Food, Life, Picture Post, Success Dinner, Uncategorized

A New Summer

So, I’ve lost quite a bit of weight over the last few months and I’m glad to say that I now weigh about 255. I started the year over 300 and I think it’s super important to me being healthier that I share with everyone. I’m still not super confident in myself but this summer I’m going to work extra hard to change that. A friend of my mum’s has offered me her bicycle since I won’t be leaving C-falls much this summer and to help save some money. My diet has gone from what the dining hall says I’m eating to what I say I’m eating. Speaking of what I’m eating:

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Mmmmmm…

 

and

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Dem colors…OOoooooo

Now aren’t you jealous? It’s really not hard, but it does take time. Also, where I’m currently at it’s really expensive. Starfruit is the cheapest “exotic” fruit I can afford. Blood oranges are a close second. Both are good though.

I’ve been spending more time in my tiny kitchen (I’ve got a rent free situation this summer in a nice two bedroom) than I thought I ever would. I was going to more Keto stuff but I’ve found a happy place in my diet. Chia seeds keep you so full!

I won’t lie, I have lost steam for this blog and most things lately. I know I say in a lot of them that I’m going to work harder at creating more posts and then I never follow through. So I’m just going to go ahead and say I’ll see you when I see you and hopefully I’m down another 50lbs by then.

Food, Food Review, Life, Picture Post, Uncategorized

Exploring International Cuisine In A Small Mountain Town: Dave’s Sushi

Winter Break is here! Woo! Finals are over, grades (that I haven’t looked at) are in, and everyone is leaving campus. The roads are terrible and the weather is negative. The SO and I decided that we weren’t going to try to beat traffic and deal with everyone trying to drive over the Continental Divide at once so we waited a few days for the traffic to die down. We stayed at his place in FGH, as they closed my dorm on Saturday, and I had no where to stay. We didn’t want to kill each other after the weekend was up and that was really great to learn. It was nice to just relax and enjoy each other’s company for a while, and on Sunday night we went out to a local restaurant called Dave’s Sushi.

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We had been here one time before, but it had been a very long time since then. We went back in early 2015 we we first were together. Dave’s Sushi is a very hip eatery. It can only sit 81 people, so it gets crowded fast. In the summer they do have patio dining, but we haven’t had a chance to experience that yet. Just FYI, they don’t accept reservations for groups smaller than 7. You may have a bit of a wait depending on the night that you go. They are open 7 days a week and usually go until about 930-10 on most days. They are a little more on the spendier side, but with this being Montana the prices aren’t that bad for our land-locked, no local fish market scene.

They have a pretty lengthy drinks menu, but no hard alcohol. They have beer, wine, and sake. We’ve had a few of their sakes before and our favorite is the House Sake. Our waitress was incredibly fast with taking our order.

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We started the evening with an order of edemame (blanched soy beans) sprinkled with kosher salt. You can’t really screw up edemame, but the shells were soft and warm; the beans were firm, but cooked.

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We ordered a large bottle of sake, and I got the black cup. Their House Sake is served warm and it was the perfect temperature. I’m always nervous ordering a warm sake because there is such a thing as overheating it and it ruins it. But ours was perfect. The finish is soft and there isn’t that regretful burning sensation in your throat like there is with certain sake. It also isn’t mixed with a fruit which is definitely a plus. I haven’t liked any of the fruity sake that I’ve tried.

Make time at Dave’s Sushi isn’t that bad. In some sushi places they take forever to get your food out to you, but Dave’s is very fast. I think between placing our food order and getting it was only about 15 to 20 minutes in a fully packed restaurant.

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Round one!

They had a great special the night that we went. It didn’t have a name it just listed the ingredients.

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I can’t remember what was in it, because I [s]forgot a notebook to write everything down with[/s] forgot to write things down because I was to busy eating. What is topping it though is something I hadn’t had before. From what Patrick and I could decipher, was tobiko soaked in a habenero-mango juice concoction. It was spicy and delicious and I could have eaten just that with a spoon.

