Thursday, January 31, 2013

Child for Sale

I wanted to write a short, but sweet post about today. Today is my gotcha day. The day that I brought joy to mom and dad's life (more joy than when my brother came).
Every year on January 31st we celebrate my Gotcha Day. I actually like my Gotcha Day more than my birthday. Except not many people remember to tell me happy gotcha day on Facebook because it doesn't list it as a birthday...Maybe I'll have to change that.

When it's your birthday you start to reflect on your life...your accomplishments, your disappointments, your wrinkles forming around your eyes.

On my gotcha day, I reflect on my life and play the nauseating game, "what if?"
What if I never was adopted and still living in Korea? Ironically enough I probably would still be at Iowa State but would talk very differently.
What if I was adopted into another family? One that was rich, or poor or didn't have to deal with an older brother?

I recently read in my baby book that my medical history on my adoption papers said, "heart murmur, slightly jaundice but still adoptable."
What if I wasn't "adoptable?" I felt like an old couch put on Craigslist!

How would my life be different if I was adopted into a different family...How would I be different? I definitely believe in nurture vs. nature. I don't think I got my extreme weirdness from my birth parents. I probably wouldn't be a St. Louis Cardinals fan, maybe a White Sox fan if I didn't have a father who brainwashed me as a child.
And I hate to admit it but everyday I find myself thinking sh*t...I'm turning into my mother. I feel bad for my future kids because I will so totally embarrass them.

And then I stop thinking about the what if's and I start thinking about how lucky I am to be where I am now. No, my life is definitely not perfect, nor is my family. But I know that I am loved very much by a lot of people (so popular) and I don't want to think about if I was adopted into a super rich family that resided in California (I'd imagine it would be nice though) because what I got .... it aint too bad.

And every year I make the same joke. To my friends and family: you are all welcome that I am in your life because without me, you'd never know laughter, joy and happiness.

Thanks for reading :)


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How to make healthy stir fry from leftover take out!

Typical night with the boyfriend
"You hungry?" he asks.
"Duh, always"
"Should we cook something?"
"I'm not really in the mood to cook"
"Okay, I'll make some tuna and black beans," his go to meal.
"Well what about me? I'm not eating that," because it truly is disgusting.
"Should we just call Triple 8?" their favorite Chinese place.

We seriously have this conversation at least once a week. Our usual, chicken with mixed vegetables, vegetable lo mein, and fried dumplings (the best thing in the world).
And then after the food is gone, it's always the same thing, immediately change into elastic wasted pants, feel guilty that we just ate so much, and then feel guiltier that we spent $28 on chinese food for the 2nd time that week.
Making stir fry at home is easy and you can make it healthy too. But sometimes it just isn't as satisfying as my beloved takeout from 888. So I came up with an easy way how to make my chicken with mixed vegetable takeout last for more than just one meal and healthier!

What you will need:

  • Your leftover takeout 
    • Depending on how much you want to make, you can use left overs or use the whole thing.
  • 1 frozen bag of your favorite stir fry vegetables
  • 1 frozen bag of broccoli (or snow peas)
  • Cooking oil that handles high heat (canola, peanut, but not olive oil!)
  • 1 large white onion 
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 chicken breasts chopped up (previously baked in an oven) 
  • Sriracha (optional but so good)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
I try to make a large batch of baked chicken every week. It's basically frozen chicken breasts with salt and pepper and garlic baked in the oven for an hour.

I used an electric skillet because it's large and creates high heat. Ideally, I would use a wok but I don't have one. I want one though because woks are cool. 
I started by adding my chopped up onion and frozen bag of stir fry vegetables to my skillet on medium heat.

I didn't add oil or any sprays, just salt and pepper.

I wait for the onions to start to turn translucent and the vegetables to brighten. I like adding frozen vegetables straight to the skillet and not steaming them first because I don't want them to be too tender.
After mixing the vegetables around in the skillet for 5 minutes, I add my chicken.

The chicken is already fully cooked so we don't have to worry about cross contamination and what not. Stir the chicken into the mixture for a minute and then add in the oil. I used about 1-2 teaspoons and poured it over the top. Again, use an oil that has a high smoke point, otherwise you will be choking and coughing up your stir fry.
I also added a bag of frozen broccoli because I wanted to add more green!!

Now that we added the oil we start with the stir fry process! Turn the skillet onto medium high heat. The chicken and vegetables are starting to fry in the oil, so we need to start stirring! You want to keep it constantly moving so it doesn't burn or get too smokey.

