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These are a few of my favorite things…

29 Jun

Today’s a little something different on the blog…super wonderful Kat over at Kat’s Health Corner tagged me with this lovely award!

How sweet is that? This is totally new to me, so hopefully I’m doing this right. The only terms are that we answer the following questions about us. I love hearing tidbits about other bloggers; essentially this is a community and it’s nice to learn more about the people who’s blogs I read.

Here goes:

1)   Favorite cartoon character: Wall-E. I mean, how much cuter can a robot get??

2)   Favorite thing to photograph: Other than food, my nieces. Of course I fully believe they’re the cutest babies in the world. Whenever I visit my brother and his family, I take a million photos of them.

3)   Favorite thing to cook: I actually haven’t made it in awhile, but it would probably be Amatriciana, which is one of the first recipes my boyfriend and I tried together when we first started dating. It’s delicious and making it brings back a lot of happy memories.

4)   Favorite way to exercise: Running, hands down! I think I’ve talked enough about this before where this would be obvious. It’s not always easy (especially when there’s speedwork involved), but I enjoy going as far as my legs can take me while soaking in the scenery – which is especially nice when I jog around the monuments!

It ain't pretty, but I love running.

5)   Favorite Movies: Empire Records, Breakfast at Tiffany’s Singin’ in the Rain, Star Wars (IV, V, VI), Inception, My Fair Lady, The Hangover, Bridesmaids, The Devil Wears Prada, Pride & Prejudice (both the Colin Firth version and the Keira Knightley version).

6)   Clothing: My typical daily cycle of outfits are: workout clothes in the morning, then work clothes all day, and then I change into my fat pants and a giant t-shirt when I get home from work. It’s all about comfort when I’m at home. Otherwise, I’m always wearing flats or flip flops and a good chunk of my wardrobe comes from Madewell. LOVE their clothes.

7)   Flower: It’s a tie between orchids and peonies.

8)   Breakfast: Overnight oats!!! I’ve been eating them every morning this week. This is what usually happens with breakfast – I find something I really love and then eat it for weeks straight and then suddenly get sick of it and move on to something else. Any ideas for what I should try next?

9)   Book: I just finished reading Kara Goucher’s Running for Women, which was quite inspirational and informative, at least for a novice runner like myself. I also finished Creative, Inc. – also inspirational and informative but career-wise. Some of my all-time favorites: Wuthering Heights, Food Rules, Blue Like Jazz, Pride and Prejudice, On the Road, Blackberry Wine, and though it’s a play, I loved reading Twelfth Night.

10)  Least favorite food: Cauliflower. I can’t say I hate it because I’ll actually eat it ONLY if it’s been mixed thoroughly with other ingredients that mask it’s flavor. But I refuse to eat it solo, I don’t care how healthy it is.

I’d like to pass this along to 3 equally amazing bloggers: Sheridan over at Barkless Vegetables, Lindsey at The Internationally Minded American, and Meg at Fledgling Foodie. Tag, you’re it!


Thank you…

15 Jun

…to whoever invented Oats in a Jar. I already love the combination of peanut butter and oatmeal, but this is quite genius, especially since those perfectly delicious leftover bits of peanut butter often get thrown away when there isn’t enough to scrape onto a slice of bread. I’ve read about this many times on plenty of other food blogs but hadn’t tried it myself until now.

I did an overnight version by filling this jar the night before with equal-parts uncooked old-fashioned oats and almond milk. To that, I added a dash of cinnamon and vanilla. In the morning, I added chocolate chips and heated it for 30 seconds, stirred that and then added walnuts and sliced strawberries. It was creamy, nutty, slightly sweet and surprisingly filling since it didn’t even fill the entire jar. Oh, and it was a jar of this amazing brand of white chocolate peanut butter.

I’m already looking forward to when we finish our next jar of peanut butter…

Look out, weekend

7 Jun

I definitely ate my way through the weekend. With Mama Nosher in town till yesterday, I ended up not cooking in my kitchen at all for the past week, unless you count blending smoothies and heating up frozen waffles for breakfast. It was seriously nice to have her around. I mean, how awesome is it to come home after work and find that dinner is already made? And they were delicious dinners at that. I have a recipe or two to share that I finally managed to get Mom to explain, and I’ll share those to you guys later this week.