 

We also had the “Le Possion” (the one topped with salmon) and the “Grave Danger” (the one topped with spicy tuna and black sesame seeds). I picked out the Le Possion and Patrick picked the Grave Danger. Ingredients were super fresh. The cilantro mayo on top of the salmon was different, and was recurring throughout the menu. It was nice on the Le Possion but it accompanied two of our rolls in round two, which I will get to in a moment. The Grave Danger had a bite to it, and I very much thought it was going to be too much for me to handle. I love spicy but can’t take much heat (because I’m a wuss). But once again I was pleasantly surprised. Everything combines so well in your mouth that it didn’t even dawn on me that it was hot until the burning started to build in my mouth. Much water was consumed this evening.

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I would recommend all three of these roles to someone. They are delicious and complex.

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ROUND TWO!

The second round confused me a bit when we got it. I thought two of the rolls were the same. I was wrong when I bit into them, but they totally look alike.

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This round we got what we loving dubbed “The 80’s Platter”. (From left to right) The David Hasslehoff, S’Happening, and Thai-na-mite. The David Hasslehoff is the other roll that came with the cilantro mayo. It was also topped with a bit of fresh lime juice and for me that didn’t work. It was still good, but the flavor fell a little flat for me. The Thai-na-mite was topped with green curry sauce, which was really good. This one had cilantro on the inside, which made me feel a little cilantro’d out. It was in everything. The S’Happening was my favorite of the three. It had the least amount of ingredients but was still very flavorful.

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In conclusion, we left full of good sushi, good memories, and good sake. I highly recommend Dave’s Sushi to anyone needing their raw fix after skiing up at Big Sky. They do have other things on the menu, but what’s the point of going to a sushi restaurant if you’re nothing going to order sushi. 9/10

Food, Life, Picture Post

Exploring International Cuisine In A Small Mountain Town: Whistle Pig Korean

So, We had a date night the other night. I got to go out with this handsome devil:

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He really does not like this picture.

We rarely have full fledged date nights anymore because we are both so busy with class and our regular lives that we usually just have dinner in the dining hall together and that’s that. But the semester is just getting more stressful for the two of us, and with only one of us going home for break we won’t see each other for a while. I start my new job on the 28th which will limit our time together even more, so we picked Saturday and went for it. He wanted pizza, but I was able to convince him to try the little Korean place that we pass all the time and we’ve never been in. It’s a tiny little place off the main road that shares a building with a hair salon and another store called “Earth’s Treasures” (which I assume is a geology shop) and it’s across the street from an auto parts store, somewhere you wouldn’t really notice. I first noticed it when we were out drinking one night about a year ago and kept wanting to go, but wasn’t sure when to go. I’m also a terrible blogger and forgot to take pictures of everything, so I pulled a TON of photos from their facebook page. So here we are.

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The facade of the restaurant, like I said, is pretty nondescript.

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And as soon as you walk in you are greeted by an modern interior. With corrugated tin along the register, mismatched lighting and chairs, exposed brick, and bright green accent paint, it was very inviting.  It wasn’t a place I would call a ‘hipster’ location, even with the aforementioned decor. It was comfortable. Though they do play K-Pop over their sound system (if this is a surprise to you, it shouldn’t be. It’s a Korean restaurant) it isn’t ear blasting terrible, at least for me.

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The employee at the register was quick to note we had never been there before and took charge right away to help let us know where the menus were, told us about dishes that weren’t really familiar to most people (thankfully I watch enough Simon and Martina to have an idea of what I was ordering), and was totally there if we had any other questions. As the SO and I are larger than the average person, routinely needing more leg room and tables are usually on the small side when it comes to a place to put our arms, I appreciated that the tables were very spread out. It wasn’t that busy for a Saturday night, but we were there at about 5pm and Bozeman night life doesn’t really take off until a bit later in the evening (looking at their facebook page, they regularly sell out of food on the weekends, so I’m going to consider us lucky).

We ordered at the register (I ordered the Bulgogi Bibimbap and the SO had the Spicy Bibimbap (no meat), we also ordered a starter of Bibim-Mandu with chicken) and took a seat at a table that was near the door. As soon as we sat down another employee brought over a complimentary side of pickled cucumbers and our silverware. I wasn’t expecting that, and as the SO distracted me with pointing out that the chopsticks were metal and I explained to him that a lot of Korean chopsticks were metal because it saves on bamboo, he beat me to trying them first (which means that I didn’t get a picture of it because that meant it was a fight to eat more than the other, but I found this one on google).
pickledcucumbers2-575x262They were so good. Crunchy and firm, but still tart and vinegary. The spice on was just right for me. Not kimichi spicy (thankfully), but it was a great introduction to the meal we were going to get. Our starter came out pretty quickly, which sometimes makes me nervous, but everything was fresh. Bibim-Mandu is different than regular mandu. Bibim-Mandu aren’t stuffed, you use the dumpling shell like a taco shell and you stack the fillings on, dip the whole thing in spicy red sauce, and tuck it away in your mouth. Delicious. The spice and seasoning on the chicken was really good and was complimented by the spicy red sauce.20161119_171635.jpg

Also, metal chopsticks are heavier than I thought they would be. I found myself holding them a lot further back than I would and it changed the way I ate. So, chalk that up to a fun new learning opportunity.

