tasted fresh, and it was perfect with the creamy, slightly sweet yet tangy pistachio cheese.

We also ordered a side dish of potato salad, but I was too absorbed with my main dish:

I was stuffed after finishing this whole plate, but in a good, satisfying way. I love crepes in that they are so refreshing and light, yet so comfortably filling.

I wonder if I can find any good creperies in America? I’m sure there are many, I just have never heard of one yet. Any recommendations? Damn, if I just had the money, I would frequent this place so often I’d be chummies with all the staff here. But then, I probably can recreate this dish at home pretty easily. Hmmm…..

Q & A time again!

I’m sad, people! I only received one question this time…*Tear. But that’s okay, because I’m gonna make this into a weekly thing, so you can ask questions anytime! Here’s the solo reader-question of the day:

“When/why did you start doing mix it up bowls? How did you come up with the idea? Do you remember your first bowl? If so, what was it?”

My answer:

Great question, Lexi! I’m so glad you asked.

Like most of my other creations, I first thought up of “Mix-it-up” bowls starting from an ingredient I wanted to try: pearled barley. As most of you know I’m trying to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself with new ingredients, especially grains, which I have always avoided because of my fear of carbs.

Anyway, I used it as an interesting substitute for pasta in my Barley alla Carbonara, and after that I had tons of leftover barley! I had no idea how to use pearled barley in a dish, having never had tried it before except in soups. But I thought it was sort of like a plumped-up, chewier version of rice, so I began thinking of how I might use rice in my cooking. The result was my first ever “Mix-it-up” bowl, Beans-and-squash Barley Pilaf with Coconut.

It was so fast and easy and delicious, and I could see this as a solution to using up leftovers, perfect for one-person meals, and also great for busy cooks! I wanted to share this with others in a way so that they did not need to refer to a rigid recipe and can adjust it to their own personal taste, so I broke it down into simple components, making it open for all sorts of creative variations!

Of course, I became my own biggest fan and have been coming up with many different versions of this dish. I actually wrote out a whole list of ideas I want to try, and am ticking each one of as I go! So far, I have not had any disappointments. They were all fabulous in their own way!

I did make a few personal changes to my basic “Mix-it-up” bowl recipe, though. I liked the combination of barley, beans, and winter squash so much that they became my base component instead of just barley. But the sky’s the limit here, so you can use any of your favorite grain.

Enough with self-advertising. I would be so happy if you guys tried it out for yourself, and share your creation with me! I am always open to new ideas and suggestions. If I make it to 50 different variations of this “Mix-it-up” bowl, I’m gonna have to call for a celebration, so please help me make it happen!

—————————————————————————————–

And now, my dear blogger-friends, I’m gonna leave you with this totally unrelated question of the day: What is your favorite TV show (excluding reality TV)?

Mine is: Gilmore Girls, woo-hoo!! Gotta love those mother-daugther fast and witty glibs and banters. But Gossip Girl, Ugly Betty, Lost, Heroes, and Grey’s Anatomy come a close second.

It’s the weekends, guys! Have a great relaxing, delicious weekend! And thanks once again for you lovely comments! You guys ROCK my SOCKS!

Fighting Back

Thank you, every one of you who left me a comment sharing my joy of new hair with me! I know it seems like a trivial, vanity thing, but it’s really sort of a sign for me that I am finally taking care of my body. So it means a lot to me to share this with you!

You know, anorexia is a horrible, treacherous disease. It sneaks up on you and wraps its arm around your shoulder like a friend at first, but then before you know it, it has opened up its jaws to swallow you up whole. The thing is, it would be so nice if that was the end of it. Instead, anorexia is like a crocodile. It doesn’t just rip you apart, it holds on to you with its deathly grip, stifling you, drowning you, starving you and leaving you to die a slow, painful death, then waiting until your body rots to a soft pulp before finally eating you up.

This is the worst thing about anorexia. You’re dying, but in a slow, dragged out process. You waste away, both mentally and physically, entrapped between the clutches of this inescapable illness, while you watch it rob every single thing away from you: your beauty, your social life, your hobbies, your personality, your integrity, your emotions, your happiness. Meanwhile, your family and friends can do nothing but gape at you in despair and quiet desperation.

Even now, as I am trying to recover from anorexia, I still have to fight off many of the old anorexic thoughts, fears, anxieties, and habits, which are seriously, in the eyes of a normal person, utterly stupid and ridiculous and unreasonable, but which are so physically painful and real to me. Some people say it never goes away, that even if you somehow manage to escape from its jaws, you still bear the scars for the rest of your life.