For now, I’ll be living off leftovers for another day or two. I probably ate out more than I should’ve in the past weekend, but I just love trying new foods so much that I pushed any bubbling guilt out of my mind and enjoyed myself. Isn’t that what weekends are for anyways?

On Friday, straight after work, my friend Dorothy and I hit up the first Truckeroo, big food truck gathering held at the Bullpen near Nationals Park. Not all of DC’s foodtrucks were in attendance but there was certainly a good handful. By the time I had arrived, however, the dinner rush was at full swing and trucks were jammed with crowds. D and I split off to separate trucks and then regrouped – I grabbed grilled cheese sandwiches from The Big Cheese, while she got ribs and a BBQ platter from BBQ Bus. I tried The Big Cheese’s Mt. Fuji for the first time and enjoyed it; it reminded me a bit of the sandwich I had at Bikes, Beans and Bordeaux, with its apple-and-cheese combo. I’m starting to get really hooked on melted cheese with fruit on toasted bread.

The ribs from BBQ Bus could’ve used a bit more sauce (I like my ribs saucy), but the platter was a good deal, considering it included chicken, pork, beans and slaw. We couldn’t even finish the whole thing. But after doing another walk-around, we decided to splurge on green tea popsicles from Pleasant Pops, which were creamy and refreshing.

Saturday morning, I got up bright and early to run the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k. I unfortunately have no photos – I didn’t bring a camera because I don’t like running with stuff in my hands and I don’t have a fancy belt to carry things in (yet). The race went surprisingly well for me – I think I’ve been running enough to the point where 3 miles is now an easy run. I paced myself for this race, but I actually paced myself too slowly! By the time I could see the finish line ahead, I remember thinking “Wait, what? It’s almost over?” and I still had so much energy left in me. If I run it again next year, my new goal will be to beat my time by 5 minutes. I think I can do it. 🙂

On Sunday I did something that I don’t do enough of: go to the Dupont Farmer’s Market. There is a lot of great produce, baked goods, flowers, meats and cheeses available there. We’ve gotten products ranging from chocolate croissants made by expert French breadmakers to giant bags of crab claws for cheap to empanadas to wild mushrooms. Oh, and gorgeous flowers – I’m kind of lame because I tend to kill plants easily so I stick to simple blossoms that I put in an old Italian soda bottle.

Sadly I don’t even remember what these flowers are called…

I know it’s already Tuesday, but did you guys have any great eats over the weekend? Hit up any good farmer’s markets?

Brownie bits to bulgogi

17 May

I had a chance to try a few new things and places recently, as well as returning to a favorite. I was literally stuffed to the core by Sunday night, I had a full-on gut going on. Oh well. It meant a happy belly. Here’s where I ate, and what:

1. Pinkberry – DC got its first Pinkberry recently and despite having passed by Pinkberrys plenty of times in NYC, I never actually bothered to go into one until I had some downtime on Saturday in Dupont Circle. The district has been inundated with frozen yogurt spots within the past year, and the pool is only getting deeper with options. Frozen yogurt isn’t my go-to dessert (I like baked goods a bit more if you haven’t noticed), but this definitely hit the sweet spot. I like that that they have a small selection of flavors, not just the standard tart/original flavor. I had coconut fro-yo with strawberries, pumpkin granola, and brownie bits. Loved it! I’d never seen pumpkin granola at a fro-yo place before so I was happy to be able to try something really original.

2. The Karen Mary Co.’s Marshmallows – The Bf picked up some of this local confectionery’s marshmallows at the West End Cinema one day and gave them to me as a treat. Again – and I suppose I’m more particular about dessert than I realized – I don’t normally go for straight up eating marshmallows for dessert. But these were damn good marshmallows! We shared a bag of coconut marshmallows – soft marshmallows covered in toasted coconut – and strawberry marshmallows covered in dark chocolate sprinkled with sea salt. They turned out to be way more delicious than your standard marshmallow, plus I could snack on one or two and feel satisfied without risking a sugar overload. If you’re in the DC area, check them out.