Our food came out at a pretty decent time after we were done with the starter, and we had some leftover bits from the Bibim-Mandu and we tucked the extras into our Bibimbap (which we had served in regular bowls, next time we are going to get sizzling bowls) and topped it with red sauce and mixed it all together (which is what you do) and dug in.

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The SO was so excited that he dug in before I could get a photo of his, but this was before I mixed all mine together(his looked like mine, but without the beef). There is a nice fried egg in there, Korean beef, and veggies all on a bed of fresh rice. I don’t know what that red sauce is, but it is so good. I didn’t put to much on the first mix up, because I do like spicy but I can’t handle a lot of it. I did get to try him, and I thought it was a little weak for it being the “spicy” option. So I added the rest of my sauce to it and ate it up. And then it happened. The burn starts at the back of your throat, sneaks up into your sinuses and then sounds the alarm. It was such a sweet burn and made everything taste awesome.

My favorite thing in the whole bowl was that chunk dedicated to the beef. It was absolutely the most amazing beef I have ever tasted. It made me close my eyes to savor it and it just sent happy signals through me entire body. It was moist and salty, but not to salty and it just hit all the right spots on my tongue.

I won’t like, it did not take long for us to finish eating, we barely spoke to each other because it was just amazing. I haven’t stopped thinking about eating there since then. I would have gone back for seconds but instead we went to get bubble tea. 10/10, would go again. I love Whistle Pig Korean!

NEXT STOP!

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From what I understand, there is only one bubble tea place in Bozeman, and I wish there were more. I love Townsend Teahouse, but it isn’t really within winter walking distance. Townsend and I have a bit of a history, they were the ones to sell me my first ever bubble tea to me when I lived in Portland. It was a green tea peach with fruit jellies. I remember because it was amazing and now that it was in my life I didn’t know if I could live without it (I totally did, but it wasn’t as fun). So when I found out that Bozeman had a Townsend it scored points when I was looking for a new uni.

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I usually get green tea, aloe jellies, and then a fruit combo. I’m not a fan of tapioca pearls, they just don’t taste good to me. Patrick got them this time. He is a fan of mate tea and fruit jellies. I went for a peach and raspberry combo as it is made with real raspberries. They were out of fruit jellies, so Patrick tried something new without heeding my advice and decided in the end I was right.

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Overall, it was a great night that we got to spend together and we got to eat some amazing foods. I’ll be back Whistling Pig. I know your MSU Student Special now, we’re gonna be best friends. 🙂

Food, Life, LiveFrugal, Picture Post

The Half Ginger’s Not So Clear Guide to Cheap Groceries!

My first requested post! Oh goodness, where do I begin (there is going to be math, simple math, but math)! So, in the comments on our facebook page I had a request to write a post about the cheap meals I’ve been making lately and how I go about it. Now, a lot of people I know are on a super fixed budget, and if you’re like me, it’s not always cheap to eat super healthy. You may notice that a lot of the dished I post are pasta, rice, or noodle based. This is because those three things are cheap when purchased in bulk. Take for example:

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$13.79 at the local Costco

That’s 25 lbs.  That’s about .55  cents a pound. Which is fantastic. I’m more than willing to spend $14 on a bag of rice that will last between 3-5 months. It’s cheaper than minute rice, even if you need to put a little extra work into it. A lot of the time, when people make rice, a large portion of it get burned to the bottom. This is where a rice cooker comes into play. It may cost a pretty penny, but it is worth it. Once you wash the rice and the water you are washing with runs clear, less of it is going to burn to the bottom. Lack of that extra starch saves the rice from burning. So, that’s a cool tip, washing rice is important.

