this sucks
July 31, 2010, 3:29 pm
Filed under: babble

I HATE moving.

My shoulders are achy. I am exhausted.


the last supper
July 28, 2010, 1:01 am
Filed under: babble, Cooking/Food | Tags: , , ,

My roommate and I are moving out of our apartment this week. Renae is my third yet longest roommate at this apartment of three years. Even though it isn’t the fanciest place with the best view, it’s comfortable and homey. I will miss it. I will miss the loud, incessant noise from the freeway below, I will miss the tiny kitchen that we often cooked in. I will miss the lights over the bathroom sink that would not turn on right away when the switch is turned. I will my noisy bedroom in which I have to wear earplugs to sleep. It wasn’t the best place, but I have made it my place for the past three years.

Renae and I made our favorite dish for the third time, for the last time for a while–Mac n Cheese. We are possibly the most compatible mac-n-cheese-buddies, if there is such a connection. Our previous makings of the comfort dish included, in various combinations, truffles brought back from Italy, truffle oil bought from the store around the corner, goat cheese, aged cheddar, gruyere, mozzarella, whole milk, half n half, butter, pretend butter. This time, after surveying numerous recipes, we believe we have found the BEST version of the classic comfort food. And the ingredient list once again confirms that less is more.

We sat in the furniture-less living room savoring our best work, reminiscing past mac ‘n’ cheeses, envisioning future ones. Empty apartment makes for a suitable space for the happy food dance (perhaps in another post). Ahh, this last supper together will be one highlighted in my memory book. And the recipe will surely be starred in my recipe book.

Undeniably BEST Mac 'n' Cheese

Adapted (and slightly lightened) from

Emeril’s BEST Mac ‘n’ Cheese Ever Challenge Winner–Laura Macek (Click here for original recipe)


  • 1 head of garlic, roasted
  • 1 tbs plus 1 tsp olive oil (see directions)
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni pasta
  • 5 thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 ½ cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 ounces each grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Pecorino Romano
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • 8 small caps of white mushroom or cremini, finely chopped
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To roast garlic: Slice ½ inch off the top of the entire head of garlic. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap garlic head tightly in a square of heavy foil and roast until tender — about 45 minutes. Remove garlic pulp by squeezing garlic head. Smash cloves with a fork to form a paste.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

4. In a nonstick pan on medium heat, drizzle 1 tsp olive oil and fry prosciutto until brown but not burnt. It will not be crispy until taken out of pan. Drain on paper towels. Reserve oil in pan. Crumble prosciutto when cool.

5. To make topping: Combine panko, crumbled prosciutto, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Pecorino cheese, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Set aside.

6. Preheat oven to 375°.

7. Sauté shallots and mushrooms over low heat in reserved prosciutto fat/oil for one minute. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and continue to sauté shallots and mushrooms until brown. Set aside.

8. In a heavy pot, make roux by first melting 2 tbsp butter into 2 tbsp olive oil over medium low heat. Add flour and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Increase heat to medium. Stirring constantly with a whisk, add milk and roasted garlic paste.

9. Cook until lumps from roux are dissolved and sauce is thickened (coats the back of a spoon). Remove sauce from heat then add salt, pepper, nutmeg, mushroom mixture, Gruyere and Cheddar cheeses. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Keep mixture slightly under salted as topping is salty.

10. Stir in cooked pasta. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle topping to cover entire top. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes until sauce is bubbly. Remove foil and broil until topping is browned, watching it carefully. Enjoy!

crispy top, creamy all over

Eat Grandma! vs. Eat, Grandma!
July 21, 2010, 9:15 am
Filed under: babble | Tags: , ,

Punctuation is important.

In this day and age, when most daily messages are transferred via some kind of type written means–email, text message, facebook status, tweets–and you cannot hear the cadences of the invisible punctuations, it is important to punctuate your messages even in the most casual forms of communication.

Text messages, in particular, are supposed to be informal, succinct, and composed in a relatively quick manner. It is not expected that we spell out everything, capitalize proper nouns, or punctuate. Or so I thought…

Tonight I invited my friend who is new in town, and therefore new to the local culture, out to eat Japanese ramen. Here in Hawaii, everything is casual, but of course he doesn’t know that yet.

So through phone text messaging he asks (read bottom message first):

And in my usual text messaging habit of not punctuating, I answer (read top message):

A lesson in text messaging etiquette

Guess what he showed up wearing??

a lesson from Sunshine
July 6, 2010, 11:52 pm
Filed under: babble, Cool Stuff | Tags: , ,

It was a dreary, rainy morning. I am a little sick and jet lagged, involuntarily waking at an obscene hour. The thought of hopping on a moped to work in the rain did not appeal to my achy head. Looking at my cereal, I suddenly remembered that Moped has been sitting in the garage downstairs well over a month untouched, ignition unfired. I gulped down the rest of my cereal, realizing it may take some time to kick start the engine. After all, she’s an old bike.

“I’m gonna be late, I’m gonna be late. Please please please, Moped, be good. I’m sorry I forgot to ask someone to fuel and fire you up while I was away…and for so long. But I need to get to work, please please,” I mumbled as I waited for the elevator door to open. Through the glass door I saw Moped sitting staunchly, with her head tilted longingly awaiting my return, to unchain her and to put her to use.