3. The Chesapeake Room – I hate to admit it, having lived here for 3.5 years already, but I haven’t ventured far enough or often enough into Eastern Market and Barracks Row. It’s really a nice area, especially on a breezy, post-rainstorm, Sunday evening. The Bf and I decided to come here while walking around looking for a place for dinner. The menu is kind of small, but there is something for everyone – buffalo burgers, fish, roasted chicken, entree salads. We enjoyed this appetizer to start off, the Fried Green Tomato Crab Stack: two fried green tomatoes sandwiching a mound of Maryland crab salad, with fresh basil and a tomato jam. The combination of textures was my favorite part of this dish. There was crunch from the fried tomato and a nice creaminess from the crab, with a little bit of spice from the jam.

4. Honeypig – This is pretty much a staple among my friends and I whenever we’re way out in Virgina, whether that is Annandale (a.k.a. K-town) or Centreville (a.k.a. K-Town Jr.), which is where I was Saturday night. After spending a few hours at Spa World, we had worked up an appetite, and oh, how convenient! There’s a Honeypig here. There’s also a Bonchon Chicken here but we actually held ourselves back and deferred to Korean BBQ. Who doesn’t love beef and pig wonderfully marinated in the tears of angels? I mean, marinated in whatever they marinate the meat in. I have no idea. But it’s delicious. I’m particularly a fan of their Bulgogi and their Galbee, especially wrapped up in a huge lettuce leaf with some kimchee and dipped in the salty-gingery sauce they give you. When it comes to detoxing in a sauna and then eating back all that weight you sweat off, I’m convinced Koreans know how to do it best. I’ll happily follow in those footsteps.

Any great local restaurants that you’ve recently enjoyed?

Under construction (again)

14 Apr

Hey friends – you may notice some small changes here and there (like the giant picture of me to the right – WHOA. Isn’t there a better size between Large and In Yo’ Face?). I don’t know if it’s frowned upon to be slowly making layout and design changes as opposed to doing them all at once and then unveiling in one day, but I only have time for baby steps. So I apologize if any of these changes make the blog look like a mess for a bit, please bear with me.

In the meantime, here’s some pretty eye candy:

Macarons! (Le nom.) Who doesn’t love cute, delicious macarons? I’ll have a post dedicated these and where I got them later. 🙂

Dear readers…

22 Feb

…I promise I have not abandoned this blog, and therefore abandoned you. All 5 of you. 😛

I’ve gotten REALLY FRIGGIN’ BUSY within the past 2 months; even my friends are constantly ribbing me for going all AWOL on them and no longer being cool. (Who are we kidding, I was never cool!) Plus, homegirl needs some sleep in between all the busy-ness, otherwise you’d be reading posts like this:

Bldahaosihtgoinrg. o9wueotghgoirg. Nom nom. owei9ruowigign. Nomz again.

And seeing “photos” like this:

My design classes are totally going to good use...

Clearly that’s me, um, 100 pounds heavier, ready to devour a giant burger. (I know, this has WTF written all over it).

I was also away for the weekend, with limited access to wi-fi, so my technical capabilities were cut short for a bit. But I promise you, I have delicious posts to come! I just need to get my life sorted out a bit first.

I hope you understand. If you’re reading this, thanks for still sticking around. 🙂

Much love,

The Novice Nosher

NosherNote: My favorite health and wellness resources

10 Nov

I often refer to a good handful of resources when it comes to finding healthy recipes and learning about ways to enhance my fitness. I’ve learnt that although having a few healthy recipes on hand and knowing some exercises helps, a recycled routine can become monotonous, thus making it easier to fall back into making wrong food choices and getting lazy. These few sites and publications are just my favorites, hopefully you’ll show them some love too. But I encourage those of you out there looking to enhance your diet and fitness routine to actively search for sites and blogs that you can really connect to.

Bookmarked Blogs and Websites

  • Nutrition to Kitchen: Written by a licensed dietitian, this blog features tons of healthy recipes and healthy alternatives to recipes everyone knows and loves.
  • Oh She Glows: Angela is a foodie who has also struggled with weight and eating issues (so I can definitely relate to her), but has now found ease in a vegan lifestyle. She features great vegan recipes with lovely photos.
  • Jamie Oliver: I’m a huge fan of him and his Food Revolution. Definitely check out his efforts to make school food more nutritious. And of course, he’s a chef – his site is chock-full of recipes, many of which are healthy and/or quick and easy.