But I disagree. I believe complete healing is possible, for nothing is impossible for the Lord in whom I put my faith and trust. But I do know it is not to be overcome in one day, but a daily progress. Day by day, step by step, amidst both failures and victories, I know anorexia can be conquered. The worst thing to do is to disbelieve, to doubt and to despair and give up. Each day has enough troubles on its own, and I aim to live and enjoy each day to the best it can possibly be even in the process of this exhausting recovery.

And one of the ways to enjoy each day is…to eat good food, of course! Haha, sorry for dumping all that deadpan, weighty issues on you, but I just wanted to get this little itch off my chest. So far I’ve only been referring to my ED vaguely, but I think I should share a bit deeper occasionally as this blog is another tool for me to recover anorexia after all. So…ready for today’s delicious eats?

Today’s lunch should really be described with silence. Because I seriously thought I had died and gone to heaven, it was that good. The cause of today’s mouthgasm? Monte Cristo sandwich. Here’s how I prepared it:

I made a sandwich out of two slices of whole wheat bread, four slices of smoked ham, two slices of cheddar cheese, and a few slices of tomatoes. Then the part that makes it a Monte Cristo: I whipped together 1 whole egg, 1 egg white, 1/4 cup almond milk, drop of vanilla extract, cinnamon, dash of salt. Then I dunked the whole sandwich into this wet mixture and left it there to sit until it soaked up all the liquid. Then I heat up a skillet, sprayed it with PAM, and cooked up the sandwich until brown on both sides and smelling like heaven. With a drizzle of maple syrup:

Oh…my…freaking…God this was sososososososososososo good! Seriously, my eyes were popping and the syrup was dripping all over my shirt, but how could I be bothered when I shared the same fantastic smell as this amazing sandwich?

I loved how the bread soaked up the sweet syrup! I really love the play of the sweet and the savory…This had all the sweetness and comfort of french toast and pancakes, and also the substantiality and saltiness of a good ham and cheese sandwich.

Here’s the cross-section, for your drooling pleasure:

I was very sad when I reached the last yummy bite…

I also had a plate of celery, carrot, and cucumbers on the side to cleanse my mouth, with some homemade ketchup:

And for afternoon snack, another pair matched in heaven:

Mr. peanut pancake and Ms. cheese pancake got married, had their wedding in my mouth, and are now (a-hem) celebrating their matrimony in my stomach.

Oh, and I baked today! My Penang friend is leaving Thursday, so I baked pumpkin crumble bars for her:

Sweet salty and refreshing

Did I mention that I had begun writing about my experience in anorexia? Well, reflecting back each memory, meditating on it, and writing it down have so far been incredibly therapeutic and beneficial to me. Especially since I am taking a step back to view each section of my ED struggle as part of a larger and broader context, I found myself…viewing things in a different perception, with deeper insight.

I don’t need to reiterate how awful and abhorrent eating disorder is. Anyone who takes a look at my sallow complexion, my jutting cheekbones, and my thinning, flat hair can tell how undesirable this disease is. And have you ever met a happy anorexic? That two words are an oxymoron in itself. Most likely you wouldn’t even really notice an anorexic person (unless she/he is really painfully emaciated) because she/he would have withdrawn herself from all social circles. You never almost see a smiling anorexic unless 1) She’s smiling for the camera, “say cheese~” or 2) She met her calorie restriction goals for the day. Hell, it was only until recently as I laughed out loud with my friends that it hit me that I had not laughed that freely for years. Strike that – I had not laughed for years, period.

Yes, anorexia is definitely loathsome, unattractive, and abominable. But you know what? If given the chance to change things, I would still opt to leave things the way they are now.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re starting into the screen, jaw dropped in aghast, thinking, Oh, no, poor her has finally lost it, all those excessive amount of eggs must have finally made her loony! But hear me out.

I believe nothing is coincidental. Everything happens for a reason, everything is under God’s control, and that there are many things which we humans with our third-dimension minds cannot ever understand in God’s grander scheme of plan. So yes, I do believe there is a reason why God let me go through all the struggles and pain of an eating disorder. For despite all the unpleasant consequences of it, it has also brought me tons of blessings. In a way, my eating disorder is a blessing in disguise. Let me just list out a few things I gained from ED:

I have gotten closer to God. I have realized how utterly weak and helpless I am without Him, and how much I need Him.
My relationship with my parents have gotten so much closer and intimate. I love them more than ever, and they understand and empathize me more.
I realized how incredibly loved and blessed I am. All the care and concern and love showered on me by my friends and family, their constant encouragements and comforts have touched me so much that I have totally changed the way I view my relationships.
I am unable to judge and look down on others now. I used to be arrogant and judgmental, but after realizing my own weaknesses and inabilities, I am no longer able to judge other for their own flaws and imperfections.
I have discovered the absolute importance of health. You can have an IQ of Einstein, but if you don’t have a healthy body to effectively use your brain and knowledge, what’s the use? God gave me responsibility over this body, and I tend to treat it well and make full use of its potential!
I used to be the most self-absorbed bitch. Okay, I can still be pretty selfish, but I am starting to care and commiserate with others more. In fact, I now have a life mission: to be healed completely from this mental disorder, and so be able to help many other people who went through similar struggles as me.

These are just a few of the many blessings I have received from my eating disorder. Yes, even with the worst situation, you can always find a few positive things out of it. You know why I love foods with the sweet and salty combination? Because if it’s just all sweet, it becomes sickening and saccharine after the first few bites, and if it’s just all salty, well, it’s just unbearable. But combine the two together, and you’ve got yourself the perfect blend…something interesting, something adventurous, something different, something satisfying. Same so with life.

I’m going all preachy again, but just wanted to suggest to you that no matter how bad your situation seems to be right now, as long as you are willing to search with a positive mind, you can always discover the silver lining in the stormy cloud. Remember that saying, What doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger? So true.

Right. Have I bored you to tears yet? On to the lighter and tastier part of this post…The eats!

I’m so excited to share today’s lunch with you, because it’s the first time I cooked a meal with beans! I have always been wanting to give beans a try, given that it’s a nutrition powerhouse with complex carbohydrates and great protein. Plus, it’s dirt cheap! But for the most messed up reason, I was also quite reluctant because 1) ED thinks it’s too starchy and calorie-dense and 2) I felt pretty sure I would be disappointed with it. I’ve never been a bean-lover, so what makes me think I’ll like them now?

But for the sake of variety, and because I’ve been noticing in blogs how many people seem to enjoy beans, I bit back my hesitation and bought a small bag of dried black beans. I soaked them overnight and started brainstorming.

I didn’t want the familiar, usual bean dishes like black bean soup or bean salads. I wanted something a tad bit different, something that…well, spelled my name all over it. So of course I started playing around with ideas of breakfast…sweet…salty…By the next morning (today), I came up with: Black bean and Pumpkin Pancakes with Coconut.

I cooked the soaked overnight beans until tender, seasoned them with salt, then pureed half a cup of the cooked black beans with half a cup of pumpkin, some vanilla and cinnamon into a thick, creamy consistency. Then I added about a couple tablespoonfuls of whole beans to the puree, just for a mix of texture. I divided the mixture into two and rolled them into balls:

Then I flattened them into pancakes, and pan-fried them over a hot skillet until crispy on the outside. For the grand finale, a generous drizzle of maple syrup and showers of coconut snow:

Does that look amazing or what? The interplay of fragrances from the pumpkin, the cinnamon, the black beans, the syrup and the coconut…Oh glorious beans, how could I ever have doubted your brilliance? I am really liking beans now. I still have a lot of leftovers left though. Anyone have any suggestions on how to prepare them?

These pancakes were both sweet and savory and I loved the hidden crunch of the whole beans amidst the creamy pumpkin/black bean puree. The coconut added a whole new tropical depth to the dish.

Actually, these are not your average pancakes. There are no fluffiness or lightness in these cakes; in fact they are really dense and rich. Maybe more like a burger, but I’m calling them pancakes because that sounds more appealing to me. Hey, I created it, I name it. And I want them to be pancakes. So there.

I munched messily on my pancakes with a crunchy, refreshing side of carrots, cucumbers, and celery with a dollop of homemade ketchup:

Now, a couple of you asked why my cheese pancakes for afternoon snack were green. Well, they’ve always been green, but I guess you couldn’t see that because the exterior crust is nicely browned. But the batter is really green, because it’s flavored with pandan. Pandan is some sort of very frangrant plant used to flavor a lot of Southeast Asian dishes. Add that to your list of foods to try.

So here’s today’s afternoon snack:

And just to show you how the insides are green:

You can’t really taste the pandan that clearly, but I just love the fact that these pancakes are green. Green makes everything cooler. And these pancakes are certainly oh-so-cool.

Yay, long post finished. I enjoy writing each of my posts, but hope you have as much pleasure reading them as I do from writing them! And here’s today’s question of the day: Have you ever had something really bad happen to you, but later in reflection discover that there were some good to it too?