Noodles! I love noodles! Mostly ramen noodles. At .20 cents a package, you get 5 meals for a dollar. And then once we jazz it up with other ingredients we’ve purchased, it will only run us about $.85-1.20 depending on what we do. Pasta (not noodles, totally different), is usually on sale. Today there was a great sale, buy six and get them all for .49 cents. So, let’s look at an average shopping trip for the Half Ginger.

So, we show up to the store, coupons and list in hand.

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These are two very important things that I forget all the time (and yes, my list is written on the back of my 1-a-Day learn Japanese calendar). Those are deals I wrote down to keep an eye out for. I follow the online ad for my local Smiths, and write down things I could make into other things. Sometimes when I get to the store, a different brand is cheaper, so I will purchase that. Which happened on this trip. Which happens on a lot of trips.

I will always try my best to get a tiny cart, because when I have a tiny cart I buy less.

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No… not that tiny
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Ugh. No.
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Uh… little bigger (and without the child)
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AH! That’s close enough!

So, when I get a tiny shopping cart (and the correct google search terms) I will only ever fill the top half of the cart. Keeps things cheaper.

At the beginning of my local market, they have their big sale items in bins. Which I find useful. Usually it’s beans, crackers, gummies, stuff like that. I always take the opportunity to browse. This time, it’s where I found the pasta on sale (6 packages cost me  $2.94) flour tortillas (2 for $4, I only purchased one), and some pudding (10 for $10). I didn’t need the pudding, who ever does, but it was 4 cups for $1 and for .25 cents I think it’s worth it. (Not all the time. Just sometimes.)

In produce, they had avocados for 4 for $5. As I had already picked up the tortillas, and I had purchased black beans on a prior shopping trip (.89 cents a can), I figured I could use half of one per some burrito I figured I’d take full advantage of the sale. Since they are smaller tortillas, I can use 1/4 to 1/2 of each avocado for each dish and have some leftover for other meals. Most of the time it’s a quarter, which means I’ll have 16 quarters, when you price it out that’s .31 cents per avocado servings. So far I am under a dollar for 10 meals.

Nothing else in the produce section sparked my interest, and I wasn’t sure how I’d incorporate any other produce into this clever plan (except when I left I thought about tomatoes) and I moved on to the meat section. This is of course after I walked by the bakery to smell the bread.

Meat is always a tricky purchase. Expiration dates, price per unit, and so on. Beef is expensive, but when on sale can be worth it. Pork and chicken are where I usually keep it. Ground pork runs about $1.99 a pound on average where I live, which is awesome, because you can make a lot of meatballs with a pound of pork. Pork steaks go on sale a lot too, so I like to buy them when they do and then freeze them. But also, in the meat department, my favorite thing happens.

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See that awesome sticker? That sticker means that the meat is discounted. Some may be wary of this kind of thing, but play your cards right and you can save quite a bit. With the discount of 1.46, that is .18 cents an ounce. Instead of .24 cents an ounce. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but if I divide the 23.2 ounces that I purchased I can make about 5.75 meals with it. So, that’s super peasy!

I also purchased a pack of chicken tenderloins for $5.41. They aren’t the most economic meat, but given their small size, and that I can divide them up into portions and freeze them. Smaller than chicken breasts, not as much work, and just as tasty.

Near the meat department, there is the discounted produce section. This section is great for a few reason. I don’t buy a lot from there, mostly because I don’t use a lot of produce all the time. Mostly because I’m terrible at remembering it. For .99 cents you can get some good deals. Today I saw organic bell peppers, eggplants, turnips, potatoes, just to name a few. It was great. I didn’t pick anything up, like I said, but it’s definitely a good place for bargains.

These are my main two departments that I hit up. For the burrito idea, I grabbed a bag of cheese that was on sale for $3.50 /lb ( the one on my list was tiny and I didn’t want to have to buy six of them). Jumping down the tuna aisle I grabbed 4 cans of Starkist Tuna for $2. I’m not a fan of tuna mac, but it does fill the stomach and I can make a huge batch of it and eat it over time.

I grabbed a loaf of bread on the other side of the store, some sour cream, and a bottle of frank’s red hot. That was not originally something I usually buy, but I used the last of it in the house. Guess what? It was on sale, and I had a coupon. WOO!

Got through the line (after leaving my wallet in the truck again), bags in the truck, drove home, AND BAM, I found this:

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FORGOT MY COUPON!