Associations (They provide lots of useful health and wellness information)

  • American Heart Association: AHA gives professional advice on health and wellness and includes information on what you can eat that’s good for your heart.
  • Everyday Choices: A branch of the AHA – this site can help you look into your current health and provides tips on how to make better choices to improve it.
  • CDC: They don’t just exist to help get rid of crazy diseases like bird flu. The CDC’s website actually provides a lot of useful (and official) information on health and wellness that’s a good stepping stone to helping you achieve and maintain good health.


  • Self: As I mentioned earlier, I started receiving a subscription to Self and I really enjoy the fitness tips and healthy recipes that they provide. They often include punch out cards that you can take with you to the gym to help guide your workout.
  • Women’s Health: I don’t have a subscription (although I probably should) but it’s usually one of the magazines I usually pick up at Barnes & Noble or the grocery store (besides fashion magazines :P). It’s nicely designed and also features tons of great workout tips, recipes, and reviews on workout gear.


  • Exercise TV: I get Exercise TV videos with Comcast On Demand, but they have tons of videos available for free or with a small charge. Great for if you need to change up your ab routine or looking for new maneuvers with weights.

Also, please keep in mind that what I write in this blog (and what others write in theirs) is generally my opinion and my thoughts on what has worked for me. Please do not take what I say as professional advice. Definitely pursue healthy habits that are echoed by everyone, like eating enough fruits and vegetables and getting exercise. Try what works best for you and makes you feel healthiest.

If you want your eating and exercise regimens specifically tailored to fit you, I highly encourage consulting a professional nutritionist, a trainer and/or your doctor. My parents put me in dance class at an early age and in high school my father (who’s a doctor) advised me to go jogging to get exercise when I had stopped dancing regularly. So my body is capable of sustaining high-impact workouts. But you may need to do something different, depending on whether you have any special conditions and what your current fitness level is.

NosherNote: Stock vs. Broth

3 Nov

When I was making my butternut squash soup recipe, I realized I had both chicken broth and chicken stock. Though I didn’t have enough of either to suffice alone, I ended up combining the two and the result actually tasted just fine. So then I thought, is there a difference between stock and broth? And if so, what’s the difference? I did my research and found out:

Stock is a liquid made from simmering in water ingredients like meat and/or vegetables, and often with herbs and spices. The ingredients are strained from the liquid, which is used as an ingredient for dishes like soups or risotto. Broth, however, is more like a soup. The liquid is simmered with meat and/or vegetables as well as herbs and spices like stock is, but the ingredients are kept in the liquid and not strained before use or consumption. Broth can be made with stock as the liquid component, but it can also be made with water.  Stock is usually the foundation or component of a dish, whereas broth can be eaten as a dish.

Got any other tidbits about stock or both to add? Am I completely wrong about stock and broth, thus proving how much of a noob I still am in the kitchen?? Let me know in the comments section!

Edit: Lubos from brought up a good question that helped me clarify this even further – stock is made from both meat and bones (or just bones) whereas broth is made from just meat. Bones have gelatin, which is what makes stock richer and fuller than broth.

NosherNotes: Sustainable Seafood

14 Jul

In continuing my culinary expeditions, I’m constantly exposed to different movements that fuel my food education.  Subsequently I have tons of questions floating in my mind: Where does our food come from?  What processes are involved in bringing that food from the field (or the sea) to our plate?  And how do those processes affect our environment?  How do consumer choices affect production method and ultimately our own health?  Food production is on a scale of epic proportions. Just 60 years ago you wouldn’t see the huge array of food products at every store across the country.

Now, I am not a martyr for cause, but when we consider that the world population has exploded from 3.03 billion in 1960 to 6.7 billion in 2008, it’s amazing that production comes even close to the demand.  But according to Bread for the World, there are still 1.02 billion people starving in the world, so there is very much a great need for even more production.  I figure if I’m going to be a foodie, writing about food and eating so much of it, I ought to keep an open mind about the issues behind it and the production that contributes to it.