You could stop there if you wanted a healthy chicken and vegetable stir fry. But I want the same tasty goodness from 888.

So now we add in our takeout!

I kept all of our takeout from the night before and added it to the skillet. So now we have more chicken and more vegetables added as well as the sauce it's cooked in which makes it taste so authentic and oriental.

So now our sauce is distributed throughout the stir fry and the sodium content per serving is much less than the original takeout. AND you have enough meals to last you for the rest of the week! (or for lunch and dinner for the boyfriend).

Oh, and of course! Don't forget to add your Sriracha for extra spiciness!

I hope you found this recipe insightful and try it out yourself. You can always customize it to the way you want it.

If you're in the Ames area then check out 888 Restaurant because it is SOOOOO good!!!! We still call them frequently for their pot stickers :)

As always,
Thanks for reading :)


Monday, January 21, 2013

Healthy Lasagna!

Okay, so this is my first recipe blog so let's hope it goes well.
This is a "healthy" version of the recipe that I've used from (see below)
First I want to say how much I love Chef John. I wish he was a calculus expert and had him as a professor.

Sorry for the poor quality photos, they were taken from my phone with poor lighting!

Okay, so let's get started!
First of all, there are 3 components to lasagna. 
1. The Noodles
2. The Sauce
3. The Cheese

Things you'll need: 
(I realized as I was going through that I didn't have exactly what I needed but I improvised)
  • 100% Whole Wheat Lasagne Noodles
  • 1 lb of ground protein (I used turkey breast but you could do chicken, beef, pork, tempeh)
  • 2 jars of your favorite pasta sauce (look for something "natural" or organic)
  • 1 large container of skim ricotta cheese (Chef John would not approve but we're trying to be healthy!)
  • 1 egg (this was an ingredient I didn't have)
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 large white onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 slice/block of parmesan cheese 
  • 1 bag of Italian cheese blend
  • Dried or fresh oregano and/or parsley 
Prep time: About 2 hours
Cook time: 1 hour

First, start with the sauce. 
I chopped up some onions and garlic and browned them up in my frying pan with a little olive oil spray.

The amount of onions and garlic is up to you. You could also add mushrooms!
I then add my MEAT. I used ground extra lean breast of turkey which I got at Hy-Vee. For healthier options, go for ground turkey or chicken or lean beef. I also try to get it natural so it doesn't have any msg or anti-biotics. 

Break up the meet as much as possible and brown until it is fully cooked.

Add 2 jars of your favorite pasta sauce. I think this is the most crucial ingredient to this recipe. The overall taste of your lasagna depends on the sauce. I just used what I had in my pantry. I'm going to try and make homemade marina sauce sometime.

Just add the 2 jars into your mixture (I only used 1 but 2 gives the best result)

You're going to put this on high heat until it starts to bubble up. Then, reduce the heat and let it simmer for an hour. In Chef John's video he says to do 2 hours but let's be real. The sauce will reduce slightly so if you only use 1 jar of sauce it will be more of a sloppy joe type consistency. If you want more of a thinner, saucier type of sauce, use 2 jars!

So while we let the sauce simmer, move on to the noodles. To make the lasagne more guilt-free, use whole grain noodles. You want to make sure the first ingredient is 100% whole grain. I'm not sure if they do quinoa or brown rice lasagna noodles for those who are gluten-free but I'm sure there are some options.

Just stick the noodles in a large stock pot and cook according to the package. Make sure you salt the water! You also can go slightly al dente with the noodles because they will cook more in the oven later.

So now that our stove is invaded with the sauce and noodles, let's move to the counter and start on the cheese.

The cheese part is probably the trickiest to convert into being healthy. The biggest thing you can do is use a low-fat skim ricotta cheese. You also can use less of it.
I grated my parmesan, and I used a bag of Italian cheeses and again look for low-fat or skim variations. Fresh mozzarella was another ingredient I forgot I didn't have.
Add the 3 different cheeses into a bowl and mix. Add an egg (which I did not do) to make it softer and thinner. Since I didn't have any eggs, I just added a little milk. The main consequence was that it was harder to spread because it was so thick but no biggie).
To add some color and some more nutrients I added some spinach into my cheese mixture as well as some dried oregano, salt and pepper.