DAMN! Maybe next time! But, check out my receipt!

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Food, Life, Picture Post, Success Dinner

The Half Ginger Is Out of Work

So, Hello everyone!

I’m out of work. I’ve filed for FMLA leave… again. Which is awesome. I’m sure this looks super great on my work history. Officially I have one more paycheck to pay off this months bills and by this time next month I’m hoping I’ll be back at work and okay.

What happened this time, is I lost my voice. I have been advised medically to not speak at all. Now, in my line of work, that’s a big deal because I talk all day. Literally, I talk on the phone for 8 hours. Before I was told to stop talking, I was whispering, which apparently wasn’t making anything better; and several people I spoke with during that time said I sounded like a ghost. Until I get (again) back on my feet, I’ve decided to ration the food I do have. Onto the ramen diet I go! haha. Right now dinner is elbow macaroni, spicy tomato juice, and black pepper. #poorpeoplefood

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That’s what is left. I give it the poor people food tag, because, when I first had this, I was living in a moldy trailer and I paid my rent in Pabst Blue Ribbon. I slept on a couch of suspicious stains, under a blanket of regret. During that time of my life though, is when I got Cora. Sweetest little girl. I’d hide her under my thin blanket instead of making her sleep out on the porch in the freezing cold. The people I lived with didn’t like it, but I wasn’t going to let the puppy (she was actually a puppy then) sit outside in the damn cold. I will love that little dog until the day I die, even if she lives with my mum now.

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This picture is a few years old, she is giving me that look because she is concerned about the life choices I was making at the time.

In the light of good news though, I’ve officially been accepted to MSU for the fall semester. WOO! I don’t have the letter yet, but I’ve been using the online undergraduate admissions checklist and that tells you. So, I’m super excited about that. Being out of work has given me a lot of time to catch up on Hiragana practice.

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That’s been fun. I’m also reviewing math for fun. Just kidding, not really fun. I have to take the MPLEX, which is a mathematics placement test. Since it has been YEARS since I’ve taken a maths class, I thought it would be good to review. I’m not going to show you those notes. Because, there are a lot of angry lines and squiggles. You can see the terribly simple mistakes that I make and how frustrated I get at them, haha. So yea, I’m not going to show you those. But it’s not as hard as I remember, but that may be because I have the time to sit and make myself understand the problem. I am soooooo bad at maths.

So, yes, not a lot new here. No cute lunch this week. No reason to make one. Hopefully next week. Everyone have a great rest of your week!

Food, Life, Picture Post

Success Lunch! And Other Stuff

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So, I made another lunch. Octo-sausages, olives, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and oranges. Then, omelette rice with ketchup smiles and a rice with sesame seeds.  AND a little piggy full of soy sauce!

A new note. I’ve been trying to cut soda out of my diet, and I have found that it is very hard. I live for the caffeine. I’ve cut sugary coffees out of my diet (very much to my dismay, because I love Copper Mountain Coffee), and then I’ve moved on to the soda. Which, with drinking lots of water, I have cut back significantly on soda consumption. But, I’ve struggled with caffeine. I’ve found a wonderful substitute:

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These things are great!

Seriously, I don’t care if you tell me they are bad for me. There is no high fructose syrup,  no aspartame, there is enough caffeine to get me through the day, and it tastes good. Whereas I would drink 2-3 sodas a day, I drink one of these a day. There are 5 calories per serving, 1 gram of sugar per serving, and for every serving there is as much caffeine as a cup of green tea. So, this is great for me.

It also helps me sleep. When I go to sleep at night I find it easier to relax if I haven’t had any soda that day. With one of these, I just melt into sleep and I wake up in the morning feeling the way I usually do (not great, not good, just able to get out of bed)(which is normal). Thankfully I dream a lot more too, so when I sleep I feel more rested and I hit REM. That is so nice!

That’s my stroke order, penmanship, and my timing my speed for my hiragana practice. I haven’t done that many yet, only three, but I think I’m doing better. I’m also working on remembering their meaning. Which, is going okay. Thankfully I have flashcards and I’ve got my laminated study guides at my desk. So, definitely working hard on that. I should have started keeping track of my hours of study, so I would have some idea about where I am at. I’m sure I’ve got quite a few hours under my belt, but they don’t count if I’m not making progress. Oh well, I’ll get there.

Have a good day lovies!