Thai Basil Turkey Kabobs

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Technology, she laughs at me.  In spite of the heavy week I have had, and the ridiculous struggle between  stomach bugs and long fasts, this tempestuous maiden of the modern world prefers to kick me where it hurts and completely erase an entire draft of this post, nearly finished but evidently not backed up.  Alas. I had this brilliant post marveling in the magnificence of human athleticism that is the Olympics, leading to the trials of fasting through Olympics, and if you can believe it I had some kind of delicate turn oh phrase that led quite seamlessly to these kabobs.
Humph.  You don’t get to read that now. But that’s okay, what does it compare to the mind-blowing skills of the amazing US women’s 4×200 m Medley.  Olympic records being broken left and right.  Wow!  I guess you could say my personal Olympic challenge would be in the realm of cooking–that is, trying to make the tastiest kabob out of the medley of ingredients found in my sister-in-law’s kitchen with nary a taste to guide me! (Not quite as seamless, but good enough) Continue reading

Fusion Wraps

A few years ago I was a chubby chubster.  That’s what I like to call myself.  And even though I’ve slimmed down since then, I’m still just a chubby kid at heart who loves food, craves for all things sweet and succulent, and just simply adores experiencing through her taste buds.  That said, it’s quite hard to find the balance between enjoying life and enjoying health.  Actually no, that’s a lie—I’ve done quite well in discovering what foods are healthy and delicious to eat, and combining that with proper exercise.  And that’s really the entire formula, plus a major control over my eternal longing for all things bready, but we all have our vices.

And yet, every day I mentally struggle with it all.  Is this the same for other people, or have I just been programmed through my life experiences?  Why do I let these thoughts burrow into my brain with such unrelenting ferocity?  Living in a constant state of worry about gaining even a few pounds now has me on edge more than I’d like to admit, and according to my friends is liable to give me an ulcer one day.  Perhaps not, but still—I’ve been fretting too much lately against my better judgment, and now G has to tell me a thousand times that there’s more to life than all this worry.  What’s the point of cooking if you won’t let yourself really enjoy it??

Sorry for the little emotional reveal here, but I figure if I get it out there then I’m more likely to stand by my oath now to keep my pessimism in check and just continue a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle without regret and anxiety.  There it is folks!  Alya vows not to let it get the better of her!

And that is partially why I created Fusion Wraps (as dubbed by the illustrious G)! By combining Asian flair with Mediterranean pizazz, I wanted to create something fun and zesty, a celebration of the spice of life! Hahaa, what a cheeseball am I. Continue reading

V-Day Delights Part 2: Wrapping Up with Dinner

You can’t have a part 1 without its follow-up, so now that dessert and all its scintillating joy is out of the way, we can make our way through the dinner portion of Valentine’s Day evening.  Oy, just thinking about that dinner makes me hungry now; everything was immaculately executed for once—no hiccups, no over or under seasoning, just resplendent and fairly light dinner with an Asian flair.

Now, I have to give props to Guy Fieri (yeah that burly bleached blond chef who eats like an ogre on his Triple-D show).  Surprisingly (or not), he makes some really good food himself, and personally I enjoy watching him simply because he is not as pretentious as some of the Food network folks, and has good tips.  So When I saw a show all about wraps, I felt inspired to follow suit.

And so, I endeavored to make Asian Orange Turkey Lettuce Wraps, and Shrimp Rolls with a Pineapple Pickle Salsa (the pineapple recipe is all Guy’s).

I think the most amazing thing about the evening was that I was able to do accomplish all this at once in the span of two hours or so, along with the tiramis-who.

First up: Asian Orange Lettuce Wraps! Continue reading

LiterEature 101: Gideon the Cutpurse

Our Third Session of Litereature 101 commences with a brief discussion on Gideon, The Cutpurse by Linda Buckley-Archer.