Now we start our assembly area. The noodles should be cooked and rinsed with cold water (so it's easier to handle) and the sauce is simmered and is ready to roll.
If you have a lasagna pan, then good for you. However I just used a traditional baking pan.
Start with a layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan. And then add a layer of noodles, lining them up in one direction (insert singing What Makes You Beautiful).

After that, add a layer of the cheese mixture, and then repeat!

When I put down the 2nd layer of noodles, I like to go the opposite direction of the first layer.

When completely assembled, you'll have 3 layers of noodles, 4 layers of sauce, 2 layers of the cheese mixture, and then 1 layer of cheese on top. I used the grated parmesan to cover the top but you could also use mozzarella or the cheese blend as well.

Put in the oven for 30 minutes covered with aluminum foil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
And then after 30 minutes take the foil off and cook for another 30 minutes.

If you want to picture perfect lasagna, let it cool for a good 30 minutes if not more. If you cut into it and serve right away, the cheese and the layers will just ooze out and fall to apart!

Although it is a little time consuming, it is super easy to make and it is customizable to your liking! If you have a Sunday off and have some time to cook, I would recommend making it because it will last you for a few days! (Unless you have a large hammer thrower boyfriend who eats for 5)

Sorry for the really long post and I hope you found it somewhat helpful or insightful!
I hope to do more healthy recipes soon!

Thanks for reading :)


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Healthy, Healthy, Healthy!

So basically I am one of those people who struggle with their weight. Let's be real, who isn't one of those people (and if you are part of that 1% then I hate you).
I've always been the type that will lose 5 pounds and then gain 10, and then lose 15 pounds and then gain 20. My weight can fluctuate between 10-20 pounds within a month!
Since I've decided to make blogging part of my new year's resolution, I figured why not blog about health and weight loss! After all, I do have my B.S. in Kinesiology, Community and Public Health (BS indeed).
I went out and I bought myself a book, actually a couple books.
(Yes this is what I generally look like when I blog. pretty, huh?)

I had a 50 minute commute to work everyday and although I love listening to One Direction I kind of wanted something else to listen to on my way to work. It was then that I discovered Podcasts. I started listening to Jillian Michael's Podcast and I was hooked. It was informative, inspirational, funny and made me feel motivated. As she discusses many times and as I have discussed with myself, there is always something behind why you are gaining weight. Simply put, weight loss or weight gain is "calories in vs. calories out." If you are burning more calories than you are eating and have enough of a calorie deficit, then boom! Weight loss. But it is a lot trickier than that once you factor in hormones and genetics and your body's natural instinct to survive.

So it's easy to say, "okay, if I workout 30 minutes a day and limit myself to 1200 calories a day then I should lose weight." But 4 weeks later the scale doesn't move and probably because you haven't moved either.

If you've ever wondered why can't I lose weight, there's a pretty simple yet complex explanation behind it. There's always that something that is holding us back. Most of the time it is fear or anxiety, but there is always something. It's trying to discover what that "thing" is that's the hard part.
For example, I know that if I want to lose weight all I need to do is go to the gym right now instead of laying in bed on my computer all day. But I'll stay here and next thing I know it's 9 pm and the gym's closed. What kept me from going to the gym? I don't have anything to do and it's a 2 minute walk away from my apartment, what's the problem?
Why I loved Jillian's podcasts was because it gave you both sides of wellness and weight loss, the scientific side and the emotional side. And for most people it's the emotional side that we struggle with.

So I bought her book "Unlimited" and I hope to start reading it soon.
The other book I bought was her "Master Your Metabolism" The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for A Hot and Health Body!
I decided to get this book because this is the scientific reasoning behind losing that last 10 pounds or the really stubborn fat because it's more than just calories in and calories out.

The last book I bought was the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook from the editors of Prevention.

I wanted to get a cook book and I had looked through several at Barnes and Noble and I thought I'd give this one a go. I'm going to try and post some pictures and recipes onto my blog and so you the reader can join me in my adventure of cooking! And maybe I'll do better if I have a food diary on here. It'll be like a Julie and Julia thing, but better.

Thanks for reading :)


Thursday, January 10, 2013

You're a phony

As many of my friends know, I love YouTube. I watch it more than tv. I don't watch all the videos that go viral or quote shi*t sorority girls say, but I subscribe to channels that create videos weekly, daily or whenever.

I am working on a "how i met everyone on youtube" type presentation but for now you just need to know about the Vlogbrothers.