So, with this approach in mind, I attended the “Savoring Sustainable Seafood” reception at DC’s Natural Museum of History in June, held by the Smithsonian Resident Associate Program. The event helped raise awareness about farming and fishing methods that will allow the source to naturally produce at replacement levels while being eco friendly.  For instance, the shrimp that’s in your shrimp and grits or your shrimp fra diavolo? If it was imported from Latin America or Southeast Asia, then according to the Environmental Defense Fund, it could have been caught by fisheries that do not follow strict environmental regulations; the practices used to fish that shrimp could have adversely affected its ecosystem, including other organisms in it. Overfishing and illegal fishing are also examples of problems that sustainable practices are trying to offset (Love rockfish? That’s one species on its way out).

The folks at Smithsonian and the chefs who cooked for the cause stressed that encouraging sustainable production starts with the consumer.  If people who buy seafood at the grocery store, or eat it in restaurants, at least question the origins of their seafood -if not ask specifically for sustainable seafood- then chefs, restaurant owners and store buyers will be encouraged to meet that demand.

The event showcased how beautiful, delicious dishes can come from farms and fisheries that practice sustainable methods.Here’s a sampling of what I ate at the event. Each dish featured a fish or shellfish that was farmed or fished using sustainable practices:

Atlantic MahiMahi Ceviche by Richard Cook, BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant

This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. It tasted clean and refreshing, and the mahi-mahi mixed beautifully with the citrus fruit and diced vegetables. I especially loved the plantain chip with cream that helped scoop up the ceviche into one bite.

Panko-crusted Tilapia Cakes by Scott Drewno, The Source

The tilapia in these cakes actually came from Martinsville, VA – so it was nice to see that restaurants take full advantage of the local industry. Crab (or fish) cakes, in my opinion, can be heavy and too bready but this one didn’t taste at all weighed down from the panko.

Sauteed Shrimp with English Peas and Fresh Oregon Morel Fricassee, Madras Curry Sauce by Xavier Deshayes, Ronald Reagan Building and Internal Trade Center

This dish particularly tugged at my heartstrings because it very closely resembled a traditional Indian mattar paneer. It was rich and flavorful from the curry sauce, and the peas gave it a good texture, not mushy at all. I actually barely noticed the shrimp in this dish, which I suppose defeats the purpose. But I feel that when you’ve got a great curry going, you just have to let it work its magic.

Louisiana Crawfish Etouffee by Jeff Tunks, Ceiba, Acadiana, DC Coast, PassionFish, and TenPenh

I’m almost as much a fan of Louisiana cuisine as I am of Indian cuisine, so I scarfed this etouffee down. This dish actually managed to highlight the shrimp with its spicy roux and soft tomatoes and onions.

Sunburst Farm Rainbow Trout in Squash Blossom, Green Gazpacho, Young Almonds by Rick Moonen, rm Seafood and Warm Smoked Sturgeon, Braised Bacon, English Pea, Ver Jus by Bryan Voltaggio, VOLT

I admit I got all fangirl upon spotting Rick Moonen and Bryan Voltaggio working side-by-side in one corner of the Rotunda. I had just seen Moonen recently on “Top Chef Masters” and I rooted for Voltaggio on “Top Chef: Las Vegas”. Both served equally simple, light dishes showcasing two different fish. Moonen’s green gazpacho and peas and Voltaggio’s ver jus were lovely compliments to the quality and flavor of the fish, which I felt was a good move in emphasizing the theme of the night.

Mussels Three Ways by Robert Weidmaier, Marcel’s, Brasserie Beck, BRABO and Mussel Bar

Mussels have become a standard on both appetizer and entrée lists in several DC-area restaurants, so I expected it to be featured at least in one dish at the event. I came around to this station fairly late in the evening and they had a good amount of mussels left, so I was treated to a heaping plate. I tried the mussels in a curry broth, which wasn’t too strong against the light flavor of the mussels, which were cooked beautifully with that nice amount of chew in them.

I highly encourage taking advantage of programs like this in your city, and take notice of restaurants that use only sustainable seafood. Grocery stores like Wegmans also adhere to a sustainable seafood policy – so it’s easy for even novice home cooks to eat the right thing.