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Bentos for Cherry Blossom Hanami (32-35)

25 Apr

I finally got to go to see the cherry blossoms at Brooklyn Botanical Garden! The weather was perfect for spending the day out among the flowers. It was a little late for the cherry blossoms, they were past their prime as you can see by all the green leaves. If I had a chance to go last week it would have been prettier but it was raining and I was busy. The flowers were falling all over the place though so it was really pretty sitting under the trees. Unfortunately it was crowded and everyone kept yanking on the branches to shake the flowers down. It really sucks for the Matsuri festival next week because I don’t know if there will be any flowers left on the trees by then! People yanking really hard on the trees annoyed me.. it’s okay to tap it but don’t freaking yank it so it BLIZZARDS flowers on you! You’re ruining it for everyone else!! Ranting aside.. it was a gorgeous day out with friends. =D I’m so grateful my friends got to join me. At the end of the day we made pink mochi to celebrate too but the pictures came out pretty glaringly pink. So tasty!

I’m counting the bento boxes as #32-35 because I made four boxes.

Bigger boxes (2 of these boxes)

Boxes all had: salmon flavored sakura onigiri, miso chicken, tamagoyaki (egg rolls), roasted herbed teeny potatoes, cherry tomatoes, orange slice, grapes.

Eating on grass makes it yummier (2 of these boxes)

Then we went to Blue Marble Ice Cream nearby for a creamy sweet treat. Cute doggie!

Organic blackberries and cream / dulce de leche.

And some pics of the blossoms! If you’re friends with me on facebook, I posted more pictures there.. lots of tulips too!

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Greenery update

22 Apr

I felt like I haven’t updated in a long time! I’ve been so busy with school work that I completely abandoned all willpower to eat healthy.  Bento challenge-wise, this was a horrible month to do it. Hah! Not that May would have been better due to finals. I didn’t pack meals, cooking was haphazardous: throwing foods together just to have something to eat while struggling to finish assignments. I ran to class yesterday without dinner so I ended up having 3/4 of a scallion cream cheese sesame bagel, a big oatmeal raisin cookie (rip off at $2.25), a can of grass jelly drink, bowl of rice pudding and 2 bites of Chinese greens. Fail.

Gorgeous baby cilantro and basil

My baby plantlings are shooting up. I had to share pictures because they’re gorgeous. They’re starting to outgrow the tray so I really should transfer them soon but I’m so scared of the chilly nights killing them. I will at least move them to bigger pots today.

Green!

I’m moving to California for the summer. While I’m there, I won’t be able to care for these plants. That makes me sad. My mom will care for them and eat the produce but I don’t get to enjoy them. I wish I could bring them with me to Cali. You learn so much from doing things yourself. I’m going to miss out on learning how they look at different stages and how to prune these guys. Good thing about Cali is that there are literally farmers markets everywhere you turn, especially in SF. The Ferry Building Market is such an awesome place for foodies. Plus, when I move there, I’m going to sign up for a CSA! CSA = community shared agriculture if you’ve never heard of it before. Basically, you “subscribe” to a farm and get to pick up a box of fresh vegetables weekly or biweekly. You don’t get to choose which veggies because it’s whatever they picked for that week but it’s usually a good mix of stuff. So far, Two Small Farms seems like the most convenient choice. My only concern is finishing the box of veggies with only 2 people. We might have to find someone to share the box with. I’m so excited!!

bean stalk

And for fun, this is what Bella does when she goes outside. She doesn’t have her leash on but I was supervising and she seems to not want to run away.

Plants upgrade to bigger pots

9 Apr

Slowly growing up.

Procrastinating by randomly updating you about my plant babies. I thought that some of the seedlings were outgrowing their tiny pots so I moved some of the larger ones. I didn’t want the roots to twist together making it impossible to divide them. I stopped using the indoor lights since the cover didn’t fit anymore and instead put them outside every day since the sun is going strong. They seem to be growing slower. Maybe I’m just being impatient? I transferred three of the tomatoes but they had almost no roots! I’m hoping they’ll grow faster soon. I plan on moving to California for the summer so it’s sad because I won’t be able to enjoy the bounty from the garden. I guess my family will reap the benefits.. but I’m going to really miss being able to enjoy the veggies and tend to it as it grows.

The three pots from the left are cucumbers, followed by tomatoes and the last two being green beans. Did not have any success growing cucumbers or beans last year so this looks more promising. I need to figure out some sort of trellis for the cucumbers to climb.

Bento 28 and Garden Update

5 Apr

The bento challenge is going pretty well.  I have a meatloaf bento stashed in the fridge which I will transfer to the freezer soon. I haven’t eaten anything past 9pm since the challenge though I will kind of break that today by having some hot chocolate later.. not really breaking anything considering I had class today and didn’t get home till after 9pm to begin with.  The meatloaf recipe as well as the earl grey tea muffins I made were new recipes so that’s meeting another challenge.

The seedlings have been growing nicely.  Some plants didn’t grow yet so perhaps those seeds are dead.  Seems like the tomato seeds from Campbell’s tomato soup and my pepper seeds from last season have not sprouted yet.  The bean plants grew like crazy so I had to transfer them to a bigger pot already.  I’ve been putting everything outside during the day to get some nutritious sunlight and supplementing with artificial lights while they’re inside.

They're growing!

I am reminded of this scene in my favorite Miyazaki film, My Neighbor Totoro. I could only find it in Russian(?) but it doesn’t really matter. Skip ahead to 40 seconds. I wish I could do that to my plants!