The Vlogbrothers, aka Hank and John Green are YT "stars" and known for creating their own following called Nerdfighters also referring them to nerdfighteria. They have almost 900,000 subscribers and over 281,154,422 views. They make videos about anything and everything like politics, stupid jokes, giraffe sex, puppy sized elephants, and more. They also now have a separate youtube channel called crashcourse which they create educational videos. Hank does science and John does history and literature.
John Green is an author and I've read one of his books. My following of him and Hank on YT was the reason that I decided to read his latest book, "The Fault in Our Stars." It's a very good read and would recommend it to everyone but spoilers, you will cry. It was really cool reading the book because I felt like I knew John. I know the way he talks and his mannerisms and his sense of humor that I could hear his voice in his writing, even though the book is from a teenage girls perspective.

But anyways...

I wanted to post about the Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger. I had to read this book when I was in AP lit in high school and it was one of my least favorite books ever!!!!! I thought it was very annoying and depressing and quite frankly I wanted to punch Holden in the face. Thank you to SparkNotes I was able to kind of understand what the boy was talking about. I remember being super frustrated that he cared so much about some freaking ducks in a pond.

But after I have "grown up" and aged and gained some wisdom, I've kind of realized that I am a lot like Holden Caulfield. I'm not hospitalized or anything like that but give it some time.

But what I would give to have time stand still. To stop moving for one day, or for a week. Especially now that I'm out of college. It's like I'm in limbo land between being a grown up and being a student. I don't believe that adulthood is a land of phonies and that college life is full of innocence (because it's totally not). Over the last 3 years I catch myself finding the phoniness in others, but unlike Holden I also identify the phoniness in myself. This results in alienating myself from friends and family and in someway alienating from my own self, if that's possible. Which is an issue since putting up a guard to protect myself leads to loneliness but at the same time isolation is often what comforts me.
I also found that I have a need for being unique, being "in the spotlight", and being heard. Although I don't wear a red hunting hat, I seem to thrive off of being the weird crazy girl and being my own unique individual. But at the same time I wonder if me trying to be so unique is really a way to cover up insecurities about myself and if there is a reason why I need to tell stories and make others laugh. I mean part of the reason I started this blog was so that others could hear my "intelligent" thoughts. Like Holden, I need to be listened to and pet peeve #8 I hate being interrupted. Ask anyone.

I've also noticed that I haven't been "applying" myself as much as I once did a few years ago. I tell people that it feels like I went from being a Dwight into a Jim (The Office). I was an over achiever and had to be the leader, always striving for more responsibility and probably taking things too seriously. But now I am to the point where I don't care as much as I used to. I have a more laid back approach to life or towards work or school. And I think the reason is similar to Jim's reasons is that I don't want to apply myself in a job that I don't enjoy. Instead of trying to be the best at every job/task/assignment that I have, I don't try as hard if I'm not really into it. I had a really hard time the last year of college because I was so over my classes and I knew that what I was studying wasn't going to be what I would have as a career and so I stopped caring. I don't know, it's something that I'm trying to fix but I think the main thing would be finding something that I enjoy and the rest will follow.

Sorry that this is a long, kind of depressing post but I am a very insightful person and I'm just putting my thoughts into words onto the internet.

Thanks for reading :)


I wanted to end with something a little more happy
Summer before my senior year in high school we had 3 assignments for AP lit. We had to read Wuthering Heights and Catcher in the Rye and then watch The Great Gatsby.
Part of my project I made a poster board and talked about references from Friends to all three books/movie.

Wuthering Heights
Season 5 episode 9
"The One with Ross's Sandwich"
Phoebe signs up to take a literature class and they read "Wuthering Heights." Phoebe is enjoying the class and Rachel decides to join her. But when Rachel takes credit for Phoebe's insight about the moors reflecting Heathcliffe's character, she sets Rachel up to believe that Jane Eyre is about robots.

