Tagged: Summer

Avocado Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing

I’ve been feeling really lazy lately. The other day, after lunch, the boyfriend and I drove home and I found myself suddenly lying back in bed where I had just been hours before. Even though it was only 3:00 o’clock on a Saturday. That made me feel really old for some reason. I mean, shouldn’t I be outside, playing in the sun? I decided to compromise by taking a walk and revisiting my blog for the first time in a while.
And oh, have I missed it so!
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Avocado Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing

I’ve been feeling really lazy lately. The other day, after lunch, the boyfriend and I drove home and I found myself suddenly lying back in bed where I had just been hours before. Even though it was only 3:00 o’clock on a Saturday. That made me feel really old for some reason. I mean, shouldn’t I be outside, playing in the sun? I decided to compromise by taking a walk and revisiting my blog for the first time in a while.
And oh, have I missed it so!
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Guatemala

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I’ve recently returned from an amazing and eye-opening trip to Guatemala. And, boy, do I have lots to show and tell!

But what better way to recap than to simply show you a mass of vivid photographs and tell you a compiled version of the “7 Things You Must Know about Guatemala,” according to my own unforgettable experience. Continue reading

Simple Spinach Salad

Simple is always better, or so I’ve heard. So far, this has always proven to be true. Whether it be with fashion, make-up, relationships, or even food, simple is always best. And this beautiful spinach salad is really no exception.
It’s one of those truly simple preparations that reminds me of how good certain things are. Sometimes I forget big, easy salads are worth making. And grape tomatoes? These bright red jewels are perfectly firm and plump with juice that is tart and subtly sweet. Even just balsamic! It’s obviously great with salads – it seriously goes so well with an endless array of things. Things like that. Basic ideas like these get pushed out of my brain from time to time for other intriguing (and somewhat more complicated) ones. And its nice to get reminders.
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Summer Fruit Bruschetta & Homemade Ricotta

Most of the time, I enjoy baking and cooking alone. This can typically be attributed to two things. The first being that, well, I’m Haein and I am the clumsiest girl I know. In other words, I like sparing myself the shame, so please continue to keep me on that culinary pedestal as I continue to make a mess masterpiece in my kitchen. The second being that having the kitchen all to my lonesome gives me a deep sense of serenity and control – and who doesn’t want complete and total control?! Oh, right, and peace.
But, every once in a while, I have the unexpected pleasure of friends willing to help or learn or just eat in my kitchen (as opposed to my dining room, I guess). My most recent catering event was one such instance of true camaraderie.

One of my best friends was here this past week from California and she’s just left, leaving me feeling bereft. She spent one of her first weekends home helping me prepare for the biggest baking extravaganza of my still-developing life. Not just her, but also several more of the most kindhearted and compassionate friends I have. They volunteered their time and energy to help create a success beyond my imagination. Success for me, of course, being all-inclusive of my ability to occasionally stuff their mouths with so-called mistakes or “extras” (though there really weren’t any) in addition to shoving extra jars of homemade strawberry jam or fresh ricotta cheese into their arms.

But enough about that.
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Shaved Summer Squash Salad

The apartment is still a mess, albeit now deemed “home.”

All I really see are empty cardboard boxes lying around in a not-so-neat pile off to the corner, unopened garbage bags of who-knows-whose kitchenware, and wrinkled articles of clothing strewn over the vast beige carpet floor. It just wouldn’t be appropriate of me to humiliate myself  (or my wonderful roommates) by publicly displaying photos of our self-inflicted, at-home chaos. At least, not yet. I do, however, have photos of my first meal cooked within my new kitchen! Despite the literal, physical clutter and mental, emotional disarray, I felt my first surge of untarnished happiness and elation. With the counter top cleaned and most of my ingredients mise en place, I stationed myself in front of the cutting board, knife in hand, to chop my first onion, making my eyes water. Though I don’t normally find onion-chopping nor tear-jerking moments (of any sort) very pleasurable, I embraced it joyfully. In that moment, being blinded by the streaming tears that stung my eyes was the most comfort I felt in days, weeks even. With all the changes any move brings, this one in particular held so many implications for me: a deepened sense of independence that I hold yet consistently yearn for, a reunion of old friends, new friends, and past roommates, and the often times heart-wrenching process of letting go to move on, to grow.