Releasing the heavy chain from her back wheel and fumbling through the routine of packing my bag, putting on my helmet, I gave Moped a sincere yet slightly admonishing pat on her back. “Don’t fail me,” I thought to her.

I hopped on, turned the key, revved the famished engine with fuel and waited for a response. I expected Moped to whine a little with that teasingly prolonged start up sound she makes when refusing to actually start, but to my great surprise and joy and gratitude, she hungrily guzzled the fuel and growled a powerful cry as if screaming “let’s go!”

Moped and I dashed out of the garage into a different day as the sun had peeked out and scorched the rain away. As we rode into morning traffic, I understood why her previous owner had lovingly named her Sunshine.


Sunshine is a modest Rexy 50. Her years is unknown to me although I can probably check her registration to find that out. I am her third owner who admittedly sometimes wished I had a prettier bike, like this Italian-made one:

If there’s a lesson to be learned today from my modest yet utterly loyal and reliable bike, however, it is that I’d wish my life to be as achieving as hers–to unreservedly fulfills the purpose of her being made.

Accidental Motherhood
July 1, 2010, 5:01 am
Filed under: babble, Life

It is my father’s birthday this week, so my sister and the kids came down from up north to spend the week here celebrating the birthday and to spend time with me. Their trip was almost threatened by a tummy virus that Abby has had for a few days. Wait. Their trip is still threatened by the virus now that they are here and my sister caught it.

This means I play mommy. I knew being a mom is a full time job, but being a mom of two is time and a half. The majority of the time and a half is spent washing; washing dishes, washing clothes, washing fruits, washing them.  And then they EAT! “Can I have cheese toast, please?” “Cheerio! Cheerio!” “Bloo bloo bloo (blueberries).” Just when you think you can leave the kitchen, you return again to make more snacks.

Now I understand why many moms look the way they do. I stayed in my yoga clothes all day yesterday after my morning class because there was no point in changing. All I did was washing things, fix them lunch, wash more things, blew bubbles outside, make them snacks, wash dishes again. By the time they went down for a nap, I was too tired myself to work on anything else so I napped as well. It’s much easier to keep the kids within the confines of the house, I can’t even imagine taking two kids out by myself. But their faces start to take on a grayish tint after a day of staying indoors. They start to get whinny about every little thing. Oh, the sun does wonders to souls young and old.

And what did mothers do before PBS? Who knew Elmo and Dora and Barney can be so incredibly helpful? It’s puzzling to me why kids love the ugly purple thing. I don’t even know what animal it’s supposed to be, but as long as they love dancing with it and it gives me a breather, I’ll love the purple thing too.

I have always been good with kids, but I have never learned so much about them as I have this week. It’s tiring but fun. It’s rewarding but restricting. I can’t tell how I feel about motherhood. The restrictive feeling may be abated by the knowledge that this is only a one week deal, but may be the fun is too. Well, it’s just a thought, not that I have decide now.

Time and timing
June 5, 2010, 1:37 am
Filed under: babble

Timing is everything. Life is really just time–time filled with adventures, accomplishments, regrets, and memories of all those. The clock is ticking on everyone. We all want more of it, or to do more in it. Make more products per hour, run farther in less time. Even those of us whose 24 hours aren’t filled with non stop action like Jack, but actually have time to kill want more time.

I am, for example, sitting here waiting for the day to cool down so I could go out for my run. The time I am so-called ‘killing’ right now with writing is time I don’t need because I am unable to use it to do what I wish to do. Once this day starts to cool and I’m out there running, I will be wishing that night doesn’t fall so soon so that I can run longer and maybe adding a biking session. This means that what we all want isn’t really just time itself, but time that is fulfilled with the desired.

So timing is managing time, doing certain things at certain time.  But there are variables that are not within my control, and I can’t make everything work. That always results with me feeling guilty about not maximizing time, or feeling disappointed because I have no control of those variables. That’s just how I feel today.

O.N.E-The NATURAL Sports Drink
August 25, 2009, 4:02 am
Filed under: babble, Running | Tags: , , ,


An entire open refrigerator in Whole Foods neatly packed with this product caught my eye. A sucker to advertising, I bought one to try after one of my runs. It’s called O.N.E. (One Natural Experience)–100% Coconut Water–marketed as the “natural sports drink.” The comparison on the box shows that O.N.E. has over 15 times the amount of potassium, 2/3 the calories, three times the magnesium, less sodium, and less sugar than the popular G sports drink. Not bad.


Today’s run kind of kicked my butt–my lower back hurt mid run, my legs feel more tired than usual post run even at just a 9:30 pace. It was the perfect time to try out the new drink. The taste is good–if you’ve ever tried drinking fresh coconut juice, you would know that it’s a very mild, almost non-existent flavor; nothing like coconut milk or coconut flakes. And the taste is exactly that.

30 minutes after consuming the earth-friendly box of natural juice, I do feel more replenished and my muscles less sore. I have no idea if it is simply a psychological effect, but I definitely feel less depleted now than I did before the drink. Perhaps a better test is to drink the conventional sports drink next time to compare the after effects. It is, by ounce, more expensive than the widely available sports drinks, but for now, I would recommend it unless you have fresh coconuts growing in your backyard.