Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Good bye, my darlings!

Tonight was the first time I went dancing at Zanzibar after quitting rueda practices. I was slightly apprehensive that my regular dancing partners might have forgotten me, but the night turned out just fine! Quite a few guys were happy to see me back and told me not to go away for such long periods of time. One even said he thought I eloped and gotten married (as if!).

Sadly, my salsa shoes did not make it to Zanzibar with me. They have served their time, and I now have to find a replacement. I've had the shoes for at least 3 years and they have traveled with me to Puerto Rico, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Philadelphia and New York....great spins and great memories.

Maybe it's time I finally invest in real salsa shoes?

If it kills roses, how good is it for me?

Stacey taught me that adding a packet of sugar prolongs the life of roses. I then read the same advice in my beloved Real Simple. When I was out of sugar on Monday, I decided to add a packet of Sweet'N Low to my roses instead.

Who knows if the quality of the roses wasn't up to standard, or the water wasn't clean enough, but my roses wilted after one day! Perhaps it was Sweet'N Low??

It leaves me wondering: if Sweet'N Low kills roses, what is it doing to my body? But all this wondering is not enough for me to stop drinking Diet Pepsi, to huge disappointment of Robyn Webb.

Monday, February 25, 2008

What a treat!

Last Wednesday Wendy took me to Grand Mart, and I bought La Yogurt Sabor Latino in Mango flavor. I've never seen it at my local Harris Teeter and was eager to try it.

...but first, I saw that 6 oz has 170 calories, 15 calories from fat, and 33 grams of sugar: wow!

But, it was oh so worth it!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sadness: Russians did not win

This Saturday, Paige and I went to see a screening of animated shorts and action shorts nominated for Oscars. Opportunities like this one always remind me of how lucky I am to live in DC (and it was free).

Alas, the Russian animated short, My Love, did not win. But it was absolutely beautiful and enchanting. Unfortunately, whoever translated it, did a poor job. Wonder how I could get into that business!

From the action shorts, my favorite one was Tanghi Argentini because dancing was one of the themes and because of the surprising ending. At Night made me cry. The short that won, Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets), was absolutely adorable, humorous, sentimental and, compared to the other films in the category, "normal."

Lunch: halibut coconut stew

*flavor the chicken stock with garlic, cilantro and lemongrass

*remove the flavorings, add carrots, cook for a bit

*add flaked cooked halibut, bok choy, a few splashes of soy sauce, sweet chili paste, a bit of oyster sauce, some lime juice, microplane-d ginger

*add coconut milk and let all the flavors come together

*serve with fresh cilantro

New bowls

I have so many things! But this past Thursday Cindy invited me to go to a moving sale with her and that's where I bought 3 bowls and an offset spatula: all for $10. The bowls are really pretty, and it's a treat to eat cereal from them at work instead of using a plastic bowl. Plus, my parents use similar bowls for soups and main dishes, so now I can be just like them :)

F&F: Stacey, Jenn, Laura

Yesterday I cooked 3 things associated with my friends; thus, F&F: Food and Friends.


For the last several months Stacey has been raving about Smoked salmon and wasabi on onion dill bagel from Au Bon Pain. Yesterday I decided to re-create it using an everything bagel, smeared with wasabi, topped with vegetable cream-cheese, thin slices of Israeli cucumber, red onion and finally smoked salmon (Thanks Edward and Luke!!!). I had it as an open sandwich and just topped everything with a slice of lettuce. My thoughts: having never tried the original, I was quite pleased with what I re-created. I went a bit overboard with wasabi, though...there were a few tears shed.


Jenn came over for dinner last night to try one of the dishes I was testing for Robyn Webb's upcoming Cooking Light submission. That's when Jenn shared with me her own creation: pear/blueberry/lettuce salad! It was a really good combination, and one I've never considered before. I contributed Parmesan cheese, and next time I think it'd be good to add pecans.


When I went to Grand Mart with Wendy last Wednesday, I bought 3 ripe plantains. Last night I fried one of them, and the result was quite good. Laura, I think you'd be proud of me :) Happy upcoming b-day!

Friday, February 22, 2008

I want...

and sunshine
a few extra days in the weekend
an all-of-a-sudden-magically-clean apartment
a kiss

I guess I could at least buy some flowers

Thursday, February 21, 2008

International Delight

I absolutely love all things international: food, movies, culture, art, (men), languages, etc. So when Wendy asked if I'd like to go to Grand Mart, I said yes!

The store is absolutely overwhelming. They have everything from Chinese eggplant, to lemon grass, to live blue crab; countless variety of Asian sauces, Indian spices, grains from around the world and relatively inexpensive produce. I was overwhelmed, and my inability to make decisions kicked in at once! So many choices, but limited amount of refrigerator space.

I ended up buying lemon grass, Chinese eggplant, bok choy, plantains, grapes, mango yogurt and nectar, chorizo, bulgur, dried mushrooms, sweet chili paste and a few other random items.

Can't wait to cook something using my new purchases on Friday and over the weekend.

Thanks to Wendy!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Quit!

No, not my job.

After a long period of whining and complaining about how I no longer enjoy my rueda practice, I emailed the group and told them I can no longer commit. I so hope I don't regret this decision.

Moving on.

Need to find something else to occupy my time.

Me a mentor!?

I've done quite a few volunteering "things," but lately most of them involved working behind the scenes and lacked the face-to-face interaction with the people I was helping.