Spring is here and I celebrate by splurging on my favorite flowers.  I spent a good 10-15 minutes at the plant store because I never knew there were so many variations of hyacinths.  They were not labeled as being different but you can tell by the flower shapes, petals and most importantly, their scent!  They all smelled slightly different, which is pretty amazing to me.  Even though these pink ones were not in the best shape, they smelled the most familiar to me as what hyacinths should smell like so I got a pot of those.  When the flowers die, I will plant it in my front garden so it’ll regrow every spring.

Smells heavenly.

Here is my bento for class today.  This was a good bento because it didn’t smell and I could easily eat it without people looking at my strange food.

Ham sandwich with lettuce, tomato, mayo on wheat Italian bread. Strawberries, crimson raisins, earl grey tea muffin.

And here’s a picture of Bella enjoying the sun outside.  They love to roll around on the warm floor! Horrible for me because they pick up so much dust that I have to wipe off before they’re allowed inside again.  She’s leashed because I’m afraid they’ll run away.. cats don’t follow commands well.  Ringo got her chance after Bella returned inside.  I only have one harness and leash unfortunately.

Bella enjoying the sun outside!

Seedlings

27 Mar

I decided to try and plant seeds this year considering I’ve been amassing a bunch of seeds from swaps and from last years bounty. I know NOTHING about starting from seeds because I bought baby plants for the the last two years I’ve had my garden. I’m trying to read up online about it but there’s so much information out there that I’m not sure what to do. I’m afraid I may have planted too early, especially for tomatoes, since the danger of frost is still possible by transfer time (late April/early May?)

seedlings materials
Materials minus the seeds from Indoor Outdoor Gardener near me. 50 pot tray, hole-less bottom tray, cover, and seed starter was $11.62.

watering
Wetting the mix. People recommend bottom watering? No idea if it’ll work with seeds considering they don’t have roots yet. It’s meant to protect the leaves/stems from excess dampness. I will switch once they appear.

seedlings planted
Set-up completed for the time being. I read that seeds need the soil to be warm for best results. If I had my rope lights from college instead of selling it at a yard sale I would have the perfect warming mechanism!!! Grr!! Why did I do that?! I will see if I can set up some lights above it since I have nowhere indoors that has enough sunlight for these guys.

I also never tested the germination capabilities so I have no idea if the seeds will even grow. I planted a lot of tomatoes (big and small), peppers (oh crap.. just realized they were bell peppers, not jalapenos like I wanted!), eggplant, sunflowers (my brother’s request), cucumbers, beans, a lot of basil, thyme, cilantro, parsley, chives, marigolds (to keep mosquitoes away), and other stuff I can’t remember right now. So, we’ll see what happens! Hopefully I’m not doomed to failure. At least everything I bought is re-usable. Follow along! Give me advice!

Simple cake + kitten bed!

20 Nov

Haven’t been keeping up with you blog.. lacking in motivation at this point in life.

I made a really simple cake using a recipe called Edna Lewis’s Busy-Day Cake. I found it on Orangette’s site and it’s quite delicious.
rustic cake
Very easy to make and so satisfying. Just make sure the butter, eggs, and milk are room temperature. This recipe can be made without an electric mixer.
rustic cake slice

I got kittens! They’re about 2 months old – we don’t know for sure because they’re strays we found in an abandoned garage in our community driveway. We kinda call the cats all different names.. their official names are Isaella (gray female) and Ringo (black male).. official meaning vet’s office. But we also call Isabella – Bella, Milky, and a Chinese name meaning Lucky. Ringo is also known as Blacky, Edward, and a Chinese name meaning Happy.

I could not find the bed on sale at CVS because they never stock anything.. horrible customer service. So I made one using this lovely tutorial by lorie marie. As you can see mine is a rectangle. Only problem is that the kittens do NOT sleep in it at night. I guess it’s too cold in that area.. =( They hid behind the refrigerator!! Eww.. it’s so dirty back there.. and we can’t reach them to get them out. Once we blocked off access to the fridge, they found a new place to sleep. Under the couch. I think it’s because there’s a warm spot on the floor under the couch. Oh well, at least they nap in the bed during the day. =^_^=

new bed 2

Oh and my betta fish (Twitchy) passed this morning. RIP Twitchy. I had just moved my three neon tetras into the 30 gallon tank along with two new neons the day before. I cleaned out Twitchy’s 10 gallon and now there are two rosy red minnows in there. They’re so pretty.. to me at least.

minnows2

Pictures from Cornell/Ithaca

13 Nov

I visited my friends for a week so here are some random pictures of Cornell, a hepatitis B virus I hand sewed and a yummy red bean and cream Korean pastry fish I ate.

Top of the slope facing Barnes Hall.
slope top CIMG4985

Ho Plaza from the clock tower.
ho plaza CIMG4996

Barnes Hall from the clock tower.
barnes hall CIMG4995

Arts quad from the clock tower.
arts quad CIMG4992

The back of the chimes with Amanda hiding in the background.
chimes CIMG4997

Red tree along East Ave (near Uris Hall).
red tree CIMG4999

Cayuga lake from top of Libe slope.
cayuga lake2 CIMG4991

Fleece hepatitis B virus I made for B-Aware/Team HBV. Prototype II.
virus closeup CIMG5004

Fish shaped frozen pastry with red bean and cream inside. So sweet!
fish dessert 2 CIMG5002

fish dessert CIMG5001