And to think, all this from one onion, eh? Continue reading

Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

There’s something I find intoxicating about tomatoes in the summer. They’re supple, juicy, tender, vibrant, crisp, and everything a tomato should be. I’ve loved tomatoes for as long as I can remember. I adore them in sliced form, sweetly sandwiched between deli meats and cheeses, all bundled together within two layers of fresh bread. I rejoice in finding them within salads, nestled between the smooth and subtle ridges of iceberg lettuce. You’ll never see me resist from having a really hearty tomato soup or sauce. And you can bet that on a cool, but sunny summer day, a wonderfully roasted tomato bruschetta (with all its warm yet refreshing flavors) is something I pine for.
Especially when this summer day involves a whole lot of moving around! My previous roommate and I have decided once again that we belong under the same roof. In fact, we’ve also come to the conclusion that another coworker/friend was destined to live with us, too. So, amidst all the apartment-hunting, box-packing, and furniture-shopping, having a piece of crusty french bread topped with a savory tomato, basil, garlic, and parmesan bruschetta is the perfect breath of fresh air. Not to mention, so is the view from our gorgeous apartment. Pictures coming soon!
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Watermelon Soju

There are childhood favorites, like Strawberry Jam, or post-adolescent necessities luxuries, like sweet and juicy fruit-infused booze. After working days on end, I can’t imagine a better way to spend a well-deserved day off than to sit outdoors, basking in the infinite and inescapable sunlight with a dripping watermelon wedge in one hand and a nice, cold glass of watermelon soju in the other. Along with the cozy smell of yeast and flour that makes bread, the warmth and softness of freshly washed-and-dried laundry against my face, and the sight of my dog, Chino. making feeble (and more often, not-so-feeble) attempts at “rolling over” in hopes of getting a tummy rub, my heart flutters when the sun is beaming, forcing me to wrinkle my nose and squint my eyes. It also swells with glee when watermelons are in season. They’re my absolute favorite fruit.

They’re mouth-watering and bursting with brightness, flavor, and juice, undeniably singing “summer is here!” And paired with some soju, I can’t help but to think (with all 22 whopping years of me): life just can’t get much better than this. Continue reading

Strawberry Jam

I can’t believe it’s already more-or-less mid-June. Could summer be going by any faster?I feel as though just last week I was scrambling to get last minute assignments in, make it to work barely on-time, and squeeze in treasured moments between flour-dusted palms and sore wrists. Now, every move I make feels lethargic. Yet, time seems to be slipping away faster than ever. Despite all the time I have (or don’t have), I catch myself trying to bake, cook, blog, and heck, even live between sips of coffee and laundry loads. The only thing, recently, that I’ve found worth truly slowing down for and just enjoying (besides the good weather, perhaps), is this amazing strawberry jam.
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Buttermilk Creams with Strawberries

It is no secret that summer has finally arrived. (Well, it never really is in Hawaii, now is it?) The sun is blazing making it impossible to look directly at, azure skies are smeared ever so delicately with wispy clouds, lithe (and not-so-lithe) bodies glisten on planes of white sand in nothing but stringy bikinis and man-thongs (more often than not, to my utter disgust and dismay), and best of all: school is out, meaning I get to bask in all the world’s pleasures (except for when I am planted behind a desk and a laptop to do work or to provide you with other worldly (specifically gustatory) pleasures, like so.
Now, if the aforementioned characteristics of summer are not so readily available to you as it is to me causing you to now loathe my guts with burning envy, hate not! I bring a peace offering in the form of bright, sweet, and zesty strawberries over a soft, supple, and surprisingly light buttermilk cream; the purest flavors of summer and heaven. Love me now? If not yet, you will.

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