The Great Gatsby
Season 5 episode 19
"The One where Ross Can't Flirt"
The first thing I noticed when watching The Great Gatsby was that Sam Waterston played Nick Carraway. The only reason I recognized him was because of Law and Order. In this episode Joey has everyone including his grandma (who can't speak english) get together to watch his tv debut on Law and Order only to find out that his part had been cut out. To try and avoid disappointing his grandma he tries to convince her he is someone else and she says,
"No, Sam Waterston"
"No, no that's me"
"No... Sam Waterston, crime misdemeanor, capricorn one"

And then Chandler says,
"she doesn't know hello but she knows capricorn one"
so funny

Catcher in the Rye
This one was pretty simple, Holden goes to the Museum of Natural History and likes it there because everything is still. Ross works at the museum and that is where Ross and Rachel... you know (season 2 episode 15)

Monday, January 7, 2013

First of many posts about wait for it....ONE DIRECTION

Okay so it's not a big secret that I love One Direction. How I came across them is a different blog post for another day but basically I've been following them since April 2012 and I thought they were cute and I loved their song "One Thing." 
But because of my exasperating boyband fangirl obsession, it turns people to dislike One Direction more than they normally would. For a long time I would bother people and tell them all the reasons why I love 1D and why they should too. Which is odd because I'm a pretty laid back person about other people's likes/dislikes/hobbies etc. But for some reason, I had to prove to everyone that One Direction is cool. I finally kind of started to let it go. Don't get me wrong, I still love them but I don't feel like I have to show everyone why they should love them too if they don't. 
But that doesn't keep me from writing posts about all the reasons why I love 1D :) 

Their latest music video just came out for their single "Kiss You" 

It is very different and weird but it's funny. One of the biggest reasons why I love One Direction so much is that they are 5 guys who are best friends having the time of their lives. Yes, I think they are all attractive and cute. And no, they are no Adam Levine or David Beckhamn but it's the personality of them individually and as a group that caught my heart (gag if you must but I don't care). And don't let some of the excessive tattoos turn you away! 

I didn't want to write too much today, but just wanted to post the video and hope that others will find it entertaining. 

Thanks for reading :) 


Friday, January 4, 2013

Do I know you?

So this is probably going to sound strange.

Do you ever get that feeling when you are looking at someone you know and you think, "do I know you?" And not just someone that you remember meeting last Friday night at a party or a friend of a friend 4 years ago, I'm talking about someone you know and see everyday.
I get that a lot with my boyfriend Zack. I see him everyday and we've been together for over 4 years. But once in awhile I find myself staring at him and think he is super hott (just kidding...he wishes) but I feel like I've never seen him before. It's really weird.
But I wanted to write this blog post because I had that same feeling about myself today.

I got home from work after a full day and my feet were hurting pretty badly. I had gotten some groceries and I started to put them away. I took my shoes off and got something to eat and poured myself a glass of Simply Orange orange juice. I was disappointed because it was the pulp free orange juice and it didn't taste as good.
Then I look down and I see my socks...
Here I am drinking OJ and I'm wearing leopard socks.
Yeah, so Jenna what's the point?
The point is I HATE orange juice... I HATE pulp and I absoultely HATE printed socks, colored socks, fuzzy socks, long socks I just do. But here I am wearing leopard socks drinking orange juice and I'm like whooaaa who are you?

So you're probably thinking, why is this a big deal? But it's the little things like this that makes you start to think about how much you've changed in the last month, or year, or decade.

I'm approaching my 5 year anniversary from high school and think about if I want to go to the reunion or not. It's awhile aways and who knows what I'll be doing. But I think about high school Jenna and me, now Jenna. I wonder how much of a difference is there and will everyone else notice? Is it a good thing to be the same or completely different?
I think I've changed quite a bit from high school. I'm still the weird creepy asian girl that is loud and talks a lot. But one of the biggest things I've noticed about myself is that I hardly ever feel embarrassed anymore. I would be embarrassed by lots of things before and now I could make a room clearing fart in front of one direction and on camera and still not be embarrassed (maybe a little horrified).

Long story short, the same or different, I am who I am and I've learned that everything I've been through in my life has made me the person that I am. And if you have a problem with it then just deal with it! But for real an even longer story that is shorter I am still Jenna just now I like orange juice and comfortable socks.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A short post about a new year

I don't know what it is about January 1st that inspires people to start over. Obviously it is the first day of a new year but I think we focus too much on new year's resolutions. A very typical and popular resolution is to be healthy. But what I think is funny is that you can start being healthy any day of the year but we emphasize the birth of a new year with being reborn into a new and better self. I think that just sets us up for failure because what happens when you stop trying by March? Are you just going to wait until next January to try again? And come the end of December you are grumpy and upset that the year didn't go as well as you planned but still hopeful the next year will be better.

I really wanted to post something today but I'm lacking intelligent thoughts or words right now

Thanks for reading!