As mentioned in the previous session, I continue to explore Young Adult literature in an effort to familiarize myself with the themes, styles, and goals of the genre, to see from whence it came and to where it is heading.  I admit wholeheartedly that I also just find it to be more fun as well—where fantasy, science fiction and generous doses of unreality are implemented to explore human psyche, emotions, social issues etc., much like adult fiction.  So I wandered through the library in search of my next prey when my eyes settled on one of the most engaging covers I had seen in a long long while:

Thus I went against that age-old adage and indeed judged the book by its cover, in the best way possible.  A quick perusal of the summary revealed a relatively new story (2006) that is part historical fiction, part coming of age, and of course part science fiction—there is time-travel after all.  The summary describes it as a “modern genre all its own,” so I wondered how unique it really could be… Continue reading

a High TECh Sandwich

Sandwiches.  I’m actually rendered speechless by how much I love them.  From super subs, to burgers, to fancy shmancy paninis—whatever your flavor, there is a variety out there for you.  And for the AG household here, one particular sandwich has made its presence an indelible mainstay for many months now.  My brother would appreciate this post (that is, if he read this blog, which I highly doubt) because this evolved from the simple but tasty lunch I would make for him on those days when I wasn’t demanding he get out off the sofa and be self-sufficient rather than rely on my mom or me to feed him.  I fear all my efforts have dissolved into dust now that I’ve moved away; no more voice of reason! No more irritating sister badgering him! It reminds me of how I would hide his video games when he was misbehaving in some manner; that also failed since my mom would always cave and make me return them (what happened to discipline, people?!).  Failed attempts everywhere, like trampled petals blown into the horizon.  I weep in their stead.

Ah but I digress!  Retreat back to the sandwich of the day!  That glorious creation we sometimes enjoy on the weekends or, if I am feeling particularly magnanimous in the mornings (no easy feat), I’ll make for the husband to take to work for lunch. The high TECh sandwich.  High because it leaves you on cloud nine, where your senses float along with the flavors of Turkey, Egg, and Cheese.  On a side note, the name is inspired by a similar sandwich and title my friend concocted in Miami.  I just revamped things a bit. Continue reading

Chilly Day Turkey Chili

Old Man Winter came knocking on my door, my friends, and his fierce chilly breath has blown out all the colors (if there were any) of drab lifeless winter and blanketed us with the most awe-inspiring, cuddle-inducing, heart-palpitating, toe-curling flurry of snow, snow, snow!  It has snowed a few times since I moved to Maryland, but tonight is the first truly mesmerizing descent of snowflakes I have as yet seen here.  So captivating that all I have been chanting to myself is “snow snow snow snow snow” which oddly led me to the nursery rhyme about it raining and pouring which then left me pondering over the strange lyrics (how exactly does one bump his head WHILST in bed, pray tell?).  Suffice it to say, Alya was befuddled.

But she was not so bewildered over what to make for dinner, thankfully.  It was rather quick a decision, to be honest.  Shall we refer to our checklist?  Cold night? Check.  Warm food a must? Check.  Black beans in pantry? Check.  Tomatoes? Check.  Ground meat (turkey)? Check.  Cheese?  Check.  A desire for a one-pot meal? Check.  Ready to jump at the chance to make a silly pun out of food choice?  Always check!

Ah, the answer is simple, is it not?  What could be more fitting than a dish that wallops you with warmth, satisfaction, and a zillion other forms of goodliness?  And so, let us journey, you and I, through frosted trees and snow-stung skies, into the caverns of my pantry, only to emerge with Turkey Chili!  For what could be more befitting of a frostbit night, than a “chilly” feast for our famished appetites! Continue reading

LiterEATure 101: Artemis Fowl

Our Second Session of Litereature 101 commences with a brief discussion on Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer.

I’m interested in exploring children’s literature further than my own childhood exposure and much more than my sparse current dabbling suggests.  Sparked by my complete adoration of the Harry Potter Series, I decided my next venture should be in the children’s realm.  I chose this particular novel simply because I had heard of it but knew absolutely nothing about it.  I even thought the main character might be an owl or something (fowl would fool anyone); thus was my lack of exposure to this extremely popular series.  (Also, the author wrote a “sequel” to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series in the style of Douglas Adams—have yet to read it, but that earned points in my eyes) Continue reading