Last month Sarah told me about Everybody Wins! DC and it's Power Lunch program where professionals go into local schools and read with or to a child. I signed up right away!

Today was my first day and I'll be working with and mentoring a 2nd grader. It's funny, but we have so much in common: we both have a brother and a sister, we were both born in March, both like sushi and traveling.

Today we read Aladdin and A little mermaid. I did most of the reading and made sure to ask her if she understands the meaning of certain words. When I was leaving, she ran over to me and gave me a hug! That was so sweet!

I hope this will be a great experience for both of us!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Dinner inspired by Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray? Yes, I'm not her biggest fan, but once in a while I do watch the show and sometimes I even think: "hmm, that could be good!"

I flew from Seattle today and just as I was lacking sleep, my refrigerator was lacking food.

But, I had just enough ingredients to make polenta inspired by one of Rachael Ray's recipes. With a few adjustments, I made polenta using frozen home-made (!!!) chicken stock, fresh oregano*, parmesan cheese*, and chipotle peppers in adobe. To go along with polenta I made a quick salad using bibb lettuce*, walnut oil*, red onion, fresh dill, and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar.

Quite good!
*** left overs from testing Robyn's recipes...I'm amazed they lasted an entire week in my refrigerator!

New jewelry (made by me)

This is the shrinky dink jewelry I made at the Museum of Glass in Seattle:
This is a second pair of shrinky dink earrings I made and added a bead on top.
These are the random bracelets I had at home that I took apart and used the beads to make a new necklace (the jewelry class is so paying off!)

Malls can be pretty

This is inside of the Bellevue Square mall in Bellevue, WA.


Here are a few pictures of amaryliss Anna and I got for our mom for Valentine's day: love!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Guess Who? challenge

Morning, my dear readers. A few days ago a boy who went to school with me and Anna in Russia sent us a few school pictures. Anna's friend Laurie was able to figure out which witch is which :)

So here is the challenge for you: look at the two pictures below and figure out where Anna and I are and comment (1st picture: Anna (row and position), Olga (row and position), etc!

If some of you are having trouble leaving comments, you can just email me! Let the games begin!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Who needs a boyfriend on a V-day?

...okay, I do, but still. My dad bought my mom a red rose and bought 2 yellow ones for Anna and me. I guess that would do for now ;)

On the other topic, just finally finished testing the last recipe for Robyn Webb. I want to stay out of the kitchen for at least 5 days!

Spring Lettuce Rolls:

Museum of Glass

My mom had a great idea for Anna and me: Museum of Glass!!! We drove for about an hour to Tacoma, where for $8 we saw an exhibit, a live demostration of glass blowing by the famous Lino Tagliapietra, and even made some jewelry with shrinky dinks! Absolutely a fabulous day and it made me feel like I was on a mini vacation. Below are a few pictures:

in front of the museum
museum architecture
one of the Chihuli pieces (love!)
live demo
these are my shrinky dinks before they were shrunk (earrings and pendants: I drew the trees myself)
these are my shrinky dinks before they were shrunk (I copied the design from a book)
x-mas ornaments in the museum store
museum store
Turns out Almond Roca originated in Tacoma! Who knew? Unfortunately, the factory stopped doing tours 20 years ago, but we were able to buy some candy at the factory store: delicious!

More Testing!!!

Oh my god! There was more testing of recipes tonight.

Jenny, the pictures are specifically for you :)

Pictured below are: Romaine lettuce with cherries, blue cheese and walnuts; zucchini and yellow squash medley; baked Italian tomatoes, and vegetable lo mein. I have one more recipe to test tomorrow and then I'm done for a few days!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More Testing!!!

Cabbage/carrot/pepper slaw

Cool summer berry soup

Monday, February 11, 2008

Redo and deliciousness

New version of Robyn Webb's blackberry upside down cake: plum & nectarine upside down cake:
Blueberry/mint/crystallized ginger salad:

Say What???

Yesterday when Anna and I went shopping for Robyn's recipes, I could not find a few ingredients in the produce department. I decided to ask for help. A super cute produce guy lead me to the ingredients I was looking for and then all of a sudden asked: "Is your name Olga?" "Yes," I said. Turns out he went to elementary school with a Russian girl who looked exactly like me and whose name was Olga....small world of big coincidences. Sadly, I wasn't the one.

Back home

Yesterday I flew to Seattle to visit my family and friends. Here is what I learned on my journey:

1) The airport in Charlotte, NC has white rocking chairs in the waiting areas: super nice!
2) 6-hour flights are hard to handle

3) 6-hour flights are even harder to handle when there is a woman sitting behind you, who keeps on ordering alcoholic beverages becoming drunk(er) by a minute, who befriends a stewardess and would not shut up for a minute

4) my heart drops when I think that no one is there to meet me (the situation gets resolved quickly and my dad is there momentarily)

5) I have no idea how I ever slept on a twin bed

6) It's super weird not having Misha in the house

7) I love cable TV (okay, I already knew that, but still)
8) My "diet" is so out of the door!

Tonight Anna and I went to 3 different stores to buy groceries to make 12 recipes for Robyn Webb. Tonight we made fruit salad, blackberry upside down cake and salmon with Swiss chard.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Beauty for $5

I believe in treating myself. One of the ways I treat myself is by buying flowers. Here are a few pictures of the roses I bought for $5 from a guy by Union Station. They've lasted for 4 days and are still going strong: absolutely gorgeous and have a lovely scent. I followed Stacey's advice and put a packet of sugar in the water.