Thursday, March 7, 2013


I have been on an artisan bread baking kick. The obsession has been on for over a month now and I hope it lasts forever. I made a starter using a recipe from Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Breads Every Day", borrowed from the library, and have made several batches of his pain au levain and San Fransisco sourdough over the past few weeks. Some came out nicely, some came out too dense, and some were just decent. This has been a great learning process so far. DFJ also got me Ken Forkish's "Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast" for Valentine's Day and I am devouring all the information from this great book! This book has been on my mind since I saw it sitting on the counter at Ken’s Artisan Bakery in Portland a couple of months ago. New vocabulary such as: bulk fermentation, autolyse, pre-fermentation, poolish and biga, shaping, proofing, scoring, and so on are the new words that I am wrapping my head around. I have yet to bake out of Ken’s book… right now, I am just savoring the knowledge that his book provides while I practice the Reinhart methods from my rented book.


My yoga teacher encouraged me to learn different yoga styles and practice more at home with YogaGlo. I started with the 15-day free trial and am hooked. There are so many classes and helpful tutorials to choose from. All of which cater to specific time frames, injuries, and skill improvement. There are different spaces at home that I could practice in, but I find our kitchen to be the best spot because it has the wood floor. My yoga mat on the carpet makes the ground feel too cushy and causes my wrists to strain from hyper extension. I also find it hard to do balancing poses on softer ground. So, yoga in the kitchen it is. I drag our recycling bin out from under the kitchen table and prop my iPad on top, push play, and yoga away. It's the best home studio ever! Sometimes, I fall asleep on my mat in the middle of the kitchen floor, next to the crumbs, and random hair strands after savasana and it's the best feeling ever!

Walking for 10-20 minutes in the darkened gym during my lunch break at work is a great way to reset my button. It helps me stay alert and focused for the next three class periods. To be honest, as much as I love my job, there are days when I wish I was doing something else. If I had to rate my performance over a total of 35 hours, it is such an embarrassing thing to admit that I am an awesome teacher/planner for only 15 hours. The rest of the time, I am distracted, keeping my frustration at bay, holding my bladder (bathroom time is hard to come by for teachers), fighting a bout of drowsiness between noon to 1 PM, and forcing myself to stay upbeat despite a huge desire to pull my hair. Every day, I try to increase my patience and focus... It is a struggle but one that I am willing to take because my students are worth trying for, every single one of them.

There has been a lot of cooking and baking going on in our household, but less blogging and sharing of these recipes. As much as I love sharing good recipes, I sometimes feel too selfish to stop for note-taking and picture-snapping because it takes away the pleasure of cooking. I'm sorry... When I get all the craziness of my life sorted out, I will share some more. Pinky promise!

 fresh pineapple, ham, cheddar cheese,
and spicy oil pizza

bell pepper, shiitake mushroom, parsley, goat cheese,
and spicy oil pizza

Ottolenghi potato salad with parsley pesto!

DFJ made homemade dumplings 

gluten-free, vegan cookies
 cranberry-cocoa nib-poppy seed-orange scones 

I have been into making homemade chicken and vegetable stock. It's so easy really, just save the chicken carcass or your vegetable scraps, add a generous amount of salt, sprigs of fresh herbs, mashed cloves of garlic, onion skins, a bay leaf, and boil everything together for a long time. Easy peasy! These homemade stocks can be frozen and are perfect for adding flavor when you cook lentils, beans, or rice.

For the past two weeks or so, DFJ and I have slowly weaned off of dairy. The last of the softer cheeses have been consumed along with the last spoonfuls of yogurt in the bottom of the container. This is not a permanent thing, just an experiment to see what it's like to be semi dairy-free for a while. Occasionally, we still spread butter on our toasts, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on some dishes, and use heavy cream in our scones. In a few weeks here, we will be back to consuming regular cow's milk, yogurt, and cheese again. They key is balancing it all out… a little bit of everything is good, and I believe that a certain amount of dairy is an important thing to include in our daily consumption.

DFJ and I have whiled away one too many nights playing Settlers of Catan. Since we got it in the mail over a month ago, the game set has been occupying half of our dining table, ever-ready for a new game. Yes, we are both dorky...

Last but not the least, I have been feeling extra grateful for my family back home and here, my host parents, and friends near and far. Everyone has been very supportive, encouraging, and helpful. DFJ and I are about to jump into something big. It is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time but there is no turning back. This is it, him and I forever! WOO-HOO!

To all of you who come and visit my blog... Whether by happenstance, curiosity, or whatnot, I appreciate your time. Drop me a line or two if you so wish... I always look forward to hearing from readers. Thank you!


  1. I think you saved the important thing for last Margarita! Congratulations, on the big event. May you both feel for each other even after many many years of common life! Everything and particularly the pizzas look perfect!

  2. You have been so busy!! I have once tried making sourdough, but it was so time consuming, let's just say the starter never really got started.
    I have been contemplating doing yoga. I tried during the summer, but I found that I wasn't strong enough to do the full hour and a half, but I think I'm ready now.
    Also, I LOVE settlers of Catan. I play it all the time at my boyfriends house (the past few months that he's been in Russia, I still go and play with his family)

  3. So much bread baking! I love it. I've been meaning to try my hand at sourdough but it seems so intimidating!

  4. We make our own stock as well! Some veggie, some chicken- it's sooo good and definitely worth it! Will have to try the YogaGlo recommendation. I've been watching yoga classes on YogaToday (one free class a week if you sign up), but always love new places to find classes.

  5. What yoga styles are you playing with? Which ones do you like the best? Because of my work/school schedule the last few months I have only been able to practice at home.

    1. Hey Jamie! I'm really liking hatha yoga and I've been doing some anusara too. I love the mini tutorials for certain poses and the 30 minute vinyasa classes. The one that I just cannot get into is kundalini... I find it too weird. When you practice at home, do you do podcasts or just do your own flow?

    2. I feel the same way about kundalini. I have had a few classes where it has 'worked' for me, but those have been few and far between. I do a bit of both. When I flow (usually during weeknights) I follow the primary Ashtanga series with a few modifications here and there. Have you tried the Dave Farmer podcasts yet? They are Baptiste Power Yoga style. I have used them a lot in the past. Lately I have been taking it a step down and learning about YogAlign which focuses on strength and movement from the core.

    3. i have followed dave farmar's classes... they kick my butt like no other but i find it uncomfortable when he has yogis hold poses for very long on one leg and it just goes on and on. i get that it is strengthening but when i talked to jenn about it, she says it's borderline harmful to have people hold poses that long. i have been taking things a step back too and just enjoying the calm, slow, strength building that hatha and anusara brings. i should check out yogalign, that sounds like something i would like to do these days. core work... that sounds good! i always love good core work. :)


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